Tales of a streaker, games of bandy, and drownings
1807 – The Death of Rev. Gilbert of Kentchurch
At the end of October 1807, the 45 year old Rev. Gilbert went to the Goitree, Monmouthshire for a day of cock shooting with some friends.
He was walking a little way ahead, down the side of a wood, when the gun belonging to one of his friends accidently went off, with the charge hitting him in the head and removing one ear.
The friends were indescribably upset, and rushed him to a farm house where he “lingered” for three days with the utmost resignation and forgiveness of the friend who shot him, before dying.
He was buried at Kentchester.
1835 – The Rev. William Bowen of Kentchurch
The Lord Bishop of Hereford revoked the Rev. William Bowen’s license as Curate of Kentchurch after he performed a supposedly clandestine marriage between Miss Merewether, sister of the Dean of Hereford, and Mr. Wesley, Organist at Hereford Cathedral. The ceremony was performed at Ewyas Harold were the Rev Bowen was vicar and officiating minister.
However, the Archbishop of Canterbury annulled this revocation, much to the delight of the Rev’s parishioners who thought very highly of him.
1838 – Tragic Drowning at Kentchurch
Phillip Lewis, just 9 years old, was working for Mr. Jones of Court a Grove Farm, Kentchurch, and was sent to Ewyas Harrold on an errand.
He didn’t return by nightfall, and the next day his body was found in a deep rivulet near Kentchurch.
1841 – Transportation for Stealing Rabbits
James Hoskins of Garway parish was found guilty of stealing tame rabbits from Kentchurch Court.
Just a few months early he had been in the County Gaol for housebreaking, and perhaps this was taken into account when the terrible sentence of seven years’ transportation was declared at the Quarter Sessions for Monmouthshire.
1844 – Quarterly Tables of Mortality in Kentchurch
In June it was reported that Measles was rife in the area, although so far only one death had occurred from the disease.
1848 – A Game of “Bandy” Causes Trouble for the Kentchurch Mail.
Bandy is a game played on ice with a curved stick and a ball as opposed to a puck. In this instance it would seem to be more likely that the game was just being played in the road.
Thomas Jones, driver of the Kentchurch mail, was on his way into Hereford when he came across several lads playing bandy at Blackmarstone. Thomas called out to them, asking if they could stop the game until he had passed, but they ignored him and continued playing.
Unfortunately, a piece of the wooden ball that they were hitting flew off and hit one of the horses which made it panic, and the resulting plunging and kicking destroyed the harness. Horse and mail cart were stabled, and Thomas carried on with his letters to the post office on foot.
The problem caused by boys playing bandy in the city and suburbs was becoming worse, and calls were being made for the police to put a stop to the nuisance.
1852 – Railway Accident at Kentchurch
William Jones aged 24 of Abingdon, Surrey, had been working on the Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway at Kentchurch for a month along with his friends.
They were engaged in building an embankment, and William’s job was to drive the wagons full of soil to the end of the embankment; one wheel of the wagon was always “spragged”, which mean being tied with a stick, when going down a slope and William was trying to do this when he somehow got caught up between the stick and the wagon and was thrown to the floor. The wheels went over his legs, breaking them badly, and he died of blood loss two hours later.
1853 – Man dies in Kentchurch Cess Pool
William Barratt was a railway worker who was at the time out of work, and he came to Kentchurch to meet with a friend, John Letts, with whom he had worked on the Great Northern Railway.
Although William was not really a drinking man, he went with his friend to the Bridge Inn where they stayed until late, and at one point William had a fight with a chap named King. John Letts went home finally, and assumed that William would follow afterwards.
When the landlord, Mr. Powell went outside, he was horrified to see the face of a man on the top of the cess pool, and yelling for help, he managed to remove the man who turned out to be William Barratt, but he was quite dead.
There was a great deal of puzzlement as to how William actually ended up where he did – the only opening to the drain where the body was found was a tiny space between two privies, which was protected by a hurdle. Above this hurdle, and between the top of it and the roof, was a small hole just big enough for a man to pass through, and through which William must somehow have gone.
If foul play was not the cause, then it was thought that the poor chap thought that the privy was an outhouse and climbed over the hurdle searching for somewhere to sleep.
1857 – Officer of the Inland Revenue Rides to his Death
In February 1857, Sydney Heming, an Officer of the Inland Revenue, went to the Pontrilas Inn for a quick drink and left at around 8.30 p.m, quite sober by all accounts.
A farmer rode with him for a short way, but complained that Sydney was riding much too fast on such a frosty night and dropped back whilst Sydney cantered on.
Not long afterwards, he was find lying in the road with his horse standing nearby; he was immediately taken to the Bridge Inn where he was eventually examined by Mr. Lane the surgeon from Grosmont…….Sydney was quite dead.
1861 – Streaker in Kentchurch
Charles Sullis was arrested on a charge of “obscenely exposing his person” by running naked along the road in Kentchurch for a bet on 18th June.
Luckily for Charles, the witnesses could not be completely sure of his identity, due to the speed with which he ran and the fact that he had no clothes on!
He was duly discharged.
1862 – Col. Scudamore’s Gamekeeper has Serious Accident
On New Year’s Day, Col. Scudamore’s gamekeeper was walking alongside a laden wagon when the horses bolted. The poor man was knocked over and the wheels of the wagon went over him, breaking his thigh and lower leg, as well as one of his arms.
He was taken to Hereford infirmary where he was said to be doing as well as could be expected.
One of the most common accidents in Herefordshire in the 19th century was just this sort of thing, and frequently the outcome was death as this report illustrates:
Thomas Hanbury who was employed by Co. Scudamore of Kentchurch Court, was on his way back from Pontrilas station where he and another labourer had collected some furniture.
He tripped and fell, and the wagon went straight over him. He was taken to Hereford Infirmary but died shortly afterwards.