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Agricultural Labourers

air, ireland, england, north, wales, free and farm

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AGRICULTURAL LABOURERS. — Speaking broadly, in Scotland, Wales, the North of England, and the North of Ireland, the majority of farm servants arc on yearly or half-yearly terms of engagement, and are paid a regular wage; board and lodging being usually provided free in the farm houses for the unmarried men, and cottages in districts for the married. This applies generally to all classes of farm servants in Scotland, and in Northumberland and Durham. In the other northern counties of England, and also in Wales, the yearly or half-yearly engagements are mainly confined to the unmarried men, while the majority of the married men regularly attached to the staff of a firm are usually on weekly engagements. It is a frequent custom in Wales and Ireland to give the married men their meals in the farmhouses on working-days. In other parts of England (excepting the counties abutting on the Welsh border), and in Ireland, except in the north, the majority of agricultural labourers are, as a general rule, on weekly engagements, though the nten in charge of animals are frequently engaged for longer periods.

Throughout the greater part of England the custom of lodging and boarding men in the farmhouses has practically ceased to exist. The system of hiring nearly all classes of farm servants at hiring fairs obtains itio Scotland, the North of England, the North of Ireland, and in a few districts in Wales, chiefly in the north. In other parts of the United Kingdom the system is nearly extinct, and it is declining to some extent in all districts. In 1898 the average earnings per week of the agricultural labourer was : in England, 16s. 10d.; Wales, 16s. 5d. ; Scotland, 18s. ld. ; and Ireland, 10s. id. It is probable that by 1911 the average wage in England and Ireland had risen a shilling. Agricultural labourers are now entitled to WORKMEN'S COM PENSATION (q.v.). Provision is made for the demolition of the dwelling houses of labourers in Ireland, when unfit for, human habitation, by the Labourers (Ireland) Act, 1911.

AIR.—The right to air is not an easement within the Prescription Act. Independently of that Act, every one has a right to enjoy whatever air comes to him ; but speaking generally, apart from long enjoyment, or some grant or agreement, no one has a right to prevent his neighbour from build ing on his own land, although the consequence may be to diminish or alter the flow of air over it on the laud adjoining. So to diminish a flow

of air is not actionable as a nuisance. But tlin nature of the building, the air to which is obstructed, is an important element in the consideration of a right to air. Thus, in an action by the owner of a slaughter-house in respect of such an obstruction, the learned judge said that he would presume a lost grant and would imply therein a covenant on the part of a possible obstruc tor not to interrupt the free access of air suitable for the purpose of a slaughter-house, just as salubrious air would be the air suitable for the occupation of a dwelling-house. The question was, therefore, has the obstructor violated that implied covenant by interfering with the free access of air suitable for a slaughter-house ? In that case, on its particular facts, his lordship answered the question in the affirmative. And so in a case of ventilation, where the cellar of the plaintiff's public-house was ventilated by means of a shaft cut therefrom into a disused well situated in an adjoining yard, owned and occupied by the defendant, the air from the cellar passing through the shaft and out at the top of the well. The cellar had been so ventilated for forty years at least, without interruption, and with the know ledge of the occupiers of the yard. There it was held that the plaintiffs could legally claim, as against the defendant, the easement of the free passage of air from the cellar, and the original existence of a grant was presumed. In connectio'n with this topic, it may be remarked that no person can acquire a right of property in a view or prospect. Axordingly an owner of land or buildings would have no right of action against any one for erecting, even with malice, a structure, however useless or unsightly, which merely interrupted and obscured a view. See EASEMENT.

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