Harvest Festival and tragedy

1843 – Prostitute Convicted of Stealing

(This article submitted by Mike Walsh who is researching his family history in Herefordshire)

George Wethers and Ann Wethers were charged with having picked the pocket of John Griffiths of Eardisland and stolen a purse containing two sovereigns.

John Griffiths said that he was on his way home from Kington one evening when Ann Wethers came up to him on the road, catching him by the collar and asking in somewhat obscene manner for him to walk with her.  John said that he tried to send her away, but that George Wethers then came up to him and starting swearing.

John continued walking, but then suddenly discovered that the purse which had been in his pocket had gone.

The next day both George and Ann Wethers were stopped in Pembridge by P.C. Jefferson but there was no sign of the purse on either of them.

The best the court could do was to commit Ann to one month in the house of correction with hard labour for being a common prostitute, and George was discharged.

1847 – Suicide of old man at Eardisland

(This article submitted by Mike Walsh who is researching his family history in Herefordshire)

An inquest was held at the Swan Inn, Eardisland on the body of 93 year old John Morgan who lived on a farm in the parish, and who had been found drowned in a pool in his fold.

John’s son, aged 40, gave evidence and said that his father had recently become rather irritable, and this was borne out by domestic, Eliza Lewis who also said that the marriage of John and his wife was very comfortable, but that John had become depressed and bad tempered.

John’s wife had been pushing him to make his will, but he said that he couldn’t because of the bad state of his head.

The jury returned a verdict that the deceased destroyed himself whilst in a state of temporary insanity

1851 – Suicide of young man at Eardisland

(This article submitted by Mike Walsh who is researching his family history in Herefordshire)

An inquest was held at Eardisland on the body of 31 year old John Bowen, a tailor who was found drowned in water called Lady Pool in the parish.

John’s wife gave evidence, saying that he had been very down for some months but she had no idea why, and just prior to his death his manner became much worse.

Later evidence showed that John was heavily in debt to Mr. E. Gould, a draper of Leominster, but no proceedings had been taken by that gentleman although he had repeatedly asked for the money.

On the morning of the suicide, Mr. Gould had gone to see John Bowen at his house, asking to see his books.  Once Mr. Gould left, the poor embarrassed man went up to his children in bed and kissed them saying “I will sacrifice my life before I’ll give up my books”.

When Mr. Gould returned he found that John had gone out of the back door, and his wife thought that he may have to to see a young man to instruct him in tailoring, as he frequently did.

That evening, John was found dead.

The jury returned a verdict of temporary insanity.

1855 – Accident at the Mills of Messrs. Connop Brothers

Mr. Thomas Caldicott a miller who was quiet and well respected by both family and friends, was helping Mr. Connop in the engineering department of the mills at Eardisland.

Somehow, during the work the seed mill started up, and Mr. Connop managed to jump clear;  unfortunately Thomas Cadicott became caught in the machinery and apart from a broken thigh he was very badly cut and bruised.

The bleeding was so profuse that he died before surgeons could get to his aid.


1862 – Child burns to death at Eardisland

(This article submitted by Mike Walsh who is researching his family history in Herefordshire)

Thomas Evans was left as usual in the care of his seven year old sister Jane, along with another child, whilst their mother Ann Evans went to work.

She was sent for during the morning, and on rushing home found Thomas very badly burnt.  It transpired that Jane developed a headache and went up to bed, and before long the other child went to her saying that Tommy was on fire.

Jane immediately went down and put out the flames before pulling off Tommy’s clothes.  Although the mother immediately sent for a doctor who arrived and applied the usual remedies, Tommy died later that day.

1867 – Harvest Home at Eardisland

As reported in the Hereford Journal:

“The proceedings commenced with a morning service in the parish church, which had been suitably decorated for the occasion with specimens of the products of both field, garden and orchard.

On the communion table was placed an offering of luscious fruit, whilst the super-altar was adorned with neatly arranged bouquets, the entire space on either side and around being filled up with a kind of trellis work of evergreens and flowers.

The pulpit, organ screen, lectern and reading desk were also prettily decorated in a similar manner and collections of fruit and flowers were placed on the several window cills on the south side of the church. Besides this there were standards composed of wheat, barley and oats placed at the corner of the pews at either end which had a nice effect. The font was also enwreathed in evergreens and we must not omit to mention that the hop formed a conspicuous ornament among the various other decorations employed.

The whole was arranged in an exceedingly tasteful manner as, indeed, it could not fail to be seeing that the work was carried out by the ladies of the neighbourhood.”

1867 – Funeral of the Rev. F. Rudge of Eardisland

The Rev. F. Rudge had been vicar of Eardisland for more than fifty years and was aged 78 on his death.

He retired to Tenbury due to ill health, and soon died.  His funeral took place in Tenbury, with bell ringers from Eardisland paying their last tribute by ringing out his age.

1889 – Sudden Death of Child at Eardisland

11 Year old Matilda Lewis went home from school one day complaining of a painful foot.

Her mother could see nothing wrong and there was no injury;  two days later Matilda was dead.

After hearing evidence from Dr. Hall, the jury returned a verdict of “died from embolism of the pulmonary artery”.

1894 – Serious Fire at Eardisland

Mid afternoon one Tuesday, Mrs. Hope was feeding her hens at Court House Farm, Eardisland, when she spotted some straw ablaze on the floor over by a hay and clover rick.

She rushed over and tried to pull the burning straw away from the ricks, but in a matter of minutes four of the ricks were well alight.

Villagers having spotted the dense smoke came with buckets, and used a cordon from the water in the moat to try to quench the flames.  The fire brigade was sent for, but it was gone five in the evening before they arrived with their Captain, Mr. J. Biddle.

Eventually, some 24 hours later, the fire was finally extinguished with some 12 tons of hay being saved but an awful lot having been burnt.

James Williams, a small boy of just 6 years of age, owned up to setting fire to the straw in the rick yard, but said that the match was given to him by Fred Jones, a 13 year old boy – the latter was taken into custody by the police.

Fortunately Mr. Hope  had insurance.

1899 – Drowning in the River Lugg

Two little girls who had just recovered from scarlet fever, drowned in the River Lugg at Eardisland on 14th February. They were the children of George Thomas, a waggoner living near the Reading Room at Eardisland, and were playing in the garden at the back of the cottage which adjoined the River Arrow.

Their mother had only left them for a few moments, and when she found them missing she checked the wall which had been built to protect the cottage from flooding, and to her horror found that part of it was broken down and realised that her girls must have fallen through into the river.

She called for help and many villagers came to look for the children, but it was not until a few hours later that the schoolmaster Mr. Rogers found the body of Elsie May aged 5 years and 9 months.

It was some time before her sister, Minnie Thomas aged four was discovered by her father at the foot of the main weir. Her clothing had become caught in the piles of the weir which had prevented her body from surfacing and floating down the river.

1900 – Recollections of Eardisland Grammar School by an Old Scholar

It was about 1857 when I started at Eardisland School.  A very old schoolmaster, Mr Bullock (he used to keep the Post Office) was my first teacher, but was only there for about 3 years.

Due to his age, some of the bigger boys began to get the better of him with some of them actually getting into a scuffle with the poor old man.

Shortly after this Mr. Bullock was retired although he received part of his salary until his death.

The school desks in Mr. Bullock’s time rose in tiers, with one row of desks on each rise – thus ensuring that the whole of the scholars in the writing lesson were clearly visible, who for any little misconduct on our part would spank us on the head, or anywhere, with a long ruler he used for the blackboard.

At this time, the school was free to boys but girls paid something per week for their education.  The whole of the boys and girls able to write at all, paid 3d a month for pens and ink.  Mr. Bullock made the quill pens we used, with Pigmore Common supplying the goose quill which was gathered by some of the scholars living there.

Mr. Powell, Rector of Welwyn, was headmaster for many years, which was odd as the curate in charge (the Rev. J.H.Bluck) seemed to have no power to act.

The new schoolmaster, Mr. John Leigh for whom I had the greatest respect was a mere stripling, but he made great changes to the school.

The desks were put to the side of the school and soon there were Penny Reading Concerts, and finally the library was started.  Mr. Leigh also started the first cricket club in Eardisland, and it was no trouble getting an eleven together for matches during the season.

Visitors to the school were few and far between – it was quite a sight for the children to see a lady or gentleman enter the school and as soon as one entered, the order was given to “stand”.  The copy books would be shown to all visitors.