Handwritten summary of legal case against railway labourers laying the rails for the Clarence Railway across a road

Made:
1841-05-28
part of archive:
Leonard Raisbeck Archive

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Details the arrest of railway labourers who laid rails across a turnpike road and the Clarence Railway's effort to fight the case. Signed by Fred Pollock, Temple.

Details

Extent:
1 item
Identifier:
RAIS/4/9/6
Transcription:
Case
The Clarence Railway Company have, since their original Act of 9th Geo. 4.c.61 and the subsequent acts (left herewith) formed their main line and the several branches according to the Parliamentary plans and within the respective specified periods and having taken and paid for such widths of land as [1] they then considered would be requisite, now find it necessary to widen and improve a small portion of the Stockton Branch where it has become requisite to make a short curve for efficiently and safely conducting the increasing traffic from it to the main line and for the better providing for waggons, engines and carriages to pass each other.
The Original Act (section 2) it will be seen contemplates the “widening and enlarging” and also the “improving and using” the railway and works (words it is contended which apply to periods subsequent to the making and completing thereof). By the 6th sect. The width of land authorized to be taken in the excepted cases therein referred to is 100 yards:- None of the Acts require the consent of the Trustees or Surveyors of Turnpike or Township roads to be given for the Railway crossing them. The times specified for the (compulsory?) purchase of houses & gardens are mentioned in 10 Geo:4.c.106.s.13 _ 2.Wm 4.c.25 S.9. and 3 Wm 4 c.4.s.6 and of the “houses and lands” mentioned in the 3[illegible]Wm 4 c.95 (and for the purposes of that Act alone) in S.6 _
The Company have recently (under 10 Geo 4 S 24) purchases from a willing seller some land near to the Junction of the Stockton branch (authorized by 9th Geo:4.C.61) with the main line from the Tees (and such land is situated on each side of a Township road which was originally cut many feet deeper than its surface for the branch to cross according to the Parliamentary section) for the purpose of widening the railway at that point and improving and facilitating (by the curve) the communication between the original main line and the Stockton branch, such improvement being now rendered necessary for the use of them both in consequence of

[1] Note in margin at this point reads: A sketch of the curve accompanies

[Page 2]

the increasing traffic upon that portion of the Railway-
[2] In making such curve an additional line of rails will have to be laid across the Township road (very much indeed within the 100 yards width) and the remainder of the curve is formed in such newly purchased land. There were originally laid down in making the Stockton branch, two lines of rails, the additional line for the curve will make three across the road But there is no limitation in the acts as to the number of rails which may be laid down within the specified width.

[3] The Company were proceeding to form the curve in their land and lay the additional line of rails across the road (considerably within half the 100 yards width) when two Police Officers came and immediately apprehended about 16 of the labourers and took them before three Magistrates in Stockton: - The Company’s Solicitor attended on their behalf and contended that they had a legal right so to cross the road, but the Magistrates, expressing themselves very strongly, desired the load Surveyor to go and take up the rails and to call in the assistance of all the policemen within reach to assist him, if necessary and resist the Company or their men in any attempt to prevent him, and that if the police force in the immediate neighbourhood was not strong enough for that purpose, the Magistrate would order out the county police to effect the object.
[4] The Magistrates stated they acted under clauses 79 & 72 of the last General Highway Act treating the labourers under the former as “unknown offenders” and alledging under the latter that the cause of complaint was simply the disturbance of the surface of the road. But no notice was ever given by the Surveyor to the Company, or the men to remove the rails nor was any order in writing signed by a Magistrate for the surveyor to do so (Sect 73).
The Company being desirous of having the opinion of the Judges upon the subject have made several applications to the Magistrates for copies of the information warrant and conviction upon which their proceedings were grounded. The copies were requested for the purpose of the company taking the case by appeal to the Quarter sessions and thence to the Court of Queens Bench

[Page 3]

and they have offered to concur in any arrangement which might get rid of many intermediate details in the proceedings in order that the judgement of the higher court might be obtained with as little delay and expence as possible.
The Magistrates, however, refuse to give the copies or afford any facilities for the purpose of such Judgement and now alledge that they discharged the men without recording any conviction. It is believed also that no information was laid nor were the police officers furnished with any warrant to apprehend, and they also swore at the hearing that the laborers committed no breach of the Peace nor made the slightest resistance when taken into custody:- The Magistrates also state that, if the rails be laid down again they will adopt precisely the same course-
The time for appealing by the 105th section of the Highway Act has in consequence of the conviction being withheld, some time since elapsed.

You will please to advise

1st Whether the Company have now the right to continue their additional line of rails across the road for the purposes and in the manner above described? See Rex v Justices of Glamorganshire 7 Barn Cress. 732.
2nd Whether under the circumstances, the Magistrates were justified in the course of proceedings above detailed?
Stockton, 13th May 1841
1st I think the Company have the right to continue the additional line of rails across the road for the purposes & in the manner above described _ it is perfectly clear that at one time the Comp’y had such a right & I see no ground upon which it can be successfully contended that such right has ceased.
2nd It would follow that the Magistrates were not justified in their proceedings _ I think there is sufficient prospect of success to induce me to recommend the Company to try the question _
Fred. Pollock
Temple 28th May 1841

[2] Note in margin against this paragraph reads: Since Lord Seymours Act the Co. have put up gates across the highway on a line with the edge of the land originally taken for the Railway across the road, and the additional line of rails is required to be a few feet out of such line on the east side.

[3] Note in margin against this paragraph reads: The policemen stated they were ordered by two Magistrates to take the men into custody, one of them sat on the bench at the hearing, the other did not.

[4] Note in margin against this paragraph reads: It is presumed that the last General Highway Act (5.+6.W.4.c.50) did not repeal the powers of the Clarence Acts as to crossing the High Road for the purposes of the improvement above mentioned.

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