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William Barnett Meets Jack

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William Barnett Meets Jack

Post by Karen on Sat 12 Mar 2011 - 0:12

"While I was at Lingen my maternal grandmother passed away, and on my return from the funeral my father accompanied me to Wigmore, where we parted. He was staying overnight at the Castle Inn and I was continuing on to Lingen, taking the road through hills and woods. It was getting dusk and very shortly after my father left me I saw a man approaching dressed in a black suit and a bowler hat. He was carrying a black bag and what appeared a long knife. The sight so terrified me that I froze in my tracks, but the man passed without a word. The newspapers were all full of descriptions of Jack the Ripper and the man so looked like those that I fully thought I had actually met him. After such a terrifying experience I could not tackle the dark wooded road from Wigmore to Lingen, so turned back and entered the historic village.

I did not wish my father to know what a coward I was, so got a bed at the Compasses Inn. It was kept by an old lady and her daughter, who were extremely kind. There was another old lady making a short call at the inn who knew my grandmother. The last time she had seen my grandmother was at a Queen Anne's Bounty tea. A lady of the district must have been trying to teach the old folk table manners, for the old lady said: "Bessie (grandmother) and me have always drank tea from our saucers and no fine lady is going to stop us."

The landlady got the warming pan when I was ready for bed and I soon found myself in a wonderful feather bed. Never before nor since have I slept in such a bed. I literally seemed to disappear in its soft depths.

On leaving the inn the next morning I met the Vicar of Wigmore, the Rev. Mr. Barton, whom I knew well as a regular visitor at my grandmother's. I explained to him why I stayed at the inn and he had a good laugh over it, telling me the man I met was a timber surveyor and the long knife was a timber marker."

Source: "Reminiscences of a Radnorshire Schoolboy of Seventy Years Ago," by William Barnett, in Radnorshire Society Transactions, Volume 23, 1953, Page 42

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Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"
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