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WIRRAL LANDLORD V. TENANT. jfe: •— ♦ T IMPORTANT ARBITRATION CASE. ALLEGED IMPROPER FARMING. A QUESTION OF CUSTOM. An important arbitration cas9 possessing Inany points of interest to agriculturists was hoard at Birkenhead on Monday and Tuesday- it was a claim by Mr. William Otho Nicholson 'Shaw, of Arrowe Park, Wirral, against Mr. William Newton, surveyor, Buckley, executor of the late Mr. John Price, of Arrowe Park .Farm, and Green House Farm, Greasby, for .;£1.656 6i. for damages for unlawfully holding :the farms and premises, and for compensation for over-stocking the lands, bad cultivation, -and neglect of buildings and fences. The Umpire was Mr. George Sills, barrister, and the -arbitrators were Mr. Cecil Holden (Birkenhead) 'for plaintiff, and Mr. W. Fryer (Kinnerton) for "defendant. Mr. Collingwood Hope (instructed by Messrs. Garnett, Tarbet and Co., Liverpool) represented plaintiff, and Mr. Mclvor (instructed by Mr. E. Brassey, Chester) represented de- fendant. The particulars of the claim were as follows :—Dilapidations at Arrowe House Farm, .£18 12s.; dilapidations at Green House Farm, .£27 6s. 3d.; architect's fee for valuing dilapi- dations, £4 4s.; compensation for negligent and Wrongful cultivation, treatment and use, and for breaches of tenancy conditions in respect of Arrowe House Farm, viz.:— Failure to manure after a second grain crop in the years 1896 and 1898, £37 2s. 6d; inferior root of permanent grass, £10; on account of produce sold during the years 1895-6 7 and 8, without bringing back manure, viz.:—180 tons oat straw, £69 10s; 31 tons clover hay, £62; 40 tons upland hay, t57 3a. 4d.; 75 tons waeat straw, £37 10d. j 216 tons potatoes, £69 6. 150 tons oats, £223 15a,; 46 tons wheat, £65 14D. lOd for deficiency in land seeded down and impoverishment of same through excessive croppmgs in 1897 and 1898, £994" for land twice grain cropped without manure in 1897 and 1898, £19 413. tor bad clover root, £19 4" for loss of season for youag clover through improper cropping in 1898 and Ilot manuiing, £9; for neglect to apply bones (tive years), £50; compensation tor negligent and wrongful cultivation, treatmsint, and use, and for breaches of tenancy conditions in respect of Green House Farm, viz.:— Failure to manure after a second grain crop in the years 1895 and 1896, JE71 5s.; mowing twice in one year without manure, on account of produce sold during 1895, 1896,1897, and 1898, without bringing back manure, viz.: 150 tons oats, £86 17s. 6J. ¡ 62 tons clover hay, £124 ¡ 40 toss upland hay, J657 3s. 4d.; 24 tons straw, £12 ¡ 200 tons potatoes, £64 3s. 4d.; 125 tons of oats, £186 9s. 2d.: 15 tons of wheat, .£21 8s. 9d.; for deficiency in land seeded down and impoverishment of same through excessive Croppings in 1897 and 1898, £41 12s.; for land "twice cropped with oats without manure in 1896 and 1897, £24; for foul and improper cropping in 1898, £9; for bad clover root, £6() 16:1.; total, £1,656. PLAINTIFF'S CASE. Mr. Collingwood Hope, on behalf of the plaintiff, explained that in March, 1862, the Arrowe House Farm and the Green House Farm, Greasby, were leased to James Kerr for 21 years from February 2nd, 1862, subject to various covenants. In 1884, on February 2nd, by an agreement dated December 30th of that year, the farms were let to John Price on the same terms and conditions as they had been previously let to Kerr. Subsequently on Sept. 30,1886, there was another agreement extend- ing the lease for another live years on the same terms. On October 17, 1896, John Price died, and William Newton, against whom the claim was now made, became executor, and he was now sole executor and trustee. The lease expired on February 2nd, 1899, and he under- stood defendant's contention to be that partly by the custom of the country and partly by the Construction of the lease he was entitled to hold part of the property up to May 1st subsequent to the termination of the lease. By the lease of February 2nd, 1862, James Kerr covenanted not at any time to mow the meadow and clover land on the farms more than once in any one year." He (the learned counsel) thought they would find that that clause had been frequently violated. Another clause pro- vided that the tenant must spread and use .yearly in a husdand-like manner upon the tallow land of the farms 20 tons per acre of -good rotten manure or an equivalent in some other manure to be approved of by the lessors." It was also stipulated that the tenant must not take at any time in immediate succession more than one grain crop from the lands, except a crop of barley or of oats after a crop of wheat laid down with grass, with a top dressing of approved portable manure at the rate of not less than 30s. per statute acre, unless with the .previous consent of the landlord in writing." Then it was stipulated that the tenant should deliver up to the lessors on or before the 1st 1 of November preceding the determination of the term possession of such parts of the farms as shall be in stubble, and '.vill not make nor claim any deduction of the yearly rent on account thereof, and will not turn any horses, cattle, pigs, or sheep into any of the meadow land of the farms after the 20th November preceding the determination of the term." Another clause provided that the lessee might during the last tour years of the term sell any farm produce, including the wheat, oats, barley and beans grown on the premises, provided he brought back such quantity of good stable or cowhouse manure in lieu thereof as would be provided on the farms if such was consumed thereon. It was -further provided that the lessee may up to the 1st May in the last year of the term put stock on all the pasture lands of the farms not less than two years old, but shall not any stock on the young grasses after the 1st November of such year, and if the young grass on the farms is injured by being overstocked previous to the said 1st November, the lessee shall make such compensation to the lessors as may be agreed upon or settled by arbitration." It was also stipulated that any dispute respecting any matter connected with the lease should be referred to arbitration. Subsequently Mr. Shaw agreed to let Mr. John Price, for ten years from February 2nd, 1884, the Arrowe House farm, the Arbor Field not included, at a yearly rental of JE304, and the Greasby farm at a yearly rental of J6160, under the same conditions and stipulations as contained in the expired lease of the lands to James Kerr. By a subsequent agreement entered into on Sept. 30th, 1886, the parties agreed to extend the same tenancy for a further term of fivu years from the termination of the term of ten years at the same rent. It was stipulated that tho lessee should lay out each year during the extended period of five years £10 in bones, to be laid out upon the farms in addition to the bones already -acified. Dealing with the correspondence which had taken place between the parties, Mr. Hope explained that on October 20th, 1898, Messrs. Garnett and Tarbet, plaintiff's solici- tors, wrote Mr. Newton giving him notice that in anticipation of the Btubble lands being given up, it had been deemed necessary to have a arefuJi survey made by a competent valuer. Some correspondence then took place between Mr. Craig, agent to Mr. Shaw, who was since dead, and Mr. Newton, and on Feb. 1st, 1899* Messrs. Garnett, Tarbet, and Co. wrote to Mr. Newton as follows:—"We beg to remind you that the tenancy of the late Mr. Price's execu- tors will expire to-morrow, on which day possession of the whole is by the terms of the lease covenanted to be delivered up to the landlord immediately after such posses- sion is obtained. An estimate of the lessor's claim will be prepared and fur- nished to you. We have decided it right to send you this reminder in consequence of hearing from the estate agent that no preparations appear to be made for vacating some of the pasture lands and buildings. All are required to be given up to-morrow." To this letter Mr. Newton replied on Feb. 2nd, 1899, as follows:—"I am in receipt of your letter of yesterday's date, relative to Arrowe House and Green House Farms. There is evidently some misunderstanding between the agent and yourselves. According to the terms of the lease I am entitled to possession of all the pasture lands not less than two years old' np to the 1st of May next. This matter was discussed in November last (rent day) between Mr. Craig, myself, and the incoming tenant ■(Mr. F. Burgess), and it was agreed as to what fields this clause applied to. As regards the farmhouses and buildings, the custom of the country is so well known that it has not been thought necessary to refer to the matter in drawing up the lease, but I may mention for your information that the late Mr. Price and his partner, the late Mr. W. Charlton, came into possession of the houses and buildings on the 1st May, 1883, and not on the 2nd February." Messrs. Garnett, Tarbet, and Co. wrote to Mr. Newton on February 4th, 1899, as follows:— The misunderstanding as to the terms of the lease seems to be on your part. The clause to which we presume you allude relates to the last year of the tenancy, not to a period after its expiration. The lease was settled and approved by tho Master of the Rolls under the Settled Estates Act, and distinctly provides for delivering up possession of all the premises on the expiration of the leise (2nd February). Any alleged custom of the country is therefore inapplicable to the present ease, nor can the lessors be affected by any arrangement that may have been made between Mr. Price acd the previous tenant." Mr. Newton wrote on February 7th as follows: The clauses to which I allude are these (a) That on or before the 1st of November pre- ceding the determination of the lease the tenant shall deliver up such lands as may be in stubble, (b) That no horses, cattle, &0., be turned on to the meadow land after the 20th November preceding the determination of the lease, (c) That up to the 1st day of May in the last year of the term the tenant may put stock on all the pasture lands of the said farms not less than two years old. I contend that the privilege granted for putting stock on the old pasture lands up to the 1st of May next, is in lieu of the stubble and meadow, lands being given up in November, and which is more or lesa in keeping with the custom of the country. Otherwise, can you explain what I could have done with all the pasture lands two years old and over between the 1st of May last and the 2nd inst P Also where were all the cattle and sheep to go after the 20th November ? Hope contended that Mr. Newton's contention. was an absurdity, for it meant that although the lease expired on February 2nd, 1899, yet according to the custom of the country he was entitled to put stock on all the pasture lands of the farms not less than two years old until May 1st. The clause proceeded to state that the lessee should not put any stock on the young grasses after the 1st November of such year," and he, sub- mitted that the clause referred to lat May and the 1st November in the same year. Messrs. Garnett, Tarbet and Co. wrote to Mr. Newton:— We must decline to discuss with you the legal question whether the 1st day of May in the last year of the term of lease can be con- strued to mean the 1st day of May in the year after the expiration of the lease, and as there appears to us to be no justification for your continuing to withhold from the owner the possession which was demanded by our letter of 1st instant, we have no alternative but to issue process of ejectment, claiming damages and costs from you individually, including compensation for the overstocking of pasture land since the 1st instant. This is. of course, quite irrespective of the landlord's claims for dilapidation and improper cultivation of the farms during the period of the tenancy. If you desire to avoid the personal service of a writ, be good enough to at once furnish us with the name of your solicitor who will undertake to appear for you in the action for recovering possession." Mr. Newton then consulted Mr. Brassey, who wrote as follows on February 11th :—" Mr. Newton has handed me the correspondence. He has, in my opinion, a very good case for the retention of house, buildings, and boosey pastures. The entry of the farm was under these conditions, and independently of the rights of the matter it would obviously be a gross injustice to try to deprive him of it. I note your observation about the writ of ejectment. I call your attention to the fact that disputes on this lease are provided for by an arbitration clause, and if you choose an action instead, I shall move to stay. My client has, however, every wish to accommodate you with early possession if he can. Ail the land except house, outbuildings, and boosey pastures is open for you to take possession of forthwith. Without prejudice to his rights he would-be prepared to sell at once if a reasonable time were given for buyers to remove hay, and in such case you would have possession of all in a fortnight. Of course he bears in mind the obligation in his lease for allfltuJl sold off. I cannot help thinking that there is some friction on this matter." Proceeding Mr. Hope said the claim resolved itself into two parts; one was against Mr. Newton personally for wrongfully withholding the property from February 2nd to May 1st, and the other was against him in his capacity of executor for bad cultivation, for over-stocking the land, and leglecting the farm buildings and premises. With regard to the first part he had absolutely no wish to put for- ward a large claim. He should be sorry to say the land had suffered seriously by any act of Mr. Newton's—he did not think it had. There was no doubt, if his opinion was correct, that Mr. Newton wrongly held over this property from February 2nd to May 1st. It was quite true, as Mr. Br assay's letter pointed out, that some portion of this land was available for them to enter upon, but the properties were previously let and the tenants could not get possession of the whole. As regarded the personal claim against Mr. Newton, he advised his client that he should be perfectly prepared to accept nominal damages for the injury to the ground, and proportionate rent for the time he was in possession, and also the oosts of the action, which was necessitated by his holding over. As to the other claim, which was for the large amount of £1,600 odd, he hoped for Mr. Newton's own sake, and for his credit as a farmer, that he would be able to shew that that claim ought to be reduced in consequence of certain manure having been brought upon the land. Mr. Shaw would be glad if Mr. Newton's legal advisers could shew that manure had been brought on the land, and to that extent, of course, assuming that the award was in plaintiff's favour, the claim would be reduced. The claim for dilapidations was for JE45, and the architect's fee brought it up to JE50. Mr. Alfred Culshaw, architect and surveyor, Liverpool, said that in November, 1898, at the request of Mr. Shaw, he inspected the houses and buildings on the two farms. There was not much cause for complaint with regard to the Arrowe House Farm, but he found the buildings on the Green House Farm in a dirty condition, and there was evidence of neglect in several places. An assistant named Ward, in the employment of the previous witness, produced a statement shewing that in his opinion an expenditure of J645 18s. 3d. was necessary to put the buildings on the two farms in a. proper state of repair. Mr. Theodore Garnett, a member of the firm of Garnett and Tarbet, stated that Mr. Craig died after the present action was commenced. They had only been able to find one book in Mr. Craig's possession which seemed to be a book in which the crops on the two farms were entered. He admitted that it looked as if the entries in the book had all been made at one time. Probably they had been made from memoranda. Mr. Mclvor said the entries in the book com- menced in 1898 and went forward to 1995. The Umpire thought it would be safer not to put the book in as evidence. EXPERT'S EVIDENCE. Mr. Peter Stephens, a member of the firm of Davies and Stephen, land valuers, Mollington, stated that in August, 1898, he was instructed by Mr. Sbaw through Mr. Craig to examine the farms and report on the amount of com- pensation to be claimed for breaches of covenant on Arrowe House and Green House Farms. He was accompanied by Mr. Craig, who gave him information upon which he subsequently based his figures. From that and his observation he had prepared a statement which worked out to a total of £1,606. He found that the system of cropping laid down in the lease had been departed from in many instances, and that in consequence of the succession of corn crops and mowings the root of the clover had got very exhausted in several fields. He was informed that manure had not been put upon the land, and he could quite believe it from what he saw. Proceeding to deal item by item with the statement claim, and referring first to Green House Farm, witness said he found that 47! acres had in the last four years of the tenancy been cropped two years in succession and no manure had been applied. The pro- vision of the lease was that manure should have been applied to the value of 30s. per statute acre. Consequently he had placed down JE71 5a. for the manure that should have been put on. He found that 12 acres had been mown twice in one year, and that, at 30a. an acre, worked out at £18 15s. Witness explained at length how he had arrived at his estimate of the manurial value of the crops sold off the farm during the four years 1895-6-7-8. He found that 26 acres of land had not been laid down, and to lay it down would cost at least 32s. per acre, which would amount to £41128. Sixteen acres had been twice cropped and had not been manured. Taking the manure at 30s. an acre it brought it to £24. There were 38 acres of clover root which required breaking up and relaying down, and that at 32s. per acre came to JE60 163. Witness also dealt seriatim with the items in respect of Arrowe House Farm, stating that the total acreage of the two farms was 380. In one instance he found that the only manure used was phosphate, which in his opinion did not permanently benefit the land. The farms had not been farmed in accordance with the lease. A great deal had evidently been sold off. Very little stock had been kept, and no manure; or very little, had been brought back to the farm. Some portions of the soil appeared to him to be exhausted. Cross-examined: He was a landlord's agent. He did not distinctly remember where he got his information from as to the stock kept on the farm. Mr. Mclvor: Do you know that this was without exception the heaviest stocked farm in the district?—I should be very much surprised, because there was so much tillaged land upon it. Do you know that some of the stables were converted into shippons ?—I did not go through the buildings. You said no manure had been applied in accordance with the terms of the lease during the last two or three years ?—That is what I was informed by Mr. Craig. Do you know there had been brought upon the farm patent manures—71 tons—from the years 1895 to 1898 ?—I am quite in the dark about what was brought on the farm. Replying to further questions witness said he did not know that in tne four years there had been put on the premises 2,194 tons of stable and lairage manure; and that 120 tons of cake, 104 tons of Indian corn and meal, and 49 tons of produce had been bought and consumed on the premises. He had not made any calculation as to what manure would have been produced if what was sold off had been consumed on the premises. With regard to the clause relating to the application of a top dressing of portable manure it was very doubtful whether the manure was to be applied to the second crop of oats or to the clover after the oats were cut. He could see that the clause might mean there ought to be a top dressing between the wheat and the oats. Will you say it does mean that ?—I have not taken it to mean that. Did you ever see an instance where it was done in Cheshire ?—It is not at all customary to do it. Proceeding, he said he would be surprised to hear that a top dressing was applied on every occasion to the clover. He had charged them with not applying the top dressing three times. There was Yorkshire Fog in one field, and he blamed the tenant for it, as if there had been a good root there it would not have come. He considered the weed would not have reached such an extensive growth if there had been proper cleaning. He considered there had been foul cropping in one instance where beans were planted because of the foul condition of the land. He did not remember that the beans were blighted. He regarded beans sown broadcast as a corn crop, and as there should have been a green crop on the land he had allowed so much for improper cropping. Mr. Mclvor pointed out that it was stipulated in the lease that beans were to be considered a green crop, and he suggested that, as witness had evidently made a mistake, the item should come out. Witness said he would abandon the term improper cropping, and call it foul cropping, because the land was full of weeds. NEW TENANT'S EVIDENCE. Frank Burgess, now tenant of the Arrowe Farm, said he was formerly bailiff to Mr. Price, and he continued to act in that capacity to Mr. Newton on Mr. Price's death. Mr. Price used to put plenty of stable and lairage manure on the land. He did not agree with several things Mr. Stephens had said. He admitted that in the Arrowe House Farm two crops were taken off one field in one year. Cross-examined: During the whole time he managed for Mr. Price and Mr. Newton, the farms were always dealt with in a proper manner, and they were properly manured according to the terms of the lease, with the exception of applying manure to the second crop of oats instead of to the clover. When they were taking a second crop of oats the clovar was always manured about the back end. When he took over the farm he had it made clear in his lease that the manure was to be applied to the clover and not to the second crop of oats. He was going to farm the farm as other farms in the neighbourhood were farmed, and was going to apply the manure to the clover. Mr. Price was a wealthy man, and farmed more as a hobby than as a matter of making money. He had a great pride in getting good crops and having everything bettor than his neighbours. Mr. Price obtained large quantities of manure from the Birkonhead Tramway stables and the Lairages. He also purchased large quantities of bone manure and phosphates and feeding stuffs. After Mr. Price's death witness was given a. free hand in the conduct of the farm. He was hoping to get the farm for two years before he got it. It was not correct to say there was no clover in the field where the Yorkshire Fog was. There was plenty of clover there. There was no deficiency in the land seeded down and no impoverishment through excessive cropping. The court rose shortly after five o'clock. TUESDAY'S SITTING. When the sitting was resumed on Tuesday morning Mr. Stephens was recalled and stated that since the previous day he had taken out some figures as to the quantity of manure they had heard had been put on the land, and the quantity that, in his opinion, should have been put on the land. He had taken out only the manurial value in respect of the wheat and oats from 286 acres on both farms, and for four years he found there should have been 1,430 tons; in respect of the clover from 75 acres, 750 tons; in respect of the upland hay from 80 acres, 480 tons; and in respect of the potatoes from 52 acres, 520 tons, making a total of 3,180 tons, which was the minimum amount of manure to replace in the soil the strength abstracted by the produce sold. In calculating the value of that manure it came to considerably more than the amount claimed. In respect of the excessive cropping of 88 acres there would be another 440 tons, extending the total to 3,620 tons. If the manure were bought in town at 5s. a ton, carted to the farm at 5s. a ton, and then if it had stood until it had become fit for the land and refilled and spread at 3i. a ton, which made a total of 13s. a ton, it would work out to £2,353 for the four years. That did not affect other items in the claim which amounted to £316 independently of that. Those figures were worked on O'Connell's tables. Mr. Mclvor: I think you make out that 600 tons of oats were sold off the farms P-I am going by the acreage. Oats were sold during the four years from 286 acres. Would you be surprised to learn that there were not more than 200 tons of oats sold off P— I have no information on the subject. Frank Burgess was recalled, and, in answer to Mr. Mclvor, stated that he paid £2 an acre rent. Edward Hancock, tenant of the Green House Farm, said he paid £2 2s. an acre. Mr. Mclvor said the rents of the two farms had been increased about JE120 a year, and they contended that that was on account of the im- provement in the farms. THE BEST STOCKED FARMS IN WIRRAL. Mr. George Jones Roberts, partner in the firm of Messrs. Cunnah and Roberts, auctioneers and valuers, Chester, said his father was the largest farmer on the Gladstone estate. They farmed in the family nearly 3,000 acres, and he assisted in the management of the farm for many years. He had made valuations on the Gladstone estate, and also for twelve years on the Duke of Westminster's estate. He knew Mr. John Price very well, and he made the valuation for probate on his farm. He knew the farm previously. He was instructed by Mr. Newton in March, 1899, to make what repairs were necessary in the buildings in order to comply with the covenants of the lease. The repairs were properly carried out, and the buildings were left in a far better state than any he had seen. The landlord had since spent no money on the inside of the buildings, except in converting one place into a dairy. He made an annual valuation of the farm from the time of Mr. Price's death, and he always found the clover roots good, with the exception of a portion one year that was not good. He did not see any inferior root pasture. With regard to the complaint concerning York- shire Fog, where Yorkshire Fog was indigenous to the soil it would outgrow anything and kill anything. The number of trees round the park would also kill the clover. Where the leaves fell one would not find clover, as there was some sort of acid in the leaves which killed the clover. It was general knowledge that these farms were absolutely the best stocked farms in Wirral, and he did not think there were better stocked farms in Cheshire. He had figures of the numbvr of stock kept on the two farms. In December, 1896, there were 20 horses, 93 cattle, 591 and 15 pIgS. He had not got the figures fo." the summer, but there would be half as many en* December, 1897, there were 18 cattle, 291 sheep, and 16 pigs, and .30 more sheep were bought about the turn of Chris*. rna8» In December, 1898, there were 19 horses, j cattle, 445 sheep, and 4 pigs, and in March, 1899, they sold off by auction 19 horses, 93 cattle, and 442 sheep, the whole of which had been fed on the farm with corn and cake during the winter. Mr. Mclvor: Have you formed any opinion as to the quantity of manure that would be produced by the consumption of the quantities that have been given by the other side ?—Yes. I should say that a ton of oat straw would make one and an eighth of manure. Taking the whole of the things through, one ton of those foods would make a ton and a quarter of manure. That is making an extraordinarily liberal calculation. A ton of straw used as bedding I think would make about a ton and a quarter of manure. Of course it will not make it by itself, but in conjunction with feeding stuffs which the cattle eat. I am taking the whole lot through that a ton of feeding stuffs generally, including straw, would make a ton and a quarter of manure. That would make 1,354 tons. Mr. Mclvor: 1,354 tons is the quantity of produce they charge us with having sold off ?— 1,354 is the tonnage they charge us with having sold off. Mr. Mclvor: What tonnage of manure, taking the average all through, would that produce make if consumed upon the farm ?—The very outside estimate would be 1,692, but I think it would be more like 1,450. A lengthy argument ensued here as to the custom of the country with regard to vacating a farm. Mr. Mclvor contended that the lessee was entitled to the use of the old pasture lands until May 1st, 1899. Mr. Holden disagreed with this view, and contended that it was a waste of time to argue the matter. Mr. Fryer suggested that Mr. Stephens should be asked what was the custom. Mr. Holden: It is the interpretation of a legal document; it is not a question of custom. Mr. Roberts (continuing) said it was the uni- versal custom in Denbighshire, Flintshire, and Cheshire for the tenant to retain possession of the old pasture land, as had been done in this case. MORE EXPERT EVIDENCE. Mr. Charles B. Davies, farmer, Eardswick Hall, Middlewich, was proceeding to give evidence as to the custom of the eountry, when Mr. Hope said he did not contest that there was a custom, but he contended it was not applicable in this instance, because the lease was so explicit. Witness, continuing, said he did not agree with Mr. Stephens's figures as to the manurial value of the crops that were alleged to be sold off during the four years. Mr. Stephens's figures were taken from O'Connell's tables, but his were based on Sir John Bennett Law's, published only two years ago, and it must be remembered that manures were much lower in value than they were some years ago. He estimated that the manurial value, accepting Mr. Stephens's figures as being correct, of the produce sold off the two farms during the four years at JE690 17s. 8d. That would purchase about 1,400 tons of manure. It was difficult to say what weight of manure would have been produced if the produce had been consumed on the farm instead of being sold off, but he considered it would be about 1,354 tons. It was not customary husbandry for the tenant to manure the second crop of oats. He thought the farms had been well stocked, and he was convinced a heavily stocked farm could not be a poor one. The Umpire alluding to the much discussed clause enabling the lessee to put stock on the old pasture land up to May 1st, said he thought if the May 1st was that before the 2nd of February there was no need to put it on the lease. Thomas Bell, who had worked on the farms for many years, said Mr. Price was a good farmer, and did well to the land. The farm had been as well cultivated since his death as it was before. Mr. John Pritchard, farmer. Bridge Trafford, who had bought stock from Mr. Price, said he never saw better crops on any farm than what Mr. Price had. A "PREPOSTEROUS" CLAIM. Mr. Mclvor, in a lengthy speech, summed up the points in favour of defendant. He sub- mitted that the lease had clearly been drawn so that it might be as far as possible in accord- ance with the custom of Cheshire, by which defendant was entitled to the possession of the farm buildings and certain laud until May 1st. It was stated in the lease that the term was to be computed as and from 2nd February next," and if it had not been intended that the custom was to be observed, the words to be computed" would not have been put in the lease. The tenant did not enter into possession of the house buildings and boosey pastures until May 1st, and, therefore, he ought not to give up possession of them until May 1st. It had been held that where a custom of the country pre- vailed it was incorporated in the terms of the lease, although not mentioned there, and, therefore, although the buildings were not mentioned in the lease they were entitled to hold those according to the custom of the country. He considered the claim the most prepos- terous ever brought before an arbitrator. The buildings were not left in a dilapidated condi- tion, and the covenants in the lease with respect to husbandry had been adhered to in every respect, with the exception of one clause, which had been broken owing to two mowings having been taken from one field in the same year. Mr. Davies estimated that they ought to have brought back about 1,400 tons of manure to the farm; but, as a matter of fact, they had brought back 2,194 tons of stable and abattoir manure in the four years, and in addition large quantities of feeding stuffs, Indian corn, and produce had been bought for consumption on the farm, and 71 tons of patent manures had been bought. It was ridiculous to suppose that if the farms had been damaged to the extent that was alleged that the present tenants would have consented to an increase in the rents of £120 yearly. Mr. Hope repeated that his client did not desire to exact heavy damages from defendant. That action was absolutely necessary, however, as until they came into court, they had not a tittle of evidence that a farthing had been spent on the farm. It had been held that, where a lease contained any expressed terms on the subject of quitting, the evidence of custom was excluded, and therefore he submitted that defendant had wrongly held the farm beyond February 2nd. The Umpire, at the conclusion, announced that he and the arbitrators would meet privately, and go through the evidence and discuss the points that had been raised. The deeision would be given in due course.

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