Heritage 19 Shotesham Common

No 19                                        The Common

In the past, Shotesham had a considerable number of commons and greens, most of which ceased to function as such following the great Inclosure Act of 1781.  In that year, a parliamentary award was granted to Robert Fellowes when 3561 acres were inclosed out of a total of 3585 acres for the whole parish.

With the award the present extensive Shotesham Common, which is now such a feature of the village, was created.  The common extends from the north west extreme of the parish to All Saints Church, with a length of over one kilometre and an overall area of some 47 acres.

The Beck flows through the full length, irrigated by a number of springs and a pond, with marshland on both sides.

Under Robert Fellowes’s award the inhabitants of 68 cottages within the parish were allowed grazing rights on the Common with additional rights to cut and collect firewood on a further 6 acres designated as High Shotesham Marsh Common.

In 1928 these commons were administered by the trustees of a newly created Shotesham Common Charity under which the proceeds from the sale of grazing rights, known as ‘goings’, were, after meeting maintenance costs,  distributed to the poor of Shotesham.  In the 19th century, access to the roads along the Common was subject to a local toll with gates at Tollgate Cottage, Falgate Farm and another gate at the north west end of the Common.

Records show that the cost of a ‘going’in 1932 was £1.50 for the season and currently it is around £35.