Landslips;  train crash and floods

1804 – Stolen or Strayed, massive Reward Offered

The following advertisement appeared in the Hereford Journal on 4th July 1804. The money involved for the reward was enormous.

“Stolen or strayed from a field at Dormington near Hereford on Sunday 1st July,

A dark brown mare of the nag kind, about fifteen hands high, five years old, in good condition, has no white on her legs, has a rowel mark on the inside of the left thigh, a small swelling on the outside the near leg behind, a small star in the forehead, a thick blood tail, several saddle and girth marks, goes rather wide behind. Shoes marked T.E.

Whoever will give information of the same to Mr. Vevers at Dormington, or Thomas Maddy at Madley, so that she may be had again, shall be handsomely rewarded; and if stolen, on conviction of the offender or offenders, shall receive a reward of twenty guineas over and above what is allowed by Act Of Parliament, by applying to either of the above.

1820 – Dormington Lime Kilns

The public were respectfully informed that the Dormington Lime Kilns were now working, and that orders would be taken at the bar of the Black Swan every Saturday.

1844 – Landslip at Dormington

Reported in the Greenock Advertiser:

“During the night of Friday last, an unusual and remarkable occurrence took place on Claston Estate in the parish of Dormington, Herefordshire, the property of Edward Foley Esq. of Stoke Edith Park.

A large piece of land, consisting of more than three acres of rock and earth, with 40 oak trees, slipped down Dadnor’s Hill a distance of 200 yards into the valley beneath, and now presents a very curious appearance, the projected masses of rock forming fantastic shapes of caverns etc. and some of the trees remaining upright as if growing. From the ground cracking, there had been previous indication of the coming slip, and no doubt the wet weather hastened the result.

The damage occasioned by the occurrence is estimated at £150.

The event has given rise to a variety of alarming reports about an earthquake, but we have stated the real nature of the incident above.”

1848 – Sudden death of John Mitton

John Mitton was an old and well trusted servant of Richard Webb at Dormington Hall, where he had been in service as farming bailiff for 14 years, and had been well respected by his fellow servants.

John was taken ill on 24th March 1848, whilst walking along the road, and although kindly assistance was offered he declined saying that he would try to get home. Shortly afterwards he was found in the hedge unconscious, and although he was picked up and put in a cart, he died very shortly afterwards.

The jury returned a verdict of “died by the visitation of God”.

1848 – Steeplechaser “Charity”

The renowned horse Charity was put down at Dormington Court on 3rd March – the anniverary of his last race win at Liverpool in 1841.

He had won 24 races, thirteen for his last owner and was by Woodman out of a dam by Grimaldi.

The plates he had on when winning the Liverpool were buried with him, and all that was kept back was a piece of mane which his groom wanted to keep.

1852 – Railway Collision at Dormington

An accident occurred on the Shropshire Union Railway when the six o’clock train from Shrewsbury on its way to Stafford stopped at Dormington.

An engine was seen coming down the line at top speed, and it crashed into the back of the train at the station smashing two of them into small fragments. Thirteen passengers were hurt, three of them seriously, and the guard of the train, Bellchambers, was one of those hurt.

A telegraph was sent to Shrewsbury for urgent medical and other assistance, which arrived post haste. Ten of the passengers were able to carry on to their respective destinations, but two ladies named Locket of Welshpool who were proceeding via Stafford to Liverpool, and a Mr. Phillips who was going to London, were so seriously injured as to be unable to proceed. One of the young women sustained a possibly fatal injury to her spine.

Those involved with the railway immediately clammed up, however one source claimed that a man employed by the Shropshire Union Company who was on duty at the time at Shrewsbury, and who had cleaned and oiled an engine due to follow the six o’clock train after a few minutes, having made up the fire made the terrible mistake of not shutting off the steam and disconnecting the working gear before he wandered off and left the engine, without waiting for the man whose duty it was to relieve him to turn up.

As the steam rose, the engine set off unnoticed – at first slowly and quietly – passing some workmen along the line. When they realised there was no driver they tried to chase after it, but the speed increased and they were left behind. The train was going uphill, but then dipped down towards Wellington where it shot through at over 80 miles an hour, and although an attempt was made to move the train standing at Dormington there was simply not enough time.

1852 – Floods at Dormington

Torrential rain in November flooded much of Herefordshire so that travel became difficult and dangerous, and the Hereford/Gloucester Mail Coach was lost in the River Lugg at Dormington; one passenger died, and two others along with the guard and coachman only just escaped with their lives.

The three passengers were Mr. Thomas Hardwick, solicitor; Mr. W.S. Allen, a Birmingham solicitor, and a young man from Norwich who was up on the box with the coachman, Charles Murphy.

Late afternoon, after negotiating horrendous conditions, the coach came to the bridge over the river, and of course it was dark so the coachman was unable to see until it was too late that the bridge had in fact been washed away by the floods. Coach, horses and passengers were carried downstream by the strong current, until their cries were heard by James Taylor of Longworth Lodge, who along with neighbours set about trying to rescue them.

It was long, arduous and distressing work in the dark with just lanterns to help them see, and although they managed to save some of the mail and luggage, Thomas Hardwick died from exhaustion and exposure.

The coachman, Charles Murphy, was so shaken by the event that it took him a long time to get over it, but he did continue as driver of the Hereford and Hay Mail coach and was much respected for his “civil and obliging demeanour”.

1853 – The shameful Petitions

Mr. King King presented petitions from the parishes of Dormington and Orleton in Herefordshire, against the admission of Jews into Parliament.

1854 – Sudden death of Emanuel Treherne

Emanuel Treherne was a labourer in the employment of Mr. Hodges at Dormington, and had appeared to be quite well early in the morning of his death, but was found dying in a ditch just two hours later.

He died before the surgeon arrived, but he had been labouring with heart disease for some time and a verdict to that effect was returned.

1904 – Serial Horse Thief

Joshua Lovell aged 20 was charged with stealing a gelding belonging to Charles Fox of Dormington; also a donkey owned by Mary Hailes of Ross on Wye, and also with stealing a horse the property of John Payton, Upon on Severn.

It was alleged that Joshua, whilst in the South African War, deserted and stole a horse from a Boer farmer.

The court concluded that Joshua had a rather bad record and gave him eighteen months hard labour.