Taunton Courier 09 Jul 1856 Somerset Quarter Sessions includes John OATEN stealing lead Pitminster Church

Sarah Hawkins Genealogy Site
Newspaper Articles

Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser 09 Jul 1856




(Before W. MILES, Esq., M.P.)

Francis WILLS pleased guilty to stealing a pair of trowsers, the property of Robert RAISEN, at Crewkerne, and was sentenced to two months' imprisonment.


George KINGDON was indicted for a burglary in the house of George HODGE, at North Petherton. The prisoner was in tolerably good circumstances for a working man, and earned on an average a guinea a week; he was related to the prosecutor, a labourer, and in the habit of visiting him. On the 5th ult., while prosecutor and his wife were at work, they having locked the door and placed the key under it; shortly after it was found that a window had been forcibly opened, and from the house they missed a large quantity of bacon and other provisions. Suspecting the prisoner, the prosecutor went to his residence at Kingston, and charged him with the robbery, when he admitted it, and asked to be forgiven. Prisoner having been found guilty, after a previous conviction for forging a will, with intent to defraud the next of kin, he was sentenced to 12 months' hard labour.


William VOISEY, a little boy scarcely 12 years of age, was indicted for housebreaking at Wellington. It was proved that the house of a poor woman named FRY was left safe during her absence, on the 7th April last, and the prisoner, who had been seen prowling about, was observed to rush out of the house with a loaf of bread which he had stolen from the pantry. The lad's parents, it was stated, had brought him up to dishonest practices. Sentence – 3 weeks in Taunton gaol, and to spend 3 years in the Reformatory at Kingswood.

Rachel HOOPER, for breaking into a dwelling house and stealing a bed, at Merriott, the property of Roger HOOPER, was acquitted.

Job EVERY, and George TRENCHARD, charged with stealing potatoes at Combe St. Nicholas, the property of William GARDINER, were found not guilty.

Thomas HOLE, a lad of 15, for breaking into the house of William THORNE, at Cutcombe, with intent to steal, was sentenced to 9 month's imprisonment.

Henry GREEDY was found guilty on two indictments, one for breaking into the house of John PENNY, at Wiveliscombe, and stealing wearing apparel; and a second for stealing a waistcoat, the property of John DATE. Two previous convictions were proved, and the prisoner was ordered to be imprisoned 13 months.


William VICKERY, was charged with stealing a ewe sheep the property of Joseph HARRIS, at Dinnington. Mr. EDWARDS prosecuted, and Mr. COLE defended. The prosecutor missed a sheep from his field on the 17th May, and there were tracks of a man's boots and the marks of wheels near the field on the turnpike road; the latter were traced to within a few yards of the prisoner's house, which was searched by the constable and the prosecutor, but nothing was found. On leaving the premises, they noticed a dog scratching a particular spot in the garden, and, on digging up the soil, the belly of a sheep was found, and in the house of another man was found a skin, minus the belly, which prosecutor identified. The evidence however was insufficient, and the accused obtained an acquittal.

Frederick KERLE pleaded guilty to stealing a sheep at Moorlinch, the property of William STAGG. Sentence four year's penal servitude.


William PHILLIPS, (glover), was indicted for stealing from the person of Jane RENDALL, at Yeovil, a purse and 5s. 1½d. her property. On the 14th April, Mrs. RENDALL was nursing a woman in her confinement, at whose house the prisoner lodged, when a person there asked prisoner to change half-a-crown, but he could not do so, and prosecutrix offered to do so, and she placed a half-crown in her purse in prisoner's presence and put it in her pocket. PHILLIPS got close to her and attempted to kiss her, and at the same time he put his hand into her pocket and took it out again. Some amusement was occasioned at the answers elicited on cross-examination of Mrs. RENDALL, by the prisoner's counsel (Mr. EDWARDS.) He asked her particularly as to her calling; and she begged to be allowed to tell her own story. Mr. EDWARDS: Then you don't like to answer me? Witness: I know he took my money, and you don't, for you wasn't there to see. (Laughter.) Q.- Don't you like a drop of gin? A. - No, not so much as you. (Much laughter.) I like a piece of beef better. I shall say no more to you. Mr. EDWARDS: Yes, you will, or I shall apply to the Court to commit you. A. - You'll get no more out of me, I can tell 'ee; you bother me, and wish me to tell lies, and I won't – there now. (Laughter.) Yes, he did! (Roars of laughter.) The Chairman: You must answer the questions. - Witness (as if making virtue of necessity): Well, what be I to say? Be I to tell that man didn't take the money, when I know'd he'd a took? (Laughter.) The case being supported by other evidence, the prisoner was found guilty, and sentenced to four month's hard labour.

This was the conclusion of the business in the Crown Court.

(Before C. A. MOODY, Esq., M.P., and a Bench of Magistrates.)


Great Badminton, appellants, v. the County of Somerset, respondents. - This was an appeal against an order under the hands and seals of William BLAKE, and Ralph Ludlow LOPES, Esquires, two justices of the Peace for the County of Somerset, dated the 26th of January 1856, made for the removal of Jabez ISAAC, from the Somerset County Lunatic Asylum to the parish of Great Badminton. Mr. EDWARDS and Mr. ELDIN were counsel for the appellants; attorney, Mr. TRENFIELD, of Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire. Counsel for the respondents, Mr. PRIDEAUX and Mr. THRING; attorneys, Messrs. PINCHARD and Son, Taunton. - The pauper, a man about 42 years of age, was confined in the county gaol of Somerset at Taunton, having been tried on a charge of arson and acquitted on the ground of insanity. He was subsequently removed to the county lunatic asylum at Wells under an order of the Taunton Bench of Magistrates chargeable to Great Badminton, against which that parish now appealed. On behalf of the respondents it was shown on the testimony of an old man of 72, named Isaac ISAACS, father of the pauper, who works in the gardens of his Grace the Duke of Beaufort, at Badminton, that the lunatic, Jabez ISAAC, was one of a family of four children by witness's first wife, Hannah Maria VICK, of Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire; that the pauper was born in the parish of Great Badminton, where the family lived all their lives. Shortly after the death of his first wife, he was prostrated with typhus fever, and applied to the overseer of Badminton (Mr. OSBORNE) for relief, and he gave him 4s. or 5s. per week. He was taken to Old Sodbury before he lost his wife, where he was examined as to his settlement. After that he married again in about 12 months, and himself, wife and children, were taken subsequently to the Dog Inn, at Old Sodbury, by the overseer of Badminton, (Mr. BUTLER,) but they were sent back the same day, and no relief was ever afforded to ISAAC's family by the parish of Sodbury. Mr. THRING said, the only object of the county of Somerset was to obtain such an order of the court that the appellant parish might not say the pauper must be settled at Old Sodbury, and when they came to make an order on the parish of Sodbury they should not be able to say he belonged to Badminton. He argued that on not one occasion had it been shown that the old man ever slept a night in Sodbury, or received any relief from that parish. The question for the court was whether at the time of the second removal in 1834, it was made upon the faith of the previous order in 1820. The Clerk of the Peace (Mr. LOVELL) who was the nominal defendant in this case, felt it his duty to ask the court to give a bona fide decision in this appeal, on the evidence before it, as to which parish the pauper really belonged, in order that the unfortunate lunatic might no longer be bandied about from one place to another. - The court eventually quashed the order of the Justices, with costs.

Bristol and Exeter Railway Company, Appellants, v. the Parish of Montacute, Respondents. -

This is an appeal entered on motion of counsel at the last session, and adjourned o the Midsummer sessions, against a poor-rate assessment of part of the Bristol and Exeter line, in the parish of Montacute, made on the 30th April 1853. The case was not argued before the court, the rate being reduced by consent.

Bristol and Exeter Railway Company, Appellants, v. Parish of Drayton. - This was in all respects a similar case, and an order was taken by consent of the counsel (Mr. PRIDEAUX and Mr. EDLIN,) for a reduction of the rate.

Chard (Borough) Appellants v. Parish of Nailsea. - Mr. PRIDEAUX and Mr. SPEKE, were counsel for the appellants, attorney, Mr. LONGWORTHY; for the respondents , Mr. EDWARDS and Mr. COLE; attorney, Mr. CHADWICK. This was an appeal against an order signed by R. E. BURROWES and John SHORLAND Esqrs., for the removal of Charity MILES, and her two children, paupers, from Nailsea to Chard, and the ground of appeal was simply a traverse, or denial of charge strictly on the part of the appellants, under the assumption that the pauper had not gained a settlement in Chard. Mrs. MILES is the widow of an excise officer, who was removed, according to the migratory regulations of the Inland Revenue department, from Taunton to Chard, in 1843; he occupied a house there, with his wife and family, at a rental of £13 per annum, but after several years' occupancy of the house in Hope Terrace, they removed into a smaller tenement belonging to the same owner, and continued to pay rent, rates, &c. until the death of the pauper's husband, in 1846. The maiden settlement of Mrs. MILES, was at Nailsea, where, prior to her marriage, she resided with her parents. The order of the justices was confirmed, without costs.


The Court then proceeded with the trial of indictments. Mr. EDWARDS, who was instructed for the prosecution in a case of assault, addressing the court said – this is a case in which an indictment is preferred against the defendant by a Revenue officer. The defendant has made every apology he can make under the circumstances, the Revenue officer is perfectly satisfied, and withdraws from the prosecution. - The Chairman: gentlemen of the jury, the defendant is Walter Chorley BRANNAN; no evidence is offered against him by the prosecution, and you will therefore say he is not guilty. The jury returned a verdict accordingly.


Mary Ann GREEN, was indicted for uttering a base sovereign, knowing the same to be counterfeit. Mr. T. W. SAUNDERS prosecuted; the prisoner was undefended. The case has been recently reported, a brief outline therefore will suffice. The prisoner, an itinerant vendor of nuts and street ballads, going about to fairs, &c., asked a person named Sarah PARKHOUSE, to purchase half a peck of oats for her in Taunton Market, on the 17th May, to which PARKHOUSE assented, and GREEN gave her what appeared to be a sovereign to pay for them. The prisoner accompanied her to within about a yard of the corn stand kept by Mrs. WHITE, of whom PARKHOUSE bought the oats, which she paid for with the sovereign, and on receiving the change handed it over to the prisoner; and they went away with Mrs. HILL, (the mother of PARKHOUSE) to a public house where GREEN paid for some beer. It was shown that prisoner, who was lodging at the Friendship Inn, East Reach, had no fowls, or kept any animal requiring oats for food. Mr. SAMUELS the police officer, apprehended the prisoner on a charge of selling two boys a quantity of base money; and while in his custody, the sovereign paid to Mrs. WHITE, having been found to be counterfeit, she was charged with this offence, and identified. Mr. R. SUMMERHAYES proved the worthless characters of the coin, which, the chairman remarked, hardly needed the eyes of a goldsmith to discover. Prisoner was convicted, and it was stated by Inspector SAMUELS that she had been in custody three times for similar offences and always fortunate enough to get acquitted. The court sentenced her to nine month's hard labour.


Robert MITCHELL, was charged with stealing 5s. and some sweetmeats, the property of William HEXT, his master, at Crewkerne. Mr. COLE prosecuted. The prosecutor is a baker and confectioner, and one evening when prisoner conceived that his employer was at church, he told the maid servants to take the children out for a walk, and in the meantime, he broke open the door of the shop from an adjoining room, took some money from the till, and some sweetmeats from a show-glass, which he put in his pocket. His was at this time watching him unobserved by the prisoner, and he went and laid hold of prisoner, and gave into custody of the constable, who was waiting outside, and some marked money and confectionary were found in prisoner's pockets. - Verdict – guilty; sentence six week's hard labour, the last three days in solitary confinement.


John OATEN and Daniel DUNN, were indicted for stealing 56lbs, weight of lead affixed to, and forming part of, the parish church of Pitminster, the property of the Rev. G. R. LAWSON, vicar; and Robert COLES, (on bail) was charged with receiving the same knowing it to have been stolen. Mr. THRING prosecuted, and the defence of COLES conducted by Mr. T. W. SAUNDERS, (instructed by Mr. J. TAUNTON, solicitor). Before the case was opened, Mr. THRING said, since the prisoners had pleaded, by the advice of his friends and with the consent of the prosecutor, the prisoner OATEN, having hitherto borne a good character, would withdraw his pea of not guilty, and plead guilty, and in consideration of his doing so, the prosecutor recommended him to the mercy of the court. The case on which the prosecution relied in the case of the other prisoner's, was this:- On Saturday night, the 12th of April, at about half past 11 o'clock, Joseph MANNING, keeper of the Trull gate on the Honiton turnpike road, saw four men, two of whom were DUNN and OATEN, and the others GANGE, and TROUT, the two men who were also charged with the offence, but discharged by the magistrates. OATEN was carrying something heavy in a bundle, followed by the other three. Suspecting by the appearance of the men that all was not right, he asked Mr. BICKNELL, a farmer, to follow them with him for the purpose of ascertaining what they had got. They went along the road, and overtook OATEN, carrying the bundle, near Haines Hill, asked what he had there, and received for reply “nothing”; they still followed OATEN, DUNN, and the others until they came near a short cut into Wilton, when TROUT and GANGE ran away. At the request of MANNING and BICKNELL, the bundle was opened, but before it was so exposed, DUNN said it was “only a bit of lead.” MANNING watched OATEN go into the house of the prisoner COLES, a marine store dealer in Shuttern, and when he came out he had no lead. It subsequently turned out that lead had been stolen from the church at Pitminster, the lead found at COLES's house, and on which he had lent prisoner 4s., was found to have been stolen therefrom, and the prisoners OATEN and DUNN, with GANGE and TROUT were apprehended. When before the magistrates on the first examination, COLES' statement was taken down, but not places as evidence on the depositions. DUNN and OATEN were committed, and on a subsequent day COLES himself was called to answer the criminal charge of receiving. - Mr. SAUNDERS, in an eloquent speech pointed out that notwithstanding the dangerous and suspicious nature of his calling, the man had resided for 40 years in Taunton, and no charge whatever had been made against him, and if he got out of this trouble his friends would advise him to relinquish a business attended with so much hazard. Though there might be little circumstances in the case perhaps to justify suspicion, the conduct of COLES throughout, particularly with reference to the entry in the book of the nature of this transaction, went to show that he had acted perfectly honest in this matter, and did all in his power to further the ends of justice. The jury at once acquitted COLES; DUNN was found guilty after two former convictions, and sentenced to 4 years' penal servitude, for which he immediately “thanked” the chairman. OATEN, being recommended to mercy, received a sentence of six weeks' imprisonment. - The chairman highly complimented Mr. BICKNELL, and MANNING the gate-keeper, for their exertions in the case.


Joseph BRYANT, stealing a watch at Bishop's Hull, the property of Thomas PORTER – 3 months; William BENNETT, breaking into the dwelling-house of Samuel MOGG, at West Monkton, and stealing 56lbs. of pork and other property – 4 years' penal servitude; William NOBBS, stealing at Montacute, a pair of boots, the property of Jeremiah HALLETT – 12 months; James WADHAM, stealing a quantity of wheat at Bridgewater, the property of his master, Robert HAWKINS – 6 weeks' imprisonment.

The court rose at 5 o'clock.

Back to Miscellaneous Page

Back to Home Page