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The modern customs of copyhold in this district, render it, with very trifling exceptions, equal to freehold tenure, as regards surface rights; but all mines and minerals under the copyholds belong to the lord.
An act received the royal assent on the thirtieth of June, 1852, the compulsory powers of which came into operation on the first of July, 1853, whereby, upon compensation being paid, the tenant can compel the lord of the manor, or the lord the tenant, to enfranchise the surface only of his copyhold. This act is likely to remain a dead letter in this district, in respect of small copyholds, where they are held directly from the lord. It would exempt them from the payment of their trifling out and court rents; but where they are held under other tenants, at yearly ground rents, it would only free them from the small due called court rent, or fine for not doing "suit and service " at the manor court. The expenses attending the enfranchisement would entail a much heavier tax upon these small holdings than they are now subject to. Several enfranchisements of land have taken place under this act.
BISHOP PUDSEY's CHARTER. RENTS AND PROFITS OF THE PORT RECEIVED BY THAT PRELATE. SUNDERLAND UNDER THE BOLDON BUKE. ANCIENT MANORIAL WATER CORN MILL. EXTRACTS FROM THE PIPE ROLL, 8 RICHARD I., RESPECTING SUNDERLAND. CHARTER OF HENRY III.'
IN the year 1154,* Bishop Pudsey, desirous of encouraging the trade of the port and borough of Sunderland, granted the following charter of incorporation.
Pudsey. 1^«95) be ft* fita" of (Bob, 23fsfjop of
IBurfjam, to the prior, archdeacon, barons, and to all men throughout his episcopate, both English and French, greeting. Know ye that we have granted and confirmed, by the present charter, the same free customs and liberties to our burgesses of Wearmouth as those enjoyed by the burgesses of Newcastle. That it is lawful for them to judge, in a court of law, peasants, or other inhabitants, without the liberty of their (prapositusf bailiff if they be
• Spearman's Enquiry into the Ancient and Present (1697) state of the County Palatine of Durham, page 23.
t Propositus. The bailiff or steward of a vill or manor, whoso duties and position varied with the nature of his charge. "nis business waa to collect rents, to levy indebted to them; unless, perhaps, they have been placed there by the bishop or sheriff, or senescal, for some matter of the bishop's own; neither is it lawful for a burgess to try a burgess without the authority of the bailiff.
"If a burgess accredit anything to a villan within the borough, and if he deny the debt, it shall be settled within the borough. However, a burgess must not, on any occasion, harass a villan by unlawful speech.
"Pleas arising within the borough, except those of the crown, shall be determined there.
"If any burgess be accused within the borough, he must comply, unless he makes his escape into another borough, where he shall be retained and placed in security; but if the court of the same do not fail in thenduty, and if the plea does not pertain to the crown, he shall not be called upon to answer without an appointed day, unless it has been formerly fixed by an unwise council in law.
"If a ship touch at the Wear, and is about to depart, any burgess may purchase whatever merchandise he wishes from that ship, if any one be willing to sell to him; and if a dispute arise between the burgess and the merchant, they must settle it within the third influx of the tide.
"Merchandise being brought into the borough by sea, ought to be landed, except salt and herrings, which may be sold in the ship, or in the borough, at the will of the seller.
"Should any one hold land within the borough for one
distresses, to prevent trespasses, to keep the peace, and do all the offices of equity and right between the lord and his tenants."—Ellis's Introduction to Domesday Book.
year and one day without accusation, while the claimant has been within the realm, and not under age, if then accused he ought not to give it up.
"If a burgess has his son boarded in his own house, the son may enjoy the same liberties as his father. If a villan come to live in the borouch, and hold land and tenements for one year and one clay, without accusation, by desire of his landlord, he may remain to any time in the borough as a burgess.
"It is lawful for a burgess to sell his lands and go where he pleases, unless his lands be under a bond.
"If a burgess be complained against in a matter where battle ought to be waged * by a villan or free inhabitant, he may defend himself by the civil law or by thirty-six men, unless the value in suit be one hundred pounds, or the crime imputed to him ought to be tried by battle.
* At the assizes held heforo Judge Berkeley at Durham, August 6th, 1638, the singular spectacle was presented of Thiai. By Waging Battle being offered and accepted for deciding the right of lands at Thickley, betwixt Ralph Claxton, demandant, and Richard Lilburne (elder brother of Alderman George Lilburne, of Sunderland), tenant. The defendant appeared at ten o'clock in the forenoon, by his attorney, and brought in his champion, George Cheney, in full array, with his stave and sand-bag, who threw down his gauntlet on the floor of the court, with five small pieces of coin in it. The tenant then introduced his champion, William Peverell, armed in the same manner, who also threw down his gage. The judge, after examining the champions, ordered them into the custody of his two bailiffs of the court till eight o'clock next morning, when they were ordered to put in pledges to appear at the Court of Pleas on the 15th September next. The case was again deferred to December 22nd, and the king desired the judges of the northern circuit to hold conference, and consider how the c uisc might be tried some other way. The result of the conference was, that the judges Bramston, Davenport, Denham, Hutton, Jones and Crooke, overruled the objection by Justice Berkeley, that the champions were hired, the exception being too late after battle waged and sureties given, and that, in fact, Lilburne was entitled to his trial by battle if he persisted. Means were found, notwithstanding, to defer the trial by battle from year to year by finding some error in the record, till at length it was ordered that a bill should be brought in to abolish this mode of decision.— Surtcrt' Durham (City), iv., 9.
A burgess ought not to fight against a villan if he should force him, unless before the accusation he should have forfeited his office as a burgess.
"Blodwite* merchet,f heriot,J nor stengesduit,§ ought not to exist in the borough.
* A fine imposed for shedding blood. When blodwite is granted in charters, it is meant that the party to whom the grant is made has the right of making inquiry concerning bloodshed, and of receiving the monoy accruing from fines levied on that account.—Appendix to QreenwelTs Translation of the Boldon Bute.
t See page 109, note.
X See page 106, note.
§ Stengesduit.—Skene, and after him Spelman, read this word Stingisdint, and interpret it a beating, from sting, astick, and dint, a blow. The proper reading is probably stengesduit, from the Anglo-Saxon stetig, stang, a club, a pole, from sting-an, to push into, and wite, a fine, and means a fine inflicted for an assault committed with a stick or like instrument. In Pudsey's charter to Wearmouth it is found in conjunction with blodwite, and in the two were no doubt included fines for all assaults either by stabbing, and so causing bloodshed, or by beating with some blunt instrument—Appendix to GrcenwelPs Translation of the Boldon Buke. Can this ancient punishment have given rise to or been any way connected with that once popular, but now all-but-obsolete ignominious procession in the north of England, called "Hiding the Stang"? when, as the glossary to Douglas's Virgil informs us, "one is made to ride on a polo for his neighbour's wife's fault," Callender observes, says Dr. Jamicson in his "Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language," that in the north, riding the stang " is a mark of the highest infamy. Tho person," he subjoins, "who has been thus treated, seldom recovers his honour in the opinion of his neighbours. When they cannot lay hold of the culprit himself, they put some young fellow on the stang, or pole, (frequently in effigy, which they burn before his door after perambulating the streets,) who proclaims it is not on his own account that he is thus treated, but on that of another person, whom he names. I am informed," adds Dr. Jamieson, "that in Lothian, and perhaps in other counties, tho man who had debauched his neighbour's wife, was formerly forced to Ride the Stang." This custom is represented in a plate in "The Costume or Yorkshire," 4to. 1814, p. 63. The letter-press says, "This ancient provincial custom is still occasionally observed in some parts of Yorkshire, though by no means so frequently as it was formerly. It is no doubt intended to expose and ridicule any violent quarrel between man and wife, and more particularly in instances where tho pusillanimous husband has suffered himself to be beaten by his virago of a partner. A case of this description is hero represented, and a party of boys, assuming the office of public censors, are riding the stang. This is a pole, supported on tho shoulders of two or more of the