Since we are on the subject of Alexander Bence, I reproduce below a legal notice from the Ipswich Journal of January 1748 on the protection of game in Suffolk. It well illustrates the interconnections between the gentry and better-off people in the fairly small world of the Suffolk countryside, shows the social gulf between classes, and is the first time I met the term “unqualitied persons”. It is also worth noting that no less than ten of the people named in the notice were Kirby subscribers (I have put their names in bold).
Whereas the Right Honourable the Lord Viscount Hereford, Sir Robert Kemp, Bart. Sir John Rous, Bart. Sir Charles Blois, Bart. Alexander Bence, Esq; John Rush, Esq; Charles Scrivener, Esq; Reginald Rabett, Esq; Nicholas Jacob, Esq; Thomas World, Esq; John Damer, Esq; Dudley North, Esq; Charles Long, Esq; Thomas Gooch, Esq; Philip Bewster, Esq; and others, have entered into an Agreement and Subscription for the Preservation of the GAME within the Hundreds of Blything, Wangford, Plomsgate and Hoxne, in the County of Suffolk; and for prosecuting by Action, Information, or otherwise such unquality’d as shall offend against all or any of the Statutes made for Preservation of the Game: And by such their Agreement have appointed Peter Pullyn, of Halesworth in the said County, their Attorney and Sollicitor for the Purposes in the said Agreement aforementioned.
These are therefore to certify, That if any Person or Persons will inform against any such unquality’d Person or Persons, who shall take, kill, or destroy in the Night-time, or have in their Possessions any Hares, Pheasants, or Partridges, within the said Hundreds, so as such Person or Persons may be convicted thereof, he or they shall receive of the said Peter Pullyn, on the Conviction of such Person or Persons offending, FIVE POUNDS (over and above the Reward allowed by Act of Parliament) and his or their Name or Names shall not be discovered, unless the Offender or Offenders stand a Tryal at Law, or make Defence to any Indictment or Informations, nor until the Time of such Tryal or Conviction of the Offender or Offenders; And that if any Person or Persons unlawfully take, kill, or destroy and Fish, in any several Rivers or Fishery, or out of inclosed Fish-Ponds within the said Hundreds (without leave of the Owner or Owners thereof) he or they who shall make such Discoveries shall be well rewarded for the same.
N.B. The Subscribers desire all Noblemen and Gentlemen to have their Titles or Names, with the Day of the Month, wrote on the Direction of any Game to be sent by any Stage-Coach, Waggon, Carts, Carriers, or otherwise; they being determined to prosecute the Drivers of such Stage-Coaches, Waggons and Carts, and the Carriers who shall have any Game in their Custodies that have not such Directions upon the Game as aforesaid.