ST. AUSTELL AREA
WEST BRITON AND CORNWALL ADVERTISER NEWSPAPER
6 AUGUST 1847 , Friday
J. Mosman, OPC
The following were sworn on the Grand Jury:
Sir W.L.S. TRELAWNY, Bart., Lord Lieutenant of the County, Foreman
The Hon. G. M. Fortescue.......................................C. P. Brune, Esq.
Sir C. Lemon, Bart. .............................................J. Gwatkin, Esq.
E.W. W. Pendarves, Esq. .......................................J. D. Gilbert, Esq.
W.H. P. Carew, Esq. ............................................E. Archer, Esq.
T.J. A. Robartes, Esq. ..........................................W. D. Horndon, Esq.
C. B. G. Sawle, Esq. ............................................W. Hext, Esq.
G. W. F. Gregor, Esq. ..........................................W. Peel, Esq.
J. K. Lethbridge, Esq. ..........................................H. Thomson, Esq.
F. Rodd, Esq. ....................................................W. Morshead, Esq.
The Mayors and Coroners were then called, and answered to their names; and after the Queen's proclamation against vice and immorality had been read, his lordship delivered the following CHARGE –
[had read the depositions, and only thought to discuss "a class of offences which is extremely dangerous to the public peace and well doing of the whole country. That class is one which comprises three distinct species of offences. There is the offence of riot, the offence of rout, that of remaining out unlawfully simply, and remaining out in a state of riot and tumult after the proclamation against riot is read, and the parties so out are requested and commanded to depart. I am sorry to say with respect to one species of offences within that class, it is attended with particularly dangerous circumstances."]
TRIALS OF THE PRISONERS
RIOT AT ST. AUSTELL - JOSEPH HORE, 35, RICHARD WEBB, 27, ELIAS NEWCOMBE, 32, WILLIAM OSBORN, 24, RICHARD JULYAN, 31, WILLIAM HANCOCK, 24, MATTHEW ROBERTS, 21, JOHN PAYNE, 22, JOHN BENNETTS, 24, WILLIAM BUNT, 46, PHILIP MATTHEWS, 25, JACOB HANCOCK, 24, WILLIAM TELLAM, 27, CHARLES FAULL, 23, RICHARD KESTELL, 28, AND JOHN COCK, 21, were placed at the bar, indicted for tumultuously and riotously assembling together on the 11th of June last, at the parish of St. Austell, armed with sticks, and for remaining riotously assembled for the space of six hours and upwards, to the great disturbance of her Majesty's subjects. MR. ROWE and MR. MERIVALE conducted the prosecution; MR. SLADE, assisted by MR. BENNELLACK and MR. GILBERT HAMLEY as attorneys, defended the prisoners. The trial excited considerable interest, the court being much crowded throughout the proceeding.
Mr. Rowe stated the case to the jury, and then called the following witnesses:
CAPTAIN HANCOCK, of Buckler's mine, said two of the prisoners, KESTELL and FAULL, worked at that mine, their earnings being from 15s. to 17s. per week. On the morning of the 11th of June I was informed that the miners had risen. I saw Kestell and Faull with about thirty or forty others round a shaft; I asked them why they were not at work, and they said the report was that the price of bread was risen in the town the night before, and it was of no use for them to work any more. Kestell spoke of the flour rising; I asked what are you going to do in the matter? They said we are going to see what we can do by it. I said they would only make it worse, and it was far better for them to go to their work at once.
Charles Faull said we are going on to the higher quarter of the parish where the clay works are. I asked them what they had to do with the higher quarter men, and said these poor men are differently situated from what you are with the wages you are getting. I told them the average wages in the mine for the last month was more than 17s. a week, and if they had anything to complain of they ought to come to the agents at the account house first and make known their complaints. I said they had as much as we could allow them, and they would bring disgrace upon us by circulating a report that they were in want. I again advised them to go to work, upon which they told me the miners in the neighbourhood were about to rise also. They said they had made up their minds for it; it was useless for them to work; they wanted to lower the price of corn (grain).
After some time I went back thinking they might go to work, but as they did not I went again and told them if they did not go to work I would get others in their place. Some of them went to work, but the rest who were surrounding the shaft still refused to go to work; and I heard Kestell say, "we'll go in and rob the shops and shove the b-rs in the common sewer." I went back a short distance and soon after about forty of them started, the greater part going towards the turnpike road.
CROSS-EXAMINED BY MR. SLADE - I knew there was some ferment about this time among the poorer class on account of the high price of bread. I did not see Faull in the town in any row that day.
RICHARD MICHELL, captain of a china-clay work, called Blue Barrow, in the higher quarter of the parish of St. Austell, deposed -
On the 11th of June last, I saw several miners and claymen come into the clay works, and among them were Kestell and Faull. About forty miners came in and about two hundred clay work men. I asked what their intention was, and they said to get the price of corn down. They said it was reported the day before that Mr. WARNE, of St. Austell, had risen the price of corn to £ 2.4s. a bushel, and their wages would not enable them to purchase it. When they came, all my men, about thirty, were at their work. They went on through the works and I followed them up to the clay yard. They had taken the masons from the roof of the house, and I asked them to leave me one or two, which they consented to do. They afterwards went away, and all my men went with them except six.
JOHN MARK, a carpenter at St. Austell said -
On the 11th of June, I was working at Blue Barrow clay work, and saw CHARLES FAULL and RICHARD KESTELL there with others. One of the men "clenched" me to make me go, and called to Charles Faull, who then came up and also "clenched" me. I said I must know before I would go what they were going to do, on which Faull said they were going to get the corn cheaper, and they were going to level the town if they did not get it. He then took some of the tools from my hand and carried them into the house, and I went with them towards Roche.
Afterwards we returned towards St. Austell, and when we came to Carthew, MR. THRISCUTT called me from the rest and said I had no business there. I went on some way and told the rest I would go home to change, and come to the town in the evening. Faull took me by the collar and said I must to into the town with them. I went as far as Lansellsen clay work, and sat on the hedge by the side of the turnpike. I said to the rest, there were men by the side of the turnpike and if they pressed me they must also press them. There might have been two hundred or two hundred and fifty men scattered about there; they went on the road and left me behind.
After the mob were gone, I thought as I was near the town I would walk in; the only place I saw Kestell was at Blowing-House.
CROSS-EXAMINED BY MR. SLADE - A great many more went to see the soldiers than about the price of corn.
HENRY THRISCUTT deposed -
My father is a china clay merchant at St. Austell. On the 11th of July I was at Carthew, and saw between two and three hundred miners and china clay men there, the majority of them carrying large sticks. I saw Charles Faull there, and advised him and others that if they went into the town they should go as peaceably as they could, and drop those cudgels, as they would be marked men; but they laughed at what I said. Faull had a large stick in his hands; I told them it was nothing to laugh at; they had never been in a riot, but I had, and two men were shot at the time. Faull said it was as well to be shot as starved. Whilst I was in the shop, Charles Faull and the miners persuaded some of the claymen to go, and forced others. They went toward St. Austell, and I also rode into the town, the road being crowded all the way.
CROSS-EXAMINED BY MR. SLADE - Faull told some of the men to come on, and others he drove out of the blacksmith's shop. I did not recognize any of the men at the bar in St. Austell.
NICHOLAS KENDALL deposed as follows:
I am a magistrate of this county, and at present High Sheriff. In consequence of information I received at my own house, I went to St. Austell on the 11th of June, and arrived there about half-past ten or eleven o'clock. I had made previous arrangements to get the military sent on quickly from Bodmin. On my arrival, I found Sir JOSEPH SAWLE and MR. HEXT, both magistrates, and the Under Sheriff, Mr. THOMAS COODE. I rather think the preventive force were then in the town, but did not at that time show themselves. The town then appeared to be very quiet. About one o'clock , I proceeded to the Town Hall to swear in special constables. We had information that there was an immense gathering in the neighbourhood.
About half-past two, I left the town Hall in company with the under sheriff, in consequence of what I had heard. At that time I believe the military had arrived and were at the Town Hall. Mr. Coode's house if at the point where the Bodmin road is joined by the old western turnpike. I went with Mr. Coode towards that house, and on approaching it found a considerable number of persons collected on the Bodmin road. I suppose there might have been nearly four hundred there at the time. As I approached the mob shouted, but what their object was I could not tell, whether in defiance or not. Most of them had sticks in their hands, some of which were of enormous size, so large that in a crowd they could not possibly be used, they were so very high and large. We entered Mr. Coode's house to view the proceedings of the people from his windows.
I thought that knowing the military were in the town they might disperse without using active measures; but shortly after I heard a cry of "Warne's Mills," and this was accompanied by a rush of the people over the old turnpike western road. Finding that Warne's mills were flour mills, I said "now we must move." I and the Under Sheriff were at that time alone. The people went on so fast that we were obliged to run to get up to them. There are shops on that road, and I saw on ahead, as I was moving very fast, an entry made to a shop on the left hand side; they ran in and were out again in three or four seconds. The rest of the mob were moving on, and I saw others try a door on the right hand side.
I saw a man with something like a large pick-hilt strike at the door, but it resisted, and the man moved on with the rest. By this time, I and the Under-Sheriff had got past the mob, thinking it very desirable in order to speak to them if possible. I then mounted on a wall and addressed the people. I observed HORE, one of the prisoners; he was about twenty yards from me, and I saw him very frequently during the day. I noticed him from his having a very peculiar eye.
The mob were in a very excited state, crying "Warne's mills," and evidently intending to break the mills open.
I reside at Pelyn, and am much interested in the welfare of the mines of that district. The price of provisions was very high in the country. I told the mob that under ordinary circumstances nothing would induce me to hold a parley with them at all, but as I knew there was great distress in the country I would gladly hear all they had to say, and advised them to send a deputation to the magistrates.
Several men among them were very violent, and did not wish to send a deputation, but others were very reasonable, and said "hear the gentleman, let us send some of our own men," or something to that effect. The Under-Sheriff then addressed them as being a neighbour and a friend; and that seemed to produce great effect. They asked what time we would meet the deputation; I said in half-an-hour, and they then asked for an hour, which was granted. I said to them "mind my good fellows, don't you keep up a row during the time," on which they behaved exceedingly well, and promised to be quiet; there appeared to be an excellent feeling among them. We then went to the Town Hall.
About half an hour later, I received information about the rifling of a shop belonging to MR. PEDLAR, near the town Hall, in the Fore-Street. Upon that I said "it may be a false alarm, pray let as few as possible of us go there; I would not be accused for the world to have broken faith with them." But when I arrived at Pedlar's shop, I found there was a great confusion and row. There were some hundreds there, and the noise was that of persons under great excitement, and was calculated to excite alarm.
When I came I found they were rifling the shop. I said "what can you mean by all this, do you call this being quiet?" I said "in the Queens name, I order you to disperse." At that moment, two men turned round, whom I cannot identify. They bid me defiance, but did not strike me. They were under violent excitement; they raised their sticks and were squaring at me.
When I arrived there was only one special constable following me; but when these men had squared up towards me, the preventive men came up, and I said "preventive men, take these men into custody this moment;" and after they were taken, I said "move those fellows as fast as possible to the clink." The preventive men took them away, having their arms in one hand and holding the prisoners with the other. I said to the preventive men "quick my good fellows, as quick as possible." I saw what my position was, and that we were too few.
Then about the length of this table I saw a man evidently preparing to obstruct me. I was just in front, and the preventive men were close behind me. When I saw the man about to obstruct me, I said "move my good fellow, move on one side." That was MATTHEW ROBERTS, the tallest of the prisoners. He had a stick in his hand of a fair size, but not as large as many I saw there. He lifted it towards me, and I had him by the throat in a moment, by the collar. I said "how dare you?" I had a most powerful constable at my elbow called ROBERTS, and I told him to take this man on. The constable and myself were left almost alone at this time. I am not aware that the prisoner Roberts knew I was the sheriff.
The riot seemed to subside for a short time after the capture of this man, and we met the deputation at the school-room. I had given them to understand than whoever came of the deputation, I would take no advantage of them.
On my saying I would have nothing to do with them unless they repudiated the doings of the men at Pedlar's shop, they said they were very sorry and knew nothing of them. They said they wanted to have corn lower. I said "this is perfectly impossible; we ought to be obliged to the persons who would bring us corn into this neighbourhood at any price, and I doubted whether those who were the most riotous were in the greatest distress. In my own neighbourhood, I told them subscriptions had been made to relive the distress; and I said I would give them my word to call a meeting, and an influential gentleman, Sir JOSEPH SAWLE, would come forward to assist.
"They said I should let the man out." I said "you mistake your position; I am the commander, and not to be commanded."
At first, they spoke in rather a peremptory tone, and some of them fought very hard for it; but others said "let's trust to the gentleman, and we will disperse." They asked me to go to the Market House to address the people and tell them the understanding we had come to.
I then with the magistrates went to the Town Hall and mounted a leaping stock in front of it, and addressed the people. Their answer was "let go the man." I told them as calmly and temperately as I could, that that was impossible; I could not be dictated to, and would make no promise directly or indirectly. I advised them to go home as speedily as possible. Nothing could exceed the anxiety of the Under-Sheriff: being a fellow-townsman, and having influence in the place, he did all he possibly could to induce them to keep order.
At that time I observed the prisoner Hore frequently, and I recognized Philip Matthews as being very active. I also recollect seeing John Paine; the two were together and very active; I do not recollect any particular expression, but I had my eye on them as busy active men. William BUNT I saw under the leaping stock and also Hore. I said to Bunt "my good old man what business can you have here; you show a very bad example; do go home, this is coming to a very serious matter." I said "I am trying all I can by fair means, but mind me, eventually I will have peace and order," or something to that effect.
I don't know what led to his answer, but I recollect very well his saying "it is as well to be shot as to be starved." Cock I recognized after I left the leaping stock, standing on it. I said at that time, "Mr. Under-Sheriff, speaking on our part will do more harm than good; they will think it cowardice; I shall take my course; I shall speak no more." I then returned into the Town Hall.
After that the Under Sheriff warned them from the window, and was so anxious that he went down and talked with them. After that I went through the process of reading the riot act. There were constant shouts of "let out the man." There was a dense crowd, and I heard expressions of "force for force."
After the riot act was read the soldiers were ordered to load behind the grill. The commanding officer proposed loading outside, but I said they had better load inside that it might be seen I was determined. The infantry were then formed outside the Town Hall with fixed bayonets, upon which, as they were filing out, some of the mob attempted to get by the side of them; their object was to let the military pass out and get in their rear. I said that rather than do that they must have the bayonet.
I recollect that old man Bunt standing there; I said "you stupid old fool, don't you have the bayonet into you." and I put him on our side.
Previous to forming the military an arrangement was made. Captain Johnson insisted on having one magistrate at his elbow, and Mr. Hext remained with him; Sir Joseph Sawle stayed in charge of the preventive men; and I asked those who wished among the special constables to volunteer to go in front of the soldiers, and see if we could so without their assistance. It was arranged that after the military had cleared a small space in front they should open and allow us to pass; that when I fixed my eye upon a man I should point him out to the special constables, who would take him and pass him back, the military closing again to prevent a rescue.
The first two or three men I believe were astonished at being taken so speedily. I put my hand on most of the men, and the constables then took them; among those I put my hand on were the prisoners Payne and Matthews. There was but a slight case against one of the men.
The streets were cleared three times I think at the point of the bayonet, and this old man, Webb, was constantly coming back, until, at length, as he was so big and so insolent, I said we must take this man into custody. I thought he acted from ignorance, and should be glad to have been spared taking him. He said he was determined to go that way for tobacco; he had gone that way so long he was determined to go that way again.
CROSS-EXAMINED by Mr. Slade: I was so fearful that the mob would get behind the soldiers that I said "none of them must get here, if they must have the bayonet let them have it," so determined did they appear to get there. The soldiers filed out very gradually; before a single man was taken they were told to go; they could have turned, although I don't mean to say that any man could have gone easily, he must have pushed away; but they did not show any inclination to go away, they seemed most determined.
I read the whole of the riot act from a book handed me by Mr. Shilson, my legal adviser. I think it possible that Roberts might not have struck me when he raised the stick, because when I laid hold of him I observed a change come over him; his eye dropped. The men given in charge of the preventive men got away.
THOMAS COODE, Under Sheriff of the county, was then sworn, his evidence being principally corroborative of that given by the Sheriff.
In addition he deposed that on meeting some of the people he said to them, "I would advise you to throw away those weapons in your hands, upon which one man replied, "no, I shall not, for by and bye it may be useful." I saw the prisoner Hore and said to him "you cannot expect that the corn factors will bring corn into our neighbourhood if they are liable to have it taken from them." There was a general answer then made by the people that my observations were very reasonable. I said there was no corn in the farmers' hands, that they must depend upon the corn factors, and that I had been the means of bringing corn into the neighbourhood to supply the people's wants.
Before the riot act was read I leaned out of the window and addressed them as a fellow townsman in the most persuasive language that I could use. I begged them to go home in peace, for the sheriff was about to read the riot act, and if he did the consequences, I was afraid, would be very serious to some of them; I told them the consequences if they remained an hour after the act was read.
After the act was read, Mr. Kendall said it was useless to try any more in the shape of persuasion. I said I will try at all events, and I went down to the gates of the Town Hall and spoke to the people through the bars. Hancock was there and said "we will resist force by force, we won't go away alive without the man."
I entreated the women to go away, and begged those persons who were there from mere curiosity to depart. I said to Hancock, "aft the expression you made use of to me I entreat you to go, for from this time you will be a marked man." He again said he would not go without the man. I told the people that as to resisting force by force it was absurd, as I had seen the soldiers load with ball, and they had been commanded by the officer to fire among the people and not over their heads. I said that if the threats of resistance were carried out, the street would very shortly be flowing with human blood. Some one in the crowd replied that it was as well to be shot as to die from starvation; another reply was "If we are prepared to die we may as well go now as at another time." Shortly after this the streets were cleared.
MRS. HANNAH ROWE said, my husband is a baker at St. Austell. One of the mob came into my shop with a pick hilt, and also others. They asked for something to eat. I said "wait a moment," but they said they could not wait. The man with the pick hilt then took the bread and threw it among the mob. I pushed him out, and he came in a second and third time, when he held up the pick hilt and said "if you don't go out I'll scat your brains out." They did not quite clear my shop.
JOHN BUDGE, a flour dealer at St. Austell, deposed - On the day in question the prisoner Bunt came into my shop and inquired the price of flour. When I told him, he said "that price won't do; we'll have it cheaper." I replied "I cannot sell it for less," to which he answered "we'll have some for nothing; you'll be the next that we'll come to." At the same time friendly persons came into my shop and advised me to put up the shutters, which I did.
EDMUND BROWNE said - I was sworn in as a special constable on the day in question, and was in the street where Pedlar's shop is, when it was rifled. The mob came there in considerable numbers armed with sticks and bludgeons, with noise and violence. I saw a rush to the shop door, and being a constable I attempted to get in, upon which I was thrown across a barrow in the street. I subsequently saw the prisoners Newcombe, Osborne, Hore, and Webb taken into custody. Newcombe I think was pursuing his business, and Webb, I believe, is not very strong in intellect.
WILLIAM HART, constable of St. Austell, said - I was present when the riot act was read, and noticed the prisoner Cock several times addressing the mob. After the Sheriff had been requesting the people to disperse, Cock got up and said, "if you let out the man we will go quietly; if you do not we will take him out by force; if you meddle with us it will be death for every one of you; we will have life for life and blood for blood." The mob cheered him for what he was saying.
The REV. THOMAS JAMES BENNETT deposed - I was at the time in question a clergyman living at St. Austell. I was repeatedly present reasoning with the mob that day, from two o'clock, I believe, till nine at night; as some of them were from my own parish I thought I might have influence with them. I saw there Hore, Payne, Cock, and Matthews. Cock addressed the mob from the stepping-stock, but from the noise I could only hear the concluding words, "life for life, and blood for blood."
Several special and other constables were then called, who had taken the prisoners into custody and spoke to their identity.
JOSEPH ROBINS deposed - The prisoner Kestell said to me, three weeks or a month before the riot took place - "you are a pretty fellow making such a price of corn." I told him it did not concern him; he had better go on. He said he would have my flour house down by another week, and if the mob should rise he would be the foremost man, and down it should come.
CROSS-EXAMINED - I should think Kestell had been drinking a good deal when he made use of this language.
Mr. SLADE then addressed the jury in behalf of the prisoners. He contended that from the circumstances attending this riot, it was evident that the great delinquents had escaped, and those at the bar were only the minor culprits, who were in the town from a motive of [curiosity]. He then [covered] the evidence that had been given, and contended that Webb, Newcombe, Hore, Osborne, Julyan, and others were clearly entitled to an acquittal.
The UNDER-SHERIFF said he believed Webb was a man of weak intellect, and was not in the town at the time of the riot; Hancock, he said, was a hard-working man on all occasions.
A great number of witnesses were then called, who gave each of the prisoners a good character. The learned Judge then summed up with great care and at considerable length.
The jury ACQUITTED Webb, Newcombe, Osborne, Julyan, Bennetts, and Jacob Hancock; but they returned a verdict of GUILTY against Hore, Roberts, Payne, Bunt, Matthews, Tellam, Faull, Kestell, Cock, and William Hancock. They recommended Matthews, Payne, and Tellam to mercy on account of their good character. The sentences were deferred until the next day.
MONDAY, AUGUST 2
JOSEPH HORE, WILLIAM HANCOCK, and WILLIAM TELLAM, who had been convicted of rioting at St. Austell, were arraigned on an indictment for being riotously assembled at St. Austell on the 11th of June, and with feloniously remaining one hour after proclamation had been made and the riot act read. Mr. Rowe, on the part of the prosecution, stated that no evidence would be offered on this indictment, and the Judge directed an Acquittal.
The prisoners who had been convicted of rioting, Joseph Hore, William Hancock, Matthew Roberts, John Payne, William Bunt, Philip Matthrews, William Tellam, Charles Faull, Richard Kestell, and John Cock, were subsequently placed at the bar, and the learned Judge addressed them as follows:
You have been convicted of having been concerned in a very dangerous riot. This county, it appears, has been distinguished from any others for its peace and good order, not only among persons of your class of life, but in other classes in times of public calamity and distress; and it is to be lamented, under the circumstances of the present case, that so many of you, who are able men, and most of you young men, capable of maintaining yourselves honestly, and at the time in good employ, should have been led to associate for the purpose for which you now stand at the bar.
It does not appear, whatever might be the public calamity, that any of you were in that state of distress as to find any apology from your sufferings for interfering or attempting to interfere with the property of others. It is said that the earnings of the men at Buckler's mine were good wages. Many of you are men without large families, with wages beyond those which agricultural labourers in the county are receiving, and having means of enjoyment beyond what they possess. Yet from your connection with each other, and the facility with which you can combine and associate, you thought fit to avail yourselves of this time of public calamity, which did not bear upon you as it did upon others, to disturb the public peace to a most outrageous degree. From the description of what took place, and of the conduct of them who induced it, this must have been a most terrific riot.
The Sheriff of this county appears to me to have conducted himself in a most exemplary manner, entitling him to the thanks of the public in general, and especially of this county. He united kindness and forbearance with a proper degree of manly [purpose], so as to give you every opportunity of considering and altering your conduct, whilst at the same time there was no such forbearance as to give you any encouragement, or from which you might suppose that any fear existed on the part of the magistrates.
Your conduct was such that it was necessary to call out the military, and you placed yourselves every one of you in the situation of felons, by remaining after the riot act was read. The Sheriff himself was compelled to come out among you and run great personal hazard; and the greatest excitement and alarm existed in the usually peaceable town of St. Austell . What call had you to conduct yourselves in such a manner? What right had you to interfere with the property of those who were not concerned in raising the price of corn, even if you had a right to interfere with that? But the honest tradesman, carrying on his business properly, you could have no business to interfere with.
What would you have thought if any of the mine owners had told you; "we are selling the ore at too cheap a rate, we cannot afford to pay you such wages; we shall employ you to work at such wages as we please." What would you have thought if they had raised a mob to compel you to that? And yet you would compel the flour dealers, and you raised a mob for that purpose. But what can be expected from a mob interfering with the bringing of corn into the country? Supposing you had broken into every shop, where you and your neighbours are supplied, how soon would the stock have been exhausted, and how increased must the distress to be which all around would be subjected.
Where is the honestly to which some of you claim a character, when you break into a shop and deliver out the bread to those you don't know whom, thus committing the most audacious robbery in mid-day, upon a person who could probably less afford to lose it than yourselves. While there the language used must have been calculated to place this county in a most fearful situation.
There were some of you, although now you bring a character as peaceable men, were tempted to demand blood for blood and life for life, and might have been led on to attack life and produce the flowing of that blood so idly spoken of. What must be the effect on a mob of infuriated men coming, perhaps, under the pressure of some distress, but mistaking the cause of that distress and not less its cure? What must be the effect on any man when individuals are crying out for blood, armed with sticks and bludgeons as you were? It is almost surprising that your lives were not sacrificed by the military [....]
And I cannot fail to remark that you are greatly indebted to the magistrates of this county, who have [declined] to try you all as felons. You remained in the market place for one hour after the act was read, and might be placed at that bar as felons. Indeed you have been arraigned although no evidence has been offered against you. The magistrates, in the belief that that spirit of riot has passed away, hope that the spirit of mildness will operate as a warning to prevent a repetition of such outrages. I could not have thought I had done my duty to the public, or have left this county with a safe conscience, if I had not transported many of you if you had been convicted under the other indictment.
There are two of you standing in a peculiar situation; Richard Kestell and Charles Faull, and as you have been distinguished in crime so must your punishment be increased.
The learned Judge, after some further remarks, sentenced each of these prisoners to Two Years' imprisonment with hard labour. Joseph Hore he sentenced to Nine Months' hard labour; John Cock, the man who addressed the mob, to Eighteen Months; Matthew Roberts, who raised a stick against the Sheriff, to Eighteen Months'; William Hancock, to Twelve Months'; William Bunt, to Nine Months'; Phillip Matthews, and John Payne, each, to Six Months'; William Tellam to Nine Months' for the offence at St. Austell, and Eighteen Months' additional for striking Mr. Stephens, the magistrate, at Wadebridge. An attack upon a magistrate, the learned Judge observed, must be visited with severity.
RIOT AT WADEBRIDGE - WM. TELLAM, 27, who had been already convicted of riot at Saint Austell, was again placed at the bar and indicted for unlawfully and riotously assembling with other evil disposed persons at Wadebridge, on the 12th of May, armed with sticks and other offensive weapons, and continuing there a long space of time to the terror and alarm of her Majesty's subjects. A second count charged the prisoner with having assaulted EDWARD STEPHENS, a magistrate, while in the execution of his duty; and a third Court charged the prisoner with a common assault.
Mr. ROWE conducted the prosecution, and MR. SLADE defended the prisoner. After stating the case, Mr. Rowe called:
DANIEL WILLIAM LOVELL, who said - I am a police constable at Wadebridge. On Tuesday, the 12th of May, I noticed a number of people who had come into the town; they were near the corn cellars of Messrs. Hawke and Elson. About two hundred people were then there carrying large sticks and bludgeons. I heard them using violent language, saying that no more corn should be shipped, and that they would break in the cellars. I saw them breaking in the cellar door; there was a vessel there I believe for the purpose of shipping corn.
When they got into the stores one of them brought out a sack, and said "hurrah, hurrah, hurrah," and they then took it into the stores again; several parties were at that time running up and down the steps shouting and flourishing large bludgeons.
This riot being unexpected, there were no special constables, but Mr. Stephens had been sent for before the cellar door was broken in. Several farmers being at the inn, I mustered them at the reading room.
Mr. Stephens and I approached the people at the stores; they were then hurrahing and flourishing their bludgeons. I said to them "there is a magistrate coming, hear what he has to say he wishes to hear what your complaints are, and if it is in his power he will redress them." Mr. Stephens also spoke, and some said "well, let's hear what he's got to say;" but others cried out "don't hear what he's got to say, he's only going to delude us."
I was close to Mr. Stephens at the time. His hat was then knocked off, and several blows struck at him with large sticks. The magistrate was nearly down, and I saw a man aim a blow at his bare head, which I covered with my arm and received the blow. At that moment I also received a blow on the back of the head; I then drew a pistol, and threatened to shoot the first man dead that struck another blow.
They then fell back, and I saw William Tellam standing next but one to the man that aimed the blow I received on my arm. The magistrate and I then withdrew; he was going to address them, but I said I thought it was no use, and we went to the reading room where special constables were sworn in. We did not face the mob any more that evening. I have tried to apprehend others, but they have absconded.
Mr. Richard DAVIS is a marine store dealer at Wadebridge; I went in company with him to Bodmin gaol on the 23rd of June. Several prisoners were then produced to us, and he then picked out William Tellam.
CROSS-EXAMINED by Mr. Slade: They struck at Mr. Stephens as fast as they could; if the sticks had not been so close together, more mischief would have been done.
EDWARD STEPHENS deposed - I am one of the magistrates of this county, and live at Trewornan. In consequence of information, I went to Wadebridge on the 12th of last May, and reached there about half-past four. I saw about two hundred persons about the corn cellars. I went there with the policeman and Mr. Luxmoore, who acts as magistrates' clerk. There was a great deal of bustle and some noise as I approached the people. I spoke to them from three to five minutes. Just before I concluded they pressed near me with threatening gestures; I spoke on longer to them, but it having no effect, I drew back. I intended to read the riot act, but it was not read.
All at once I found them with a number of sticks around me, and I received a blow on my eye, my hat having, I believe, been knocked off previously. It was inflicted with a large stick, and was very severe, but falling on the bone it did not knock me down, but only occasioned me to fall backwards. I had a black eye for about three weeks. I then retired and took measures to resist them, swore in constables, and sent for the preventive force.
RICHARD DAVIS - I live at Wadebridge, and was present standing on a heap of ore when Mr. Stephens addressed the people. I heard a voice from the mob crying out "scat his brains" or "scat his skull." I then saw a rush made towards the magistrate and policeman, and a number of bludgeons lifted up to strike them. I saw the hat knocked off Mr. Stephens's head, and a man attempt to strike him, when the blow fell on the policeman's arm.
After the hat was struck off I saw a bludgeon lifted up in the second rank from the magistrate, and saw it come over the shoulder of another man, and strike the magistrate on the cheek bone. I could very well see the man from where I stood. Subsequently, I went to Bodmin gaol, where I saw William Tellam, who was the man that struck the blow.
CROSS-EXAMINED by Mr. Slade: I never saw the man before that day.
MR. SLADE then addressed the jury for the prisoner, contending that the evidence as to the prisoner's identity was altogether unsatisfactory, and that it should not be concluded because the prisoner was [supposedly involved in the] St. Austell riot that he was likely to be present at other riots. The learned Judge having summed up, the jury returned a verdict of Guilty. [sentencing details included in the St. Austell riot report]
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