Taylor Verses Hammer.
Noak Hill. Farmer Charged with Unlawful Shooting
Romford Times October 1921
At Romford Petty Sessions on Thursday, before Henry Joslin, Esq (chairman),
and other Justices.
Ernest Hammer 46 a farmer from 'Pentowan,' Noak Hill, was charged on a
warrant with unlawful, maliciously, and feloniously shooting at Oakley
Turner, a farm labourer, of Tanhouse Lane, Navestock, with intent to do
him grievous bodily harm, at Noak Hill, on October 5th.
Mr. L. G. Peake said he appeared on behalf of the defendant, who was arrested
that morning, and there had not been time to go into the facts, he asked
for an adjournment for a week.
The prosecutor, who is very deaf, was called into the witness box. The
Chairman: It seems desirable to adjourn this case for a week; you don't
raise any objections to that, do you. Prosecutor: No sir I think it would
be nice for the police to visit the spot; Supt, Hewlett: From the police
point of view I am very anxious that there should be an adjournment. We
have not had time to do anything in the case.
Mr. Peake said his application was that the defendant might be admitted
The Chairman: It looks to be a serious case. Mr. Peake: Defendant is a
dairy farmer at Noak Hill and has been there eight years. Defendant: My
own place-freehold: The Assistant Clerk (Mr. Jones) was giving the Bench
privately some particulars of the alleged circumstances of the case; When
Mr. Peake said he did not wish the Bench to hear anything of it until
they could also hear the defence. He was going to tell them that the prosecutor
was supposed to have attacked the defendant with a knife. The chairman:
It seems a serious case. Mr. Peake: I agree that it is serious that you
let the defendant out on bail on his own recognisance. Mr. J. Z. Cahill,
J.P. We must hear something about the case. Supt. Hewlett: I think you
should hear of the case of arrest. Mr. Cahill: I should think so too.
Sergeant Hyde said that on Wednesday he issued a warrant for the defendant's
arrest. At 8.30 a. m. on Thursday he went to Noak Hill in company with
detective Bedall. He saw the defendant and told him he was a police
officer. He read the warrant to the defendant and cautioned him "Yes"
the defendant said"after he he had threatened to stab me with a knife.
There are two sides to this; my solicitors will deal with it. I wonder
there was not someone shot. We were all on the ground struggling together.
He got hold of the gun, which was loaded." The Chairman said the
case would be adjourned for a week.
Mr. Peake said that that Bench had had before them the evidence of arrest
and had agreed to a deferment for a week in order to give the police and
the defendant an opportunity to have the facts before them. He applied
for bail for the defendant, who had been at Noak Hill for eight years.
Defendant carried on business as a diary farmer, and was a substantial
man. The police had no objections to bail, and sureties could be found
provided the bail fixed was reasonable.
Defendant was admitted to bail himself in £50 and one surety in
£50. Mr. J. R. H. Chippington, school teacher, of Noak Hill, became
The Romford Times Wednesday October 19 1921. Farm Shooting
At Romford Petty Sessions on Thursday before Sir Joseph Broodbank and
other Justices, Ernest Hammer, 46, a farmer of 'Pentowan' Noak Hill, was
charged on a warrant, on remand, with shooting at Oakley Turner, a farm
labourer, of Tanhouse Lane, Navestock, with intent to do him grievous
bodily harm, at Noak Hill on October 5th.
Ernest Hammer, the defendant in the last case, and Alfred Berthon Luffman1,
a farmer's assistant, of 'Pentowan', Noak Hill, were summoned for assaulting
Oakley Turner, at Noak Hill on October 5th; and there were cross-summonses
against Turner for assaulting, Hammer and Luffman on the same occasion.
Mr. F. A. S. Stern prosecuted, and Mr. L. G. Peake defended.
Mr. Stern said that since the last sitting, summonses had been taken out
by Turner against Hammer and his assistant Luffman, for assault, and Hammer
and Luffman had taken out summonses against Turner. He proposed to make
just a short statement of the facts, so that the Bench might be in possession
of all the circumstances, and he would then ask them, if they thought
right and proper, to take a certain course. Turner was in the employ of
Mr. Taylor a farmer of Poplars Farm, Noak Hill. Hammer, or rather his
wife, had recently purchased the adjoining farm, known as 'Pentowan'.
Between the two farms there was a meadow, which was at present in the
tenancy of Mr. Taylor but which had been purchased by Mrs. Hammer and
of which Mr. Hammer was anxious to get possession. Notice had been served
to terminate the tenancy next November. There had naturally been a tense
feeling, Mr. Hammer being anxious to get possession, and Mr. Taylor being
anxious to retain it until the end of the legal time. Certain acts of
trespass had been committed and as a result Turner was instructed by Mr.
Taylor to turn trespassers off the meadow.
About 7.30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 5th, Turner was in the meadow and
saw Mr Hammer there with a gun. Turner was very deaf and therefore the
conversation must have been held in loud tones, but he was instructed
that Turner went to Hammer and said " You have no right in this field,
and you must get off. Hammer said, "I am going to stop as long as
I like" Turner said he would fetch Mr. Taylor, Hammer said "You
fetch him, you can do what you like." Turner turned away, and he
said that Hammer followed him and with the gun struck him in two or three
places. His wrist was bruised, his hand was hurt, and he had injuries
about his head. Turner was going away, and he alleged that Hammer, from
a distance of two or three yards, fired off one barrel of the gun. One
could hardly imagine that Hammer intended to shoot the man, because at
a distance of two or three yards, it would be almost impossible to miss
him. Whether he only intended to frighten Turner, or whether there was
a struggle and the gun went off could only be conjectured. The fact remained
that Turner closed with Hammer. There was a struggle and they fell to
the ground. Luffman ran up having heard the shot and seeing men struggling
he did what in his (Mr. Sterns) opinion was an improper action. Without
inquiring what was the matter he struck Turner on the
face with a stick, and drew blood. Luffman and Hammer struggled with Turner,
but Turner eventually got away and went to Romford Police Station. The
matter was considered to be serious and a warrant for Hammer's arrest
Hammer was arrested next morning and he said "Yes, after he had threatened
to stab me with a knife. There are two sides to this; my solicitors will
deal with it. I wonder there was not someone shot. We were all struggling
together. He got hold of the gun, which was loaded." It seemed to
him (Mr. Stern) that Hammer's suggestion was that Turner threatened him
with a knife, that there was a struggle, and that the gun went off accidentally.
Turner denied most positively that he ever produced a knife or in any
way threatened Hammer. The position was that Mr. Taylor would hold possession
for another twelve months; Taylor and Hammer were neighbours; and it was
not desired, especially in these times of stress and trouble, that there
should be any quarrels, they wanted to live, if they could, on terms of
peace and quietness. Having regard to the fact that Turner had not been
seriously hurt, he suggested to the Bench that, as cross-summonses had
been issued, all the parties should be bound over to keep the peace for
twelve months by which time tenancy of the field would have expired. He
understood that Mr. Peake would agree to that course, and that Mr. Hammer
would give an understanding not to trespass on the meadow. It seemed to
him that the course he suggested would be a very desirable one, as it
would have the effect of keeping the parties at peace during the remainder
of the tenancy.
Turner was called and asked whether he was agreeable to the suggested
Turner: I should like some protection. The Clerk (Mr. F. J. Hunt): It
is suggested that Hammer and Luffman should be bound over to keep the
peace towards you for twelve months. Turner: I should have some protection
from that gun.
Mr. Peake said that he did not wish to say anything that would aggravate
the position, but in fairness to Mr. Hammer the story he would have told
if the case had proceeded would flatly contradict the statement made by
Mr. Stern. His case was that Turner proceeded to turn him out of the meadow,
and did it very roughly, and there was a quarrel between them. He was
willing that the Bench should bind the parties over. He thought
the suggestion that had been made was the best one possible, and would
tend to make the parties better neighbours.
The Clerk: Will you give the undertaking? Mr. Peake: We won't trespass
on Mr. Taylor's land during the tenancy.
The Chairman: The Bench are glad to the proposed solution and they hope
this treaty of peace will be kept.
The cases were withdrawn, the parties being bound over in £20 each
to keep the peace for twelve months. They all shook hands and left the
Note 1. In the course of his research Don Tait discovered that Alfred Luffman was not simply a farmer's assistant but he was in fact a future son-in-law of Ernest Hammer, marrying his daughter Vera Edith Hammer in 1924. Don also considers that the correct spelling of Alfred Berthon
Luffman's middle name is as given. There are various recorded spellings across numerous documents.
My thanks go to Ernie Herbert for tracking down the above story and transcribing
it from the original newspaper report which was almost indecipherable.
Route 174 ran between Dagenham (Kent Avenue) and Romford (Parkside
Hotel) via Rush Green in 1950, and was extended in October of that year
to Harold Hill (Myrtle Road) via Gallows Corner, replacing withdrawn route
86B. In February 1952 it was further extended in Harold Hill from Myrtle
Road to Gooshays Drive. It was extended in 1955 to Noak Hill. In November
1955 an express service was introduced during Monday to Friday peak hours
and Saturday shopping hours, running between Romford Station and Harold
Hill (Gooshays Drive). In 1957 the Saturday express service was withdrawn,
but the peak hour express journeys remained unchanged for the next two
decades. From January 1958, some Monday to Friday peak journeys were extended
in Dagenham to Fords Foundry, and in August the same year, Monday
to Saturday journeys continued to Noak Hill, Pentowan, and in November,
the Fords journeys became daily. In April 1974, the Pentowan journeys
became schooltime only. The express service was withdrawn on 23 July 1977.
In May 1980 the 174 was diverted via Oldchurch Hospital and the Pentowan
journeys were withdrawn. In June 1986, a Saturday express service was
reintroduced and weekend journeys to Fords Foundry on the 174 withdrawn.
The 174 was rerouted northbound in Romford to serve the Bus Station during
February 1987. On 5th April 1988, Monday to Friday peak journeys were
introduced to Dagenham Dock. The express service was yet again withdrawn
on 1 September 1990. Todays route 174 runs between Noak Hill (Tees
Drive) and Dagenham (Kent Avenue) via Whitchurch Road, Harold Hill, Hilldene
Avenue, Gallows Corner, Romford, Oldchurch Hospital, Oxlow Lane and Dagenham
Heathway, extended to Dagenham (Marsh Way CEME) on Mondays to Saturdays.
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