Many people living in the Wythall / Alvechurch / Beoley areas will at sometime have heard the story about the murder of a policeman in 1885 which took place on the old Roman road, Icknield Street, which nowadays runs from Ipsley in Redditch through to the bottom of Weatheroak Hill and then continues across and up a narrow lane until it reaches The Peacock Inn, after which it merges with other roads and is no longer identified on current maps.
We learned that constable Davies was stationed at Beoley police station and his beat took him on an approximate 9 mile beat over towards Wythall and back via lanes to his station in Beoley. We also learned that constables from Alvechurch Beoley and Wythall tended to meet up at specific points when out on the beat and that on the night in question he had met and talked with Constable Fred Whitehouse from Wythall.
It was on Icknield street, part of Constable Davies regular 9 mile beat that the incident took place and which, we are told, was the result of Constable Davies apprehending a well known poacher, by the name of Moses Shrimpton, late in the evening on Icknield street. No one really knows the reason for the apprehension but Constable Davies was found the next morning dead and with severe facial injuries and his throat cut
PC Davies is buried in Beoley Church cemetery.
There are numerous articles to be found on the Internet about this incident but no one is really sure what took place that night but a man by the name of Moses Shrimpton was arrested, tried and executed for the murder. Eventually a plaque was placed in Icknield street adjacent to where PC Davies body was found and despite the fact that the plaque was vandalised over the years a new plaque has been installed.
Ralph Richardson’s account of the incident was very detailed and, as always with Ralph’s talks, was delivered very precisely and in a manner which kept everyone on the edge of their seats. It also led some of us to find out more about the incident by surfing the internet where several articles on the subject can be found, including a recent photograph of a police officer looking at the plaque in Icknield Street.