Warwick Stories – ‘Cases from the Past’ are brief accounts of court cases heard at the Warwick Assizes around 200 years ago and found in the archives by researchers from Unlocking Warwick.
According to archives in the County Record Office in Warwick, on April 5th 1817 a case came before Warwick Assizes about 80 sheep. Who owned them?
The ‘action’ was brought by a local farmer, (the Plaintiff), against a cattle dealer from Radnor called Price, (the Defendant). The livestock dealer has sold four-score sheep to the farmer for £72, which on being delivered had been paid for. But imagine the farmer’s surprise when a few days later he ‘received a letter from an attorney stating that the sheep belonged to a client of his, by the name of Kendrick of Brearley, who had purchased them several days before’.
The record of the court hearing continues, ‘Price being applied to by the Plaintiff to explain the business, denied his having sold the sheep to Kendrick, and further he would indemnify him from any loss in sustaining a law suit’. This seems to have gone down badly with the original purchaser of the sheep, Mr. Kendrick, who ‘commenced an action’ against Price the livestock dealer.
In the end the judge at the Warwick Assizes pronounced that it had been ‘satisfactorily proved that the sheep had been previously sold to Mr. Kendrick’. The duplicitous dealer who had tried to sell the same flock of sheep twice had to pay £283. 9s. 3d in costs and damages – a considerable sum in 1817 and four times the value of the sheep.
You might say he had tried to fleece the local farmer by pulling the wool over his eyes – but then again, you might not.