Photo: A. Greenwood
Item #: 18335
When I was a youngster in Aspull, the lads would often go for walks around Haigh and visit the site of the Meadow Pit. I remember being told a story of some sinister goings on at the pit. The story goes, in the early part of the last century, a murder took place at the pit and the body was disposed of in the furnace. Some time later a chap was arrested in Liverpool whilst trying to pawn a watch and chain belonging to the deceased. I was also told that this person paid the ultimate price for his evil deed. Has anyone else been told this story or was it meant to scare us little chaps away ?.
Close, but no cigar!
The murder did take place but at Bawkhouse Colliery, Haigh. More information can be found in D. Anderson's Wigan Coal & Iron book which is excellent.
I drove up Meadow Pit Lane on Monday, from Red Rock up to Haigh, and remarked to my wife that the area would have looked very different when the pits thereabouts were belching smoke and dust. Nature has reclaimed the area and more or less restored it to idyllic countryside.
yes, there was a murder there you will find full story in wicked wigan by Shryan(not sure of spelling)It was called button murder as if I remember correctly that was all that remained of the body in the furnace
Thanks Andrew and Barbara I may well have got the wrong pit but at least I now know the story is true. Has a youngster in Aspull everybody appeared to have a father or brother working in the pits around Wigan and I suppose this gave us an interest in the mines and though only young, we learned to respect these places, remember, mine shafts often were left open with just a brick wall about six feet high around them, easy to climb onto.
Bawkhouse pit murder James Barton was murderd on FRI 2nd Jan 1863 thrown into the furnice he was the engine tender and kept the pump engine going.
Apony driver who went to work at 3amSat morn to tend to the ponys could not find Barton anywhere and the furnice fire was low and the steam pressure low so he went to knock up his son John.
The ploice were sent for and they found blood on the floor and the furnice and blood on a crowbar.They empty the ashes out of the furnice and find burned bones teeth and a buckle off a belt.
ON Sunday 1st Sep 1866 after a long investigation Thomas Grime from chorley was charged with murder and hanged outside Kirkdale prison liverpool where there was a crowd of 50,000 to see him hang he repeatedly asserted that he never laid a finger on Barton allthough he was there.
This story is from a book writen by James Fairhurst named
WIGANS WORST VICTORIAN MURDERS a very good read.
My great grandfather Edmond Smith was manager of meadow pit he retiered in 1903 he was prsented with a unberella with a gold badge which was inscribed in thanks for his services which I still have there was also a purse of gold soverines never seen them.
the person murdered was an ancester of mine. I remember as a child seeing an article in an old wigan observer, wish I had it now! The accused was publicly hanged at Lancaster. does anyone know the year ?
THERE USED TO BE TWO PIT SHAFTS AT THE BOTTOM OF CRAWFORD AVENUE
I don't remember the pit itself, but in the early 60's the old mine shaft was used to dispose of some sort of chemicals, I think possibly waste from the Bleachworks - I remember the area all around where the old shaft was had been stained from the tankers dumping into it. God knows what went into the water supply.