Woolmers Exeter and Plymuth Gazette 20 Aug 1853 Collumpton Petty Sessions inc James RUCKLEY John RUCKLEY Mary RUCKLEY William RUCKLEY

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Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette. Saturday 20 Aug 1853

Page 7 Column 4 and 5




These Sessions were held on Wednesday, at the Town Hall, before E. S. DREWE, Esq., (Chairman), W. C. GRANT, Esq., the Rev. J. HUYSHE, and the Rev. J. P. SYDENHAM.

THE COLLUMPTON DRAINS. - The surveyors of the parish of Collumpton were summoned for not keeping the drains in a proper state of repair. The defendants admitted that the drains were in a very bad condition, but they explained that the evil could not be remedied unless a man was kept purposely to clean them, or unless a supply of was was brought into the town. From the statement of policeman WARE, it appeared that a parish meeting had been held, and the farmers had opposed the granting of a sum for the cleansing of the various drains. The Chairman observed that the evil would eventually recoil upon the parish unless the necessary work was done, as a commission would be sent down from the Board of Guardians, and the expenses would have to be paid out of the rates. - By the advice of the Bench, the surveyors promised to employ a man constantly to keep the sewers throughout the town in a proper condition. A fine of £5 was inflicted, to be enforced if any similar complaint were made at the next sessions. It was stated that typhus fever was prevalent in some parts of the town, and six or seven persons had recently died from that disorder.

A FARMER IN LIQUOR. - William DICKENSON was summoned for being drunk at Collumpton, on the 1st of August, and admitting the offence he was fined 5s. and the expenses. Mr. SYDENHAM explained that he had the defendant, who was a farmer, occupying an estate of several acres, summoned in consequence of the disgusting language which he used, which was greatly to the annoyance of several ladies who were passing at the time.


Henry RADFORD, James RUCKLEY, John BLACKMORE, and John RUCKLEY were summoned for being drunk at Kentisbeare, on Sunday, the 7th instant. They were defended by Mr. TOBY, of Exeter.

Mary RUCKLEY stated that on Sunday week she went to church in the afternoon with her husband, and on her return she heard that her sons were drunk at Kentisbeare. She then went to the Wyndham Arms, where she saw two of her sons with RADFORD and BLACKMORE; they were all intoxicated with the exception of John RUCKLEY, who at her request left; this was about five o'clock. Witness then went to a neighbour's, and in a short time she heard a row at the Wyndham Arms, and on going there saw another of her sons William, who was more drunk than the rest, taking off his waistcoat to fight with BLACKMORE; her son James was not present at that time. In consequence of her interference no fight took place in the house. The landlord, Mr. CANNIFORD, endeavoured to separate the parties.

Elizabeth GOUGH asserted first that when she saw the defendants on the afternoon in question, they were standing talking quietly and serious. Afterwards, however, she said she saw them rambling about the streets.

From the manner in which this witness gave her evidence, the Bench said they did not believe a word of it.

Mr. RADFORD, constable of the parish, stated that he was called on, about half-past nine o'clock on the Sunday evening, by Mary RUCKLEY, to quell a disturbance at her house. On going there, he found William RUCKLEY very drunk, but he could not say whether his brother James was intoxicated. At that time he saw neither of the other defendants.

This was the complainant's case, and there being no evidence against John RUCKLEY, he was discharged. Mr. TOBY then called him as a witness, and he emphatically denied that up to half-past five neither of the parities, except William, was intoxicated.

The man William RUCKLEY, who appeared to have been the worst of the lot, had since enlisted as a soldier, and had not been summoned.

The Bench fined RADFORD, BLACKMORE, and James RUCKLEY, 5s. each, and the expenses; and ordered the latter, who was not very sober even now, to be locked up till the close of the business.


James FRY was summoned for assaulting John JAMES, at Culmstock, on the 25th of July last. From the evidence of the complainant it appeared that he had a dispute on the day in question with a man named UNDERDOWN, and after it was over FRY came up in a fighting attitude and threatened to knock his head off. Complainant, however, told him he would not have the pleasure of doing it that night and there the matter ended, no blows passing on either side, and FRY keeping at a distance of ten or twelve yards from him. Under these circumstance the Bench did not consider the case proved, and dismissed the summons, ordering the complainant to pay the expenses.

James UNDERDOWN was then summoned by John JAMES for an assault at the same place on the same day. This was a similar case to the last. A disputed arose between the parties, and UNDERDOWN holding up his fists said he would polish him off if he came near him. It did not suit him however to comply with his request, and so no blows passed. UNDERDOWN's general conduct was such as to put him in bodily fear, having on several occasions threatened “to do” for him, and on the day in question, he used that expression simultaneously with the flourish of a frying pan towards him. The Bench endeavoured to get the complainant's definition of “to do for,” but he did not seem very clear about it, vary-it from a good thrashing to a skull-cracking. To support his complaint, however, he called his brother, who deposed to hearing UNDERDOWN threaten with an oath to “do for him.” The Bench thought there was not sufficient evidence to justify them in calling upon the defendant to be bound over to keep the peace; and they therefore dismissed the summons.


John JAMES was then summoned by Henry MILTON for exposing an indecent print at Prescott, in the parish of Culmstock, on the 24th July last.

The complainant stated that JAMES had frequently accused him of having been guilty of an unnatural crime with a donkey; and on the day in question he was driving a female member of his master's family to church, when the defendant and his brother were standing at the corner of their garden, near his master's gate. While complainant was stopping to shut the gate, the defendant made use of the most obscene language, and asked him if he was not ashamed of what he had done. His mistress, who was in the gig, heard all that passed. On the 25th of July an image was set up in his garden, representing a person committing the act before alluded to, with the words “A full trial of Harry MILTON for ------,” written underneath. In the evening the defendant's brother Robert took it down, and it had not since been seen. It was pourtrayed in chalk on an old tea-tray.

The case having proceeded thus far, the Bench consulted with their clerk, and at the suggestion of that gentleman, as well as Mr. TOBY, who acted as amicus curiae, they asked both complainant and defendant whether they would rather the charge was decided by the Magistrates summarily, or whether it should be sent to the Assizes by indictment. The former alternative was selected, and, by the consent of both parties, the summons was withdrawn, and a new one taken out under the Vagrant Act, to be heard at the next Sessions, when several witnesses will be called on both sides.

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