A Travellerspoint blog

Day 30 - I've think I have done a terrible thing!

Retracing the crime scenes for John Newman Holdman

sunny 23 °C
View Following in the Family Footsteps on Neileeann's travel map.

Still on the trail of John Newman Holdman and this morning I set off for the adjacent town of Nailsworth. If the information provided to me yesterday is correct that John Newman Holdman lived in Watledge (and this is only a possibility) then he would have looked down at the village of Nailsworth from his home.

Nailsworth itself does not have a lot of charm or places of interest. For family history purposes there are still a number of mills that would have been the reason for the towns existence in the days of John. Nowadays it tends to be a small town that serves as a bit of a through road. Back up the valley there are some nicer areas, but few buildings remaining from the time of John. So had a brief drive and walk around before setting off to Falfield.

Falfield was the place where John was charged, but ultimately acquitted, of horse thief. It is both a hamlet and a district. The hamlet itself had nothing and I only stopped to take a photo of the name plate to prove I was there. However I believe that the crime took place within the wider district. I had previously identified a likely spot, so I headed for that. We are talking about a small hamlet with one road and a scattering of houses. While walking around I found an old fellow out in the garden and I started to talk to him about his knowledge of the place. From what I gathered from him it is likely this was the scene of the crime, mainly because there was some local history associated with a house owned by a person who disposed against John in the court case. Given John was listed as a groom at the time it is more likely that the crime occurred in the country, rather than in the hamlet.

So from here I drove to Glouster, the main town of the shire and the place where he was tried, convicted and imprisoned of the crime that got him sent to Australia. The original court house (1804) still stand and while modernised the court itself still has the original woodwork used for the bench, dock and witness box excreta, complete with built in ink-wells. I was allowed in to see the courts, but I was not allowed to take any photos. The security guard was only too happy to chat and fill me in on the courts and current crimes. He also said that the holding cells are original (again with modifications) . However because they still had a prisoner down there – he could not show me that part. So took some more happy snaps from outside and I was preparing to leave for my next destination.

At that point times went a bit pear shape. I got a phone call from the London rental agency that we needed to vacate the London apartment ASAP (Lee-ann had stayed on for a few extra days while I was doing my thing). This was the second time this happen where I got the dates wrong (I blame the different words they use to describe days staying and when you book out, but then again it could be old man’s disease setting in). It happened in Paris, but we were able to extend our stay. But in this case Lee-ann had to vacate and vacate fast. Rather than find another room she decided to catch the train out to here (she was due to arrive the next day). I knew I was in for a bollocking from the moment she stepped off the train. Mainly got the silent treatment, who knows what tomorrow holds? Maybe I too will be sentenced for my crimes!

Posted by Neileeann 17:00 Archived in England

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