Mary Gee, widow, versus John Pearch. Hop grounds in Orpington, 1695 – 1700. E134/11and12Wm3/Hil3

In this court case, Mary Gee states that John Pearch has not paid sufficient tithes for the hops he has grown between 1695 and 1698. Witnesses are called by both sides, and statements (depositions) are made between the seventeenth and the nineteenth of June 1700.

The document consists of eight sheets sewn together in a bundle. Only the eighth has been transcribed here. The eight pages are as follows:

A small sheet in Latin, outlining the matter.

A questionnaire listing four questions to be answered.

Depositions from John Rablas of St Mary Cray and Elias Farrall of Orpington.

A small sheet in Latin.

Two sheets of statements.

Interrogatories: seven questions to be answered.

Sheet 8: Depositions answering these seven questions, transcribed below.

Throughout the eighth sheet, there is great inconsistency in the use of spelling, capitalisation, punctuation and abbreviations.

Because these sheets of parchment are sewn together about 3 centimetres from the top, the greater part of the first 7 lines of writing cannot be read. The first line begins: James Walton of Orpington …

To the third Interr’y this Dept saith that in the year ending at Mich’as 1695 the Deft Pearch (hole in parchment) not by himself servants or agents pick any hopps in any of his Hoppgrounds in the Parish of Orpington afores’d there being no hops in any part of the s’d Hoppground the said Hoppground being then all blasted And this Dept further saith that in the Year ending at Mich’as 1696 there might be near a kilnefull of Hopps gathered from the said Hopgrounds and no more to the best of this Depts Judgem’t and the Dryer told this Dept besides that there were so few Hopps in sd year 1696 picked from the sd Grounds that the Binnemen carryed them home upon their backs & that the sd Hoppes was not worth above forty shillings and that this Dept was one of the said Binnemen And this Dept further saith that in the said year ending at Mich’as 1697 the Deft Pearch did gather from the sd three acres of Hopgrounds a reasonable Crop and the said Cropp might be worth four or five pound an acre one with another & no more to this Depts Judgement and that this Dept was a Binneman in the sd Grounds in the same year And the Dept further saith that the Dept Pearth in ye sd year ending at Michas 1698 had but a very reasonable Crop of Hops from off the said three acres of Hopground and about the same quantity he gathered there the said year next before and that he does believe they were of the like Value viz about four or five pound an acre one acre with another And that he this Dept was a Binneman in the said ground for that year And more says not to this Interr’y.

4 To the fourth Interr’y this Dept saith that he hath known Jane Tubman the wife of William Tubman and Elizabeth Blake both in ye sd Interr’y named for about seven or eight years and that the said Jane Tubman is a poor woman and is uncapable of giveing a Judgem’t upon Hops and that she was employed by the Deft Pearth in picking of Hopps in the said Hopground in the years 1696 1697 & 1698 and to the best of the Depts memory she the said Jane Tubman was not employed in picking of Hopps for the said Deft above five days in each of the said years And this Dept can better speak to the same because he this Dept looked after and kept an account of the people employed in the said Hopgrounds at the picking times in each of the said three years And this Dept further saith that does believe that the said Elizabeth Blake has not been employed in picking of Hopps for the Deft since ninety four but has been in service ever since that time as this Dept has been informed And more says not to this Interr’y

John Day of the Parish of Orpington in the County of Kent Husbandman aged fifty eight or thereabouts produced sworn and examined the nineteenth day of June in the year of our Lord One thousand Seven hundred on the part and behalf of John Pearth Defend’t to the Bill of Complaint of Mary Gee widow plt deposeth as followeth

2 To the Second Interr’y this Dept saith that the Deft Pearth had two acres of Hopground in the Parish of Orpington aforesaid of full growth in the year ending Mich’as 1695 and had another acre of hopgorund in the same parish which last acre as this Dept believes was planted about three years before the year 1695 but was not then in full growth And this Dept further saith that the said Deft Pearch had likewise the said three acres of Hopground for the severall years ending at Michaelmas 1696, 1697, & 1698 and that all the said Hopground was of a full growth for all the said last three years Except the one acre in the said Year 1696 which acre was last planted and more says not to this Interr’y

2 To the Second Interr’y this Dept saith that there was no Hops in the sd Defts said Hopgrounds in the year ending at Mich’as 1695 they being all blasted and that was but a very few hopps in the said Ground in year ending at Mich’as 1696 and the same was but buttons blacked and spoyled with the blasts and that all the Crop thereof did scarcely make a kilnefull and that he believes the same was not worth above forty shillings And this Dept further said that for the years ending at Michaelmas 1697 & 1698 the Hopps picked of the said three acres of Hoppgrounds might for the best of this Depts Judgement be worth five pounds an acre one acre with another and no more each of the said years And more saith not to this Interr’y.

Elias Verrall of the Parish of Orpington in the County of Kent Husbandman aged fifty eight years or thereabouts produced sworn and examined the nineteenth day of June in the year of our Lord 1700 on the part and behalf of John Pearth Dept to the Bill of Complaint of Mary Gee widow Plaintiff

2 & 3 To the Second and third Interr’ies this Dept saith that about five years ago the Deft Pearch had two acres of Hopground of full growth and another acre of Hopground that was polled there for good being a young plantacon never polled before and that all the said three acres are in the parish of Orpington aforesaid and this Dept saith that in that year there was no Hopps in the said three acres they being all blasted and that the same ground was all the Hopground the said Deft Pearch then or ever since had in the said Parish of Orpington And this Dept further saith that the next year after, which he takes to be the year 1696 the said Pearch had scarce a kilne of Hops from off all the said Hopground which this Dept believes might be worth betwixt 30 & 40 shillings And this Dept saith further that the Defend’t two years after which this Dept takes to be the years 1697 & 1698 had about as many Hops on each acre of the said Hopground in each of the said years as was worth five pounds and no more to the best of this Depts Judgem’t. And this Dept saith has worked for the sd Deft Pearch in his husbandry in his Mault & in Hopgrounds for these twenty years last past and more saith not to these Interr’ies.

5 To the fifth Interr’y this Dept saith that he believes that a hundred pound of Greenhops doth generally shrink in the dryeing about three quarters and that there may be about a Quarter of a hundred left of them But this Dept tho’ he has often dryed Hops never made any great observacon how much they usually shrunk in dryeing And this Dept says that Jane Tubman in the sd Interr’y menconed has not to this Depts knowledge picked hopps for the sd Deft Pearch these five or six years neither doth this Dept know where And more says not to this Interr’y.

Jane Tubman of the Parish of Chislehurst in the County of Kent wife of William Tubman Husbandman formerly sworne and examined on the pt & behalfe of the said Mary Gee the Comp’lt ag’t the said John Pearch Deft and on the Nineteenth day of June in the year of our Lord 1700 produced sworn & examined on ye part and behalfe of ye sd John Pearch in the same Cause deposeth as followeth.

6 To the sixth Interr’y this Dept saith that about five years ago there was not at that time any Hops in the Hopgrounds belonging to the Defend’t in the Parish of Orpington in the said County of Kent And that three & four years ago come Bartholemew Tyd she was imployed by ye Defend’t in the picking of his Hops in the Hopgrounds aforesd for three or four days each year But this Dept says how many pound of Hops was picked in the said Ground either of the sd years Neither did this Dept see them weighed Nor can this Dept make an Estimate how many pound the sd Hops might weigh in the Field or Garden that were picked of the said Grounds in both or either of the said years And this Dept saith that there was severall Children employed by the Deft Pearch in picking of the said Hops when she was so employed but how many she cannot tell And further saith that the Defend’t had but two bad Crops in the said two years wherein she was employed And more says not to this Interr’y.

John Rublaise of ye parish of St Mary (gap) in the County of Kent Husbandman aged fifty years or thereabouts formerly sworn & examined on the part and behalf of the said Mary Gee Plt ag’t the s’d John Pearch Deft And now this seventeenth Day of June in the year of our Lord 1700 produced sworn & examined on the part and behalf of the sd John Pearch in the same Cause deposeth as followeth

3 To the second Interr’y this Dept saith That the Deft John Pearch had three acres of Hopground within the parish of Orpington in the said County of Kent for the severall years ending at Mich’as 1695, 1696, 1697, & 1698, but the names of the said Ground this Dept knows not And this Dept further saith that two of the said acres of Hopground was at full growth all the said years but the third was not of full growth till the year 1696, and in that year the same was of full growth And more says not to this Interr’y.

3 To the third Interr’y this Dept saith there was no Hops in any of ye sd Hopgrounds in the said year ending at Mich’as 1695 And that this Dept does believe that the full value of all the Hops that were produced by said three acres of Hopground in the said year ending at Mich’as 1696 was worth about thrity five or forty shilings and no nore And that this Dept in his Judgem’t doth believe that all the hops that grew upon the said Hopgrounds in the year ending at Mich’as 1697 & 1698 were worth each year betwixt four and five pounds an acre and no more And this Dept further saith that he digged dressed and polled all the said Hopground during all the said four years but for many years before and more says not to this Interr’y.

4 To the fourth Interr’y this Dept saith that he has known Jane Tubman the wife of William Tubman and Elizabeth Blake spinster (both in the said Interr’y named) for these six years last past And that he does believe that the said William Tubman Jane Tubman and Elizabeth Blake are poor people and does believe that the said William Tubman and Jane his wife hav Pay of the Parish to support themselves withall And that this Dept believes that neither the said Jane Tubman nor Elizabeth Blake have any judgem’t in Hops they neither of them been any otherwise employed about Hopps there picking at the Binne And this Dept saith that the said Elizabeth Blake has not been employed in the Defts Hopground and in any of the said years ending at Mich’as 1695, 1696, 1697, or 1698, the said Jane Tubman was employed for the sd Deft Pearch in his said Hopground in picking of Hopps for the said years ending at Mich’as 1696, 1697, & 1698, And that this Dept believes the said Jane Tubman did pick Hops in the said year 1696 for about four days & halfe and more says not to this Interr’y.

5 To the fifth Interr’y this Dept saith that he has not been very curious in observing how much hops usually shrink in their weight in their dryeing from the weight they are when they are first picked in the field or Hop Garden But to the best of this Deponents Judgement Hops usually shrink in the dryeing about three fourths And this Dept further says there was always severall children employed by the Deft picking his Hopps in his said hopground when the said Tubman was employed about the same But how many at any time this Dept remembers not and more says not to this Interr’y.

7 To the seventh Interry this Dept saith he cannot depose

John Coleman of the parish of Orpington in the County of Kent husbandman aged forty years or thereabouts produced sworn and examined the nineteenth day of June in the year of our Lord 1700 on the part and behalfe of John Pearch Defend. to the Bill of Complaint of Mary Gee widow Defendt. deposeth as followeth.

2 To the Second Interry this Dept saith that the Defend. Pearch had three acres of Hopground and no more within the Parish of Orpington aforesaid for the severall years ending at Mich’as 1695, 1696, 1697, 1698 all of full growth except one of the said acres for the said 1695 but the p’ticular names of the Grounds this Dept does not well know And more says not to this Interr’y.

3 To the third Interr’y this Dept says that in the said year ending at Mich’as 1695 the said Deft had not any Hops in any of his said Hop Grounds they being all blasted And that in the said year ending at Mich’as 1696 the said Deft had a very small Crop of Hopps of this said Hopground And that he does believe that all the Hopps he had from the same was that year worth but about forty shillings And that in the years ending at Michaelmas 1697 & 1698 the said Defendt. had Hops from off the said three acres of Hopground worth between four and five pounds an acre each of the said years And that the same was a full value of all the hops the sd Deft had in the said Grounds these last two years And more says not to this Interr’y.

4 To the fourth Interry this Dept saith he hath known Jane Tubman & Elizabeth Blake in the said Interr’y men’coned for about seven or eight years last past And that the said Jane Tubman is in a low Condition as the wife of a poor man and that the said Blake is but an ordinary Servant Maid And he does verily believe they neither of them have any Judgem’t in the value of Hopps and does say that the said Blake has not been concerned in picking the said Defend’ts Hopgrounds in any of the above said four years And he this Dept further saith that the said Jane Tubman was employed in picking of Hops in the said Hopgrounds in the said severall years 1696, 1697, 1698, and in the first of the said three years about three days in the second year about four days and the third year 1698, about four days and a halfe And more says not to this Interry save only he walked often into and worked very much in the said Hopgrounds for some years last past.

5 To the fifth Interr’y this Dept that he is apt to believe but doth not very well know that Hops usually shrink in their weight in the dryeing from the weight they are when they are first picked in the Field or Hopgarden one full fourth part And he further saith that there was as many Children to his Observation as grown people employed by the Deft in picking the Hops when the said Tubman was employed about the same but what Number this Dept cannot say And more says not to this Interr’y.

7 To the seventh Interr’y this Dept saith that he doth very well know that the Tyth of the thirty Bundles of Hurdlerodds in the Interr’y men’coned to be worth about one shilling the whole value thereof being worth but about ten pounds And that the Tyth of the Barke of the Alder Poles (men’coned in the first Interr’y) when stript from the Hopp Poles to be worth about one shilling and six pence and no more And that the Tyth of the six Cord of Wood felled and cut down in the said year 1696 & 1697 in the said Interr’y also mentioned was worth about three shillings & seven pence and mo more and more says not to this Interr’y.

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