Jackson's Oxford Journal July 1st 1871


Trinity Quarter Sessions



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Upton v. C. Cottrell Dormer,Esq., the Rev, T. Curme, W. M. Foster-Melliar, Esq and T. L. M Cartwright, Esq., Magistrates of the North Wootton Division.  

This was an appeal against the decision of the above Magistrates not to transfer the licence of the Crown beerhouse, at Clifton, near Deddington. Mr. Sawyer and Mr. Gough appeared for the appellant ; Mr. Stratton and Mr. Druce were for the Magistrates.

Mr. Sawyer opened the case for the appellant, and said that he applied to the Court for a review of the refusal of magistrates of the North Wootton Division of the County to grant a transfer of the licence of the Crown Tavern at Clifton from a person named Biddle to one Upton.  The latter formerly carried on business as a farmer and a beer-house keeper at Banbury, and whilst in that capacity he retained a good character. He then took the Crown Tavern at Clifton, in the parish of Deddington, and when the former landlord left Upton applied to the Wootton Magistrates for an interim order for the transference of the licence.  This was granted for the period which remained until the day appointed for transferring licences.  On that day --- the 5th of May last --- he  appeared before the Petty Sessions to make application for the transfer, but the Magistrates refused it, on the ground that the house was unnecessary for the hamlet he hoped to show, how- ever, that the Magistrates were wrong in their decision. ‘The house was situated on the high road leading from Chipping Norton to Brackley, as well as to Bicester. It was on the top of a hill, where carriers and wayfarers usually refreshed themselves after mounting the steep hill, and often a horse was kept for the purpose of helping to drag up the hill heavily laden carts and wagons. The house was an old established one ; it was also much frequented by people who attended a cattle market or sale at Aynhoe, close by, and there was attached to it stabling for 20 or more horses. Besides, there was ample room for lodgers, and many of the workmen employed at the neighbouring  works took up their residence in the house. The learned Counsel then said that the new Beerhouse Act did not apply to this transfer ; it only related to the cases of new houses, as had been distinctly stated in the House of Commons by the Home Secretary, under the fourth subclause of the Act. The Magistrates had, he thought, no right to take away the licence, and he hoped to be able to show that they were wrong in doing so.  Things were altered now from the days when it was thought that any parish ‘Squire might shut up a public house at his Own bidding, although such a rule might formerly exist in the minds of many, and as this Crown Hotel was a convenience to many, and possessed ample stabling accomodation---which was greatly needed---he hoped that the decision of the Magistrates would be reversed.  He then called, in support of the appeal,

Mr. T. H. Pearse, solicitor, Banbury, who said he knew the locality of Clifton and Deddington well. The house in dispute was in the midst of a population of 250 or more, and was placed on the top of a hill between Brackley and Chipping-Norton and Bicester,

The Chairman--- A place where you should “ rest and be thankful.”
Mr. Gough—-Yes, a fearful hill, and that is part of our case.
Witness said there was a mill close ‘by, as well as a small iron works.

George Coggins, clerk to Mr. C. Duffell-Faulkuer, described the situation of the Crown beer house at Clifton. There were two other public houses in Clifton, the Duke of Cumberland’s Head and a beer house. The former was in the centre of the village, and was only a small place; the latter did not sell beer to be consumed on the premises. The Crown was not far from the Aynhoe Station, where there was a regular cattle market, as well as two iron works.
In cross examination the witness said the population of Clifton was 266 at the last Census.
Mr. W. Blencowe, of Brackley, brewer, said that the Crown had held a good character for 20 years, and when he let the house to the appellant the latter brought first rate testimonials. Attached to the house was stabling for 15 or 20 horses, which were crowded on the days when Messrs. Paxton. and Castle held their periodical sales of cattle near. There were numerous trains stopping at Aynhoe Station each day. There was also a brick and tile works belonging to Mr. Cartwright near. The hill on which the Crown was situated was of such a steep ascent that an extra horse had to be yoked to the loads requiring to go up.

By the Bench---The house sold two barrels of beer a week. In cross examination he said that the accommodation at  the Great Western Arms, at the Aynhoe Station, as very insufficient for the requirements of the place.
John Upton, the appellant,, said he had been a farmer and beer-house keeper in Danbury for three years. He then took the Crown Tavern, and obtained an interim certificate to carry on the business there, but when he applied for the transfer it was refused. No complaint was ever made against his character ; on the contrary the solicitor who opposed him gave him a good character Generally he described the locale of the house as Mr. Blencowe had done.
Mr. Merry, a neighbour, was called, and he spoke highly of the Crown Tavern, saying that rnore stabling accommodation was necessary than could be afforded by the premises at the public-house, the Duke of Oumberland’s Head, which was close by.  The only stable accommodation
given at the latter place was a small hovel in which pigs were now kept. It was a good house, the Crown Tavern, and he frequently went there. He had also known a chain horse kept at the Crown to assist loads up the steep hill---one of the steepest in the County. The house was roomy and  commodious, and the works near rendered such a place necessary to the hamlet of Clifton.

Mr. Sawyer said that was the case for the appellants, and Mr. Stratton, for the respondents, argued that the Magistrates were right in their decision, according to the 4th sub-section of the Beerhouse Act, which left entirely to the discretion of the Magistrates, if they thought proper, the suppression of an additional public-house. He did not think any malice had been implied on the part of the Magistrates, and as he should call some of the principal inhabitants of the place to prove that the house was neither needed nor desired, he trusted that the decision of the Magistrates of the North Wootton Division would be upheld.

Mr. A. Wilson, solicitor, living at Adderbury, and occupying a farm of 300 acres at Clifton, said he attended p the Petty Sessions at which the transfer was refused on the part of several memorialists living at Clifton, most of whom were the principal ratepayers in the hamlet. The Duke of Cumberland’s Head was not more than 60 or 60 yards from the Crown.  He thought the latter house was quite unnecessary to the welfare of the hamlet, not even for the requirements of the numerous people who attend the sales at Aynhoe.

In cross-examination witness admitted that he knew nothing of the accommodation afforded at the Duke of Cumberland’s Head.   In case of horses drawing heavy loads, before reaching the hill mentioned an extra horse would be of service in being yoked to the cart, and the most convenient place to keep such a horse would be at the Crown.

Mr. Malings, farmer, Clifton, one of the memorialists, did not consider the public-house necessary for the hamlet. He did not consider a yoke horse necessary to be kept at the Crown to assist in drawing carts up the hill ; there had never been one kept for 30 years.

In cross-examination he said be had not asked many of the ratepayers to sign the memorial.  The Rector of the parish had not signed it ; but he did not know whether one of the signatures had been obtained on a false representation.

Other witnesses followed on the same side and with similar testimony.  Mr. Clark, the Overseer, saying that several of the memorialists against the house did not live in Clifton.

Mr. Malings recalled, and, in answer to Mr. Sawyer, said he had never drank any thing until he was 20 years of age. (Laughter.)

Mr. Stratton then briefly summed up, and Mr. Sawyer replied, saying that Mr. Bruce, the Home Secretary, had said that where there was an old-established house in possession of a licence with a respectable tenant, who conducted the house respectably, the Magistrates should not conclude that the house should have its licence taken away. Mr. Bruce had stated that in the House of Commons, and, he hoped the Court would reverse the decision of the Magistrates.

Mr. Gough followed on the same side in the roost eloquent strain, speaking from personal knowledge of the district, and animadverting on the testimony of the witnesses against the appellant, after whom,

The Chairman announced that the decision of the Magistrates in Petty Sessions should be sustained, and the appeal must therefore be dismissed.

Appeal dismissed accordingly.