A Clerk at Ipswich Railway Station, Landlord and a Conservative Councillor.
Born: 1809, Ipswich.
Baptised at the same service as his brother James: 25th December 1818, at St. Margaret’s Church, Ipswich.
Member of the Conservative Party.
Frederick was elected to the Council on the 1st November 1861, upon a contest as one of the representatives of the Bridge Ward for the term of three years.
Frederick was employed as a Clerk at Ipswich Railway Station.
Father: Mark Pilch, 1780. Mark was the Landlord of the Halbert Inn, at Northgate Street, Ipswich.
On Wednesday, 23rd March 1831, 51 year old Mark Pilch, as the keeper of the Halbert Inn, at Northgate Street, Ipswich, appeared before Mr. Justice Gazelee at the Lent Assizes at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. He was indicted for receiving stolen goods – 20 coombs of malt and a pocket of hops (A sack, approx 6 feet long, in which dried hops are pressed and stored.), the property of Mr. Charles Calver, of Tuddenham, Suffolk. The robbery took place on the night of Thursday, 17th March 1831 and the next day the hops were found in an uninhabited house belonging to Mark Pilch on the Woodbridge Road. The following day, on the authority of a warrant the Halbert Inn was searched, and four sacks of the stolen malt were found in a warehouse. The examination of the prisoner before the Magistrates was put in as part of his defence; it was to the effect, that on the night of the robbery he was awakened by the noise of a cart, and saw three men whom he knew and named (but who were not to be found), who told him they had got four coombs of malt, and then drove off. Two witnesses were called to give character. The Jury immediately returned a verdict of Guilty, and Mr. Justice Gazelee ordered the prisoner to be transported for 14 years. This sentence was later mitigated to seven years.
COUNTY PRISONERS – BEFORE MR. JUSTICE GAZELLE
Mark Pilch, 51, was indicted for receiving 20 coombs of malt and a pocket of hops, the property of Charles Calver, of Tuddenham, well knowing them to have been stolen. After Mr. Andrews had opened the case, the following witnesses were examined:
Charles Calver – I am a maltster, and live in Tuddenham, 3 miles from Ipswich; I have a malting there, into which I went on Thursday last, and locked the door securely between 9 and 10 o’clock. There was a pocket of hops on the granary chamber, and a large heap of malt, which had been screened only once; malt is generally screened twice before it is sold. There were about 200 coombs of malt in the chamber. On Friday morning between 7 and 8, I went to the malting, and discovered a heap of malt before me, which had been removed during the night, and about 20 coombs appeared to have been taken away; a pocket of hops was also gone. There is a door on the granary, leading to the yard, which had been forced open in the course of the night, and through which the malt had been taken. There is a ditch dividing a neighbouring premise from mine; a hurdle had been put across it, and there appeared to have been people walking over it; across the pightle, there appeared to have been a deal of traffic into the next, and over a rail fence to the road, where I saw the track of two carts, and the horses had been baited from my own clover stack. In the meadow, I found about 2 coombs of malt shot down. Mr. Neeve, a neighbour, and myself observed that the track of the carts were in the direction towards Ipswich, by a back road, which joins the turnpike, near the Case is Altered, at Ipswich. Three or four yards of the track had been apparently scraped by a person’s foot, at the second turning of the direct road to Ipswich we went to an uninhabited house, near the Case is Altered, which belonged to Pilch, but could not get in. We then went to Mr. Beard, the constable at Ipswich, for assistance; I left him and went home, and returned again in the afternoon. Mr. Neeve, Beard and myself then went to look at the uninhabited house, and returned to the Halbert Inn, which is kept by Pilch; we saw Pilch; Neeve said to him, that he understood he owned a house on the Woodbridge Road, and that he suspected some stolen malt and hops were concealed there or near there; Pilch said, he had not the key, as he had let the house to a person named Gayner, at Woodbridge; Neeve said, we must look, and would be glad if he would go with us. Pilch said he was unwell, and not able to walk so far, but he could ride if I got him a cart; I did so, and he went with me to the house where Beard was waiting for us. I asked Pilch to open the door; he said he had not got the key, but pointed to a ladder that laid in the yard, saying it might be raised to a chamber window, and I might get in; I got in, and unbolted the door and let them in. In the second front room, we found my pocket of hops, which I knew to be mine by the marks on it. Witness produced a part of the pocket, with the marks on. Pilch said as soon as he saw it. “Ah! Damn it, here they are.” We looked in every room but found nothing else; Neeve then came up and helped me to put the pocket into the cart. I told Pilch he looked sadly, and that he had better go over the way to get something to drink, and if he waited a few moments to rest himself I would take him back to his own house; he did so, and got three pennyworths of gin and water, but before I missed him, he had walked off. Neeve took charge of the cart and hops, and Beard and I overtook Pilch, and went with him to the Halbert – this was between 5 and 6 o’clock. Beard told Pilch, that he desired to search his house; but Pilch said he not give his consent without a search warrant. We did not search that night as the time was too far gone to get a warrant. The next morning (Saturday) I met Beard at the Halbert at 8 o’clock; he had got a search warrant the night before. We went into the warehouse on Pilch’s premises, which stands in a yard, enclosed by walls, buildings, and a gate, and found 4 sacks of malt. We examined the malt in each sack and found that it had been screened only once. It was mine, it corresponded exactly, and there could be no difference because it was the same thing. Beard asked Pilch if it was his malt; he said no; I said, it is mine. The malt was left in charge with Hewison and Beard, and I went in and had some breakfast. Pilch said he would soon put this to right, by discovering the thief or thieves and clearing himself.
The prosecutor was cross-examined by Mr. Pendergast but did not vary his statement.
Joseph Beard corroborated the prosecutor’s testimony, and stated that there is a back door to Pilch’s house near the Case is Altered, and no person could have gone into the house by that door without seeing the hops; when he returned to the Halbert after the hops were found, he told Pilch he should search the house; Pilch said he should not without a warrant, he set Hewison to watch the premises all night. Cross-examined by Mr. Austin; Pilch said, that when he was before the Magistrates he would tell the names of the thieves, and he would warrant that he would set the business straight – when the witness was before the Magistrates, he mentioned the names. There are a good many carriers put up at the Halbert from all parts of the country and deposit their parcels in the place where the malt was found.
John Neeve, a farmer, of Tuddenham, also corroborated the prosecutor’s evidence.
William Fiske, keeper of the Bridewell, at Woodbridge, and Robert Barnes, sheriff’s officer, were called to prove, that there was no person of the name of Gayner living at Woodbridge.
Edward Ellenger stated, that he was a blacksmith living near the Case is Altered; saw Pilch on his premises near his house on Friday morning at about 11 o’clock; he was standing by the back door of the cottage, but whether it was open or shut witness did not know; Pilch was there so often that he did not take particular notice of him.
Thomas Hewison proved that he watched the gateway of the Halbert all Friday night, and nothing went in during that time. In cross-examination, he said, there was a back door which he could not see.
Elizabeth Skeet lived with Pilch as a servant; on Friday she went into the warehouse at nine o’clock at night; there were not any sacks there that she saw; on the next morning at about half-past 7 she went in again, and saw four sacks, which appeared to be full of something; they were afterwards taken away by Beard. Cross-examined: Did not see them on any other part of the premises before. All sorts of people go to the house; it is frequently the case for country people to go there and leave their goods; jobbers and all sorts of people go to the house and leave goods there for a fortnight, some that witness had never seen before. Re-examined: All sorts of times are left, corn of every description, birds of all sorts, game, chickens, and all sorts of things. By the Judge, sometimes the bundles are with names on them and sometimes without.
Lucy Beard, the wife of the constable, proved that the piece of sack produced was cut off the pocket delivered to her by Mr. Neeve and that samples were taken from the 4 sacks of malt delivered to her by her husband. The malt and hops were put into a spare room, the door of which was locked, and she kept the key.
The prosecutor produced the samples and declared them to correspond. Cross-examined – Mr. Pendergast: Now, Sir, tell the Jury how you know that malt to be yours? Prosecutor: Why I wrought it. I kiln-dried it. I screened it. I lost it, and I found it! (Laughter.)
Mr. Andrews: My Lord, this is the case on the part of the prosecution.
Mr. Pendergast humbly urged, that after taking all the facts of the case into consideration, his Lordship would be of the opinion, that there was not a case to go to the Jury, for it was a principle of the law that when property recently stolen was found in the possession of a party, and he could give no account as to how he came by it, that he should be considered as the thief, and he indicted for stealing. Now, looking at the evidence, it did not appear, that he had received it from another party, and, therefore, if indicted at all, it must have been for stealing.
His Lordship was saying that he should leave that point to the Jury to determine when Mr. Andrews requested, that an examination of the prisoner might be put in and read.
Mr. Pendergast objected as the prosecutor had closed his case.
His Lordship said it was his duty to look to the justice of the country.
Mr. Pendergast contended, that this was a new head of evidence brought forward for the purpose of meeting the defence of the prisoner.
His Lordship said the question for him to decide was, whether the case was closed. Now he was of the opinion, that the case never closes so long as the justice of the country requires it to be kept open.
Mr. Lawrence, clerk to the Magistrates deposed, that the examination was taken by him in writing, and read over to the prisoner who signed it. The examination, which was dated the 19th of March, was as follows: The prisoner is charged with having received 20 coombs of Malt and a pocket of Hops knowing them to have been stolen, declared, that he is as innocent as a child unborn. He had been unwell all the week, and on Friday morning at 4 o’clock he heard a cart go into his yard. Being unwell he could not go down in a moment as he all in a sweat, and therefore laid down a little while. He then dressed himself and went to see what it was and saw three men and a cart in the yard; he called out to the people, and said, who are you? One of them said they had 4 coombs of Malt which they would leave there. The prisoner said, what the devil do you do that for; you have no business here; I desire you take them away. Being thinly clad he was obliged to go indoors. He knew the men their names were -, -, -. As soon as he heard the cart go away, he went upstairs.
The prisoner said there was a mistake in the examination, instead of stating that the “man said he would leave four coombs” it should have been “he had got.”
The Learned Judge then called on the prisoner for his defence.
Prisoner: I seldom go into the yard, and never into the warehouse, which I leave to the ostler. My ostler has charge of the stables and lofts, and likewise the warehouse for all the parcels. I give him no wages and no board. He has what he can make in the yard. He keeps the keys to the warehouse and has the charge of the whole of it.
Joseph Beard recalled, said, he had made exertions to find the men named by the prisoner, but they were not to be found. He knew they were in Ipswich the night before he looked for them, and the greater part of the day.
Jeremiah Howgego, baker, of St. Margaret’s, said he had known the prisoner 17 to 18 years; he always found him an honest and industrious man and never heard anything to the contrary till the present time. He is doing a very good business in the public house.
Charles Tovell, of Ipswich, said, he had retired from trade four or five years; had known Pilch 12 or 14 years very well; and had never heard a word amiss of him.
His Lordship summed up at great length, and the Jury immediately returned a verdict of Guilty.
In passing sentence, the Learned Judge said, the prisoner had been convicted of a heinous offence, and he was very sorry to see a person of the description he appeared to have held in society in such a situation. As far as he was able to judge from the evidence, there did not appear to be any excuse for the offence. In his public house, he carried on a considerable degree of business, and therefore he could not plead poverty as a palliation to his crime. The facility with which his house was open to the approach of anybody, and the circumstance of property of all kinds being left till called for, afforded an opportunity for people to commit plunder. Taking all these circumstances into consideration, he thought he should not be discharging his duty to the public unless he sentenced him to the full punishment the law authorised him to inflict. – At that moment a young man, who was standing within the dock, exclaimed with great vehemence “Mercy, my father! My father!” and fell fainting into the arms of the turnkeys. His Lordship paused, and having desired the young man to be removed, proceeded to say, that it was with great pain to himself to pronounce the sentence, but the justice of the country required it at his hands. The sentence of the court, therefore, was, that he be transported for the term of 14 years. The prisoner who was much agitated, was then removed from the bar.
John Roper, the ostler, was called on to appear to give evidence, but not appearing, his recognisances were declared to be forfeited.
We understand that Pilch’s sentence has been mitigated to 7 years’ transportation. Suffolk Chronicle – Saturday, 26th March 1831
On Thursday, 8th April 1831, Mark Pilch was removed from the Bury St. Edmund’s County Gaol where he had been held, to be taken and put on the Leviathan Hulk, moored at Portsmouth. Seven other convicts were also removed from Bury, all sentenced to 7 years of transportation.
Whilst held in captivity aboard the Leviathan Hulk the gaoler reported that Mark’s character was of indifference and his conduct in gaol was good.
On the 31st May 1831, Mark Pilch departed from the Port of Portsmouth aboard His Majesty’s Convict Ship ‘William Glen Anderson’ to Van Diemen’s Land, Australia, via the Cape, with 165 other male convicts.
The ship arrived at Van Diemen’s Land on the 1st November 1831. All 166 survived the voyage and landed.
Mark Pilch is recorded on the Convict Records of Australia – convictrecords.com.au/convicts/pilch/mark/87329
In June 1831, 27 year old William Downes, a fruiterer, of St. Margaret’s, Ipswich had been found and on Saturday, 2nd July 1831 at the Midsummer Ipswich Quarter Sessions, was charged with having stolen, on the 17th March 1831, coombs of malt and a pocket of hops, the property of Mr. Charles Calver, of Tuddenham. The same witnesses were called to give evidence and to retell the timeline as they had during Mark Pilch’s trial. At the end of which William Downes called some of his own witnesses to prove an alibi, in this he failed; they, therefore, did the prisoner no service, or themselves any credit. It was also reported in the Court that William Downes had been punished for a misdemeanour (William Downes along with Owen MacQuillan were indicted for uttering base coin at the Inn, Laxfield, Suffolk. They were both sentenced in July 1829 to 6 months and Sureties). The Jury’s verdict was Guilty, and he was sentenced to seven years’ transportation. On the 16th August 1831, William was taken and put on the Convict Ship ‘Hardy,’ moored at Portsmouth. On the 15th March 1832, William departed from the Port of Portsmouth aboard His Majesty’s Convict Ship ‘Lady Harewood’ to New South Wales, Australia, with 200 other convicts (1 convict died on the voyage), and arrived at Sydney Cove on the 5th August 1832. He served Master Stonehouse as a labourer for 7 years and became Free by Servitude and obtained his Certificate of Freedom on the 13th July 1838. In November 1839, William married Mary Ann Vogell, still under Bond, and was granted permission from her Master, Mr. John Barnet, a grocer. William Downes died in July 1850, at Camperdown, Sydney. Suffolk Chronicle – Saturday, 9th July 1831
William Downes is recorded on the Convict Records of Australia – convictrecords.com.au/convicts/downes/william/119145
Mother: Mary Pilch (nee Pearson), born 1777, Woodbridge, Suffolk. Mary Pilch died 27th September 1860, at her residence of Aliwal Place, Ipswich. After her husband was sentenced to 7 years’ transportation, Mary continued as the Landlady of the Halbert Inn, at Northgate Street with the help of her sons James and Frederick.
MARY PILCH v the MAYOR of IPSWICH!
On Saturday, 30th April 1836, at 5 minutes past 10, a row was heard in the Halbert public house by Police Inspector Edmonds. Two girls came out and requested him to go in, as some men were fighting in the tap-room. The Landlady, Mrs. Pilch’s servant girl also came out and made the same request to the Inspector. As he went up to the door of the tap-room he saw Alfred Brown knock another man down, he immediately laid hold of Alfred. Alfred was not inclined to go to the station house, so the Inspector procured assistance to help. Alfred tried to wrench the Inspector’s staff out of his hand, so the Inspector struck him upon the arm to prevent him taking the staff. Alfred then kicked the Inspector a little above the ankle. He was taken to the station house where there were upwards of twenty persons present, including girls of a very low description.
On Monday, 2nd May 1836, at the Ipswich Police Court, Alfred Brown went before the Mayor of Ipswich, Benjamin Brame; J. Carter, Esq.; Frederick Francis Seekamp, Esq.; J. Ridley, Esq.; and S. Ray, Esq. The Magistrates fined Alfred Brown, a blacksmith 10s. and costs, and was allowed a fortnight to make the payment. One of the witnesses called by Mayor, Benjamin Brame was Frederick’s mother, Mary Pilch, the Landlady of the Halbert Inn. They had met in a Court before when Mary had been robbed in March 1836 when her money box had been broken open in her bed-chamber with the loss of two £5 notes, eight sovereigns and a half, 10s. in silver, and five bent sixpences. In the Police Court, Mary was again told quite clearly by Benjamin Brame that it was feared that she kept her public house in a disorderly state and not in the proper manner. That she allowed women of the worst description to sit in her bar! Mary was outraged and replied…..how dare you say that to me – and is there no other house besides mine that does wrong? The Mayor firmly told Mary that she must not talk in that manner and she must not permit such women to enter her house. Mary sharply told Mayor Brame that she had to pay rates and taxes, and when her house was open, can she help them coming in? That if a man came, and one of these women followed, was she supposed to not give them anything to drink? The Mayor answered that she had no business to admit such women into her house, under any pretence whatsoever. Mary asked….and was there any other house that did not? Aye, answered the Mayor, that is another matter. Mary Pilch questioned the Mayor asking wouldn’t he serve all people alike. Firmly the Mayor repeated to Mary that if she continued to admit such people into her house, the police will lay information, and after this, she, would be fined the full penalty. If she could not keep such people out, he suggested sending out to the Police Station for assistance. Don’t admit such people! Mary replied in a passionate impetuous manner to Mayor Brame what, I who keep a public house, am not to draw these girls a pint of beer? If such a girl came in and asked for a glass of beer, she SHALL have a glass of beer! The Mayor spoke to say that that is the tenor of her licence. Immediately Mary replied then she wished it was a tenor against them all!! Suffolk Chronicle – Saturday, 7th May 1836
James Mark Pilch, born 1808, Ipswich, baptised at the same service as his brother Frederick: 25th December 1818, at St. Margaret’s Church, Ipswich. In 1843, Ipswich, James married Sophia Danby. James Pilch died 30th June 1848, at the Halbred Inn, Northgate Street, Ipswich. Sophia Pilch died 10th June 1870, St. Peter’s, Ipswich. Laid to rest 13th June at Ipswich Old Cemetery, Section K-L.
William Pilch, born 1807. William Pilch died Thursday, 31st May 1826, Halbert Inn, Ipswich.
1841 Halbert Inn, Northgate Street, St. Mary at the Tower, Ipswich.
Frederick was 25 years old, a Publican. He was living with his mother and brother.
Mary, 60, a Publican.
James, 35, a Publican.
1851 Halbred Inn, Northgate Street, St. Mary at the Tower, Ipswich.
Frederick was 38 years old, a Railway Clerk. He was living with his mother.
Mary, 70, an Inn Keeper.
1 female general servant.
1861 Aliwah Place, 23, Tower Street, St. Mary at the Tower Ipswich.
Frederick was 48 years old, a Railway Clerk. He was head of the household.
1 female servant.
Emily Sawyer an 8 year old visitor.
Frederick Pilch died on Sunday, 2nd June 1867, at his residence, 23, Tower Street, Ipswich, after a long affliction of Diabetes and Exhaustion. Present at the death was Rachel Sawyer, of 23, Tower Street, Ipswich. Unable to read and write Rachel mark her name with an X.
Mr. George William Bales, a gunsmith, residing on the Cornhill was the only candidate nominated for the vacancy in the Westgate Ward, created by the death of Frederick.
VERDICT OF GUILTY
In July 1834, Frederick became the landlord of the Old Coffee House, in the parish of St. Mary Tower, Ipswich. It was Frederick’s responsibility to conduct his public house with order, decency, and propriety.
In September 1834, the licence of the Old Coffee House was due for renewal and Frederick needed a signed certificate. He took the certificate to the home of the Reverend Francis Cobbold, but Reverend Cobbold refused to sign. Frederick tried two to three times, but still, Reverend Cobbold declined, stating that the public house was not conducted in a proper manner. On the 4th September 1834, Frederick called once more at the home of Reverend Cobbold, who sent a message through his servant that he would not see Frederick as he was going out to dine. About 10 minutes later, the Reverend left his house, he saw Frederick on the left-hand side of Hatton Court but took no notice of him and proceeded to the door of his father-in-law’s house in Carr Street. When he arrived at the front door Pilch came across the road and once more offered him the certificate to sign. The Reverend refused to sign. Frederick in his frustration said “You shall not take my bread away for nothing,” and then he struck the Reverend Cobbold on the left side.
On Thursday, 30th October 1834, Frederick Pilch was before Mr. C.F. Williams, Esq., the Bailiffs and assistant Justices at the Ipswich Borough Sessions, he was indicted for having violently assaulted the Reverend Francis Cobbold, a beneficed clergyman and perpetual curate of St. Mary Tower Church. Frederick pleaded not guilty. He stated that he objected to having his case tried at the Court, it was essential that those who sat as Judges should have their minds free from bias, and he felt that the commanding influence of a rich and powerful family was arrayed against him. Frederick, therefore, wished to have his case removed for trial at the Bury St. Edmunds Assizes. This was refused. But Mr. John C. Cobbold, who was related to the Reverend Francis Cobbold got up and left the bench as the case possessed too delicate and high a principle to suffer himself to go beyond the line of his duty. The trial continued and occupied the Court for a considerable time and cause great interest. Frederick was unassisted by a legal advisor.
The Reverend Francis Cobbold told the Court that he declined to sign the certificate because Frederick Pilch’s Old Coffee House was a nuisance. He went on to describe the Violent Assault against his person how he had been struck on his left side and had felt the effects of the blow more than a week afterwards and had applied leeches to the part affected with pain.
Frederick handed the Court, a Certificate, signed by the two Church Wardens, the two Overseers, and 17 respectable Parishioners, praying that the Magistrates grant the licence. He adverted to the signatures that nineteen of which were by parties who were householders over £30 per annum, all voluntarily given.
The Recorder commented on the offence of striking a clergyman who was clothed with scared functions and entitled to respect by all. He alluded to the second assault of pulling the nose of the gentleman, which he said was peculiarly contemptible, and degrading to a man; for any gentleman would rather be kicked and receive a sound flagellation, than submit to the indignity of being pulled by the nose.
The Recorder did however wish to say to those gathered at the Court that he would do Frederick the justice to say that he had talent and acuteness, and he had seldom heard a man, who was totally out of the profession, put so many questions, with more pith and force than Frederick Pilch had done.
After some further remarks, the Learned Recorder concluded, and the Jury after consulting together for a few minutes returned a Verdict of Guilty. The Recorder addressed Frederick Pilch and sentenced him to be imprisoned for 1 month and pay a fine of 40s. to the King, and to be in prison until the fine was paid. Frederick was then removed into custody. Suffolk Chronicle – Saturday, 1st November 1834.
On Thursday, 24th August 1843, Frederick Pilch, John Parker and John Milbourn appeared before the Magistrates at the Ipswich Town Hall charged with disorderly conduct, and with having obstructed Sergeant Cole, in the execution of his duties. The Magistrates heard that on Tuesday, 22nd August 1843, at about one o’clock in the morning, Sergeant Cole was going on his rounds when he heard some shouting and whistling, and discordant noises from an assemblage of about 14 persons in Brook Street. Sergeant Cole was accompanied by Police Constables Kettle and Smith told the crowd to disperse and go home. John Parker refused to leave and squared up to Sergeant Cole, upon which he pushed John Parker off the pavement. Frederick Pilch came up and said to Sergeant Cole “It is a pity you do not know your duty.” To this Sergeant Cole replied, “If you let me alone, and do not interfere, I will endeavour to discharge my duty properly.” Frederick then spoke to the assembled crowd “Don’t mind what he says,” Sergeant Cole then warned Frederick “If you do not leave off, I shall take you to the Station House.” To this Frederick said, “It is a pity such a person as you are suffered to go about the streets; you have no business to interfere;” and then told John Parker not to go. This was enough for Sergeant Cole who without further parley took Frederick to the Station House, leaving Constables Kettle and Smith to deal with John Parker and the crowd.
Frederick was locked up in a cell but was afterwards bailed upon his own application. Before the Magistrates, Frederick was unassisted by a legal advisor as he cross-examined at great length Sergeant Cole and his witnesses, in the course of which Frederick elicited the fact that a fourth policeman named William Clarke, returning from his bent on the Belstead Road, was accompanied by a dog when requested by Sergeant Cole to assist with those assembled in Brook Street. Frederick submitted that it was improper for any Policeman to be on duty with a dog. He designated the dog as a most ferocious animal and requested that the dog be produced, and the Magistrates agreed. The Magistrates heard that Clarke had taken the dog for his personal protection on the Belstead Road which was often the nocturnal resort of desperate characters. The dog proved to be of the bull breed but was represented by Clarke to be “quiet as a lamb.” Frederick then pointed out to the Magistrates that the Police had contradicted themselves with their evidence and really if it was not for him turning up and his interference in Brook Street a serious collision would have taken place. Frederick then told the Magistrates his own version of events in Brook Street and also complained that when he had been taken to the Station House, Sergeant Cole shook a bunch of keys in his face, and said, “Take your choice of cell.” He submitted that he was entitled to an acquittal.
The Magistrates dismissed the case, giving a caution to the defendants to proceed quietly home through the streets at night, as many inhabitants had complained a great deal of the nocturnal noises and disturbances. As regard the dog, they believed no policeman should take such an animal with him on the beat, as, in case of attack, it was most probable that the animal would seize the assailant. A policeman might as well take a pistol in his pocket as a dog with him on his rounds. Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 26th August 1843
REFUGE FOR THE DESTITUTE OF IPSWICH
Frederick Pilch engaged himself in the laudable endeavour to establish a refuge for the destitute in the town of Ipswich.
In December 1846, a middle-aged man named Thomas West went up to the shop of Mrs. Collett, a baker, of Carr Street, Ipswich and deliberately broke a window of her shop with his stick, he seized a loaf of bread, and commenced eating it on the spot. He was secured and taken into custody by the Police. Later that evening he was brought before the Mayor and ordered to pay 2s. 0d., which with cost, 7s. 6d. Frederick Pilch generously paid the 7s. 6d. and also gave Thomas West 5s. to help relieve his necessities.
AN ABUNDANT PURE SUPPLY OF WATER FOR IPSWICH
In November 1853, Frederick Pilch wrote a letter to the Editor of the Suffolk Chronicle. He was pleased that the best mode of procuring a pure, bountiful, and cheap supply of water to every house in Ipswich, was now deservedly occupying the attention of the Ipswich inhabitants. He approved of a form of a public company as the most effective remedy for the present deficient supply. He wrote of the town of Norwich, where in the hands of a company, and after a great expense, Norwich now always had a bountiful supply of excellent water at a reasonable rate.
Frederick went on to write that the shareholders should receive a fair rate of interest for their money and that the Corporation should consent to the insertion of a cause foregoing all claim to any revenue until after the shareholders have received five per cent of the capital expended.
He believed that should the Corporation never derive one shilling in the shape of rental, the public would be satisfied if it was the means of obtaining for them a pure and abundant supply of this necessary of life at an economical charge.
Frederick’s P.S. was a warning that if the filthy stream, the Gipping, was ever used to increase the supply of water for Ipswich and had not first had the assistance of filtering ponds, the first epidemic that prevailed in the town, the people would no longer trust the water to drink. Suffolk Chronicle – Saturday, 26th November 1853
In the summer of 1855, garden robberies became somewhat numerous in Ipswich and the surrounding neighbourhood. At the beginning of July 1855, Frederick’s own laid-out parterre at Aliwal Place became a victim of the midnight marauders, who, in despoiling the garden of its choicest productions, also stole the flowerpots in which they were growing. Frederick offered a reward for the discovery of the delinquents. Suffolk Chronicle – Saturday, 7th July 1855
ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY
Frederick Pilch was a member of the Ipswich Horticultural Society. In July 1860, the Society hosted its second show of the year at Christchurch Park, Ipswich. Frederick was awarded 1st prize for a dish of black cherries and 3rd prize for 20 gooseberries judged on weight.
MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS – 1st November 1861
It was anticipated that in the Bridge Ward Mr. Edward Rush Turner (Conservative) and Mr. Joshua Farrar Ranson (Liberal) would walk over the course. But opposing Mr. Joshua Ranson was Mr. Frederick Pilch.
Frederick Pilch had no interest to serve, or any ambition to gratify, but he had a slight objection to paying double the amount of rates! If it was the pleasure of the voting people of Ipswich to elect him, he would endeavour, to the best of his ability and honesty to discharge the duties of the office and to promote the strictest economy, consistent with the government of the town. He felt it just to remember that there are needy ratepayers, to whom every shilling is an object and had always felt if you give an industrious man justice, he will not ask for charity. Frederick issued an address to the voters:
“A number of electors, dissatisfied with the present extravagant system of management of the affairs of the Corporation, having nominated me as a candidate for the office of Town Councillor for your ward, I will state my opinions in order that you may judge if they correspond with your own.
Frederick would not engage either in an agent, committee, or committee room, nor shall expend one shilling, but trust all to the spirit of the electors.
The result of the election turned out what was most unexpected by everyone and as the day wore on the excitement increased. By four o’clock St. Peter’s Street was quite blocked up by a crowd of ‘Pilchites’, who, when the Mayor of Ipswich, Ebenezer Goddard appeared to close the poll, greeted his Worship with groans, which were repeated on Mr. Joshua Ranson’s appearing. The Mayor declared the poll closed and the proceedings were adjourned to the Town Hall, where the numbers were added up by Assessors. The votes recorded were:
Turner – 440
Pilch – 253
Ranson – 201.
A majority of 52 for Frederick Pilch.
The Town Clerk then asked if anyone had any objections to make. Mr. George Mason protested against the return of Frederick Pilch and desired the returning officer to return Mr. Joshua Ranson. He did not dispute the number of votes, but that he was not duly qualified – he must be rated on an assessment of £30, or be worth £1,000 over and above all his just and lawful debts. Mr. George Green Sampson, the Alderman of the Ward, asked what was the ground of the objection. There must be something definite to go upon. George Mason repeated that Frederick was not duly qualified. Mr. Sampson then declared Mr. Edward Rush Turner and Mr. Frederick Pilch duly elected. Suffolk Chronicle – Saturday, 2nd November 1861
In November 1864, at the expiration of his term of three years, Frederick contested in three wards to become a Councillor once again. He issued an address, emphasized by large black letters, italics, and other tricks of the art by which the printer catches the eye. He magnanimously declared he should not engage either agent, Committee, or Committee room, nor should he expend one shilling but trust all to the spirit of the electors. Frederick Pilch did not gain enough votes in any of the three wards. Frederick was no longer a member of the Council.
In November 1865, the ubiquitous Frederick was nominated in all five wards. He won a seat as one of the representatives of the Westgate Ward. During the first Town Council meeting Frederick was appointed a member of the Gaol Committee and the Race Committee.
As a Councillor Frederick Pilch read every report in its entirety, calculated every sum, and questioned anything and everything. If he believed no other town in England would permit such a thing, then why should Ipswich?
Frederick was meticulous and comprehensive, he gathered relevant evidence and knowledge so he would thoroughly understand every Act, and every ruling in-depth and he could, if called upon back his findings. Arriving at Council meetings and committees he was ready! He strongly felt that in some matters no one would act in this manner in private matters, why should they be in public? He looked upon many things as monstrous acts of injustice, and he would protest.
Frederick would be polite and formal as he disagreed with a councillor. He was argumentative, quarrelsome, and antagonistic when he found the Town Council to be purposeless and directionless. He interrupted fellow councillors, disagreeing, opposing, and dissenting. He would be jeered and heckled and asked politely to be seated and if this did not stop Frederick he would then be strongly asked to be seated. At the same time, he did support ideas from fellow councillors and sometimes supported the adoption of reports. When praise was due Frederick praised and thanked fellow councillors for their time and trouble and devotion to matters.
BROWN BREAD IS A GRATUITOUS ACT OF CRUELTY
In January 1866, Frederick attended a meeting of the Gaol Committee. During the meeting, Dr. Hammond, the Surgeon to the gaol had expressed his opinion that brown bread was better for the prisoners than white bread and gave the Gaol Committee his reasons for recommending its adoption. Dr. Hammond at the same time said he would take into consideration the health of the prisoners, and if he saw, in any individual case, that white bread would be better he would order it.
At a quarterly meeting of the Ipswich Town Council on Wednesday, 31st January 1866, held at the Crown Court, County Hall with the Mayor of Ipswich Ebenezer Goddard in the chair, Frederick rose and with reference to the new bill for brown bread to be regrettably supplied to the prisoners at the Gaol. Frederick asked the question WHY? Why was a better class of bread not supplied to the prisoners; he wondered how the Magistrates allowed brown bread – it was a gratuitous act of cruelty!
Mr. Henry Ebenezer Tunmer explained to the Council meeting Dr. Hammond’s opinion and the reasons for recommending brown bread. The Mayor said as to the assumed act of cruelty on the part of the Magistrates, he hoped Henry Tumner’s explanation would satisfy every other person if it did not satisfy Mr. Pilch! Alderman Thomas D’Eye Burroughes rose to say that the prisoners had not complained.
Frederick with the last word said that white bread was given in the County Gaol. The diet was very limited in the gaol, and he did not envy the feelings of any man who would order a man to be on that diet with brown bread for two to three months. Suffolk Chronicle – Saturday 3rd February 1866.
COMPELLING ONE MAN TO SUPPORT ANOTHER MAN’S PRIEST
In February 1867, Messrs. H Miller and Frederick Fish and representatives of the parishioners of St. Lawrence Church, Ipswich, asked for a Council rate of 4d. in the pound to raise £60 towards the minister’s stipend. Frederick rose to tell the Council that he felt there was something so obnoxious in compelling one man to support another man’s priest and that it was high time these rates (passed in the 13th year of the reign of Elizabeth) were ceased. He considered it alike injurious to the Churchman, in that it compelled him to pay to a rate which his conscience abhorred. They were living in 1867, and in this enlightened age, he was sorry to find that there were gentlemen who could go before that council and ask for powers to tax the consciences of their fellow creatures. They all knew this was a sensational age, and it was a monstrous act of injustice to call upon dissenters to contribute to that which in their consciences they objected to. He asked for the Council to act upon the great principles of equal justice and to refuse this rate and show by so doing that they could respect the conscientious scruples of every dissenter. The motion was then put and carried with three dissentients. Suffolk Chronicle – Saturday, 2nd February 1867
Editor’s note – May 2023:
It is very noticeable looking through the newspapers published after the death of Frederick Pilch in June 1867, that there was no published obituary on his life. Not even a few lines. At the next Council meeting after his death, held on Wednesday, 12th June 1867, and at the Crown Court, Ipswich, Frederick was never mentioned.
Images of Mayors courtesy of Mr. A. Gilbert – Ipswich Borough Council.
www.ancestry.co.uk for census returns, births, marriages, deaths, probates, military records and other historical online records.
Members of the Council – in and since 1835 – Mr. B.P. Grimsey – July 1892.