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Colonial Cases


The Times, 22 July 1794
  The long contested election and scrutiny for the place of Coroner for Denbighshire, has at length terminated in favour of Mr. GRIFFITHS.Cambrian, 21 December 1805

The following very melancholy occurrence happened at the Colliery of Higgins and Jones, near Ruabon, on Saturday the 7th instant. Two of the workmen on descending into a pit were met by what is called the damp, or foul air, and were instantly killed.  On the following day, Sunday, a number of their fellow workmen had met at a public-house in the neighbourhood, when two of them, more thoughtless and daring than the rest, swore they would go down the next morning and bring up the unfortunate men who had been killed: they were accordingly let down, with three others, on the same rope, but had not proceeded far before the two fell dead, and a third was so nearly suffocated, that upon being brought up it was with difficulty he was recovered.


Cambrian, 15 April 1809

As the Judges were entering Ruthin to open the Denbighshire Sessions, one of the Sheriff's cavalcade fell from his horse, in a state of intoxication, and was killed on the spot.


Cambrian, 24 February 1810

   Same day, one of the workmen in Chirk colliery, by a  quantity of coal falling on him, was crushed to death.


Cambrian, 26 September 1812


   A barbarous murder was committed near Denbigh on Sunday the 6th inst. - About nine o'clock in the evening a number of reapers who had been drinking in the town, and were returning home, quarrel; a man of the name of E. Edwards, in the employ of Mr. Price, grocer, was passing by on horseback, and endeavoured to pacify them, when one of the party, a native of Capel Gamon, near Llanrwst, struck his horse upon the nose, which so much exasperated him that he gave the man a blow across the face with a stick; upon this, the other plunged a knife into his belly.  He immediately dismounted and beat the man for some time.  One of the bystanders cried out, "You will kill the man!"  he replied, "He has killed me already!" At length, through loss of blood, he became faint, fell, and was taken into a neighbouring house; soon after he was placed on a bier, and removed to Denbigh, where he expired in a few hours.  Upon examining the body, it was discovered that his bowels had protruded through the wound. - A Coroner's Inquest sat on the body, and returned a Verdict of Wilful Murder.  The offender was taken into custody, and committed to Ruthin gaol.


Cambrian, 25 February 1815

Horrid Murder.

It again falls to our lot to lay before our readers another dreadful instance of human turpitude.  On Thursday the 9th instant, a most shocking murder was committed on one Margaret Jones, a young woman of about 24 years of age, residing with her father and brother, in the township of Brymbo, near Wrexham.  It appears, that upon her brother's return home from his work, about nine o'clock in the evening, he found his sister weltering in her blood! With several violent fractures and bruises on the head, her throat cut, and her abdomen laid open, so as to expose her intestines. - The Coroner held his inquisition on Saturday, and after minutely investigating every part of the evidence he thought it advisable to adjourn the further consideration of the business till Wednesday last; but strong suspicions, from the evidence, falling upon a young man of the name of Samuel Humphreys, he was taken into custody, and we understand he has since confessed the murder.


Cambrian, 24 June 1815

   On the 1st inst. a Coroner's Inquest was held before Simon Griffiths, Esq. at Ruthin, in view of the body of a fine boy, 18 weeks old, who met his death by falling from the arms of the servant, into an iron pot full of boiling water, by which his head and face were so dreadfully scalded, that he lingered only a few hours 'ere he expired.  After a short investigation, the Jury brought in their verdict - Accidental Death.


Cambrian, 28 March 1818

   At Denbigh, a few days since, as ------ Roden, and another young man, were walking up the castle Hill, they approached a deep pit, which had been sunk for getting lead ore, and which was covered by a few slender planks only.  Roden venturing upon one of the planks, was precipitated to the bottom of the pit, about 40 yards.  T. Williams, at the risk of his own life, succeeded in getting the poor man out, but he survived only a few hours.


Cambrian, 19 September 1818

Horrible Murder. - it is our melancholy duty to record this week one of the most dreadful instances of deliberate assassination that ever took place in this country, and which is so contrary to our national spirit, as to give to such a murder the features of peculiar aggravation.  On Sunday evening last, Mr. Geo. Harrison, of Holt, in the county of Denbigh, timber-valuer and surveyor, accompanied three friends from Wrexham, to the Red Lion, to arrange with them respecting some projected buildings.  He remained with them till nearly nine o'clock, and as the night was very dark, his wife, who was at the house of a neighbour, went out to fetch him home. When they arrived near the croft adjoining the Rev. Mr. Weighton's house (Mrs. Harrison being a yard or two in advance) she heard a rustling among the leaves, and turning her head towards the spot, a gun was instantly discharged about six yards from them, and Mr. Harrison fell.  Mrs. Harrison distinctly saw the face of a man, who appeared anxious to ascertain whether he had fully finished his bloody purpose; he then fled across the field.   Her screams soon brought some neighbours to her relied; when it was ascertained, that nearly the whole discharge from the gun had penetrated Mr. Harrison's head on the left side.  He was carried into the house, and Mr. Jones. Surgeon, of Farndon, was sent for; but before he could arrive, the unfortunate man had breathed his last! [Apprehension of George Thomas, jun. - and discharge.] Chester Chronicle, September 11 [See also Cambrian, 28 September.].


Cambrian, 28 September 1818

   Murder at Holt. - The Coroner's Inquest renewed its sitting on Tuesday, and continued its investigation till a late hour.  They again assembled on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; on the latter day, they returned a verdict of wilful murder against George Thomas, of Holt, the man who was taken up soon after the murder had been committed, on suspicion of having perpetrated the bloody deed, and afterwards discharged.  He was immediately committed to Ruthin gaol, to take his trial at the next Assizes, for the heinous crime.


Cambrian, 3 July 1819

Murder near Holt. - A short time since, Mary Jones, servant to Mr. R. Gardner, of Sutton Green, near Iscoyd, complained of indisposition.  She was recommended to get medical assistance, but refused, observing, that she should shortly be better; on the return of her fellow servants from milking in the morning, she said she was quite recovered, and went to her work as usual.  The servants had previously suspected that she was pregnant, and were astonished at her speedy recovery; but no tidings were heard of the child till a few days ago, when a substance was discovered by a boy floating on the top of a pit near the house.  It was at first thought to be a young pig, and Mary Jones said she would soon have it; accordingly, availing herself of a favourable opportunity, it is supposed she got it from the pit, and carrying it into a field of wheat, about 78 yards distance, there buried it in an #adjoining field.  The removal of the object was soon discovered, and, in consequence of previous circumstances, a search was suggested; the place of burial was found, and the infant taken up; a constable was procured, and Mary Jones, the suspected mother, was apprehended.  The Coroner's inquest found a verdict of - Wilful Murder against her, and she was lodged in the county gaol, to take her trial at the next Grand Sessions.  On examining the child, one side of the head appeared much bruised; but it was then in a putrid state.


  Cambrian, 10 July 1819

   Murder, near Wrexham. - The annual meeting of the beneficial club at Gresford, near Wrexham, was held at that place on Tuesday.  The members dined together at the cub-house, and the greatest harmony prevailed among them, until evening, when a difference took place between a man of the name of David Cooke, alias David Challinor, and the landlord of the house at which the club had assembled.  A person named Thomas Jones, (brother-in-law of the landlord) advised Cooke to go home.  He, however, refused, and observed, he "was determined to be revenged upon him (Jones)."  Soon after this conversation, Cooke left the house.  About half an hour subsequent to the latter individual's going out, Jones left the public-house for home.  After he had proceeded a short distance, Cooke came up to him, and immediately with a violent blow knocked him down.  This was succeeded by several kicks on the temples, back, groin, and other parts of the body.  The wife of the unfortunate sufferer was near the spot when her husband was so dreadfully abused, and cried our repeatedly, "murder."  Cooke immediately declared, that if she did not hold her noise he would murder her too.  The depraved wretch then made his escape.  A coroner's inquest was held on the body on Thursday last, and a verdict of "Wilful Murder against David Cooke, alias Challinor," was returned.  Jones has left a wife and nine children.  We understand that Cooke has surrendered himself into the hands of justice.


Cambrian, 23 November 1822

DENBIGHSHIRE. - SHOCKING OCCURRENCE. - On Friday night last the waggoner who had charge of Fox's waggon from Wrexham to Oswestry, was found in the road opposite the Pwll, with his head literally ground to pieces, as is supposed by the wheels passing over him. The horses brought the waggon safe home. ...


North Wales Gazette (Bangor), 18 March 1824

HORRIBLE  PATRRICIDE IN THE COUNTY OF DENBIGH. - We have just been informed, that a Murder was committed on Friday evening, the 5th instant, in a Dingle, called Nant Dowyll y Dawn, within 200 yards of the road leading from Bettws-Abergele, in Denbighshire, to Tal-y-Cafn Ferry.  The deceased, Hugh Jones, who resided near the place, was about 60 years of age, by trade a weaver, an occasional preacher in the Wesleyan community.  He left his home between 6 and 7 o'clock in the evening, with the intention of returning that night.  His wife and family  finding he did not do so, concluded he would remain during the night, as a house of a relation about two miles from his home.  His son went there the next morning, and was informed that his father had not been there.  It was suspected that some accident had befallen him, and the body was, after a search, for some time unsuccessful, found in a rivulet in the most lonely part of bathe Dingle.

   There were marks of violence on the head, and the throat had been perforated by a sharp instrument.  An inquest has been held, and the jury returned a verdict of Wilful Murder, against some person or persons unknown.

   Some circumstances, however, transpired to fix a suspicion on his son.  It appeared that a misunderstanding had taken place on account of the deceased not approving of his son's marriage with a young person in the neighbourhood; the son was apprehended and taken before Mr. Wynne, of Cefn y Coed, the magistrate, and dreadful to state after an examination which lasted a considerable time, he was fully committed to the county gaol at Ruthin, charged with the wilful murder of his own father !!!


North Wales Gazette (Bangor), 16 September 1824

MURDER NEAR ST. ASAPH. - On Wednesday morning, the 8th inst. at a place called the Score, near Glasgoed, within the parish of St. Asaph, was found the body of a fine female child, with a large stone upon its face, where apparently it had been lying since the preceding day; as from certain marks upon the groaned close to the place where it was found, and the general appearance of the body, the unnatural mother could not long have been delivered.  The brute who gave it birth had fixed upon the most secluded spot for the perpetration of her foul purpose, in the mouth of an old mine-shaft, surrounded with thorns and briers, totally out of the reach of every human eye.  But an over-ruling Providence seems generally to have had a directing hand in the development of all such black and diabolical deeds, as was the case here.  A little boy, with a dog accompanying him, had by chance to go through the ground into an adjoining field, when the dog started a rabbit.  The rabbit, as if led by a natural instinct, ran immediately to the spot where the body lay, and the dog after her; the boy finding the fog making rather a long stay, thought he might have caught the rabbit, and was eating it, ran after him and to his great astonishment found him living the little infant. - It scarcely need be added that the boy lost no time in acquainting the surrounding neighbours, who ran thither horror-struck.  On the Saturday following an inquest was held on view of the body before Robert Nicholls, Esq. Coroner for the County, when several witnesses were examined; and after hearing the evidence, which was most satisfactory and conclusive, although circumstantial, the Jury found a verdict of "Guilty of Willful Murder against Miriam Williams, of Glanmorfa."  Immediately after, the Coroner issued out his warrant for the apprehension of the said Miriam Williams, who was then taken into custody, and is so to remain until such time as the surgeon can safely pronounce her out of danger, and in a fit state to be conveyed to the county gaol at Ruthin, to take her trial at the next Assizes.


The Cambrian, 25 September 1824


On the 12th inst. of an apoplectic seizure, Mrs. Annabella Puleston, of Penbedw, Denbighshire, relict of the Rev. Philip Puleston, D.D. of Pickhill Hall, in the same county.


The Cambrian, 2 October 1824

   A young woman, named Mary Williams, has been apprehended on a Coroner's warrant, charged with the murder of her infant on the 8th inst. in the parish of St. Asaph.


Carmarthen Journal, 23 January 1829

   An inquest was held at Llangollen, on the 8th instant, on view of the body of John Jones, chaise-driver.  On the 15th of Dec. a young man also named Jones was in the Church-yard, in a state of inebriety, and the deceased was requested by the mother to accompany her servant in bringing her son home.  After a slight spurring, the deceased struck young Jones, and in a scuffle both fell over the church yard wall; the chaise driver's skull was fractured, and he lingered until the 1st inst. when he died.  Verdict, Accidental death.


Carmarthen Journal, 13 February 1829

ACCIDENT AT DENBIGH. - About five o'clock in the evening of Sunday last, as the servant of Miss Elizabeth Mostyn, an old lady between 70 and 80 years of age, in Vale-street, in Denbigh, after returning from chapel, she found the parlour door open, and a great quantity of smoke in the parlour; she (the servant immediately ran in and found her mistress, Miss Mostyn, on the fire, she having accidentally fallen on =- she immediately pulled her off and put her on the floor, until she went and called in the next neighbour.  A Mr. Mark Jones and a Mr. Foster went in and found her on the floor, very much burnt; all her clothes burnt off her except a small part of her stays, in the front; water was applied for the purpose of quenching the fire that remained, which had the effect; and she was immediately removed up stairs and put to bed, where shew was attended by Drs. Williams and Hughes, who administered every thing in their power without effect, and she expiated about two o'clock on the Sunday evening, but could not be made to believe that she was badly burnt; and repeatedly said she felt no pain, and should be well the following day.  An inquest was held on Monday on the body before Jno. Hughes, Esq. one of the coroners of the borough of Denbigh, and a respectable jury, who, after viewing the body (which presented a dreadful spectacle,) and hearing evidence, returned a verdict of Accidental Death. - Chester Chronicle.


Carmarthen Journal, 25 December 1829

   Edward Williams, for several years guard to one of the Holyhead coaches, was killed on Thursday between Curwen and Llangollen.  The unfortunate man was descending from his seat to the coach-door, whilst the coach was traveling rapidly, and missing his step, he fell to the ground, and the wheel passing over his body, caused such internal injury, that he died next morning.  Mr. Williams was much respected in his situation; and received great attention at Llangollen during the interval between the accident and his death.  He has left a wife and family.


Carmarthen Journal, 25 December 1829

   Edward Williams, for several years guard to one of the Holyhead coaches, was killed on Thursday between Curwen and Llangollen.  The unfortunate man was descending from his seat to the coach-door, whilst the coach was traveling rapidly, and missing his step, he fell to the ground, and the wheel passing over his body, caused such internal injury, that he died next morning.  Mr. Williams was much respected in his situation; and received great attention at Llangollen during the interval between the accident and his death.  He has left a wife and family.

Monmouthshire Merlin, 9 June 1832
ROOK SHOOTING. - On Friday week an inquest was held at Chirk Castle, Denbighshire, on the body of Mr. Ruthill, bailiff.  A party, he day before, were shooting rooks, and the deceased (who had a double-barreled gun) and another, were running to claim a rook that was falling, when the deceased accidentally fell - the piece went off, and the contents lodged in his body.

Cambrian, 14 September 1833
  On Monday week Mr. John Storey, of Denbigh, went into the water to bathe at Rhyl, as the tide was flowing in.  Having ventured to far from the land, and being unable to swim he got out of his depth, and was drowned before any assistance could be rendered him.  His wife stood on the beach, and witnessed the melancholy death of her husband!

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School