Spurned suitors;  naughty vicars and bent policemen

1837 – Fatality at Garway Wrestling Match

The wrestling match at Garway on Sunday 15th October 1837 ended with the death of a man called James Gritton who died from injuries received from a man named Hill.

James was an expert wrestler, and often went to fairs and feasts in order to fight;  on this particular day he fought several men and threw them all.  Subsequently, several men, including Hill, challenged James to fight which initially he declined.  Eventually he gave in, and began to fight Hill – after some time, James fell to his knees and Hill kicked him in the ribs;  he continued to fight unfairly with huge lack of sportsmanship.

The two seconds at the match immediately scarpered, and it wasn’t until September 1838 that one of them, William Prosser, was taken into custody. The other second, Richard Harris, remained at large.

The principal in the transaction of the fight, Richard Hill, was convicted in March 1838 and sentenced to four months imprisonment.

1856 – A Post Office for Garway

At long last, Garway was given a post office which was opened at the house of John Powell on Garway common.

There was some grumbling about the fact that it was not nearer the centre of the parish, but nevertheless it was very welcome.

For more on John Powell see the next article.

1857 – Delinquent Parish Constable & Sub Postmaster

John Powell of Garway had been Constable for the parish for 15 years, and was also sub-postmaster and letter carrier between Garway and St. Weonards.  Well respected and totally trusted as well as being much liked, it came as a huge shock to all and sundry when it became clear that he was a serial thief.

He was discovered in the granary of a farmer in Garway, Mr. James Bennett, in the early hours one morning, preparing to take away a bushel and a half of wheat.  Skeleton keys were found in John’s pocket, which later were discovered to open any house door in the area.

The charge being proved, John Powell admitted his guilt, but even so,  kind previous employers and friends were willing to pay for him to go abroad on release from prison.

John was given a fairly lenient sentence of three months hard labour, mainly because of the excellent character references given.

1863 – Garway Shopkeepers Diddled Customers

After an Inspector’s visit in October 1863, three men were charged with having “unjust” scales, which were against the purchaser.

William Saunders of Garway – for having unjust scales in his shop and unjust coal scales in the yard – fined 2s 6d plus expenses of 16s

Philip Watkins of Garway –  for having unstamped yard measure;  plus a large pair of scales;  flour scales, small scales;  copper tea scales, and brass scales – fined 2s 6d for each offence plus costs, amounting to £1 10s.

Charles Price of Garway – for having an unjust weighing machine, but he said he had only taken on the business the day before and he promised to put the weighing apparatus in order before selling anything.  His case was dismissed.


1867 – Mother blamed for death of Baby

George Arthur, whose mother was working in the hay fields of Mr. Pearson, tragically died whilst lying in the grass.

The mother had left the baby in the charge of an elder child of hers, and although she did return to feed him and make sure that he was not lying in full sun,  it was eight in the evening before we went to pick him up to go home and found him dead.

At the inquest, the surgeon Mr. R. Thompson said that death was by natural causes, but that he thought the baby should have been fed frequently during the day.

The jury returned a verdict of death from natural causes, adding that they considered the mother to blame for not having fed the baby more often on that day.

1870 – Shocking Actions of Spurned Suitor

Amos Morris of Garway was employed as a waggoner by John Embrey, who also had in his employ a young lady.

Amos was somewhat taken by the young lady, but she continually rejected his advances as she already had a boyfriend, and Amos became more and more bitter, saying on several occasions that he would take away his own life.  He was in fact once found making preparations to hang himself.

Then, on 18th December the banns were read for the first time in Garway Church between the girl and Thomas Clark, a Carpenter from the district, and Amos was incensed.

The following day Amos went into the house of his employer and said that the girl was lying in the cowhouse unable to get up – John Embrey immediately went to check on her and found her unconscious and very badly beaten.  As she was carried to the house, a gunshot was heard, and it was discovered that Amos had shot himself and was quite dead.



1893 – Deprivation of a Vicar

The Rev. Henry de Burgh Sidley, vicar of Garway, was charged with three specific charges of adultery, and it transpired that he was guilty of immorality with a girl named Laura Wiggle.

Henry, aged between 60 and 70,  was not present at the Court where it was stated that the girl had been a servant at the first lodgings of Henry, and was also  HIS servant when he went into other lodgings.

He was deprived of his vicarage and church at Garway and other emoluments in the diocese.

He went into lodgings, but the in 1894 he was taken ill and died.  At first rumours were rife that he had taken poison to end his own life, due to his undoubted financial difficulties and very low spirits.  However, a post mortem revealed that death was due to heart disease.