Commoners and the Common
In the Middle Ages, the use of land was governed by the manorial system. Food was grown, animals grazed and fuel was gathered.
Land remained in the ownership of the Lord of the Manor, but some local people were given the right to use the poorer areas which became known as 'common land'.
Today, these 'rights of common' at Minchinhampton and Rodborough include the grazing of animals known as 'herbage' and taking dead or brash wood, gorse or furze called 'estovers'. The people who are able to exercise these rights are known as 'commoners' because they own property within the historic Manor.
These rights are usually recorded in the household deeds, and in the Commons Register held by Gloucestershire County Council.
Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons are classed as 'urban commons'. This means that people have a right of access for 'air and exercise' and for the enjoyment of the area. The Commons also include a number of smaller commons including Hyde, Besbury and St. Chloe Green Commons.