The Friends of Wakering Common received charitable status in September 2017 and were formed as a direct results of the Great Wakering Parish Council's failure to maintain the Common. In November 2017, the Friends of Wakering Common entered into an agreement with the landowners to manage the Common.
Privately owned, the Great Wakering Commonis registered common land. It is a long stretch of land that covers an area of 5.5 hectares (13.5 acres) and is located east of Great Wakering.
Common land is where other people, known as ‘commoners' are entitled to use the land or take resources from it. Who can use common land and what they can use it for is called rights of common.
The right of a commoner to take resources from a piece of common land is called a right of common.
A right of common can be:
pasturage - the right to put livestock out to feed on the land, usually grass but can be heather or other vegetation
pannage - the right to put pigs out to feed in wooded areas of the land
estover - the right to take specific timber products from the land, like whole trees or firewood
turbary - the right to take turf or peat from the land to burn as fuel
piscary - the right to take fish from ponds, lakes, rivers and streams
rights in the soil - the right to take soil or minerals from the common
animals ferae naturae - the right to take wild animals
According to the 2012 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Common land database, the Great Wakering Common has the rights of Pasture (Cattle)
In the 1940's the Common was used as a prisoner of war camp and the Nissen huts were later used to house local residents.
In 1953 when the floods came, 37 families were housed in Nissen huts on the common. Flood water cascaded over and through the sea walls so fast that within minutes nothing but the curved tops of the huts could be seen. Whole families climbed up onto the corrugated iron roofs and clung there desperately hoping for rescue, while the villagers rowed to and fro throughout the night in gale force winds, helping terrified people escape. Not all survived and one old couple were heard singing Abide With Me over and over again. Their bodies were later found in their homes.
Three adults and two children tragically died that night on the common.
Further History / reading:
Wakering War Camp - click to read