The writing of this life story was prompted by an article found in the Hertfordshire Police Historical Society Archive. It consisted of the above photograph and a series of hand written notes amounting to a brief biography. The author of the notes and the source of the information contained in the notes is, unfortunately, unknown, however, the information is accurate having been verified by various other sources.
John Silas Creassey was born in 1847 at Hertford and baptised on 12th September 1847 at St Leonard & Holy Trinity Church, Bengeo, Hertford.
His father, Robert Creassey, was a Tallow Chandler who was born in 1814 in Dorsetshire and baptised on the 16th January 1814 at Marnhull, Dorset. He married his mother, Mary Ann Crow who was born in 1815 at Middlesex, on the 7th September 1836 at Newington St. Mary, Surrey. They had 8 children all born in Hertford:
- Amelia Hannah born in 1839.
- Joseph Robins born in 1840.
- Elizabeth Mary born in 1842.
- Robert Thomas born in 1843.
- Anna Muir born in 1846.
- John Silas born in 1847.
- Elizabeth Mary born in 1852.
- George born in 1857
During the 1841 census the family were living in Brickendon, Hertford. By the time of the 1851 census they had moved to Port Vale, Bengeo, Hertford and they were still living there during the census returns of 1861 and 1871. However, by 1865 John had left home and had joined the Army.
John’s Army Service Record has not survived but from other sources we know that he was Private 1051 John Creasey of the 38th (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot who enlisted on the 11th July 1865 and joined the Regiment on the 15th July 1865. He was stationed in Rawalpindi, India between the 1st April 1871 and the 30th June 1871. He served a total of 7 years in the 38th Regiment of Foot and then for 3 years in the Army Service Corps, most of the time in India. On being discharged from the Army, he almost immediately joined the Hertford County Constabulary.
John’s Police Service Record has also not survived but again from other sources and the hand written notes we know he was Appointed as Constable 5 in the Hertford County Constabulary on the 21st October 1875. He was recorded as being aged 33 years and was 5 feet 7 ½ inches tall, unmarried and his trade was Chandler. He was a keen cricketeer who played for the Police team.
From his obituary shown below we know he was stationed at Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Redbourn, Croxley Green and Rickmansworth during his service. His career can be followed in numerous newspaper articles, some of which have been transcribed, which reported cases he was involved in. Although his name was often misspelt as Creasey it is believed that they all referred to him.
Initially posted to D Division at Hemel Hempstead he would have undergone his probationary training on the Division by an experienced officer under the supervision of the Superintendent.
Cruelty To A Horse.
Published in the Hemel Hempstead Gazette and West Herts Advertiser on Saturday 29th July 1876 was an article which reported on a case of cruelty to a horse in High Street, Hemel Hempstead. PC Creasey gave evidence. The owner and driver of the horse were both fined.
Published in the Herts Advertiser on Saturday 9th December 1876 was an article which reported on cases of burglary which occurred at Kings Langley that were heard at the Magistrates Clerk’s Office at Hemel Hempstead. PC Creasey was one officer who gave evidence. The prisoners were remanded.
Police Constable John Creassey, a bachelor, married Louisa Nash, a spinster, on the 16th April 1876 at St. Mary’s Church, Hemel Hempstead. She was born in 1843 at Datchworth. In the 1871 census she was employed as a cook in the Longmore household living in Fore Street, Hertford. At the time of their marriage they were both recorded as living in Alma Road, Hemel Hempstead. They had two daughters:
- Beatrice Maud Mary born in 1877 at Hemel Hempstead.
- Alice Gertrude Mildred born in 1878 at Bovingdon.
Published in the Hertford Mercury and Reformer on Saturday 12th January 1878 was an article that reported that in Hemel Hempstead there was a case of drunkenness. Ann Harris was charged with being drunk on the 19th December. Police Constable Creasey said that at 10 30 p.rm. he found defendant laying on her back on the path near the Bury Mill End Bridge. She was helplessly drunk, and he picked her up and took her home. Fined 5s. and 12s. 6d. costs.
The Hemel Hempstead Gazette and West Herts Advertiser published on Saturday 26th April 1879 an article under the headline Drunk and Disorderly: George Goodman, of Flaunden, who did not appear, was charged by PC John Creasey with being unlawfully drunk, and whilst so, guilty of disorderly conduct. PC Creasey proved the case and defendant was fined 10s, and cost 13/6.
By the time of the 1881 census Police Constable John Creassey and his family were recorded as living at Bedford Road, St Albans. It can be assumed that this was probably shortly after John had been transferred to G Division at Redbourn although normally he would have been provided accommodation in Redbourn itself. The following newspaper articles support the supposition that he was now stationed at Redbourn.
After Hours Drinking?
The Herts Advertiser published on Saturday 1st April 1882 reported on a case about the licensee of the One Bell Beer House at Childwick Green near St. Albans of keeping his premises open after hours. PC John Creasey gave evidence
Lack Of Schooling.
Published in the Hertford Mercury and Reformer on Saturday 6th May 1882 was the following article: Edward Ray, of Redbourn, who did not appear, was summoned for not sending his son, Herbert, seven years of age, to school. PC Creasey proved the service of the summons and Mr. Everett, School Attendance Officer for the St. Albans Union, stated the particulars of the case. The boy had not attended school for some length of time. The usual order was made.
Theft Of Money.
Published in the Herts Advertiser on Saturday 22nd December 1883 under the headline False Pretences: Alfred Bandy a youth, was charged with obtaining £1 the money of Mr. T.W. Liddington, of Redbourn, by false pretences. The evidence as published in our last issue, was read over, and in addition to it, Mr, E. Farr, a farmer, living at Redbourn, deposed that the prisoner had been in his employ since Michaelmas. He did not on the 11th December send him to Mr. Liddington’s for a £1 worth of silver. He had, however, sent him for money on previous occasions. Bandy was further charged with stealing a guinea, the property of Mr. Farr’s sister. Police Constable Creasey said he took the defendant into custody. On searching him he found, in his pocket, the guinea on the chain produced. He asked him to account for his possession of it, but the defendant made no answer. Witness afterwards went to Mr. Farr’s, and the latter identified the guinea as his sister’s property. He also charged the prisoner with stealing it, but he made no reply. Mr. Farr said the last witness showed him the guinea produced on the 10th December, and he identified it as his sister’s property. The guinea was missed a fortnight previously from his house. He made inquiries of the prisoner, and he denied knowing anything about it. The guinea had been taken from his sister’s workbox. Prisoner was farther remanded till Saturday.
Published in the Hertford Mercury and Reformer on Saturday 10th January 1885 under the headline Drunkenness: Walter Astley, who did not appear, was charged with being drunk and disorderly in the High Street, Redbourn, on the 26th ult. Police Constable Creasey proved the case. The defendant used bad language and threatened the policeman. He had only very recently been fined for a similar offence. Fined 10s. including costs.
Transfer – Stolen Ducks!
The following excerpt from a newspaper article shows that at some time between February 1885 and October 1886 John was transferred from G Division at Rebourn to C Division at Croxley Green. Published in the Herts Advertiser on Saturday 23rd October 1886 was an article concerning the theft of and the receiving of some stolen ducks from Redbourn. The following short extract is taken from it: Police Constable Creasey, now stationed at Croxley Green, but in February 1885, at Redbourn, proved receiving the duck in question from Mrs. Warboy.
Drunks In Croxley Green.
Published in the Hertford Mercury and Reformer on Saturday 2nd March 1889 under the headline Rickmansworth, Roughs at Croxley Green: Henry Hodgins and Henry East, of Rickmansworth, were charged at the Watford Petty Sessions on Tuesday with being drunk and disorderly at Croxley Green on Sunday, and there was a further charge against of assaulting Charles Fane. It appears that there was a disturbance at the Salvation Army barracks, Croxley Green, and Police Constable Creassey was sent for to get five men out of the building. All but East went when requested, and East in his struggles upset the stove, nearly setting the building on fire, he then went outside and flourished a knife, using bad language. He was very drunk and continued to be so violent that the Constable called Charles Fane to his assistance. As they were taking East into custody Hodgins struck Fane on the head and face violent blows and he was obliged to release East. With the assistance of another man both East and Hodgins were taken into custody. It appeared that there were nine previous convictions against East. The Bench fined East 20s., with costs 3s. 3d., or 21 days’ hard labour. Hodgins was fined 10s., with costs 3s. 3d., or seven days, and for the assault 18s., costs 5s., or seven days.
According to the hand written notes on the 10th November 1890 John was transferred from C Division at Croxley Green to D Division at Hemel Hempstead and during the 1891 census he and his family as living at the Police Station, Horsecroft, Hemel Hempstead.
Gaming On A Sunday.
Published in the Hemel Hempstead Gazette and West Herts Advertiser on Saturday 13th June 1891 under the headline Pitch And Toss: George Crane, of Crouchfield, was charged with playing at pitch and toss with some other lads on Sunday, 3rd May. PC Creasey stated that on Sunday, 3rd May, at about 20 minutes past 11 a.m., he was on the lookout for persons gaming, and he saw 20 boys and men in a footpath leading to Shrub Hill Common, playing at pitch and toss. He got within 150 yards of them, and saw the coin pitched. He crept behind a hedge and saw the boys, of whom the defendant was one. The others had been convicted already. When he was seen a signal was given, and they ran away. Defendant was fined 10s. including costs.
Assaulted By A Drunk.
Published in the Hemel Hempstead Gazette and West Herts Advertiser on Saturday 15th August 1891 under the headline Drunk And Assault On A Constable: Thomas Harris was charged with being drunk and disorderly at Hemel Hempstead, and assaulting PC Creasey on the 23rd ult. PC Creasey said that about 9 p.m. he went into the Anchor beer house and found defendant there the worse for drink. Witness told the landlord not to serve defendant anymore and asked defendant to go out, which he did, and was then very disorderly, and used bad language. He pulled off his coat and struck witness a severe blow on the cheek. Witness caught hold of him and threatened to lock him up but allowed him to go home. Felix Godard, landlord of the Anchor said defendant did not appear to be the worse for drink. He served him a pint. The previous witness came in, and witness ordered defendant out. The latter struck the constable on the face. There were five previous convictions, and the defendant was now sentenced to two months imprisonment.
The Last Transfer.
Again, from the hand written notes on the 7th November 1893 John was transferred from D Division at Hemel Hempstead to C Division at Rickmansworth. The 1899 and 1900 Electoral Rolls list John Creassey as living at the Police Station, High Street, Rickmansworth.
Theft From Church.
Published in the Herts Advertiser on Saturday 27th July 1895 under the headline Rickmansworth Sacrilege: On Thursday morning before Mr. B. Henderson at the Town Hall, Frederick Brister, labourer formerly, of Rickmansworth was brought up in custody on warrant charging him with, on the 8th October 1889, at West Hyde, in company with two other men breaking and entering the Church of St. Thomas, and stealing as altar cross, and three brass altar candlesticks of the value altogether of £3 18s. the property of the Vicar and Churchwardens of that church. The only evidence taken was that of PC Creasey who arrested the prisoner at Batchworth late the previous night, and the magistrate remanded him to next Tuesday’s Watford Petty Sessions.
John retired as a Constable on the 31st October 1900 having completed his 25 years’ service and received an annual pension of £44/3/11.
Published in the Watford Observer on Saturday 15th December 1900 under the headline Presentation to Ex-Constable Creassey: A policeman’s, lot is generally supposed to not altogether be a “happy one,” but there are exceptions to every rule, and Ex-Police Constable Creassey good fortune on this occasion will, doubtless, act as an encouragement to other members of the force in the performance of their duties with tact and discretion.
The presentation took place at the Victoria Hotel, on the 12th inst. and consisted of an illuminated address and a purse of gold, subscribed in the neighbourhood. The occasion was celebrated by a smoking concert, which attracted a large and select company, Mr. Harvey W. Fellows occupying the chair. The talent provided was of a very superior kind, much above the usual average in Rickmansworth, and the extra-long programme provided necessitated a continual round of amusement without any wait between the items. With so many performers, all of whom appeared in their best form, it is difficult to individualise each item, but we may mention that the following gentlemen excelled themselves: Messrs. Collis, Plaistowe, Cressy and Loyd, the latter, in particular, rendering several costume comics, which in the ordinary course, had encores been permitted, would have resulted in his treble appearance on the boards. The Misses Adams and Mdlle. La Petite May also gave good account of themselves, the audience showing their appreciation of their efforts with prolonged applause. In making the presentation of the evening the chairman, Mr. Harvey Fellows, said that it was indeed a pleasure for him to be present on such an auspicious occasion.
All Rickmansworth people knew Creassey he had been a familiar figure in the neighbourhood for many years. Not only had he served 25 years in the police force, but, in addition, he had devoted his early days to the defence of his country by over eleven years’ service in Her Majesty’s Army, and now we had had brought home us, by the war in South Africa, the necessity for an efficient army, it was double pleasure to reward a man who had practically spent his life in his country’s service. Although Creassey was no longer so young and agile as he had been, it was always a source of comfort to know that should he at any time get hold of obstreperous prisoner, all he would have to do was fall upon him, where he would become tractable as though a steam roller had passed over him. Concluding, he added that when duty had to be done there were two ways in which it might be accomplished, in a pleasant, kind manner, or the reverse. Police Constable Creassey had the art of carrying out his duties with such tact that he practically made no enemies, while the fact of his long service in the force showed that he had been tried and not found wanting.
Ex-Police Constable Creassey thanked the company in a suitable and appropriate speech, at the end of which he was visibly affected. Mr. A.C. Pemberton, the secretary of the fund, concluded the proceedings by replying on behalf the committee. Messrs. Price, Hingley, Paramo and Purkiss. He said that this was the first time he had gone round with the hat in Rickmansworth. He always thought begging was a very unpleasant task; but this had indeed been a surprise to him. Out of 110 personal visits he had only been refused twice, and many unasked had sent contributions to the fund. He then moved the customary vote of thanks to the chairman, which was carried with acclamation.
At the time of the 1901 census John, who is shown as a Police Pensioner, and his family were recorded as living at the Old Police Station, Rickmansworth which was located at 9, Talbot Road.
John Silas Creassey of Talbot Road, Rickmansworth died on the 21st July 1908 at Rickmansworth he was buried at Rickmansworth on the 25th July with the ceremony conducted by C.M.O. Parkinson (Vicar).
Published in the Watford Observer on Saturday 1st August 1908 under the heading Death: It is with regret that we announce the death of Mr. John S. Creassey of Talbot Road, Rickmansworth. The deceased had been in failing health for a considerable period, and death took place on Tuesday last. Mr. Creassey was well known in West Herts, having spent twenty-five years as a Police Constable, during which period he served at Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Redbourn, Croxley Green and Rickmansworth. Previous to his Police service he served ten years in the Army Service Corps, eight years of which were in India, making a somewhat remarkable total of 35 years in uniform. Since his retirement Mr. Creassey had resided in Rickmansworth, where he was held in high esteem.
The funeral took place at Rickmansworth Cemetery Saturday afternoon, the Rev. C.M.O. Parkinson (vicar) officiating. The mourners included Mrs. Creassey (widow), the Misses Creassey (two daughters), Mr. Creassey (brother). Mrs. Gardiner Mrs. Crowley and Mrs. Hillman (sisters) and Mr. W. Tibbles.
Members of the C Division Herts Constabulary attended the funeral as a mark of respect to their late comrade, among whom were Superintendent W. Wood, Inspector G. Pear, Police Sergeant Page and Police Sergeant Onyon, Police Constables T. Herring, Hopwood, Woodward, Saunders, Beckwith, Wells, Maltby and Clarke, ex-Police Constables Bryce and Francis; members of the Force also acted as bearers. Mr. W.S. Morice was present representing the Rickmansworth Cricket Club.
The coffin, which was of polished elm with brass furniture, bore the inscription “John Silas Creassey, died July 21st, 1908 aged 60 years.” Some lovely wreaths were sent, including: “In ever loving memory, from his sorrowing wife and daughters”; “In affectionate remembrance, from his only living brother, George Creassey”; “Loving memory, from his sister Elizabeth and niece Rosaline”; “In ever loving memory, from Gert and Walter”; “With deepest sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. Howship”; “With deep sympathy, from his late comrades of the C Division, Herts Constabulary”; “In memory of our old friend and scorer, from the Rickmansworth Cricket and Bowling Club”; “With deep sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. Gatehouse and family.” The funeral arrangements were ably carried out by Mr. J. Peddle, Rickmansworth.