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To set the scene: Thomas Madeley, licensee of the “Travellers Rest” and William Bradbury licensee of the “Red Lion” had for many years in the early 1800s been in dispute about the ownership of land adjoining both properties. The public houses are located at Bank Top, Gnosall. Both accounts below are transcripts from the “Staffordshire Advertiser” Land dispute - 1826 Sarah   Bradbury   [aged   70]    was   indicted   for   assaulting   Thomas   Madeley, at   the   parish   of   Gnosall   and   firing   a   gun   at   him,   with   intent   to   do   him some    grievous    bodily    harm;    and    also    with    a    common    assault.    It appeared,   from   the   evidence   that   the   Bradburys   and   Madeleys   have,   for some   time,   been   at   enmity   with   each   other,   on   account   of   a   dispute respecting   the   right   of   ownership   of   a   bit   of   land   which   adjoins   the property   of   both   families;   and   on   9th   October,   Madeley,   with   a   view   of   establishing   his   right,   took   an   axe   and   saw,   and proceeded   with   his   sons   to   cut   down   some   trees,   several   of   which   had   been   planted   on   this   said   land   by   the   Bradburys. Old   Sarah   Bradbury   endeavoured   in   vain   to   drive   the   enemy   off   with   brick-bats   and   stones,   so   she   fetched   out   her   son’s loaded   gun,   and   fired   it   -   one   set   of   witnesses   said   at   Bradbury   [Madeley?]    to   kill   him   but   he   stopped   and   was   missed   - the other declared that it was only at the damson tree, merely to alarm the foe. Guilty of common assault - to be imprisoned one month in the common gaol, and to find sureties to keep the piece. Elizabeth   Bradbury ,   a   mere   girl,   grand-daughter   of   the   aforesaid   old   lady,   was   charged   with   assaulting   Charles   Madeley, son   of   the   former   prosecutor,   by   running   a   pikel   [two   pronged   pitchfork]    into   his   arm!   The   time   and   place   were   those already    specified:    the    lad    appeared    and    proved    the    fact    of    the    assault;    and    the    defendant’s    Counsel    urged    in extenuation that the girl was acting in defence of her old grandmother. Guilty - fined 20s. and discharged Riot - 2nd November 1829. On   Monday,   November   2 nd    1829   a   crowd   of   nearly   one   hundred   men.,   shouting   and   cheering,   were   moving   in   some excitement   outside   the   Traveller's   Rest   Public   House   on   the   Stafford   Road   in   Gnosall.   Many   of   them   helping   themselves to   beer   from   a   barrel,   which   had   been   thoughtfully   placed   in   the   road,   and   some   noisily   declared   their   intention   of   coming down   the   hill   to   pull   the   Red   Lion   apart.   Mrs.   Elizabeth   Bradbury,   wife   of   William   Bradbury,   the   licensee   of   the   Red   Lion, warned   her   husband   and   the   other   members   of   the   family,   and   they   hurriedly   secured   the   doors   and   shutters   of   the house. Not   long   afterwards,   the   crowd   rushed   down   the   hill   and   banged   at   the   front   door,   while   one   of   their   leaders,   Kentish   Will, broke   open   the   back   door,   walked   through   the   house,   unlocked   the   front   door   and   so   admitted   them.   William   Bradbury and   his   wife   took   up   their   positions   with   backs   to   the   cellar   door.   The   men,   who   by   now   had   filled   the   house,   pressed hard   against   them,   trying   to   break   into   the   cellar,   demanding   beer   and   threatening   that   if   they   did   not   get   it,   they   would pull   the   house   down.   Thomas   Cheney   begged   the   landlord   to   agree   in   the   hope   of   pacifying   them,   and   he   handed   over eight   gallons   of   ale.   But   the   men   were   not   so   easily   satisfied,   and   after   the   ale   had   been   quickly   drunk,   one   of   the leaders,   John   Barnes,   shouted   that   he   would   have   more,   and   if   they   did   not   give   more,   he   would   do   mischief.   So   twelve quarts   more   were   given   to   the   men,   who   disposed   of   it   with   alacrity,   while   some   of   them   diverted   themselves   by smashing   all   the   crockery   in   sight.   Kentish   Will   struck   Bradbury   with   his   cudgel,   and   Charles   Baker   seized   the   servant girl,   Elizabeth   Fletcher   round   the   waist   and   tried   to   carry   her   out   of   the   house,   saying   that   he   would   dash   her   brains   out. Fortunately he failed to do either. The   uproar   in   the   house   continued   for   some   hours,   from   the   middle   of   the   afternoon   until   eight   in   the   evening   -   and   since the   village   constable,   then   an   unpaid,   often   reluctant,   holder   of   the   yearly   office   chosen   at   the   annual   Parish   meeting, failed   to   appear   -   and   who   can   blame   him?   --   it   was   only   the   restraint   of   some   members   of   the   crowd   led   by   Thomas Cheney that saved Bradbury and his family from serious harm. When   the   riot   was   at   its   height,   some   men   were   heard   to   say   that   Thomas   Madeley,   licensee   of   the   Travellers   Inn   had given   them   beer   to   drink      if   they   would   pull   the   Red   Lion   down.   This   was   confirmed   later   by   one   of   them,   Richard   Hill, who   also   said   that Thomas   Madeley   had   stopped   him   in   the   street   on   the   morning   of   November   2nd   and   asked   him   “if   he was   ready   to   do   that   bit   of   a   job”.   Madeley,   said   Hill,   had   given   him   a   paper   to   fix   upon   the   gate   post   at   the   tollhouse where   the   Moreton   and   Newport   roads   joined   [ed.   Where   Oak   Cottage   is   located] .   Hill   could   not   read   it   for   himself,   but his   friends   who   could   told   him   that,   as   far   as   he   could   remember   the   words   on   the   paper   were:-   "Mr.   Bradbury   -   this   is   to give you notice that your house is to come down on the second instant without further notice”. This   paper   was   lost   and   could   not   be   produced   when   the   matter   came   to   court.   Madeley   had   also   told   Hill   that   the   drink he   had   promised   would   be   ready   by   2   o'clock   and   when   Hill   went   to   the   Travellers   Rest   he   was   offered   a    glass   of   gin, and later, two picks. Hill took the gin, but would have nothing to do with the picks. Two   others   confirmed   that   Madeley   had   given   the   men   forty   gallons   of   ale   and   had   promised   them   forty   gallons   more when   the   Red   Lion   was   pulled   down   -   and   further   -   had   assured   them   he   would   bear   the   blame.   However,   he   was   careful to   keep   in   the   background   for   the   rest   of   the   day   so   that   later   he   could   deny   his   part   in   the   affair.   But   when   they   heard   the case,   the   magistrates   were   rightly   sceptical,   and   remanded   him   and   the   leaders   of   the   affray   for   trial   (and   for   sentence) at the next sessions. At Stafford Assizes (Session 1830.1) the following were charged with violent assault of Elizabeth Bradbury, and Elizabeth Fletcher. All 3 were discharged Charles Baker (aged 30) John Barnes (aged 47) James Marshall (aged 30) Notes: In 1834 Madeley was in Stafford prison, an insolvent debtor, and the Travellers Rest and his other property was sold to satisfy his creditors The riot of November 2nd, 1829 was just one of many incidents that frightened the people of Gnosall and district when navigators -- as they were called - came to build the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal. The authorities, when a military garrison for Gnosall was asked for, enrolled special constables, and took rigorous action against all offenders. They also built the Lock-up. By 1832, Gnosall was relatively quiet again. Bob Johnson

Land dispute 1826 and Riot 1829

Travellerís Rest Red Lion
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