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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, May 18, 1860.

ASSAULTING AN OLD MAN.
   Henry Martland, a collier, was summoned for an assault upon Henry Mawdesley, of Birkett Bank, on Sunday last. Defendant admitted the assault, and expressed his regret at what had happened. Mr. Mayhew, who appeared for complainant, said his client would be perfectly satisfied if the defendant were bound over to keep the peace, and unless the bench desired it, he would not offer any evidence. The bench declined to go into the case, and the defendant was accordingly bound over.



Friday, May 18, 1860.

"BOOTS THAT DIDN'T CARE WHO WORE THEM."
   James Atkinson, a factory operative, was charged with assaulting Margaret Taylor. Complainant said that she was proceeding to the mill on Monday morning last, in company with another girl, when she saw the defendant in Wallgate. Complainant's companion said to her, "See, Jemmy's got his boots on;" to which she replied, "Yes, boots don't care who wears them." Defendant professed to be insulted by the observation, but she did not mean anything by it, and she had often heard the observation made. However, they had angry words till they got to the mill, when they had to separate; but at noon when she went into the warehouse where defendant was, he asked her what she would say if he kicked her up and down the room. She asked what for, when he raised his hand flat and struck her with a blow on the cheek which was heard through the room, although the engine was going. The Mayor: Have you two been courting? Defendant: No, I would be very sorry to have anything to do with her. - The Bench considered an assault had been committed, but a provocation had been given defendant would be discharged on payment of costs.



Friday, May 18, 1860.

THE YOUTHFUL ADVENTURERS.
   The two boys Savage and Cartwright, charged with sleeping under the Fishstones, were again placed in the dock. The mothers of the lads appeared, and said that since Saturday they had made every search and inquiry for them, but they heard nothing till yesterday, when the policeman told them that they were in the Wigan lock-ups. The lads worked together at a foundry, and got their wages at noon on Saturday, but they never went home with their money. It was the first time they had run away. - In answer to the bench the lads said they slept in lodgings in Liverpool on Saturday night, for which they paid eightpence, and left on Sunday morning with the intention of getting back to Salford. They kept asking the way to Wigan. When searched fourpence was found upon them. - The bench said they would discharge the boys if the parents would undertake to give them a good flogging when they got home. - That the mothers said they were sure of, from their fathers, and the little fellows left the box with a smile.



Friday, May 18, 1860.

JUVENILE OFFENDERS.
   Joseph Bradburn and William Ball, two lads about eleven years of age, were placed in the dock charged with stealing some pieces of iron, the property of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. - Joseph Deakin, an inspector on the line, said he saw the two lads on Monday afternoon on the bridge running from King-street to Faggy-lane. After standing a while one of them cautiously crept down to the line and picked something up with which he returned to the bridge. The other boy then followed the example, and suspecting they were stealing something Deakin went to them and found they had some pieces of iron concealed under their jackets. - The Mayor said the boys were to have a good flogging and to be kept in prison till eight o'clock in the evening, when they might be handed over to their parents.



Friday, May 18, 1860.

VAGRANCY.
   A miserable looking girl, named Ann Foster, was brought up charged with sleeping in an outhouse in Millgate. She told the officer who disturbed her that she came from Liverpool, but it turned out that she belonged to Wigan, and had once run away for twelve months. - She was discharged with a caution, and ordered to join her friends.



Friday, May 18, 1860.

PREPARING FOR THE FAIR.
   A woman named Mary Barlow, whose brown complexion and general bearing betokened her of the fortune-telling fraternity, was charged with being drunk and disorderly at a quarter past twelve this morning. - In answer to the bench she said she came from Tyldesley, and had come to Wigan to see a friend. She took a glass to refresh herself, and her friend gave her another. - She was ordered to leave the town immediately, which she promised to do.



Saturday, May 19, 1860.

REFRACTORY APPRENTICE.
   Henry Lomax, a youth about seventeen years of age, was charged with leaving his work at Messrs. Preston and Co.'s foundry, Chapel-lane, contrary to the articles of his indenture. - Mr. John Preston said the defendant left his work last Monday, and absented himself the whole of the week, and it was ascertained that he had taken employment in Bolton. It was not the first time he had run away, and Mr. Preston wished the Bench to make an example of the case, as the other apprentices in their employ were waiting to see the result, in order that they might copy defendant's example. The firm had had considerable trouble with him. - Defendant enumerated various hardships and acts of unfairness to which he imagined he had been subjected, but his allegations were all denied by Mr. Preston. Eventually, however, Mr. Preston expressed his willingness to give the defendant another trial, and the defendant consenting to return to his work, the Bench dismissed the case, after giving Lomax a strong caution as to his future conduct, and telling him that if he came before them again he would be punished.



Friday, May 25, 1860.

FRIVOLOUS CHARGE OF STEALING A CAP.
   Michael Kearns, a young man, was charged with stealing a cap, the property of Edward Heaton. - Mr. Mayhew appeared for the prisoner. - Prosecutor stated that on Saturday night, about half-past ten, he was returning from Crook, and on getting near the Workhouse he heard loud screams proceeding from some women. He went in the direction of the niose, and found four men on the canal bank fighting one with another, and three women standing by screaming "murder." He interfered for the purpose of separating the combatants, but one of them turned round and aimed a blow at him, at the same time seizing his arms. A scramble then took place, and the prisoner, who had no cap on then, said he would have one, and thereupon seized his (prosecutor's). He got hustled a little more, and fearing they would do him some harm he jumped into the canal to escape. The prisoner and the other men then went away, and he got out of the canal and found a cap on the bank, but it was not his. He followed the prisoner to Wigan, and gave him into custody in Hallgate. The cap prosecutor found on the canal bank he took home, to Hindley, and he had not brought it to the court. - Mr. Mayhew submitted that that put an end to the case; there had simply been an exchange of caps. - The bench accordingly discharged the prisoner.



Friday, May 25, 1860.

THE ROBBERY OF COATS FROM THE ROYAL HOTEL.
   Mr. Rawes, of Duxbury, applied to the bench for the restoration of his coat which was stolen on Thursday afternoon last from the Royal Hotel, and afterwards found pledged in Millgate. The applicant's name was on the coat, printed on a piece of white calico, which was sewn to the collar under the hoop by which the coat was hung up. - Mr. Ingram said it was the custom generally in such cases for some agreement to be come to between the owner of the pledged article and the pawnbroker. However, in this case he thought ordinary care had not been exercised by the person who took the pledge, and he could not recommend any compensation to be given to the pawnbroker. - Mr. Green's assistant was in attendance, and said he did not see Mr. Rawes's name. - Mr. Ingram said he thought if ordinary care had been exercised the name could not but have been seen. He should direct that the coat be given up to Mr. Rawes. - Mr. Rawes accordingly took the coat, and left the court.


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