Misdemeanours in Monnington

1851 – Attempted Child Murder at Monnington on Wye

Sarah Hall, a single  woman was charged with having, on 14th July 1851 tried to drown and suffocate her illegitimate child.

Before the trial began, the ladies present (apart from Sarah) were advised to withdraw from the Court for decency’s sake.  A large number of woman left immediately, and were replaced by “those of a sterner sex”.

Sarah was described as being of “middle stature” and thin in the face, but with a pleasant expression.  She was dressed neatly and deported herself well.

She pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Sarah had been working as a cook for Mrs. Lewis of Monnington on Wye for a short while before she gave birth to her child.  The labour was very painful and troublesome, and a fellow servant fetched her some gin and water “as the best remedy”.  Later, a nurse in the household found Sarah in bed and although Sarah said she was just sick, the nurse was suspicious but gave her more gin and water.

The labour pains became unbearable and for some time Sarah was virtually insensible.

Whether Sarah’s appearance and demeanour swayed the court, who knows, but the Judge told the Jury that she should not be convicted of the capital offence, but merely of assault.  The Jury wasted no time in returning such a verdict, saying that she had suffered considerably from the pain and that she had gone on to nurse the child despite the difficulties.

She was imprisoned for one day, and many people expressed the desire that she should not just be released to the mercy of the world, but should be afforded every necessary protection.

1859 – Juvenile Housebreaker at Monnington on Wye

Edwin Davies, alias Pugh, a lad of 13 was charged with breaking into the house of James Prosser and stealing a half sovereign and 3s on 3rd August 1859.

Edwin lived in Hereford near the Saracen’s Head, and was seen loitering around the Prosser’s house.  Late on the morning in question, the money was found to be missing, and there was a hole in the boarding of the house wide enough for a boy to squeeze through.

Edwin changed the half sovereign at the Trap Inn, buying some cider, and then bought a pistol and a pair of boots.

James Bromley a police constable, apprehended Edwin at Weobley where he admitted the offence.

The Chairman said how sad it was to see such a young lad in this position, and the Jury found him guilty – he was sentenced to 13 days in prison, and to be afterwards sent to a reformatory for 3 years.