Thursday, 12 February 2009

Attempted burglary in Frome

Robert Cruse has sent me a delightful newspaper cutting about an attempted burglary at the house of Henry Cruse of Frome in Somerset. The article was published in The Bristol Mercury on Saturday, July 23, 1836 and reads as follows:
FROME. – On Sunday night last an attempt at burglary was made on the premises of Mr. Harry Cruse, the actuary of the Frome Savings' Bank; but, fortunately, the thieves were defeated in their object. This is the second or third visit which Mr. C. has lately had from these midnight marauders. On a subsequent night some fellows entered the garden of Mr. Sperring, Keyford-terrace, with a view to depredation, but being seen by a neighbour, their purpose was also defeated.

The frequency of robberies at Frome has been lately the subject of much remark among strangers, but the evil probably arises in some measure from there being no resident magistrate in this large town, and also, that in a population of nearly 14,000 persons there are only four officers, who, although extremely active, cannot be supposed to effect all that is necessary either to prevent or to detect crime.
Henry Cruse was the son of Jeremiah Cruse and Mary Masey. He was born on 14th April 1784 in Warminster, Wiltshire, and baptised on 12th September 1784 in Rode, Somerset. Henry married Elizabeth Skinner in 1804 in Shepton Mallet, and they had thirteen children. Henry was a respectable member of the community in Frome, and he was for many years the parish clerk. He witnessed many of the weddings in Frome in the early 1800s, and his signature appears frequently in the Frome registers. Henry also served for a time as the churchwarden for the parish. Like his father and some of his brothers Henry was a freemason. He was admitted to the Royal Clarence Lodge in Frome on 30th April 1810.

The attempted robbery at Henry's home took place just a few months before his death. He died on 2nd October 1836 at the age of 52 and was buried on 7th October 1836 at the parish church in Frome. The following brief obituary was published in The Gentleman's Magazine:
Oct. 2. At Frome, aged 52, Mr. Harry Cruse. He was bailiff of the Hundred of Frome, parish clerk, and also confidential clerk and cashier, in the office of the Messrs. Wickham, solicitors for 36 years.

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