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The 43d Elizabeth, c. 2, sec. 5, authorizes the churchwardens and overseers of any parish, with the leave of the lords of the manor, and upon an agreement with them in writing, according to an order of the justices of the quarter sessions, to build upon the waste lands in their parish convenient dwellings, for the habitation of the impotent poor, which houses were to be used for their habitation only.
The 9th George I., c. 7, sec. 4, empowered the churchwardens and overseers, with the consent of the vestry, to purchase or hire any house or houses in the same parish, for a cottage or cottages, but gave no directions how such property was to be held.
The 59th George III., c. 12, gave additional powers for the purchasing and building of cottages, and enacted, that the church wardens and overseers should be a corporation to take and hold all buildings, lands, and hereditaments, purchased, hired, or taken, or used by them, for the purposes of that act, and also all other buildings, lands, and hereditaments belonging to such parish.
Section 9 of that act empowers the churcbwardens and overseers of the poor, by the direction of the
vestry, and with the consent of two justices to sell and dispose of any cottages, or any other houses or tenements belonging to such parish. See also lst and 2d George IV., c. 56.
All property held by trustees on behalf of the parish thus became vested in the church wardens and overseers of the parish for the time being
The 4th and 5th William IV., c. 76, sec. 21, enacts that all the houses given by any act relative to the acquiring, purchasing, hiring, holding, selling, exchanging, and disposing of cottages, shall be exercised by the persons authorized by law to exercise the same, under the control and subject to the rules, orders, and regulations of the poor-law commissioners.
The 5th and 6th William IV., c. 69, sec. 3, extended to copyhold lands by the 1st Victoria, c. 50, contains the following enactment, namely, “ That it shall be lawful for the guardians of any parish or union, and for the overseers of any parish, not under the management of a board of guardians, and for the guardians or trustees, guardian or trustee, of any dissolved union, or the person or persons who were the guardians or trustees, guardian or trustee, of any dissolved union at the time of its dissolution, or a majority of such guardians, trustees, or persons, if more than one, with the approbation and subject to the rules, orders, and regulations of the poor-law commissioners, to sell, exchange, let, or otherwise dispose of any workhouses, tenements, buildings, land, effects, or other property belonging to any such parish or union, or vested in trustees, or feoffees, in trust, for such parish or union, or for the parishioners, rate-payers, or inhabitants thereof, or which belong, or did belong, to any dissolved union, and every and any part of such property, and to convey, assign, or transfer the same accordingly to the purchasers or parties exchanging, as they shall direct; and in case of a sale to apply the produce arising therefrom (after deducting the reasonable expenses thereof) towards the purchase or building of any workhouse, or as or in part of the proportion of such parish or union, towards the expense of any workhouse, erect. ed, purchased, or provided on behalf of such parish or union, or as a loan to the board of guardians of such union, upon the security of the rates, for the pure pose of erecting a workhouse, or in liquidation of any debt contracted by such parish or union, or dissolved union, or in such other manner for the permanent advantage of such parish or union, or dissolved union, as the said poor-law commissioners may approve; and in case of an exchange, the hereditaments to be taken in exchange shall be conveyed to the guardians of such parish or union, or the overseers of such parish, upon the same trusts, and the rents and profits thereof shall be applied to the same purposes as the hereditaments given in exchange were held, and the rents and profits thereof would have been applicable under the provisions of the law, or of this act, if the same hereditaments had not been exchanged.” And by the same section, after giving certain powers to the poor-law commissioners as to the application of the rents of such property, it is provided, " That no such sale, or exchange, or letting of any workhouses, tenements, buildings, or land of any parish, shall take place, except with the consent of a majority of the rate-payers of such parish, and of the owners of property therein, entitled to vote, under and by virtue of the act passed in the fourth and fifth years of the reign of his present Majesty, intituled, An act for the amendment and better administration of the laws relating to the poor in England and Wales, assembled at a meeting, to be duly convened and held for the purpose, after public notice of the time, and place, and purpose, of holding such meeting shall have been given, in like manner as notices of vestry meetings are published and given, such majority to be ascertained in manner provided by the said act.”
The poor-law commissioners have settled the following course of proceeding, in selling parish property, namely, in the first instance, the parish
officers, or some of the inhabitants of the parish, present a request to the guardians in the form No. 1, given below, to apply to the poor-law commissioners for their consent to the sale. The board of guar. dians, if they approve of the application, make it in the form No. 2, and forward both forms to the commissioners. Upon the receipt of these forms, the commissioners investigate the title of the parish to the property, and to enable them to do so, require the title-deeds to be transmitted to them. They also send a series of questions relative to the property, to be answered by the parish officers ; but where there are no deeds, and the title depends upon possession alone, a statutory declaration as to such possession must be made, according to a form which the commissioners will send. Upon the investigation being completed, the commissioners, if satisfied of the sufficiency of the title, issue an order to the churchwardens and overseers to convene a parochial meeting, that the parishioners may formally consent to the sale of the property ; copies of the notice convening the vestry-meeting, and of the resolution made at it, must be sent to the commissioners, with a certificate verifying such copies,—the forms of the notice, resolution, and certificate, are given below. The resolution having been received, and its regularity proved, the commissioners issue an order for the sale of the property. With their sale order, which they send to the board of guardians, they also send a letter of instructions, conditions of sale, and the draft of a form of conveyance, which they have had prepared, of which copies are given below.
The drafts of the conveyances having been prepared by the solicitor for the purchaser, are delivered by him to the clerk of the guardians, who will forward the same to the commissioners for their approval. The draft is either approved or altered according to their judgment, and sent back by them to the clerk of the guardians, who will return it to the solicitor, from whom he received it, for engrossment. When the deed is engrossed, it is to be laid before the board of guardians for their execution ; and the other parties having executed it, the purchaser must pay the purchase-money to the treasurer of the union, according to the directions contained in the sale order.
The deed being completely executed, is to be forwarded to the commissioners, to be registered and sealed by them. They require the deed to be perfect, and are accustomed to return the same, if there be any blanks which ought to have been filled up, or any parties have not executed it, who ought to have done so, or the attestations be not complete or sufficient. If they are satisfied, they have the deed copied on parchment, and such copy is registered by them, with other conveyances ; all such copies, or office copies thereof, are made admissible in evi. dence, by the 5th and 6th William IV., c. 59, sec. 6.
The deed having been registered, the seal of the commissioners is affixed to it, and the conveyance is returned to the party who forwarded it.
Though the commissioners send a form of condition of sale prepared under their direction, which they expect generally to be adopted, they do not ooject to modify them, if any necessity for a modification is shown.
No. 1. Request to the Guardians to apply to the Poor
Law Commissioners to consent to Sale. Parish of
Union, County of
We, the undersigned majority of the parish officers, and we, the undersigned inhabitants of the parish of in the Union, in the count of
request you, the guardians of the poor of the said union, to apply to the poor-law commissioners
* These references are the numbers by which the forms are marked by the commissioners.