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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, July 6, 1860.

A WIFE BEATER PUNISHED.
   Peter Collier, a miner, was charged with assaulting his wife. - Complainant said she and her husband had not lived together for some time past, and that she worked on the pit brow to maintain herself and two children. On Tuesday last she met her husband in the Mesnes, when he asked her to go to his house and he would "give her something." Accordingly she went, but instead of getting some money as she expected, her husband commenced to strike and kick her. He had ill-used her many times before, and had recently served a month's hard labour for his brutality. She also said that on one occasion he threatened to set a ferocious dog upon her. - Defendant denied all his wife said, and stated that he would take the two children himself if she would keep away from him. - The bench, however, sent him to gaol for two months, and told him that if he came before them again they would give him the full penalty of the law. - The defendant was removed protesting strongly that he never struck his wife at all on the occasion in question, and saying to her, "Now, thou has done it, and no mistake."



Friday, July 6, 1860.

ROBBERY FROM A SHOP DOOR.
   An old woman, not unknown to the court, named Mary Berry, was charged with stealing a basket, value 2s. 10d., from the shop door of Mrs. Waddington, Wallgate, on Thursday last. William Smith, the prosecutrix's errand boy, saw the prisoner lift the stolen basket off a hook on which it hung, but she replaced it and walked away a few yards. She, however, returned, and took hold of the basket again, with which she made hastily off, going up the Bay Horse Yard. Police-constable Ashton, who was on duty in the neighbourhood, was made acquainted with the theft, and he pursued the prisoner, whom he apprehended with the basket in her possession. - There were two other charges against her of stealing two pewter pots and a butcher's cleaver, which articles she had disposed of and evidently spent the proceeds in drink, as she was partly intoxicated when taken into custody. She pleaded guilty to stealing the basket, and was committed for two months. The other cases were not proceeded with.



Friday, July 6, 1860.

A COOL ROBBERY.
   Thomas Bentham, a collier, about 30 years of age, was charged with stealing three knives, the property of William Millard. The prosecutor keeps a stall in the Market-place, and on Saturday night, about half-past ten, he saw the prisoner lurking about. Suspecting his intentions were not of the purest, prosecutor retired a pace or two, and told his daughter to keep a watch upon him. Prosecutor then became engaged with some customers, but on looking towards where the prisoner was standing he saw him lift up the lid of a glass case and take out a four-bladed knife, with which he walked off, but returned immediately, lifted up the lid of the glass case a second time, and took out another knife, when he was stopped in his career and handed over to police-constable Atkinson, who conveyed him to the police-office. The prisoner was searched, when three knives were found upon him, and two new cloth caps. - In reply to the bench he coolly told them that he had bought two of the knives from a boy whom he did not know for 4d. each, and seeing some knives like them on prosecutor's stall he took up one of them to ascertain the price, so that he might see whether he had been "bitten" in the two he alleged he had purchased. As regards the caps, he stated he had purchased them in the Market for 1s. 6d. and 2s. each, but the owner of the stall from which he said he had bought them denied all knowledge of selling the prisoner any caps, although he did not miss the two in question from his stall. - The bench considered the prisoner's explanation a very lame one, and committed him to hard labour for one calendar month.



Friday, July 6, 1860.

STEALING A SHAWL.
   Mary Gollagher, a factory girl, was charged with stealing a shawl, the property of Sarah Phillips. The prisoner went to prosecutrix's mother's house, in Bradshawgate, on the night of the 19th ult., and asked for lodgings, but they were denied her, and she then asked prosecutrix herself to go to her (the prisoner's) mother, and ask for a shawl to cover her. Prosecutrix went, but on her return the prisoner had decamped, and next morning the shawl in question was missed. Information was given to the police, but the prisoner could no where be found. On Friday, however, she was brought to the Wigan lockups by one of the county police, who had apprehended her at Ringley with the stolen article in her possession. - The prisoner said she found the shawl upon the steps leading into the house where the prosecutrix lived. - Another shawl was also found upon her which was identified by a person who missed it about the time the prisoner absconded. - The magistrates committed her to hard labour for one calendar month.



Friday, July 6, 1860.

HIGHWAY ROBBERY IN SCHOLEFIELD LANE.
   Four men named Jas. Howarth (alias Cross), Wm. Summers, Jas. Donnelly, and William Rudd, were placed in the dock upon a charge of robbing Charles Glover, beerseller, Scholes. The prosecutor said that on Sunday night he was at the Mount Pleasant Tavern, where he had some drink, and on leaving, between half-past eleven and twelve, was proceeding down Scholefield-lane when he was followed by three men, who knocked him down and rifled his pockets, taking from him nearly 4 in gold and silver. The prisoner Howarth he swore was one of the men who attacked him; the others he did not know, but none of the three in the dock were them. - The Chief Constable said they had been apprehended because they were seen in the company of the first-named prisoner immediately before the robbery; and he was afraid some arrangement had been made between them and the prosecutor. - The prosecutor, however, denied that he had made any arrangement, but said that the father of the prisoner Rudd had been to him that morning and stated that his son was in bed at half-past ten on Sunday night. - The bench accordingly discharged all the prisoners but Howarth, at the same time observing that there was strong suspicion of collusion between them and the prosecutor. - Howarth, on the application of the Chief Constable, was remanded till Wednesday.



Friday, July 6, 1860.

STEALING A PAIR OF SLIPPERS.
   Ann Topping, a girl about sixteen years of age, was charged with stealing a pair of slippers, the property of Ellen Halliday. - Both the prosecutor and the prisoner were employed at Messrs. Taylor's mill, and on Friday night last the former left her work, leaving the slippers behind her. She did not go to the mill again before Monday morning, when she found that her slippers were gone. The prisoner had not been to the mill since Friday, and she was suspected of having stolen the slippers, and detective Whalley apprehended her at a beerhouse on Tuesday afternoon. - She pleaded guilty, and was sent to prison for one month's hard labour.



Saturday, July 5, 1890.

FELONY BY A BOY.
   William Hesketh, a boy about 12 years of age, was charged with stealing a black cloth waistcoat; and Peter Naylor, a man upwards of 30 years of age, was charged with illegally pledging the same. The boy went to the house of John Collier, Scholefield-lane, on Monday forenoon last, to ask the time of day, and on leaving took with him the article in question, which was on a chest of drawers by the door. He went to Messrs. Hopwood's and offered it for pledge in the name of his brother, but he was told it would not be taken unless his brother came himself. The prisoner Naylor was pledging a pair of shoes at the same time, and on coming out the boy Hesketh asked him to take the waistcoat and pledge it, and they both went with it to Mr. Collinson's pawn shop, where Naylor obtained 3s. upon it, which he gave to Hesketh, who gave him 3d. - The bench ordered Hesketh, who said he had neither father nor mother, to be well whipped and handed over to his friends; and the man Naylor was discharged after receiving a severe reprimand for his very silly conduct.



Friday, July 13, 1860.

A LARGE DUCK EGG.
   Mr. William Caldwell, a farmer, Bell Green Lane, Ince, has a duck which has frequently laid double-yoked eggs, and this last week the same duck laid one egg in which were found three distinct yokes. The above egg measures nine inches round, and is seven inches long. It weighs eight ounces.



Friday, July 13, 1860.

BRUTAL ASSAULT.
   William Baldrey, a labourer, was charged with an assault upon Francis Rowe. - Complainant said that on Tuesday afternoon he went into the Mitre public house, Millgate, and while there the defendant, who was drinking, commenced to quarrel with him, and eventually ran at him with a violent kick between the legs, inflicting serious injury to a delicate part of his body. He waited upon Mr. Fisher, surgeon, for his advice, and that gentleman said the wound was a most serious one, and that the defendant ought to be taken into custody, which was accordingly done. - The bench considered the assault a most savage one, and inflicted a fine of 40s., in default two months' hard labour.


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