Sunday 30th March 1851 CENSUS, Gloucestershire. Mickleton by HXd4G4NF


									      William Handy’s Ballad on the Death of James Farley – 1851

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                William Handy’s Ballad on the Death of James Farley – 1851

                                    JAMES FARLEY,
                                  (A Native of Mickleton)
                              Which occurred by Accident
 Whithin a few days of each other, in and near the Cutting at the west-end of the Mickleton
                   Tunnel, on the Oxford and Wolverhampton Railway;
            The first on the 25th September, the other on the 30th Oct., 1851

                                          By W. Handy, Ilmington

                  ONCE more, my friends, I am come round,
                  Sad news for to declare,
                  And to remind you of that day
                  For which we must prepare!

                  Another warning speaks aloud,
                  And speaks to you and me,
                  The bell has tolled- in which we've heard-
                  The death of Young FARLEY

                  September on the twenty-fifth,
                  He left his mother's cot.
                  And went to work upon the line,
                  Which proved his dying spot

                  This young man used to drive tile tip,
                  When first the line began,
                  But for the space of his last week
                  He with the full trains ran.

                  And when lie took his last train out,
                  It then was breakfast time,
                  He went into the blacksmith's shop
                  Which stands just by the line

                  The smith had now his coffee boil'd
                  And got his breakfast ready,
                  Which he often did, and caution'd him,
                  When working to be steady.

                  For Farley seem'd so venturesome
                  When he was working there,
                  Which caused the blacksmith for to say,
                  "Remember ! - you take care

                  Now breakfast time it was gone by,
                  And Farley he went out;
                  The other train was coming- down,
                  He thought he heard them shout..

                  For part of this was left behind,
                  Which had run off the road,
                  The other part had broken loose,
                  And coming with its load

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      William Handy’s Ballad on the Death of James Farley – 1851

       The wheels were now going round so fast,
       The spokes you could not see,
       And Farley ran to throw the sprag,
       Which caus'd his death to be.

       But now he could not sprag, the wheel,
       To stop the whirling train,
       He thought at last, of taking hold,
       But instantly was slain.

       BY taking hold, he thought to run,
       But that was all in vain,
       The cross-piece caught him on the back,
       And turned him to the train.

       All this was in an instant done,
       Before a word was spoke,
       And every bone within his frame
       Beneath the wheels were broke.

       So suddenly he was struck down,
       No groan or moan was heard,
       Nor yet a struggle on his frame
       He died without a word.

       Four men then bore him to the inn,
       Their feelings were Much hurt,
       And every man lay down his tools
       And went from off the work.

       Like thousands more - when trouble comes,
       And danger seemeth nigh
       Thev then begin to feel afraid,
       And for a moment cry.

       But cries alone will not avail,
       To take our souls to heaven,
       But we must pray to Jesus Christ,
       To have our sins forgiven.

       The news was now soon spread around,
       And reach'd his Mother's ears,
       Which only multiplied the grief
       She'd borne for many years.

       O how she wept, and griev'd at heart,
       When this sad news did come;
       At length she cried, "I am bereaved
       Of my beloved son."

       SO let us now more careful be.
       And take heed of our ways,
       For many here have met their death,
       And not liv'd half their days

       James Farley's gone to his long home,
       His weeping mother cries;
       God rest his soul, now in his grave

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      William Handy’s Ballad on the Death of James Farley – 1851

       His mangled body lies.

       A fortnight and three days being gone,
       Another man was killed,
       By a fall of earth, upon that line
       Where Farley's blood was spilled.

       This man, he being a stranger here,
       Of him I say but little,
       Another, hurt at the same time
       Was took to the Hospital.

       Let these sad deaths remind us all,
       Our time is drawing nigh,
       And put the question to ourselves,
       "Are we prepared to die ?”

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                   William Handy’s Ballad on the Death of James Farley – 1851

                                   Supporting Documentation

                           Census Return of 30 March 1851
Sunday 30th March 1851 CENSUS, Gloucestershire. Mickleton - 103
Farley     Sarah       Head      Widow 4         Pauper Agricultural labourer              Bn Mickleton
Farley     James       Son                 1     Agricultural labourer                     Bn Mickleton
Farley     Mary        Daughter            1     Agricultural labourer                     Bn Mickleton

                     20/21July 1851- The Battle of Mickleton

 Page 110-114, “THE RAILWAY NAVVIES”, Terry Coleman, Penguin 1968.

 The best example of the navvies' lawless loyalty is that of the Battle of Mickleton. This village was on the Oxford,
 Worcester, and Wolverhampton Railway, and a tunnel there had caused constant trouble since it was begun in 1846.
 After only a few months, Brunel who was engineer to the company, appointed a new contractor, but the work still went
 on slowly and in 1849 was suspended. Brunel's contractor, Marchant, started work again in 1851, but in June of that year
 a series of disputes between him and the company - over the exact terms of the contract, and the payment, and the
 ownership of the plant being used to build the tunnel - came to a head, and the company decided to take possession of
 the works and hand them over for completion to Peto & Betts - the contractors for the rest of the line. Marchant would
 have nothing of it. He declined to hand over the works or the plant, and kept his navvies on guard against the company's
 men. Whenever the new contractors tried to take possession they were driven off by Merchant's men, and after several
 such skirmishes Brunel resolved to finish the matter off himself.

 On Friday, 20 July, he and his assistant, Varden, went to the tunnel with a considerable body of men to take over. But
 the contractor had heard rumours of this and complained to the local magistrates, saying that if they did not attend and
 read the Riot Act there might be a fight. So when Brunel and his party arrived they were confronted by magistrates, who
 warned them not to commit a breach of the peace. Brunel retired until the next day, when he returned to the tunnel
 early in the morning, hoping that the magistrates would have considered their duty done and left.

 He was wrong. The magistrates were still there, and they had been joined by a large force of policemen armed with
 cutlasses. On one side stood Brunel and his navvies, on the other Merchant and his men guarding the works, and between
 them the law. A fight seemed inevitable, but a magistrate mumbled through the Riot Act twice, and under this threat and
 that of the police cutlasses the navvies again withdrew.

 Later that Saturday Brunel and Varden, playing at generals, discussed how they could mount a surprise attack. They did
 not scruple to take the works by force from Marchant, but they thought it unwise to get into a fight with armed police
 men. What they had to do now was what they had failed to do before - mislead the magistrates into thinking they had
 given up hope of taking the works and then, after the magistrates had gone happily home, swoop on Merchant and catch
 him on the hop. So that evening, and all day Sunday, Brunel's men made no move, and the magistrates left the tunnel.

 They were deceived, because although Brunel appeared to be doing nothing he used that Sunday to organize re-
 inforcements. Navvies were marched up from other parts of the line ' from the works of the Birmingham and Oxford
 Railway at Warwick, and from the Great Western.

 In the darkness of Sunday night and early Monday morning gangs of navvies awoke village after village as they tramped
 through, alarming the whole countryside but not stopping long enough to do any damage. Reports vary, but it seems
 likely that about 2,000 navvies assembled under Brunel's command. His idea was t overawe Marchant by a show of
 strength, and to persuade him to hand over the works. At three o'clock on Monday morning the navvies began to close in
 on the tunnel and the Battle of Mickleton began.

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                 William Handy’s Ballad on the Death of James Farley – 1851

At the Worcester end of the tunnel, a Mr Cowderey and his band of 200 men from Evesharn were met by Marchant,
who brandished pistols and said he would shoot the first man who went any farther. In the face of the pistols
Cowderey was discreet and told his men - who were ready to devour the handful of labouring boys escorting
Marchant - on no account to strike a blow. The navvies waited with their pickaxes and shovels. Then Brunel gave his
orders for a general attack on the works. The navvies dodged round Marchant, who did not shoot, and launched into
the boys with fists, using spades only on one man who drew a pistol. They hit him on the head, but gently, so that he
survived. In fact no one was killed, though several heads were broken and three men had shoulders dislocated.

Marchant retreated for the moment, leaving his opponents in full possession of the tunnel, but after an hour he came
back with three dozen policemen, some privates of the Gloucestershire Artillery, and two magistrates, who
immediately began reading the Riot Act again. While they were doing this a fight broke out on an embankment
overlooking the tunnel. Several men suffered broken limbs, and one John M. Grant was nearly trampled to death but
was rescued just in time. Brunel's reinforcements continued to increase. Another 200 from Warwick arrived, and a
similar force from the Great Western. The main bodies just stood and faced each other, but odd fighting went on
around the edges and in the half-darkness.

The magistrates, who had all along favoured Marchant as the man who was being attacked, suggested that he might
occupy his men by setting them to work. He did this, but the Peto men were immediately ordered to stop them, by
force if necessary. Two small batches of navvies again met, and in the affray one little finger was bitten off and one
head badly wounded. All day long little fights started and petered out, until Marchant saw at last that he was
outnumbered, and gave in. He went to Brunel and they agreed to refer the whole dispute to the arbitration of the firm
of Stephenson & Cubitt, celebrated railway contractors. The peace was concluded at four in the afternoon, just
before the troops, called in to help the police, arrived from Coventry. The battle was over.

In their August report the directors of the company were mainly concerned about other things. The shareholders
were critical of the way the company's financial affairs were being handled, and The Times' report of the meeting
was punctuated by explanatory words in brackets like (Oh, oh 1 and confusion) and (Hear, hear, and shame). But the
Battle of Mickleton Tunnel was mentioned, the directors reporting that the company had taken possession of the
works, 'without absolute violence ... although the menacing conduct of the contractor had at one time rendered such
an issue probable'.

Once again great bands of navvies had rioted, but this time, as with the Norwich affair, it was all in the cause of
loyalty to their employers and was therefore all right.

The most telling point was made by poor Marchant in a letter printed in the Railway Times. He said that he and his
partner had paid ay
£10 000 for the plant at the works and that attempts had been made to take this plant from him violently; he denied
that he had ever drawn a pistol in the fight, and then went on to say this:

“I may leave Messrs Peto and Betts to defend themselves against the charge of having consented to the march of two
thousand men on a Sunday for the purpose of taking possession of my property by force. “

Just so. Did Peto, the good Baptist, know that his men were being marched about on a Sunday? Did Peto, the
Member of Parliament, know that what was virtually a private army was being used to take the tunnel by an illegal
show of force? And what of Brunel? Peto may not have known what was being done by his assistants, but Brunel
was there. At the least he was promoting, organizing, and then leading a series of riots, playing soldiers to the great
danger of some hundreds of men and incurring casualties of several broken bones and one little finger. The violence
of navvies looks mighty innocent compared with this lawlessness of the men who used them. But then, as the
company directors said, the tunnel was taken 'without absolute violence', whatever that may mean.”

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                     William Handy’s Ballad on the Death of James Farley – 1851

                      Death Certificate of September 25th 1851
Date        Name       Residence     Sex       Age     Occupation     Cause           Registered      Registered
                                                                                      by              on
25th        James      Mickleton     Male      18      Navigator      Crushed by      Coroner of      17 October
September   Farley                                                    Wheels of       Gloucester      1851
1851                                                                  Waggons         after inquest
                                                                      over him

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