Samuel Stretch was charged at the County Police court, Warrington, on Wednesday, with assaulting his wife. From the evidence it appeared that the defendant, a well-to-do farmer, at Croft, near Warrington, had been drinking heavily for the last two years, and had lately turned his wife out, causing her to sleep in outhouses.
Dr. Spinks and Dr. Fox stated that the defendant was not in a fit state to be able to plead. If he did not change his mode of life, softening of the brain would ensue. Ultimately, the prosecution withdrew the charge on the above plea, defendant in the meantime to be taken charge of by his friends.
LEIGH JOURNAL AND TIMES SATURDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER 1877
OVERCROWDING AT CULCHETH –
On Monday, at the Leigh Petty Sessions, Thomas Larney appeared to a summons charging him with overcrowding at Fowley Common, Culcheth.
Mr. Hamilton, inspector of the Leigh Rural Sanitary Authority, deposed that he visited the defendant’s house on the 24th ult., finding in a bedroom, containing only 936 cubic feet of air space, the defendant, his wife, and four children. In the next room, containing 812 feet of air space, there were seven men lodgers.
On the 9th inst., at a quarter past eleven at night he found eight men in the last named room, and as he entered a ninth was making his exit through the window. The stench in the place was unbearable, there being no room in the house for lodgers. The Bench inflicted a fine of 21s. and costs, or one month in default, and ordered that no lodgers be kept hereafter. James Marsh was summoned under the Nuisance Removal Act, a petty and two pigstyes being built against his property at Fowley Common. The Bench made an order for the immediate abatement of the nuisance.
LIVERPOOL ECHO WEDNESDAY 3RD AUGUST 1892
PRESENTATION OF WHITE GLOVES AT WARRINGTON
Today is the date for the Warrington County Petty Sessions. The magistrates were Mr. John Crosfield (in the chair) and Mr. J. J. Bleekly.
The Magistrates Clerk (Mr. Henry Greenall) said that there were no cases to be heard, and it gave him great pleasure to present the chairman with a pair of white kid gloves.
Mr. Crosfield, in reply, thanked Mr. Greenall, and said that he was very pleased that Warrington and the surrounding district were in such an excellent condition, and he hoped that there would be no more cases for the next twelve months.
Mr. Bleekly also congratulated Mr. Crosfield. Mr. Crosfield said he did not think this had ever happened to borough magistrates. Police Constable Chantler, of the Warrington borough police force, said that he never remembered such an occasion. – The borough magistrates sit six days in the week unless, as sometimes happens, there are no cases to be dealt with. The county magistrates sit the first and third Wednesdays in the month, and exercise a jurisdiction over the following townships: - Warrington (extra-municipal), Poulton, Rixton with Glazebrook, Southworth with Croft, Houghton, Culcheth, Cuerdly, Penketh, Sankey and Burtonwood.
White Gloves with a Judge's Gavel
For over 800 years, the King's and Queen's Judges have been sent on circuit from London to each of the counties to try serious crime. Criminal Justice was at that time and for many centuries after very cruel and barbaric.
Many crimes however minor they seem today were punishable by death. On the few occasions the judges didn’t have to sentence the defendant to death, the sheriff of the county presented judges with a pair of white gloves as a symbol of the purity of the county.
As our Criminal law became much less cruel and death as a sentence much less common during the 19th century the custom was adapted so judges were only presented with White gloves if there was no serious crime at all.
THE CROFT BREACH OF PROMISE - SEQUEL IN THE COUNTY COURT
About twelve months ago a widow named clough recovered £50 damages at Liverpool against an elderly man named Southern, residing at Croft, near Warrington, for breach of promise of marriage. The damages were paid, but Southern refused to pay the costs, and a claim against him for payment of these costs was heard at the Warrington County Court yesterday.
Southern pleaded want of means, as he only earned a few shillings a week, being incapacitated by chronic rheumatism. He denied being the owner of several valuable properties, but admitted to having had property which was mortgaged.
The Judge had to caution Southern as to his conduct in the court towards Mrs. Clough while she was giving her evidence, and told him that unless he behaved himself he would be committed to prison. Judgement was given for the amount claimed, or in default thirty-six days imprisonment.
Southern said he would go to prison.
Liverpool Echo Wednesday 16th April 1884
A WARRINGTON GUARDIAN IN COURT - (SPECIAL TELEGRAM.)
Mr. Reginald Owen, an old member of the Warrington Board of Guardians, was charged at the Warrington County Sessions, to-day, with assaulting Mr. Samuel Thomason, a farmer at Croft; and there was a cross-summons in the case. The quarrel took place in the General Elliott public-house. Owen was bound over in a £20 surety to keep the peace for six months. No order was made as to costs.
24th March 1838 ATTEMPT OF A SON TO DROWN HIS FATHER
J. Pridmore was charged with having maliciously attempted to drown John Pridmore, his father at the parish of Winwick.
J. Pridmore, father of the prisoner- I live at Winwick; my son came home at ten at night and asked for his supper; my wife said, "There was the same for him as there was for his father, some tea and some bread:" he said "He would not be put off so:" he threw the teapot out of doors, and turned his mother out, and said "She might go where she went on Monday night:" He had turned us both out on Monday: he said "He wished God might perish him if they were not two dead ones before morning:" He pulled me out of bed and dragged me to the pond; I said, "My dear son, spare my life this night!" When I was turned out on Monday I slept on some straw we had to top a hay-rick; my wife was with me; When I asked him to spare my life he said, "No, d_n you will I;" he put me into the pond headfirst; he caught hold of my ancles, and tipped me quite over into it; my wife gave the alarm;
I crawled out; I got over a hedge and went into the town; almost all the people were in bed; I got to a public house and stopped their all night.
Sophia Pridmore, mother of the prisoner, corroborated her husband's statement, except that she described his language as more vile, and especially the expression of prisoner, that "He hoped God might perish him if they were not both corpses before morning"
She heard him dragging his father to the pond:
I heard prisoner plunge him in, he said to his father, "D_n you, i'll throw you in headfirst, that you drown the quicker!" Then I called Thomas Gear; he came down in his shirt; I said, "For God's sake come down, for my husband is in the pond!" I went into Gear's house; my son came and knocked me down, and said "D_n your eyes, i'll soon stop your noise" He dragged me into the street, and knocked me down twice; I called out "Murder!" he put his hands on my mouth. He locked me in the house and said "I'll go and see if the old devil is drowned - if not he soon shall be - I've given him a good ducking”
I shot the bolt and got out, and went to Mr. Jellis's cart hovel. Prisoner came there and said, "Hallos, have you made your escape? D_n you- if not, I'll soon make the place too hot"
An example of a cart hovel, an open shed for livestock and carts.
Image by Michael Trolove.
I put my apron in my mouth, so that he should not hear me fetch my breath. I got into the waggon. He hunted about the hovel but did not find me. I walked about all night.
Thomas Gear was in bed on the 26th of last July;
Mrs. Pridmore called me up; I went down and put on my shoes; I went to the pond; I met John Pridmore, the prisoner; he said "hello, who comes here, I'll put them in the pond" I said "What me, will you put me in?" he said "yes, I will" I said "Then if that's it, I’ll turn and go to bed again" I was afraid of him. He followed me home.
Mrs Pridmore had the candle and lantern in her hand; he dragged her down; she holloed "murder" three times. I heard the water plunge; it was so dark I could not see.
Prisoner described the case as a friendly ducking and said that he was in beer. Gear was re-called and stated in answer to the learned Judge that prisoner was of right mind; he was a married man but had sold his wife.
The learned Judge commented on the peculiarly horrible crime they were bound to decide upon and regretted they had not the consolation of believing the prisoner insane.
The jury immediately found the prisoner Guilty- Death recorded.
The subject of this week’s Croft in the News is Crime and Punishment. All articles are from the Warrington Guardian. There are some to make you smile, but also some that will make you truly grateful we live in our modern world.
Saturday 15th July 1865 Kirkdale Quarter Sessions
Caroline Leigh pleaded guilty to stealing a pair of boots, the property of Elizabeth Brimelow, at Warrington, on the 15th of May. She was ordered to be imprisoned for a month, and afterwards sent to a reformatory for five years. William Brown, 18 years of age, was charged with having, at Warrington, stolen six pigeons, the property of Joseph Wareham and sent to gaol for six months. Margaret Maloney pleaded guilty to a charge of having, at Ashton, on the 24th ult., unlawfully wounded William Crook, and was sent to gaol for three months. Peter Donaghan pleaded guilty to having stolen thirteen pigeons, the property of William Anderton, at Golborne, on the 5th ult., and was ordered to be imprisoned for three months.
County Petty Sessions
Nugent Fairhurst, labourer, was fined 5s and 11s costs for being drunk and disorderly in Mill House Lane, Croft, on Sunday 18th June. John Yates, Labourer, for being drunk and disorderly in Croft village, on Sunday, 18th June, was fined 5s and costs. Thomas Stringer, for a similar offence in Croft, on Sunday 18th June was fined 5s and costs. James Webb was ordered to pay costs for having been asleep whilst in charge of a horse and cart on the highroad at Hollins Green on the 17th June. James Swindle was fined 2s 6d and costs for a similar offence at Glazebrook, on the 19th June. Robert Leigh was ordered to pay costs for being at a distance of 100 yards from his horse and cart, at Penketh, on the 13th June.
Saturday 24th January 1903 County Petty Sessions
John Gilfedder, Little Tower, croft, pleaded guilty to having been drunk and refusing to quit the Joiner’s Arms, Croft, on January 17th. The licensee, Mrs. Jackson, stated that she had to call in the police and the defendant had to be forcibly ejected. Gilfedder was so rough outside that he had to be locked up, and he was bailed out the following day. The Chairman said the Bench wished to protect the publicans, and defendant would be fined 10s and costs. John Curley, of Burtonwood, was fined 2s 6d and costs for having been drunk on the 17th January. This was his 30th appearance.
Saturday 20th December 1873 County Petty Sessions
James Yates, of Croft, was charged with riding on his cart asleep, at Rixton, on the 26th ult., P.O. Turner said he was on duty at Hollins Green, when he saw a horse and cart on the highway, apparently with no one in charge. He found defendant lying asleep at the bottom of his cart, and it was with great difficulty he succeeded in waking him. Fined 1s and costs. John Hurst, an old man, 64 years of age, living at Croft, was charged with having, on the 7th December, attempted to commit suicide at Croft, by hanging himself. Superintendent Jackson said prisoner was a farmer living at croft. On Sunday morning, the 7th inst., prisoner’s son missed his father from the shippon, where he should have been engaged in milking. After having made a search for him, he succeeded in finding his father suspended by a rope from the neck. He was cut down, a doctor sent for, and prisoner’s life was saved. Had he not been immediately cut down after he was discovered, it would have been impossible to have saved his life. Prisoner now acknowledged the offence, but promised to conduct himself better in the future. He was bound over to keep the peace for six months, himself in £20 and two sureties of £10 each.
Cheyvonne Bower is a local historian with a passion for the past. A member of Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society.