It’s difficult proving that you are the rightful owner of a piece of land that was leased for a period of 999 years, back in the 18th Century! This weekend we have been having family discussions about the matter. Our lovely ancestors leased a piece of land, back then, to the churchyard of Mary Magdalene Church, Bermondsey, London. Since then the paperwork has descended through the family, each new owner of the entitlement goes through a difficult process to prove he or she should be the next recipient of the lease papers and the annual lease fee. Back then £15 a year was a good deal,I’m not so sure the future generations will think the same!
Problems have occurred now that the Church no longer handle the payouts, it’s the local council. Back in the 1950’s there was a small piece of evidence that payment was being refused and legal help was required.
The issue now, that my father-in-law has passed over, and my brother-in-law must prove his right to the entitlement. Yet the council say they have bought the Freehold on the land and they now own it?! A difficult position as we have not sold the land or the freehold. So now we have to delve through files of seriously old paperwork to see if we have a map of the plot of land and a copy of the lease. And trust me, the legal language and spelling in the 1700’s is certainly one for the serious historians.
For me the most exciting end was from a Google search which brought up evidence of a plaque in Mary Magdalene Church bearing names of our ancestors which has now confirmed a tenuous link which I had in the family tree. I now go back as far as the 1730’s! Hip hip hooray!