George Chappell and the Binsted Wilful Murder
This connection between a Froyle family and a murder in another village has only recently come to light. George Chapple - the spelling can be Chappell - was born in Froyle in 1802, the son of William & Sarah Chapple. His brothers James & William stayed in Froyle for a while as they are mentioned in the census, but James was the only one to stay for any time. His daughter, Sarah, eventually finished up living in the house next to the old “Prince of Wales”.
George left Froyle and married elsewhere, taking up the management of “The Cricketers” public house in the nearby village of Binsted. George's daughter, Frances eventually managed the pub - at the time of the murder George was 93 - and she had married Cyrus Knight, her second husband some years earlier. This article by Annette Booth in the Mail of July 26th 1986 tells the story of her death. The picture shows “The Cricketers” at the time of its conversion into a private house.

The Cricketers being converted“When Tony and Helen Franklin moved into their new home at Blacknest, near Alton, they knew that the house, Cricketer’s Cottage, had an interesting history - but it wasn’t until the very day they moved in that they discovered just how interesting!

For, in September 1894 the Cricketers Inn, as it was then, was the scene of what was reported in the press at that time as “The Binsted Wilful Murder Case.” The Inn, which belonged to Farnham United Breweries, was run by Frances and Cyrus Knight, who lived there with their adopted son, William Brewer, aged 15. Cyrus, a Hire Carter by trade, was 45 years old and his wife Frances was 53. They had married in 1887, Cyrus being Frances’ second husband. The newspapers of the day reported the murder in great detail - it even got a mention in the Times. But Sheldrake’s Aldershot & Sandhurst Military Gazette probably gives the fullest account of the tragic night of September 28th, 1894. It would seem that Cyrus, in a half drunken condition, was playing dominoes in the tap room when Frances called him for his tea. The Times newspaper even gives us the time of day - it was 7.30 p.m. A quarrel broke out at the tea table concerning some milk and Cyrus threw the contents of his cup at Frances, who retaliated by throwing her tea at him. According to William Brewer’s statement, later, Cyrus then threw the cup at her and said, “That will be the last cup of tea you shall fling at me.” He put on his jacket and walked into the lower room returning with a double-barrelled breech-loading gun, took some cartridges from out of a clock-case and walked out of the kitchen door into the garden, leaving the door ajar. Brewer said he next saw the muzzle of the gun pointing inside the door. It was pointed towards his mother, who was standing washing up the tea things at the time. Two shots rang out and Frances fell dead, hit in the jaw and neck. .....‘the walls and pictures were besplattered with blood and Mrs.Knight was bleeding profusely from a fearful wound in the neck.’...... The boy ran into the tap room for help while his father simply walked away, leaving the gun resting against the door of the adjoining cottage. The next morning the local constable was joined by Inspector Hawkins of Alton and they were no doubt surprised to see Cyrus returning to the house at 8.00 a.m., some 12 hours after committing the crime. On being arrested, he told the inspector that the gun had gone off accidentally. Cyrus was tried for the murder of his wife at the Winchester Assizes on November 17th, 1894. In his testimony the son, William Brewer. frankly admitted that Knight and his wife lived unhappily, that he had often struck her and that six months previously he had threatened he would “do for the old b -.” A gunsmith from Alton had tested the gun and stated that, in his opinion,it could not have gone off accidentally. No witnesses, except to character, were called for the prisoner. Having heard the evidence, the jury took just 10 minutes to arrive at their verdict - Guilty, but they strongly recommended him to mercy because they thought he had committed the crime in the heat of passion.’ The Judge, Mr. Justice Grantham, doesn’t seemed to have heeded their recommendations - he sentenced Cyrus Knight to death by hanging and he was executed on Wednesday, December 12th at Winchester Prison. So died Cyrus and Frances Knight, while what became of their adopted son is not known. The public house continued to offer liquid refreshment, and, no doubt, a lot of gossip, until 1915 when it ceased business, becoming simply Cricketer's Cottage, a house with quite a story to tell!”