There being little news of substance relating to the estate I shall restrict this update to further extracts from Estate Committee minutes, in particular the missing bench.

 

It is a little history of the estate to bear in mind if you find yourself struggling up “Adams Bank “and perhaps wishing that the Estate Committee had at some time since 1896 taken up the opportunity to place a seat on that small corner of land at the top of the hill donated by Edward Adams that now contains the Apperley Road sign.

 

Between the 23 November 1895 and 24 October 1896 the Estate Committee conducted meetings at the Temperance Hotel which used to stand opposite the Stocksfield railway station. Little was discussed other than the allocation of lots, the fixing of building lines, the positioning of roadways and securing a water supply to all properties on the estate.

 

On 24 October 1896 Mr Adams offered to provide a small corner of ground on which to place a seat. It is not evident from the minutes whether or not a seat was ever to be placed at the top of what is still colloquially referred to as “Adams Bank”, the short steep hill at the bottom of Apperley Road. Mr. Adam’s offer represented something of an attempt at rapprochement between him and his fellow covenanters, in that in the preceding 12 months there had been issues of dispute which evidently led to exasperation, high dudgeon and strong words during meetings. The genesis and subject matter of this dispute is now difficult to precisely identify absent the plans with which Mr Adams was particularly concerned. Various extracts from the minutes nonetheless give something of the flavour of the atmosphere that must have pertained at the meetings.

January 12, 1896

 

It was moved that the footpath between lots 26 and 27 be pegged out according to Mr Adams’s requirements and that if the bank, which apparently consists of sand, falls down, Mr Adams shall maintain it. Resolution carried

 

2 June 1896

 

Mr Adams said he took exception to the plan attached to the Deed which had just been read and said that he would have signed the Deed had Mr Richardson been present and had jointly with himself signed the memorandum and they did so without prejudice to the dispute between them. The secretary offered to sign on behalf of Mr Richardson or undertake that Mr Richardson would sign the memorandum and Deed, but Mr Adams declined either offer and expressed grave doubts as to the existence in the flesh of Mr G Richardson. Mr Pattinson said that the time of the meeting was being wasted and moved that it proceed with the next business. The secretary asked if Mr Adams protest had to be passed on to Messrs. Clayton and Gibson. The chairman read a letter from the secretary in which he drew attention to the accusation made by Mr Adams against him of having denied the existence of a certain plan, known as the “Cartridge Plan”, and of having concealed it. He requested the Chairman to move a resolution calling upon Mr Adams to prove his statements or to withdraw them and apologise for having uttered them. Mr Adams said he had not accused the secretary of having concealed the plan but he reasserted that he had denied its existence and had done so on two occasions. He said he could not however prove it. It was moved that Mr Adams be called upon to prove the assertions he had made at or before the next general meeting or to withdraw them and apologise. Carried unanimously

 

22 June 1896

 

The secretary reported that the deed submitted for signature at the last General Meeting had been signed by the whole of the owners except two and that he had returned it to Clayton and Gibson together with a letter which he read. The two owners who have declined to sign were Edward Adams and Thomas Davison one of whom (Edward Adams) declined to sign as Mr G Richardson was not present, and further, as he took exception to the plan accompanying the deed. An error had been made by the printers in the position of a short line on the south end of the boundary line between lots 85 and 86 and the secretary said he had advised Mr Dixon of Messrs. Clayton and Gibson that this was a printer’s error and that it would be as a matter of course rectified.  Clayton Gibson had assured him that Mr Adams’s interest was perfectly safe if he signed the protest along with the deed and if their advice was bad Mr Adams would of course have his remedy against them. Mr Davison declined to sign the deed until everybody else had. The secretary pointed out that every owner was equally entitled to sign last and that if we all took up this position business would be paralysed. Mr Adams said he was not at fault and that the responsibility of stopping the business could not be charged upon him. It was not enough that Mr G Richardson should have signed the deed, he wanted to see him sign it. It was moved and seconded that the meeting call upon Mr Adams and Mr Davison to sign the deed: 15 for, none against. Carried. Mr Adams and Mr Davison were then requested to comply with the resolution but both declined. Mr Davison said he would sign it if it would put business forward but as it would not do so he declined to sign before Mr Adams.

 

Mr Adams narrated his adventures in London before the Master in Chambers but the chairman ruled this subject out of order. Mr Paxton moved however that Mr Adams be heard and Mr Adams proceeded. The secretary afterwards suggested that he (the secretary) might address the meeting on the Education Bill or the South African Question either of which was equally as much relevant to the business of the meeting.

 

Mr Adams was asked to respond to the resolution passed at the last meeting calling upon him to prove his accusations against the secretary or to withdraw them and apologise. Mr Adams said he would do neither, he declared that he never charged secretary with concealing the plan, but he reasserted that he had denied its existence. He said he had a letter from the secretary which would prove his assertion. He was asked to produce the letter but declined to do so.  Mr Adams pointed out that he had had three opportunities of making his denial. First at the general meeting held on 12 May 1896 when the secretary reported his accusation but he did not then deny it. Second when the minutes were read at the last general meeting he left the statement still undenied and he only denied it now when he was put into a corner and had to do one of two things. The secretary left the owners to deal with Mr Adams as they thought best and suggested that the recommendation be passed on to the Allotment Society that he be requested to retire from its membership.

 

7 October 1896

 

The secretary reported that he had been advised by Clayton Gibson that Mr Adams has still not yet signed the Mutual Deed and he had therefore written to Mr Adams requesting him to submit in writing a statement of the grounds upon which he declined to sign the deed. He read Mr Adams letter in reply dated 30 September 1896. In this letter Mr Adams did not recite his reasons for not signing. He said he had already given them at former meetings, or at least so much of them as the meetings would listen to and would repeat them if allowed to do so at next or any other meeting. The chairman then called upon Mr Adams to state the considerations which had led him to abstain from subscribing to the deed. Mr Adams declared that the plan attached to the deed referred to was not correct and that he had the former meetings submitted a written protest to that effect which it was decided not to pass on to Messers Clayton Gibson. He further stated that this plan had been tampered with after the execution of the deed and that Mr Scott had stated under oath that he did so by orders from Clayton and Gibson, although they (Clayton Gibson) denied all knowledge of having instructed him. In Mr Adams’s opinion this was a felony and punishable by law. He then declared that he would not sign the deed in question until the plan was correct. Upon being asked as to what he considered was a correct plan he stipulated for a correct copy of the plan approved of at a meeting held last October. There were 250 copies ordered of this plan. Mr Adams was then reminded that the plan before the meeting held in October was the Estate plan dated 30 August 1895 and used on the night of the allotment on 5 September 1895 and that if it were to be copied exactly upon the deed of 2 June 1896 he would be deprived of road frontage. He then said that this was not the plan use at the meeting held in October and affirmed that the other plan, known as the cartridge plan was the one used on that occasion and requested the secretary to produce this plan at the next meeting Mr Adams was then asked to state if this was the only reason he had for not signing the deed and he replied that it “was not the only one that it was plenty for the night”. Mr Paxton then said we were entitled to know the whole of Mr Adams’s objections to which Mr Adams replied that he refused to sign it, that “his peace of mind had been disturbed by the conduct of the secretary and that his life would be devoted to upset the award, however long it might take to do it.” Mr Adams then disclosed another consideration for not signing- that the deed conferred upon the secretary full control of the estate after conveyance, that in his opinion we have had enough of his control already, and that he objected to the secretary being made “dictator of the estate.” The secretary said that as a matter of fact, the deed did not confer upon him full control over the estate. The secretary stated he was prepared to resign the position and would not therefore be an obstacle in the way of a settlement. He suggested that Mr Adams be requested to retire so that the remaining owners might discuss his position and come to a decision upon it. It was then 9 o’clock or thereabouts but Mr Adams said he would not remain any longer. Mr Adams was pressed by various owners to remain and discuss the issue between them but declined to do so and left the meeting.

 

20 October 1896

 

The minutes of the last meeting were read. Mr Adams commented upon a certain entry relating to the remarks he made to the meeting and in deference to his wishes and alterations made in one of the sentences. Mr Adams asked if the minutes read to the meeting recorded the whole proceedings of the evening. The secretary replied that they did not. Mr Adams had been requested to leave the meeting, and as a matter of fact did so. Although the chairman did not formally vacate the chair the secretary regarded the subsequent proceedings as being of a private character as far as Mr Adams was concerned, and had not entered them upon the minutes.

 

In accordance with Mr Adams’s request Mr Scott placed upon the table the plan known as the cartridge plan. Mr Adams reviewed the grounds upon which he had declined to sign the Mutual Deed and among other things declared that this cartridge plan was the one before the meeting held in October 1895 at which 250 copies were ordered be printed, which order had never been executed. The secretary read the minute containing the resolution referred to on 4 October 1895 and he also read a letter dated 17 June 1896 from which it was quite evident that on 4 October 1895 the cartridge plan was not in existence. Mr Adams said he had seen and handled three or four of them- but the printers declared that they had only supplied one. Mr Adams delivered some remarks upon the dispute between him and Mr G Richardson. Mr Adams declared that in arranging a boundary the estate had given away a portion of land and that he would sign if the plan was struck off. Mr Dixon suggested that Mr Adams, Mr Scott and Mr Bolden should meet on the ground and agree the boundary. The secretary said they had already done so. To get over the deadlock which had arisen Mr Dixon suggested in a memorandum be put on the plan attached the mutual deed of 2 June 1896 stating that the date thereof the disputed boundary line between Mrs Richardson and Adams not been determined. Mr Adams said he was signed the deed upon this condition and was assured by Mr Dixon that it was the only effectual way in which he could contest the award, but he also assured him that his prospects of upsetting this award were nil. Mr Adams then requested the secretary to enter upon the minutes that he would sign the deed without prejudice.

 

 

 

C. Prince. Chairman. October 2016.

 

Between the meetings of 23 November 1895 and the 24 October 1896 little was discussed other than the positioning of roads, the fixing of the building lines and the securing of a water supply. Meetings were usually held at the Temperance Hotel in Stocksfield which used to stand next to the Stocksfield Institute opposite the railway station.

 

 

 

On the 24 October 1896 and entry in the minutes records that Mr Adams agreed to provide ground upon which to place a seat close to his plot. To this day the steep hill at the bottom of Apperley Road is colloquially referred to as Adams Bank. If a seat was ever installed to provide a no doubt welcome opportunity to rest to those who had staggered up the bank is not recorded. This kind offer by Mr Adams represents something of a rapprochement between him and the committee; in the preceding year it is apparent from the records that Mr Adams and a number of fellow covenanters-in particular the secretary to the committee-had been in dispute. Whilst the genesis and subject matter of the dispute is not apparent it is clear that strong opinions,