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Bishopstone, 1810.

January 1st 1810 Martin was spent “Surveying at Bishopstone”[1]and for the whole year he was involved very heavily with the inclosure. The award at Bishopstone had aroused sufficient controversy at the time that it even earned a mention in the Hammond’s book the Village Labourer- a highly influential book which examined in detail the iniquities of the inclosure process.[2] The first reference to an inclosure at Bishopstone is in the House of Commons Journal for the 23rd February 1797 which recorded that “A Petition of several Owners of Estates in the Parish of Bishopstone in the County of Wilts was presented and read: setting forth That there are in the said Parish certain Open and Common Arable Lands, Common Meadows, Common Pastures, Common Down and other Commonable and Waste Lands which might be improved if inclosed…” Leave was granted and it was ordered “that Mr Long and a Mr Penruddocke Wyndham do prepare and bring it in.”[3]

It did not take them long for on the 27th March it was received by the House, the first reading was on the 12th April and the second on the 19th. On the very next day “A Petition of Several Persons, whose names are thereunto subscribed was presented and read: taking notice of the Bill for inclosing Lands in the Parish of Bishopstone…” This petition objected to the Bill and it was ordered “That counsel be admitted to be heard in favour of the Bill, against the said Petition: – And all who come to the Committee are to have voices.” It is not clear what happened to this bill; it appears to have died a death as in 1808 another bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 10th February [4] 1809 and rapidly moved through the commons. The controversy at Bishopstone surrounded what were known as the “State of Property” and the “consents”, both of which were essential parts of all inclosure bills. All inclosure bills required that some majority of landowners by ‘number and value’ were required before a bill could proceed. Rather like the process of inclosure each owners estates in the parish were valued and added up and if, after 1801, two thirds agreed the inclosure could proceed.

The committee called on the 20th April met on the 3rd May and noted that the total area of land to be inclosed was 2602 acres but 1079 acres were in the hands of copyholders who had opposed the bill and a further 81 acres in the hands of copyholders who were neutral. It is clear that those who supported the bill did not amount to 75% of proprietors by value but “by some ingenious actuarial calculation of the reversionary interest of the lord of the manor and the interest of the tithe-owner, the 1079 acres held by copyholders are written down to 474 acres.” [5]

The Journal of the House of Commons records how it was done: 87 acres were taken off from the 1079 acres for the interests of the tithe owners and then the value of the land was reduced according to the number of lives left on the copyhold. If there was one life left on the copyhold the value was 3/5ths of its full value, for two lives ½ and for three lives 1/3rd. This appears to have been an arbitrary decision for which there was no obvious justification for reducing the value of the copyholders interest. Nevertheless by doing so the desired number of consents was obtained.The committee did however make some minor amendments [not specified in the Journal] and on the 11th it passed its committee stage and went back to the Commons where it received its third reading on the 15th May. It went to the Lords who recommended a few more minor amendments and on the 3rd June it came back to the Commons. On the 6th June the Lords amendments were passed in the Commons and on the 10th June it, together with dozens of other acts, received the Royal Assent. [6] The Bill had been drafted, read and the Act passed in less than three months.

Two Commissioners were appointed, William Jennings and George Barnes of Andover and two surveyors one of whom was John Martin and the other Thomas Phillips of Andover. [7] It was not uncommon for a separate surveyor to be employed for example to oversee the construction the roads or drains but we have no indication what Phillips role was. He is mentioned again in an entry from 1838 yet from the 1810 diary one would be hardly aware of his existence. George Barnes and William Jennings were commissioners at the Rampisham inclosure. Jennings may have been involved because one of the large landowners was Henry Vassall-Fox, Lord Holland another member of that extended family with connections to the Earl of Ilchester.

The fact that we find Martin surveying in the first week of January indicates he had worked at least a part of the previous year on the award. Perhaps some of the anger associated with the circumstances of the inclosure bill persisted, as on

22nd January 1810

Bishopstone Inclosure Meeting recvg objections to claims.

Other meetings to receive objections are not uncommon in the diaries but none of them lasted for the four days that he records this one lasting. Apart from this meeting most of the month was spent surveying the manor. He spent the first five days of the year surveying and a further week from the 15th -21st before the meeting above after which he returned home paying 10/6d for the carriage of the map, £2 guineas for his shares of the bin, 2/6d for a man bringing his box back and £1 3s 6d for his expenses returning home. Travelling to and fro from Bishopstone was a time consuming business. For example on Saturday 12th May he set off for Bishopstone [although he does not say at what time] but he did not arrive there until 17.00 on the Sunday. This was a fairly typical time scale for him.

In any inclosure one of the most important tasks for the Commissioners was to lay out new roads. In practice this was work for the surveyor. As we shall see later there were different types of road to be laid out but simply stated there were Public and Private roads. The first were open for general use and paid for by the rate payers of the parish and the latter were occupation roads for the use of the farmers whose fields they served. These were paid for by the proprietors.

The 1801 Consolidation Act required a greater deal of transparency about the inclosure process to be made public and in March a whole page in the diary is devoted to reciting the preamble to the notice that would have been posted in the manor, setting out the new roads.

He was back at Bishopstone in April when he paid “labourers finding out property” as well as doing so himself, “completing maps”, spending a whole week “valuing” and a rather enigmatic entry

18th April 1810

Taking up the Arable from the pasture in order to Calculate the Vicars Tithe apples &c

The next day he spent “Completing the above on the Map”. We have seen how the allotments were stake out and on

21st April 1810

Staking out Public Roads used this day 260 pegs

two days later he was still staking out the roads although on this occasion he only used 170 pegs. More work about the roads followed,

24th April 1810

Made Map of Roads for Mr Crowdy

Mr Crowdy had no land in the parish and there was a James Crowdy who was an “attorney” [solicitor] at Swindon. He may have been clerk to to the inclosure and is mentioned elsewhere in the 1810 diary when he made a wager with John Martin.

27th Nov 1809 Bishopstone Inclosures.

Mr Anger bets with Mr Kent that the Bishopstone Comon is 340 acres

Mr Kent bets it is not

Mr Anger bets with Mr Kent that its 7 Furlong from one Comon Gate to the other Mr Kent bets it is not

Mr Crowdy bets with Mr Kent that Bishopstone Comon is 340 Acres Mr Kent bets it is not

Mr Martin bets with Mr Anger that it is not more than 4 ½ around Bishopstone Comon Mr Anger bets its more”

On the 9thJuly there was another public meeting of the proprietors and Commissioners and the next four days he spent at “Bishopstone revising values.”  At the beginning of August [8th]there was yet another “Meeting at 11 o’clock in the forenoon” following which the next day was spent “hearing objections to the new set out lanes”. The cause of the objections may be explained in this entry,

13th August 1810

At Bishopstone staking Ladder Way Road again the Surveyors having altered it since I staked it out

The reference to surveyors is of some interest as it would indicate that there was a small team of surveyors at work with Martin in charge overall. In any case their mistake was expensive for in the same month he: Paid man making pegs £3 3s 9d”.

The next day he was at Idstone,

14th August 1810

Measuring the Idstone and Bishopstone roads for the Information of the Commissioners 1 days work.

Paid men for drawing chain measuring said road 3s 6d Boy do 2s 6d

Which is when he probably wrote the following,

From Mr Churches Barn up the Middleway & over the down in the same track a new road is talked of to the place where the Idstone and Lambourn Roads unite Measures 240 chains – And from such place of uniting Back by Lord Cravens House down Idstone Drove Ridgeway again unto Mr Church’s Barn measures 294 Chain making Idstone 46 chain the Furthest way”

August was another busy month in Bishopstone as he spent a whole week scaling the map and odd days casting, valuing and so on. September saw him working odd days on the map but in October there was a major push to finalise things. He went to Bishopstone on the 10th and next day,

11th September 1810

Bishopstone Meeting in the evening Settling Calculations

This must have been a difficult meeting as it lasted three whole days before he returned home on the Sunday. November he spent about a fortnight “casting” at Bishopstone and in December he was working intermittently “about Bishopstone” and the last entries relating to Bishopstone find him “preparing to allot”.

From the passing of the Act in June 1809 to the end of the diary in 1810 things moved at a rapid pace. We have moved from surveying, laying out the roads, making maps and preparing to make allotments all in the space of a year. Yet the final award was not made until 1813 and it was not enrolled with the [county] Office of the Clerk of the Peace until 1814. Why such a delay occurred is not known.

Martin was not finished with Bishopstone. In the 1845 diary there are several entries that relate to the Prebendal valuation. In 1810 The Lords of the Manor were the Bishop of Salisbury, whose lessee was Henry Vassell, Lord Holland [8] and the Lord of the Prebend  [9] one Edward Rogers. As there is no tithe map for the parish it is likely that the Tithes had been commuted by the inclosure act but the prebendary’s land had, for one reason or another, to be valued.

24th December 1810

Finding out Valuation of Bishopstone Prebendal Land for Mr Webb

After which he went to tea at Mr Jesty’s and his brother George came for the holidays. Christmas day was spent at home but on the 26th and 27th he was still “Working on the Bishopstone Prebendal Valuations &c”. In the same month there is a suggestion that he had benefited financially from the inclosure. He “Received of Messrs Merriman Malbro one yrs interest due from Mr Wilsons Estate at Bishopstone due 29th September last £708 11s 6d at 4 ½ per cent”- £30 19s 0d. He then records “The Prebendal Yardland Mr Webb has -mortgage for £90 0s 0d. Total of Mortgage £798 11s 6d”.

One of the duties of the Commissioner was to arrange finance for the inclosure process and James Wilson had a modest allocation of 18 acres in 1810. It is possible that Martin had helped Wilson with the expenses and this was the interest on the loan he had provided.

The final entry regarding Bishopstone was on 29th December 1845

29th December 1845

Making out the Bishopstone Prebendal Valuation and Examining the Abbotsbury Town Reference with Mr Wm Jennings

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1 This is Bishopstone North Wiltshire, not the one in the South near Salisbury. That parish was inclosed in 1792.

2 Hammond J. L & Barbara The Village Labourer 1760 -1832

3 Both MP’s

4 House of Commons Journal vol 64.

5 ibid

6 Including one which gave Coffee Bean dealers the right to roast their own coffee.

7 Abstracts of Wiltshire Inclosure Awards and Agreements edited by Mr R. E. Sandell Wiltshire Records Soc 1969

8 One of the Fox Strangways family and doubtless the reason William Jennings and John Martin were involved.

9 the portion of the revenues of a cathedral or collegiate church formerly granted to a canon or member of the chapter as his stipend.