Thomas Wheeler sues Frederick Barford of Townsend Farm, St Albans

From the Herts Advertiser, 3rd April 1869

County Court


The plaintiff, a farm labourer, residing at Bernard-heath, sued the defendant, the owner and occupier of Townsend Farm, to recover 10s., for damage done to his garden.

The defendant did not appear.

The plaintiff stated that on 15th March five of the defendant’s cows got over into his garden, and damaged a quantity of young cabbage and lettuce. Defendant was asked if he would afford any compensation, and replied in the negative, and denied that his cows had been in the garden at all.

Mrs. Wheeler spoke to seeing the cows on the day above mentioned getting over the plaintiff’s fence, and entering his garden. She drove them out, and had to go three times round the heath before she could get them into the field from which they had strayed. The defendant was asked if he would make any recompense for the damage done, and he said no, he could not.

His Honour [J. Whigham, Esq.] said that as the defendant did not appear in his own interest, and as it appeared that his cows had damaged the plaintiff’s property, verdict would be for the plaintiff for the amount claimed, with costs, to be paid in a fortnight.


Townsend Farm was on the south edge of Bernards Heath, and occupied by Frederick Barford. Heath Farm, occupied by Edmund Smith, was on the other side of the Harpenden Road. The only known cottages in the immediate area were on the southern boundary of the Heath and are sometimes referred to as brickmakers' cottages.  Thomas was unlikely to sue his employer - and as he was cowman at Heath Farm in November 1869 (see Trespassing in search of Coneys) it is possible that the cottages were tied cottages linked to Heath Farm.

There is a web page for Thomas Wheeler

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Page created November 2007