Stoneyford Reservoir

Belfast Water Board Arbitration

The following extract is from the Belfast Newsletter dated 5th August 1888 and appears with permission of the Belfast Newsletter.

Belfast Water Board Arbitration – the inquiry into the meaning of the phrase "average fine weather flow" employed in the Belfast Water Act of 1884, as indicating the compensation in water which millowners on the stream at Stoneyford, about in part to be appropriated by the Commissioners, were to receive, was resumed yesterday in the Grand Jury Room, County Courthouse, before Mr. Edmund Murphy, J.P., Government Arbritrator, with Mr. A.R. Binnie, C.E., Bradford, acting as assessor. Mr. Bewley, Q.C., and Mr. John McLean, Barrister – at – law (instructed by Messrs McLean, Boyle and McLean), represented the Water trust; Mr Dodd, Q.C. (instructed by Mr. Berryhill, Lisburn) appeared for Sir Richard Wallace; and Mr. Lorimer, on of the millowners affected, and Mr. Walter Long (instructed by Mr. David McGonigal) represented by Mr. Briggs, the owner of the Glenconway Mills. Mr. McCullough, assistant to Mr Macassey, was examined, and subsequently counsel on both sides addressed the Court, and the proceedings terminated. The arbitrator’s award will not be given for some time.

Ballance v Belfast Water Commission

The following extract is from the Belfast Newsletter dated 18th January 1895 and appears with permission of the Belfast Newsletter.

Dublin Law Reports
Court of Appeal – Jan 17
Before the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Justice Fitzgibbon, and Lord Justice Barry.

Ballance v the Belfast Water Commissioners.

In this case, which was tried at Belfast spring assizes, 1894, Mr. Justice Holmes directed a verdict for the plaintiff, which was subsequently set aside by the Exchequer Division. Hence the appeal. The action had been brought to recover £221, the price of certain minerals which the Commissioners had taken from the plaintiff’s holding for the purposes of their new works at Stoneyford. Bt an agreement dated 23rd December, 1890, the plaintiff gave the Commissioners liberty to enter upon, raise, and take away stones from his holding at Ballypitmave. At that time the plaintiff was a judicial tenant of the holding under Lady Wallace, and had no interest in the minerals. He subsequently purchased his holdings under the Land Purchase Acts, under an agreement dated February, 1891, after which date the Commissioners had removed from the holding the admitted value of the amount claimed. The Commissioners contended that under the agreement they were entitled to the stones which the plaintiff subsequently acquired by virtue of his purchase under the Land Acts. On the other hand, the plaintiff contended that by the agreement he had given to the Commissioners liberty to use the surface of the soil only, and they were bound to pay for the stones in addition, as they would have been bound to pay Lady Wallace if he had not bought the holding under the Land Purchase Acts.

Mr Carton Q.C., with whom were Mr. James Campbell, Q.C., and Mr.Chambers (instructed by Mr. George B. Wilkins, of Lisburn), opened the plaintiff’s case, and had not concluded when the court rose.

Mr. Walker Craig Q.C., and Mr. A.H. Bates (instructed by Messrs McLean and Son) were for the Belfast Water Commissioners.

The following extract is from the Belfast Newsletter dated 31st January 1895 and appears with permission of the Belfast Newsletter.

Dublin Law Courts
Court of Appeal – January 30
Before the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Justice Fitzgibbon, and Lord Justice Barry.

Ballance v the Belfast Water Commissioners.

Today, in the court of appeal, judgement was given in the case of Ballance v the Belfast Water Commissioners, which was originally tried before Mr. Justice Holmes and a special jury at the March assizes 1893, when, by direction of the judge, the jury found for the plaintiff the full amount claimed £221. The defendants then removed the Exchequer Divisional Court to have this verdict entered for the defendants, on the ground that on the true construction of the agreement between the parties out of which the action arose, the plaintiff had already paid in full all that he was entitled to. The Lord Chief Baron and Mr. Justice Andrews agreed with the construction placed upon the agreement by the defendants, while Mr. Justice Murphy dissented from their view, and held that Mr. Justice Holmes at the hearing had placed the true construction on the document. By the finding of the majority of the Court, the verdict returned in favour of the plaintiffs at the trial was set aside, and a verdict entered for the defendants, without costs. The plaintiff appealed against this decision to the Court of Appeal, and the case was argued by counsel on both sides on the 15th and 16th last. The facts were that in the month of December 1896 the plaintiff being then a judicial tenant of certain lands in Ballypitmave, near Stoneyford, Lisburn entered into an agreement, in writing, with the Water Commissioners, whereby, in consideration of the payment by them of £100, Ballance agreed to permit the Commissioners and their servants and workmen to enter on his lands, and, without let or hindrance, to raise, take and carry away stones and gravel from a portion thereof, containing two acres and thirty perches, for a period of two years. In said agreement the plaintiff was described as a farmer in occupation of the lands, and it was admitted that the defendant  knew that he was a judicial tenant, and had no right at that time to give away the minerals. In February 1891, the plaintiff Ballance purchased his holding from Lady Wallace, under the Land Purchase Acts, and thereby became owner in fee simple, both of the soil and all minerals thereunder. The defendants contended that at the time the agreement of December 1895 was entered into, the plaintiff represented to them, or to Mr. John Laird who was acting on their behalf, that he was about to purchase under the Land Purchase Acts, and would therefore become owner of the minerals, so that the Commissioners would have to pay him only and no royalties could be demanded from them by Lady Wallace, and that, on the strength of this representation, they agreed to pay the sum of £100, as the price for both surface damage and stones, though they admitted, having offered £75 for surface damage alone, and increased their offer to £100 on the strength of the above representation of intended purchase of Ballance – that is to say, they offered £25 for all the stones they could remove from the holding in 2 years.  Ballance denied this, and said that he asked £100 for surface damage and his interest as a tenant, and that Mr. Laird had first offered him £75, and subsequently increased this offer to £100. He denied that he ever made any representations as to his intention to purchase under the Land Purchase Acts, and claimed that the Commissioners should pay him £221, the admitted values of the stones removed, and which sum the defendants would have had to pay Lady Wallace if he had not purchased under the Land Purchase Acts.

In delivering judgement, the Lord Chancellor said that the case must turn upon the true construction of the agreement of December 1890. At that time Ballance as tenant of the holding from which the stones were taken, had a limited interest in the stones, and a right to prevent anyone from removing them except his landlord, who had certain rights reserved to him by the Land Acts. The words of the agreement were suitable and apposite fro granting to the defendants their interest, and in his view nothing more than this interest passed under the agreement. The subsequent interest in the minerals acquired by Ballance did not go to feed the grant already made by him, for the words of the agreement, though sufficient to pass the fee-simple in the stones, if Ballance had had it at the time the agreement was entered into, could not in law be held to pass an interest subsequently acquired. If Ballance had had no interest whatever in the stones at the date of the agreement, then having subsequently acquired an interest, he would have been bound to give this interest over to the defendants, but having had the tenant’s interest in the stones at the date of the agreement, and the words of the agreement being apposite to pass this and containing no reference to an intention by balance to afterwards acquire the fee, he (the Lord Chancellor) held that this tenant’s interest of Ballance alone passed under the agreement to the defendants, who must, therefore, pay for the stones, which became the property of Ballance after the agreement was entered into.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Justice Fitzgibbon, and Lord Justice Barry concurred in the judgement of the Lord Chancellor, upholding the decisions of Mr Justice Holmes and Mr. Justice Murphy, as against those of the Lord Chief Baron and Mr. Justice Andrews. The verdict was accordingly entered for the plaintiff Ballance for the sum of £221, with all costs of the original hearing, arguments, and appeal.

Counsel for the Plaintiff – R.P. Barton Q.C.; J.H. Campbell Q.C.; and James Chambers, Barrister-at-law (instructed by Mr. George Wilkins, Lisburn). For the defendants – J. Walker Craig, Q.C.,and A.H. Bates, Barrister-at-law (instructed by Messrs James McLean and Sons, Belfast).

Duck Auctioned for Charity

The following extract is from The Lisburn Herald, Saturday, September 16 1916.

During the visit of the Belfast Water Commissioners to the Stoneyford Water Works, on Wednesday, one of the party, who is adept in the use of the gun, shot a wild duck, and, acting on a suggestion made at luncheon, put up the bird for auction, the proceeds to be devoted to charity. The duck was sold and resold, each declared purchaser generously handing it back to be put once more under the hammer of the temporarily-constituted auctioneer, and the handsome sum of £18 10s was realized. It was subsequently decided to forward this amount to the Lady Mayoress for her Chrysanthemum Day Fund, and also to ask her acceptance of the bird.

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