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Murder of William Armstrong 1851 at The Parsonage, Walton, Cumbria, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member bill&ben
N 54° 58.400 W 002° 44.876
30U E 516135 N 6091853
Quick Description: William Armstrong was shot at Walton Parsonage in 1851 by the Reverend Smith. His body was found at the Parsonage gate.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 5/8/2014 4:02:29 AM
Waymark Code: WMKNT6
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cache_test_dummies
Views: 1

Long Description:
On the 17th April 1871 a man was found dead at the gate of Walton Parsonage. He had been shot in the chest by the Reverend Smith around midnight the previous evening. Letters on the body were addressed to a Mr William Armstrong of Sorbie Trees. A servant of the Reverend Smith, Ann Glendinning, confirmed that she had worked in the household of William Armstrong’s father, and that this was William Armstrong.

William Armstrong was a respectable farmer of Sorbie Trees in Roxburghshire. On the 16th of April he had set off on horseback to conduct business in Brampton.On his way back from Brampton he had shared drinks with two companions at an inn in Cambeck Bridge. Armstrong rode off ahead of his companions and was not seen by them again.

The purpose of Armstrong’s visit is not clear. There was speculation that Armstrong may have gone to visit Ann Glendinning. One of his companions confirmed that Armstrong wanted to retain Ann as a servant. The Reverend Smith’s explanation was that he had heard a banging on the study window and feared that he was going to be attacked by marauders, as he had been in the past. He had taken his pistol from a drawer, opened the front door on its chain, and fired through the gap in order to frighten the marauders away. He claimed that he had the murder of a curate at Frimley fixed in his mind and was frightened for his life. After discharging his shots and looking outside, seeing no one, he locked the door and retired.

The coroner’s jury found the Reverend Smith guilty of manslaughter. In the following August the Reverend Smith was committed for trial. The prosecution argued that due care should always be used when discharging a weapon. The defence argued that Smith was reasonably afraid for his life in the remote location and was mindful of the Frimley murder. They further emphasised the unreasonable hour of the night and that William Armstrong would have been inebriated. The jury took forty five minutes to acquit the Reverend Smith.

The Parsonage gate is accessible from the lane. The Parsonage itself can be glimpsed from the back of the churchyard.
Date of crime: 4/17/1851

Public access allowed: no

Fee required: no

Web site: [Web Link]

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