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The Town of Uxbridge and the Countess of Derby by Barbara Jones

This 1956 mural depicts three aspects of a famous Uxbridge dispute between the Countess of Derby and the burgesses (or citizens) of Uxbridge.

They quarrelled over who was entitled to the profits from Uxbridge market - raised by tolls for the sale of corn, namely toll-corn. Terms laid down in Basset's Grant entitled Lady Derby to the tolls, which she then distributed charitably.


In 1630, certain burgesses thought that they were entitled to the toll-corn. Trouble ensued, and the left hand panel of the mural depicts the incident when Lady Derby's servant Richard Lee was set upon while collecting the tolls. He can be seen being dragged from a cart by his boots. The Countess immediately started legal proceedings and the court case is shown in the central panel with the burgesses pleading their rights and Basset's Grant being discussed.

Although the court voted in her favour, the burgesses' claims were not quashed, so Lady Derby commenced a suit in the Court of Star Chamber, which frightened her opponents into submission. The whole affair ended amicably, with a feast held on 1 October 1633. A gift of venison from Lady Derby is shown in the last scene of the mural. 

Barbara Jones (1912 to 1978) was a prolific illustrator and mural artist who studied at the Royal College of Art. The mural is painted in oil on wood on three panels, measuring 260 x 345cm. It was originally displayed at the foyer of Uxbridge Library until 2013, when it was moved to the Civic Centre for storage with other items from the borough's museum collection.

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 15 Aug 2018 at 15:40