Reading Room 2
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, June 1, 1860.
NEGLECT OF WORK.
Margaret Oliver, a girl of 18, was charged with absenting herself from her work at Messrs. J. Woods and Co's mill. Mr. Ackerley appeared in support of the complainant, and said defendant engaged on the 4th of May last, but had absented herself frequently, having made five and a half days one week, and three and a half another, and on Monday last she was away all day, after having promised, on being sent for, to go to her work. Mr. Ackerley also said there were no less than 75 persons absent from the mill on Monday last. He pressed for the punishment of the defendant, and said the firm would not employ her again, her conduct was so irregular. - Defendant's excuse was that she was ill, but this was not credited, and the Bench sent her to prison for fourteen days. - Agnes Lambert was also summoned for a like offence, but Mr. Ackerley said she would be again employed at the mill if she would go back, and he did not press for punishment. - Defendant promised to return to her work, and she was discharged on payment of costs.
Friday, June 1, 1860.
Three oyster dealers, named John Shields, Michael Cain, and William Jenkins were summoned for allowing their oyster shells to remain in the public streets from midnight on Saturday last till three o'clock on Sunday morning, contrary to the provisions of the Police Clauses Act. Defendants admitted the charge, but said they had arranged with the scavenging contractor to take them away, who promised he would do so when the carts went their rounds, which it appeared was not till after three o'clock. - The Bench said they had nothing to do with the arrangements with the contractor, but under the circumstances the cases would be dismissed on payment of costs. - The defendants were also recommended to provide a tub or such like vessel in which to put their shells, instead of throwing them on the ground by their stalls.
Friday, June 8, 1860.
ASSAULTING A POLICE-CONSTABLE.
Peter Oates, an individual who professes to cure all the "ills that flesh is heir to," was charged with being drunk and assaulting police-constable Whalley. - The officer stated that he was in the Albion public-house that yesterday, when his attention was called by the landlady to a disturbance which the defendant was making in the vault. He had called for a glass of brandy, and in payment tendered three halfpence, which however, was refused; he declared he would pay no more, and began to make a great noise, and when Whalley went to him to quiten or remove him, he turned upon the officer and threw him on the ground. Whalley, however, recovered himself, and stuck to his man whom he conveyed to the lockups. - Defendant was fined 10s. and costs, in default one months' imprisonment.
Friday, June 8, 1860.
ROBBERY BY A LODGER.
Jane Lynch, a middle-aged woman, was charged with stealing two blankets, some print, and other articles, the property of John Lenegan, in whose house the prisoner and her husband lodged. It will be remembered that the prisoner's husband was last week charged with being concerned in the theft, but discharged for want of culpatory evidence; and that the prisoner herself had absconded, and could not be found. She had been traced, however, and was apprehended on Monday in the Queen's Head Yard, by police-constable Whalley. - Evidence of the felony was given by the prosecutor's wife, and the articles, which had been found pledged in Scholes for 6s. 6½d., were identified. - The prisoner, who looked in a most pitiable condition, and wept during the hearing of the case, pleaded guilty. The prosecutor stepped forward, and begged that the bench would deal mercifully with her; and wished she had fallen into other hands than his; he understood she had been well brought up, and was respectably connected, but an unfortunate propensity to drink had ruined her; he had no wish to see her punished. - The bench, in consideration of the prosecutor's appeal, committed the prisoner to three months' hard labour.
Friday, June 8, 1860.
STEALING CORAL BEADS FROM A CHILD'S NECK.
John Ashurst, a boy 12 years of age, was charged with stealing a set of coral beads, valued at 7s. 6d., from the neck of a girl about four years of age, the daughter of Mr. Ainscough, of the White Lion, Hallgate. - Mrs. Ainscough stated that her daughter went out of the house about ten o'clock yesterday morning, and returned in a few minutes saying that a boy had taken her necklace. Information was given to the police and police-constable Whalley at once visited the pawnbrokers in the town, and going to Mrs. Cookson's, in Scholes, he found the prisoner there, with the beads upon his finger, offering them for pledge, stating to the pawnbroker that they were his sister's. The boy was taken into custody, when he said that he and another boy had taken prosecutor's daughter down the Crofter's Arms yard, where they cut off the necklace and ran away with it. - The prisoner's mother appeared, and begged the bench to deal leniently with the case. She was a widow, and did all she could to keep her boy right. - The bench advised her to exercise more watchfulness in future, and ordered the prisoner to receive a good flogging, after which he was to be discharged.
Friday, June 8, 1860.
DOINGS AMONGST THE COLLIERS AT STANDISH.
Nancy Sherrington, wife of a collier, charged William Ashcroft, a collier, with assaulting her on Saturday morning, the 2nd instant, at Standish. - Mrs. Sherrington stated that about twelve o'clock on Friday night last, she went to the Black Horse, Standish, to fetch her husband home. She found him in company with the defendant, Thomas Wilding, and several others. The landlord turned them out of the house at closing time. When outside some words took place between her husband and Ashcroft, and at length Ashcroft punched him, and her husband punched Ashcroft in return for as long as he could. She attempted to go to her husband's assistance, but was held back by Wilding. She got loose and put her hand in Ashcroft's face, and he struck her. She told him "Thou has burnt thy fingers;" and he said "I'll take the fire out," and flew at her and knocked her down, and kicked her as long as he could over the legs and thighs, and kept her down by the hair of her head. He purred her for about five minutes. He was quite sober. She put her hand to his forehead to prevent him striking her husband. - The defendant said, "I hit her, no doubt, but she struck me first." He called William Tickle, who said he was in the Black Horse when Mrs. Sherrington came in. Some words passed, and she said "If she had a pair of breeches she would fight Wilding." When they got outside the house Wilding was going home, when Thomas Sherrington followed him, but came back again when Wilding returned. Ashcroft was going away when Sherrington told him it was time for him to go, and kicked him, upon which Ashcroft kicked him back. Sherrington's wife said she would not stand that sort of work, and struck Ashcroft, who struck her in return, and began to punch her, and she fell on the floor. Culshaw came and picked her up. - Lewis Foster did not see Ashcroft kick Mrs. Sherrington more than once. - Mr. Betham said he understood the complainant was a quarrelsome and foul-mouthed woman. Ashcroft had once been summoned for an assault upon a woman. - The Chairman said no provocation, by word or act, could justify a man in using more violence against a woman than was necessary to protect himself, and called upon Ashcroft to find sureties to keep the peace for twelve months, and pay the costs.
Thomas Wilding was also charged with assaulting Nancy Sherrington, at the same time and place. - The complainant said that whilst she was going to the assistance of her husband, who was fighting with Ashcroft, the defendant met her, and pushed her backwards with great violence. She was going to separate them. - For the defence Lewis Foster stated that Wilding never interfered at all; that he was going to "sunder" Ashcroft and Sherrington, when he (witness) pushed him back, and held him to keep him away, as there would be something to do. - Dismissed. - Mr. Sylvester said the law was violated by these disgraceful and brutal scenes weekly, and it was high time that measures should be taken to check them. Another brutal assault case stood for hearing that day.
Friday, June 8, 1860.
William Crooke, of Shevington, collier, was charged with an assault upon James Clayton, of Orrell, labourer, at Shevington, on Monday, the 28th ult. - Complainant said he was working at Shevington. On Monday afternoon, the 28th ult., on leaving his work he called at the Gaffer Spring beerhouse. The defendant was there, and challenged him to box him over a chair, and thinking that it was in nonsense he agreed to it, and they boxed for a short time, until defendant knocked him down and kicked him over the head and side. He had no quarrel with him. He wanted to box in nonsense, but he did not take it in nonsense. The complainant was very much hurt. They had been six or seven hours in the beerhouse, and were both forward in drink. - Mr. Sylvester said when Clayton laid the information before him he appeared to have been very much hurt. He asked for a warrant, as the man was likely to abscond. He appeared to have softened his evidence very much. - Complainant admitted that he had settled the matter with defendant, who had agreed to pay the doctor and the costs. The defendant was eventually ordered to pay the surgeon's bill, 7s. 6d.; charge for leeches, 5s.; and cost of warrant, &c., 10s. 6d., total, £1 3s. 6d., which he paid and was discharged.
>Saturday, June 9, 1860.
On Wednesday last, an inquest was held at the Wigan Workhouse, before the borough coroner, on the body of Isabella Burns, single woman, aged 45. The deceased had been subject to fits for upwards of four years, and had been an inmate of the workhouse for the last two years. On Sunday morning, about four o'clock, she was seized with a fit while in bed, and an occupant of the same room, named Stafford, went to her assistance, and she recovered somewhat. Stafford then left her, but on going to look at her two hours afterwards she was discovered to be dead. - A verdict of "Found dead" was returned.
Saturday, June 9, 1860.
Edward Walls, of Standish, charged with drunkenness and indecent conduct in the Market-place, on Friday, was discharged on payment of costs. - Mary Holding, a native of Dumfries, and who was found helplessly drunk in the streets early on Sunday morning, was ordered to leave the town at once.