If you closely examine the above photo you will notice the nice pony’s ears are back and its head is down. If you aren’t a skilled horse person that means it is a bit miffed. Punch, for that is his name, was a hard working and well loved working horse at Villa Castrorum before the Second World War.
But Punch had amongst many violent tendencies a bad biting habit. You may wonder why so many of the horses on Camps Farm had many vices? Simply that the horses Alf couldn’t sell in his second hand horse business became permanent additions to the labour force.
As often occurs when an uninformed passer by is unable to determine between controlling an unruly animal and cruelty such a charge was brought against Grandad after one particularly bad Punch day when he kicked out the front of the trap.
On the Court Day Grandad and little Dennis aged 3 took Punch to the Royal Court as a witness for the defence. He took Dennis along to look after Punch while he went into the Court. Quite obviously a 3 year old was quite able to look after a bad tempered pony in those days. They had arrived in the trap pulled by Punch but he was now taken out of the shafts and Dennis held his rope.
The Sergeant, a Court officer, rushed out to tell Alf he couldn’t leave a pony there and certainly not looked after by a little boy. After a heated argument and a certain amount of pushing the Sergeant stumbled into the back of the trap but how he got there was never actually proven.
In goes Grandad to the Court leaving the trap, with the resting Sergeant in it and Dennis holding the pony outside. He then delivered his case to the Jurats and pleaded with them to come outside and view the pony’s temperate.
They all filed outside and Grandad indicated to Dennis to let Punch loose. He ran up the court steps scattering the Jurats who, being horsemen themselves, tried their best to catch him. There was biting, kicking and shoving going on not all of it just by Punch.
Looking less magisterial in their torn robes and missing hats they all finally brought him under control. Realising that he needed a firm hand to keep him under control the charge was dismissed on the steps of the Court. And that was the end of the matter.
Except helping the dazed Sergeant out of the back of the trap and sending him back indoors to continue with his important duties.