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 GLASCOED

 PEOPLE & PLACES

Committal


SATURDAY, MARCH 23, 1861.

USK OBSERVER

LOCAL INTELLIGENCE

Petty Sessions  Friday March 16th.

REBECCA AT THE GLASCOED – Mr J.G.H. Owen, on behalf of James Meredith, applied for summons against twenty-eight individuals, for having committed a riot at the Glascoed, on the 11th of February. On the application being granted, Mr Owen requested that as early a day as possible should be fixed for the hearing, so that the case, if substantiated, should come on at the next assizes, on the 30th inst. The magistrates consequently consented to hear the case on Friday the 22nd.

SATURDAY, MARCH 30, 1861.

 

USK

“In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man

As modest stillness and humility,”

TOWN HALL. – FRIDAY, MARCH 22.

[Before G.R.G. RELPH, L. NICHOLL, G.W. NICHOLL,

S. CHURCHILL and M.P. SMITH, Esquires]

 

THE RIOT AT THE GLASCOED.

Thos. Edwards, Job Lewis, John Williams, Philip Williams, Wm. Williams (farmer), Henry Williams, John Morgan, (the younger), Thos. Morgan, Arthur Morgan, Edwd. Morgan, Edward Morgan, (the younger), Wm. Hercules Jenkins, Thomas Arthur, James Morgan, Edward Williams, William Price, Henry Crump, James Jenkins, William Humphries, (the elder), William Humphries, (the younger), William Forty, William Williams, (gaffer), William Morgan, William Morgan, (the younger), Walter Williams, and Thomas Williams, were charged at the instance of James Meredith, with having, at the hamlet of Glascoed, assembled together with other persons, and unlawfully and riotously disturbed the public peace, to the terror and alarm of Her Majesty’s subjects, on the 11th day of February last.

 Mr. Owen appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. Blount for the defence.

 James Meredith (the complainant) deposed; I possess a cottage and two or three pieces of land at Glascoed. One piece of land I have had in my possession twenty years, and another 4 years. There is a pig’s cot on the piece I have held for 20 years, which has been there 32 years. I have paid taxes 11 years. About 3 o’clock on the afternoon of the 11th February last, the whole of the defendants except Wm. Morgan, the elder of the Hill, came up to my ground, and I leaned on the fence and told them not to touch it. Thomas Edwards struck in the bank with a maddock, and said “go on.” Job Lewis struck in next, and then John Williams. John Williams cut the young quick off, with a hacker. They all then went to work. They pulled the fence down, - cut the trees down, and burnt them, - pulled up a hedge of gooseberry bushes, and burnt them, - and cut all the fences down around two pieces of land. They did not cut the fence down round the piece by the house. They cut the apple trees down on the piece I have had 20 years. I saw Job Lewis cutting the trees down. He threw a young thorn and struck me on the side of the head. They had five jars of drink, a water jug full, and a cask full. About seven o’clock in the evening I heard guns go off, I was alarmed, and my family were afraid to go out. The defendants shouted “Job Lewis for ever, Dan Roberts and Jim Meredith in the gutter,” and “Hurrah for Rebecca.” They were on the ground until nearly 10 o’clock at night. Wm. Willians cut down an apple tree and a cherry tree. I had about 18,000 cabbage plants on my land, which were trodden very much, and Job Lewis turned his cattle into them the next morning. I heard Job Lewis threaten to burn my house down.

 Cross-examined: I acquired the house and land from my brother-in-law. My brother-in-law was convicted. He gave them to me two or three years before he was convicted. When I first had the property it was all bushes, two pieces were not enclosed except by bushes, one piece was part of the waste. I have two pieces in all. Two pieces were not broken into. Other people have enclosed as well as myself. Mr. Roberts has enclosed recently, and his fences were broken down, before they came to mine. I heard a noise at 10 o’clock in the morning, but did not see defendants pull down Roberts’s fences. There was music at the head of the mob. I saw two policemen present, and a constable. I don’t know what they were there for; they did not forbid the proceedings. The constable worked with the rest. I went to look for the police when the guns were fired, about 7 or 8 o’clock, but could not find them; they were gone. I saw Job Lewis at that time. I was convicted of stealing a scythe 16 or 17 years ago, and had 14 days imprisonment.

 By Mr. Owen: It is 45 yards from my house to where they made the bon-fire. My bitch was burnt.

 Caroline Meredith, wife of last witness, corroborated a great portion of her husband’s evidence, and added that when the guns were fired, she heard something like shots come against the walls of the house. Under cross-examination she said: I was so frightened that I did not know where I was. I did not fight with Humphries’ wife. She was carrying a fence away, and I told her to put it down, when she struck me on the head with a stick until the blood ran down my back.

Thomas Meredith, son of the two last witnesses, corroborated some of their statements, and added that he saw Job Lewis, Henry Crump, William Forty, James Morgan, William Price, and a great many others, by the bonfire at six o’clock.

 James Meredith, the younger, after corroborating the preceding witnesses, said: I heard Job Lewis say when they commenced “D--- your eyes lads stick into it.” They all then stuck into it and pulled down the fences, cut down the trees and made a bon-fire with them, as before described. William Morgan’s wife brought two jars full of drink; the servant maid from William Morgan’s two jars full. Thomas Edwards a jar full. Charles Powell, bailiff to Mr. Jenkins, of Trostrey, a water jug full; and John Morgan, the younger, a cask full; Henry Crump helped him. William Williams said “Job are you going to pull the pig’s cot down.” Job answered “down with it all, I would not care a d--- for pulling the house down, and burning it, and all that is in it.” My father had not acted like a man in working for Mr. D. Roberts. My mother and four children were in the house when the guns were fired; they were very much frightened; I was frightened myself.

 John Richards said, he was passing Meredith’s cottage about seven o’clock one evening in February, when he saw Wm. Forty, Wm. Lewis, James Morgan, and Wm. Humphries, the younger, and others standing round a fire. They were in good spirits, but not the worse for drink. Nothing seemed to daunt them. Humphries fired one gun and Wm. Price another.

 Phillip Lewis, farmer, Glascoed, said he lived about 180 yards from Meredith’s cottage; he remembered the occasion in question. He saw wood fires burning until after twelve o’clock at night. He was afraid of the fire getting into some of his buildings. Did not think the guns were fired to kill anybody. He was afraid to go to bed as early as usual, on account of the fire.

 Hannah Lewis, wife of last witness, said, she was so frightened at the proceedings, that her “heart shook in her body.” She did not think that any of the persons charged, would injure her if they knew it, but was afraid a stray shot may strike her. She saw several women present, some with children in their arms.

 John Jenkins, laborer, saw Thomas Edwards begin to pull down Meredith’s fence. Saw Mr. Morgan, of the Hill, on the parish road, who asked him if he was not going to help, to which he replied, no, it was no business of his.

 This being the whole of the evidence for the prosecution the defendants were cautioned in the usual manner, as to any statements they may make, and the following witnesses were called for the defence:-

 P.S. Morgan, M.C., deposed: I went to the Glascoed about eleven or twelve o’clock on the 11th of February, and saw twenty-three persons engaged in pulling down Mr. Roberts’ fences. A great many went on toMeredith’s. I was present when they were taking down Meredith’s fences. I saw Job Lewis trying to burn the hedges down. Two women got fighting, and P.C. Hale parted them. This was the only breach of the peace I saw. Job Lewis said he would have it every bit down. I cannot say there was anything to frighten people. I was there from 11 or 12 in the morning, to nearly 6 in the evening. Most of the people had gone away then. Mr. James Jenkins, Mr. John Morgan, and Mr. Roger Williams did not go to Meredith’s. By Mr. Owen: My instructions were only to prevent a breach of the peace. I saw most of the persons charged, putting downRoberts’s fence. I heard Mr. James Jenkins tell Thos. Edwards to go on with his work. I saw bon-fires lit. I saw one of the defendants dig up a cherry tree at Meredith’s. Job Lewis came to some of them who were standing by the fire, and said “you lazy devils, why don’t you go to work.” Thomas Edwards asked me to go and prevent the women from shooting them, whilst they pulled the fences down. By Mr. Blount: I think Mr. Meredith was struck by accident.

 P.C. Hale’s evidence was merely a repetition of that given by Sergt. Morgan.

 James Jenkins, Wm. Morgan, (the elder), Hill Farm, and Wm. Humphries, were discharged; the other defendants were bound over in £20 each, to appear at the next Assizes, to take their trials.

N.b. according to the Free Press article (below), Roger Williams of Beech Farm was one of four men discharged.

PONTYPOOL FREE PRESS

SATURDAY, MARCH 30, 1861 

COMMITTAL OF THE GLASCOED “RIOTERS” (!) ---

Of certain uncommon doings which lately took place on Glascoed common the Free Press has already informed its readers. The curtain has since been drawn up for the performance of another act in the drama, which now marvellously like a burlesque. It will be recollected that the common had been subjected to encroachments; and the parishioners having, in parish meeting assembled, duly resolved thereupon, they met for the purpose of demolishing such fences as were held to have been unlawfully put up. They went to the scene of action headed by a drummer and a couple of fifers, and as the work proceeded the party invigorated themselves with bread and cheese and cider. Having completed their purpose, most of the men went to their homes; but a few of the more boisterous spirits remaining behind, a bonfire was kindled, a couple of guns were brought and some powder fired off, a little dog got scorched by the flames, and a couple of women had a fight. These supplementary proceedings were afterwards submitted to legal scrutiny, and a charge was founded thereupon, to answer which twenty-eight Glascoedians appeared before the Usk bench of magistrates on Friday, the 22nd inst. The defendants were some of the most respectable inhabitants of the hamlet, among them being Mr. John Morgan, Hill Farm.; Mr. James Jenkins, Trostrey; andMr. Roger Williams, Beech Farm. Mr. Blount appeared for the defendants, and Mr. Owen for the prosecutor. The magistrates present were G.R.G. Relph, Iltid Nichol, Samuel Churchill, and George Nichol, Esqs. The court was full during the proceedings, which seemed to excite much interest. From the speech of Mr. Owen, it appeared that the defendants were alleged to have been guilty of a very grave outrage upon the laws of their country, they being charged with no less an offence than that of “riotously assembling,” to the terror of Her Majesty’s liege people, and against the peace of Our Lady the Queen, her Crown, and dignity! Was ever mole-hill magnified into so great a mountain? As science exhibits, to half-frightened children the flea expanded to the dimensions of the elephant, or the cheese-mite grown to the size of the camel, so Mr. Owen held up before astonished Glascoed its sputtering bonfire, in which a little dog got burnt, magnified into a conflagration menacing the destruction of the whole hamlet; and having endeavoured to show that in any further edition of the Newgate Calendar (or some companion work) the defendants would be entitled to the honour of conspicuous positions, Mr. Owen examined James Meredith, the complainant in the case. The witness said he was a labourer, living on Glascoed common, where he had a cottage and some pieces of land. One piece he had possessed for four years, another for twenty years, and a third for twenty-five years. A pigstye on one piece had been there for thirty-two years, and he had been paying taxes for eleven years. He then proceeded to describe how, on the 11th February, an attack had been made upon his fences. He stood inside when the men came up, and told them not to touch the fences, but they pulled down the hedges, and pulled up apple-trees and gooseberry trees, and lit a bonfire. Job Lewis, one of the defendants, flung some of the trees and bushes at witness, and one of them struck him. He remained looking on until dusk. Five fires were lit, and he heard some guns go off. He and his family were alarmed; they were afraid to go out. The men were hallooing, and keeping a great noise. The cry he heard most was, “Job Lewis for ever, and Daniel Roberts and Jemmy Meredith in the gutter!” and “Hurrah for Rebecca!” He had 18,000 cabbage plants, over which the people ran, and the next morning Job Lewis turned his cattle upon them. He heard Job Lewis threaten to pull the house down and burn it and all that was in it. – Being cross-examined by Mr. Blount, witness said he had acquired the property from his brother, who had been convicted. He had four pieces of land in all, two of which were unenclosed when he first got the property. One of the latter was a bit of waste; it was never part of the common. Everyone in the parish had enclosed as well as witness. Mr. Daniel Roberts had recently enclosed, and his fences were thrown down. Witness never heard of a public meeting at which it was resolved to throw down the fences, until after it was done. Saw two policemen and a constable there when his hedges were being pulled down, but did not apply for protection. When the bonfire was lit he went to look for a policeman, but could not find one. There were many people near the bonfire, but Job Lewis was the only one of the defendants he could swear was there. Witness had been convicted sixteen or seventeen years ago of stealing a scythe, and had fourteen days’ punishment …… Caroline Meredith, wife of the last witness, said she heard guns fired and something come to the wall like shots. Was very much frightened, and had been frightened ever since. – Cross-examined: Was not too much frightened to fight with another woman …… Thos. and Jas. Meredith, sons of the complainant, John Richards, Philip Lewis, Hannah Lewis, and John Jenkins having been examined for the prosecution, Sergt. Morgan, of the county police, was called for the defence. He witnessed the breaking down of the hedges. Was there to prevent a breach of the peace, and the only thing which he considered to call for his interference was the fight between the two women, which he caused to be stopped: Saw no opposition to the taking down of the fences. Job Lewis was the only person at all, excited; all the others worked very orderly. Saw nothing to be frightened at. Left about six o’clock, when only a few people and some children remained. – Cross exd. Was ordered by the superintendent to call at the Hendre farm, on his way to the common. Saw there Miss Roberts, who told him that her uncle and brother had gone to the common to prevent the fences being taken down, and that he was to go there to protect them. Was told by Thos. Edwards, one of the defendants, that Mrs Meredith had threatened to shoot the first man that came there. Saw no guns brought, nor anyone assaulted. Meredith was there the whole time; witness did not hear him say anything, nor see any one assault him … P.c. Hale corroborated …… Mr. Blount, in addressing the bench for the defendants, said the prosecution were endeavouring to turn a civil action into a criminal one. The defendants represented all the respectable inhabitants of Glascoed, against whose wishes, and, as he understood, against the wishes of Mr. Wyatt, agent to the Duke of Beaufort, Mr. Daniel Roberts had attempted to encroach upon the common…… Mr. Roberts, who was present, was understood to demur to the statement relative to Mr. Wyatt, but Mr. Blount repeated it. – He proceeded to contend that fences put up on the common within twenty years constituted encroachments thereupon which the law regarded as a nuisance, and for the abatement of which the defendants proceeded in the legitimate and legal way. He would advise anyone, under like circumstances, in the first instance to attempt to remove the nuisance, but if resistance were offered, he admitted that the aggrieved persons must not cause a breach of the peace. Whether the steps they took were legal or illegal, if they caused a riot the defendants were equally liable to be prosecuted; but one of the elements in that offence was the causing of terror to the inhabitants, which he contended was absurd to allege in this case, as the very persons against whose property the proceedings were adopted were present and in conversation with the attacking party until a late hour. It would be monstrously hard, he urged, that the defendants should be committed for trial. If they had done wrong, let indictments be preferred and an action brought, and they were perfectly ready to defend it; but there was no pretence for alleging riot……Mr. Relph, as chairman of the bench, said they agreed with Mr. Blount’s view of the law, but they considered that in proceeding to execute their purpose headed by a band of music, in the use of fire, and in the discharge of guns, the defendants had acted in a way that, as conservators of the public peace, the magistrates could not sanction, and they therefore felt it their duty to send the case before another tribunal. Mr. Morgan, of the Hill, Mr. Jenkins, of Trostrey, Mr. Williams, of the Beech, and Wm. Humphreys did not appear to be brought into connection with the riot, and their names would be struck out.- The other twenty-four defendants were then formally committed for trial at the Assizes, being admitted to bail on each entering into his own recognizances in the sum of £20;