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 1899.

A RIOT broke out in a Herefordshire village after patients at the local inebriate home were served alcohol in a pub in 1899.

Benjamin Goodenough, licensee of the Cross Inn in Eardisland, appeared before Weobley Police Court in October that year charged with permitting drunkenness and riotous conduct at his pub.

The court heard from gamekeeper Frank Williams that he and three others, Messrs Ingham, Cowen, and Jacques, had been shooting that morning before heading to the Cross Inn for lunch.

The men, residents of Street Court Inebriates' Home, had consumed six or seven quarts of alcohol between them and played wall quoits for drink.

But as the afternoon progressed, the group became more and more rowdy, with glasses broken and punches thrown.

Jacques and Ingham were "mad drunk", the court was told, having all been "perfectly sober" before they entered the pub.

Macklin Cowen told the court that they had been drinking whisky and beer at the pub, before a fight broke out.


Eardisland grocer Thomas Russell, said one of the men, who he recognised as a patient of the Street Court Inebriates' Home, had run to his shop and "collared a broomstick" after being put out of the pub, before smashing a window.

A clock, piano, chair, pictures, and crockery at the pub were also broken.

Dr Walker, who was also called to give evidence, said he had found the men "very drunk" and that he had previously sent the police to all the local pubs to warn them never to serve intoxicating liquors to his patients.

The Goodenoughs claimed that the whisky had not been supplied by them, and that the men must have gone out and purchased it elsewhere.

The Bench said the case was serious as Goodenough had been warned not to supply them, and had kept them for several hours in his home instead of sending for the police or to Street Court.

Goodenough was fined £5 and costs.