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Colonial Cases

Northumbria

The Observer, 19 August 1798

   On Monday evening last, as two men and a boy were endeavouring to cross the Tweed at Hempseed Ford, the horses of one of the men and the boy were carried down stream by the violence of the current, and the boy unhappily drowned.

   On Tuesday a Highlander, rather intoxicated, endeavoured to cross the Tweed at a place called the Water Green, when his foot slipped, and he was carried down the river.  Every effort was used, but in vain, to save him.  The body was found in about half an hour, and medical aid instantly procured; but after being exercised for a considerable time, it was found that life was irrecoverably gone.

 

The Observer, 24 February 1799

      Two or three men were playing with old muskets, on board the Mary, tender, laying at Shields, on Wednesday last, when one of the pieces went off and shot a man through the head, who died instantly.

 

The Observer, 22 August 1802 

   Last week, as three men were endeavouring to prop up an immensely large stone in one of the coal-pits on Shire Moor, it fell and crushed them all to death.

 

Cambrian, 31 December 1808

On Friday morning the following shocking circumstance occurred in Sandgate, Newcastle.  A young woman, sleeping with an infant child, awoke early in the morning, and missed the child out of the bed.  On searching the room, she found that it had fallen from the bed into a tub of water, which had been left near it, and was drowned.  Then shrieks of the young woman, on  discovering this melancholy event, alarmed the neighbours, who, instead of endeavouring to quiet her overturned mind, began to charge her with carelessness, &c. - This, added to the anticipated reflections of the mother (who was then at Shields), operated so powerfully on the young woman's feelings, that she rushed out of the house, and, in a fit of frenzy, precipitated herself into the river, where she was drowned before any assistance could be afforded.

 

The Cambrian, 10 June 1826

   A dreadful explosion took place within the last few days at Whitfield Colliery, near Newcastle-on-Tyne, by which forty men and boys lost their lives.  A Coroner's inquest was held on Thursday, and a verdict of accidental death returned upon the sufferers.

 

Monmouthshire Merlin, 6 March 1830

ASSIZE INTELLIGENCE. - DURHAM, Feb. 25. (Before Sir Justice Park.) - With the exception of the case of Joseph Hutchinson, who was arraigned at the Spring assizes last year for the murder of his father and brother at Houghton-le-spring, but whose trial was postponed to the presen assizes ion consequence of the wretched man being pronounced insane and unfir for trial,  .  .  .   the calendar for this county is more than usually destitute of any cases of public interest.

 

Carmarthen Journal, 20 August 1830

DREADFUL MURDER.

Durham, Tuesday, August 19. - A murder has been committed at a village a few miles distant from this city, the circumstances attendant on which seem to excite universal horror and dismay.

   On Sunday afternoon, Stephen Oliver and his family went to church at Hall Garth, about half a mile from their mill, leaving at home a fine girl, Mary Ann Westropp, and her fellow-servant, Thomas Clarke.  About four o'clock Clarke was seen running towards Sherborne, in the direction of Durham, crying out for help and for a doctor.  On going to the house, the poor girl was found lying on the kitchen floor murdered in the most atrocious manner that can possible be conceived. 

   Clarke's account was, that he as sitting with her at the kitchen table, when a man came in and asked to light his pipe.  He went to the fire, seized the poker, and struck at the lass.  Clarke said that he ran up stairs, got out of a window, and ran off.  He said also that there were five men in all, and they seemed to be Irish labourers.  Subsequently, he also stated, on being asked why he called for a doctor, that he saw the poor girl "give a twitch or two," (meaning that she drew her breath once or twice0, and thought she might not be dead.  Under these circumstances, search was made about the mill and the adjoin in fields, and in a corn field, a few yards distant, a sum of money, in sovereigns and have-crowns, was discovered, which, it seems, had been stolen from the house and hid there. From circumstances that occurred, suspicion arose that Clarke was implicated in the horrid transaction, and he was taken into custody. A Jury has been sitting during the whole of yesterday and this day, but as yet no verdict is given.  Not being able to learn any of the particulars in Durham, the reporter took a horse and rode over to the village.  The mill is about half a mile from the church, and three quarters from a coal-pit belonging to Lord Londonderry, where they Jury are sitting at a public house.

   The poor creature was a spectacle almost too dreadful to look at.  Her head was literally crushed to pieces from the blow of the poker; when the surgeon removed the scalp, the skull actually fell into bits; her throat was severed from ear to ear, and her whole appearance was such as to sicken and appall the feelings.  Her age was about 18, and she was a remarkable fine and handsome woman, universally liked in the village, and bearing an excellent character. The village altogether is in great agitation, as indeed it may well.  Clake is in custody at the public-house, where the Jury are sitting.  His demeanour is tranquil, and his character up to this time has been excellent; nor, indeed, until the verdict is pronounced, ought anything to be said respecting him.  There is, it seems, some dfei8icinecy in the evidence, as an adjournment of one day has already occurred.

   An old woman, however, has been brought forward, who is said to have passed by the house immediately after the murder was committed; and seeing Clarke, she asked him to allow her to light her pipe.  He refused, saying that the family would not like to be disturbed, though no one was then in the house save the murdered girl.  She also is said to have seen him wash his hands in a brook that feeds the mill, and runs along the road for some hundred yards. 

   The inquest, however, is held in a private room, to which access, except on business, is denied; consequently, all that is here stated is but what the reporter has gathered from rumours, and the account of those who seem to know the particulars.  Before he left the village, the corpse was interred in Hall Garth church-yard, where a small mound indicates the spot under which this poor ill-fated girl now rests for ever.  Clarke's shirt-sleeve was much torn, and his arm bitten in several places; he says this was done in struggling with the man; he was seen to have washed his hands at Sherburne after an old woman was said to have seen him, but, like Macbeth's guilty wife, the stains it seems would not come "out.":  His age is about 19.

   The Jury are said to have adjourned for a week from this day.  The Judge is yet in town, and his presence may perhaps have influenced the Coroner in this proceeding; as, should Clarke be committed on the charge of murder, he would necessarily be include in the gaol delivery, and his fate, under the circumstances of stung excitement, be perhaps unjustly accelerated.

 

Monmouthshire Merlin, 18 September 1830

THE ELEPHANT'S MISDEMEANOUR. -  An Inquest was held at Morpeth, on the 27th ult. On the body of the Italian, named Baptiste Bernard, who was one of the attendants on the female elephant which lately performed at the Adelphi.  It appeared from the evidence, that the man had stabbed the elephant in the trunk with a pitchfork, about two years ago; and that, on the Tuesday evening, previous to the inquest, the animal caught hold of the man with her trunk, and did him so much injury that he died on the succeeding day. Verdict - Died from wounds and bruises received from the trunk of an elephant - deodand 5s.

 

Monmouthshire Merlin, 6 March 1830

ASSIZE INTELLIGENCE. - DURHAM, Feb. 25. (Before Sir Justice Park.) - With the exception of the case of Joseph Hutchinson, who was arraigned at the Spring assizes last year for the murder of his father and brother at Houghton-le-spring, but whose trial was postponed to the presen assizes ion consequence of the wretched man being pronounced insane and unfir for trial,  .  .  .   the calendar for this county is more than usually destitute of any cases of public interest.

 

Carmarthen Journal, 20 August 1830

DREADFUL MURDER.

Durham, Tuesday, August 19. - A murder has been committed at a village a few miles distant from this city, the circumstances attendant on which seem to excite universal horror and dismay.

   On Sunday afternoon, Stephen Oliver and his family went to church at Hall Garth, about half a mile from their mill, leaving at home a fine girl, Mary Ann Westropp, and her fellow-servant, Thomas Clarke.  About four o'clock Clarke was seen running towards Sherborne, in the direction of Durham, crying out for help and for a doctor.  On going to the house, the poor girl was found lying on the kitchen floor murdered in the most atrocious manner that can possible be conceived. 

   Clarke's account was, that he as sitting with her at the kitchen table, when a man came in and asked to light his pipe.  He went to the fire, seized the poker, and struck at the lass.  Clarke said that he ran up stairs, got out of a window, and ran off.  He said also that there were five men in all, and they seemed to be Irish labourers.  Subsequently, he also stated, on being asked why he called for a doctor, that he saw the poor girl "give a twitch or two," (meaning that she drew her breath once or twice0, and thought she might not be dead.  Under these circumstances, search was made about the mill and the adjoin in fields, and in a corn field, a few yards distant, a sum of money, in sovereigns and have-crowns, was discovered, which, it seems, had been stolen from the house and hid there. From circumstances that occurred, suspicion arose that Clarke was implicated in the horrid transaction, and he was taken into custody. A Jury has been sitting during the whole of yesterday and this day, but as yet no verdict is given.  Not being able to learn any of the particulars in Durham, the reporter took a horse and rode over to the village.  The mill is about half a mile from the church, and three quarters from a coal-pit belonging to Lord Londonderry, where they Jury are sitting at a public house.

   The poor creature was a spectacle almost too dreadful to look at.  Her head was literally crushed to pieces from the blow of the poker; when the surgeon removed the scalp, the skull actually fell into bits; her throat was severed from ear to ear, and her whole appearance was such as to sicken and appall the feelings.  Her age was about 18, and she was a remarkable fine and handsome woman, universally liked in the village, and bearing an excellent character. The village altogether is in great agitation, as indeed it may well.  Clake is in custody at the public-house, where the Jury are sitting.  His demeanour is tranquil, and his character up to this time has been excellent; nor, indeed, until the verdict is pronounced, ought anything to be said respecting him.  There is, it seems, some dfei8icinecy in the evidence, as an adjournment of one day has already occurred.

   An old woman, however, has been brought forward, who is said to have passed by the house immediately after the murder was committed; and seeing Clarke, she asked him to allow her to light her pipe.  He refused, saying that the family would not like to be disturbed, though no one was then in the house save the murdered girl.  She also is said to have seen him wash his hands in a brook that feeds the mill, and runs along the road for some hundred yards. 

   The inquest, however, is held in a private room, to which access, except on business, is denied; consequently, all that is here stated is but what the reporter has gathered from rumours, and the account of those who seem to know the particulars.  Before he left the village, the corpse was interred in Hall Garth church-yard, where a small mound indicates the spot under which this poor ill-fated girl now rests for ever.  Clarke's shirt-sleeve was much torn, and his arm bitten in several places; he says this was done in struggling with the man; he was seen to have washed his hands at Sherburne after an old woman was said to have seen him, but, like Macbeth's guilty wife, the stains it seems would not come "out.":  His age is about 19.

   The Jury are said to have adjourned for a week from this day.  The Judge is yet in town, and his presence may perhaps have influenced the Coroner in this proceeding; as, should Clarke be committed on the charge of murder, he would necessarily be include in the gaol delivery, and his fate, under the circumstances of stung excitement, be perhaps unjustly accelerated.

 

Monmouthshire Merlin, 18 September 1830

THE ELEPHANT'S MISDEMEANOUR. -  An Inquest was held at Morpeth, on the 27th ult. On the body of the Italian, named Baptiste Bernard, who was one of the attendants on the female elephant which lately performed at the Adelphi.  It appeared from the evidence, that the man had stabbed the elephant in the trunk with a pitchfork, about two years ago; and that, on the Tuesday evening, previous to the inquest, the animal caught hold of the man with her trunk, and did him so much injury that he died on the succeeding day. Verdict - Died from wounds and bruises received from the trunk of an elephant - deodand 5s.

 

Carmarthen Journal, 4 March 1831

FATAL ACCIDENT. - Saturday afternoon, as Mr. J. Brantford and Mr. J. Hewison, Primitive Methodist Preachers, in the Sunderland Circuit, in company with a young woman of the name of Ann Ranson, were on their way to Hetton-le-Hole, where they intended to hold a "Love-feast," on the following day.  They went by the Hetton Colliery Railway, and having arrived at the High Incline, near Wardenlaw Hill, a most dreadful scene took place/.  Miss Ranson states, that being a few yards in advance of her companions, who were engaged in close conversation, at that part of the way where the light and laden wagons pass each other, she heard a waggoner call out to them to take care.  She looked round and perceived a light wagon come in contact with the shoulder of Mr. Hewison who was immediately thrown to the ground, the wheels passed over his body and mutilated it in the most shacking and frightful manner. Mr. Branford, in trying to evade the wagon, was tripped up by the rope, the wagon immediately passing over and breaking both his legs.  He rolled to one side, and sprang on his feet, but fell in the attempt to stand, exclaiming "Ann, where is Hewitson?"  The unfortunate men were conveyed to Sunderland Infirmary.  Hewitson was killed on the spot.  Branford lived in the most excruciating pain till none o'clock in the evening, when he expired. The bodies were removed to the vestry of the chapel of which they were ministers to await the coroner's inquest, which was held on Wednesday; when the jury returned a verdict o Accidental Death, and laid a deodand of 5s. upon the wagon.  They have both left a widow and five children to deplore their loss. - Durham Chronicle.

 

Cambrian Journal, 23 December 1831

DIED.

On the 9th instant, at Hull, in the prime of life, after a few hours illness, occasioned by a fall, in attempting to board is vessel, Capt. Simon Roberts, of the Schooner John, of Nevin, leaving a widow and seven children to lament his loss.

 

Carmarthen Journal, 30 December 1831

   On Monday, an emaciated young man, named James Dalton, who had slept in a lodging-house in Newcastle, on Friday, visited Durham to hawk an account of the execution of the Burkers, and was seized with a violent bowel complaint and camp, of which he died in a few hours.  His remains were privately buried the same night, the whole of his clothes, &c. burnt, and the house in which he died was fumigated.  The case excited great consternation in Durham.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School