1) The offence of stealing wood from hedges was commonly dealt with at the manor court.
1352 ‘Adam de Bentlayrod broke and carried away the hedges of John son of Henry del Lane’, Sowerby
1483 Item we fend that Herre Warter has ylldysspossid cheldyr, & of brekynge of mens heghis & taking of kydes, Selby. 1519 Item that no man or woman breke no heges, Selby
1548 ‘They say that Robert Rayner and others … cut and carried away green wood and broke hedges’, Lepton. Nicholas Tyas and his wife, of Wragby in the West Riding, were found guilty in 1602 of illegally pulling up Quicksettes and burning them. However, an Act had been passed in 1601 to deal with what was clearly a growing problem across the county, and ‘the breaking or cutting any hedge, pales, rails or fence was made punishable by whipping’. In 1609, several men were presented at the Northallerton Quarter Sessions for ‘breaking of hedges’ and in 1611-2 William Jackson was indicted ‘for breaking Lord Rutland’s hedges and burning them in his house’. Examples of the term ‘hedge-breaker’ are recorded soon afterwards: 1614 Order for the sound whipping of the Thirsk hedge-breakers on the markett day in open markett by the Constable of Thirsk, so manie of them as are not able to make restitution to the parties grieved … the women being of the part of Thirsk hedge-breakers . Trees in hedgerows could also be taken. In 1756, Mr Richardson wrote I find a great deale of Strong Wood was taken out of the Hedge Rows and what remains is very small, North Bierley.