Whistlecraft - the true story of the poachers of Rickinghall
George Ruffels, later to be known as Joe Whistlecraft died in 1960. Convicted over a hundred times, mainly for poaching, he was one of a notorious family who, nevertheless, are fondly remembered by many who knew them in Rickinghall and Hinderclay in Suffolk where they lived. Known as the man who got away with murder, Joe still served over twenty years in jail, longer than many who have received a life sentence. This included three spells in Dartmoor. His father and brothers were also regulars at both Ixworth and Eye Petty Sessions.

At the start of this story, we meet Joe Whistlecraft in 1959, looking back on a long life. It is just months since his youngest brother Ernie has died and shortly before Joe will join him. Though these are not his actual words, I’d like to think he would recognise this tale as a fair reflection of the way they all lived then. This is the true story of a man who seems to have regarded regular imprisonment as little more than an occupational hazard of his chosen way of life. .

Published by Pawprint Publishing     ISBN 978-0-9564855-9-5    Now Out of Print

 Joe Whistlecraft in a photo from about 1950

The old ice house in the wood known as the Shrubbery at Redgrave Hall

 Herbert, known as Duke Whistlecraft, Joe's brother  seen here in the garden at Rose Cottage, Rickinghall




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