Wm Willcox His Book, Bought May 17th 1799

This book was found by Martin Davis among the Little Stoke Farm Papers. It seems to be a mixture of farm and parish records so presumably in addition to farming Wm Willcox held a position with the Parish Council. Interestingly, he records paying himself a poor rate.

We see later that he was also a Tythingman.

Page Page Description Name Surname
2 Title Page William Willcox
3 Accounts of Waggon Jefse Ball
4 James Morgon
4 Mr. Gore
4 Saml Shippen
4 Wm Yorks
4 Wm Andrews
4 Instructions at Butcombe
5 Poor rate James Redwell
5 Jas Heathell?
5 Samul Cox
5 Wm Willcox
6 Poor rate Edward Higson
6 James Redwell
7 Count of Sheep Wm Sprod
8 Loans John Willcox
8 John Thomas
8 Mr. Pearce
9 Mary Willcox
9 School Attendance Elizabeth Willcox
10 Sales William Williams
11 Account of Works Edward Shott
12 Expenses Thomas Hulbert
12 W Hopking
13 Work Done Accounts William Hasell
14 Purchases of Calf Skins William Hasell
15 Purchases of Calf Skins
16 Count of stock James Colling
17 E Gunter
17 Mr. Blinman
17 Count of Lambs. Poor Rates Mr. Wichell
18 Bengemen Bridgeman
18 Danell Webb
18 John Wichell
18 Poor rate Wm Jeffes
19 Edward Sargent
19 Mr Adrenos?
19 Mr. Shipton
19 Mr? Sherbourn
19 Poor rate W Shipton
20 Poor rate
21 A Frest
21 Benjamen Brock
21 Seth Robart York
21 Wm Grigge
21 Various accounts Richard Yorks
22 Taxes from Butcombe Waf
23 Receipts John Smart
24 Loans to his son John Wilcox
25 Loans to his son John Wilcox
26 Accounts from Winford Benjamin Pearce
27 Loans John Smart
28 Daniel Cook
28 Thomas Stone ?
28 William Phippen
28 Butcombe list of jury members Samuel Phippen


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Tythingmen were akin to the local village constable. The tythingman was the head of a group of 10 families or ' tythings' .  Anyone witnessing a crime shouted for help, known as ' raising a hue and cry' . The tythingman then organised the pursuit and capture of the criminal, and brought them before the hundred court. The tythingman was not a full-time paid officer, but had to do the job without pay in addition to doing his ordinary work. He was paid for the work done for the courts, such as bringing suspects to court. If he did not report his suspicions about lawbreakers he would be fined by the court leet, as we see from this record from the 1289 Calendar of Bristol Deeds:

Stoke Gyfford, The tithing-man presents for common fine due at this day, 4s. Od.

Their duties consisted of:

Keeping a strict watch at all times.
To follow with the hue and cry.
Taking charge of any wrongdoers handed to him.
To inquire into offences and to report crimes.
To report any suspicions he held about anyone within his tything to the Court Leet.
To serve warrants and summons
To obey all the lawful commands of the High Constable and the Court

In various localities the tythingman was responsible for:
The observance of the Sabbath.
Inspecting all Inns and Public Houses licensed to sell liquor and report all disorders;
Reporting on idle or disorderly persons, profane swearers or cursers and
Sabbath breakers.
Stopping unnecessary travel on The Lord' s Day.

The court leet began to decline in the 14th century, being superseded by the more modern courts of the justices, but in many cases courts leet were kept up until nearly the middle of the 19th century. The courts leet survived for formal purposes until abolished in 1998.