Definition of ancient lights in English:
plural noun[treated as singular] English Law
The right of access to light of a property, established by custom and used to prevent the construction of buildings on adjacent property which would obstruct such access.
- On the other hand, the Court ought to be very careful not to allow an action for the protection of ancient lights to be used as a means of extorting money.
- Tom associates England with ‘ancient lights’, a phrase that for him resonates with the mythic and the mystic.
- The very settled approach in the United States is to reject such claims (England has a doctrine of ancient lights which was firmly rejected here).
mid 18th century: from lights meaning 'light from the sky'. In England the sign ‘Ancient Lights’ was often placed on a house, adjacent to a site where a high building might be erected.