Fire, plague, scandal and delinquents

1817 – Famous Last Words

George Yeomans was working in a gravel pit at Ivington when several men warned him that the sides had become unstable.

George’s reply was that he was not frightened of shadows – just before the earth fell on him and killed him.

1838 – Death of Pugilist

James Bibb died after a boxing contest and initially it was thought that injuries received during the fight were to blame.

The subsequent investigation decided that he had died from Erysipelas, which rather sounds like a cover up!   That might be slightly unfair, because death from the condition was perfectly possible.

1843 – New Chapel of Ease is Consecrated at Ivington

The ceremony of consecration of St. John’s Episcopal Chapel was carried out by the Lord Bishop of the Diocese, some twelve months after the foundation stone was laid by Mrs. Arkwright of Hampton Court.

The building was described as having a pleasing appearance, but there was much criticism.  For example “in the campanile neither beauty nor ornament has been considered – the iron casements are ill suited to the building and the unseemly plinths of the buttresses offend the eye”.

The interior didn’t get much praise either, although one correspondent did say that “it was one of the neatest structures he ever saw, without any unnecessary display”

1846 – The Queen v the Rev. Josiah Bartlett

Josiah Bartlett, curate of Ivington was accused of scandalous libel on his sister in law, Mrs. Tozer.

The Attorney General applied for a rule to show cause why a criminal information should not be filed against the Rev. Josiah Bartlett, and told of a long history of domestic troubles relating to Mr. Bartlett, who had been married for about 14 years and had six children.

Apparently, Mr. Bartlett wrote to his wife at Broadward where they lived,  telling him that he wanted a separation, citing insolence from her family and her preference to their company rather than his.

He offered to pay for her trip to London to live with her relatives, as long as he could keep the children with the exception of Amelia and Emily, which she could have if she wanted!

After receiving this letter, Mrs. Bartlett asked her sister, Mrs Tozer to come to Broadward, which she duly did along with her brother Mr. Boult in the place of her husband who was away on business.  When Mr. Bartlett turned up, there were some heated arguments and he looked as if he was about to hit Mrs. Tozer – shortly afterwards, Mrs Tozer and her brother went to stay in the Lion Hotel in Leominster.

Mr. Bartlett sent letter after letter to Mrs. Tozer, and eventually the content became so awful that she showed them to her husband who initiated the court proceedings.  One of the worst letters intimated that Mrs. Tozer was not a virgin when she married, and that she had attempted on one occasion to seduce himself, and in effect he blackmailed her by threatening to expose her to her husband if she didn’t stop interfering in his domestic affairs.

The Attorney General said that Mrs. Tozer denied on oath that any of it was true, but she had admitted that Mr. Bartlett had indecently propositioned her after his own marriage, and that she had of course rejected him.

The Attorney General prayed that a rule to show cause might be granted.  Mr. Justice Williams, on behalf of the court, immediately agreed.

1847 – The Rev. Josiah Bartlett Continued

Following on from the previous article, in February 1847 the Lord Bishop of Hereford served the Rev. Josiah Bartlett of Ivington with a warning about his future, and he replied as follows, clearly trying to ignore the seriousness of the sentence of the Court of the Queen’s Bench:

“To the Right Reverend Thomas, by Divine Permission Lord Bishop of Hereford.

I, Josiah Bartlett, clerk, incumbent of the district church of Saint John at Ivington, in the county and diocese of Hereford, having received your lordship’s monition requiring me to reside on my benefice aforesaid, do hereby in reply or return to such monition make answer, and say that there is no house of residence belonging thereto.

And I further say as advised that I have a legal cause of exemption from residence by reason of my forcible detention by order of the Honorable Judges of the Court of the Queen’s Bench, who, acting on evidence falsely given and from divers other causes, have been misled in their intention impartially to administer the law, and I hereby certify and affirm that it is my intention to appeal to the superior courts against the judgement which has been pronounced……”

He went on to say that he had no intention of doing anything about the monition, and wrote a veiled threat about his actions should the order be enforced.  He also complained bitterly of four “strangers” who caused a report to be circulated in the local paper regarding his suspension.

1851 – Marriage of Rev. G.H. Kirwood of Ivington

On 2nd July 1851, the Rev. G.H. Kirwood married Miss Colt and more than five hundred people gathered in a field next to the school room to celebrate the occasion.

Children were given tea and plum cake, whilst the invited adults had a feast under the special marquee.  Food finished with, it was wonderful to see that all class distinction was forgotten with everyone enjoying the entertainment laid on by Mrs. G. Woodhouse.

1853 – The Herefordshire Agricultural Society Show

Unfortunately, the weather for this event was dreadful with unrelenting heavy rain falling for the whole day.  The entry was the smallest seen for many years.

However, Mr. Roberts of Ivington won the £10 prize in the best bull, cow and offspring class.  His bull “King James” was already a prizewinner in other shows, but on this occasion there were only two other competitors.

1854 – Gratitude of Fire Victim at Ivington

Josiah Davis had the misfortune to have fire break out on his property at Chip’s House, Ivington, and were it not for the prompt and willing help he received from friends and neighbours in putting out the fire, he would have lost everything.

on 13th March 1854, Josiah put a notice in the Hereford Journal, publicly thanking everyone for their assistance, and also sending warm thanks to the neighbours who offered to take him in after the fire.

1861 – Old Delinquent Thumps Policeman

On 5th July 1861 Edward Parry, described as an “old delinquent” was charged with assaulting P.C. George Davies at Ivington.

He pleaded guilty, and as it was his second offence he was fined £3 plus costs, which he paid.

1862 – St. John’s Schoolchildren have a lovely Day

The Rev. J. Price Jones, incumbent of Ivington, provided cakes and tea for the children in the schoolroom, which was bedecked with greenery and banners.

Many prices were given out by Mrs. Guise of Ryeland, after which the children sang songs and then went outside to play different sports until 8 p.m. when they made their way home.

1863 – Accusation of Theft at Brothel

Samuel Price – described in the paper as a “silly looking young countryman”, was a labourer living at Ivington.  He attended a house of ill repute with a friend one night and when he left to go drinking in the Three Crowns he discovered that £3 15s was missing from his purse.

Samuel accused Emma Cowmeadow aged 27 whom he had been with at the house, of taking the money, but in court she denied all knowledge of him.  No money was found at the house nor on Emma’s person, but two other girls in the house at the time had disappeared.

Emma was acquited as there was no evidence, and immediately several people started clapping…….they were immediately silenced!!

1866 – An Unorthodox Cure for Cattle Plague

Mr. Vevers of Ivington had been suffering terrible losses in his herd due to rinderpest, but one cow had managed to resist all attempts to give treatment and strangely, recovered totally without any medicine of any kind.

Elsewhere, a farmer offered to cure a cow belonging to a neighbour using his own rather odd methods.  In the middle of the night, he went into the field where the sick animal was, and stripped naked.  He performed some sort of a ritual whilst administering a ancient herbal remedy, and repeated the performance over several nights.  Incredibly, the cow recovered and the farmer was asked to see if he could cure another one on a different farm; this one too was soon restored to full health.

Efforts were being made to discover the secrets of his cattle plague cure!

1899 – Ivingtonbury Farm Destroyed by Fire

Ivingtonbury Farm at Ivington was one of the largest homesteads in the county of Herefordshire and was jointly occupied by Messrs Henry Andrews and Notley, although owned by Messrs Wood and Glossop.

In mid July 1899, Mr. and Mrs. Notley had just sat down to dinner with Andrews, having returned from Leominster earlier, when Mr. Andrews became aware of the fire.   He jumped on his bicycle and raced to Leominster where he arrived at the fire bell just before 2 p.m.

Superintendant Price of Leominster made all haste to the fire, followed quickly by the Brigade.  They were too late – nearly every building on the homestead was in flames, the fire being fanned by a strong easterly wind;  fortunately the cattle and horses in one building had been safely removed early in the proceedings, although one pedigree bull calf perished,  and the house itself was just badly scorched.

Losses included Cattle stalls;  chaff houses;  French barns;  the waggon house;  water wheel house;  large stock of implements;  feedstuff;  100 tons of straw;  stack of clover and all of the hay harvest.  It was said to be the biggest farm fire in living memory in Herefordshire.

The intense heat of the fire made passage along the road in front of the buildings impossible for some time.  The origin was eventually tracked down to a plumber, Mr. J. Edwards of Leominster, who was repairing a lead gutter on the wainhouse right next to the barn filled with straw.  He had been using a lamp to solder a patch in the gutter, and it was thought that the metal became so hot that it ignited the dry straw.