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What were the 'grisly doings'?

knowlsey farm

We've some enquiries regarding the quiz question about what exactly happened at Knowsley Farm in 1914.
Precisely what did happen will always be shrouded in some mystery, however, here are some contemporary reports that explain what is known.

Article from the Advertiser, Friday 1st May, 1914

Pig Dealer's Body Found In Yard

A terrible tragedy was reported from Chelford on Wednesday. When the village postman was on his rounds, he was horrified to find the battered body of William Reeves, a pig dealer, lying in the yard near the side door of his residence, Knowsley Farm, a small building situate a mile from Chelford on the main road to Macclesfield.

When the police visited the premises they found the wife in a demented state in the house, and as foul play was suspected she was arrested and conveyed in a motor car to Macclesfield. Reeves, who was 71 years of age, was well known in this part of the country.

The farmyard presented an amazing spectacle. Blood was bespattered everywhere. there were patches on the doors, smears on the windowpanes and on the small red railings near the back door.

At about 11.30 on Tuesday night, a neighbouring farmer declared that he heard shouts coming from the direction of Knowsley Farm as if some person was demanding admittance. Then everything went quiet. The body when found presented a terrible spectacle. There were a number of wounds on the head, and the man had a number of severe cuts on his wrists, evidently caused by a knife, which was found on the premises by the police.

There was a pool of congealed blood on the flags, and the immediate vicinity of the scene of the tragedy presented a ghastly appearance. In the kitchen, one of the chairs was bloodstained and there was a pool of blood on the stone floor.

It is presumed that Reeves was seated in an armchair in the kitchen when he was attacked by some person with a knife and that such force was used as to practically sever his wrist. It is surmised that he staggered for safety to the door where he was again attacked, and then left to bleed to death.

Reeves' wife, a tall, powerful woman, sat before her arrest on a couch in the farm kitchen entirely unconcerned, and drummed her fingers on the table. When asked to put on her bonnet, and to accompany the police officers, she made no comment but jump in the taxi and was driven away.

Eliza Reeves was eventually found guilty of her husband's murder and was sentenced to death by hanging. The Macclesfield Courier and Herald of 25th July, 1914 reported that "the verdict on Eliza Reeves, aged 72, had been changed from death by hanging to custody for life".

Well, lads, what might we, in the time of lockdown, learn from this parable of country life?
Mind how you go ....

This story and much other interesting information about the history of Chelford can be found in a handy little book published some years ago. There were copies on sale at the Corner Shoppe until relatively recently but if you can't find one, I'm sure there are plenty out there to borrow.

The book's title is: Chelford: A Cheshire Village by Mavis & Keith Plant, Roger Roycroft and Julia Slater (October 1999)

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