Crime and punishment has naturally played a part in the existence of every town or village like Llantrisant.

One of the early records shows that in April 1808 a Llanharry youth, of nineteen, named Williams Williams was executed at Cardiff gaol for the murder of a Llantrisant boy named David Williams who was just twelve years of age.

According to the Cambrian News of the period, the "prisoner and the deceased were in habits of intimacy and that the latter had mentioned to one of his playmates that the prisoner had been guilty of a crime...and the prisoner threatened to kill the boy and throw him in the river."

The young David Williams was found one Sunday afternoon in a ditch with seven stab wounds to the neck and stomach.

William Williams was caught at Gelligaer, where he worked and he appeared in the Glamorganshire Assizes in Cardiff where he was found guilty.

The news report concluded: "He was executed on Monday last on the new drop at Cardiff, amidst a great concourse of people who assembled on the occasion."

The large iron town of Merthyr Tydfil was the first in the south Wales to appoint a metropolitan policemen and although there was a desire for protection but a general reluctant to pay for it. 

Their metropolitan officer, Jamieson took appointment. By 1836 Bridgend, another growing town, employed a policemen  The government of the county was in the hands of the magistrates of the county assembled in quarter sessions and it was in this body in April 8th 1839 that considered the provisions of the County Police Act of that year which empowered them to provide paid police force in the county. 

It was in April 1839 that the Quarter sessions in Cowbridge appointed a constable for Miskin. Until then parish constables had been elected annually at petty sessions. There were three constables appointed by October and a few months later a superintendent of police for Miskin was advertised to cover Llantrisant, Pentyrch, Llantwit Fardre and Llanwynno.

Freeman of Llantrisant Major Rickards proposed the establishment of a police force because of the danger of insurrection such as the Chartists and the Marquis of Bute supported his proposal. Pc James Hume came to Llantrisant in April 1840 with superintendent.

Thomas Morgan Lewis appointed and took up residence on the Bull Ring. The other constables were appointed in Treforest, Pontypridd, Nantgarw, Caerpillhy, Nelson. Their uniform was a blue dress coat with scarlet cuffs and a scarlett embroidered collar, dress trousers, blue and white cast cape. Also a box leather hat, stock and clasp, staff, battle lanthorn and handcuffs. By 1841 it was agreed that they should carry a cutlass at night.

Harrison Gunshot Death

John Jenkins, the diarist of the George Inn wrote on September 26 1851: “Thomas S Harrison, son of Dr Harrison, was shot in the right side at Gwain y Crwth lane by running away from a person of the name of Barber.

"He only lived about an hour. He was a harmless, obliging and well beloved young man being only 20 years old”.

On first examining this entry, it comes as little surprise that the death of Thomas Harrison has always been considered Llantrisant's famous "murder" of the Victorian era.

However a news report in the Cardiff & Merthyr Guardian called "Melancholy Gun Accident" tells a different tale.

Thomas Samuel Steel Harrison, the son of surgeon Neville Elmes Harrison was with his friend, collier David Richards when they went hunting rabbits on behalf of the invalid William Llewellyn in a field just beyond Newbridge Road belonging to Thomas Evans, the blacksmith.

They crossed the field belonging to Edmund Scott Barber, the surveyor of Llantrisant House when Harrison saw Barber on the property and shouted "Come back, Barber is in the field!"

Suddenly there was the sound of a gunshot and Harrison was found bleeding profusely from his side shouting "He has killed me; I shall never go over his lands no more."

Richards helped his friend towards Llantrisant when he collapsed. Residents John Evans and Mr Cooke Jnr came to help until Harrison's father, the surgeon, was called upon.

Dr Harrison saw that the gunshot had passed through his son's lung and he died in his mother's arms at their Llantrisant home.

The Coroner returned a verdict of accident death because it transpired that Harrison had placed his gun on the hedgerow and as he tried to make an escape from the field he fired it accidentally into himself.

The local myth that Barber himself was a murderer was untrue.