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Monmouthshire Merlin 1868

23 May 1868.

GLASCOED.Hannah Lewis charged James Williams with having assaulted her, and defendant made a similar charge against complainant. —Mr W. H. Lloyd for Williams.—These parties re- side in the hamlet of Glascoed, a place that has obtained some notoriety from the Rebeccanian proclivities of some of its inhabitants, and the scandal loving tendencies of others of them.—From Hannah Lewis's statement it would seem that on the 4th of this month as she was crossing the road to her own house, James Williams was leaning against a stile, and she heard bad language exchanged between him and her husband. On asking what was the matter, she received a blow from Williams and another from a clot or something like it; and also a third blow which stunned her, and she “lost her knowledge."— In a little time afterwards she recovered her knowledge," and saw Williams with a gun, which he presented at her.—In cross examination, complainant said she did not strike defendant at all; did not throw anything at him as she stood in her meadow had been put under sureties of the peace to Sarah Pitt; had no ill-feeling towards Williams; did not help in burning his effigy but did go to a person to borrow a pair of old trousers for it.-Philip Lewis corroborated his wife's statement. As he was standing in his meadow he saw defendant" hitting her like a horse. — To Mr Lloyd: He said that defendant, who used bad language towards him; did not ask him why he set men on him to beat him, had no occasion, as he could do that himself; ran with the shovel towards him; he struck his wife twice-once with a great clot.—James Meredith said, on hearing a great noise at Philip Lewis's, he went out of the house into the garden, and saw Williams with a gun in his hand, which he presented at him three times, saying, “if you come to me I'll give you a dose”. This being Hannah Lewis's case, Mr. Lloyd addressed the Bench on behalf of Williams, remarking that all this unpleasantness arose from a bad feeling which Lloyd entertained towards Williams.-The parties having changed places, Williams said that ever since he had been living at the Glascoed he had been subjected to annoyance from Mrs. Lewis. He did not strike her, as she had stated, but she threw stones and clots at him, from one of which “his head stopped the blow." She also smacked him several times in the face, and he gave her a push, and she fell down. Her husband ran to the stile with a shovel, and said "d--- your eyes, I'll split your skull." He (witness) had not a gun.—James Pitt, son of Sarah Pitt, a widow, said he saw Mrs. Lewis pelting Williams with clots, &c., from her meadow, on which occasion Philip Lewis went to fetch a shovel with which he threatened to strike Williams. The latter had not a gun.—Elisabeth Francis deposed to Williams having lodged with her for two or three months, and she had found him a quiet honest man. Mrs. Lewis called upon her for a pair of trousers, with which to assist in making up an effigy of Williams, which she and other people were going to burn.—A Mrs Freeman, who said. in answer to a question put to her, that she didn't make a memorandum book of her head, having given evidence, and some documentary evidence having been put in on behalf of Williams's character, the Chairman said, in giving the decision of the Bench, that the evidence had been of that contradictory nature, that it was impossible to know which to believe, and under the circumstances, they should order the parties to pay their own expenses 13s. 6d. each), and enter into recognizances to keep the peace.

OCTOBER 3, 1868.

SUSPICION OF INFANTICIDE.--- On Sunday, the 20th alt, a widow named Sarah Pitt, living at the Glascoed, gave birth to a child. It is said to have been born alive and to have lived several hours. Early next morning it was buried, without leave of anyone, in Glascoed churchyard. The neighbours got wind of this, and the matter at last reached the ears of the police. On Thursday evening the 24th ult., P.S. Young, of Pontypool, exhumed the body of the child, and Dr. Williams was called in to take a post mortem examination, in order to determine how the child came to its end. An important discussion took place at the inquest (which was held on Saturday at the Three Crane’s hotel, Pontypool, before E. Batt Esq.) The circumstances were very suspicious; the body having been buried by the father, without leave and with certain precautions for concealment, though he took a witness with him. The post mortem examination by Dr. Williams fully cleared away the impressions which the evidence of the other witnesses seemed to favour, and showed that the death resulted from natural causes. The father of the child, a man named Williams, lodged with Mrs Pitt, and his mother was called in and acted as midwife. Mrs Williams, by Mrs Pitt’s directions, gave the child no food, but a little gin and water instead. It died four hours after birth, of convulsions. The coroner and jury thought this highly suspicious, but Dr Williams told them that as the child was small and weakly a little stimulant was quite proper and assisted nature, though he should not give it if the child was of the usual strength; and that a child would not require food directly after birth. The convulsions were quite natural. A verdict “Death from natural causes” was given. Mr. Wayman, clerk at Trevethin, who was on the jury, stated that the clergyman and sexton were liable to fines for burying without a certificate children that had been born alive; but it seemed that such precaution was considered necessary when the bodies were presented as still-born. Mr W.H. Greene, another of the jury, held that it should not be left to the clergyman or sexton to accept an assertion of still-birth, and pressed that a recommendation should accompany the verdict, that burial should in no case take place unless the certificate of a medical man or of the registrar as to the cause of death, or a medical certificate of opinion that there really was still-birth, be produced. The following recommendation was eventually agreed to, the coroner fully coinciding:--- “The jury are of opinion that burials either of infants still-born or otherwise, without proper certificates, are highly irregular, and often tend to the concealment of crime.”