Poaching in the Castle Park, 1894
An astonishingly grovelling letter from headmaster Rev J. P. Way to the Earl of Warwick, dated March 24th 1894, is in the Castle Archives. It concerns a Warwick School pupil who was caught poaching.
The illegal hunting and killing of animals was a serious criminal offence, punishable by up to a year in prison, or even transportation. The un-named Warwick School pupil seems to have got off rather lightly, and Rev J. P. Way tried to calm the ruffled feathers of the Earl of Warwick:
“Our boys have been guilty of trespass before but I have never known them violate the game laws. I doubt if the boy in question was clever enough to have caught anything: at the same time, to attempt to set snares was an outrageous act and I cannot wonder that strong measures were thought necessary. I desire to thank your Lordship for sparing the boy from the Police Court & talking so kindly to him when he came up to the Castle.
I am sure that the main mass of the boys have a right feeling on the subject but we have over 150 boys of whom well over 100 are resident at the school. Out of so many one now and then is sure to do some reckless deed despite all our efforts. We do all we can to influence or restrain by appeals to their good feeling, by instruction to Prefects to prevent trespassing, by making our games compulsory & by declaring in our rules all the Castle Park to be out of bounds & by punishing most stringently any who are caught.
I am most grieved that we have already proved ourselves a nuisance to your Lordship & regret much that we should have caused you so much trouble.
I am, dear Lord Warwick, Yours faithfully, J. P. Way”