Politics

The following extract was taken from the local paper in Todenham regarding the early days of the Liberal movement and Williams Scaysbrook's involvement.


Alleged Political Coercion at Todenham

The following appeared in Monday's Daily News (Date unknown Ca 24 - 10 - 1885):-

Sir, May I ask you to give publicity to the enclosed statement? its accuracy has been established by careful enquiry. The agricultural labourers throughout Gloucestershire are loyally maintaining their political independence under most trying circumstances, and in some instances are suffering from severe pressure and intimidation, and we feel that Scaysbrook must not be allowed to suffer for his steady adherence to Liberal principles. May I appeal for help through your columns to save him from the workhouse? We should like to raise a fund sufficient to purchase a small annuity for the old man and his wife. I append a list of subscriptions already promised. Mr Arther Winterbotham the Liberal candidate for the division tells me that he most reluctantly abstains from sending a subscription under legal advice, Scaysbrook being a voter in his division of East Gloucestershire.


I am Sir, Yours obediently

Hon Secretary East Gloucestershire Liberal Association Tetbury

The list of subsciptions which our correspondant sends includes donations from Lord Horton, M.P. Mr W H Winterbotham, London. Mr Banister Fletcher, Liberal Candidate Wiltshire. Mr Godfrey B Samuelson, Liberal Candidate West Gloucstershire. Major William E Price, Late MP for Tewkesbury, Chairman Tewksbury Division Liberal Association. Alderman Winterbotham Cheltenham. Mr R C Lenmann Candidate Cheltenham. Baron de Ferrieres, MP. Cheltenham & Mr W H Winterbotham 1 Newcourt, Lincolns inn, will be pleased to receive and acknowledge any further subscriptions that may be sent to him.

William Scaysbrook of Todenham is one of the newly enfranchised electors of the Cirencester division of Gloucestershire. He has been in the service of Sir Peter Van Notten Pole, of Todenham house, for 34 years as woodward, manager of the brickfield and in other responsible positions, and for many years he paid the men their wages. In 1883 he received an award of one pound from the Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Norton, Morton and Shipston Agricultural Society, for having faithfully served Sir Peter Pole 32 years. The award was made on Sir Peters own recommendation. About two years ago Scaysbrook, whilst engaged in Sir Peters service, had a gunpowder accident by which his face was badly and permanently injured, and he was partly disabled. Upon this his wages were reduced from 17s to 10s a week and he was employed subsequently in carrying Sir Peters letters and parcels from Morton-in-the-Marsh and doing the Todenham house errands there. In this way he became well known as a messenger between Todenham and Morton, and no objection was ever made by Sir Peter to his carrying messages and parcels in this way for others. A few months ago Scaysbrook (who is a non conformist and Liberal) was asked by the local Liberal secretary at Mortom if he would take some Cobden Club leaflets to Todenham for the men and he took them. He also took names of men at Todenham who wished to join the Liberal Association to the secretaty at Morton. Shortly after this he was ill and not at work or in receipt of wages for five or six weeks. During his illness, when on his way to Shipston-on-Stour to see his Doctor, he met Mr Pritchard, Sir Peters Steward, who told him that someone had informed Sir Peter that he had brought Liberal leaflets from Morton and that Sir Peter was very angry. Mr Pritchard asked Scaysbrook if he had done so. Scaysbrook replied that he had. Mr Pritchard then told him he was turning his back on Sir Peter after being with him so many years, and asked him to promise not to do it again, but Scaysbrook declined to grace any promise and they parted. A few weeks after Scaysbrook went to Mr Pritchards house to report himself fit for work, when Mr Pritchard told him he had been agitating, and that Sir Peter did not like it and was very angry and that he was not to come to the ground again and further, that he was to leave his cottage. In this cottage Scaysbrook and his wife and family had lived for upwards of 60 years, they were naturally much attached to it. Almost the whole of Todenham belongs to Sir Peter Pole. A few days after this Scaysbrook's son and son-in-law, both respectable working men, also engaged on Sir Peter's estate, met Mr Pritchard and asked him if he ment what he said about Scaysbrook leaving his cottage. Mr Pritchard replied that Sir Peter had told him that he would go himself and give Scaysbrook notice if he Mr Pritchard would not, but as Scaysbrook was unwell Mr Pritchard had begged Sir Peter not to go. When then asked Mr Pritchard what Scaysbrook had done and Mr Pritchard said " he has taken the names of men who wish to join the Liberal Asociation at Morton" and he has bought those liberal papers from Morton. That is all Sir Peter has against him. The next few days Mr Pritchard met Scaysbrook in the village and told him that he need not leave his cottage, but that he had better go and see Sir Peter. Scaysbrook had just left his wife who was completely upset about the matter and being, as he expressed it, "well nigh wild" he replied that he did not want to see Sir Peter dead or alive. Two days afterwards a written notice signed by Sir Peter personally was served upon Scaysbrook by Sir Peter's butler, requiring him to quit his cottage on the 5th September. Scaysbrook had to leave accordingly he has lost both his home and his livelihood.