Manslaughter of George Partridge

August 5th 1853 
Accused: George Smith 
Victim: George Partridge 

An inquest was held at the New Inn, Rosemarket, near Neyland, before John Stokes, Esq., Coroner, and a respectable jury, on the body of George Partridge, aged 60, a railway labourer, employed on the Neyland branch of the South Wales Railway, whose death occurred from the violence of a fellow labourer named George Smith.

The incident was heard at an inquest in Rosemarket and he was thereafter committed for trial at the Assizes Court in Haverfordwest. 

Snippets of the newspaper reporting are as follows and have been largely left unedited to capture the language, locations and people involved.


It appears that on the preceding Friday, the deceased with eight or nine other men were at work on the line between five and six o'clock in the afternoon, when an altercation took place between Smith and two other men, and blows ensued.

The deceased having interfered as a peacemaker between them, was struck two violent blows on the left side of his neck by Smith, and expired in eight minutes afterwards.  
His body was taken to the New Inn public house, at Rosemarket, where it may be remembered, about twelve months ago, a respectable farmer named Thomas Stephens was waylaid and killed by one Jones.  
A verdict of manslaughter was returned against Smith, who was fully committed for trial at the approaching assizes, and he was forthwith conveyed to Gaol.  


George Smith, labourer, was charged with having feloniously killed and slain one George Partridge.  

Mr Fitzwilliams appeared for the prosecution; attorney, Mr Parry. The prisoner was defended by Mr Bowen.  
Thomas Llewellin 

I am a labourer working on the South Wales Railway works, near Rosemarket.  
The prisoner and several others worked there. On Friday week last, about nine of us, including the prisoner and the deceased, had some beer; we had about 14s. worth. The prisoner challenged me to wheel a wheelbarrow for 5s. I would not do it. He quarrelled with me, and struck me, and we scuffled together and fell.  
As soon as he got up he ran at William Gwynne and struck him, and he then turned again on me, and I stripped my coat and waistcoat off to fight him. George Partridge, the deceased, came up and said, "Fair play between man and man." The prisoner then struck the deceased a blow near the ear, which knocked him down. The prisoner and I then began to struggle, and a crowd gathered round, leaving the deceased alone on the ground.  
After the struggle was over we went to see about Partridge and found him dead. 

Mr Brown 

Partridge had had a quarrel with Smith. Partridge had a share of the beer. We had all drunk a good deal.   

John Robinson – Police Officer 

I was shown the place where the deceased fell. It was pointed out by the last witness. There was no stone near the place on which the deceased could have fallen.  

Richard Hoare Byers, Surgeon 

Mr. Richard Hoare Byers, surgeon, had examined the body of the deceased, and on the body had found a slight external bruise near the ear. There was considerable effusion of congealed blood in the brain. The other portions of the body were healthy.  
I think death was caused by congestion of the brain, and that might have been occasioned by a blow in the place where the mark near the ear appeared.

Cross-examined by Mr Bowen: I do not think death was caused by apoplexy. If a man had fallen on a projecting substance it might have produced the bruise, and have occasioned death.   

Mr Bowen 

Mr Bowen addressed the jury for the prisoner. He contended there was no clear evidence that the deceased's death was occasioned by a blow given by the prisoner. The learned Judge then summed up the evidence, and explained the law applicable to the case.   


The jury, after about 15 minutes' deliberation, returned a verdict of Guilty.  


Three months' imprisonment, and hard labour.