Riotous behaviour, a naughty policeman. assault and much more
1811 – Severe Storm and Floods Devastate Mordiford
During the afternoon in late May 1811 a tremendous thunderstorm arrived in the County, and there were severe repercussions in Mordiford.
Flood water collected from the adjoining hills of Backbury and Fownhope and formed a torrent which swept down and destroyed a corn mill, a cottage and a barn. Much of the mill was swept away, but the saddest thing was that the miller, his maid servant, a female cottager and her daughter were taken away by the flood, and their bodies were not found for some considerable time.
Many pigs were also lost and trees were uprooted and borne along the river.
The damage that was done was scarcely believed, given that the storm lasted such a short time.
1832 – Drowning of Young Boy
Thomas Russell, a three year old child was last seen by his father, playing near the Mill by the River Lugg.
A little later, the father became worried when he saw his son’s hat at the bottom of the steps leading to the river, and started to frantically search.
It was not until four days later that Thomas’s body was found caught up in bushes near to Mordiford Bridge.
1835 – Tragedy at Mordiford
Mrs. Carpenter, the widow of the miller who died as described in the flood report above, was overseeing the delivery of a load of wheat to the mill.
The bag which the men were hoisting to the upper floor somehow slipped from its chain and dropped straight onto Mrs. Carpenter. Despite immediate medical attention, the poor woman died within an hour.
It was said of her that “few women have passed through the ordeal of this life with more credit to themselves than she did; upright, honest, and just in all her dealings, she obtained the respect of all who knew her.”
1847 – The Sad Case of a “Lunatic
James Whetstone of Mordiford, alias “Tim Bobbin” was described as a “poor unfortunate creature”.
He had lost the use of both of his arms, and also “the gift of his proper senses”, and was charged by P.C. Jas. Wainscott with having hugely annoyed Mr. Llewellyn the overseer.
James was told not to come into the city again, and the police were told to escort him as far as Eign; however, they didn’t get very far before James lay on his back in the road shouting “Murder” at the top of his voice, and resisting all attempts to move him as well as he could without arms.
It was decided that his appearance and violence of manner and language showed that he was not fit to be at large in the streets of Hereford.
I am not sure what happened to the poor man, but suspect that he would have been locked up either in gaol or the workhouse.
1852 – Assault by Husband at Mordiford
William Griffiths, a Sawyer of Mordiford, was summoned by his wife for having assaulted her.
The couple were elderly, and some ill feeling had been growing between them for some time.
The wife displayed great volubility of tongue in court, and she made a long statement littered with seemingly inconsequential matters such as a lost goose, and her finding her husband with his arm around the waist of a woman on a cart returning from Hereford.
However, it seems the lost goose was discovered at the house of the woman to whom her husband had paid such attention to, and a little later a massive row ensued during which William Griffiths knocked his wife down and then kicked her.
William declared that his wife removed her things from their house, and he thought that he was rid of her. (Clearly no love lost there then!).
In court, William was told that no matter what the provocation, he should not have been violent…..he replied “but if she won’t be quiet, what be I to do?”
The Magistrate said that nothing justified assaulting his wife, whereupon William said that he had no idea whether she was his wife or not. At this, his wife starting ranting, but was cut short and ordered to remain silent.
Eventually, the Magistrate fined William £1 plus 7s costs, with the remark that the assault was a disgrace. He said that he thought William should be bound over to keep the peace, but the wife said there was no reason for this as she would never live with him again. William replied that he was very glad to hear that, and after reluctantly paying the fine whilst bemoaning all his hardships and grievances, he was ordered out of the room.
1853 – Sunday Rioting at Mordiford
John Roberts, William Haines and Thomas Davies were charged by William Spencer, the parish constable of Mordiford, with fighting and riotous conduct in Mordiford on a Sunday.
The men, with others, had been drinking at the Moon public house and started quarrelling. Thomas Davies went out with John Roberts to fight, and William Haines urged them on, despite people trying to stop them.
The men then crossed over Mordiford Bridge into the parish of Fownhope in order to get away from those who were trying to stop the fighting. In court, all of them were loudly denouncing the character of the policeman, saying that he was often in pubs after closing town, and wondering why he was allowed to do so.
The Magistrate took note of their remarks, and said that the policeman, William Spencer, would be dealt with if he was summoned before him; in the mean time he ordered the men to pay the costs amounting to 4s 6d before discharging them.
The three men left the Court, expressing a determination to summon the Constable for a breach of duty.
1857 – Child Burns to Death
Sorry, but every village had these tragic cases, and I always include one just to show how commonplace it was.
Jane Meredith, an 8 year old girl was left alone in the parish of Mordiford whilst her parents went out to work.
During the morning, an apple picker in an adjacent orchard heard terrible screams, and rushed to the Meredith’s house; she found Jane at the door completely enveloped in flames caused by a spark from the fire landing on her pinafore.
The woman did what she could before arranging for Jane to be rushed to the Infirmary, but the burns were so terrible that she died the next day.
1899 – Mysterious Death in Mordiford
Andrew Colwell, a 52 year old colt breaker was found drowned in a pond.
At the inquest it was heard that he had been in good health, and seemed to have no problems or money worries, and nor was he depressed. He was also a large, fit man and was frightened of neither man nor beast.
Early on the evening of 12th April, Andrew was seen in the yard of the Horse and Groom in Hereford with a horse; it was subsequently arranged for Andrew to deliver the horse to a Mr. Mace who had bought it, and he and one of Mr. Mace’s employees, a James Jones, set off together with Jones in a trap and Andrew leading the horse.
On the way, Andrew stopped at the Carrots and then again at The Moon where he went to get some change – he and Mr. Jones arrived at their destination later in the evenibg and Andrew put the horse in the stable before having some tea.
At around ten o’clock some of Mr. Jones’ employees came into the house and they and Andrew each had a pint of beer and some bread and cheese before Andrew and two of the men left – Andrew was sober but the other men, including a James Jones were not and Jones was known for being somewhat mouthy and aggressive. Locals immediately suspected him of murder.
However, despite these grave suspicions, no hard evidence could be found that murder had indeed taken place, and the Jury eventually returned an open verdict of “found drowned”.