In 1793 some of the inhabitants of Bacon (Beacon) Street formed the Pipe Green Trust and in doing so, gained more automony on how the Green was managed. We are fortunate that the original document setting up the Trust is in the Lichfield Record Office and it is probably one of the most important documents in possession of the Trust. From this document it is evident that the inhabitants of Bacon Street were very dis-satisfied with who was grazing animals on the Green as well as the condition of the Green itself. Thirty nine residents of Bacon Street met (not sure where) and agreed to certain conditions on who would be allowed to graze their cattle on Pipe Green, how much they would be charged and how the collected monies would be distributed. The original document has been transcribed in full. For those of you not wanting to wade through the original document, the main points are:
- Each inhabitant of Bacon St is allowed to turn on no more than two head of cattle (which they must own) at a cost of 3 shillings and sixpence per head of cattle.
- Grazing is allowed between May 1st and 12th February (i.e over winter)
- From the income collected, half will be used to improve the Green e.g draining and half distributed to the poor of Bacon St at Christmas.
- A Committee is set up consisting of a Trustee, an Inspector and three others. The Trustee is responsible for drawing up the accounts and the Inspector has to enforce the above rules. On the reverse side of the 1793 agreement there is a statement which indicates that for 1793/1794 St George Bowles was the Trustee, Mr Aldn Fern, John Whittaker and John Holmes were the Committee members and John Deakin was the Inspector.
At the end of the document there are 39 signatures, most of which can be read. There were initially 40 signatures, but one has been cut out - presumably the individual did not want to be part of the Trust after all!
From the Accounts books (held at Lichfield Record Office) it would seem that not everyone was happy with the restrictions imposed by the newly formed Trust. The Inspector (later became pinder or pinner) had the right to impound any cattle found on the Green "unlawfully trespassing or improperly turned thereon". Whilst there is no mention of cattle being impounded there is a reference to a Mr Richard Nevill, who in 1820 had to swear an oath before a magistrate that the cow he was grazing on the Green, belonged to him! In addition there are a number of entries in the accounts, especially in the first ten years, where the gate is being repaired annually and in 1799 a new lock was bought for the gate for a rather exorbitant price of 3s 6d. Sounds like vandalism is not a new thing on the Green!The Trust deed