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I noticed a lot of private land, and I wonder why. How did they get it? I’ve read enough about the enclosure acts and the commons to know a lot of dodgy stuff happened in the past, and we are still living with that legacy (see Who Owns England and Land In Our Names for some more about that).

That context helps me see all the many private signs in a different light.

Usually when there is a big estate, I assume there is a deep connection with slavery. I looked up The Bathurst Estate. I found an article entitled Lydney: Black Lives Matter and the Bathursts which confirmed it very directly.

I’d like to pick out two contrasting quotes.

First, from The Bathurst Estate website:

In 1695, Sir Benjamin Bathurst, a kindly and generous gentleman, purchased the current estate, known then as Oakley Grove. – since changed/moved, view archived version

… and secondly from wikipedia:

With his senior appointments in the Royal Africa Company and the East India Company, Bathurst was heavily involved in the slave trade

It even lists his occupation as Slave trader. The history page on the Bathurst Estate website doesn’t even mention slavery. That’s pretty shocking.

This is not (only) about historic events as the current owners are the direct descendents of the slave owners and direct beneficiaries. And remember, when slavery was abolished, it was enslavers that were compensated, not the enslaved people.

In many cases these estates are so big they have neglected corners, where they neither see what happens, or keep up with basic maintenance.

Borrowing a bit of land for the night

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Rhian

    It is very interesting to see this example of land acquired , and retained, under the cloud of colonialism … Great to see you borrow it :)) an act of liberation and hope!

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