Richard Andrew Scott was born in Woolwich in 1800. He served with distinction in the army with the Royal Staff Corps and was appointed Chief Constable of the newly formed Rural Police Force of Carmarthenshire on the 10th August 1843, an appointment that was brought about because of the Rebecca Riots that had fueled great unrest in the County over the previous three years spreading from the townships into the rural idylls of the countryside. It is interesting to note that on appointment to the post of Chief Constable his army rank was Captain, but he appears to have been “promoted” twice to Lieutenant Colonel whilst serving as Chief Constable suggesting that he also retained his army commission. Furthermore Richard Scott’s appointment was meant to be a temporary appointment, but one, as it turned out that lasted for 32 years until his death in 1875.
The following two obituaries of Richard and his wife Margaret give a very short “resume” of their lives in Carmarthen, but they were lives that were spent to their fullest and with great “gusto” fully embracing the welsh culture and bringing up their large family in the community they loved, though not without tragedy along the way. The Carmarthen Borough Police Force, (Town) was formed in 1836 and the formation of the Rural Police Force in 1843 did not go down well in some quarters, though it became an unrivalled force for good with many notable successes especially in the detection of rural crime and in one particular case of apprehending the suspect in the brutal murder of a young lady called Esther Davies in Cwmduad who was shot through the chest at point blank range in November 1869. Five years ago the Scott’s family grave was completely covered with very dense growth and brambles – impossible to see, but today it has, like many others undergone some major restoration work to bring it back to some respectability. Now their story can be told and of the enormous impact and contribution that Richard himself played in the birth of a fledgling police force, now known as Dyfed Powys, which is now recognised as one of the best in the United Kingdom.
In 1835 local government was reformed with the passing of a new act of parliament called the Municipal Corporation Act, which meant that for the first time, all Boroughs were required to form their own police force. However, as the towns and cities became ever more populated, and more people began to live in the countryside due to overcrowding there became the necessity to form a rural police force and thus in 1856 it became compulsory for all Boroughs to create such a force. Carmarthenshire however was way ahead of the game and had already formed its own rural police force and appointed it’s first Chief Constable in 1843 –some thirteen years earlier.
This was done as a direct result of the civil unrest in the county as a direct result of the Rebecca Riots. In August of that year the following anonymous letter was published in the “Welshman” newspaper which gives one person’s rather singular insight into the situation at the time.
CARMARTHENSHIRE RURAL POLICE. (The Welshman – August 1843)
“We are quite sure that no practicable and effective remedy can follow the establishment of a rural police force- the measure resolved upon by the Carmarthen Magistrates, and on the efficacy of which they appear so fully to rely. A really efficient rural police may do much, but it must be fully adequate to the emergency, which it manifestly is not. The present is a crisis involving results of great moment and difficulty. Such an establishment may be effective to the restoration of order in ordinary cases. It may disperse a disorderly crowd or lodge a body of drunken rioters quietly in the station- house, but looking to the number and description of that guerrilla band, to whose outrages it is meant to be applied, we do not think that, in the way of experiment, a more perilous measure could have been adopted. Rebecca, though not perhaps of the noble race of Shenkin, has, nevertheless, no obstinate daughters in her family. They give ample proof of the rigorous obedience to which they are trained. Their celerity of movement, and the skillfulness of their tactics, shows them to be disciplined by no common hand. Far from being awed by the military, the troops are hardly out of sight before the obnoxious gate is levelled with the ground, a shout of triumph is given, and in an instant the assailants disappear. They vanish, as it were, into the bowels of the earth, and no trace of them is visible but in the work of demolition which they have achieved, the vigilance of the soldiery is everywhere baffled and their activity defied. It is in this critical disposition of affairs that at a meeting of the local Magistrates and gentlemen of Carmarthen, Colonel Trevor, the county Member, says that, he having great responsibility cast upon him, fairly stated to the county that he did not believe any other method could now be followed than the establishment of a rural police force for the whole county, and not as had been at first suggested, for the disturbed districts only. What ground, we would fain ask, can the gallant Colonel have for supposing that where the soldiery had failed, a rural levy of police would succeed? There was an instructive voice in what had passed before him, to which he should have listened. There is a toughness of heart and muscle, and a firmness of purpose, in our regular troops, which might have justified him in concluding that where they had done nothing, nothing could not be done; we mean nothing in the way of actual conflict, and then, the amount of force with which he proposes to grapple more closely than hitherto with this astounding evil-what is it? – 50 constables, with one chief constable and the superintendents. Is Colonel Trevor, or any other of the Carmarthen Magistrates, aware of the collective number, strength, and equipment’s of the Rebeccaites, to whom this constabulary force is to be opposed? Have they ascertained how many out of the fifty policemen dispersed over the whole county, can be summoned in an instant to the spot at which the work of toll-gate destruction is going on, and whether they can be mustered, on the spur of the occasion, in sufficient force to capture the assailants ? To interfere to any useful purpose, they must, when any desperate outrage calls them into action be in a condition to cope with the audacious and daring enemy they have to deal with. Has their means of doing this been computed? If all these emergencies have not been foreseen and provided for – if care has not been taken to make the issue of each sudden encounter successful – the result will be in every way deplorable. Now, how all this, or anything like it, is to be effected by 50 men scattered over the whole county, we are at a loss to imagine. The Rebeccaites can concentrate their forces, at any moment, to any spot. Their watch is continual, and their movements simultaneous. They have a systematic plan of operations, with spies and outposts on the heights in every direction. With the police it is just the reverse. They cannot group themselves. They are scattered at wide distances, without the means of mutual support and co-operation in any case either of attack or defence. If out on active duty during they day, which they of course must be, it will inevitably happen that during the nightly expeditions of the toll-gate breakers they will be in their beds, from which they will rise only to witness the acts of devastation which have been going on while they slept. The sure consequence will be that, instead of repressing the disturbance, the confederates will become more active and hardened than ever. They will be excited to fresh outrages by the demonstrated inefficiency of the force employed to subdue them. Many thoughtful moments ought to have been bestowed upon the rural police plan before any resolution was passed to introduce it. As a piece of military machinery, it is, under the circumstances, the worst that could be devised. It is a fresh torch of discord, the effect of which will be to embitter the spirit of violence and revenge will break forth with redoubled wrath, and will be directed not only against the rural police as a body, but, stealthily, against every straggling individual of the corps. The Magistrates of Carmarthen seem to set but little value on the mediation of Government when compared with the contrivances of their own wisdom. The language of the Earl of Cawdor at the above meeting we hold to be somewhat exceptionable on this score. The Government Commission might, he is pleased to admit, produce a good result he hoped it would, but it must not, it seems, be considered as at all superseding the wisdom and good judgment of the Magistrates, whose duty it still was to do what was necessary for the peace and safety of the county. This language, we think, savours somewhat more of presumption than the noble speaker, either on his own part, or on the part of his brethren, is entitled to hold.”
DEATH OF LIEUTENANT COLONEL SCOTT. The Welshman – page 6, 19th March 1875.
Lieutenant Colonel Scott, Chief Constable of the Carmarthenshire Police Force, died yesterday morning at his residence, in Picton Terrace, Carmarthen. About two years since he fell over some steps and received injuries of a serious nature, from which he did not recover. He was able however, to discharge the duties of his office until the other day, when he was obliged to yield by the gradual loss of health, and for a month only was unable to attend to business. Up to that time he managed to move about, complaining only that his feet were tender and weak. But it was evident that his once vigorous strength had given way, and when confined to the house this became more apparent, and he grew worse day after day until the end came yesterday morning. His loss will be greatly felt in the police force, and we believe will be also deeply mourned for although his discipline was most severe, he was good at heart. A hard and seemingly unbending demeanor to those under his command concealed a very warm and generous heart. All that he looked for was strict attention to duty, and he would in all circumstances see that it was done by every man. In this way the Carmarthenshire Police Force has won the reputation of being one of the best in the Kingdom. Only a few days before his death, the officers of the Force presented him with a massive silver teakettle, bearing the following inscription: “Presented to Lieutenant Colonel Scott, by the Officers of the Carmarthenshire Constabulary, as a testimonial of the respect and esteem in which he has been held by them during the 31 years he has been their Chief” Colonel Scott was in the seventy-fifth year of his age. He entered the Army early in life, and was attached for many years to the Staff Corps of the Quarter Master General. In 1843, during the Rebecca Riots, he was sent into this county to “organise the police force,” of which he has since been Chief Constable. His efficiency had frequently obtained the commendation of the Justices in Quarter Sessions and of the Government Inspectors. As a citizen he was much esteemed. He took very little part in public affairs, although feeling a real interest in them, because as Chief Constable he thought it was scarcely becoming in him to do so. But the volunteer movement was an exception. In this he took a warm interest, attending drill more regularly than any other volunteer, and laying himself out ungrudgingly for its success. He will be buried on Monday next, at 11 o’clock, in St. David’s churchyard.
DEATH OF MRS. SCOTT, PICTON TERRACE, CARMARTHEN. (The Welshman 30TH August 1895 Page 5.)
The news of the death of Mrs Margaret Manderson Scott, of Picton-Terrace, Carmarthen, was received on Tuesday morning with much regret in Carmarthen, where the deceased lady was well known and greatly respected. Mrs Scott was the widow of the late Lieut Col Scott, formerly of the Royal Staff Corps, from which regiment he came to Carmarthen to take up the position of Chief Constable for the county at the time of the outbreak of the Rebecca riots. The deceased lady, who was 81 years of age, had latterly showed signs of general breakdown, and her death was, therefore, not quite unexpected by her relations. She was born at Falmouth, Cornwall, and was one of eight children of Dr Vigurs. Mrs Scott accompanied her husband to Carmarthen, and has resided here ever since. She was one of the oldest communicants in the parish of St. David’s, and attended divine worship at St. David’s Church twenty five years before Christ Church was built. By reason of her generous disposition, lovable nature, and her constant and earnest desire to assist in every movement which had for its aim the benefit of the parish, she wad held in universal esteem and affection. Mrs Scott leaves two children to mourn her loss, viz. Major Scott – St. Lucia, West Indies, and Mrs Garwood, wife of Colonel Garwood, Royal Engineers, India, and also a sister, Mrs Pooley, Picton Place, Carmarthen. The funeral, which was of a private character, took place today (Friday) at St. David’s churchyard.