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.
Cheyvonne Bower is a local historian with a passion for the past. A member of Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society.