Pontypool thuggery in past times


I dare say that all of us who have lived in Pontypool came across people we regarded as “head cases” from time to time. I remember my mother telling me that she remembered some of the people living in what was known as “the Irish Row” who had quarrels which ended up in them throwing lighted lanterns at each other.

A newspaper cutting I was sent records the behaviour of some similar characters in times past. The headline is “Diabolical Outrages”; unfortunately I do not have the date of these incidents.

Forty-three year old Nathaniel Rosser was dealt with on a Saturday at Pontypool Police court. He was charged with throwing hot lime in the eyes of Morgan Evans, a farmer of Coed-y-David, with intent to do him serious harm. The two men happened to be at the Royal Oak pub in Freehold Land when they had an argument about the spelling of a Welsh word. Rosser got up and went outside. He returned with a handful of lime which, without saying a word, he threw into the eyes of Morgan Evans. He was blind for four days but at the trial he had regained some eyesight although it was weak and misty. The defence attributed the act to “a taint of insanity”. Rosser was committed for trial at the next Monmouth Assizes but was granted bail.

A man named Walters was tried for brutality at the same sessions. Following a family dispute he burst open the door of a neighbour named Hayward where his son had taken refuge and set about him with a lump of lead tied to a length of rope. He also grabbed one of Mrs Hayward’s little girls and threw her on the fire causing severe injuries to her thighs. Fortunately she was lifted off the fire by her sister. Mrs Hayward, seizing the poker, knocked Walters to the ground with it. He was held down until further assistance arrived. Walters was abetted by his wife. In court they both behaved in an indecent and blasphemous way using the most revolting expressions. Mr Walters was fined 30 shillings and his wife 20 shillings.

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2 Responses to “Pontypool thuggery in past times”

  1. Lionel Barrell Says:

    My grandfather’s sister, Edie (née Haysum), kept a pub in Freeholdland but I can’t remember its name: about 200 yds up from the Pavilion cinema, on the right. I remember going there with my mother in the ’40s. Edie had a daughter, Dorothy, who I think was married to Elvet Baker and lived in Lower Park Terrace. Lovely people, great memories.

  2. Gaynor O'Sullivan Says:

    I am trying to trace any information that is available about my great-grandfather and the ‘head case’ you mention might be him. Do you have any more information about this man?

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