Mrs Elizabeth Williams
A story of civil unrest in Bethesda, 1901
Mrs Elizabeth Williams appeared in court alongside 7 men,
charged with “Obstruction” and “Persistent Following”
The defendants were represented by Mr William George, Bethesda. The Quarry Management were represented by Mr Hugh Vincent of Messrs Carter Vincent and Co.
Mr Hugh Vincent, prosecutor for the Quarry Management observed that it might be considered a harsh step on his part to proceed against a woman in this case. All he could say was that he had done it deliberately, because the women of Bethesda were the worst offenders in this sort of thing.
Sgt Owen of Bethesda gave evidence that on 30th May 1901 hundreds of people had gathered at Pont Twr at around 5 in the evening, waited for the quarry officials to leave work and proceeded to follow as far as the railway station. They then followed 2 men, John Evans and Richard Davis, along Lon Newydd. The crowd hooted and were disorderly. Mr Evans and Mr Davis both claimed to have been intimidated by the crowd, saying that they were followed by hundreds, and that although they had a police escort they were fearful the police would not be able to hold back the crowd. PC Hugh Thomas spoke of seeing the defendant in the crowd in an excited state. John Evans testified that the mood of the crowd was getting warmer, and that he had heard a cry of ”They all ought to be killed to the Devil” and that a stone was thrown.
Mrs Williams herself claimed that she was not following the officials, simply following the crowd, and denied that either herself or her husband had done any shouting. She denied that the crowd was threatening and disorderly, being made up of mostly women and children, and although there was a stone that was thrown, it came from the Carneddi Road, and not from any member of the crowd. She claimed that, in response to the thrown stone, one policeman had lost his temper and drawn his baton, which created a commotion amongst a group of children.
In cross examination by Mr Vincent, she admitted that she and her husband had been present at Pont Twr and that she had been asked to move on by Sgt Owen, but that he had not specified that it was wrong to look at the quarry officials.
She admitted accompanying the crowd on the 30th without having business. She was fined 5 shillings and costs in each case.
The whole story can be found at http://papuraunewydd.llyfrgell.cymru/view/3652718/3652725/47