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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

Of Rudhall in Herefordshire


It

is worthy of remark, that the same boundary line, with only a trifling difference, defines the two townships of East and West Dean, into which the Forest is now divided for the purposes of the Poor Law Amendment Act. The connexion of this division with the Court of Mine Law consisted simply in this, that the attendance of a free miner on the jury was regulated by the position of his works and habitation in one or other of them.

A 5 pounds penalty was laid upon all miners who should send or carry any coals to Hereford or Monmouth by the Wye, except lime-coal at "the New Wears," at 4s. a dozen bushels. A similar fine was inflicted on any inhabitant of the Forest division of the county who should "presume" to carry coal otherwise than for their own use; so also no miner was to work more than two pits at one time; nor to carry coal for any person not a free miner; neither to sell fire-coal or stone-coal charks under 7s. a dozen bushels, or 5s. if smith's coal, at Redbrook, which, if refused there, a "forbid" shall be declared until the former coal should be accepted. This "Order" further enacted that if coal was found in any bargeman's boat, and he refuse to say from whom he had it, a general "forbid" shall be declared that no miner serve him with any more. A free miner is briefly defined to be "such as have lawfully worked at coal a year and a day." A foreigner selling coal at Hereford

for less than 13s. per ton was to be summoned, or abide the consequences of a general "forbid." Should there be at any time more than a sufficiency of coal for the trade on the Wye, the barge-owners were to employ the services of the miners, or be fined according to their wages. A horse-load to the Wye was fixed at 2 cwt. and a quarter for 6d., ten such making a ton, to be weighed, if required, under a forfeit of 2s. 6d. Miners beneath the wood were bound to sell not less than a cwt. of coal for 4d.; 3 bushels of smith's coal for 5d.; and 1 bushel of lime coal for 1d. at the pit. No team was to be served with less than 2 cwt. nor more than 21 cwt., to be weighed, if desired, or forfeit 5 pounds. This Order constituted Richard Clarke and Edward Tomkins Machen, Esqrs., free miners, and exhibits at the end the penmanship of only 18 of the jury, all the rest merely making their marks.

We now arrive at the _seventeenth_ or last "Order" issued by the Mine Law Court. It dates 22nd October, 1754, and sat at the Speech House, before Maynard Colchester and Thomas James, Esqrs.

It records the election to free-minerships of the Right Honble. George Augustus Lord Dursley, Charles Wyndham of Clearwell, Esq., Rev. Roynon Jones of Monmouth, John Probyn of Newland, Esq., his son Edmund, Maynard Colchester the younger, Esq., Roynon Jones the younger, of Nass, Esq., Kedgwin Webley of London, Gentleman, Kedgwin Hoskins the elder, of Clearwell, Gent., William Probyn the younger, of Newland, Gent., Mr. Kedgwin Hoskins the younger, of Clearwell, Mr. Edmund Probyn the younger, son of the said William Probyn, Mr. Thomas James the younger, Mr. Thomas Baron the younger, son of Mr. Thomas Baron of Coleford, Herbert Rudhall Westfaling, of Rudhall in Herefordshire, Esq., John Clarke, of "The Hill," in Herefordshire, Esq., Thomas Foley the elder, of "Stoke Eddy," in the said shire, Esq., Thomas Foley the younger, of the same, Esq., John Symons, of the Mine, in the same county, Esq., Ion Yate, of Arlingham, Esq., William Lane, of "King's Standley," and Barrow Lawrence, of Bruen's Lodge, Gent.


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