Much of the news from the past for St. Devereux relates to the railway
1837 – Child Burnt to Death at Home
Mary Anne Harris, a five year old girl who lived with her two year old sibling and their parents in St Devereux, had been left at home by themselves. A neighbour heard terrible screams and rushed into the house, where she found Mary Anne enveloped in flames.
She was badly burned around the neck and body, and after four agonising days she died.
At the inquest, it was once again remarked on how often this sort of thing was happening, and the plea went out to cottagers not to leave children alone unless protected by a strong fire guard.
1852 – Transported for Seven Years
John Sugden was convicted of breaking into the house of W. Preece at St. Devereux, and stealing three half sovereigns, five half crowns, one watch key and seal, one gold ring, one silk purse and other items.
He was sentenced to seven years transportation.
1857 – Fatal Accident at St. Devereux Station
Chas Williams, a Coal Dealer had a wharf at the St. Devereux railway station, and would shunt his trucks using a horse.
One Friday morning he was shunting a coal truck when his foot caught in the points of the rails, causing him to fall. The truck went over his foot crushing his toes and injuring his knee and thigh; he instantly ordered his horse to stop, which it did, enabling witnesses to rescue him and put him on the next train to Hereford. Soon after arriving at the Infirmary he collapsed and he died later that evening.
The leg would have had to have been amputated, but it was considered that “his extreme depression rendered it impossible” so he would have died eventually anyway.
1859 – Railway Accident at St. Devereux
The down express train on the Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford railway, drawn by a powerful goods engine, left Hereford at 12.50 p.m; it was travelling at around 30 miles an hour as it went through St. Devereux station, and 800 yards past the platform it reached the curve in the line. A sudden jolting was felt, and the driver turned the steam off instantly but before he could apply the brake the engine ran off the rails and fell on its side, rolling down an embankment.
Fortunately, the connection between the engine and tender broke, thus stopping the rest of the train being dragged down the bank – undoubtedly many lives would have been lost – and the carriages and tender were merely dragged off the rails on to the ballasting. One lady who was travelling from Liverpool to Newport with her two small children, threw her youngest out of the window in panic, but fortunately no real harm came to the child.
The driver and stoker were flung forcibly from the engine as it rolled over, and were lying unconscious in the ditch until found by some of the passengers; Mr. Carregan, the driver, was from Newport and was badly injured in the pelvic area as well as being in severe shock. The fireman, Daniel Thomas, also from Newport, was even more severely hurt and when he came round was in great pain, but when taken to the Infirmary at Hereford Daniel began to recover more quickly than Mr. Carregan.
Mr. MacDonnell, the company’s engineer along with many officials and workmen, went to the scene of the accident and made quick work of restoring order and clearing the line so that the delayed passengers could continue their journey. One of those passengers, an officer in the 21st Regiment of Foot, started a fund for the injured men by giving £1, and this soon grew to £3.
It was discovered that a tyre on the near leading wheel of the engine had broken, thus sending the engine off line.
A pilot engine worked on the single line between St. Devereux and Pontrilas until the double line was back in use at roughly 6.30 that same evening. (Good grief, that doesn’t happen these days does it!). The next day, a large gang of men set to work on the stricken engine in order to raise it from the ditch, but it was assumed that it would be badly damaged.
1861 – Lad runs away from Home
William Lewis an 8 year old child of St. Devereux, was charged with running away from home and sleeping in outhouses and pigstys without means of subsistence.
The lad was sent back to his parents with the Bench impressing on him that if he did it again he would be put in prison.
Poor little chap.
1862 – Accident on the Railway at St. Devereux
A little girl named Eliza Williams was living at the house of the Rev. Westhope, and when returning was crossing the railway just outside St. Devereux station. For some reason she didn’t appear to hear the approach of a luggage train, and was hit by the buffer.
When help arrived she was unconscious and was taken to Hereford Infirmary where they discovered she had a severe fracture of the skull; she was not expected to live.
1864 –Fatal Railway Accident at St. Devereux
Herbert Hammond, a 14 year old lad who was working as a porter at the station, was killed by a goods train.
A witness, Mr. Browne, a farmer, said that he was on the platform at St. Devereux as the goods train approached, and saw Herbert go down the steps but could not be sure whether he was actually on the line. As the train went past, Herbert was knocked right round and thrown against the rails having been killed instantly.
Herbert was a good and steady worker, and of sober disposition.