100 years ago in Badingham: A ‘Scene’ between farmers…

Obscene language, fighting, threats, and bullocks.

Our story concerns two farmers – Johnson, a farmer from Framlingham, and Gray, a farmer from Badingham.

Gray, the complainant, summoned Johnson, the defendant, to Framlingham Police Court, for assault.

On January 13 that year, Gray had sold Johnson two bullocks. However, just before delivery, Gray changed his mind and told Johnson that he would keep the bullocks, and sell him a heifer in calf instead. Johnson then came to view the heifer, presumably in Badingham, on January 22.

The ‘scene’ occurred during that visit. Johnson told Gray that the price for the heifer was too high. Apparently, ‘without the slightest provocation’ Johnson then struck Gray on the shoulder with an ash stick and attempted to throttle him. A fight ensued and the pair ended up on the ground. Gray gained the upper hand and let Johnson go, but as soon as Johnson regained his feet, he attempted to pick up half a brick – which (perhaps luckily) turned out to be frozen to the ground. Gray then turned Johnson off his premises, leaving Johnson to throw ‘between 40 and 100 stones’ while ‘making use of the most obscene language’. None of the stones struck their mark.

There appears to have been rather more to it than livestock, however.

Johnson made his statement in defence. He said that Gray had accused him of trying to get him into the Army (Johnson died this). This led Gray to attack him and throw him off the farm before going to get his gun, and threatening to blow his brains out if he set foot on the premises again (Gray denied this). Johnson admitted to throwing a stone – just one. He also denied hitting Gray with a stick, saying he left it in his cart (Gray then acknowledged this to be the case).

The defendant, Johnson, was further charged with using obscene language on the highway. This was backed up with a further witness, Gray’s neighbour, Albert Clarke.

Johnson was fined 30s in each case and 10s expenses.

The article, which appeared in the Framlingham Weekly News on 17 February, 1917, ended by reporting that Johnson was overheard, leaving court, saying that he hoped the horse that brought his two accusers to court in Framlingham would be found dead on the return journey, and that they would break their necks.





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