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HistoricaLeigh: Kentish invasion
In September 1724 100 smacks with 500 men from Queenborough and Faversham, led by the Mayor of Queenborough and their local MP (an oyster dredger) made a raid on the leigh oyster beds.
It is reported that they invaded with flags flying, the fire of guns and carried off some thousands of bushels of oysters.
They were under the illusion that the beds they took from were common ground so the oysters were there for the taking.
They sent their plunder to London and caused a glut in the oyster market and a drop in prices.
The Leigh men weren’t going to take this lying down and 3 law suits were brought.
In the biggest William Hutton sued the MP and 14 others for the theft of 12000 bushels of oysters and destruction of oyster spawn. He claimed £17000 in losses. That’s over 3.5 million in today’s money.
He won and was awarded £2000 damages and costs. The other suits were also won by the Leigh men and in total the Kent fisherman had to pay £7000 which took them 20 years.This article is by Carole Mulroney of Leigh Lives - www.leighlives.co.uk
To read all of Carole's previous article of the History of our little town, click here