The next witness was young John Savidge. Having been sworn in his deposition was taken down. “I am turned fourteen, I am in the service of Mr. Stanley of Colwick”. He then explained how he came to be near the Spinney as he took some dinner in a basket to Hannah Boot. “I saw the last witness against a stile against Waldlings close, she came towards me. I was in the bridle road, she took the basket containing the dinner from me and we went forward together towards the plantation. As we were were going nearer I saw a man in the plantation; I was in Mr Neale’s close or Spring Close as it is called when I saw him. He was standing against the gate in the plantation; he was looking over the gate towards us. I thought his arms were folded before him. The man opened the gate and came out and met us. I thought there was something the matter with his left knee. I thought so because he walked lame. I did not notice whether he had any dirt on his knee. He wore a brown coat, I think it was a surtout. He was walking middling fast when we first met him. I said to him “You dal’d old chaise.” He turned his head to look at us. I did not observe anything as I went through the plantation; I did not see any children or a woman. I did not hear any crying or screaming before I got up to our servant girl.”
The coroner then asked the boy “Should you know the man again?” The boy replied “I think I should if he was in the same dress.” He looked around the room and said “I don’t see him.” He was told by the coroner to look again. He did so very minutely and said “ I don’t know that I see him, I have looked round at every face and don’t know that I can see the same man.” The coroner then asked the prisoner if he would like to ask any questions. “No sir.” replied the prisoner.
With the testimony of John Savidge complete, the Coroner announced a fifteen minute adjournment of proceedings. The Jury and all those present in Parr’s parlour now made their way into the kitchen to partake of refreshments carefully prepared by Parr’s wife. The bread and Colwick cheese was much appreciated, supplemented by some of Mrs Parrs famous jams, made with fruits from their orchard.
Adjournment now over, proceedings began again. Constable Parr next took Elizabeth Bell, wife of Samuel Bell a groom of Colwick before the jury. Her testimony began by explaining what she saw and heard as she passed through the plantation.
“On Tuesday abouut ten minutes after twelve, I left Colwick to go to Carlton. I know the plantation where the murdered woman and children were found, and it would be about twenty minutes after twelve when I went through the plantation. I met in the bridle road, before we got to the plantation, Hannah Boot. She was against the Waddling stile. I spoke to her, I stopped about a minute or two with her. I saw no-one else til I got to the plantation, where I saw a woman and three children; they were in the footway, in the plantation. I did not see a man in the plantation. The woman appeared to me to be giving the children some flowers. I saw no more of them. I did not hear any screams or cries. I walked quickly and went forward to Carlton. In going through the plantation I kept the footpath. I did not turn my eyes to look, so that a man might be there without my knowledge. I returned back through the plantation at twenty to one and saw no-one”[i]
The Coroner asked the prisoner if he wished to put any questions to the witness. He replied no.
The next witness to be called was the first from outside of Colwick and someone who knew the family well. Lucy Wardle, wife of Samuel Wardle , framework knitter of Wood Street Sneinton was sworn in. She began her testimony be explaining she had identified the dead bodies and gave the ages of all the victims. Ann Saville was 39 years, Mary Saville was 7 years, Harriet Saville between 5 and 6 years and Thomas Saville was 4. She then described the clothes the victims were wearing.
”Anne was wearing a brown satin bonnet, dark filled shawl and a light checked gown. Mary wore a green plaid frock, dark little tippet and white straw bonnet. Harriet wore the same. Thomas wore a dark frock, plaid hood and a light coloured cloak. The children had straw coloured ribbon in their bonnets” [ii]
She explained she had known these people for two years. They were living in Washington Street Nottingham when she first knew them. The husband was living with them up until New Years Day of 1844 when he put her and four children into St Marys Workhouse. She had buried one child whilst she was there. Lucy explained how she first saw them about three o’clock on Monday last. She brought only Mary with her at first, and it was then she told her she was in the workhouse. She said she had left the two other children at Simpkins on Snow Hill, Meadow Platts. She had come to her house to write a letter to her brother which she did. She then went away to fetch the other two children leaving Mary at about six o’clock. She can back at half past seven with the other two children and in the company of her husband. The husband left a little before eight o’clock. The mother and children stayed at her house that night. She saw the husband again the next day at about nine o’clock Tuesday morning. His wife and children were still in bed. His wife told him to take a walk whilst she got some breakfast. He went away then came back and waited in the house while they finished eating and then washed their faces. She wanted to black their shoes but he was impatient to get out and said they should not get there by dinner. She understood they were going to walk to Carlton but recalled his wife telling her
“ As long as we have been married I never knew he had any relations at Carlton.”
They all walked away together about ten o’clock. I never saw the woman and children again
The husband came back about quarter past one and asked her if his wife had come back. He came in a bustle as if he had been running. She asked him if he did not take them to Carlton. He told her that when they got to the top of the street she turned nasty and would go no further. He said they went as far as Beardsley’s shop and he never saw them after. He came back to her house again between eight and nine o’clock in the evening and asked her if she had seen anything of them. She said no. He then began to cry very loud and said he was afraid they had made away with themselves. Lucy had replied
“No Mr Saville, she has not made away with herself and children, what have you done with them?”
The next day, Wednesday he had come to her house again between one and two to ask if she had seen anything of them. She had then sent for a policeman and had him apprehended. Lucy then added some more details
“Mrs Saville cut bread with her right hand on Tuesday morning”.
She explained how Anne’s sister had come to see her at the workhouse on Saturday and given her five shillings and sixpence. She finished the testimony repeating something that Anne Saville had told her shortly before leaving for Carlton.
“ She said she would sooner die in the street than go back to the workhouse”
Testimony complete the room was now still and quiet, even the Coroner paused before asking the prisoner if he wanted to ask any questions. He did not.
Constable Parr took Lucy back to the kitchen and returned with the next witness. Mary Miller, wife of Alfred Miller of Wood Street, Sneinton was now sworn in and began her testimony. She began by saying she had seen the prisoner and his wife and children in Wood Street at ten o’clock on Tuesday last. His wife had told her she never knew her husband had relations in Carlton but he was then going to take them for dinner. She also said she was very uneasy in her mind and that when she came back she would call and tell her the reason. She then walked to the top of Wood Street and watched the family go down Manvers Street. They did not go past Beardsley the Druggist to go to Manvers Street. The end of Wood Street is close to the Fox and Manvers Street is directly opposite. She never saw the wife and children again. She next saw the prisoner at dusk on Tuesday evening at Mrs Wardles house, explaining she lives just two doors away. He came back again about two o’clock on Wednesday and Mrs Wardle had called her into her house. They asked the prisoner what he had done with his wife. He contradicted himself as to where he had left her. Mary then explained how she had left Wood Street to fetch a policeman and brought Inspector Wilkinson who then had the husband taken into custody.
With the testimony complete the Coroner asked the prisoner if he wanted to put any questions to the witness; he did not. The Coroner remarked that it was now five thirty and the Inquisition was not yet complete. The Inquisition would therefore have to be adjourned until Monday and would then resume at one o’clock sharp in the County Hall in Nottingham. With that announcement came a rush to the carts and carriages as all were eager to return to Nottingham, none more so than the newspapermen. The three Nottingham newspapers were published every Friday and now came a rush to get this story into print. Despite their best efforts, the newspapermen were not the first to leave. The prisoner was bundled into a Fly in the custody of Mr D M Jackson and left first, quickly followed by a larger carriage containing Chief Constable Barnes, Inspector Wilkinson and the detachment of Nottingham Police. Their destination was not the House of Correction, they were now heading to the County Gaol at Shire Hall. They made quick progress until they reached the Lodge at Colwick Park where a huge crowd was being held back by a thin line of country police.
The prisoner was brought back to the Nottingham about six o’clock and conveyed to the County Gaol attended by a huge concourse of people. Their groans and execrations were of the fiercest and most appaling character.[iii]
At three thirty that afternoon all present at the Inquisition had filed out of Parr’s Farm at the start of the adjournment and formed two lines down the lane to Parrs Farm. The bodies of the victims had been placed in good elm coffins and loaded onto a cart. All present removed their hats and bowed their heads as the cart passed by on its way to Colwick Church. It proceeded slowly down Colwick Lane as the Inquisition resumed. Reaching Colwick Lodge the cart turned sharp left and headed down the bridle road towards Colwick Hall. Just before the Hall the cart turned right, passed directly in front of the hall then proceeded to the gates of Colwick Church. The Coffins were carefully carried into the church through the south door by the western tower. They were carried down the chancel, passing Colwick villagers seated in the wooden pews or on wooden chairs. The coffins were then carried towards the altar in the east of the church and rested on supports amongst the tombs and monuments of the previous owners of Colwick Hall and its surrounding land and farms; the Byrons and the Musters. Standing to the left of the altar by the east window was the monument raised for Mary Ann Musters who died aged 47 in 1832. She had been the only victim of the first outrage at Colwick when it was nearly destroyed by Reform Bill rioters. Almost at the foot of this monument lay three small coffins and one larger one. These were all victims of the latest outrage, a bloody and vicious murder. Reverend William Musters was recorded as “reading the funeral service in the most impressive manner”.[iv] The service over the coffins were all taken out through the north door and interred in graves by the wall around the church.
TO THE MEMORY To be Continued…………………….
Copyright@Michael Sheridan 2013 All rights reserved
[i] Derby Mecury Wed 29 may 1844
[ii] Nottingham Review Friday May 24 1844 Page 5
[iii] Nottingham Journal Friday 31 May 1844
[iv] Derby Mercury Wed 29th May 1844