New Forest Acts
Links to the New Forest Acts of 1877, 1879, 1949, 1964 & 1970 are available on the Links page.
Evidence from the 13th century indicates that the Verderers were originally a court within the Forest, authorised by the Crown and elected by the County. They sat to hear cases of offences within the Sovereign's Forest. They could deal with minor offences directly (by fines) but more serious cases were referred to higher courts - ultimately the Forest Eyre.
Verderers' powers were enlarged in the 17th & 18th centuries to address offences undermining the planting and preservation of oak for ship-building (such as breaking Inclosure fences, encroachments on Crown land). Powers to deal with trespassers and abuses by Forest officers were also strengthened.
In 1877, the Verderers' Court was reconstituted by a New Forest Act of Parliament. The Act abolished the former oath of allegiance to the Crown. The Act required the appointment by the monarch of the Official Verderer and (originally) five Verderers to be chosen by the Commoners and Parliamentary voters in the New Forest parishes. They were to be the guardians of Commoners, common rights, and the Forest landscape.
The New Forest Act of 1949 increased the number of Verderers to comprise five elected, an Official Verderer, and four appointed members. The Act also gave the Verderers additional powers to make and amend byelaws.
The members of the Verderers' Court are:
|Mr. Dominic May||Official Verderer|
|Mr. Richard Deakin||Elected Verderer|
|Mr. Jim Greenwood||Elected Verderer|
|Miss. Dionis Macnair||Elected Verderer|
|Mr. Anthony Pasmore||Elected Verderer|
|Mr. David Redhead||Elected Verderer|
|Mr. Hallam Mills||Appointed DEFRA Verderer|
|Mr. Barry Dowsett||Appointed Forestry Commission Verderer|
|Mrs. Diana Westerhoff||Appointed Natural England Verderer|
|Mr. Edward Heron||Appointed National Park Verderer|
The Court meets in ‘Open Court’ normally on the third Wednesday of each month, except In February and March (and Committee-only in December) which are held on the second Wednesdays. The public may address the Verderers on any matter relevant to the management of the New Forest and subject to the Court Regulations listed below.
The Court meets in the Verderers' Hall, The Queen's House, Lyndhurst initially at 9:30 a.m. in closed Committee, then from 10:00 a.m. there is the Open Court, and after Open Court, back to closed Committee. Members of the public should aim to arrive at 10:00 a.m. for the Open Court. Court dates for 2017 are:
Members of the public may address the Court on any matter relevant to the management of the New Forest and subject to the Court Regulations listed below.
The Agisters are employees of the Verderers. Their work is to assist in the management of Commoners' stock in the Forest. Specifically, they:
There are five Agisters, including a Head Agister, each covering a particular area within the Forest. Their contact details are:
|Mr. Jonathan Gerrelli|
|Mr. Andrew Napthine||07836 203883|
|Mr. Robert Maton||07836 500106|
|Mr. Peter Rix||07721 409755|
|Mr. Mike Lovell||07836 757579|
The minutes of the Verderers' Court are available from 2003 to the present. The Court does not usually sit in August.
†† - The May 2011 minutes refer to a letter from the Minister Rt Hon John Paice MP.
The Report and Accounts of the Verderers of the New Forest, for the year ending 31st March 2015 are available for download.
The Verderers' policy on Tranquility in the New Forest is available for download.
In carrying out their statutory role as managers of the New Forest, the Forestry Commissioners are constrained by the existence of rights of common. However, these rights are subject to the Forestry Commissioners' statutory powers. The Commissioners have power, amongst other things, to authorise the use of land in the New Forest for the purpose of recreation and the appropriation of land in the New Forest for car parking and for camping sites. They also have powers to provide tourist, recreational or sporting facilities. The powers in the various New Forest Acts and those in the Countryside Act are only exercisable with the agreement of the Verderers.
In the context of the day-to-day management of the New Forest, it is necessary to decide how particular activities or other items which the Forestry Commissioners propose to permit, fall to be treated in the light of the legal rights and obligations outlined above. In particular, the parties have not always been able to agree whether particular items legally require the agreement of the Verderers. The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to set out the parties' intended approach in respect of specific items which the Forestry Commissioners are likely to wish to permit in the New Forest in the future.
Regulations Of The Verderers Of The New Forest Relating To The Courts Of Swainmote For The Dispatch Of Administrative And Judicial Business As Provided For In Section 24 Of The New Forest Act 1877 As Amended.
In accordance with long established tradition, in these Regulations a Court of Swainmote means a meeting of certain Verderers for the purposes of Section 8 of the New Forest Act 1949. Any other reference to the Court means a meeting for administrative purposes only.
|Act||Section||Subject||Consultation Required||Consent Required||Presentment Required|
|11||Open Forest Maintenance||Yes|
|18||Wires & Pipes||Yes|
|5||Access to Perambulation||Yes|
|6||Campsites & Facilities||Yes|
|10||New Ornamental Woods||Yes|
|1970||1||Countryside Act Powers||Yes|
|Countryside Act Enclosures||Yes|
* = Public announcement by Verderers and consultation required.