Isle of Wight Sealed Writ Society presented Valentine Gray: The Trial at Quay Arts to a sold-out crowd on Thursday 28th April.
Legal professionals past and present re-enacted the trial of Benjamin and Margaret Davies using original court manuscripts and newspaper articles.
The evening began with a talk from fundraiser and communications manager at the Isle of Wight Youth Trust, Michelle Moorman. Michelle spoke about how the trust’s services are needed now more than ever and gave an insight into the services they provide to Island youth’s aged between 4-25.
Local historian Roger Fruen continued the evening with a short talk about the ‘little sweep’ and how he died at the hands of his abusive master Benjamin Davies. He also corrected historical inaccuracies surrounding Valentine’s short life in Newport.
The Trial then commenced with the audience acting as the jury.
The event was arranged by Newport & Carisbrooke Community Council as part of the Year of the Child 2022. Proceeds of £407.10 will be donated to the Isle of Wight Youth Trust.
Councillor Julie Jones-Evans member for Newport Central made the following statement:
“Valentine’s treatment at the hands of his employer is something deeply ingrained in our local history and a reminder that children today still suffer. The performance of the trial was fantastic, hearing the actual evidence used at the time was an eyeopener and very moving. Thanks must go to the performers, Roger Fruen, and the packed-out audience for their support.”
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