Tales of a beacon bet, and other things
1856 – Beacon Fire leaves Ganarew Cold
In 1856 there were two instances where a beacon was lit on the Malvern Hills, one at the end of the Crimean War, and one to settle a bet between two men who disagreed about the distance from which the fire could be seen.
Preparations were impressive, and a massive bonfire was built. As well as the expected flames, there were to be blue and red rockets.
The people of Ganarew joined in the experiment with alacrity but were sadly disappointed. No blue lights, rockets nor indeed fire were seen, in spite of the hardy souls waiting for hours in the bitterly cold wind. Eventually they headed for home, grumbling all the way no doubt.
As a matter of interest, this is the result, and bear in mind that the night was frosty and starlit:
Hereford – just a red haze seen.
Worcester – suffice it to say, there were a huge number of very disappointed people.
Robin Hoods Hill, Gloucester – Very clearly saw it. I should hope so given how close it was.
Dudley – they thought they saw it; pretty certain actually.
The Wrekin – Salop – nothing seen
Tewkesbury – signal clearly seen.
Bath – not a sausage.
Bristol – (where they hoped to see a reflection of the fire), nothing.
1861 – Animal Cruelty not Tolerated
This is just one of many such cases in Herefordshire – it is heartening that 19th century folk generally abhorred ill treatment of animals.
Thomas Taylor was charged with cruelty to a donkey at Ganarew, which resulted in the poor animal’s death.
He was ordered to pay £1 for the value of the donkey, plus 10s 6d costs, as well as being fined 11s for the cruelty with 8s costs. In default of payment, he was sentenced to three months hard labour.
1866 – Marriage of the Widow of the late Rev. J. Clarke M.A.
The marriage took place in Ganarew in August, of Mrs. Clarke, widow of the late Rector of Stretford and Rural Dean of Manchester, and youngest daughter of the late Roger Hunter of Liverpool, married Major General Carthew of Her Majesty’s Indian Army, of Bradenham Hall, Oxford.
The villagers determined to make an occasion of the event and turned out en masse in their Sunday best to welcome the wedding party who arrived in six carriages. The old church was beautifully decorated.
1884 – Extreme Summer Heat
An exceptional heatwave during the summer of 1884 led to several people dying from heatstroke.
One such person was a labourer by the name of Daniels who was working on a farm at Ganarew. He suffered for two days before dying.
1897 – Doctor Thrown by his Horse
Dr. S.H. Wright of Ganarew was killed when he fell from his bolting horse.