A very cunning woman ; hath to her son-in-law a notorious knave, and one whom I charge you never trust.
I will here tell you a pretty story of him. I intending to build a stable at my horse mill door, to make it bigger I would take in a little ginnell, in length some three yards and in breadth not one yard, which lay at the south end of Will. Riding the Cooper's. But William Riding was extremely unreasonable, and demanded to have two shillings yearly abated out of his rent for it, when in truth nobody in England would give threepence a year for it; and I seeing him so base to me, desired he would refer it to anybody, to which he agreed. Then I named this fellow Scasbricke and Tho. Bridge, as indifferent betwixt us; and after two days they awarded me to abate two shillings yearly and the three rent hens, which was as good as four shillings per annum, and awarded me, besides, to make the same William Riding a back door in the wall to his back side in Fenwick alley, with locks and key, in all which would have cost me at least fifteen shillings. Thus you see what it is to rely on such knaves ; when I could have had it for two shillings they would have made me pay fifteen shillings fine, and four shillings yearly ; and these were both my own tenants and arbitrators. Thus you see what unreasonable souls these common people have, and perfectly hate a gentleman: I charge you in the name of God, never trust them. Do but consider what a knave they would have judged me to have been, had they or any else referred such a business to me, and I to have made such an award. If ever it lie in your way, remember it and read this to them, and let them find as much favour from you as I had from them, that is, to make them either pay more than any other, or take their livings from them.
From Moore's Rental
So, to summarise ( and fill in a couple of gaps he omits): Sir Edward wanted to build a stable to make his horse mill more profitable, and to do it, wanted to take back the passage at the side of Will Riding’s place of business, denying him access to his backyard, where he ran his business. Rather than saying no, the cooper asked for two shillings off his rent to give the land back. The yearly rent was previously one pound and four shillings, with an upfront lease fee of £40. The mill was judged to be the golden goose by Moore. The cooper essentially said it wasn’t fair, ask anyone! So Moore appointed two arbiters, who could be totally ‘impartial’.
Those chosen as totally impartial were… ahem… his own tenants, James Scarsbricke and Thomas Bridge . Rather than suggesting the cooper’s land was worth threepence, as Moore wanted, the artibers decided he should have his two shillings off. And ALSO be exempt from paying three rent hens. And should have a door and lock fitted by Sir Thomas so he could still get into his place of business and earn a living.
Moore’s response is typical. All his woes are the fault of the artibers ( ‘knaves’), as without them he could have got the land for just two shillings ( conveniently forgetting that was all that was asked for in the first place, and if he’d kept his mouth shut he would have had it). The vitriol at the end is also quite telling, advising his son never to forget they didn’t favour Sir Edward, and if he ever got the chance, completely ruin them!
It isn’t to say that the tenants were always perfect, but they were very aware of the growth of the town, and of the growing fortunes of Moore. And quite aware that if they set a precedent for giving Sir Edward just what he wanted regardless of fairness, they might be next.