Old Hertfordshire News

 ASSAULT in Wood in 1868

Herts Advertiser, 8th February, 1868


Saturday, Feb 1

Present - G. R. Marten, Esq., (in the chair), T. Kinder. Esq., H. H. Toumlin, Esq., W. H. Solly, Esq., H. J. Toulmin, Esq., Rev. W. S. Wade.


Frederick Wright, of Gustard Wood, Wheathamstead, was charged with assaulting John Field on Sunday, the 26th January.

Mr. Day appeared for the prosecution. The prisoner pleaded Guilty.

Mr Day said the assault was an aggravated character. Field, the complainant, was in the employ of Colonel Ames, and was in Chancey Wood on Sunday evening with one of Colonel Ames's keepers, looking after game, when on a sudden they discovered the defendant in the wood armed with a terrific bludgeon. There was no doubt that he was in the company of other persons, but the present charge referred only to the defendant. No sooner did the complainant go to him and ask him what he was doing there than he struck him with the bludgeon.

The Chairman: We had better hear the facts from the witness.

Complainant: I was in the wood a little before seven o'clock in the evening, when I heard some one in the ride. I called out but received no answer. The defendant immediately came up to me and struck me a tremendous blow on the head with the bludgeon (produced). He then struck me a second time on the arm, which he disabled. He struck me a third time; I then collared him and called out for Myers to come to my assistance. A man called Smith came up nearly at the same time. Wright then said "Don't hurt me," and gave himself up to us. The defendant had attempted to disguise himself by blacking his face all down the sides, so as to resemble whiskers. My head bled profusely from the wounds inflicted by the defendant. I was attended by Dr. West.

Mr Day: I must ask your worship to exercise your discretionary power, and send the defendant to prison without the option of a fine. The prisoner has stated that if he could get off with a fine he would not care.

The Chairman: You have pleaded guilty to a very aggravated assault. You went to the wood disguised, and armed, with a predetermination to resist by violent means any obstruction which might be offered you. You assaulted this man without any provocation at all and inflicted a very severe wound on him. We have therefore determined to send you to prison for two calendar months, with hard labour.

[see WRIGHT, Wheathampstead, mid 19th century]