Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Crime and punishment
More about...
Salmon poaching on the Wye  

As trouble built up in the area, the police became more concerned. The house of a water bailiff in Rhayader was attacked by a mob who threw stones at his windows.
The police were determined to catch the poachers but they had difficulty, as this report shows. It is the report of the Chief Constable to the Justices, and it tells of the police attempts to catch the poachers one dark night in 1880...

  Chief constable's report.

The extract reads:
"I beg further to report that on the 7th January last at 7.30pm the Rhayader Police saw about 24 men (believed to be disguised) in the river Wye near to the town with lights and spears, the officers endeavoured to place themselves in a position to meet them but before they could do so the lights were extinguished and the poachers had disappeared".

Drawing of salmon and noteExtra men were sent the next night but the police found nothing except a salmon pinned by poachers to the Market Hall with a note attached.
It read "Where were the river watchers when I was killed?
Where were the police when I was hung here?"

The poaching got worse and the poachers more daring. When a policeman was stabbed by the poachers things became more serious, and the nervous policemen were issued with cutlasses like the one to the right. But gradually the disturbances died out and things returned to normal.
Back to Rhayader crime menu

Police cutlass
Link to sources
Back to top
Go to Rhayader menu