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Colonial Cases


Cambrian, 15 September 1810

On Friday, the thirty-first ult. an inquest was held by Edward Lee James, Esq. one of the Coroners for the county of Radnor, upon the body of a female infant child found in a privy, in Presteigne, on the preceding Thursday night, when the Jury returned a verdict for concealing the birth against the mother.

   And on the following Tuesday another inquest was held by the same Coroner, upon the body of a man, whose death was caused by figuring, when a verdict of manslaughter was brought in against the person with whom the deceased fought, at Penybont.


Cambrian, 29 May 1813

   Last week, an inquest was held at Presteigne, upon the body of a servant girl named Hannah Cadmore, supposed to have thrown herself into the river Lugg, when a verdict was given of - Found Drowned.


Cambrian, 25 February 1815

   William Hanmer, of Llandewy, Radnorshire, labourer, having gone to Knighton market on Thursday, the 22nd of December last, and not retuning home as expected, nor being heard of, his disappearance became the general topic of conversation in the neighbourhood.  It was however conjectured that he had missed his way in the dark, and lost his life from the inclemency of the weather, and was buried under the snow, a considerable quantity of which had fallen that night.  With this idea a minute search  was made for the body at different intervals by the neighbours, but without success, until Saturday sen'nnight, the 11th inst. when the snow being dissolved, his body was at length discovered about three miles from his home.  The deceased has left a widow and four small children to lament his loss.


Cambrian, 16 December 1815

  On the 1st inst. an Inquest was taken at Kington, before Wm. Pateshall, Esq. Coroner, on the body of Mr. J. Price, a respectable farmer, of Bryngwin, Radnorshire, who fell from his horse on his return home from Kington market, and instantly died of fracture and other injuries of the head. - Verdict, Accidental Death.


Cambrian, 13 October 1821

Murder. - On Saturday last, an inquest was held at the Knucklas, in the parish of Hayup, in the county of Radnor, before Edward Meredith, Esq. one of the Coroners for the county, for the purpose of ascertaining how Arthur Bedward, late of the parish of Beguildy, tailor (who was found murdered and thrown into a ditch near the road leading from Knighton to the Llayney), on the Friday morning preceding came by his death, - and after a patient and attentive examination of the case, the jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against Samuel Harley, of the parish of Knighton, labourer, and he was committed to the common gaol at Presteigne to take his trial for the same.  The deceased was an elderly man, of the age of 60 or upwards, and was murdered as he was going home from Knighton market on Thursday night, between the hours of ten and eleven; he has left a widow and ten children to lament his un timely end. - On Sunday Sam. Harley cut his throat with a razor in prison, and no hopes are entertained of his recovery.


The Observer, 14 October 1821

MURDER. - On Saturday last an inquest was held at [Knuticklas], in the parish of Hayup, in the county of Radnor, before Edward Meredith, Esq. one of the coroners for the county, for the purpose of ascertaining how Arthur Bedward, late of the parish of Beguilday, tailor (who was found murdered and thrown in a ditch near the road leading  from Knighton to the Llayney), on the Friday morning preceding, came by his death; and after a patient and attentive examination of the case, the Jury returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against Samuel Harley, of the parish of Knighton, labourer, and he was committed to the common gaol at Presteigne to take his trial for the same.  The deceased was an elderly man of the age of  sixty or upwards, and was murdered as he was going home from Knighton market on the Thursday night, between the hours of ten and eleven; he has left a wife and ten children to lament his untimely end.  On Sunday, S. Harley cut his throat with a razor in the prison, and no hopes are entertained of his recovery. [See 27 April 1822: trial.]


Cambrian, 27 April 1822

RADNOR GREAT SESSIONS. - The Great Sessions for Radnorshire, holden at Presteigne, closed on Friday last.  There was no civil cause, and only one criminal, who was tried before Chief-Justice Wingfield; Mr. Justice Casberd being unable, from illness, to come into Court; but we are happy to learn that he is now convalescent.

   As this trial excited very great interest, we rejoice in having an opportunity of laying before our readers authentic notes of the evidence, as taken at the trial, and obligingly communicated to us.'

   The prisoner, Samuel Harley, a good-looking man, about twenty-nine years of age, who had been a gentleman's servant, but was turned away for misdemeanours, and was living with his mother in the town of Knighton, in a state of idleness, till his commitment, was indicted for the wilful murder of Arthur Bedward, a tailor, an inoffensive old man, living at the Lloyney, in the parish of Beguildy, in the county of Radnor, on the night of Thursday, the 4th of October last.

   The Attorney-General stated the case for the prosecution, in a forcible,  well arranged, and luminous speech, which was fully borne out by the testimony subsequently adduced.

   The first witness called was Mr. E. Meredith, surgeon and coroner, who held an inquest on Bedward, on the 6th of October.  He described several wounds on the head of the deceased, who was a man of light weight, and appeared about 60 years of age.  The wounds were certainly the cause of his death.

   Mr. Baxter, surgeon. - There was a wound upon the head of the deceased, made apparently with a heavy and blunt instrument.  It must have occasioned instant death.  It was impossible he could have received it by accident.

   Richard Thomas, victualler. 0 Lives at the Fleece-inn, Knighton; remembers that the prisoner (Saml. Harley), and one Wm. Roberts, were with the deceased at his house on the night of Thursday, Oct. 4th; they supped there.  Deceased paid witness  some money for some mutton he had purchased of him before; he said, "as I have some silver, it is as well I should pay you."  He then took out a little purse, with seemingly two notes in it, and he pulled out half-a-crown from other silver, and paid him.  Deceased then put the purse and the two bills back into his pocket, and buttoned it up. Deceased, prisoner, and Roberts, left witness's house together, a little before ten o'clock.  Bedward was rather in liquor, but noting to hinder his going home. Harley, the prisoner, had a good hat on, a white kerchief round his neck, a  stable jacket of fresh fustian, rather light coloured of its sort, a dark and light striped waistcoat, light coloured ribbed small-clothes, dark worsted stockings, and common shoes.  Bedward, the deceased, wore a dark coat, almost black, and longish.

  William Roberts. - Went into the Fleece-inn on the evening of the 4th of October.  Harley, the prisoner, was the only person drinking there; they did not drink together; saw Arthur Bedward come in while he and the prisoner were in the room, and staid till half after nine; Bedward and witness then went out to go home; prisoner paid his reckoning and overtook them, and entreated witness to have a share of a jug of ale at the Star.  Witness s aid, "With all my heart, if Mr. Bedward will go home without me."  Witness heard prisoner  say, that he was going as far as the Lloyney with Bedward;  witness was behind waiting; Harley came back - he said, "Now Roberts, we'll go to the Star, and have a share of a jug of ale together."  Prisoner also said, "You shall go in foremost,  for Jack of the Star (the landlord) is a quarrelsome fellow, and may kick up a row."  Prisoner then said, he would go in by hr e back door.  Witness  went to the front door, and there was a carriage near; witness looked, into the house, but Harley did not go in.  Witness saw Bedward pay the landlord half-a-crown at the Fleece; he saw no bills; but in some discourse, he  said he had from 30s. to 2l. about him.  Harley was near enough to hear him.

   Thos. Meredith, servant to Mr. Price, of Knighton. - Knew the deceased Arthur Bedward, of the Lloyney; he paid him a pound on the 4th Oct. On a Thursday, at Mr. Price's house, about four in the evening; it was a Kington and Radnor note, and was a fresh-looking one; witness received it of Mrs. Evans, of the Talbot-inn, Aberystwyth.

   John Edwards, a waggoner, servant to Mr. Thos. Judges, of Lower-Hall. - Was on the road between Knighton and Knucklys, about  ten o'clock, on the 4th  Oct. before his team, about the Fir-trees, he met old Mr. Arthur Bedward, tailor; he spoke to him; he was going to the Knucklys on his way home a   quarter of a mile from Knighton.  He soon afterwards saw somebody, who asked him if he met any body on the road before; he said he did, and told the enquirer it was Arthur Bedward; the man said nothing, bur  went off at a run  towards Knucklys, where Bedward had gone; he was dressed in a hat, a light jacket, a light breeches, a ,light cravat, and a light  waistcoat; his jacket was open, can't  tell whether striped or not; the man was not quite his height; could not see the person's face.

   Thomas Owens, bailiff to Mr. Griffith, of Cwm-gwilly. Was on the road on the 4th Oct. between Knighton and the Knucklys, between ten and eleven o'clock; knows the white rails, near the one end of the Lord's Meadow, by the side of the road; there is a stile just by the rails into the Lord's Meadow; and a footpath comes all down the same into the road, before you come to Knighton; the fir-trees are between Knighton and the stile, - it might be a mile and a half; he passed the white rails, and saw a man with a light jacket, and small clothes, nearly of the same colour; he did not notice whether he had a hat on; he was leaning against the r ails, and as witness passed him he rather drew on; he did not observe his height, and it was too dark to see his face; thing; he rode on towards Knighton, which was about 400 yards beyond the white rails; and between the two stiles where the footpath goes in and out of the field, he passed another man - he wished him good night, but he did not know whether he answered him or not; he did not observe whether he was a young or an old man.

   James Knill, of Knighton, joiner. Knows Arthur Bedward; was on the road between Knighton  and Knucklys, on the 5th October, about nine in the morning - saw blood upon the road - saw Mr.  Bedward out of the road about nine feet; he lay upon his back near the ditch.  Witness went up to him, put his hand upon the face, which was cold; the blood induced him to look there; he can't  tell whether the person could behave  fallen there; it was two or three hundred yards from the white rails; he communicated it to Mr. Spencer's servant, the first house he came to.

   Samuel Webb. - Remembers 5th of October last; saw Arthur Bedward dead, down in the ditch, on the lower side of the road; he was lying upon his back; it was the same side of the road with the white rails.  There was no hat on the body when he saw it; bur he saw a hat upon a place in the hedge, a yard above the body.  The hat must have been thrown there.  It had the appearance of being knocked in by violence; the rim was torn a good deal.  It appeared to have been broken by a stick.  There was some brown stringy substance upon the hat, like the bark of a stake.  From the position of the body, the deceased could not have fallen into the ditch.  The blood was in one place, about three yards from the body.   Witness, John Williams, and Thomas Clarke, carried the body upon a rack to a public-house at the Knucklys. - The breeches pockets were unbuttoned, and half turned out.  There was nothing in the breeches pockets, but [s l.] in copper in the waistcoat, and several other things in the coat pockets.  There was no appearance of the other pockets having been turned out.

   John Clare, of Lloyney, shoemaker. - Assisted last witness to remove the body of Arthur Bedward.  Was present when his pockets were searched.  Saw his breeches pockets searched.  Knows the road from Knighton to Knucklys; he went to the place on Saturday.  He saw a stake in a rough place below the place where the body was found; he took up the stake, and brought it to Knucklys. - The stake was delivered to Richard Jones, the constable.

   H. Jones. - Is a shoemaker.  The prisoner lived as neighbour to him in October last, at Knighton.  On the 4th October, at night, he saw the prisoner come to his door, about three or four minutes before eleven o'clock at night, to bring a watch which he had promised to lend witness's wife.  The door was shut, and he opened it to prisoner; it was light, but he had a candle in his hand.  Prisoner's shoes, stockings, jacket and hat were off.  He observed nothing else about his appearance; his hair seemed rather moist, from perspiration.    He asked him why he came with his shoes and stockings off, through the dirt?  He said, never mind that.  Before this, he had heard a person pass his door, about three minutes.  The person was going towards prisoner's house; the tread was rather quick.   A person coming from Beguildy to prisoner's home, must pass witness's house.

   Samuel Passy, constable, of Knighton. - Prisoner was in his custody 5th of October.  Prisoner was searched by him.  He  said but little; made no resistance, and suffered himself to be searched.  He found a Kington note in his watch pocket.  Whilst he was taking it out of his pocket, prisoner said, "that is only a piece of brown paper." He made an effort to take it. [The note was produced in Court.]

   Richard Thomas. - Was in company with the prisoner and Passy on the 5th of October, and asked prisoner whether he had any kind of a bill about him; he  said he had no bill of any description, and only a few shillings in silver.  He was immediately searched by Mr. Passy, and a Knighton bill found in his watch-fob.  When Passy took the bill, prisoner made a dart at it.  Witness took hold of him, and made him sit down.  He said, before he was searched, he had only a bit of brown paper.  They handcuffed him as soon as he attempted to take the bill.  Witness was with him at night.  The Sunday night  he and the prisoner were at the Fleece-inn, in Knighton, on the bed together; he had him in charge.  On that evening prisoner cut his throat.  Witness had been up two nights; and might be dozing.  He heard the bed shake, and saw prisoner cut his throat.  Witness said, you s----d rogue, what is that," and pushed him towards the bed.

   Richard Jones. - Was constable on the 6th Oct.; produced a stake given him at the inquest, and a hat.  The hat was much misshapen by blows, and the stake had the appearance of having been used.

   Richard Edward. - Was in gaol for debt in Oct. last; remembers prisoner there; he was in bad health from a wound on the throat.  Witness was one of the persons appointed to sit up with him; he and the keeper sat with him on the 13th Oct.; he had conversation with him, and told him he did not wish know any thing about the murder; at three in the morning the conversation took place.  Prisoner told him that Arthur Bedward started from the house, and he followed him in about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour; he met a waggoner on the road, and asked him if he met any body on the road; the man told him that he met Arthur Bedward; he went over a stile, ran on, and passed Bedward on the road; he procured a stake, and, after he had passed him, struck him three or four times on the back part of the head; he took 6s. from his pocket, and threw him down in the ditch or dingle, and left him; he came home, and was about an hour away.  Witness told this to the keeper of the prison the week before he was liberated in November last; he knew the prisoner at the bar before; the keeper was gone for coals at the time of the conversation, which took place when he and prisoner were alone.

   The jury brought in a verdict of guilty almost instanter, - and the Chief Justice passed sentence of  death in a most solemn and impressive speech; but the prisoner did not appear much affected at his awful situation.  He was ordered for execution on Monday last.

   [From a plan of the road it appears, that there is a foot-path by the side of it, which the murderer must have gone to get before his victim.


The Cambrian, 10 July 1824

   A lamentable and fatal occurrence took place lately at Nanimel, in Radnorshire; the servant girl of an aged female who resided in the parish, from some cause determined to destroy her mistress, and for that purpose put a quantity of arsenic in some gin, of which her mistress took a small portion on Saturday, the 19th ult.  In consequence of the severe illness which followed, a medical gentleman was sent for on the Monday; having been up on the previous night with a patient, he complained of fatigue on entering the house, and was pressed to take some refreshment, when he also drank a small glass of the gin.  Whilst examining his patient, the daughter of the old woman, who attend her mother, found a paper of white powder in the pantry, which she took to the surgeon, who instantly pronounced it to be arsenic, and feeling himself at the same time seriously affected, he desired  the bottle of gin to be brought to him, when he found a quantity of arsenic in it, and the cause of his patient's illness and his own danger from having partaken of the gin, at the same time became painfully obvious to him.  He instantly resorted to such remedies as the house afforded for himself and his patient, and whilst so occupied the servant girl absconded.  Suspicion of course attached to her, and W. D. Field, Esq. of Bryncwmlo, issued a warrant for her apprehension, which took place on Tuesday, the constables having met her returning from Rhayader.  When taken before Mr. Field the girl became alarmingly ill, and then confessed that she had the previous day after she fled, purchased 2d. worth of arsenic at Rhayader, which she swallowed in a dry state, unobserved by the constable, when she was taken into custody.  The wretched girl expired early on the Wednesday morning in great agony, and her unfortunate mistress, notwithstanding every exertion of professional skill, also died on the Thursday.  The medical gentleman, owing to the prompt measures he was enabled to adopt, is nearly recovered from the effects of the poison, though probably it will be some time before he is quite well.  A coroner's inquest returned a verdict of lunacy, which was clearly the case as to the girl; and death in consequence of poison having been administered, as to the mistress.


The Cambrian, 15 January 1825

SINGULAR OCCURRENCE. - A correspondent states,   a short grime since as two woman were crossing a field belonging to the Burton Arms Inn, Llandegley, Radnorshire, the night being dark, they deviated from the footpath and the one accidentally stepped into a bog and lost her patten; the next day her husband went to look for it, when to his great surprise he discovered a human skull and several other bones.  A coroner's inquest has been held on the remains, and an eminent surgeon was present, who stated his belief that there had been a murder committed upon some person unknown, but how long since or by whom appears to be enveloped in mystery, except compunctions of conscience should cause the perpetrator of the horrid deed to confess the crime, before he shall be summoned to appear before that dreadful tribunal to all those "who forget God."


The Cambrian, 12 August 1826

   The Great Sessions for the county of Radnor commenced at Presteigne, on Monday se'nnight.  The only prisoner convicted, was Henry Williams, of the parish of Llowes, charged with having cut the throat of his wife, Jane Williams, with intent to murder her, aghast whom sentence of death was recorded, which, however, it is understood, is to be commuted to twelve months' imprisonment with hard labour.


The Cambrian, 14 June 1828

   On Tuesday the 27th ult. an inquest was held at the Hundred House, in the parish of Llansaintfrewas-in-Elvil, in the county of Radnor, before Edward Meredith, Gent. one of the Coroners for the said county of Radnor, upon the body of Jeremiah Morgan, who hung himself. - verdict returned Lunacy.


Carmarthen Journal, 21 November 1828

   On Tuesday the 11th day of November inst. an inquest was held at Llangunilo, in the county of Radnor, before Edward Meredith, Esq. one of the Coroners of the said county, upon the body of T. Davies, who was killed whist working in a quarry, by the stones falling upon him.  Verdict, accidental death.


Carmarthen Journal, 8 May 1829


   On Monday, at Knighton, Radnorshire, aged 60, Edw. Meredith, Esq. surgeon, and one of the coroners for the county of Radnor.


The Cambrian, 17 April 1830

At the Radnorshire Great Sessions, Martha Preece, of the parish of Presteigne, aged 27, for concealing the birth of her male illegitimate child, was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment.


The Cambrian, 20 December 1828

   Thomas Thomas, of Howey, blacksmith, has been committed to Presteigne Gaol, charged with feloniously killing William Phillips.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 12 May 1832
On Tuesday last, at the Rayder, Susan Matthews, aged 24, immediately after giving birth to two children, one of which survives the unfortunate mother.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 25 April 1840


   About five o'clock on Saturday evening last, Jane Davies, aged nine years, daughter of a labourer, residing in the parish of Whitton, near Presteign, was putting a kettle on the fire, when her clothes ignited, and being alone, she ran immediately into the garden: the air caused the flame to increase rapidly, and she was so much injured as to die at three o'clock the following morning.

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