Tales of depravity;  plague and rain

1773 – Wilful Matricide

In May 1773, Joseph Owen  the younger of Canon Pyon was charged with the wilful murder of his mother Anne at the house of his father Joseph Owen the elder, and was committed to the county gaol.

It was said that Joseph had been unhappy on and off for some years, and was frequently not right in the head;  during one of his “insane paroxysms” he emasculated himself.


1857 – Stolen Turnips

Fanny Rowley and Ann Preece of Canon Pyon were charged with having stolen some turnips from a field belonging to Matthew Dent of Canon Pyon.

The case was proved and the two women were sentenced to ten days hard labour.

1860 – The Wreck of the Blervie Castle

A bad storm in the Channel wrecked the Blervie Castle, and amongst the passengers suffering their terrible fate were Mr. and Mrs. Denham of Canon Pyon.

1863 – Festivities Celebration the Royal Marriage of Prince Albert to Princess Alexander

Canon Pyon celebrated the event of the Royal marriage on a liberal and true old English way.

The farmers provided more than 600lbs of beef which was purchased by Mr. H. Griffiths and distributed at a rate of one pound of beef to each of the poor in the parish.

On the Tuesday, the anvils of the blacksmith vied with the church bells, whilst employers gave their workmen a splendid dinner and plenty of cider.

The vicar, the Rev. C. Davies invited the farmers to dine with him at the Vicarage and they had an “elegant repast” washing down with lots of sherry.  The Vicar also gave tea to the ringers and nearly 70 children, and followed this with a display of fireworks including squibs, crackers, wheels, rockets and balloons in the field next to the vicarage.

The rifle corps used up all their ammunition firing volleys;   and this noisy and food and drink filled day was hugely enjoyed by all.


1864 – Shocking Youthful Depravity

William Reynolds, alias Powell, a 12 year old boy of Canon Pyon was charged with unlawfully and indecently assaulting Susannah Reynolds, also of Canon Pyon. (His sister maybe). She was just six years old.

He was fined 6d.

Clearly in those days, it was not considered to be too serious a crime.

Three years later, this same boy was described as a “Youthful Delinquent” when he was charged with riotous and drunken behaviour at Canon Frome feast one Sunday.

William Reynolds was said by P.C. Perks to be the only drunken and noisy person there, but rather surprisingly the boy’s grandmother claimed that he was a very good boy, just a bit “hot in his temper”. She must have been a saint to put up with him!

Superintendent Dallow said that this youth had already been flogged at the request of his relatives for indecent assault (see above), but the grandmother still insisted that he was a good boy and pleaded with them for leniency saying that he was fatherless and she was in charge of him.

Reynolds was fined 10s plus 10s costs, which his master, Mr. Plevy, paid for him.

1866 – Cattle Plague in Canon Pyon

The terrible plague raged throughout the year, with increasing virulence.

Mr. Gardiner of Lawtons Hope had 31 head of cattle destroyed, and Messrs Yeomans also gave instruction for the whole of their stock at Kinford Farm killed, apart from four animals apparently recovering from the disease.

One night, “some evil disposed person of the same parish” opened the gates of Mr. Henry Griffiths farm at Fullbridge, and 22 cows which had been disease-free wandered off to another farm where the disease was rampant.

Mr. Griffiths offered a reward of £50, a small fortune, for any information leading to the arrest of the person responsible.

1867 – Drunken Youth at Canon Pyon Feast

William Reynolds, a boy of just 14 was charged with being riotous and drunk at a Sunday Canon Pyon Feast.

The policeman on duty, P.C. Perks, said that he saw William very drunk in the road late at night – The Chairman in the Court asked if many feasts took place on Sundays, and was told that yes a number were held but not much went on as no stalls were allowed.  The Chairman felt that all Sunday feasts should be discontinued.

1887 – Child Dies from Burns at Canon Pyon

Four year old Emily Davies of Canon Pyon had been left in the charge of her fifteen year old sister whilst her mother went out to work.

The little girl managed to find some matches, and striking one set her dress ablaze, burning herself so badly that she died that same evening.

1891 – Countrywide Rain causes crop Failure

Torrential and persistent rain at harvest time caused dismay around the country.

In Canon Pyon – “wheat is growing very fast in the ear and harvest is making no progress for it has rained every day for the past fortnight. The barley and oats are almost completely spoiled”

Then the other side of the coin:

1894 – Countrywide Hot Spell causes crop Failure

All over the country, farmers were crying out for rain for their fields, and in Canon Pyon “all kinds of grain were doing very badly for want of rain”