Author Topic: Connection between tragic incident and court case?  (Read 1421 times)

Offline Grothenwell

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Connection between tragic incident and court case?
« on: Friday 15 July 16 06:53 BST (UK) »
John Wagstaff was my 4th great Grandfather. Searching some old archived papers, I found a small snippet of a case where he had some coal stolen by a Cornelius Stephens, and another snippet saying accused not guilty.

Years later I found a fuller account of the case in a different newspaper that appeared to paint John in a very poor light, indicating it was likely a malicious charge caused by Cornelius setting up as a Blacksmith rival to John, his former master, and the only witness was the lowest of the low!

Was it just a feud gone wrong about setting up as a blacksmith rival in Bredon, where likely there wasn't enough work to go around? In combination with perhaps a perceived lack of gratitude in having taught Cornelius his trade, and this was seen as a stab in the back?

That is not the end of the story though, at the same time I found the court case report, I also found the story of the drowning tragedy that occurred a few years before court case. The story of the drowning of 3 youths of Bredon in a boating accident on the Avon that I am sure must have had a bearing on the court case. Two of the three drowned youths were a Wagstaff and a Stephens. I later managed to find the Wagstaff was Thomas, 18 year old son of John (I have yet to find the forename of Stephens - and his likely close relationship to Cornelius).

Did John and Cornelius blame each other's relation for causing the tragedy? Both the drowned youths were blacksmiths - was Cornelius a blacksmith on his own by then or after the accident? Did the youths argue with drink involved - a scuffle that caused the hat to fall/thrown into the river?

The drowning incident was reported on 23rd May 1835 Worcester Herald, and the larceny court case on 1st March 1838 Worcestershire Chronicle.





Aberdeenshire; Brechin, Robb, Clark, Hardie, Johnston, Watt, Elmslie, Milne, Harper, Adam, Edmond, Laing, Gibson, Aedie, Jameson, Argo & Doverty.
Booth, Watson, Grothenwell, Ewen, Mackie, Simpson, Piper, Taylor, Davidson, Willox, Chalmers & Gordon
Still, Fraser, Robertson, Burnet & Lumsden
Banffshire; Cruickshank, Bennet, Broug, Allen, West & Lyal
Caithness; Sutherland
Herefordshire, Worcester, Monmouthshire, Gloucestershire; Wagstaff, Jones, Turner, Wiggett, Hannes

Offline jim1

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Re: Connection between tragic incident and court case?
« Reply #1 on: Friday 15 July 16 14:27 BST (UK) »
With regard to the drownings they were unfortunately a common occurrence & in a small town or village with large extended families it wouldn't be unusual to have a lot of people with the same surname.
I think the court case is more to do with the relationship between Master & apprentice.
There would have been an understanding that an apprentice wouldn't open his business in competition with the Master. This didn't happen for whatever reason & would certainly have antagonised the Master. The fact that he was doing so well would only have added fuel to the fire.
It looks to me that the Master has set out to discredit him & brand him little better than a common thief which would have damaged his business.
So I think this is more to do with livelihoods rather than lives.
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
Census information is Crown copyright,from
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Offline Grothenwell

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Re: Connection between tragic incident and court case?
« Reply #2 on: Friday 15 July 16 22:45 BST (UK) »
Hi Jim,

Thanks for replying. I'm tempted to agree with your summation, however someone with contacts with Bredon told me there were at least 3 smith businesses in Bredon (I suppose someone with access to the 1841 census might be able to confirm). I also think losing a son to an accident might cause anger to a family you feel is responsible. And depending on the drowned Stephens relationship to Cornelious perhaps a conflicting view of who was to blame.
Aberdeenshire; Brechin, Robb, Clark, Hardie, Johnston, Watt, Elmslie, Milne, Harper, Adam, Edmond, Laing, Gibson, Aedie, Jameson, Argo & Doverty.
Booth, Watson, Grothenwell, Ewen, Mackie, Simpson, Piper, Taylor, Davidson, Willox, Chalmers & Gordon
Still, Fraser, Robertson, Burnet & Lumsden
Banffshire; Cruickshank, Bennet, Broug, Allen, West & Lyal
Caithness; Sutherland
Herefordshire, Worcester, Monmouthshire, Gloucestershire; Wagstaff, Jones, Turner, Wiggett, Hannes


Offline jim1

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Re: Connection between tragic incident and court case?
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 16 July 16 11:18 BST (UK) »
John would have considered it a slap in the face & against the "gentleman's agreement".
He had no control over the other blacksmith's shops.
I suppose you'll never really know if there was also antagonism over the drowning.
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
Census information is Crown copyright,from
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Offline Grothenwell

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Re: Connection between tragic incident and court case?
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 16 July 16 13:44 BST (UK) »
Thanks Jim,

I think you are likely correct, probably a professional rivalry, a relationship soured. And as you said we will never know for sure.

But I'd still like to find out the drowned Stephens kinship with Cornelius?

We're there apprenticeship records for smiths kept by any guilds then?

Would there be church session records about either incident?
Aberdeenshire; Brechin, Robb, Clark, Hardie, Johnston, Watt, Elmslie, Milne, Harper, Adam, Edmond, Laing, Gibson, Aedie, Jameson, Argo & Doverty.
Booth, Watson, Grothenwell, Ewen, Mackie, Simpson, Piper, Taylor, Davidson, Willox, Chalmers & Gordon
Still, Fraser, Robertson, Burnet & Lumsden
Banffshire; Cruickshank, Bennet, Broug, Allen, West & Lyal
Caithness; Sutherland
Herefordshire, Worcester, Monmouthshire, Gloucestershire; Wagstaff, Jones, Turner, Wiggett, Hannes

Offline mowsehowse

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Re: Connection between tragic incident and court case?
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 17 July 16 15:31 BST (UK) »
What a sad but interesting tale.  :'(

Are you aware of The Blacksmiths Index?

http://blacksmiths.mygenwebs.com/index.php  <

Worcestershire does not seem to be represented, so perhaps you would like to make a contribution?
BORCHARDT in Poland/Germany, BOSKOWITZ in Hungary + Austria, BUSS in Germany, FEKETE in Hungary + Austria, GOTTHILF in Hammerstein, GUBLER in Switzerland, KONIG in Germany, KRONER  & PLACZEK in Poland.

Also: ROWSE in Brixham, Tenby, Hull & Ramsgate. Strongman, in Falmouth. Champion. Coke. Eame/s. Gibbons. Passmore. Pulsever. Sparkes in Brixham & Ramsgate. Toms in Cornwall. Waymoth. Wyatt.

Offline Grothenwell

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Re: Connection between tragic incident and court case?
« Reply #6 on: Monday 18 July 16 00:45 BST (UK) »
Hi Mowsehowse,

Yes I thought so too.

I wasn't aware of that Index, it looks very interesting - I'll definitely check it out, thanks.
Aberdeenshire; Brechin, Robb, Clark, Hardie, Johnston, Watt, Elmslie, Milne, Harper, Adam, Edmond, Laing, Gibson, Aedie, Jameson, Argo & Doverty.
Booth, Watson, Grothenwell, Ewen, Mackie, Simpson, Piper, Taylor, Davidson, Willox, Chalmers & Gordon
Still, Fraser, Robertson, Burnet & Lumsden
Banffshire; Cruickshank, Bennet, Broug, Allen, West & Lyal
Caithness; Sutherland
Herefordshire, Worcester, Monmouthshire, Gloucestershire; Wagstaff, Jones, Turner, Wiggett, Hannes

Offline jbml

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Re: Connection between tragic incident and court case?
« Reply #7 on: Friday 29 July 16 16:31 BST (UK) »
I think you need to test your assumption that there wasn't enough blacksmithing work to go around, if there were (not so long before) two additional blacksmiths, who drowned in a boating accident ...

But on the whole, yes, it is important not to see cases such as this as isolated incidents but to try to understand the full background circumstances and how th eparties related to one another - partcularly in smaller communities where the principal actors had probably lived alongside one another for all of their lives, and would probably continue to do so for the rest of their lives.

Historic communities were very different creatures from modern so-called "communities", and we overlook this at our peril ...
All identified names up to and including my great x5 grandparents: Abbot Andrews Baker Blenc(h)ow Brothers Burrows Chambers Clifton Cornwell Escott Fisher Foster Frost Giddins Groom Hardwick Harris Hart Hayho(e) Herman Holcomb(e) Holmes Hurley King-Spooner Martindale Mason Mitchell Murphy Neves Oakey Packman Palmer Peabody Pearce Pettit(t) Piper Pottenger Pound Purkis Rackliff(e) Richardson Scotford Sherman Sinden Snear Southam Spooner Stephenson Varing Weatherley Webb Whitney Wiles Wright

Offline Grothenwell

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Re: Connection between tragic incident and court case?
« Reply #8 on: Friday 29 July 16 18:57 BST (UK) »
Hi jmbl, thank you for replying. I agree with what you say, but don't know how to test it.

I believe that Thomas Wagstaff must have been an apprentice of his father John, whether Cornelius Stephen was a blacksmith on his own by this stage and whether the deceased Stephen was an apprentice for who remains to be answered. A friend looked up Blacksmiths of Bredon in 1841:
District 1 The Hamlet of Bredon

Cornelius Stephens 25 Blacksmith
William Bulingham 15 Blacksmith app (I think that's what it says)
John Wagstaff 60 Blacksmith
James Underwood 15 Blacksmith app (I think that's what it says)

District 3 The Hamlet of Kinsham

John Hatch 20 Blacksmith

District 4 Norton by Bredon

Joseph Smith 30 Blacksmith
Aberdeenshire; Brechin, Robb, Clark, Hardie, Johnston, Watt, Elmslie, Milne, Harper, Adam, Edmond, Laing, Gibson, Aedie, Jameson, Argo & Doverty.
Booth, Watson, Grothenwell, Ewen, Mackie, Simpson, Piper, Taylor, Davidson, Willox, Chalmers & Gordon
Still, Fraser, Robertson, Burnet & Lumsden
Banffshire; Cruickshank, Bennet, Broug, Allen, West & Lyal
Caithness; Sutherland
Herefordshire, Worcester, Monmouthshire, Gloucestershire; Wagstaff, Jones, Turner, Wiggett, Hannes