Finally, while the
following report is of a matter less grave than the previous examples,
it too concerns the Forest of Dean and reveals a little piece of
"The Times" 23 December 1902
"Wrongful Seizure of Furniture"
The high sheriff of Gloucestershire at the Shire-hall, Gloucester,
yesterday, sat for the assessment of damages in an action brought by
John Appleton, until recently a grocer's and draper's assistant at
Drybrook, Dean Forest, against the Clerical and Medical Bank (Limited),
Bristol. The defendants, who were sued for the wrongful removal of the
plaintiff's furniture, did not appear. Mr Harry Lewis, the plaintiff's
counsel, stated that Appleton became surety for his brother-in-law,
William MINCHIN in respect of a loan of forty pounds, borrowed from the
defendant company at 60 per cent interest and he signed a document
which he was not aware at the time, was a bill of sale on his
furtniture. The bill of sale was executed last July and in September
the defendants, without any justification, as the plaintiff contended,
he not having commited any breach of his agreement, seized the whole of
Appleton's furniture in his absence, and without observing the
requirement to put a man in possession for five days. When written to
by the plaintiff's solicitors, the defendants said that they were quite
prepared to fight Appleton upon any point with reference to the bill of
sale, and suggested that they might deal with him in a criminal Court.
Counsel said that the defendants' conduct was fraudulent, and that,
instead of their business being a philanthropic one, as its name
implied, it bore the impress of Shylock. He asked for vindictive
damages, as it was a case of an aggravated character, and the
defendants had not the conscience to come to Court and attempt to
defend their conduct. The jury assessed the damages to be awarded to
the plantiff at one hundred pounds."
A search in the local Gloucester paper may well reveal further details.
The "Times" Digital Archive (pay to use,
though occasionally free) is probably the easiest portal to British
newspapers, especially for those of us living overseas. Of course,
armed with specific dates, ample time or funds, the British
Library newspaper collection should also be useful if one can make a
personal visit or engage an agent.
Having found something relevant to your rsearch in the "Times" it becomes the "gateway" to
discovering a report in a local newspaper where the content may be
complementary. Depending on the rules of the depository a photocopy may
be requested. However, because of damage many record offices are
refusing to copy but will either abstract the report, arrange for it to
be photographed or invite the requestor to employ an agent to hand copy
Finally other journals and newspapers seachable on-line include "Gentleman's Magazine" and "Notes and Queries". (A GOOGLE search will locate these).