Parliamentary portcullis Session 2008-09
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Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)

Beverley Freemen Bill



This Bill is promoted by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council ("the Council"), which is the district council for the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The Bill relates to the Freemen of Beverley (the former county town of the East Riding), their entitlement to be enrolled as Pasture Freemen and the appointment from amongst the Pasture Freemen of the Beverley Pasture Masters.

The Beverley common pastures are vested in the Council. They are available for use as common pasturage. The common pastures are regulated and maintained by the Beverley Pasture Masters ("the Pasture Masters").

The present system of Pasture Masters and their responsibility for the common pastures is governed by the Beverley Common Pastures Act 1836 ("the 1836 Act"). The 1836 Act provides for 12 Pasture Masters to be appointed by, and from amongst, the Pasture Freemen who, in turn, are freemen who are actually resident in the former municipal borough of Beverley as existing in 1835.

The rules for entitlement to the freedom of Beverley (which were codified in an Order made by the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Town and Borough of Beverley on 2 August 1813) limit those who can claim to be freemen by birthright to sons born within the former municipal borough whose fathers are Beverley Freemen at the time of the birth. The area of the former municipal borough (which is relevant to both entitlement to the freedom and eligibility as a Pasture Freeman) is significantly smaller than the area of Beverley as it exists today.

The Bill has the following purposes, namely-

(1)to re-state the categories of person entitled by birthright to be enrolled as a Beverley Freeman so as to extend entitlement to the daughter of a freeman and to any person born before the freeman parent became a freeman;
(2)to remove the requirement for a freeman to be born in the former municipal borough;
(3)to make entitlement to be enrolled as a Pasture Freeman dependent upon residence in an extended area that includes the whole of Beverley as it presently exists;
(4)to modify the 1836 Act and the 1813 Order so as to reflect these changes.

Clause 1 of the Bill deals with citation, and Clause 2 with interpretation.

Clause 3 provides that any person (male or female) shall be entitled by birthright to be admitted to the freedom of Beverley if the person is the child of a freeman, whether born before or after the parent was admitted as a freeman and wherever the child was born.

Clause 4 broadens the residency criteria for eligibility to be enrolled as a Pasture Freeman by relating residence to the extended Beverley area as defined in the Schedule to the Bill. The Schedule lists the parishes that are now regarded as comprising Beverley in whole or in part.

Clause 5 provides that the 1813 Order shall cease to have effect so far as it relates to entitlement to the freedom by birthright.

Clause 6 substitutes the extended Beverley area for the former borough of Beverley throughout the Beverley Common Pastures Act 1836.

Clause 7 enables the Council to pay all or part of the costs associated with the promotion of this Bill as a revenue expense.


In the view of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, the provisions of the Beverley Freemen Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.

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Prepared 25 November 2008