Brothers in arms: a matter of honour

Hertfordshire Mercury, 8th January 1910


Hertfordshire Petty Sessions, Hatfield


Here are two cases which were heard at the Petty Sessions in Hatfield on Saturday 2nd January 1910 and reported a week later in the Hertfordshire Mercury. Both cases involve two brothers. Their differing outcomes in the courts may demonstrate how the moral values held by the Magistrates influenced their perceptions as to the gravitas of the cases they heard. Personal details of the two pairs of brothers involved are vague in the newspaper report.


William Hipgrave of Roe Green was summoned before the court for being drunk and disorderly on December 18th, 1909, in St Albans Road, New Town, Hatfield. Frederick Hipgrave, the brother of the aforementioned, was summoned for using bad language at the same time and place.

PC Francis proved the case and corroborative evidence was given by PC Hagger.

The court heard William Hipgrave had sixteen previous convictions on his record and his brother Frederick had five convictions.

William Hipgrave was sentenced to fourteen days in prison whilst his brother Frederick was given the choice of paying a £1 fine or serving fourteen days in prison.


Ernest Charles Warner and William Henry Warner of Hatfield, were summoned to appear in court for assaulting Alfred Kemp on December 26th, 1909.

Alfred Kemp was an Engine Driver on the Great Northern Railways and resided at Grace Cottages. Mr Kemp stated that on the night in question he was walking along St Albans Road when he met the Warner brothers’ sister. As it was Christmas, he had asked her to go for a drink. Mr Kemp said that they went into the Robin Hood public house.

William Warner was across the bar and shook his fist at them. Mr Kemp said that William Warner asked in a loud voice what right he, Kemp, had to be with his sister in a public house at that time of night ?

Alfred Kemp said William Warner threatened his sister and told her to go home, which she did. Kemp said that when his sister had left the public house, William Warner had come up to him and struck him in the mouth, knocking his teeth through his lips. Mr Kemp said that he left the public house and the Warner brothers followed him outside, where they hit him several more times and one of the brothers had threatened to kill him.

William and Ernest Warner both stated that they had objected to the complainant being in a public house at night with their sister; Kemp being a married man made matters worse.

William Warner then tried to deny that he had struck Mr Kemp at all but the brother-in-law of the complainant came forward and attested that Warner had indeed struck the engine driver.

The Chairman of the bench ruled that the Warner brothers ought not to take the law into their own hands in the future. Both of the brothers were fined 1 shilling each.

This page was added on 02/10/2013.

Add your comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!