Fire, Water, death and Masons

1836 – Drink leads to Fatal Accident

Richard Hayward aged 33 had been drinking in the Red Lion, along with his brother and a friend, and was said to already have been drunk when he arrived there.  He had a final glass of cider and left to go home, but no doubt the cold air hit him and he fell in the road.

The Mazeppa Coach on its way from Ross to Hereford was proceeding at a steady pace with three lights in front, when the Coachman felt the carriage go over a bump, whereupon he pulled up and went to investigate.  He found Richard in an advanced state of drunkenness, and help was called for so that he could be taken back to the Red Lion, and from there to his father’s house at Hentland.

He died the next day, with broken ribs, punctured lungs and a broken leg.

Although at the inquest the jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death, the comment was made that “It is hoped that the fate of this unfortunate man will be a caution to those give way to the ruinous and beastly habit of drinking to excess”.


1842 – Masonic Festival

In May 1842, the day was appointed for the laying in masonic order of the foundation stone of a new house at Daison in Hentland parish.

The Brethren of Vitruvian Lodge came from the Royal Hotel, Ross on Wye in the early afternoon on board a carriage and four, the postilians wearing the Queen’s Livery.  They were preceded by a band, and followed by many Masons from Ledbury.

Brother Phelps was most hospitable, and the Lodge having been  formed, many people were invited to go in to view it, including Mrs. Symonds of Pengethley.

“After 3 o’clock the Brethren preceded by the band, the operative masons and Mr. Pearson the builder proceeded to the place.  The usual preliminaries having been completed, the prayer was read in the most solemn and impressive manner by the Rev. Mr. Hawkshaw of Hoarwithy who kindly attended for the purpose.  The stone was laid by the Worshipful Master, Brother Price, amidst the hearty cheers of the assembled spectators, after which the Worshipful Master delivered a very able charge.  At the conclusion of the ceremony, several rounds of applause were given for the Rev. T.P. Symonds, Mrs. Symonds, the landlord, the Rev. Mr. Hawkshaw and Mr. and Mrs. Phelps.  The procession then returned in order to the Lodge room, which having closed, the festivities of the evening were again resumed, and continued until 8 o’clock when the Brethren separated”.

1848 – Child Drowns in River

Many Herefordshire villages lie close to a river, and records are littered with tragic drownings – this is a typical case.

In December 1848 Joseph Preece aged 6 was sent to the River Wye to fill a kettle of water – he never returned.

His father Daniel was sent for, and eventually he went to the river with several neighbours and they began to search from a boat, using poles with hooks on the end to probe the river bed.

Before too long, “little Joe’s” body was located and brought to the surface.

He was described as a very careful lad.

1851 – Transportation for Highway Robbery

John Roberts was removed to Millbank Prison prior to being transported for fifteen years.

He had attempted highway robbery, but it went wrong when he grabbed the leg of his victim in order to pull him off his horse, but in fact only succeeded in removing one boot and that was due to the fact that the man had loosened his boot because of a bad leg.  The victim was able to gallop off with money and valuables intact.

1853 – Sad Suicide of a “Lunatic”

Mrs. Ann Gwyne, aged 51 of Hentland, took her own life by hanging herself from her bed post.

Ann’s son in law, a farmer named John Dew, attended the inquest and said that she had lived with him for nearly a year, but had been of unsound mind for a considerable time.  She had been taken in to the Whitchurch Assylum under Dr. Millard three times up until 1852, and on the last occasion had stayed there for over a year – trying once to strangle herself.

She left the asylum still unwell, and whilst with her son in law gave no indication that she was a danger to herself;  on the morning of her death she locked herself in her room, and eventually John broke the door down and found her hanging on the tester of the bed by a black silk handkerchief.

She left two children.

1859 – Assault by Hentland Man

Michael Marsh testified in Court that he was driving along the Hereford road with his master’s team, when he met Daniel Smith of Hentland.

The conversation, if it could be called that:

Daniel Smith – “Well bumpkin!”

Michael Marsh – “Well, fathead!”

Michael tried to draw away but Daniel hit him with a stick, cutting his lips badly, then as he turned, Daniel hit him on the back of the head knocking him down before kicking him and breaking his ribs.

Daniel Smith was convicted of assault and order to pay £5 including costs which he was unable to pay;  he was then committed to the County Gaol for two months.

1860 – Yet another Child Burnt

The incidence of this sort of thing occurs time and time again when reading through old papers, and always as a result of children being left alone.  In the 19th century, the verdict after the inquest was always Accidental Death because it was accepted that children had to be left alone.

Emma Evans, a four year old was left with other children whilst their mother went out;  they had been told to be careful of the fire.

Before too long, the mother was summoned by another daughter, Ellen who said that Emma had been pushed against the grate whilst they were playing and she was on fire.

The mother rushed home, by which time another daughter had thrown water on Emma and put the flames out, but she was so badly burned that she died the next day.

In the first two weeks of February 1844, no less than four children died from burns in Herefordshire :

James Price aged 3 of Clifford near Hay;  John Gaulder aged 5 of Whitchurch near Monmouth;  Emma Trigg aged 3 of Ross and  Sarah Gunter aged 5 of Hentland

1860 – Elderly Man Falls from Hay Rick

Thomas Jones aged around 59, of Hentland, was on top of a hay rick cutting out fodder for cattle when he fell;  his injuries resulted in his death.

It was said that he suffered from a “complaint in the head” and that “his habits at times were very peculiar”.  It seems that on occasion he had confined himself to the house for long periods, without speaking to a soul.

The verdict at his inquest was that he died from the effects of the accident.

1862 – Circular Saw Accident

This makes me cringe!

Joseph Reece was using a circular saw whilst he worked for his master, George Watkins, at Hentland.

The saw caught his hand which was so badly cut that amputation was necessary and his hand was removed from above the wrist.


1867 – Hentland Vicar’s Horse Bolts

The Rev. W. Poole of Hentland, along with his groom were on their way home from Hereford when the horse became frightened in Bridge Street and bolted back into the city.

The Rev. Poole was driving but was thrown clear from his seat, leaving the poor groom hanging on for grim death having no reins or means of stopping the horse.

The runaway clattered up King Street at top speed, bashing into a pony and trap which overturned and caused the horse to be even more panic stricken.  It galloped along the pavement of Broad Street, running head first into the palisade of All Saints Church, before carrying on to High Town.  Pedestrians were scattering in all directions, but thankfully nobody was hurt – and neither was the horse which was only brought to a standstill when it arrived at Mordiford Turnpike gate.

1899 – Fire in Hay Rick

Time and time again I have read of fires both in the home and on the farm, caused by children playing with matches.  This was just one incident:

Charlotte Freeman who lived at Bone Mill on Trellack Farm, Hentland, spotted a hay rick on fire one morning.  She immediately sent a messenger to the Wormelow Tump fire engine who charged to the scene.

Sadly, because there was little water to hand there was little that they could do and 25 tons of hay were destroyed.  The hay belonged to Mr. Smythe of Trellack Farm, and fortunately he was insured.

The origin of the fire was found to have been caused by children aged 7, 5 and 4 who were playing with matches – they were found near to the fire with the incriminating matches in their possession.

1899 – Common Rights at Hentland Upheld

Early in 1899 a sawpit was dug on the common land at Chapel Tumps, Hentland.

On 22nd September the inhabitants and nearby villagers, about 60 in all, gathered together and upheld their Common Rights by filling in the pit and destroying the obstructions.

Mr. H.M. Davies, yeoman provided a cask of cider and a bonfire was lit before the protestors indulged in singing and dancing to music.

Mr. J. Scudamore made a small speech, telling everyone that it had been common land since time immemorial and that it was their responsibility to keep it that way.

After cheers for H.M. Drew, H.H. Stock, J. Scudamore and the “Mayor of Chapel Tumps” the National Anthem was sung and the villagers went on their way.