The Evesham Standard of 21st June 1913 reported on a Petty Sessions case in Evesham concerning an assault, in Wickhamford, on Mrs Emily Hartwell by Mrs Edith Carr, aged 42. This had taken place at the lower end of Manor Road, on afternoon of the 3rd of June. Mr O.H. New appeared for the prosecution and Mr A.F. Alcock defended. The case was also briefly reported in the Birmingham Gazette of 17th June with the by-line ‘Women at Variance’. The case was held before Mr A.H. Martin and other magistrates.
The Reported Events of 3rd June 1913
Emily Hartwell, a 60-year-old widow, had been to Evesham and returned to Wickhamford at about 5.30 in the afternoon. Her grandchild, Jack Hackett, was in the garden and she sent him for some milk. Just afterwards she heard a scream and saw Edith Carr striking him. She told her to leave the boy alone but, instead, she hit him harder, and made his nose bleed. She tried to pull the boy away but Mrs Carr caught hold of a stick which another boy, Willy Kilby, was holding and hit Mrs Hartwell on the head with it. She told the court that she had done nothing to provoke Mrs Carr, only asked her to let the child go. She was knocked down and remembered nothing more of the incident until she later found herself at home. She was confined to bed for two days, attended by Dr Norman Harry and was still suffering from the effects of the blow. She said that she had not spoken to Mrs Carr for more than 18 months prior to the incident.
In Court, Dr Harry described Emily Hartwell’s injuries. She had a puncture wound on the left temple, a small artery having been cut. This had bled freely and she still complained of headaches and giddiness. He thought the wound had probably been caused by a small nail in the big stick; the nail might have punctured the brain cavity. Stanley Whitaker Moss-Blundell, of Longdon Hill, had been passing on his motor-cycle and saw Mrs Carr strike Mrs Hartwell with a heavy stick. Another woman had tried to take the stick away. Mrs Hartwell lay in the road with her head bleeding heavily and she was helped into her house. Moss-Whitaker went to fetch Dr Harry while the other woman tried to stop Mrs Carr striking Mrs Hartwell again.
Mrs Martha Norman, (the wife of Mr F. Norman, and who was employed by George Lees-Milne, of Wickhamford Manor) said that she had heard a commotion and then saw Mrs Hartwell staggering along the road with her head covered in blood. She went to her assistance and there was so much blood that some even trickled down her own arm.
The Defendant’s testimony
Edith Carr said that Jack Hackett, and the boy Kilby, shouted filthy names and that she had boxed Hackett’s ears twice. She claimed that Mrs Hartwell came out of her garden with a stick and tried to hit her, which would have been a severe blow. She pulled Mrs Hartwell’s hair down, wrenched the stick away from her and hit her with it, but didn’t know where. She said the little boy, Hackett, had been calling her filthy names for about five weeks previously. On the day in question, she and her husband had been having tea when the boy shouted filthy names. When Mrs Hartwell arrived on the scene, she said she would “cut Mrs Carr’s ******* head open”. She had complained to Mrs Hartwell about her grandchild and did not knock her down; she just fell over.
A Police witness
P.C Hill told the Court that Mrs Carr had complained to him about children calling after her during the past twelve months, but had told her to take no notice of them. In his opinion she was being too sensitive.
The outcome of the case
Mrs Carr’s solicitor, Mr Alcock, urged the Bench to deal leniently with her. There was only a single blow to Mrs Hartwell’s head, struck in hot blood under great provocation. After some consultation the Chairman said that Mrs Carr had nearly put Mrs Hartwell’s life in jeopardy. She would be fined 10s and £1 15s 6d costs.
Mrs Carr stated “I don’t mean to pay it. I am not guilty.” The Chairman responded, “Failing that, you will be committed to His Majesty’s Prison at Worcester for one month with hard labour.” Mrs Carr replied “I will do that with pleasure”. The Chairman concluded with “Very well”; he had given her the option of a fine. Edith Carr was taken below in custody.
It is not apparent whether common sense eventually prevailed, the fine paid and gaol avoided, as there are no further reports of this case in the press.
Background details of participants in the case
- Charles and Edith Sarah Carr lived in the house now called ‘Whytebury’ (54 Manor Road). Charles Carr, worked as a gardener and they had three children. Edith Sarah nee Hawkins had been born in Battersea, London. Perhaps her accent was the source of the local children’s teasing? The death of ‘Edith S. Carr’ was registered in Gloucester in the March Quarter of 1933, aged 60.
- Emily Hartwell, lived in one of the four terraced houses which were later demolished for the building of Hodys Place, Manor Road. She was earning a living as a laundress and was also the sexton of the nearby Church of St John the Baptist.
- Stanley Whitaker Moss-Blundell was a fruit grower living at ‘Carrig’, Longdon Hill; this was later replaced by Longdon Court.
- Martha Norman lived at Corner Cottage, Manor Road and her husband, Frederick, was a market gardener. She was stated to have worked at Wickhamford Manor.
- Yorkshire-born, Dr Norman George Harry was a surgeon and physician, living at Bridge House, 1 Port Street, Bengeworth.
- P.C. Frederick Hill, lived at 5 Willersey Road, Badsey.
- ‘Jack Hackett’ was the name used in the newspaper report, but this was an error. John Edgar Hacklett, born 30th October 1906, attended Badsey School from 1913 to 1919. He lived in Wickhamford and his guardian, according to the school register was ‘Mrs William Hartwell’. William Hartwell had died in 1906.
- ‘Willy Kilby’ was William Joseph Edward Kilby, born on 16th December 1899, who attended Badsey School, He lived at Vicarage Cottage, Badsey.
Tom Locke – March 2021