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The Mission Chapel
The Reading Room, also known as the Baptist Mission Chapel or Sunday School.

This small building is geographically in Evington Lees, Elmsted Parish, but just off The Street heading out of Hastingleigh.
There is a marked bridle way running past the building just off the left of The Street.

The Reading Room - circa early 2010

Below is a photo dated 1914, and not much has changed apart from a newer roof.

The following two articles were sent in, to be added to this page. The first is from an issue of Bygone Kent.
I am sorry I do not have the name of the author or the issue number of the publication that ran this story.
The second was sourced from a book in Folkestone Library. If anyone can supply the information I will
gladly give credit where it is due.

Early 19th century had been a period of turmoil and unrest in the rural areas of Kent and
elsewhere, with riotous actions concerning machine breaking, usually threshing machines, land
enclosures, seeking wage increases, also food, rent and workhouse riots, as well as the tithe
riots. During these there was much arson, particularly the burning of hay ricks and farm
buildings. One tragic example was that of John Dyke, reputed to be the last man hanged in public on
Penenden Heath, who was executed Christmas eve 1830 at the height of the burning of ricks,
and destruction of threshing machines. He was seen coming from the direction of a blazing rick,
accused of arson and on this flimsy evidence found guilty and hanged, protesting his innocence
to the last. He was interred in Bearsted churchyard. On 10th November 1830 there had been two
cases of arson in the area, one at Bearsted and the other at Thurnham. Years afterwards the
real culprit, on his death bed confessed to the crime for which Dyke was hanged.

[The Newspapers of the 1930's have numerous accounts of incendiary/arson incidents attributed to the general feeling of dissent in the nation at the time]

Out of this atmosphere of unrest came also an increase in religious dissension with a growth
of Non-conformism, as if this was a rebellion against the established church, the local
church and incumbent in particular. There was such an expansion of Baptist congregations
that the Kent and Sussex Association of Baptist Congregations had to be divided to form a
new one, the 'East Kent Association' in 1835.

It was during this time that William Marchant was a prime mover, with others, such as William
Hooker of Waltham, a miller, William Hooker of Wingham a yeoman, William Wall of Sellindge,
an ironmonger, Thomas Sharwood of Sellindge a grocer etc, in the acquiring from William Smith
of Elmsted on payment of £ 7. 10 shillings

"all that piece or parcel of land containing four perches in depth on the
north and south sides thereof two and a half perches in front and rear and
a total quantity of ten perches of thereabouts lying and being at Evington Leeze
in the Parish of Elmsted part of a larger piece or parcel of land which in the
year 1853 was enclosed by the said William Smith from the waste land of the
Manor of Barton otherwise Longport. And which said piece or parcel of land is
bounded on or towards the south by heriditaments belonging to Sir Courtenay
Honeywood Bart. on or towards the north and west by other land of the said
William Smith and on or towards the east by an occupation road leading into
the highway from Wye to Elmsted on which land to erect a Meeting House to be
used as a Place of Public Religious Worship by the Society of Protestant
Dissenters called Particular or Calvanist Baptists.

The date of the signing of the indenture between seller and purchaser
was 6th December 1869.

A private advert, published in the Kentish Express Issue of 1st November 1836.

BRABOURN October 18th 1836
I  WILLIAM SMITH, of the Parish of Elmsted, have at
various times circulated false reports of Mr. THOMAS
MARCHANT, of Brabourn; and he having kindly consented
not to prosecute me if I would make a public apology for so
doing, I therefore humbly beg his pardon, and acknowledge the
Reports to be totally incorrect.

WILLIAM SMITH, his X mark.

Witnesses: Onslow Andrews and Henry Barton

The Elmsted Meeting House or Baptist Mission Chapel was erected in 1870 at a cost of £ 90. Every
conceivable difficulty was placed in the way of those building it by their own hands, the
labourers working as often as they could but their employers tried to get them to stop doing so.
Some were intimidated in their own cottages to have nothing to do with the construction, but it
went on, materials being carried free by those tradesmen who had horses and vehicles and intended
to worship there. Even after completion persecution continued against those who attended but often
the Chapel was too small for the numbers who came to worship therein.

It is uncertain when William Marchant wrote the verses to his 'A Church Rate Song', before or after
the construction of the Meeting House. It may have been sometime between 1867 and 1869 when he was
involved in the holding of religious open air meetings, with sermons by the Brabourne Baptist pastor
on Elmsted Village Green, or during the opposition to the Meeting House and intimidation of those who
built it. It was definitely composed at this period in his life and its sentiments relate how local
residents felt towards the payment of tithe to the established church.
It goes as follows:

A Church Rate Song
by William Marchant

'The Vestry' has been duly called
And the rector looked appalled
As he took the chair for well he knew
that dissenters and others, not a few
were there to oppose the unrighteous plan
of squeezing money from every man
who occupied Farm or House or Stall
within the Parish of ' Tithe 'em all'.

Mr Churchwarden with faltering voice,
proposed he said, but not from choice
that a penny rate should there be made
to repair the Church, and further said
He should like to see some better way
of supporting truth, than to make men pay
So the Vestry thought, the Rector Saw
On which he exclaimed "it is the law"
Up rose a dissenter to declare
"The imposition was most unfair
Justice required that only they
who used the church should be asked to pay"


In rural areas of Kent small primitive Methodist or Wesleyan brick chapels are frequently
to be found alongside a lane of road built on a remote site on the parish boundary, sometimes
a considerable distance from a village. The reason was twofold, the local Anglican clergymen
and squire gentry wanted the Non-conformists to be distanced as far as possible out of their
sight when they were worshipping; secondly the non-conformists equally wanted to be out of
sight to worship in their own fashion. An example of such a religious building is on the
Elmsted/Hastingleigh boundary among the deep Downland valleys with their wooded or grassed
slopes, but this one near Evington Lodge is so hidden from the Hastingleigh-Elmsted road it
is easily passed without being seen. It was known as "The Cathedral in the woods" before
some of the trees were felled. Now a public footpath past it proves this to be an accurate
Its origin lies in the religious dissent of the early 19th century and expansion of Baptist
churches in Kent. In the 1860's the Baptists held open air meetings on Elmsted village green as
the church was a very dark place with only one parish church service and no Sunday School for
children, the latter with parents spending the Sabbath in the village alehouse. These meetings
were surprisingly well attended with new adherents continually joining, so the Baptists decided
to raise funds and build their own chapel. In 1869 on payment of £ 7. 10 shillings, ten perches of
land were bought from a William Smith at Evington Leeze in Elmsted parish on which land to erect a
Meeting House to be used as a Public Place of Worship by the Society of Protestant Dissenters called
Particular or Calvanist Baptists.
Money was raised, materials given and those who had neither, gave their labour so that the Meeting
House was completed in 1870 at a cost of £ 90. Every conceivable difficulty had been placed in
their way. The employers of the labourers had tried to get the men to stop the work. Some were
intimidated in their own cottages, warned to have nothing to do with the construction, but it continued.
Those men with vehicles and horses carried materials free and in other ways those who intended to
worship there helped by using their craftsmen skilled. Even after completion persecution continued,
instigated almost certainly by the incumbents of Elmsted and Hastingleigh churches who saw their own
congregations declining. One founder was William Marchant, a tenant farmer of nearby Bodsham Green Farm,
father of Bessie Marchant (see Petham) who was forced to leave the farm by his landlord Sir Courtenay
(buried with many of his ancestors in St James the Great church Elmsted) and move to Petham.

However the small Elmsted Meeting House or Elmsted Baptist Mission Chapel as it is now called, w as a
success, so rewarding the religious zeal and sacrifices that were made to bring such a building in to
being. The charming little Mission Chapel is still used for services. A new roof replaced the old several
years ago, but because of its isolation and modern morality 'the cathedral in the woods' has to be kept
locked when not in use.

Since those articles were published, the Mission Chapel became the Sunday School, but has
in recent years become private property and is fenced off.



This act of Parliament paved the way for the change over from paying tithes to the Parish priest, which had been some 10 percent of the yield of crops and livestock, and replace it with a mandatory monetary payment referred to as the 'Corn Rent' . Many felt this mandatory cash payment was unfair, and it led to the Tithe War in Ireland, where the majority of the population were Catholic and they objected to paying money to the Protestant 'Established Church'.
The majority of dissenters in and around Hastingleigh were not Catholics, but Quakers, Baptists and Methodists.

The Act resulted in accurate Parish Maps being commissioned to determine land ownership, and map the Glebe lands (Parish land owned by the church, from which an income was derived.) Following the mapping of Hastingleigh Parish, on 11th September 1838, Gostwyck Prideaux, the Rector of Hastingleigh, took out an advertisement in the Kentish Gazette as follows:

I, the undersigned, being Tithe Owner within the Parish of
HASTINGLEIGH, in the County of Kent, whose interest
is not less than one-fourth part of the whole value of Tithes
of the said Parish, do by this Notice in writing, under my hand,
the Limits of the said Parish, for the purpose of making an
Agreement for the General Commutation of Tithes within the
Limits of the said Parish, pursuant to the provisions of an Act
passed in the 6th and 7th years of the Reign of his late Majesty,
intituled "An Act for theCommutation of Tithes in England
and Wales." And I do hereby also give Notice, that such
Meeting will be held at the PARSONAGE HOUSE in the said
Parish on THURSDAY the 27th day of September, at the
hour of Nine o'clock in the forenoon.
Given under my hand this fifth day of September,1838.

The new system was immediately unpopular with non-conformists, because the Church of England was already financially supported by Parliament, while those of other faiths and those followers of the non-established Christian church, had to rely entirely on voluntary donations.
In 1837, the government addressed some of the issues raised by the objectors and introduced compulsory civil registration of births, marriages and deaths. Hence the change in how births, marriages and deaths are recorded and certificates being issued for each registration.
The paying of church rates continued to be compulsory by all land owners and occupiers until 1868, when by Act of Parliament it was no longer compulsory but voluntary to pay church rates, and has remained a voluntary payment ever since.

During the years 1836-1868 it was the responsibility of the church wardens to collect the church rates, and take out legal proceedings against those who could not or would not pay their church rates. This is therefore the background to the following newspaper reports regarding WILLIAM MARCHANT and his long battle against the church rates, culminating in the building of the Chapel at Evington Lees after church rate payments were no longer mandatory.

10 May 1859 of the Kentish Gazette

Thos. Marchant, jun., farmer, was summoned by the church warden of Brabourne, for the non-payment of a church rate, made on the 14th May 1858, amounting to £1.8s.6½d
On being asked what was his objection to the rate, defendant handed in a paper containing the following:-
I hereby give notice that the rate being illegally made, I object to its validity, under virtue of 53 George III."
The Chairman asked what other argument he had to sustain his objection?
Defendant replied that he was advised the notice he had given in was sufficient.
The Chairman:- The magistrates think otherwise.
The defendant then said that he objected to a sum of one pound nine shillilngs in the accounts, which was allowed to the clergyman for copying the register.
Mr. Farley [church warden] said it was a customary item, and was allowed by law.
The defendant then produced a copy of the 'Record', in which the editor stated in answer to a correspondent, that he did not believe the act provided for the payment of a fee to the clergyman for copying the register. In many cases the custom prevailed of granting a fee, but it should not be demanded.
The Parish books were produced, and it was shown that all the requisitions of the act had been carried out. The rate was at 2½d pence in the pound, and the estimate amounted only to £28. 16 shillings and 7½d.
Mr.Farley said it was not only necessary to give notice of objection, but also the grounds of objection.
The defendant here handed a copy of the 'Liberator' for the enlightenment of their worships on this point. It contained the report of a church rate case which had been brought before a superior court in which the judges' had ruled that in the case of a bona fide objection being made to rate, the magistrate had no power to adjudicate. That case, however, was not at all applicable, for there the party summoned had brought witnesses to prove the allegations, and no contradictory evidence was brought on the other side; notwithstanding which the justices made an order for payment.
The defendant said he attended the vestry when the rate was made, and moved that the clerk's salary of £5 be not included in the accounts; but the chairman did not put in to the meeting. He acknowledged, however, that his motion was not seconded.
The usual order for payment was made.

13 Sep 1859 of the Kentish Gazette

Mr. Thos. Marchant, farmer, of Brabourne, was bound in a sum of £50 to prosecute a writ of certiorari against a church-rate made in that parish. Messrs. H Headley and E.T. Scott, of Ashford, were surities for him in like amounts.

[certiorari= a grant of review of a government action by a court with discretion to make such a review. ]

21 Aug 1860 of the Kentish Gazette

BRABOURNE- On Friday last an auction sale took place in this parish under distress warrants for church rates, of property belonging to Thomas Marchant, jun., a farmer, residing at the Water Farm, and Henry Headley, a Quaker, of Ashford, who carries on the business of a Grocer at Brabourne Lees.

08 Oct 1861 of the Kentish Gazette

BRABOURNE- Some statements, containing a great deal of misrepresentation, have recently been published respecting a distraint for church rates in this parish. There is reason to believe they have been circulated by parties who do not hesitate to adopt any means, however reprehensible, for the purpose of engendering ill-feeling towards the Established Church.
The statements are in the form of a letter, bearing the formidable signature-"One who was Christened, brought up, and confirmed in the faith of the Church of England," and which sums as follows:
On Tuesday, September 24th the premises of Mr. Thomas Marchant, jun. of the Water Farm, were entered, and a mare and harness of the value of from £20 to £30, seized for a church rate of  £1 14s 3d. A variety of articles, consisting of the usual description of farming implements, also hogs, bullocks etc, were before the eyes of the constables and from which the seizures might have been made. The constables had entered the premises on Wednesday previous, but neglected to put the warrant in force, notwithstanding the fact that many articles were at hand, and upon which a distraint might have been effected.

We question whether the cognomen [alias] adopted by the writer of the above be correct. As a churchman he would be taught to speak the truth, of which he is now, apparantly, incapable. There appears to be an organised attempt, on the part of certain parties in the parish, to evade the payment if possible, of what is legally due from them. Nothing in our opinion, can possibly be meaner, in a Christian country, than to resist the payment of a rate for the support of a Christian church. The party alluded to in the above letter is the same who made himself so notorious last year by disputing the magistrates' summons, which he described as a relic of bygone ages. This year he denied having been summoned, though he had previously admitted it to Mr. Andrews, the church warden.
In 1860 he was summoned for a rate of £1 14s 3d, which amount and the expenses had actually to be distrained for. A cart was seized and disposed of by auction for £4. For the purpose of creating a false impression the rate for which the distraint was made, was described as being only a few shillings. The horse and harness seized, as stated in the above letter, and sold on 30th September, are falsely described as being worth between £20 and £30. Many respectable parishioners can testify that they were not worth much more than half the lowest of those sums, though at the sale, the biddings, by Mr. Marchant's brothers and personal friends, were run up to £20. This course, however, was taken by them for the purpose of getting up an agitation.
When the constables went on the previous Wednesday, as described in the letter, they were very improperly interfered with in the discharge of their duty, and for which interference punishment ought to be inflicted. The shafts of a wagon were taken off in order to prevent the officers from seizing it.The officers were also taunted and jeered in a manner which ought not to be tolerated towards men who are called upon to discharge a very disagreeable duty. We have only to add that at the sale in 1860, the cart realised a fair price for a second hand article. It was doubtless worth more to Mr. Marchant, but if that gentleman was foolish enough to let it be seized for a rate he was legally bound to pay, he has only himself to blame.
The same remark will apply to his conduct on the more recent occasion.

17 Dec 1861 of the Kentish Gazette

This court was held on Monday before C. Harwood Esq. the Judge.

This was a jury case. Mr. John Bennett, solicitor, of London, was engaged for the plaintiff, and Mr. Creert for the defendants.

Mr Bennett said in this case his client Mr. Thomas Marchant, a respectable farmer residing at Brabourne, was the plaintiff and Mr. John Rolfe, parish constable of Brabourne, with his assistant Thomas Hills, were defendants.
The action was brought to recover £10 damages, sustained by an excessive distress levied for a church rate.
His client was one of those gentlemen who were opposed to the principle of church rates, and would not permit any other course to be followed than the law allowed if recourse was had to it to obtain payment of them. In this respect he followed in the wake of the respectable body called Quakers, who always permitted their goods to be distrained rather than pay the rates.

Mr. Marchant's goods had been seized twice. Last year a new dung cart was taken, of five or six times more value than the amount of the rate, and it was sold for a mere song. The dung cart was worth £10, and the rate came to a little over £1. and Mr. Marchant, he believed received nothing back. But he took no notice of that; and emboldened by his leniency, they took this year the most valueable thing to him they could find on his farm, which was his best cart horse- worth, perhaps £25- for a rate of £1.4s.3d.
There could be no doubt they knowingly violated the law in doing so. If his Honour would probably tell them, this horse had been the only thing on the premises, they would have been quite justified in taking it; but he should prove that there were hundreds of things there, in value from 5 shillings upwards, and of which they might with equal facility have seized and sold.
They had therefore no excuse for taking this horse, the loss of which to Mr. Marchant at that season of the year would necessarily occasion him a great amount of inconvenience. They had brought a horse ready harnessed with them, so that nothing would have been easier than for them to have harnessed their horse to an old dung cart worth about £1, and put a sack or two of wheat or a hog in to it and take them away.
General Sandilands, Mr. Marchant's landlord, happened to be there when they made the seizure; and he told them that he was a magistrate and knew something of these things and in his opinion they were doing wrong. The excuse the constable made was that he was told to do it by Mr. Farley [church warden]. But that excuse could not avail him with the jury.
Mr. Marchant immediately consulted him (Mr. Bennett) and he as Mr. Marchant's legal adviser wrote to the church wardens and then to Mr. Farley complaining of the course pursued, offering, if they returned the horse and waived the rate for which it had been distrained, to take no legal proceedings. But they stood upon their rights and sold the horse.
General Sandilands, in order to prevent Mr. Marchant from suffering so great a loss as he was likely to sustain, commissioned his brother to attend the sale and buy the horse; and it was fortunate he did so, or it would have been sold at the same sacrifice the cart was the year before.
The party who had then purchased the cart was again in attendance, no doubt for the purpose of getting a similar bargain; and he put the horse up at £5, for which most likely he would have got it had not Mr. Marchant's broker been there and then the expenses having been run up to that sum, Mr. Marchant would have lost his horse for this church rate of £1.4s. The defendants had no business to do this; and the law threw this on the constables- that although they had the legal right to go in and distrain, yet having abused that right they were trespassers from the beginning. He should show that besides the loss of the horse. Mr. Marchant sustained additional loss by being deprived of its services at that time of the year.
He had limited his claim to £10, wishing to show moderation in all things.
The judge asked why it was called an excessive distress.
Mr Bennett replied that perhaps he should have called it an excessive levy; it was the same thing in legal effect.
His honour said no, it was different.
Mr Bennett said the action was taken in the same way as in the case of excessive distress for rent, it was done in the case of poor rates. He mentioned as a case in point Sturge vs. Clark, 4 Barnwell Adolphus 113 besides others. The evidence was then proceede with.

Thomas Marchant, the plaintiff, deposed: I have been served with an order for payment of church-rate for the parish of Brabourne, amounting to £1.14s.3d. I was distrained on for that order on September 24th. The officers came to my premises with the warrant on the Wednesday before that, but did not then make the distress. There were then on the farm 30 hogs, any of which they might have taken. Two of them were fat hogs, one of which I sold a month afterwards for £9, and the other which I killed a few days afterwards was worth £7. The remainder of the hogs were worth about 24 shillings or 25 shillings each. There were several bean shims worth about 15  or 20 shillings each, also an old dung cart worth about £1. They came with a horse harnessed. They could see all these things; they were not locked up. There were also 7½ quarters of cleaned wheat in sacks, worth about 57 or 58 shillings a quarter. A servant of mine asked them why they did not take a sack or two of wheat. They replied because they could not carry it to Brabourne street, and they would not have it if I was to give it to them.
By the judge: I was not on the premises when they made the levy: I was away at market. I do not know why they did not make the levy the first time they came.
I asked Hills what they came for, and he refused at first to tell me, but they afterwards showed me the warrant. They gave me no reason why they left without executing it.
They went to Brabourne street and came back the same day. I don't know what they came back for. They took the horse from the custody of my servants. It was sold at Brabourne street.
Mr Bennett: We have the bill announcing the sale. They call it an aged mare- by way of enhancing the value I suppose.
Plaintiff: I consider the mare the most valueable horse I had on the farm. I have had it for seven years, and I never knew it have any illness. If I was to buy such a horse I should have to give at least £20 for it. The constables also took some harness which was on her, worth about 9 shillings. This was on September 24th and at that time the horse was of peculiar value to me, because the land on my farm is stiff and I am obliged to have all the strength I can to get the corn in. Last year the wet weather prevented me getting all the wheat in. I lost the services of the horse for a week. I had to let other horses stand still in consequence of not having this one, which was great loss to me, A letter was written to the church wardens with my sanction, offering if they returned the horse and waived the church-rate to take no further nortice of the matter.
By Mr Creery: I have refused to pay church-rates before on the grounds stated by my solicitor. I paid them for several years, until they were made so illegal that I belived no law could make me pay them. I had some legal proceedings before; they were not with the church wardens but with the magistrates of Ashford. I do not know that Rolfe is otherwise than friendly disposed towards me. I have every reason to believe he is, We were thrashing in the barn when the constables came first. There were three wagons loaded with corn in the yard. One of them was almost three parts full. Some of my men took the rods off that wagon by my direction, That would have been done even if Hills and Rolfe had not been there. I showed the old dung cart to Rolfe and  asked him if that would not do. I will swear the lodge was not locked up, for it has no doors. ( a laugh). There was another lodge, with two dung carts in it. We divided a plough which was outside the yard and put part of it away. We did not do this till the constable had left the premises. I gave £20 for the mare at Folkestone, I was present at the auction sale. My father bought her. Mr James Weekes of Elham made the frst bid of £5. Mr Foreman, of Brabourne street then bid £18. He had no understanding with me that he should bid. I did not bid myself. The mare went to Hythe and came back the same day. She now belongs to my landlord General Sandilands. He simply sent her to me because I should not be deprived of her services at that time.
Robert Marchant, brother of the plaintiff, deposed that he assisted on his farm, and was present when the constables seized the mare. There were then on the farm, thirty hogs, seven and a half quarters of cleaned wheat in sacks, dung carts, a heavy land roller, horse hoe, bean shims, Yorkshire harrows and a great quantity of other agricultural implements, besides seven young bullocks and some sheep, all within sight of the constables and accesible to them. They could have easily taken the dung cart with a sack or two of wheat in it or the land roller. Witness considered the mare they seized was worth £25. It was not the most showy horse on the farm; but it was the most valueable and would do the most work. Witness remonstrated with the constable and told him that as an agricultural man he ought to know better than to take the horse. He said he was told to do so. General Sandilands was there at the time and asked the constable by whom he was told to take it. He replied that it was Mr. Farley of Ashford. General Sandilands remonstrated with the constable. Witness bought the horse for £20 for General Sandilands, who directed him to buy it even if it cost £60.
Mr Bennett: General Sandilands was determined it should not be sold for only £5, which would have left nothing to come to Mr. Marchant.
The Judge: How much was the warrant made out for?
Mr Bennett: For £1.14s.3d. rate and 10 shillings expenses of the warrant.
The Judge: Then how did they afterwards get their bill upto £5.11s?
Mr Bennett read the bill of costs, which included keep for the horse for five days, from the time it was seized until it was sold. His client was paid the balance, amounting to £14. 9 shillings.
Mr Edwin Sandilands said he was present at the conversation which took place at Mr Marchant's farm between his father and the defendants. His father asked the constable why he took a horse worth £20 for a rate of £1.14s.3d. and he told him that he thought, as a magistrate they were doing an illegal act. Witness did not take any further notice of the reply made by the constable. He heard his father say there were plenty of things which the constable might take instead.
The Judge: They might have taken something which would not have wanted food.
Mr Sandilands, by Mr Creery: I believe the horse belongs to my father now. I should not have minded giving £18 for it myself. I did not examine its mouth, or look it over particularly. It was not a young horse; but I should not call it an aged one.
By the Judge: My father looked into its mouth and said to the constable "I know the value of horses; this horse is worth from £20 to £25."
A labourer named Oliver, in the employ of the plaintiff, said he was present on both occasions when the defendants came to make the distraint, and corroborated what had been said by the previous witnesses. Hills told him when he came the second time, that "they might just as well have taken something at first instead of having all this bore about it." (a laugh)
In answer to his Honour, the witness said the horse the defendants took was the best his master had. He believed it was out at work when they came first.
Mr Bennett: That is probably the reason why they did not take anything. They had a peculiar affection for this mare, your Honour, and could not have anything else.
Several other witnesses were in attendance on behalf of the plaintiff, but Mr Bennett said he did not think it necessary to trouble the Court with any more.
Mr Creery then said it became his duty to offer a few observations on behalf of the defendants, and to lay before the jury a few facts on which he would rely to obtain their verdict. The plaintiff was one of those gentlemen who it seemed were bound by their conscience to do everything in their power to resist rates for the support of the fabric of the church. The defendants were the constables of the parish acting in the discharge of their duty; but substantially the defendants were the church warden of the parish. For some time past a great difference of opinion had existed between the plaintiff and the churchwardens and before this occasion law proceedings had taken place between them although Mr. Bennett had made this a church-rate matter, he hoped the jury would not do so, but that they would look upon the question in its real light namely: whether the defendants had levied upon more than the law justified them in levying upon; He should show them that the 18th September the parish constable and his assistant went to Mr Marchant's farm to distrain for £1.14s.3d and the expenses which would be incurred in making the distraint. Mr Marchant was there, and asked the constable what he came for. The first thing he did was to go and take off the shafts of a waggon three parts filled with corn and he believed they were carried into the plaintiff's house.
[His Honour: You did not examine him as to where they were taken.]
Mr Marchant had told the jury there were two waggon loads of corn besides standing in the yard; but the one horse the constables had was of course insufficient to move either of them. The valueable dung cart was not of sufficient value to cover the levy.
[His Honour: not with a sack or two of wheat in it?]
The constables did not see the cleaned wheat. Mr Marchant had told the jury that he only said to the constables "Here take this old dung cart;" but the fact was he made at the same time a very improper and offensive observation. He said "Here, take this old dung cart, and see if you can't squeeze some sacrement wine out of it." He separated a plough to prevent its being taken, and refused to unlock the lodges for the constables to see what was in them; and finding nothing suitable for them to seize, Rolfe went and consulted the churchwardens, leaving the other with the horse, and then came back and fetched the horse and his assistant away. They took a week to consider, and then went again. He should show the jury that they found things just the same as on the first occasion. Mr Marchant's places were locked up, and they could not find anything suitable to levy upon except this mare, which was just being taken to a stable. Mr Marchant's brother seized it by the bridle, and one of the men whipped it behind when the constable seized it, putting him in considerable danger. The jury had heard there were 30 hogs on the premises; but they were all lose, and he was sure the jury would agree it would have taken more active men than the constables to have caught any of them. He should show that there were no sheep or bullocks there. As the constables could not remove heavy agricultural implements they were justified in taking such things as they could and he should prove that only this horse was available. They had then the very important question as to the value of this horse. There was always a very great difference of opinion as to the value of horses, he did not think the sum it fetched at the sale was much indication of its value; because the plaintiff's brother was commissioned to bid up to £60 for it; and the only bona fide bidding that he could hear was that of £5. He should call several respectable neighbouring farmers,who would tell the jury that its real value was about £10 in which case the excess over the amount of the levy was very little. The horse was 14 years old, and therefore could not, he thought, be worth much more than that. If, however the jury should be of the opinion that the plaintiff was entitled to some damages they would have to say the amount; and he thought they must consider that the loss the plaintiff had sustained by being without the services of the horse for five days was very small. But he did hope they would think the constables were justified in what they had done and give a verdict in their favour.
Thomas Hills, farmer and John Rolfe, constable, Brabourne were then examined by Mr Creery in support of his statement.
Mr Andrews, churchwarden of Brabourne, was then examined. He stated that the horse was not sold for five days after the seizure because there were several sales of agriultural stock taking place about that time, which it was desirable this should not clash with. He cautioned the constables to make the levy with as little inconvenience to Mr. Marchant as possible, and gave them no instructions to take any particular horse. He did not think the horse was worth more than £12.
Mr Francis Pellatt and Mr George Carter Rolfe, farmers of Brabourne, also estimated the value of the mare at from £11 to £12; but they both admitted to Mr. Bennett that they should not sell their own horses just at the exact price their neighbours like to put upon them.
Mr J Chittenden, the auctioneer, proved that it was valued at 10 guineas.
Mr. Bennett replied, and the Judge summed up.
The Jury found a verdict in his favour, with £7. 10 shillings  damages and costs awarded to Mr. Marchant.