which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell

Noisy Parish Meeting 1884

Derby Mercury: Wed April 1884
On Tuesday evening a vestry meeting was held at Crich for the purpose of nominating overseers of the poor, appointing a surveyor of highways, and passing the highway accounts. The proceedings commenced in the vestry of the church at five o’clock. Mr. Robert Boag was appointed chairman. – Mr. CURZON wanted to know at whose instance the meeting had been called for five o’clock, when it was well-known that the time was usually fixed for six o’clock. – The Assistant-Overseer said it was his own doing. It was thereupon resolved to adjourn to the parochial school room, the meeting to commence at six o’clock. At the time named the school-room was crowded, some three hundred parishioners being present. – The CHAIRMAN, in calling upon Mr. Dawes, the assistant overseer, to read the highway accounts, observed that each gentleman in the meeting would be at liberty to speak in due course, but it would greatly facilitate the business if after having spoken once, he would sit down and not interrupt other speakers. – The parish accounts were then read, showing total receipts, £441. 6s. 5d. The expenditure had been £383. 13s. 1d. The balance against the surveyor was £57. 13s. 4d. – Mr. CURZON complained that nothing had been said about the expenses of coming to Alfreton in connection with the Crich-landslip (Interruption, and cries of “Give the man a fair hearing”). He did not like a thing dropped in that way (“Oh, oh”). It was nothing but right (A voice: “All right, George, I’ll back you’ll see that it’ll be all right,” and interruption). He thought the Clay Cross Company were going to huddle this matter up. Was this going to Alfreton to be smothered up in this kind of way? (Laughter, and a shout, “Why, you’d ha’ done better if you’d stopped at whaom.”) The speaker was going on to allude to the lawyers when there was a fresh outbreak of interruption. – Mr. KIRK hoped the meeting would allow Mr. Curzon to proceed. – Mr. CURZON said the Clay Cross Company want 100 yards through their parish, and only paid 10s. a year. The company ought to be ashamed of themselves for refusing to pay 13/- which was asked of them on account of the “slip.” – The Assistant Overseer said that of the total amount of law expenses Mr. Jackson’s bill amounted to £27 9s. 4d., and the Clay Cross Company paid towards that sum £11 3s. 2d., reducing the bill to £16 16s. 2d. Mr. Bower’s (the surveyor’s) expenses for witnesses, &c, amounted to £12. 1s. The amount had been approved by the auditors. – Mr. CURZON: Let’s have things fair and honest (Disorder). – Mr. BOWER (the surveyor) explained what had been done respecting the Clay Cross Company and further stated with regard to the case that he was advised by the first three lawyers he saw to sue the Clay Cross Company by indictment. If he had done that the expense would have been enormous, but by taking action in the County Court, they had kept the expenses down. He was very pleased that Crich was not “growling” like Bonsall, which had had to pay hundreds of pounds in law expenses. – Mr. KIRK, as a member of the committee, confirmed what Mr. Bower had stated. – Mr. CURZON again essayed to speak, but his utterances could not be distinctly heard because of the shouts and derisive laughter which his rising created. He was understood to say that there had been very great complaints about some of the parish work. A good deal of parish money had been spent. Addressing the surveyor he asked: Is not that so? (Great laughter, and considerable interruption). – Mr. BOWER: You see Mr. Curzon has unfortunately been on my track (laughter), for a long time. Well; I excuse him (Renewed laughter). I know it is part of his nature. About three weeks ago he thought he had a case, for he went to Mr. Wm. Yeomans, and asked if a certain road was indictable (Loud laughter). – Mr. CURZON (excitedly, and going close to the table at which the chairman was sitting): What? – Mr. BOWER: You asked him if it was indictable (Laughter). – Mr. CURZON: When? Mr. BOWER: Three weeks ago (More laughter). – A man in the meeting here called out to Mr. Curzon, “You know what I told you yesterday, George” (Re-newed laughter). – On the motion of Mr. DAY, seconded by Mr. KIRK, the accounts were passed. – Mr. LEE suggested that the parish labourers should have a higher rate of pay. – Mr. CURZON next wanted to know who had given Mr. Bower instructions to put a footpath near the Wesleyan Chapel in repair? Was it a lawful road? This was followed by great interruption, which lasted for two or three minutes, there being calls from all parts of the room. One parishioner was heard to say “I’ll tell you what, George; there is no common sense or reason about you” (Much laughter). – Mr. BOWER: Hallo! are they at the old game again? (Interruption). – A man who was stated to be named Stocks shouted “There’s no man in this parish ta’en in more ground than you, George” (Laughter). – During this disorder Mr. Curzon was excitedly addressing those near him, but it was very doubtful if his remarks were heard. – One individual in the meeting blew a shrill whistle, a proceeding which was several times repeated. – Mr. BOWER justified his action with regard to the footpath near the Wesleyan Chapel, by causing a letter from the residents in the locality to be read. – A PARISHIONER: George doesn’t understand chapels (Disorder). Mr. Bower was about to speak when Mr. Curzon again interrupted. After some time the latter was heard to remark, referring to the former, “they said if the footpath was mended they would vote for him (the surveyor) again” (Great laughter). Subsequently Mr. Curzon produced a book, and, waving it aloft, amidst cries of “Sit down,” he shouted, “We want an Act of Parliament to make laws, and not Samuel Bower.” (Continued merriment and a voice: “Now then, read out your Parliamentary news.”) The CHAIRMAN appealed for order, and after some time the business was proceeded with. – Mr. S. Bower was re-appointed surveyor. – Mr. CURZON asked what had become of the market toll? – There were, however, cries of “Sit thee down” and ultimately the speaker resumed his seat. – Messrs. R. Boag and Isaac Petts were nominated overseers. – Then followed a discussion as to the surveyor’s salary. – The SURVEYOR explained that he had had much additional labour in connection with the “landslip,” but he did not ask them to remunerate him for that. They could not do so; all they could do was to add to his salary. – After various opinions had been expressed, and after Mr. Curzon had several times risen to speak, the meeting increased the surveyor’s salary by 6/-, making the amount (which includes the collecting of the rates) £37. – Mr. BOWER stated that a 6d. rate would cover the expenses of the year; thereupon a proposition was made that a 6d. rate be collected. There was a counter-motion for a 5d. rate but this was withdrawn, and the original proposition was agreed to. – Mr. Curzon did not remain altogether quiescent during these latter proceedings, for he often tried to gain a hearing, but he was generally induced to sit down by a gentleman near him, who more than once pulled him by the coat. The meeting concluded with the customary vote of thanks to the chairman.

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