Claim for Rent & Rates on the Stone Cottage in Bow Street

A case of ‘Strange Contradictions’ was reported by the Norfolk News in their edition of 20th July 1878.

A claim was brought by James Lane (the Plaintiff) for rent and rates amounting to £4 5s from James A Rix (the Defendant). The case was heard before the Judge, Edwin Plumer Price QC, in Attleborough.

The circumstances of the case concerned the sub-letting of a cottage in Bow Street, referred to as the ‘Stone Cottage’. It appears that just before Michaelmas in 1877 James Rix, described as a gentleman of Great Ellingham, approached James Lane, a farmer also of Great Ellingham, about the letting to him of the Stone Cottage which he required to house a team-man. The letting was agreed and it was stated that James Rix told James Lane that he would be responsible for the rent and rates and not the team-man going into the property. It was also agreed that the key would be left at the property.

It transpired that the defendant was unsuccessful in hiring a team-man and, consequently, the Stone Cottage was left unoccupied. At a later meeting between the two parties at nearby Hingham, it was stated that James Rix on telling James Lane that he had been disappointed in hiring a team-man, he (James Lane) had told James Rix that he ‘would not suffer’ as a consequence.

A witness, George Dew, told the court that the defendant, James Rix, had told him that he had hired a cottage in Bow Street for a team-man but he had not been successful in employing such a person. It was also stated that the Plaintiff had told the Defendant ‘not to mind and that he would not let the cottage to anyone else without first acquainting him’.

When questioned, the Defendant confirmed that he knew the key had been left at the Stone Cottage.

The defence put forward a denial of the hiring or at least, that that it was conditional to a team-man being employed by the Defendant.

The court found in favour of the Plaintiff, James Lane, with costs with an order for immediate payment.

Source: Norfolk News 20th July 1878