Death in the woods

1852 – Death in the woods at Mansell Lacy

In January 1852 the body of James Bailey, a 66 year old married man was found in Nash Wood by Peter Watkins, a labourer.

He testified that he knew James, and that on Saturday he and another chap, Edward Davies, were gathering leaves in Nash Wood when they came across a body lying face down, with his head stuck between the stubs of two recently felled trees.

Peter Watkins deduced that James had fallen against the stubs, perhaps after catching his foot in a briar;  when they realised that he was dead, they carried him down to his house.

James’ wife, Sarah, said that on the Thursday her husband had left to look for work but when he didn’t return by the next day she went to look for him, but with no luck.  She went out again on the Saturday, going further afield to Hereford and Dewchurch, and when she returned home it was to find that James had been taken in to the house, and was dead.

Ann Williams laid out James’ body the next day, and it was discovered that he had his knife and tobacco box, plus 7s 10d on his person so nothing was missing and foul play was not suspected.