By Jersey law, based on the old Coutume of Normandy, much private land was only private for six months of the year. From the end of harvest till March all land, not enclosed by a hedge from ancient times, was thrown open, and any parishioner might release his cattle to graze on it. This was known as the season of banon. This right was recognised and enforced by the Code of 1771, and was again affirmed and regulated by an Act of the States as late as 1810.
Exactly the same process can be found in Guernsey, as shown in this excerpt from a 1952 article in the Guernsey Society Quarterly Review by C P Le Huray
- "Throughout the 15th 16th and 17th centuries, the States and the Royal Court, although countenancing the enclosures, appear to have regarded the principle of the private ownership of land as a political heresy. During those 300 years we find two related terms occurring again and again in ordinances and in Acts of the States. These are banon and mession. Banon is defined as temps auquel les terres sont abandonnees aux bestiaux (period when lands are abandoned to the cattle). That period began du lendemain du jour de Sainte Croix (from the day following the feast of the Holy Cross). This was 14 September 14. The exact date when the banon or period of fallow ended and the mession or seed-time began is not clear. Mession, which must be related to standard French moisson (harvest), is used in an ordinance of the Chief Pleas, 1611, where it obviously implies the period between the sowing and the reaping of the crops."