Ebenezer and Albert Fox were twins and would have rightly been described as two of the most loveable old rogues in Hertfordshire. However, the local landowners and magistrates would not have agreed for the twins made a career out of poaching. They appeared before the courts numerous times, but never together. Being twins they made valuable use of this, making sure that the other would be seen at the time of the crime and act as the perfect alibi.
However, legend has it that on one occasion, Ebenezer pleaded guilty and it was made in such circumstances that the magistrates suffered one of their greatest humiliations. It began in the pub of a friend when Fox overheard a conversation between two gentry who had previously arrived in a crested coach with liveried footmen. As soon as he heard them mention shooting and firearms he broke into their conversation and impressed them with his insight and knowledge of the subject. The shorter of the two gentlemen who was bearded became intrigued and started to question Fox who eventually sat at their table. It was at that point that Ebenezer discovered that he was talking to no other than the King of England himself. It was much to be said of King Edward VII that he could find a common interest with one of his humblest of subjects, but there is more to be said for the effrontery of the Hertfordshire poacher who was not in the least bit perturbed by the disclosure. In fact the discussion ended with Fox climbing into the king’s carriage. He was being driven off to shoot with the highest of the realm!
The very same day a local gamekeeper disturbed a poacher who escaped, but he saw enough of the man to see that he was Ebenezer Fox. In front of the court the magistrates were astonished when Fox agreed that he had been shooting that day, but then denied that he had not been on Mr Hale’s land. He also said that he had a witness to prove it. ‘He’ll be one of your kind’, the chairman said. ‘If you mean was he along o’ me, course he was’, said the accused. ‘We was shooting together, in fact he took me your honour’, he went on. ‘So if you were not on Hale’s land where were you’, asked the Magistrate. Ebenezer furnished the name of the landowner whose estate was near Biggleswade. It was an impressive name and the bench felt sure that such a gentleman would never tolerate the likes of Fox on his preserves. ‘What is the name of your accomplice’, asked the Chairman. ‘Ah’, said Ebenezer, making the most of the occasion, ‘he is a little better off than me. Like as not you will let him off and I’ll do time’. ‘You will both get your desserts’, the Chairman assured him. ‘Who was it?’ ‘If you please, your honour, it was His Majesty the King, God bless im’.
At that moment a distinguished figure entered the courtroom to gasps and bewildered head shaking. When at last the Chairman looked once more at the prisoner he did so with a scarlet face; it was with difficulty that he managed to utter ‘The case dismissed’.
So you ask yourselves what on earth has this got to do with cycling? The answer is nothing more than I saw Gary coming home with a mini keg of Tring Brewery’s finest
and you now know the story behind it!
Well done to all those who completed the Chiltern Challenge, although we were disappointed to know that no one completed 75 miles (it only being 72.72 miles we are relaibly informed!). Please do let us know your stories for posting on here.
With so many riding out of Aylesbury we were surprised to still have 8 people out last week and the new bikes on display continue, we look forward to seeing the new Scott that was out in Aylesbury in all of its glory, that assuming anyone can keep up with it!
This weeks rides can be found in last weeks post as we actually went a different way altogether!