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Help and advice for Clovelly Fish Tithes Dispute 1727

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CLOVELLY FISH TITHES DISPUTE 1727

Ormond Jones, clerk v. Anthony Cleverdon, Francis Pollard, Andrew Palmer, James Madge, James Lyle:
Rectory and parish of Clovelly, in the county of Devon. Tithes of fish: Devon 13 Geo 1 (1727)

© Crown Copyright

The National Archives - E 134/13Geo1/Hil1

Transcribed by Brian Randell

[This file is among the records of the King's Remembrancer of the Court of Exchequer. There are four documents in this file, the main one of which is a set of Depositions on a large double-sided sheet of vellum. Attached to this are three much smaller sheets: one of Interrogations, one of Oaths, and (an as yet untranscribed) one in Latin.]


Interrogations

Ex parte Quer

Interrys to be administered to witnesses to be produced sworn & examined on the part & behalf of Ormond Jones Clark Complt. against Anthony Cleverdon Francis Pollard James Madge Andrew Palmer & James Lyle defts.

  1. Do you know the parties Complt & Defts. in the title of these Interrys named any or either and which of them if you how long have you known them respectively - Declare &c.
  2. Item Doe you know the Rectory & parish of Clovelly in the County of Devon if yea how long have you known the same Doth the said parish stand upon or towards the Sea Coasts who by name been the successive Rectors of the said parish ever since your remembrance to this present time and what is the chief Imployment of most of the parishioners of the said parish Declare &c.
  3. Item has there any and what antient customary payment been made to the Rector of the said parish at any time & when and how often since your remembrance for the tyth of fish if yea when did such payment first begin how and in what manner has such customary payment been made for what fish in particular by whom and when and how often paid or payable and in what proportion and have the successive Rectors of the said parish of Clovelly any or either and which of them from time to time had & Recd such customary payments or not and if not for what reason and what is the amount of such customary payment one year with another Declare what you know believe or have heard touching the matters of this Interry with your reasons & circumstances at large
  4. Item Doth the Rector of the said parish of Clovelly during the fishing season yearly and has the Rector ever since your remembrance done any and what duty different from what he is obliged to performe at other times of the year and is there any particular forme of prayr then used if yea who first Composed the same and when doth such fishing season usually begin and when doth it usually end Declare &c.
  5. Item Have the Defts. any or other and which of them within the space of six years now last past caught or been concerned as owners of boat or boats or fishermen in the taking of any and what quantitie or quantities of herrings at or near the parish of Clovelly and how & in what manner have the same been disposed of and to what value in all any or either and which of the said years Declare &c.
  6. Item are you an inhabitant in or parishioner of the parish of Clovelly in the second Interry mentioned and are you or ever were you & when & how long owner or part owner of any boat or boats usually employed for the taking of herrings in the sea near the said parish or are you or ever were you a fisherman employed in that service and how long have you left the said employment and upon what account Declare &c.
  7. Doe you know of any matter or anything that may be for the benefit or advantage of the Complt. in this Cause other and besides what you have already sett forth if so sett forth the same with your reasons and circumstances at large

Edw Thompson

[Signed]
Rob. Incledon
J A Awse


Depositions

Depositions of witnesses taken at the house of Joseph Skuse being a publick inn comonly called or known by the name or signe of the Swan in the town of Bideford and County of Devon this twelfth day of January in the tenth year of the reign of our sovereign Lord George by the grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland King Defender of the Faith. And in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Twenty-Six before a Robert Incledon and James Awse[?] Gent. by virtue of a Commission issueing out of His Majesty's Court of Exchequer to us and also to Lewis Gregory & Richard Harvey, Gent. directed for the Examination of witnesses in a Cause there depending between Ormond Jones Clerk Complainant & Anthony Cleverdon, Francis Pollard, James Madge, Andrew Palmer and James Lyle Defts. (The said Commissioners before they began to act on the Said Commision having also first taken their Oath annexed to the said Commission appointed for the said Comission to take & John Ester & Henry Giffard their respective Clerks to take) as follows.

Francis Randle of Clovelly in the County of Devon, Marriner, aged seventy years or thereabouts a witness produced on the part and behalf of the Complt. to the first, second, third and fourth Interrogation and thereunto sworn and examined deposeth and saith:

To the first Interry this Dept. saith that he knows the severall parties in the title of those Interry. named at and for Compnt. and Deft. and hath so known them respectively by the space of ten years now last past & upwards.

To the second Interry this dept. saith that he he hath known the Rectory & parish of Clovelly in the said county of Devon by the space of forty years now last past & upwards & which said parish stands upon and towards the sea coast of which parish the Compt. now is and by the space of ten years now last past or thereabouts continually had been Rector of the said parish and that one Jno. William Prince clerk deceased was his imediate predecessor Rector of the said parish and so had been by the space of thirty years or thereabouts to the best of the Depts. remembrance next before his death. And saith that before him Mr. Oliver Nealour Clerk deceased was his immediate predecessor but for how long he had been or continued Rector of the said parish this Dept. cannot sett forth nor who was his imediate predecessor and saith that one of the chief employments of most of the parishioners of the said parish is in navigation and particularly in the fishing for herrings the season of the year for catching which fish usually begins at Michaelmas or thereabouts and continued from there untill Christmas or thereabouts.

To the third interry. this dept. saith that ever since his remembrance of the said parish of Clovelly as aforesaid there had been a usage or custom and method within the said Rectory & parish for paying tythes to the Rector of the said parish for the time being for all herrings caught in the sea and landed at the Key of Clovelly in the manner following (that is to say) Once in every week in the fishing season (to wit) on monday morning most usually or sure a fortnight or at some other certain time & times in the season as the master and crew of ye fishing boat could agree the amount of the fish taken did use to be made up and a deduction for the expenses being first taken and then out of the residue of such fish one seventh part to be deducted for the use of the Fishing Boat and then the remainder of such fish to be divided into two equall parts one thereof to be allotted as the share of the owners of the netts used for catching the fish and the other part for the crew of the same boat who therein caught such fish and out of every twenty shillings produced in money or fish to that value which came or was allotted by the proportion aforesaid to the boat crew one shilling was due & used to be paid to the Rector of the said parish for the time being for or in lieu of the tithe of such fish and usually paid by the Master of the said Boat on the same day and after that rate for a less sum than twenty shillings and also out of every twenty shillings in money or fish which came or was allotted to the share of the owner or owners of the netts used in such Boat sixpence to the said Rector or in lieu of tithe of such share and paid also the Master of such Boat on the same day and after that rate in proportion for a less sum than twenty shilling which amount & payment ought to be & usually were made up & paid every Monday morning in such fishing season which Customary way of Tithing or payment in lieu of tith & hath been constantly used ever since this Deponts. Remembrance of the said place and as he hath heard Antient people say was always done before his remembrance. And saith that usually for a season there is employed in the said herring fishery of Clovelly between thirty and forty boats the fish of each boat in an ordinary fishing season may amount to about twenty shillings and saith that for the greatest part of forty years last past this Depnt. hath been imployed in the said fishery as a boats Master and always paid such tithes of fish or sume in lieu thereof as a duty according to the proportion aforesaid and never knew it denyed or disputed and doth verily beleive that the same hath been so paid for time immemoriall having never heard anything to the contrary.

To the fourth Interry. this Dept. saith that the Complt. and his predecessor Rector of the said parish have usually every Monday morning in every week during the fishing season in some house near the key of Clovelly (the parish church being about half a mile distant) read prayers for the benefit of the fishermen & others who would attend the Service and in particular the hundred and seventh psalm and part of the fifth Chapter of St. Luke and also a very long & particular form of prayer for the safety & prosperity of the fishermen which was never varyed to this Dept's knowledge but by whom the said form of prayer was first composed or when this Depont. cannot sett forth and more this Dept. saith not.

James Madge of Clovelly in the county of Devon Marriner aged seventy two years and upwards a witness produced on the part & behalf of the Complt. to the Second & third Interry.and being Hereunto Sworn and Examined deposeth & saith as follows

To the Second Interry this Depont. saith that he hath known the Rectory & parish of Clovelly in the County of Devon for the space of forty years now last past & upward which parish stands upon & towards the Sea Coast and saith that the Complt. now it & for eleven or twelve years now last past or thereabouts hath been Rector of the said parish and that one Mr. William Prince was his predecessor Rector of the said parish by the space of forty years or thereabouts and saith that the Rector of the said parish next before Mr. Prince was one Mr. Nailour but how long he continued Rector thereof this Dept. cannot sett forth. But saith that the Rector next before him was one Mr. Cary who was afterwards made Dean of Exeter but how long he continued Rector of the said parish this Depont. cannot sett forth and this Depont. saith that the Cheiff Imployment of most of the parishioners of the said parish that dwell in the town of Clovelly or near the key or the Sea Coast there is that of Navigation wherein they are cheifly taken up in the Summertime in Coasting voyages and in the winter when the herring fishing season comes in are cheifly imployed in fishing for & taking of herring.

To the third Interry. this Dept. saith that he did use the herring fishery at Clovelly aforesaid as a boatmaster for thirty years and upwards and quitted that imployment about ten years since and saith that during the time that this Deponent was imployed in such fishery and for time immemoriall as this Depont. beleived there was a Customary payment made to the rector of the said parish for the time being for the tithe of or for the herring that were taken upon the Coast and brought into the parish of Clovelly aforesaid which Custom was in manner following (that is to say) the Expenses (to wit) for liquor & other necessarys for the fishermen in taking such fish and the Lord of the Royaltys on fish for Keyage were first taken out and then a seventh part of what remained was deducted for the use of the boat and then what remained was divided into two equall parts or shares one of which was for the use of the Owner of the Netts imployed in catching such fish and the other for the use of the fishermen or boats crew concerned in takeing such fish and saith that of every twenty shillings worth of fish or of every twenty shillings that such fish so taken & allotted to be the share of the fishermen or boat crew did produce there was always paid to the Rector of the said parish upon Monday weekly in the said fishing season by the respective Boat Master. But that when it happened that the amounts were not settled by the Boat Crew at the End of the Week then the said customary payment & said tithes were not made untill the week after but such payments were seldom discontinued or delayed for more than a fortnight and saith that such payments for & in lieu of the said tithes have been so made in manner as aforesaid for herrings (but not for any other fish that this Depont. knows of) so long as this Dept. hath known the said parish of Clovelly and never heard the same disputed or contradicted but hath heard Antient people say that the same hath been customarily paid in manner as aforesaid and therefore that Depont. apprehends the said Custom to be antient and immemoriall And saith that there are generally about six or seven and thirty boats imployed in a season yearly upon such herring fishery the Custom or payment in lieu of the tithes for such fish may amount annually to twenty shillings for every boat taking one with another some exceeding and others not running up to that rate or sume and saith that the Depont. James Madge is this Deponts. Son.

Francis Pollard of Clovelly in the county of Devon Marriner aged sixty nine years or thereabouts a Witness produced on the part and behalf of the third Complt. to the Second & Third Interrys. and being thereunto sworn & examined deposeth & saith as follows

To the Second Interry this Depont. saith that he hath known the Rectory and parish of Clovelly in the County of Devon (where he was born and hath ever since lived) by the Space of sixty Years these last past & upwards which parish stands upon or towards the Sea Coast and saith that the Complt. now is and for last past hath been Rector of the said parish and that One Mr. William Prince was his imediate predecessor Rector of the said parish by the space of forty years or thereabouts next before Mr. Prince was one Mr. Neilour but how long he continued Rector of the said parish this Depont. cannot remember and saith that the Rector of the parish next before Mr. Neilour was one Mr. Cary who was afterward appointed Dean of Exeter but for how long he continued Rector this Deponent cannot sett forth And this Dept. saith that the Cheiff imployment of most of the parishioners of the said parish that dwell in the town or near the Key of Clovelly or the Sea Coast there is that of Navigation who in the fishing season (to wit) between Michaelmas & Christmas are cheifly imployed in fishing for and catching of herrings which hath been a trade there used ever since this Depont. remembers and for time immemorial as this Depont. hath heard & beleives

To the third Interry this Dept. saith that ever since this Depts. remembrance there hath been a Customary Annuall Payment made to the Rector of the said parish for the time being for or in lieu of tithes of all herrings caught & brought to & landed on the Key of Clovelly which Customary payment was in the manner following (to wit) the Expenses for Liquor and other necessarys for the boat crew in taking Such fish and the dutys of Keyage to the Lord of the Royalty was first taken out of the whole Cargo of fish & afterwards the seventh part of what remained was deducted for the use of or share of the boat And then what remained was afterwards divided into two Equall parts or Shares One of which was allotted for the Share of the owners of the nets imployed in catching such fish and the other for the share of the boat crew concerned in the taking them And saith that out of every twenty shillings worth of fish or out of every twenty shillings that such fish so taken & allotted to be the Share of the boat crew did produce there became due and was usually paid to the Rector of the said parish for the time being twelve pence for or in lieu of tithes for such part or share and there also became due & was usually paid six pence to the said Rector out of every twenty shillings that such fish produced as was allotted to be the share of the Owners of Such Netts for or in lieu of the tithes thereof which respective payments of twelve pence and six pence so due & paid in lieu of fish as was due and for the most pt. paid on Monday weekly in every fishing season by the respective boats Masters of every Boat so imployed in Catching Herrings But when it happened that the amounts were not settled by the boat Crew at the End of the Week then Such Customary payments were deferred to the week following But such payments were Seldom delayed longer and Saith that such payments for or in lieu of tithes for herrings were never disputed or contradicted to the Knowledge or beleiff of this Depont. who hath heard Antient people say that such payments have been Customary made in manner as aforesd. for time immemoriall And saith that this Depont. himself hath used such Fishing trade for herrings at Clovelly aforesaid as a Boat Master by the space of forty years and allways made such payments in manner as aforesaid to the Rector of the said parish for the time being for or in lieu of tithes of such herrings And saith that there are generally about five or six & thirty boats imployed in a season Yearly upon such herring fishery the tithes thereof or payments in lieu thereof may amount annually to near thirty pounds in the whole to the best of this Deponts. judgment And saith that the Deft. Francis is this Depts. son.

Roger Mumford of Clovelly in the county of Devon Marriner aged sixty nine years or thereabouts a witness produced on the part & behalf of the Complt. to the second & third & fifth Interrrs and being thereunto Sworn and examined deposeth and saith

To the Second Interry this Depont. saith that he hath known the Rectory and parish of Clovelly in the County of Devon (where this Depont. was born & hath ever since lived) by the space of fifty years now last past & upwards which parish stands upon or towards the sea coast And saith that the Complt. now is & for Eleven Years or more now last past hath been Rector of the said parish And that one Mr. William Prince was his imediate predecessor Rector of the said parish by the space of forty years or thereabouts (to the best of this Deponts. remembrance) next before his death And saith that the Rector of the said parish next before Mr. Prime was one Mr. Neilour but how long he continued Rector of the said parish this Depont. cannot sett forth And this Depont. saith that the Cheiff imployment of most of the parishioners of the said parish that dwell in the town or near the Key of Clovelly or the sea coast there is that of navigation who in the fishing season (viz.) between Michaelmas and Christmas are cheiffly imployed in fishing for & catching of herrings which hath been a trade there used by the Inhabitants of Clovelly aforesaid ever since this Deponts. remembrance & for time immemoriall as he hath heard & beleives

[Signed]
Rob. Incledon
J A[?] Awse[?]


[Reverse side of sheet]

To the third Interry this Depont. saith that ever since this Deponts. remembrance there hath been a Customary Annuall payment made to the Rector of the said parish for the time being or in lieu of tithes of all herrings caught or brought to the Key of Clovelly aforesaid which Customary payment was in the manner following (to wit) the Expenses for liquor & other necessarys for the boat crew in taking such fish & the dutys of Keyage to the Lord of the Royalty was first taken out of the whole cargo of fish And afterwards the seventh part of what remained was deducted for the use or share of the boat and then what remained was afterwards divided into two equall parts or shares one of which were allotted for the share of the owners of the Netts imployed in catching such fish And the other for the share of the boats crew concerned in the taking the same And saith that out of every twenty shillings worth of fish or out of every twenty shillings that such fish so taken & allotted to be the share of the boats crew did produce there became due & was usually paid to the Rector of the said parish for the time being twelve pence for or in lieu of tithes for such part or share and there also became due & was usually paid six pence to the said Rector out of every twenty shillings that such fish produced as was allotted to be the share of the Owners of such Netts for or in lieu of tithes thereof which respective payments of twelve pence & sixpence so due & paid in lieu of tithes were due & for the most part paid upon Monday weekly in every fishing season by the respective boats master of every boat so imployed in catching herrings But when it happened that the amounts were not settled by the boats crew at the end of the week then such customary payments were deferred till the week following but such payments were seldom delayed longer & saith that such payments in lieu of tithes for herrings was never disputed or contradicted to the knowledge of beleiff of this Depont. who hath heard antient people say that such payments have been customarily made in manner as aforesaid for time immemoriall And saith that such payments for & in lieu of tithes for herrings have been so made to the Rector of the said parish of Clovelly in manner aforesaid so far back as this Deponts' remembrance will reach And saith that this Depont. himself when of the age of eleven or twelve years was imployed in such herring fishery and used that trade for upwards of forty years then next following for most part of which time this Depont. was a boats master and allways made such payments for or in lieu of tithes of such herrings to the Rector of the said parish of Clovelly in manner aforesaid And this Dept. further saith that of late years there have been generally six or seven & thirty Boats imployed in the season yearly in such herring fishery the tithes whereof or payments in lieu of such tithes may amount annually to twenty shillings a boat one with another so that the whole amount thereof may in this Deponts. judgement be six or seven & thirty pounds annually for twelve years past or thereabouts but before that time the Dept. has known near fifty boats of & belonging to the said Key of Clovelly & inhabitants thereof imployed in the said fishery in a season

To the fifth Interry this Depont. saith that all the Defendts. in the title of the Interry & named are & have been Inhabitants respectively of the said parish of Clovelly for six years now last past And that the Defts. Francis Pollard & James Madge have respectively been concerned as owners of Boats & Boats Masters in taking of herrings near & belonging to Clovelly aforesd. by the space of six years now last past And that the said Deft. Andrew Palmer & James Lyle were likewise Boat Masters & respectively concerned in the said fishing trade the last fishing season but whether they were concerned therein before that Dept. is not certain But saith that the most part of the herrings which were caught by the said Defendts. respectively were brought to Clovelly Key aforesaid by the said Defts. but the certain quantitys or value thereof this Depont. cannot sett forth

James Randle of Hartland in the County of Devon, Marriner, aged sixty-seven years or thereabouts, a witness produced on the part & behalf of the Compnt. to the Second, Third and Fifth Interrs and being thereunto sworn & examined deposeth & saith

To the Second Interry this Depont. saith that he hath known the Rectory and parish of Clovelly in the County of Devon (to which the said parish of Hartland lays next adjacent) by the space of fifty years now last past which said parish stand upon or toward the said coast and saith that the Complt. now is by the space of ten years last past & upward and hath been Rector of the said parish of Clovelly and one Mr. William Prince was his imediate precedessor Rector of the said parish by the space of thirty years & upwards next before his death And saith that one Mr Neilour was Rector of the said parish next before Mr. Prime but how long he continued Rector of the said parish this Depont. cannot remember And saith that he hath often heard & verily believes that Mr. Cary afterwards Dean of Exeter was the immediate predecessor of the said Mr. Neilour And this Depont. further saith that the Inhabitants & parishioners of the said parish of Clovelly that dwell in the town or near the Key of Clovelly or the sea coast there for the most part now are & ever since the Deponts. remembrance have been Marriners And in the season for herring fishing which is between & from Michas. & until Christmas & imployed in the herring fishery hiere which trade has been there used as such employment followed by the Inhabitants of the said place ever since this Deponts. remembrance & from time immemoriall as this Dept. hath heard & believes

To the third Interry this Depont. saith that ever since this Deponts. remembrance there hath been a Customary payment annually made to the Rector of the said parish of Clovelly for the time being for or in lieu of tithes of & for all herrings caught & brought to & landed on the Key of Clovelly which Customary payment ever was without variation in the manner following (that is to say) the Expenses for liquor & other necessarys for the boats crew in taking such fish & the dutys of Keyage to the Lord of the Royalty was first taken out of every cargo of fish and afterwards the seventh part of what remained was deducted for the use or share of the Boat & then what remained was afterwards divided into two equall parts or shares one of which was allotted for the share of the owners of the netts imployed in catching such fish and the other for the share of the Boats Crew so concerned in the taking them And saith that out of every twenty shillings that such fish so taken and allotted to the share of the Boats Crew did produce or yield there became due & ever was paid to the Rector of the said parish of Clovelly for the time being twenty pence for or in lieu of tithes for such part or share of fish & there also became due and was ever paid six pence to the said Rector out of every twenty shillings that such fish produced or yielded as was allotted to be the part or share of the owners of such netts for or in lieu of the tithes thereof which respective payment of twelve pence & sixpence so due & paid in lieu of tithes became due & for the most part were paid upon monday morning weekly in every fishing season by the respective Boats Masters of every Boat of & belonging to the said harbour & parish of Clovelly so imployed in catching herrings but when it happened that the Amt. was not settled by the Boats Crew on the Monday for the week precedent then the same would be deferred till the week following but seldom delayed longer And saith that such paymts. for or in lieu of tithes for herrings were never disputed or denyed to the knowledge or belief of this Depont. who in his youth hath often heard antient people to say that such payment for or in lieu of tithes of herrings have been Customary made to the said Rector of Clovelly for the time being in manner as aforesaid for time immemoriall And saith that this Depnt. himself hath heretofore used such Fishing Trade for herrings at Clovelly aforesaid for severall years as a boats Master & always made such payment in manner aforesaid to the Rector of the said parish of Clovelly for the time being for or in lieu of tithes of such herrings but this Depont. hath discontinued such trade by the space of sixteen years now last past And saith that by the space of six or seven years now last past there have been generally imployed in & about such herring fishing at Clovelly between thirty and forty Boats of & belonging to the said harbour and key of Clovelly the tithes whereof or payment in lieu of such tithe may amount yearly in this Deponts. judgement and as he verily believed to thirty pounds & upwards

To the Fifth Interry this Depont. saith that all the Defendts. in the title of these Interrys named are and for six years last past have been Marriners & also Inhabitants respectively of the said parish of Clovelly & during all that space of time as this Depont. verily believes have been imployed as Boats masters in the herring Fishery at Clovelly aforesaid or as some of the Crew of such Boats and that the cargo of fish caught by such boats in the respective herring seasons in the said severall years were brought to and landed on the said Key of Clovelly but what was the quantity of such fish so taken & brought or for what sold or how disposed of this Deponent knows not

[Signed]
Robt Incledon
J [?] Awse


Oaths

You shall According to the best of your skill & knowledge, truly faithfully & without partiality to any or either of the parties in this Cause, take the Examinations & Depositions of all & every Witness & Witnesses, pduced & examined by virtue of the Comison hereunto annexed upon the Interrogatories now pduced & left with you & you shall not publicly disclose or make knowne to any pson or psons whatsoever except to the clerke or clerkes by you imployed & sworn to secrecy in the execution of this Comison the Contents of all or any of the Depositions of the Witnesses & any of them to be taken by you & the other Comissioners in the said Comison named or any of them by virtue of the said Comison until publication shall pass by Rule, or Order of, the Court of Exchequer

So help you God

You shall truly and faithfully & without partiality to any either of the parties in this Cause take & write down transcribe & ingress the Depositions of all & every Witness & Witnesses produced before & examined by the Comissioners or any of them named in the Comission hereunto annexed as far for as you are directed & imployed by the said Comissioners or any of them to take, write down or ingress the said Depositions or any of them & you shall not publish disclose or make knowne to any person or psons whatsoever the Contents of all or any of the Depositions of the witnesses or any of them to be taken wrote down transcribed or ingressed by you or whereto you shall have recourse or be any ways privy until publication shall pass by Rule or Order of the Court of Exchequer

So help you God