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Colonial Cases


London Chronicle, 22 April 1780
Northampton, April 24
  Wednesday last, about nine o'clock, as John Hearson, of Arnold, in Nottinghamshire, was riding through the town of Arnold, both himself and horse were struck dead by a flash of lightning.


The Observer, 13 April 1800

NOTTINGHAM. - On Wednesday two men who were navigating a boat down the Trent, by some accident were thrown over board, and unfortunately drowned.  The body of one of them has since been found opposite Ratcliffe.


The Observer, 10 October 1802

   A labourer at Mansfield, named Godfree, last week fell from his chair while at dinner, and soon after expired. - The Coroner's verdict was, died by excess of eating and drinking.


North Wales Gazette (Bangor), 13 March 1823

   On Tuesday se'nnight, Mr. Clayton, of Burton, removed with his family to Basford; and on Tuesday last Mrs. Clayton's accouchement took place.  In the evening her husband expressed his fears that the room he was about to sleep in was damp; and although cautioned by a neighbour that the room smoked, he thought that there could be no danger from that, and would have a few red hot coals put in the fire place. - This w as accordingly done, and with a little girl, his daughter, about two years and five months old, he retired to rest.  The nurse and Mrs. Clayton said they heard him up with the child about one o'clock, and it is certain he had the child out of bed some time in the night.  About eight o'clock in the morning the nurse called at the door, but received no answer, and supposing that as he had been disturbed the night before, and was still asleep, he was not again called till ten o'clock, when there was still no answer.  She then opened the door, but could scarcely breathe, the sulphur was so strong in the room.  Fearing the worst, Mr. Bramley was immediately called in, and it was ascertained that the unfortunate man was dead, and the little child nearly so, and it soon breathed its last !  Mr. Stevens, the surgeon of the village, was immediately sent for, but he was from home;  Mr. Brest was fetched from  Bulwell, but, alas, too late !  and Mr. Best pronounced that Mr. Clayton had been dead several hours !  The Coroner has held his inquest over the bodies, and a verdict was returned of - Died by suffocation.


North Wakes Gazette (Bangor), 25 September 1823

   On Monday se'nnight, a little boy, of the name of William, son of Mr. William Davis, of No. 173, North-row, Back-barn, Nottingham, had been out playing in the fields, in the evening, on coming home, about eight o'clock at night, he complained of being very ill, and was attacked with purging and vomiting.  This continued the whole of the night, and in the morning, professional assistance was called in, but he died about eleven o'clock. - An inquest was taken the same evening at the Bugle Horn, when it being thought necessary that the body should be opened, the Jury adjourned till Wednesday night.  In the interim, Mr. Jowett made the necessary inspection, and found in the stomach a quantity of the herb known by the name of "petty sponge,"  or wart grass, and it was at once concluded that the eating of this herb, which is of a very noxious nature, had caused his death; and the jury, at their adjourned sitting in the evening, brought in their verdict accordingly.  We understand the boy had been playing at horses, and had eaten this in the field, in order morĂ© fully to personate his assumed character.



The Cambrian, 16 July 1825

   A most diabolical murder was committed at Nottingham last week.  Mary Austin, a married woman, at Leicester, in consequence of some disagreement, left her husband some time ago and went to Nottingham, where she took lodgings.  In an adjoining apartment lived one Dewey, a framework knitter, together with his wife; it seems that a criminal connection took place between Dewey and Mary Austin; she had one child by him, and was pregnant of another.  One of her sons by her husband was apprenticed at Nottingham, but absconding from his ,aster, he was taken and lodged in the House of Correction; this induced Austin to go to Leicester, to prevail with her husband to return with her to Nottingham to effect the lad's liberation, which he did.

   The unfortunate woman went shortly after to her lodgings, where she was met by Dewey, who took her by the hand, gave her a kiss, and retired into his own apartment; shortly after, he took a blucher's knife and returning into Austin's room, plunged the weapon into her heart.  She gave a loud scream, which brought in Dewey's wife, who found her on the floor bleeding profusely, and expiring; the murdered then kissed the deceased, went to his wife's father and mother, and told them what he had done; he was soon afterwards taken into custody, and committed for trial.


Carmarthen Journal, 19 September 1828

  An inquest was held at Nottingham last week on the body of Edward Dawson, aged 77, who was found drowned in the canal near the Navigation Inn, when the jury returned a verdict to that effect.  The deceased was one of those eccentric beings generally to be found in late towns. .  .  .  . 


Carmarthen Journal, 26 December 1828

"HE DIED FOR LOVE !" - On Friday, an Inquest was taken before C. Swann, Gent. Coroner, at the house of John Wilson, framework-knitter, Sherwood-pace, Basford, on view of the body of Thomas Shiipton, aged about twenty years.  The deceased was apprenticed to Samuel Morley, framework-knitter.  Mrs. Morley stated, that on the preceding morning (Thursday) the deceased rose and took his breakfast as usual; about nine o'clock she saw him sitting nursing one of the children, and soon afterwards missed him, but supposed he was gone up stairs to work.  In about twenty minutes her husband called out "What have you done with Tom?"  The children went to look for him, and the necessary door was found to be fastened; on its being forced open by Mr. Parkes he was found hanging.  Samuel Morley, his master, stated that he had heard him say to witness's niece, who worked in the same shop, that he should like to keep her company; she refused him as he was not bright and decent enough for her.  Since his death witness has observed the names of "Thomas Shipton," and "Marianne" written together on the chimney with a cinder (emblem of the fire which burnt); the same was also on the side of her frame.  The cotton in which he hung himself was taken from her frame, although he had cotton by him. - The object of his hapless passion, Marianne Towers, stated herself to be seventeen years of age, and that she worked in the same shop with the deceased, (their frames whizzing a sweet unison together).  He had several times wished to keep company with her, but she uniformly refused him, telling him she did not think him clever enough; she considered him silly and weak of mind.  The day before tying the fatal noose, he asked her again and she aging refused his suit.  She said he always went dirty and ragged, and was lazy, never showing any disposition to clean himself up. - Verdict, Of Unsound Mind. - Nottingham Review.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 23 May 1829


Fall if Rock near Nottingham. - It may be recollected that short time ago a tremendous fall of rock took place on Narrow Marsh, Nottingham, and a number of houses were destroyed in consequence.  A similar event, we are sorry to say, occurred Hermitage in Brunton.  Between two and three in the morning an alarm was given by the howling of a dog to the inmates of a cottage built close to the rock, of the name of Flinders, consisting, in all, of a man and wife, and three sons; and near it the Where Swan public house, occupied by a person of the name of Eyre, with a wife and two children, and two servants.  On the old cottager rising to ascertain the cause of the unusual howling of the dog, he was stuck with the noise or rumbling in the rock resembling distant thunder, but the cause he could not account for.  Whilst on search, he discovered a quantity of rock and sand, which had fallen at intervals; but as this was no uncommon occurrence, he took no farther notice of it, and again retired.  He had not been long in bed, however, when he was again disturbed by the piteous moaning of the animal, and resolved not to treat this circumstance with indifference.  In commencing another search he found, to his consternation, a wide fissure in the upper part of the lumber-room, formed out of the rock.  It is needless to say, that this led to the remainder of the family being alarmed, upon which they made a precipitate retreat, and their lives were providentially saved.  Anxious to save the lives of those in the public-house adjoining, the old man proceeded without delay to warn them of their danger.

   No sooner were the inmates apprised of their situation, than they immediately flew to a place of safety in a state almost approaching to nudity, bringing with them their children, who were at the time asleep in bed.  In a shirt time afterwards, the whole mass of rock came down with a tremendous crash, burying beneath, the cottage, garden, six beehives, &c. presenting altogether a scene of desolation scarcely to be described. One of the sons of the Flinders had ventured to approach the garden before the rock fell, and on gearing the noise he jumped over the hedge, and before he cleared it a piece of rock grazed his leg.  The pieces of rock which fell weighed from 30 to 40 tons.


Carmarthen Journal, 9 April 1830

MURDER AT NOTTINGHAM. - On Thursday afternoon, an inquest was taken at the house of Mr. Robert Shelton, the Shakespeare, Milton-street, Nottingham, on view of the body of Martha Bennett, aged 46, wife of Isaac Page Bennett, lying dead in Octagon-place.  The jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against Isaac Page Bennett.  He was then called in, and the decision made known to him, which he heard without the least apparent emotion.  He was then committed on the coroner's warrant to the town gaol for trial on the charge of murder, and was removed there in the custody of the police. .  .  . 


Carmarthen Journal, 20 May 1831

HORRID MURDER. - Tuesday evening, an old man, named William Page, a labourer, aged 67, residing at Marnham-upon-Trent, when his wife went to take some linen which had been placed on a hedge, came behind her, and struck her a deadly blow on the back part of her head with a hatchet.  The wretched old man could give no account of his motives, but admitted that he had kept the hatchet in the house for the purpose.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 21 January 1832
  On Thursday week, Miss Butcher, daughter of Mr. Wm. Butcher, formerly a draper, at Sutton-in-Ashfield, was proceeding from Nottingham church to be married, accompanied by her father, who was very cheerful, when, melancholy to relate, he dropped down and expired almost immediately.  The wedding of course, did not take place.

Monmouthshire Merlin, 24 March 1832
SHOCKING OCCURRENCE. - Early in the morning of Sunday last the inhabitants of a place called Chanders-lane, in Nottingham, were alarmed by the cry of "Murder!" issuing from a house occupied by a person named Pole, a joiner.  On gaining admittance they found Pople's wife lying at the bottom of the stairs, and just above her a child about three years old, with its brains dashed out; the wife was also severely wounded, and insensible. Upon inquiry it was ascertained that some time ago Pople had lost a blind child by the smallpox, which preyed very heavily upon his mind; so much so that upon one occasion his wife was obliged to call in a neighbour.  On the night in question Pople, who had been in bed some time, got up, and began to beat his wife; but she making her escape from him, he then seized the child, and dashed out its brains by beating it against the floor.  Upon his hearing the neighbours coming in he made his escape from the place, having only his shirt on, and a handkerchief tied round his head.  When taken, and being told what he had done, he shook his head and said, "It's true I did it."  The woman was taken to the Infirmary, but is likely to recover.  Pople was conveyed to prison to await the coroner's inquest, which sat on Tuesday when a verdict of Wilful Murder against Thomas Pople was returned, and he was committed to take his trial at the summer assizes for this place.  There is little doubt of the man's insanity.


Cambrian, 13 April 1833
  At Nottingham Assizes, on Wednesday, the 27th ult., W. Clayton, aged 18, was found guilty of the murder of Samuel Clay, butcher, at Sutton-cum-Lound, on the 27th off December.  The evidence against him, as in most cases of murder, was circumstantial, but the connection was such as to leave no doubt of his guilt, and he was ordered for execution on Friday.   On being removed from the dock, he expressed a wish to see the Rev. J. Brooke, of Charborough, and at this interview he first expressed himself as though the verdict was an unjust one.  Mr. Brooke remonstrated, and after a forcible appeal Clayton trembled, and then avowed himself to be the murderer, and declared that he alone was guilty.   He begged to be allowed a few days to prepare for the eternity into which he had hurried a fellow-creature with all his guilt upon his back. A special communication was sent off to the Lord Chief Justice at Derby, and he returned by the messenger a respite, staying the execution till Tuesday.

Monmouthshire Merlin, 6 July 1833
  A coroner's inquest, on Monday, returned a verdict of wilful murder against R. Lowater, aged 21, a joiner by trade, who killed Richard Elliott, early on Wednesday morning, at Nottingham.  It seems the parties had a quarrel about paying for a quart of ale, and Lowater, who had a double-barrelled gun with him, placed the gun to the left groin of the deceased, pulled the trigger, and inflicted a wound of which he died soon after. - Derbyshire Courier.

Monmouthshire Merlin, 28 September 1833
  On Tuesday se'nnight, a death, under circumstances singularly impressive, and calculated to arrest the attention of the thoughtless, the moralist, and the divined, occurred at the house of a Mr. Sparkes, Mounteast-street, Nottingham.  A few friends were spending the evening over what is termed "a friendly game at cards," amongst whom was the deceased, Mr. Abraham Moss.  During the evening, a stranger friend, from Birmingham, arrived, who, on observing Mods, said, "Ah, Moss! Are you alive? I thought you was dead!" The play proceeded for a short time, with much cheerfulness and humour; when Moss exclaimed, holding up the queen of hearts, "This is my last trick" - laid down the card - his head - and died!! A surgeon was immediately called, who opened an artery - a few drops of blood effused, but the "spark was fled." The deceased was 55 years of age, a Jew, a native of Poland.

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