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poverty in which the affairs of the Participants became involved, might be the cause why nothing further was done; or it might appear on second consideration that, when completed, it would prove very ineffectual.
In the year 1686, the Commoners of Epworth being dissatisfied with the allotment of six thousand acres made to them by the Commissioners some time before, the subject of dispute was, by mutual consent, referred to Sir John Banks, the Attorney-General, who allotted the Commoners a thousand acres more, out of the portion which had before been given to the Participants *, also Epworth South Moor and Butterwick Moor : and “considering that the poor within the parishes of Epworth, Haxey, Owston, and Belton, all in Epworth Manor, would be sufferers by the loss of fishing and fowling, awarded that the Participants should pay four hundred pounds, for a stock to employ their poor people in the making of sackcloth and cordaget.
This was far from giving satisfaction to the Commoners, who considered the whole thirteen thousand acres, by virtue of Mowbray's Deed, as their inalienable right; and tumults broke out similar to those which had before occurred on the other side of the Chase : they assaulted and beat the work. men, threw some of them into the river Torn, and kept them under water with long poles; and several times upon the knolling of a bell, came in companies to the works, filled up the ditches, and burnt the tools. For these offences heavy fines of one thousand pounds each were imposed in the Star Chamber, upon William Torksey, Hezekiah Brown, John Moody, and Henry Scott, Commoners of Epworth, and they were ordered to pay one thousand marks damage to Vermuyden. But upon their consenting to become parties to some illegal proceedings with one Newland, an agent of Vermuyden, these fines were never levied.
It appears that a Sergeant at Arms had been sent down from the Star Chamber to apprehend the rioters; and, on his going away, not having been
* This is the piece of land on Haxey Common described in Arelebout's map, made 1639, as har. ing formerly belonged to the Participants.
+ Prymne's MSS.
able to take all that were named in his warrant, he left it in the hands of Newland. Newland, knowing most probably that there were many guilty persons whose names were not in the warrant, and who expected to be ap. prehended, altered this most important document, and received, it appears, in conjunction with Moody, Francis, and Thurley, as much as eleven hun. dred pounds in money, and two hundred pounds in land, from different perBons, for their discharge from arrests under colour of this forged process. This caused them, at the suit of the people at Misterton, to be brought again before the same tribunal; when Moody and Newland were fined one thousand pounds each, and Thurley and Francis five hundred pounds each*. They were also sentenced to stand in the pillory, with papers in their hats; and Moody was to come to the Bar of the Exchequer, with a paper in his hat, and there to acknowledge his false answer which he had given to the Court, to the prejudice of the country. They were further sentenced to make restitution to the amount of forty pounds each, for the money extorted froin divers persons under colour of the execution of the warrant of the Sergeant at Arms, and fifty pounds “to a man from whom they took the pig*.” By tampering with the prosecutor they found means also to elude this sen. tepee, and to escape the shame and punishment which was due to themt: The Participants, however, obtained a Commission of Oyer and Terminer to try the rioters.
In the same year King Charles granted to Cornelius Vermuyden all the the third part of the improved lands awarded to the Crown in Epworth, Bel. ton, Haxey, Gringley, Misterton, Snaith, Cowick, Rawcliffe, and Crowle, to be held of the King and his Heirs and successors in free and common socage, and not in chief, nor by knight's service, for the annual rents of four hun. dred and sixty two pounds seventeen shillings, and two hundred and eighty one pounds. The King afterwards granted these rents to Philip, late Earl
* From Copies of Minutes of the Star Chamber, now in the possession of R. P. Johnson, Esq. of Temple Bellwood.
+ Case of the Manor of Epworth.
of Pembroke and Montgoinery, and Sir Robert Pye, in trust for the Duke of Buckingham and his heirs for ever.
The Commoners being thus restrained by the terror of the law from outrage and violence, the complainants on the west side of the Chase being ini a great measure satisfied by the additional works which had been completed in that quarter, and the affairs of the whole Level being judiciously adminis: tered by the independent and upright gentlemen who had been named in the Cominission of Sewers; the affairs of the Participants began to take a turn for the better, and they enjoyed a season of rest and tranquillity:
About this time Sir Cornelius Vermuyden withdrew from the works, having engaged, along with Sir Robert Heath, in a speculation of the Dove Gang lead mine, near Wirksworth. He sold his share of the improved lands, and the manors which he had purchased of the Crown, to Sir James Catts, who sold them to Sir John Gibbons. There is a drain in the Bedford Level called Vermuyden's Drain, and as he was summoned to appear before the House of Commons and give an account of his proceedings with the works in the fens, there can be little doubt but that he engaged in the drainage of that part of the country. The libellous author of the History of the Drainage, tells us that, soon after this period, he died miserably poor in the south. That he was poor is most probably true, for such is but too often the fate of the original proprietors of great public works and improvements. He was alive, however, in 1656; for in that year his name occurs as a petitioner on the journals of the House. Beyond this we are not able to trace him. Sir Cor? nelius Vermuyden married-Catherine' the daughter of All Saints Lapps of London, by whom he had two sons, Cornelius and John, and three daughters Sarah, Catherine, and Adriand.
This season of tranquillity was, however, but of short duration. The breaking out of the civil war afforded the Islonians an opportunity of trying to get rid of the new settlers, which they resolved not to let pass without endeavouring to make the most of. They circulated a report that Sir Ralph Hanby, who was exceedingly active in the royal cause at Doncaster, was about to march into the Isle, the inhabitants of which were for the most part
disaffected to the King, owing, most probably to the new improvements being introduced into the country under the royal auspices. Under pretence of frustrating this design, they persuaded the Committee, which sat at Lincoln to watch over the parliamentary interests in the county, to order " the floodgates of the Snow Sewer to be pulled up, which by letting in the tides from the river of Trent, soon drowned a great part of the Level ; divers persons standing there with muskets, and saying that they would stay until the whole Level was drowned, and the inhabitants forced to swim away like ducks; and so continued guarding the said sluice for the space of seven weeks together, letting in the tides at every full water, and keeping the doors shut at an ebb. About the same time, some of the inhabitants of Misterton pulled down another sluice at that town, which occasioned the river Trent to break down the banks, and overflow the whole Level, so that the barns and stacks of corn were drowned a yard high at the least*.”
The authority of the laws being now relaxed, the Commoners of Epworth revived their claim, under Mowbray's Deed, to the 13,000 acres on their com. mon, which had been settled by the award of Sir Jolin Banks, in 1686 ; tu. mults and riots again broke out, and in the year 1642, “ they threw down a great part of the banks which had been erected as works of drainage, and filled up the ditches, putting cattle into the corn and pastures of those that had been adventurers for the drainage."
The following table when compared with the map will enable the reader to perceive the actual damage which the Participants suffered. It also shews what persons were in arrear from the year 1642 to the year 1652; and the sums owing from each, none of them having paid any assessment during the whole of that period. It appears also, that out of the twenty-two pro, prietors here enumerated, only seven were original Participants.
This table is entitled “a certificate and list of the Participants' lands lying in the Isle of Axholme, in the County of Lincoln, throune downe in the summer of 1642; and also the scotts and taxes laid by the Commissioners
* Ex prefatis depositionibus.
of Sewers, since that time to the 21st of Jany. 1652, amountinge in all to 41s. ånd:6d. the acre, for the repaire of the works, namely, sasses, (chassis, an old French word, signifying a framework of wood,) slewses, rivers, banks, draynes; &c. within the dicagé and draynage of the Levell of Hatfield Chase, which said länds were cavelled out, and allotted to every Participant, by 6 capital divi. sions in every part of the said Levells, by 6 letters, namely, A.B.C. D. E. F. by whieh every owner:may know where his lands lyeth, and in what part of thie Lévells, as followeth.
d. “ Cavell D. The Lady:Cambell, 132 arrears 412 12 scotts 273 18 0 F. The Lady:Cambell, 132
273 18 0 E. ŞirAnt Valkenburgh, 100
207 10 0 E. Mr. Valkenburgh, 32
66 8 0 A. Sir Gabriel Vernatti, 66
136 19.0 A. Mr. Sam Van Paine,
1 ,alias Peenin,
136 19 0 C. Mr. John Gibbons, 132
273 18 0 B. Mr. John Farren,
1.97X150 B. Mr. John Gibbons
,176 70 A. 792
£1643 12 0
2. The 6 cavells by Bickersdyke of 145 acres. « Cavell A. Sir Gabriel Vernatti,
149 29 A. Mr. Sam Van Paine, 72
1 B. Sir Antony Erby,
301-26 F. The Lady Cambell, 145
301 2 6 C. Mr. John Gibbons, to vis* 145
301 26 D. Mr. John Farren,
97 10 6 D. Mr. Duvyglight f others -98
20376 E. Sir John Ant. Valkenburgh 145
301-.2.6 A. 870
£ 1803 13 6