Old News


Shocking Death of a Game-Keeper at Bell Bar

From the Herts Advertiser,

 15th February 1890



St Albans


This news item reports on the inquest of William Walby,  who accidentally shot himself in Kentish Lane, near Bell Bar, near Hatfield. It is typical of the inquests of the time, being held the day after the death, in a public house near where the incident happened, with the jury seeing the body.  The following notes identify the people mentioned in the account (based mainly on the 1881 census returns and 1882 Kelly's directory for Hertfordshire):

Henry Brabant was the coroner for the St Albans district of Hertfordshire and lived in St Peters Street, St Albans. He was treasurer of the St Albans Corporation and as such was involved in a number of other duties such as being clerk to the Board of Guardians,

Charles Butler was a gentleman living in Warren Wood, a large house and associated estate, who employed William Walby as keeper.

Dr. William Church, M.D., was a practicing doctor of medicine who lived at Woodside, Hatfield, and who employed Amos Turner as gamekeeper.

Police Sergt. Henry Duke was a menber of the Hertfordshire County Police Force who lived at  26 Malden Road, Watford. He cross-examined witnesses on behalf of the police,

Mr Elvidge, of Barbers-lodge Farm, employed Thomas Gillians.  He may have been the Thomas Oram Elvidge, Farm Bailiff, Moffatts Farm, Sheepshead Hall Lane, North Mimms, at the time of the 1891 census.

Thomas Gillians, witness, was farm labourer in the employ of Mr Elvidge, and lived in a cottage, Lower Woodside Lane, Hatfield

Dr Charles Vincent Ross Hall, witness, who gave evidence that death was instantaneous, He was a surgeon who lived at  Fore Street Hatfield [1882]

Mr Henry Hipwell was foreman of the Jury and the farm manager at Woodside Farm, Port Kiln Lane, Hatfield.

Amos Turner, witness, was keeper to Dr. Church, living at Woodside, Green Street, Hatfield

Mrs Sarah Walby. wife of William Walby, is listed in the 1891 census as a 39 year old widow, living in Woodfield Lane, Hatfireld with children Victor (12), David (10), Dorothea Sarah (7) and Emily (4).

William Walby, the deceased, had lived with his family in Hoppetts Wood, a cottage on the Camfield Place estate. He was keeper for Charles Butler of Warren Wood, but may have had shared duties on the Camfield Place estate, owned by Edmund Potter. Kentish Lane, where the accident occurred, runs south between Camfield Palce and Warren Wood.

Edward Woolley ran White Swan Inn, Bell Bar, Hatfield, where the inquest was held.


Cutting kindly provided by

Ann (southernparkhouse @t gmail.com)


For more information on the family see the Brookmans Park Newsletter


If you can add to the information given above tell me.

 Page created December 2011