Taunton Courier 15 Oct 1924 Cheap Houses Hillcommon James HAYES Aaron HAYES Walter S HAYES

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Taunton Courier. Bristol and Exeter Journal, and Western Advertiser Wednesday 15 Oct 1924

Page 12 Column 3 & 4


761. - CHEAP HOUSES. - In these days of dearth of houses it is interesting to hear traditions of homes which in former days were put up in a few hours, and entitled the builder to claim both the house and the ground on which it stood if he could have his pot boiling on the hearth before sunset. Are any cases known in which Somerset men and woman have become possessed of house and land in this way? - P.W.

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761. - CHEAP HOUSES. - About five years ago some correspondence on this subject took place in these columns referring more particularly to the hamlet of Hillcommon. It was then stated that at one time the site of this hamlet was nothing more than a large tract of common land, which nobody claimed. But there was an edict attached to this land to the effect that anyone could obtain a certain portion of it provided they could put up a house upon the part required in one night; and also sleep in the same! For years this was thought impossible, till Mr. James HAYES, son of Mr. Wm. And Grace HAYES, of Oake, solved the difficulty by building a house of turf in one night and likewise sleeping in it. Having thus fulfilled the conditions he claimed the land, no-one disputing his right. Soon after he took down the turf house and built a substantial brick and stone residence, making his life's abode there. Others in the neighbourhood, seeing this, followed Mr. HAYES' example, and in a short time the common land was nearly built over. One piece, however, was left to be dedicated to religious purposes. The people of the hamlet collected enough subscriptions to build a chapel upon this, the erection of which was superintended by Mr. Aaron HAYES. The chapel is one in connection with the Bible Christians, and was built, as a stone outside says, in 1842. On the death of Mr. James HAYES, his property passed to his son, Mr. Aaron HAYES, who died in 1896, and this part of the estate then came into the possession of Mr. Walter HAYES. After this information had appeared in these column – Mr. W. S. HAYES, of Taunton, grandson of the Mr. James HAYES referred to above, wrote confirming these statements and giving additional information. He added that he had heard his father say that the builders of the cottages were threatened with a law-suit from the lord of the manor, but nothing came of it, and they were left in undisturbed possession.


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