2019-09-05 Burley Meeting Report

Hardy v North. The Yorkshire Jarndyce v Jarndyce?

Speaker: Mary Twentyman

Mary opened the talk explaining the title of her talk is derived from the central plot of ‘Bleak House’, a book by Charles Dickens. The case is a central plot device in the novel and has become a byword for seemingly interminable legal proceedings.

Jarndyce v Jarndyce concerns the fate of a large inheritance. The case has dragged on for many generations before the action of the novel, so that, late in the narrative, legal costs have devoured the whole estate and the case is abandoned.

For several decades, Mary has been studying the surnames North, Hardy, Woods in the Bradford area. Mary explains how her interest was recently rekindled as further information came to light. Mary unravelled a complex plot, into a case involving the contents of a will, that other family members believed they should have received a share of. It involved the Plaintiffs: George Hardy (son in law of James North) and James Fletcher (another relative?) and the Defendants: Charles North (son of James North) and Abraham Rogers (nephew of James North).

With several visits to Kew and the local archives, Mary was able to unravel correspondence from both the Plaintiffs Solicitors’ and the Defendants. Mary delved into undocumented archive boxes that have probably never been opened since they were sealed after the court case, why spanned many years until it was finally concluded.

Mary finished the talk by considering the wills of all parties involved to see if they had bequeathed large sums of money.

Who Won!

Charles North was ordered to pay George hardy £50, Charles North pay £400 George’s solicitors. George Also pay surveyors fees! Charles North pay the claims of the lessor.

Who came off best, the lawyers!

“It is better to suffer a great wrong than to have recourse to the much greater wrong”, Charles Dickens.


Webmaster and Committee Member. In my spare time I run other websites including: The Friends of Beckett Street Cemetery, The Friends of Lawnswood Cemetery, Yorkshire Indexers and Yorkshire Burials.

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