Crown land

From Academic Kids

In the United Kingdom and its predecessors, Crown land is designated land belonging to the Crown, the equivalent of an entailed estate that passed with the monarchy and could not be alienated from it. The hereditary revenues of Crown lands were a feature until at the start of the reign of George III when the Crown Estate was surrendered to Parliament in return for a fixed civil list payment.

The conception of Crown land in Canada and Australia has developed parallel to the development of Federal lands in the US.

Crown land is also a feature of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and its predecessors.


Anglo-Saxon and Norman

In Anglo-Saxon times the property of the king consisted of his private estate, the demesne of the crown, comprising palaces, and rights over the folkland of the kingdom, the "commonage" that the people held in common. By the time of the Norman Conquest, the three had become merged into the estate of the crown, that is, land annexed to the crown, held by the king only as king. The king, also, ceased to hold as a private owner but he had full power of disposal by grant of the crown lands, which were increased from time to time by confiscation, escheat, forfeiture, and like processes.

England, Britain, UK

The career of the crown lands to the reign of William III was one of continuous alienation to favorites. Their wholesale distribution by William III necessitated the intervention of parliament, and in the reign of Queen Anne an act was passed limiting the right of alienation of crown lands to a period of not more than thirty-one years or three lives. The revenue from the crown lands was also made to constitute part of the Civil List. At the beginning of his reign George III surrendered his interest in the Crown Estate in return for a fixed civil list.

Crown Estate

The Crown Estate is now a non-ministerial department of the Government of the United Kingdom run on commercial lines. It has a property portfolio of buildings, shoreline, seabed, forestry, agricultural and common land worth in excess of 4 billion, generating revenue of around 170 million for HM Treasury every year. For example, it owns much of Regent Street in London.

In theory, also, state lands in the British colonies are supposed to be vested in the crown, and they are called crown lands; actually, however, the various colonial legislatures have full control over them, including power of disposal.

In Dominions of the Commonwealth, the law concerning these lands has developed further. In Australia, Crown land comprises approximately half of all land even in well-populated New South Wales. Most of the Crown land management functions, which are undertaken by the DPIWE's Crown Land Services Branch, are governed by the Crown Lands Act 1976.

Australian Crown Lands Act 1976

(text is needed)

  • Official website (


The term crownlands, in Austria-Hungary under the Dual Monarchy, was applied to the various provinces.

External link

The Crown Estate site (


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