Dinedore in verse, rabies and many horrible deaths
1830 – Rabies comes to Dinedor
In December 1830 it was reported that a rabid dog had been seen near Dinedor, and that a child and a pig had been bitten by the animal.
Several cases of rabies had been confirmed in nearby Monmouthshire, and there were many reports of rabid dogs wandering the countryside, with several people being bitten.
1835 – Lines Written on Dinedor Hill
Sweet spot of song! I seek thy breast
To muse awhile, unchecked and free;
As wearied birds that seek a nest,
and shelter neath some spreading tree,
I come to lose the sense of ill,
Amid thy shades, sweet Dinedor Hill.
Far from life’s crowd and clamour rude,
With wearied frame and fevered brow;
My spirit courts thy solitude,
Since the gay throng forsakes thee now,
and all around is hushed and still
Save my lone step on Dinedor Hill.
Joy haunted spot! remembrance turns
Far from this scene of peace and thee,
The bounds of time fond fancy spurns,
and brings me back to childhood’s glee,
And hours when I have ranged at will
In boyhood’s bloom on Dinedor Hill.
Sweet spot of song! When I am gone,
Some loftier Bard may wake thy praise;
Haply while musing thus alone,
He flies the “hum of men” to gaze
On nature; spoil her how they will,
She’ll still be queen on Dinedor Hill.
1837 – More Verse on Dinedor
Dinedore! in childhood’s careless hour
I joy’d thy brow to gain,
In triumph snatched a token flower
To prove my toil not vain.
But soon with other eyes I went
O’er traces of past ages bent,
On nature’s treasures gazed intent,
Till from thy haunts my ripened fancy drew
Treasures exhaustless yet, and interest every new.
Sweet crested upland! beauteous knoll!
Loved in life’s early stage,
So as the dark years downward roll,
The solace of my age;
Still let me find some unknown nook,
Still by thy side read nature’s book
Still on the varied landscape look –
The leafy ringlets round thy summit curled,
and spreading at they feet, the garden of the world.
1851 – Accidental Death of Dinedore Man
John Cotterell of Dinedor was working on the estate of C.T. Bodenham of Rotherwas, raising gravel.
He was undermining the gravel, and was repeatedly warned of the danger of doing this – he ignored everyone who was concerned for his safety, and eventually a huge mass of gravel fell down, burying him almost completely.
When John was finally dug out he was taken to Hereford Infirmary, where he lived for a few hours. The post mortem revealed that he had a broken right thigh; badly bruised back and broken spine, and a shattered pelvis.
1853 – Deaths on The Hereford and Gloucester Railway Works at Dinedore
In July 1853, John Baker, a married man of Hampton Bishop had taken the job of constructing a road to a quarry in Dinedor, in connection with the Hereford and Gloucester Railway Works. He had employed two men, Vines and Harpurhy.
One evening, the man named Vines heard John shout out “look up” and as he heeded the warning he saw John trying to run away from an earth slip, but he was not quick enough and was jammed against the “batter”. He was pleading for help to be got out, and several men rushed to help but he died soon afterwards.
Vines said at the inquest that he thought John was not careful enough, and that several times they had all nearly been killed.
The following year, a workman named Joseph Matthews was employed at the Dinedor tunnel on the railway, and was engaged in letting down a “rib” weighing around 30cwt to which a rope was attached and fixed to another “rib” which had been secured.
For some reason, the rib slipped and fell against the head and shoulders of Joseph, so that he was violently knocked over against another rib. He was killed outright, and it was supposed that the neck was compressed between the two pieces of timber causing strangulation.
1854 – Child Burnt at Dinedore
Unfortunately, no village in Herefordshire seems to escape from terrible news such as this.
One afternoon, Mrs. Lewis of Dinedore went to Hereford market, leaving her three children in the house, with the eldest, a 9 year old, in charge.
At some time between 5 and 6 in the afternoon, five year old James Lewis put the kettle on to prepare tea for his mother’s return and his clothes accidentally caught fire – he was soon engulfed in flames.
Maria Meredith, a neighbour passed by shortly afterwards and smelled smoke, but on trying the door found it to be locked; the eldest girl pushed the key under the door, and on entering the house she was confronted with the dreadful sight of the poor boy on his hands and knees, quite dead. The youngest child was huddled in the corner behind the sofa, very frightened.
No medical help was sought, it clearly being of no use.
1863 – Suicide at Dinedore
William Parry was a thirty six year old man, married to Mary with two small boys.
William was a stone mason by trade, but in 1863 found work hard to come by and became rather depressed. He was devastated that he could barely earn enough to support his family in their house at Dinedore, but his wife Mary never realised how upset he really was, even though he had been to the Dispensary asking for something to help his state of mind.
One evening in November 1863, he appeared to be very restless, and got up early the next monring to light the fire before eating a big breakfast. He then went to see his invalid father in law, dressed him and gave him breakfast; and performed some daily duties including massaging his wife’s arms because she had been ill and they hurt somewhat.
William then left the house, giving Mary a long hard last look and that was the last time she saw him alive. When he had been gone for a while, she sent one of her children to find him, and the child came back and said that his father was in the barn but wouldn’t talk. Poor Mary rushed to the bar, to find William hanging from the roof.
The jury at the inquest returned a verdict that “he hung himself whilst labouring under temporary derangement of the mind”.
1896 – Husband kills wife by Accident at Dinedor
William Jones, alias Ravenhill, was working in the garden with two other men; his wife Kate approached him, baby in arms, and accused him of taking too much cider……further, she threatened to open the tap on the barrel rather than let him drink it.
William, aged 33, was somewhat annoyed about this.
He had a jug of cider in his hand at the time, and in temper he threw it at her – unfortunately the jug hit Kate on the head opening up a large wound which started to gush blood.
Kate tried to get back into the house, but collapsed before reaching the door – when a neighbour rushed to help, Kate said “I am done for” before dying.
She was 30 years old and left three children including a young baby.
William was arrested, and the post mortem on Kate showed that the blow had fractured her skull, driving a piece of bone into the brain and cutting an artery.
A verdict of manslaughter was returned.