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Alaska.
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Walter Kidson, Stourbridge Common, 1773.



Among the many, who had found themselves up at the Worcester Assizes on the 25th August, 1773, was one Walter Kidson. A rather uncouth and rough labourer, he was, according to the locals, a violent and ruthless robber, who would stoop to any means to empty the pockets of those who crossed his path. One man who offered resistance to being robbed, was Obadiah Rollason, a man of much standing in the Parish of Oldswinford, and one whose death would not go un-punished. Dispite the many threats that Kidson had given out, someone gave his name to the Magistrates, and he was speedily arrested. Walter Kidson was about to meet his nemisis, and finally receive his just deserts.


For a trial of the period, Kidsons took very nearly six hours. There were so many witness's against him, that it had been restricted to just 30. As robbers go, Kidson was bit stupid, merely relying on his reputation as the local violent thug, and parading about the countryside as the will took him. Nor did he ever keep his mouth shut, for he bragged endlessly about his prowess as a " Gentleman of the Road ". Obadiah Rollason was on his way home from the market at Kidderminster, when, about halfway across Stourbridge Common, now called Pedmore Common, he was accosted by Walter Kidson, put up a struggle, and was savagely kicked and beaten to death for his trouble. The surgeon found so many broken bones, he couldn't count them all. The Parish was justifably outraged at such an attack on an elderly man, and rumours were soon flying round, naming the culprit. Everyone called to the stand had either seen Kidson on his way to the Common, or hurrying back in the dark after the Murder, for Murder it most certainly was. In the dock, he remained defiant, denied any connection with the murder, and issued veiled threats to any who would speak against him. It all failed, and the Jury reached the conclusion that he was Guilty, which he was, as Guilty as hell in fact.


Now the Judge at this trial, was, like a few others on the Circuit, not happy when handing down a death sentence. It meant of course, the violent end, of the man or woman who stood before him in the dock. As Walter Kidson had shown no signs of remorse at the sentence, the Judge had tears in his eyes, as he tried to make Kidson understand the heineousness of what he had done. All to no avail as it turned, out for the next part of the sentence was that he would be hanged near the spot of the murder, and thence to be hung in chains on Stourbridge Common. The Gentleman of the Town were delighted at this, and made haste back home, to prepare for a day of great celebration, as the bain of their lives lived out his last hours, in a tiny cell in Worcester County Gaol. 



There was a large crowd gathered in Worcester, on the morning of 28th August,1773, for they were awaiting the apperance of Walter Kidson, who was due to be put into a Chaise, and sent in fetters, back to Stourbridge. And they, including the High Sheriff, were going to form a large cheering column all the way back. Now if you think that all this is a bit naff, remember, that at the time, there was very little in the way of large public entertaiment. This lot, and those that waited back in Stourbridge, were going to have a party. They set off about 11.00am, Kidson in the Chaise, bawling insults and threats, in very high spirits, bound for the little village of Hagley. Once here, he was again transfered, this time to a horse and cart, for it was bumpy trip down the lane that led onto Stourbridge Common, and a bit muddy too, for a great many feet had passed that way, a short time before. As the cart came onto the Common, the occupants were greeted by the sight of over 10,000 people, most of who raised a cheer that the days entertainment had now arrived. Walter Kidson, undaunted it appeared by the throng, once again began to shout insults and threats towards those who had dared to speak against him, and struggled violently with his captors. So much so, that they were obliged to send him to his maker, still wearing the iron fetters on his legs. They finally managed to get him up the ladder, and when the Vicar had failed to get any confession of remorse out of the man, they tipped him off, and let him swing in the gentle breeze. The last sight on earth he must have seen, was the other cart carrying the chain bound iron cage, that would hold his rotting corpse, nearer to the spot where he had so brutally murdered Obedaiah Rollason. And so, the good folk of Stourbridge and Oldswinford breathed a great sigh of relief, as the stiffening remains of Walter Kidson were securely locked into the cage, and hoisted on the Gibbett. A warning sign to all, that the Law would catch up with all miscreants, and you would be punished. If only that were true today.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 20, 2013 at 3:44 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

For those with an interest, Walter Kidson was born in the little village of Worfield, just north of Bridgenorth, Shropshire, in December,1735. He has a marriage, recorded on the 4th January, 1765, to a Sarah Seager, a young woman from the Parish of Old Swinford. ( now Stourbridge ) He must have left a few children behind, for he would have been 38 years old when the Law finally caught up with him. Do let me know if he's in your family tree.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 22, 2013 at 2:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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