Stories, reports and legends about people, crime, punishment, mishaps and events in Poughill's history.

   In  Poughill  



  Reported in the Royal Cornwall Gazette on the 3rd February 1860 a Coroner's Inquest was held at the Union Inn in Poughill, into the death of Mary Curtis by Mr. Thomas Good, Esq.,the county coroner and surgeon:—

 "On Monday last, in the Parish of Poughill, it appeared from the evidence that the deceased had gone in company with another woman, called Abbott, on Friday afternoon, to the beach at Northcott mouth, for the purpose of what is called wrecking.

In attempting to secure a large piece of timber which was being washed ashore, she was knocked down, receiving thereby a fracture of the right leg and other injuries, from the effects of which she never rallied, but expired in about three hours from the time the accident occurred.

 Mary was 26 years of age, the wife of John Curtis, a labourer and mother of three infant children. — Verdict, "Accidental death."

Ironically the photograph above, it shows John and Mary Curtis standing outside their cottage right on the shoreline of Northcott Mouth Beach itself and taken only a year before the tragic accident.


Thorne photo. Northcott Mouth Cottages

 This photograph (above) taken by Thorn of Bude from a different perspective, probably at the end of the decade, shows serious renovations and improvements to the old cottage, which still stands today at Northcott Mouth..








     Long forgotten Crimes and Punishment - Poughill.   


All about a Murder that Didn't happen here in Poughill Cornwall?



 Nicholas Radford (c.1385 – 1455) the MP and lawyer and Recorder of Exeter, who was murdered here in 1455 by a mob led by Thomas Courtenay, son of the Earl of Devon, is reportedly murdered at his home in " Poughill, Cornwall" according the Cornwall County Council Conservation area and Appraisal Plans, all ratified by the council.

But they got their facts completely wrong, because some of the history books got it wrong too.

  The truth about the murder is recorded in the 'petition for justice' made by his executor to the King held at Kew. But one of the motives for Radford’s murder, ranks high among the most notorious crimes of the century and may have been his great wealth, but he had real enemies such as the Earl Thomas of Devon and William Bonneville.

In C15 manor belonged to Nicholas Radford, lawyer, M.P.,

 The mistake comes with the name 'POUGHILL' because there is one near Crediton in Devon too as you know, easy to confuse this with and Radford certainly had property there. But none here in Cornwall.


RADFORD, Nicholas (d.1455), of Poughill and Upcott Barton, Devon.
Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421

From that document is really what happened and where:

 “On the night of 23 Oct. 1455, Radford was wakened by the noise of the arrival at his manor-house at Upcott of the earl’s eldest son, Sir Thomas Courtenay, at the head of an armed band some 95 strong.

Courtenay demanded that he should come down and speak with him, and upon receiving his promise as a knight and gentleman that no harm should befall him, Radford complied and opened the gates.

Courtenay then ‘sotillye helde’ him talking and drinking while his men ransacked the house and its coffers, robbing Radford of £300 in money, and jewels, bedding, furs, books and chapel ornaments worth 1,000 marks, which they carried off on six of his horses, With their farwell, one of his men promptly with a ‘glayve' smote the said Nicholas Radford a hidious dedlye stroke overthwarte the face and felled him to the grounde’


Map Devonshire XLIV.SE (includes: Cheriton Fitzpaine; Cruwys Morchard; Poughill; Puddington.)
Surveyed: 1887 Published: 1888




At Totnes Court


 Sarah Horswell, the wife of a naval Pensioner, was charged with publishing false and defamatory libels concerning the Reverend Dr. Thomas William Lemon, of Hertford College, Oxford, became Vicar of Poughill, Cornwall from 1895 - 1919 who was for a time was a very active freemason.

The court heard:

  Dr. Lemon formerly resided at Plymouth and occupied apartments in the defendant's house. Early in January, 1894, he got married
( to Mary Louisa Brian on the 9 April 1894 at Emmanuel Church Compton Giffard.)

This seemed to have aroused the indignation of the defendant, who, after Dr. Lemon's appointment to the Vicarage of Poughill, commenced sending him a series of postcards and letters charging him with having caused her bodily ill-health.

She also wrote: " I will follow you to the end of the world and kill you. I have no legal claim upon you, but I have a moral one."
Subsequently on a postcard she wrote: " I am sorry I burnt your letters. How­ever, I have the poison which you gave to my husband." She also called him a rogue and accused him of being a sorceror and in letters to other clergymen she made similar charges against him, alleging that he had ruined her both in mind and body.

In a further letter to Mr. Brian, Dr. Lemon's brother-in-law, she called the prosecutor a betrayer of women.—The Revs. J. Black and Wingate and Mr. Brian, as well as the prosecutor, having given evidence as to the receipt of the letters, Mr. Trehane, solicitor, who appeared for the accused, said his client was not sorry for having written the letters, because she believed them to be true.—

The Bench committed the prisoner for trial at the Assizes, and granted bail.

Never did find out what happened at her trial though!



    The Poughill Arsonists   

An 1851 charge for ARSON from the Thomas Good Records:

  *THOMAS SYMONS, 40, and JAMES GREEN, 23, were charged with having, on the 6th November, 1850, at the parish of Poughill, feloniously set fire to two stacks of hay, the property of Mr. Edward Shearm, a solicitor, of Stratton. — Worth noting, the prisoners were left undefended by a lawyer.

 John Drew, the constable of Stratton testified following numerous witness statements to the blaze, saying; — “About 9 o’clock on the 6th of November, the two prisoners came to my house and asked to speak to me; they then called me outside the house and said “we have done it.” I said, “done what?”
They said, “set fire to two stacks of hay.” I said, “I hope not.”
They then said “we have.” I then took them in custody.
I asked them where the stacks were; and they said, about half a mile out of Stratton, on the Kilkhampton road. Mr. Shearm’s Furze Park land .

  In reply to questions from the Judge, the accused Symons said: “I went to Mr. Shearm’s and begged for bread; Mr. Shearm refused to give me any, and threatened to send me to prison if I did not make off;
I then said, he should not send to prison for nothing. “—The other prisoner made no statement. It appeared though in the records that both prisoners had been several times summarily convicted, on charges of vagrancy.

 Next, no a nonsense decision, because the crime was committed against one of the judges own, a solicitor. BOTH were exiled, transported to the Australian penal colony for life !






Poughill Farmer Theft.


 1 March 1839; A farmer of the parish of Poughill, of the name of Ford, was on Friday last taken into custody, on suspicion of having stolen some clothing from a hedge set out to dry by a Poughill woman.






   Steady on Mary Joll   

1883 March 9,  Mary Joll, a house maiden of Poughill, was fined ls. 6d. at Stratton Courthouse for not sending her child regularly to school.






Sam Gerries dreadful demise

  On Thursday 6th June 1889 - Accidental Death was the verdict of the jury in the case of young Samuel Gerry, an indoor farm servant working in Kilhampton, who at Poughill, "in jumping from a waggon, was run over and killed by a cart."






A Poughill - Assault


 Did you know? Thomas Legg, a carpenter from Launcells, Thomas Hennings, an agricultural labourer from Stratton, Charles Teo, also from Stratton and Thomas Sluman,  an agricultural laborer from Launcells, were charged by Thomas Vernon, a butcher of Poughill, with assaulting him. The offence was committed on Sunday the 20th at Inch's Shop Cross in 1870.  

Four on one, what was that all about?







By Hook or by Crook


 James Johnson ages 28, a labourer from Kilk, was charged with stealing a hook, the property of young Richard Kempthorne, at Poughill, on the 28th June, 1872.
So, that's where the saying comes from;   "Sling yer hook”







Wrecking was an ass of a charge.


 In Poughill's late Autumn of 1847, George Vivian, a farmer of Poughill and Thomas Neale, a mason, also from Poughill, testified in defence of a Mr. Hobbs who was 26 years old and a farm labourer.

 He was bringing criminal charges against a man called Mr. Sheppard as it was alleged that he had discharged a pistol whilst he was on board a vessel called the "Elias."  A ship which was wrecked in Bude Bay near Stowe cliffs at Sandymouth, quite near Poughill as the crow flies, on a dark October night there in 1847.

 Shepherd was described in court as, “a large farmer from the parish of Launcells” but whether that means he owned alarge farm or was large himself is not clear. But was on board the steeply listing and abandoned boat as a Lloyd's agent that night, along with a member of the coast guard called Mr. Miners. So both had seemingly proper sound reasons to be on board the doomed ship that night.

  By now there was a large crowd of about 100 people gathered on the beach with flaming torches, locals who were either plain nosey or just opportunistic on the night of the wreck. But the latter will suffice as an explanation for most.

The evening was described in court as having a "brave breeze but neither foggy nor clear.” Though what Mr Hobbs was doing on board in the first place, was not made clear either! Sinking ship, abandoned, full of stuff !

Neither was it asked why Mr. Vivian and Mr. Neale ventured all the way down to Sandymouth from Poughill too?

  Anyway, to cut a long story short, it ended up with Young Mr. Hobbs being shot by Sheppard square in the left buttock and the poor man claimed he was left shocked and bemused as to why it all happened as he was only trying to help?

 Maybe he didn't understand but one this is for certain, he got it in the end !

True, not a word of a lie.




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Poughill in Cornwall . Once upon a time in Poughill. Accounts, Inquests, Crimes, Wrecking and Punishment

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