The Roebucks Dispute

In the 16th century, Samuel Wade bought Roebucks and land at Crawood.

In 1593, Wade's brother-in-law, Michael Foxcroft, agreed to buy Roebucks from Wade for the sum of £250. Wade insisted that Foxcroft pay him in silver, but Foxcroft paid £244 in some silver and the balance in a mixture of French and Spanish coins. Wade refused the foreign money and when Foxcroft told his father – also Michael – that the transaction looked like falling through, he gave his son £6 in English silver and Foxcroft returned to Quickstavers to pay Wade what he wanted, but he would not see Foxcroft until sunset and then he refused to receive the money, on the grounds that Foxcroft had not kept his side of the bargain.

This caused a great disagreement between the two families, and – nevertheless – it seems that Michael Foxcroft went to live at Roebucks and intended to prevent Wade from reaching the wood at Crawood.

Wade recruited an army of about 60 men and set out for Crawood and spent the 5 days felling trees to the value of £160 and taking them away.

One night, as Wade and a companion were walking home through Luddendenfoot, the elder Foxcroft ran alongside crying a word, a word!, and rushed at Wade who defended himself with his stick. The younger Foxcroft came on the scene and his father urged him to attack Wade, and the two threw stones at Wade and his companion until a passer-by intervened.

Foxcroft the elder was recorded as saying that if Samuel Wade and his brother Anthony would meet the Foxcrofts at Crawood, I will make them eat horse dung.

There was a later fight at Crawood, between Wade and the younger Foxcroft in which both men were hurt.

On another occasion, Wade went to an inn at Luddenden when the Foxcrofts arrived. The landlord, William Hopkinson, tried to bar them, but the older Foxcroft said:

If you have ale to sell, I will come in and have drink for my money

and the two burst in. The younger Foxcroft produced a dagger and rushed at Wade who cried out:

he kills me, he kills me!

and collapsed to the floor. He was able to get back to Quickstavers where he died about 3 weeks later.

There is no record of Foxcroft having been charged with murder for the killing.

When Wade's son, Richard, inherited the property, the disagreement continued. He made tried to seize Roebucks and was charged with causing damage to the property. The jury found in Foxcroft's favour and Richard was forced to pay damages to his uncle

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 15:13 / 15th May 2021 / 4965

Page Ref: MMR197

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