Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The London Monster

Scares are nothing new, you know the hue and cry whipped up by axe grinders, newspapers and latched on to by politicians, who rush out laws to meet problems that, a few years down the line prove to have been nothing very much at all.

Back at the start of the 1790s London was beset by a fine panic concerning a fellow who went about the city stabbing fashionable ladies in the buttocks . He was christened the London Monster.

Eventually the finger of suspicion fell upon an unfortunate Welshman called Rhynwick Williams. Despite having some perfectly sound alibis, Williams stood trial twice and was eventually sentenced to six years in jail. Interestingly in the first trial he was charged with damaging clothing, which in those property obsessed days carried a heavier sentence than wounding.

The published accounts stress that Rhynwick was a Welshman, although they seem to have missed the Rhynwick Williams who was christened in Westminster in 1767. Whatever, both Rhynwicks had a father called Thomas and what is certain is that the Monster's family did indeed come from Wales, from Bugeildy in Radnorshire to be exact. Yes, the notorious London Monster was a Radnorian.

No comments: