Articles, History



While I was searching the archives in Shropshire looking for something to do with my family history, I came across this. I thought it was quite fascinating.

Flora Manuel, an inmate of the Union Workhouse, was charged with refusing to work, and with threatening the labour mistress, Miss Isabella Graham. As Miss Graham entered the Court, the prisoner rushed up to her, and before anyone could interfere, struck her a violent blow on the head. Miss Graham said the prisoner refused to do her work when ordered on Saturday and used threatening language to her. She said she would not strike her with her fists but would use a weapon to her. She added that whenever she could catch her alone she would do for her.

She was a most dangerous woman, and continually refused to do her work, and when a witness spoke to her about it, she threatened her too. A Mr Bessell, the Workhouse Master said the conduct of the prisoner was insufferable, and her language was dreadful. She had been placed in the Refractory Ward time after time and several times sent to prison, but nothing seemed to improve her.  She had also been before the Visiting Committee, and talked to, but without any favourable result.

The prisoner admitted that she threatened to take a weapon to Miss Graham but she was sorry for having stuck her in court.

Mr Bessell said everything had been tried to improve the prisoner, without effect.  She thought nothing of picking up the first thing that came to her hand and using it against those who remonstrated with her.

The Bench sentenced the prisoner to a month’s imprisonment, and Mr Thomas appealed to her to endeavour to restrain her temper in the future, and prison promised to try to do so.


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