NORFOLK CIRCUIT - NORWICH - Tuesday, July 26 1842
(Before Mr Baron Alderson and Special Juries)
This was an ejectment to recover possession of two considerable estates, situate in Wymondham and Ketteringham, in this county.
Mr Kelly, Mr Andrews, and Mr Gunning conducted the plaintiff's case; Mr Evans and Mr O'Malley the defendant's.
The lessor of the plaintiff is a poor man, living somewhere in Oxfordshire, and the defendant is a barrister and the Recorder of this city. It appeared by the opening statement of Mr Kelly that in the year 1751 a gentleman named Jermy, who was seized in fee of very large landed property in this and the adjoining county, made his will, by which he devised all estates to his wife for life, with remainder to a gentleman named Preston, and his sons in tail, and with an ultimate remainder in these words - "and in default of such issue, then to such male person as shall be nearest related to me in blood of the name Jermy." The wife of the testator died in 1791, and Mr Preston and all the tenants for life died before that time; so that in 1791 the ultimate limitation took effect, and the party who at the time answered the extraordinary description abovementioned became entitled to the estates in fee. No one, however, came forward to claim under that limitation, and the defendant's ancestor, who was named Preston, and a near relation to the second tenant for life under the will, entered into possession of the property, having previously purchased the interest of several parties who were supposed to be in some way entitled to claim it. Under these purchases Mr Preston continued in uninterrupted and undisputed possession of the testator's large estates for nearly 40 years, and upon his death the defendant entered under the terms of his will, having first, by royal grant, taken the surname of Jermy. The defendant continued to hold the estates without question until the plaintiff laid claim to them, alleging that he fulfilled in his person all the requisites contained in the will of 1751. It having thus appeared that the defendant and his ancestors had enjoyed the estates for half a century without question.
Mr Baron Alderson stopped the case, being clearly of the opinion that this long adverse possession was a bar to this action. It was sufficient to disentitle the plaintiff to maintain the action that there had been 20 years' adverse possession, but in this case the period was much longer, and the action would therefore not lie.
The plaintiff was therefore nonsuited.
Ref: The Times, 28 July 1842, Page 7, Column a