Chapter 3 Continued…..
The Mayor then cautioned the prisoner in a manner which was so grave and serious a charge warranted that what he might say would be taken down and perhaps produced against him and told him he was at liberty to say anything or not as he thought proper.
Savilled replied “It’s no use saying anything without I am asked questions. I have done nothing with her or had any angry words with her since she came out of the workhouse”
The mayor responded “I again caution you that you are not bound to answer anything. The mayor then asked the prisoner where he last saw his wife, he replied.
“ I saw her on Monday between one and two o’clock at a public house on Toll Hill, brought up by MrWardle. She stayed for about half an hour then we left with Mary the eldest child and went down to Wardles in Wood Street. I left my wife and three children there between four and five o’clock .The next day Tuesday I went to Wood Street and arrived at nine o’clock, my wife was still in bed. I then went to Radford to see if there was any work and returned about ten o’clock. My wife and children were still there, I waited while they had breakfast. I left the house with my wife and three children and I asked her to go to see my sister in Earl Street, to see if she would let us have a room for a few weeks, all my goods having lately been sold. Before we got to Stanhope Street she burst out crying , and said she was distracted and would go no further; she took the child out of my arms and said she would go back to Mrs Wardles”
The Mayor next asked the prisoner to account for how he spent his time on Tuesday.
“I went to the Rose in Bridlesmith Gate about twelve o’clock and had two jugs of ale. Stayed there about half an hour. Went from there to go to Radford but instead went into the Falcon Inn. I had a pint of ale there then fetched two shopmates John Bamford and John Hofton with whom I had two or three pints more. After this I went home and had some eggs and bacon cooked for me by Mrs Sutton. I went again to the Wardles in Wood Street about four o’clock and found nobody but Mrs Wardle. I went after this to Mrs Simpkins on Snow Hill to see if she was there but could not find her. I then went home to Radford. It was not dark but was becoming so. I saw Mrs Sutton when I got home, said nothing to her only to ask for a bit of something to eat. I did not stay home long, I went to the Pelican in Pelican Street New Radford. I stayed there til about ten o’clock and saw nobody I knew. I believe the landlord knows me by sight. Between dusk and late in the evening I saw a female whose name I forget and walked with her for about three or four minutes. I did not see her again that evening. When I got home I went to bed. Bamford was awake and spoke to me. We talked for a few minutes about my wife.
The mayor next asked the prisoner to account for his movements on Wednesday.
“I got up about nine o’clock on the Wednesday, Bamford rose at the same time. About ten o’clock I went with Bamford and Culley to a meeting of stockingers at The King George on Horseback in Kings Square, Woolpack Lane. I was then walking backwards and forwards between different warehouses until I went to the Wardles in Wood Street to enquire about my wife. I told her I had not heard anything of her. She said it was very strange, I must have done something with her. I said I had done nothing with her, and then Mr Wilkinson the policeman came and took me into custody.”
Asked to account for the money found in his possession he replied,
“I had twelve shilling and ninepence from my master and also had ninepence in my box, all my own money. I had spent all bar two shillings and one halfpenny previous to being apprehended, I had spent the money in buying provisions and ale. I had between three shillings and four shillings left by Monday dinnertime.”
At this point there came a sharp knock. Chief Constable Barnes opened the door and a sergeant passed him a note. The expression on Barne’s face showed this was not good news. He whispered an instruction to the sergeant then showed the note to Inspector Wilkinson. The note was then passed to Alderman Heard and the Mayor. Wilkinson left the room with a new instruction from Barnes. The police had just received intelligence concerning the discovery of a mother and three children having been found at Colwick with their throats cut. They were no longer looking for victims of a drowning and needed to know more from the prisoner. Wilkinson was on his way to Radford to search Saville’s lodgings. The mayor started to question Saville again about his wife but he would not be drawn other than stating that he was never married to anyone but the woman said to be his wife. They were married at Sneinton Church eight or nine years ago. Her name was Ann Ward before he married her. He believed she had never been married before and neither had she. Saville ended the questions by stating that he did not wish to say anything more.
The mayor then told Saville he would read back the deposition which had been recorded. After hearing what he had said read over he affixed his mark thereto. As he could not write his name his mark took the form of a long and elongated x. The mayor then told Saville he was being remanded to await the result of a coroner’s inquisition. He was taken to a smaller room containing a table and small bench. On the bench was a neatly folded set of grey prison clothing. He was told to remove all of his clothing and put on the prison dress after an examination by Chief Constable Barnes. Barnes noted that on one of his knees were marks as though he had knelt on wet grass. On examining his trousers some small spots of blood were found.
Saville was then removed to a cell. Inspector Wilkinson soon returned from Radford bringing Saville’s box with him. The contents were emptied out in front on the Mayor, Alderman Heard and the Chief Constable and noted down.
The box contained a number of items;
Two envelopes containing letters
A lock of dark hair in a paper
A paper parcel labelled arsenic
A pawn ticket
A number of miscellaneous items.
At precisely four o’clock the prisoner was removed to the House of Correction, now clothed in ordinary prison dress. The prisoner and two police officers were followed by a great body of spectators who greeted the prisoner with expressions of abhorrence and indignation.[i]
A few miles away at Colwick, Constable Parr was slowly recovering after being under siege in his own farm for many hours. The police were still preventing access to his property but he was very worried about his servant boy William Parker. He saw a cart approach his farm and then turn into the lane. He could clearly see William seated between two men. Running out to meet the cart he recognised the driver as John Blackner but was most puzzled to find he had been joined by Reverend William Musters. The Reverend was the son of the squire and lived very close by in the rectory at Colwick. After greeting his servant boy and thanking him for his bravery,Parr sent him back into the farmhouse to join his wife. Both Mr Blackner and Reverend Musters were most concerned for Parr’s health and that of his wife. Parr explained how he had been forced much against his will and conscience to allow the mob some access to the bodies. The reverend congratulated him on his fortitude and reminded Parr of an earlier outrage in 1831. How a young man had tried to turn back a rioting mob in front of Colwick Hall and how they all knew what happened next. Parr said he did indeed recall the incident knowing full well who that young man was: it was none other than a young man called William Musters! Parr invited both men to join him for well deserved refreshments in his farmhouse. Over tea and bread and cheese Parr gave a detailed account of the afternoon. John Blackner then had some news for Parr; the coroner’s inquest had been arranged for the following day to start at eleven o’clock sharp at his farm. He informed Parr that the coroner had charged him with helping to arrange a jury of local men and to remind the constable an inspection of the bodies had to take place at his farm. The mention of bodies stirred the reverend to action. He proffered his services to arrange a funeral service at the nearby Colwick Church. As Parr was likely to be exceedingly busy he also offered to make arrangements for coffins to be made and delivered to to the barn. Parr accepted this generous offer and offered to show the bodies before they left his farm. The three men made their way quietly into the barn, the reverend noting they would need three children’s and one small adult coffin. Parr walked back to the cart with both men and saw them off down his lane.
Returning to his farm he retrieved his box from under the table in his parlour. Everything was in order, his depositions were safe but now there was so much to arrange before the inquest started. He still had to remove and examine the clothing from the victims and needed some help with that. It was not a task he could undertake and his wife would not do it under any circumstances. Deep in thought he was disturbed by a sharp knock at the door. He opened it and was very surprised to find his old friend John Smith, Constable of Carlton. He was not alone. He was holding a man firmly by one arm. A very dirty and dishevelled man who looked very frightened. It was the tramp who Parr had seen near the murder site. Not wishing to bring this man inside his house he motioned for John Smith to follow him to his lock-up; the privy! Placing the tramp inside both constables blocked his exit from the door. Parr looked carefully at the man. His clothes were threadbare, he had no shoes on his feet and a piece of string served as a belt. He had wild eyes, black teeth and long and matted hair. The privy was certainly the place for this man; he carried nothing with him except a very bad odour. He was instructed to turn out his pockets; they were full of nothing but holes. He was then instructed to remove his coat and shirt. This revealed it had been many months if not years since he had last washed. Like his feet, his arms, hand and chest were covered in dirt. It seemed unlikely that this man could had cut the throats of the victims and yet not have a single drop of blood on him or his clothes.When asked what he was doing walking through Colwick to Carlton he replied he was on his way to Calverton where he once knew someone; he was hoping they might let him have some food. Parr asked when he last had food. The man told him it was at least two weeks back. Parr believed him, this tramp was not the murderer and he told him to get dressed then wait in the privy a short time . He took John Smith back into his farmhouse. Smith agreed with Parr that this man seemed harmless enough, his only crime being that he was a vagrant and would need to be moved on and not become a burden to their parishes. John Smith then told Parr he had some important information for him. He had been contacted by Superintendent Whitworth at Shire Hall. All of the local country police had been ordered to help maintain order on the following day. They were all being briefed to make sure no further outrage took place at Colwick and to stop anyone approaching Colwick village, most especially Manor Farm and the spinney where the bodies were found. Only those with business at the inquisition were to be allowed through. He himself had been instructed to wait from early in the morning on top of the hill to Carlton to prevent anyone from using the path down to Colwick. Parr nodded and sighed and poured some more tea for himself and John Smith. The remaining pieces of bread and cheese were consumed save for one. Parr realised more refreshments would be required in the morning for their coming guests and dignitaries. Both parish constables left the kitchen and released the tramp from his privy, Parr giving him the last of the bread. John Smith then took the tramp away heading for the path to Carlton, assuring Parr he would put his visitor on the way to Calverton and bid him good night.
Parr returned to his orchard, thinking of the events of the day. It seemed history had almost repeated itself, the second time a mob from Nottingham had laid siege to Colwick. It had been a long, long day but the week was not yet over. Friday would see another inquest at Parr’s Farm but like no other inquest he had ever experienced before. There had never previously been so many bodies, so much slaughter and so much interest. He had much work still to do and would need to rise early, very early to make sure all was ready.The air was still, not a sound could be heard. Parr retired to his bed after the most difficult day ever in his service as a parish constable.
Copyright@Michael Sheridan 2013 All rights reserved
PS Readers please note. If you want to catch up with the previous chapters check out my blog THE STORY SO FAR where you will find the very beginning of this story. I will constantly update that blog as I add more chapters.
[i] Nottingham Journal Friday May 31st 1844