John Hancox Shot and Blinded by Three Burglars at Tunley Farm, 1832
Tunley Farm was very isolated, surrounded by trees. Eli Gardiner, an old thatcher of Oakridge whose father had been a farm labourer working at Tunley Farm at the time said Hancox's little girl was playing in Tunley Land and saw two men hiding themselves in the old lime kiln. She ran to tell her father but they saw her and ran after her.
Hancox saw them coming and made for home. He jumped the garden fence and got into the house. He had time to take down his gun, but couldn't load it before the men were on him. One of them shot him and thought he was dead.
They ran off with money and goods. All the farm labourers were given arms and set out in couples to find the men. The men got into a coach and escaped.
The Police Poster shown below and the press coverage seems to have worked and they were later apprehended in Gloucester, one turned Kings Evidence and was let off.
The report of the case brought at the Crown Court on 6 April against James and Thomas Berryman gives details from the evidence of Henry Hancox and his father John Hancox:
'When my son returned, I saw the flash of the pistol from the room in which I sat. My son fell. The kitchen was then in darkness ... they set fire to some paper at the fire and lit a candle . . . They held the sword and pistols nearer towards Mrs Hancox and myself, and said "We want money, or what we can make money of, for we are in great distress; be quick, be quick." ... My son was on the ground, I thought he was dead.'
John Hancox and John Walter Hancox, his younger son, both identified the prisoners. Edwin Hunt, brother-in-law of the prisoners and an accomplice, gave evidence that James fired the pistol at young Mr Hancox, and that Thomas had the sword. The jury found the prisoners guilty and judgement of death was passed on James, and Thomas was sentenced to transportation for life.Henry Hancox was blinded for life. He lived to be 80 and a neighbour (a relation of Miss Alison Gardiner's of Waterlane) used to go and help him when he ran a bell outside.
The above contains extracts from 'Oakridge a History' by Pat Carrick, Kay Rhodes and Juliet Shipman, available from Oakridge History Group, price £15 through the ‘Contact Us’ page or from the Oakridge Village Shop.
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