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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, November 16, 1860.

A SHINDY IN DOUGLAS-STREET.
   Mary Ann Hodson was charged, upon the information of Ellen Smith, with riotous and disorderly conduct. Mr. Ashton appeared for the complainant, and Mr. Walter Mayhew for the defendant. - The parties are neighbours, and some quarrel arose between their respective boys, when the son of the defendant kicked the son of the complainant. Complainant hereupon endeavoured to impress upon the defendant the necessity of properly bringing up her children, but in return for her kindness she got a volley of abuse, and had the gratification of seeing a crowd of people collect to enjoy the imputations thrown upon her by her assailant. A number of witnesses were called, whose examination and cross-examination occupied some time, and at the conclusion the bench ordered the defendant to find sureties. - James Smith and John Smith, the husband and brother-in-law of the former complainant, were then charged with an assault upon Henry Hodson, the husband of the defendant Mary Ann Hodson. It appeared that Hodson's son was having a wordy war with a woman named Ellen Green, a witness for the complainant in the above case, when the present complainant went out to see what was the matter. On going out the defendants rushed from the house, and John ran at his legs and threw him down, while James kicked him and struck him on the legs. Complainant's witness having been examined, Mrs. Hilton was called for the defendants, and said that neither of them either struck or kicked the complainant in the least. - This statement seemed to confound him, and believing that the bench would perhaps prefer ocular demonstration as to whether he had been kicked or not, bared his leg and exhibited it to the court, notwithstanding their repeated intimations that they did not want to see it. - The bench ultimately dismissed the case ordering each party to pay their own costs, and thought they had got rid of the litigants; but there was yet another charge of assault preferred against John Smith by Mrs. Hodson. On the advice of the bench, however, it was withdrawn.



Friday, November 16, 1860.

WIFE BEATING.
   John Gilmour, a man about 50, was charged with assaulting his wife. - Mrs. Gilmour stated that on Sunday morning last defendant came home drunk and turned her out of bed. She went into another room, but he followed her and threw her to the ground, afterwards getting hold of her nose and pulling it till it bled. She had had him before the magistrates previously, but he had never gone to prison. - The bench now committed him to hard labour for two months, and told him that if he came again he would be sent for six months.



Friday, November 16, 1860.

DEATH FROM "CHEAP DRINK."
   On Friday afternoon, a labourer in a coal pit, named John Barker, attended the sale at Park Hall, Charnock Richard, and partook so freely of the rum, gin, ale, &c., that were given out by the "butlers," that by four o'clock he was obliged to be "trailed" into a stable as the first place of safety that could be found for him. By seven o'clock another collier, named William Sharrock, was also much intoxicated, and, being unable to walk home, he laid himself beside his companion. At nine he was awoke by a horse treading upon him. He then tried to arouse Barker, but being unable to do so, he procured a light and assistance, and then it was found that Barker was laid on his face, quite dead. There were no marks of recent violence upon his person. At the inquest on the following day the jury returned a verdict that the deceased was carried into the stable in a state of intoxication, and that he was afterwards on the same day found dead in the same place.



Saturday, November 17, 1860.

NEGLECTING A WIFE.
   Henry Fell, a man of middle age, was charged with neglecting his wife, who became chargeable to the township of Hindley. Mr. Winstanley, relieving officer, said Fell left his wife about two years ago, and absconded, nothing having been heard of him till a few days ago, when he was apprehended at Southport. His wife was so affected at his running away that she lost her reason, and was taken to the lunatic asylum, but there being no room for her she was confined in the workhouse. She is said to be much better, though not quite recovered. - The bench committed Fell to hard labour for one month.



Saturday, November 17, 1860.

BREACHES OF COLLIERY RULES.
   John Whittle and William Rothwell, two young men, were charged with a breach of colliery rules, by ascending the pit without the permission and contrary to the directions of the hooker-on. - Mr. Mayhew appeared to support the information, and Mr. W. P. Roberts for the defendants. - The defendants are drawers at Messrs. Pearson's Hindley Colliery, and on Tuesday last descended the pit for their work at six o'clock. Owing to some extra pumping having to be done, the winding of coal was delayed an hour and a half beyond the usual time, the consequence being that a number of tubs were waiting to ascend at once. The defendants expressed themselves dissatisfied at the state of things, and put on their clothes, saying they would go up the pit and return home. The underlooker objected, but the defendants forced themselves into the cage, and fearing that some accident would ensue if they were resisted, the underlooker relinquished all responsibility to the hooker-on, who gave the requisite signals to the engine driver, and the defendants were wound up. Mr. Mayhew said it was the first offence of the kind, and the prosecution would be satisfied if the defendants were ordered to pay costs. - Mr. Roberts submitted that his clients were not guilty of a breach of the rules. He was instructed that the colliers for whom they drew, seeing they were delayed by there being no empty tubs, told them they might as well ascend the pit, as they would not be paid if they stopped. They accordingly did so, and at the time they ascended they believed that they had the full permission and consent of the underlooker. - The bench, however, believed the rules had been violated, and fined each defendant 5s. and costs.



Friday, November 16, 1860.

ALLEGED ATTEMPT TO DEFRAUD THE LONDON AND NORTH-WESTERN RAILWAY.
   Esther Barrow, a woman who stated that she resided at Pemberton, was charged before T. Byrom and W. Park, Esqrs., on Tuesday, at the Police-office, with defrauding the London and North-Western Railway, by riding from Newton to Wigan without a ticket. From the evidence of the ticket collector at the Wigan station it appeared that the prisoner got out there from one of the evening trains on Monday, and tendered a ticket which only entitled her to ride from Warrington (where she booked) to Newton, and being unable to give a satisfactory explanation, she was detained in custody. - The prisoner told the magistrates that she obtained a ticket for Wigan at Warrington, for which she paid 1s. 9d., second class fare. How she came to have a Newton ticket she could not tell, except that it must have been given her in mistake. - The bench considered the evidence against the prisoner insufficient to convict, and discharged her.



Friday, November 16, 1860.

SHOP ROBBERY.
   Thos. Hughes, a young man, who said he was a miner, and a stranger in the town, was charged before the borough magistrates, at the Moot Hall, on Monday, with stealing half an ounce of tobacco, two razors, two shaving brushes, an India rubber ball, and a bottle of oil, from the shop of Mr. Wolstencroft, hair-dresser, King-street. - Mr. Wolstencroft's assistant deposed that about half-past eleven o'clock on Saturday night last, from what Mr. Wolstencroft said to him, he looked at the prisoner and saw him let fall on the floor an ounce of tobacco, which just previously was on the bench, and which belonged to witness. Mr. Wolstencroft went out for a policeman, and witness stood by the fire, the prisoner still remaining by the bench near the shop window. Presently the prisoner stealthily took a razor, a shaving brush, a bottle, and an India rubber ball, which he placed in his pocket. - Sergeant Liptrot deposed to receiving the prisoner into custody and searching him, when he found two razors, two brushes, an ounce of tobacco, an India rubber ball, and an oil bottle. He charged the prisoner with stealing the articles, when his reply was "Ugh." - In answer to the bench the prisoner said he was drunk and knew not what he did. - Mr. Wolstencroft stated that when the prisoner entered the shop he made a pretence of being intoxicated and showed a disposition to tumble on the bench, but on the appearance of the officer all symptoms of intoxication vanished, and he quickly gained his equilibrium. - The bench committed the man to hard labour for a month.



Saturday, November 24, 1860.

STEALING CLOVER HAY.
   William Knowles, a man about 30, was charged with stealing 56lbs. of second crop of clover hay, valued at three shillings, the property of Henry Rigby, farmer, Ashton. On Friday last, the prosecutor cut some clover from his stack, which was close to the highway, being separated only by a hedge, and left about the quantity stolen on a bench at the side of the stack. The next morning he went for it and discovered that it was gone. The hay was afterwards traced to the possession of a woman named Sarah Hilton, a donkey keeper, who gave the prisoner a shilling for it, he telling her that he had found it on the road. - Mr. Hilton appeared to watch the case on behalf of Hilton. - The prisoner, who was undefended, told the Bench that he found the hay, but they did not believe him, and sent him to gaol for a month.



Saturday, November 24, 1860.

BREACH OF THE HIGHWAY ACT.
   John Bent was charged with a breach of the Highway Act by driving his horse on the footpath at Platt Bridge, on the 14th. He pleaded guilty, and was discharged with a caution on paying costs.


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