CAMBRIDGE WEDDING PARTY’S EXPERIENCES
SUNDAY EVENING FRACAS
A remarkable story was related to the Bottisham Magistrates on Wednesday afternoon, when two Cambridge men were summoned by a Bottisham labourer for assault. The defendants were included in a motoring wedding party, which stopped for drinks at the Swan Inn, Bottisham. The prosecutor, a cyclist, appeared at the inn, and complained as to an incident which had taken place on the road. He alleged that the assaults then took place, and it was said that they were followed by fierce fighting, in which the wedding party and villagers participated. Both the defendants were fined.
The defendants were Ernest Glasscock (26), of 125, York Street, taxi-cab driver, and Harry Pearce, of 3, Sleaford Street, painter. They were charged with, on the 23rd of April, assaulting and beating Walter Harris. The summonses were taken together, and both the defendants pleaded not guilty.
Mr G. A. Wootten, who prosecuted, said that on this Sunday, about 6.30, Harris was cycling down Bottisham Hill at a very reasonable pace and on the proper side of the road. Half-way down the hill his friends noticed a motor cab coming behind them and called out. Harris got nearer to the proper side of the road, but in spite of so doing the taxi-cab bore down upon him and compelled Harris to dismount and get on to the grass. When Harris reached the Bottisham Swan he saw the taxi there. It was a wedding party. Harris asked Glasscock what he meant by running him into the grass, and asked for his number. Glasscock replied that his number was “Number 1” and struck him rather a severe blow under the chin. Prosecuter would tell them also that Pearce came up from behind and struck him a cowardly blow on the back of the head and knocked him down and kicked him whilst he was on the ground. That was the beginning of a fracas, a general free fight.
Walter Harris, speaking of the incident on the road, said that he left plenty of room for the taxi-cab to pass him, but it ran him on to the grass. At Bottisham he saw the driver Glasscock standing at the head of the car and complained to him, but he shoved his bicycle about and asked him if he wanted a row. Witness said “No, but I want the number of the car,” and went to the rear of the car, when Glasscock struck him under the jaw and said “You can have my number, it’s number 1.” Glasscock said that he would fight witness, and he started pulling his clothes off, but some of his pals held him back. Pearce however, struck him from behind and knocked his cap off, and witness dropped his cycle. Pearce struck him a second time in the face, and he fell and Pearce kicked him once in the body and once on the head.
Glasscock: Did your father come out with a stick in his hand? Yes.
Pearce: Your father nearly knocked me down.
By Pearce: Witness hit Kelly with a stick.
Answering Mr Wootten: Some of my friends came to my assistance afterwards, and his friends and my friends had a “scrap.”
Special Constable Walter Charles Bedford, of Bottisham, grocer, who was driving a motor cycle and side-car beside which prosecutor was riding, corroborated the evidence as to Harris having to dismount and as to what happened outside the inn. When Glasscock was taking off his coat, friends, men as well as women, came out of the “public” and tried to hold him back. Mr Harris, sen., came up and two or three men with the defendants started upon him. There was such a mix-up afterwards that one could not see who was striking and who was not. The taxi party looked like a wedding party. He would certainly think that some them had had quite sufficient to drink.
Pearce: Did you see my nose smothered with blood? – I did not.
Bertie F. Pettitt, of Bottisham, carpenter, also gave evidence for the prosecution. He said that he saw Harris being lifted from the ground. He had blood running down his face and he complained that he had been kicked.
Glasscock, who called no witnesses, said that Harris first pushed him, and that he pushed Harris. Harris jumped off his cycle with the intention of kicking up a row. If Harris had not pushed him first he would not have pushed Harrish. He said, “My number’s on the car so take it.”
Pearce said that they pulled up at the Swan and that they all went in to have a drink. When he turned round to call Glasscock in for his drink they were quarrelling. He went out and did his best to stop them, but Harris pushed him, and up came Mr Harris, sen., who, Pearce alleged, struck him, with the result that he could not breathe through one side of his nose. If Harris had not pulled up and caused the row there would not have been a row.
Henry Kelly, of East Road, Cambridge, news agent, called by Pearce, said that he was in the Swan Inn, and that he saw Mr Harris, sen., hit Pearce.
Pearce: Did you see me hit anyone? – Not at all.
Did you see anyone run about with a stick to hit me? – Young Harris.
Did he strike you with a stick? – Yes. I received a blow.
Mr Wootten: Where had you been? – It was a wedding party. We had been to Newmarket.
Mr Jenyns said that the magistrates had decided to convict and to fine each defendant 5s., which was quite a lenient sentence. He would advise Glasscock, who was driving, to have a little more consideration. The whole trouble arose from Glasscock driving his car without due consideration for cyclists. Some of those motorists pressed cyclists right into the grass, and he had suffered this way himself.
As reported in the Cambridge Independent Press, Friday 28 April, 1916. Page 5. Column 7.