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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 25, 1860.

STEALING CAPS.
   John McGrath, a young man, was charged with stealing a cap from the head of James Isherwood, who stated that, as he was leaving the assembly room of the Royal Hotel on Monday evening, McGrath, who stood upon the stairs, seized his cap and kept possession of it. Isherwood fetched a policeman, and McGrath was taken into custody with the cap on his head. - There was also a similar charge preferred by John Cumberford, who said he had his cap taken by McGrath at the same place and in a similar manner. - The bench imposed a fine of 5s., and ordered McGrath either to restore the caps or make good the loss.



Saturday, May 26, 1860.

UNJUST SCALES AND WEIGHTS.
   Richard Harrison, manager of the Hindley Co-operative Store, was charged by Mr. Stephenson, of Warrington, the inspector of weights and measures for the district, with having in his possession a pair of unjust scales. - The inspector said he visitied the Hindley Co-operative Store on the 9th instant, and found a pair of scales under the weighing end of which was a large piece of sugar paper, which would operate against the buyer. - (The inspector produced the paper, and it would weigh, we should think, a quarter of an ounce.) - Defendant admitted that the paper was used as the inspector described, but only for the purpose of weighing sugar, and he understood it was the custom of the trade. There was no intention to defraud, and in proof he said he knew the inspector was coming, and he could have removed the paper, but did not. - The inspector said he had another charge against the store, for having unstamped weights on the premises, four half-ounce and quarter-ounce weights. - Defendant admitted the charge, but said the weights were new, and were waiting to be stamped by the inspector. Defendant said he understood it was customary for printed notices to be delivered to all shopkeepers announcing the inspector's visit, but none had been delivered at the store. - The inspector said upward of a thousand bills had been distributed throughout the district by the police. - Superintendent Orton confirmed the inspector's statement. - The bench said the defendant's excuses were bad, but as this was the first offence, the cases would be dismissed on payment of costs.



Saturday, May 26, 1860.

ANOTHER CHARGE OF USING UNJUST SCALES.
   William Cooper, marine store dealer, Hindley, was also summoned for having a pair of unjust scales. - The inspector said defendant had bought in, and on examining his scales he found they were unjust to the extent of three ounces in favour of defendant. - Defendant admitted that the scales were not true, but said he did not use them, as they had two other sets in the shop. - He had bought them from the previous tenant. - The inspector said the scales which formed the subject of the information were hung up in the shop, and appeared to him to be in constant use. He did not see any other scales. - The bench thought the case proved, and inflicted a fine of 10s. and costs.



Saturday, May 26, 1860.

NONPAYMENT OF WAGES.
   Richard Boon, of Ashton, coal proprietor, was summoned by John Wood and Daniel Mitton for nonpayment of the wages due to them. They had frequently asked for their money, but could not get it, the defendant repeatedly putting them off with promises and causing them to lose considerable time. - Defendant was summoned three weeks ago by four others of his hands, and time was given him to pay the amounts claimed. Three out of the four, however, appeared this morning and said they had not received a farthing. - The bench ordered an immediate payment, and in default one month's imprisonment in each case.



Friday, June 1, 1860.

WARNING TO CANAL BOATMEN.
   At the Ormskirk petty sessions, on Monday last Thomas Baldwin, of Wigan, mate of the boat No. 35, belonging to the Ince Hall Coal and Cannel Company, was brought up in custody, charged with stealing the company's cannel from the boat whilst on its passage to Liverpool. - Mr. Mayhew, of Wigan, on behalf of the company, stated that the coalmasters of the district, in order to put a stop to the extensive pilfering upon the canal, had lately employed detective police. The prisoner had been seen by police-constable Seddon in the act of stealing the cannel between Wigan and Liverpool, and upon this evidence Baldwin was convicted and sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment and hard labour in Kirkdale gaol.



Friday, June 1, 1860.

THE ASSAULT WITH A POKER AT UPHOLLAND.
   On Saturday last, before J. Jacson, Esq., at the county police court, Thomas Ashurst, who we stated a fortnight ago was in custody on the charge of striking Henry Bankes on the head with a poker, was again brough up, the prosecutor being able to appear. There was, however, owing to the absence of a witness, another remand till Monday, when the case was finally disposed of. - Mr. Mayhew appeared for Ashurst. - From the evidence it appears that Bankes and a man of the name of Spencer were proceeding on Sunday night, the 13th May, in the direction of Digmoor, when they passed Ashurst, who turned round and had some words with Spencer, and they began scuffling. Bankes went to them to separate them, when Ashurst released himself from Spencer's grasp and ran into his own house, a distance of thirty yards from where they were, saying he would fetch a "backer." He returned immediately with a poker, with which he struck Bankes a violent blow on the head, felling him to the ground, where he remained insensible three or four minutes. He was then taken home, and Mr. R. T. Morris, surgeon, was called in, under whose treatment Bankes remained for a week. Mr. Morris stated that the effects of the blow produced no immediate danger, but erysipelas or inflammation of the brain might have supervened. - The magistrates characterised the assault as a most brutal and unprovoked one, and he should inflict the highest penalty, 5 and costs, in default two months' imprisonment.



Friday, June 1, 1860.

ASSAULT WITH A KNIFE.
   Ellen Glancey was charged with an assault upon Francis Reynolds, by stabbing him with a table knife. - Mr. Mayhew appeared for the defendant. - Complainant and his wife rent a house in Lower Morris-street, Scholes, but let off the front lower and upper rooms to Glancey and her husband. On Saturday night, about twelve o'clock, Reynolds and his wife were having a quarrel with respect to some money when the defendant entered the room, and joined in the fray, taking the side of the wife. After a few minutes she returned to her own room, and complainant followed her to speak to her, when she drew a knife out of a loaf of bread she was cutting and attacked him with it, inflicting a wound just under the left eye. An hour and a half after he was struck he went to the police office and gave information of the affair, and defendant was apprehended. - The defence was that no wound had been inflicted by Glancey, but that complainant had fallen down stairs, and inflicted the wound himself. - The bench believed an assault had been committed, and inflicted a penalty of 5 and costs, in default two months' imprisonment.



Friday, June 1, 1860.

ANOTHER CHARGE OF ASSAULT.
   Patrick Conroy was charged with an assault upon Frederick Thompson. The parties had been to the fair on Monday last, and were finishing up their evening's entertainment in a house in Platt-lane, where they had some beer. Complainant went out of his own house to that of a neighbour named Blinstone with a jug of ale, which he served round, and eventually a squabble arose between him and the complainant. The latter ran into his own house again, and locked the door, his wife taking the key. Directly after the complainant said there was a knock at the door, and he went to open it, forcing the lock with a poker, as his wife refused to give him the key, fearing he would get hurt. When the door was opened, defendant rushed in and wrested the poker out of complainant's hand, and struck him a violent blow on the shoulder, which had prevented him from working for some days. - The bench inflicted a penalty of 10s. and costs.



Friday, June 1, 1860.

ASSAULT UPON A MAN BY TWO WOMEN.
   Ellen Halliwell and Margaret Jolley were charged with an assault upon Thomas Appleton. Complainant is a cowkeeper, and rents a field in which, on Friday, he saw a number of lads trespassing. He gave chase to them, and was only able to catch a little boy, the son of the first defendant, whom he took to his parents' house. On arriving there, however, Halliwell began to abuse him, and struck him with a stool, at the same time calling upon Margaret Jolley to "send into him." - The bench discharged defendants upon payment of costs.


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