Key Characters

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Camborne People

Michael Abraham, Landlord of Tyacks Hotel. Testified at the hearing of the alleged rioters and sworn in as a Special Constable.

Dr Edward Angove, born in Ireland and residing at Basset Ivy House in 1871. Testified at the hearing of the alleged rioters and sworn in as a Special Constable.

John Bailey, Carpenter. Present on Market Place (now Commercial Street) and speaking to PC Osborne when the latter was allegedly jostled, then assaulted, by James Bawden.

William Bailey, Accountant. Gave evidence for the prosecution at the Bawdens’ trial, and later appeared as a star witness for the defence at the hearing of the alleged rioters.

James Bawden, Miner, Trelowarren Street, 30 at time of the riots. The Cornwall, England, Bodmin Gaol Records, 1821-1899 says he was convicted of assaulting PCs Harris and Osborne in Camborne and sentenced to five months on the treadwheel. Released 1874. Described as rather deaf, with a blue speck on his forehead. He had no whiskers, a light beard, and scars on his right elbow and left wrist (Reg. #12, Vol. no. AD1676/4/11).

Joseph Bawden, Miner, Trelowarren Street, 26 at time of the riots. James’s younger brother, convicted of the same charge and served the same sentence. Described as having no whiskers, a slight beard, and several scars (Reg. #11, Vol. no. AD1676/4/11). Both brothers were born in Relubbus. The Bawdens were summarised in The Cornish Telegraph of Wednesday October 15, 1873, as “bear[ing] good characters…are a little rough in speech, but [are]…decent, honest, hard-working fellows – just the sort of men who can be easily led but are hard to drive”.

Joseph Bawden Senior, Trelowarren Street. Father of the Bawden brothers. Testified in their favour at the trial.

Elizabeth Bennetts, nee’ Andrew: of Stray Park Lane. Arrested and imprisoned on suspicion of theft. Released without charge Friday October 3, 1873.

William Bickford-Smith - Sold

William Bickford-Smith (1827-99), Justice of the Peace for Cornwall at the time of the riots. He was the grandson of the inventor of the safety fuse and was a partner in the world-renowned Bickford, Smith & Co. factory in Tuckingmill, which finally closed in 1961. He presided over both the trial of the Bawdens and the alleged rioters, swore in Special Constables, and was resident in Camborne at the time (in the 1871 census he lived at Redbrooke House, on Beacon Hill, now known as Trevu House). One of the few, if not the only, figure of authority to emerge from the events with any credit, The West Briton of Thursday October 16, 1873 notes he “did all he could to restore quietness”, and he frequently exposed himself “to danger”, according to The Cornish Telegraph of Wednesday October 15, 1873.

by John Collier. Courtesy of Priory Fine Art

Thomas Bishop, Mercer. According to The Cornish Telegraph of Wednesday October 15, 1873, he presented a petition, signed by himself and sixteen other tradesmen of the town, to Bickford-Smith, condemning the Camborne Police Force.

James Bryant, Miner. The Cornish Telegraph of Wednesday October 15, 1873 describes him as a “tall stripling” of 17. Arrested by Josiah Thomas as a suspected rioter but later acquitted.

Cornelius Burns, Miner. Witnesses testified to him being a prominent rioter, but he was acquitted of any wrongdoing. The Cornish Telegraph of Wednesday October 15, 1873 captures him as a “a tall youth of 19 or 20”.

John Clemo, who in 1871 was a van proprieter on Chapel Street. His conveyances were hired by the police on the day of the Bawdens’ trial/riot.

Anthony Cock, according to the 1871 census as being in his 40s and living on Moor Street, was a key witness for the defence at the Bawdens’ trial. Had the reputation of an upstanding, philanthropic member of the community.

Charles Corin, who in 1871 was a grocer on Market Place. Deputised as a Special Constable.

John R. Daniell, Attorney-at-Law, in his 30s. Counsel for the defence at the hearing of the alleged rioters, James Bryant, Cornelius Burns, and James Kent.

Richard Goninan, testified in favour of the Bawdens at their trial.

George Hamlyn, in his late 20s, a Confectioner on Cross St in the 1871 census. Sworn in as a Special Constable.

Mary Hodge, testified in favour of the Bawdens at their trial.

Thomas Hutchinson, who in the 1871 census is listed as a surgeon on Basset Road. Testified at the hearing of the alleged rioters and sworn in as a Special Constable. Assisted some policemen in escaping from the town.

James Kent, employed by the Tuckingmill Foundry Co. Arrested on suspicion of having taken part in the riot, but later acquitted.

B. Libby (first name unknown), gave evidence for the prosecution at the Bawdens’ trial.

Elizabeth Luke, testified in favour of the Bawdens at their trial.

Benjamin Matthews, Bank Manager, late 30s, Chapel Street, according to the 1871 census. Testified at the hearing of the alleged rioters and sworn in as a Special Constable. Identified (as did William Newming) George Pascoe as a rioter – Pascoe absconded. Also identified a youth known only as “Pidwell”, who apparently also absconded.

John Mills, builder. Gave a statement to the magistrates at the hearing of the alleged rioters.

Richard Nettle, builder, Chapel Street, in his 30s, according to the 1871 census. Sworn in as a Special Constable.

Charity Newming, wife of William Newming. Testified for the prosecution at the alleged rioters’ hearing.

William Newming, Landlord of the Reynolds Arms. His hostelry was a target for the rioters and he identified (as did Benjamin Matthews) one of them, George Pascoe.

George Pascoe. Identified as being involved in the riot by Benjamin Matthews and William Newming. Absconded before being brought to trial. Pascoe appears to have suffered no ill-effects from the events of 1873: in the 1881 census he is still married and living on Union Street, though he is now a cordwainer (he was a cobbler back in 1871).

Walter Pike, mine purser. Testified at the hearing of the alleged rioters and sworn in as a Special Constable.

William Pollard, jeweller, in his 50s, according to the 1871 census. Sworn in as a Special Constable.

John Pyatt, master brushmaker, Market Place. Sworn in as a Special Constable.

William Retallack, testified in favour of the Bawdens at their trial.

Thomas Richards, testified in favour of the Bawdens at their trial.

George Smith, Lieutenant of the Volunteers. House was visited by the mob on the night of the riot.

Hannibal Sowden, testified in favour of the Bawdens at their trial.

Joseph Stephens, gave evidence for the prosecution at the Bawdens’ trial.

Captain Josiah Thomas

Captain Josiah Thomas (1833-1901), Manager of Dolcoath Mine from 1868-1901, during which time the mine became the largest, deepest, and most profitable mine in Cornwall. A staunch Methodist and renowned preacher, he lived at Tregenna House, Pendarves Street. On his death a Memorial Hall was erected to his memory in Trevithick Road. In the aftermath of the riot he was sworn in as a Special Constable, and arrested a suspected rioter, James Bryant, at his mine.

Portrait by William Cock, courtesy of Camborne Library.

Tregenna House, Pendarves Road, at the time of Josiah Thomas’s residence. Image courtesy of Kresen Kernow, ref. corn05093

Joseph Vivian, Miner. Sworn in as Special Constable, albeit with much reluctance.

C. W. Reynolds, magistrate at the trial of the Bawdens. His house was vandalised.

Well-to-do and out-of-towners

Y. V. Budge, from Truro, counsel for the prosecution at the hearing of the alleged rioters.

Colonel Walter Raleigh Gilbert (1813-1896), the inaugural Chief Constable for Cornwall from 1857-1896. Present at both the trial of the Bawdens and the alleged rioters, and personally heard the complaints of Elizabeth Bennetts regarding her treatment by the Camborne Police.

Reproduced by kind permission of The British Police History https://british-police-history.uk/forces/_c/cornwall.html

Richard Holloway, from Redruth and in his mid-40s according to the 1871 census, was an Attorney and Solicitor. He was counsel for the prosecution at the Bawdens’ trial. Was forced to beat a hasty and undignified retreat after their conviction.

Robert Lowe, 1st Viscount Sherbrooke.jpg

Robert Lowe (1811-1892), was Home Secretary at the time of the riots. According to his Wikipedia entry, his Prime Minister, Gladstone, described him as “recklessly deficient”. The West Briton of Thursday, October 16 1873 notes that he “at once telegraphed for a report on the proceedings” when reading of the riots in the London press. Furthermore, The Standard (London) of 21 November 1873 tells us that he “declined to accede to the prayer of a petition for remission of the sentences passed on the Camborne rioters” (p3). As no alleged rioter was ever convicted, this can only mean the two Bawden brothers.

Image of Lowe from his Wikpedia page.

Major McCausland, in command of the detachment of the 11th Regiment sent to Camborne from Raglan Barracks, Plymouth, to restore order to the town.

Sir Colman Rashleigh (1819-1896), was JP for Cornwall, Deputy Lieutenant of Cornwall, and the Liberal MP for East Cornwall from 1874-1880. He addressed the Grand Jury regarding the riots, and the subsequent failure to convict any rioters. The mob, he said, acted “with perfect impunity. Not a single person has been punished for this offence” (West Briton, Thursay, October 16 1873).

George Vawdrey, a GP from Phillack in his mid-60s, the 1871 census tells us. Examined several injured policemen at his Hayle surgery between 8-10pm on the day of the riot, Tuesday October 7.

The Police

All page references refer to One and All: A History of Policing in Cornwall: the Cornwall Constabulary 1857-1967, by Ken Searle, Halsgrove, 2005. The names of the towns in italics beside the officers’ names is where, according to the Royal Cornwall Gazette of Saturday, October 11 1873, they were stationed at the time of the riot. Significantly, all of the Camborne force were either forced to resign from the force shortly after the riots, or were hastily moved to another borough (the HQ of the Penzance borough was Camborne).

Two PCs mentioned in the Royal Cornwall Gazette as receiving injuries, Basher, from Bodmin, who received a slight cut, and Mitchell, from Lelant, who suffered same, do not appear in Searle’s book. To be sure, a PC Basher is listed (p113), but this man resigned several months before the riot. We’ll never know who they were.

The Camborne Men:

Superintendent Alfred Stephens, 30yrs at time of appointment, a married policeman originally from Newport, Isle of Wight. Appointed 1857, stationed Liskeard 1857, Penzance 1868. Dismissal: 12th. October 1873. p81.

PC 51 John Harris, 24yrs when appointed, a married miner from St Agnes. Appointed 1857, stationed in Penzance borough from same time. Moved to Helston borough 17th October 1873. Left force 1880 with pension. p86.

PC 4 Martin Strongman Burton, 26yrs when appointed, single labourer from St Breoc. Appointed 1862, stationed Liskeard 1862, Penzance from 1868. Forced to resign 21st October 1873. p99.

PC 136 Francis Bartlett, 27yrs when recruited, farm labourer and miner from Camelford, single. Appointed 1867, originally stationed Truro 1867, Penzance 1870. Moved back to Truro borough 13th. October 1873. Left force with pension 1895. p106.

PC 61 James Osborne (or Osborn), 20yrs on recruitment, a single farm labourer from Wadebridge. Appointed 1871, stationed Helston 1872, Penzance borough from March 1872. Moved to Liskeard borough 13th October 1873. Forced to resign December 1873 for “irregularities of conduct”. p111.

PC 21 John Charles Nicholls, 21yrs on appointment, a fisherman from Paul. Married to Louisa Prin of Polwhele, 1880. Recruited 1872, stationed Penzance. Moved to Truro borough 18th November 1873. Resigned 1881. p113.

The Reinforcements:

Inspector George Pappin, Penzance, 29 years on appointment, a labourer from St Austell. Appointed 1857, stationed at Liskeard 1857, Launceston 1861, Truro 1863, Penzance 1867, Helston 1878. Promoted to Inspector 1861. Left force with pension 1886. p82.

PC 28 Edward Currah, 29 years on appointment, a single miner from Mawgan in Pydar. Appointed 1857, stationed Liskeard 1857, Penzance 1859, Helston 1861, Penzance 1866, Liskeard 1873. Promoted to Sergeant 1859, Inspector October 1873. Left force with pension, 1889. p82.

Superintendent Henry Miller, a former labourer from Christchurch. 33 years on appointment, transferred from Hampshire Constabulary. Stationed Penzance 1857, Launceston 1868, Penzance 1873, HQ 1880. Died 1894. p84.

PC 115 Nicholas Trenarry (whom the ‘papers record as Treberry), 25, a single miner from Cubert. Appointed 1857, stationed Bodmin 1857, Truro 1858, Liskeard 1859, Launceston 1864, Penzance 1870, Helston 1873, Bodmin 1883, Truro 1886. Fined 10/- in 1859 for allowing a prisoner to get drunk whilst in his custody. Left with pension 1891. p87.

PC 124 Joseph Bawden (or Bowden), 39, a married labourer from Duloe, appointed 1857. Stationed Bodmin 1857, Truro 1859, Penzance 1868. Promoted to Sergeant 1858. Died 1876. p88.

PC 58 Aaron Dingle, Hayle, 19, a gardener from St Austell, appointed 1863. Stationed Penzance 1863, Helston 1876, Penzance 1883. Retired with pension 1895. p100.

PC 7 John Lyle, Ludgvan, 25, a single labourer from Stratton, appointed 1865. Stationed at Bodmin 1865, Penzance 1866. Left with pension 1893. p104.

PC 30 Charles Hill, Truro, 20, a labourer from St Tudy, married. Appointed 1865, stationed Bodmin 1866, Liskeard 1868, Bodmin 1869, Truro 1871, Helston 1873, Penzance 1882, Helston 1891, Penzance 1892. Died 1894. p104.

PC 148 Abraham Opie, Gwinear, 24, a miner from Stithians, married. Appointed 1867, stationed Bodmin 1867, Penzance 1870, Helston 1878, removed 1881. In 1878 fined £1 for being in a public house when he should have been on duty. p106.

PC 17 Richard Oliver, Marazion, 23, a farm labourer from Holsworthy, married. Appointed 1869, stationed Truro. Died 1879. p108.

PC 56 John Manhire, Pool, 27, farm labourer from St Enodor, married Mary May of Ladock, 1872. Appointed 1871, stationed Penzance. Left with pension 1898. p111.

PC 157 Thomas Skewes (the ‘papers have him as Skewis), St Just, 21, a cobbler from Cury, married Eliza Bray of Stithians, 1874. Appointed 1872, stationed Penzance 1872, Truro 1884, Bodmin 1895, Launceston 1899. Left 1900, resigned under medical certificate. Died 1943. p113.

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