The Merry Bell-Ringers

The following item of news for 12 November 1819 probably came originally from the West Briton newspaper.

“On Tuesday last, William Coath of Liskeard, was brought before the justices assembled at Callington, on a charge of having stolen the key of the church at Pillaton. This key was missed after the ringers had been treating the neighbourhood with a merry peal, in consequence of a wedding; but as none of them were less than half-seas-over, they could not tell who locked the door, or how the key was lost. The loss of the key of the church being the theme of conversation in the neighbourhood, it was discovered that Coath had pledged it at Landrake, for a shilling’s worth of beer. The offender was taken up; but as he insisted he had found the key on the high road, and as none of the party could tell whether the key was lost or stolen, the magistrates dismissed the charge. The churchwardens had above five pounds to pay for witnesses, &c. after having been compelled to break open the church doors, in order to read the burial service at a funeral which took place before the key was found.”

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