Brief History of Laneham
The two settlements of Church Laneham and 'Town' Laneham are really parts of the same village and parish. The area may have been settled in Roman times and there are Roman tiles incorporated into the walls of the church, which is mainly Norman. Laneham was already important before the Norman Conquest when its manor was held by the Archbishop of York and it controlled lands as far away as Askham and Beckingham. The Archbishop had a palace at Laneham which was at the height of its fame in the 13th and 14th Century when archbishops stayed regularly and kings occasionally. King Edward I stayed at the palace in 1303 and Archbishop Thomas Corbridge died in Laneham in 1304.
The old palace came under the control of the Sandys family at the end of the 1500s and they eventually demolished it. The actual site is unclear and it is known to have been ploughed over – so it is most likely to have been south of Manor Farm or in the bend of Rampton Road, where what is suggested as a section of moat has survived. 'Town' Laneham may have been a planned development with typical 'burgage plots' stretching back from the unusually wide village street. Most of the earliest houses were built 'end on' to get the benefit of light.
A section of the parish, 155 acres, was on the east side of the Trent, to which it was connected by Laneham Ferry. This was involved in a landmark legal action of 1346 which had a significant role in the development of transport law. The ferry ceased to operate after about 1923.
The landscape of Laneham was transformed by two events in the late 1700s. The Laneham Drainage Commissioners were set up in 1768-9 and in 1772 an Enclosure Act was passed which has had significant influence on the field pattern and rights of way that exist today. The Drainage Commissioners improved the course of the village beck from Laneham mill to the Trent, diverting it through a new cut between 'Town' and 'Church' Laneham – the old route can still be traced in the parish boundary between Laneham and Dunham. They also improved the flood defences along the Trent but despite this there continue to be occasional problems after heavy rain.
The road pattern in Laneham still reflects the medieval routes running inland from the ferry towards the Sherwood monasteries or north to south parallel to the river. One major change was the opening of the 'by pass' which was built to service Cottam power station.
Local resident Adrian Gray has recently written a book on local history "People and Places of Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire"
The public general Inclosure acts normally specified where awards were to be deposited or enrolled, either by one of the courts of record or with the local clerk of the peace. The General Enclosure Acts appointed permanent enclosure commissioners who were authorised to issue Enclosure Awards without submitting them to Parliament for approval.
Inclosure awards are legal documents recording the ownership and distribution of land. They may detail land owned by churches, schools and charities, as well as roads, rights of way, drainage, land boundaries, different types of land tenure.
Prior to the Inclosures, and 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) 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.
The Laneham Inclosure Award is an amazing snapshot of history, featuring beautifully drawn map. It shows how the land of the parish was divided to the various owners in the 1770's. There are two original copies of the document, one is deposited at the Nottinghamshire County Archives, the other version was entrusted to the Parish Council in 1894, sadly this has been lost but a 20th centuary copy of the award is in the parish council's possession.
Vestries: Prior to 1894 the Vestry generally held property on behalf of other persons for a parish but had no legal personality. Parish property and land + local charity land before the passing of the 1894 act was held by the vestry as trustees. The most important of these trustees were the Churchwardens, the Overseers and the Guardians. There were also other public employees such as the Surveyor of Highways, Roads and Drains and the Pinder.
The passing of the 1894 Act resulted in the creation of parish councils, consisting of a Chairman, Councillors and Overseers (who were now part of the Parish Council as Overseers of the Precept), this Act transferred all the properties of the parish from the Vestry to the Parish Council. For example, in Laneham this meant the legal ownership by the Council of the land which had been administered in the parish by the Surveyor of Highways, Roads & Drains.
Prior to the creation of Parish Council's in 1894 the Vestry held the power to appoint trustees (the Churchwardens and Overseers) to a non-ecclesiastical charity. This power transferred to Parish Councils in 1894 under the Passing of the Local Government Act 1894.