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Saturday 25 March 1848 – Action brought against Reverend Thomas Gilbert Griffith for non-payment of debt

Category Badsey and Aldington
The Oxford University and City Herald
Transcription of article

Lowndes v Griffith

This was an action brought by Mr Lowndes of Holywell Street against Rev Mr Griffith, formerly of Magdalen Hall, who lodged with plaintiff for three-quarters of a year in 1823 and contracted a debt of £35 4s 11d.  Some months after, the defendant paid the plaintiff £3 on account, and £1 after in 1842.  The plea set up was the statute of limitation.

Mr Mallam appeared for the plaintiff and Mr Brunner for the defendant.

Jonathan Lowndes – In 1823 Rev Thos Gilbert Griffith lodged at my house and contracted a debt of £35 4s 11d for lodgings, money lent, etc.  A few months after the debt was contracted, I received £3 on account and £1 in 1842.  I applied to the defendant and received letters from him in 1824 and 1825 acknowledging the debt and promising to pay.  After the plaintiff left Oxford he went abroad for about six years.  On Whit Monday 1842 I waited on him at Badsey near Evesham and applied to him for payment, when he gave me sovereign on account, and said he should not be happy until he had paid my account, but could not do more for me at that time.  I gave him a memorandum, in pencil, of the £1 which he paid me and of the £3 which he had previously paid.

Rev Thomas Gilbert Griffith – I am curate of Wickford in Essex.  Remember an interview with Mr Lowndes in 1842; it was early in the morning.  He referred to the money I owed him at Oxford.  He said he was aware he had no legal claim, but urged that he hoped I would not allow him to take the journey for nothing, and in consequence I gave him a sovereign, but not with any reference to the debt.

Cross-examined by Mr Mallam – I believe there was an action brought against me for this debt in 1836.  I employed a Mr Stogden, a solicitor at Exeter, in reference to this matter.  I was abroad for three or four years.  Received letters both before and after I left England.  I never paid the plaintiff more than £9.

By the Judge – I received no acknowledgement in writing when I paid the plaintiff £1.

His Honour said the evidence was of a conflicting nature, and resolved itself into a question of credibility.  The whole case turned upon this point, whether the £1 paid by the defendant was on account of the debt which he had previously contracted, or whether it was a gift.  It certainly did appear strange that if the plaintiff considered he had no legal claim on the defendant, he should be at the expense and trouble of a journey to Evesham respecting it.

The jury, without any hesitation, gave a verdict for the plaintiff, for the full amount with costs.


A report in The Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette records that Mr Mallam was instructed to propose £2 a month but, after consulting with Reverend Griffith’s solicitor, it was agreed he should pay 30 shillings a month, His curacy bringing him in only £80 a year to support himself and family.