Family Notes - March 2014
This is a sample of the information provided to members of the P*rr*tt Society in the most recent edition of Family Notes. Family Notes is a 56-page printed magazine that is distributed to society members every quarter.
The Plague In Haverfordwest
by Wayne Parrott (775)
I ran across the rather grim article Phillips J. 1895, The Plague at Haverfordwest, 1651-1652, Archaelogica Cambrensis Fifth Series XII(66):81-95 while looking for something else. What follows is an abstract and a few selected quotes from the article.
The plague arrived in Haverfordwest in October of 1651. By then Sir James Perrot was dead, and the Perrot properties in Pembrokeshire had left the main family and became the property of Sir Herbert Perrot from Herefordshire, a distant kinsman of Sir James on the Perrot side.
By year's end 46 were dead. "1652 opened gloomily. On New Year's Day (March 25th) there were three deaths; two of these were Parrotts. At the mayor's expense two shrouds were delivered to Walter Parrott, who had already lost a child on the 13th. There were three deaths on the 27th, and four on the 28th. On the 29th 'Walter Parrott and Margrett his wife followed their children to the tomb. One can understand the terror which the epidemic inspired."
As the death toll escalated with the arrival of warmer weather, the church took its measures, extolling the villagers to "walk more closely with God hereafter, and to avoyd the occasion of all sins, especially swearing, Sabbath breaking, lyeing, drunkennesse, lasciviousnesse, mallice, envie, uncharitablenesse, which is rife in children as men."
The civil authorities did likewise, "Tuesday evening, the 24th, one of the constables of Prendergast brought to the mayor a warrant, directed to them by Bulton Ormond, a High Constable of Dungleddy Hundred, requiring them 'not to permit anie to come into the house, or anie townsman to come thiere,' and threatening 'that if anie shall goe or traffique with the townsmen theire houses shall be shutt up untill it please God to withdraw his scourge from you.'" The mayor did not abide by such strict measures, but did set up pest-houses for the afflicted.
The warrant was also addressed to Herbert Perrot, who was clearly expected to to do something. He and the mayor went to London to seek help. In response, "On Sunday the 2nd of May, Haverfordwest was specially prayed for 'in the Chappel of Whitehall and in St. Laurence in London." They do not appear to have succeeded in getting any other assistance, and the situation in Haverfordwest continued to worsen. Desperate for help, the Haverfordwest magistrates issued "a certificate ..., setting forth the sad. miserable, distressed condition of the said towne. 990 persons or so, are thereabouts, as we are credibly informed, are in want of the necessary foode to sustaine nature" and proceeded to enact a tax so as to raise relief funds.
By July 7th, an additional 213 deaths had taken place, but a steady tax revenue stream was coming in by then to help handle the emergency. Forty one more deaths were reported the next three months. "The imagination is irresistibly fascinated by the grim tragedies that can be read between the lines of the official reports." Mercifully, the last the last death recorded on 18 September, two weeks short of a full year after it started.
It's in the Papers...
Glasgow Herald 14 Jul 1894
In the Old Court Hall yesterday Sheriff Guthrie and a jury disposed of the following case:
The St.Enoch Station Fatality
2 boys, named William Perrett and William Gourlay were charged with having on 31 May 1894 in a carriage of the Glasgow and South Western Railway Company travelling on the line between Main Street, Gorbals and St.Enoch Station, indecently assaulted Janet or Jessie Smith, now deceased and Annie Crichton, both residing at 117 West Graham Street, Glasgow.
Further, William Perrett was charged with having assaulted Janet or Jessie Smith and pushed her out of the carriage while in motion or otherwise and she, being put in great bodily danger through his indecent conduct, did jump from the said carriage while in motion, whereby she fell under said carriage or other carriages in the rear thereof and was fatally injured. Mr. Angus Campbell defended Perrett and Mr. John M. Sclater was for Gourlay.
Miss Lindsay who is in the employment of Madame Veitch, Sauchiehall Street, deposed that on the evening of 31 May she had a parcel to send to Ibrox and she suggested to Janet or Jessie Smith that she should get someone to accompany her. Jessie suggested her brother and was sent home to fetch him. She brought back a girl with her and they went the message. Jessie was 15 years of age; she was a very good girl and had given every satisfaction. She was a little larky but very modest.
Annie Crichton, 14 years of age, who had been asked to accompany the deceased stated that it was about 10 o’clock when they joined the train at Ibrox. When they entered the carriage the only occupant was an elderly gentleman but the 2 accused came in afterwards. The gentleman left the carriage at Shields Road. Neither of the boys spoke to them before they reached Shields Road.
After the train left Shields Road the boys were speaking together and began to criticise witnesses’ appearance. More than once they had to be checked for their language. After they left Shields Road Perrett began to take familiarities with the deceased girl who did not scream or say anything, but only struggled. Witness interfered and received a slap on the face.
Perrett then left Jessie and turned his attention to witness. No encouragement was given by either witness or deceased. Nearing St. Enoch station, Perrett left witness and Gourlay took her up. She saw Perrett trying to catch Jessie but did not see what was done. Almost immediately Jessie disappeared through the door which was the right hand one facing the engine. That was the door at which the boys had been sitting. The train was still going when Jessie went out by the door and Perrett was close to her. Jessie told Perrett to go away; she spoke in an angry tone and not as if they had been larking.
While this was going on witness was struggling against Gourlay. She was greatly excited and Jessie appeared to be the same. After Jessie went out, Perrett went out onto the footboard but did not jump off until the train almost stopped; Gourlay followed him, and then witness.
Cross examined by Mr. Campbell on behalf of Perrett, witness stated that neither deceased nor herself cried out for assistance but that the lad Rae who was in the carriage checked the accused several times. If she and her friend had got safely into St. Enoch station they would probably have gone home together and would never have mentioned the incident. The boys might have meant to give them a friendly ‘tousling’ but she thought it was more than fun. Rae went out suddenly and then Perrett went out on the footboard. She did not hear anything pass between Rae and Perrett at the time. She could not express an opinion as to whether Jessie was pushed out of the carriage; but it appeared as if Perrett was holding her rather than pushing her.
By Mr. Sclater: The struggle she had with Gourlay was comparatively trifling. Daniel Rae, a youth of 17 deposed that he was in the same compartment as the accused and two girls. The latter were on the left hand side of the carriage. After the train left Shields Road the 2 boys began to use obscene language to the girls. The girls made no reply but rose and looked out of the window. After the train left Main Street, witness rose to look out of the window and the two boys then rose and pulled the girls down on the seat and began to use familiarities.
Witness checked the boys and they desisted for a time but immediately began again. When the train was nearing St. Enoch’s witness was in the middle of the carriage. Both the boys and the girls went to the right hand side of the carriage. Witness separated them. Perrett and the girl Smith went back to the door and Perrett turned the handle of the door. Witness dropped out onto the footboard and meant to shut the door from the outside as it rebounded.
Perrett then shoved the girl out of the carriage, her forehead and knee striking the platform, but the footboard drew her off among the wheels. The train was going at the rate of about 9 miles per hour. He did not see any of the wheels passing over the girl but he heard the jerk. Perrett jumped off the train as it was slowing up and ran along the platform towards St. Enoch’s Square. Witness ran after him but failed to catch him.
After further evidence the jury retired and after an absence of 13 minutes returned a verdict of not guilty on the charge of culpable homicide but by a majority found the prisoners guilty of indecent assault. In consideration of their previous imprisonment they were allowed to go with a severe reprimand.
Western Daily Press 1 Oct 1892
Fanny White, 27, Claremont Buildings was summoned for assaulting Samuel Perrett on the 19th inst and Rhoda Perrett, Samuel Perrett’s mother was summoned for assaulting Fanny White. The parties were bound over to keep the peace for 3 months.
Western Gazette 20 Nov 1874
A young man named Samuel Perrett met with a very severe accident on Friday evening, 6th inst. He had been to Weston and was attempting to walk back to his home at Bogley, on the road to Gillingham, going part of the distance by the side of the South Western Railway, when, passing over the bridge which crosses the road, the night being dark, he missed the path and fell over it into the roadway, a distance of 17 feet. His jawbone was broken and other injuries were inflicted, principally on the front of his head. It was hoped at first that notwithstanding the serious nature of his injuries, he might survive; but within the last few days he has grown worse and now there appears but a very slight prospect of his recovery.
A P*RR*TT PHOTO GALLERY
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