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Old news detailing sports, crime, violence and suffering in Victorian Wigan. All stories taken from The Wigan Observer And District Advertiser, 1860. Material kindly loaned by Paul Byrne.


Friday, February 24, 1860.

HORRIBLE DEATH FROM BURNING AT HINDLEY.
   On Tuesday an inquest was held before C. E. Driffield, Esq., at the Bird-i'-th'-Hand, Hindley, on the body of Ann Mee, wife of John Mee, labourer, who met with her death under most distressing circumstances. It appeared from the evidence that the deceased was in a neighbour's house shortly after eight o'clock, in coversation with the mistress, and left about nine, proceeding to her own house. Nothing more was heard of her till between eleven and twelve, when, on a woman going to see her, deceased was found on the floor by the fire, with the clothes all burnt from her body and the flesh one heap of ashes. She was quite dead. It is supposed that deceased was seized with a fit, and had fallen into the fire, from which she could not extricate herself, nor call for assistance. - A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned.



Friday, February 24, 1860.

FEARFUL ACCIDENT AT STRANGEWAYS HALL COLLIERY.
   An inquest was held on Tuesday last, before C. E. Driffield, Esq., at the Bird-i'-th'-Hand, Hindley, on the body of Richard Wales, who met with his death on the Saturday previous. It appears that the deceased was employed as a blacksmith at the above colliery, and on the day in question he had to drive a "cotter" into the eccentric rod. To do this he thoughtlessly stood astride the crank (the engine working at the time), with his feet resting upon the engine bed, and as the eccentric rod came round he struck the "cotter" with his hammer. But he paid dearly for his temerity, for as the crank moved the deceased either fell forward or had his clothes caught by it, when he was drawn into the machinery and his body torn to pieces. The engineer perceiving that something was the matter stopped the engine, and the remains of the deceased were at once extricated. Death was immediate. The deceased has left a wife and seven children. - A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned.



Friday, February 24, 1860.

A CHILD SCALDED TO DEATH.
   On Monday an inquest was held at the White Horse, Whelley, before Thomas Grimshaw, Esq., the borough coroner, on the body of Lavinia Corns, a child fifteen months old. On Sunday afternoon the mother was preparing to make tea, and while in the act of pouring some hot water from the kettle into a jug the child caught hold of her clothes, and fell towards the fender, with its face upwards. The mother was putting down the kettle to lift the child up, when the kettle fell down, and the water ran over the child's face, scalding it very much. Medical assistance was obtained, but the child died the following morning. - A verdict of "Accidently scalded" was returned.



Friday, February 24, 1860.

SUDDEN DEATH OF AN INFANT.
   On Monday an inquest was held at the Three Tuns, Wiend, before the borough coroner, on the infant daughter of Alice Wright, one month old. On Saturday the parents of the child left Hindley to come to Wigan, the child being carried by the mother, and folded in a cloak. They called at Clarington Brook for a few minutes, and the child was well then. On getting to Wigan they proceeded to the Three Tuns, and on the mother uncovering the child to show it to some person there, she discovered that it was dead. - A verdict of "Died suddenly from natural causes" was returned.



Friday, February 24, 1860.

ANOTHER DEATH FROM SCALDING.
   An inquest was held on Tuesday at the Woolpack, Millgate, before the borough coroner, on the body of Charlotte, daughter of James and Mary Sherrington, Fairhurst's Yard, Millgate. It appears that on Monday the mother was sitting by the fire with the deceased on her knee. The other children in the house were playing about, and the deceased, hearing them laugh, wanted to get down and go to them. The mother put the child down, when it made towards the dresser in the kitchen, and a pan of boiling water was pulled over, severely scalding deceased and her sister. The child lingered a short time, and died. - A verdict of "Accidently scalded" was returned.



Friday, February 24, 1860.

ROBBERY OF A GOLD GUARD IN 1858.
   Ann Gray, a middle-aged woman, was charged with having, on the 1st February, 1858, stolen from the bed-room of Mr. Matthew Bennett, the Free Trade Inn, Scholes, a gold watchguard, valued at five guineas, and a plated Albert chain. The prisoner, at the time of the robbery, was employed at the Free Trade Inn as a washerwoman, and had access to all the rooms of the house. On the day above-mentioned, Mrs. Bennett placed the stolen articles in a small box in the bed-room, where they were usually kept, but on Mr. Bennett going to look for them afterwards he found they had been taken away. Inquiries were made, but nothing could be heard of the missing articles till a few days ago, when it was ascertained that the prisoner was connected with the robbery. It was given in evidence that, on the 22nd of February, 1858, the prisoner went to a Mrs. Parkinson, and offered to sell her a pawn-ticket for the gold guard, giving as a reason why she wanted to part with it that her husband wanted some money, and that they had had the guard by them a long time. Mrs. Parkinson purchased the ticket, and her husband released the guard, paying 32s. for it. The Albert chain the prisoner left with Mrs. Parkinson, wothout anything being given for it. Mr. Parkinson, however, did not keep the guard long, but sold it in June following for 2 10s. The guard remained in the possession of the last purchaser till last Friday, when, on information he received from Detective Whalley, he delivered it up to that officer. Detective Whalley afterwards proceeded, in company with Mrs. Bennett to Halshaw Moor, where the prisoner was found, and charged with the robbery. She admitted the theft, and asked Mrs. Bennett not to prosecute her, and she would pay for the chain. This Mrs. Bennett could not do, and Gray was taken into custody. - The bench committed her for four calendar months.



Friday, February 24, 1860.

BRUTAL ASSAULT WITH A POKER.
   Owen Brogan was charged with an assault on Thomas Johnson, by striking him with a bar of iron on the right side of the head, just above the ear. Both prosecutor and prisoner are oyster dealers, and on 6th Feb. the prosecutor appeared in the police court as a witness against the prisoner, who was charged with travelling without a ticket on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, convicted, and fined. Since that time prosecutor alleged that he had been abused frequently by the prisoner, who called him a "by informer," and threatened to have revenge. On Friday evening last, about six o'clock, prosecutor said he was standing at the end of the Bay Horse entry, up which passage he lives, and while he was thus standing prisoner came up, partly drunk, and began to abuse him. Prosecutor crossed the road and stood near Mr. Davies's shop, but the prisoner followed, went into the cellar under the Moot Hall, and returned with a bar of iron, with which he went up to Johnson, who was standing with his back to the cellar, and struck him with a violent blow on the head which felled him to the ground. Prosecutor was helped up, and conveyed to Mr. Foreman's surgery, where he had his wound dressed, and was conveyed home and put to bed, where he had been confined till to day. - Mr. Foreman described the wound as an incised one, two inches in length, penetrating to the bone, and was of such a character as to prevent the prosecutor going out for a few days. - The bench considered the assault a most brutal one, and they were half-inclined to commit the prisoner to the assizes; however, in consideration of his previous good character, they would only influence a fine, the heaviest which the law allowed, viz., 5 and costs.



Saturday, February 25, 1860.

OBSTRUCTING THE FOOTPATH.
   William Lyon was summoned for obstructing the footpath, in Queen-street, on Wednesday last. Defendant was unloading some sacks of flour, and had one wheel of his cart half-way on the footpath, causing passers by to go into the road. The officer on duty in Queen-street warned the defendant that he was infringing the bye-laws, and told him to clear off as quickly as he could. On going by in an hour after, however, the officer found the defendant still there, and removing a second load of flour. - The bench told defendant he must be cautious in future; as this was the first offence he would be discharged.



Saturday, February 25, 1860.

GAME CASE.
   John Cheetham and Peter Heaton were charged with being on a piece of land in Pemberton, in the occupation of James Alker, on the 14th February, in search of game.- Thomas Hill, gamekeeper, to M. Bankes, Esq., proved seeing the prisoners in the land in question, each with a gun, when he called out to them, and they ran away. - Cheetham said he had never "shot an ounce of game in his life," and did not think he was doing any harm in being out with a gun. Prisoners were fined 5s. each and costs.


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