Sailors and Soldiers (Gifts for Land Settlement) Act 1916

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Sailors and Soldiers (Gifts for Land Settlement) Act 1916
Long titleAn Act to authorise the acceptance and administration by certain Government Departments and Local Authorities of Gifts for the settlement or employment on land of men who have served in His Majesty's Forces.
Citation1916 c. 60
Territorial extent United Kingdom
Dates
Royal assent22 December 1916
Repealed21 July 2008
Other legislation
Repealed byStatute Law (Repeals) Act 2008
Status: Repealed
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Sailors and Soldiers (Gifts for Land Settlement) Act 1916 was an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It allowed for the donation of land to public bodies for the settlement and employment of former servicemen. The catalyst for the act was a proposed donation of land near Bosbury, Herefordshire, to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries by Robert Buchanan, following the death of his son in the First World War.

The act was proposed by the Asquith coalition ministry in November 1916 and received royal assent under the Lloyd George ministry in December. Buchanan's land, some 288 acres (117 ha), was accepted by the Board in 1918. A second donation by Buchanan of 500 acres (200 ha) was accepted in 1919. This land, the Bosbury Trust Estate, was the only land ever donated under the act. It remains in use, administered by a charitable trust for the housing and employment of military veterans.

The Sailors and Soldiers (Gifts for Land Settlement) Act 1916 was proposed for repeal by the Law Commission and Scottish Law Commission in January 2008. It was repealed by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 2008 on 21 July 2008.

Description[edit]

In 1916, following the death of his son Alan at the Battle of Bellewaarde on 16 June 1915, Robert Buchanan proposed gifting land near the village of Bosbury, Herefordshire, to the nation for the settlement of servicemen returned from war.[1][2] The Board of Agriculture and Fisheries was unsure whether it had the ability under existing law to accept the gift.[1]

To provide a basis in law for the acceptance by the board and local authorities of gifts of land for the purpose of providing employment for ex-servicemen, the Asquith coalition ministry proposed the Sailors and Soldiers (Gifts for Land Settlement) Bill to the House of Commons on 23 November 1916.[3] It received a second reading on 28 November and was passed, unamended, in the House of Lords by 19 December (by this time Asquith's government had been replaced by that of Lloyd George).[4][5] The act received royal assent on 22 December 1916.[6]

Land gifted under the act was held by the public body it was gifted to, who also acted as trustee for any charitable trust formed. It was intended that land acquired under the act would be used to provide employment for ex-servicemen, partially countering an expected glut of labour when conscripted servicemen were demobilised at the end of the war and also increasing agricultural outputs.[1] A separate act, the Small Holdings Colonies Act 1916 authorised the government to purchase up to 20,000 acres (8,100 ha) of land for use as colonies for the settlement and employment of war veterans.[7]

Bosbury Trust Estate[edit]

Beacon Hill Farm, part of the Bosbury Trust Estate[8]

The only land ever donated under the act was Buchanan's.[1] His initial donation of 288 acres (117 ha) was accepted by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries on 21 September 1918. A second donation by Buchanan of 500 acres (200 ha) was accepted in May 1919 and added to the holding, which became known as the Bosbury Trust Estate.[2] It was administered through a charitable trust, known as the Buchanan Trust.[1]

The estate was administered as a collection of smallholdings.[1] The 1967 United Kingdom foot-and-mouth outbreak badly affected stock on the estate and in the aftermath the trust was reorganised under a Charity Commission scheme. The Board's successor, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, remained trustee until 1998 when it was transferred to Herefordshire Council. Following a recommendation by the Charity Commission the trusteeship was transferred to a new body, the Buchanan Trustee Company Ltd., in May 2016. The trust has moved towards providing more accommodation on the estate, with an aim of eventually providing 20–40 almshouses to military veterans.[2]

Repeal[edit]

The act was recommended for repeal by the eighteenth report on statute law repeals published by the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission in January 2008. They argued that no public body would today be willing to accept land gifted with a restriction that it could only be used for the employment of veterans and that changes in farming practices had reduced the number of people that could be supported on land.[1] The act was repealed by the Brown ministry under the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 2008 on 21 July, though that act included a provision that the repeal did not affect any gifts previously made under the 1916 act.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Stature Law Repeals: Eighteenth Report" (PDF). The Law Commission and The Scottish Law Commission. pp. 42–43. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  2. ^ a b c "A Brief History". The Buchanan Trust ~ The Bosbury Estate. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  3. ^ "Bill Presented". Hansard Volume 87: debated on Thursday 23 November 1916. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  4. ^ "Sailors And Soldiers (Gifts Or Land Settlement) Bill". Hansard: Volume 88: debated on Tuesday 28 November 1916. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  5. ^ "Message From The Lords". Hansard: Volume 88: debated on Tuesday 19 December 1916.
  6. ^ "Royal Assent". Hansard Volume 88: debated on Friday 22 December 1916. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  7. ^ Leneman, Leah (1989). "Land Settlement in Scotland after World War I". The Agricultural History Review. 37 (1): 55. ISSN 0002-1490. JSTOR 40274639.
  8. ^ "Bosbury farmer is celebrating after nearly decade in legal struggle with Herefordshire Council". Hereford Times. 21 February 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  9. ^ "Statute Law (Repeals) Act 2008". Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 4 January 2023.