Unsolved Murders

Stephen Jones

Age: 80

Sex: male

Date: 26 Apr 1902

Place: Graig Lime Quarry, Denbigh

Stephen Jones died in a fire at a haystack in a field near to Graig Lime Quarry.

The fire was first spotted at about midnight on Saturday 19 April 1902 by a police constable after he observed a red glare in the vale and discovered the fire.

The fire brigade were called out but when they arrived they found that there was no water supply near at hand to fight the fire with.

When the fire was first found it was not thought that it was anything more serious than a stack fire but when the police got near they discovered a body enveloped in the raging flames between the hedge and the stack.

It was reported that with heroic efforts the body was brought out of the fire and the clothing that was left was removed but it was found that its head and neck were burnt to charcoal and the body lower down a ghastly sight with the right arm having been charred away to the bone and the knees drawn up and the right foot above the ankle was burnt so much that it had broken away.

A stretcher was procured and the remains removed to the Eagles Inn in Ruthin.

The remains were later identified as having belonged to Stephen Jones. Other items found at the scene included a white handled pocket knife, burnt black, a pair of spectacles, a disfigured sixpence and half-penny and a coral flake ounce tin containing shag tobacco. It was noted that a curious feature of the tobacco tin was that although it was blacked by the fire that the tobacco inside had remained in a remarkably moist condition.

It was also noted that Stephen Jones had never been known to smoke during the whole of his life time, nor known to have carried matches.

As such the question was raised as to how the fire started with rumours stating that someone must have accompanied him to the hay stack.

It was noted that the stack had belonged to the man that ran the Stores in Ruthin and that he had bought it some time back and since had it threshed after which he had stored it in the field. It was also noted that the stack had been fully insured.

It was heard that whilst the fire had taken place during the night whilst most people were asleep that the following day the place acted like a magnet attracting large numbers of people to come out and see even though that at that time nothing could be seen but a burnt hedge and a black patch where the stack of straw had once stood.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Denbighshire Free Press - Saturday 26 April 1902