Guns;  burglary and drownings

1846 – Never Play with Guns

A Kitchenmaid working for Mr. Snead, a farmer of Bridge Sollars, and a servant lad were chasing each other round the table. He, knowing that it would frighten her, pointed a gun that he thought was unloaded.

Unfortunately the gun slipped from his grasp onto the table and went off, discharging bird shot into the face of the poor girl. Her mouth and tongue were badly damaged, and she was was totally blinded.

1867 – Burglary at Bridge Sollars

Thomas Pitt, a baker aged 17, pleaded guilty to the charge of breaking into William Taylor’s house at Bridge Sollars, and stealing one silk handkerchief and one pair of boots.

He was sentenced to six months hard labour

1867 – Shepherd Drowns in River Wye at Bridge Sollars

William Large aged 31, was washing sheep belonging to Mr. Hart of Marsh Farm, Bridge Sollars, along with other men – they were all up to their knees in the water.

William could not swim but didn’t refuse to go in the water, and even when he lost his footing in deeper water he didn’t cry out for help so nobody went to help him until it was far too late; in fact it was a full half hour before his body was recovered.

Nobody was drunk, and the site was the usual place for sheep washing.

1886 – Three Children Drown in River Wye

Three children of the Rev. Mr. Lucas, curate in charge of Madley, lost their lives during floods, with their governess Miss Wilkinson escaping by the skin of her teeth.

Harriet aged 12, Roger aged 10 Maud aged 9 and one other little girl, heard of the flooding whilst playing in the nursery, and begged to be allowed to go to see the swollen river. The Governess agreed and set out with four children to the river, along with a dog, and on arriving near to the river they encouraged the dog to go in for a swim.

They all gathered on the brink of an overhanging bit of bank, when suddenly the bank gave way and three of the children plus Miss Wilkinson plunged into the flood. The governess was carried some way in the torrent but managed to grab hold of a bush, whilst Maud was carried straight into the middle of the river and never rose up to the surface. The eldest girl and boy were caught in the eddies of the torrent, but although the governess managed to grab the boy’s clothes, the strength of the current tore him from her grasp.

Miss Wilkinson eventually managed to get herself out of the water, whilst the little girl who didn’t fall in became hysterical. Miss Wilkinson ran towards the house of Mr. Large screaming and shouting, and he and other villagers ran to the river but all they could do was recover the bodies of Roger and Harriet by means of a pole. A Ferry was procured to search for the last child, Maud, and places down as far as Hereford were put on alert to look out for her – her body was recovered a few days later some miles down the river.

1896 – The Opening of the New Bridge over the River Wye at Bridge Sollars

In August 1896 the new bridge, situated just below the old ford, was opened amid great rejoicings.

The bridge was constructed with three spans of lattice girder, with a total cost of £3,600.

The Rev. G.H. Davenport made a generous donation of £1000 as well as providing the stone for the abutments.

Mrs. Davenport performed the opening ceremony and declared the bridge “open and toll free to the use of the public forever” ;  she received a silver bolt as a memento.

1899 – Wife Runs off with the Lodger at Bridge Sollars

Joseph Cox, a middle aged labourer from Bridge Sollars turned up at the Weobley Police Court asking the advice of the Bench re his marital problems.

Joseph and his wife had been married for 13 years and they had five children, the last being just six months old.  She upped and left with the lodger who was from Kington, and had been with them all winter, taking all Joseph’s wages and other things from the house.

The Chairman of the Bench asked Joseph what they expected them to do about it, and he said that he wanted an application to bring her back and then keep her at home.

The Magistrates Clerk told him that if they granted him  a warrant to apprehend his wife, he would have to prosecute and Joseph said that he would be prepared to do that, however the Court were less than convinced that there was any point in proceeding as there was no clear evidence that the wife had indeed run off with the lodger.

Poor Joseph was told to just go home and wait for a while to see what happened,  and do his best to get her back without prosecuting her.

1900 – Heroic Rescue at Bridge Sollars

The daughter of Mrs. Havard of the Folly at Byford was married to a soldier who had been ordered to South Africa, so she left her home in Ireland with her two children, one a baby, to stay with her mother.

On the Saturday night she stayed at The Nelson Inn, Bridge Sollars with the landlord, Mr. Bywater, engaged to drive her to The Folly the next morning.  However the river was flooded, so they had to use the bridge at Bridge Sollars and go by way of Preston Church.

Unfortunately the road here was flooded too, and Mr. Bywater somehow ended up being thrown out of the trap into the water;  although he was uninjured the pony bolted with the woman and her two children still in the trap – being closely followed on horseback by J.T. Davis of Preston Court.

The poor woman realised that the pony in its panic was about to dash into the river, so she threw both of her children out of the trap before jumping clear herself……however the baby’s clothing became tangled in the wheel of the trap and the child was dragged into the water.

There was no doubt that this baby would have drowned had it not been for the actions of the above mentioned Mr. Davis, who threw himself off his horse and rushed into the swollen river to grab the child, although sadly the pony drowned and the trap containing all of the lady’s belongings was swept away.