A Drowning, an assault and various tragedies
1789 – Drowning in pool at Aylton
William Morris, a pauper in his forties, was found drowned in a pool at Aylton.
At the inquest no mark of violence was said to be evident, but there was also nothing to suggest how he came to be drowned.
The supposition was that he was washing his hands after cutting hop wires, and accidently fell in, after which due to age and infirmaties he was unable to get out again.
1841 – A Grand Old Age
Thomas Lewis of Aylton died on 17th August 1841 at the incredible (for the time) age of 101.
He rented the parsonage farm of Aylton for the last 63 years of his life, and was always an early riser – he continued farming until the last three years of his life.
1852 – Assault on Child at Aylton
Emma Butcher, aged 9, who lived with her father Thomas and her mother at Aylton, was at work with her mother at Mrs. Perry’s of Aylton.
Late afternoon, Emma was sent home to feed the pig and to prepare the potatoes for supper, which instructions to return to Mrs Perry’s straight afterwards. When she had finished her chores, Emma locked the door and set out to go back to her mother, but on the way met Thomas Mutlow – a dealer in rags and songs.
Thomas asked Emma if her mother was about, and when he was told that she was not, he grabbed Emma and indecently assaulted her. When she cried, he gave her two combs, then took them from her and gave her two songs instead.
Poor Emma struggled as much as she could, and then in a flash of inspiration told Thomas that there was a man coming through the orchard, whereupon he let her go and she ran as fast as she could in a very distressed state, until she came across her mother on her way home. A group of men assembled and they found Thomas a short distance from the house – he admitted touching the girl, but said that he was drunk…….then he struck out at both a man and a woman with his fist.
A policeman took him to Ledbury, and when he was hauled before the bench he was fined £4 plus costs, which he was unable or refused to pay. He was therefore sent to prison for two months.
1863 – Tragic death at Aylton
A little girl by the name of Elizabeth Preece, the daughter of a Ledbury labourer, was living with her aunt and uncle at Jacobs Leys in Aylton in order to help look after her poorly uncle.
Early one afternoon she went out to the pump in order to rinse a teapot, but she was too short to reach the handle and hand learned to climb up onto the stone trough in order to do so. On this occasion, when she jumped back down onto the stonework on top of the well, it gave way and she dropped into the deep well which was full of water.
A short while afterwards, Elizabeth’s aunt went outside and noticed the teapot on the floor as well as the hole by the well and immediately called for help, but by the time Elizabeth was pulled out it was too late.
1867- Fatal Accident At Aylton – Drunks are not always Drunks
Charles Pritchard, a 26 year old waggoner for Johnathan Williams of Aylton, was driving a team carrying home a load of coal from Ledbury.
Near Flights Farm, it is thought that he stumbled and fell and one of the wagon wheels passed over his head, crushing it dreadfully and killing him instantly.
At the inquest, it was stated that Charles was a drunkard, and was probably drunk at the time, and a verdict to that effect was returned. However, it later came to light that he suffered from a severe illness, and that he often appeared to be drunk when it was far from the case.
This misconception is still common today, with people assuming the fallen on pavements are drunk, when often they are ill.