Haslingfield in the News: A Case of Slander, 1904

I’ve started to transcribe news items relating to the village between 1901 and 1945, with a view to publishing a follow-up to ‘The Haslingfield Chronicle’ later this year. In the meantime I will try to find stories occurring in each of the months of the year.   Read More below.

January’s is a case of slander involving a local landlord, William Wisbey, in 1904. In Spring 1903 a local labourer, Joseph Tabraham, had been charged and acquitted of the rape of a local girl, Eleanor Jane Patman. The case was the talk of the whole village, and words were spoken in Wisbey’s pub that were reported to Tabraham. Tabraham brought a case of slander against Wisbey.

The trial was heard at Cambridgeshire Assizes in January 1904. Tabraham claimed that Wisbey had committed slander by implying that he had committed the rape, despite his acquittal in 1903. Wisbey claimed only to be reporting to Tabraham what had been said in his pub, and offering Tabraham the opportunity to refute the claims that had been made. The jury found for Wisbey, and granted him costs.

Comments (2)

  • Graham


    A fascinating story, thank you. I am related to the WISBEY’s of Haslingfield so would be interested to know if you could give any further identification to “William WISBEY”? I know of Walter William WISBEY but in the 1901 and 1911 he is a builder/undertaker.


  • Melissa


    These transcriptions of news items are fascinating. I’m enjoying imagining the village in past times. The details of names and places make it so vivid, especially Wisbey’s pub in this one, since it gives a dimension/context to ‘Wisbey’s Yard’. I will be curious to go back through the website and read more.


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