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Forum Home > Memorabilia From the past. > A Langley Brickmakers Tale.

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Job Radford wasn't born in the Blackcountry, he came from the more rural area of Little Glen in Leicestershire. When he was born in 1811, there was very little choice of work, agriculture, making bricks, or touting your skills as a labourer. Theres no record of when he came to live here either, but as his work throughout the time he was here was Brickmaking, it's safe to assume he followed the building boom of the 1830s. Of all the places he could have settled, he finished up in what became Birchfield Lane, Langley, Oldbury. So close to where I come from in fact, that if it wasn't for the time gap, he'd almost be a neighbour. There is inevitably a woman in this tale, and it seems it was his misfortune to meet one that wasn't entirely suitable to his rather gentle ways. Her name was Elizabeth Williams, and when they met in 1838, she was a widow, her husband having died in a mining accident. Over the next few years, she had several children, all of whom except the one, dying in infancy. She had her faults as well did Elizabeth, a fierce temper being just the one, much worse of course when she had a few drinks, which as the years rolled by, became more common. In late 1847, Job Radford moved out, and went to lodge with a woman in what was then Birchyfields Lane, a relief then from the endless rows and her violent temper. Little did he know it, but the next few months would hold a few surprises he hadn't bargained for.

At the beginning of April, 1848, seeing that his child by Elizabeth Williams was being ill-treated and negleted, he asked her to consign the child into his care. This she did, and Job then arranged for the five year girl to attend a School. Rosetta Radford settled in nicely, both at the house under the care of Jobs Landlady, Ann Phillips, and at School. The peace was not to last, for Elizabeth Williams now started to ask for the child back, and to avoid any further arguments, Job agreed. The next day, the 25th April, Elizabeth turned up at the brickyard where he worked, and began to loudly demand the girls clothes. She was, as usual, drunk. During this rather one sided row, she armed herself with a pitchfork from the stables and tried to stab him with it, only succeeding in slightly scrating him on the back, before she was dis-armed by another brickmaker. Foiled in this attempt, she disappeared for a while, only to show up at his lodgings when he finished work, again demanding the girls clothes. During the next few minutes of shouting she punched him violently in the face, and Jod asked Ann Phillips to call the Police. While she went to arrange for someone to call the local Constable, Elizabeth Williams took out a short knife, and telling him she was going to stick it in his heart, stabbed him under his arm on the left side. Throwing down the knife, she retreated into the yard and waited. realising he needed medical attention, he told Ann Phillips he was off to see the local Surgeon, Mr Cooper. Williams followed him into the road where she began to throw lumps of cinders at his head, causing further injuries. She only desisted when she was arrested by the local Policeman, Constable Edwin Waldron. The urgent and timely treatment from Doctor Cooper, saved Job Radford from serious harm, but it was to be several weeks before he could return to work. Needless to say, the child, Rosetta, was returned to the couples care. They awaited the court case with some trepidation, for often, a womens word carried more weight in these circumstances, than a mans.

On the 19th July, 1848, Elizabeth Williams stood in the dock at Worcester Assizes, charged with attempted murder. Her story was far different from the truth, and she presented the vision of a woman scorned, and tried to cast her former lover as a wicked seducer. Surprisingly, the Judge summed up the case by favouring her defence, but this may have been done to prevent her being hanged, for attempted murder was still on the Capital offences list. The Jury took the hint, and found her not guilty of that charge, but guilty of intending to inflict Grevious Bodily Harm. No doubt mindful of the violent nature of Elizabeth Williams, the Judge now gave her what would have been concidered a very harsh sentence. He made an order that she should be transported for 15 years, and she was confined back to Worcester County Gaol to await transportation to Van Diemans Land. Job Radford and Ann Phillips must have breathed a sigh of enormous relief.

Later the same year, on 27th November, 1848, the pair were married in Saint Thomas's Church, Dudley, and went back to the little house in Birchfield Lane. Taking of course, his daughter Rosetta with them. As for Elizabeth Williams, she was put aboard the ship " Stateley ", on 12th May, 1849, bound for Australia, from which she never returned. Job carried on for the next 20 years in the brickyards of the Blackcountry, and the same little house, sharing it with his daughter when she married Thomas Butters, and with the children they raised. Unlike many of his time, Job Radford was a gentleman, never, through all the violence he had endured from his daughters mother, did he ever strike her back. Many today may think that strange, but we aren't all the same, are we.


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

April 21, 2014 at 3:03 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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