Flatulence and other news

 1835 – Lightning Damage at Bishopstone

A terrific thunder storm passed over Hereford and the surrounding area, and at Bishopstone’s Nelson Inn lightning struck a poplar tree.

Then the lightning appeared to travel to a small wooden bridge which it destroyed, before entering the west gable of the house after splashing the dirt from the ditch almost to the top of the house.

Fifteen panes of a window were taken out as neatly as if by a glazier, and a china closet was demolished;  a clock door was forced open and around 86 panes of glass in windows were broken.

Fortunately, none of the six people in the house were injured, although the smell of sulphur was overpowering.

It was reported that “nothing can appear more capricious than the course of this lightning stroke, but it was no doubt subject to the laws of attraction, which will, at no distant date, be better understood”.

Yes, indeed!

1835 – Man gored by Bull at Bishopstone

Thomas Haynes, aged 43, was driving the bull to water – the animal’s normal carer being away;  he had repeatedly been asked to stop by a nearby labourer who was alarmed to see Thomas throwing stones at the bull in an effort to send it to the water.

Having achieved this end in such a risky and cruel manner, Thomas employed the same method on the return to the fold, but by this time the bull had had enough.  It turned and chased Thomas before hitting him to the ground, and then relentlessly tossing and goring him.  (I feel a little like cheering).

Eventually assistance arrived, but Thomas was very badly injured;  all his ribs were broken and his lungs were torn to shreds – he died fairly quickly.

At the inquest it was learned that the bull had attacked another man previously, and the jury considered that bulls with a temper should have their horns removed.

1847 – A fatal Attack of Flatulence at Bishopstone

Mrs Martha Barnes gave evidence at the inquest on the death of her husband John Barnes, who died rather suddenly during a night in November.

She said that he suffered from flatulence from time to time, and on this occasion he retired to his bed with the condition. Some time later, he awoke and sat up in an effort to relieve the discomfort, and when she asked him how he was he said that he would be better soon when the wind in his tummy had moved on.

He said that he was cold, so his wife put her flannel petticoat over his shoulders, and whilst doing so..”awful to relate, he fell back in the bed a corpse!”

Mrs. Barnes called for her eldest girl and her mother in law, but when they came to help they found that he was beyond aid.

He was a very worthy man and left a widow and five children.

1848 – Smallpox Outbreak at Bishopstone

Smallpox was rife in Bishopstone and the surrounding area, and many people died.

1850 – Opening of Bishopstone School

On the 15th October, the ceremony of opening the newly built school at Bishopstone took place.

The school had been funded by the Rev. R.Lane Freer for the children of his poorer parishioners.

Between 40 and 50 children gathered at the Rectory Lodge and marched from there to the new school, where they listened to speeches before being given plentiful supplies of plum cake and wine.

Later the children went out into the playground where tops, balls, skipping ropes and other toys had been laid out for their amusement.

1853 – Burning Effigy causes death at Bishopstone

Jane Thomas was a young woman of 24 who lived at Brecon with her husband, but when she became ill her doctor recommended that she “took a change of air”, so she went to visit her mother, Mrs. Challoner, in Bishopstone – she was around 6 months pregnant at the time.

Jane had been there for some three weeks, when scandal arose over her sister, Catherine Norris, and the gossips said that she was cohabiting with a man.  The neighbours made an effigy of Catherine and burnt it, creating much disturbance around the house and terrifying Jane who went into premature labour.

Eventually her child was born alive, but sadly died after about fifteen minutes;  Jane herself went rapidly downhill, and died a few days later.

It seems that the surgeon thought that Jane’s lungs were in a bad way before she left Brecon, and at the inquest the jury decided that she had died of consumption.

1858 – Schoolchildren given a grand day by Mrs. Freer of Bishopstone

The children of Bishopstone, Mansel Lacy and Yazor, nearly 200 in number, were entertained at Bishopstone by Mrs. Lane Freer, assisted by Mrs. Hall, Miss Macmichael, Mrs. Blashill and other good ladies, and also by Mr. Plant of Bishopstone Court who gave his grounds for the purpose.

In the early afternoon the children processed into the church, where they joined in chants and hymns, then they proceeded to a most glorious feast spread under some of the most magnificent lime trees in the county.

Games of all types were then played, including cricket, football, leaping rails, and kite flying. Lots of balloons were let loose, and the weather was kind.

After tea where much cake and other good things were consumed, the children went home, happy with their day.

1861 – Centenarian at Bishopstone  (the story, and then the denial)

John Price was authenticated as being born in 1755 at Michaelchurch Escley in Herefordshire,  therefore being the oldest inhabitant of the County in 1861.   With the exception of one, all of his 13 siblings also lived to advanced ages, as did his mother and wife.

When young, John joined the Herefordshire Militia, and then volunteered into the Queen’s Own Light Cavalry with whom he went to Ireland and he was engaged in the battle of Vinegar Hill.

John returned to Hereford in 1803 until he was ordered to Liverpool in 1805.  He was discharged in 1806 and was offered an appointment in Chelsea Hospital, but he declined thinking that he would be getting a pension – sadly no pension was forthcoming.

John Price, now aged over 50, returned to Herefordshire where he worked as a millwright for many years before attracting the attention of Archdeacon Freer, who took the old man under his wing and housed him in a lovely cottage at Bishopstone.

From then on, all his needs were provided by Archdeacon Freer and Mrs. Lane Freer spent many hours reading to him and generally taking care of him.  Indeed, John was so well looked after that he was able to walk the seven miles to Hereford.  Once there he had fun talking to various gentry of the city, and was quizzed by several medics who wanted to find out how he was so strong and alert at such a great age – he could even remember events of more than 100 years ago when he was only 4 years old.

Although he looked like a very old man in his face, he was “as upright as a Maypole”, his eyesight was excellent and he could perform all ordinary day to day acts with no assistance.

Perhaps it was his enjoyment of a tipple – John Barleycorn or gin or brandy with water – although he never touched cider, and never overindulged.

The indignant denial of the truth of this story –

Almost immediately after this tale was published, an anonymous “corrector” wrote to the paper refuting the whole thing.

He claimed that John Price was not even 90 years old, and did not enjoy the protection of Archdeacon Freer;  he said that in fact he received four shillings a week relief money from the parish of Dorstone.

He said that “this wonderful old man” had never in fact been a soldier, and that his birth was not registered at Michaelchurch Escley.


So what is true?  Why on earth would anyone make up the story which gives such detail.

Then again, why would anyone want to discredit the whole thing?



1863 – Death of the Ven. Richard Lane Freer of Bishopstone

The Ven. Richard Lane Freer D.D, Archdeacon of Hereford was also Rector of Bishopstone-cum-Yazor, and had been ill for some time with cancer of the stomach. Whilst staying in Dover his condition deteriorated but he recovered sufficiently to be moved to Malvern. At his own request, he was moved home to the Rectory in Bishopstone were “amid weeping relatives and friends he calmly yielded up his life”. He was 58

Two days earlier, knowing that he was dying, he asked to be taken around the area surrounding Bishopstone, then calmly gave detailed instructions as to his funeral which he wanted to be private and unostentatious.

The coffin was to be made by a Bishopstone village artisan, and his grave was to be in the pretty Bishopstone churchyard of which he and his wife had cared for so well, and near to the walls of the old church which he had so carefully restored.

Richard Freer had been a well respected Mason in Herefordshire, and at his funeral the Lodges of Palladian and Royal Edward appeared at the entrance to the churchyard, before filing off to the right and left in order to receive the coffin into their midst.


1863 – Opening of the first instalment of the Hereford,Hay and Brecon Railway

The line was opened without ceremony, and as guests arrived at the temporary station at Moorfields to catch the 7.30 a.m. train to Eardisley, they were delighted by the decorations on the engine, the “Alexandra” which was of considerable size and power. Wreaths of flowers were strewn over the engine, and flags were gaily adorning each side of the boiler.

There were nine carriages, but because the day was also the day that Hereford Cathedral re-opened there were few passengers. As they set off, a number of fog signals were exploded, and at Credenhill the station was decorated with flags. From the top of the Rectory at Bishopstone there was a large banner proudly floating, and arches of evergreens and flowers spanned the line at Norton Canon, with the word “Welcome” being spelled out.

The train was perfectly on time, and fares were moderate.

1867 – Runaway Horse wrecks Gig

A horse pulling a small gig belonging to Mr. Hart of the Marsh, Bishopstone, bolted in Hereford. It flew up Commercial Road, then “kicked viciously” breaking the splinter bar and destroying the vehicle.

Mr. Hart was thrown from the gig but was not seriously hurt apart from a few scratches, and the horse was successfully brought to a halt without injury.

1910 – Fatal Accident at Bishopstone

Mr. William Davies of Hill Cottage, Bishopstone, was a 72 year old labourer.

Tragically he drowned in just seven inches of water in a butt, and it was assumed that as he had suffered from fainting fits, he must have fallen in whilst fixing spouting.