Tales of assault and tragedy
1835 – Wrestling at Docklow Ends in Death
Thomas Passey, a Mason was charged with the manslaughter of James Davies at Docklow.
During a feast held at Docklow , James Davies wrestled with the accused’s father, whom he threw twice. James’s “manager” said that he had fought enough and won well and should not do any more, however James challenged Thomas Passey to a fight.
Thomas declined at first, but eventually accepted the challenge and both parties stripped then fought several rounds which lasted for half an hour.
Thomas wanted to stop, but James refused to give in and they fought for many more gruelling rounds before James collapsed unconscious.
Medical aid was immediately given, and was bled, but he never regained consciousness and died some hours later.
The post mortem revealed that James had a great deal of blood about the head, and the surgeon thought that he may have been in such a high state of excitement through fighting that he ruptured blood vessels, but that the bruising on the temple from blows was the immediate cause of death.
Many well respected people gave Thomas an excellent character reference, and the jury without hesitation acquitted him.
1841 – Violent Assault at Docklow
Edward Adams of Docklow was charged with violently assaulting his sister Mary.
Mary said that Edward had often treated her badly, that on 8th November he had beaten her so that she was afraid he would kill her.
In his defence, Edward admitted the assault but said that he had looked after his mother and sister for thirty years, but that his sister now wanted the house for herself. To this end, she had constantly provoked him to make him lose his temper, so that he would be turned off the premises.
The magistrate told both of them off, but bound Edward in £20 to keep the peace for 12 months, and to pay the costs.
1851 – Girl Drowns in Well at Dockow
Elizabeth Griffiths, 20 year old daughter of Thomas Griffiths of Docklow, was an epileptic, suffering with daily fits.
There was an open well in a garden adjacent to their cottage, with about a six foot drop to the water which was roughly twelve feet deep. The owner of the cottage and land kept promising to cover the well because a woman had drowned in there before, but he never got round to it.
One Friday, Elizabeth’s sister, Mary, went to find her father Thomas to say that Elizabeth was missing – for some reason he immediately thought of the well, but Mary said that they had already looked there to no avail.
Thomas went to look for himself, and using a long pole with a hook eventually brought up Elizabeth’s body. The verdict was accidentally drowned.
1854 – Accidental Shooting at Docklow
John Staples, a boy of 12, was killed when in the kitchen along with a servant girl and the waggoner.
The waggoner picked up the loaded gun and joked with the boy that he was going to shoot him; meanwhile the servant girl went upstairs, leaving John doing up his boots.
As soon as the girl left the room she heard the gun go off, and when a neighbour ran to see what was going on, he found the lad dead in the chair with his face more or less blown off……..the waggoner was standing near but no longer holding the gunwhich was on the windowsill. He claimed that the boy had shot himself, but when it was pointed out that it was impossible given that the gun was nowhere near him, he ran off and was not seen again.
It was not believed to have been a deliberate act, more an accidental discharge of the gun and the jury returned a verdict of accidental death.