Taken from the Hampshire Chronicle 12/1885
ELECTION RIOT: A most disgraceful riot occurred here on Tuesday evening at the close of the poll, such as never been seen in Botley before. Shortley after six o'clock gangs of men and boys were seen pouring into Botley from the outlying districts, principally from the direction of Hedge End and Bursledon, They paraded the streets in a great mass, yelling, and throwing stones at anybody they could meet and without provocation of any sort knocking down and rolling people in the mud. Before tradesmen could put up their shutters some had their plate glass windows smashed, and, parading the various streets, the gang attacked principally the Conservative houses, but the Liberals were as great sufferers, some houses having nearly every pane of glass in their windows broken. The Conservative committee-room formed a special butt, both glass and panels being smashed in, and the stones striking the inmates. The polling was at the National School-room, but before the close of the poll the building was attacked, the mob pouring into the buildings a hail of stones, much to the jeopardy of the officials. It was guarded by two policemen, who were obliged to barricade themselves in, as the mob threatened to enter and take away the boxes, and they broke down the wooden fence, and their intentions were only frustrated by one of the tradesmen of the town, who promised them beer. The presiding officer (Mr, Leonard Warner) was kept some hours in the building, unable to leave, and only succeeded in getting away with the box by crossing the fields, and making for the railway by walking along the line to the station and leaving Botley by the half-past ten o'clock train, Telegrams were sent to Bitterne and Winchester for Police assistance, but none arrived in time, and the mob held the town quite in their own hands until about half past ten, when they went away, there being no policemen present excepting the two guarding the polling station.
Taken from the Hampshire
William Earwicker, H. Emery, John Ryves, James Hopkins, Henry Hopkins, Samuel Othen, Richard Jurd, Daniel Barfoot, Henry Wellstead, James Lebborn and William Sharp, labourers were indicted for a riot, on December 1st at Botley.
Mr Bullen and Mr Giles prosecuted: Mr Mathews and Mr Rubie defended.
Mr Harding said he was coming out of his gate on the day of the election for the Fareham Division, and was attacked by the mob, and he identified Earwicker, Emery and Ryves as pushing his gate, and trying to prevent him from keeping the gate closed. Ryves threw mud and dirt over witness, who knew and identified the parties conclusively. The gate was forced and damaged, Mr Harding retreated to a cedar tree, followed by stones and brickbats, which struck him. The mob then went to the school, after smashing Mr Harding's windows with brickbats. Mr Harding attempted to reach the Conservative Committee-room before eight o'clock, and again encountered the mob. He was hustled and an attempt was made to knock him down. Earwicker and Ryves wee again prominent in violence. James Hopkins was there, and William Sharp was busy in urging the mob on. Mr Harding tried to induce the mob to behave like me rather than wild beasts. He entered the Conservative Committee-rooms. Mrs Beaumont opened the door. A few stones were thrown, and the windows of the house broken. The mob went away and re turned, and the show of brickbats and stones was "awful", the damage great and the howls and hooting of the mob tremendous. There was hardly an unbrocken window next morning. The mob had for two hours entire possession of the streets. Mr Harding escaped by a backway and across the fields, and go home unobserved and uninjured! He took proceedings against Earwicker, Ryves and others on the 15th. He had some flags across the road and placards. He amused the Court by telling Mr Matthews he was said to be a nice man, and would be paid for his services to the prisoners by a subscription, W.J. Pearce (Mr Harding's gardener), recognised Ryves as a member of the mob. Just before seven (near the Schoolroom_ he saw Earwicker in the mob breaking the school windows. Mr Croucher went into the school, and when he came out Earwicker took his arm, and the mob went down the street. Some time after six he saw Earwicker, Emery, and Ryves in the mob. After the poll was closed he saw Earwicker outside the school whilst the mob smashed the window and forced at the door. James Hopkins, John Hopkins, H. Hopkins, Othen , Jurd and Barfoot were in the mob. When witness got home he heard the mob hooting and yelling and breaking windows, inclusive of those of wintess's house, and he fired a blank cartridge to frighten them. A carpet bag of flats, brickbats and other "political persuaders" were produced from Mr Harding's premises. He never said he aimed at the crowd, but if it had hit them it would have tickled them up. Mr A. Beaumont, insurance agent, and personation agent at the polling station said at 7.30pm the mob came to the polling station and smashed the glass. At 8.30pm the mob came and demanded Mr Thomas Warner,....(this sentence is a bit indecipherable).........and used threats and then tried to force their way into the polling station. Witness recognised Sharp and Earwicker. Mr Haynes tried to induce the crowd to go away and Mr Appleyard received a stone in the face. Witness went home and found his house a complete wreck. His wife wall ill from injuries caused by brickbats, and she had not been well since. The ballot boxes could not be moved that night; and witness could not accompany them for threats. Mrs Beaumont identified Earwicker. Joseph Taplin identified James Hopkins, Lebborn, Wellstead and Jurd as members of the mob. Witness was stuck with stones. Mr Marsh, grocer, proved that the mob smashed his glass with stones, and injured his furniture, driving his family to the rear of the house for protection. Police constable Hibberd identified several of the prisoners, the Hopkins, Othen, Jurd, Barfoot and Sharp. Many houses were damaged. Mr Guillaum's Mr Briggs. the hotel, and the Post Office (in the mains street). In Winchester Street Mr Warner's windows were a wreck, and Mr Bell's, Mr Ray's, Mr Hamilton's, Mr Hack's and Mr Harding's houses were damaged. Ryves said he tried to get the others away. Earwicker admitted he was there, and Emery also. Police Sergeant Miller arrested the other nine prisoners; some said nothing, and others pleaded they did do damage, but were in the mob, and Wellstead said he did not do so much damage as the others did. Evidence having been given for the defence, the Chairman summed up, and pointed out what constitued a riot and a participation therein. The jury convicted the whole without much deliberation, and the Chairman having consulted with Mr Esdaile proceeded to pass sentence. They had, he said, had a fair and patient trial and the jury had come to a right decision. It could not be tolerated that persons should commit these outrages and disturb the public peace because people differed from them It was intolerable and if it was likely to occur again the sentence would be severe. He cautioned them to avoid this conduct hereafter, and sentenced them to one month's imprisonment each.
"Richard Baker, parson of Botley for 54 years c.1803. Baker was an enemy of Cobbett that he would not let the villagers have the key of the church when they wanted to ring the bells on Cobbett's release from Newgate, he having been imprisoned because he expressed in public his indignation at Englishmen being flogged under a guard of Hanoverian soldiers.
Cobbett tells us how a legacy hoax once got the parson up to London to a hotel. At the hotel he was beset a whole tribe of applicants, they kept the parson in town for several days, bothered him three parts out of his senses, compelled him to escape as if from a fire.
When he got home, he found the village posted all over with
handbills, giving an account of his adventure under the pretence of
offering £500 reward for the discovery of the hoaxers.