11 MARCH 1966, Page 6

- Zpcctator March 10, 1866 Lord Brownlow thinks he has a

right to seize Berkhampstead Commons, and being a Peer for- midable in law courts seized it, and built three miles of iron railings round it. The commoners think he has not a right, and as one of them happens to be Mr. Augustus Smith, formerly member for Truro and Crown lessee, i.e., vir- tual king, of the Scilly Islands, they resolved to defend their own claims effectually. They engaged a hundred "navvies," chartered a train, and on Monday night demolished the railing, worth a thousand pounds, amidst the vain pro- tests of the Earl's agents. The villagers danced with delight over their restored common, and it now remains with the Earl to bring his suit for damages. The remedy was a little high-handed, but Earls must be fought, if at all, in a high- handed way, and Mr. Augustus Smith and his co-proprietors have resisted what they believe to be an aggression in a way which enables their opponent to appeal at once to the Courts.