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1879: Young Cuckfield gentleman 'seized by the throat by a ruffian' and robbed of silver jewellery..

Updated: Dec 5, 2021

Petersfield Express - Tuesday 04 November 1879


—Between five and six on Saturday evening last a daring highway robbery, accompanied with violence, occurred at a lonely spot on the Cuckfield and Bolney turnpike. Mr. Algernon Peel, youngest son of Chas. Lennox Peel, Esq., of Woodcroft, Cuckfleld, who was making leisurely his way homewards from Bolney, the young gentleman was along the main turnpike, and had arrived at a remote spot where a large expanse of woodland immediately facing Mount Pleasant Mansion is situate, when without the slightest warning, he found himself suddenly attacked, and brutally seized by the throat by a ruffian, who had sprung from the thick hedge.

Bolney Hexagonal Tollgate house on the London-Brighton Road where the attack took place

Mr. Peel was thrown heavily to the ground, and his gold Albert watch chain and locket snapped from his waistcoat pocket, but singularly the valuable watch was permitted by the ruffian to remain. The villain made off as speedily as he came, and the young gentleman found himself divested of a pair of silver cuff links, silver collar stud, silver pin, and necktie, and he hastily proceeded to Cuckfield, and furnished Superintendent Pocock with the particulars of the robbery.

Information was circulated throughout the district without loss of time by this energetic officer, who notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, and the darkness of the night, visited the spot and the surrounding villages without, however, getting the least clue to the guilty party.

Unhappily Mr. Peel can give but a faint description of the fellow, or perhaps there might be a better chance of his capture. Whilst George Elliott, the Cuckfield and Bolney postman, was doing his usual round on Sunday morning he discovered the necktie worn by Mr. Peel placed on a hedgerow in the flat where the outrage took place, and this was handed over by him to Mr. Pocock.

We are happy to state that Mr. Peel, although much shaken at the time. Is not likely to suffer seriously from the consequences of the attack.

Photograph courtesy of 'The tollgates of Sussex' by Gwynethe Pennethorne



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