Our Turbulent Predecessors by John Dawson (written in November 2004 for Nobbut Torver)
There follows a small selection of the cases dealt with during the earlier part of the 17th Century by the Torver Manor Court. They were transcribed by Peter Park whose family has had links with Torver for many generations, but reached the present writer too late for the Torver book. This is an opportunity to give readers of the Nobbut a taste of this material.
1626 Katherine Wilson: called wife of Rich.d Atkinson of Greenrigg bastard.
1626 Katherine Wilson: charges Eliner Parke with breaking her house and stealing three clews (1) of yarn. “Let her be stocked”
1627 Anthony Parke
Rowland Parke: for hubleshowe (2)
1628 Anthony Parke: for a blodwicke (2) upon Thos. Parke.
1630 Robert Parke &
Leonard Parke: for a fray between them - Rob.t Parke gave the first
1631 Thomas Lowder: for calling the wife of John Dodgson shepstealler.
1633 James Parke: for a blodwicke upon Richard Wilson (against payne 20d, or else to be satt
in the stocks an hour 2 Sundays after evening prayer).
1631 John Wilson: evil words to the bailiff, when he had felled a timber tree without permission.
Other offences include: unsatisfactory hedge maintenance, moving a meerstone (3), shearing (4) another’s corn and disobeying the pinder (5).
Glossary of terms:
(1) a “clew” was a ball of yarn;
(2) “bloodnock” or “blodnock” , “Hubleshowe” and “Blodwicke” were terms used to describe disagreements between neighbours
resulting in bodily harm or a flow of blood;
(3) “meerstones” marked the individual sections of the Town Field from which a person might, for example, take the hay;
(4) a person would “shear” corn but clip sheep;
(5) a “pinder” was an official who looked after the animals that had strayed.
Final note: the Manor Court met regularly for many years. Its members - local citizens - dealt with all the misdemeanours not serious enough to merit the attention of a higher court. The period of its greatest local importance, and of its widest range of activity, was the 17th and 18th centuries.