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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

And have dampnified our levell


names of the Jury_.--Richard Powell, Simon Bannister, George Thomas, Frances Dutheridge, William Kerr, Richard Hawkins, Joseph Cooper, Samuel Kerr, Henry Roberts, William Meeke, Richard Tingle, James Teague.

"William Gagg otherwise Smith, and his Vearns, _against_ James Bennett and his Vearns.

"I complaine against William Gagge and his Vearns for hindering our levell and doing of us willfull trespas, whereby we have sustained great damage, att a stone (lime) coale worke called Churchway, otherwise Turnbrooke, in the Hundred of Saint Briavels, (as this,) they hindered the levell, and deepwall they would not bring forward to our new pit that was then just downe. We leave this to the best proof & the order.I asked them the reason, and they told me it was to make coale scarce and men plenty; they went back sixteen or eighteen weeks into their scale, contrary to the rule and custom of all free miners beneath the wood with us; and likewise before, they hindered the levell in their new deepit. And wilfully more they cut up to their land gutter, and tooke in the water by a single sticken gutter in their backer deep pit, and turned it across the bottom of our deep pit into our air gutter, which we prepared for ourselves and them, whereby our lamping the charks was swelled downe, and have destroyed the air, and filled our gateway with water and sludge, and very likely to destroy the levells, and put us by getting

a scale of coale there. And by their so doing, I and my vearnes are dampnified thirty pounds. All this I will prove myself and by evidence in the King's mine."

Another suit, dated 20th January, 1753, is also subjoined:--

"William Dukes and his vernes, plaintiffs, _against_ William Keare and his vernes, defendants.

"We complain against William Keare and his vernes for wrongfully forbidding us out of a stone coal work, called the Gentlemen Colliers, within the Hundred of St Briavels, that we should not get any coal of the deep side of our former work, which coal our levell drains, and ours being the most ancient level. We leave this to the best evidence.We have attended the place, and burned our light, according to our laws and customs, and through this wrong forbidd we are dampnified five pounds. And whereas several forbidds have been given before, we, the aforesaid plaintiffs and defendants, left the same to the determination of Charles Godwin and Richard James, and we the said plaintiffs have duly observed the said determination, and that the said defendants have gone contrary to an order made by 48 free miners in getting of coal that our levell would have drained, and have dampnified our levell, whereby they have forfeited the penalty of the said Order. And this we will prove by evidence, and the damages in getting coal we will leave to the Order in Ct.

"We deny the forbid given to him or his vernes. We forbidd them in getting any coal betwixt our work and theirs, except their levell could dry it fairly. There was an agreement betwixt us, and they went contrary to the agreement, and this we will prove ourselves and by witnesses."

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