Everything is far more complicated than it first appears (just wait until I get onto the Rimmers). As the case of Mr. Weld-Blundell proves.
Digging more deeply into Mr. Weld-Blundell, I discovered the footpath dispute wasn't his first run in with West Lancashire Rural District Council. A few months before he blocked the footpath he'd lost another right of way case.
"WEST LANCASHIRE ROADS ACTION.
At the Southport County Court, on Tuesday, before Mr. A. G. Steele, K.C., deputy judge, and jury, Charles Joseph Weld-Blundell, of Ince Blundell, sought to recover from the West Lancashire Rural District Council £10 damages for trespass on a triangular plot of land near the Blundell Arms, Lydiate. Mr. Overend Evans appeared for the plaintiff and Mr. Leslie F. Scott for the defendants.—ln respect to this plot of land, 970 square yards in extent, an action had previously been heard before his Honour Judge Shand, the District Council having commenced using it as a depot for road-making material, claiming the site public property by right of usage. Judgment was then given against the Council, with 20s. damages, and subsequendy the Council laid down kerbstones. The plaintiff's servants put up a fence, which the defendants removed, alleging that it encroached on what was really highway, and the question now for decision was whether the plaintiff or his predecessor in title had not dedicated the roads on each side of the plot to the public use.
This was a point which Mr. Evans and his witnesses denied. His Honour, summing up, said the jury were entitled to find whether there was a dedication prior to the date of the settlement by Charles Robert Blundell, who died in 1837. As to No. 2 road, from Maghull to Southport, the evidence seemed to point that there had never been a footpath on that side of the triangle. As to No. 3 road, from Altcar to Southport, the defendants’ case was tolerably conclusive, seeing that the brook was the boundary of the road 19 years ago, and probably very much longer. As to the other road, it was admitted that the road was paved with cobbles, and that it was regularly used for vehicular traffic, and therefore the plaintiff had no right to put the fence on the cobbles. The jury, after a retirement, found that there had been a dedication of each of the three roads prior to living memory, and presumably prior to 1837.
Judgment was accordingly entered for the defendants with costs on the B scale, together with costs on the interlocutory proceedings.
Lancashire Evening Post - Wednesday 05 June 1901, page 4.
I'm pretty sure this is the triangular plot that was the subject of the dispute:
To get to 970 square yards, it has to include the piece to the North of the road, labelled 328 1-200. But that doesn't seem to have been squatted on by the council, just the obvious triangle. Which, as it is unlabelled was presumably part of plot 328 1-200.
Exciting stuff today, isn't it? Don't worry, it's going to get much duller when I get into the genealogy of the Dickinsons and Rimmers.
I can understand why Mr Weld-Blundell was pissed off. The council had effectively nicked a piece of his land. I'm not quite I understand why having a public road on all three sides of the plot affected its ownership status.
Was Mr Weld-Blundell afraid of losing more land? Or was he just taking revenge on the council on account of the earlier case?
The Weld-Blundell Arms is still around and still trading under the same name:
More confusing material relating to this intriguing character to come.