I recently came across an interesting twist to the story of the Peak District wallabies whilst looking for something else, as is often the case with me. The “anomaly within an anomaly” refers to the fact that we have the well known anomaly, that there have been wallabies living in the wilds of the Staffordshire and Derbyshire Peak District for many years, yet also this wallaby-slashing case, if that`s what it was as recorded in the Macclesfield Courier for October 17th, 1957. It is interesting to find an animal mutilation case that pre-dates the time when such cases became a part of the paranormal and UFOlogy “envelope”. There`s also a strong odour of class struggle here, in the Marxist sense with the landlord taking the poacher to court. Sir Philip was once an Antarctic explorer with a small zoo from whence the wallabies,yaks,etc escaped around World War 2. See my blog here for more info:
The headline ran: ` Mutilation of wallabies at Swythamley`. `Some Found With Their Tails Cut, Others Dead`.
“During the hearing of a case at Leek County Court on Monday, mention was made of wallabies on the Swythamley Estate being found with their tails cut and others either dead or distressed through being chased. The case was one in which Sir Philip Lee Brocklehurst Bart J.P. of
Swythamley Park, Wincle claimed £25 damages for trespass and
sought an injunction against Maurice Ephraim Salt, an 18-year-old apprentice
brick-layer of Sandyford, Stoke-on-Trent, to
restrain him from entering the Swythamley estate.
After Counsel for Salt had objected to a paragraph in the claim which contained allegations about wallabies, stating that Salt denied any connection with this, an amendment was made. Damages of 32 with costs were awarded and as Salt had given an undertaking on oath that he did not intend to go on the estate again, this was accepted by Judge H.A. Tucker. Mr G.L. Lichfield, for Sir Philip, told the court that on part of the estate wallabies had been found with their tails cut and others either dead or distressed through being chased. Sir Philip said that although people were allowed to go on his land on the issue of a card, on application being made, general permission was not given.
No person was permitted off the paths, or into the woods where the animals were kept. Replying to Mr W. A L. Allardice, for Salt,Sir Philip said it would take a rich man with a big staff of game-keepers to keep everyone out.
Not to poach
Salt said he first went to Hen Cloud (part of the Roasches) in December, 1955, for climbing and for a look round but not for poaching. He did not think he was trespassing as he had seen plenty of people up there. He had never been told not to go there because it was private property and that he would be trespassing if he did.” On an occasion just before Christmas, 1956, he saw a dead wallaby there. In June this year he went to Hen Cloud to take photographs not to chase wallabies or harm them.
He had a gun with him because he intended to go to a farm and ask permission to go on the land where he knew there were plenty of rabbits. On that occasion the game keeper told him he was trespassing and was liable to a big fine. He had not realised before that he was trespassing. He had never been on the Swythamley Estate since and he did not intend to go there again.” (1)
1. Macclesfield Courier October 17th 1957 p.1