Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oral Examination and Judgment Summons



The Oral Examination and the Judgment Summons
[1]     I have been asked to speak to you this afternoon on the twin subjects of the procedure for oral examination of a judgment debtor and the judgment summons procedure.
The Procedure for Oral Examination of a Judgment Debtor.
[2]     Oral examinations are governed by Part 44 of CPR 2000.  An oral examination is notoriously not a method of enforcement of a judgment.  It is merely a tool to assist an attorney to determine which method of enforcement to use.  It is a particularly valuable tool where the judgment creditor is ignorant of the nature and location of the assets, income and liabilities of his judgment debtor.  After the completion of the oral examination procedure, the attorney for the judgment creditor is expected to decide which of the various enforcement options provided by the Rules he will invoke.
[3]     The oral examination procedure is described in the English Supreme Court Practice.  It is essentially, as follows.  The attorney for the judgment creditor, by an application without notice, obtains from a judge an order for oral examination of the judgment debtor.  That order in Form 14 is served personally on the judgment debtor at least 7 days before the date fixed for the examination.  At the same time, a draft financial position notice in Form 16 requiring the judgment debtor to complete a statement of his financial position is served.  An affidavit of service must be filed not less than 3 days before the date fixed for the examination.
[4]     The examination is conducted normally by the Registrar.  The judgment debtor is examined by his attorney and cross-examined by the attorney for the judgment creditor.  The Registrar or her clerk writes out the evidence of the judgment debtor on loose sheets of paper, and at its conclusion reads it back to the judgment debtor, who is then asked to sign it.  The statement of the judgment debtor is placed on the court file.  Parties may receive a copy of it from the Registrar on payment of any necessary photocopying fee.  A copy of it may be exhibited with any affidavit supporting a method of enforcement that may subsequently be filed.
[5]     Rule 44.6 introduced a novel provision that did not exist previously under the 1964 Rules of the Supreme Court: power for the Registrar to record an agreement that the judgment debt be paid by instalments.  The Registrar may draw an order to that effect, which will be served in the usual way. 
[6]     It is important to note that such a consent order under Rule 44.6 is not enforceable in the same way as an order made under a judgment summons.  Due to the restrictions on imprisonment for non-payment of a civil debt established by the Debtor's Act, which we shall examine below, any non-compliance with such an agreement or consent order must be followed by the necessary judgment debtor summons for any order to be enforceable by imprisonment.
[7]     A careful attorney will follow up the oral examination proceedings by an application for one of the enforcement proceedings provided for in the Rules.  Even if an offer is made and accepted at the oral examination, the subsequent order of the Judge, Master or Registrar is not enforceable by imprisonment.  It should be buttressed and given effect by obtaining an order for a judgment summons and having the judge make any order on those subsequent proceedings.  Of course, the attorney for the judgment creditor is free to select any of the other enforcement procedures.
Judgment Debtor Summons procedure
[8]     In the Leeward Islands prior to 1889, the most common method of enforcing a judgment for money was by way of imprisonment.  Before the reforms of the nineteenth century, access to a debtor’s property in satisfaction of a judgment debt both in England and in the Leeward Islands was limited.  Besides the writ of fieri facias, there was only the remedy of imprisoning the debtor in the hope of coercing him to sell his real and other property to settle his debt.  At that time there was no need to allege that the debtor had behaved dishonestly in order to obtain a writ of arrest to enforce a judgment debt.  Reports of the Governors of the Leeward Islands back to the Secretary of State in London remark that common debtors on occasion filled the prisons of Basseterre and St John's[1].  Reform eventually came by way of introducing the UK reforms to the Leeward Islands.
[9]     The Debtor’s Act[2], which came into effect on 31 December 1888, instituted a major reform in the law applicable to civil debts in the Leeward Islands.  This Act was based on the Debtor’s Acts of 1869 and 1878 of the United Kingdom.  The purpose of the Act was to clear the prisons of persons imprisoned for debt.  From the date of that Act no debtor may be imprisoned in the Leeward Islands save under the limited procedure authorised by the Act.  The rule now is that no person may be arrested or imprisoned for making default in the payment of money.
[10]   The principle which the law seeks to enforce is that if any merchant gives credit to a customer who does not have the means to pay for the goods bought, then that is a risk that the merchant chose to take.  If any money lender hands over to a borrower a sum of money without taking adequate security for the loan, then that is a risk that the money lender took.  The careless creditor is not to come to law and expect to find a summary procedure to permit him to enforce his reckless transactions by the imprisonment of the impecunious debtor
[11]   CPR 2000, Part 52 is the Rule governing the issue of a Judgment summons in the jurisdiction of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.  Rule 52.1 applies to applications to commit to prison a judgment debtor for non-payment of a debt where this is not prohibited by any relevant statute.
[12]   The most relevant statute is the Debtor’s Act.  By this Act, the Leeward Islands followed the UK precedent in abolishing imprisonment for debt, except in certain specific cases.  The exceptions are set out in section 3.  They are:
(1) default in the payment of a penalty;
(2) default in the payment of a sum recoverable summarily before a Magistrate;
(3) default by a trustee ordered by the Court to pay any sum;
(4) default by a solicitor in payment of costs for misconduct;
(5) default in payment for the benefit of creditors of any portion of a salary in respect of which a court having jurisdiction in bankruptcy is authorised to make an order; and
(6) defaults in payment of sums in respect of payment of which orders are in this Act authorised to be made.
[13]   We are interested in the exception found at paragraph (6).  Section 4(1) of the Act governs committal for judgment debts.  It provides that the court may commit a judgment debtor to prison for a term not exceeding 6 weeks.  There are conditions.  The order must be made by a judge in open court by an order showing on its face the ground on which it is issued.  Further, the court can only make such an order where it is proved to the satisfaction of the court that the person making default has or has had since the judgment the means to pay the debt and has refused or neglected to do so.
[14]   Subsection (3) authorises the judge to exercise his jurisdiction under this section in Chambers or otherwise in the prescribed manner.  However, subsection (1), as we have seen, requires the order committing the judgment debtor to be made in open court.  In the old days that order was obtained by a contempt motion heard in open court on what was called “Motions Day”.  I am not certain that this practice still continues under the new Rules.
[15]   Section 5 of the Debtor’s Act is an important section, but I believe it is seldom used in the Leeward Islands.  The section authorises the judge hearing a judgment summons, instead of making a committal order, with the consent of the judgment debtor, to make a receiving order against him.  He is deemed at that time to have committed an act of bankruptcy. 
[16]   Bankruptcy has always been viewed as an offence against the state.  Bankruptcy proceedings are proceedings by which the state through the agency of the trustee in bankruptcy assumes control over a debtor's assets.  The advantage of bankrupting a debtor is that the burden of proving his assets or lack of them passes to the debtor. 
[17]   The Debtor’s Act at section 9 et sec deals with persons adjudged bankrupt.  The bankrupted debtor commits a crime punishable with imprisonment merely by concealing one of his assets.  The procedure involves the prosecution of the fraudulent bankrupt and his conviction before a jury.  The last time a bankrupt was hanged in England for failing to disclose an asset was one John Perrott in 1761[3]. 
[18]   The second exception recognised by section 3 of the Debtor’s Act is the summary procedure for imprisonment of a judgment debtor in the Magistrate's Court.  The Magistrate's Code of Procedure[4] came into effect in the Leeward Islands in the year 1892.  The civil jurisdiction of the Magistrate is governed by sections 142 et sec.  There were no civil procedure rules made under the Act, but the Code provided that the Rules made under the Summary Jurisdiction Act should apply to proceedings in the Magistrate's civil court. 
[19]   Section 153 of the Magistrate's Code of Procedure provides a summary mechanism for imprisoning a judgment debtor.  Basically, after the Magistrate has entered a money judgment against the judgment debtor, the judgment creditor takes out a judgment summons.  The debtor is then examined as to his means by the creditor before the Magistrate.  On being satisfied as to the debtor's means, the Magistrate makes an order for periodic or other payment.  In the event that this order is disobeyed, the creditor applies for a Defaulting Debtor Summons.  On hearing this summons, the Magistrate, if satisfied that the debtor has the means and has wrongfully defaulted, may commit the debtor to prison for up to 6 weeks. 
[20]   When I practised in the Magistrate’s Court in Basseterre in the period 1971-1976 this evidence was frequently given by the attorney for the creditor going into the box and being sworn.  He would repeat as evidence some hearsay given to him by his client.  The Magistrate would listen to the excuses of the judgment debtor and, if he thought it appropriate, strong-arm the debtor into making a promise to pay by a certain date failing which he was to be imprisoned for 6 weeks or until he sooner paid the debt.  Imprisonment is subsequently secured by the attorney for the creditor applying for a Warrant of Commitment by which the debtor is imprisoned by the Bailiff without any further hearing. 
[21]   The summary procedure described above was never permitted in the High Court.  I do not know if it still continues in the Magistrate’s Court.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, some attorneys who practise in both the Magistrate's Court and the High Court, have been known to be tempted to apply the principles and procedures of the Magistrate’s Court to the judgment summons procedure in the High Court.
[22]   To emphasise how abhorrent it is to the common law courts to countenance the imprisonment of a judgment debtor for failure to pay the debt, it may be worthwhile noting that in the UK the Judgment Summon procedure for civil debt has been abolished since the early twentieth century.  You will not find detailed notes in the UK Supreme Court Practice of any edition subsequent to the First World War on the judgment summons procedure, as you will for the oral examination.  Unlike the Eastern Caribbean, the judgment summons is retained in the UK only for cases of willful failure to pay a tax debt and similar matters. 
[23]   Rule 52 is the rule governing the issue of a judgment summons in the High Court.  It is to be read in conjunction with the Debtor's Act and the rules made under it.  In particular, the Debtors (Committal) Rules[5] govern the procedure for enforcement of an order made by a judge under a judgment debtor summons.
[24]   Rule 52.2 provides for all applications to commit a judgment debtor to be made by way of a judgment summons in Form 21.  The summons must state certain particulars[6].  The Rule proceeds in sub-rules 3, 4 and 5 to provide for the service, and hearing, of the summons, and the enforcing of any instalment order.
[25]   The extent to which Rule 52 of CPR 2000 can have provided an entirely new procedure for the issue of a judgment summons is open to doubt.  CPR 2000 was made by the Chief Justice and two judges of the court, being the rule-making authority under section 17 of the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court Order 1967 (the Courts Order).  The Courts Order does not empower the authority to amend either a substantive Act or the Rules that may have been made under it.  It is not even clear if the intention was for CPR 2000 Rule 52 to amend or replace the Debtors (Committal) Rules made under the Debtor's Act.  A proper reading of Rule 52 would seem to require that it be read and interpreted in accordance with the Debtor's Act and the Rules made under it, ie, the Debtors (Committal) Rules.
[26]   A careful attorney will follow the Debtors (Committal) Rules in applying for a judgment summons.  Rule 2 requires that the application to commit the judgment debtor to prison must be made by summons and shall specify certain particulars.  By Rule 3 the service of the summons must be personal unless the judge is satisfied that the judgment debtor is evading service.  Rule 4 provides that proof of the means of the debtor shall, whenever practicable, be given by affidavit.  The affidavit should be sworn by the client or someone else knowledgeable about the debtor’s affairs, not by the attorney or his clerk, as is sometimes done in the Magistrate’s Court.  Where it appears to the judge that the debtor or other person should attend, the judge may order the person's attendance for the purpose of being examined on oath.  Rule 5 provides that the judge may then make an order of committal in Form A in the Schedule to the Rules.  These provisions are all essentially the same as those in Rule 52.
[27]   Rule 52 of CPR 2000 introduces some novel features to the judgment summons procedure.  They did not exist under the previous 1964 Rules.  To the extent that these new features protect the debtor, no complaint of substance can be made, as they will not offend against the Debtor’s Act.  To the extent that they may impose new burdens on the debtor, their validity is open to question as described above.  So, Rule 52.4 permits orders for periodic payments to be made, with the hearing of the judgment summons adjourned to a later date presumably to see if the judgment debtor is complying.  Rule 52.5 provides that imprisonment is not automatic in the event of default. 
[28]   The practice of delegating judgment summonses to a Master or the Registrar that had begun to creep in after the advent of CPR 2000 is not a proper one[7].  While the Registrar or Master frequently handles oral examinations only the judge should hear a judgment summons.
[29]   If a suspended committal order has been made on a judgment summons, and there has been default, the judgment creditor must follow the provisions of Rule 53 in obtaining a committal order.  Rule 53 provides the requirements that must be met before a judgment debtor may be committed.  So, at Rule 53.3 the original order under Rule 52 must generally have been served personally on the judgment debtor.  The order must have been endorsed with the usual penal notice.  There must have been sufficient time after service of the order afforded to the judgment debtor to comply.  The application for the committal order must specify the exact nature of the alleged breach, be verified by affidavit, and be served, and there must be an affidavit of service.
[30]   In conclusion, the oral examination procedure should never be used as a mechanism to obtain an order for periodic payments by a judgment debtor.  In my opinion, such an order is unenforceable as being an illegal avoidance of the protections introduced by the Debtor’s Act since 1888.  An illegal imprisoning of a judgment debtor may have the consequence of making the State liable to a claim in damages. 
[31]   There is a contrary view popularly held by judges and attorneys throughout the region.  It is that it is open to a court to imprison for contempt in a case where there is a failure or refusal to pay a judgment or an instalment on a judgment in circumstances where the court considers that the judgment debtor has the means to pay the same and an order has been made, and served, and then flouted.  In my humble opinion that is a wrong view if we are considering any proceedings other than a judgment summons.  When I began the practice of law in the High Court some 39 years ago, that was the conventional wisdom.  The interpretation and practice of the law has only been altered in the succeeding years.
[32]   It is my opinion that evidence of the flouting of an order to pay a judgment debt can only be properly adduced under the judgment summons procedure.  That is the correct proceeding not because it is right or just, but because the Debtor’s Act says so.  Until the Debtor’s Act is overturned by parliament it remains binding law. 
[33]   To admit otherwise, to permit what may be described as a back-door mechanism for imprisoning judgment debtors who fail or neglect to pay their judgment debts, would be to subvert the reforms to the enforcement regime introduced by the Debtor’s Act over one hundred years ago.  It would make it virtually unnecessary for a judgment creditor to go through the more onerous procedures introduced by the Debtor’s Act.  Every judgment creditor would prefer the easier procedure of obtaining a consent order under the oral examination procedure, and then to have the debtor imprisoned on some proof short of that required under the judgment summons procedure.
[34]   Finally, once the detailed provisions of the Debtors (Committal) Rules and Rule 53 of CPR 2000 are followed by the attorney for the judgment creditor, and credible evidence of willful default produced to the judge, there should be no difficulty in obtaining a committal order.  Of course, where the debtor’s oral examination produced evidence of his ownership of land or valuable personal possessions, the court will expect alternative enforcement proceedings to be preferred.
A talk to the Antigua and Barbuda Bar Association on Thursday, 28 October 2010
- By Don Mitchell CBE QC



[1]      The Quaker missionary John Candler who visited the West Indies in 1841 reported 6 of the 56 prisoners in the Basseterre gaol at the time of his visit to be debtors.
[2]      An Act of the Federal Assembly of the Colony of the Leeward Islands [No 2/1888] which came into effect on 31 December 1888.
[3]      Halsbury's Laws of England, 2nd Edition, Vol 2, page 4 dealing with “Bankruptcy and Insolvency”.
[4]      An enactment of the Leeward Islands Federal Legislature [10/1891] which came into effect on 10 February 1892.
[5]      Made on 24 November 1890 under section 8.
[6]      It may be worth noting here that there appear to be two printer's errors in sub-rule 2:  (i) The sub-rule (2) commences with the words “The court order must” when what is meant is “The court office must”.  Then, paragraph (c) reads “return the order” when what is meant is “return the summons”.  It can be certain that these printing errors do not aid in the interpretation of the Rule.
[7]      Practice Direction 2 of 2007 made by the Chief Justice under Rule 4.2(2) of CPR 2000.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Place-names of Anguilla



A speech given at the 2010 AGM of the
Anguilla Archaeological and Historical Society
The first thing that strikes the visitor about the place names of Anguilla is their apparent lack of imagination.  There is the Long Path, and Long Ground, and Long Road, and Long Bay.  The name of the capital town, The Valley, causes some of us to avert our eyes in embarrassment when we have to give our address to foreigners.  If North Hill and South Hill are not boring enough, there is always East End and West End, and Waterswamp of all things.  Stoney Ground must have been a hard place to cultivate.  But, the assumption of a lack of imagination on the part of the early namers of Anguilla would be wrong.  It takes some wit to ensure that an almost perfectly flat island comes to have nearly every place in it named either a hill or a valley.
Actually, North Hill and South Hill have an interesting tale to tell.  At first blush there seems to be something perverse about naming two adjoining stretches of the cliff on the north coast of Anguilla 'North Hill' and 'South Hill'.  But, an old sailor, Sir Emile Gumbs, once told me his theory of how those two spots got their names.  He pointed out that they are north and south respectively of only one place, and that is Road Bay.  If you were a sailor on a ship anchored out in Road Bay in the seventeenth century you could not have helped but notice that there was a hill to the north of you and another one to the south.  So, the naming of these two villages is most probably a relic of Anguilla's maritime past.
The prepositions up and down as used in giving directions and naming places in Anguilla have a similar heritage.  As shortened versions of “upwind” and “downwind” they refer to the compass points 'east' and 'west'.  They do not in any way relate to the inclination of the slope either up or down which the Anguillian giving you directions is pointing.  When the elderly man in Welches point firmly down the hill and tells you that you must go “up” the road to reach Island Harbour, he means that you will have to drive in an easterly direction to get to Island Harbour.  It will not seem incongruous to him that he iss at the time pointing 'down' the hill.
This apparently strange use of prepositions flows from one of the most noticeable weather features of Anguilla, the Trade Winds.  The winter Trades blow from November to March, while the summer Trades blow from May to September.  The winter Trade Winds blow out of the north-east, with more than a memory of Siberia in them it sometimes seems in December and January.  The summer Trade Winds on the other hand blow out of the south-east, sometimes carrying the tropical waves off the coast of Africa that sometimes turn into Hurricanes as they approach the West Indies.  Generally, except for the Doldrum months of April and October, the wind blows steadily out of the east.  How obvious it would seem to a farmer or a fisherman to refer to the east as “up wind” or “up”.  Similarly, the west is obviously “down wind”, or just “down”, or even “lower”.
There are very few names that hint at an exciting or exotic past.  Brimegin is one of them.  There is no certainty how that rocky area east of Blackgarden Bay and west of Shoal Bay got its name.  ‘Brummagen’ is an English dialect name for a native or inhabitant of the city of Birmingham in England.  The Anguillian name Brimegin and the English name Brummagen are almost identical in sound.  Only the spelling is different.  They appear to be the same word.  It is not difficult to see that the word Brummagen has become Brimegin in Anguilla.  There was never any person named Birmingham resident on Anguilla long enough to leave his name in the public records.  The only Birmingham we know who is connected in the historical record with Anguilla arrived here during  the year 1711 when one Captain Birmingham, a privateer for the French, landed three spies on Anguilla.  We do not know where exactly Captain Birmingham landed his spies, but the area now called after his name was as good a place as any.  The coast is rocky, but there are several small bays where a boat might come in and land one or two persons without being observed.  The place is situated far from the hamlets and estates of Anguilla.  I like to think that it was this Captain Birmingham who has left a trace of his visit.  When captured by the Anguillians under deputy governor George Leonard, the spies confessed that they had been landed by Captain Birmingham to find out what the strength of the island's defences were.  Governor Hamilton took the three spies captured by the Anguillians to Antigua where they were tried, convicted and hung.  All that remains of this adventure is the place name “Brimegin”.  No other person named Birmingham has ever been in any way connected with Anguilla, far less been recorded as owning an estate in Anguilla.
While we are on names that have evolved we might as well mention Meads Bay, Katouche Bay, Sachasses and The Quarter.  An elderly resident of Long Bay Village some years ago told me his father's theory about the origin of the bay now spelled “Meads”.  It is universally pronounced “Maids”.  He pointed out that no one named Mead or Maid ever lived in Anguilla.  He suggested that the name is most likely an anglicisation of the Spanish 'La Baia de Maiz', or Maize Bay.  This is not fanciful or unrealistic.  The original Amerindian settlers were growing maize in the West Indies when Columbus arrived.  He recorded the name in the Bahamas on his first voyage, and there is no reason why it could not have been growing in Anguilla too.  As the centuries passed and the origin of the name became forgotten, it gradually began to be pronounced “Maids”.  The spelling was only changed to Meads in a recent mapping exercise.
Katouche Bay was part of Governor Benjamin Gumbs' estates during the eighteenth century.  He called it  ‘Catouche Bay Plantation' with a “C” when he left it to his daughters Anne Warner and Katherine Payne in his 1768 Will.  There is no such word in English as ‘catouche’ nor is any person named Catouche associated with Anguilla.  The nearest equivalent is the French ‘cadeaux’, the plural for 'gift'.  The English-speakers of Anguilla shared the common practice of pronouncing French words phonetically in English.  The French word 'Cadeaux' was at first pronounced 'Caduce', then began to be spelled 'Catouche', and later 'Katouche'.  In some of the early deeds it is even spelled 'Cuttous'.
Katouche Bay is presently spelled Latouche with an “L” on the Ordnance Survey map of Anguilla.  We know where this error came from.  In the 1950s, the late Rev Leonard Carty wrote an article in a Methodist Church commemorative booklet.  He speculated that the word Katouche may have derived from Mr De la Touche who had led a French invasion force to Anguilla in 1745.  He thought it was possible that this was the bay that De la Touche had landed at.  In fact, we know from contemporary documents that he anchored his boats and disembarked his men either in Rendezvous Bay or in next door Crocus Bay, where the Anguillians massacred them as they tried to ascend the steep path up to the top of Crocus Hill.  The modern mapmakers were given Rev Carty's speculation as the true story of the origin of that bay's name, and they changed the spelling.  No one in Anguilla calls the place 'Latouche Bay'.  Crocus Hill itself is named for the lovely little yellow crocuses that come out with the start of the rains and that used to cover its slopes before the Wild Mimosa took them over.
Sachassas is equally easy.  The name “Sagers” or, more correctly, “Zakers” has long been a common surname in nearby St Maarten.  Richard Richardson in the 1760s employed a David Sagers as manager of his Anguilla plantation.  The Sagers family eventually came to own a part of the South Valley Plantation of deputy governor Benjamin Gumbs, and their land became known as Sagers' land.  Ralph Hodge told me the story of how the name changed.  He was a young civil servant working part-time with the Cadastral Survey team in 1974.  Ralph lived then as now in South Valley.  When the surveyors were working in the area, the members of the team were not sure how to spell its name.  Ralph made up that spelling on the spur of the moment, and now it is written in concrete.
The Quarter is also an evolved name.  When the old Valley Plantation of Anguilla's first deputy governor, Abraham Howell, was broken up into four parts in the mid eighteenth century, it became North Valley, South Valley, Wallblake, and the Upper Quarter Plantations.  It was 'upper' because it was the easternmost part of the estate.  The word 'upper' was quietly dropped, and now we are left with 'The Quarter'.
Blowing Point was originally deeded to Ensign Thomas Rumney in 1673 as 'Blown Point Plantation', but over the years it has evolved into 'Blowing Point'.  Badeziel Cox was the eponymous owner of the estate now known as Bad Cox.  Richard Richardson Jr, or Little Dick, owned the adjacent estate known as Little Dick's, now officially spelled Little Dix, with an “X”.  Thomas Caul has given his name to Caul's Pond.  And, we all know where Abraham Chalville lived.  It is called Chalvilles.  The Anguillians pronounced and spelled his name with a “w” instead of a “v”.  We know why they did that too.  Students of sociolinguistics have written about the sound called by them the 'unvoiced bi-labial fricative'.  It is a cross between a 'v' and a 'w'.  It is quite commonly heard among English speakers.  We still hear the older people of Blowing Point saying that they are going to 'The Walley'.  And, they always claim they are “werry fine, thank you”.  Chief Minister Hubert Hughes to this day will tell you that he is the head of the “gowernment” of Anguilla.  That is how Valentine Blake's land, as it was called in the 1690s, came to be known as Wallblake.  The Anguillians referred to him as Wal Blake, and in time, after he had died and become forgotten, it morphed in to Wallblake.
Places named after the persons that owned them at one time are common.  The Hughes family was an important one in the history of Anguilla, persons of that name having resided here since the earliest days of settlement.  They gave their name to the Hughes' Estate in Lower South Hill.  That word 'lower', you will realise by now, signifies in Anguilla that it is down from, or to the west of, South Hill.  Robert Lockrum in turn gave his name to the Lockrum's Estate located between Blowing Point and Little Harbour on the south coast.  The land of Mr Waters, originally Waters' land, is now spelled Wattices.  An unknown Mr Roache once lived on a hill at North Valley, and we still call it Roaches Hill.  John Farrington was a Quaker who went away in the 1740s to join the Quaker community in Tortola.  All he has left behind is his name attached to his land at The Farrington.  An unknown Mr Gibbons left an estate east of Blowing Point named after him, but we do not at present know his first name.
The cutely sounding Merrywing Pond is not so cutely named.  The word is the seventeenth century name for the vicious little biting sandflies that must have made it such a pain to pass nearby.
The origin of some place names is unknown to me.  These include Benzies on the north coast of the Shannon Hill; George Hill; Old Ta, said to be named after an unknown “Old Thomas”; The Forest; Statia Valley; Sile Bay; True Loves up on Crocus Hill; Maundays Bay; and the ever mysteriously named Corito.
Among the names that have fallen into disuse are the three 'divisions' into which the island was long divided.  Nor is it clear what administrative function these divisions played.  These were Joan's Hole, subsequently named Junks' Hole Division, probably named by reference to the Great Spring or the Big Spring as it is now more commonly known; Spring Division, probably named by reference to the Fountain Cavern; and the Road Division.  It is not surprising that two of the island's administrative divisions were named by reference to springs, given the long droughts under which the island suffered for decades at a time.  An unfailing source of potable water would have been a very important reference point for the early settlers.
I conclude by admitting that the very locations of many of the places named in the early Anguillian deeds have now been lost, at least to me.  Someday, with more research, I may discover exactly where they were.  These include Arrowsmith's; Barlows Plantation; Bralahans; Diggeries; Great Cockpit; French Ground; Hazard Hill; Kidney's; Robbin's; Thatch Garden Hill; and many others.  If you know where they are, please let me know.
16 June 2010