ONE of Worcestershire’s most notorious murder cases is to be revisited in the unlikely setting of one of the county’s top golf clubs.

The infamous Oddingley double murders took place on June 24 and 25 in 1806, when first the Rev George Parker and then his assailant Richard Hemming were both done to death in the peaceful hamlet about two miles south of Droitwich.

Now, on Saturday, June 24, 123 years to the day, the spa town’s Gaudet Luce golf club is hosting an evening with author Peter Moore, who will talk about his book Damn His Blood, which describes the murder mystery that first shocked and then baffled the nation.

The killing of a clergyman, even in the early 19th century, caused consternation far and wide, with the added twist that although Hemming was the main suspect, no trace of him could be found.

The murderer was a married man with a family and he simply disappeared without trace.

The background to the case was that a considerable row had blown up between Parson Parker and several Oddingley farmers over the collection of tithes. The clergyman wanted to increase the amount and the farmers were resisting.

That was natural enough, but what was in-natural was the vehement opposition to the scheme from a certain quarter.

Opposition which was to end in the calculated death of Parker as he took a mid-summer walk in the fields near his home.

Suddenly the blast from a shotgun cut through the warm stillness and the parson fell dying.

Just to make sure the gunman emerged from his hiding place and smashed the poor man’s skull with his gun butt before loping off in the direction of nearby Trench Woods.

As chance would have it, the assassin was recognised by two people who had been alerted by the sound of the shotgun.

He was Droitwich carpenter and wheelwright Richard Hemming, who was seen shortly after emerging from Trench Woods and making his way to the home of a certain Captain Evans of Church Farm, a local magistrate.

Cpt Evans was one of the main critics of Parson Parker.

In fact in a moment of loose talk he had been heard to say: “Damn him, he is a very bad man and there is no more harm in shooting him than a mad dog.” Therefore it did not need Sherlock Holmes to put two and two together when the recognised assassin was seen seeking refuge at the home of the belligerent old soldier.

Fast forward 24 years and while work was being carried out to dismantle a barn in Oddingley the remains of a body were found buried inside.

The identity was quickly established as that of Richard Hemming and the discovery would lead to a murder trial that would capture the imagination of the nation and would be fully reported in Berrow’s Worcester Journal.

Alec Fernihough, managing director of Gaudet Luce, said: “We are really delighted to have the opportunity to welcome Peter Moore to our establishment and to be able to give people the opportunity to hear more about this fascinating subject.

"We feel excited that 123 years to the day these dastardly acts took place, a venue that is set right in the heart of the countryside surrounding the area will host the leading authority on the subject.”

The evening starts at 7pm with a two-course meal followed by coffee and the thrilling story and insights by Peter Moore.

Tickets cost £27.50 and are available by visiting Gaudet Luce or by calling 01905 796375.