Murder, drunks and a cracking good shot

I lived at Much Marcle for a great many years, and both myself and my husband always thought it to be a dark village in many ways – putting aside more recent events which I have no intention of recording here, our feelings have been born out by research into the past.

Truly, no other village has revealed such a horrid history!

1794 – Murder of New Born Child

Elizabeth Mercer was committed to Hereford Gaol charged with the wilful murder of her new born child at Much Marcle.

1832 – House of Ill Repute

In October 1832, Mary Bosley was charged with keeping a house of “ill fame” at Much Marcle.

1838 – Rabies in Much Marcle

A 12 year old girl living in Much Marcle, was repeatedly bitten on the legs by a large and powerful dog, which was rabid.

A surgeon was immediately sent for, but it was found to be impractical to extirpate the wounds as there were so many of them, and everyone, including the surgeon, recommended amputation of both legs to stop the infection spreading.

However, the family refused to allow this, and treatment included “cupping glasses, thorough ablution, caustic dipping etc.”  For a couple of weeks, the child appeared to be doing well until suddenly the terrible symptoms of rabies began, and two days later after terrible suffering, she died.

1842 – Mother Murders Child at Much Marcle

Milborough Trilloe, a 30 year old widow described as “poor looking”, was indicted for the murder of her baby girl on 24th June 1842.

She already had three children and lived alone, but became pregnant by a man from Ross on Wye.  She told a friend that she believed the child would not live because it was so restless inside her, and this friend never saw her making clothes in preparation even though she was not far from giving birth.

Trilloe gave birth alone, then told this friend that although the baby was fine and healthy when born, it was now dead and buried.

The baby was eventually found by police in the garden of a neighbour, belonging to James Taylor, and at the time Trilloe told him that it was indeed her child and that had made the hole and buried it herself.  Later, she denied saying this, and in fact she also began to deny that she had even given birth even though many people knew that she had.

The medical examiner’s opinion was that the baby had been strangled, and Trilloe’s reply to this was that she had caught hold of the child around the neck whilst she was in dreadful pain.  The post mortem revealed that death was indeed by strangulation, or by something pressed against the windpipe for so long and with such force that even after death it didn’t resume its natural shape.

It was clear to everyone from a long and convoluted trial which showed Trilloe to have lied and lied again, that she was rather a strange woman to put it mildly.  The jury took an hour and a half to return a verdict of Guilty.

Trilloe went nuts – eventually passing out, and Dr. Bull who happened to be in court administered aid, and brought her back to consciousness.

His Lordship then donned the black cap and passed sentence:

“Milborough Trilloe, you have been convicted of the wilful murder of your own child………there only remains for a duty to pass upon you the sentence which the law awards for your offence.”

He told her to prepare her soul to meet her Maker, and said that she would be taken to the place from where she came and from there to a place of execution to be hung by the neck until dead.  Her body was to be buried within the precincts of the gaol.

This was the first sentence of death for ten years in Hereford, and execution in this case was stayed until 25th November – indeed, as can be seen below Milborough Trilloe was not executed in the end but was transported to Tasmania.

New Information on Milborough Trilloe

Now – something has come to light which casts some doubt on some of what I have written above with respect to Milborough’s character, (all of which was from rewspaper reports at the time) and which perhaps provides an insight into why she did what she did.

A descendant of The Trilloe family, Malcolm Evans,  has sent me the following:

My Grandmother was a Trillo ( Trilloe in alternative spelling)

I thought I would add some info on Milborough who killed her newborn daughter in Much Marcle.

Milborough had a pretty horrible time – 3 children, no money, working the fields for a pittance – pregnant by her landlord (probably) – had to leave 3 children in Much Marcle to go to the ends of the earth and never return.

Two years ago I visited Tasmania and the Launceston Female Factory where she ended up after her sentence. She found some happiness on 4. 4. 1846 when she married Thomas Parsons in Morven (now Evandale). This happiness was short lived when he fell out of the back of a bullock cart on 2.4.1852 and the wheel went over his head and he died. I visited his grave site with no headstone, but was unable to find out what happened to Milborough after she was pardoned on 25.9.1852.”


1846 – Amazing Shot by Gamekeeper

In the Spring of 1846, Mr. Benksin, steward and gamekeeper to Rev Money Kyrle of Homme House, Much Marcle, killed four large snakes with one single shot.

Apparently they were all lying together, coiled into a ball in Queen’s Wood but there is no mention of what type of snakes they were.

1847 – Drunken Behaviour

In May 1847, James Preece of Much Marcle, described as a “rough headed looking fellow”, was charged with getting drunk on the fair day.

Apparently he got himself into many a fight, and hit several people whilst behaving rather badly in general.

He was fined 5s plus costs.

1851 – Man falls into Furnace

Joseph Yeldon, an 18 year old from Much Marcle, was working for Messrs. Joseph and Benjamin Turnock, brewers of Ross.

One evening Joseph Yeldon was using a ladle to empty a furnace containing boiling wort, when he lost his balance and fell into the boiling liquid.

James Hiles saw Joseph fall and rushed to help, succeeding in lifting him out before he was boiled to death;  however, he was so badly scalded that despite medical attention he died after a few hours.

1854 – Brutal Assault by Husband on Wife

Sarah Masters Berrow was perhaps a little indiscrete when chatting to a neighbour, and told her things about her marriage – namely that her husband was violent towards her, and perhaps was “taking liberties” with their daughter; she did actually have a witness to her husband having intercourse with her daughter.  Indiscretion maybe, but we all need someone to talk to!!

Her husband George Berrow, a Mason of Much Marcle, was of large build (and had a moustache, not that that has anything to do with it), and somehow he got to hear of his wife’s conversation.  He was furious, and (it was said) wanted to put a stop to scandal which in rural villages can run out of control very quickly.  He thought that a severe beating would do the trick.

He hit his wife Sarah in the face, causing a huge bruise, whereupon she ran from the house.  He followed, and hit her again – so hard that she fell into the hedge;  she managed to get up and started to run but he caught her and hit her again.

Sarah pleaded for forgiveness, and fortunately for her, at this point people had been alerted to the disturbance and she was taken into the care of others.

George Berrow was sentenced to six months hard labour.

1861 – Hefty Sentence for Minor Theft

Thomas Preece, a lad of Much Marcle, was charged with stealing four eggs from Mr. Smith of Bodenham in the same parish, on 15th June.

James Preece, his father, was also charged with receiving the eggs knowing them to have been stolen, but he absconded and a warrant was out for his arrest.

The lad Thomas had no defence, and was sent to gaol for seven day’s hard labour.

1863 – Man Dies on Way Home from Fair

60 year old John Clinton of Puckmoors,  Much Marcle was on his way home with another man after a night at the Ledbury fair, when a horse and gig came along the road.

Each man went to opposite sides of the road to allow the gig passage, but once it had gone, John was lying in the road unconscious.  His friend rushed to John’s house, some two miles along the road, and procured a horse and cart which he took back to where he left John.  He took him home, and he was put to bed – still unconscious.

He died the next morning, but no post mortem was carried out as Mr. Griffin, the medical gentleman, was of the opinion that John had died from apoplexy.  There were some murmerings about neglect, because no medical assistance had been called for John when he was first taken home.

He left a wife and family.

1863 – Child Murder at Much Marcle

Two carpenters were on their way to work one morning when they noticed something floating in a pond near to Homme House, Much Marcle, the home of Money Kyrle Esq.

They managed to get it out of the water, and discovered that it was a new born baby sewn into a piece of calico.  The men immediately told the police.

Further evidence was sketchy – Dr. Griffin who examined the body stated that the child was some two weeks old, and had been born alive and healthy.  The body had been in the water for about ten days.

A verdict of wilful murder against some person unknown was returned, and it was remarked that it was strange that the perpetrator had not taken the precaution of using a weight of some kind to sink the poor child.