John Mason Scott and the magistrates' court, 1851

J.M. Scott lived at 79 High Street from about 1845 to 1867. He ran a corn merchant's business there. He seems to have been on very bad terms with his neighbours. John Corkett lived at no.77 and Richard Seager at no.83.

Bucks Herald, 19 July 1851

(Before W.S. Lowndes and E. W. S. Lowndes, Esqrs., and the Rev. M. Kerr.)

RIVAL SWEEPERS.- John Corkett, shoemaker, of Winslow, was charged with having on the 8th inst. assaulted John Scott, a mealman, of that place.- Defendant said he considered complainant to be the transgressor.- It appeared that they are both tradesmen, and live in houses adjoining at Winslow, and on the morning in question a team stood for an hour and a half in front of defendant’s house while the waggon was unloaded at Scott’s house, and by feeding the horses, &c., a litter was made.   This nuisance Corkett desired Scott to sweep and clean up, but he refused, and said “he would see him d- first.”  Defendant then swept the filth away from the front of his house to the front of Scott’s house, and a battle with brooms ensued.   Complainant, who appeared not to like the filth in front of his premises, although he had been the cause of it before his neighbour’s, then swept the rubbish back, not only in front of Mr. Corkett’s house but also on his person.  The latter then used his beesom [sic] on Scott, and Scott his broom on Corkett, and here they were battle royal, and brooms were the principal weapons used in the contest.  Scott, however, thought he had a perfect right to have teams in front of Corkett’s house for as long a period as it suited him, and that sweeping up, or making the place decent, was quite out of the question.  He was, however, informed to the contrary, and told that the allowing of horses and waggons to remain by the road-side was illegal, and could not be allowed.  Mr. Corkett was informed by the Bench that he should have sent for the police officer and had the horses removed.  The case, however, was dismissed with costs against the complainant, and, with grumbling, Mr. Scott paid the expenses incurred in the case.

Bucks Herald, 6 Dec 1851

THURSDAY, Nov. 27.
(Before W. S. Lowndes, P. Dauncey, E.W.S. Lowndes, Esqrs., and the Rev. M. Kerr.)

John Mason Scott, corn dealer, Winslow, was charged by Robert Ossitt, police officer, with having on the 18th of November, at that place, assaulted him while in the execution of his duty. The case attracted considerable attention from a crowded court room. Mr. Benson, solicitor, denied the charge, and conducted the defence.

From the evidence adduced in support of the charge, it appeared that on the evening of the day in question, a van belonging to John Walker, carrier, from Winslow to Aylesbury, was in a yard, the joint property of Scott and John Corkett, shoemaker.  Both parties had entered into an agreement, whereby it was arranged that Walker was to pay Scott and Corkett one shilling each per month for the standing of the said van.  About 8 o’clock that evening the policeman Ossitt was sent for, on the ground of there being a disturbance, and of Scott “chopping up the van.”  The officer went and found Scott in a mad, drunk, and furious state, chopping one of the van wheels to pieces, with a crowd of people around the yard gateway, thereupon Ossitt asked him to desist, and endeavoured to prevail on him so to do.  This, however, was met with foul language, and he continued chopping, when the officer said he would not allow the man’s van to be entirely chopped to pieces, whereupon Scott struck him on the face, made his mouth bleed, and gave him a push with his elbow.  Defendant was then taken into custody, and confined in the lock-up until the following morning, when he was eleased [sic] by a magistrate.  Walker had paid Corkett his share for the standing, and Scott part of what was due to him;  the latter, however, insisted on the removal of the van, as he said it was in his way, and Corkett said it should not be moved, when one party put it out, and the other put it in the yard again.  After this came the chopping.

In support of the charge complainant called Joseph Bellchambers, Coker Young, and John Corkett, who were examined. - In defence, the accused, whose evidence was taken under the recent Act of Parliament, deposed that the van was at the time in his way and that, as it was, after he had put it out, put back, he began to “chop his way out.”  Was not quite sober that day, having had three pennyworth of gin and water, and about six pints of threepenny ale.  When Ossitt came, he said, “what’s your great bladder head at now;” and that the van should remain.  Did not strike him in the face, nor assault him.

In support of the defence, Thomas Allen, bricklayer, deposed. - That Ossitt used “bladder head” expression.  Defendant was not sober.  Could not say whether Scott struck Ossitt.  He did not see him.

William Foster, said – Ossitt used some such word as before mentioned, and that Scott did not strike him.

Richard Seager, deposed.- He was near at hand, and that he did not see Scott strike complainant.  Believed he should if he had done so.  Scott was the worse for drink, but knew what he was about.

John Ingram, one of the constables, said – He was fetched by Seager to quell the disturbance.  On his going, Corkett said the people around should stay as long as they liked, and he lighted Scott to chop the wheel.  Ossitt was not then present.  Did not see Scott strike him but heard Ossitt say to Scott, “you have given me a dab on the mouth,” and you shall go to the cage.  On being called on so to do, I assisted Ossitt in taking him to the lock-up.  Scott was not drunk, because he could walk with them, but was certainly fresh.  It was quite possible for Scott to have struck Ossitt without my seeing him, as I was a distance from them.

Complainant protested that he did not use the expression made use of by Scott, nor any other offensive language at the time.

The case occupied a long time (the magistrates paying great attention to it), and was eventually disposed of by the conviction of the defendant, who was ordered to pay £2 fine, and £1 1s. 6d. costs.

An intimation of an appeal at the Quarter Sessions was given by the defendant.

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Copyright 29 April, 2019