Manorial rights
Manorial rights

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Manorial rights
  • Copyhold
  • Inclosure
  • Registration of manorial rights
  • The value of manorial rights

Manorial rights are relics of the feudal system of land tenure. They continue to exist in relation to land that:

  1. is former copyhold land, or

  2. was inclosed pursuant to an inclosure award

Copyhold

In medieval times, the lord of the manor would allow local inhabitants to occupy and work open land within the manor in return for payment (in cash or in kind (in the form of tithes and corn rents)) or services (ie labour or military service).

In addition, the lord of the manor retained rights over the land. These manorial rights attached to the lordship (ie the title ‘lord of the manor’) and not to the land of the manor.

A comprehensive list of these manorial rights was contained in Law of Property Act 1922, Sch 12, paras 5 and 6 (now repealed). However, the list is helpfully reproduced in HM Land Registry Practice Guide 66—Overriding interests losing automatic protection in 2013. Those rights which continue to be of relevance today are:

  1. sporting rights (ie the right to hunt game and fowl and to take fish)

  2. the right to hold markets and fairs

  3. mineral rights (ie to right to work mines and get minerals under the surface of the land)

Over time, the rights of the occupiers came to be recognised by the courts as a distinct form of land tenure,