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the differences, either between the lord or his tenants, or between tenant and tenant, were in ancient times adjusted and determined, and where all transactions relative to the copyhold tenants of the manor were also completed and registered. The end and design of the Court being, on the one hand, to preserve the manorial rights and seignory of the lord, and on the other, the ancient customs and privileges of the manor, by the due observance of which the copyhold tenants in particular hold their estates, and maintain and evince their title to them. The copyhold tenants of the manor will, by an inspection of their surrenders, find that they hold their estates according to the custom of the Court, and rendering yearly, as was wont to be rendered, and doing to the lord and the neighbours, the duties and services accustomed. It behoves, therefore, the copyholder to reflect, that if he does any act incompatible with the relation in which he stands, as tenant, if he denies his dependency, or refuses to comply with the terms of his grant, or copy, the law deems it a breach of the condition by which he holds, and the estate will return to the lord who granted it. The copyholder is not, however, dependent upon any capricious will of the lord. The law and custom of the manor protects and establishes his estate; but he can only claim the protection of the custom whilst he complies with its dictates. If he regulates not his conduct by the rules which that custom has prescribed, he is not entitled to its favour. If he transgress the customs of the manor, the customs of the manor can no longer support his estates. But whilst he performs his services and fulfils the duties of his tenancy, the law interposes in his behalf, and controls the will and power of the lord, and preserves and secures the tenant in the enjoyment of his estates. Having premised these observations, we will proceed to enquire, what acts of the copyholder will be deemed a breach of the conditions by which he holds his estate, and will amount to a forfeiture of it. If the copyholder be attainted of treason or felony, or be outlawed for a capital crime, his copyhold is immediately forfeited to the lord. If he convey or alien his copyhold by deed, or in any other manner than by surrender, such an act, being incompatible with the nature of his tenancy, is a forfeiture: so likewise he incurs a forfeiture if he leases his tenement for more than one year without license. Another cause of forfeiture is the denial or refusal by the copyholder of the services of right due to the lord. For he thereby evidently breaks the condition by which he held his estate; and, as in such a case, the consideration of the grant fails, the lord is of consequence entitled to resume it. If the tenant in open court expressly disclaims being tenant to the lord, or if he declares he owes him no services, and consequently refuses to render any, these are evident acts of forfeiture. So, likewise, if when in court he refuses being sworn on the homage, or if when duly sworn, he refuses to present according to his oath, or if, being personally summoned, he performs not his suit and service, without alleging a sufficient cause, a forfeiture will be incurred. A forfeiture will also be incurred, by the copyholder committing wilful waste upon his tenement, or by felling timber (expect for the necessary repair thereof), and either selling or applying it, for or towards the repair of other tenements, without due license obtained for that purpose. And as the copyholder can only fell such timber, as shall be necessary for, and shall be used in the repairing of his tenement, so also is he precluded from digging or working the mines therein, he being merely entitled to the profits of the surface, and having no right to the soil or mines, or to the wastes and minerals, which are the freehold and property of the lord. Upon the death likewise of the copyholder, the heir is bound, upon three proclamations at three several successive courts, to come in and be admitted to his copyhold. If he fails to do so, the estate comes to the lord by forfeiture or escheat. I have enumerated some of the principal causes whereby a copyholder may forfeit and lose his estate. Where the offence committed, which is the cause of forfeiture, is, in its very nature, apparent and notorious, and such as by common presumption the lord cannot avoid noticing, no presentment of the homage or jury is necessary to entitle him to have the benefit of it. As I perceive that many legal gentlemen are present, I beg to refer you to Scrivener on Copyholds, page 403 of vol. I., as to the law on forfeitures. I will now proceed with the call of the copyholders."
After this, Mr. Robert Jackson, of Durham, clerk of the court, commenced to call over the names of the Bishop's copyhold tenants on the rolls of the manor, in the parish of Sunderland, and the townships of Bishopwearmouth, and Bishopwearmouth Panns. The Greeve of Wearmouth paying the usual fine of one penny for each tenant who did not appear in court to do "suit and service" to their lord. Names of parties were called, many of whom had been dead upwards of forty years:— amongst these was John Biss, Esq., of Deptford House.
A general conversation took place amongst the legal gentlemen and others present during the calling of the Court Roll. Mr. A. J. Moore stated, that he had no doubt but that the whole of the freehold property in the parish of Sunderland had been niched from the Bishop's waste or common. It was also stated that the whole of the water side property in the Low Street, between Russell Street and the Ferry Boat Landing, without the exception of part that had been enfranchised, was leasehold under the bishop, having anciently been within the flow of the tide, and quayed from the river about 1640.
In reading the roll, the clerk described the Railway (formerly Thornhill's) Wharf copyhold property (part of the grant to Mr. Ralph Bowes before named), as bounded on the south by Sunderland Town Moor. Mr. James Septimus Robinson, solicitor to the freemen and stallingers, took a note of this description, and Mr. J. W. Summers explained that the part of the Town Moor referred to was the ground upon which Sunderland Pottery now stands, belonging to the bishop of Durham as lord of the manor or borough of Sunderland.
On the first day the court adjourned at 4 o'Clock, when the gentlemen who had been summoned as jurors, and others, repaired to the Bridge Hotel, upon the invitation of the deputy, where a dinner was served up. in Mr. Donkin's well known excellent style.
On the following day the calling of the roll was resumed by the clerk, at the close of which it was ascertained that 425 trustees or legal tenants of copyhold properties in Sunderland, Bishopwearmouth, and Bishopwearmouth Panns were dead.
The clerk then made the following proclamation for the heirs of the deceased trustees, varying the names to suit each case.
"The heirs and next of kin of John Goodchild, (of Pallion,) trustee for John Johnson, (Coronation, Moor, and Zion Streets,) come forth and claim the customary lands and tenements which he held in Wearmouth, whilst he lived, or you will lose your right. This is the first proclamation."
(Second and third proclamations were made in the same form for the heirs, at courts held at Houghton-leSpring, before Mr. Davison, on the 8th May, 1852, and 9th May, 1853.)
After the first proclamation was ended for the heirs of 425 of the deceased tenants to come in and be admitted to the copyholds held by their ancestors,
Mr. A. J. Moore addressed the steward. He said that great misapprehension prevailed amongst the copyholders as to the holding of this court in Bishopwearmouth, as this was the first time it had been held in Bishopwearmouth. He apprehended that the object of the steward in holding the Court here was for the convenience of the numerous copyholders, resident in Bishopwearmouth, that they might attend the Court, without being put to the inconvenience of attending at the usual place of meeting. If such were the object of the steward, the copyholders were much indebted to him in thus consulting their convenience, especially as so large a number as 425 of the copyhold properties here would shortly be liable to forfeiture unless the heirs of the deceased tenants came