Robert Forsyth rented two properties, Bellfield and Wormerlaw, from Sir John Paterson of Eccles. Robert possessed Bellfield by himself, but he rented Wormerlaw jointly with his father, George Forsyth, who resided on the property. The rents of Wormerlaw fell into arrears, and Paterson demanded payment from Robert. In the course of this dispute, believing that Paterson had improperly failed to credit a certain sum to the account of Wormerlaw, Robert withheld rent for his own farm of Bellfield. However, Paterson claimed that even if the facts were as Robert claimed, they provided no defense to a claim for the rent of Bellfield. The parties also contested whether Robert had produced sufficient evidence to support his claim.