TUNBRIDGE WELLS COMMONS.
Tunbridge Wells Improvement Act, 1890
The Conservators of the Tunbridge Wells
Government, Control, Improvement,
Management of the said Commons,
Under and pursuant to the provisions of Section 171 of the
TUNBRIDGE WELLS IMPROVEMENT ACT, 1890.
W. C. CRIPPS,
Tunbridge Wells :
Tunbridge Wells Improvement Act,
[53 & 54 Vict.] [Ch. ccxxxv.]
An Act to make further and better Provision for the Improvement Health and good Government of the Borough of Tunbridge Wells .... and other purposes. [14th August 1890.]
Whereas by the Rusthall Manor Act 1863 (reciting the Rusthall Manor Act 1739) the exercise of rights of common of pasture and other rights in the wastes or commons of the manor of Rusthall in the county of Kent (herein-after referred to as " the commons ") were regulated and provision was made for the prevention of nuisances thereon and for the protection thereof :
And whereas the Commons being within the borough it is expedient in consequence of the increasing population of the borough and in pursuance of an agreement come to between the Corporation and the lord and freehold tenants of the said manor of Rusthall that the further provisions herein-after contained be enacted for the preservation maintenance regulation and improvement of the commons for the benefit of the inhabitants of the borough and neighbourhood :
And whereas it is expedient that the Corporation be empowered to purchase other lands by agreement for the purposes of this Act as herein-after provided :
And whereas it is expedient that the Corporation be empowered to raise and apply moneys for the purposes and subject to the provisions herein-after contained :
Part I. — Preliminary.
1. This Act may be cited for an purposes as the Tunbridge Wells Improvement Act 1890.
Act divided into parts.
2. This Act is divided into parts as follows :—
Part XIV. — The Commons.
Interpretation of Terms.
4. "The borough" means the Borough of Tunbridge Wells.
Part XIV. — The Commons.
Definition of the commons.
151. For the purposes of this Act the commons shall consist of the lands coloured red blue and green (except as herein-after provided) on a plan authenticated by the signature of George Woodyatt Hastings the chairman of the committee of the House of Commons to whom the Bill for this Act was referred and such plan shall be deposited in quadruplicate by the town clerk as follows One copy with the Clerk of the Parliaments one copy with the clerk of the peace for the county of Kent one copy with the conservators of the commons appointed under this Act and one copy with the town clerk (such plan is in this Act and the Fourth Schedule hereto referred to as the deposited plan) A copy of or extract from the deposited plan purporting to be certified as a true copy or extract by the said town clerk or clerk of the peace or clerk of the conservators shall be received in all courts and elsewhere as evidence of the contents of the deposited plan and the said town clerk clerk of the peace or clerk of the conservators shall permit all persons interested in the commons at all reasonable times to inspect and take copies of or make extracts from the deposited plan on payment of a fee not exceeding ten shillings Provided that the lands coloured brown on the deposited plan and specified in the Fourth Schedule hereto shall be excluded from the operation of and shall not be affected by this Act nor by the byelaws hereinafter mentioned and shall not be in any' way subject to the jurisdiction of the commons conservators hereinafter mentioned nor be under their control or management.
Appointment of number of conservators to manager the commons.
152. From and after the passing of this Act and notwithstanding anything contained in the Rusthall Manor Act 1863 the management of the commons shall be vested in a body to be called the conservators consisting of twelve persons to be appointed as follows (that is to say) : -
One-third to be nominated by the lords, lord or lady of the manor of Rusthall for the time being who shall have power to nominate themselves himself or herself and their steward and bailiff or any persons or person as they he or she may think fit;
One-third to be nominated by the freeholders' committee mentioned in the said Rusthall Manor Act 1863 Every person so nominated shall be a registered freeholder and upon parting with his qualification as a registered freeholder shall vacate his office of conservator ; and
One-third to be nominated by the council from among the members of the council who upon ceasing to be such members shall also vacate the office of conservator :
And the said lords lord or lady of the manor and the freeholders' committee and the council shall severally have the power to remove at any time any of the conservators appointed by him or them and to appoint another person or other persons in his or their stead.
Appointment of first conservators and successors.
153. The first appointment of conservators shall be made as soon as conveniently may be after the passing of this Act and the next appointment of conservators shall be made on the ninth day of November one thousand eight hundred and ninety-one or as soon thereafter as conveniently may be and the succeeding appointments of conservators by the lords lord or lady of the said manor and the said freeholders' committee shall be made triennially on the ninth day of November or as soon thereafter as conveniently may be and the succeeding appointments of conservators by the council shall be made annually on the ninth day of November or as soon thereafter as conveniently may be And the conservators so respectively appointed as aforesaid shall hold office until the appointment of their several successors and no longer.
Deficiency in numbers not to invalidate acts of conservators.
154. In tne event of any neglect delay or default occurring in any nomination of a conservator or conservators the other conservators duly nominated and appointed as aforesaid shall nevertheless be deemed to be and shall be a duly constituted body for the purposes of this Act and any proceedings consequent thereon and may act and proceed accordingly.
Provision as to casual vacancies.
155. Any conservator going out of office resigning or otherwise ceasing to be a conservator may be again nominated a conservator. In the event of any vacancy in the number of conservators by death resignation or otherwise between the times fixed for nomination as aforesaid the conservators for the time being shall continue to be as competent to act as if no such vacancy or deficiency in number had occurred Provided that in the case of the death resignation or other incapacity of any conservator the person or persons or body corporate whose nominee he was may immediately nominate another conservator to supply his place but each person so nominated shall retain his office so long only as the vacating conservator would have retained the same if no such vacancy had occurred.
Conservators to act gratuitously.
156. No conservator shall receive any remuneration or hold any office of profit under this Act or any proceeding consequent thereon Provided nevertheless that nothing in this section contained shall operate to prevent the steward or bailiff of the lords lord or lady of the manor from receiving remuneration or holding any office of profit other than under this Act.
Irregularity of appointment to invalidate acts of onservators.
157. No act of the conservators shall be invalidated or be illegal by reason of any irregularity or omission in or about any appointment of any conservator or in or about any matter preliminary or incidental thereto.
Meetings of conservators.
158. The conservators shall hold meetings for transacting business under this Act and any proceedings consequent thereon four times at least in every year and at such other time or times as may be expedient for properly executing their powers and duties and shall from time to' time make regulations with respect to the summoning notice place management and adjournment of such meetings and generally with respect to the transaction and management of their business.
Quorum at meetings.
159. No business shall be transacted at any meeting unless five conservators at least are present thereat.
Decision of aestions.
160. All questions shall be decided by a majority of votes five conservators at least being present and voting and the names of the conservators present and voting shall be recorded so as to show whether each vote given was for or against the question.
Appointment of chairman of conservators
161. The mayor of Tunbridge Wells for the time being if elected a conservator shall be ex-ofncio chairman of the conservators and shall preside at all meetings at which he is present but in case he shall not be elected a conservator or if so elected he shall be absent from any meeting at the time appointed for holding the same the meeting shall appoint one of the conservators then present to be and he shall be chairman of such meeting At every meeting of the conservators the chairman of the meeting shall in case of equality of votes on a division have a second or casting vote.
Conservators to provide offices.
162. The conservators shall from time to time provide an(j maintain such offices as may be necessary for transacting their business and that of their officers and servants under this Act or any proceedings consequent thereon.
Authenitcation of documents.
163. Until the contrary be proved a copy of a resolution of the conservators signed and certified by the clerk to the conservators to be a true copy shall be sufficient evidence of the passing of such resolution without further or other proof of the signature of the said clerk or of the said resolution having been duly passed.
Minutes of proceedings to be kept.
164. The conservators shall have power to appoint a committee or committees for any purpose and may delegate to such committee or committees any of their powers and duties and shall cause minutes of the pro- ceedings of the conservators and of every committee appointed by them with the names of the conservators who shall attend such meeting to be duly made from time to time in books to be provided for the purpose which shall be kept by the clerk to the conservators under the superintendence of the conservators and every entry shall be signed by the chairman of the meeting at which the proceedings took place or by the chairman at the next following meeting and such entry so signed shall be received as evidence in all courts and before judges justices and others without proof of such meeting having been duly convened or held or of the persons attending such meeting having been or being conservators or members of a committee respectively or of the signature of the chairman or of the fact of his having been chairman all of which last-mentioned matters shall be presumed until the contrary is proved and such books shall at all reasonable times be open to the inspection of every conservator The conservators shall from time to time appoint a fit and proper person to be their clerk and they may if they think fit appoint the town clerk to be clerk to the conservators Provided nevertheless that the present town clerk shall be the first clerk to the conservators.
Appointment of treasurer and officers.
165. The conservators shall from time to time appoint a fit and proper person to be their treasurer and shall appoint or employ such common keepers and other officers and servants as they may think necessary and proper for the preservation of order on and the enforcement of byelaws with respect to the commons and otherwise for the purposes of this Act and any proceedings consequent thereon so far as such Act and proceedings relate to or affect the commons and may make rules for regulating the duties and conduct of the several officers and servants so appointed and employed altering such rules as occasion may require and the conservators may pay out of the moneys to be received by them under this Act or any proceedings consequent thereon to their officers and servants such reasonable wages salaries or allowances as they may think proper and every officer and servant of the conservators shall be removable by the conservators at their pleasure.
Duty of conservators to execute works.
166. The conservators may execute any works of servators to works, drainage and improvement of the commons so far only as may be required for the purposes of this Act or any proceedings consequent thereon and shall to the extent of their ability preserve the turf trees and grass and for this purpose may enclose by fences for short periods such portions as may require rest to revive the same and may plant trees on the said commons and enclose the same with fences to protect such trees all fences to be of such a character as not to be likely to injure cattle sheep or other animals and may make necessary paths and provide and place seats for the accommodation of the public in convenient parts thereof No house or other building shall be erected on the said commons expept tents for games or amusements or removable lodges if required for the better maintenance or management of the said commons or for purposes ancillary to the recreation of the public But such tents or lodges shall not without the consent of the conservators be allowed to remain more than six days at one time or on Sundays Good Fridays or Christmas Days.
Inhabitants of Tunbridge Wells and neighbourhood to have free access to commons.
167. The inhabitants of Tunbridge Wells and the neighbourhood shall have free access to and a privilege at all times of playing and attending at games and of enjoying all other species of lawful recreation upon the commons without payment but subject to such byelaws and regulations as are herein-after mentioned and with power for the conservators as they may consider expedient to set apart any portion or portions of the said commons for cricket football or other games and to form any cricket or football ground or grounds and to inclose the same with posts and chains or with open fences so as to prevent cattle straying thereon and to prescribe or arbitrate as to the persons or associations of persons who shall use the same for playing cricket football or other games and the times when and for how long the particular persons or associations of persons may exclusively use the same for playing at cricket football or other games as aforesaid.
Commons to be preserved from encroachments.
168. The conservators shall maintain the commons free from all encroachments except as herein provided and also except that they shall have power to permit temporary enclosures to be made and tents or booths to be erected on such occasions as they shall think fit. It shall not be lawful for any persons other than the conservators without the consent in writing of the conservators under the hand of their clerk to make any temporary or other inclosure of any part of the commons or to put any tents removable lodges fences posts rails or other matters or things thereon or to make any road or footpath except over such portions of the commons as are coloured red on the deposited plan or to lay any sewer drain pipe waterway or other work of a like nature in or through any part of the commons Provided nevertheless that this clause shall not interfere with any right of the council to make and maintain such sewers as may be necessary for effectually draining the borough for the purposes of the Public Health Acts Provided also that the council notwithstanding as aforesaid shall have exercise and be subject to all the powers authorities duties and liabilities of surveyors of highways under the law for the. time being in force so far as regards any highway over the commons.
Commons to be deemed a street for police purposes.
169. For the purpose of police the commons shall be deemed a street and place of public resort and the powers and duties of all police constables in relation to public safety and preservation of order decency and protection of property shall extend thereto.
Regulation of public speeches, &c. on the commons.
170. From and after the passing of this Act it shall not be lawful to deliver utter or read aloud any public speech lecture prayer scripture sermon address discourse or other matter of any kind or description whatever or to sing any sacred or secular song or to enter into any public discussion maintaining the right to deliver utter or read aloud any public speech lecture prayer scripture sermon discourse address or other matter or to hold or cause or take part in any public assemblage or (without the consent of the conservators) to play any musical instrument upon any road or footpath on the commons or upon any portion of the commons other than the portion coloured green upon the deposited plan. Any person offending against the provisions of this section shall be subject to a penalty not exceeding forty shillings and it shall also be lawful for any constable of the borough or officer of the conservators to remove from the commons any person so offending.
Power to make byelaws.
171. The conservators shall as soon as conveniently may be by writing under the hands of three conservators frame byeiaws for the efficient working and carrying into effect the objects of this Act so far as relates to the commons and may from time to time in the same manner frame additional byeiaws or repeal or amend existing byeiaws The byelaws may be directed to all or any of the following purposes or objects (that is to say) :
The penalties to be imposed for breach of the byelaws shall be such reasonable penalties as the conservators shall think fit not exceeding the sum of forty shillings for each offence and a daily penalty not exceeding the sum of twenty shillings Provided always that all byelaws imposing any penalty shall be so framed as to allow of the recovery of any sum less than the full amount of the penalty.
Confirmation of byelaws.
172. No byelaws shall be of any validity until the same have been confirmed by the Secretary of State and no repeal or amendment of any existing byelaw or byelaws shall be valid until the same has been confirmed in like manner.
Recovery and application of penalties.
173. Any penalty imposed by or under any byelaws as aforesaid may be recovered together with the costs of the proceedings in manner provided by the Commons Act 1876 or any Act amending the same and all proceedings for the recovery of any such penalty shall be had or taken by the conservators and the penalty recovered shall be paid to the conservators and shall be applied in aid of the costs and expenses of carrying into effect the provisions herein contained.
Power to conservators to appoint officers.
174. The conservators may from time to time appoint officers for securing the observance of this part of this Act and of the byelaws made thereunder and may procure such officers to be sworn in as constables for that purpose.
Only commoners to turn out cattle to grace on commons.
175. Except for those persons who are by law entitled it shall not be lawful to turn out any cattle horses sheep or other animals on the commons but the persons who are by law entitled may continue to exercise their lawful right of turning out cattle or other animals as if this Act had not been passed but no further or otherwise. Conservators entitled to commons.
Conservators entitles to impound stray cattle &c.
176. The conservators shall be entitled to impound omitted &c. stray horses, cattle, sheep and other animals unlawfully straying on the commons and for that purpose may if they think fit use any pounds belonging to the manor.
Conservators not to manage roads over commons.
177. Nothing herein contained shall be construed as not to manage roads over placing any public roads or highways on or across the commons under the care of the conservators.
Costs of commons how defrayed.
178. All costs and expenses incurred by the conservators in respect of this Act and any proceedings consequent thereon from time to time and at all times shall be defrayed by means of half-yearly payments in advance to be made to the conservators by the Corporation not exceeding the sum of one farthing in the pound on the rateable value for the time being of the property within the borough and by means of any other moneys applicable to the purpose which may come to the hands of the conservators by way of subscription penalty donation or otherwise The payments so to be made by the Corporation shall be charged to and paid out of the district fund and nothing herein contained shall affect any power which the Corporation may have of voting a sum or sums of money for or towards such costs and expenses beyond the said annual sum.
Costs of commons how defrayed.
179. From and after the passing of this Act in consideration of the payment by the Corporation of the sum herein-before mentioned towards the expenses incurred by the conservators and of the sum of two hundred pounds to the lord of the manor all the right of the lord of the manor for the time being to cut down or remove trees and other timber from time to time growing or situate upon the commons shall cease provided that if any of such trees shall after the said date be blown or otherwise thrown down die or be cut down by the conservators then and in every such case such tree shall thereupon belong to and become the property of the said lord Provided that nothing in this clause contained shall prohibit the lord of the manor from trimming or brushing up the branches of any tree which may obstruct the access of light to or overhang or be otherwise prejudicial to any house belonging to him on the commons.
Saving the rights
180. Saving always to all persons and bodies politic and corporate and their respective heirs successors executors and administrators all suph estates interests or rights of a profitable or beneficial nature in over or affecting the commons or any part thereof as they or any of them had before the passing of this Act by Parliament or could or might have enjoyed if this Act had not been passed.
Power to acquire rights of lord and freeholders in Rusthall Commons.
181. The Corporation may by agreement purchase and acquire the commons together with all rights of common commonable rights rights of way and other rights estates interests and privileges whatsoever of the lord of the manor freehold tenants or others in over or affecting the same or any part thereof and upon every such purchase or acquisition the Corporation may extinguish or retain and exercise all or any of such rights and privileges and do all such things and execute such works as they from time to time shall deem necessary for the maintenance preservation and improvement of the commons as places of public exercise and recreation.
Power to acquire quarry rights
182. The Corporation may by agreement purchase and acquire all the rights of the lord of the manor to open mines quarries pits or other like excavations and also the rights of the lord of the manor freehold tenants or others to work dig up use or dispose of any minerals gravel stone or other matters and upon every such purchase or acquisition the Corporation may extinguish or retain and exercise all or any of such rights.
Purchase to be effected under Lands Clauses Consolidation Act 1845.
183. For the purposes of the above authorised purchase or acquisition the Corporation and the persons at present constituting the freeholders' committee mentioned in the Rusthall Manor Act 1863 shall be respectively considered as promoters of an undertaking and as a committee acting and appointed under the provisions of sections 103 and 104 of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act 1845 and any money to be paid by the Corporation to or on account of the freehold tenants of the said manor may be paid to the said committee who are authorised to execute the deed of conveyance receive such money and give due discharge and the Corporation shall not be bound or concerned to see or inquire as to whether the committee were duly appointed.
Conveyance to be stamped.
184. The purchase under the foregoing powers shall be evidenced by a duly stamped deed of conveyance which shall within three months from the date thereof be produced to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue and in default of such production the ad valorem stamp with interest at the rate of five per centum per annum shall be recoverable from the Corporation together with full costs of suit and all costs and charges attending the same.
Transfer of powers.
185. From and after the purchase or acquisition as aforesaid by the Corporation of the commons and all rights of common, commonable rights, rights of way and other rights estates interests and privileges of the lord of the manor the freehold tenants and others therein all the powers rights duties capacities liabilities obligations and property exerciseable by attaching to or vested in With respect to rights in and over the commons the conservators under this Act shall pass to and be exerciseable by and be vested in the Corporation.
With respect to rights in and over the commons.
186. And whereas the lords of the manor of Rusthall claim the soil and freehold of the commons and the minerals under the same and the freehold tenants of the manor claim rights of pasturage and other rights in and over the commons Be it enacted that nothing in this Act shall affect the rights in and over the commons so claimed as aforesaid except so far as is necessary for the purposes contemplated by this Act and that the improvement of the commons and the prevention of nuisances thereon and other purposes of a like nature shall be deemed to be purposes of this Act Provided always that nothing herein contained shall affect the right of the lord or lords lady or ladies for the time being of the manor to the gravel stone mines or minerals under the commons and to work the same or the right of such lord or lords lady or ladies in the event of any part of the commons being required by any railway company or any other public or private company or body for the purposes of their undertaking to receive the same amount of purchase money or compensation money for the same as he they or she would have been entitled to claim or receive in case this Act had not been passed.
The SCHEDULES referred to in the foregoing Act.
List of Local Acts and Provisional Orders referring to the Borough of Tunbridge Wells.
The Conservators of the Tunbridge Wells Commons for the government, control, improvement, and management of the said Commons under and pursuant to the provisions of the Tunbridge Wells Improvement Act, 1890.
Interpretation of Terms.
Throughout these Bye-Laws the following words and expressions shall have the meanings hereinafter respectively assigned to them, that is to say:—
" The Act " means the Tunbridge Wells Improvement Act, 1890.
Words importing the masculine gender shall be deemed and taken to include females, and the singular to include the plural and the plural the singular.
For the government, control, improvement, and management of the Commons, and the preservation of good order and conduct among persons frequenting them.
The foregoing Bye-Laws were framed by the Conservators, at a meeting held at the Town Hall, Tunbridge Wells, on Tuesday, this 26th day of May, 1891.
Given under the hands of us, the undersigned Conservators, the day and year aforesaid.
F. WADHAM ELERS.
I hereby confirm the foregoing Bye-Laws.
Electronic text of "Tunbridge Wells Improvement Act 1890" June 2005