The Shirley Village Archive

The Times (London), July 30, 1817 (Document)

DERBY ASSIZES, Monday, July 28.
COX v. SHIRLEY.
This was an action of trespass. The plaintiff, Mr.Cox, is proprietor of some lands, among which is Shirley-park, between Derby and Ashborne. The defendant, the Rev. Walter Shirley, is vicar of the parish. The vicar, who has held his present living for 2 years, claimed a right to walk through Shirley-park by a path which he asserted was a foot-path time out of mind. The plaintiff denied the right, and stated that the gates placed there were for the accommodation of huntsmen, and that the only way through the park was made for the sole purpose of conveying away the timber felled in it. This case occupied the Court from 12 o'clock till 9.
Or the part of the plaintiff,
Mr. CLARKE, Sergeant COPLEY, and Mr. BALGUY, called up-wards of 20 witnesses, who gave evidence that the way through the park was never a public thoroughfare, but merely a private convenience of the proprietor and his servants, said that others were even actually stopped and obliged to go back.
Mr. Sergeant VAUGHAN, Mr. READER, and Mr. DENMAN, for the defendant, called many witnesses who appeared to be very old, and who declared that they and their fathers had always used this path as a thoroughfare, and considered themselves entitled to do so. Among the witnesses were three brothers and a nephew of the name of Jackson, who afforded some amusement to the Court. Joseph Jackson was asked by Mr. COPLEY, "Were you ever committed for poaching? You seem to know all about it: tell what you know (a laugh); and I ask you, upon your oath, if you ever were taken up for poaching ?"-" No, I never was; but I will tell you, I don't know who you are, or any thing about you; I tell you that no master, servant, or companion, can say I ever poached." —Humphrey Jackson was asked by Mr. CLARKE, "how long it was since he frequented this path?" — He could not say precisely."—" No;- can you not tell something like it ?--' No, I will tell nothing but the Truth."— Well, never mind that, tell me-"-" Yes, Sir, but I will mind it, as I take care never to speak but the truth." (loud and continued laughter.)
Mr. Justice BAYLEY.-How long is it since a gate has been put where the slip-stile was?
Witness.- Why, perhaps 16 years.
Mr. Justice BAYLEY.- A pretty clear proof that it was no thoroughfare.
Mr. Sergeant VAUGHAN.- Your lordship will not hold that 16 years can deprive us of our right?
Mr. Justice BAYLEY.-No, indeed, brother Vaughan,but it is pretty strong evidence that the right never existed.
When his lordship was going to sum up, the jury interrupted him, declaring it to be unnecessary, and gave their verdict for the plaintiff. No damages were claimed. The question was merely as to the right.
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