Harvest Festival, bull goring man to death and more

1849 – Small boys become Arsonists

William Farley and George Farley of Little Marcle were charged with setting fire to a hayrick belonging to S.G. Birchley.

Several witnesses had spotted the small boys near the hayrick, including Thomas Adams the keeper of the turnpike gate at Little Marcle but when Superintendant Shead went to question the boys, they tried to blame tramps.  Their story was quickly pulled apart and eventually admitted to lighting a match but said that they didn’t think the hay would catch fire.

George Farley was eventually discharged but William Farley was committed for trial.

1851 – “Would you, John???)

A wedding at Little Marcle?

On 3rd February 1851 a couple presented themselves at the altar of Little Marcle parish church in order to get married.  No names were reported, because it wasn’t deemed fair given what followed!

The ceremony went swimmingly until the bridegroom was asked if he would have the woman for his wedded wife……..he hesitated, for quite a long time, until the clergyman was forced to ask the question again.

No Wedding at Little Marcle

His bride to be whispered “say….I Will”, whereupon the chap replied “no thank you sir”, and turning to the Clerk he added “would you, John?!”

John said no he wouldn’t, he already had one and didn’t want another.

The bridegroom not to be stepped away from the altar followed by his disgruntled intended who shook her purse at him saying that she would give him his money back if he married her.

It was no good, and the chap bitterly remarked that if she had robbed him before marriage, she would do so after.

1856 – Blind Mare Causes Accident

Richard Gurney aged 35 was working for Mr. Holland a farmer of Little Marcle.

One day he was returning from the Forest of Dean with a team of six horses, including one blind mare, pulling a wagon loaded with six tons of fuel.  He was nearly home, when the poor mare panicked and knocked Richard over before trampling on him.

Before the team could be stopped, the wheels of the wagon went over Richard’s legs causing double fractures of the thigh and appalling knee injuries.

He was taken to Hereford Infirmary where every effort was made to help him, but gangrene set in and he died a couple of days later.

1857 – Goring by a Bull at Little Marcle

Joseph Popnell, a married man with five children, was working for Mr. Firkins of Little Marcle Court.

One night in May 1857, he had to sit up all night, along with another man, to look after a cow that was due to calve.  At some time in the night, a bull broke into the fold, and he was driven back to his stable with some considerable difficulty.

Joseph went into the stable after the bull, intending to tie him up, but the bull turned on him and knocked him down before goring him time and again.  There were many terrible wounds on his head and legs, but it was a puncture wound to his chest which killed him.  The horn of the bull had torn the muscles apart and severely damaged the pleura.

Joseph died shortly after the attack.


1861 – Harvest Festival at Little Marcle

On 3rd October 1861, to celebrate the safe gathering in of the harvest, the farmers in the area of Little Marcle gave all their workmen a holiday.

The day started with prayers in the beautifully decorated church, after which the labourers and their wives were given a feast of roast beef and plum pudding by several farm houses.  Later they all went to the Rectory for games including football.

Suitably worn out, everyone was then given tea and cake in the new schoolroom served by the ladies of the party.

The weather was lovely, and everyone agreed that “never was a happier day spent in Little Marcle before”.

1873 – Steam Engine Boiler Explodes

Mr. Charles South of Lillians, Little Marcle was preparing for wheat thrashing with an engine and thrashing machine.

The water in the engine was boiling and thrashing began, but ten minutes later the boiler of the engine burst, causing the engine to be thrown onto the thrashing machine.  A fire ensued;  a spanner was fired through the window of the house some fifteen yards away, and many other windows burst inwards.

Incredibly, Charles South and the engine driver who were both close to the engine escaped injury.

Fire engines from Ledbury and Eastnor Castle attended and quickly put out the fire, but not before one large wheat rick was destroyed.