Men Who Captured Rebeccaite Suspects Examined

The Welshman for published the depositions given on concerning the prisoners captured during the Rebeccaite action at the Pontardulais gate:

Charles Frederick Napier examined: In consequence of information I received, I proceeded, accompanied by Superintendent Peake, two serjeants, and four police constables to Pontardulais. We arrived there a little before . Just before we entered the village I heard a noise as if of a body of men on the other side of the river which separates the two counties. I also heard horns blowing and a great many guns fired off. I also heard a voice like that of a woman call out — “come, come, come,” and a voice like the mewing of cats. Those sounds appeared to me to proceed from the direction of the Red Lion Inn, which is at a short distance from the Pontardulais turnpike gate. Immediately after this I heard a voice call out aloud — “gate,” and in a very short space of time afterwards I heard a noise as if the gate was being destroyed. I then proceeded with my officers and men towards the gate, and on coming in full view of the gate, I observed a number of men mounted on horseback and disguised. Some had white dresses over them; others had bonnets on. Most of them appeared to be dressed like women, with their faces blackened. A portion of the men were dismounted, and in the act of destroying the gate and the toll-house. About three of the number, who appeared to take the lead, were mounted having their horses’ heads facing the gate with their backs towards me. At this time there was a continued firing of guns kept up by the parties assembled. I immediately called to my men to fall in, and proceeded towards the parties who were on horseback, and who appeared to be taking the lead, and called upon them as loud as I possibly could to stop. I used the word “stop” three or four times. Upon coming up to them, one of the mounted men, who was disguised as a woman, turned round and fired a pistol at me. I was close to him at the time. I moved on a few paces and a volley was then fired by the parties assembled in the direction of myself and of my men. I should say the volley was fired at us; this was my impression at the time. I then endeavoured to take the parties — the three mounted in particular — into custody; and myself and the men met with considerable resistance from them and other parties. The three men on horseback rode at us as if they intended to ride us down and get us out of the way. The three prisoners, John Hughes, David Jones, and John Hugh, were amongst the parties assembled on this occasion and were taken into custody, after very considerable resistance on the part of John Hughes, and David Jones. When taken into custody John Hugh was dressed in what appeared to me to be a gown and a bonnet, having something stuck in it, which then had the appearance of a feather, and his face was blackened. The other two prisoners were dressed in white. I had seen the prisoner, David Jones, with a stout stick in his hands, with which I saw him aim a blow at Lewis Llewelyn Dillwyn, Esq., a magistrate who had accompanied us; but whether the blow took effect or not, I cannot state. After the pistol had been fired at me, and the volley in the direction of myself and my men, I discharged a pistol at, and shot the horse, upon which the man was mounted who had fired his pistol at me; and my men returned the fire of the parties, and a general skirmish then took place, in which a number of shots were fired on both sides, but in a short space of time the rioters dispersed. Three of the horses ridden that night, by some of the parties assembled, were detained, and are now in my custody. After the parties had dispersed, I found that the turnpike gate, with the exception of the posts, had been broken down and destroyed. The gate-house was gutted; the windows, win[dow] frames, and door driven in, and a portion of the wall of the house pulled down. I found the marks of small shot on the sash of one of the windows of the toll-house. I also found on the ground, near the toll-house, amongst the ruins of the gate, two sledge hammers, two crow bars, a pick axe, and a number of sticks, which I directed my men to take possession of.

Cross-examined by John Hughes: To the best of my belief the prisoner, John Hughes, is the person who fired at me. I believe him to be the man who took the most active part from the commencement of the affray, from his dress, and the appearance of his figure altogether. There was but one man completely covered with white that I saw, and that one was the prisoner John Hughes, to the best of my belief. To the best of my belief the prisoner, John Hughes, is one of the three persons who rode at us.

Cross-examined by David Jones: The prisoner, David Jones, had on what appeared to me to be a white smock frock. I did not observe his head-dress. I saw him very violently resisting Mr. Lewis Dillwyn, the magistrate, and the police officers. He was struck several times on the head before he was taken.

Cross-examined by John Hugh; I did not see the prisoner, John Hugh, do any thing.

The examination of William Jenkins, of the parish of Oystermouth, in the county of Glamorgan, taken upon oath , before, us six of her Majesty’s justices of the peace acting in and for the said county, in the presence and hearing of John Hugh, David Jones, and John Hughes, who saith:— On , I accompanied Captain Napier and others of the police force to Pontardulais. We halted within a field of the turnpike gate, and in about a quarter of an hour I heard horns blowing, and trumpets playing and all sorts of noises, and the sound of a great many horses coming over the road. They halted opposite to the Red Lion Inn, where they fired a volley, and then advanced towards the gate. I then heard a noise as if the gate was being broken down, and the sound of fire-arms. We then advanced towards the gate, and when we arrived there the magistrates and Captain Napier called out “Hold, hold,” Some persons in the crowd then called out “Fire away,” when John Hughes, who was on the Swansea side of the turnpike gate, and who was on horseback, fired off a gun towards us, and others of the party then fired a volley. The flashes were in the direction towards us. We were then ordered to fire, and we fired two rounds at them. The prisoners David Jones and John Hugh were apprehended between the turnpike gate and Pontardulais bridge. The prisoner John Hugh was delivered over to me, and he wished me to let him go, stating that we had done plenty to them already.

Cross-examined by the prisoner John Hughes: The prisoner John Hughes fired with a gun. We were in the field where I first heard them coming, about a hundred yards distant from the gate. I never saw him before, to the best of my knowledge, before that night. I saw him shoot towards us. I know it was him, because I never lost sight of him until I left him with Captain Napier. I did not apprehend either of the prisoners. I was on the bridge when the prisoner John Hugh was delivered into my charge. I cannot say who apprehended John Hughes. I cannot say whether there was any other person dressed in white or not. They were dressed in all colours. I cannot say whether he was on horseback or on foot when he fled. He was horseback when he fired. I never lost sight of the prisoner John Hughes, from the time he fired until I left him in the crowd struggling with Captain Napier. In about five minutes afterwards I saw him in custody on the Carmarthenshire side of the bridge. Soon after the prisoner John Hughes fired his gun, his horse sprung round twice or thrice, and the prisoner got off, but whether he was pulled off or not, I cannot state. This was about a yard from the gate, on the Glamorganshire side. He came to the ground on his feet. I did not see the prisoner John Hughes strike Captain Napier at all. I saw them scuffling together. I did not see Captain Napier strike the prisoner John Hughes. I do not know who was next to John Hughes when he came off the horse. It was in the county of Glamorgan that I saw the prisoner and Captain Napier struggling together.

Cross-examined by David Jones: I do not recollect having seen him at all until he was in custody.

Cross-examined by John Hugh; I cannot say that I saw anything in his hand.

The examination of Henry James Peake, of the town of Neath, in the said county, taken on oath, , before us, six of her Majesty’s justices of the peace, acting in and for the said county, in the presence and hearing of John Hugh, David Jones, and John Hughes, who saith:– I am superintendent of police of the Swansea districts, in the said county. On , I accompanied Capt. Napier, the chief constable of the said county, to Pontardulais, in the said county. We arrived in the neighbourhood of Pontardulais . Shortly before we arrived at Pontardulais, I several times heard the sound of fire arms and horns blowing. When we got to the field in the immediate neighbourhood of Pontardulais, we heard shouting and the sound of firearms, which appeared to me to proceed from the direction of Pontardulais inn. Soon after this I heard a noise as if the turnpike-gate was being broken down. Shortly afterwards Captain Napier and the magistrates told me it was time for us to go there, and Capt. Napier gave us orders to keep together, and when within a short distance of the gate, I heard some person call out to them to stop firing, but who it was I don’t know. Immediately upon this three or four of them rode to us, and a volley was discharged. The policemen and myself then fired, and a regular scramble then ensued. I was close by when the prisoner David Jones was taken, and I believe I wounded him on his head on the bridge. On a white dress and two powder flasks, each being about half full of gunpowder, a large flannel sheet, a red handkerchief, and some letters and papers, two sledge hammers, two small hammers, a pickaxe, two crowbars, one gun, a plaid cloak, two canvass sheets, a coat with the sleeves turned inside out, two straw hats, a black hat with a piece of white cloth tied round it, another hat, an old flannel apron, a shirt and some other articles were delivered to me by Thomas Jones and other police officers, who were present at the affray at Pontardulais, the whole of which articles are now in my possession.

Cross-examined by the prisoner John Hughes. One of the policeman also delivered to me written paper, containing five shillings, which I delivered to Captain Napier this morning.

Cross-examined by the prisoner David Jones: I did not see the prisoner David Jones raise a staff to strike Mr. Dillwyn. I did not see a staff in his hand. I did not see him doing anything about the gate.

Cross-examined by the prisoner John Hugh: I did not see the prisoner John Hugh do any thing about the gate. I did not see anything in his hand.

Re-examined: When I first got near to the toll-gate, there were from one hundred to one hundred and fifty persons assembled there, most of whom were on horseback. It was a moonlight night. As we were proceeding on our way to Pontardulais, about two hours before we arrived there, I saw a rocket explode in the air, and heard guns firing and the sound of horns. When we got near to Pontardulais, I saw another rocket explode in the air.

The Cambrian notes that the press had been refused admittance to this examination. It adds these details:

We saw the prisoners previous to their entering the room in which they were examined. The two wounded men, John Hughes and David Jones, appeared to be in good health, although the arm of the former had been severely shattered. The other prisoner, John Hugh, appeared dressed in an old flannel gown, with a kind of straw bonnet on his head, as he was when first apprehended.