Wisdom Smith of Headington Quarry

The traveller Wisdom Smith was born in about 1829, the son of Tom Smith. He gives different places of birth in the censuses, e.g. Shorthampton, Oxfordshire and Brailes, Warwickshire, and was probably unsure exactly where his parents' caravan had stopped when he was born.

Priscilla Bagley was born at Brackley, Northants and baptised at St Peter’s Church there on 16 February 1818. She was the daughter of Robert Bagley and Silylena or Sibylla or Sybil or Sabrina or Saibi Smith (see below for more on her family).

Wisdom and Priscilla had a common-law marriage until 1860, and their children during this period, while they were still travelling included:

  • Sampson Smith (born in White Cross, Buckinghamshire in c.1842, according to censuses)
  • Ann Smith (born in Grandpont, Oxford in c.1843, according to censuses)
  • Patience Smith (born in Chesterton, near Bicester and baptised there on 12 September 1847)
  • Oceania Smith (born in Barton, Woodstock in c.1848, according to censuses)
  • Lucretia Smith (born in Brailes, Warwickshire and baptised at Charlton-on-Otmoor on 21 April 1852)
  • Wisdom Smith junior (born in Brailes in Warwickshire and baptised at Charlton-on-Otmoor on 24 December 1854)
  • Jane Smith (born in Charlton-on-Otmoor in c.1853, according to censuses)
  • George Smith (born in Charlton-on-Otmoor in c.1854, according to censuses)
  • Mary Ann Smith (born in Headington Quarry and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 4 October 1857).

Wisdom and Priscilla appear to have been at White Cross, Buckinghamshire in 1842, in south Oxford in 1843, in Chesterton near Bicester in 1847, and near Woodstock in in 1848. In 1852 and 1854 they were living at Brailes in Warwickshire but had their children baptised at Charlton-on-Otmoor, and Wisdom was described in the register as a camp-travelling chair-seat flagger. They appear to have moved to Charlton-on-Otmoor by 1853.

The couple settled down permanently in Headington Quarry in the mid-1850s, and their daughter Mary Ann was baptised there in 1857. Wisdom’s occupation was then given as “chairmender”.

Three years after Mary Ann’s baptism, on 9 January 1860, the couple were married at Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry. Wisdom Smith was described in the marriage register as a bachelor of 31 and Priscilla Bagley as a spinster of 36 (but according to her baptism she was aged 42). Four months later they had their youngest child, who was the only one who was legitimate:

  • Jemima Smith (born in Headington Quarry and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 20 May 1860).

Wisdom Smith was described as a chairmender in his daughter Jemima's baptism record. .

At the time of the 1861 census the following year, Wisdom (38) and Priscilla (40) were living with seven of their children in Headington Quarry. Wisdom first had his occupation recorded as labourer, but this was crossed out and “Gipsy” substituted, but his wife's occupation of hawker was allowed to stay. The children still at home with them were Sampson (18), who was described as a labourer, Ann (17), Patience (15), and Oceania (13) who were described as hawkers, and Lucretia (11), Wisdom (9), and Jemima (1). They were immediately followed by the following gipsy families, suggesting a small encampment of caravans.

  • Thomas Smith (60) and his wife Mary.
  • Reconcile Smith (32) and his housekeeper Mary, who was a hawker, and his two-year-old son Reconcile Smith junior, who had been baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 25 December 1858, the child of a single woman, Leander Smith.
  • A widowed hawker Ann Smith (60) and her children Alfred (19) and Rosena (10).

As the gipsy encampment was immediately preceded by the entry for the Six Bells pub and followed by the entry for the Mason's Arms, it suggests that they had an encampment in the Mason's Pit.

The Razzle Smith who according to Raphael Samuel used to put on a hoopla show is probably Reconcile Smith.

An unnamed child with the surname Bagley or Smith was baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 23 November 1862: this could have been one of their older children, born before their marriage.

An illegitimate child called Corallina Patience Smith was baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 18 March 1866 (registered as Curillina). She is recorded as being the child of Priscilla Smith, but this may be an error for Patience Smith. In any event, Wisdom's daughter Patience Smith died at the age of 19 and was buried at Holy Trinity churchyard on 13 March 1866, and the baby Corallina died at the age of three months, and was buried there on 24 June.

The ages of Wisdom and Priscilla fluctuate wildly in the censuses, and the names are not always consistent either. Neither they nor their children could read and write.

At the time of the 1871 census Wisdom Smith (48) was still living in Quarry, and his Brackley-born wife (57) is wrongly named as Mary. Five of their children were still at home: Jane (18), George (16), Mary (14), and Elizabeth [probably an error for Jemima] (11).

In Village Life and Labour (1975), Raphael Samuel records that their son Sampson Smith (born 1842) was so well accepted in Quarry that he had become the fiddler as well as a dancer in the local group of morris men.

Wisdom’s unmarried daughter Lucretia Smith had a baby called Selina Patience Smith baptised privately by Holy Trinity Church on 17 February 1873; the baby died at the age of five months and was buried at Holy Trinity Church on 21 February 1873.

On 1 August 1874 Jackson’s Oxford Journal reported:

Wisdom Smith, cocoa-nut dealer, Headington, was charged by Inspector Yates with obstructing the highway in that parish on the 20th of July, by erecting a canvass for the purpose of playing with sticks and cocoa-nuts. The prisoner, it appeared, had erected his screen across the highway, and it was dangerous for people to pass. He refused to take it down for some time, and it was only by the threat that the police would remove it that he eventually did so. Fined 6d. and 11s. 6d. costs.

On 21 July 1877 Jackson’s Oxford Journal reported an assault on Charlotte Rivers, landlady of the Mason’s Arms by a Quarry labourer, Henry Messenger: “Wisdom Smith was called for the defence, and said the landlady did not order defendant out, that she struck him first, and he only endeavoured to ward off her blows.” (The defendant was imprisoned for three weeks, with hard labour.)

In the 1881 census Wisdom (54) was described as a skewer-maker, and was living at East View in Headington Quarry with his wife Priscilla (62), who was a hawker, and their two youngest children Lucretia (26) and Jemima (20), who were also hawkers. Wisdom and Priscilla now had four grandchildren living with them, all born in Headington Quarry: Anne (7), George (4), Ernest (1), and Henry (1). Baby Henry was the son of their unmarried daughter Jemima.

On 16 October 1886 Jackson’s Oxford Journal reports that Thomas Hewlett was summoned for assaulting Wisdom Smith at Headington on 2 October, but he pleaded great provocation. Smith said that Hewlett came into a public house where he was, and a dispute arose about the distance between Headington and another village. Smith told Hewlett that he knew it before he was born, and Hewlett immediately struck him in the eye. Hewlett said that Smith “did not say anything about his father having pulled up some clothes posts”. The defendant said that his father had been dead for 16 years and he did not think it was right for Smith to rake up these old matters. Hewlett was fined 1s. and 11s. 6d. costs, or 7 days.

Wisdom's wife Priscilla Smith was admitted to the Littlemore Lunatic Asylum on 23 January 1883 and died there on 3 September 1884, with her age recorded as 66. She was presumably buried there.

Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 26 February 1887, under the heading “Shocking wife murder near Oxford”, reported on the murder of Mrs Lucy Smith (58) by her husband, Charles Smith (68), on Open Brasenose Common. Charles Smith of Barford near Deddington, a travelling hawker who had come from Cumnor with his wife and 17-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son and pitched a blanket over four sticks at the common. Charles, who was hanged, was described as the brother of Priscilla Bagley, the deceased wife of Wisdom Smith of Barton. Charles appears to have been using his mother’s surname of Smith rather than his father’s of Bagley. (Charles and Priscilla’s mother Sibyl and brother Thomas had themselves been found guilty of the manslaughter of someone called Joseph Smith forty years before: see Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 7 July 1827.)

At the time of the 1891 census, Wisdom (70), now a widower, living at Barton with his unmarried daughter Lucretia (39) and three of his grandchildren: George (13), Ernest (11), and Florence (8), all of whom were at school. He was described as a pegmaker, and Lucretia as a laundress.

Wisdom (80) can be seen in the 1901 census as a visitor in the house in Edgeway Road, New Marston of Alfred Bland  (50), a hawker, and his wife Selina Bland (46). Selina's maiden name was Smith, and she may have been a relation.

Wisdom Smith died at Oxford Workhouse in March 1906, with his age now recorded as 77, and was buried in St Thomas's churchyard in Oxford on 23 March.

Wisdom Smith’s descendants in Headington

Four of Wisdom Smith’s children married local people and settled down in Headington:

(1) Sampson or Samson Smith (born c.1842)

On 30 November 1863 at Holy Trinity Church, Samson Smith married Elizabeth Bushnell of Headington Quarry, the daughter of the labourer John Bushnell. Both were aged 21, and neither could sign their name.

They do not appear to have had any children, and it was by a woman called Rebecca (born in Headington in c.1842), that Sampson had twelve children, although he does not appear to have been married to her. The twelve children (of whom nine were still living in 1911) included:

  • Herbert Henry Smith (born at Headington Quarry in 1863/4 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 20 March 1866)
  • Thomas Smith (born at Headington Quarry in 1865 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 20 March 1866)
  • Ernest Smith (born in Old Headington in 1867/8 and privately baptised by St Andrew's Church on 25 January 1868:
    died shortly afterwards)
  • Ernest John Smith (born in Old Headington in 1868/9 and privately baptised by St Andrew's Church on 25 June 1869)
  • Ada Patience Smith (born in Old Headington in early 1871)
  • Selina Agnes Smith (born in Old Headington in 1873, reg. second quarter)
  • Eliza Smith (born in Old Headington in 1876 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 17 January 1877)
  • Rachel Rebecca Smith (born in Headington in 1878 and privately baptised by St Andrew's Church on 10 August 1880; died soon after birth)
  • Alfred Samuel Smith (born in Headington on 10 May 1880 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 30 May 1880)
  • Dora May Smith (born in Headington on 4 May 1882 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 28 May)
  • Florence Edith Smith (born in Headington on 28 November 1883 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 27 January 1884).

By the time of the 1871 census Samson Smith had moved to a house that stood on the site of the present 39 St Andrew's Road in Old Headington, where he was to spend the rest of his life. Aged 29, he was described as a brickmaker and lived there with his wife Elizabeth and his children Herbert (7), Thomas (6), Ernest (2), and Ada (one month).

At the time of the 1881 census Samson (39) was a general labourer, living in Old Headington with his wife Rebecca (40) and six of their children: Thomas (16) was also a general labourer, and Ernest (12), Ada (10), Selina (8), Eliza (4), and Alfred (1).

His eldest son Henry was married in 1888:

  • On 28 August 1888 at Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry, Herbert Henry Smith (24), described as a Leading Seaman of New Headington, married Ada Horwood (18) of Headington Quarry, the daughter of the labourer Joseph Horwood.

At the time of the 1891 census Samson (47) was a general labourer, living in Old Headington with his wife Rebecca (49) and five of his children: Ernest (22), who was also a general labourer, Eliza (14), Alfred (11), Dora May (9), and Florence (7). His daughter Selina (18) was working as a general servant of a stock dealer living at 47 Albemarle Street, London.

Two of Samson's daughters were married in 1895:

  • On 28 May 1895 at St Thomas's Church, Hammersmith, Selina Agnes Smith (22) married the carman Arthur Thomas Poulton (23), the son of the painter Richard Poulton. Both were described as residing at 79 Stowe Road, London.
  • On 1 June 1895 at St Giles' Church, Oxford, Ada Patience Smith (25) of 4 Keble Road married James Parker (35), a bricklayer of Headington, the son of the bricklayer James Parker senior.

In 1901 Samson (56), described as a labourer, was still living in St Andrew's Road with his wife Rebecca (59) and their daughter Florence (17), who were both working as greengrocers.

His daughter Dora was married in 1910:

  • On 30 November 1910 at Christ Church, Turnham Green, London, Dora May Smith (27) of 2 Clifton Gardens, Chiswick married Bernard Theodore Raymund Lehmann (31), a manager of a colour printers of 14 Belmont Grove, Chiswick and the son of the merchant August Lehmann.

In 1911 Samson (69), who now described himself as a widower, was working as a market gardener and described as living on the Bank in Old Headington (the cottage that stood on the site of the present 39 St Andrew’s Road) with his unmarried son Ernest Smith (40). Samson was a market gardener on the land to the west of Windmill Road (the site of the present Kennett Road). In Within Living Memory, Mrs Sylvia Parker recalls how he and his son Ernie “delivered the produce all over the place in a horse and cart”.

Rebecca Smith died at the age of 67 in the fourth quarter of 1908 in the Headington registration district.

It is hard to find any record of the death of Samson Smith.

(2) Oceania Smith (born c.1848)

On 12 July 1868 at Holy Trinity Church, Oceania Smith (19) married Thomas Horwood (24), the son of the brickmaker Robert Horwood, who was born in Headington in c.1842. Her name was recorded in the Holy Trinity marriage and baptismal register as Ochenery, giving an indication of how she may have pronounced it. They had thirteen children, of whom nine were still alive in 1911;

  • Robert Horwood (born in Headington Quarry in late 1868 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 1 November)
  • Frederick John Horwood (born in Headington Quarry in late 1870 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 25 December)
  • Albert Edward Horwood (born in Headington in 1872 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 5 January 1873)
  • Alice Horwood (born in Headington in 1874/5 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 18 March 1875;
    died aged three, funeral at St Andrew's Church on 8 April 1878)
  • Dora Horwood (born in Headington in 1876 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 6 August;
    died aged 21 months, funeral at St Andrew's Church on 22 April 1878 )
  • Martha Dora Horwood (born in Headington in 1878 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 30 June)
  • Walter Thomas Horwood, known as Thomas (born in Old Headington on 27 May 1880 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 1 July, with his mother Oceania wrongly recorded as Lucy)
  • Alice Maud Horwood (born in Old Headington on 3 June 1882 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 27 August)
  • Emily Horwood (born in Old Headington in 1883/4 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 27 April 1884;
    died aged one near the end of 1885)
  • Emily Horwood (born in Old Headington on 28 March 1886 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 30 May)
  • Kate Ethel Horwood (born in New Headington on 23 March 1888 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 27 May)
  • Frank Horwood (born in New Headington on 1 April 1891 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 7 June)
  • Ada Elsie Horwood (born at New Headington on 14 June 1894 and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 19 August)

Oceania began her married life in Quarry, but by 1871 they had moved down to the Marston Road, the east side of which was deemed to be in Headington and in the parish of St Andrew.

At the time of the 1871 census Oceania (23), recorded as Ochney, was living on the Marston Road with her husband Thomas (28), who was a brickfield labourer and their first two sons Robert (2) and Frederick (six months).

In 1881 Oceania (30), recorded this time as Ochey, was living in Old Headington with her husband Thomas (36), who was a mason's labourer, and their seven surviving children: Robert (13), Frederick (11), Albert (9), and Martha (3), who were at school, and [Walter] Thomas (ten months).

In 1891 Oceana (45), recorded as Annie, was living at the lower end of New High Street in the house immediately north of Southill Cottages with her husband Thomas (49), who was a road-maker, and seven of their children: Albert (18), who was a coach yard labourer, and Martha (12), [Walter] Thomas (10), [Alice] Maud (7), Emma [Emily] (5), Katie (3), and George (later registere3d and baptised with the name Frank instead), who was under one month.

At the time of the 1901 census Oceania Horwood (54), with her name recorded as Octavia, was living at Latimer Road in New Headington with her husband Thomas (56), described as a road maker, and four of their children: Thomas (21), who was a gardener, and Katey (13), Frank (11), and Ada (7).

At the time of the 1911 census Oceania Horwood (65) was still living in Latimer Road with her husband Thomas (68), who was working as a general labourer for Oxford Corporation, and three of their children: Walter Thomas (28) who was working for Knowles the builder; Frank (20) who was a baker with the Co-operative Society; and Ada Elsie (17), who was a general servant. Also living with the family was Oceania’s grandson, Frederick Gammon Horwood (1), born at Latimer Road on 22 January 1910, the illegitimate son of Kate Ethel Horwood.

Oceania Horwood née Smith died at the age of 72 in the Headington registration district in the fourth quarter of 1921. Her first name was recorded as Ochenery.

(3) Wisdom Smith junior (born 1854)

Wisdom Smith junior spent two periods in the army before his marriage and was described in his army record as being 5′ 4½″ tall, with a sallow complexion, grey eyes, and dark brown hair, and a chest measurement of 39½″.

On 29 November 1875 at Holy Trinity Church, Wisdom Smith junior married Harriet Tolley of Headington Quarry at Holy Trinity Church and they had seven children:

  • Charles Ernest Smith (baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 8 February 1879),
    died aged three months and buried in churchyard on 2 April 1879
  • Charles Frederick Smith (baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 25 December 1881)
  • Samuel Smith (baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 22 May 1884)
  • Harriet Ellen Smith (baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 31 July 1887)
  • William Smith (baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 29 September 1889)
  • Harry Smith (baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 24 April 1892)
  • Ernest James Smith (baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 24 February 1895).

By 1875 Wisdom Smith junior was engaged in more typical Romany work and was a chairmender.

In the 1881 census Wisdom (24), described as a general labourer, was living at South View in Headington Quarry with his wife Harriet (25), who was a laundress.

Wisdom served another four years in the army from the end of 1882, but in 1886 he settled down in Quarry as a bricklayer's labourer (although he continued to serve in the militia).

At the time of the 1891 census Wisdom Smith (36) was described as a bricklayer's labourer and was living in Quarry (apparently at the south-east end of the London Road) with his wife Harriet (39) and their children Charles (9), Samuel (7), Harriet (4), and William (1). Wisdom's 80-year-old mother-in-law Ellen Tolley was also living with them.

On 7 May 1894 Wisdom was dismissed permanently from the militia as unfit for service.

Wisdom Smith junior died in the Headington district at the age of 40 in the second quarter of 1896, but no one called Wisdom Smith was buried in either of the Headington churchyards or in Headington Cemetery.

At the time of the 1901 census his widow Harriet  (46) was living in Stiles Alley in Quarry and working as a washerwoman. Five of her children were still at home: Charles (19) and Samuel (17), who were brick merchants' carters, Harriet (14), William (11), Harry (9), and Ernest (6).

Two of Wisdom Smith junior's sons died in the First World War: see the biographies of William Smith (died 1916)
and Harry Smith (died 1918).

His son Ernest James Smith (26), described as a labourer of 36 Quarry High Street, married Elsie Eliza Pimm (24) the daughter of a gas worker of 8 Bridge Street, at St Ebbe's Church on 1 January 1921.

Wisdom Smith junior's wife Mrs Harriet Smith died at the age of 68 at Hill House (a home for the elderly at Sandhills) and was buried at Holy Trinity churchyard on 28 November 1923.

(4) Jemima Smith (born 1860)

Jemima Smith gave birth to her first child before she was married:

  • Henry Smith, later known as Henry Quarterman (born in Headington in 1880, reg. third quarter)

In 1881 Jemima was a hawker, living with her parents and baby son at East View in Quarry.

On 28 January 1882 at St Andrew's Church Jemima Smith married Henry Quarterman. He was born in Garsington in c.1858, and both were then living in Barton. They had ten more children, and all eleven were still alive in 1911:

  • Charlotte Elizabeth Quarterman (born in Barton near Headington on 16 May 1882
    but not baptised at St Andrew's Church until 26 November 1888 at the same time as her next two sisters)
  • Mary Priscilla Quarterman (born Barton near Headington in 1884/5, reg. first quarter of 1885
    but not baptised at St Andrew's Church until 20 January 1888)
  • Elizabeth Annie Quarterman (born in Headington in 1887, reg. fourth quarter,
    and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 7 January 1888)
  • William Quarterman (born in Headington in 1890, reg. second quarter)
  • Alice Quarterman (born in St Clement's Oxford in 1893, reg. second quarter)
  • John Quarterman (born in St Clement's, Oxford in 1895, reg. second quarter)
  • Susan Quarterman (born in Cowley in 1897, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Frank Quarterman (born in Cowley in 1899/1900, reg. first quarter of 1900)
  • Annie Selina Quarterman (born in Cowley in 1901/2, reg. first quarter of 1902)
  • Sarah Jemima  Quarterman (born in Cowley in 1905 and baptised at Cowley St John Church on 17 December).

At the time of the 1891 census Jemima (29) was living in St Andrew's Road, Old Headington with her husband Henry (31), who was a labourer and their children Henry (10), Charlotte (8), Mary (6), Elizabeth (3), and William (1).

In about 1892 they moved to Cowley Marsh and the 1901 census shows them living there, with Jemima's husband now working as a shepherd. They had eight children at home: Charlotte (18), who was a plain ironer, Mary (16), who was a domestic servant, and Lizzie (13), William (11), Alice (8), and John (6), who were at school, and Susan (4) and Frank (2).

In 1911 Jemima (29) was still living at Cowley Marsh with her husband Henry (52) who was now a farm labourer, and six of their children: Alice (18), who was a laundry maid, Jack (John) (16), who was a farm labourer, Susan (13), Frank (11), Annie (9), and Sarah (5).

Jemima Quarterman, née Smith died in the Headington registration district at the age of 68 in the second quarter of 1925.

Priscilla Bagley (born 1818), wife of Wisdom Smith senior

Jackson's Oxford Journal of 7 July 1827 refers to Priscilla's parents Robert & Sibyl Bagley and their seven children, and reports how her mother encouraged her son Tom to kill another gipsy called Joseph Smith in the Marston Road:

On Thursday last an inquest was commenced at Marston, and continued by adjournment on the following day, before Mr. Cecil, coroner, on view of the body of Joseph Smith, a travelling chair-bottomer and razor grinder, aged 36 years, who died the preceding night in Marston-lane, from blows he received on the head. It appeared from the evidence adduced, that Smith, with his wife and 5 children, had been travelling for the last month in company with Robert Bagley, Sibyl his wife, and son Thomas, and six other of their children; that on Wednesday morning last the deceased and Thomas Bagley were mending chairs together in Oxford, and at about nine in the evening a long dispute took place in Marston-lane, between the wife and son of Bagley with Smith, respecting some money he had received, which the two Bagleys laid a claim to; Smith the deceased struck the wife of Bagley with a small stick he had in his hand; she then snatched the stick from him and struck him with it on the eye, and afterwards took up several large stones which lay on the side of the road and threw at him; Smith's hat was off at this time, and Sibyl Bagley told her son Thomas to throw stones at deceased, which he did, one of which struck him on the right temple, and he fell immediately. He lay several hours on the ground in a dying state, during which time it appears that the wife of Bagley made use of many very violent expressions towards him, which we refrain from repeating, that the prejudice of the public might not be excited against her. Some milkmen coming from Marston found Smith in a dying state, and went for medical assistance, but before it could arrive he was dead. The head of the deceased was opened by C. Wingfield, Esq. surgeon, who was decidedly of opinion his death was occasioned by the blow from the stone on the temple. The Jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of Manslaughter, against the wife and son of Robert Bagley; and the coroner issued his warrant, upon which they have been committed to our county gaol for trial at the next Assizes.

Jackson's Oxford Journal reported on the sentence on 28 July 1827:

MANSLAUGHTER.—Sabrina Bagley, and Thomas Bagley her son, aged 16years, were charged with the manslaughter of Joseph Smith, at the parish of Marston. It appeared that the deceased was returning home in a state of intoxiation, and that on passing the place where the prisoners, who are gipsies, were encamped, he addressed some abusive expressions to them. The woman replied, and he took up a stick and struck her on the shoulders. She retorted by flinging a stone at him, and on stopping to pick up a second, called to her son, “Do you pick up a stone and fling as well as me.” The son, thus instructed, picked up a stone weiging upwards of 5lbs. and flinging it at the deceased, struck him on the temple,. He instantly fell, and while he was lying supported by his wife and son, in a senseless state, the female prisoner exclaimed “If he gets up again, I'll make him die.”
      The Jury found the male prisoner Guilty of Manslaughter, and the famale prisoner of aiding and abetting.
      The Judge sentenced each of them to 1 month's imprisonment.

The Oxford University and City Herald reported as follows on 28 July 1827, naming Mrs Bagley as Saibi Smith:

Saibi Smith. Sentenced to one month for manslaughter of Joseph Smith, after an argument led to her and her eldest son Tom throwing stones at him and killing him. It was in the lanes between Headington and Marston that Saibi in 1827 quarrelled with another Gypsy, Joseph Smith, who was camping alongside of them, and when he struck her started to throw stones at him and called on her oldest boy Tom, then aged 26, to do the same. Tom then threw a stone weighing 5lbs which hit Joseph on the head and killed him and both Tom and Saibi were sentenced to a month for Manslaughter.

© Stephanie Jenkins


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