The Forest of Dean.

Bygone Days

Bygone Days

1889 - The Village that took the blame.

Around 6pm, the smaller of was killed at Crooked End with a pole, believed to be the one it had chained around its neck, which one of the hostile mob, estimated to be 200 in number, picked up. The larger bear ambled on through the village, still being stoned and beaten, until it was shot a mile down the Cats Hill road. The smaller animal was valued at £32.10s and the larger one, £40. They were skinned and the carcasses buried, one in the garden of the Drybrook Police Station, now a private house in High St, Drybrook.

Pc White of Drybrook, arrived in Ruardean around 8pm when the incident was over but the neighbourhood was still excited with many people milling around. The policeman took Gabriel Yas and Gabriel Huguet into protective custody. They had taken shelter in a pig sty and had been guarded by some friendly Ruardean people. Thomas Sirgent and Alfred Gerand had escaped the mob an hour earlier and fled. They were never seen again.

Police proceedings were instigated on May 3rd 1889, at Littledean Magistrates Court with 13 local men appearing before the chairman of the bench, Mr Russell Kerr, of Newnham, charged with assaulting the Frenchmen and unlawfully killing the bears.

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