Writing in 1896 Mrs Ann Tattersfield chronicled the achievements of Haydn Williams in the area of rights of way or as she put it, “in vindication of public rights.” Below is her description of Haydn Williams’ part in the opening of public access to the waterfall, The Malyan Spout in Goathland,North yorkshire. I thought it might be interesting to follow, in more detail the accounts of this event as they were chronicled in the local newspapers of the day
It is perhaps relevant before we look at Haydn Williams’ campaign to regain access to The Spout that the landowner was charging the sum of two pennies for passage through his land and that the sum of tuppence was a not inconsiderable amount in the 1890s.
In 1892 a pint of beer was thruppence ha’penny and a loaf of bread tuppence.
It is also important to bear in mind that most of the locals could remember when there was no charge for access. They had a right of way.
What follows below offers an insight into Haydn Williams’ modus operandi in cases of land enclosure.
He begins with a memorial (petition) to the landowner outlining his social and legal case.
If there is resistance to his memorial he calls meetings of the local people where he garners support.
If resistance continues he threatens direct action.
If resistance still continues he breaks down barriers and reopens the right of way.
It would be tedious to chronicle every move in this campaign so I have appended only edited highlights.
Poster advertising a meeting about the right of way. Dates, as yet, not filled in.
Click on poster to view large version
The memorial (petition) fails to bring the landlord round and he has recourse to his solicitors. The local vicar, Mr Hare, is also proving unhelpful (cowardly?) and it seems the landlord is an absentee land lord. He is at this time in Australia.
Mr Rook the tenant of the land in question meets Haydn Williams. It is a chilly meeting.
Click cutting above.
A poster announcing a further meeting of the Goathland inhabitants where they will hear the landlord’s response to their memorial (petition)
Haydn Williams, who knows the laws of trespass,outlines the rules they must follow to avoid breaking the law and urges the need for consideration of the farmer’s land.
Haydn Williams posts this justification for his intended direct action and, as ever, hopes it won’t involve legal action. He often used these posters to acquaint anyone not at his meeting of the rights and wrongs of the matter in hand
Finally, as so often with Haydn Williams, it come to direct action. Mackay, the solicitor for the absentee landlord, is on hand at the entrance to the contested route and attempts to organise a blocking vote which fails. Haydn Williams proceeds to tear down the wall.
Haydn Williams offers to shoulder the legal responsibility
To see the spout in full Victorian sepia click on the image above
Badly preserved photograph of Haydn Williams at the entrance of route to the spout
Should your imagination be piqued as to the nature and precise location of this famous spout below is a short video illustrating the point of ingress and the nature of the rather well curated path to the spout itself. This video was made in late Spring/early Summer