To glean or not to glean……….

High winds, fallen trees, traffic disruption and closed roads, sounds familiar? Police arrive, tree surgeons follow closely behind to remove the offending trees in order to allow normal life to continue (ie. the morning rush to work). What had all this to do with the medieval laws that permit gleaning?

Now you may think (as I did) that gleaning was all about the poor in history having a right to clear up the chaff after the

The Gleaners by Millet

crops had been harvested……the bits of the harvest that reapers were happy to overlook because it was too much work for the meagre returns. Well I met a gentleman recently, in my village, who helped me to revise my thinking. With his chainsaw, he was in the process of  cutting up a huge tree that had fallen across the main road, and the expression on my face seemed to elicit (unprovoked, I might say) a long and interesting explanation of what he was doing. Well, I could see what he was doing…..but he really wanted to explain why he was doing it.

The tree had been on the edge of a private garden, but had fallen across the public highway. Now had the tree fallen across the garden, it would have been a different story. But the highway, in medieval terms, was the ‘King’s Land’ (meaning, I suppose, that it had some kind of common ownership), and that anything that should fall onto this land could be claimed by members of the public.

So I told him about my habitual fruit foraging and apple-scrumping in the autumn, and asked him if I would be protected by this 1000 year old law. “Of course”, he said, “you have a perfect right to any fruit that hangs over or falls onto public land. Better still, though, why don’t you go throwing apple and pear cores along the verges and in 6-7 years time you can harvest fruits wherever you want!”    Now there’s a thought………..

Advertisements

About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on January 6, 2012, in Miscellany and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hmmm.. interesting. we’ve always gone by the advice of my dad – if it’s cut both ends it belongs to someone, if it isn’t – then it’s up for grabs! Clearing a tree across a road is also a public duty – if you have the equipment/energy etc to hand, then it’s your responsibility to clear the highway so folk can get about – taking the logs away is part of that i guess……
    With scrumping, people can get quite aerated about folk having a few apples – personally i find there are more than enough apples on just the one Bramley to fill our freezer and plenty more for passers-by – i have even advertised on freecycle – a lovely family came and cleared the rest of the tree – saving me stepping on mouldering fruit and filling their freezer too!
    It’s all about give and take – and knowing when to do either!

    • I agree with you entirely. Most people ignore the ‘food for free’ around the countryside. It’s much more ‘convenient’ to buy it in the supermarket…….!

  2. That was such a kind act by that gentleman to cut up that fallen tree. Don’t the city workers come and do that sort of thing – after all what are taxes for?

    • ……..I think in this case the professionals had been to clear the road and left the fallen tree on open space next to the road. A local resident saw his opportunity and bagged himself some free winter fuel!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Fit Recovery

Stay Clean Get Fit

Northern Walker

Lightweight backpacking, hillwalking and bicycle touring adventures in Northern England and Scotland

Looking For 42

Traveling the world looking for the meaning for life (and whatever else I might find along the way)

Off The Beaten Path

Inside news from Bicycle Quarterly and Compass Bicycles

Bike 5

Five miles or less? Bikes are best!

Kite*Surf*Bike*Rambling

KITESURFING, CYCLING, SUP: ramblings, idiocy and not much more

Cycling Dutch Girl

the only certainty is change

4000milestothesea

On a bicycle from coast to coast across the USA

Self Propelled

Self propelled adventures through life; blogging on cycling, touring, micro-adventures, general shenanigans, and environmental news

chrisp666

Cycling across Europe, Cornwall to Munich

The Vicious Cycle

A man searches for meaning...in between leg shavings

2 l o v e c y c l i n g

It's about cycling ... and other travels

There And Back Again

Life at 15 miles per hour

As Easy As Riding A Bike

Well it should be, shouldn't it?

Bike Around Britain

Blog on cycling around the coast of Britain

David Noble's Blog

Life, Loves and Living

weston.front

The Weston Front - the destination of a road less travelled...

The Innocent Bikestander

It can be better

Bike, Banjo & Baby

They go together so well

Something for Kiki and the Pok

the adventures of Christopher Yardin - by plane, bike, through a lens, or the eyes of a child

Bricycling...

Cycling Blog

Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

Travel adventures on wheels and legs

THE SPORTSWOOL DIARIES

................."Cherry picking the nicest places in the world to cycle"

Gippsland Granny

Musings from Metung

Serendipities of life

Taking the road less travelled

I Do Not Despair

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

Tom’s Bike Trip

Adventures and experiments in two-wheeled travel

All Seasons Cyclist

Real World Product Reviews For Avid Cyclists

machacas on wheels

Taking the road less travelled

%d bloggers like this: