Highleadon Green is an area of 15.3 acres of registered common land (CL35) plus an additional acre of unregistered land. It is located within the village of Highleadon, approximately 4.5 miles northwest of Gloucester in the Forest of Dean. Several villagers with properties adjacent the Green have grazing rights over the common land.
It is not a conventional and singular ‘green’ but it is made up of six pieces of common land dispersed by roads and track-ways. Registered as common land under the 1965 Act, when one of the pieces was overlooked and consequently did not get registered.
The common land is managed, including the unregistered piece, by the Highleadon Green Association, which was formed in 2004/5 under a ‘scheme’, authorised by the Commons Act, 1899.
The highway alongside Highleadon (B4215) was turnpiked in around 1728. It was not until 1834 that the trustees erected a fence on each side of the road between Layne’s gate and Highleadon Green. The land was anciently open waste. In the following year a quick hedge was planted along the road at Highleadon Green.
Highleadon hamlet was conjoined in 1935 with Rudford village to form one combined parish. However, the manor of Highleadon has an ancient and self-contained history of its own, centred on a medieval manor court ‘grange’.
The open common fields were farmed in strips by the people of the hamlet until late into the nineteenth century and the tithe map of 1837 serves to provide a good insight into the containment of this typical English farming community.
Highleadon (Hyneledene) is early mentioned in the first volume of Dugdale’s Monasticon, when in 1230 Richard de Wigmore specifically gave lands in Hyneledene to the Church of St.Peter in Gloucester. These lands, of the Dean & Chapter, are still clearly recognised on the tithe map of 1837.
The ‘Green’ represents ancient communal (common) land dating back to the Saxon period when it was part of a large manorial estate known as Ledene.
1080 Following the Norman Conquest, the land passed into the hands of the Church and under whose government it remained until –
1541 The Dissolution of the ecclesiastic lands.
1643 During the Civil War and particularly the Siege of Gloucester, Highleadon Green played a strategic part in hosting Royalist troops guarding the highway passage between Gloucester and the Welsh Marches.
1800 A stone cross once stood upon the Green and was possibly a preaching cross for the purposes of unorthodox services.
1860 Pressures for Methodism in the Village led to a temporary chapel of corrugated steel construction being erected upon the Green in anticipation of a more permanent building.
1864 A Wesleyan Chapel built in brick at the top of the Green, operated until it became defunct in 1935 when the parish was transferred to Rudford.
Families of the Highleadon community, over the centuries have employed the Green for many functions, including the growing of fruit squash trees and the collection of berries, to various traditional gatherings, sports and seasonal recreational activities.
The Green has no registered owner. Use of the surface and the soil of the land is the property of the registered ‘right holders’ who have seconded their rights over the Green to a scheme set up under the 1899 Commons Act.
Government of the land, due to its lack of registered ownership, is technically in the hands of the Forest of Dean District Council who have seconded their actions into the ‘Scheme’. Highleadon Green is consequently managed by an association (corporate body) of the right-holders, councillors and interested voluntary parties thus forming the ‘Highleadon Green Association’ formally constituted 19 April 2005.Highleadon-Green