Pig runs amok, and some tragic deaths

1874 – Death of Rev. William Parsons Hopton

The Rev. William Parsons Hopton died on 14th April 1879.

He was born in 1802, being the son of William Hopton of Canon Frome Court and Kemerton Court and was educated at Trinity College Oxford.

He was well respected for his sound judgement and good business sense, and was a Magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant for Herefordshire. He acted as chairman of the Bromyard Board of Guardians for 40 years.

He married Diana Christian, by whom he leaves three children.

1891 – Children Suffocate at Bishops Frome

Ann and Geo. Martin, a hawker, travellers who were in Herefordshire for hop picking, and then apple picking, had two young children – George aged 3 and 9 months, and Catherine aged 2.

They were sleeping in a room at Hopton Farm, Bishops Frome, and early the next morning Ann lit a fire in the room.  At around 10 a.m., Ann left them playing whilst telling them not to touch the fire, and she secured the door with a chain so that they couldn’t get out.

Ann went to work in an orchard some 200 yards away, but returned a couple of hours later to check on the children;  she found the room full of smoke so went out and screamed for her husband who ran in and opened the window.  They both found the children close to the fire, but not burnt although the bedding and other items were alight thus causing the copious smoke.

Sadly both children were dead and at the inquest the Coroner said that death was due to gradual suffocation, accelerated by fright.  Incredibly, he merely said that it was an unfortunate accident, and that the parents were only trying to keep their children warm, but no matter what the verdict, those poor parents surely would have lived with guilt and horror for the rest of their lives.


1899 – Death by Burning at Bishops Frome

Mrs. Mayo, wife of John Mayo, left her three and a half year old son Albert Henry in bed whilst she made breakfast.  Suddenly she thought that she heard little Albert getting out of bed, and before she could move, there came a terrible scream.

She rushed upstairs along with her older son Harry, and found Albert engulfed in flames;  they quickly put them out but Albert was very badly burnt.  Mrs. Mayo put linseed oil on the burns then dressed them before racing to the Relieving Officer to obtain an order for the doctor who duly attended, but the boy died a few days later.

At the inquest, it was revealed that a lit candle had been left in Albert’s room, and although the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death”, they expressed a desire that the case would be a lesson to other parents never to leave young children alone with candles or lamps

1899 – Suicide at Bishops Frome

Charles Ockey, a 50 year old retired farmer, was found bleeding from the neck by a neighbour in a pigsty.


Charles was still alive, just, and held a knife in his hand;  the neighbour, Albert Hancocks ran to the telegraph office to call for Charles’  brother, John, who immediately raced to the farm.  John arranged for doctors to attend to him but by this time Charles was unconscious.


It was confirmed by witnesses that Charles was not quite the ticket, and decidedly strange at times, possibly a legacy of an accident fifteen years previously.  A verdict of “suicide during temporary insanity” was returned at the inquest.

1922 – Pig sets fire to Stackyard

A young hop picker, who was clearly of less than charming nature, whilst working at Bishops Frome threw a lighted match at a pig. The pig took flight with the match on it’s back, and on running into the farmyard set fire to a stack of hay. The flames then spread to a barn filled with ryegrass and all the produce was destroyed by the fire.