Dudley v Stonhill, 1871

Bucks Herald, 25 Feb

Extracts from this case have been transcribed here for the light they throw on how Winslow market operated. Large sections have been omitted. Samuel Burnham Dudley's auctions were held in Sheep Street next to the Nag's Head. The issue at stake was whether Richard Stonhill, a butcher from Cublington, had paid for two lots of pigs or only one.


  The monthly sitting of this Court was held on Friday the 17th instant, before T. A. Lister, Esq., deputy judge.  About sixty cases were entered, and the following were the principal ones heard:-


   The application in this case for a new trial came before the judge at Buckingham, on Friday, the 17th inst.
  Mr. Beck, of Northampton, appeared on behalf of defendant; and Mr. Small opposed on behalf of the plaintiff.
  The following affidavits had been filed in support of the plaintiff:-

  “I, George Davys Edward Wigley, of Winslow, in the county of Buckingham, auctioneer, make oath, and say as follows:- I assist the plaintiff in his business, and sell the pigs at his fortnightly sales held at Winslow aforesaid.  In the year 1869 I sold the pigs at all plaintiff’s fortnightly sales, except at the sale of fat pigs held on the 15th December in that year, and I have sold the pigs at all the plaintiff’s sales since that date.  I know the defendant Richard Stonhill, and the only pigs he bought at the fortnightly sales held by me in the year 1869 were the following, namely:- On the 7th July two lots of pigs, and on the 18th of August  one lot of pigs,  and since the last mentioned sale of 18th August,1869, the only pigs I have knocked down to the said defendant, or the said defendant has bought at the said auction sales so held by me as aforesaid, were lot ten at the sale held by me on the 5th of January, 1870, and which are the subject matter of this action, and the said defendant has not bought or even bid for any pigs at any auction sale held by me since the 5th January 1870.  I was present at the Christmas Sale of fat pigs on the 15th of December, 1869 which was held by the said plaintiff, and the said defendant at that sale bought one lot of four fat hogs at £4 17s. 6d. each.  The said sale on the 5th of January, 1870, was the first ordinary fortnightly sale, which commenced at half-past eleven o’clock in the morning instead of two o’clock in the afternoon as theretofore, the pig sale being over at one or before two o’clock, instead of about four o’clock in the afternoon as had always previously been the case.”

  “I, Isaac Mole, of Shipton, in the county of Buckingham, bailiff to William Johnson, Esq., make oath and say as follows:- I recollect being at a fortnightly sale of plaintiff’s, a little more than a year ago.  I saw defendant in the sale yard.  After the pigs were sold defendant came up to me and asked me to go and look at some pigs; I went with him to a pen about the middle of the row in which there were six or seven strong pigs of a dark colour.  Defendant said ‘Mr. Wigley has knocked these pigs down to me, it was not my bidding, but I suppose I must have them.’  He told me the price, but I do not recollect what it was.  They appeared to be worth from £2 15s. to £3 apiece, and I remarked that they were not dear, and he asked me if I would buy them.  I said ‘No; you know we are full.’  His brother William was standing at the pen where these pigs were at the same time, but I did not speak to him.”

  “I, Joseph Colgrove, of Winslow, in the county of Buckingham, butcher, make oath and say as follows:- I recollect being at one of the plaintiff’s fortnightly sales, about twelve months ago.  Isaac Mole was with me.  Defendant came up to us and asked Mr. Mole to come and look at some pigs, and Mole and I went with him to a pen of pigs.  They were large, strong, dark coloured pigs of the Berkshire breed.  The defendant said, addressing Mole, ‘I did not buy these pigs, but Wigley knocked them down to me; I think they be cheap pigs, they would suit your governor well,’ but I did not hear Mole’s reply,  Defendant’s brother William was standing there at the same time.” ...

  “I, William North, of Swanbourne, in the county of Buckingham, farmer, make oath and say as follows:- 1.  I recollect plaintiff’s sale on the 5th of January 1870.  I, and my brother, Henry North, were there, and I saw defendant and his brother, William Stonhill, at the sale.  I noticed a pen of seven black porkets in a pen nearly halfway down from the top.  These pigs were worth about three pounds apiece.  I noticed defendant standing amongst the buyers round Mr. Wigley, the auctioneer.  I noticed defendant after the sale, between two and three o’clock, go to the pen where the seven black porkets were, and let them out, and he brought them round to near where I was standing, and asked me if I could lodge them.  He said they would not walk home.  I said I could not as our sties were occupied, but that he might take them to our cowhouse further on.  I saw William Stonhill looking at some small store pigs in some of the lower pens, and afterwards he came to where I and defendant were standing and asked me if I would buy some stores, and I said “No.”  He went again to the pens, and afterwards I saw some store pigs running along with the fat porkets, making quite a little drove.  My brother Henry came whilst we were talking, and I told him what defendant had asked me, and my brother told defendant he might lodge the pigs at Shipton, at a Mrs. Holt’s, as he knew she had not got a pig.  I and my brother, and defendant and his brother, and a boy followed the fat and store pigs out of the yard, and defendant, the boy and the pigs turned towards Shipton, and I and my brother turned the other way and went into Winslow.  I do not recollect seeing William Stonhill again after we turned to go into Winslow.  There was no cart in the yard up to the time we left.”

  “I, Mary Jane, wife of Henry North, of Swanbourne, in the county of Buckingham, farmer, make oath and say as follows:- 1. I recollect Wednesday, the 5th of January last year.  My husband had gone to Winslow market.  I walked with some of the children in the afternoon, about three o’clock, to meet him.  A goat we had went with us.  We went down the road and met defendant’s boy driving a lot of pigs from the direction of Winslow.  He had a good many of them.  They were small store pigs of a dark colour.  They were of two sizes.  Some of them were larger than the others.  We went a little further on and met an elderly man driving a spring cart, and the horse shied at the goat and ran the cart into the ditch, and the man swore at me and said he would pull me for having the goat in the road.”

  “I, Phoebe Holt, of Shipton, in the county of Buckingham, make oath and say as follows:- I recollect seeing the defendant on horseback, one Wednesday afternoon, last winter soon after Christmas; it was about three o’clock; he was riding from the direction of Winslow, and was opposite our house at Shipton.  He was enquiring where he could leave some fat porkets.  He had a little boy with him with a good many pigs.  Some were fat and others were not.  I went out and told him if he liked he could leave them in our stye as we had no pig at that time.  He said he would.  The boy had a good deal of difficulty in separating the fat pigs from the others, and defendant swore at him.  My little girl and I helped to drive the fat pigs into our stye, and they were gone before I was up the next morning.  They filled our stye; there were six or seven of them and they were dark in colour.  I noticed the little boy go on down the hill driving the smaller pigs - there seemed a good many of them and they were dark in colour.” ...

[Speeches by plaintiff's and defendant's lawyers omitted]

  His Honour said that he regarded the case before him of the greatest importance, and fully coincided with Mr. Beck that it deeply affected his client’s character.  He remarked that he had shewn his disapproval of the delay plaintiff made before he sued defendant for the pigs by refusing him costs.  He remarked that he was glad to find defendant had seen fit to apply for a new trial, but he regretted that his grounds of application were not on a stronger basis, and said that a new trial could be granted only in the case of defendant producing evidence to prove that he did not purchase the pigs in question…He believed defendant was the purchaser of the pigs, and, after taking all the facts into consideration, he found no other course open to him than to dismiss the application with costs.

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Copyright 12 August, 2020