AS part of our weekly Crime Files series, we are taking a look back at the archives to bring you stories from Herefordshire's history.

The following story dates from 1836.

A HEREFORDSHIRE mason was hauled up before a court after his opponent died in a fight.

Mason Thomas Passey appeared before Hereford Assizes in March 1836 charged with the manslaughter of farmer's servant James Davies in Docklow in August 1835.

The court heard that Passey, who had absconded after the death, had surrendered himself in February.

The pair had both been to a feast in Docklow on the day of the death, and that Davies had been wrestling with Passey's father.

The elder Passey then proposed a match between his son and Davies, who devlined, saying he had thrown his two men already and would not wrestle, but that he would fight, and began taking off his clothes.

Passey had first declined before accepting, the court was told, with the pair going several rounds, and continuing even after Passey said he wanted to stop.

But at the end of the last round, Davies collapsed and was found to be "insensible".


A doctor was called, but Davies remained in "a state of stupor" for several hours before dying.

A post mortem revealed a large amount of coagulated blood about his head, with surgeon T. F. Watling telling the assizes that Davies might have been in such a state of excitement from the rupture of some vessels in the combat.

He considered the bruises on the dead man's temples, whether they were from the fall or a blow, to be evidence of the immediate cause of death, the court heard.

The jury, without any hesitation, the Hereford Times reported, acquitted the prisoner.

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