Constable Ings is 7 acres of land that was transferred to Waddingham Parish Council in 1894 as a consequence of the Local Government Act 1894 when all non ecclesiastical duties were transferred to local councils. The original award was in 1770 and was intended to support the cleaning and maintenance of public drains in the North Carrs. It is effectively a permanent endowment that is administered by the Waddingham Parish Council. Although it's original intention and purpose no longer applies today, the letting of the land continues. Disbursements from the revenue has not happened for many years for a number of reasons, these obstacles have now been largely overcome and a process in place to allow money to be spent for the benefit of all.
The administration of Constable Ings has been generally reviewed, correcting any current practices that are not in-line with the Award, updating processes and procedures to ensure there is transparency in letting and disbursements of the revenue for the benefit of the residents of Waddingham and Brandy Wharf. In particular we have introduced a project nomination process open to all residents to apply for funding that meets the criteria of the Award. See Constable Ings Administration for further details.
The Historical Context
The following is taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inclosure_Acts
Prior to the enclosures in England, a portion of the land was categorized as "common" or "waste" or not in use. "Common" land was under the control of the lord of the manor, but a number of rights on the land (such as pasture, pannage, or estovers) were variously held by certain nearby properties, or (occasionally) held in gross by all manorial tenants. "Waste" was land without value as a farm strip – often very narrow areas (typically less than a yard wide) in awkward locations (like cliff edges, or inconveniently shaped manorial borders), but also bare rock, and so forth; "waste" was not officially used by anyone, and thus was often cultivated by landless peasants.
The remainder of the land was organised into a large number of narrow strips, with each tenant possessing a number of disparate strips throughout the manor, as would the manorial lord. Called the open field system, it was administered by manorial courts, which exercised some kind of collective control. Thus what might now be considered a single field, would under this system have been divided among the lord and his tenants; poorer peasants (serfs or copyholders, depending on the era) would be allowed to live on the strips owned by the lord, in return for cultivating his land. This system facilitated common grazing and crop rotation.
Any particular individual might possess several strips of land within the manor, often separated by some distance from one another. In search of better financial returns, landowners looked for more efficient farming techniques; enclosure Acts for small areas had been passed sporadically since the 12th century, but with the rise of new agricultural knowledge and technology in the 18th century, they became more commonplace. Because tenants (even copyholders) had legally enforcable rights on the land, substantial compensation was provided to extinguish them; as a result, many tenants were active supporters of enclosure, but the Acts enabled landlords to force reluctant tenants to comply with the process.
With securer control of the land, landlords were able and willing to make innovations that improved the crop yield, which led to the Agricultural Revolution; the higher productivity also enabled landowners to justify higher rents for the people working the land. In 1801, the Inclosure (Consolidation) Act was passed to tidy up previous acts. In 1845, another General Inclosure Act allowed for the appointment of Inclosure Commissioners who could enclose land without submitting a request to Parliament.
The tenants displaced by the process often left the countryside to work in the towns. The greater availability of food caused population numbers to rapidly expand, which meant that within a few generations, the compensation the tenants had received was spread so thinly among their descendants that many found themselves in penury. This made the industrial revolution possible – at the very moment new technological advances required large numbers of workers, a concentration of large numbers of people in need of work had emerged, together with a food supply productive enough to ensure the workers had the necessary energy; the former country tenants and their descendants became workers in industrial factories within cities.
The Inclosure Act 1773 was intended to regulate many of the abuses that arose before this time as well as facilitate better agriculturel practices. The Inclosure Act is still in force today. Here is the actual title and preamble to the act itself.
Inclosure Act 1773
1773 CHAPTER 81 13 Geo 3
An Act for the better Cultivation, Improvement, and Regulation of the Common Arable Fields, Wastes, and Commons of Pasture in this Kingdom.
Whereas there are in several parishes and places in this kingdom several wastes and commons, and several open and common fields, which, by reason of the different interests the several land owners and occupiers, or persons having right of common, have in such wastes, commons and fields, cannot be improved, cultivated or enjoyed to such great advantage for the owners and occupiers thereof, and persons having right of common, as they might be and are capable of if an improved course of husbandry was to be pursued respecting such open and common fields in each parish respectively, and such wastes or commons of pasture were to be properly drained or otherwise amended:
Constable Ings Inclosure Award
The inclosures for Waddingham Parish actually predated the act by three years but essentially followed the directives of the act.
In respect of Constable Ings it was obviously the intention to enclose the 7 acres of land as a means of providing additional income to the landowners (Bankmasters) to maintain the “public” drain (assumed to be primarily the Beck and major dykes that drained the North Carrs)
As far as can be determined the actual land was to be actually owned by the Constable of Waddingham (hence the origin of the name).
In 1770 the Inclosure Acts made two key awards to the Parish of Waddingham. In summary the awards were:
- Letting of Grass and Herbage along all public and private roads in the Parish, this was to be administered by the Overseers of the Highway at an annual vestry meeting. The proceeds were given to the Overseers of The Highway towards the cost of maintaining the public and private roads in Waddingham Parish. The letting was to be an annual event held on Easter Tuesday, and awarded by means of auction.
- The award of 7 acres of land (known currently as Constable Ings) to be administered by the Bankmasters of Waddingham responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of the public drain. The proceeds of the letting were awarded to the Bankmasters of Waddingham as a contribution to the maintenance and cleaning of the said public drain. The Bankmasters were expected to maintain the watercourses that pass through their land anyway (Riparian owner). Any annual surplus funds were to be held over by the Bankmasters for future use and potentially held for ever and ever if not actually spent.. The Bankmasters were required to submit accounts to the next annual vestry meeting. The letting was to be an annual event held on Easter Tuesday, and awarded by means of auction.
In 1894 the government introduced The Local Government Act 1894 which provided for Councils (parish, district and county) to take over the non ecclesiastical duties of the Parish. These new arrangements effectively conferred the Constable Ings land as a Permanent Endowment to the Waddingham Parish Council meaning the land was to be held in trust by the Parish Council in perpetuity and responsibility for maintenance of the drain became a Parish Council responsibility.
Later in the 20th century responsibility for managing the drain passed to the Ancholme Internal Drainage Board [Ancholme IDB] effectively relieving the original Bankmaster’s maintenance obligations.
Although the grass/herbage letting ceased some years ago the land at Constable Ings has been let every year. Using the funds was hampered by the constraints of the original terms of the Permanent Endowment .
The Charity Commission holds basic information on these permanent endowment,s however It should be noted that the Charity Laws do not really cover the activities of permanent endowments, like they do charities. The Charity Commission has at various times over the last 48 years suggested registering the administration and disbursement of the proceeds as a charity (presumably to bring it more under the constraints of the extant Charity Act at the time (and potentially enable a more beneficial tax treatment). This suggestion was never followed up. Today registering as a charity is no longer an option as the proceeds are not sufficient to meet the registration criteria of the Charity Commission under the current Charity Act rules.
The Charity Commission does not actively monitor these awards and does not hold extensive records about them . It is possible however to change some of the terms of the endowment (typically the objects of the endowment), provided that they approve of the proposed change. Consequently in 2013 the object terms for the endowment were changed to extend the scope of things the funds could be spent on. The endowment objects were extended to include the phrase for “environmental purposes”.
The Charity Commission approved a change to the objects in 2013 to permit the accumulating funds to be utilised for the benefit of the community under this change.
Her are some documents retrieved from The Lincolnshire Archives
This first document is an accurate transcript of the original Inclosure Award relating to Waddingham. There are two parts to this , the first relates to the letting of the herbage and grass along all the roads in Waddingham, the second is the letting of the land commonly known as Constable Ings.
It should be noted that the original intent was for the letting of the land specifically for grass and herbage. Originally herbage was a term for "the right of pasture on another person's land" rather than for arable farming as is currently practised today. .
This next document is from a Tax Map which predates 1894 and clearly shows that the land is owned by the Constable of Waddingham.
This last document is an extract from the Tithe Map 1837 which shows the location of the two fields. From the previous document the fields in questions are labelled 451 and 452. Interestingly at some point later in the future the left hand boundary of field 451 was changed to a simpler north south line.