A History of Preston

in Hertfordshire

James Brown was charged with poaching on land in the occupation of Mr Cook at Hill End. Mr Armstrong appeared for the defendant. Thomas Cook said he saw defendant on the 3rd. instant fire off a gun and stoop to pick up something but could not tell what it was. Mr Armstrong said the charge arose out of ill feeling between the parties and an action had been commenced in another court against the complainant. Case dismissed. (December 1859)

RABBITTING. Charles Mays (aged 17, a labourer living at Back Lane) and George Fairey (aged 20, living at Back Lane, Preston) both of Preston near Hitchin were charged with setting snares to take rabbits on land in the occupation of Mr. Bird and where a gentleman named Powell has the right of shooting. The defendants, who were only committed a fortnight ago for a similar offence, were committed to the House of Correction at Hertford, for one month each. (December 1860)

John Palmer of Preston was charged with poaching on land in the occupation of Mr John Cook of Hill End Farm. The offence was proved by Henry Russell, gamekeeper to H. Rogers of Stagenhoe Park, but it being the first time the defendant had been brought before the Bench, he was ordered to pay 10s, including costs. (January 1861)

George Fairey ( aged 20, living at Back Lane, Preston) was charged with poaching on land in the parish of Kings Walden, where Mr Baker has the right of shooting. The offence was proved by one of Mr Baker’s gamekeepers and the defendant was fined 5s and costs and in default committed for three months. (January 1861)

Henry Jeeves (aged 23, of Preston - a straw plaiter in 1861) was charged with poaching on land belonging to Mr Cook at Little Almshoe in the parish of Ippollitts. The case was proved by Mr John Cook and the defendant was fined £2 including costs and, in default, to be committed for one month. (January 1862)

George Saunders labourer, of Hitchin was charged with setting snares for the purpose of taking game on land belonging to Samuel Kirkby (aged 68), of Preston. Fined £1 including costs. (October 1868)

POACHING Charles Fairey, Henry Adams, John Butterfield and Charles Smith all of Kings Walden were charged with trespassing in search of conies on the 21st of December on land in occupation of C C Hale Esq.

Silas Houghton said that on the 21st of December he was in the Breachwood Green road when he saw the four men on land in the occupation of C.C.Hale, Esq. They were going up a footpath towards Leacher Wood. Witness then followed them and saw Smith standing outside and the other three in the wood. The defendants ran away when they saw the witness, who then found two snares set. He ran after them and overtook Butterfield and hearing a rabbit halloa, he took Butterfield back and asked him if he set the snares, and he said he did not. On being asked why he ran away, he said because he knew he was doing wrong.

Fairey admitted he was in the woods, but he denied he knew the snares were there.

Police constable Berry corroborated the evidence of Houghton.

In defence, Fairey said he did not set the snares nor did he know anything about them. Adams and Butterfield said they did not know anything about the snares and Smith declared that he was 100 yards from where the snares were when the constables saw him.

There were two previous convictions against Fairey.

The Bench fined Fairey £1 including costs. The other three were fined 10s each including costs. (January 1876)

 

POACHING. Charles Smith, Charles Fairey, Charles Brown and John Butterfield were charged with poaching on land belonging to C. C. Hale Esq. at Kings Walden on the 12th inst. Smith and Butterfield did not appear. The case having been proved, Fairey who has been up before was fined £1 and 12s 6d costs or three weeks, and Brown was fined 15s or a fortnight. (January 1877)

 

Charles Fairey and Charles Brown of Kings Walden were charged with trespassing in search of conies on land in the occupation of Mr Whitbread Roberts on the 21st January. A gamekeeper named Barker said he saw the defendants on either side of a hedge in the occupation of Mr Roberts. He saw Brown strike a rabbit and witness took it from him. Four convictions were proved against Fairey and two against Brown Fined 12s each; in default 14 days. (January 1877)

Thomas Fairey charged with poaching on land belonging to C. C. Hale Esq., of Kings Walden on 23rd April, was fined £1 and 12s 6d costs or one month’s imprisonment. (May 1879)

THE POACHING PREVENTION ACT.  At Hitchin Petty Sessions on Tuesday, Salvinas Loveridge, 23, and Joseph Loveridge, 16, gypsies were charged with an offence under the Poaching Prevention Act. Supt. Reynolds said that he was at Preston about nine o’clock that (Tuesday) morning and saw the defendants, one of whom tried to shun him. He got out of the trap and searched a bundle Joseph was carrying which Salvinas said was a bed. He found the tin produced containing 51 partridges eggs covered with grass in the middle of the bundle. The defendants both said they picked the eggs up as they passed along the road and did not go on anyone’s land. Fined 12s 6d and 5s 6d costs each.  (May 1889). (Sylvanus Loveridge was at Walkern, Herts in 1901 when his wife was a hawker.).

There was a postcript to this story which clearly involved the same gypsy family:Thomas and James Loveridge were charged with unlawfully sleeping in an outhouse at Hexton on Tuesday morning, the 24 February. Police-constable Anderson said that on searching one of Captain Young’s barns, he found the two defendants with their wives, two or three other women and nine or ten children. The barn was in the occupation of Mr Page. The defendants said they were travelling about mending chairs and one of them said Mr Page had given them leave to sleep in his barn. A letter was handed to the Chairman in which Mr Page denied having given the prisoners leave. Judgement suspended for one month. (Feb 1874)

THE GAME LAWS At the Hitchin Petty Sessions on Tuesday, James Freeman, Robert Crawley (aged 16, of Preston Green) and Henry Jeeves (aged 17, living at the Chequers Inn in 1891), labourers of Preston were charged with trespassing in search of game in a field of Mr Richard Marsh’s on February 18th at Kings Walden. Edward Hagger, a gamekeeper in the service of Mrs Hinds of Kings Walden, said he saw the defendants beating a hedge in the field, having two dogs with them. They had no sticks. The defendants said they merely walked along a field; they only went a few yards out of the footpath and were not in search of game. Each of them was fined 5s. (March 1888)

SEARCHING FOR GAME. At the Hitchin Petty Sessions on Tuesday, James Shambrook (aged 28 of St Pauls Walden)   Arthur Reeves, labourers, were charged with trespassing in search of game at Preston on November 18th. F. R. Sleet, a gamekeeper in the employment of Lord Glamis said that the men were searching the hedges on the roadside and egging their dogs on to look for game. The defendants said they only went for a walk along the road and had two puppies with them. They never left the road. The Chairman informed them that they were just as much trespassing when on the road searching for game as if they were in a wood. They would be convicted, but discharged with a caution. (December 1888)

CHARGE OF POACHING. Thomas and Henry Jeeves, late of Kings Walden were charged with having on the 16th inst. trespassed on land in the occupation of Mr Whitbread Roberts in search of conies.

Police-constable Farr said last Saturday afternoon he was walking from Preston to Ley Green when he saw the prisoners in front of him and suspecting they were up to no good, he watched them. He then saw Henry Jeeves take up a snare and reset it. He then went back to his companion and they went to some rabbit holes on Mr Robert’s land. Witness then went up to the accused and took a ferret away from Thomas Jeeves.

In his defence, Thomas Jeeves strongly denied that he was poaching. The fact was that Farr owed him a little money and these proceedings were taken because he (the prisoner) had sent him a bill last week. He did not think the policeman had any business to pull out his staff and say he would knock his ------ brains out.

The chairman said that there was not the least doubt that the prisoners were ferreting on this occasion and ordered them to pay a fine of 40s and 12s 6d expenses.  (December 1871)

Joseph Peters (aged 30, married and a domestic gardener, living at Blacksmiths Lane, Preston in 1881) was summoned for having on the 7th inst. trespassed upon land in occupation of Mr Marriott in the parish of Hitchin in search of game. In consequence of the defendant’s good character, the magistrates let him off on a payment of 17s 6d. (October 1872

POACHING. Alfred Fairey (aged 22, living at Preston 1871, a labourer) was charged on a warrant, not having appeared when he was summoned, with poaching upon land in the occupation of Mr George Wright of Kings Walden. The prisoner was further charged with a like offence at Paul’s Walden upon land in the occupation of Mr Richard Jepps. To this charge the accused pleaded guilty but he entirely denied trespassing in search of game on Mr Wright’s land. The magistrates however considered both cases proved and fined the prisoner in each case 40s and costs, or the alternative of two months imprisonment. The fines and the costs amounted to £5 14s 6d in default of paying which, Fairey will be imprisoned for four months. (November 1872)

SNARING. John Ward of Preston was convicted in his absence of setting a snare to take game on the 5th inst on land at Preston belonging to Thomas Harwood Darton Esq. Fined 20s and costs. Committed for one month’s hard labour in default. (January 1856)

William Winch and Thomas Currell of Preston were charged with setting snares to take hares on land belonging to Charles Chomley Hale Esq. at Kings Walden. Winch who is an old offender and was seen to set the snares, did not appear. Winch was seen by one of Mr Hales’ keepers to follow Winch to where the snares stood. Both the defendants had been at work in the same field. Currell having borne a good character, the Bench ordered him to pay 5s and issued a warrant against Winch (May 1856)

William Winch of Preston was convicted of shooting two partridges on land at Offley Holes. Fined £5 and costs or three months hard labour. He was an old offender. (January 1857)

 

George Read (aged 28, a carrier) and Daniel Winch of Preston were convicted of trespassing in search of game on land in the occupation of Mr Kirkby in the parish of Kings Walden. Fined 15s each including costs. (February 1857)

George Brown and Thomas Fairey (aged 56 a labourer of Kings Walden) were charged with poaching on land belonging to C. C. Hale Esq. of Kings Walden. Fined 10s 6d each including costs, or in default to be committed for fourteen days. The money was paid.(March 1866

 

 

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GAME TRESPASS. Charles Fairey (b 1858c) of Preston and Samuel Reeves of Whitwell were charged with game trespass on the 12 January. Fairey did not appear. John Barker said on the 12 of January he saw the two defendants in Kings Walden Park in a dell at rabbit holes. When they saw him they ran away. He went to the holes and took up half a dozen nets set for ferreting.

Reeves said he had been at work at Mr Taylor’s and went across the park, home and saw Fairey. He spoke to him but he had nothing whatever to do with Fairey.

Fairey was fined £1 and 9s costs, the case against the other defendant being adjourned for a week to enable him to call a witness. (Jan 1885)

 

George Fairey (of Preston b 1821c), John Palmer (of Preston b 1826c) and Daniel Winch (of Preston b 1816c) were charged with trespassing in search of rabbits on land at Offley in the occupation of Wm. Olney. They pleaded guilty and were fined – Winch 20s and Fairey and Palmer 10s each which they paid. (Feb 1843)

 

Daniel Butterfield and Henry Barber were charged with setting snares to take game in a field in the occupation of Mr James Titmus (b 1806c) at Poynders Green in the parish of Hitchin. (March 1843)

 

John Ward and Thomas Ward (b 1816) of Preston were charged with trespassing in search of rabbits in the parish of Kings Walden in the occupation of Harriett Saunderson (widowed licensee of Red Lion b 1791). The offence was proved against them by the evidence of George Young gamekeeper to Wm Curling, Esq. of Hitchin and they were fined 20s each and in default of payment committed to the House of Correction at Hertford with hard labour for one calendar month. (Nov 1841)

 

A charge of trespass in pursuit of game preferred by the gamekeeper of T P Halsey Esq. of Preston (of Temple Farm) against Thomas Cook and John Cook (aged 15 and 14), sons of John Cook (Farmer) of Hill End was adjourned till Tuesday next. (Jan 1844)

 

SNARING Henry Ward of Whitwell was charged with setting snares in a wood belonging to Lady Glamis Fined £5 and 15s 6d costs being an old offender. In default of payment, he was committed for three months of hard labour. (Feb 1848)

 

Thomas Fairey (b 1845 of Preston Hill Cottage) was charged with poaching on land of Mr C C Hale of Kings Walden Bury. John Walker, keeper to Mr Hale proved the case and the defendant was fined £1 and 12s 6d costs. He was sent to gaol for one month in default of payment. (May 1879)

 

Amos Scott and William Andrews (of Preston b 1835c) were charged with trespassing in search of game on land in the occupation of William Jackson, Hill End, Hitchin. They admitted the offence. Mr Jackson said that on the morning of 28 September, he saw the defendants digging at a rabbit hole. They had two dogs with them and two rabbits were found in Scott’s possession.

Scott said the rabbits had been killed the day before. Each of the defendants were fined 10s including costs. (Oct 1884)

 

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October 12, 1901. Charles Gray, a labourer, was summoned for trespassing in search of game at Preston on September 29 but the complainant asked leave to withdraw the case and this was allowed.

November 30, 1901.  Ebenezer Fox, labourer of Stevenage, was charged with trespassing in search of conies at Ippollitts on September 2. A game keeper named Ralph Barnes said that about seven o’clock in the evening he heard a noise in Wain Wood and concealed himself. A few minutes later he saw the defendant and his brother (Albert) come out of the wood. The defendant fired at a rabbit and then took the gun to pieces and gave part of it to his brother. On stopping the defendant, the gun stock and ten cartridges were found in his possession. The brother got away without being searched (though his pockets looked bulky).

 

The defendant said his brother was not there and it was not true he fired the gun off. He was not in Wain Wood on that occasion. He had leave to shoot rabbits on Mr Dew’s farm as they were doing him damage. At this point the defendant’s brother came into court and was told there was a warrant against him for his share of the transaction. The complainant asked for an adjournment to call new witnesses. The brothers were fined £1 and costs or one month’s imprisonment in default.

Killing game out of season. William Saunders of Whitwell, baker, was charged with this offence. George Cranfield deposed as follows: I am gamekeeper to TP Halsey Esq of Temple Dinsley in the parish of Hitchin. On Wednesday 30 September, a little after 6 o’clock in the evening, I was in Frogmore Wood in the parish of Kings Walden and I saw William Saunders shoot at a pheasant. I saw him hit it very hard and the next morning I picked up a pheasant about 25 or 30 yards from the place where he was when he shot at it. I was close to Saunders when he fired at the pheasant and I said to him, ‘You might as well have let it alone ‘til the next morning’ and he replied, ‘ I only shot at a rabbit.’ I said, ‘It is the first rabbit I ever saw flying’.

 

Cross examined by the defendant’s solicitor: I was about ten yards from Saunders when he fired his gun off. The wood is on the side of a hill. I will not swear that I did not say, ‘It is a pity you did not kill it’.  I saw the leg drop when he shot at it. I did not ask him what he shot at. Where I found the pheasant the next morning was at the place where it would have fallen if it fell from his shot. I do not know whether it was a cock or a hen pheasant he shot at. It was a cock pheasant which I found next morning. Fined £1, the full penalty and 19s costs which defendant paid but stated his intention to appeal against the conviction. (17 October 1840)

John Ison, John Bowler and William Bowler, three boys all of Hitchin, were fined 5s each for taking three partridge eggs from a close in the parish of Offley in the occupation of Mrs Con. They were detected by William Perkins, gamekeeper to TP Halsey Esq of Temple Dinsley. (22 May 1841)

John Ward and Thomas Ward of Preston, near Hitchin, were charged with trespassing in search of rabbits on land in the parish of Kings Walden in the occupation of Harriet Saunderson. The offences were proved against them by the evidence of George Young gamekeeper to William Curling Esq and they were fined 20s each and in default of payment, committed to the House of Correction at Hertford with hard labour for one calendar month. (20 November 1841)

William Jenkins, labourer of Preston, Hitchin was charged by Mr William Brown, farmer of Preston, with stealing a rabbit and snare from his land. Case dismissed. John Farr, labourer of Preston, was charged with assaulting Vince Hawkins of Preston. Fined £2 including costs and committed for one month in default.

(26 December 1868)

Game trespass. Walter Bray, 26, of Russell’s Slip, Hitchin and George Gray of Charlton Street, Hitchin were summoned for game trespass at Preston. Frederick G Chapman, a gamekeeper employed by Mr Delme-Radcliffe gave evidence of chasing the two men with another game keeper. He caught Gray and on searching him, found several ferret nets. The defendants told the bench they were taking a short cut home. When asked why they ran away, Bray said, ‘I thought that I would give them a stretch. I like a trot myself and I thought

it would do them no harm. Both men, who had been previously convicted, were fined 5s. (4 March 1932)

PETTY SESSIONS. Albert Ebenezer Fox (a labourer who has been a great many times convicted of offences against the Game Laws, appeared to answer a charge brought under the Poaching Prevention Act on May 12. P.C. Chapman deposed that he stopped Fox on the highway at Preston and found seven pheasants eggs in his possession. The defendant said he picked up the eggs on the roadside and was going to give them to a gamekeeper. The Justices convicted him and a list of 83 previous convictions was put in by the police. A fine of 40/- including costs was imposed or in default a month’s imprisonment. Time in which to pay was refused and defendant remarked, ‘All right; I can do a month any time’. (30 May 1908)

William and John Mays, (17 and 11, sons of William, widower of Back Lane) two youths belonging to Preston were charged with poaching in Wainwood near Preston. The charge was proved against them very clearly, but both defendants were allowed to go, on their promising not to offend again. (16 May 1863)

William Crew (33, of Chequers Lane, ag lab) and Richard Crawley (20, born Preston) were charged with poaching on land on the occupation of Mr Bird (of Temple Farm) of Preston. The evidence not being sufficient, the case was dismissed. (19 January 1867)

William Winch of Preston (33, of Blacksmiths Lane, ag lab) was convicted of setting snares in a wood in the

parish of Ippollitts in the occupation of Mr Delme Radcliffe. It being the first offence, he was fined £1 and costs.

Committed for one month. (24 April 1852)

 

William Peters of Preston (27, single of Preston Green, son of Joseph) was charged with trespassing in search

of game on land over which Mr Powell has the right of shooting. Fined £1. (23 July 1859)

Charles Mays (18, single of Back Lane) and George Fairey (19, also single of Back Lane) of Preston were

charged with setting snares to catch rabbits on land in the occupation of Mr Bird (of Temple Farm) of Preston.

Both were fined 5/- each for a similar offence on 13 November, and this case being clearly proved by a young

man named Read, they were committed for one month. (1 December 1860)

 

George French (23) and Thomas Sharp (22), charged with poaching at Preston, did not appear and warrants

were granted for their apprehension. (4 March 1865)

James Shambrook and Arthur Reeves, labourers, were charged with trespassing in search of game at Preston on 18 November 1888. F R Sleet, gamekeeper in the employment of Lord Glamis said the men were searching the hedges on the side of the road and egging on their dogs to look for game. The defendants said they only went for a walk along the road and had two puppies with them. The Chairman informed them that they were just as much trespassing when on the road searching for game as if they were in a wood. They would be

convicted, but discharged with a caution.

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William Fitzjohn of Kingswalden was charged with poaching on land the property of Lord Caithness on 31st May. Samuel Brims said he was gardener to Lord Caithness and was watching a trap which had a rabbit in it and about six o’clock in the morning, defendant came along and took out the rabbit which was in the trap and set it again. Fined 10s including costs.

John Wade (Ward?) labourer of Preston, was charged with trespassing for rabbits on the land of Mr F. P. D. Ratcliffe. Fined 10s including costs or seven days committed. (October 1870)

John Farr (aged 19), labourer of Preston, charged with trespassing for rabbits on land in the possession of T. A. Dashwood Esq. Fined £2 incl costs. (December 1870)

Amos and Alfred Fairey (brothers, aged 17 and 21 living at Preston) charged with using a dog to take game from the land of C. C. Hales at Kings Walden. Fined £2 each including costs; or a month. (December 1870)

Daniel Winch of Preston was charged with poaching on lands in occupation of Mr Posselwhite. Fine and costs £1 or on one month’s imprisonment. Committed  (January 1858)