James Grainge

James Grainge



1 January 1824



Special Constable



Parish of Ridge



Homicide - Shot

Duty Status


On Duty

Roll of Honour Citation

Fatally shot while attempting to execute an arrest warrant for an armed man.

On the evening of Wednesday 31st December 1823 a solicitor, sheriff’s officer and assistant called at Rabley House to inquire as to the whereabouts of a wanted man. Upon being told the man they sought was not within they tried to enter, with the door forced shut they were then met by the wanted man armed with a pitchfork. During a further attempt to gain entry an injury was sustained when the pitchfork was shoved out of a broken pane of glass causing the three to retreat.

Two kept watch on the property as the third located a magistrate to hear of the injury and the ongoing attempts to apprehend the wanted male. The magistrate agreed to issue a peace warrant and tasked the local Constables to assemble sufficient men, due to the violence already shown it was decided to swear in Special Constables to assist and James Grainge, the brother of one of the Parish Constables, was sworn in leaving behind his day job as a shoe maker in Shenley Hill.

The assembled body of Constables attended Rabley House and entry was demanded in the name of the King under the authority of the warrant; this was ignored and a tussle ensued to gain entry to the property. The wanted man appeared armed with a gun, he made threats to shoot whoever was first to enter through the door. Grainge was told to do his duty and began striking the door with an axe, but, within seconds, a gunshot sounded and he fell back with a severe wound to his arm.

Grainge was taken away by cart back to the village to receive surgical attention, the attempts to gain entry were paused for a considerable time whilst further Constables were sought and more Special Constables sworn in to bolster the numbers involved. The magistrates also decided to attend.  Further attempts to enter resumed, eventually the warrant was read aloud and entry afforded. The wanted man was upstairs however he did surrender himself and was arrested.

Three surgeons had gathered to treat Grainge, they all agreed his injury was serious and attended him through the night. On the morning of Thursday 1st January 1824 the surgeons again inspected the wound and decided to amputate but noted they were not confident of success, hearing this the magistrates decided to take Grainge’s statement recalling the events and signed the taken statement. The surgeons began their task however Grainge died shortly thereafter.