Seddon v Smith: 1877

Adverse possession was claimed over land subject to a private grant of a right of way. The defendant had a paper title to a strip of land along Molyneux Lane. The plaintiff sought damages for trespass, claiming for wrongful abstraction of coal from under the strip of land (as well as from under his own adjacent land). The evidence showed that the right of way had been granted over the land to the plaintiff’s predecessors in title and others. The strip of land led from a public road to other land of the plaintiff. It appeared that the plaintiff had not simply used the right of way over the strip; he had also used the remainder of the strip to raise cabbages, potatoes and other produce, ploughing it up and doing all other acts necessary for that purpose, leaving only a narrow lane which could be used as a way. This way was used by the plaintiff, and others, who were said to derive title from the defendant’s predecessor in title. At trial, the plaintiff obtained damages for coal abstracted from under all parts of the strip.
Held: His damages were reduced by one-quarter.
Cockburn CJ said: ‘Originally the soil of this piece of land known as Molyneux Lane remained in the lord of manor subject only to the easement created over it. And with the property in the soil that in the underlying minerals also of course remained in him.’

Cockburn CJ, Baggallay, Brett JJA
[1877] 36 LTR 168
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedSmith, Regina (on the Application of) v The Land Registry (Peterborough Office) Admn 13-Feb-2009
The applicant sought judicial review of the cancellation of his application for first registration of land by adverse possession. The application had been rejected because a public right of way existed through it, and the claimant had not shown the . .
CitedSmith, Regina (on The Application of) v Land Registry (Peterborough Office) and Another CA 10-Mar-2010
The appellant had lived in a caravan on the verge of a byway and had been here for more than twelve years. He appealed against rejection of his request for possessory title. He said that there was no support in law for the maxim that adverse . .
CitedPowell v McFarlane ChD 1977
A squatter had occupied the land and defended a claim for possession. The court discussed the conditions necessary to establish an intention to possess land adversely to the paper owner.
Held: Slade J said: ‘It will be convenient to begin by . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 05 December 2021; Ref: scu.320863