Tragedies –

It has to be said that Thomas Gibbs of Moorend is a regular feature of Munsley news – there was a great deal about court cases that he brought against others, and court cases that others brought against him.  They were not particularly interesting so I have not included them, but he still appears below for different reasons.   He sounded to be an interesting man!

1818 – 16 Year Old Executed at Hereford Gaol

John Burlow was executed in front of Hereford Gaol on 11th April 1818 for setting fire to stables and outbuilding at Munsley, the property of his master, Thomas Gibbs.  Seven horses and the buildings were totally destroyed.

“This unfortunate boy was only sixteen years old;  his understanding weak, and he had been brought up in total ignorance of moral feeling or religious instruction”

It was hoped that the severe sentence would serve as a warning to others, but the hanging caused an outpouring of sympathy;  it was hard to swallow the thought that such a young lad who was clearly rather simple, should meet his end in such a dreadful manner.  However, despite many attempts to obtain a reprieve the execution went ahead.

On the due morning, there was a considerable delay to proceedings as John had pushed his bed against the door of the cell, thus preventing the officers getting in.  He was finally brought out and taken to the scaffold by means of brute force, where he died at around half past twelve.

He was buried within the precincts of Hereford gaol.

1834 – Woman cuts her own Throat at Munsley

Ann Johnes, the mother of four children, used a razor to cut her throat and died rather rapidly.

“She had occasionally been deranged in her intellects”.

1840 – Horrible Death for Child at Munsley

J. Gillot, a lad aged one and a half, drank boiling coffee from a kettle on the fire whilst his parents were not looking.

He died in dreadful agony.

1844 – Complaint about Unrepaired Road at Munsley

At the Magistrates meeting in December 1844, the time was mostly taken up by a complaint from Mr. Gibbs of Munsley, made against the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire Canal Company.

He claimed that they had left a road in Munsley unrepaired, when it was their responsibility to do so.  When they built the new bit of the canal it seems they cut off an old road, which was partly in Munsley and partly in Ashperton….they built a new road in its stead.

Mr. Gibbs complained that the new road was not “properly stoned”, and a great deal of it was virtually impassable which he found to be greatly inconvenient.  He wanted the canal Company to repair the road properly from the tunnel’s mouth to seventy three yards beyond the bridge.

Mr. Hubert Edy, solicitor for the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire Canal Company, accepted the magistrates opinion that the Company should repair the road, but thought that Munsley and Ashperton parishes should bear part of the expense.  Mr. Gibbs objected to this, and Mr. Edy agreed to submit his plan to the Company – i.e. that the Company should repair the road, but that afterwards the two parishes would keep it in good order.

(This is the same Mr. Gibbs as the one a few items below, and perhaps he was quite an argumentative and cantakerous sort of chap!)

1848 – Child Crushed by Stone at Munsley

Stone masons were doing work at a house in Munsley.  On 23rd August, one of the children, Samuel Chadd aged about 6,, was playing outside, and then was found lying beneath a large stone near to the house.

Samuel was dead – it was deduced that the stone had been propped up with a stick, and that the child had somehow dislodged it so that the stone fell and crushed him.


1848 – Toddler Dies from Scalding

Charles Palmer, a two year old child was “meddling with some hot water in which was a pudding”.

He was so badly scalded on his arm and body that he died shortly afterwards.

1848 – Tragic Mistake at Munsley

Mrs. Badham had a bad time of it when she went into labour, and had a bottle of laudanum which she used in order to get some rest.

She gave birth to a boy, George Badham, and was in the habit of giving him cordial to settle him down.  One Sunday night, when George was four months old, she discovered that she had run out of cordial, but her servant said she was sure there was some upstairs and went to get it.

Apparently, the bottle used for cordial was identical to the one full of laudanum, and the mother gave a large amount of the contents to her little boy.  During the night he began to convulse, and died in the early hours of the morning before the doctor could get there.

It was found that laudanum had been administered instead of cordial.

1853 – Horrid Husband

Jas. Harding of Munsley, a carpenter, had been married to his wife for sixteen years, and in all that time had habitually beaten or kicked her.

He frequently locked her out of the house at night and kept her on nothing but bread for weeks on end.  He gave her no more than 4s a week to feed and clothe herself and their three children.

In September 1853 he became even more obnoxious, and turfed her out on two nights running, then beat her very badly with a large stick so that she was covered in bruises.

Jas Harding’s defence was that his wife annoyed him with her nagging!

He was sentenced to two months in prison with hard labour.

1857 – Suicide at Munsley

Henry Gibbs was alone in his house at Munsley, having sent his servant on an errand to his sister.

The servant returned with the sister, to find a terrible scene – Henry was dead, with his head literally shattered and his brains scattered about the room.

A gun was found lying near the body, along with a stick and bit of cord which it was supposed was used to pull the trigger.

Henry had fallen out with most of his friends over some property left by his father, and for a while had not been himself.

The jury were unable to agree on whether it was suicide.

1862 – Starving Boy Steals Food at Munsley

John Bannister, a 9 year old lad with the appearance of being half starved, was charged with stealing a pound of cheese, a pound of bacon and a loaf of bread on 25th June 1862.

His next door neighbours were both out of their house during the afternoon, and the wife had locked the door taking the key with her.  When she got home later, she missed the food;  a few days later she had gone out again, locking her three children in the house alone……when she got back late at night, the back window had been removed.

Shortly afterwards, whilst making enquiries, she came across John Bannister’s father beating him, and intervened to stop the thrashing.  She took John into her own house and asked him what was going on – he said that his parents didn’t feed him and he was famished.  He admitted to her that he stole the food on 25th, and also admitted going back a few days later, when he wanted some bread.

P.C. Delahay arrived and charged John with robbery;  he was committed for 14 days imprisonment, followed by two years in a reformatory school.