Fracas in Faversham Market, 1869

Charles Wesley Alefounder, Faversham notes.

Faversham pedigree

The Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 1869 Aug 27 (Friday evening), p4:


Fracas in Faversham Market.—On Saturday evening, the new band, under the direction of Mr. G. Weaver, after marching through the town, halted in the market-place, at half-past nine o'clock, intending to finish up with a little music there, according to custom. One of the lessees of the market, an old man, a fruiterer, named Thomas Corke, felt annoyed at this interruption of the business of the evening, although they themselves ought to have cleared away by this time in compliance with the lease. The band quietly moved to the horse-way, leaving one or two members on the pavement. But this did not satisfy Corke, and he fetched his brother, who no sooner arrived on the scene than he struck at one of the bandsmen named Mitchell, who narrowly escaped a sharp concussion with the lamp post; in fact, in saving him another of the men, named William Reed, had his cornet forced violently towards his throat and was considerably hurt in the gums and teeth by the mouth-piece. Being Saturday night, a crowd soon collected at the prospect of a row. A great deal of confusion ensued, and the melee became general. A man named Joiner (employed at Sheldwich on Mr. H. H. Reed's farm), happened to have been purchasing some meat, which he was tying in a handkerchief on the parade, when Thomas Corke, without any provocation, rushed upon him as he stooped, and gave him a blow with his foot on the head. The conductor, with his men, and the two Corkes, eventually repaired to the Mayor's residence, and the Corkes, who were really the aggressors, threatened to take out summonses against the bandsmen. His Worship said he could not entertain any such application at that time of night, and the enraged populace, whose sympathies were on the other side, made an attempt to get at the Corkes, threatening to tear them to pieces. Upwards of 500 people were present at this time, whose shrieks and yells contrasted strangely with the usual quietness of the town. The upper windows of the houses facing the market were thrown open, and the utmost consternation existed. Thomas Corke was apprehended, and a feint was made of taking his brother also to gaol, when he was quietly conducted home another way, escorted by Serjeant Fowler, to save him from the mob. At the supposed apprehension of the two men a loud cheer was given for the police and the head constable (Mr. White). The row lasted about an hour and a half. Thomas Corke was kept in custody all night, but was admitted to bail on Sunday, the charge against him being that of violently assaulting Joiner, a man named Moon (who is hurt in the eye), and other persons. The man Joiner, indeed, had several fits in the Market-place, and Mr. Garraway, surgeon, on being sent for, ordered him to be removed to his home at Sheldwich in a cab, and it was thought that his life was in danger.

On Monday Thomas Corke, appeared before the Mayor, C. Bryant, Esq., and W. Rigden, Esq., to answer two charges of assault, one of which was laid by John Joiner, the man who was kicked on the ear, and the other by a man named William Moon, who appeared with a black eye occasioned by a blow from the defendant. The case caused much excitement and the Court was crowded by persons anxious to hear the proceedings, The case of Joiner's was first taken. Defendant said he was guilty of striking the man but it was in self defence. He said he had not had time to instruct a solicitor to defend him, and asked for an adjornment. The Bench expressed their willingness to grant this application, but told defendant there were witnesses from Ramsgate, and if the case were adjourned the expense would fall upon him. The defendant said the case had better proceed. John Joiner deposed: I live at Sheldwich and an in the employ of Mr. Thomas Kingsnorth. On Saturday night I came into the town to get some provisions. I saw a crowd of people in the Market Place, but I did not stop to see what was going on. The defendant came up to me, and, without a word passing between us, knocked me down, and after I was down he kicked me on the ear. I never saw the man before to my knowledge. I did not see any fighting. There seemed to be a large mob of persons jungling about, but I did not take any part in it. I was walking through as I wanted to get home as soon as I could.—By Mr. Tassell: I did not see anyone do anything to the defendant.—Samuel Crocker deposed: I am a sail maker and live in St. Mary's Road. On Saturday night the band was playing opposite Mr. Dane's shop. The defendant came and pushed three of the bandsmen off the pavement into the road. A crowd then gathered round him, and putting himself into a fighting attitude, he offered to fight anybody. He was then pushed and hustled by the crowd under the Town Hall, when I saw him strike a man named Moon. He was then pushed on towards Mr. Barnes's shop, where he knocked Joiner down and shook him after he was down. I believe he also struck him. Joiner called out for help, and someone pulled defendant off him.—By the prisoner: I did not see anyone strike you; did not see the mob push you down.—George Hodge, clerk at the Cement Works, said: The band formed a circle opposite Mr. Dane's and commenced playing, when John Corke came up and ordered them away. Then they went into the middle of the road with the exception of three or four who stood just on the kerb of the pavement under the lamp post. A few minutes afterwards the defendant came from under the Town Hall. He seemed to be agitated. With his clenched fist he pushed one of the bandsmen on to another. Then the crowd hustled about, and defendant challenged any man present to fight. The crowd continued hustling about and got the defendant under the hall. A man, William Moon, was pushed towards the defendant, who struck him a severe blow in the face. There was a fighting set out.—By defendant: I did not see you strike more than one bandsman; that was Mitchell.—Charles Alefounder, tailor: There was a regular row, and defendant was throwing his arms about in all directions. The crowd was hustling him about. When opposite to Mr. Barnes' shop defendant singled Joiner out and struck him, and, as he was falling, kicked him on the ear. Defendant fell on top of Joiner and thrashed him when he was on the ground. I took hold of the young man's shoulders and dragged him from under the defendant as far as Mr. Packer's shop. After that I went with Joiner to the Mayor's and the prisoner and his brother also went.—On being asked if he desired to put any questions to the witness, defendant said it would be no use doing so as he recognised him as one who knocked him about in the Market.—The Mayor: If that is the case, you have your remedy against him.—The witness said he took no part in the disturbance previously to seeing Joiner knocked down. At the police station the defendant said he should have murdered the man if the mob had not been there, and that he was not thrashed half enough.—Defendant in defence said: The band assembled at the Market and formed a circle round the lamp post. It was time to clear away the stalls, and I asked them to move, at the same time touching two of them gently. (Laughter) I wanted them to move in order that I might get away the stalls, and I could not do so while there was a crowd there. The mob then hooted, shouted, and groaned (laughter), and the bandsmen surrounded me and hustled and tustled me about. For twenty minutes I was being knocked about and kicked by them. I was endeavouring to get myself and my brother clear of the mob, when the young man, Joiner, came before me, struck me a violent blow and knocked my hat off. He was coming at me again and I knocked him down, but kick him I did not. I had on only a pair of light slippers.—The witness, Alefounder: If they were slippers they had pretty sharp soles.—John Corke, called by his brother, said: My brother and I were fearfully knocked about in the Market Place. We got to the corner by Mr. Barnes' shop when Joiner came and knocked my brother's hat off. I am certain he is the man. I stooped to pick the hat up and somebody knocked me down. I was knocked down about twenty times altogether.—The witness Hodge said the fact was both defendant and his brother were rather "beery" or they would not have done what they did.—Wm. Moon said: I am a labourer. I was in the Market on Saturday night. It was I who knocked defendant's hat off under the Hall. I was pushed by the crowd on the defendant, when he up with his hand and let me have one in the eye, and I let him have one in return. (Loud laughter) I struck him and his hat went off. I did not see his hat go off more than once, but some time afterwards I saw the boys kicking it about the streets.—This concluded the first case, and the Bench decided to hear the other before giving their decision.

Defendant was then charged with assaulting William Moon.—Moon repeated the evidence just given by him, adding that the blow he received from the defendant gave him the black eye he then had. He did not take any part in the disturbance, but was pushed by the mob on to the defendant.—George Hodge was also examined.—P. C. Stone said Moon was pushed in close by him, and defendant, who was in front of him, struck Moon in the face. Moon in self-defence struck defendant afterwards.—Defendant said he knew nothing whatever of this case.—The Court was then cleared, and on being re-opened, the Mayor said: We are of opinion that the assaults have been clearly proved. We are willing to believe that you (defendant) were hustled about a good deal, but still you brought all this upon yourself. We are disposed to give you the option of paying a fine, and for the assault upon Joiner you will be fined £2 and £2 0s. 6d. costs, and for that upon Moon 10s. and 16s. 6d. costs, making altogether £5 7s.; and in default you will be committed for two months' imprisonment with hard labour.—The money was paid at once.—Mitchell, one of the bandsmen, said he had a charge to prefer against the defendant.—The Mayor told him he had better take out a summons in the usual way.

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Added to web site 8th February 2013 by Peter Alefounder

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