The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.


In 1844 Robert Appleby, 19, of Clophill and William Peat, 19, of Maulden were charged with cutting and destroying fruit trees and shrubs and given 14 Years and 7 Years transportation respectively.

At the 1844 Easter Quarter Sessions Robert Appleby and William Peat were charged with having maliciously cut, damaged and destroyed a quantity of trees in the grounds of Capt. Moore's house in Hall End, Maulden. Capt. Moore was away in the Royal Navy and the property was looked after by Francis Read who found the damage to a range of trees and bushes in the garden. The accused had been to the Flying Horse and later Constable Vincent Dogget found them at the Compasses. They had knives on them and a freshly cut stick.

The pattern of their shoes matched footprints found in Capt. Moore's garden. With this evidence they were found guilty. Unfortunately for Robert Appleby, he had been in trouble twice before, once when Capt. Moore was the Justice of the Peace.

Why such severe punishments were proscribed is hard to understand. Robert Appleby was sent to Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania) on the vessel "William Jardine". It is not known if he returned after he had served his time there.

Ten months later William Peat set sail for Van Dieman's Land on the "Marion" but died on the voyage on the 13 September 1845.

The punishments administered may seem extreme but, as there was no effective police force whose presence may have deterred criminals, it was hoped that the punishment would.

More information can be found on the Bedford & Luton Archives & Record Office under Garden Paths to Crime

There is a report in the Bucks Herald 2nd April March 1844, which gives further details.