Explore the fascinating world of the Victorian judges at this award-winning historic house.

The case of the stolen ducks

Duck ThiefKS2 & KS3

Click here to read the trial

The trial dramatized here features on our courtroom sound system. All the details, including much of the speech, are taken from the trial report published in the Hereford Times on 13th January 1866.

Why not re-enact this trial in the classroom? (It takes around 20 minutes to read out). If you are planning a visit to us, you could even do so in our courtroom as part of your activities.

William's fate of 6 months hard labour reflects the harsh sentences at the time for theft. He would have been sent to Presteigne gaol (where John Beddoes school stands now), which was in notoriously bad condition, where his harsh life of hard labour could have included stone breaking and the crank (a box with a handle to be turned a certain number of times over a set period or punishment was given)... all for stealing ducks.

Crank     stone-breaking sink


Crank and stone-breaking sink , both from Beaumaris Jail, North Wales




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Strange But True

  • list arrowHow did Victorians try out a new invention?

    Test it on the servants of course! That's what happened in 1860 at The Judge's Lodging, when gas lighting was put into the basement and not the Judge's rooms. They wanted to see if they got sick from the fumes. The servants were fine - that's why we got the lights working again.

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