The Story of Heyford: Civil Justice in 1819 V3C17

In 1819 William West and Joseph Masters were employed by Thomas Adams to transport thirty-nine thousand bricks by boat from Heyford to Northampton. It appears that they performed the task but were not paid. So they took their case to the court in Northampton. The following pages are copied from the legal documentation which shows how the case proceeded.

The Agreement – 24th March, 1819. The agreement to transport the bricks consisted of the following hand-written note, written presumably by Thomas Adams.

March 24th, 1819. Mr Thomas Adams for Joseph Masters and William West of Lower Heyford for boating from Heyford to Northampton 39 thousand bricks @ 2s per thousand which comes to £3.185s.od. Due to the said Joseph Masters and William West.

The Complaint – 13th Novemer 1819. When they were not paid they took their case to court in Northampton:

Northamptonshire to wit. Be it remembered that this thirteenth day of November in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and nineteen, William West and Joseph Masters of Nether Heyford in the county aforesaid, labourers, complaineth and maketh oath before me, one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said county, that in March last the said William West and Joseph Masters were hired by Thomas Adams of Nether Heyford in the county aforesaid, yeoman, to be labourers in the business of removing bricks to him the said Thomas Adams for the wages of 2s per thousand, and that they the said William West and Thomas Adams did accordingly as aforesaid enter upon and afterwards perform the said service, and that he the said Thomas Adams hath refused to pay to them the said William West and Joseph Masters the sum of three pounds and 18s justly due for the said service, and thereupon they the said William West and Joseph Masters prayeth that justice may be done in the premises.


The Summons — 13th November 1819. As a result of the complaint, the constable of Nether Heyford was commanded to summon Thomas Adams to appear before the court the following week.

County of Northamptonshire to wit. To the constable of Nether Heyford in the said county. Whereas information and complaint hath been made unto me ].S.W. Tamwell Esq. one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace in and for the said county , upon the oath of William West and Joseph Masters of Nether Heyford in the said county, that in March last they the said William West and Joseph Masters were hired by Thomas Adams of Nether Heyford in the county aforesaid, yeoman, to be his labourers in the business of removing thirty-nine thousand bricks for the wages of two shillings per thousand and that they the said William West and Joseph Masters have duly performed the said service and that the said Thomas Adams doth refuse to pay to them the said William West and Joseph Masters the wages justly due unto them for the said service amounting to three pounds and eighteen shillings. These are therefore to command you forthwith to summon the said Thomas Adams to appear before me at the Record House in Northampton in the said county on Saturday the twentieth day of November instant at the hour of eleven in the fore noon of the same day, to shew cause why the said wages should not be paid. And be you then there to certify what you shall have done in the premises. Given under my hand and seal the thirteenth day of November in the Year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and nineteen.

J.S.W. Tamwell

The Summons is delivered. The justice of the Peace heard from the Constable how the summons had been given:

County of Northampton to wit. William Robinson of Heyford in the said county stated on his oath that he is Constable of Heyford aforesaid and that he gave to Thomas Adams the summons now produced and saw him take and read it.

The Judgement – 20th November 1819. It seems that Thomas Adams didn’t turn up on 20th November for the hearing and the justice of the Peace gives his judgement.

Northamptonshire to wit. Whereas information and complaint hath been made unto J.S.W. Tamwell Esq. one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace in and for the said county upon the oath of William West and Joseph Masters of Nether Heyford in the said county that in March they the said William West and Joseph Masters were hired by Thomas Adams of Nether Heyford in the county aforesaid, yeoman, to be his labourers in the business of removing thirty-nine thousand bricks for him the said Thomas Adams. And that they the said William West and Joseph Masters hath duly performed the said service. And that he the said Thomas Adams doth refuse to pay to them the said William West and Joseph Masters the wages justly due unto them for such service as aforesaid. And whereas the said Thomas Adams was duly summoned to appear before me to shew cause why the said wages should not be paid to the said William West and Joseph Masters, but has not appeared and hath not showed any just cause as aforesaid, and hath not paid the same. We therefore having duly examined into the Truth and Matter of the said complaint, and upon due consideration had thereof, do hereby judge, determine, and order, that he the said Thomas Adams upon due notice hereof do pay or cause to be paid to them the said William West and Joseph Masters the sum of three pounds and eighteen shillings which appears to us to be just and reasonable to be paid by him the said Thomas Adams to them the said William West and Joseph Masters as and for their wages as aforesaid. Given under our hands and seals the twentieth day of November in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and nineteen.

The order is delivered. Following the judgement, the constable of Heyford, William Robinson then served the order on Thomas Adams.

The above William Robinson on his saith that on the twenty third day of November last he served the order hereto annexed on Thomas Adams therein named and who read the same in the presence of this informant. Sworn before us this 18 December 1819.

The outcome. There are no further documents with these records so we don’t know if the debt was eventually paid or whether there was any further legal action. But these documents do give us an insight into the workings of civil justice in the early 1800s.


Extract from “The Story of Heyford” – Local book series published in the late 1990’s

Volume 3 of 4 | Chapter 17 of 17 | Page 30 to 32


Heyford’s Historical Heritage  |  How the books were created

Index  |  Covers

The Story of Heyford (Extra): Growing Up in Heyford – John Butcher

I was born on Nov 18th 1937 at 15 Furnace Lane, or as my mother always called it Stowe Lane. Our house was built in 1934 by Denny and Sons and for whom my father worked as a carpenter.

I remember little of my early years other than playing with my friend, Norman Denny who lived next door. Apparently my mother used to allow a young girl from the village to walk me out in my pram, she had special needs and it seems a man attempted to rape her. She was sent to Berry Wood (St Crispins) where she remained for the rest of her life, about sixty years. I don’t think anyone from the village ever visited her!

Another of my very early memories was of my father holding me up at the bedroom window to show me Coventry burning and of hearing German planes flying overhead. In June 1942 my brother David was born and because of medical problems he had to have an operation. He remained in hospital for many weeks and my mother had to visit the hospital every day to feed him, so I was sent to live with my grandparents at Caldecote near Towcester. Since I was the only child in the household I was thoroughly spoilt and given the sweet rations of all the adults in the family. It is no wonder then that when I eventually returned to Heyford to start school I was not very happy about it and of course was no longer an only child. On my first day at school I was taken by Daf Thompson (Holtham) because my mother was still pre-occupied with my brother.

At this time my father was working in London and Coventry repairing war damage. He was unable to do military service because of deafness. At the end of the war he was eligible for a large bonus, but he refused it saying it was his contribution to the war in which many of his friends had suffered.

I attended Sunday school as did most of us in the village at that time and each Sunday was given a penny for the collection. However, most of us put a half penny in the collection and used the other halfpenny for an ice cream on the way home. Sunday morning was the time for slaughtering pigs in the village and there was always competition for the pig’s bladders which the butcher threw over the wall, and if you should wonder why, a pig’s bladder makes a great football.

They were happy days which consisted of going to school, playing sports on the green, playing in the brook that ran at the bottom of the field behind my house and cycling around the local villages. Sometimes I would cycle to Banbury with my other good friend, Robin Ellis, we always bought Banbury cakes home to prove that we had actually been there.

I remember V J day September 1945 very clearly. My father was playing in a celebration football match on the village green. In those days, chickens roamed freely on the green and making themselves dust baths. During the match the ball landed in one of the dust baths and unbeknown to my father when he went to kick the ball he hit the side of the dust bath instead, resulting in the bone in his leg snapping, the sound of which was heard all over the green.

When I was 10 we had a new headmaster at Heyford school, Mr Woods, he made drastic changes to the school and the village. He introduced a school uniform and changed the attitude of the village. We were to become the best village school in the county winning most competitions from sport to gardening as well as in the field of education. Two of our pupils, Norman Freeman and Eileen Garrett were selected to represent England in the junior Olympics. Mr Woods together with Mr Wilkinson started the Heyford Boy Scouts and later I became the leader of Peewit Patrol. We often camped at the stone quarry in Stowe and at Brockhall travelling on foot and carrying our tent etc on Denny’s 2 wheel builders cart, quite a journey uphill to Stowe. We once camped at Compton Verney but that time we travelled by bus. Also camping there was a troop of Girl Guides who Mr Woods warned us not to get involved with. However, he did agree that we should dig their latrines about which we were not very happy. We did as instructed, well not quite, instead of 18” wide, we dug them at 30”, quite a stretch for the girls, that was our protest. The estate was overrun with rabbits so on the first night I decided to set some snares and actually caught 3 rabbit’s, but Mr Woods was not happy, accused me of poaching and told me to bury them.

I remember well the winter of 1947 when the whole village was snowed in and the Grand Union canal was frozen. Coal was normally delivered to Mr West by barge so there was an acute shortage. We were rationed to one sack of coal and I remember going up Weedon Road with my parents to collect it by sledge.

At the age of 11 we all took the exam to get into Daventry Grammar School, I failed. However, some time later we were given a second chance which involved an interview with some of the teachers, this I failed too. Some weeks later I was on a train to Peterborough to run in the 440 yards representing South Northants at the East Midlands School competition. One of the teachers who had interviewed me was on the train, he asked ”haven’t I met you recently?” I said yes you interviewed me for a place at Daventry School, but I failed. He said then why didn’t you tell me that you could run? My education could have been completely different.

It was around this time that I had three narrow escapes from death. The first was when I sledged down Furnace Lane and went underneath a lorry which was travelling from Weedon to Bugbrooke. I went under behind the front wheels and came out the other side just before the rear wheels. Next was when my friend Robin Ellis and I exploded a mortar bomb which we had found in Stowe wood (details of this are in an old copy of The Prattler). The next lucky escape took place at Heyford mill which was no longer in use. One day, together with a group of other village boys we started to hoist ourselves up the mill floors on the chain which had previously been used to lift the corn sacks to the top floor. I had my feet in the chain and pulled on a rope that operated the lift, however, as my head went through a trapdoor in the floor, I lost my grip on the rope and was left hanging by my neck in the trapdoor. Fortunately, after a few seconds I managed to find the rope and am still here to tell the tale.

Another tale involving the mill started at a jumble sale at the school. I was sitting in a large armchair and when the time came for it to be sold I bid one shilling expecting others to bid higher. It was knocked down to me and thus I became the owner of a chair that I didn’t want. After the sale, a lady who had just moved into the mill asked if she could buy it from me. I was relieved and gave it to her for nothing and offered to carry it down to the mill for her. My offer might have been influenced by the fact that she had two pretty daughters about my age.

Guy Fawkes night was always celebrated with a large bonfire on the green. We boys would collect the wood from Crow Lane and drag it down to the village. If we were lucky sometimes we would stop a passing truck and ask them to tow it to the green for us. We saved our money to buy fireworks and had great fun throwing Jumping Jacks at the girls.

Another event that remains fixed in my mind occurred in Stowe. In those days children were allowed time off from school to help in the potato fields. We boys together with many ladies of the village were collected in an old army lorry with a tailboard held up by hooks and chains. I think it was Mrs Sargent who jumped from the lorry and landed just in front of me, minus her ring finger which had been ripped from her hand and remained on the hook of the tailboard together with her wedding ring. I swore on that day I would never ever wear a ring.

At the age of 15 I started on a two year O level course at Northampton Tech and along with two other boys we decided during our Easter holiday we would cycle to Scotland. I started out from Heyford and met them in Northampton. After 2 days we arrived in Redcar where we stayed overnight with an aunt of one of the boys. Next morning, they told me that they had decided not to continue but if I wanted they would wait for me for 2 days in Redcar. It was agreed and I continued to the Scottish border and back. Of course, they were fresh as daisies having had two days of rest but for me it was another two days of cycling to return home. I said goodbye to the boys in Northampton and travelled home only to find that my house was locked and empty.

I walked back out into the road to be met by Mrs Eales who told me how sorry she was to heat about my dad. Of course, I knew nothing about what had happened. She told me that he had had a very serious motorbike accident and was in Northampton general hospital and my mother had gone to stay with her parents at Caldecote. I got back on my bike and cycled the longest six miles of all. My father remained in hospital for many weeks and never did recover completely.

When I was 17, I decided I would like to become a Fleet Air Arm pilot, I had big ambitions and went for a medical only to be told that although I was tall enough, my legs were too short. It was after that I decided that I would like to join the Merchant Navy as a marine engineer, even though I had never even seen a big merchant ship. I gained an interview with Shell Tankers and was offered a four and a half year apprenticeship. This was to be 2 years at college in London, 18 months at sea as a cadet and then 1 year working in the shipyards. All was signed up and I left Heyford for the first time returning once a month since my father had agreed to pay my rail fare. I lived in London on a wage of £2.12 shillings a week out of which I had to pay for my food and accommodation etc.

I returned to live in Heyford after 7 years, but that story is for another day.

John Butcher – December 2019

Heyford Gardening Club – April 2020


Our March meeting featured a talk by Andrew and Anita Thorp who have a nursery specialising in snowdrops. They have a thousand varieties of this popular bulb, some varieties of which command eye watering prices! Andrew gave us an explanation of the “chipping” method of propagating snowdrops and narcissi. Anita also showed us some of the plants that flower at the same time as snowdrops and can complement them. We also held our annual daffodil and narcissus show which this year attracted a good display of blossoms.

The large flowered section was won by Pauline Litchfield, Anne Haynes came second and Pauline Guglielmi third.

Chris West won the small flowered section, John Dunkley and Val Jackson tied for joint second place, but there was no award for third place.

The bi colour section was won by Pauline Guglielmi, John Tapsell came second , and Rosemary Dunkley and Chris West tied for third place.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak we are suspending meetings for the time being. Hopefully we shall be able to resume our programme before too long.

At the present moment we have a lovely display of bulbs and other spring flowering plants in flower in pots about the garden. It is often a temptation to try and continue this display through the summer, but the memory of last year when I seemed to spend most mornings heaving watering cans around has put me off. I shall try to stick to the minimum number of potted items this year; some succulent plants that don’t mind drought, a few lilies that I find are amazingly tolerant and don’t do well in the garden due to the lily beetle (growing in pots and repotting each spring gets rid of any over wintering pupae). Pelargoniums are also less demanding of water so I may keep a few of those. Last year I bought a blue convolvulus from Coton Manor which produced a wonderful show without much attention, and that has made it through this last mild winter so I shall keep that going as long as possible. If I can resist temptation, I may save myself a great deal of work this summer, but then I say that every year.

Things to do in April
1. Sow hardy flowers, vegetables and herbs
2. Feed roses and shrubs
3. Keep an eye out for late frosts

Mark Newstead


For more information visit the Heyford Gardening Club & Allotments page


Heyford Gardening Club – March 2020


Our February meeting featured the welcome return of Liz Taylor of the Woodland Trust who explained the different types of natural woodland to be found in Britain and their associated flora. She also demonstrated how to tell apart the two types of oak to be found here (sessile oaks have stalked leaves; pedunculate oaks have stalked acorns).

We also held our annual arts and crafts show, which again highlighted the range of talent amongst our members.

The photograph section was won by Mike Langrish, Tom Dodd came second and Tony Clewett third.

Philip Reeve won the visual art section with an exquisite miniature painting of a heron, Jean Spokes’ cross-stitch took second place and I managed a third place.

The craft section was won by Mary Newstead with an embroidered bag, Chris West got second with a quilted wreath, and Lynn Ashbee took third with her cupcake quilt.

Our next meeting will be on the 9th March when we will have a talk on snowdrops from Anita Thorp. The evening will also feature the annual daffodil and narcissus show (assuming that there are still daffodils in our gardens by then!).

I am writing this article whilst the second storm in two weeks is lashing the trees. We have already had a very wet winter although there has been little frost so far. Snowdrops are already over and daffodils are fully out and I notice buds nearly bursting on our lilac. This leaves a dilemma, if the season is so advanced, should I get on sowing seeds now to get an early start, or are we likely to get cold weather in the weeks to come? The soil is so wet now that, even without further rain, it will take a while to dry out so perhaps it would be wise to wait a while.

Speaking of plants in pots, I planted some anemone corms in pans in the greenhouse in the autumn, but some creature has been digging in the pans and nipping the developing buds off, I’m not sure whether this is due to mice or renegade sparrows, but it’s all very frustrating.

Things to do in March
1. Top dress container grown plants with fresh compost
2. Prune roses
3. Lift and divide crowded perennials.

Mark Newstead


For more information visit the Heyford Gardening Club & Allotments page


The Story of Heyford (Extra): Sheep Dipping in the early days at Whitehall Farm – Hugh Adams

Sheep Dipping in the early days at Whitehall Farm

We used to take the sheep to be dipped at Upper Heyford. Jack Perkin and I would leave the buildings at Whitehall Farm around 1pm with 40 sheep, driving them along the road towards Heyford. We would pass High House Wharf where the West family (Coal Merchants) lived. On the right side of the road would be the house on the bridge where Ted Grey and his wife Ellen lived. Carrying on down the hill on the right by the side of the canal and past Mr and Mrs Fry (he was a carpenter) following on down the road towards the village, on the left the French family (now Adrian Hayes) – past the Cemetery – down the hill on the right, the Johnson family.

We are now in the village and on the left was Sid Eales shoe mending hut, past the little green. We would pass on the right the Butchers shop kept by Sid Capel (now Glen). We had to keep an eye on the sheep at this point otherwise they would escape down Church Street!! Next was Chapel Cottage, Mrs George. David Browning kept the shop, past the Foresters Arms, the landlord was Tom Rolfe. Now the sheep would take to the green where there was lots of good grass! Turn left into Middle Street past the School and School House where Mr Carrington, the headmaster lived with his wife and 6 children. Next to the Sun Inn was the Farmhouse, Mr and Mrs Will Smith, past Bens Orchard (full of Apple Trees), now it was plain sailing on the way to Upper Heyford.

Our destination was Dovecote Farm where Mr Cosford would be expecting us. The sheep would be put through the dipping bath. This would take about one or two hours. After a cup of tea and then the journey home with two tired men and a very wet dog called Nell. She had been dipped too.

Hugh Adams

Letter published in The Prattler – March 2020


The Story of Heyford (Extra): Dear Diary – December 1949

December 1949

Dear Diary,

I’m so excited. Christmas is nearly here. The chimney sweep’s been so that Santa won’t get his suit dirty. Mr. West, the coalman has delivered a sack of coal ready for a fire in the front room on Christmas Day, and I’ve asked mum if she can send Father Christmas a letter saying I would love a doll. I’ll do it myself next year when I can write better. I’ll hang my stocking in the fireplace though. I may get an orange, some nuts or coloured pencils.

I live in a Council house in Furnace Lane, on the left, with my mum and dad. My bedroom is at the back of the house and I can see right across the fields. I can see our long back garden with a little lawn for me and our dog, Sally, to play on and dad’s vegetable patch at the bottom, and all the way down one side is a line for mum’s washing on Mondays. I like Mondays because the copper in the kitchen where mum boils the washing, smells lovely and steams up all the windows.

After Christmas it’ll be 1950 and I shall be starting school because I’m four now. I want to go to be with other children, because there’s only me, but I don’t want to leave mum on her own all day. Still, she has my grandparents, a sister and brother and lots of good neighbours in the village so she can always visit one of them. School starts when the bell rings at 9 o’clock. I shall walk down Furnace Lane, with mum of course, and cross the village green on the footpath that runs from the corner by the chapel straight across to the school. There’s another one that goes opposite to the shops. If we took that one I might be tempted to jump the stream that runs along the side of Hillside Road. Still, I just remembered, the cows are on the green some days, chomping away at the grass so we might have to walk along The Tops. She said she’ll fetch me home for dinner at 12 o’clock but I have to go again at 2 o’clock. I’ll probably fall asleep in that time; it’s so quiet while dad’s at work. He’ll be home when it gets dark for his dinner, then perhaps he’ll have a
game of snakes and ladders with me before I go to bed at 6 o’clock.

I’ve started Sunday school and we have been learning all about the baby Jesus and singing hymns. When dad fetches me home we go up Church Lane to see Mr. Potter’s horse. It’s a big horse and it pulls the milk cart round the village so that we all have fresh milk delivered to our door. The lady who delivers it doesn’t need to tell the horse when to stop, it knows.

Well, I’m about to have one of my Nan’s boiled eggs with soldiers for my tea. She has lots of hens in her orchard and I help her collect the eggs sometimes. It’s about this time of year that they seem to die, maybe they get too cold.


Letter published in The Prattler – December 2019


Heyford Gardening Club – March 2019


At our February meeting Christine Lewis explained the intricacies of using plant material to dye fabrics. This provided some surprises; who would have thought that avocado skins would produce a delicate pink, or that green was so difficult to obtain?

The evening also featured our annual art and craft show which again revealed the wealth of talent amongst our members. The photographic section was won by Jill Langrish with a study of snowdrops, Kim Woodbridge-Dodd and yours truly shared second place and Mike Langrish came third.

The visual art section was won by an embroidered seascape by Mary Newstead, Chris West came second and Linda Hall, Ann Haynes and myself tied for third place.

The craft section was won by Lynn Ashby with an amazingly intricate quilt, Mary Newstead was second and Chris West came third.

Next month we welcome the return of Patsy Rayner who will tell us about plants and literature.

The evening will also feature the Annual Daffodil Competition.

The classes are:

1. Single coloured daffodil
2. Bi-colour daffodil
3. Small flowered daffodil or narcissus

each exhibit will require only one bloom.

At the time of writing, in mid February, the snowdrops have been blooming for weeks and there are daffodils, crocuses primroses and violets all basking in the sunshine and yesterday the mahonia was full of bees. It would be easy to be seduced by these mild spells in early spring and to start sowing seeds but the nights are still long and cold and the soil hasn’t yet warmed up so it’s better to wait a bit longer. No doubt by the time you read this normal service will have been resumed.

Some Things to do in March
1. plant early potatoes, onion sets, garlic, shallots and summer bulbs
2. top dress containers and pots with fresh compost
3. last chance to plant bare rooted shrubs and trees

Mark Newstead

For more information visit the Heyford Gardening Club & Allotments page