Extracts from articles in the Free Press from various years.
March 12th 1859 – A Parochial squabble
The surveyor of the highways, homes Watkins, summoned Wm. Harris, poor-rate collector, for refusing to give him the rate-books for the purpose of making a rate.
It would appear that some apprehension was felt amongst the parishioners that the surveyor was not acting as impartially as he ought to do in his official capacity and they therefore thwarted him as much as possible in the performance of what he considered to be his duties.
Defendant it would seem was acting under the influence of other parties and it appeared in evidence that the book was in the possession of Mr. Evans. The defendant was ordered to give up the book and pay the expenses.
May 28th 1859 – The Goytrey Case
The adjourned case of assault, brought by William Harris, assistant overseer for the above parish, acting for Mr. James, the overseer against Wm. Gwatkin, an assistant of the rival overseer.
It appeared from complainants evidence that he was proceeding from the vestry meeting relative to the Railway Company’s appeal against the parish rates, when. he met defendant, to whom he showed the notice, just before the church service, he later saw the defendant putting up another notice a short while later and told him to desist it – it was not required.
Complainant pulled it off, when Gwatkin commenced “swaggering” his hands backwards and forward and eventually pushed complainant round by his elbow and put his fist in his face, when of course complainant “retired,” thinking it very disgraceful conduct.
The Bench stopped the case as there was no ground for the charge of assault. Each party to pay their own expenses.
June 4th 1859 – The Goytrey Surveyors
Mr. Wm. Watkins, ex-surveyor, was summoned for neglecting to deliver up the parish books, writings and other property belonging to the parish.
Mr A. Edwards appeared on behalf of the parish and called Mr. Wm. Nicholls, who stated that he was recently appointed surveyor of highways for the parish of Goytrey and that on the 20th April he applied to Mr. Watkins for the books and papers.
He refused at first to give them up, but arranged to meet on the 28th and promised to do so then. He accordingly went to his house on the day named and showed his appointment. Defendant went into another room but returned in about a quarter of an hour without the books, refused to give them up and has retained them until the present time.
A penalty of £5 was inflicted upon him. A rate of 19s 6d collected by him was ordered to be paid. Mr Watkins stated he should appeal at the next quarter sessions against the fine.
June 18th 1859 – The Ex-Surveyor of Goytrey Again
Mr Thos. Watkins (who it will be remembered gave notice of appeal at the next quarter sessions against a £5 penalty inflicted upon him a fortnight since, for refusing to deliver up his books to the surveyor by whom he had superseded,) appeared with two sureties and was bound over in £10 penalty to appear at the sessions referred to.
July 2nd – The Railway Rating Appeal Case
Messrs Smythies and Somerset appeared for the N.A. & H.R.Co., (the appellants) and Messrs Barrett and Pritchard for the respondent parish of Goytrey.
The length of line running through the parish is two miles six chains, and the present rating of £100 per mile was considered too high owing to the large amount of depreciation of stock which the Company experienced from the fact that a large proportion of their traffic being mineral and not passengers.
Percy Morris Esq., was examined as to general management of the line and the nature of the traffic passing to and fro.
Mr Thomas Harrison, acting engineer for the North Eastern Railway Co., spoke of his experience in the matter of renewals required on railways generally.
the line on which he was employed cost about £80 per annum for renewal, on a total of nearly 700 miles. This amount varied from £50 to £150 per mile on different portions of the line; and his opinion was that £100 per mile would be a fair amount for the purpose of renewal on the N.A. & H.R. Co., line.
The chairman stated he should reserve his decision until tomorrow. The following day it was agreed that the rate be reduced to £86. 1s, being £60 per mile less than it was at present.
July 30th 1859 – “The Unfortunate Parish of Goytrey”
Watkins v Evans. (Mr Price appearing for complainant and Mr Llewellyn for defendant)
Mr Watkins claims to be the legitimate surveyor of highways for the parish of Goytrey applied for a distress warrant for £8 8s 4d against the Rev Thomas Evans, rector of Goytrey, for parochial rates.
Mr Price said his client was elected to the office of surveyor for the parish of Goytrey in 1858, which he held until March 1859, when in the ordinary way he would have retired if the inhabitants had properly elected someone to succeed him, as pointed out in the statute of the 5th and 6th of William 4th, which ordained that they meet for that purpose on the 25th of March. He states the inhabitants did not comply with the statute, for they met on the 24th instead of the 25th of the month and elected Nicholas as surveyor and that appointment must be considered null and void being contrary to the provisions of the act of Parliament.
Mr Watkins said, “I reside in the parish of Goytrey and was appointed surveyor in March 1858” he then produced his ledger, the accounts being passed in March 1859, being signed by the chairman and several parishioners.
October 13th 1866 – Another Wolf in Gwent
Not the first legend whose foundation lies in the sand of romance, rather than on the rock of fact, is that which gave Mr C.H. Williams the ground-work for his clever ballad. But the wolf which went scraping his paws, grinding his jaws, through brake and flood to Goytrey wood, where he got that ugly lick from Mr Herbert’s staff, was not the last of his race. Another wolf remains to be slain in Goytrey – so we are credibly informed – but no descendant of the brave Earl of Pembroke appears to give him chase
Rides Stretton from Bryn derwen.
Rides Relph from hill of beech.
But then, ‘tis smaller vermin that you hunt nowadays, unless you go to France with His Grace of Beaufort.
The wolf of this our new Legend of Gwent stated to ravage the country by force of law.
Created by Act of Parliament, brought into the district by Barons and Justices, held in charge by its own Wardens, our wolf notwithstanding all these accessories of respectability, works much mischief, spreads wide discontent, and evokes stern maledictions from the farmers and cottagers of Goytrey.
“Ho! bring the wolf-staves from the wall,
See that your knives are keen;
Come, men of hearts and sinews strong,
No child’s-play this, I ween.”
Certainly not- no child’s-play at all; but then wolf-staves and knives wont do the business. Our wolf is proof against edged tools, or there are pikes and bill-hooks which would have stopped his depredations before now.
But – to throw off our wolf’s clothing – what our neighbours complain of is the too vigorous measures (as they consider) which the Usk and Pontypool Highway Board is taking to improve their roads. The Goytrey people admit that their ways needed mending, and they may have been contumacious in not obeying certain Justices’ Orders for their improvement; but Nemesis has overtaken them, and the ratepayers begin to think that Goytrey is being “improved” too much entirely. Nearly £300 called for by the Highway Board, for the reconstruction of less than half-a-mile of road at one extremity of the parish, they think is pretty well to begin with, and seeing that there are nearly twenty miles of road, the repair of which lies either wholly or in part upon them, there seems good scope for further operations. “But” say the Board, “you needn’t make rates to amount we require at once. A beneficent Legislature has provided facilities for your borrowing the money, to be re-paid by instalments in twenty years.” Goytrey replies, “We can’t see it. Once let us begin borrowing, and when will you let us stop? If we borrow “500 for making this road to Pontypool, you may next call upon us, with equal reason, to make a new road to Blaenafon.” Our only chance for economy is to keep a tight grip upon our purse-strings, and we mean to do so.”
The road now under “repair” is near Kemeys Suspension Bridge, and while it is important only to one or two farms in Goytrey, it forms the shortest route to Pontypool from the parishes of Llanvair Kilgeddin, Bettws Newydd, and Kemeys Commander. Consequently, the Goytrey people argue that it is unfair that they should have to bear so great an expense for providing their neighbours a good road to market, while many of their own parishioners can hardly get a cart to their doors. They ask that the parishes receiving the benefit shall contribute towards the outlay, and the Board is said by some persons to have the power so to apportion it. The Board either cannot or has not done so, and an appeal for voluntary contributions is therefore contemplated by Goytrey, to which we cannot doubt there will be a liberal response.
To complete the road now in hand as far as Penpellenny – near Col Byrde’s residence – a distance of a mile and three-quarters, it is expected that a total cost of £500 will be incurred, which will represent more that 3s. 6d. in the pound on the rateable value of the parish. The calls already made amount to about 2s. in the pound: and the pressure upon the ratepayers being found to be very great, a vestry meeting was held on the 5th inst., the Rev Thos. Evans, rector, presiding, for the purpose of protesting against the proceedings of the Highway Board. Resolutions were passed, denouncing, as gross injustice, the borrowing of money, and the alleged excessive and unnecessary outlay on the road to |Pontypool; and a proposition for appointing a deputation to wait upon the Board was adjourned to another meeting to be held in a fortnight, in order that the Waywarden might be able to give information as to the call last made.
“Your money or your life,” was a challenge to which our ancestors sometimes had to respond. Goytrey seems to think it doesn’t even get the chance of the grim alternative but reads the demand, “Your money and your life.”
“ _________ You take my life
When you take the means by which I live.”
November 3rd 1866 – Goytrey and the Highways Board, Hostilities Imminent
One of the early days in November has acquired a tolerably wide notoriety in connection with kegs of gunpowder, barrels of pitch and other inflammable and combustible materials. In the same period the calendar marks the anniversary of the battle of Inkerman. Appropriately, therefore, has next week been chosen for the firing of the first gun in the combat between the Highway Board and the parish of Goytrey. The cause of war is the refusal by Goytrey to pay £100 out of £140 demanded by the Board – the £100 being wanted for the new work on the Pontypool road.
Particulars of the earlier stages of the discussion we gave the week before last. Since then the parishioners have met in vestry, and having been informed by the Waywarden that the Board had sent him a call for £140, to be paid in two instalments, – £100 in November and £40 in December, – they resolved to pay the £40, which the amount of the surveyor’s estimate for ordinary repairs, and to refuse the larger amount. This determination the Rector, as chairman, was directed to communicate to the Board. A special meeting of the latter was held at the Town Hall, Usk, on Monday last, to consider the position of affairs. The work on the road has been done under two contracts, let to Abraham Williams, a labouring man living in Goytrey.
The first contract amounted to £165. The other tenders were £142, £167, £260, £281, £214 and £226, all except that at £142 including hedging. The surveyor’s estimate for the work was £206. It was stated from the first by practical men that Williams had taken the work for too little money, and this was found to be the case. Considerable delay took place after a commencement had been made, in consequence of a misunderstanding between the Board and one of the landowners; but at length Williams went on, until he had drawn all his money upon the first contract – the work being at the same largely in arrear. As a kind of Hibernian mode of enabling him to finish the first, the Board let Williams a second contract, at £90, for an additional piece of the road. This second contract, we believe, is said to have been completed, but to finish the first a large additional outlay is required – estimates ranging between £50 and £100. The Board consider that Williams has done work enough to cover the amount paid him, but the road not being nearly finished, and in an impassable state, what was to be done? This was the problem which the Board met on Monday to solve.
Mr G. R. Greenhow-Ralph, who is a member of the Board ex officio, said he understood the Board went to work on the road under an order of two magistrates that it should be widened. Now, he had been told in Pontypool, on Saturday, that one of the magistrates signing the order did not belong to the division. If that were so, then the order was illegal, and if objections were raised he thought there would be difficulty in meeting them, and in enforcing the calls made by the Board.
The Chairman (Mr Thomas Watkins) said that the Land Clauses Consolidation Act gave the necessary power. The magistrates’ order was made some years ago, and promises were given on behalf of Goytrey that the work should be done, but it was not done.
Mr Ralph considered that the road in question was what might be called an outside road, as regarded Goytrey, those neighbouring parishes to which it would be a great convenience might be reasonably asked to contribute.
Mr John Morgan, of Little Mill, said that if the Board persisted in a course of unfair treatment towards Goytrey they would embark on a sea of litigation. The parishioners were determined to resist. They would employ a solicitor, and would fight the question to the end. The only way to meet the difficulty was to do justly by Goytrey and call upon the neighbouring parishes, which were benefited by the road, to contribute pro rata.
The Chairman said that when the question came before the Board twelve months ago, a committee was appointed to consider it, and Mr Ralph was on that committee.
Mr Ralph: I was; but that makes no difference, if the magistrates’ order is illegal. Mr Stretton, who signed with Mr Little, was not a magistrate of the division. The fact of his occasionally acting on the division did not make him so.
The Chairman said it seemed to him that members of the Board were picking holes in their own act. They had much better consider what course they would take for completing the road, for it could not be left now as it was – they would be liable to proceedings for obstructing a public highway.
Mr John Morgan: Do that which is fair and just, and not throw the whole burden upon Goytrey.
Mr Gwatkin, Waywarden for Goytrey, said that his parish was determined to resist. They had resolved not to pay £100 called for, but the £40 only. They had paid 2s. 2d. in the pound road rates in one year.
The Chairman: You defy us, then?
Mr Gwatkin: Just so, sir.
The Chairman said he knew Llanvair would not contribute to the road.
Mr Edward Price said Kemeys would not. He had called a parish meeting to consider the matter, and the result was a unanimous refusal. Kemeys had gone to great expense in improving the road leading to the Black Bear. Having done this without assistance, he did not see why the should be called upon to help Goytrey.
Mr John Morgan: Well, if Llanvair, Kemeys, and Bettws refuse to contribute, the matter will have to be fought out.
The Chairman said Llanvair had expended £400 in making a new road from the Chain Bridge to Pantygoitre.
Mr Ralph said it was a pity there should be litigation on the subject, and he again urged that Goytrey ought to be assisted.
Mr John Morgan asked by what authority the contractor obtained payment of the £100, on the first contract, before the work was two-thirds finished?
The Chairman having, in reply to a question, said that the contractor had not been required to give sureties,
Mr Morgan remarked that therefore there was the greater necessity for making advances to him.
The Chairman said that as the contract provided for a portion of the value of work done being always held in hand, it was considered the Board would have security enough. The contractor said that the Board made the first breach in the contract by stopping the work, owing to a difficulty with regard to Mr Cook’s land. If the Board would pay him for the remainder of the work by measurement, he would go on and finish it.
Mr Ralph said that Col Byrde had offered to get the road widened for £100.
Mr Gwatkin: And now it will cost £600.
The Chairman said that other roads made by Colonel Byrde cost a good deal to keep in repair.
Mr Price, of Usk, said it was Mr Gwatkin’s fault that the contract was let to Williams.
Mr Gwatkin said he thought no one could be more competent than a man who could do the work himself; and the work had been done satisfactorily, only that it could not be finished for the money.
The Chairman said that there was no doubt that the contract was taken at too low a price. If Mr Gwatkin had thought it was so, he should have objected at the time.
Mr Gwatkin said that Goytrey had paid £322 for less than half the work to be done. He also stated that Mr Stretton and Mr Thompson, two magistrates, had ridiculed the outlay on the road as extravagant.
The Chairman: The £322 includes the repairs and working expenses of more than twenty miles of roads.
Mr Gwatkin: If we pay the present call, we shall have paid £290 for about half the work. In three half-years Goytrey will have paid, in poor rate and road rate, £900.
The Chairman said that some of the richest landowners in the county were ratepayers in Goytrey, and to get up such a howl as this was most disgraceful to the parish. The question now before the meeting was how was the work to be finished?
Mr John Morgan: I beg to propose that the work be suspended until some arrangement can be made to provide funds for its completion.
Mr Gwatkin: I beg to second that.
Mr Ralph asked if the Chairman felt that the Board had broken the contract.
The reply, if any was made, did not reach the further end of the room.
Mr Morgan said that the contractor ought to have been paid only pro rate, according to the work done.
The Chairman said that when a disagreement arose between the contractor and the surveyor to the Board, as to the amount of work done, he (the Chairman) got two other surveyors to measure the work, and upon their certificate the work was paid.
Mr Relph: Has any money been paid the contractor without a surveyor’s certificate?
The Chairman: After the disagreement, the surveyor gave certificates at my request.
Mr Morgan: You ought not to have interfered.
The Surveyor, Mr Henry Williams, explained the first or second fortnight after the contractor began, he asked for a sum of money. He (the Surveyor) measured the work, and not finding an adequate amount done, refused his certificate. The contractor then went to Mr Watkins, who seemed to think enough work had been done for the amount of money asked for, and at Mr Watkins’s request he gave the certificate, and had continued to do so since.
The Chairman: By the agreement I was made referee, and when a dispute arose I took that which I considered the proper course.
Mr Relph said it was always desirable that the Chairman should have the support and confidence of the Board, but he could not help considering it unfortunate that the Chairman should have exercised his opinion contrary to that of the surveyor.
Mr Price, of Usk, urged that it was the duty of the Board to support the surveyor, and not allow him to be insulted. He should move that the Board have nothing further to do with the contractor, and that the surveyor finish the work.
The motion having been seconded,
Mr Morgan moved his former resolution as an amendment, and Mr Gwatkin seconded.
The Chairman said there were many parishes paying at a higher rate per mile than Goytrey.
Mr Gwatkin said it must be remembered that all the outlay in Goytrey was made upon eight or ten miles of road. The upper part of the parish got very little done for it, and the ratepayers there were very dissatisfied.
The votes were then taken, and the proposition that the surveyor carry on the work was declared to be carried by six against five
The meeting then separated.
November 10th 1866 – Goytrey Grievances
We have received the following letter, with a request for its publication, from a parish meeting held in Goytrey on the 1st inst. The letter was enclosed to the Clerk of the Highway Board at Usk, for the Chairman, to be laid by him before the Board at their special meeting on the 29th ult. The letter was not brought before the Board, nor any intimation made regarding it.
Chapter 1 Shows how the Rector Writes the Wrong
Nantyderry House, Oct 21 1866.
Sir,- In accordance with the request of the rate-payers of Goytrey, assembled in the vestry on the 22nd inst., I send you herewith the resolutions of the last and previous meetings, convened for considering what steps it is their duty to take in reference to the greatly increasing pressure upon them of road-rates, caused by the unprecedented expenditure on the Star road. And in doing so, I trust I may be excused for submitting to the Board the fact that the ratepayers – who are generally small payers, and in comparatively humble circumstances – have been called upon to pay, during the last three half-years, in road and poor rates, a sum amounting to a total of not less than £954 17s,; and that within the last twelve months and two days their road rates have amounted to £322, whilst an order is again made upon them by your Board to pay within the next two months not less than £140, making a total of £462, within the short space of fourteen months!
The rateable value of the parish of Goytrey is £2955, and the number of ratepayers about 150. of these, about 25 are rated under £20 and over £10, and about 60 are rated under £10 and over £2, The Highway Board can, therefore, imagine how heavily and sorely the above taxation presses upon and oppresses a large class of small agriculturalists and agricultural labourers in the parish.
I beg leave to add that the ratepayers, feeling deeply aggrieved by the unprecedented road-rates laid upon them, and by what they deem to be a gross misapplication of their rates on Star hill, are now resolved to see in what way they can get redress, be protected, or protect themselves.
I remain, Sir, yours obediently
Thomas Evans – Rector of Goytrey and Chairman of the Vestry.
To the Chairman of the Highway Board, Usk.
Chapter 2 – Very Like a Snub
The ratepayers of Goytrey held a meeting on Thursday, the 1st inst., to hear the result of the Board meeting. The Waywarden having stated that no communication from Goytrey had been brought before the Board, the Rector was desired to write to the Clerk for an explanation of the discourtesy.
Chapter 3 – Gives the Reply, Showing how the Rector’s Letter was “Produced.”
Sir, – I have received your letter of the 2nd inst., and sent a copy of it to the Chairman of this Board. Your letter of the 24th and the accompanying resolutions, were communicated to the Chairman and produced at the last meeting, and remained upon the table to the close of the proceedings. The Waywarden of Goytrey, in the course of the discussion which took place [reported by us last week and by no other newspaper], stated the substance of the resolutions, but did not request them to be read. It is far from my wish or intention to be discourteous to yourself or the vestry.
I remain, Sir, your obedient servant
The Rev. Thomas Evans
Chapter 4 – Suggests a Few Queries
Mr Keats’ letter offers a few points worth of the consideration of the Board.
When a portion of their constituents think it necessary to write to them upon important business, ought any request that the letter be read to be required?
In a letter sufficiently “produced” before them for practical purposes “by its remaining upon the table to the close of proceedings?” Would not under the table be nearly as useful a place of deposit; or might not the paper as well be utilised in the form of pipe-lights?
The Clerk being acquitted has there been any discovery in this business?
Chapter 5 – Holds Out the Olive Branch
At the meeting before referred to, the Goytrey ratepayers passed the following resolution, with the object, if possible, of bring the difficulty to a pacific solution:-
Resolved, that the Chairman write to the board of Waywardens and offer to have the matter in dispute between the parish and that body, in reference to the cost of the improvement of the Star pitch, referred to the decision of the Usk Bench of Magistrates, or to the Pontypool Bench, or to the Chairman of the said Benches, provided the said Board enter a note or resolution on their minute-book to abide by such decision as the referees arrive at; and this parish agree to such decision as final and conclusive, as to the liability of Goytrey to the expenditure incurred. And that the parish agree that the magistrates shall decide the question in the capacity of private gentlemen, and not judicially, as magistrates; and that they are at liberty to decide the points upon their legal merits, the Waywardens appearing to view the matter in an Act of Parliament light only.
This proposal having been sent to the Board, with them it will then rest either to “let slip the dogs of Law” or to agree to a just compromise of a vexatious dispute.
December 8 1866 – Usk Highways Board
A meeting of the above was held at the Town Hall, Usk, on Monday, the following members being present: Messrs Thomas Watkins, (chairman), Gwatkin, Walter Blower, W. Price, Jno Williams, John Morgan, James Powell, C. J. Watkins, E. Lister (Ex Officio,) Moseley, E. J. Williams, Gough and W. Fisher. In addition to the foregoing there were several of the principal ratepayers from Goytrey and the adjoining parishes present.
The Clerk read several letters, copies of which appeared in the Free Press, and in addition he read the following:-
Blaenafon Parsonage, near Pontypool,
November 19th 1866
Gentlemen,- I beg to enclose a rough tracing of a portion of a map of the parish of Goytrey, and to call your attention to Penstair’s Road, coloured Red in the tracing, This road, nearly a mile long, connects two glebe farms belonging to me, one called Cwm in occupation of Thomas James, the other called Caen Cryddion, rented by Mrs Ann Prosser. This road is the only access to the Cwm Farm. Four gates have lately been put up on this road, and a portion of the fence has been pulled down.
If the parish officers have sanctioned the putting up of the gates they have acted illegally, and very unjustly towards those who have farms in that neighbourhood.
I, therefore, beg to ask whether the Board of Roads sanctions the putting up of the gates, and if not, whether they will take steps for their immediate removal. Begging the favour of an early reply,
I am, Gentlemen, yours truly,
Incumbent of Blaenafon, and Chairman of the Blaenafon Local board.
Kandy, Ceylon, Sept 28th 1866
To the Chairman of the Highway Board, Usk, Monmouthshire.
Dear Sir,- Your clerk has kindly forwarded to my son, now resident at Goytrey, the copy of a letter addressed by the Rev. Thomas Evans, rector of Goytrey, to the District Surveyor, respecting certain gates in the old abandoned which passes the cottages belonging to Pentrebach and Penystair farms, and which are represented by re Rector as causing very great dissatisfaction, though who are included in the “we” of his letter, or who besides himself “feels aggrieved in the matter,” does not appear by his communication.
I much regret that I did not, at once, avail myself of your kind offer to inspect the lane in question, and had I known that I should so soon have found it necessary to return to Ceylon. I would not have delayed the proposed inspection a single day, for by this unfortunate postponement I have subjected myself to a renewed attack on the part of the Rector of the Parish, and your Board to additional trouble.
I will now proceed to show you how far credence is to be given to his representation, by a detail of a few facts connected with this lane.
1.- In the first place I have a tolerably distinct recollection of this lane at various periods for thirty-five years, and it never was in different condition to what it is now, over-grown, dilapidated and unused.
2,- There never were, within my recollection, any fences, other than at present, along the fields of the Penystair and Pentrebach farms adjoining that lane.
3.- I have never seen, during the period of my residence in Goytrey, either a horse, mule, or ass, traversing that lane that I can recall to my own remembrance.
4.- Neither have I met with any parishioner who can remember any parish outlay on this old lane.
5.- And I can prove to your Board, and to any one open to conviction, that this lane is of no use to anyone, and ought to be abandoned by the parish as a highway to be maintained by it.
On the other hand, it is not true that the lane has been partially taken into my land, or that it is a channel of communication of value to the parish. Nor can I believe there has been the “complaint or dissatisfaction” represented, that the gates in question have been allowed to remain, for though I have personally spoken of them to many in the parish, I never heard one single word of objection expressed to their existence; nor has the land by these gates withdrawn from public use, and there is nothing really to restore to the public, for the gates are always open, and form no impediment to any one desiring to use lane, if such a desire exists, and it is impossible that the rector or anyone else can really fell aggrieved in the matter in the correct sense of this term, and some other motive than a praiseworthy desire to maintain the interests of the parish must be looked to for the rector’s championship of this abandoned highway.
I will now trouble you briefly with the occasion of my putting up these gates, that the Board may have perfect understanding of the whole matter.
I had found on taking possession of the Pentrebach farm and Graig Ddu rough lands had been perpetually grazed and over-run by stray sheep, cattle, and donkeys; and my bailiff had great difficulty in repairing the pathways for the use of my own stock and at one of the meetings of the parishioners I stated this grievance, and expressed a wish to place two latch gates at either end of the lane, similar to those on the parish lanes opening upon the mountain common, to save useless hedging along it; and though no vote was taken on the subject, or opinion recorded, no objection was expressed, and I felt satisfied that my fellow-parishioners would at any time, under their common sense of right, form a correct judgement in such a matter, and to their unbiased sense of what is due to themselves and to me, I am willing to leave the question, with perfect confidence; for surely there could be no great hardship to anyone who should, perchance, desire to use this old lane, to put out his hand and open the gate if he should pass through it, or to let it shut-to after him.
I will now further prove to you that it is quite a useless line of communication.
1.- Anyone going from Llanover to the upper part of the parish, would not go out of his way to choose this lane, when he had a more direct and better route up the Burgwm road.
2.- Anyone going from Llanover to Pontypool would surely not go so far from the main road, which invites them in preference.
3.- Even anyone going from Penwern farm, which also belongs to me, would go up the lane by the New Barn or Bwrgwm road
In fact it is impossible to suggest any motive that could influence anyone in making use of that lane for any purpose that would not be better accomplished by other means more readily available and it would puzzle the ingenuity of the parish clerk himself to conceive any public use that the lane can be of to the parish. It is virtually abandoned to traffic, and in consideration of the uselessness of this lane I should, on behalf of the parish, be very unwilling that it should be subjected to any taxation for improvement or repair, especially when the conditions in road rates are beyond all precedent, and form an oppressive burden upon the small farmers and cottagers.
Finally, I have a distinct remembrance of one or more conversations with the rector himself in times past, on the subject of the uselessness of that lane, and on my liability to trespass on it; and I can recollect a remark by him that now I had the farms adjoining it , it was of no use to anyone else, but might be required if the farms were again possessed by separate owners.
I am, therefore, unwillingly forced to the conclusion that the interference of the rector in this matter can only be attributed to some other cause than to a disinterested desire to maintain parish rights, which I have no desire to infringe, and I feel satisfied that the Board will not suffer advantage to be taken of my absence, in acting without full inquiry on the representation which has the appearance, at least, of being influenced any private feelings, and that, too, on the part of the clergyman towards a parishioner who has power willingly given him cause of offence, but who on the other hand, so far from evincing an oppressive spirit has given proofs that he has been influenced by a desire to promote the interests of the people of the parish of Goytrey, since his lot has been cast among them.
I remain, dear sir, yours faithfully,
HENRY C. BYRDE
The first business that came before the Board was with respect to the adoption by the Parish of the road made by Col. Byrde, from Goytre Church to Penpellenny farm, the largest portion of the said road running parallel with the railway. A meeting of the ratepayers, it appeared, had been held, at which it was resolved that the road should be taken and adopted by the parish.
The Chairman said it did not state who was at the meeting in favour of it, or who was not.
A Member: It was agreed to do so at a parish meeting.
The Chairman: Is it intended that the Board should take the necessary steps for the adoption of the road?
Mr Gwatkin: There is a copy of the resolution sent.
The Chairman: There is nothing sent, only that it was agreed at a parish meeting to do so.
A Member: The parish agreed to do so.
The Chairman: Who is the parish?
A Member: Why the inhabitants.
The Chairman: Oh, no.
Mr John Morgan: If the parish wishes the road to be adopted, and it is put in proper repair, there can be no objection to do so.
Mr Gwatkin: The parish will do everything in their power to meet the case.
Mr John Morgan: The road has been travelled over by the public for the past two or three years, and if it is not a public road I do not see why the public should travel over it. I dare say the chairman himself has travelled over it
The Chairman: Yes, I have travelled over it many times.
Mr John Williams, farm bailiff to Mr Logan, attended on the part of his employer to state that when he granted the land for the making of this road, it was on the condition that the fences were kept in repair by the parish, but there were no fences there. They got the grant of the land in 1858, but it was not made use of until 1862. Mr Logan was quite prepared to carry out what he agreed to do, and that was, that the parish should keep the fences in repair if he gave them the land.
A Member: It was not said at the meeting that the fences were to be kept in repair by the parish.
The Chairman (to Mr John Williams): Were you at the parish meeting?
Mr John Williams: No sir, I was not.
The Chairman: Was it understood by Mr Logan that the fences should be kept in repair?
Mr John Williams: Yes sir, it was
Mr John Morgan: I don’t think we could undertake such a responsibility.
The Chairman: What, to keep the fences in repair?
Mr John Morgan: Yes, the fences are of no use to us, and we cannot use the road very much.
Mr Gwatkin made an observation regarding this road but his remark did not reach our reporter’s ears.
Mr John Morgan: It is unusual to keep fences in repair.
Mr John Williams: Mr Logan is a gentleman whose word can be relied on. It was agreed that if he should give the land the fences should be kept in repair and unless that unless that was adhered to he would put up a gate and stop it up.
The Chairman: It shows how uprightly the Board should act in al matters.
The Clerk then read the 23rd section of the Highway Act, 5th and 6th Wm. IV.., cap 50, which says, – (long quote from Highway Act. Admin)
Mr John Morgan: No individual should make a road for his own use, and then call upon the public to repair it. There is no doubt that if it is properly represented to Mr Logan, everything will be made right.
The clerk having called attention to the lower part of the section of the Act previously given,
Mr John Morgan said – That proves that the parish shall be protected from the encroachment of any influential individual.
A Member: If there is any cavilling about the road it shall be shut up.
The Clerk: Three’ months notice must be given to the Surveyor.
Mr John Morgan: That is intended as a protection for the parish.
The Clerk: Then who is the parish?
Mr John Morgan: Why, the vestry. It is intended to prevent the parish being imposed upon; but here it does not come within the meaning of the Act, as the parish is willing to take the road if you make it properly.
The Chairman: Then the surveyor will say whether the road has been made the proper width or not.
The Surveyor: I am not prepared to give an answer at present.
Mr John Morgan: The parish will do what is reasonable, and you ought not to do what is unreasonable.
Mr John Williams: Mr Logan is a gentleman who will do what he says, and I know that he will stop the road up if the fences are not kept in repair.
Mr John Morgan: Does this involve any other fences?
A Member: Yes it does.
The Chairman: The question is, whether the Board will take it or not?
Mr John Williams: The new piece of road is 33 chains long.
The Clerk: The maker of the road has to give notice and get a certificate.
Mr John Morgan: The parish does not wish to have a private road for persons, and then be called upon to contribute towards it.
Mr Lister: I they want the road adopted by the parish, and it is taken by the parish, it must be certified by the magistrates.
Mr John Morgan: I differ from you, sir; I have read the clause over, and this road is not of public utility.
The Chairman: You have no objection to giving notice?
Mr John Morgan: Mr Logan says he will stop the road up.
The Clerk: If it was a road made by the parish it would be a very different thing.
Mr Gwatkin: It is a road made by subscription.
The Chairman: Mr Logan can be heard, and the magistrates will hear him, if things are not right.
Mr John Williams: Mr Logan does not wish to shut the road up; all he wants is to have the fences kept in repair.
Mr John Morgan: The road having been made, it was quite right for the parish to accept it.
Mr Gwatkin: The parish is willing to take the road.
Mr John Morgan: Well then, let the meeting decide whether the road shall be taken or not.
The Clerk: To adopt it as a highway?
The Chairman: Yes, I think so.
Some remarks having been given regarding the length and situation of the road: –
The clerk read the following resolution:-
“That the legal steps be taken at the expense of the parish of Goytrey, to adopt a certain new highway in Goytrey , running parallel with the railway there, about 33 chains in length, and to have same certified by Justices, and the certificate enrolled according to the road section of the Highway Act. 1862.”
Mr Gwatkin: That will not do.
Mr John Morgan: The question is whether the Bench will accept the road or not.
The Chairman:: Well let it read thus: – That the necessary legal steps be taken —-
Mr John Morgan: That is absurd. I shall propose that the new road made by Colonel Byrde be taken, adopted, and repaired by the Board. You are really worse than a lot of petty fogging lawyers. (Laughter.)
The Chairman: We meet here under an Act of Parliament, and we have no power to adopt the road.
Mr John Morgan: If you are wanted to take the road you can do so.
The Chairman: The object is to prevent any cavilling hereafter
Mr Watkins said he would second the propositions.
Mr John Morgan: I differ from you, Mr Chairman, altogether; I think the parish can take the road directly.
The Chairman: But we have no right to take it in any other way.
Mr Price: Would it not be better to call a parish meeting?
The Chairman: The is one of the steps towards it.
The amendment was then put to the Board, but was lost by a large majority.
The Chairman called attention to the letter forwarded by the Rev J. Jones, of Blaenafon, and said the question was whether there was any right to put up the gates.
The Surveyor said it was impossible to haul much up the road.
After some remarks by Mr Byrde, jnr.,
The Chairman said the putting up of the gates had not been sanctioned by the Board, and the question to decide was what should they do in it? There was no doubt that the gates should be removed.
A letter signed by several persons respecting the gates on the Penystair road, having been read.
Mr Price asked if there was an objection to adjourn the subject until Col Byrde’s return, as they would only have a short time to wait.
The Chairman: Are the gates kept shut?
The Surveyor: They are always shut, but not fastened.
Mr Gwatkin: I will have them down, or I will put a gate by Goytrey church.
Mr Lister: I think it will be better to adjourn it until Col. Byrde’s return, and let it be understood that the gates shall not be locked.
It was then agreed that the subject of the removal of the gates on the Penystair road be adjourned tp the next meeting, it being understood that the gates are not to be locked.
The Chairman said their calls were due on the 5th of December, and not one parish had paid the call.
Mr Walter Blower said there was money due to them, and their collector was in the room and he said he could not get the money in, and he thought it would be hard to summon half the people in the parish, when there was a balance in the bank in their favour, and the money was not wanted.
The Chairman: But the money is wanted; and if not paid, we had better dismiss Mr Williams and every one of them.
Mr W. Blower: But we have £20 more than is wanted. I will guarantee that the money is paid when it is wanted.
The Chairman: The calls must be paid, or the parties must be summoned.
Mr B. J. Williams: I shall object to that.
Mr Gwatkin: I shall object to any summons taken out against Goytrey.
The Chairman then went through the various parishes comprised in the highway district, every one of which had failed to pay the call made.
Mr John Morgan: When the last contract for the Goytrey road was let, I never knew that it was done.
A Member: I thought that you were on the committee.
Mr John Morgan: I heard that it was let, but knew nothing of it at the time.
The Clerk referred to a minute of a previous meeting, and said that the Chairman and Mr Gwatkin were empowered to let about eight chains of the road leading to Pontypool.
Mr Gwatkin: That was put in unknown to me. It was said seven chains. But now it is said eight or nine chains. The road was impassable, and I thought that the money would be got by subscription.
The Chairman: Who was to do it?
Mr Gwatkin: I would have subscribed for one.
The Clerk: It is resolved that the parishes in arrear be summoned.
Mr John Morgan: Who Proposed that?
The Chairman: Why the Board.
Mr John Morgan: Then I object to it. I think it is a monstrous thing for Goytrey to pay so much money. Let the people pay when the money is wanted.
The Chairman: I think we should have a general resolution of the Board.
Mr Price: Is the object to get out of debt?
The Chairman: Yes.
The Surveyor: If the roads are left for a time, they will get into such a state that it will take a lot of money to get them repaired.
Several members: Yes, they will get into a very bad state.
The Surveyor: You should have borrowed the money, and made the repayment extend over several; years.
In reply to a member,
The surveyor said that the work could be done for £150.
Mr Gwatkin: Will you do it for that? It will take from £400 to £600 to do it, and it will not be done for less.
The Clerk: It is proposed that the parishes in arrear be proceeded against.
Mr John Morgan: Who proposed it?
The Chairman: Well, then, let it come from the Chair.
The proposition was then put by the Chairman.
Mr Gwatkin: I shall second Mr Morgan’s motion, and let everybody pay —
The Chairman: When they choose.
Mr Gwatkin at this stage of the proceedings rose and left the table.
The Chairman: Is there any wish to stop the work?
Mr John Morgan: It is better to stop than to go on in the reckless manner that we have been going on in.
Mr Gwatkin: It is the most scandalous thing I have ever heard of.
The Chairman: Is there any opposition to the proposition?
Mr Gwatkin: Mr Morgan has made a motion.
The Chairman: What was the motion?
Mr John Morgan: I beg to move that no summons be issued against Goytrey.
Mr Gwatkin: I beg to second that.
The resolution was then put, when eight were in favour of summoning, and five against it.
The Chairman then moved that professional assistance be obtained for the occasion, as it was only a cover for some parties to say that the parish took it up, and as they would employ professional assistance, it was only right to meet them on their own grounds.
Mr Morgan: Have you no confidence in your clerk?
The Chairman: He is not engaged to do it.
A few more remarks, of no public interest, were made, and it was agreed that professional assistance should be engaged to conduct the Goytrey case before the magistrates; and after signing some cheques, the Board rose shortly after five o’clock, the meeting having lasted upwards of three hours.
December 22nd 1866 – The Rector of Goytrey’s Reply to Colonel Byrde’s Letter
23 Half-Moon Street, Piccadilly, Dec 13th 1866.
To the Editor of the Free Press
Sir,- Before I left home this week, I observed in your paper of Saturday last, an attack upon me in a letter addressed by col. Byrde to the Usk Highway Board. I feel obliged to your correspondent, who, it appears was present at the last meeting of that body, when the letter was read, for having procured a copy of it. But for this, to one fortunate circumstance, I should have remained in entire ignorance of the entire burden of that communication, which, doubtless, the writer had no idea when penning it, would ever have found its way to the Press, to give the assailed party an opportunity of repudiating his undeserved attack, and of showing to the public that the dissatisfaction stated by me to exist in the upper part of my parish, respecting the gates on the Penystair road is real, and that, consequently, the representation to the Board is not only calculated to mislead, but (of course from ignorance of the case) wholly inconsistent with the fact. When, owing to the chance of proper grounds and reasons, argument fails, abuse is convenient, and often resorted to.
I had no idea of interfering with the Penystair road question, although long aware of discontent about it, until I accidentally saw the surveyor, some time ago, near my church, when two of my parishioners, the one a freeholder, and the other a leaseholder in Bwrgwm, were having an excited conversation with him about road matters, and also about the three gates put up by col. Byrde on the Penystair road. We represented to the Surveyor that it was illegal, and a positive injustice to the owners and occupiers of land on the side of the hill in Goytrey and Llanover, to allow these gates to remain on a parish road.
He observed that he could do nothing in the matter when a complaint was made – and suggested that one of the two more particularly interested, should write to the Board or to him, and formally complain of the objection. Some hesitation being, however, felt by my two parishioners in reference to the task of writing to the Board, I offered to write for them. Hence “the Rector’s championship,” volunteered in a matter so evidently disinterested to Col. Byrde.
I can truly say, I hope that whatever the Rector sees the attempt of might to overcome right, he will never be wanting in his duty to his parishioners to maintain their ancient and just right to all parish thoroughfares.
I distinctly remember the conversation at a parish meeting on the subject of putting gates on the road, and I well remember the caution, on the part of the few present, with which Col. Byrde’s wishes were received and the entire absence of response to those wishes. He thus tells the Board – “Nor can I believe there has been ‘the complaint or dissatisfaction’ represented that the gates in question have been allowed to remain, for though I have personally spoken of them to many in the parish, I never heard one single word of objection expressed to their existence.”
I distinctly remember a parishioner, who had always felt aggrieved on the point, expressing to him his dissatisfaction and objection, and also the dissatisfaction felt by others in the upper part of the parish, that gates had been put on the road. – and, surely, Col. Byrde’s memory must be exceedingly defective if he does not recollect when at a parish meeting he was much annoyed at having been told, in my hearing, by one of the farmers, in alluding to interference with the road in question, that “it was a monopoly.”
I never said to col. Byrde that this road was useless. I could not say so with truth – but could and might have said that it was “comparatively useless” – like two other roads in Bwrgwm.
Since such road are occasionally used they cannot with justice to the public be shut up, or so interfered with as to have gates put on them. A few sheep may, perchance, stray along the roads and get into Penystair fields, but where the “young cattle and donkeys” are to come from I am unable to conceive. But col. Byrde has no more reason to complain than others on this head. Has not the lord of the manor provided for such an evil? Has he not put a good gate on top of the main lane leading to the mountain in order to prevent sheep coming down? And if they should jump the gate, has he not provided for each parish a pound in which they can easily be lodged? Farmers on the hill side are not in the habit of taking the law into their own hands by putting gates on the adjacent roads, and thus infringing public rights, but trust to the mountain gate, or have recourse to the pound. Why should not Col. Byrde be satisfied with the same manorial provisions and keep his fences in good order? It is well known in Goytrey that a parish road cannot legally be shut up except by Court of Quarter Sessions – and, I believe, that Court cannot do it – if there should be an objection raised by a landowner who is interested in such a road – unless a better and, in all respects, and to all parties, a more convenient one is made with a view to supersede it. But let a landowner pull down one fence along a parish road and put up a few gates at certain distances, and in no time let him put up Notices at each end to this effect:: “any one found trespassing on these lands will be prosecuted, “ the parish road is then practically lost to the public. There might still remain to tell the tale, a pathway where the old lane was, but who would venture to send his young stock to market through what he is forced to regard as the property of a gentleman rising in the neighbourhood?
Now for the extraordinary proofs given that the road is of no use.
- Col. Byrde says, “Anyone going from Llanover to the upper part of the parish would not go out of his way to choose this lane when he had a more direct and better route up the Bwrgwm road.” Of course not – it would be absurd in him to do so., unless he wishes to have a very fine view of the surrounding country. But any one going from Rhyd-y-llwyfen, and the region beyond, in the upper part of Llanover, with young cattle or sheep, towards Mamhilad, or to Usk, or to Pontypool markets, would he not go along the Penystair road rather than round by Pencroshopped, and then along the turnpike road, and, thus, much increase his distance?
- The following is the second proof that the road in question is of no use. “Any one going from Llanover to Pontypool would unsurely not go so far from the main road which invites them in preference.” Certainly, not unless the person were after the Llangibby or the Monmouthshire hounds, and wished to take that direction, in which case, the Penystair road would be very serviceable in saving the fields of the neighbouring farmers.
- The third and last proof is the following – “Even anyone going to Pantyscan farm, which also belongs to me, would go up the lane by New Barn or the Bwrgwm road.” Let those acquainted with the locality judge whether there is any proof of the uselessness of the road in questioning this remark. Any one going from Newbarn or from the Cwm in Mamhilad, to Bwrgwm in Goytrey, would take this road as his direct and nearest way. Such are the proofs!
Now for a “detail of a few facts connected with the road to show how far credence is to be given to my representation.” Destroy the Rector’s credibility as a witness, and his testimony is of no value.
Col Byrde tells the Board that he has a tolerably distinct recollection of that lane at various periods for 35 years, and it never was in different condition to what it is now, overgrown, dilapidated, and unused.”
He has forgotten to add that he has spent about 25 years out of the 35 out of the country. The road during my incumbency of about 24 years has never has never been so neglected as it is now. Before the farms referred to were bought for Col. Byrde a few years back, the road was in a better condition, notwithstanding the heavy hauling of stones along it from the Penystair quarry for the rebuilding of Goytrey church- for the erection of my school-room and teacher’s residence and for the making of various railway bridges.
- The second fact is – “There never were within my recollection any fences other than at present, along the fields of the Penystair and Pentrebach farms, adjoining that lane.”
I can only say that last Monday I walked the whole of the lane myself and found fully 180 yards of the fence pulled down, entirely cleared away, and converted into arable or meadow land. Col. Byrde can hardly be aware of this, for he tells the Board that “it is not true that the lane has been partially taken into his land.” He also says that “the gates are always open.” If so, what is the use of them? I found the three shut, and between the second and the third, three hurdles placed across the road which I had to get over.
- The third fact adduced is – “I have never seen during my residence at Goytrey either a horse or mule, or ass travelling that lane that I can recall to my own remembrance.” Col. Byrde will surely admit that those who have regularly resided, from year to year, in the parish, during his long absence of about 25 years in India, must have seen traffic along the road – such as carrying lime from the mountain in Llanover to Newbarn, to Upper Goytrey House, and to farms in Mamhilad, to say nothing of the fact that farmers from the said farm used, in former years, to send their young cattle along the Penystair road to their coedoa, or rough pasture on the hill-side in Llanover.
- The fourth fact is – “Neither have I met with any parishioner who can remember any parish outlay on this old road.”
Col. Byrde has certainly taken no pains to ascertain this point. For any old ratepayer who has attended, for some years, parish meetings would at once set him right. Neither has he taken much, if an, trouble, to consult the Parish Books, to see whether any entries have been made, from time to time, of payment of labour on this undoubtedly parish road. The Parish books, which I have examined, would convince any one on this point, and also show that the sums expended on it, at distinct intervals, and explicitly entered, have been very trifling. Besides, this road has, within my recollection and at my suggestion, been repaired by the parish.
In conclusion, I will observe that, however plausibly it may be insinuated that I was actuated by unworthy feelings in addressing the Surveyor, and not by a disinterested desire to maintain parish rights, the several members of the Board, at their last meeting, had before them the fact, that others had remonstrated with that body against the continuance of the gate s, and the damage done by Col. Byrde to the Penystair road – which was a complete refutation of all his insinuations.
Having, I think, convincingly replied to the various particulars to the Highway Board, the readers of the Press can now judge whether I have not fully shown that there is another side to the Penystair-road question, whereby is verified a saying of old, as it is true –
“One tale is good until another is told.”
I shall feel obliged, Mr Editor, by your kindly inserting this letter – and, I remain,
Yours truly, THOMAS EVANS, Rector of Goytrey
Saturday January 26 1867
NON PAYMENT OF CALL – The Pontypool and Usk Highway Board v The Overseers of Goytrey, for non-payment of a call made by the Board. Our readers will remember that this case was adjourned five weeks ago for the purpose of obtaining the opinion of the Home Secretary on a point of construction of the Highway Act, raised by Mr. Llewellin for the defendants. Mr. Blount for the Highway Board, handed in the reply of the Home Secretary to the application that had been made to him, wherein he said the magistrates must decide the question. The Chairman said they would have been glad if they had been relieved of the duty of deciding a point on which two learned advocates differed; but as it was left to them they must deal with it as well as they could, and which they should do with all diffidence. What they had to do was decide the proper construction to be put on the words “no contribution to be paid by any parish at any one time in respect of highway rates shall exceed the sum of ten-pence in the pound.” It was admitted that the contribution ordered to be paid by the Overseers of Goytrey exceeded ten pence in the pound, but it was contended that as the contribution was in the precept ordered to be paid in two instalments neither of which exceeded ten pence in the pound, the limitation had not been exceeded. Now he had carefully gone through the Highway Acts and could not find any authority for dividing a contribution which had been ordered, into instalments, neither the word instalment nor its equivalent could be found in the acts connected with the payment of contributions; it might be very convenient to the overseers of a parish to be authorised to pay a contribution in instalments, and he did not mean to say that the Board had not the power of giving that convenience, but he did think that the act never intended that a contribution exceeding ten pence in the pound could be ordered and afterwards broken up into instalments so as to keep all payments within that limited sum; if so, there is nothing to prevent a contribution of 30d in the pound, the full amount in any year the board of its own power can order, and then calling on the parish to pay it in three equal instalments in three consecutive weeks or days – that is an extreme view, but if the principle of instalments contended for be good, it is as good for that view of the case, which never could be intended. After several further remarks, the Chairman said the Bench felt the more satisfied that they were putting a reasonable construction on the act because they found that the overseers are to pay the contribution out of a rate to be levied by them, if they have not money in hand to pay it. If therefore the Highway Board cannot order a contribution to be paid by any parish at any one time that exceeds ten pence in the pound, it follows that the overseers cannot make a rate that exceeds ten pence in the pound, which the Goytrey overseers would have to do to meet this call which is made on them, the overseers being only empowered to levy a rate for “the sum to be contributed by the parish,” that sum being the contribution ordered, not the instalments of that contribution, for levying a rate for which we do not find any power or authority given to them by the Highway Acts. We therefore decline making any order, and dismiss this summons. Mr Blount asked if the bench would give him a case for the opinion of the superior courts. The Bench said if they could give him a case he should have it, as they had no objection to having their opinion reviewed.
February 23rd 1867 – Usk Highways Board
An extraordinary meeting was held at the Town-hall on the 16th inst., when there was present a large attendance of waywardens beside three ex-officios, for considering the financial position of the board and other purposes, and to reconsider the resolution of the previous meeting, and to rescind any one or more of them if though expedient. Mr John Morgan took the chair in the absence of Mr. Watkins. On the motion of Mr. Watkins, seconded by Mr. Price of Usk, the resolution passed at the last meeting staying proceedings against the parish of Goytrey for an undefinate period was rescinded by a considerable majority. Mr. Relph and Mr. Lister, two of the magistrates, did not vote. It was found necessary to make some further calls, – viz on Glascoed £16; Gweresney £6, Llangeview £15: Llantrissent £20, Llanbaddock £20, and Usk £50, to be paid on or before the 15th March.
February6th 1870 – Grievances at Goytrey
A very pretty quarrel is going on at Goytrey. The rector, the Rev. T. Evans, and some of his parishioners do not pull very well together, and last week he headed a performance which has by no means added to his popularity, judging by the number of respectable signatures appended to a document of which we have obtained a sight. The present “bone of contention” is the Penstair Lane. The general feeling in the parish seems to be that this lane is perfectly useless to the public, that it would indeed be better abolished, as in that case trespasses of sheep, etc, would be prevented, and that the parish ought not to be put to the expense of repairing it. Some years ago the same opinion prevailed, and at a parish meeting, at which the present rector presided, permission was granted to Col Byrde to put up gates so as to stop up the lane. Mr Evans, since then, for reasons best known to himself, thought proper to alter his opinion. Mr Berrington and other justices who viewed the road came to the conclusion that it was unadvisable to put the parish to the expense of repairing it. At the last meeting of the Pontypool and Usk Highway Board Mr Evans attended, and bluntly said that “the justices who viewed the road were quite incompetent to form an opinion on the subject.” Mr Berrington on hearing this polite remark, rose to leave the room, but was persuaded by the chairman, Mr Greenhow-Relph, to remain. A memorial presented by Mr Evans was laid on the table, but was not read. A desultory conversation followed, and it was decided to adjourn the question until the March meeting. Mr Evans objected to Col. Byrde copying the names of the memorialists, saying, “I protest against it, because it is liable to abuse; I know a pressure has been brought to bear.” Col. Byrde said no one had a right to impute such motives to others; but as that remark had been made, he must say that if there had been any pressure it was brought to bear by the other side. The chairman and other gentlemen present saw no impropriety in Mr Byrde taking a copy of the names. Mr Evans was afterwards walking off with the memorial, but was requested to leave it behind, as it had now become public property. The Board had thus decided that the question ought to stand adjourned until the next meeting. Mr Evans’s zeal however would not, however, allow of such delay. On Wednesday in last week he sallied forth, at the head of ten men, whose courage had been stimulated by a little beer, and the party sawed off the gateposts of the gates which he, as chairman of the parish meeting, had allowed to be so desirable. The party are said to have returned to the rectory, and celebrated the result of their expedition. Which has reminded the neighbourhood of the rage of “Rebecca and he daughters” against turnpikes in manner befitting its importance. In less than half-an-hour Mr Jones, on of those who sided with the rector, enjoyed a specimen of the beneficial results of the overthrow of the gates, as some 60 or 70 sheep, belonging to Mr James, trespassed on his land! A paragraph was sent by someone to the Observer, triumphantly announcing that Penstair road question has been thus “summarily and finally settled.” Having heard the views of parishioners on the subject, we are inclined to think that the writer of that paragraph has “counted his chickens” a little too soon, and the last has NOT been heard of the matter. The parishioners are joining in a memorial to the Highway Board, stating that the general feeling is that the lane in question is quite useless to the public, and ought not to be retained on the books as a highway liable to be repaired at the expense of the parish; that they consider that the gates put there by Coo. Byrde, by authority of the parishioners, were a public benefit, and prevented the trespass of mountain sheep on the adjoining land, and were no hindrance to anyone who might ever want to use the said lane; that they are perfectly satisfied that no one would ever had stirred the business if they had both been incited thereto; and that they therefore hope that the gates will be maintained and that the parish may not be made to incur any fresh liability.
Since the article, headed as above, in the preceding column, was put in type, we have received the following communications of the subject:-
To the Editor of the Pontypool Free Press.
Sir,- An article in the local papers of last week (which could have emanated but from ONE source) referring to the Penstair road, might, if unnoticed, mislead the public into the belief that his abandoned lane on the side of the mountain was REALLY some useful highway, from which some of the parishioners had removed obstructions.
The matter being thus brought to the notice of the public through the medium of the Press, as well as through the public proceedings of the Highway Board, no apology from one of the public is necessary for begging you to insert a brief statement of the FACTS of the case, for the enlightenment of you numerous readers.
The question (an insignificant one in itself) of the maintenance of the accommodation gates on either end of the road, by authority of the parish meeting, and continued by the Highway Board, was recently brought before the Board by the rector of Goytrey, to whom, either the gates, or the owner of the property along this old lane, seem to have given moral offence and he avowed to the Board that he will leave no stone unturned to get them removed.
The chairman himself inspected the road, but the surveyor had omitted to make a report on it, saying that he did not know what to say, as he had never seen any traffic on the road since he had been in office.
The past resolutions and the report of the justices who viewed the road were read at the meeting and the settlement of the question was, and in compliance with the rector’s own wishes, postponed till the next meeting, fixed to be held on the 11th March.
But what course, do you think, Mr Editor, the rector has taken in the meantime?
Repudiating and setting at naught the authority of the Highway Board, to which he had appealed on two successive Board meetings, and taking the law into his own hands, and aided by his “TEN PARISHIONERS,” viz: –
His farm servant
His carpenter’s man
His school servant
His occasional labourer
The two employees who do his hauling.
The parish clerk.
– The parish clerk’s son bringing up the rear with CAN or JAR
– Armed with tools and fortified to boot from the NANTYDERRY PUBLIC, this gallant band, under the order of the chief, marched to the mountain side, when they accomplished, unmolested, the sawing away of the posts level with the ground, and removal of the gates so obnoxious to the rev gentleman; and all the work of destruction being completed, the party, shouldering their weapons, returned to Nantyderry in triumph, for mutual congratulations on the NOBLE (?) feat they had performed.
And what is the consequence? The very next day, there was an inroad of mountain sheep on the lands below the road, which would have been prevented by the gates. This has been again repeated, and the long closed POUND at Penplenny has again been re-opened to receive the STRAYS, causing bitterness and angry feeling all around.
But what will the Highway Board say, Mr Editor, to this infringement of its authority, and to the rector, who by virtue of his office as a magistrate, is a member of the Board?
Will the chairman who inspected the road and was about to submit the question for decision – will he thus have his office and his posers superseded?
Will the Waywardens, the representations of the Parishes forming the Board, submit to be thus stultified by the action of one of the members of their Board, taking upon himself to act in violation of their resolutions?
If AUTHORITY is really rested in these Boards by the Highway Act, and if RULE and ORDER are to be maintained, their authority must be re-asserted and enforced, and such proceedings as have been enacted at Goytrey must not be suffered to recur
I remain Sir,
To the Editor of the Free Press
This is to give you a veritable story
Of a modern edition of an old Rector foray.
In a country parish, a parson and clerk
In a frolicsome mood feeling up to a lark,
They looked dup their cronies, to make their band “ten,”
If I tell you who they are you’ll judge of the men.
The Rector comes first, in his hat with broad brim,
His clerk “Jones,” with his son, following him;
Then “Harris,” his carpenter, joined by his mate;
And “Gough” is the tenant that lives near his gate;
His “Groom” and his “buttons come next in the roll,
Followed sharp by the laddies who carry his coal.
Banding together at Nantyderry
A taste of the beer just making them merry,
The Worshipful Leader, on mischief bent,
Gave the word “Forward,” and off they went,
Armed with picks and hatchet and axe,
“One,” “One,” they march, not fearing attacks,
For the foes they seek are wily “pests,”
Which have been to the Rector such troublesome ghosts,
Till, at length, he has taken the law in his hand,
Declaring a “gate” shall never there stand;
On this old poking lane, oh, oh, he ne’er drives
Nor ever will want to, as long as he lives,
Three gates there were along the steep,
To keep from wandering mountain sheep;
They opened with latch, so easy and fair,
That none who passed through ever cared they were there,
But the Parson may wish on Alpine mule
To tread this road to Pontypool;
“He’ll see that these mighty obstructions are gone,”
And marshals his forces for cutting them down;
Then with saw and with hatchet they go,
Unmindful of whether “Law’s” with them or no,
To destroy other’s goods may be very good fun,
But hardly fit work for a clergy “mun.”
March 5th 1870 – To the Editor of the Free Press
SIR – Whoever “Verax” may be, his version in your last impression is incorrect.
It gives a brief statement of facts and a birds-eye view of matters toughing Penystair road, and the gates illegally placed on it.
It is clear he is extremely sorry to have to part with these gates, which have already answered one purpose, namely, to diminish the traffic on the road that the term “abandoned lane” may be more applicable to it than when the gates were placed on it.
When a man screens himself behind a fictitious name, one naturally suspects there is some weakness in the cause he pleads. He can then abuse and ridicule with impunity. “Verax” comes forth under a mask, but forgets that abuse is not argument, assertion is not proof, and that ridicule is the weapon of small minds.
“Verax” has certainly not made veracity his study for
1 The gates were NOT put on the road “by authority of a parish meeting.” The gates on Miss Cooke’s property were placed there by authority of the vestry, and a minute on the vestry book, showing such authority, was duly entered. But when the owner of a portion of the land along Penystair lane expressed a wish, in a parish meeting, to place gates on the lane, there was not one favourable response, and the subject was dropped. I was in the chair. Notwithstanding the ominous silence, he took the law into his own hands, put up the gates, and at a subsequent parish meeting, was, in my presence, angrily charged by a farmer with being “found of monopoly.” So far from pleading the authority of a previous parish meeting in self-justification, he made no reply whatever. There is no minute on the vestry book showing the alleged authority.
2 The gates were NOT “continued by the Highway Board,” nor is it true that the Surveyor, as “Verax” intimates, had omitted to make a report on the road on the ground that “he knew not what to say as, he never saw any traffic on it since he had been in office.” What he said was, “That as the Chairman had gone over it, he did not think he was required to make a report.”
3 The land is NOT a mountain road, but one of the roads on the hill side, leading to the road from Blaenavon on one side, and to Pontypool on the other side; viz., from the upper parts of Goytrey and Llanover.
In 1866 the vicar of Blaenavon wrote to the Highway Board, to complain of the gates which had been placed on this road, stating that this lane was a direct communication between his two small farms. Mr Pruett, a freeholder, and the late Mr William Jones, a leaseholder on the hill side, complained to the Surveyor of the same obstructions, and they were delivered by Mr Henry Williams to make their case known to the Highway Board.
I happened to be present as they were repainting my churchyard wall. Not knowing how to lay the matter in due form before the Board, they requested me to write to the Board for them. I did so. The result was, a letter from Col. Byrde (then in Ceylon) to the Chairman of the Board in which was insinuated that I was actuated in the matter by personal feeling. This letter appeared in the Pontypool Free Press, and was replied to by me through the same medium.
After this, in January 1867, Mr Keats wrote to me, stating that Mr Frank Byrde had come to the Board to say that he “assented to the removal of the gates.”
For some time, I and others thought these obstructions were removed. At the meeting before last I had Mr Keats’s letter before the Board, and again called their attention to the grievance. I then discovered why the gates were not removed by Mr R. Byrde after all.
He had called at a subsequent meeting to ask the Board to allow the gates to remain until the return of his father from Ceylon.
The subject, therefore, of those gates has been from time to time, forced on the attention of the Highway Board. Whether it be true or not that the Board desired the gates should be removed. I know not, but the permission applied for by Mr F. Byrde for them to remain for a time, would seem to imply that fact.
But, Mr Editor, what was done when H. C. Byrde, Esq., returned? Was the grievance redressed? Were the rights of complaining and long fore-bearing landowners and tenant-farmers respected? No. Two Justices are, with a high hand, called in to view the “abandoned lane,” (and they are not invited according to the Act, by the Surveyor), for the purpose of relieving the parish, forsooth, of the heavy burden of maintaining this useful cattle thoroughfare, which, according to the parish books, only cost a few shillings for the last 20 years!!
Whether the only landowner, who seems so much to desire such a consummation, was present with the two Justices, has not yet transpired.
The report was NOT read, as “Verax” states, at the last Board meeting
Finding from such proceedings of which I was not before aware, that there was no disposition on behalf of the gentlemen who put up the gates, to respect the property of others, whose properties would be depreciated in value by practically closing up the road, I did say at the Board (and I repeat what I said) that “I shall feel it my duty to leave no stone unturned to protect the interests of others, and now my own, as a landowner.
Having bought a farm in the neighbourhood of the road in question, and on which is a mill, I admit that a regard for my own rights partly induced me to press this matter again on the attention of the Board.
It was but reasonable to try to increase facilities to get “grist” into the mill.
I, therefore, got up a memorial to the Board. It was signed by me and the parties who felt aggrieved that this road was practically lost to them. It bore the names of the Vicar of Blaenavon; Mr Turner of New Barn; Mrs Rosser of Pantglas; Mr Nicholas, of Yew Tree Farm; Mr Davis, of Goytrey Mill; Mr Charles Jones, of Carnllech; Mr Pruett, landowner; Mr Meredith, of Hendre Glyn; and others. The memorialists requested the Board to “remove the obstructions so long complained of,“ and I may add, so patiently tolerated.
Col. Byrde was present at the Board, and took down the names of the memorialists.
The subject of the memorial was at my request postponed until the next meeting as I simply wished a fuller Board, and I had not then the remotest intention as to another course of proceeding.
But, in the meantime, Mr Editor, what were the measures adopted with a view to create alarm in reference to this road question, among the heavily burdened ratepayers of this parish?
A partisan of H. C. Byrde, Esq., one of his Opposition British School Committee, takes round a memorial with a very effective tale, so as not to fail to obtain signatures, viz., that if Penystair road should not be closed as it was, the ratepayers would be compelled to widen it to the legal width, and that it would cost them £200 !!! But this tale was not sufficiently potent to serve the purpose with come. The same tale-bearer among the people, therefore, added that if the road should be opened, the Rector would compel the parishioners to spend the above sum above it!!!
This I discovered more and more when sending round a counter memorial, and I have been told this fact by the parties themselves.
Finding this determination to deny us everything in the shape of fair play, there appeared to me and to others no alternative but to take down the gate illegally put up, and never expressly sanctioned by the Board, and at once to clear the road of all the obstructions that had given to it the appearances of an “abandoned lane.”
The parties more immediately interested in the removal of these gates gave orders and were present when the work was done. But they took these steps at my suggestion, and under my protection; and I am prepared to bear the consequences of these acts, which, I maintain, are neither an offence against the law, nor an infringement of the authority of the Highway Board, and certainly never intended to be the slightest disrespect towards the Board, its Chairman, or its surveyor.
We may be told that we have too many roads in this parish. We have about 19 miles.
Were the district owned by about half-a-dozen landed proprietors, no doubt some roads could, without injustice, be closed up.
But this parish, in extent, is 3,330 acres, and there are about 40 freeholders and several leaseholders belonging to it, who being all ratepayers, are entitled to road accommodation,
And, surely, when one resident gentleman and landowner perniciously seeks practically to deprive other and smaller landowners of any kind, or any extent, of road convenience, it seems to me that his conduct is of oppression that ought to be firmly resisted.
When I purchased the farm along which the Penystair road goes for Col.. Byrde (then in Ceylon), there were such fences along that road as could, without much outlay, be made good enough, to keep “the strays” from the road.
But when he came to reside in the parish, he left the fence, in one part, to go to ruin, and in another part, upwards of 170 yards of the road fence, with a wide bank along it (so that the road could be widened about 20 feet in the clear,), were taken into his field. I do not know whether the bailiff had authority from his master to do this. “Verax” will perhaps in his next effusion, assert that the taking of this road into the field, as well as the putting up of the gates, was “by the authority of a parish meeting.”
When the fence was entirely removed what neighbouring farmer could send a flock of sheep or cattle along the road? especially when there were sheep already in the field, or on “the abandoned lane,” now rendered here invisible and fit for the inspection of the justices.
Since the farm is leased on a term of several years, the landlord has not quite the same excuse for meddling with this public highway. Let him restore the road fence which his servant, with or without his authority, removed, and let him encourage the new tenant, who gets possession in May, to make good the fences throughout.
The road in question was useful in times past.
Tradition affirms that along it were carried, on mules, stones to build some portions of the ancient castle of Raglan.
Along it came the stones to build my church, 24 years ago, and also stones to build my schoolroom.
Along it came stones to build several railway bridges, and who can tell of what essential service this road might be to the public in time to come?
Now, Mr Editor, it is clear that the whole drift of “Verax’s” communication, and especially of his peroration, is to stir up the Highway Board to a spirit of antagonism, and to believe that “rule,” “resolution.” and “authority” have been set at naught by a member of the Board. I am not aware of any resolution of the Board in reference to these gates, except the one which authorised their remaining at Mr F. Byrde’s request, until his father should return from Ceylon.
It is well known, Mr. Editor, that a Highway Board is not appointed for the purpose of allowing nuisances on Highways (and gates across roads, illegally placed, are regarded by the Act as nuisances); not for the purpose of acting in subserviency to the dictum of an interested landowner to the injury of the rights of others (which the Usk Board will never do); but for the purpose of doing impartial, even-handed justice between man and man, without any respect of persons.
For the information of Verax,” I will in conclusion, add, that gates be again placed across the Penystair road, I have reason to believe that, in accordance with justice and law, they will experience a doom precisely similar to that which befell the others. And if he will ride up to the fresh air on the hill side to clear his verifying faculty, and take a comprehensive view of all improvements there effected, he will find that the “abandoned lane,” nearly a mile in length, has been put in good order, at the sole cost of.
THE TROUBLESOME RECTOR OF GOYTREY.
P.S. Further communications on the above subject, unless they bear the writer’s name and address, will, of course, will be treated with that feeling usually called forth by anonymous letters
The vulgar lines of bad poetry beneath notice, except to remark, that the writer does not evidently know the difference between “Syntax” and Prosody.
April 16, 1870 – Penystair Road
To the Editor of the Free Press
Sir, – The public and the Editors of the County papers must be pretty well tired with the subject of the Penystair road and the futile attempts made by the Rector of Goytre to justify his acts by misrepresentations, but I must beg your indulgence for once to enlighten some of your readers respecting the statements of the rev gentleman, by way of a summary to his proceedings.
I will only refer to matters of fact, and will not take up much of your space. First of all, notice the beginning of this newspaper controversy by an announcement in the county papers by the Rector himself: – That the question of the gates had been “summarily and finally settled by ten parishioners.” Intended to convey an impression that independent parishioners had removed them, – these parishioners, it seems, being himself and his servants and labourers.
Then notice the refusal to a parishioner the right of representation to the Highway Board he claims for himself, and because Mr James., of Upper Goytrey House, takes his friends to join him in a letter, he is called by the Rector a “tale-bearer” and “Partizan”. Surely, Mr Editor, this is not very fair dealing, or fair speaking either. Mr James had surely the same right of petition as the parish clerk had to apply for signature over and over again on behalf of the Rector: and if Mr James found that the parish might be involved in a new era of law expenses, it was certainly a very natural apprehension after past experience of the heavy law experiences the Rector had been the means of leading the parish to incur the remembrance of which is still fresh in the minds of many of the poor people of Goytre, yet the expression of the views held by Mr James and his friends is termed by the Rector as “pressure.”
The question of the transport of stones does not affect the matter, as the gates were no obstruction to traffic, but if it did, there is abundant evidence adverse to the Rector’s assertions on this point.
All questions of “traffic” is well no to have had no influence whatever in this matter. It is patent to everyone who knows the facts of the case that there was no “traffic” on the road, and that it was of no real use to any one.
That the sawing away of the posts and the removal of the gates was a malicious act, originating solely in personal feeling on the part of the Rector of Goytre, is universally believed and it will be long before this belief is effaced from the minds of many now living in this parish or neighbourhood, despite all that is said and written to the contrary.
The statement put before the public that Col. Byrde with “high hand” procured two justices to view the road and make an order, at the time the gentleman was away in Ceylon, should at least clear the rev gentleman fr0m such free use of such terms as “Unscrupulous” in writing of other. Does not such a mis-statement as this cast discredit upon the whole of his version of the matter? “Ex uno disce omnes.” (One specimen is enough to judge by.) Then notice the complaint made by the Rector of unfair treatment by the chairman of the Board that he did not let him know he was going to inspect the road, in which he omitted to mention that he had changed his postal address from Pontypool to Abergavenny, which called the delay in the receipt of the chairman’s notice.
It was the Rector, in fact, who had requested the chairman to inspect the road and yet he joined Mr Bateman in his vehement attack upon him at the meeting of the 11th of March and actually denounced his visit to the road as “unauthorised and “contrary to the rights of his office” which he himself had asked the chairman to make.
The Rector’s attempts in his various letters to make it appear that 170 yards of the lane had been taken in Col. Byrde’s field, simply because the thorns and briers had been cleared away from the bank when there was no hedge, speaks for himself. It needs no comment.
If anyone is sufficiently interested to take a country walk to Goytre and see that celebrated Penystair road, he will be in a position to estimate the value of the Rectors merits (?) in his boasted championship of parish rights, which it would be far better for himself, and the parishioners, if he had let alone.
I am, sir, your obedient servant, FINIS.
June 11th 1870 – Goytrey Again
To the Editor of the Free Press.
MR EDITOR, – An exciting meeting of the parishioners took place in the Nantyderry school room on Thursday last, the ostensible object of which was to consider what parish highways could be permanently closed, and what others could be scheduled as roads which the parish would not hereafter be liable to repair; but the real matter that was discussed was the Penystair road. The Rector, as usual, occupied the chair, and fully explained the object of the meeting; after which Mr Prewett moved, and Mr Harris seconded, a resolution to the effect that the Penystair road was one necessary for the wants or convenience of the inhabitants located in the upper division of the parish. This view was strongly supported by a majority, but called in question by a large proportion of those who were present, and who considered the road was of no public use, and one that should not continue as a liability to the ratepayers. Colonel Byrde supported the latter view, and moved an amendment, which after being duly seconded, was ably discussed by native talent. Mr Prewett, Mr Harris, Mr Watkins, Mr Gwatkin, Mr Lewis, Mr Harris, Mr Wilks, and a great number of other gentlemen, ably and warmly supported their peculiar views. It appeared to be an understood arrangement that not less than half-a-dozen should be on their legs at the same time addressing the chair, for at no period of the meeting after the moving an amendment were there less than that number speaking at the same time. The spirit and energy displayed by each speaker fully sustained the celebrity of Goytrey for possessing to an unmistakable degree the combative element. The point taken up by the supporters of the amendment was one of economy: they considered it absurd that the parish should be liable to the repair of a road that was of little or no use to the public. However, in the discussion it turned out that this road could not have cost the parish more than 7s 6d in the last twenty years, that sum giving an average of fourpence halfpenny per annum. It is evident that Goytrey has some rigid economists. May I enquire, Mr Editor, if these financial reformers could not turn their talent to better account by endeavouring to effect some reform in our county expenditure. Here is a fine field open to them. Public expenditure is now become a very serious and inconvenient charge upon the industry of the country. As funds are now procured for public necessities, they come wholly and solely from the industry of the working man and the middle classes of society, and not from accumulated wealth of the nation. The pressure of local taxation indirectly on the working man is become so grievous, that the best-conducted, most prudent, and most skilful of our working population are leaving England for countries where the fruit of their industry is not so mercilessly consumed by loafers and loungers holding public appointments. I am deviating from an account of the meeting: your readers, I am sure will excuse me, and I trust the gentry economist, as they have a position on the Bench, will take the hint and exercise their talent, power and influence to curtail, rather than increase, the salaries of already, extravagantly paid officials.
I now revert to the account of the meeting. After two to three hours of description of the utility of Penystair road, a gentleman got up and enquired if there were no other roads in the parish that fairly came in the category of those – the utility of which they were not to investigate. The enquiry caused a sort of panic for a few moments, which was followed by a little talk about the Llan road which did not last more than about five minutes, after which the whole of the speakers bolted back into the Penystair Road in the parish. An angry discussion subsequently arose as to whether resolution or amendment should first be put. At length the latter was submitted, and a division quite in Parliamentary style took place, the Ayes moving to the right of the chair and the Noes to the left, and the Neuters walking out of the room. The Ayes lost, being 42 to 45, exclusive of tellers. The original resolution was then put and carried; and thus ended the great battle of Nantyderri.
When another public meeting takes place in Goytrey; kindly send your reporter there. Much that would highly entertain the public ? in your paper, if communicated by a (line missing from photo at the end)
July 10 1875 – Pontypool and Usk Highways Board
On Monday the monthly meeting of this board took place at Usk. Mr James Powell presided over a full Board. It was resolved that the district surveyor’s expenditure and receipt book should be balanced every fortnight. The surveyor was ordered to pay Mr Wrenford for stones when he had funds. Col. Byrde asked the Board to perform a promise to vote the sum of £5 from the funds of Llanvihangel and Goytrey towards the formation of a road and bridge leading to Goytrey school. Mr Morgan, of Little Mill, strongly objected; he contended that the bridge in question was private, and the landlord ought to keep it in repair and passable; the members of the Board were not there to dispense gratuities, but to pay just demands, and he considered it would be culpable of the board to order the sum to be paid over, and if it were, he should call the special attention of the auditor to it. – A claim of Mr Jas. Lucas for £1 11s 6d for haulage of stones was ordered to be paid, subject to reduction of 3d per load, which brought the claim to £1 6s 3d. – Mrs Roberts applied to have a quarry on her land filled up, as it had not been used for several years. On the motion of Col. Byrde, £2 was allowed towards the expense of filling up the quarry. – Mr Jones of Trevella farm, in accordance with notice given, brought forward very serious charges against the surveyor. After a long and animated discussion, the proposal for his dismissal was negated by a majority of 9. – only 3 voted for the proposition and 12 against it. Mr Gething moved – “That this meeting is of the opinion that the charges made against the surveyor by Messrs Jones and Mackintosh have not been proved and that the surveyor stands without a stain on his character. in respect to those charges.” This was agreed to unanimously.
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