Tithes: Dolman v. Vavasour

This case in Chancery concerned a dispute between Marmaduke Dolman of Duncoates, and Sir John Vavasour, over the tithes of Spaldington, particularly Spaldington Moor, which Sir John had inclosed. Dolman complained that they took it in turns to receive the great tithes, and in 1636 it was his turn, but that Sir John had not paid his tithes for that year, from corn and hay in Spaldington Moor. Also in dispute, or which needed clarifying, was how much of Spaldington lay in the parish of Bubwith, and how much was in Aughton, and whether these portions had been marked. The case does not appear to have concluded in Chancery, so it may have been settled out of court, or the bill simply allowed to lapse. The only documents in TNA surviving for this case are the original bills and answers, under reference C3/400/107, and the interrogatories and witness depositions, under reference C22/624/22; and further depositions under references C22/344/36 and C22/345/22.

C3/400/107 (two bills with answers), 25 Nov 1636

The Dean and Chapter of York, seised of one Rectory of Bubwith and a moiety of the tithes [the great tithes] and on William Acroyde is and for divers years last past each being seised of another rectory and of the other moiety of tithes, have since time out of mind the said moieties of tithes have been taken and received yearly alternis vicibus after this manner, i.e. the tithes renewing within the townships of Bubwith, Willitoft, Harlethorpe and Folkathorpe usually received together.

And whereas the township of Spaldington of four score oxgangs of arable land and one great pasture called Spaldington Moor of 1000 acres of ground, part of the said oxgangs namely 14 of the said oxgangs lieth in the parish of Aughton and hath formerly been known by certain marks, meets and bounds,. But all the residue of the said oxgangs as also the said pasture lieth within Bubwith, and the Dean and Chapter being seised of the said rectory and moiety of tithes, by indenture dated 10 Aug 15 Jas. I granted for 3 lives of William, Marmaduke and Thomas Dolman, your orator's sons, being all yet living, and should enjoy the said tithes every other year and should have been received for the year 1636, but Sir John Vavasour, knight, Lord of the Manor of Spaldington, carried away the tithes of corn and hay, with George Talbot, Richard Thorpe, George Knowles, --- Battel, and persons unknown.

The answers by Sir John Vavasour are difficult to read, but his list of tenants are legible. He names:

Matthew Westoby
John Gunby
Matthew Kempe
Anthony Leaper
Edward Allen
Thomas Scruton
Anthony Dudding
William Tundall
William Stubbing
Richard Madson
John Broadley the younger
William Davison

C22/624/22 (interrogatories, with the answer of one witness given here as an example)

1. Do you know the petitioner, the defendent, and the town and parish of Bubwith?

2. Do you know something about the Rectory, the moieties, the tithes, and Mr Acroyde?

3. Do you know something about the payment of the moieties of the tithes from the various townships?

4. Do you know Spaldington Moor in Spaldington? In what parish does it lie? And to whom each year the tithe wool of sheep be paid?

5. How many oxgangs of land are in the said township of Spaldington, and how many acres in Spaldington Moor?

6. How many of the said oxgangs of land in Spaldington do lie in the parish of Bubwith and how many in Aughton? How much is distinguished, bounded and marked?

7. Do any more land in Spaldington lie in the parish of Aughton than fowerteen ongangs?

8. Was it not the complainth turn and did it not belong to him to receive the tithes within the townships of Spaldington, Gribthorpe, Breighton and Gunby, in the year 1636 in the bill mentioned for the moiety leased to him by the Dean and Chapter of York?

9. Hath not the defendent, John Vavasour of late and long since made inclosure within the township of Spaldington? How much did he inclose? How many trees are inclosed?

10 How much of the inclosed land since 1636 has been laid to meadow? Did the defendent neglect to pay the tithe of corn and hay?

11. Did not the defendent together with some others and who or whose --- about the 30 August 1636 did take and carry any all or some part of the tithe of corn and hay upon the said new inclosed and improved ground in Spaldington, particularly in Spaldington Moor?

12. How many --- of rye, and how many of barley, oats and corn and how many loads of hay did Sir John Vavasour make in 1636?

Witnesses (depositions taken at Weighton, 8 Jan 13 Chas. I [1637/8])

Deposition of William Clark of Spaldington, yeoman; taken before Robert Manby, Michael Wharton and John Acroyde

1. I know.

2. Bubwith is in two medieties of the rectory. One to the Dean and Chapter, the other to Mr. Acroyde and Sir John Vavasour.

3. The tithes of the townships of Spaldington reputed to be within the parish of Bubwith to be taken yearly by the farms and proprietors of the rectories by turn.

4. Spaldington Moor lieth within the township of Spaldington but in what parish the whole moor lieth he knowest not, and mr Dolman the plaintiff had and received the tithes of wool of all sheep pasturing upon the moor for the space of 40 years last past.

5. Four score and two oxgangs. Spaldington Moor 1000 acres.

6. In Bubwith three score and eight. In Aughton 14 and a half oxgangs.

7. I don't know.

8. In 1636 it was the plaintiff's turn.

9. He inclosed about 20 years ago, and improved the Moor, and made the same into several closes, but how many I am unsure.

10. Both took tithes of corn and hay, but how much I knoweth not.

11. and 12. I knoweth not.

Other witnesses who made depositions were:

William Leaper of Spaldington, yeoman, aged 38 years
Francis Lambert of Spladington, yeoman, aged 60 years
Peter Pocklington of Spaldington, yeoman, aged 54 years
Thomas Simpson of Balkholme, aged 33 years.

There are more depositions in TNA under references: C22/344/36 and C22/345/22.