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A house built in a day!

Lemon Quarter
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A house built in a day!


Postby bungeejumper » July 23rd, 2020, 11:09 am

Friends of ours live in a very old village house which they claim was built in a single day, in accordance with an ancient squatter's law that entitled its builder to the freehold of a property and a parcel of common land......

.....On the condition that the house had to be far-enough constructed during that first day, so as to be able to light a fire in the hearth! If no smoke was seen issuing from the chimney by the following morning, then their settlement rights would disappear and they might be forced to pull it down again. :(

I always had my doubts about this "law" - although I could certainly see how there might once have been common law provision for migrant labourers who simply needed a bothy for a few weeks. But it appears I was too sceptical. The "one night house" was more solid than it seemed!

I'd be fascinated to learn more about this custom. I especially liked the bit about how you could claim as much land as you could cover with a single throw of an axe. :lol: Anybody know?


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Re: A house built in a day!


Postby wilbobob » July 24th, 2020, 6:08 pm

I know nothing about the legalities, but when we lived in the Forest of Dean there were quite a few of what were called encroachment cottages. The story is similar to your description, with a fire in a hearth necessary to establish ownership. Though my memory says that the timescale was dawn to dusk. All the encroachment cottages have the same layout with door and four windows in the front only. No windows in the side or back.

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