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John Meads 2016


The Windmill Black Bridge
The windmill in the
early 1900s
The contentious bridge in 1989, then known as Black Bridge
just before its demolition to make way for the A14



From the Northampton Mercury 20 May 1865

On Monday last, an inquisition was held at the Hind Hotel, Wellingborough, before Mr. H. P. Markham, Esq., the Under-Sheriff, acting on behalf of the Sheriff, R. Aubrey Cartwright, Esq., to enquire into a claim made by Mr. Thos. Eady, of Bozeat Mills, near Wellingborough, for compensation for alleged damage to certain lands his property, by the Kettering, Thrapston and Huntingdon Railway Company.

The following gentlemen were sworn a special jury on the occasion: Mr. George Eldred, Mr. Philip Grove, Mr. Isaac Lovell, Mr. Isaac Samuel Lovell, Mr. Thomas Lovell, Mr. William Walker Lovell, Mr. George Osborn, Mr. Charles Percival, Mr. Samuel Sharp, Mr. Christian Soutter, Mr. James Topham, and Mr. Thomas Joseph Wetherall. Mr. James Sheil appeared on behalf of Mr. Eady, and Mr. Rochford Clarke on behalf of the Company.
Before proceeding it was agreed that Mr. Eady should not be called upon to produce his title, Mr. Eady undertaking that the compensation money, if any, should not be paid by the Company except to the person who may be entitled thereto. For the purpose of this enquiry it was understood and agreed on both sides that Mr. Eady was owner in fee of the mill and land referred to in the enquiry.

Mr. Sheil opened the case on behalf of Mr. Eady, and called Mr. Edward Sharman, who produced a plan of the locus in quo. The question related to the diversion of a road running from Burton Lattimer into the Kettering and Thrapston road, which it entered at right angles. Mr. Eady's mill is situated about three quarters of a mile from Burton Lattimer on the south, and from the turnpike road to Thrapston 613½ yards. The Kettering, Thrapston and Huntingdon Railway intersects the road at about 600 yards before its junction with the turnpike road, on the level, and the road is carried over the line by a bridge. In order to lessen the sharpness of the descent, the new road is diverted eastwards a distance of 137 yards, shortening the distance somewhat to Thrapston, but lengthening it by double the length of the diversion westwards to Kettering. It was for the inconvenience occasioned by the increased distance and the incline that the claimant sought compensation, which was laid at £400.

Mr. Moses Irons Eady, the son of the claimant, stated that he had worked the mill for 24 years. The premises consist of a dwelling house and windmill, with steam power in addition, working four pairs of stones. The latter part of their occupation they ground 70 sacks a week, and were in constant communication with Barton, Kettering, Rowell and Desborough. On an average his teams went westward six times a week on business connected with the mill. He used to load back with coal and corn, and frequently to go over the road for water. He ceased to occupy the mill in July, 1857, when it was let to Mr. Allen. Witness paid no rent, but had an arrangement with his father. Mr. Allen paid £65 a year, and occupied for nearly six months, when it was let to Messrs. Stevenson and Dix, at £65 per annum. In the autumn of last year they demanded a reduction of rent £15 per annum, anticipating the change of road made by the railway. While making the railway, the Company has substituted a road which the tenants used. He considered the works of the Company had damaged the property very much. Carts will have to travel nearly one hundred miles in a year, and the ascent makes the road more difficult, requiring another horse. There is no house between the mill and the railway, and the farmers going to Kettering from Burton go another way. Indeed, the road in question was used only for carts coming to the mill, and by farmers occupying the land. Witness used to attend Kettering market, and buy corn and sell flour at Kettering. Farmers, he thought, would not like to sell him corn and deliver it by going round the ascent, and they would prefer selling it to someone else. No offer that he was aware of had been made by the company in reference to the bridge. There is a water course on the road towards Kettering, to which he considered he had a right to go. – By Mr. Clarke: The present miller keeps two horses. The water to which I have a right to go is three-quarters of a mile distant from the gate into Mr. Wells's field, and about ten chains short of a mile from my house. The steam engine well is on my own property, and is 22 feet deep. It would cost £10 to deepen it six feet. I have never bored for water, or made attempts to procure additional water. No abatement of rent has been made to the tenants. Besides the 22 feet well there is another well 18 feet deep, but it yields us very little water. Barton is a mile and a-half from the mill and Kettering three and a-half miles from the mill. – By Mr. Shiel: The present tenant does not do such business as I did. I expect I shall have to make an abatement to my tenant whether I get compensation or not. The business I did would have necessitated me to have travelled in carts 93 miles, and for water carts 280 miles. The right to fill carts with water is a right enjoyed in common with others.

Mr. Samuel Allen is a miller, and succeeded Mr. Moses T. Eady at £65 a year rent, but left before the railway works were begun. He would not give now as much for the mill as he gave before. He should want £20 a year reduction of rent in consequence of the railway alterations. The business of a mill is conducted before light and after dark, and he thought the present arrangement positively dangerous. The ascent would require one horse more, and the keep of a horse is from £20 to £30 a year. – By Mr. Clarke: There is a hill at Barton and Kettering. I cannot say how steep it is. I will not undertake to say that the hill between my place and Barton is not twice as steep as the deviation. – By Mr. Sheil: I always went down Barton Hill with a load, not up.

Mr. John Joseph Stevenson, is the present tenant of the mill with Mr. Dix, and entered upon it in July, 1864, at £65 annual rent. The railway works had then been begun. At that time he used a substituted road, which was no disadvantage. The access to Kettering was then as good as the previous tenant had. When he found that the road was to be carried over the railway, he applied for a reduction of £15 per annum rent, being obliged to employ extra horse-flesh to do his work. He did not do so much business as Mr. Eady has done. Before the ascent was there, he could do his business with one horse. Now he must have two. A horse cost £30 a year to keep. He uses the extra horse for other purposes, and thought £15 a reasonable compensation. His horse and cart attends Kettering market once a day, and he has either to go to Kettering or Barton on account of corn. His carts go more to Barton than Kettering. It would be a long way to go round by Burton Lattimer. – By. Mr. Clarke: I keep one cart for water regularly at the mill. I have another at Grafton Underwood, and this other I have sometimes also at the mill. I never made application to Mr. Eady to improve the well. I wish he could. It would save me a good deal of trouble: it would cost money. When I took the mill the railway bridge was building. – Re-examined by Mr. Shiel: I did not know to what height the bridge was to be carried when I took the mill. I intend to leave the premises unless the reduction is made. Mr. Eady re-called: If I were to sink a well, there would not be more water, I believe. I have made no experiments.

Mr. William Miller is a farmer at Burton Lattimer, and farmed the land between Burton Mill and the railway. His house in Burton is the nearest house to the mill. If he were a miller he would not give as much for the mill since the alteration. From his farm to Kettering he went round by Burton because it was the easiest for the horses. To Cranford he went by the old road, and should now go over the new bridge, and all Burton people must go over the bridge, and the bridge would be an obstruction affecting all people.

Wm. Miller's farmhouse
Mr. William Miller's farmhouse,
now 103 Church Street. In 1865
it was "the nearest house to the

Mr. Arthur Lovell, valuer and farmer, knows Mr. Eady's premises both now and previous to the alteration. He had no doubt that the premises were depreciated by the alteration, and he put the reduction at £10 a year on account of the extra horse labour. If water had to be brought he considered that the obstruction would cause the third of a horse extra, which would be £10, putting the keep of a horse at £30. – By Mr. Clarke: The £10 includes the water. I don't think any custom to the mill would be lost by the obstruction. The road over the bridge is a public highway. Mr. Wells occupies the farm on the road from Burton to the bridge. He would not go round by the bridge if he went to Burton. He has been on this road scores of times, both east and west.

Mr. William Bearn, land agent and valuer, said the works of the company had depreciated the property of Mr. Eady £10 a year, which, at 30 years purchase, would be £300. – By the ascent intervening one-third of a horse would be required. He knew the principle farmers about here, and no one of them or of the public can be as much inconvenienced as Mr. Eady is. The inconvenience of Mr. Eady is, because he uses the road oftener. The same inconvenience affects all who use it. He thought that the hill at Burton was steeper than the new incline. The hill at Kettering he should think, was about the same, but he spoke very generally. Mr. Sheil here closed his case.

Mr. Rochfort Clarke, on behalf of the company argued that there was no case on the evidence given to go to the jury, and cited several cases in support of this view. He contended that, even if it should be held that the trade of the mill had suffered from the alteration in the road, yet that that those cases had decided no compensation could be enforced against the company; that, as the company had obtained the sanction of Parliament (the representatives of the public, who were the owners of the road) to alter the road it was not for any one of the public to obtain pecuniary compensation, but rather that it should be looked on as a concession by the public at large to obtain the great conveniences of a railroad.

After Mr. Sheil had been heard in answer, the Under-sheriff decided on leaving the case to the jury, that, in the event of the claimant obtaining a verdict, the company might raise the question in the Court of Queen's Bench on the point of law.

Mr. Clarke then addressed the jury on the question of damage and denied that the property in question had suffered any such depreciation as to call for any reduction of the rent.

In summing up the learned Under-sheriff read the Land Clauses Consolidation Act, 8th Victoria, chap. 18, sec. 63, in order specially to explain to the jury the nature and extent of their duties in this inquiry. The question for their consideration was – first, whether the lands of the claimant were injuriously affected, and if so, to what extent; upon which two questions as to damage would arise, namely, as to the water, and as to the extra draught required in going over the bridge.

In about five minutes the jury stated that they had decided upon their verdict; they were unanimously of opinion the the lands of the complainant were not injuriously affected by the company's works, and the claim, therefore, fell to the ground.

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