Suicide, shocking depravity and more
1827 – Farmer Killed by Bull
Thomas Loton, a farmer in Acton Beauchamp was smoking his pipe whilst standing in his fold yard.
For some reason, his bull attacked him and gored him to death.
1843 – Transportation for Life
Stephen Fudger was convicted of rape of a country girl at Acton Beauchamp, and was sentenced to be transported for life.
1851 – Suicide of a Farmer at Acton Beauchamp
John Roper of Stinton’s Farm, Acton Beauchamp had been depressed for some time, mainly because of the illness of his wife.
His wife went to stay with her father in law in Tedstone Delamare for a few days, and then John Roper left his home intending to go and pick her up. Unfortunately, he sucombed to his addiction to drink and stopped off to down a few……rather more than a few …… and he never made it to see his wife, but eventually returned home some three days later.
John did go to get his wife later that day, and although rather down in the dumps he didn’t cause anyone any alarm, and went to bed quite happily. However, he rose at four in the morning to call the servants, and it is thought that at this time he took a quantity of agricultural arsenic – unsurprisingly he said that he felt ill and went back to bed, calling for water of which he drank vast amounts.
John started being sick but refused medical attention and within a short time he died.
At the inquest, attention was drawn to his alcoholism and occasional depression, and the jury returned a verdict of death from the effects of arsenic taken while in a state of temporary insanity.
1860 – Depravity at Acton Beauchamp
James Bannister, a twelve year old boy, was charged with raping a four and a half year old girl Hannah -the daughter of Thomas Elcocks, a farmer of Acton Beauchamp.
James entered the employ of Mr Elcock during the previous year, and part of his duties was to take the girl and her younger sister to school in the village. On one occasion, on returning home, Hannah was crying and said that James had been hurting her, but her mother ignored it thinking it was just a children’s fight.
Eventually though,Hannah grew weak and was unable to walk so she was taken to Mr. Shelton, the surgeon at Bromyard. The truth became clear after an examination, and James was arrested. He admitted that on that very day he had twice raped Hannah in the cart house.
Poor Hannah was badly traumatised both mentally and physically, and when she was taken into court in the arms of a nurse everyone was convinced that she had died and the surgeon was hastily called for. However, Mr.Shelton assured everyone that she was still alive but he was doubtful whether she would live very long and understandably, her mother was in a dreadful state in the court room.
James was described as “sharp”, and had remained unmoved throughout the court proceedings; meanwhile his mother cried bitterly and at the end begged the Bench to bail out her boy. This was finally agreed upon.
1863 – Execution
James Webb was convicted of stealing nine sheep at Acton Beauchamp, belonging to Mr. Elcocks of Colwall.
He was executed at Hereford Gaol on 22nd August 1818
1863 – Tragic death of child at Acton Beauchamp
Richard Elcox was the four year old son of Mr. T. Elcox of Acton Beauchamp.
It seems that he was trying to reach a fire hook over the fire, and his clothing caught fire – his screams alterted his father, but by the time he reached his child he was dreadfully burnt, and no amount of medical assistance could save him.
Richard died the following day.