Page:An Old English Home and Its Dependencies.djvu/21
A curious thing happened to me when I was Rector of East Mersey in Essex. At the edge of the Marshes were a couple of cottages near a copious spring of limpid water. They had been built, and a tract of garden enclosed, some two hundred years ago, and occupied, rent free, by the descendants of the original appropriator. During my tenure of the rectory, the last representatives left, in fact abandoned the tenements. The Rector was lord of the manor. Accordingly these cottages, in very bad repair, fell to me, and
no one to object. The lord of the manor might have done so, but he was a little doubtful as to his right to forbid this annexation of ground on the side of the highway, and he and the parishioners generally agreed to let be. It might save the man coming on the rates if he had a garden and house—no harm was done. There was still plenty of food for the flocks and herds driven along. So we find thousands and tens of thousands of these cottages thus planted by the roadsides, with their gardens—all appropriations by squatters.