Tales of storms, desertion and heavy drinking

1811 – Absconded

On Sunday 26th May 1811, John Jones about 17 absconded from the Service of Mr. James Bonner of Castleton in the Parish of Clifford.

He was a native of Glasbury in the County of Brecon.

“Any person giving information to Mr. J. Bonner aforesaid, where the said John Jones is to be found, shall be rewarded for their trouble; and all persons are cautioned from employing the said John Jones, as they will be prosecuted.”

1827 – Huge reward for Information on Stolen Horses

Twenty guineas were offered by Colonel Powell of Hardwick in the parish of Clifford, as a reward for information leading to the apprehension of whoever stole the following horses:

“A brown mare, about 14 hands high, aged, of the cart kind but active. Has a switch tail with some white on the near hind leg. The other, a three year old colt that has been worked, with a white star on his forehead, a long tail, and is between a cart and a roadster”.

1845 – Sale of Young Hercules

Young Hercules was a powerful and much admired stallion bred for waggon work.

The property of John Williams of the Ton Farm, Clifford, he was bay, about five years old and stood nearly 17 hands high. He possessed immense power and his foal stock was highly approved of.

He was sired by the well known horse Hercules, owned by Mr. Bach of Rushock, and his dam was an excellent mare by Merryman.

1845 – Young Man Killed by Thrashing Machine at Clifford

William Price was sixteen years old and was employed by Mr. Chambers of the Lower Court, Clifford.

William had been driving the horses attached to a thrashing machine;  later that morning, a fellow employee noticed him lying on the floor which the horses slowly plodding along as if they had been a while without a driver.

William was taken home, but despite medical aid being sought he was declared dead.

The general opinion was that William had jumped on the pole of the machine, and that the wheel had hit his head.  There was a small wound on each side of his head, with a fracture of the skull which the Surgeon said was sufficient to cause instantaneous death.

1847 – Vicar donates Bread

The Rev. John Trumper, vicar of Clifford, distributed his annual donation of bread to the poor of the parish.

1851 – Storms at Clifford

In the early part of July 1851, a severe storm struck Clifford. Initially there was just torrential rain with wind and thunder, but later things escalated somewhat, and the noise of the thunder was described as resembling heavy ordnance discharge.

The rain was so heavy that it destroyed the roads, and a lightning bolt passed through farm buildings near Clifford Castle, belonging to T. Dew and occupied by Mr. Watkins. Fortunately, most of the electricity was expended on some old iron by the barn, but then it went through a door into the barn, killing a poor door which lay under a cart load of hay.

The bolt then went through a lancet hole into a stable, where the farmer’s son had only recently been cutting straw, and he had scarcely reached the manger of the adjoining stable with an armful of hay when the explosion took place. He was so shocked that he was rendered virtually unconscious, whilst a horse suffered leg injuries.

The bolt continued through the cow shed, leaving Mrs. Watkins and a cow she was milking unhurt, but it knocked down a large pit.

Several fields of wheat around the village looked as if a steam roller had been over them, and the following day the River Wye was nearly bursting its banks, the colour being deep red because of all the soil being washed off the fields. It was said that the river had never been that colour before, but I have to say that these days it is a fairly common occurence.

1863 – Desertion of Wife by Shoemaker

William James, a Shoemaker of Clifford was charged by Mr. Joseph Price, Llanver, overseer of the parish of Clifford, with having deserted his wife, she then being put in the Hay Union Workhouse.

Mr. Price said that he took Elizabeth James to William’s mother’s house, where William was staying, and he asked him if he would maintain his wife. He refused, and his mother gave Mr. Price rather a lot of verbal abuse.

William was committed to the House of Correction at Hereford for one month.

It seems that William was not the nicest of people, because in the same year he was convicted of assault on Thomas Bevan Watkins, who swore that he was in bodily fear of William.

William James was bound over to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for six months, and was fined £10.

A comment was made that Clifford villagers were “more than ordinarily pugnacious and quarrelsome”!!

1863 – The Priory Estate

The village turned out to welcome B.H. Allen Esq. and his family of the Priory to his new mansion.

Mr. Allen bought the Priory Estate some two years earlier and had built a fine residence, showing great kindness to all his workmen and neighbours during the building work, and it was because of this that people turned out in force for the big moving in day. Speeches were prepared and the church bells started ringing.

Unfortunately Mr. Allen missed his connection at Worcester and couldn’t get another train until the following day; but the celebrations began again, and when Mr. & Mrs. Allen arrived with the family in his carriage drawn by four splendid greys, the bell ringing and cheers were joyous.

All the workmen were joined by the farm labourers at night and they sat down with a hogshead of cider at the Priory to drink the health and happiness of the Allen family.

A few days later, Mr. Allen entertained all of his tradesmen, his workmen, and their wives, with a substantial supper at the Rose and Crown Hotel in Hay.

1899 – Death from Excessive Drinking

Evan Howells aged 49 had been drinking heavily for some days, and on Christmas Day when he went upstairs to lie down at about 11 a.m, he fell asleep and never woke up.

His wife Ann Howells, said that Evan had been drinking a great deal and then complained of chest pains; he took spirits to ease things.

Dr. Hincks said that death was due to syncope, brought on by excessive drinking.