One hundred years ago – September 1918.

There are several Court cases this month that are worthy of mention.

Brought before Bideford Borough Magistrates was Frank Rendall, 21, a clerk of 15 Victoria Grove Meddon Street. He pleaded Not Guilty to a charge of “riding a cycle furiously” down Bideford High Street at 8.30pm on Saturday August 17th. According to the police report he was doing a least 20 mph and barely avoiding the groups of public walking in the street. He rode around the Bank corner, reappeared from Mill Street and was apprehended. Being found Guilty he was given the option of 14 days imprisonment or a fine and after reflection decided to accept a fine of One Guinea.

The Bench at Bideford County Sessions, made up of Messrs A G Duncan, the mayor Mr A Adams, Rev C H Vivian, F W Bennett, J Henriz-Smith, S Fulford, J Cock and W T Charlewood, hears of 2 youths summoned for using petrol for driving a vehicle under hire that was not properly licenced.

Wm Jenkins of Bay View Northam was fined for failing to obscure a light that could be seen for miles. Fined 6/- as a warning. The owner of 12 Kingsley Terrace Westward Ho! fined one guinea for not keeping a register of lodgers.

A 12 year old boy who pleaded guilty to stealing a pocket watch from a waistcoat in a harvest field and who was recently convicted of cruelty to a horse was ordered to receive 6 strokes of the birch. (In the United Kingdom, birching as a judicial penalty, in both its juvenile and adult versions, was abolished in 1948, but it was retained until 1962 as a punishment for violent breaches of prison discipline.)

Farmers are requested to note that Prisoners of War are available for threshing at the rate of 5d per hour and can be obtained from the POW camps at South Molton, Charles, Knowstone, Worlington and Shebbear. The men will have to be fetched and returned.

Mid-September sees the following report about Parkham weather “It is now much against any progress being made with the corn harvest. The corn which is not cut is being driven down by boisterous weather and will be very slow and troublesome to cut and will cause a lot of wastage by the ripe corn falling out. The outlook at present is rather serious with much corn waiting to be stacked”.

At Hartland the cottages and blacksmith shop mentioned last month sold to Mr John Goaman for £105.

A W Cock auctioneers have an auction at the Friendship Hotel where Nos 1-4 Clarence Terrace Meddon Street were to be sold. Number 1 sold to Mr George Brend for £245 and Number 2 to Mr Robert Ellis for £260. Numbers 2 & 4 were withdrawn at £240 & £255 but were subsequently sold after the auction for higher prices.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford & District Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, 9.30am – 1pm.

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