ALLEGED FORGERY BY A CLERGYMAN AT BADSEY
In the County Court, Wallingford, Berkshire, last week an action was brought before Mr Parry by Mr W C Burt, an attorney, practising at Reigate, Surrey, against Miss Elizabeth Langley, daughter of the Rev James Langley, the vicar of one of the parishes in that town, to recover the sum of £10, interest upon £100, lent to her brother, the Rev Thomas Bolland Langley, alleged to be secured upon an indenture of mortgage of her reversionary interest in certain property bequeathed by her late mother. It appeared that in the month of July 1851, the Rev T B Langley called upon a respectable solicitor’s firm in Basinghall Street, London, where he had previously transacted some matters of business, and applied for the loan of £100, stating that his sister had kindly consented to give a security upon her property. On the 24th of July, in consequence of a letter received from the Rev T B Langley, who was then staying at Wallingford, one of the firm of solicitors arranged to meet him and his sister at Wallingford Road Station on the Great Western Railway. He attended according to appointment, but was met by Mr Langley only, who stated that his sister was too ill to accompany him. The inquiries at the interview appeared to be satisfactory and, on the gentleman’s return to town, he wrote to Mr Burt, the plaintiff in the action, who consented to advance the money required. The deed of security for repaying the sum borrowed, with £10 costs and £5 per cent interest, was prepared by Mr Burt and forwarded to Basinghall Street for approval, and when engrossed, was transmitted to the Rev T Langley at Badsey, Worcestershire, for execution. It was returned signed “Thomas Bolland Langley and Elizabeth Langley” and the attesting was the Rev Edmund Boggis, curate of Badsey. A declaration alleged to have been made by Miss Langley, before the Mayor of Evesham, was returned with the deed. On receipt of these documents a further communication was made to Mr Burt, and he went to London, and paid the money to the Basinghall Street solicitors, who handed it over to Mr Langley.
The matter rested quietly until the month of June in the present year when, as the interest had not been remitted, application was made by Mr Burt to Miss Langley for payment and then, for the first time, she learned that her name had been connected with the loan. As neither she nor her father would consent to pay the amount, the action was brought in the County Court. The deed was produced, and when put into the hands of the Rev Edmund Boggis, late curate of Badsey, he swore that his signature, as attesting witness, was a forgery, and Miss Langley was equally positive that the signature of “Elizabeth Langley” was not in her handwriting, neither had she nor the alleged attesting witness ever seen the deed until that day. On hearing this evidence the judge nonsuited the plaintiff with costs. The forgery is the most complete ever effected, and no doubt Mr Langley must have been assisted by a female. His whereabouts is not known; but it is believed that for more than a year past, he has been residing abroad.
The disclosure has excited much surprise in this usually quiet town, as Mr Langley Junior was a clergyman of the Evangelical order and a very popular preacher. Much sympathy has been evinced towards Mr Langley, the father under the painful circumstances. Mr Langley, who is supposed to have committed the forgery, is nephew of the late Mr Baron Bolland of the Court of Exchequer.
* * * * *
Many other newspapers also reported the case. In a lengthy, verbatim report in The Berkshire Chronicle of 27th August 1853, Elizabeth Langley concluded her testimony by saying: “I have not seen my brother lately. I cannot really say how long it is since I saw my brother. I do not know whether or not he is in the country. The last time that I saw him, I think was about 1851 when he came to Wallingford. Previous to that time I had been in the habit of seeing him occasionally. He was residing at Evesham then.”
It was decided that there was insufficient evidence and judgement was given for the defendant with costs.