Bolting horses and attempted murder

1839 Lucky Escape

The Rev H. W. Maddock along with the Misses Grey and others were travelling from Kinsham Court in two phaeotons.

Shortly after leaving the Court, when going down a hill, Mr. Maddock’s horse became somewhat unmanageable when the harness broke,  and charged forwards, banging into the other phaeton driven by Robert Me Murdo, causing it to overturn.  The occupants were thrown out, and the second horse took fright, bolting down the hill until it came to a gate which it tried to jump……it was halted in its tracks by the wrecked carriage that it was still dragging.

Mr. Me Murdo managed to prevent the other horse from also bolting, thus probably saving many lives.

Another carriage was obtained to take the ladies home, and Mr. Me Murdo volunteered to take the intact phaeton back, accompanied by the Rev. F. Moggridge.  Maybe it was not such a brilliant idea to continue with the same horse however, as when they reached the steep hill down to Kington, it ran away again, kicking out violently.  The carriage overturned again, but thankfully both gentleman escaped with little more than severe bruises.

1858 Kinsham Bridge

The bridge at Kinsham had been in a dangerous state for some considerable time, and it was also felt that it had been built in entirely the wrong place as it was approached by a steep rocky road, instead of being built on the flatter side of the hill.  However, there was no prospect of moving the road, so that was no option but to rebuild the bridge in the same place.

The surveyor pressed for urgent action, and estimates were to be sought.

Later that year, the two tenders submitted were rejected and a Mr. Gray was requested to carry out the work to his own specifications – this he did to everyone’s satisfaction.

1864 Attempted Murder at Kinsham

Joseph Morris, was a former private in the 7th Hussars who deserted his regiment and became a gamekeeper in Eardisland.  He then went into the Radnorshire militia, and was eventually promoted to Corporal.

Desertion and subsequent Disgrace

Joseph married whilst in the militia, but soon afterwards was arrested for deserting his regiment some 15 years earlier and was forced to rejoin.  It was not long before he deserted again, and when caught he claimed that it was his wife’s fault for refusing to join him in York where the regiment was based.

Joseph was given punishment, but the regiment rather gave up on him and he was drummed out, whereupon he went back to his wife in Kinsham and started work on the Central Wales Railway.

Arguments, Accusations and a Shooting

When his wife had to look after her ailing mother, Joseph moved in with them, and maybe things became a little strained.  Certainly witnesses reported that they often rowed and sometimes even lived apart.  One evening they had a big argument about some money that Joseph’s wife accused him of stealing from her father and when he set off across the fields she followed him in order to get the money back.  On failing, she went back to the cottage.

Joseph eventually turned up again in the early evening, and he told his wife that she could have the money if she went for a walk with him, but she told him that the matter had been turned over to the police.  For some reason though she did go for a walk, and Joseph met up with her brandishing a gun.  She tried to grab it, but Joseph said that he wasn’t going to hurt her so she let go and went to get a drink from a stream…..as she bent over, he shot her.

Joseph Morris Disappears

At the very second he fired, she moved slightly and the shot merely grazed her head instead of going into her skull – it still tore all her hair, skin and muscle from the bone though, and she understandably screamed for all she was worth.

Mr. Tearne, the Union surgeon happened to be approaching to visit the sick mother, and rushed to her aid.  Joseph meanwhile had scarpered, but he returned later to beg his wife’s forgiveness – rather spoiling the effect by saying that if he still had a loaded gun he would have shot the doctor, which proved that he had been watching from behind the hedge – and then disappeared again.

In spite of lengthy searches, no trace of Joseph was found although he was suspected to be hiding in Thornbury, 20 miles away from Kinsham.