KNOCKED AT
THE WRONG DOOR

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THE HUNGRY MAN

Begging at Padbury

At the Magistrate’s Office, Buckingham, on July 15, before Laurence Robert Hall,Esq., a wayfarer who gave the name of Isaac Norrish, labourer, Plymouth, was brought into custody, charged with begging at Padbury, on July 15.

P.C. William Bates stated that he was a police-constable stationed at Padbury. Whilst sitting in his house that morning, the defendant knocked at the door and asked for some bread. The witness told him that he had knocked at the wrong door this time, and took him into custody. He also searched him and found one Penny in money on him.

 

Prisoner pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to seven days’ hard labour.

 

The Bicester Herald responds creatively to the bad luck of the beggar; 27th July 1879

A poor man one day felt of hunger the pain,

And he asked for a morsel of bread,

When a voice spoke in tones of cunning disdain - 

“You have come to the wrong door,” it said;

“You must journey with me for  two miles and a half,

Where a Lock-up will lodging afford;

Your case I will lay before  a great man,

And justice you’ll have, on my word.’

Inside a lone cell sat the hungry man,

Till they fetched him the great man to see.

And the beggar was charged with asking for bread,

“I am guilty, your Honour, “ said he.

The man at whose door the man had knocked,

Was called and his statement was heard:

“This man knock’d my door , and to him I said

‘You have knock’d the wrong door’, on my word

I took him and searched him, and on him I found

One Penny, which seemed all his store; 

At least when I searched him from head to the ground

I couldn’t find one coin more.”

The great man looked stern as the sentence he passed:”

“Seven Days with Hard Labour, in Gaol.”

And the poor man was taken with felons to live,

And his hard lot in life to bewail:

He thought of the days when he gave away bread -

When he had enough, and to spare.

When asking for bread never entered his head,

When he lived on excellent fare.

And he couldn’t help saying, when lying at night,

On a bed nearly hard as the floor,

“The time may  arrive when others

Like me may find they have ‘knocked the wrong door’,

I know it is said in a book I have read,

That some will go knocking in vain;

P’raps, I may be fed when they require bread

And never know hunger again.

When freed from this cell, I know very well

My wanderings will not be o’er,

But I shall not forget, wherever I dwell

The day ‘I knocked the wrong door’.”

Padbury 19th July, 1879.