The Rules of Commoning
There have been changes over the years to the rules of admission as Freemen (Commoners). They have been exclusively for the purpose of enlarging the franchise to try and reach the maximum membership level of two hundred and eighty.
On the 10th February 2000 there was a Special Court and the only item for discussion was “Extending the Membership”
The rules adopted as from the year 2000 were:
- To be the child (male or female), by bloodline or legal adoption, of a freeman of Malmesbury.
- To have attained the age of 18 years.
- To be a resident of the Town, living with 1.5 miles of the central pinnacle of the Market Cross.
- In support of their application, they must make available a copy of their birth certificate
- The candidate must be present at both the Trinity Tuesday Court and (if accepted) at King Athelstan’s Feast Day Court the following Tuesday. The only exemption from this rule will be for serving members of HM Forces, or in the case of genuine incapacity or illness.
The Rules of Discommoning
Discommoning means the formal forfeiture of a freeman’s land, status and any associated benefits. It will take place at the Last Day Court (31st December in any year unless this falls on a Sunday in which case it would be the day before or after.) Discommoning takes place:
- If a freeman ceases to meet the required residential qualification, except where they might be taken into full time care on the grounds of age or infirmity.
- If a freeman divorces: this rule will only apply as long as there are still freemen living who Have taken up their right through marriage to a daughter of a freeman.
- If freeman commits any act or deed which brings into disrepute or dishonour the Corporation or the office of Freeman.