How would you feel if you were fined £75 for not keeping your hedges in trim, dropping litter, or having a broken fence? Local byelaws are similar in nature and intent to those imposed by manors which set out the communal responsibilities of its tenants. These 19th customs of a Worcestershire manor were not unusual:
- We lay a pain of 3/4d upon every person within this manor that shall nor peg or ring their swine within three days after notice given by any two inhabitants.
- We lay a pain of 20s upon every person within this manor that don’t scour their ditches, mend their stiles and gates adjoining to the common highways or common roads within ten days after notice given by any one inhabitant.
- We lay a pain of 20s upon every person within this manor that doth lay any carrion upon the common highways or roads.
- We lay a pain of 20s upon every person within this manor that hath land adjoining to the river who shall not brush their trees and bushes within the space of 20 days after notice given by any two inhabitants.
Such customs also reflect an element of local policing or, some might say, snitching on your neighbour. Pass me the shears.Posted in Blog, Historical records Tagged archives, documentary records, house detective, house history, manor, old documents, record offices, research