DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Sort file:- Tunbridge Wells, June, 2021.

Page Updated:- Friday, 25 June, 2021.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1811-

New Inn

Latest 1817

 

Royal Tunbridge Wells

 

Only the one reference to this at present is from the following passage. Unfortunately I know nothing about this one at all other than this.

 

Kentish Gazette, 10 July, 1792.

"Red Lion Inn" and "London Hotel," Ramsgate.

William Young, from the "New Inn," Tunbridge Wells takes the liberty of informing the Nobility, Gentlemen Travellers, and his Friends in general, that he has opened the above Inn and Hotel with every accommodation that can be desired, and that their favours will be gratefully acknowledged.

A good Larder and Ordinary every day with reasonable charges.

Good Stabling and Coach houses; post chaises, with the best horses and careful drivers.

 

Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal, Friday 11 April 1817.

EXECUTION OF BONIFACE.

The circumstances which led to the ignominious death of the unfortunate Launcelot Boniface, having excited great interest in the county, it may not be improper, previous to the narration of the melancholy catastrophe to give an outline of those circumstances, as they appear on the trials of Boniface at the July Quarter Sessions, and the late Assizes.

Mr. W. Bramwell, jun. a spirit-merchant, residing in London, and having considerable property in land and houses at Tunbridge Wells, let one of his houses at Michaelmas, 1811, on lease, at fifty guineas per annum, to Launcelot Boniface, who was formerly an ostler at the "New Inn," in the same town. The house was furnished, and Boniface let it to families who visit the Wells during the summer season. For a time, the landlord and the tenant were on the best terms of amity, until a wall was built, of which Boniface was to pay part of the expense. But he conceiving in the erection of the wall, an encroachment was made on his premises in favour of the landlord of the "New Inn" (whose premises adjoined those of Boniface), he refused to pay his part towards it, and much altercation took place between him and Mr. Bramwell, who, on his refusing to pay his rent, distrained his goods.

On the 25th of May, 1816, Mr. Bramwell being at the door of the "New Inn," Boniface came up to him and charged him very roughly with having made an encroachment on his premises in building the wall. Bramwell went into a parlour, and was followed by Boniface; a dispute took place, which terminated in an assault committed by the latter on Mr. Bramwell, for which he prosecuted him, and the cause was tried before the Earl of Romney and Magistrates at the Quarter Sessions held at Maidstone, in July, 1816. On the trial it was satisfactorily proved that the defendant behaved in a violent manner, and that he struck Mr. Bramwell as well as two other persons. The jury found a verdict of guilty, and Boniface was sentenced to pay a fine of 40s. and to find sureties for his good behaviour for one year; himself in 50 and two other persons in 25 each.

The friends of both parties hoped, that here the business would rest, but it subsequently appeared that what had passed, sunk deep in the mind of Boniface, and he meditated a fatal revenge, which he attempted to put in practice in the following manner:-

Mr. Bramwell went down to Tunbridge Wells, on the 4th October, 1814, to receive his rents, and the next day Boniface having armed himself with a brace of pistols, loaded wills the largest shot he could procure in the town, went to the "New Inn," in company with a man of the name of Roberts, who was totally ignorant of his intentions, and thought he was merely to act as a witness to Boniface paying his rent. They were shewn into the room. in which Mr. Bramwell was in company with two other persons—a Mr. Edwards and Mr. Soper, the landlord of the inn. Boniface put down on the table, the money for his rent, and drawing a few paces back, exclaimed "you know, Bramwell, you have taken a false oath," and almost immediately taking one of the pistols from under his frock, he fired it at the object of his revenge. Upwards of 50 of the shot lodged in the face of Mr. Bramwell, who fell with his head on the table, bleeding in a dreadful manner.

The persons present were greatly alarmed by the commission of so unexpected and deliberate an attack on the life of Mr. Bramwell, and great confusion took place, but Boniface believing he had destroyed his victim, fired the other pistol out of the window, and sat calmly down, without attempting to escape. He was apprehended in the room, and committed to Maidstone gaol, to take his trial at the ensuing Assizes, for an attempt to murder Mr. Bramwell. The latter was for some time in a dangerous state, but after some weeks suffering, he recovered, but with the loss of his right eye; and considerable disfigurement of his face.

Boniface was tried at the Lent Assizes, when the evidence was perfectly clear as to the commission of the fact, and several witnesses proved that the wretched man so far from repenting of what he had done expressed sorrow at not having completed the work of destruction. A defence of insanity was set up by the prisoners friends, but it completely failed, and the jury found the prisoner guilty. The Learned Judge (Mr. Serjeant Besanquet) when passing the dreadful sentence of the law on the prisoner, addressed him in a manner the most impressive and heart searching, bidding himself to prepare for eternity, and endeavour to obtain that mercy in another world which he could not hope for in this. The miserable man heard with evident emotion his dreadful doom pronounced, and with a bow or resignation was taken back to that prison, from which he was only to go forth to drink the bitter cup of death.

It appears that previous to the commission of this rash act, Boniface was much respected in Tunbridge Wells, and from the lime of his condemnation, great efforts were made by his friends (who were very numerous) to procure a reprieve for him—but in vain. The deliberate manner in which the crime was committed—the expression of Boniface after the failure of the extreme intention of his guilt, were circumstances too strongly indicative of the deeply rooted malignity of his heart against Bramwell, to permit the hand of Royal mercy to save him from the laws of his country, which had been so heinously violated. He was attended with great humanity and constancy by the Rev. Mr. Argles, the worthy Chaplin of the Prison, who used every exertion to juduce the unhappy man to divest himself of ill-will against Mr. Bramwell, and to open his darkened mind to the light of religious conviction of his errors. Nothing could exceed the propriety of the conduct of the wretched culprit, after his condemnation, and in general he displayed much composure, except when occasionally the agitating subject of his offence was alluded to, by any of his friends, who were permitted to see him. The warrant for his execution came down on Sunday, and agreeable to his wish it was read to him. He bore it with great fortitude, and was particularly attentive to divine service, and the touching sermon delivered by the Rev. Chaplain. He said he should go most willingly to his death, as due to his crime; that he trusted he was at peace with his God, hoping that he was forgiven. He more than once said he should die rather better satisfied, if he could once more see Mr. Bramwell, and be assured from his own mouth of his forgiveness—to take leave of him, but not to utter a syllable about the horrid past. This wish was benevolently communicated by Mr. Argles to Mr. Bramwell, who was in London, but without recommending to him a compliance with it, which could only tend to disturb the repentant and tranquilised mind of the prisoner. Mr. Bramwell therefore did not come down, but returned an answer to Mr. Argtes, begging him to assure Boniface, that he did not entertain, nor ever had entertained towards him the least wish of revenge, but he had his forgiveness, and that he should not fail, with earnestness, to implore the Almighty also to forgive him.

On Thursday morning at eleven o’clock, the unfortunate man left the prison in a waggon, attended by the Under Sheriff, and the usual officers and guard. He was very respectably dressed in black, and appeared to be quite collected, and in the progress of the place of execution, prayed very fervently, occasionally reading in a prayer book that he held in his hand. When the melancholy procession arrived at the end of the lane, on Penenden Heath, his countenance evidently changed, and for a few moments he appeared to be much agitated, but he soon recovered his former tranquil demeanour. On the waggon drawing up in front of the drop, a person asked him how he felt? to which he answered, "I am happy, very happy." The Chaplain then ascended to him: a death-like silence prevailed, and the Rev. Gentleman, and the dying man, kneeling, prayed together with great devotion for several minutes. This last holy office being over, the Minister of Peace shook hands with the unhappy Boniface, and the latter took an affectionate leave of him. Previous to mounting the platform he in a low tone of voice addressed them, saying, he hoped that no one present would ever forswear themselves, for it was that which had brought him to that unhappy end. "It is that," he repeated, "which has brought me here, you may depend upon it." A friend said to him, "I hope you forgive," he replied, "I do forgive every body." He then resigned himself into the hand of the executioner, with great calmness and fortitude. When the dreadful preparations were nearly completed, he ejaculated "God bless you all" and he received in return a blessing from many of the commiserating crowd that heard these his last words. He several times put his hands over his eyes, as if he was in prayer; he was thus engaged when the executioner was going to put round his neck the fatal cord, and the latter waited till the prayer of the culprit was concluded. The cap being drawn over his face, the executioner bade him farewell, and descended. He once raised his hand, and in about two minutes two minutes the platform descended and his eyes were closed for ever. He did not appear to be much convulsed.

In consequence of the alterations making on the Heath, the drop was erected lower down than formerly, it being placed on the side of the road, in Boxley Parish. The number of spectators was not so great as is usual on those solemn occasions, which is to be attributed to a report being spread, that Boniface had received a reprieve. The body was buried in a very decent manner, in Maidstone Church-yard, on Sunday- afternoon.

The following is from a vary respectable Gentleman, who was much with Boniface after his condemnation.

"No one could possibly be more completely satisfied with the Magistrates and laws of his country, that had condemned him—no one could employ his time better since his condemnation, nor leave the world, better reconciled to his fate—than the unfortunate man who suffered death on Thursday last; his inherent and constitutional failing was that of an ungovernable hasty temper: in this respect his end will be a solemn warning to others. All those who have known him long, can vouch for this. Notwithstanding his dreadful and most atrocious crime, he had many friends, who can still remember and acknowledge what was meritorious in him, and his last, earnest, and moat grateful request was, that in some way or other, his thanks at a dying man, might be conveyed to all those, who had in any way interested themselves in his behalf; Several communications passed during his last days between him and the prosecutor, mutually conveying the most frank assurances of forgiveness, reconciliation, and prayers for pardon from Heaven.

 

LICENSEE LIST

YOUNG William to July/1792 Next pub licensee had

BRAMWELL 1811-17+

 

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