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Original Court Documents - Claims Dispute - William Carter Vs The Natural Gas Fields of England Limited
London, 1903. London, 1902-1904. Original Court Documents pertaining to a lawsuit over oil mineral extraction on the private land of William Carter in the county of Waldron and Heathfield, by an American company called 'Natural Gas Fields of England, Limited'. The trial took place in the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division. Folio. 7 documents, 18 pages altogether. Comprises 4 typed legal documents completed in manuscript and with filing annotations, 1 typed letter, 1 manuscript letter. Some age toning, otherwise in very good condition. Historic evidence of American interest and natural gas exploration on private land in Heathfield, East Sussex, is revealed in trial documents, which refer to an indenture made in 1902. In 1901 an American company named "The Natural Gas Fields of England Ltd.", sank a number of other boreholes, with the output from one recorded at 15 million cubic feet a day - equivalent, at the time, to one eighth of the total daily sale of gas in London. In 1902 The Natural Gas Fields of England, Ltd. were still making explorations for natural gas around Heathfield and Mayfield. Further research is warranted to ascertain the outcome of this trial, although the company being forced into liquidation in 1904 is indicative of a favourable ruling for Mr. Carter. Plaintiff: William Carter, Esq. of Heathfield Defendant: Natural Gas Fields of England Limited The judges in this case were Justice Charles Swinfen Eady, 1st Baron Swinfen in 1903, followed by Sir Thomas Rolls Warrington, 1st Baron Warrington of Clyffe in 1904. The documents are as follows: • Writ of Summons - 25 August 1903 • Statement of Claim - 25 August 1903 • Defence and Counterclaim - 31 December 1903 • Reply by the Plaintiff - 21 January 1904 • List of Particulars (by the Plaintiff) - 10 February 1904 • Exhibit: One letter from the Defendant's solicitor dated 23 December 1902 referring to the original agreement dated 18 March 1902 • Exhibit: One manuscript letter from the Defendant's solicitor dated 29 December 1902 requesting a Deed of Assignment The Writ of Summons is witnessed by Hardinge Stanley Giffard (1st Earl of Halsbury), and outlines the Plaintiff's claim for an injunction against trespassing, an injunction to remove their machinery, performances of an earlier agreement, damages, and costs. Excerpts from the accompanying Statement of Claim: "The Plaintiff is the owner subject to a Mortgage of certain lands situate at Waldron and Heathfield... which contain large quantities of natural gas and are believed to contain mineral oil and... other mineral products of considerable value... The consideration for the purchase of the said mines, minerals... was to be the sum of £250 in cash and one equal third part of all net profits derived or to be derived from the said borings... ... by letter dated the 23rd December 1902 the Defendants gave notice in writing... to purchase the rights minerals and hereditaments aforesaid... The Defendants... prior to the 23rd December 1902... had put down bore holes... injured and occupied the surface... still continue to collect and dispose of for their own profit the said natural gas and mineral products from the Plaintiff's said lands... The Defendants... have paid the sum of £250... but have failed to complete the said Agreement or to pay the Plaintiff any other moneys due to him... have delivered no account shewing the amount of the Plaintiff's gas taken by them and sold... Owing to the Defendants injuriously affecting the surface and their wrongful occupation and use of the said hereditaments... the Plaintiff being thereby hindered and prevented from developing his said hereditaments as a building estate, the Plainitff has suffered heavy damage." End Excerpts. Unbeknownst to many, one of the first places where natural gas deposits were discovered in England, was Heathfield in East Sussex. Unearthed at the entrance to Heathfield train tunnel by chance in 1896, the first hint of gas was detected by workers for The London Brighton & South Coast Railway, during an attempt to find better quality water to supply their engine tank than was then available from surface springs. Initially dismissed as "foul air" from the borehole, it was only after the production of increasing amounts of gas, and subsequent testing by the chemist J. T. Hewitt, that it was confirmed that the workers had indeed stumbled across a pocket of natural gas. When drilling was eventually ceased at a depth of 377ft, gas was issuing from the wellhead at a pressure of 140lbs per square inch. Heathfield's gas reserves were thus used to illuminate the town's train station until the 1930s. The final foray into natural gas exploration in Heathfield was carried out by British Petroleum in the 1950s. Seven wells were drilled, however they did not yield enough to warrant further development. In Kelly's 1909 Directory, Waldron is described as a village & parish, 3 miles south-west from Heathfield station, 2¼ miles from Horeham Road station, and 50 miles from London. Cross-In-Hand is 2 miles north of Waldron. The plaintiff, William Carter, is still listed as a resident at this time, at Tilsmore, Cross-in-Hand, Waldron, Sussex.. Very Good.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts, ]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      Biblio    

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