Newbury Velo news

Velo Quest - Crime and Punishment

NV quest

Welcome back to the Newbury Velo Quest everyone. As before, this is a chance for us to share in the same adventure while obeying the social distancing rules. Share your photos back on the page to be entered for the fabulous prize ( Newbury Velo water bottle ). This time we promise we will actually give the water bottle prizes out!

We have 3 routes for your: 20, 35 and 50miles. You can see these in the comments immediately below this post.

The theme to the Quest this week is Crime and Punishment. We have 3 locations ( just 2 on the 20 mile ride ) that were the sites of crimes that shook West Berkshire. Links will be in the comments if you want more info of the crimes.

First we go to 1676 where George Broomham was being unfaithful to his wife Martha with a woman called Dorothy Newman. This tragically led to him murdering his wife and his son Robert and disposing of the bodies on the Berkshire Downs. The lovers would have got away with it had it not been for Mad Thomas who witnessed their activities. Mad Thomas was able to pass on his knowledge ( pretty good considering he was presumably mad ) and Broomham and Newman were convicted. Their bodies were suspended from Combe Gibbet as a lesson to all others. The Gibbet was erected for these two and has never been used for anyone else.

Next we go to 1830 and the agricultural "Swing Riots" are in full force. Farm labourers had seen their wages reduced to the point of starvation. They blamed this sorry situation on the introduction of automated machinery and up and down the country were involved in protest. Locally men from Kintbury and Hungerford formed a group and went to Hungerford where they damaged some property and machinery. Drink had been part of the equation. Many were sentenced to death but this was generally commuted to lesser punishment ( often transportation to Australia ). Unfortunately for William Winterbourne ( also known as William Smith ), no mercy was shown and he was hung. This was despite the parson at Kintbury pleading for mercy on his behalf. Unusually for a hung man, his grave was given a prominent place of honour in Kintbury church graveyard. This is our 2nd Quest location.

Finally we go to December 1876 and local policemen Inspector Joseph Drewett and Constable Thomas Shorter who are on the look out for poachers just north of Hungerford. They apprehend 4 poachers from the same family and a fight ensues. Tragically Drewitt and Thomas are both murdered by the poachers to the horror of the nation. Two of the poachers are hung for their crime and memorial crosses are erected where Drewett and Shorter were slain. The cross for Drewett is on Denford Lane about 50 yards east of where it crossed the A338. It's on the north side of the road and this is our final location.

20 Mile ride, with thanks to Rhian Salmon:

35 Mile ride, with thanks to Polly Perkins: