Tales of assault and tragedy

1835 – Wrestling at Docklow Ends in Death

Thomas Passey, a Mason was charged with the manslaughter of James Davies at Docklow.

The Fighting

During a feast held at Docklow , James Davies wrestled with the accused’s father, whom he threw twice.   James’s “manager” said that he had fought enough and won well and should not do any more, however James challenged Thomas Passey to a fight.

Thomas declined at first, but eventually accepted the challenge and both parties stripped then fought several rounds which lasted for half an hour.

Thomas wanted to stop, but James refused to give in and they fought for many more gruelling rounds before James collapsed unconscious.

Medical aid was immediately given, and he was bled, but he never regained consciousness and died some hours later.

Post Mortem

The post mortem revealed that James had a great deal of blood about the head, and the surgeon thought that he may have been in such a high state of excitement through fighting that he ruptured blood vessels, but that the bruising on the temple from blows was the immediate cause of death.

Many well respected people gave Thomas an excellent character reference, and the jury without hesitation acquitted him.

1841 – Violent Assault at Docklow

Edward Adams of Docklow was charged with violently assaulting his sister Mary.

Mary said that Edward had often treated her badly, that on 8th November he had beaten her so that she was afraid he would kill her.

In his defence, Edward admitted the assault but said that he had looked after his mother and sister for thirty years, but that his sister now wanted the house for herself. To this end, she had constantly provoked him to make him lose his temper, so that he would be turned off the premises.

The magistrate told both of them off, but bound Edward in £20 to keep the peace for 12 months, and to pay the costs.

1851 – Girl Drowns in Well at Dockow

Elizabeth Griffiths, 20 year old daughter of Thomas Griffiths of Docklow, was an epileptic, suffering with daily fits.

There was an open well in a garden adjacent to their cottage, with about a six foot drop to the water which was roughly twelve feet deep. The owner of the cottage and land kept promising to cover the well because a woman had drowned in there before, but he never got round to it.

One Friday, Elizabeth’s sister, Mary, went to find her father Thomas to say that Elizabeth was missing – for some reason he immediately thought of the well, but Mary said that they had already looked there to no avail.

Thomas went to look for himself, and using a long pole with a hook eventually brought up Elizabeth’s body. The verdict was accidentally drowned.

1854 – Accidental Shooting at Docklow

John Staples, a boy of 12, was killed when in the kitchen along with a servant girl and the waggoner.

The waggoner picked up the loaded gun and joked with the boy that he was going to shoot him;  meanwhile the servant girl went upstairs, leaving John doing up his boots.

As soon as the girl left the room she heard the gun go off, and when a neighbour ran to see what was going on, he found the lad dead in the chair with his face more or less blown off……..the waggoner was standing near but no longer holding the gunwhich was on the windowsill.  He claimed that the boy had shot himself, but when it was pointed out that it was impossible given that the gun was nowhere near him, he ran off and was not seen again.

It was not believed to have been a deliberate act, more an accidental discharge of the gun and the jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

1867 – Docklow Academy

Docklow Academy resumed its business on Friday January 25th under the management of Mr. Upton, who had successfully run the school for 20 years.

Docklow Academy had been established for 33 years, and was in glorious grounds; it was also said to be one of the healthiest spots in Herefordshire.

The number of pupils was limited to 20, with a fee varying from 16 guineas to 30 guineas per annum, payable in advance.  Extras were Languages;  Music and dancing.

1901 – Violent Customer at The King’s Head, Docklow

Samuel West, alias William West, went into the King’s Head at around 8 in the evening, calling for a pint of beer.

The landlord, William Evans, noticed that he was already drunk and refused to give him the pint, whereupon Samuel West went into the taproom and demanded a bottle of ginger beer, saying that he had walked three miles to get there.

When this request was also refused, Samuel became abusive, swearing and threatening violence…….this threat was soon carried out, and William Evans was punched in the face.  William pushed Samuel to the floor, then shoved him out of the pub.

Samuel said that he would smash the windows, and indeed did so – using a large stone from the wall.  He followed this with several more stones, then smashed the outside lamp.

At the court hearing, P.C. Williams said that he found Samuel on the main road to Stoke Prior, and on challenging him was told that it was the landlord’s fault for not letting him have a bottle of ginger beer.

It turned out that Samuel had a long list of previous convictions, and he was sentenced to 14 days hard labour on each charge.  Samuel wanted to know if the sentences were to run concurrently or consecutively and was told that they would be consecutively.

His reply was “Oh”