Tales of drink driving and chicken thieves

1844 – Gunpowder Accident at Bosbury

William Hill was working at the Broad Oak Quarry in Bosbury, his job being to blast the stone.

One morning William made a deep hole in the bed of the stone, and put in a quantity of gunpowder as usual.  As he started to ram the gunpowder into the hole, his steel ramrod broke in two with one part staying in the hole – William yanked the broken rod out, but unfortunately this action caused a spark and the gunpowder immediately exploded.

Poor William was thrown several yards, and he suffered a broken arm and a badly cut face.  He was pretty lucky to get away with relatively minor injuries, but his wife probably had nightmares for weeks as she was standing watching!

1863 – Consequences of driving whilst under the influence!

Mr. Fincher, a former of Little Catley, Bosbury, was on his way home from Ledbury Fair with his horse and trap, along with some friends.

Mr. Fincher and two of his friends kindly got down from the trap to help the horse go up Stanley Hill, but George Cole of Froomes Hill and Eliza Jones stayed in the trap, with Eliza holding the reins. George Cole was somewhat drunk, and declared that he would take over the reins once they got to the top of the hill, but then not waiting for the men on foot to catch up, he set off at some speed.

The horse and trap made it around one or two of the narrow bends, but finally the trap turned over, with George Cole and Eliza Jones underneath. They remained here for some considerable time, having left the others way behind, but eventually Eliza’s yells for help attracted the attention of Mr. Chad, a nearby cottager, and his daughter. Mr. Fincher and co. finally arrived too, and they all managed to get the trap off the unfortunate pair.

Eliza was badly bruised, and her forehead had been pressed so hard to the ground that several pebbles had to be removed. George Cole was badly cut to the head, and he was unconscious – some time later he was still very ill.

The horse was fine, which is more than could be said for the trap.

1863 – Foundation Stone laid for Wesleyan Chapel

The foundation stone for this edifice was laid by Frederick Orme Esq. of Manchester, after which the Rev. John Saunders of Worcester preached a sermon.

1863 Infestation of Fowl Thieves at Bosbury

For three months, a gang of thieves stole a great many geese, ducks and chickens from many of the wives of the farmers in the area.

Mr. Gardiner of the Paddels lost a quantity of chickens one night, and a determined investigation traced the trail of the thieves to Defford station near Pershore, Worcestershire, from where there was little doubt that they took a train to Birmingham.

Mr. John Andrews of Catley Cross lost nearly thirty very fine fowls, and footmarks were traced to a cottage in Cradley, where the occupants were under great suspicion. When the premises were entered however, nothing was found to connect the occupants with the thefts, although police were puzzled by the fact that the principal occupier had slippers on and could not tell them where his boots were.

Later, it was found that a horse and cart passed through Cradley Gate at 5 in the morning of this latest robbery, and continued in the direction of Worcester. It was thought that a local, or someone with local knowledge, was in league with dishonest poulterers in Birmingham, and all farmers in the neighbourhoold vowed to keep due vigilance to prevent any more thefts, or indeed, to catch the culprits.

1867 – School Treat at Bosbury

The children of Bosbury School had their annual treat arranged but as the weather was poor they had tea in the girls’ school, with a speech by the Vicar, the Rev. J.E. Cheese.

Prizes were given out, provided by the vicar, and the tea was provided by the joint kindnes of Mr. Cheese and Mrs Higgins of Bosbury House.

After tea, the girls went to the boys’ school to watch the magic lantern which they all absolutely loved.

1867 – Hurricane at Bosbury

For two hours one Sunday morning, Bosbury endured a violent storm, which came from the east then turned within the village to NNW. Trees came down and roofs were blown off. Sheep were killed by falling trees; a chimney was blown down destroying the rest of the roof.

Strangely, in the north and north eastern parts of the village, nobody was aware of the storm at all.

1867 – Dreadful Fire at Upleadon Court, Bosbury

Early one Monday evening, a fire broke out on the farm of Mr. Shayle, about 300 yards from the house where there were sheds and stalls, and a large ban.

A servant boy at the house told his mistress that there was a light in the barn, but when Mrs. Shayle investigated she found the barn on fire. They released a pony from the stable, and opened the fold gates to let the stock out away from danger.

The boy was sent to Ledbury for the fire engines, whilst Mrs. Shayle desperately summoned neighbours for help. The barn fire took hold, and a bay of barley and hay were consumed, along with a bean rick. A hay rick was saved by a man named Daniells who covered it with kiln and cider hairs, then held them down to keep the flames from reaching the hay – in doing so his own clothes caught fire.

Ledbury fire brigade arrived at full pelt, although given how long it must have taken the lad to ride to Ledbury, and for the engines to be hitched to teams and then driven to Bosbury, some considerable time must have elapsed….however they managed to save the sheds.

Mr. Shayle lost between £200 and £300 – a fortune for the time, and sadly it was the same old story, he was not insured.

The fire was deemed to have been started deliberately

1870 – Disastrous Fire at The Bells Public House, Bosbury

A fire was discovered in the early hours of the morning at The Bells pub, run by Mr. John Shaw.

It started in the outbuildings – a shed; drinkhouse; stable and brewhouse – and as these buildings were all thatched and very old they were soon destroyed with the fire spreading rapidly. Very sadly, there were animal fatalities.

The Pub soon caught fire too, and the flames spread alarmingly quickly, with everything being completely destroyed. On either side of the pub were cottages, one belonging to the poor of Bosbury and the other to John Wentlow of Alder End who was also the owner of The Bells. Both dwellings would have gone the same way as the pub had the Ledbury fire engines not arrived in the nick of time.

Villagers helped, and there was plenty of water available from the brook running alongside.

The fire was thought to have started after hot ashes were thrown onto a heap near dry wood; neither the pub nor the contents were insured.

1876 – Fire at Bosbury Church

Late afternoon on a Sunday, a horseman clattered at speed into Ledbury, shouting that Bosbury Church was on fire. Two fire engines were rapidly horsed, and set off on the four mile journey to Bosbury.

The fire started in the roof of the church, and when flames were seen shooting out the alarm was given, and with the help of ladders, Mr. Townsend, Mr. James Townsend, P.C. Macdonald and others went up onto the roof to remove the tiles around the flames. Many people were procuring water, which was put in large tubs around the church, and from these a constant supply of water was passed to those on the roof to throw on the fire, which by this time was burning fiercely due to all the wood.

The heroism of those involved, especially on the dangerous roof, and also the determination of those who kept the water coming, undoubtedly saved the church. The fire engines duly arrived, but by then the fire was all but out, and in any case, they would not have been much use as the roof was too high for their equipment.

The resulting damage was confined to about ten yards of the western part of the roof, and as all doors had been closed, nothing inside sustained damage.

It was thought that the fire started in the dodgy flue above the stove, which went through the roof, and that a spark escaped and ignited the woodwork.

1896 – Savage Assault by Gipsies at Bosbury

William Hyde aged 20 was charged at Ledbury Petty Sessions with assaulting Henry Edwin Bramley who lived at the Bell Inn, Bosbury with Mr. and Mrs. Lewis the landlord and landlady.

On 27th August, Mr. Lewis was away, and Henry and Mrs. Lewis were at the Inn when William Hyde along with five other men drove into the village in a gipsy’s cart. Some of them were drunk, and when they came into the bar of the Bell Inn, asking for beer, Henry Bramley refused to serve them. They left and went to another pub, but returned and once again asked for beer.

When they were once more refused, the gipsies became abusive and started breaking up the place, before beating up both Henry and Mrs. Lewis.

The prisoner was sent to gaol for one month’s hard labour.

1916 – Sad Death of Famous Bosbury Donkey

The famous Bosbury Donkey, owned by Mr. E.T. Lane, which was the means of raising over £3000 for the Red Cross, died and was much mourned by the Red Cross promoters.

The donkey was first famous at the Ledbury Red Cross Sales, and thereafter was often seen in the streets around the county and beyond, it’s cart decorated with coloured ribbons; it was due to appear at a second series of Red Cross Sales at Ross on Wye.