Wednesday 17 April 2024

One Magazine

Please note that I have removed all One Magazine Tiverton Museum article links prior to November 2023 as the PDF files have been removed from their server.

Thursday 14 March 2024

Banks of Tiverton

The Tiverton Museum article on page 23 of the March edition of the Mid Devon One Magazine looks at the hitory of banking in Fore Street.

Cheque from Tiverton Branch of National Provincial Bank - 1891
Cheque from Tiverton Branch of
National Provincial Bank - 1891

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Tiverton's Railway

The Tiverton Museum article on page 23 of the February edition of the Mid Devon One Magazine examines the history of Tiverton's railway connections since the station opened in the mid-19th century.

Loco 1450 coming into Tiverton Station
Loco 1450 coming into
Tiverton Station

Sunday 14 January 2024

Prisoner of War Camps

The Tiverton Museum article on page 23 of the January edition of the Mid Devon One Magazine has a follow-up from a previous look at Working Camp 92 in Tiverton.

Working Camp 92
Working Camp 92

Thursday 14 December 2023

Messing Around in Boats

The Tiverton Museum article on page 21 of the December edition of the Mid Devon One Magazine looks at the hitory of focusses on people's memory of their leisure time and major events of the River Exe.

Aerial View of the 1960 Tiverton Flood
Aerial View of the
1960 Tiverton Flood

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Wednesday 8 November 2023

Horrid Murder of a Gamekeeper by Poachers

From GENUKI provided by Lindsey Withers:

North Devon Journal, Thursday 7 February 1839 - The greatest excitement has prevailed in the town and neighbourhood of Tiverton since Sunday morning, when at an early hour, reports were in circulation that a most ferocious murder had been perpetrated by poachers, and that a man called COTTRELL, an assistant gamekeeper of Thomas Daniel, Esq., (late an Alderman of Bristol) who possesses large estates in the neighbourhood of Tiverton, was the unfortunate victim. Various reports being in circulation, we felt it our duty to repair to the spot in order to obtain the most accurate information. We reached Tiverton yesterday (Thursday) about half past twelve o'clock, and found the inhabitants still in a state of much terror and anxiety in consequence of such a shocking occurrence having happened in their neighbourhood. We learnt that the Coroner's Jury had already sat upon the body, and pronounced their verdict of "Wilful Murder" against one of the poachers, Aaron Hagley, a husbandman of that neighbourhood, and two others, Thomas Hagley, and Matthew Maslen, as aiding and assisting.

In the course of our inquiries we learnt that, in consequence of repeated depredations having been committed on Mr Daniel's manors by the destruction of his game, - the alarm of persons residing on the estates from the discharge of fire-arms in the dead of the night, - and the breaking down of the fences, and other damage done to property, - the agents of the hon. gentleman felt it their duty to have a strong watch distributed, in order to detect, if possible, some of the offenders. Accordingly, on Saturday night two parties were organized: one consisting of the regular keepers and two assistants, (denominated watchers); and the other composed of three assistants. They were to take different routes, and proceeded accordingly: when at midnight, between the hours of twelve and one, the party of assistant keepers heard the report of guns. They made away in the direction of the sound, and soon discovered three poachers in the plantation. The poachers on finding they were pursued closely, turned and walked backward, two of them armed with bludgeons and one of them having a gun, which he presented in threatening attitude towards the faces of the watchers. On coming into a large field, adjoining the plantation, the poachers endeavoured to escape, but the watchers still followed them up, and they made off towards the old Bampton-road, on which they traversed a short distance; they changed their route, and went back towards Palfrey's farm; here they altered their line again, and came out in the old Bampton road, near Longshayne, about three miles and a half from Tiverton. They came on till they reached Knightshayes, when the deceased ordered one of the assistants to call the gamekeeper of Knightshayes for help; the poachers then went down over the hill as fast as they could, the deceased and the other watcher closely following them till they came to the bottom of the hill, when they crossed a large field towards Chetiscombe. From thence they went down a lane and got into Gaddle estate, crossing the town leat, and turned a little to the right over a stile: here one of the poachers struck COTTRELL in the head with his stick, but no blows were returned by him: they advanced a few paces further, when the man having a gun presented it towards COTTRELL, and with an oath said he would blow his brains out, and instantly fired; COTTRELL fell backwards, and died in a moment! - the murderers immediately ran off. In the corner of the field is a stile, over which the poachers and watchers came: about twenty paces from the stile is a portion of turned-up earth, upon which the blood of the unfortunate victim is still to be seen, as if "crying from the ground". Hundreds of the inhabitants have been on the spot to view the crimson relics, and many have carried away portions of earth and grass as sad mementos of this dire calamity. Full particulars of this frightful tragedy will be found in the evidence taken at the Inquest which we shall subjoin. It may be observed that, in the speedy detection and capture of the murderer and his partners in crime, the hand of providence is most remarkably to be traced. The surviving watcher, after capturing the body of his murdered companion, being single-handed, and without any chance of securing them, did not at once pursue the murderous gang, but made his way to Tiverton, when he first called on a man named Venn, the groom of Mr T. P. Wright, steward to Mr Daniel; he then proceeded with Venn, to Mr Wright's house, and rang the bell: whilst waiting there Aaron Hagley was observed by the watcher coming over Exe Bridge, near Mr Wright's residence, when he immediately exclaimed to Venn, "That's the man that shot JACOB COTTRELL. I know him by his walk." On Hagley coming nearer, he said, "I'll swear to him: he has a dark patch on his breeches:" and upon lifting the flat of his coat the patch showed itself. Hagley was then secured, and safely lodged in the Bridewell. He underwent a private examination before the magistrates on Sunday, when circumstances came out which led to the speedy detection of his companions: one of whom, it is currently reported, has made a confession of the whole of the circumstances; - we do not, however, vouch for the truth of this.

The unfortunate deceased was a fine athletic man, about five feet ten inches in height, of open countenance. He was much respected in his station, and has left a widow (who is far advanced with child), and four children. After the fatal wound had been received, the body was taken to Guddle, and from thence to the 'Royal Oak' inn, Newport street, Tiverton, kept by Mr Parkin, where it still remains in the coffin. Mr Macdonald, surgeon, was, as we are told, first called, after the body was brought to Tiverton, but that gentleman was not summoned to give his evidence on the Inquest. the charge of the shot, which appears to have been heavy, entered just over the left eye, perforating the lobe of the brain; a portion of it lodged in the head, being arrested by the bone flattening some of the shot: the rest of the charge went through the head, as is evident from the state of the back part of it. We hear that Mr Macdonald has since opened and thoroughly examined the head of the deceased, by authority.

The prisoner, Aaron Hagley, is a man about five feet seven inches in height; coarse brown hair: dark eyes: countenance somewhat contracted, but without marked signs of ferocity. He has altogether the appearance of a [?] labouring man.

THE INQUEST. - The Inquest was held in the Town Hall, Tiverton, before F. S. Gervis, Coroner, when the following respectable gentlemen were sworn in Jurors:- J. Beedell, Esq., Foreman. R. Lawson, Esq.; Capt Hodges; T. L. T. Rendell, Esq.; Mr Wm. Hodge: Mr Trix; Mr Chapple; Mr Goodland; Mr W. Melhuish; Mr Willis; Mr Sanders; Mr Steele; Mr Risdon; Mr Ellerton; Mr T. G. Beedell; Mr Eastbrook; Mr G. Voisey; Mr Kemp; Mr F. Pratt; Mr Sharland; Mr Merson.

The Jury met at six o'clock in the evening of Tuesday. After the Jurymen had been sworn, they went to view the body, (lying in the 'Royal Oak Inn,') and then returned to the Town Hall, when the Coroner adjourned the Inquest till Wednesday morning at 9 o'clock. The Coroner said, that it had been thought advisable to hold the Inquest privately; as, owing to the great excitement, business might be impeded; and he therefore announced that, by the authority he possessed, the public would not be permitted.

Wednesday Morning:- The Jury assembled, according to appointment, at 9 o'clock, and several of the Magistrates were present to assist.

James Bowerman sworn: examined by Mr Patch: lives at Coombland, in Tiverton; is a husbandman in the employ of Mr Daniel. On Saturday evening, the 26th, he was ordered by Mr Daniel's keeper, James Vincent, to meet William Winter and Jacob Cottrell (deceased) by the side of the Chapel path on Fairby manor, the property of Thomas Daniel, Esq.; he went accordingly: he went for the purpose of taking poachers, or any others disturbing the covers by night; they met at 8 o'clock: remained watching until five minutes past one on Sunday morning, when they heard a gun fired; it was a fine moonlight night. They then removed further down the plantation to a place called Brushford's close: hid themselves by the side of a wood rick, watching: heard a report, as of two guns close together, at two o'clock by his watch; remained on the same spot about half an hour; they then heard another gun fired; made their way as quick as possible to Poat's Close, where they thought the gun was fired: just before they came to the place, saw a man hide behind a bush; they all ran together as quickly as possible. At about the distance of five cloth yards they saw two others, all coming towards them, who ran a little way and then stopped; they discovered that one had a gun, and the others sticks, more than a foot long, with very large heads; witness and Winter had walking sticks, and COTTRELL had a pitchfork; when they stopped, the man having the gun presented it at them and said, "he would blow their brains out;" and the other two on each side said "Fire, fire!" They were then at the distance of four cloth yards from us; this was in the path, which is wide enough for a slide or cart to pass. It was light enough for us to discover the dress of the men. We then asked their names, and what business they had there? One replied that they had got tipsey in the night, and had gone out of their path. We asked them what they had a gun for at this time of Sunday morning: replied he had been to some place after it, and was going to carry it home. They then made their way out of the plantation towards Chapel path; and came to a plantation called Long Break: by this time the light was sufficient to enable them particularly to describe their dress. The man with the gun walked backwards, pointing it at them; he had an old-fashioned jacket one, much torn in the left shirt, there seemed to be something heavy in the pocket, which [?] it weigh down about the size of a bird:0 also [?] [?] small clothes much pieced and fustian leggings, [?] at the bottom; could not observe the face of the man with the gun, as he held it down; he had a hat on [?] torn, and the brims hanging down over his face, and [?] who the [?] was. One of the other men with a [?] but [?] a fustian jacket in pretty good condition, [?] small clothes, with a dark patch on the right thigh, red cravat, and a black hat. Knows Aaron Hagley; has known him 3 or 4 years when he lived at Mr Webber's at Coombland, had suspicion it was he by his walk, but could not see his face, as he kept his arm over it when he looked towards them; and the other man with a stick, wore a dark fustian jacket, corded trowsers, and was a thin man of pale complexion; observed that his cheek bones were remarkably prominent; had a good view of his face; the man with the gun was upwards of five feet, and appeared to be 35 or 40 years of age; the second, whom he thought to be A. Hagley, appeared to be about the same height: the third man was taller. When we came to Long Break, the pale-faced man turned round and struck me on the head with the stick: I did not say anything to him or strike him, they all went on together through the plantation to Palfrey's lane; they went some distance down the lane till they came to a gate; and then turned into Mr Roberts's grounds; they went into afield towards Hewing's farm; we followed close; they retreated towards the old Bampton turnpike road, and came again into Palfrey's lane, then into the road near Long Hayne; had some conversation with one of them as we went on. We asked their names; they asked why we wanted their names in particular: we told our names upon their asking; they said "Keep back, keep your distance," several times. They went on the turnpike road to the cottages of Mr Dickinson's gamekeeper, and we followed: I told Winter to call Mr D's keeper to help to take the men into custody: I said it loud enough for the men to hear. Winter went away, the three men ran fast down the turnpike road, until they came to a large ploughed field belonging to Mrs Poole, of Chetiscombe. I and COTTRELL followed close by the bottom of the field: we went over a gate into a narrow muddy lane, in one part of which there is a pit nearly knee-deep, through which we were obliged to go; we came out into a lane leading from Tiverton Chetiscombe: they crossed the lane into a moory plot on the left hand side, coming from Tiverton. We hallooed several times to Winter to come on: they went into a field, crossed the town leat, and turned a little to the right, over a pair of bars or stile, the man with the gun and another first, the other followed: I and COTTRELL went over the same bars. Winter was not come up: the best dressed man struck COTTRELL on the head with his stick as he was getting over the bars; no blows were returned, neither here or through the whole of the affair, nor any insult offered in any way; after the man struck COTTRELL, he went on and joined the others; we walked rather wider apart after we crossed the bars, COTTRELL was on my right side, I was rather nearer to the men than he was; I was about two land rods or ten paces distance from them, and about one from COTTRELL; when we came over the gate I observed the gun was in the hands of the person whom I supposed to be Aaron Hagley: I saw the man level the gun at JACOB COTTRELL, observing at the time, "I'm d--d if I don't blow his brains out," and then fired: COTTRELL fell; I did not hear any remark made by either of the others, nor did they do anything to prevent it, they were close together; they ran on towards Mr Chapple's without making any remark. I followed as nearly as I can say about 10 or 12 yards: I was afraid to go further, and returned to COTTRELL; he lay flat on his back; he was quite dead, bleeding much, his face was covered with blood; the moon was not so bright then; I went to meet Winter. I met him in the field adjoining; I looked at my watch and found it quarter past four o'clock; I told Winter that COTTRELL was killed, and we both went to get assistance to Mrs Poole's, Chetiscombe: we procured the assistance of the servant man; he went back with me to the place: we got a pig's ladder, and other persons came; we carried the body into Guddle Court, and left it there with the men, while I and Winter came on to Tiverton as quickly as we could. We called at James Venn's in Bampton street, the town clocks were striking five; Venn got up and came down; I told him what had happened, and he went with me to Mr Wright's near Exe bridge. Mr Wright acts as Mr Daniel's steward. Venn rang the bell and knocked, and Mr Wright appeared at the window; we were about 7 or 8 minutes at the door. While we were at the door, we saw a man coming over the bridge towards us; Venn said he thought the keeper was coming; I said I thought Wm. Webber, a man who works on the manor: Winter said "that is one of the men we saw in the cover." He was coming down the middle of the road; as he came nearer, he drew off towards the gutter on the other side of the street. When he was nearly opposite, I said "that is the man who killed JACOB COTTRELL." Then Venn ran and caught him: I also took him by the collar: he made no resistance. I knew him by his dress and walk; I observed him particularly, and did not speak to Venn till he was rather passed me; his walk is heavy and slow: I recognised him as Aaron Hagley; I am certain he was the man who fired the gun and killed COTTRELL; we were quite sober and Hagley appeared to be same. Mr Wright came down and opened the door. Venn told him that one of his men had been killed, and that we had got one of the men who had done it. Did not observe that Hagley made any reply; went into Mr Wright's kitchen; we examined Hagley's leggings, they looked very wet, and appeared as if the mud had been wiped off with straw or grass; Mr Wright sent Venn to get a constable; we remained there about ten minutes; a constable came shortly after, and took him away; I have seen the other two men at the police office in Tiverton; one of them I recognised to be the man who struck me and COTTRELL, as before named: his name is Matthew Maslen; the other I recognised to be Thomas Hagley, who carried the gun in the plantation before I saw it in Aaron Hagley's hands. I am certain they were the men; Maslen had on the same jacket, but not the same trowsers as before. Thomas Hagley had on a different hat, small clothes and gaiters, his jacket was the same.

By a Juror.- Aaron Hagley had apparently neither gun nor stick when taken. I learnt the names of these two while at the office.

W. Winter, a husbandman in the employ of Mr Styling, at Fire Beacon estate, in Tiverton parish, examined by Mr Patch. - On Saturday night last, was in a plantation called Pont's Close, with COTTRELL and Bowerman; we met at the Chapel path, on Mr Daniel's property; am employed by Vincent to watch poachers. (The evidence same as the other in the material point.) I followed with the others as described by James Bowerman, till we came to Mr Dickinson's cottage, and there left them, for the purpose of procuring assistance. I had sufficient opportunity of observing their dress; the man who had the gun had on an old fustian jacket, town on the left side; the pocket hung very heavily: he had an old rusty hat on, the brim hanging down over his face: corded light small clothes much patched, leggings torn at the bottom. I thought his face was rather dark; could not see more of his face than Bowerman: one of the men with the stick had on a light fustian jacket, tolerable good, light corded small clothes, with a dark piece on the right thigh, a red waistcoat, black hat (pretty good), had on leggings or gaiters. The third man, who also had a stick, was dressed very neatly, in a dark fustian jacket, I saw his face; had very high cheek bones, sunken cheeks, thin, and of pale complexion; very good black hat, corded trowsers; he appeared to be the tallest of them; I went to the cottage for assistance, but could not get any, not being able to make any person hear; staid only a few minutes, and went after my party, who were out of sight. I went into the turnpike road towards Tiverton; passed a ploughed field on the left hand side: I hallooed, and my party answered; I then turned and went in through the bottom of the ploughed field into a muddy lane; before I came into the muddy lane, I heard a gun fired; I went in that direction, and met James Bowerman coming towards me. I went with him into the next field, and saw COTTRELL lying on the ground dead, his face was covered with blood. I could not see where the blood came from; I went with Bowerman to Chetiscombe and procured assistance; we then took the body to Cuddle Court; then went with Bowerman to Tiverton. No insult was offered by our party. (Then followed a recapitulation of the evidence given by the former witness.) When he (Hagley) came nearly opposite, I said, "That is one of the men we followed," and Bowerman said it was the man who shot COTTRELL; he knew him from his dress. Venn went and took him. I did not hear anything said by him. Venn told Mr Wright that one of his men was murdered, and they had got the man who had done it. I saw a man strike James Bowerman on the plantation; one of the men I saw in the police office,; he was a thin faced man, was called Matthew Maslen. I knew Thomas Hagley by his jacket, size, and sound of his voice; his face was dark like the person I saw in the plantation; sometimes were close to the poachers, not a cloth yard distant at times. I never knew of any ill-will between Aaron Hagley and J. COTTRELL.

James Venn, examined by Mr Patch. - I am an occasional servant of Mr Wright; I was called on Sunday morning last just before the clock struck five, by James Bowerman: I looked out of the window and asked him what was the matter. In consequence of what he told me, I got up and dressed myself as soon as I could, and found Bowerman and Winter at the door; I went with them to Mr Wright's house; Mr Wright looked out of the window; I waited at the door, close to the gutter. I saw a man coming at a fast walk over the bridge towards us. I said "Vincent is coming, James." Bowerman and Winter were standing in the recess of the door. Bowerman put out his head and said, "No, it's not Will. Webber:" I said, "No, it's not Will. Webber, he does not walk like him. Be who it will, I will see who it is." He was walking on the off side of the street in the roadway. As he came towards us, he altered his pace very much, and walked very slowly indeed; as he came nearer to me, Bowerman went over to him, and spoke to him. He and Winter said, "That is one of the party." The man passed on a few yards, when Bowerman said, "That's the man that shot COTTRELL." I then ran across the street and took him by the collar: I looked in his face, and immediately recognised him. I said "Is that you, Hagley? how came you here this time of the morning?" He said he had been to Bickleigh, and came round by Batterleigh. I said, "You are the man we want." He seemed to draw very much from me, and I pulled him about. He cursed me, and said, "I have not killed a bird for the season, nor shot off a gun." Bowerman then took hold of his collar on the other side. When Mr Wright came out, he asked what was the matter; I said, "One of your men is killed, and we have got the rogue that did it." Mr Wright then brought a light. Bowerman said, "if that's the man, he has got a dark patch on his breeches." We took him into the kitchen, and asked him how he came so dirty, but he made no reply; the patch was above the knee, on the right side on the back part; his jacket was buttoned, and the patch could not be so well seen, but it was very visible when the coat was unbuttoned. Mr Wright then desired me to go for Perkins the constable, which I did; he came with me; we took the man to Bridewell; he had on a red cravat, but neither gun, game, nor stick with him.

Joseph Perkins, examined by Mr patch. - I am a constable of the borough of Tiverton; I was called by James Venn on Monday morning, a little before 6 o'clock. Went with him to Mr Wright's house in Bridge street, Tiverton; went into the kitchen; Mr W. said to me, "Here is a man whom you must take and put in prison;" there were three men there, strangers to me; I said, "Which of the men is it?" Mr Wright said, "That is the one," pointing to one on my left hand; I then took him to Bridewell; said nothing to him, nor he to me while going to the Bridewell: when there, I asked his name, he said "Aaron Hagley;" I said, "You are very wet and muddy, where do you come from?" he said he had come from his cousin's at Bickleigh, up through Boxwood; I asked him his cousin's name, he said it was Jacob Hagley; the jailer and myself searched him; in the waistcoat pocket was a box of lucifer matches; I asked him what he had done with them, as they looked quite new? he said he had bought them last night to light his pipe, at Henry Gould's on the Leat; I said, "How came you up Boxwood?" he said he bought the matches about 8 o'clock on Saturday night and went from thence to Bickleigh, and came up Boxwood on Sunday morning. I left him and went to Mr Wright's again, who desired that I would accompany Mr Macdonald, surgeon, to Guddle, to see the man that was killed; I did so; it was about 7 in the morning. When I got to Guddle, I saw the man laid on the pig's ladder, his face covered with blood; I perceived the left eye was knocked in; I considered the greatest part of the charge went into the eye; there were marks of several small shot about the forehead; the body was warm when I came: Mr Macdonald put his fore-finger about 2 ¼ inches into the socket; Mr M. and I then left. On Sunday afternoon I had the warrant to go to Templeton to apprehend Samuel Hagley. Before I started I went to Bowerman and Winter to get descriptions of the persons of the two others; I then went to Templeton, but could not find Samuel Hagley at Thomas Hagley's house, where he lodged; I saw Thomas Hagley, who said he did not know where Sam was; I went to an adjoining house, which was Maslen's, and saw Maslen, though I did not then know him; but his dress and appearance, as well as that of Thomas Hagley, struck me as being very much like the descriptions given by Bowerman and Winter; I then returned to Tiverton, and on Monday morning obtained a warrant against Thomas Hagley and Matthew Maslen; I then went to Templeton; Wood (who had a warrant to apprehend George Hagley) accompanied me. Coming near Mr Chichester's house, I aid to Wood, "Let us go to Aaron Hagley's House, perhaps we may hear something about them:" on entering the house I saw a man sitting smoking his pipe in the corner, who turned out to be George Hagley. Wood apprehended him; I found a gun under a furze faggot loaded with shot and slugs, thence I went to Templeton, and apprehended Thomas Hagley and Matthew Maslen; I first took Thomas Hagley in his own house, he had a ragged fustian jacket, breeches and leggings, the same that he had on the previous day when I saw him; I said to him, "You must go to Tiverton with me; if you go quietly I shall not hand-bolt you, if not I shall;" he trembled very much; I left him in custody of Venn, and went to Maslen's house, and told him he must go to Tiverton with me; his countenance altered, and he trembled much; he had on a velveteen jacket; I told him to put on his fustian jacket, and the boots that I saw lying by, and which on the Sunday I had observed to be very dirty; I went up stairs and found a very good fustian jacket, which I brought down and told him to put on; there was a pair of corded trousers hung on a rail, dirty, and darkish corded leggings, which were particularly dirty at the lower part of the legs; I told him to put on the clothes he had on, on Sunday, which he did; I then brought Thomas Hagley and Matthew Maslen to Tiverton to the police office. At Thomas's house I noticed a gun on Sunday night over the chimney piece; it was a flint lock; I observed on Sunday, that it had been very recently discharged, as there were marks of powder on the lock; On Monday it was cleaned; it belonged to Thomas Hagley.

Matthew Wreford, examined by Mr Patch. - I am a butcher living in Bampton street, in this town; I keep a shop and have license to sell game. On Saturday evening last on my return from market, I found four men in my house, it was about nine o'clock; these were Aaron Hagley, Thomas Hagley, and Samuel Hagley; I did not know the name of the other; at the time I saw him at the police office on Monday, he answered to the name of Matthew Maslen; they told me that they came to buy some bacon, but I had none; they purchased some hog's pudding, they remained in the house about half an hour after I came in, they had some ale to drink in my house, and ate the hog's pudding. I saw the barrel of a gun on the table; I believe it was a single barrel; I think to the best of my knowledge it was Tom who put the barrel in his pocket; all their pockets seemed full, but the impression on my mind was that Tom Hagley had a stock of a gun in his pocket; the barrel was a short one, about two feet long; did not see the stock I saw a little bag in the possession of Tom: can't say what was in it; it was something heavy, a little bigger than an egg, he put it in his waistcoat pocket. By a Juror: I gave them the ale; they left the house altogether, I have seen them before, I have sold them meat; I have seen Samuel Hagley, Thomas Hagley and Matthew Maslen; I have seen Aaron's wife; she came to my house Sunday morning about 9 o'clock; she asked if her husband was at my house last night.

Samuel Hagley, examined by Mr Patch. - I am a labourer, and quarter with Thomas Hagley, who lives at Lagg, in the parish of Templeton: on Saturday evening I heard that Thomas Hagley and Matthew Maslen were coming to Tiverton to buy salt; Thomas is no relation of mine. I called at my brother's house (Aaron Hagley), we came into Tiverton about eight o'clock, Aaron bought in my presence a box of lucifers, at Henry Gould's: after he went to Mr Wreford's in Bampton street, the game seller; we went in together and found Thomas Hagley and Matthew Maslen there when we went in. I have been at Wreford's and met all there before, it was understood that we were to meet at Wreford's on that evening. There were two guns in the company; I carried the percussion gun; there was only one produced at Wreford's; it was the one I had; we had something to eat and drink at Wreford's; we left Wreford's house about ten o'clock; part of what we had was paid for by Aaron Hagley. Aaron and Maslen went first out of the house; I went next, and Thomas next; went up Bampton street to the Castle gate. We were all four together at the Castle gate; we went to Bolham village, and on the road (passing butcher Newton's house) more than three miles, and then we turned up a wood on the right hand side; had no dogs with us; I remained with them until twelve o'clock. We went through woods and fields and plantations. I had a gun with me during that time; so had Thomas Hagley: the gun produced is the one I carried; (same as before, the percussion one;) I left them between twelve and one o'clock; I left them because I was by myself, and heard someone say "Come on, come on." I thought then it was time for me to be off; I was about thirty or forty yards from the others; I thought it was a strange voice I heard; it was a strange signal to me; before I left, there was a gun fired by my party; it was fired a few minutes before I left; about a half an hour before this, both guns were fired off quicker than a double-barrel gun could be fired. The gun last fired was fired by Thomas Hagley; when I left, I took my gun with me; we fired at birds; I went across the bottom away towards Ewing's; before I came to this place I heard a voice say, "Come on;" I went through the court, across the Cove chapel, thence to Cove bridge; and went down the lane to Hamesford, until I came to Little Hatswell; I remained in a linhay at Hatswell until daylight; went thence to Lurleigh to my brother Aaron's house; I took my gun with me there, and left it in the cupboard, where it was taken from; it was loaded but no cap on it; the gun belonged to Aaron; I know that Thomas Hagley has a flint gun, but am not certain of the gun produced so that I can swear to it. I think it the same. I left Aaron's on Sunday evening, about four o'clock, and slept at Whitnoll, Stoodley parish.

About twenty minutes after 8 o'clock on Wednesday evening, the Coroner summed up the evidence. The Jury afterwards retired to consider their verdict, and found Aaron Hagley guilty of "Wilful Murder," and Thomas Hagley and Matthew Maslen guilty, as there and then aiding and assisting. The Jury was then adjourned till this day (Friday) two o'clock for the purpose of giving time to complete the document.

The prisoners were removed to the Devon County Gaol.

Thursday 22 December 2022

The Worthies of Devon

Author: John Prince
Published: 1810
Provider: Internet Archive

The Worthies of Devon

Note the typo in the title - should be "Dumnonii Orientales Illustres".