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DRINKING AT MARTOCK

In 1860, the County Petty Sessions were held in Yeovil but dealt with offences committed outside the town boundaries. On Wednesday 1 February 1860, Giles Gaylard appeared before the Bench summoned for being drunk in Martock on the previous 7 January. PC Marshman stated that he was on duty at about 1 o’clock in the morning and came up to the defendant who was with a number of friends and who was very drunk. As he passed the group, Giles Gaylard became abusive but when the constable told him to go home quietly, he had used abusive and offensive expressions.

Mr Jolliffe, the solicitor acting for Giles Gaylard, went on the attack, and demanded to know how the constable knew his client to be drunk, and did he judge this to be from his own experience? PC Marshman replied that did not know what the solicitor meant. Mr Jolliffe, continued with this line of questioning and enquired whether in the constable’s opinion his client was in the same state as he, the witness, had been in at a recent sale? The constable protested that he had not been under the influence of drink on that occasion and went on to say that the defendant had been shouting – ‘There’s no chance for the bobby tonight.’ Mr Jolliffe then asked the policeman whether Giles Gaylard had told him that – ‘You had better try and find out serious offences and protect the property of parishioners than go about eaves-dropping and creating unpleasantness between neighbours.’ PC Marshman confirmed this, and stated that the defendant went on to taunt him by shouting – ‘Who robbed the parson’s house and who stole the sheep?’ This related to recent unsolved crimes in the village, but the taunts had not bothered him.

Police Sergeant Clarke testified that he had seen Giles Gaylard and his party at 1 o’clock shortly before shortly before their meeting with PC Marshman. The defendant had appeared very much the worse for drink and was using threatening language. The sergeant stated that Giles Gaylard was shouting – ‘ I should like to go and fight him for a £1000’ and similar threats which the officer believed referred to him even though the defendant could not have seen him at the time. However, Sergeant Clarke went on to say that Giles Gaylard was a quiet man when sober.

Mr Jolliffee, told the Bench that he would prove that the language complained of had not been used, and claimed that there was animosity between his client and PC Marshman. He believed that the policemen had – ‘stretched their belief for the purpose of getting him convicted of the charge. With regard to the language, it was a mere matter of supposition on the part of the police, just as much as when the sergeant thought his client’s remarks were intended for him even though the officer was out of sight at the time.’ The solicitor went on to say that his client had been at a wedding party at his brother’s house, and he then called several witnesses to show that he was not intoxicated and did not use abusive language.

The first witness was Mrs Job Gaylard (Giles’ sister-in-law), who stated that the defendant had left her house between midnight and 1 o’clock, he was not the worse for liquor and had only been drinking very moderately.

Next came Mrs Gould, who testified that she had been one of the party with Giles Gaylard. He had been very merry, as they all were, but he was not drunk.

Several other members of the wedding party came forward and confirmed that Giles Gaylard was not drunk but merry, and sang a song about ‘the bobbies’.

The case had now been presented and the Magistrates concluded that Giles Gaylard – ‘was not in a state to be termed drunk’ and dismissed the charge.

However the Bench had not finished with the Gaylards for the next case involved Job Gaylard, Giles’ brother, described as ‘a beer house keeper’, summoned for refusing to admit the police on 17 January. The Western Flying Post reported that – ‘Sergt. Clarke said he was on duty on the morning of the 17th near the defendant’s house. It was about one o’clock. He saw lights and observed the defendant through the window. Heard several persons talking. He remained five or ten minutes, and knocked for admission. The lights were put out, and the defendant’s wife went upstairs, looked out at the window and said, “We are gone to bed.” Witness replied that if he was not admitted he would report the house. There was no answer made. He heard parties moving about, and afterwards he went to the back part of the premises, and found the door open. The defendant now denied the charge in toto; but said that he was not himself in the house. Sergt. Clarke: I saw you in the cellar, drawing cider apparently. P.C. Solomon was also examined; and the defendant was fined 10s. including costs.’

Jack Sweet
June 2018

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Tue 12th Jun – Guided Tour Weymouth Museum
Fri 6th Jul – South Petherton Walkabout
August – Visit an Archaeological Site
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Fri 5th Oct – Muchelney Abbey – from its obscure origins, through the Norman Conquest to the Dissolution
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