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Knight of Barrells


Case and opinion of Mr. W.O. Edge regarding damage to a fence adjoining a former wheelwright's shop at Ullenhall. The Rev. H.C. Knight was in possession of a considerable landed property in Ullenhall derived under an entail created by the will of Lord Catherlough. The small property concerned in the present case was one of those purchased by the trustees of the will by conveyance dated 1837, when it was described as a messuage or tenement with the wheelwright's shop, stable, yard, garden c. then in the occupation of Thomas Dolphin. The wheelwright's shop was afterwards used as a cowhouse. Adjoining it was a piece of ground used by Dolphin as a timber yard. Dolphin occupied it first as owner and then for c. 50 years as Robert Knight's tenant. A trumpery dispute arose about this piece of ground involving also Mr. Edward Cooper. Mr. Cooper was tenant of Robert Knight's principal farm but, differences having arisen, he was then under notice to quit. He was also agent for Kings College, Cambridge, the owners of the adjoining field. While the wheelwright's business was continued the piece of ground was left open, but lately it had appeared more convenient to the then tenant, William Edwards, to inclose it, and Robert Knight's agent directed him to do so. Edward Cooper however, after first threatening Robert Knight's agent, proceeded with one Joseph Bench a surveyor on 19 November last [1861] to the place and directed him to saw off 8 posts and demolish the fence, which he did. Note that Cooper had been not only tenant but also agent to Robert Knight. A letter was addressed to Cooper by H.C. Knight's solicitors (Whitakers and Woolbert) dated 30 December 1861, to which there was no reply. Counsel was asked to advise whether an action for trespass would lie against Cooper and Bench or either of them, and whether such action would be better brought in the name of H.C. Knight or of the tenant. Opinion An action would lie at the tenant's suit against either Cooper or Bench, or both. Mr. Knight should not be plaintiff. Signed: W.O. Edge, Temple, 25 January 1862.