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Partial Transcription: Legal pleadings in connection with felling of timber and maintenance of woodland in Vowchurch and Turnastone

Place name:

Golden Valley




Partial transcription by David Lovelace, spellings modernised, abbreviations expanded. {} brackets in text, [] missing text, ( ) my comments, Italic words unsure. October 2012


C6/37/56 1st February 1666


Sir Thomas Morgan (TM) of Chenstone, John Delahay (JD) of Alt yr Ynys, John Parry (JP) of Arkstone and John Parry of (JP) Dulas that whereas John Kemp (JK) of the city of London 6 years previously was in possession by inheritance from Robert Kemp his deceased father  of all those manors of Chenstone & Walterstone together with diverse other messuages lands meadows leasows pastures, woods & wood grounds in the parish of Vowchurch & Turnastone of the yearly value of £300, in November 1661 contracted with your orator Sir Thomas Morgan for the absolute purchase of the said manors, massuages, lands, tenements, hereditaments etc  and in regard there was a mortgage before that time made by the said Robert Kemp deceased in his lifetime of all or the greater part of the said manors etc and premises unto Anne Mynors widow and Richard Newman (RN) & Benjamin Mason (BM) esqs. as trustees for the said Anne Mynors for the sum of £3,000 or some other great sum which said mortgage money was secured by long lease of the premises made by the said Robert Kemp unto the said Anne Mynors, RN & BM which title and interest your orator TM being advised as directed upon his purchase aforesaid to keep on foot [?] for the avoidance of mean encumbrance by and under the said Robert Kemp & John Kemp or either of them, did upon payment of the said principle bebt & interest in arrears to the said Anne Mynors by the directions and appointment of the said John Kemp take an assignment from her & her trustees unto your orator of all their right, title and interest in the names of your orators JD, JP & JP in trust nevertheless for your orator TM & his heirs and to attend upon the freehold & inheritance thereof, a grant and conveyance whereof your orator TM has and took law of and from John Kemp upon payment and satisfaction of all or the greater part of the said purchase money. But after the contract made between TM and the said Anne Kemp widow of Robert Kemp and mother of JK started up and set on foot a lease theretofore made by the said Robert Kemp her late husband made on the 6th June 11 Chas I (1635) unto one Thomas Cardiffe of the Holme in Herefordshire gent of the great part of the premises so purchased by your orator TM, particular: all that great wood or wood grounds commonly called Chenstons Wood containing 100 acres more or less, and all that wood or wood grounds thereunto adjoining called Haybrooks Wood containing 80 acres & to have and to hold unto the said Thomas Cardiffe …

paying to Robert Kemp and his heirs one pepper corn …

By virtue whereof the said Anne Kemp into the said woods & premises entered and has ever since and still does enjoy [the] same & received the issues and profits thereof but now Anne Kemp, plotting and combining together with Thomas Cardiffe & one John Rudge does not only commit great spoil, waste and destruction upon the premises but particularly in the said woods called Chenstone Wood & Haybrook Wood she and John Rudge are cutting up, felling and otherwise despoiling of diverse timber trees mearing and digging up by the roots [a] great part of the underwood  & falling and destroying other parts thereof at unseasonable times without leaving standards according to the statute and not only so but she, Anne Kemp, does refuse and neglect to keep the fences about the said woods whereby the neighbours cattle browse and obstruct the growth of the young germins (OED ‘young sprouts’) and sprouts and likewise she constantly turns into the said wood divers goats and other cattle of her own & likewise takes in at hire diverse goats of other persons to feed and depasture there whereby the said wood is much damnified and the growth thereof much hindered & in [a] short time unless some speedy course be taken will be utterly destroyed and become of no value at all, all which doings of Anne Kemp, Thomas Cardiffe & John Rudge are contrary…


Anne Kempe’s answer:


It is true that I have joined with my husband the late Robert Kempe in mortgaging most of the estate {the great of which being my jointure} to Benedict Hall esq for about £1700 which I assented to relying upon the faithful promise of my husband that he would settle other lands of as good a value for my future maintenance & subsistence, in pursuance thereof Robert Kempe did, by the indenture dated  6th June 11 Chas I, let unto Thomas Cardiff deceased those several messuages and certain parcels of lands, meadows, pastures and woodlands whereof the said two parcels of wood or wood ground called Chanstons Wood and Haybrooks Wood for a term of 99 years for one peppercorn. Nevertheless upon special trust and confidence that Thomas Cardiff should permit me to take and receive the rents, issues and profits of those premises during my life as contained in the indenture ready to be produced to this honourable court and the complainants had long since notice and knowledge of my title. Chanstons Wood and Haybrooks Wood were, in my husband’s lifetime, partly coppice and partly stored with great oaks and timber trees which my husband and Benjamin Mason caused to be felled, sold and disposed of since which time there is grown up birches, sallies, hazels, bushes, thorns and such like on that part of Chanstons Wood that was formerly stored with great oaks and timber trees whereby I could reap little or no profit from the said lands whereupon I employed one Smyth, a collier, about the months of November and December last, 1666, to fall, cut and convert into coals the said underwoods & rubbidge [sic] that grew where the said oaks and timber trees formerly stood to the quantity of 20 cords or thereabouts endeavouring to make sale thereof and to raise money towards payment of taxes and supply of other of my necessary occasions.

Also I caused the roots of the birches, sallies, hazels and bushes to be stocked, grubbed up and rid away that was overgrown of about the quantity of one acre of that part of Chanstons wood where the oaks and timber trees formerly grew but not any part of the coppice or vallett wood, of which lands so stocked up and rid, I well hoped to have made some improvement of and to have reaped some profit from towards my maintenance since I have never received any considerable profits from the woods since my husband died and which is not sufficient to discharge public taxes in an extraordinary manner rated and taxed upon the woods and rest of my estate over and above any just measure or reparation to my great prejudice. 

I deny that at any time that I have felled, converted  or disposed of any of the timber trees or vallett coppice wood growing in any of the said woods to any person or persons except some timber trees which I gave liberty to the agents of the complainants and Thomas Morgan to fall and carry for his use as was alleged for which I had some small inconsiderable rates & prices allowed. Also some other timber trees I caused to be felled for my particular private use which I hoped, under favour of this honourable court, it was lawful for me to do. 

Likewise I deny that I wilfully committed any waste, spoil or destruction in the woods or the growth of young germins and sprouts of the coppice and if at any time any neighbours cattle break in and bruise the said woods it is very probably that is the default of the complainant’s fences by reason all the boundary or ring hedges that accompany both woods do properly of right belong to the complainants and Thomas Morgan. … I also deny that I have or keep any goats of any other persons in the woods or elsewhere.





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