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Colonial Cases


The Times, 22 December 1788
Chester, Dec. 13.  On Saturday last was committed to gaol, Thomas Mate, of Handbridge, labourer, charged upon the Coroner's inquest with the wilful murder f John Parry, a peace officer, in the execution of his duty.

The Observer, 31 March 1799

CHESTER. - ... A young woman who had ineffectually solicited her mother to be relieved from an obnoxious service, left it last Tuesday, when being denied admittance by her unnatural parent, she drowned herself in a pit at Whitchurch.


The Observer, 1 June 1800

  On Wednesday a coroner's inquest, held at Chester, pronounced a verdict of lunacy on a view of the body of W. Coulton, late a Lieutenant of the Cheshire Militia, who, by taking a large quantity of laudanum, occasioned his death.


Cambrian, 26 October 1805

A young man, named Thomas, cut his throat one day last week, at his mother's house in Chester.  The cause of this rash act is not known.


Cambrian, 25 November 1809

On the evening of the 5th inst. a most inhuman murder was committed on the body of the wife of J. Williams, a farmer, of Broad-Oak, near Whitchurch, at Norbury, in Cheshire, supposed to have been perpetrated by her husband.  On the morning of that day, they had both paid a visit and spent the day with Williams' father, and in the evening, about six o'clock, they both set off on their return home.  The next morning a neighbouring farmer discovered the body in a pit, situated in a field near the road, where they must have passed on their way home.  On examining the body, marks of strangulation were discovered; and there is every reason to suppose that the inhuman husband, after having strangled her, had thrown her into the pit. - He had not since been heard of, but the most diligent search was making after him.  The unfortunate woman had one child about nine months old, which she had left at home.  The Coroner's inquest, after a minute examination which lasted two days, returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against the said John Williams.


Cambrian, 14 July 1810

Wednesday last, a labouring man, of the name of Ambrose Cowley, was unfortunately killed by the falling of a wall upon him, in the Cross Foxes yard, in Northgate-street, Chester. - An inquest was held by Mr. R. Bowers, one of the Coroners, and a verdict returned of accidental death. What renders the above melancholy event even more poignant is, that the wife of the deceased is totally blind, and depended solely upon the unfortunate man for sustenance.


Carmarthen Journal, 27 April 1811

   On the 22nd ult. as Samuel Goodall, servant to Mr. Plant, Elworth-hall, near Sandbach, was returning from the coal-pit with a waggon loaded with coal, he imprudently got upon the shaft to ride, (a practice but too common) fell off and both wheels passed over his body and killed him on the spot. - The Coroner's inquest returned a verdict - Accidental Death.


Cambrian, 18 April 1812

Horrid Murder in Cheshire. - On Sunday morning last the village of Hankelow, near Nantwich, was alarmed by a report, that George Murray, farmer, in that village, having been found with his brains dashed out, and his throat cut from ear to ear!  On the assembly of a concourse of people which so unusual a circumstance was likely to create, suspicions fell upon one of the servant-men, by distinct traces of blood from the bed of the deceased to that of his, which was in a higher part of the house.  On examining him, these suspicions were strengthened, by finding marks of blood upon his shirt.  A peace officer was sent for, and the young man taken into custody.  While the constable was conveying him to a neighbouring Magistrate, he said to the constable, "Well, I suppose I must be hanged;" ... Mr. Faithful Thomas, Coroner, set off from this city to-day to hold an inquest on the body of Murray. - Chester Courant, Monday Evening. [See Cambrian, 26 April.]


Cambrian, 26 April 1812

   John Lomas and Edith Murray have been committed to Chester Castle, for the barbarous murder of the husband of the latter, (as stated in our last paper) at Hankelow, in Cheshire.  Lomas has been conveyed thither, and the woman will also be removed as soon as she is sufficiently recovered of the wound she inflicted upon herself in attempting to cut her throat.


Carmarthen Journal, 16 May 1812

Monday, Edith Murray, who was committed for aiding and assisting John Lomas, in the murder of her husband at Hankelow, in Cheshire, ... arrived at Chester Castle. ...


Cambrian, 29 August 1812

   At the Cheshire Great Sessions, on Friday last, John Lomas, for the murder of his master, George Morrey, farmer, of Hankelow, near Nantwich, and Edith, wife of the said G. Morrey, for aiding and assisting Lomas in the murder, were convicted on the clearest circumstantial evidence, of the atrocious crime; and the Judge immediately passed the awful sentence of the law upon them:- after sentence was passed, the counsel put in a plea of pregnancy for Edith Morrey, on which a jury of matrons was immediately selected out of those present in court to examine her, who stated, that to the best of their opinion, she was from three to five months gone. - The execution of Lomas took place on Monday last; and Edith Morrey was respite till after her delivery.


Carmarthen Journal, 12 September 1812

 Unnatural Murder in Chester. - For many months past the newspapers have abounded with recitals of horrible cruelties.  The county of Chester, unhappily, has supplied narratives of the most appalling nature, and sorry are we to place on record an act of unnatural barbarity committed within the city of Chester; - the murder of a new-born infant, by its own mother!  The offender in this transaction is a person of the name of Elinor Edwards, a  servant woman to Mr. Rowe, of the Raven Inn, in Cow-lane, and between 30 and 40 years of age.  The occurrence took place on Monday morning last, and from the examination of witnesses before the Coroner's Inquest, who have returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against the said Elinor Edwards, the following particulars are hastily given.

   On Saturday evening, Elinor Edwards went to bed, in company with the witness, ------ Robinson, a female fellow servant, who both sleep in one room, but in different beds.  Between two and three o'clock in the morning, ------ Robison was awaked by the groaning of the prisoner, and on inquiring the cause, she said she was ill in her bowels.  Prisoner got up, and went down stairs, and was followed by her fellow servant, who found her, apparently in great agony, on her hands and knees on the kitchen floor.  Mr. Rowe, being made acquainted that the prisoner was ill, ordered her something warm, and the two females again retired to beds.  Soon afterwards, however, ----- Robinson was again awaked by the moaning of the prisoner, and they both got up.  This was a little before four o'clock.  The prisoner appeared in great agony, and witness perceived she had given birth to an infant.  Witness was much alarmed, immediately ran out of the room, and called up some part of the family; the witness could perceive the infant was living.  A female neighbour and two surgeons were sent for, and when the former entered the room, which was about 15 minutes after ------ Robison had left it, she found an infant, which she took, and wrapped it up; but it was soon discovered to be dead.  A surgeon arrived, and, on examining it, found six cuts upon its head, inflicted by a sharp instrument, and a fracture, which had penetrated the skull; two surgeons, examined before the Inquest, delivered their opinion, that the fracture alone was sufficient to cause the infant's death.  On searching the pockets of the prisoner, which were under her pillow, a knife was found, with two blades, and on opening it, marks of blood and hair were found upon it.  The Coroner's Inquest, after a minute investigation, returned a verdict against Elinor Edwards, of Wilful Murder!  No suspicions appear to have been entertained by any of the family that she was pregnant. - She remains for the present at Mr. Rowe's house, until she is capable of being removed to Chester gaol.


Cambrian, 28 August 1813

Last week, the body of a female child, apparently about five months old, was found at the bottom of a lead Mine Shaft, on Halkin Mountain, Cheshire. - A woman was seen near the spot on the preceding Saturday, and suspicion falling upon her, she was traced to Chester, where she was apprehended, and on her examination confessed that she had murdered it! and at the instant of plunging it into the pit, she stated that the little innocent smiled in her face! - She was conveyed to Mold, preparatory to her commitment to the county gaol.


Cambrian, 28 February 1818

Melancholy Event.  - A most serious accident happened to the Victory coach, from Chester to Manchester, on Friday, about six miles from the former place and one from Tarvin - it was met by a waggon in passing over a small bridge, whilst the coach was going with more than  usual speed, and though there was certainly sufficient room to  pass, it was driven with such violence against the battlements, that the cross-bar and pole were parted from the carriage, with which the horses galloped off; at the same moment the coach went over with a mist tremendous crash.  There were six inside passengers, and eight or nine outside, nearly all of whom received some injury; the coachman had his thigh broken, and was much bruised; a Mr. C. Taylor, of Chester, had his leg broken in two places, three female passengers had legs or arms fractured, and others were dangerously hurt.  The coachman Peter Washer, died on Tuesday morning; ...


Cambrian, 30 September 1820

Melancholy Accident. - On Sunday evening, a number of boys were amusing themselves by damming up the end of a trough, which formerly conveyed water to the water-wheel of the corn-mill in Sutton, in order, as they said, to make a splash when the clods were removed.  Owing to a weight of water, the trough gave way, bringing along with it a considerable quantity of stones of large dimensions, and precipitated six of the boys into the cavity below; two were killed on the spot, two others were severely bruised, and are since dead; a fifth lies in a most dangerous state, and the sixth was slightly injured.  A Coroner's Inquest was held on Tuesday, and a verdict of Accidental Death retuned. - Macclesfield Courier.


Cambrian, 12 January 1822

[MONDAY, Jan 7.]

   On Thursday an inquest was held at Frodsham, Cheshire, on the body of Mrs. Gorst, wife of Joseph Gorst, of Frodsham, who died in consequence of eating Aconite or Wolfbane, mistaking it for horse-radish.  The deceased had invited a large family party to dine at the house on Christmas Day.  The dinner was served up about three o'clock, and as they were sitting down, something being said about horseradish, the deceased desired the servant man to go into the garden and get some, telling him that he would find it by the rain tub.  During dinner, some remarks were made on the taste of the supposed horseradish; a brother-in-law of the deceased complained that it was unusually hot, and the deceased herself said she never saw horseradish change its colour as that had done.  No suspicion of poison, however, existed until some time after the party had left the table; the deceased then complained of being unwell, and said the use of her limbs was gone.  She was conveyed to bed, became very sick, and violent vomiting ensued.  Medical aid was obtained and an emetic administered; she however became gradually worse and about six in the evening expired.  The brother-in-law was also taken ill, but is recovering.  Both the man and woman servant declared they did not know what horseradish was, never having seen any. - verdict - Died in consequence of eating the Root of Aconite, or Wolfsbane, which had by ignorance or mistake been scraped instead of horseradish.


Cambrian, 15 June 1822

   MURDER. - William Worrall, an old man, upwards of seventy years of age, formerly a sawyer, but lately a coal carrier, residing at Buerton in Cheshire, started with a cart and horse to the Staffordshire collieries, soon after twelve o'clock in the night of the 16th ult. and was found murdered in his cart at Ounley, near Madley, in that county, early the following morning.  The deceased had been shot, by a pistol ball which penetrated a little below his left eye.  It is believed that the deceased took with him only a few shillings, sufficient to pay for his load of coals; of which hw had been robbed.  On Friday week a man of the name of Price was apprehended near his home at Knighton, suspected of being the guilty wretch who perpetrated the horrid deed.


Cambrian, 13 July 1822


EXPLOSION OF A STEAM BOILER. - About noon on Saturday last, a steam boiler, belonging to Mr. Boult, tobacco-manufacturer, of this city, exploded with terrific violence, spreading desolation and death everywhere within its mighty reach. ... The men were thrown back with extraordinary violence, so much so, that one of them, Richard Oldman, died of his wounds on Monday evening. ... and Mr. B. laboured under a great pressure of the stomach.  ... About 11 o'clock on Tuesday night he was released from his misery, ... Mr. Boult was in the 42d year of his age. ... Chester Chronicle.


Cambrian, 30 November 1822

CHESHIRE. - At Chester, on Wednesday, an inquest was held in the Exchange, on the body of Frances Vernon, one of the daughters of ---- Vernon, Esq. of Eaton Road, in the city.  The young lady was missing on the 26th of October last, and although a reward of 20l. was offered to any one who could discover her, her fate remained a matter of doubt till Wednesday morning, when her body was found in the river, near Chester.  The amiable young lady, whose loss her afflicted father and  family have now to deplore, was, it appears, subject to epileptic attacks, and the probability is, that on walking near the edge of the river she had been seized with a fit, and fell into the stream.


North Wales Gazette (Bangor), 4 December 1823


The town of Stockport was thrown into the greatest consternation on Sunday last, by the discovery of a murder which is at present mysterious.  About two o'clock in the morning, the body of a young woman was found near a footpath leading from Manchester hill in Bridge fields, and joining another footpath from Bridge-field to Boner-house.  The body was removed to the Grapes public-house, and medical men being sent for, it was ascertained that strangulation had caused her death.  The body was recognised, and proved to be that of a young woman named Downes.

   The girl, it appears, was kept by a person in Stockport, by whom she has had two children; the name of this individual we suppress, although it is in our  possession, as he is allied to one of the most respectable houses in Stockport, and his father, family, and himself, have always been esteemed and respected.  The night previous he met her about ten o'clock, and had remained with her till half past twelve, at the usual place of meeting - a private house belonging to a person of the mane of Bardsley.  After parting with the poor girl to whom he gave two sovereigns, went home, and was obliged to ring the servant up to let him in, as he had left a key inside the door, which prevented him from unlocking it. - It was his general plan, wither to  sent one of Bardley's family or his own watchman home with the girl after their meetings. The police have apprehended a man of the name of  -----------, who has for some time back been attempting to gain the affections of the girl.  He has been examined before the magistrates.  The watchman belonging to the works owned by the unfortunate sufferer's paramour, was not to be found on Sunday, and the police are in search of him.  Public opinion is much divided whom to suspect as the murderer; and throughout the whole of Sunday, from the circumstances in which  the parties stand in the town of Stockport, the greatest consternation prevailed.  We shall know more of this in a few days - and from the activity and zeal which the police of this town have always displayed, the murderer or murderers cannot long remain concealed. - Morn. Chron.

   On Tuesday a Coroner's Inquest was held at the Boar's Head, Heaton Norris, on the body of the above unfortunate female.

   The first evidence called was Mr. John  Marsland, partner in the house of Thomas Marsland and Sons, who admitted having been with the girl from 11 to 12 o'clock on Saturday night; he then bid her good night, in the presence of the watchman, and separated from her; he went direct home to his father's house, and attempted to unlock the door, but finding a key left inside, he awakened one of the servants; it was at that time a few minutes after 12.

   The servant was examined, who deposed as to the time of his coming in: and heard him subsequently go up stairs to bed.  Others of the servants were examined, who heard him come into the kitchen.

   A witness, passing by the spot when the body was found at a quarter past 12, deposed, that he saw a person rise up from behind a heap of rubbish; he did not know the man, and was afraid he intended to rob him; the person, however, took no notice of him, and after he had passed, he saw the same person conceal himself behind the rubbish again; he took particular notice of the man, and could identify him.  This witness was taken to the New Bailey prison, and showed into a room in which were a number of people from whom he instantly selected one, who had been apprehended by the police of Sunday, and whose name is Horsfield.

   Another witness deposed, that he saw Horsfield in the Market-place, with deceased, at a quarter-past ten, previous to her going to meet Mr. Marsland, who was the first witness.

   Horsfield's account of himself was as follows: He and the deceased lived in adjoining houses, about a mile from the Market-place, Stockport; he saw her about five o'clock in the evening, and agreed to see her at Stockport at eight or nine o'clock; she was to call upon him at the King's-head; she did not call according to her promise; nearly ten o'clock he met with a girl he knew and walked with her through the fields to Bower-house-yard, in which he lived, and passed his own house towards Lancashire-hill; he left her at half-past ten, went home, and never left the house till called up in the morning.

   This account being contradicted by the previous evidence, the jury brought in a verdict - Wilful Murder against Horsfield, and he was committed to Lancaster for trial.

   The prisoner had been some time endeavouring to gain the affections of the girl; but whether she encouraged him does not yet appear.

   Popular feeling, in the first instance, directed its suspicion against Mr. Marsland; but his account of himself, and the satisfactory corroboration by other evidence, removed every suspicion of that nature from the public mind.

   The body had been opened by the surgeons, and in addition to the bruises about the head, and evident marks of strangulation, five ribs were broken - with such determined fury had the murderer effected his purpose.


The Cambrian, 27 December 1823

   On the evening of Wednesday, Joseph Dunning, a young man, servant to Mr. Hassall, of Alpraham Green, complained of indisposition, and retired to bed.  His illness continuing the whole of the next day, a surgeon was sent for about two o'clock on Friday morning, who, entering his room, discovered that the sick man was extremely affected by the sight of the water with which his (the surgeon's) upper garments were saturated.  This suggested to the surgeon the triune character of his patient's disorder - and, on presenting to him a class of water, he was assured that the distemper was hydrophobia.  The young man remained in a state which we shall decline attempting to describe till Friday afternoon, when he expired.  It has been ascertained that, about two months before, the young man had been bitten in the hand by a strange terrier dog in the neighbourhood, but what afterwards became of the animal is not known. - Chester Courant.


The Cambrian, 7 February 1824

THE CASE OF C. A. DEMPSTER.- The public will recollect, that in attempting some juggling tricks at Carlisle he swallowed a table knife, rather more than nine inches long, which remained in his stomach without exciting very acute pain, or producing any serious consequences, until a few days of his death.  He left Carlisle with the intention of proceeding to London, where his mother resides, for the porpoise of consulting Sir Astley Cooper.  During his journey to Manchester he suffered much severe pain through the jolting of the coach; when, finding himself unable to bear the motion of the carriage, he embarked in a canal boat; but being taken very ill in the boat, he was prevented from pursuing his journey further than Middlewich.  This case having excited considerable interest in the public mind, as also in that of the profession, it may be proper to observe, that the body was opened the day after his death, and the knife found in the stomach, which, with other parts of the viscera, was in a state of inflammation and gangrene.  The handle of the knife, which was of bone, was dissolved, as likewise a considerable portion of the bade; so powerfully indeed had the knife been acted upon by the juices of the stomach, as to impress forcible on the minds of the medical men who opened the body a belief, that had the man continued at Carlisle, and been kept in a quiet state, the whole of the knife might have been dissolved, and the case terminated favourable. - Chester Courant.


The Cambrian, 10 July 1824

Fatal accident. - On Tuesday week, the annual boat-race took place at what is called the King's Ferry, over the Dee about seven miles from Chester.  About midnight, the tide ran in very strong from the Irish Channel, with a heavy back wind.  Although repeatedly cautioned, a large party, chiefly females, were determined to cross; the boatmen told them it would be very unsafe, it being then a complete gale.  In this part the Dee is not more than 100 yards across, and some countrymen on board were determined to take charge of the boat.  About 17 persons entered into it, including the females, two of them sisters, named Hulse. When nearly half-way across, the rapidity of the stream rendered the boat quite unmanageable; but the men continued plying the oars, till they struck against the iron cable of a vessel lying at anchor, and in an instant they were upset, the bow of the boat being completely beaten in.  The terrible scene at this moment beggars description, every person was in the water, and 13 sank to rise no more.  The bodies of four of the sufferers have been found, amongst them the two sisters, named Hulse, who were clasped in each other's arms.  This melancholy catastrophe has, as might be expected, excited a great sensation at Chester.


The Cambrian, 4 November 1826

   A fatal occurrence took place on Sunday se'nnight, at Ashton-on-the-Mersey, Cheshire.  A family of the name of Hamlett, consisting of the father, mother, and son, were suddenly attacked by the cholera morbus, and all died within the space of one hour.  They were buried in the one grave at Ashton Church, on the Tuesday following.


The Cambrian, 19 April 1828

   At the Chester Assizes, William Bell, for the manslaughter of Mary Priestnall, at Stockport, was sentenced to be transported for life.


Carmarthen Journal, 24 October 1828

A MAN SHOT BY A SPRING GUN. - Samuel Ashton, who lived in a cottage at Stayley Wood, situate in a lonely place and steep valley, between two of the highest mountains in Cheshire, was lately visited by an officer in the army, whose ancestors had lived in the neighbourhood, and wishing to make the cottage an occasional residence for himself, prevailed upon Ashton to remove with his family into another cottage, at a short distance; after which, Ashton and his son slept at the cottage so given up in the officer's absence, and in the evening of bathe 28th of last month, Ashton, before going to bed, set two spring guns in the house. .  .  .  .  The son then left his father in the bedroom, and before he reached the cow, he heard the report of a gun at the house, and on his return, he found his father lying dead on the parlour floor, with his feet near the door place, across which the wire had been fixed, and his body extended into the room.  It appeared that several bullets had entered his back and passed through the body.

   After a full investigation upon the Coroner's Inquest, which took place a few days afterwards, the jury were fully satisfied that the deceased had been attempting to loosen the wire attached to the gun without using sufficient caution, whereby the gun had gone off, and that he had been thereby accidentally killed, and they found a verdict accordingly. .  .  .  .  Stockport Adv.


Carmarthen Journal, 12 December 1828

SHOCKING CASE OF DEATH FROM WANT. - Thursday week, a very wet evening, a poor man (who said he came from Oldham, in Lancashire) made his appearance in Wrexham, in a very pitiful condition, apparently nearly starved to death, from having the previous evening, in crossing a bridge from Sontly, which is half broken down by the floods in July last, fell into the brook by which he was almost drowned, and lost his hat, which  went down the stream; having crawled out of the water, he made his way to the nearest house, adjoining which is an empty barn, into which he went for the night, soaked in wet; the only bed he found was a few leaves, which the wind had carried there, the door being open.  After spending a night in such a condition, and almost famished with hunger, as he said he had had no meat for three days, it is easy to conceive the state he must be in. - Shivering with cold and hardly able to walk at all, he came by a Staffordshire potter's in Penybrin, and seeing a large crate with some straw in it, standing under a shed, he asked if he might lay down in the crate awhile, which was refused, and, appearing unwilling to go away, the owner took up a stick and drove him.  From thence he went to the general overseer of the poor and asked relief, which as also refused; he then asked if he might go to the workhouse for the night, and this also was refused; he then asked very pitifully where he should go? The reply was, you may go to the *****, you shall not stay here," and the beadle was ordered to send him out of town. The latter pushed the dying man along the street, who begged for God's sake he would not hurry him, as he could not walk; however, he got him out of town; the poor man went about a mile on the road to Chester, when unable to proceed, he turned to a field on the road side, and laid himself down under a hedge, where he was found a corpse the next morning.


Carmarthen Journal, 2 January 1829

DEATH B Y DROWNING. - On Monday morning se'nnight, a lad, apparently about 15 years of age, was taken out of the canal near the water tower, Chester, quite dead.  The appearance of his hat on the surface of the water, excited suspicion that some one was drowned, and upon search it provide too true.  He had on a smock frock, and looked like one of the boat lads.  We have not heard the result of the inquest, but suppose, as in all cases, it will be found drowned.


Carmarthen Journal, 20 November 1829

MAN MISSING. - About three weeks ago, Mr. Adam Barrett, a very respectable con dealer in Stockport, left home with the intention of going to Manchester, with a considerable sum of money, and to the inexpressible grief of his wife and family, has never since been heard of.  .  .  . 


Carmarthen Journal, 11 November 1829

DISCOVERY OF THE BODY OF MR. ADAM BARRETT.  - The body of this gentleman, hose mysterious absence from home we noticed last week, was found floating upon the Water in a bench of the Rochdale Canal between Union-street, New Islington, and the drawbridge, in Jersey-street, Manchester, by some boatmen, on Saturday morning about eleven o'clock.  As he deceased was seen in a stat of intoxication, in Manchester, on the evening of his leaving home, little doubt can be entertained, but that he mistook his way and fell into the canal; and this supposition is materially strengthened by the facts which came out before the coroner's inquest, that when taken out of the water there was found in his pockets a purse contain 35 pounds in gold and silver, also a receipt for 40 pounds, and other articles.

   The surgeon who examined the body, Mr. H. Ollier, of Manchester, deposed that there were no marks of external violence on the body, except a few bruises, and he had no doubt his death was occasioned by suffocation and drowning.  The jury returned a verdict - Found drowned in the Rochdale Canal in Manchester. .  .  . 


Carmarthen Journal, 11 December 1829

INFANTICIDE. - An inquest was held on Friday last, at the Nine Houses, Wepre, before Peter Parry, Esq. coroner, and a most respectable jury on the body of a male infant which was found sewed up in an old flannel petticoat, and floating down the aver Dee, close to the Lower Ferry.  Wm. Ganalt, an old man, deposed that as he was returning from Chester in his fishing boat, he was aware of something floating by him, which he laid hold of, and was horror struck on opening it to find it contained the above.  Mr. Probart, surgeon, of Hawarden, was of opinion that the child had been immersed in the water from ten to twelve days, and on opening the chest found the lungs in such a stat of putridity, as to make it useless to submit them to the usual tests.  This gentleman begged the jury to notice that the umbilical cord had never been secured, and pointed out two or three facts, which tended to excite strong suspicion that he child was alive when first put into the petticoat.  The jury returned a verdict of "Found dead in the river Dee, but how or by what means it came by its death is unknown." - Chester Chronicle.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 9 April 1830

DEATH BY FIGHTING. - One of those disgraceful scenes which have become so common in his county of late, took place in Macclesfield on Monday week, and we egret to say has cost the life of one of the combatants.  It appeared, on the investigation before the coroner, that two young men, named Jon Broome and Peter Swindells, without any previous quarrel, but merely with a view to ascertain which was "the best man," agreed to fight, and for that purpose a meeting was appointed in a field near the town.  Here, in the presence of about one hundred spectators, they belaboured each other for about two hours, when in a struggle, Broome fell, dragging Swindells after him, who fell upon his breast.  When both parties were picked up, I was found that Broome was insensible, and bring conveyed to a neighbouring house, he lingered in that state about five hours, when he expired.  The coroner's inquest returned a verdict of Manslaughter against Swindells, and two other men named James Pickford and George Broome, who acted as seconds to the combatants, and they were forthwith committed to the Castle for trial at the Assizes. - Chester Courant.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 7 August 1830

MURDER AT AUDLEM, NEAR NANTWICH. - On Monday evening, the 26th ult., Mr. Joseph Chesters, a butcher and publican, at Audlem, having completed his hay harvest, gave the mowers and assistants, among whom was his brother, John Chesters, residing in the neighbourhood, a harvest supper.  About half-past twelve o'clock John Chester left his brother's house, with the intention of going home, and was accosted in the street by a person of the name of Thomas Hassall, who was accompanied by another person of the name of Sambrook Furber, but the appellation of "Old Baconsides," with a request to be paid a small sum of money due to him (Hassall) from Chesters. Words ensued, and eventually John Chesters collared Hassall and shook him.  The consequent noise brought Joseph Chesters and his workmen to the scene of contention, and wordy warfare was renewed, and John Chesters struck Hassall and felled him to the ground.  A scuffle took place, in which Samuel Eaton received a wound in his neck from a sharp instrument.

   The continued disturbance brought Mrs. Chesters to the spot, who reproached Hassall with his conduct, and blows ensued between them.  He was afterwards seen to clasp her round the neck with his left arm, and in the struggle they fell to the ground, Hassall undermost.  Joseph Eaton ran to Mrs. Chester's assistance, and on lifting her up, heard her indistinctly articulate, "Oh! Thou hast struck me," or "Oh! Though hast stuck me," he could not be certain which.  A chair was procured on which she was placed, and surgeons were instantly sent for, who promptly came to her assistance; but after murmuring "Oh Lord!" she expired.

   Sambrook Furber was secured instanter, but Hassall escaped; and on the succeeding morning was delivered up by his father to await the result of a coroner's inquest.  On the evening in question Sambrook Furber had been observed sharpening a knife, which he states he afterwards lent to Hassall on their way to the Giant's Head public-house, where they spent the evening and had three pints of ale.  The knife has not been found.

   On post mortem examination of the body made by Drs. Bellis and Sadler, a wound of about half an inch appeared between the fifth and sixth ribs, as if made by some flat sharp instrument, which had entered into the left ventricle of the heart., and caused her death.  The deceased was in her 29th year; she has left one child to deplore her loss, and we believe would shortly have given birth to another.

   On Wednesday last a respectable jury was impaneled by F. Thomas, Esq. coroner, at the Crown Inn, who continued in a patient investigation of this case during the day, which was resumed on the say following, when evidence was adduced to the affect above stated.  During the investigation, a boy deposed that he had seen the knife in Furber's hands after twelve o'clock on Monday evening, but which Furber flatly denied.  Hassall strongly asserts his innocence of the crime.  After a perspicacious summing up of the evidence, and an explanation of the difference between murder and manslaughter, by the coroner, the jury returned a verdict of Wilful murder against Hassall as the principal, and Furber, as aiding and abetting, and they were accordingly committed on the coroner's warrant to Chester castle, to await their trial at the enduing assizes.  The prisoners are both young men, no more than 20 years of age. - Chester Courant.


Carmarthen Journal, 13 August 1830

MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. - On Tuesday evening week a melancholy accident happened on the Stretford-road.  A young man named Burrows, a butcher, was on his return home from Knutsfoird races, in company with two acquaintances, named Holford and Taylor.  On leaving Knutsford, Burrows and Holford began to trot their horses against each other for a trifling bet, but Holford succeeded in keeping ahead of his companion.  On reaching Altrincham, Burrows obtained a loan of one of Taylor's spurs.  Holford, however, still kept foremost, and the parties at length set off at full gallop, Holford still preserving the lead.  About half a mile on this side of Stretford, Burrows fell off, or was thrown from his horse; and on Taylor, who was behind the others, coming up, he found Burrows lying on the road quite dead, and his horse standing beside him.  Holford had galloped forward, not being aware of what had happened; but finding that his companions did not overtake him, he returned in search of them.  Burrows was carried into the Dog and Partridge, where medical assistance was obtained, but life was totally extinct.  An inquest was held on the body on Thursday, and a verdict of Accidental Death returned.

   The deceased was the son of Mr. Burrows, who was some years ago shot in Yorkshire by a gang of footpads, while resisting their attempts to rob him on his return home from Wakefield market.


The Cambrian, 11 December 1830

ABOMINABLE CASE. - The Stockport Advertiser gives a long account of a Coroner's Inquest on the body of Margaret Sykes, who died on the 29th of October, and was buried; but in consequence of rumours as to the cause of her death, h body was disinterred on the 18th of November, and from the report of the medical gentlemen who inspected it, an inquest was resolved on.

   It appeared from the evidence, that the deceased was in the habit of being attended in her confinements by a female, but about a twelve months since the latter felt it necessary to call in a person practicing as a surgeon, of the name of Goulden.  Th delivery did not take place for several hours, and when it was over the poor woman exclaimed, "Thank God!" - Goulden replied, ":thank no God - thank me!" adding, that if she (the deceased) would go to him when she was three months  gone with child he would cause her to miscarry, and he would only charge the same as for a delivery.  Other conversations were detailed, in which Goulden said he was astonished at poor persons having so many children when there were such easy means to prevent it; and hat rich people knew better than to have so many children.  It appeared also that the deceased was in the family way, and applied to Goulden; hat she miscarried and died.  She did not tell the means used to effect her purpose, but, just previously to her death, said she should never be better in his world.

   Mr. Bellott, a surgeon, stated that he attended a post mortem examination of the body of Margaret Sykes, and proceeded in a very minute detail of his examination of such parts connected with the case as occurred to him necessary for the satisfaction fog himself and the Jury, who in less than five minutes returned a verdict of Manslaughter against Thomas Goulden, upon which the Coroner issued his warrant for the apprehension of the offender.


Carmarthen Journal, 21 October 1831


At Runcorn (having been unfortunately drowned), universally respected, Captain John Jones, master of the sloop Ann, of Pwllheli.


Carmarthen Journal, 30 December 1831

BODY FOUND. - On Sunday last as Mr. Keeley an officer belonging to the Customs was sailing in a flat laden with wine, coming to this city, when near Dawpool he observed something floating on the surface of the water, and on approaching it it was discovered that it was the body of a man,.  An inquest was held on view of the body on Monday, before George Harrison, Esq. one of the coroners for this city; and although it was greatly mutilated, it was recognized as the remains of Samuel Jenkins, late Captain of the Snowdon, which was wrecked on Hoyle Bank, about seven weeks since, when all hands on board perished. - Chester Chronicle.


The Monmouthshire Merlin, 7 April 1832
  An inquest was held last week at Stockport, on the body of a fine male child, he offspring of Alice Hewitt, the wife of a labouring man living at Higher Hillgate.  It appeared that, being near the period of her confinement, the applied to a tooth-drawer living in the village, named Joseph Lewis, who at once undertook to attend her.  From the evidence given it appeared that he was quite devoid of medical skill, and that when he attended the woman, on the 24th of March, she, in consequence of his want of knowledge and practice, suffered feat agony.
  He at length called for an iron skewer, and in the course of his operations, punctured the head of the infant with this instrument, inflicting a wound of the length of two inches and the breadth of one.  
  Several medical men roved that it was a healthy infant, and had died of the wound.  The Jury brought in a verdict of manslaughter, and the Coroner committed the young man to take his trial at the next assizes.

Monmouthshire Merlin, 2 June 1832
MELANCHOLY AFFAIR. - On Friday night week, about half-past ten, a most unfortunate affray occurred between Mr. Hibbert, jun., a respectable surgeon of Marple, and Robt. Bowden, a small farmer, residing on Stockport Moor.  It appeared on the inquest, taken on Monday before John Hollins, Esq., at the Old Star, Stockport Moor, that as Mr. Hibbert, with his wife and her sister, were returning home, they were accosted by Robt. Bowden, who was also on his return from market, and being a good deal intoxicated, the females were assailed by him in language and behaviour the most indecent, and for so great a length of time that Mr. Hibbert, after remonstrating with him ineffectually, and not until Bowden had even proceeded to assault one of the females, found it necessary to resist such shameful improprieties.
  At length, coming to a close, both parties fell to the ground, though no a blow was struck, notwithstanding the challenge as given by Bowden as to "which way they should have it."  Bowden fell under in the first struggle, and on rising, after being separated, a second time they attacked each other, when another fall took place, Bowden again under.  Mr. Hibbert was again taken off him, but it was found that Bowden was unable to rise, and, on being lifted up by one of the spectators, his head feel forwards, and he was to all appearances dead.
  This being told to Mr. Hibbert, he proceeded to adopt every means which occurred to a humane man likely to restore suspended animation, but all efforts were useless, as he was dead in about two minutes.  Mr. Hibbert gave himself into custody to await the result of a coroner's inquest; when, after a patient investigation, and the opinions of here medical gentlemen had been taken, who were in attendance to open the head and body of the unfortunate man, a verdict in conformity with their opinion was returned: - Died a natural death.
  On opening the head a great quantity of blood and serum was on the brain, and every other appearance greatly tended to induce apoplexy. - Deceased has left a wife and five young children.

Monmouthshire Merlin, 20 April 1833
CASE OF MANSLAUGHTER AT STOCKPORT. - On Thursday an inquest was held touching the death of Reubem Rangeley, a quiet inoffensive man who met his death under the following circumstances, as they transpired in the evidence: - The deceased was the collector of rents at School-place, Wesley--street, Hillgate, and in consequence of an affray or riots amongst some of the tenants on Monday evening, between seven and eight o'clock, he was sent for, in order to restore peace, threatened to send for the police officers, and convey one of the belligerents, Amy Shawcross, to the New Bailey, the others having retired to their houses.  This threat so exasperated the termagant, that she declared, "that if he dared to follow her, she would cleave his skull with a poker."  Rangeley followed her for the purpose of pacifying her, when on reaching the passage door leading to her house, she called to her children to bring her the poker, saying "she would knock his brains out," at the same time desiring the children to shout murder.  Having possessed herself of the poker, in another instant her victim was at her feet, and the son of Rangeley, and a man of the name of Brown, were immediately called by her "to take up the Methody devil, and see what he would do then.  On raising Rangeley from the floor, he was found to be quite dead, and in a few minutes he was carried home. Verdict - Manslaughter; and she was committed to Chester Castle for trial. - Manchester Courier.

Glamorgan Gazette, 11 May 1833
  SUICIDE NEAR MALPAS. - On Wednesday week an inquest was held at Malpas, on the body of a female named Thelwall, who drowned herself on the previous day in a pit in that neighbourhood.  The deceased formerly lived near the spot where she terminated her existence, and was so unfortunate as to be enceinte by the person with whom she resided.  She afterwards removed to Bangor, at which place intelligence arrived, about a fortnight since, that the father of her child was married; from that moment she determined to destroy herself, and made no secret of her intention.  On Tuesday week, she traveled eight miles for that purpose, having resolved to end her miserable existence on the estate where her sorrows were occasioned, and deliberately hung her bonnet and cloak in a tree overhanging the pit into which she afterwards threw herself.  When found she was quite dead.  Verdict - Temporary Derangement. - Chester Courant.

Monmouthshire Merlin, 1 June 1833
DEATH FROM AN AIR-GUN. - On Friday, an inquest was held at the Archers' Inn, at Chelford, on the body of a young man named Daniel Henshaw.  He was employed to charge the balls with air for the air-guns used by a party of gentlemen from Manchester in shooting rooks. The balls, when overcharged, not only prevent a correct discharge, but frequently burst.  The deceased, ignorant of this, overcharged one of the guns, and upon being discharged, it burst into a dozen pieces, one of which struck the deceased, and shattered one arm.  The loss of blood was so great that he died in a short time.  Verdict - Accidental Death. - Stockport Advertiser.

Monmouthshire Merlin, 14 September 1833
  On the 21st ult., at midnight, a robbery and murder of the most diabolical kind was discovered to have been committed in the township of Newton, near this town, on the body of a man named Joseph Castles, the keeper of a public-house, the Cotton Tree, in the same place.  The greatest excitement has prevailed throughout the neighbourhood ever since the melancholy affair has transpired and the most immediate exertions have been used by Messrs. Chorlton and Hibbert, the clerks to the magistrates in that neighbourhood, aided by Mr. Birch, the special high constable of the district, to discover the assassins, but for the present all their efforts have been unavailing.  On Monday last an inquest was held on the body, before Mr. John Hollins, coroner, at the house of Mr. Fleming, the Shoulder of Mutton, in Newton, when a most respectable jury was empanelled.  The inquiry commenced at ten o'clock in the morning, continued until twelve at night, when, after the most patient examination of the witnesses, during which much contradictory and discrepancy in the testimony appeared, the jury came to a unanimous verdict of Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown.
  In the character of the evidence, or the probability or improbability of any portion of it, we shall not take upon ourselves to offer a word of comment; for the same mystery still hangs over the affair, and certain names of parties respectably connected have been, in some degree, mixed up with the transaction. -  Stockport Advertiser.

Glamorgan Gazette, 30 November 1833
DEATH OF A FACTORY CHILD. - Yesterday week an inquest was held at Macclesfield upon the body of a girl, Sarah Stubbs, 12 years of age, who had worked in the cotton factory of Mr. Thorp, and met her death under the following circumstances: On Friday afternoon, while the deceased was at work, the overseer, whose name is James Walker, beat her over the head with a strap of leather about 16 inches long, and about an inch and a quarter wide.  She cried a little and soon after complained of a pain in her head.  She went home and renewed her complaints, stating that the overseer had flogged her.  She died on Sunday.  The surgeon stated that death had been occasioned by a concussion of the brain; and the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against the overseer, who has been committed for trial.  The jury likewise expressed their regret that any child should be beaten with such a weapon in any factory. - Chester Courant


Monmouthshire Merlin, 2 May 1840


Last week three old woman, who had been inmates of the Raino workhouse, near Macclesfield, who had gone to church with other paupers, instead of returning home at the proper time, wandered about the country, the consequence of which was, that one lost her life by falling into a sluice; another broke her leg; and the third has not yet been discovered.  They were all persons of rather weak intellect, and she who lost her life was upwards of seventy years of age.  An inquest was held on her body, and a verdict returned of Found drowned.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 5 September 1840


   Another dreadful murder has been perpetrated in Cheshire, under circumstances, it is suspected, of more than ordinary barbarity.  An aged farmer, and his wife, named Cooke, with a servant girl, resided at Peover, near the town of Knutsford, and only a short distance from Peover-hall, the seat of Sir Henry Mainwaring, Bart.  .  .  .  .   The bodies of the aged murdered couple presented a most appalling spectacle, the heads and other parts of the bodies having been horribly disfigured and mutilated, the murderer having used the axe, in killing the victims, with great violence.  An inquest was taken on Tuesday on view of the bodies, before John Hollins, Esq., coroner, when the servant girl was examined at great length, and gave a description of the murderer.  A verdict of wilful murder was returned against some person or persons unknown.  The murder has produced great consternation in the neighbourhood of the place; and strong suspicions are entertained that the atrocious deed was committed by a relative.  In a short time, there is no doubt the villain will be brought to justice.


Cambrian, 12 September 1840

   An Irishman of the name of Murray has been apprehended at Cavan on suspicion of having murdered nr, and Mrs. Cook, at Peover, in Cheshire.  On the morning the murder was discovered, on the floor of the house-place near where the bodies of these unfortunate people lay, two pieces of paper were found that had apparently been used for lighting a candle.  These turned out to be parts of the written character of a servant man, and purported to be given by a gentleman residing at Cavan, in Ireland.  Upon the document was also the name of the person to whom it had been given.  Information of the murder, and a copy of the above document, were sent off to Cavan, and to the authorities of that place, and on Tuesday an answer was received from them to the effect that the individual had been apprehended and lodged in gaol.  He is a labouring man, and had been working in the neighbourhood of Peover.


The Cambrian, 12 September 1840


   Bartholomew Murray, the man charged with committing this horrid deed, was brought to Knutsford, in custody, on Sunday evening.  He is rather a good-looking Irishman, of fair complexion, and rather pleasing address.  He expresses a hope that he shall be able to clear himself of the murder, as he says he slept in Knutsford on the night the murder was committed, and was at home at his lodgings in good time.  There are witnesses forthcoming to prove the fact of his having been seen near Mr. Cook's cottage so late as twelve o'clock on the day on which the murder took place.  He was examined on Monday, but with what result has not yet reached us.


Glamorgan Gazette, 12 September 1840

[More on the Peover murder.]


The Cambrian, 26 September 1840

THE PEOVER MURDER. - On Wednesday afternoon Mr. Harper returned from Ireland, bringing with him the witnesses whose evidence was deemed necessary to inculpate the prisoner, Bartholomew Murray, in the murder of Mr. and Mrs. Cook.  The depositions of the several witnesses who had been previously examined were read, particularly that relating to finding the two pieces of partially burnt paper which led to the prisoner's detection, on which were recommendations of character signed by Mr. McNally, of Bally-Connel, and Mr. Plunkett, of Swelling Lodge, Cavan; these were found by the side of the axe with which the murder was committed.  The prisoner maintained great firmness during the examination, which lasted six hours, and, declining to say anything, was fully committed to Cheater Gaol to take his trial for the murder at the next Assizes.

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