First page of a letter written on 7 December 1899
7 Dec 1899
Dear Sir, Just a line to say that I was asked to write a little notice of the letting by Candle, & which I gave to Mr.Corburn before witnessing the proceedings at his wish. So I find I was at fault as regard the details. Intro notice in h. h. h. it is stated the 2 1/2 acres was allotted under the Enclosure Award, which would give a modern aspect to the whole thing. Whereas I find it was a very ancient endowment of one acre. Having investigated the origin of many of these ‘Churchwardens acres’, ‘Lamp-Acre fields’, ‘Unknown acres’,
The big clue as to the writer of this page is the embossed “SNELSMORE NEWBURY” that can faintly be seen at the top left of the page, just above the date. Research has identified that Walter Money FSA lived in the small village of Snelsmore near Shaw, Newbury according to the 1901 Census.
FSA stands for: Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.
Further searches found reference to a blue plaque with the following citation
“Near this spot stood Harborough House, the home circa 1880-1896 of Walter Money FSA (1836-1926). The founder of modern Newbury historical studies. Author of The First and Second Battles of Newbury and the Siege of Donnington Castle (1881), The History of the Ancient Town and Borough of Newbury (1887), A Popular History of Newbury (1905)”.
Charles Edward Keyser, Lord of the Manor at Aldermaston, was a fellow member of the Society of Antiquaries of London at the same time and had moved to the village in 1893, it is highly likely that he knew Walter Money and possibly that he requested Walter Money’s help with this matter.
The implication of this letter is that there exists evidence of the Church ‘ownership’ of 1 acre prior to the Enclosure Act of 1811.