Lady Russell would not comply with the Order, to her cost !


Hertfordshire Mercury, 16th March 1918

At the Watford Police Court on Tuesday, Lady Ela Russell, of Chorleywood House, Chorleywood, was summoned under the Defence of the Realm Regulations for failing to cultivate land.  Mr G.T. Naldrett (instructed by Sir Charles Longmore) prosecuted and Mr T. Matthew defended.

Mr G.T. Turner, Executive Officer of the Hertfordshire War Agricultural Committee, said that the Committee had requested the defendant to plough up a field of 21 acres.  If this were done, there would still be some 57 acres of pasture land, more than sufficient for the cattle that the defendant had.  He had had an interview with the defendant and had explained the serious view which the Committee took of the matter, and thus tried to induce her to comply with the Order, offering to supply the necessary implements, horses and men.  The offer was declined and Lady Russell expressed the opinion that she did not agree with the Order regarding the breaking up of grass land.  She said that if the Committee insisted on having the land ploughed she would sell her cows, shut up the house, and go to London.

Mr Matthew said that the land was being used for the production of milk and butter, and that the dairy was run at a loss.  The defendant sold skimmed milk to the children at 1d a pint.

Among the witnesses for the defence were the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the local Food Control Committee who thought that, in view of the prospective milk shortage, the land was better employed than it would be if ploughed.  The Hon. A. Capell, Chairman of the Urban Council, said that there was a great scarcity of pasturage in Chorleywood, and that the defendant had patriotically helped in the milk supply to the district.

The Chairman (Mr S. Taprell Holland) said that the question as to whether the land was being put to better use than if ploughed was irrelevant.  The defendant was given every opportunity to obey the Order and had deliberately refused to do so.  Under these circumstances, the Bench would inflict the full penalty of £100 and costs.

Notice of appeal was given.

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