Case Studies - Commons - The Netherlands

Dunsborger Hattemer mark, Hengelo / Zelhem, The Netherlands

   

Type of institution for collective action

Common

Name/description institution  

Dunsborger Hattemer mark

Country

The Netherlands

Region

Province of Gelderland

Name of city or specified area 

The Dunsborgermark is one of the rare cases in which the boundaries of the mark did not coincide with the boundaries of the parish jurisdiction (kerspel). This mark belonged to the jurisdictions of both the parish of Hengelo and the parish of Zelhem.

Further specification location (e.g. borough, street etc.)

See above.

 

For the location on Google Maps of the hamlets that ressorted under the Dunsborger Hattemer mark, click here.

Surface area and boundaries

As the map by Beekman (1920; see underneath) shows, the Dunsborger Hattemer mark (on the map indicated only by the name Dunsborger mark) covered quite a large area. The mark was bordered by the mark of Hengelo in the north, while the parish boundary of Zelhem formed the southwestern border. Four hamlets were located within this mark: Dunsborg and Het Gooi (both resorting under the jurisdiction of the parish of Hengelo), and Oosterwijk and Veltswijck (resorting under the jurisdiction of the parish of Zelhem).

Foundation/start of institution, date or year

(Before) 1553.

Foundation year: is this year the confirmed year of founding or is this the year this institution is first mentioned?

The first regulations of the Dunsborger and Hattemermark date back to 1553. The preamble of this set of regulations indicate that this set is the first set of regulations ever written down, while it also implies that customary law applied long before that: ‘’The members of the mark of Hattem have always possessed the customs and rights mentioned underneath from immemorial times, have used and possessed these under every lord, without these [customs and rights] being hindered or damaged by anyone’ (Menkveld and Renema, p. 3).

Foundation act present?

No. The preamble of the oldest set of rules preserved (see also above) does suggest that, before the regulation was put on paper, an unwritten form of customary law was already in use among the users of the Dunsborger and Hattemermark.

Description of Act of foundation

N/a, see also above.

Year of termination of institution

Around 1847.

Year of termination: estimated or confirmed?

Estimated.

Act regarding termination present?

 

No.

Description Act of termination

N/a, see above.

Reason for termination?

In the first half of the nineteenth century, the percentage of common and uncultivated lands
within the mark diminished. This was partly due to the consequences of the Royal Decree of 1810, but this proces appears to have started already earlier on within this mark, since the regulations of August 4, 1801, already state that ‘all inheritants of the mark are allowed to dig up an additional 1,000 rods to each estate’ (Menkveld and Rekema, 180). Even a solution for those whose lands did not offer enough room for 1,000 rods of digging was provisioned: they were allowed ‘to dig elsewhere (…) on locations that were best fit’, on the provision that they ‘did not dig on any other man’s land and left the roads intact’ (Menkveld and Renema, 180). From 1822 on, the dissolution of the Dunsborgermark was being arranged in a more structural way by appointing a committee in charge of the division of the remainder of lands being uncultivated and undivided. This last phase of the existence of the Dunsborgermark lasted until about 1847.

Recognized by local government?

Yes. Since the area of the mark fell under the jurisdiction of two separate parishes, this meant, among other things, that the commoners of the Dunsborger and Hattemermark were held to communicate their decisions and convocations not only at the church of Hengelo, but also at the church of Zelhem. 

Concise history of institution

The Dunsborgermark was formerly known as Hattemermark. However, since another mark belonging to the adjacent village of Zelhem was also called Hattemermark, the name Dunsborgermark was more commonly used.

 

The first regulations of the Dunsborger and Hattemermark date back to 1553. The preamble of this set of regulations indicatesf that this set is the first set of regulations ever written down, while it also implies that customary law applied long before that: ‘’The members of the mark of Hattem have always possessed the costumes and rights mentioned underneath from immemorial times, have used and possessed these under every lord, without these [costumes and rights] being hindered or damaged by anyone’ (Menkveld and Renema, 3). The assembly of the mark was chaired by first one, later on by two elected chairmen.


In the first half of the nineteenth century, the area designated as common and uncultivated land within the mark diminished. This was partly due to the consequences of the Royal Decree of 1810, but this process appears to have started already earlier on within this mark, since the regulations of August 4, 1801, already state that ‘all inheritants of the mark are allowed to dig up an additional 1,000 rods to each estate’ (Menkveld and Renema, 180). Even a solution for those whose land did not offer enough room for 1,000 rods of digging was provisioned: they were allowed ‘to dig elsewhere (…) on locations that were best fit’, on the provision that they ‘did not dig on any other man’s land and left the roads intact’ (Menkveld and Renema, 180).

 

From 1822 on, the dissolution of the Dunsborgermark was being arranged in a more structural way by appointing a committee in charge of the division of the remainder of lands being uncultivated and undivided. This last phase of the existence of the Dunsborgermark lasted until about 1847.

 

Click on map for larger version

Fragment of map, drawn by Beekman (1920), indicating the location and boundaries of the Dunsboreger Hattemer mark (on this map only indicated by the name Dunsborger Mark; ellips added by composer of this case study).

Special events? Highs and lows? Specific problems or problematic periods?

  • 1553: Oldest (preserved) set of rules regarding the use of the mark of Berkum.
  • 1801: Shareholders are allowed to dig up an extra 1,000 rods of land.
  • 1822: A committee in charge of the division of the remainder of lands being uncultivated and undivided was appointed.
  • 1822-1847: Sale of uncultivated / undivided pieces of land.
  • 1847: Final sale of land and dissolution of common.

Membership

Numbers of members (specified)

The number of shares was divided almost equally among both parish jurisdictions: the Hengelo part of the mark had 44 shares, divided among 42 estates, while the Zelhem part divided 46.5 shares among 44 estates.

Membership attainable for every one, regardless of social class or family background?

The regulation of the Dunsborger Hattemer mark does not mention any formal requirements to become a member / shareholder. However, it is to be expected that the ownership of shares, just like in other marks, will have been related to the ownership of specified estates (gewaarde erven).

 

The assembly of the mark was chaired by first one, later on by two elected chairmen.



Specific conditions for obtaining membership? (Entrance fee, special tests etc.)

See above.

Specific reasons regarding banning members from the institution?

Although the regulation does not state any full banishment from the common, user rights could be temporarily revoked. In case the shareholder failed to attend the meeting of the assembly of the mark he was summoned to attend, his tenant farmers would only be entitled to use the common again after a fine of 3 guilders had been paid. A similar case was the destruction of pathways along the peat bogs: the culpable member had to pay a fine of 2.5 guilders in order to be allowed to dig peat again.

Advantages of membership?

The main advantage for all entitled users was the right to use the natural resources of the mark (within the prescribed limits). Also, all transactions regarding this land and the products thereof were to be exempt from tithes.

Obligations of members? 

Next to the regular obligations, such as attending the meetings of the assembly, maintaining infrastructure properly and penning-up stray animals, the regulation of the Dunsborger and Hattemermark especially emphasizes (as compared to the regulations of other marks in that area of The Netherlands) the active role of members of the mark in discovering offences and executing the related sanctioning.

Literature on case study

  • Beekman, A.A., 1920. Geschiedkundige Atlas van Nederland, III, Kaarten, VI, De marken van Drente, Groningen, Overijsel en Gelderland. 's-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff.
  • Menkveld, A. and Renema, J., s.a. Markeboek van de Dunsborger en Hattemer Marke, 1553-1810. S.l.. 

Sources on case study

  • Gelders Archief
    • Archief Marken en Maalschappen (nr. 0366), inv.nrs. 37-38: archival documents on Dunsborger Hattemer Mark
    • Archief Gedeputeerde Staten (nr. 0039), inv.nr. 1022: docuemnts regarding the Dunsborger Hattemer Mark
  • Transcribed sources
    • Menkveld, A. and Renema, J., s.a. Markeboek van de Dunsborger en Hattemer Marke, 1553-1810. S.l..
    • Menkveld, A. and Renema, J., s.a. Markeboek van de Dunsborger en Hattemer Marke, 1810-1837. S.l..

Links to further information on case study:

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Case study composed by

René van Weeren.