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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.


Saturday, January 28, 1860.

NEIGHBOURS' SQUABBLES.
   Mary Roby was charged with assaulting and beating Mary Bibby, her neighbour, at Upholland, on the 19th instant. - Complainant said Mrs. Roby first abused her without provocation, and afterwards struck her five times on the mouth. - A witness, named Gaskell, deposed to the fact of Mrs. Roby giving complainant a "gradely mump on the mouth," and after that a "slight bob." - Roby to pay costs, 1 0s. 6d.



Saturday, January 28, 1860.

STEALING GROCERIES.
   Julia Bradley was charged with stealing 1lb. of sugar, 2oz. of tobacco, and other articles of grocery, under 5s. in value, belonging to Mr. H. D. Croft, grocer, Ince Green lane, on the 26th inst. The prisoner had been employed by Mr. Croft to assist in cleaning and washing in the house, and managed to steal the above named articles from the shop, and conceal them about her person. She was apprehended a short distance from Mr. Croft's house, with the whole of the stolen goods upon her. - Sentenced to three calendar months' hard labour.



Saturday, January 28, 1860.

BREACH OF THE VICTUALLERS' ACT.
   Robert Livingstone, of the Railway Inn, Ince Green lane, was summoned at the instance of Inspector Orton, for knowingly permitting drunkenness in his house on Sunday last. - Mr. Orton stated that a man named Charlton was drinking at defendant's house, on Sunday last, and imbibed to that excess that he lay for some time in a state of unconsciousness. At night, about closing time, some of his comrades obtained a wheelbarrow, placed him in it, and before they reached the unfortunate man's house he was a corpse. - Livingstone, in defence, said that Charlton came in with several other men, about one o'clock on Sunday. He drank a glass of rum, and a share of nine quarts of ale amongst eight of them. At three o'clock the whole of the men, with the exception of Charlton, left the house. Charlton was drunk, and the landlord allowed him to remain in the parlour. No drink was supplied to him afterwards. - The magistrates cautioned defendant, and ordered him to pay costs, 16s. 6d.



Saturday, January 28, 1860.

EARLY BUTTERFLY.
   A butterfly was found in the house of Richard Barton, Scholes street, Wigan, on Friday (yesterday) morning. Is this "another proof" of the "mildness of the season," or otherwise? The heavy snow had, doubtless, caused the butterfly to seek shelter from the severity of the weather.



Friday, February 3, 1860.

ASSAULT.
   Patrick Blueman was charged by Henry Ratcliffe with assaulting him on Saturday night last. Complainant was returning home between eleven and twelve, and while standing near a shop window, by the Bull and Dog, Scholes, the defendant came up and deliberately struck him in the face, at the same time asking him to fight. Complainant declined, and on asking why he was assaulted he was knocked down and kicked severely by the defendant and some companions who had joined him. It transpired that the complainant had previously appeared as a witness against one of Blueman's companions; hence the assault. - The magistrates inflicted a fine of 50s. and costs, or two months' imprisonment in default.



Friday, February 3, 1860.

LATE SHOPPING AND SUNDAY TRADING.
   Agnes Unsworth, meat seller, was charged with a breach of the Sunday Trading Act, by selling meat on Sunday morning last, at seven minutes past twelve. - Police-constable Ashton was on duty in the Market-place, and passed the defendant's stall at twelve o'clock, when she appeared not to be preparing to remove her meat. Ashton told the defendant what time it was, and warned her that she must remove. She took no notice of this, but shortly after was found in the act of taking money for meat she had just sold, and several other persons were standing about waiting to be served. - The Chief Constable said this case seemed a trivial one, but latterly the evil of late selling had been gaining ground, and as he had been empowered to carry out strictly the order to have all stalls removed by twelve o'clock on Saturday night, he felt bound to summon the defendant. - The magistrates expressed their desire to see the regulations carried out, but this being the first case, they would discharge defendant on payment of costs.



Saturday, February 4, 1860.

STEALING WHEAT.
   Margaret Marsh, a miserable looking woman, 65 years of age, was charged with stealing 20lbs. of wheat, value 2s., from a barn belonging to Mr. Richard Preston, Ince. Mr. Preston having his suspicions that his wheat was being stolen, a constable was placed on the watch, and on Friday last the prisoner was seen coming away from the barn with something in her apron. She was searched, and wheat was found in her apron and her pocket. The prisoner's house was afterwards searched, and a quantity of wheat was discovered there. - Mr. Preston said prisoner had worked for him many years, and he never for a moment doubted her honesty; however, he would not press the case. - The magistrates accordingly dismissed the case and the prisoner left the dock, thanking Mr. Preston and the bench for their leniency.



Friday, February 10, 1860.

NON-PAYMENT OF WAGES.
   Robert Lowerie summoned Mr. R. Rhodes, coal proprietor, for 10s. 8d., wages alleged to be due to him. - This case had been adjourned twice for the production of witnesses. Mr. Rhodes did not dispute the claim, but said the defendant had committed certain damages which justified him in withholding the sum due. - Several witnesses were examined to prove that complainant had wilfully driven a plug into a pipe in connection with the engine, and afterwards boasted that he had done that which would cause some trouble and expense. - Complainant, however, denied this, and said the plug was driven in accidently. - The Bench said they had no alternative but to make an order, intimating that Mr. Rhodes had his remedy if he had suffered damage at the hands of the complainant.



Friday, February 10, 1860.

STEALING A PAIR OF TROUSERS.
   Mary Ann Smith, a woman of the tramping class, was charged with stealing a pair of trousers from a clothes' line in Cross Keys Yard, on Friday night last, the property of Patrick Hayes. - Prisoner pleaded guilty, but said poverty drove her to commit the felony. She was a widow, and had three children, one aged nine years, another seven, and another three. She had walked from St. Helens on the day of the robbery. She added that her children were with her when she was apprehended; but the Chief-constable said the police had not seen them, and he did not believe her story; she was only endeavouring to excite the sympathy of the magistrates. - Committed for one month.


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