Friday, June 22, 2012

Furious Driving

Now I'm a fan of the new stretch of the A470 between Newbridge and Builth.  Some letter writers to the local press call it "the motorway to nowhere" but truthfully it is part of a project which will hopefully provide a decent link between North and South Wales.  Something that any self-respecting country would set as a priority.  Others predict that this fast, straight road will lead to accidents, although I would have thought that slow, winding roads were more of a hazard.

The old road certainly proved fatal for 69 year old James Bow as he led a horse he had purchased at Newbridge fair on the evening of 17th October 1873.  Unknown to Mr Bow two young farmers, Danzey Jones and David Pritchard had entered into a discussion as to which of their two mounts was the fastest.  The matter would be settled by a race from Newbridge to the Builth gate.  Pritchard led the way and Jones, in his efforts to catch up, collided with Mr Bow.  The incident being witnessed by Moore and Kelly, two other travellers from the fair.  Mr Bow did not die immediately, indeed he lingered on for a month before finally succumbing.

Both Jones and Pritchard were charged with manslaughter and brought to trial at the Breconshire Spring Assizes in 1874, where they were soon found guilty.  The jury recommended mercy and the two defendants - described by the judge as "hitherto well-conducted men and respectably connected" -  were sentenced to terms of two weeks and one week imprisonment.  The judge specifying that these sentences would not involve hard labour since this would involve the defendants mixing with "common felons."

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