Eton College goes to court to oust farmer

Gerrard Winstanley tony at
Tue Apr 8 04:19:57 BST 2008

College goes to court to oust farmer
By Ben Parsons

One of the richest schools in England is fighting to evict a Sussex

Eton College wants to repossess land occupied by Graham Awbery, a
tenant farmer near Lewes.

The Windsor college, where Princes William and Harry and Conservative
leader David Cameron were educated, owns North Barnes Farm at Plumpton

Mr Awbery took a 25-year lease on the property, made up of arable land
and grazing pasture, in 1999 but the college claims he owes it nearly

Now Eton has petitioned the High Court in a bid to take back the property.

The college claimed Mr Awbery was £18,361 behind in his rent. He was
also alleged to owe £28,203 awarded in an earlier court ruling and
several hundred pounds in unpaid insurance.

The claim was first heard at Lewes County Court in January.

Now the legal fight has moved to the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
In November, the college applied to take £100.61 from the farm's
profits every day after March 25 this year - more than £1,300 so far.

Under the law, known as mesne profits, the money can be claimed from
profits on land held in wrongful possession.

The college owns large tracts of land around the country. It is
reputed to have property in every county in England, possibly as a
result of wills and land granted to it since its foundation in the
15th century.

Eton's estates bursar, Adrian Harris, said the college would consider
further action to remove Mr Awbery if he did not leave.

He said: "This is not the first time we have had to go to court to
recover rent from Mr Awbery. His lease has expired because he has not
kept to the terms of it.

"If he stays, I suppose he would be a squatter and one would have to
take further action but one hopes it doesn't come to that."

No one at the farm was available to comment.

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list