Chelmsford, Saturday, Dec, 13.
Shortly before nine o’clock, the prisoner was brought from the jail to the
Court-house in the usual caravan. He seemed very much depressed in
his feelings; sad, since his commitment, has lost much of that hardihood which
he at first displayed. He has been attended by the Rev. Mr Hutchinson, the
chaplain of the jail, who was succeeded in awakening in his mind a proper sense
of his situation. He now seems disposed to received all those consolations,
which are only to be derived from religious exercises. On quitting the jail,
he was heavily ironed on both legs, and moved with difficulty. He was dressed
in a smock-frock, under which he wore a red waistcoat, with a spotted handkerchief
round his neck.
At nine o’ clock precisely, Mr Justice Park entered the Court, and it was
opened in the customary manner.
Mr Jessop, the counsel for the prisoner, now addressed his lordship, and said,
he had humbly to apply to have this trial deferred till the next asaizer.
The prisoner at the bar had been only committed to the jail of this town on the
night of Thursday last, between eleven and twelve o’ clock.
The place from whence he had been brought was twenty-five miles off; consequently,
it was impossible for him to have access to those persons whose testimony might
be essential to his defence. He had also to state, that even yesterday morning,
within a few hours after the prisoner had been committed, the London newspapers,
containing the whole of the evidence against the prisoner, were circulated in
this town, and were open to the inspection of the Jury by whom he was to be
tired – thus exposing him to all the consequences of the prejudice which such
publications were calculated to excite under these circumstances.
Mr Justice Park. - I am clearly of the opinion , that there is no ground for
putting off this trial. There is nothing uncommon in this case. Scarce an
assize passes in which forty or fifty persons are not putupon their trial
for felonies within a few hours after their commitment.
This person has had every opportunity to prepare for his defence; and there is nothing in the
circumstance of his case which can throw any difficulty in his way. In one of
the foulest murders which was ever committed in this kingdom, the murderer was
apprehended on Monday, and executed on the Monday following. There is nothing
at all extraordinary in such a proceeding. With regard to the supposed
prejudices, in consequence of the prejudice, in consequence of the publication
of the evidence, a priors, before the trial, in this case I have not observed
that this evidence has been accompanied with any comment, which would certainly
have aggravated the offence. Iam satisfied there is no ground for putting off
the trial; let it therefore proceed.
The following witnesses were then called: -
Robert Smith – I am a publicans at Poyner’s Hill.
On Monday I was obliged to go from Widdington towards the turnpike road.
I was on a pony. It was half past eight o’clock. It was a “glum” night. I saw a
body lying in the road, at about half a mile from Widdington. I dismounted, and
lifted it up. It was in the middle of the road, on its back; it was not dead.
The person groaned; I set him up, and put him on the bank side. I went back
to Widdington for assistance. I gave the alarm. I ordered a horse and cart.
Some persona went to the place where I left the body. I went to Haydon, the
constable. I went to the lane again, and saw the body at a great distance from
where I left it. The person had got it and the prisoner.
John Reid. – I am a carpenter in Widdington. Mr James Mumford lived with
his father, the prisoner was a labourer in the service of old Mr Mumford.
On Monday I went to the lane with the other persons, in consequence of
the alarm, I took a candle and lantern. Mr Smith had described where we
were to find the body. we were
all together, I put the candle under my coat, as we thought there might
be some one else. I heard somebody halloo “Hoy !” and when we got with
in three or four rods from him, we heard him say, “Here’s James Mumford”.
It was Pallett; he had got a body on his shoulder. I went and lifted up
his head, and said it was not he. It was so disfigured, that, although
I knew Mr Mumford, I did not recognise him. The prisoner said he knew
it was and then he said, he thought it was. No one could, by that
light, have known who it was. That was about thirty rods nearer
to Widdington than Smith had described. We had put it into the cart before
he came up. We took it to a public-house at Widdington, called the
Fleur-de-Lis; we put him into a chair by the fire in the parlour; he was dead.
Mrs Mumford was sent for.
We examined the flat of his shirt, and found by that means who he was. His
mother recognized him.
John Mumford – I am the brother of the deceased. On Tuesday, I got a pair
of shoes of the prisoner’s which I hold in my hand. I went to the spot
where the murder was committed, and in the wheat field, I found foot-marks
of some person who had been running. They left towards a place in the wheat
where a person had sat down. There was a mark by the place, as if a split
stick had been stuck in. I tried it, and that stick on the table fitted exactly.
The footsteps then led to a turnip field, across that towards the Downlane
which leads to the spot where the bloody and body had been found.
I fitted the high shoes in more than a hundred places, and they corresponded
exactly. The shoes had made marks the turnips. In two instances the toes of
the shoes had cut the turnips. I had no doubt, that the person who wore those
those had made those marks. William Reid was with me; he pointed out the “spot” to me.
This knife, found in the left hand pocket of the prisoner, I have seen.
The stick, or bludgeon, was here produced. The appearance was extremely
disgusting it was rather more then two feet in length, cut from a hazel hedge-stake.
The thick end was split, as if by the repetition of blows upon some hard substance,
and also covered with blood. The knife was also produced.
It was a common knife, with a large blade, in which there were three jags before.
Witness – I cannot, say that I know it to be my brothers. There is a knife which
I gave my brother, which was found with some other things in the field.
The footsteps I traced were recent.
William Reid – I went to the turnip field on Tuesday morning last. I found a knife,
a pair of spectacles, a pencil, a comb, and tow keys, under a baulk,
(a small division in the land;) I traced some steps with Mr John Mumford,
and saw the marks he described. I found a great-coat and had near the hedge,
a short distance from the baulk. The footsteps lead to where I found the coat.
I afterwards traced the steps through the turnips to the lane.
The coat and hat were here produced. The coat was of dark brown cloth, and
was covered with mud. The spectacles, pencil-case, knife & c. were also produced.
The spectacles were in red morocco case. There was blood inside the hat, and a
place was cut in the top.
Mr John Mumford recalled. He looked at the knife produced – I know this knife;
I gave the handle to my brother about six weeks before the murder;
I have no doubt about it. My brother had a cost of the colour produced.
I know nothing of the other articles. The coat was short. My brother was a little man
John Cock. – I am a weaver. In November last I saw the prisoner, and three others,
at the Queen’s Head, at Suffron Walden. It was on a Saturday, about this day three weeks.
It was the sessions-day the 22nd of November. A neighbour and I went in together,
a Mr Bacon. The prisoner had some beer drinking. He said, “Curse you, Cock,
will you drink? You must mind and not get drunk.” We have got to pay for
getting drunk? He said “Little Jem Mumford. A rascal! If I had him here,
I’d smash him, but I’ll be cursed if I won’t be his match.”
Susan Reid. – I am the wife of John Reid. I know the prisoner, I knew the deceased.
About a fortnight or three weeks ago I heard the prisoner say, “ I shouldn’t mind
hacking Jem Mumford’s whistle.” I understood by that, that he would cut the
Mr Thomas Hall – I am clerk to the magistrates at Saffron Walden. I was present
when the prisoner was brought up on the charge of muder. I took most of the depositions.
I read them over to the prisoner. I asked him what he had to say; he said, “Nothing.”
I then produced the knife sworn to by Mr George Mumford, and told him that it was found
in his pocket, and he said, that he found it in Baggot (meaning Baggot field in Widdington)
about a fortnight ago. I was in Chelmsford on Thursday evening.
In consequence of a message from the prisoner I went to him. He was then in a cart
opposite the Saracen’s Head. He had been brought in that cart from Widdington.
I had not seen him before from the time I left him at Widdington; and the
magistrate, Mr Lodden, had cautioned him as to the effect of anything he might say.
When I went to the cart, I made him no promise or threat. If he had not sent for me,
I should not have gone to him. I asked him, whether he wanted to speak to me?
He said, “Yes”. He spoke very low, so that I could scarce understand what he said.
He desired that I would get into the cart, which I did. He told me, that Kidman had
given him the knife with which he cut the stick. I then asked him, whether Kidman
had anything to do with the murder? And he said,
“No, I alone did it” – That is all, my lord.
Mr Justice Park charged the Jury; who after a few moments hesitation,
found the prisoner Guilty.
The Honble Mr Justice Park (Sir James Alan Park )
6 April 1763 – 8 December 1838
Two articles from the Times for the murder of James Mumford
FOR ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE AND CO., EDINBURGH;
AND HURST, ROBINSON, AND CO.,
“Execution of Pallet for the murder of Mr. Mumford”.
Chelmsford, December 15th.
The place of execution is an open space between the goal and the river; in front
it is a shut off by a high wall through a gate in which the crowd are admitted.
As soon as daylight appeared, the wall immediately above the spot where the
platform was to be raised was soon covered with black cloth. Many had then
assembled upon the bridge to view the preparations of the death.
At half-past seven about half a dozen young men arrived there,
weeping most bitterly, and uttering convulsive sobs. One of them was the brother
of the culprit – all were relations. The others turned their backs towards the
agonising scene and cried aloud; the brother drew rather composed, and fixed his
steady gaze upon the fatal spot. At the end of five minutes they quickly withdraw.
“The culprit went to bed at half past one o’clock this morning, and slept most
profoundly till past six. When awakened, he fell fast asleep again.
His ignorance exceeded belief. He was entirely illiterate: and though the
frequented his parish church, he could not repeat one sentence of the Lords prayer.
“At half past eight the gates were thrown open and the crowd became exceedingly
dense up to the temporary defence set across the ground, a few feet from the platform.
At the same instant the irons were knocked off the culprit, and he walked firmly
and slowly to the chapel. There he received the Sacrament.
“At a quarter past nine the chaplain took leave of him. He was then pinioned
and bound hard by the wrists. All the while he kept moaning, and
occasionally muttering, “Lord, help me” in going to the chapel he had worn a
hairy cap on his head. He moved slowly from the chapel to the
platform bare-headed, and with his neck exposed. His visage upon stepping
from the passage to the outer ground where the platform stood was dreadfully
expressive, though perfectly unmoved. His upper lip was partly drawn up by
the agony of despair. His eye was still and sad, and his large toil-marked
hands were swoln and livid with the rightness of his bandages.
His half-boots were dirty and un-laced, his smook-frock bearing still visible
over his left breast and shoulder and the blood of murdered Mumford.
He aecended the platform very slowly but firmly. The executioner was the only
one with him. The instant he was placed on the station for execution,
he glanced at the crowd, who were by this time closely packed in the inner part
of the ground, and all around the platform. The executioner immediately covered
his head and face with a nightcap, and bound a handkerchief over his eyes.
When this operation began he groaned with most affecting energy, and he continued
for some time rising slowly on his tip-toes, and falling strongly back on his heels.
“The executioner took a considerable time in adjusting the rope, and then shook
him strongly by his clasped hands. The steps were then removed, and the platform,
which is attached permanently by hinges to the wall, and had been supported by a
locked spring, was dropped. The executioner continued pulling him by the legs
till he was dead. The crowd was perfectly silent, and look on
Found this Newspaper cutting 15.11.15
The Glasgow Herald
Friday December 19th 1823
This is where John Pallett was hung
The old Gaol, Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, Essex
A drawing signed C Ely, 1893
I am not sure how the artist drew this in 1893 as the Moulsham Street Gaol
and Bridge were demolished in 1859
perhaps it was a copy of another painting or drawing, anyone know?
This is a very similar account as the one above
OR A VIEW OF THE
H I S T O R Y,
OF THE YEAR
15. Chelmsford – One Pallett was executed for the murder of a Mr Mumford.
The following is the voluntary confession,
which he made to his attendants, on the eve of his execution: -
“I had been drinking with one Kidman at the Coach and Horses, Quendon,
all the afternoon, and was somewhat inflamed with liquor.
From this place we both started with the intent of going to Newport to get sand.
I was riding on Kidman’s donkey, and he was beating it with his oyster measure.
When we cam to opposite Quendon Want-lane, we observed some one go down.
Kidman went forward to see who it was, and on his return said, “It is Jem Mumford.”
Kidman then lent me his knife to cut a stick and I said, “D---n him he shall have it.
” I got off the donkey, and followed Mumford down the lane. Kidman left me,
and proceeded through the turn-pike. I overtook Mr. Mumford upon a hill, without
his perceiving me, and struck him a blow on the head; but he did not fall from the
first blow; I then struck him again, and he fell. When down, I repeated the blows
with the stick, until he was incapable of resistance. Having so done, I felt in his
pockets and took out the knife which betrayed me, Mr. Mumford had his great coat upon
his arm, which I took, and also several small things which were in his pocket; what
they were I do not recollect: these I carried into the turnip filed adjoining.
I then sat down upon a piece of wheat, and stuck the stick in the ground by my side.
I began to reflect; for it was not my intention, at first, to have committed murder,
but only to beat him severely; and I placed my two hands upon my face, saying to myself
“Good God ! what have I been doing?”
About this time, I heard the trampling of a horse; he stopped at the spot where
I left Mr Mumford, and shortly after I head the horse return.
I then returned to the body, forgetting that I had put the knife in my pocket;
I kneeled down upon one knee, raised Mr Mumford, and set him upon my other, and rested
his chin upon my left shoulder, when the blood poured down my neck in torrents,
and made the collar of my shirt in the state it was when the persons came up.
I next took the body on my back, and proceeded on my way to Widdington, under the
impression, that I should be able to convince the family that I found him, and was
performing a friendly office. In my way, I was met by four men, and soon after a cart
came. When I came to the public house, I placed the body on a chair, but it fell,
and I endeavoured to place it there again.
Mrs Whisken, the landlady of the public-house, found a mark upon Mr. Mumford’s shirt,
which satisfied those present it was Jem Mumford. I then left the room to wash the
blood from my face, which I did as well as I could, and afterwards returned to
the tap-room, where, shortly after, I was taken into custody.”
PRINTED FOR BALDWIN, CRADOCK, AND JOY;
OT RIDGE. AJ»D KACKHAM; J. CUTHELL; LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME,
AND CO.; E. JEFFERY AND SON; HARDING, TR1F1IOOK AND I.I-I'll A I: I) ,
SHERWOOD, JONES, AND CO; HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND CO.» G. AND W. B.
V.-IU TAKER; HURST, HOUJ.NS.nS, AND CO.; W. REYMOLDS; AND SIMI'KIN
If you can help with any local information or know about any documents
about this murder trial.
I would, like to hear from you.