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IMPORTANT CARDIGANSHIRE CASE.

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IMPORTANT CARDIGANSHIRE CASE. SWANSEA ASSIZES, TUESDAY .T" 31.-Before Baron Bramwell and a special jury. MARY DAVIES AND JOHN JENKINS V. FF: II AND OTHERS- This action was brought by Miss Mary Da vies, daughter of the Rev. John Davies, formerly incumbent of Eglwys Each, and Mr. John Jenkins, of Pennant, to recover one half of certain farms in the parish of Cilcennin. Mr. B. T. Williams, Q.C., and Mr. Coxon (instructed by Mr. Griffith Jones, solicitor, Aberystwyth) appeared for the plaintiffs and Mr. Mclntyre, Q.C., Mr. J. Bowen. Q.C., and Mr. Thomas Hughes (instructed by Mr. W. H. Thomas, solicitor, Aberystwyth, and another) for the defendants.. Mr. Williams, in opening the case for the plaintiffs, stated that it was an action worthy of the consideration and ingenuity of a Swansea special jury. The plaintiffs claimed one half of farms caHed Bwlchydwr, Glanrhos, Pwll-llacca-Glas, Bankbach, Mount Hobe, and Moun- tain Gate, as representing two daughters of one David Evan, who made a will in 1778, devising premises called Hendre, which the plaintiffs contended contained the pro- perty now in question, to each of his daughters for life, and, according to a decision of the Court of King's Bench in 1815, to his grand-daughters for life, and afterwards to his own right heirs. All the testator's daughters and grand-daughters were now dead, the last of the grand- daughters. the mother of some of the defendants, dying in 1871. The plaintiffs' right, therefore, did not accrue until that time. In the year 1872 the present plaintiffs brought an action to recover the property now under consideration from the defendants. The case was tried at the Cardigan Assizes, but the plaintiffs -were un- successful, and were non-suited. In the present case it would be necessary, in the first place, for him to prove the pedigree of Miss Davies, and also the pedigree of Mr. Evan Evans, whose interest had been bought by Mr. John Jenkins. The next question involved in the case would be that of parcels whether the property now sought to be recovered was a part of the property devised by the will of David Evan. The evidence in support of his case was partly documentary and partly oral evidence. David was, in his day, evidently the yeoman of the parish, and the property called Hendre extended to the Rhos, Cil- cennin, and was probably the largest estate in that parish. No doubt in order to cultivate it properly it became necessary to erect houses, and to make homes for the servants and the workmen, and in course of time to those houses were given pieces of land, carved out of the property called Hendre. With the increase of population and development of the land this became more frequent. With regard to Bwlchydwr he should be able to show that within the memory of some of the oldest persons now liv- ing it was a tailor's cottage, and all the land now held at that place, about sixty acres, was then held with Hendre proper. An old witness would be called to prove that the cattle and sheep of Hendre grazed Bwlchydwr; that on many occasions he was sent by the vicar of the parish to Hugh the tailor to go to the churchyard to play ball on the church wall with the vicar that he remem- bered the division of Hendre and Bwlchydwr, which took place on the marriage of Evan Price, the eldest son of David Price, .who then occupied Hendre, with the sister of the then landlord; and that at that time outbuildings were erected, and the tailor's cottage improved, and converted into a farm house. That would be the story which he would have to lay before the jury. He would supplement that by documentary evidence. He would put in the en- closure award of the Rhos, Cilcennin, which gave an allot- ment to Hendre estate although Hendre as at present held did not adjoin the common. Another important piece of evidence would be the land tax assessment, by which it would be found that up to 1824 Hendre was charged with 13s. 4d. From that time that sum was divided as follows Hendre, 7s. 4d. Bwlchydwr, 6s., making the same total of 13s. 4d. He would also call Mr. J. P. Howell, deputy steward of the manor of Haminiog, who would prove that the chief rent on Hendre (7s.) was out of all proportion as Hendre was at present held but if Hendre comprised the other pieces of land, now sought to be recovered in this ac- tion, that sum would be proportionate.) Mr. Coxon then put in certificates to prove the marriage of Evan Evans, of Park-y-gwynion, with Jane, the daugh- ter of David Evan the certificate of baptism of Daniel their eldest son, who married Elizabeth Jones; certificates of baptism of Daniel, their eldest son, and David their second son the certificate of the marriage of David with Sarah Williams, of Goitre, and the bap- tism of Evan Evans, through whom John Jenkins claimed. Mr. John Jones, Cwmmelin, was then called to prove that he remembered Daniel the son of Daniel that at the time he saw him he was very consumptive and that wit- ness had always heard that he died at Cambridge about 1820. In cross-examination, witness said that David Evans's eldest son was also called Daniel, and that he was born before marriage. Witness was sure Daniel was born before marriage, because he (witness) was to have gone to the wedding, but it was put off on account of the birth. Evan Evans, Penuwch, said he heard from his mother that his elder brother was born before marriage. Being cross-examined, he said the baptismal register of the parish of IJanbadarn Odyn showed Daniel to have been baptised thirteen months after the marriage. Mr. Evan Williams, Bwlehyddwyiallt, Llangeitho, said iM that he was the brother of Sarah Williams, the mother of Evan Evans and Daniel. He also proved that Daniel was born before marriage. Mr. Rees Thomas, Nantmelin, Llangeitho, gave evidence to the same effect. In cross-examination the baptismal register was put into his hands when he stated that the entry was made many years after the time it was purported to be made. It was made for the purpose of obtaining money from the Haberdashers' Hall Company. An old relative of Evans, of Parkygwynion, had left some money to the Haberdashers' Hall Company to distribute among his descendants, and that money could not be got for Daniel without the certificate of baptism. In order to get over the difficulty Daniel's grandfather succeeded in getting the entry made in the register. This informs tion was given to witness by Daniel's grandfather. Mr. Williams, Q.C., called his Lordship's attention to the entry. The pages of the book were divided into cohimns for entries and the page upon which this par- ticular entry appeared included December, 1823, ana at the foot, and outside the ruled part, and also after the December entries, was the entry of the baptism of Daniel in November, 1823. The entry was out of order, and, moreover, it appeared to have been written in different ink to the rest of the names. His Lordship examined the book, and afterwards re- marked that it strongly corroborated what plaintiffs witnesses had said. He had no doubt the entry had been made for an object. Mr. Mc Intyre then admitted the pedigree of Miss Davies. His Lordship thereupon remarked that as the admissitfei had not been made before, he would make the defendants pay the cost incurred on that account whatever the result of the action might be. Mr. Evan Evans, Aberystwyth, clerk in Mr. Fredk. Roberts's offices, produced the enclosure award of the Cilcennin Common, showing that an allotment had been made to Hendre estate, but not to Bwlchydwr, or to the other places claimed in this action, although they were nearer the Common. Mr. Mc Intyre here raised an objection to the admissi- bility of the award without first calling upon Mr. Howell, the deputy steward of the manor. Mr. J. P. Howell was accordingly called. He stated that he believed an allotment had been made to all the farms in Cilcennin except Bwlchydwr that he collected the chief rents for the Crown that Hendre was charged 7s. and that no charge wan made for Bwlchydwr. In cross-examination witness stated that Plas Cilcennin did not appear in the list; neither did Tynewydd nor Llaeth- ddu, nor certain other farms mentioned by defendants' counsel. He did not know why they were excluded, un- less the chief rent had been exonerated, or they might have formed a part of some other premises. He had not examined the award carefully, but only one page. At this stage of the proceedings it was arranged that Mr. Howell should inspect the award more minutely, and be re-called on the following day. WEDNESDAY. Mr. Evan Evans was re-called, and produced the land tax assessments deposited at the office of the clerk of the peace, who was also clerk to the commissioners. The as- sessments up to 1824 showed 13s. 4d. (the land tax of Hendre) had been redeemed. 1 rom 1824 that sum was divided into 7s. 4d. on Hendre, and 6s. on Bwlchydwr. In cross-examination witness stated that he had no know- ledge of the farms in the parish. Mr. Edward Williams, surgeon, Aberaeron, proved the inability of Thomas Williams, of Drefach, and Elizabeth Davies, of Aberaeron, to attend to give evidence. He also stated that Jane Williams, of Lampeter, who was then at Swansea, was not, owing to her great age and the excitement caused by her removal, in a fit state to give evidence. 0 The Associate of the Court thereupon read the deposi- tions of those witnesses taken before an examiner. Jane Williams, at the commencement of her examination, said she was 87 years of age, but at the latter part stated that she was 95, if not more. She said that she remembered Hugh the tailor and his mother living at Bwlchydwr; that the Hendre land at that time reached the Rhos, Cilcennin; and that when Evan Price went to live there farm build- ings were erected, and Hendre was divided into two farms. Her father made the boundary fence. Cross-examined, witness stated that she did not know Hugh the tailor until she was about thirty years of age, and that the land at Hendre ran both sides of Cilcennin church. Mr. Thomas Williams said he remembered the erection of the outbuildings of Bwlchydwr. They were built by Griffiths, of Canaan. Witness believed a part of Hendre land was given to Bwlchydwr. IrH. Elizabeth Davies said when she first remembered Bwlchydwr it was only a cottage with a small cow-house. Mr. John Evans was called. Owing to his extreme age he wa§ accommodated with a seat near he judge. He stated that he was born at Lone, which adjoined Bwlchy- dwr that he was 89 years of age; that when eight_ or nine vears of age he used to be the icar of Cilcennin's errand boy, and as such was often sent by the parson to Hu"h the tailor to ask him to go to the churchyard to play balf on the church wall with the Vicar. Witness also went with the servant of Hendre to shepherd the cattle and sheep of Hendre which then grazed Bwlchydwr. When fourteen years of age witness's father removed to Llanycroyddin, and witness took about fifty sheep belonging to Hendre to graze at Llanycroyddin. They°were taken there 'because Hendre had been divided into two farms, and there was not sufficient pasture at Hendre for the sheep during the summer. This witness, in answer to Mr. Mclntyre, said he lived at Aberaeron Workhouse The land that now formed Bwlchydwr was common rough land, but it was not a part of Rhos. There was a hedge round it. He had been fifty years m Lon- don When asked if he could speak English, witness replied in that language, "No; not one word." Wit. ness'? remark caused a great deal of amusement which was again renewed when, leaving his exalted seat, he made a profound a.nd dignified salaam to the Jjudge. lr. David Evans, Tycryn, Cilcennin, seventy-seven years of age, said that when a very small Doy ne recol- lected the erection of the Bwlchydwr out-buildings. Pre- vious to that time there was only a sniall cow-house attached to Bwlchydwr. He remembered the erection of the out-buildings because he and other small boys of his age followed the example of the masons by making a struc- ture across a rivulet. Witness used to boast that he was the best mason of the lot; of which he was often reminded in after years. Mary Jones, Maesymillion, Dihewid, and Evan Price, Mydroelin, proved that the rents of Bwlchydwr and the other places claimed in the action were received by the landlords of Hendre. Mary Jones also stated that when her father, who in after years occupied Bwlchydwr, asked the landlord to do certain repairs he refused to do so, be- cause the property would go from him on the death of his wife and his wife s sister. This witness also proved that the property now claimed with Hendre, as now known, went under the general name of the Hendre estate. Mr. J. W. Szlumper, C.E., the county surveyor of Car- digan, stated that Bwlchydwr was only a labourer's cottage with additions made to it. It was in no way equal to the size and importance of the place. This being the plaintiffs' case Mr. Mclntyre submitted that the words of the will did not comprise the property in dispute, and that the testator gave estates tail or es- j tates in fee to the daughters and not for life. On both points the J udled against the Counsel hold- ing that the Court of King's Bench, in 1816, had decided the latter point. Mr. Mclntyre then addressed the jury. He said that he had been challenged by Mr. B. T. Wil- liams to produce the title deeds if he held the property under any other title than David Evan's will. He, how- ever, would not gratify his friend, but would follow the example of Lord St. Leonards, who when called upon to produce his title deeds refused to do so. Like his lord- ship the defendants would stand upon their rights. He commented upon the evidence of Jane Williams, and pointed out that in her evidence in chief she said the first occupier of Bwlchydwr, she knew, was Hugh the tailor, Afterwards she stated that she did not know Hugh the tailor until she was thirty years of age. He also re- minded the jury that the action had been brought in 1872,1 to recover the property by the present plaintiffs; that that action was tried by Baron Channell at Cardigan, and that it had failed. Mr. Williams had not dared that morning to put Mr. Howell again into the box, although he had attached great importance to the award and the chief rent roll. He (Mr. Mclntyre) would call old wit- nesses who would prove that as far as their recollection went, Bwlchydwr had always been the same, separate and independent of Hendre. THURSDAY. David Llewelin, now in the service of Mrs. Lewes, Llanaeron, David Evans, Gwrdyfach, Llanybyther, and Jenkin Phillips, of Mountain Gate, were called, and proved that Bwlchydwr, as far as they knew, had always been the same that previous to the erection of the present out-buildings there was a long house opposite the dwelling house. The first tenant they remembered was Evan Price. These witnesses were not cross-examined by plaintiffs' counsel. Mr. Mclntyre and Mr. B. T. Williams having again ad- dressed the jury, His Lordship summed up, stating that there were several things undisputed. In the first place, the rents of the tenements now claimed had been received from time to time by the same people as received the Hendre rent. All the property was within a ring fence, and it was a significant fact that the defendants did not produce their title deeds or go into the box to give any suggestion as to how they became possessed of the property, if not under David Evans's will. He tried the action in which Lord St. Leonards refused to produce his title deeds. In that action there had not been the shadow of a case made out against his lordship, and he very properly refused to pro- duce his title deeds as against a wronjjj doer, relying upon possession alone. His lordship, however, doubtless, would have produced them had a prima facie case been made out against him, as was the case here. A person who was charged with having stolen property upon him was not bound to prove where he had obtained that property, but if he flid not do so there would be a strong inference that he had stolen it. The evidence of John Evans, if true, would prove the plaintiffs' case. That evidence had not been contradicted by any of the de- fendants' witnesses, as they did not go further back than the time of Evan Price. It was for the jury to consider whether John Evans could be mistaken or not. He would proceed, and consider the rest of the evidence if the jury thought it necessary. The Jury thereupon stated that they had made up their minds, and found for the plaintiffs. Mr. Mclntyre then called his Lordship's attention to Glan-rhos, Pwll-llacca-glas, and Mountain Gate, with respect to which he submitted the only evidence was that of payment of rent to the same landlord. That was not sufficient evidence to go to a jury. His Lordship agreed with Mr. Mclntyre. He, how- ever, would leave it to the jury, and would again consider how to enter the verdict. The jury were then asked if they also found for Glan- rhos, Pwll-llacca-glas, and Mountain Gate, when, after some hesitation, they announced that they found for the plaintiffs. FRIDAY. On taking his seat, his Lordship stated that he had gone over his notes, and found that he had made a mistake on the previous evening. There was certainly evidence to go to the jury aa to Glanrhos, Pwll-llacca-glas, and Mountain Gate. In the first place, Sarah (? Mary) Jones had stated that Hendre, Bwlchydwr, and the other places went under the general name of Hendre, or the Hendre Estate, and that the rents of them were received by the same landlord as Hendre; and that they were all, with the exception of Mountain Gate, within a ring fence. He therefore had no hesitation in entering judgment for the plaintiffs for all the places claimed and also for the back rents since 1871. Mr. Williams, Q.C., raised no objection to staying execu- tion.

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AUGUST 8, 1877.

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HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE, AUGUST…

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