Violence in the Garden of England

Some of the memorials in the database come under the heading of non-combat deaths; those who died while in military or naval service, from disease, illness, accident or other causes.

At Chalfont St Peter (Bucks) Major A L Hibbert is commemorated.  He died in India in 1902 ‘…of injuries received from a wounded bison when shooting…

In All Saints, Maidstone in Kent is a tablet to Lt Col Peter Shadwell of the 25th Light Dragoons, murdered at Wrotham in 1799 aged 46 by a deserter. .

‘By this atrocious deed, the country was deprived of a valuable officer and the soldier of a sincere friend who from his extraordinary military talents rose from private to the rank he held when murdered.’

The deserter, Philip Keating, and a companion also from the 17th Light Dragoons were apprehended soon after by locals, and tried at Maidstone. John Keggan was found not guilty but Keating was executed at Pennenden Heath near Maidstone. There is, or was, a memorial at Wrotham where the crime occurred.

Also in the same county, at Hernhill near Faversham, are commemorated some of the victims of what is claimed to be the last miltary action on English soil. In 1838 a Cornishman, formerly an inmate of Barming Asylum, calling himself Sir William Courtenay enticed a band of farm labourers to leave their work with a view to seizing land from their employers. He murdered a special constable sent to arrest him and after the Riot Act had been read, the 45th Foot was sent to quell the disturbance, with the result that ‘Courtenay’ and eight of his followers were killed.


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