Crime and Punishment, Accidents & Incidents- Part 4 1954 to date

The Express regularly reported on the happenings at the Holmfirth Magistrates Court and many of the offences heard would be considered fairly innocuous 50 years later. The frequency of the reporting changed from 1964 onwards, either because there was less crime  or the incidents were now deemed to be of little interest to the readers.

At Holmfirth Magistrates Court in August 1954, Edward Lockwood, 19, a farmer of Wells Green Farm was summoned for driving without due care and attention, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident to the police within 24 hours. He was fined £5 for the first offence and £2 and £1 for the other two offences.

 At the same Court John Brook, 42, a farmer of 2 Giles Street, was summoned for failing to keep three pigs separate from all other swine after movement under a licence, and also for failing to keep a record of the movement of the same three pigs. P.C. Campbell said he visited the defendants farm at Sunnyside and asked the defendant if he had bought the pigs at Huddersfield market and he pointed out the three  pigs in a nearby field running with seven other pigs. The constable said  that the animals should have been isolated and the defendant replied that the boar must have opened the gate and let them through into the other field. For failing to keep the pigs separate he was fined £3 and £1 for failing to keep a record of their movement.

In October James Horncastle, 30, a farm manager at Lydgate farm was fined 10/- for keeping a dog without a licence. He was advised to apply for an exemption.

At Huddersfield Police Court in December, Geoffrey Boyes of 134 Towngate was summoned for driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention in Salendine Nook . Det.Chief Inspector D.Bradley , prosecuting, said Boyes had reversed into a trolley bus and had ripped off some panels. No one had been hurt. Mr.O.Somerville- Jones said his client had misjudged the space whilst making a manoeuvre. He was fined £3 and had his licence endorsed.

In May 1955 Mr. Stephen Pitcher ( 28) of Nether Ings, New Road, was found dead in his garden by his next door neighbour, J.Heslop.The facts were reported to the District Coroner but  he deemed an inquest was not necessary. At Holmfirth Magistrates Court the same month, Walter Lowndes-Bollitt, 42, a manager of 137, Leas Lane, Netherfield was fined £5 with licence endorsement and witness costs of 6d, when he was found guilty of driving a car without due care and attention. He had pleaded not guilty.

The following month in the same court, Eugene Reilly ( 25 ) , a public service vehicle driver of Fartown was found guilty of driving without due care and attention in New Road. He was fined £3, had his licence endorsed and was ordered to pay witness fees of £2 11s. About 4.55 hrs on May 16, Dr.Davy had parked his car in New Road facing towards Holmfirth. A van, driven by Leslie Hirst, a garage proprietor of New Road,  approached towards Netherthong and the defendant was driving a bus down from Towngate at about 25mph. The driver of the van expected the bus to wait until he had passed the stationary car but it continued to pull out and overtake. The van driver applied his brakes and pulled in as near as possible to the side but the bus collided with the stationary car.

At the monthly meeting of the Holmfirth Accident Prevention Council in October, the Secretary reported that County Councillor, Mrs. H.Denton, had visiited the West Riding Surveyor in connection with the provision of  a footpath in New Road. It was stated that the matter had been under consideration since 1950 but, as the scheme would be a major operation, the County Council considered it could not be given priority in view of more urgent matters and the limited funds available. The Council resolved that the scheme be pressed on all possible occasions. They say that everything comes to those who wait and 55 years later the villagers finally got their ” footpath ” in the form of a white painted line on the left hand side of the road going up to the village. If one was cynical, one might ask why the line wasn’t painted 55 years earlier.  The same month Walter John De Court of Windrush, New Road, was fined £3 with licence endorsement at Huddersfield Borough Court for speeding. Police officers in a car followed his motor cycle for half a mile and it was alleged that his speed was between 40 and 50 mph.

At Holmfirth Police Court in December, Mrs. Winifred Laycock of 3, Broomy Lea Lane was summoned for keeping a dog without a licence. PC G. Campbell said he called at her home and saw a dog about seven years old and asked defendant for its licence. She was unable to provide a current one but produced five others for previous years. When he told her she would be reported, she said that she had never missed taking one out before. She took out a licence the following day but pleaded guilty in court and was fined 10/-..

Dogs featured regularly at the Magistrates Court and, in January 1956, the owners of two dogs, which were alleged to have worried poultry at Netherthong, were each fined £1. The owners were Howard Crow ( 31), an assembler  of 38 Leas Avenue who pleaded guilty and Godfrey Beaumont (30), ambulance driver of 76, Leas Avenue who did not appear. P.W.D. Bell said she received a complaint from Mr.W. Batley of The Meadows that some of his poultry had been worried by dogs. With P.S.L. Williamson she made enquiries and interviewed Crow at his house and saw a dog answering the description of one of the dogs that had been worrying poultry. When told he would be reported he said that if that was the case he would have the dog destroyed which he later did. Beaumont’s comments were very similar but he did not destroy his dog.

In an interesting sequel  later that month on January 22  at  the home of Mr.W.Batley of The Meadows, an intruder gained entry, whilst the house was unoccupied, by breaking a window. There was no report on what, if anything, was stolen.

To finish of the month, Lawrence Brook (40 ) of 102 Leas Avenue was summoned for causing a motor car to be on a road without lights during the hours of darkness and was fined 10/-.

A 17 year old schoolboy, Peter Mallinson of 21, Deanhouse, pleaded guilty at the Magistrates Court in March  for firing off a gun within 50 feet of the centre of a carriageway to the danger of persons. Superintendent S.Foster said that at 11am on Sunday 15 January, Mr.Brian Napthine was walking down Deanhouse Hill when he saw the defendant and two other youths in Haigh Lane and each was in possession of an air rifle. Each of the boys discharged their rifles in his direction. The boys were chased away except for Mallinson. In court Mallinson  said they did not shoot at Napthine but were shooting at a target. He was fined £1.

George Bamforth ( 34 ) a farmer of Rosewood Farm was fined £1 with 2/- witness costs in July 1956 for hindering the free passage of another vehicle.  PC D. Hickey was on duty in Towngate on May 19 when he heard a grinding noise coming from the direction of Victoria Street and saw a single-deck public bus stopped at the bottom of Dunford Road. There were scrape marks along its side and the mudguard had pulled from its fittings. The defendant was sitting in his van in Victoria Street and causing unnecessary obstruction to other carriages using the highway. Mr.Ernest Thornton the bus driver said that after taking about 20 fares he turned into the middle of the road and went forward. He felt a bump and saw the damage. He went to the defendant who said ” I don’t know what you have done to your bus but look what you have done to my car “.

The first case in 1957 was at Huddersfield Borough Court in May when Duncan Harrison, Insurance Agent of Knowle Bridge farm, was fined £20 with licence endorsement for driving at a dangerous speed. He was alleged to have driven at a speed between 60mph and 72 mph at Outlane and his speed was checked over a distance of more than a mile by a police car.

At Holmfirth Magistrates Court in June, James Dearnley ( 29 ) an engineer of 33 Deanhouse pleaded guilty to stealing  a quantity of scrap value £2 10s at Honley and was fined £5. At the same court the following month, Gordan Jebson, driver of the Oval, Netherfields, was summoned as the owner of a dog which was not kept under control. A 14 year old schoolboy of Leas Avenue said he delivered newspapers before going to school. He went down the path to Jebson’s house and the dog got hold of his trouser leg and drew blood and then ran off. He reported the matter to P.C. Houlgate who was in his front garden and saw the offence and said he knew the dog. The defendant sent a letter to the Court and pleaded guilty and was charged 11s costs. In August Keith Knutton ( 23 ) a textile worker of Leas Avenue was fined 10/- for killing a pigeon, the property of some person unknown. He had reported the incident to Holmfirth Police Station and said that, whilst he was cleaning a 12-bore shot gun upstairs in his house, he decided to check the sights and took aim at a pigeon. The gun went off and the bird fell to the ground. P.C.Herbert went to Netherfield to investigate but all he could find were a few feathers.

The last incident was in December when  an order to keep a dog under control was made against Ernest Wibbeley (31), a farm foreman of Foxhouse Farm who said he was not the owner of the dog but was in charge of it. David Ward said the he and his friends were kicking a ball to each other when a dog came up and bit him on the left leg. He later went with a policeman to Mr.Tinker’s farm and identified the dog. The foreman said the dog had got excited seeing the boys kicking the ball and he accepted full responsibility for its actions.

A very sad case was heard at Huddersfield West Riding Court in April 1958 when Marion Platt ( 20) was charged with attempting to commit suicide by strangling herself with her scarf. She was a local girl, a domestic cleaner, who lived with her mother at the Council Houses in Thong Lane, and had been a source of problems to the police for numerous reasons. Mr.Colin Beardsell was driving along Moor Lane when he saw a  girl leaning against a wall by the stream. He thought she was ill so he stopped and went to talk to her and then saw that she had a scarf round her neck and was pulling it tight. The girl told him that she was going to jump into a dam in a field near-by. He took her home and called the police to whom she said ” I have nothing to live for because nobody cares for me “. The Court remanded her in custody for three weeks for a medical report, The following year in August she appeared at Holmfirth Magistates Court and was charged on remand with attempting to commit suicide by trying to choke herself with two belts.  The attempt was described as ” a silly petulant act “. The Court was told she was already on probation for a previous suicide attempt in 1958 and was placed on probation for a further two years. She told the Magistrates that she intended to pull herself together and get a job.

Because his children were ill, a Deanhouse man, on two occasions, re-connected his electricity supply after it had been cut off for non-payment. At Holmfirth Magistrates Court in February 1958, Mr.Booth (25) of 19, Deanbrook pleaded guilty on two summonses of maliciously consuming electricity – 35 units value 10/- and 4 units value 1/1. In his statement he said he had been unable to pay the electric bill because of illness and other domestic troubles and had managed to do without it for 4/5 months but, when his children became ill, he got some fuse wire, opened the meter in the passage and re-connected the house supply. ” It flashed a bit at first but I was wearing rubber boots and was quite safe “. He was fined £3 and £2 with costs of £1 3s 6d and ordered to refund 17s 1d for the electricity stolen. 

At Leeds Assizes in April £400 damages was awarded to a Netherthong housewife who broke her elbow. Mrs.L.Walker (29) of Leas Avenue sued Percy Wagstaff & Co., Builders. The accident happened on April 2. She was carrying a basket of washing along a path outside her house and, whilst stepping over the slope alongside the path she fell over the  protruding end of a flagstone which it was alleged had not been properly laid and she broke her right elbow. The judge said that the house was one of two the defendants were building for police officers of the West Riding County Council. The defendants admitted negligence.

At Huddersfield Borough Court in September 1958, Edward Lloyd Lockwood of Wells Green farm pleaded guilty to a summons for careless driving. Inspector Heath said that the defendant drove out of Birchencliffe Hill Road, in which there was a crossroad sign, and went straight across Halifax Road at about 30-35mph colliding with a car that was turned round and overturned on its side. He was fined £10 with licence endorsement and £2 19s costs.

The only report in 1960 was in September when Mrs. Daphne Parker of 53, New Road was summoned for failing to confirm to the indication given by a traffic sign. She had driven a car from the direction of Huddersfield to Holmfirth and crossed the traffic lights at Honley Bridge when they were red. She pleaded guilty by letter and was fined £2.

The first few months of 1961 saw a number of motor accidents and motor car infringements. The first two were in January and held at Holmfirth Magistrates Court. Cedric Hartley,31, a bit passer of 29 Deanhouse, was summoned for driving a car without due care and attention. On November 1960 a Mr.Jack Dyson was working at the top of a ladder fitting glass into a window at Deanhouse Mills. The defendant was driving a car along Deanbrook and apparently saw the ladder and swerved but the back end of his car struck the ladder and brought Mr.Dyson down. He was fined £3 and his licence endorsed. At the same Court George Platt ( 45 ) , cafe proprietor, of New Laithes Farm, Deanhouse, was summoned for failing to conform to a traffic sign at Brockholes. He pleaded not guilty and, as there was some doubt whether he did or did not halt, the summons was dismissed.

In April two people died as a result of a collision at Knowle crossroads between Wilshaw and Netherthong. The victims were a motor cyclist driving to Netherthong from Wilshaw and a passenger in a car travelling from Honley to Upperthong. The cyclist was Anthony Silver of Leas Avenue and the passenger a Mr. Harrison from Lindley and both died in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. An Inquest was opened and adjourned and when it was resumed a verdict of ” Misadventure ” was returned by the jury in each case.

On Easter Monday, Mr.Frank Hanwell of Giles Street was seriously injured and his pillion passenger killed in a collision near Northwich, Cheshire. They were on their way to a race meeting at Oulton Park.

In a further incident, Mr.Hubert Marshall of Leas Avenue was treated in hospital but not detained after his lorry had been in a collision with another lorry near Derby.

At Huddersfield West Riding Court in August 1961, Benjamin Beanland of Leas Avenue was fined £5 for using a car in Denby Dale when not covered by insurance. He was fined £2 for quitting the car without first stopping the engine and a further £1 for failing to produce his licence. The following month Alfred Cecil Roebuck ( 60) , shop proprietor of Green Cottage, was fined £1 for causing a motorcar to stop in the prohibited area of a pedestrian crossing. He pleaded guilty by letter.

 As an example from 1962 of how strict parking rules were ,  Leslie Thewliss ( 40 ) a grinder of Leas Avenue was a fined £1 for causing a car to stand on a road at night otherwise on its nearside. Wording as reported in the paper

At Huddersfield Borough Court in September , Ben Woodhead, textile finisher of Leas Avenue , pleaded guilty to driving a motor cycle combination in Kirkgate, Huddersfield, without due care and attention. He was fined £6 with licence endorsement, £1 2s costs and a further 10s for driving a vehicle for which a test certificate had not been issued. At Bradford Divorce Court in August 1963, the Commissioners granted a decree nisi to Jean Ashton, Thong Lane, against G.Ashton on the grounds of desertion.

At the Holmfirth Magistrates Court in September , three youths who committed wilful damage to a number of gardens in the district were fined and ordered to make restitution. One of them was Peter Alexander Lowndes ( 17 ) a painter of Leas Avenue – all three were very apologetic.

A resident of Leas Avenue featured in a case held in March at the Magistrates Court. George Frazer  pleaded guilty to assaulting a bus conductor and occasioning him bodily harm. On November 16 1963 he had caught the last bus from Huddersfield to Parkhead and went upstairs but there were no vacant seats. The conductor, Mr.J.Arundel, followed him upstairs and asked him to go downstairs. Frazer refused to do so and the conductor fetched his driver and an inspector but the three of them were unable to get him to go downstairs. He became very abusive but, when two policemen arrived, he went downstairs quietly. When the bus reached Honley a passenger got off and Frazer went upstairs and took the vacant seat. On his way he told the conductor what he would do him when the bus reached Holmfirth. At Holmfirth he butted the conductor in the face three times and fractured his nose. At court Frazer had nothing to say and was fined £6 for assault and £2 for disorderly conduct.

The following month, Derek Batty ( 18 ) of Haigh Lane, Deanhouse pleaded not guilty to driving without due care and attention, and not guilty to failing to stop after an accident. He was a butcher’s apprentice and had been permitted the use of a van by his employer. The van driven by the defendant cut in front of another van and partially ripped off the front bumper and the defendant made no attempt to stop. After hearing from witnesses, the Magistrates found the case proved and imposed a fine of £8 for driving without care, £2 for failing to stop and issued licence endorsements for each offence. At the end of the year at the Magistrates Court a 20 year old Netherfield youth, after attending a bachelor party,  drove a mini-van down New Road and collided with a car at the junction with Huddersfield Road. Richard Michael Coxhead, a weaver of Leas avenue, was fined a total of £27 and disqualified from holding a licence for 12 months.

The first case in 1964 involving a local resident was in January when Mrs.V.Barkham of Leas Avenue pleaded guilty to being the person in charge of a dog which worried poultry on agricultural land. She was fined £1. The same month Mr.Charles Neilson of Brockholes was knocked down by a motor van whilst working in New Road and he was taken to Huddersfield Infirmary but  later released. The van was being driven by Mr.G.Boyes of Leas Avenue. There were two cases at the Magistrates Court in November. The first concerned Eric Hallaghan ( 41 ), an engineer of Brownhill Farm ,who was fined £5 and disqualified from keeping a dog for six months. He pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog and also keeping a dog without a licence. He was also ordered to pay costs of £1 and advocate’s fee of £3 3s. In the second case Derek Battye ( 19), a labourer of Haigh Lane, was fined £2 for being drunk and disorderly in a public place.

The first case in 1966 involved Robert Gale ( 20 ) a textile worker and Alan Ellis ( 20 ) an apprentice plasterer both of Dean Brook who were fined £16 and £23 respectively for a number of motor cycle offences. They both pleaded guilty. The same month Jack Spring ( 46 ), a dyer’s labourer of Leas Avenue, pleaded not guilty to stealing 27 pieces of timber value £1 7s, the property of the Yorkshire Electricity Board. The Magistrates found the case proved and imposed a fine of £10. In July Francis Halton (33 ), a miner living in the Oval, Netherfield, pleaded guilty at the Court to furnishing false particulars in an application for a motor car licence and was fined £5. He also pleaded guilty for using a car without a Road Fund Licence and was fined a further £12. In December a fine of £10 with licence endorsement was imposed on Kevin Stead ( 18), apprentice sheet metal worker, of Leas Avenue who pleaded guilty to driving a motor cycle without due care and attention.

The villagers were devastated in January 1977 when Mrs. Ruth Shaw, aged 62, of Wood Street was killed outright when she was struck whilst walking along Huddersfield Road on her way to Holmfirth  by a Ford Escort driven by a Holmfirth policewoman.

Four youngsters from the village were hurt in a vehicle collision at Lindley, Huddersfield, in January 1978. Julie Cooper, 18,  of Outlane suffered eye and facial injuries. Andrew Graves,17, and Tracey Heppenstall,  both of the Oval, were allowed home and Ian Earnshaw, 18, of Harley Close was treated and then discharged. In August of that year the licensee of the Cricketers was found dead in the cellar of the public house a few weeks after being told of an ‘ out of the world tax demand’. The Kirklees coroner heard that Mr.Kenneth Sykes, aged 52, a a father of three children , was also a dyehouse colour mixer and was worried about the demand. His wife, Vera Sykes, told the inquest about her husband’s concern and she said that she had wanted him to give up the dyehouse job. Apart from the problems with the tax matters, there was really nothing to worry about at all. She described how, on the morning of August 10, she could not find her husband when she got up after realising he must not have gone to work. There was a smell of gas coming from the cellar and she called a neighbour. P.C.Keith Garlick said that he had found Mr.Sykes in the cellar with a plastic bag over his head and a flexible gas pipe inserted into the bag. Dr. Barlow , the pathologist, said death was due to asphyxia. 

Arsonists were believed responsible for a £70,000 blaze at Century Steels, Dean Brook Road on the 5th. June 1983. The owners of the firm – the Moss family of Holmfirth – could only watch helplessly. The firemen managed to save machinery earmarked for export but office equipment and important records were destroyed.

Damage to Century Steels, Dean Brook Road
Damage to Century Steels, Dean Brook Road

The accompanying photo shows fireman tackling a blaze at Dean Brook Mill in October 1989. It took hold of timbers and beams left inside the shell, already gutted by workmen prior to demolition. No one was hurt in the fire.

Fire at Dean Brook Mill October 1989
Fire at Dean Brook Mill October 1989

The papers reported that on August 4 2014 at around 4pm. a man armed with a long barrelled shotgun robbed a shop in the village. The incident saw the man demand that cash from the till be placed in a white drawstring JD sports bag along with a stash of cigarettes, Acting Detective Sergeant Pete Usher of Kirklees CID said : ” This was clearly a terrifying experience for the female shop assistant. Thankfully no one was injured during the incident, however the fact that the man was carrying a firearm underlines the level of threat.” The suspect was described as white , around 16-19 years old, around 6’4″ tall, of slim build with fair blonde hair and was wearing a black and white face covering and a black jacket with white writing across it. Three arrests had been made in connection to the incident.



Crime & Punishment , Accidents & Incidents Part 3 – 1940 to 1953

   In January 1940, Maud Sykes, 28 years old, of Dock Hill was found dead in her home. The Coroner at the inquest recorded a verdict that death was due to shock and air embolus resulting from the use of an instrument for the purpose of procuring abortion, there not being sufficient evidence to show whether the act was performed by the deceased or another. Lawrence Sykes, a coal dealer’s teamer, said he was separated from his wife and had not seen her for nine months.

 During the year the Holmfirth Police Court were very busy dealing with instances of people showing lights during the  blackout periods with  the penalty always being a fine. There were very few mentions of Netherthong residents breaking the regulations.

 At the end of the year at the Borough Police Court, George Bamforth of Rosewood Poultry Farm Netherthong was summoned for leaving a motor car not immobilized in Longwood Street, Huddersfield and for failing to show lights on the vehicle. He was fined 20/- on the first case and 10/- on the second. Six months later in May 1941 at County Police Court Huddersfield. he was once again in trouble. He was summoned for driving a motor car without due care and attention in Wilshaw Road, Meltham. It was alleged that whilst driving the car he swerved across the road and hit another car. He admitted it was his fault and was fined £3 with 17s costs.

 In March 1942 an inquest was held on James Mallinson ( 64 years ) a butcher of Church Street in Netherthong, who was found hanged in a bedroom in his brother’s house at 3.30am on the Wednesday morning. He had been looking after the house whilst his brother was away. He was well known in the district as his butchering business was old- established and had been carried on by his father before him. The inquest was conducted by the District Coroner , Mr. E. Norris, and was held in the Zion Methodist School with Mr. T.Dyson as the foreman of the jury. John Batley, of Miry Terrace, said that when he turned up at the house he found  the bedroom  door was locked with the key on the inside. He had to force the door and found the body. The deceased had removed the cover of the trap door leading to the false roof, put a stout piece of wood across it and was hanging from a piece of rope suspended from the wood. Near his foot was a box about one foot high and his feet were about five inches from the ground. The jury returned a verdict that  “ the deceased hung himself while of unsound mind, resulting from an accidental fall “.

 Later in the year in May, at the Huddersfield Borough Police Court, a sentence of three months imprisonment was imposed on Alice Hepworth, a married woman of South View, Netherthong. She pleaded guilty of taking a woolen jumper, value 8/6, from the Huddersfield store of Marks and Spensers. Mrs. Hepworth, who had three stepchildren, including a boy in the forces and a girl away in a war factory, sobbed bitterly in the dock as the sentence was pronounced.

 In February 1943 at Holmfirth Police Court, Sheila Inman, housewife of Sunnyside Farm at Netherthong, was summoned for showing a light from her home during the blackout period. Section leader R. Sandford of the Special Constabulary and special constable Woodhead, having received information, went to the farm and saw the light from an upstairs window. In a letter to the Court, the defendant stated that the offence had occurred through oversight and also complained that the officers had entered her house without knocking. She was fined £3.

Later that year, in November in the Holmfirth Police Court, allegations were heard that a Netherthong couple obtained free milk illegally under the National Milk Scheme.  Rose Lee, housewife of 31 Deanhouse, pleaded guilty of making a false statement in order to obtain free milk. Thomas Lee, her husband, also pleaded guilty. Mr. Hutchinson, prosecuting for the Ministry of Food, said that if a family had an income of more than £2 18s a week they would not be entitled to free milk. Mrs. Lee had signed a form stating that her husband’s income was £1 14s 6d a week. She had been allowed two pints of milk daily in respect of the youngest of her six children. There had been lots of witnesses including the clerks at Holmfirth Food Office and Henry Moorhouse who delivered milk. She was found guilty and fined £2 for false declarations, £1 for each case of obtaining free milk and the advocates fee of £1 1s. The charges against her husband were dropped. The magistrates agreed to allow the defendant to pay the fine at 5/- a week.

 In September 1945, John Roebuck of Ox Lane farm pleaded guilty of a charge of not keeping a dangerous dog under control. The incident happened on August 18 when Enid Wibberley, a 12 year old girl, was walking along Ox Lane to her home when a sheep dog ran out into the road and bit her leg. She recognized the dog. She carried on home and had the injury attended to by her mother. They made a complaint. The defendant didn’t know about the incident, as he was away from home , and he said his dog was not dangerous and had never bitten anyone else, other than the Wibberleys. He said that when he had tied the dog up, the Wibberley children had thrown stones at it and, when he complained to Mrs. Wibberley, she said that she had told her children to throw stones at it. Mrs. Wibberly denied the accusation.  An order was made for the dog to be kept under proper control and the defendant  to pay costs of 12/6.

  On Christmas Eve of the same year , James Henry Horncastle, a joiner of Beech House Netherthong, attended a dance at Thongsbridge and then “ borrowed “ his uncle’s lorry to take a girl home. As he drove the lorry from the barn, where it was kept, he crashed into a wall in Outlane. At Holmfirth Magistrates Court he appeared to answer a summons for taking away a vehicle without the owner’s consent and was charged for using the motor vehicle on a road without any insurance or third party risks. Inspector H.Lowe prosecuted and said that the vehicle was a lorry belonging to Arthur Russell, a haulage contractor from Outlane. He said that a man named Eric Jones of Outlane was awakened at 12.55 by  a crash outside his house and he went outside and saw the lorry and the defendant.  Sergeant Gruber interviewed the defendant who denied everything at first but then did admit the offence saying he was under the influence of drink. Horncastle told the magistrates that he had held a driving licence for three years and asked them not to disqualify him.  The magistrates found him guilty on both counts and imposed a fine of £2 for taking the lorry, £5 for using it without insurance cover and also had to pay £1 14s 4d for witness costs. He was also disqualified from holding a licence for 12 months.

The peacefulness of the service at the Wesleyan Chapel was disturbed in March 1946 when one of the windows was wilfully cracked whilst Mr.Wagstaff was giving an address. Two members of the congregation ran out but were too late to recognise the offenders.

It was not quite headline news in May 1946 but the Express titled it as Night Raid on Poultry Farm. At Holmfirth Magistrates Court , four persons ( all from Oldham ) were charged with stealing 74 hens, five cock birds and two sacks to the total value of £200 2s 9d being the property of George Bamforth of Rosewood Poultry Farm, Netherthong. All the accused had been charged at Huddersfield West Riding Court and remanded in Holmfirth. A further remand was asked for, and bail was allowed for each defendant in the sum of £50 with a surety of £50.  When the case was heard, Lawrence Haigh of Wolfstones Heights said about 1500 head were kept at the farm. There were about 30 units in the field, which he locked up after seeing the poultry were inside. The lock on one of the huts was broken but the others were secure. In the morning at 8.30 he saw that the doors of four huts were open and the poultry gone. He said that in the afternoon he accompanied the police to Oldham and was shown some poultry which he recognized as some of them coming from the farm. Jack Chadderton, who was the leader of the group and who had previous convictions , was committed to prison for three months. Amos Buckley, also with previous convictions, received four months. The case against Mrs. F. Harrop and a youth of 16 was dropped.

   Later that year in July, Albert Boyes, fettler, and his son Ronald Byes, piecener, both of Towngate were jointly summoned for stealing 110 lbs.  of coal, the property of R.Robinson Ltd.  Sergeant F. Lambert, who prosecuted, said that at 11.30 pm on Friday, June 7, Sergeant Gruber and PC Winder were on duty in Thongsbridge and saw the accused each carrying a kit bag on his shoulder. The bags were examined and found to contain coal. Albert Boyle said “ We haven’t got any coal and have been to fetch a bit from my mother at Wooldale”. They were allowed to go home, but the officers were suspicious and visited a coal dump on Miry Lane and found pieces of coal scattered in the roadway. The accused were seen at their home the following day and Boyes admitted he took the coal. He told the Court that he would not have committed the offence if his coal ration had been delivered. He had seven children and his wife had nothing to cook with.  The Chairman remarked that it was a very serious offence and that they could have been sent to prison. He imposed a fine of £3 on both Albert and Ronald.

  Harry Bottomley of Holmfirth was fined £3 for stealing a watch from Mrs. Sarah Blumberg , a nurse- companion, of Wells Green Farm. She had left a gold wristlet watch in her bedroom and later that afternoon found it was missing. She noticed that the bedroom window, which she had left open, was closed. The accused had been cleaning windows in the house and he pleaded guilty to the theft.

The first report for 1947 was in May when Annie Armitage sent a letter to the Holmfirth Police Court enclosing £1. She was the daily help at Moyra Cottage and there were two summonses against her for keeping dogs without a licence. She said she hoped the amount would be enough but, if not, she promised to send more. P.C.Williamson stated that when he saw the defendant she said that she had not had much work lately but had managed to take out a licence.

A mother of eight children was fined £15 at Holmfirth Magistrates Court in September  when she was found guilty of receiving four sheets, two bath towels, two hand towels, two pillow cases and two table cloths stolen from Deanhouse Hospital. The woman, Mrs. Annie Jackson, 53, of Crusbrough, pleaded not guilty and said she had been assured the items were not stolen. Two former maids at Deanhouse Hospital, Sheila Yates, 18, and Rose Ann Day, 17, pleaded not guilty of stealing the articles valued at £8 and of giving them to Mrs. Jackson. They were both fined £2 each.

Only one passenger was slightly hurt when a Huddersfield Corporation single-decker skidded in New Road on Monday , October 14th. Mrs.Edith Moorhouse of 1 Giles Street, who was seated at the rear of the bus, was taken in an ambulance to a doctor’s surgery and, after receiving treatment, was allowed to go home. The bus which had left Meltham at 5.30 pm was driven by Harold Wadsworth Parson. After leaving Towngate and proceeding down New Road the vehicle skidded, swung round and the rear end crashed into the wall on one side of the road whilst the front end hit the wall on the opposite side. The walls were demolished for distances of about 12 feet and the bus became wedged. The bus was damaged but the driver was unhurt and most of the passengers continued their journey on foot. The road was blocked for about 30 minutes.

At Holmfirth Police Court in June 1948, Mrs.Marion Hoyle, a housewife of 42a Deanhouse, was fined 10s for keeping a dog, aged over six months, without having a licence. P.C.Williamson said he visited the home of the defendant and saw the dog and Mrs. Hoyle told him said she had a licence but could not produce it. He said he called again after a few days and the defendant produced a licence issued at Holmfirth the day after his first visit. In a letter to the court the defendant said she was certain she had taken out a licence but must have burnt it along with some other rubbish when she cleaned out a drawer.

There were two minor incidents early in 1949. The first was in January when a large tree in the churchyard was blown down by a gale and blocked New Road until it could be cut up and removed. In March the Holmfirth Fire Brigade were called out to deal with a chimney fire at the home of Mr.E.Jones of 13, Outlane. It was extinguished in a few minutes with no damage done.

At the Magistrates Court in August , a 20-year old joiner, James Henry Horncastle of Beech House, was summoned for stealing a Ford motor-car engine and a set of brake-shoes, total value £16 10s, the property of Samuel Haigh Bamforth between January  1948 and July 1949. The accused had worked as a casual labourer and it wasn’t until the early part of 1949 that the articles were missed. The defendant, when questioned, admitted the thefts and was sorry he stole them. The Magistrates imposed a penalty of £20 and made order for the restitution of the value of the items stolen of £15. Horncastle offered to pay £5 and the balance within the month. Having regard to the seriousness of the offence, the Chairman, Col.Keith Sykes, said that we fix a term of imprisonment of two months in default of payment and let that be a warning to you.

New Road was the location of the next four incidents. A 8h.p. Standard black saloon car belonging to Mr.A.Parker was stolen from his garage at his home in New Road in December 1949. It was later found abandoned in Huddersfield. About 10.30 in the evening of May 25 1950, Mr. D.Ewart of Holmfirth was found unconscious near his car in New Road. It was believed the car had collided with the wall on the near side, the door was ripped off and the car crossed the road and struck the off-side wall causing him to be thrown out. He was taken by ambulance to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and was later stated ” to be comfortable “.

In November a motor-cyclist, Leslie Burrowclough of Crodingley, was involved in a collision with a lorry at the junction of New Road and Thong Lane. The driver of the lorry was unhurt, but Barrowclough was admitted to Holme Valley Memorial Hospital suffering from a fracture of the left leg and head injuries. During the heavy snowfall on December 14, a single-decker bus of the Huddersfield Corporation Service skidded in New Road and struck a telegraph pole. A passenger sitting near the door was thrown out but was not hurt. The road was blocked for about two hours.

Relton Bradley, Dean Brook, and Clifford Leake, Moor Lane, were jointly summoned to the Huddersfield Borough Court  in November 1950 for using a motor-car with braking systems that had not been maintained in a good and efficient working order. After hearing evidence the stipendary dismissed the summons.

John Roebuck of Ox Lane farm was fined 40/-  in May 1951 at Huddersfield’s West Riding Court for driving a tractor and trailer during the hours of darkness without lights. He was also fined another 40/- for driving the tractor without a road fund licence. 

The following  month at Bradford Divorce Court,  Eveline Swann of 41, Deanhouse was granted a decree nisi against her husband, George Swain, of 23 Deanhouse for adultery.

There was an incident the same month in Greenhead Park, Huddersfield when Miss Eileen Boyes alleged that she had been slapped in the face. Douglas Mellor, 28, of Huddersfield was fined £2 at the Borough Court. It was stated that Miss Boyes and her girl friend were sitting on a bench in the park when they heard Mellor using bad language as he passed by. Miss Boyes said ” who’s he swearing at ?” whereon Mellor turned round and slapped her face saying ” if you want a slap you can have one.” Mellor pleaded guilty.

At Huddersfield Borough Court in October, John Bamford of New Road pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention at Chapel Hill as a result of colliding with a motor cyclist. He was fined £2 with licence endorsement and £1 0s 8d costs.

None of  the issues of the Express for 1952 were  put onto microfilm for whatever reason so I have missed out on a full years news. I am therefore indebted to Brenda Quarmby for sending me a newspaper cutting of a death that occurred in September 1952 which shocked the whole village. A six year old boy, James Edward Roebuck, son of Mr. & Mrs. John Roebuck of Ox Lane Farm was drowned in New Dam. An unsuccessful attempt to save him was made by Norman Hobson of Holmroyd Nook Farm who dived into the water several times without being able to locate him.

Along with his brother, John Keith, they had been playing near the dam and when he fell into the water, John ran home across the fields to tell his mother. Mrs.Roebuck and a neighbour, Mrs.Eveline Kaye of Moor Lane, ran to the dam but could not see the boy. Mr.Gerard Hobson and Mr. Norman Hobson had also run to the dam and, with Mr.Albert Briggs of Sands Farm, tried to find the boy using a hay rake and a farm drag. Mr. Norman Hobson stripped off and dived into the water several times but as the water was very dirty he could not find the boy. In the meantime Mrs.Kaye had run to the village to ring for the police. When they arrived they eventually recovered the boy after dragging for two hours.

At the inquest the District Coroner, Mr.B.Little, recorded a verdict of ” Death by misadventure “.  Sergeant I. Williamson said that he was present when the body was recovered and that the New Dam was on the property of Messrs. Thomas Dyson and Sons, Deanhouse Mills and was private property with no public right of way. He estimated that the depth of water where James fell in was about 20ft. The Coroner concluded that Mr.Hobson had made a very commendable effort to rescue the child and that it would be quite improper for him ( the Coroner ) to make any suggestion for added safety precautions as the dam was on private property.

Mr. Perry Greenwood, 63, of Knowle Bridge Farm was found dead in a barn at his farm in February 1953. He was partially disabled through an accident a number of years previously. The District Coroner, Mr.H.Little, decided an inquest was unnecessary.

  Frank Silverwood Hampshaw,the licensee of the Clothier’s Arms, pleaded guilty at Holmfirth Magistrates Court in August 1953 to three summonses for supplying beer during other than permitted hours. Ronald Stephenson (49 ), a scribbling engineer of 119 Wood Street, and Clarence Sykes ( 30 ), a machine packer from number 8, Outlane were summoned for consuming beer and James Horncastle ( 28), a farmer at Beech House, was summoned for consuming stout. None of them  appeared but sent their  apologies via their representative. Hampshaw said he had been the licensee since June 1943 and this was his first conviction – he pleaded guilty and was fined £3 on each of the three summons. The three drinkers were fined £2 each for consuming.

The Holmfirth Accident Prevention Council, as part of the National Road Safety Week, organised for two planes to fly over the Holme Valley on Saturday October 17 and they would give prizes for guessing the correct heights and speeds.

During the gales in November a large ash tree was blown down and crashed across New Road above Bridge Mills  and struck a passing motor car. The driver was very lucky and escaped with just a cut finger. The road was blocked for some time and buses between Holmfirth and Meltham had to be diverted.

Crime & Punishment, Accidents & Incidents Part 2 – 1922 to 1939 incl.

  The first case in 1922 at the Holmfirth Police Court involved Mrs.Ethel Beever who was summoned for allowing a dog to be at large during the night. The case was proved by Sergeant Thomlinson and the defendant was ordered to pay 7s 6d. In a similar case in June at the same court, Harry Mellor, who did not appear, was summoned for allowing his dog to be at large during the night. The case was proved by PC Gillespie and Mellor was fined 7s 6d.

 In November , Hildred Dyson, a foreman from Netherthong, was summoned for wife desertion. They had been married a long time but trouble had arisen through the man keeping his wife short of housekeeping money. There was a family of six, and he doled out the money to stop his wife getting into debt. He said he was engaged at Deanhouse Institution and his wage, with bonus, was £2 18s a week.  The Clerk of the Court said that the total income for the family was £6 4s a week. The Bench made a maintenance order against the defendant.

 In March 1923 at the Holmfirth Police Court , Albert Wagstaff, a farmer from Hepworth, pleaded not guilty to obstructing the footpath at Netherthong on February 9. PC Smart said that at 1.15pm he was on duty at Townsgate when he saw a milk float standing in front of the Clothier’s Arms. The horse was on private property, but the wheels of the milk float were on the centre of the path. During the 10 minutes that he was there, a number of people had to leave the footpath. It was school time and about 30 children had to go into the roadway because of the obstruction. When the defendant left  the Clothiers , PC Smart drew his attention to the matter, and he replied that he had been trying to sell the landlord a pig. He said that he had only been away for a few minutes and there had been room for people to pass. He was found guilty and fined 7s 6d.

 The following month, after a search by the police, the dead body of a Deanhouse resident, Willie Cartwright 38 years old, who was an assistant engineer, was recovered from Snape Reservoir, Upperthong. The deceased, a married man, had been in a depressed state of mind and, during that period, had made remarks which had caused distress. It was reported that he made a personal statement to his wife, left the house in haste, locked the door and left the key in the lock. This was about 12.30 at night and it did not appear that he was seen again that night. Charles Armitage of Snape Farm found a blue smock and cloth cap on the reservoir embankment, which was clearly identified as the property of the deceased. The following morning a search revealed a body in the reservoir.  At the inquest, PC Smart stated that the body, recovered from the reservoir on the Thursday morning of April 19, had been identified as W. Cartwright. He said the water had been about 14 ft. deep. The coroner recorded a verdict that the man had drowned himself.

At the Holmfirth Police Court in March 1924, Herbert Roebuck, a railway porter resident in Netherthong, failed to appear on the charge of allowing his dog to be at large without a name on its collar. PC Gillespie said he saw the dog on Huddersfield Road and took it to the police station, where it was subsequently claimed by the defendant. Roebuck was fined 10s.

 At Leeds Assizes in May 1925, Miss Mary Eastwood of Netherthong sued Thomas Wilson , a grocer’s assistant , for breech of promise. Mr .T. P. Parks appeared for the plaintiff and Mr. J. Green for the defendant. Miss Eastwood said she had known the defendant since they were little children and they began to keep company in 1911 and became engaged in 1916, when the dependant gave her a ring. They did not fix a date for a wedding as they could not obtain a house. In January 1923 she went to a dance at Thongs Bridge and the defendant introduced her to Miss Pugh, the lady he later married. About a month afterwards she told him that people had said the engagement was broken off, and she asked him if this was true. He replied ” I will tell you when it is “. She said she began proceedings against the defendant because of the cheeky way he and his wife ” passed her window and looked in at her “. Thomas Wilson said that he and the plaintiff had started walking out  and in 1918 he gave her a ring but marriage was never mentioned. Asked by his Lordship if he became engaged to the plaintiff when he gave her the ring he replied ” well we were to a certain extent”. He said he did not meet his wife until 1922, and they became engaged in 1923 and he later married her in All Saints’ Church. He denied looking through Miss Eastwood’s window to annoy her. After a brief consultation the jury returned a verdict in favour of the plaintiff and awarded damages of £150.

In June, Norris France, a farmer in Netherthong, was fined by the Police Court for using bad language in Huddersfield road at 10.30pm. P.C. Smart, who brought the case, said the bad language could be heard 150 yards away and must have been audible in nearby houses. He did not appear at Court and was fined 7s 6d.

In August, P.C. Smart ,who had been in the Holmfirth section for seven years and forthe last four of which he had been stationed at Netherthong, was promoted to Sergeant and moved to Kirkheaton.

 In February 1926, Mr. Norris, the Huddersfield Coroner, opened an inquest on John Bamforth , aged 62 years, a farmer of Lower Hagg farm who died on February 1st. following an accident on January 18th. on Woodhead Road. The evidence was that on the 18th. Bamforth had been driving a cow along the Woodhead road and it was dark and the road was slippery. A police car found a motor lorry standing in the road and Bamforth, who was injured, laying nearby. The cow was straying about the road. The officer said he examined the lorry and found a patch of hair on the radiator which was slightly damaged. The lorry also showed signs of having been struck. Another witness said he found Bamforth and that his leg was broken. Bamforth was taken to the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary where death took place from shock and irritation to the brain. Dr. Rowell said the injuries were probably due to being hit by a fast moving vehicle. The driver, Harry Dows of Blackmoor Foot Road said he saw the cow and simultaneously felt a collision. The animal fell down and then got up again. He heard no cry nor did he see Bamforth until he went to restart the lorry. Bamforth was face down and his trouser leg was trapped beneath the wheel. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death and they attached no blame to the driver.

In April,  a Deanhouse woman had a miraculous escape whilst she was in Bradford. She was walking down Godwin Street , when a motor-waggon ran backwards down the incline and crashed into a window of a large store injuring her. She was Mrs.Hugh Swallow , 50 years, of the Cricketer’s Arms at Deanhouse. and she suffered concussion and was detained in hospital. Witnesses said she was very lucky as she could have been crushed to death.

  In March 1927, Hildred Dyson, labourer, was the defendant in an action brought by his wife for the recovery of maintenance arrears of £44 5s. Dyson applied for a variation of the order. In 1922 an order had been made by the Court for the defendant to pay his wife £1 a week and 7/6 for each of the three children. The order gave the wife custody of the children but the husband had persistently refused to allow the children to live with their mother. The maintenance had not been paid regularly and the outstanding amount was £ 44 5s. Mrs. Dyson was a delicate woman and was unable to work. Under the order, the mother was given custody of the children and a separate allowance was made for each child. The children had refused to leave their father and go to live with their mother and he had maintained them. Dyson’s lawyer, Mr.Hargreaves, made application for a reduction of the order. Dyson said he was a stoker, earning £2 12s 6d a week, but he had been unemployed for three years. After further discussions, the Bench made an order that the maintenance be reduced to 18/- a week with a further 2/- to be paid towards the arrears. In June a case was held at County Court Huddersfield concerning irregular school attendance. Tom Hobson of Deanhouse was the defendant. The school attendance officer said that the defendant’s daughter had been absent from school forty three times in as many weeks. Hobson stated that the reason for his daughter’s absence was the illness of his wife. He said that he had ten children and this was the first time he had been summoned and he considered it ridiculous. A fine of 5/- was imposed. A fine of 5/- was also imposed on Charles Boothroyd for a similar offence. His daughter, aged eight, had been absent forty times in thirteen weeks.

Later that year, Albert Goldthorpe, a farmer in the village, was summoned for breach of the Animal ( Records ) Order. According to Police Sergeant Thornley of Honley, the defendant had failed to make a record of the removal of cattle in the book provided for this purpose. He said he had kept an account book but had been unable to get a special book. He was fined 10/-.

In October, Mrs.S.Jackson was summoned for allowing her dog to be at large during the night time. A letter was read out from the defendant expressing her her regret and stating that she had had some company, and the dog had slipped out. She added ” he seems to know that I cannot run after him “. She was fined 20/-.

There were no reported incidents in 1928 and the first one in 1929 was in March when the Huddersfield Poor Law authorities at Deanhouse institution received information that a man ,who was believed to have come from the Institution, had been found frozen to death in Chew Valley, Greenfield near Oldham by two ramblers. The body was identified as that of Maurice Jordan ( 70 years ) of 72 Upperhead Row, Huddersfield who had been in the Institution about seven months before leaving there on January 3. it was said that Jordan had no friends and nowhere to go. The ramblers found the body at the foot of a 200ft. high cliff – it was a shapeless mass and ice had to be broken away from the body before it could be pulled from the ground. It was taken to Saddleworth mortuary at Uppermill, and they found that almost every bone in the body seemed to have been broken and the skull was fractured in several places . A clay pipe in his pocket was intact. The District Coroner held an inquest and, presuming the man had fallen down the ravine whilst rambling over the moors, he returned a verdict of accidental death .

 In January 1930 at the Huddersfield West Riding Police Court,  Norman Shaw, a cloth finisher from the village, was summoned for riding a bicycle without a light at Honley. P.C. Quantrill said the defendant’s lamp was in perfect condition and that he was trying to save his battery. He was fined 10/-. That proved to be the sole recorded incident of the year.

   In March 1931 at Holmfirth Police Court , the magistrates were engaged for a lengthy period in the hearing of licensing prosecutions relating to the Clothier’s Arms. Chas. Edward Carter, the licensee, was summoned for supplying intoxicating liquors during non- permitted hours to four men, John Smith, Frank Dickinson, Herbert Kenyon and Herbert Sykes all of Netherthong who were charged with consuming alcoholic liquor during non- permitted hours. The landlord was also summoned for aiding and abetting, but this was not proceeded with. Supt. Wood, outlined  the case for the prosecution and stated that about 11pm on Saturday, February 7 , Inspector Wilde, Police Sergeant Askam and PC Jones were on duty in plain clothes near the Collier’s Arms and they noticed a light in the kitchen. They stood near the window and heard voices. The Inspector was lifted up to the window and could see glasses containing beer on the tables and persons reaching for the glasses and drinking from them. At 11.50 pm the Inspector tried to open the back door but was unable to do so, and it was not opened for a while. On entering they saw the landlady rushing out of the kitchen carrying four glasses which she emptied on the floor. There was a lengthy report on who did what etc and the inspector finally told them they would be reported for drinking beer which they denied.

 The defence contended that there had been no drinking and that the men were just eating cheese and biscuits. After considering for five minutes, the Chairman announced that they had considered the case against Chas. Cutter had been proved and he was fined 25/- on each of four counts. The other defendants were each fined 20/-. ( This report is also included in the chapter of the public houses in the village ).

A distressing fatality occurred near Honley when Mr. Harry Wilkinson of Deanhouse suddenly collapsed and died when out for a walk with his fiancée. The verdict was death due to natural causes.

At the Holmfirth Police Court there were three cases involving dog licences. The first one was brought against Annie Armitage, a married woman, who did not appear. The case was proved by PC White. He said that on March 20th. he had visited her house about her dog and asked if she had a licence and she replied she had not taken one out this time. She was fined 10/-. The next case involved Ernest Vyle, an attendant, who pleaded guilty to having a dog without a licence and he was also fined 10/-.  The final case was against Annie Holmes who did not appear. PC White said that when he saw the defendant she said that she did not think it was necessary to have a licence as she had a farm. She was fined 10/-.

 It was interesting, in the light of the above case, that at the next sitting of the Police Court a month later, applications for exemption from dog licence fees were granted to 20 farmers.

 In January 1932, Mrs. Moorhouse, 60 years old, met with a most unfortunate mishap which led to her being taken to Holme Valley Memorial Theatre suffering from severe injury. She was alighting from a Huddersfield Corporation & LMS bus near the Technical School in order to catch a bus going in the opposite direction to Netherthong when she fell into the road. There was no follow-up report.

Holmfirth Police Court sat in judgement on George Bamforth, poultry farmer ( his farm was located just past the junction of Moor Lane and Knoll Road). He did not appear but was fined 10/- for keeping a dog without a licence.

In the same month, April, a man whose name was Albert Mellor, 68 years,  of no known address but who had been formerly an inmate at St. Mary’s Institution, was rescued from the stream that flows through Hagg Wood. He was found face down in the stream by two youths and, when they dragged him to the bank, he was still breathing. A Police ambulance was summoned and he was taken to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. His condition was reported as ” slightly improved”.

 The next report was another  tale of serving intoxicating liquor outside of hours. William Brook, licensee of the Queen’s Arms, was summoned for serving intoxicating liquor to John Winder, a scourer from Honley, and F.Williams, a tile fixer also of Honley, during non-permitted hours, and the two men were summoned for consuming drinks. On Sunday, June 12th. about 11.30pm., Inspector Wilde and PC Jones went to the Queen’s Arms,  entered by the back door, and, when they went in the tap room,  they found both men with a pint of beer. The landlord was standing in the doorway and when the Inspector asked the landlord what the two men were doing there , he said he had been fairly caught. Inspector Wilde said that they had kept the Inn under observation for some time and they had seen a man coming out wiping his mouth. All three defendants admitted the offence. The Chairman fined the landlord 30/- on each case and fined the other two defendants £1 each.

A similar offence occurred two years later. In April 1934, William Brook, the landlord of the Queen’s Arms, pleaded guilty to supplying intoxicating liquor during non- permitted hours and Arthur Dyson, piecener, was summoned for consuming intoxicating liquor during non-permitted hours. Supt. Crockford stated that on Sunday, March 10, about 10.30pm, Inspector Cooper and P.C.Jones, after making observations, entered the Queen’s Arms and found Dyson in the bar with a pint of beer in his hand. When P.C. Jones was taking away the glass, Brook struck his hand and some of the beer was spilt. The police asked the landlord if he cared to give an explanation and he did not reply. P.C.Jones, in evidence, said that when he looked inside the bar he saw a number of beer glasses with fresh froth adhering to the sides and there were six men in the tap. Supt. Crockford asked Jones if the landlord gave any explanation for the men being there. Inspector Cooper replied no. Brook said he did not serve any drink after 10pm. He had not sold the beer to Dyson but had given it to him. He said he had been playing the piano. It was stated that Brook had been fined for a similar offence previously. The Chairman informed Brook that he would be fined £5 for supplying liquor. He added that Brook had taken over a house of good standing without conviction for a long number of years and here in two years there were two convictions.

At the start of 1933 at the Holmfirth Police Court, Gordon Barrow, a farmer from the village, was brought up on remand charged with being drunk and disorderly, for  attempted suicide in a cell at Holmfirth Police Station and committing wilful damage to a cell rug. Superintendent Wood said Brown was arrested and taken to Holmfirth Police Station where he was locked in a cell. Later in the evening Inspector Wilde heard a noise in the cell and saw the accused standing on the WC, with part of the cell blanket round his neck and the other end fastened to the pipe of the cistern. He rushed in and pulled the blanket from his neck. Brown was violent so badly that a constable remained in charge of him during the night. In answer to the charge of attempted suicide Brown pleaded guilty and expressed his regret and said he would not have done it if he had been sober. Superintendent Wood said it was a case of drink and that the defendant was suffering from an injury to the head and should not take intoxicating liquor. The Chairman said they had decided to put the defendant on probation and he should abstain from taking intoxicating liquor for 12 months. He was fined £1 for being drunk and disorderly and £1 for wilful damage.

In October a horse was found laying dead in Moor Lane. The animal which belonged to Mr. Hirst Roebuck had been grazing in an adjoining field and had fallen over a wall and down a steep bank breaking its neck.

A report in February 1936 was ‘ Missing from home’. Harry Hoyle, 15 years old, and the son of Mr. & Mrs.Hoyle of Melrose Cottage, left home on a Sunday morning and had not been heard of for several days. When he left he had told his parents that he was going to join the Army, and his mother had subsequently learned that he had presented himself to a recruiting centre, given his name but no address. He told them that he would be 18 the following month and was told to return when he was a little older. He apparently stayed two nights at a Salvation Army hostel in Manchester. There was no follow-up report so I can only assume that he returned home some time later. In that same year Percy Robert, a millhand, was summoned for keeping a dog without a licence and also allowing the dog to be at large without a name on his collar. He was fined 10/- on each count. Hirst Roebuck, a farmer, was summoned in October 1936 for failing to keep a dangerous dog under control. Police Inspector Cooper said the facts were simple – about 3.30 am on Sunday, August 23, two girls, one of whom was the defendant’s grand – daughter, were playing in Ox lane outside the defendants farm house, when one of the girls felt a sharp pain in her right leg and she saw the defendants dog running away. Five stitches had to be inserted into the wound which later turned septic and she was detained for 11 days in the Holme Valley Memorial Hospital. The defendant said he believed his dog thought that the girl was going to strike his grand-daughter. The Bench made an order for the dog to be kept under proper control and the defendant was ordered to pay the costs of the summons amounting to 12s 6d.

The first case at Holmfirth Police Court in February 1937 involved Herbert Scholfield, a motor driver of Deanhouse, who pleaded guilty for failing to keep a record of journeys etc. Presenting for the Traffic Commissioners, Mr.E.Wurzal, stated that the defendant, whilst driving in Huddersfield, was stopped by a policeman and asked to produce his records and it was found to have no entry for two days. When asked the reason he replied it was the first time he had overlooked it. He was fined 20/- and 8s 6d costs.

In December at the West Riding Police Court, William Bowden, a motor driver from the village, was fined £10 for permitting the use of his motor car when it was not covered in respect of third-party risks. Two other defendants appeared with Bowden. They were Harry Lockwood who pleaded guilty to driving a motor car without Road Fund Licence and Harry Mallinson who pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting Lockwood. The offence was committed at Meltham on the night of October 17. Bowden’s car was taken away when the licence expired and the insurance was not in force.

Bowden said he was in Blackpool at the time and, if he had been at home, he would not have allowed his car to be taken out.  Lockwood said that when he suggested borrowing the car he understood it to be all right. Lockwood was fined 20/- for each account and his licence was endorsed. Mallinson was fined £2. When the Chairman told Bowden that he would be fined £10, he told them he could not pay and his wife , who was in the gallery, exclaimed ” He has six children, your Majesty “. The Magistrate’s Clerk asked ” What did you pay for the car?”. Bowden replied ” I bought it for £4 10s.” ” What do you think it is likely to realise?”. ” £1″, was the reply. The Magistrate allowed him two months to pay the fine.



Crime & Punishment, Accidents & Incidents Part 1 – up to 1922

Crime & Punishment, Misdemeanours,Incidents and Accidents  


   In this chapter I have included items that were reported in the local newspapers involving infringements of the law, accidents, incidents and deaths arising from accidents. “Normal ” deaths are recorded in  other chapters. Because there was a lot of information I have  had to split this chapter into a number of sections.

What you will very soon realize, as you read on, is that  however mundane and petty many of the incidents ( crimes ) seem  to be, all the various courts and authorities generally adopted a very strict approach which is in marked contrast to how matters appear to be dealt with now.

There were several courts that sat to judge the offences. These included  the Huddersfield County Police Court, the Holmfirth Magistrates Court and the County Court of Yorkshire. In the very early days, the Netherthong Town Council had the authority to deal with petty offences within the village.The Coroner dealt with inquiries into local deaths, when deemed necessary, and the proceedings were generally held in Netherthong.


 What better way to start off than with the trial of John Scholfield Junior of Netherthong. A large Reward Poster , see attached , relates to the shooting of John Hinchcliffe on the 22 July 1812.

John Hinchcliffe, a clothier of Upperthong, was shot in the eye by someone who knocked on his door late at night. Hinchcliffe said that there were two people with pistols and hats on. A man came trotting up on a horse, Scholfield ran away and the other man shot Hinchcliffe. At his trial, John Scholfield the Younger of Netherthong, a cloth-dresser, was charged with willfully shooting at, or counseling, aiding and abetting some person to shoot at, with intent to murder John Hinchcliffe. Scholfield pleaded not guilty and at the completion of the lengthy trial no one was ever convicted of the crime.

The next item from 1841 is very interesting. Jonas Sykes was the landlord of the Rose and Crown public house in Towngate.

PARDON ASKED – I, Jonas Sykes of Deanhouse, having slandered, and injured the Character of Moses Sykes, of Netherthong, by circulating a false Report respecting a crime he was not guilty of; I hereby declare that there is no truth in the Statement that I made. I beg his Pardon for so doing and he has kindly consented to foregoe all proceeedings by my publicly acknowleging myself in error, and paying all expense of advertising the same.
Jonas Sykes.
Witnesses: George Sykes, John Mallinson.
Netherthong, Sept 8th 1841.

On June 17 1850 at the County Court , James Stansfield, Esq., the Judge  presided over a case  the Huddersfield Chronicle called ” The Great Pig Case “. This was the designation popularly accorded by the inhabitants of Netherthong to a trial, in which they seemed greatly interested, and to hear which they flocked in large numbers, touching the worrying to death, by a dog, of a valuable sow ; the incident occurring in the village of Netherthong. The plaintiff in this case was Mr. Henry Dearnley, manufacturer of Netherthong, for whom Mr.Floyd, solicitor, appeared ; and the defendant , Mr.Dalton Hobson, shopkeeper and farmer, of the same place, who was defended by Mr.Harry Booth. It appeared that, on a certain Friday in the later part of May last, a fine and much prized sow, having a litter of eight pigs under her, had rumbled out of her stye and found her way into Hobson’s fold. Now Hobson possesses an intelligent cur dog, who is wont to  do his master’s bidding in driving away unwelcome visitors, whether in the form of human bipeds, quadrupeds, the feathered tribe or other intruders. And defendant seeing the sow invading his own yard, put up his hand to the dog, as a signal for him to expel the swine. This was affected, but with such injuries, arising from the dog’s fangs and teeth, as to produce the death of the sow on the following Tuesday. Deplorable as was the accident, and great as was the loss to Dearnley, he called upon Hobson, and, expressing a hope that he would do something towards making up the breach, offered to exonerate him from further claim on payment of a sovereign. This very reasonable offer the defendant slighted. One Jonas Allen, a neighbour, being present observed that ‘ there was no law for pigs’, and Hobson echoed this strange motion , by remarking , that he believed ‘ there was no law for pigs’; and, therefore, he should  contribute nothing. The present suit, then, was instituted to convince defendant, and ‘all whom it may concern,’ that there is a ‘ law for pigs.’ Damages were laid at £4. Many witnesses had been sworn, pro and con ; legal eloquence threatened to be long and tedious and, indeed, the case seemed likely to occupy many consecutive hours , when his Honour cut the matter short by recommending a compromise. The suggestion , being repeated, was, at length, acted upon, and thus happily a wire-drawn business was summarily concluded by Dearnley and Hobson, dividing equally betwixt them the £4 claimed as well as the expenses incurred.

The December 14 issue of the Huddersfield Chronicle for 1850 carried an article titled ‘A Begging – Letter Impostor’ . ” For several days past a man has been calling upon the respectable inhabitants of Holmfirth, Netherthong, Honley and the vicinity, representing and setting himself forth, in a petition as George Barber, a common carrier, and as renting a farm of fourteen milch cows, twelve of which had died within the past two months of epidemic, by which he had sustained a loss of over £120. This statement purports to have been authenticated by Mr.N.Dyson, churchwarden, of Netherthong, who , with some forty other gentlemen in the neighbourhood, is represented to have given a handsome donation towards repairing the petitioner’s loss. Several of the names are genuine, though there are a number of signatures which are purely fictitious. The said Mr. Barber called the other day on a gentleman, who, suspecting the affair was one of imposition, kept possession of the petition- sheet, and requested the man to call again, which he promised to do, but it is presumed that he feared his imposition would be discovered, and has consequently not yet made his appearance. Subsequent enquiries have proved that the calamity referred to has no existence in fact, and that where money had been paid to that fellow a gross practical deception has been practised. We would caution our readers against giving too much credence to the representations of this class of impostors, which are latterly in the ascendant.”

On Friday January 9th. 1852 a young girl named Elizabeth Rickets, aged 12, very narrowly escaped drowning in a well at Netherthong known by the name of ‘Gills Well. It appeared that she was taking water out of the well and the wind, which started  blowing very strongly,  forced her into the well which was nine yards deep and nearly full of water. She fell to the bottom and, on rising, managed to catch hold of the top and kept herself there until rescued without much injury apart from her cold bath. The report continued by saying it had long been a matter of complaint that it was exceedingly dangerous to draw water from this well.

In the next month at Holmfirth Court, John Beardsall and Richard Bretton from Netherthong, appeared to answer to a charge brought against them by Mr.T.Boothroyd, landlord of the Rose & Crown Holmfirth, of disturbing the public.They both pleaded guilty and the Bench fined them expenses only –  4s 6d for Beardsall and 6s 6d for Bretton along with a warning.

In June 1854 four young men from the village , Jonas Littlewood, James Eastwood, Benjamin Batty and Booth Woodhead, were summoned to the New Court-house having on 28 May disturbed the public peace and also committed an assault upon Constable Earnshaw damaging his hat  to the  amount of 5s. The defendants acknowledged the charge and alleged they were not sober at the time and promised not to repeat the offence. Batty was liberated on payment of 8s, Woodhead 15s and Littlewood and Benjamin on 25s each.  The same year a serious incident occurred in November  at the residence of Jonas Eastwood of Miry Lane. An auction sale was being held in the chamber of the house and a large number of people were present when suddenly the beam underneath broke and the whole family were precipitated to the bottom. Fortunately no lives were lost but broken heads and bloody noses were numerous and one lad had his hand seriously injured. The following month a very cruel act was perpetrated on a pony belonging to Mr. Joseph Hobson, a resident of the village. The pony was in a stable into which a number of young men ( one a married man ) entered and amused themselves by forcing the prongs of a hayfork into its hind parts. Mr.Cudworth, vetinary surgeon of Honley, was sent for and fortunately succeeded in preventing serious injuries from the wounds. We trust that the parties will be brought to justice for the cruel unmanly act. The reporter’s wish came true in December when he reported that Jonas Woodhead and Henry James Hoyland were charged at the Guildhall, Huddersfield, for cruelly torturing the pony. The Bench discharged Woodhead and fined Hoyland 10s and costs.

The photograph below shows a form used for a Court Hearing. It is dated November 10 1855 and was to be heard in the County Court of Yorkshire holden at Holmfirth.The plaintiff was Woodhead against the Defendant Allen ?. I have no information over the outcome.

Plaintiff's Note - 10 Nov 1855
Plaintiff’s Note – 10 Nov 1855

Whilst reading through the issues of the Holmfirth Express for the year 1955 there was an article in July about the Holmfirth Prosecution Society which was established in 1804 for the prosecution of persons guilty of felony or any other misdemeanours within a distance of seven miles from Holmfirth. It was an organisation of citizens who paid dues to cover one another’s costs of privately prosecuting offenders should a crime be committed against them. The Society still holds its AGM on Ascension Day but has had no further activities for years. The Express gave extracts from the Society’s minute book and I list below three that specifically apply to Netherthong inhabitants.( capital letters etc are as they appear in the actual minutes).

The Minute of 12 July 1847 records ” That James Perkin of Netherthong having been apprehended for stealing a Quantity of Herbs from a Garden at Thongsbridge, the property of Mr.Joseph Mellor, the said Mr.Mellor is hereby authorised to take such measure as he deem necessary for the prosecution of the said James Perkins and that any expenses that he may incur in doing so be defrayed out of the funds of this Association. On July 10 1848 it was resolved ” That John Wood having been charged with stealing a Book and a Waistcoat Piece from Mr. Benjamin Eastwood’s house at Deanhouse is committed to York Castle to take his trial for the offence, the said Benjamin Eastwood be idemnified in any reasonable expenses he may incur in the prosecution of the said John Wood. That the said John Wood having absconded from Mr.Dransfield, the Constable, whilst he was taking him to York, the Constables are hereby authorised to use their utmost diligence to recapture him at the expenses of the Association and should he not be taken before Saturday Evening next that this Committee shall be called together on that Evening to consider what further steps should be taken. The Constable reported that they had been unable to apprehend him whereby they had incurred an expense of £1 1s 0d. At a Committee meeting on May 9 1850 it was reported that John Wood had been recaptured.

The final report said that the Committee was convened on 14 July 1855 to consider a case brought before it by Mr.William Haigh a Trustee of Messrs. B & J Eastwood of Deanhouse, which case is that a number of young persons make a practice of Bathing in New Dam at Holm Royd Nook and thereby damage, trespass and annoy the people residing in that locality and being desirous of putting a stop to such proceedings the Committee resolved that, as Mr.Haigh found several persons bathing on Wednesday July 4, he is hereby autorised to bring six of the parties before the Magistrates at Huddersfield and any expenses which he may incur shall be defrayed out of the Funds of this Association.

The Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner was issued as a weekly from September 6 1851 to 1857. It was what one  would classify as a ‘serious’ newspaper. It had narrow columns with small printing and dealt   with international news, particularly the on-going war in Russia, international news, the events in parliament and national news. It had news about Huddersfield and a much smaller section for ‘local’ news from Holmfirth and the surrounding villages. Occasionally Netherthong was mentioned  – a total of 37 times in those first seven years. Instead of them  being interesting and significant items , quite a few were ‘trivial’ reports of mis-doings. In June William Dearnsley was charged with killing a pigeon, value 1s, belonging to John Hobson. The complainant stated that Dearnsley had got a gun and gone up and down the fields shooting pigeons. On the day in question he had shot one of his pigeons on the roof of a neighbour’s house. A witness said he saw the defendant with a gun. The defendant admitted having shot the pigeon but denied it belonged to the complainant. He called several witnesses and one of them, Daniel Woodhead, stated that the pigeon was his and that the defendant had paid him 1s for killing it. The Bench, amid this conflicting evidence, believed the complainant and ordered the defendant to pay 1s damages and 11s 6d costs. The next occasion was in November when the case of the ‘muck- fork ‘ with two owners deserved front page headlines. Before the Huddersfield bench of magistrates, Benjamin Woodhead was charged by John Hobson, whose name also appeared in the previous case, with stealing his muck-fork worth 2s. There was the usual confusion with witness reports varying so much that the bench dismissed the case. Maybe John Hobson was a serial complainer.!!

Reading through the first seven month’s issues of the paper in 1857, there were just two reports concerning Netherthong and they were both of trivial misdemeanours . The first was in February at the Huddersfield Guildhall  where Daniel Woodhead and Jonas Hobson pleaded guilty to the charge of fighting in a field on the 18th. inst. The charge was preferred against them by a parochial constable who stated that he and another parochial saw the defendants in the midst of a crowd of people in a field ‘fighting for love.’ Mr.Heaton explained that the men had had some differences at a public house and went to the field to settle it in the usual way. They were bound over to the sum of £10 to keep the peace for twelve months. The second report was in May , again at the Huddersfield Guildhall, when Mrs. Ann Woodhead charged William Henry Joseph and John Wimpenny with having assaulted her on May 4th. at 9a.m. in the morning. The evidence was of a very intricate character related entirely to a neighbouring quibble about the placing of some carpentry work against an outhouse . Mrs. and Miss Woodhead on one side and the three defendants on the other side had a regular fight and the young men, after achieving a victory, caught hold of the senior lady turning her rapidly round whilst singing. The dancing did not promote the harmony of the neighbours on this occasion and the summons was issued. For the defence a letter was put in from the incumbent church wardens of Netherthong which spoke in the strongest terms of the turbulent character of the complainant and her family. The magistrates decided on discharging the case.

In July 1865 the Coroner held an inquest at the Crown Inn ( presumably an alternative name for the Rose & Crown ) on the death of Mr.John Cheetham aged 64. Two boys were bathing in the new dam, a little above Deanhouse, on a Saturday night when the deceased made an appearance on the dam bank. He  stripped off his clothes and dived into the deepest part of the dam where he sank to rise no more. An alarm was given but his body was not discovered until Sunday morning. It was reported that the deceased could not swim. The jury brought in a verdict of ‘Drowned himself while in a state of temporary insanity.’ The following month at the Petty Sessions in Holmfirth a number of young men from the village named W.Hinchliffe, Jonas Hobson, Alfred Hobson, Eli Charlesworth and Alfred Woodhead were summoned. They were charged with breaking the windows and doing damage to the door of Joseph Carter of Upperthong. After contradictory statements from the complainant, the Chairman said the evidence was very unsatisfactory and he would discharge the case.

In the introduction to this chapter, I commented how severe some of the punishments appeared to be relative to the level of the “crime ” and this one from January 1869 illustrates the point. A pauper, named Samuel Haigh, was charged at the Huddersfield Police Court with leaving the Deanhouse Workhouse to go to Meltham and never returning. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was sent to gaol for a month.

Gaming was very much frowned upon as the following articles show. In April 1871 the Huddersfield Chronicle reported that George Henry Beaver, the landlord of the Clothiers, had been charged at the County Police Court in Huddersfield with permitting gaming in his house. P.C. Ramsden said that he had visited the defendant’s house by the tap room door and after he had been there a little time, some one came out and seized him at the same time making a sign to several persons in the room to desist playing at some game. He went into the room and saw a portion of a pack of cards in the landlord’s hand. The defendant made the comment that unless something was going on nobody would stay in the house. The defendant denied he had participated in the gaming.  The Examiner also reported on the same incident but with slight variations in the details. On 11 April. PC Ramsden said that at 6.30,  he went to the house kept by the defendant and, going in the tap-room door, a maid said ‘hush’ to the company in the room. The PC rushed forward and saw a table at one end of the room at which was seated 5 or 6 persons of which the landlord was one, he having in his hands some cards. As soon as the landlord saw him he put his hand in his pocket but he, the PC, also put his hands in and pulled out 35 cards. Some of the men who were in the room rushed out. PC Ramsden left the house but visited it again after 15 minutes when the landlord said to him ” You know as well as I know , that unless there is something going on, nobody will stay”. A penalty of 5s and costs was imposed.

Not to be outdone in November of the same year , Alan Woodcock, landlord of the Cricketer’s Arms, was charged at the County Police Court in Huddersfield with permitting gaming in his house and premises. Sergeant Lucas with two policemen, Ramsden and Yates, went to the house of the defendant and found some company there. They looked through  a hole in the blind and  saw the landlord with cards in his hand. On entering , the officers found some men seated at a table.The landlord had a number of cards in his hand which he put into his pocket. Mr.Booth ,who defended, said that no offence was committed unless they were playing for money and there was no proof of this. The Magistrates dismissed the case.

At about 5.20am on April 20 1872, a fire broke out in the premises occupied by Nathan Charlesworth, a shoddy dealer, and damage was done to the extent of about £20. Mr.Charlesworth’s son first noticed the smoke coming into his bedroom from the direction of the workshop which adjoined the house. He raised the alarm and his father rushed out of the house in a state of undress and broke open the workshop door and gained access , but unfortunately the doors closed on him when he was inside. In the confusion he could not find the door and his cries drew his son’s attention and he was released not however before he had been burnt about the head and other parts of his body. A dog, which had been in the workshop, was burnt to death. In the meantime the alarm had been raised and the neighbours brought out cans of water obtained from a dam on the premises of D.&A Hobson and the fire was subdued in about one hour. The water engine of Messrs. Joseph Mellor arrived but its services were not required.The cause of the fire was suspected to be spontaneous combustion and the damage was not covered bu insurance. The same month at Holmfirth Police Office before C.Stephenson, a mechanic from Netherthong, called George Booth, was brought up on being drunk and causing a disturbance near Upperthong at about half past ten on a Sunday. The PC who found him said he was too drunk to stand or walk but with assistance he got him to the police station. He pleaded guilty and was fined 5s and costs.

 A few months later at Huddersfield Police Court, Charles Wood, an inmate at Deanhouse Workhouse, who was partially deaf was charged with absenteeism. It appeared that instead of attending to his work in the garden, he was discovered laying down among the beans. As it was his first offence and he promised better conduct, the case was withdrawn. In October 1872, David Hinchliffe, a weaver, was charged at the County Police Court with damaging a fence and some herbs, the property of Joe Sykes. The complainant said that the defendant came into his garden, damaged the herbs and the fence, cut down part of the hedge and was going to damage a tree when he went to him and got him to stop. Mr.Mellor, who appeared for the defendant, cross-examined as to the position of the hedge and elected that it had not been cut for a couple of years and was partly in front of the defendant’s windows. The hedge divided  Henry Hudson’s property and his – it was said that the defendant had had power given to him to cut the hedge if it blocked his light. Abraham Woodhead, who owned part of the property, said that he and Mr.Tinker had given the defendant permission to cut the hedge.  Mr.Mellor said that the defendant, having had that authority, considered he had a right to act as he did and the question of that right being raised it ousted the jurisdiction of the Bench.  On that objection the case was discharged.

An unusual accident happened to Mr. Henry Brackenberry, keeper of the toll-bar at Thongsbridge, in February 1873. A horse which was yoked to a spring-cart laded with pigs and belonging to Mr. Henry Haigh, pork butcher of Holmfirth, which had been standing for some time in front of the Royal Oak Inn, took fright and began to plunge and rear. On seeing this Mr.Brackenberry ran to the horse to assist and in his struggle with the animal his leg got broken. The horse proceeded at a furious rate towards Holmfirth but no further incident occurred. A few months later the magistrate was faced with a very ‘sticky’ case. Mr.Charles Woodhead, a grocer in the village, sought to recover from the Lancs. & Yorks. Railway Co. the sum of £16 10s 6d, the value of the loss of profit on a puncheon of treacle consigned to him by the defendant’s line but which they never delivered. The question in dispute was merely the amount of damages as the defendants had offered to pay the invoiced price but not the loss of profit. His Honour , after consideration, gave his verdict that only £13 4s would be refunded.

In September 1875, Abel Hobson, a farmer of Netherthong, appeared before the County Magistrates at Huddersfield  on an Offence under the Contagious ( Animals ) Act. He was charged of having neglected to report to the police the fact that he had two cows which were suffering from foot and mouth disease. A constable , in consequence of information received, visited the farm and found two cows suffering from the disease. They sent a vetinary surgeon, Mr.Kirk, to examine the cows and he said that he thought they had been suffering for a week to ten days. The defendant said that he had called in a local surgeon from Shepley who said they were not affected. The Bench in consideration of the defendant having done what he could by having a surgeon only fined him 1s and costs of £1 2s.

At the Holmfirth Police Office in July 1876, James Stott, a labourer of Deanhouse, was charged with neglecting to maintain his wife and family and thereby leaving them chargeable to the Parish. Mr.Mellor, the relieving officer, proved the case stating that he had paid £3 9s to them. The defendant promised to pay if  time were  allowed him to do so.  The Bench ordered him to pay the amount plus 10/- costs or go to Wakefield gaol for one month. At the same court in October James Dyson, farmer, was charged with leaving his horse and cart on the public highway without any person being in charge. He was given a warning. John Gill, a labourer, was summoned in September 1885 to the County Police Court, Huddersfield, to answer a charge of being drunk and refusing to leave the Clothiers Arms on 21 August. Thomas Walker, landlord, and PC Dolby proved the case. The Court fined the defendant 10s and 12s 6d costs.

 In August 1877 a man named Joe Ricketts discovered a fire in the shoddy warehouse belonging to Mr.James Jagger, a shoddy merchant. An alarm was raised and the Thongsbridge and Bridge Mills fire engines arrived without delay but there was a scarcity of water which prevented the brigades from using a sufficiently strong force of water. Their efforts however prevented the whole of the house being burnt down and the neighbours assisted in removing the furniture. The part of the house in which the fire occurred was a complete wreck and the damage was considerable.

James Brook, a carter, appeared before the County Magistrates at Huddersfield in October 1885 to answer a charge of cruelly beating a horse. Sgt. Miller said on September 22 he was on duty in Thong Lane and saw three horses yoked to a wagon loaded with two tons of hay. The horses could not pull the load up the hill and Brok struck the shaft horse 7 or 8 times with all his might. Brook said the chain horses were pulling all they could and the shaft horse was not, so he simply touched at it with the whip. The Board found him guilty and fined him 10/- and costs. William Bretton, a millhand of Netherthong, was charged  at the County Police Court with being drunk and disorderly in the village on October 16 1886 as well as doing wilful damage, to the amount of 15s, the windows of  the home of PC Dalby on October 23. On the 13th. whilst drunk he had complained to Dalby about some complaint made against him by another man in a public house and Dalby had to take him away. On the 23rd. whilst Dalby was out on duty, he went to his house  and broke 12 panes of glass and the cellar grating with a large stone. He was later taken into custody and, on his way to Honley police station, he said he would break the windows again. The Board fined him 10s and 8s costs for being drunk and also ordered him to pay 15s for the damages and 10s 3d. costs or go to prison for two months. The following year at the County Police Court, Huddersfield William Smith, tramp, of no fixed residence, was charged with begging in the village on the 31 January. He pleaded guilty and PC Dalby proved the case and said he found a halfpenny and some bread on him. The Board allowed the prisoner to go on promising to leave the district.

 1887.   September 3 at Huddersfield County  Police Court. James Harrison , a teamster of Netherthong, was fined 10/- with 6/6 expenses for having no control over three horses attached to a wagon of which he was in charge. 

1888.    Harry Turner , butcher of Farnley Tyas, was summoned at Huddersfield County Police Court for not having control of a horse and cart in Netherthong. P.C. Dolby and the defendant both gave evidence and the case was dismissed.

 The County Justice had before them the second case in which Joshua Garside was charged with having been guilty of disorderly conduct and obscene language at Deanhouse Workhouse. The first time the case had been adjoined as Garside, an elderly man, had promised to behave himself. The second instance was not so bad and an overnight stay in a cell had done him some good. The case was dismissed and he was warned to continue good behaviour.

 At the County Police Court, Huddersfield, Henry Bradley and William Bradley, farmers of Netherthong, were charged with having assaulted Samuel Briggs, farmer of Holme Royd Nook. Briggs was charged with assaulting the Bradleys. There was a very detailed and contradictory newspaper report on who did what to whom. The Bench commented that they could not agree on who was at fault and the summonses would be dismissed.

The Local Board had been on the look-out for hawkers of various foods – two were caught, one with plums and one with apples but were let off after they destroyed the fruit.

At County Police Court in Huddersfield, Henry Roberts, the surveyor of Netherthong, was charged with obstructing the highway by leaving stones on it. He said they were there to build a wall. He was fined 20s and expenses.

In June the Clerk  wrote to H.Swallow, G.Buckley , C.Ricketts, A.Wimpenny and J.Wimpenny to to attend the next meeting of the Local Board to discuss their trespassing and loitering in the Board’s pump house and annoying people , who fetch water from the pump, by their rough and noisy behaviour. They attended the meeting and apologized and were reprimanded by the Chairman.

 A woman named Ellen Walkdon, 63 years, who was returning to the Deanhouse Workhouse after 4 days leave of absence, dropped down on the highway and died five minutes later. Mr. W. Barstow JP, the District Coroner, presided over an inquest held at the Clothier’s Arms. The verdict was death from natural causes,

 In August a little child, Mabel, who was only 23 months old, met with a shocking death. Her mother, from Outlane, had left 5 children in bed whilst she went to fetch some milk. In her brief absence , the attention of her neighbours was drawn to the house on hearing screams and on entering the house it was discovered that the child had set its clothes on fire and in spite of assistance she died a little later. When the mother returned  she found Lucifer matches strewn on the floor but none had been struck or had been alight. The inquest at the Clothier’s Arms gave a verdict of Accidentaly Burned.

 Fred Wimpenny ( shoemaker ), Albert Brook ( weaver ) and Joe Whitehead ( millhand ) all of Netherthong were summoned for trespassing in search of conies ( rabbits ) on land rented by J.Batley. There was a lot of confusion over the ownership of the land and the case was dismissed.

 In December at the County Court in Huddersfield, John Hughes a labourer was charged with begging in Netherthong. P.C.Dolby said the prisoner came to his house begging and had been at another house where he was very saucy. The prisoner said he was from Pontefract and was making his way there. The Bench allowed him to go.

1890.  John Bottomley, a farmer, was charged with failing to report sheep scab ( four sheep affected ). He was fined 1s with costs of 24s.

Fred Woodhead, a tailor of Netherthong, was fined 2s 6d and costs for a breach of a dog muzzling order.

1891.  William Mosely, an elderly man, was charged at Huddersfield Police Court for unlawfully deserting from Deanhouse Workhouse and carrying away certain clothes, which he was wearing, to the value of £1 belonging to the Guardians of the Huddersfield Union. The bench sentenced him to one month’s hard labour.

At the County Justices at Huddersfield, Alfred Bye ( wood turner ) and Charles Booth ( weaver ) were charged with riding bikes without their lamps being lit at Netherthong. The defendants pleaded guilty but said their lights went out just before the policeman stopped them. They were fined 5s and 10/6 costs.

1893.  Hugh Stratton, millhand of Netherthong, was summoned for obstructing the footpath by sliding on it. P.C. Satchwell reported that he saw him sliding on the footpath from the Town Hall to the bottom of Wood Lane. Dependant said that the footpath was very slippery and he fell twice. The Chairman said the policeman was right to bring the case but, as it was the first of type, he would dismiss it.

On Christmas Day, P.C.Farr , stationed at Netherthong, was informed that a man had been found in the reservoir at the rear of Wellhouse and the body was identified as William Chaplin, a groom. The inquest decided that the deceased had probably drowned himself.

1895.  In May, John Hinchliffe , a schoolboy, found Trevor Hobson, a joiner, dead in a field at Well Green.

At Huddersfield County Police Court, John Scott, a millhand from Honley, was charged with being drunk and disorderly and refusing to leave the Queen’s Arms when ordered by Ann Senior, the landlady. He was fined 10s and 10s costs.

 The sad death of the lamplighter, Benjamin Hirst, occured in November. He died from injuries he had received from doing his duties. He was carrying a ladder and lighting the lamps along the footpath but as he turned into the road he was knocked down by a horse and trap.

1896.  In September, Ben Eastwood, a brush manufacturer , was summoned by James Jackson, schoolmaster, for having assaulted him at the Queen’s Arms.

An inquest was held in the Conservative Club in Netherthong under Mr.Barstow J.P. into the death of Alice Buckley 2y 5m , daughter of Mr. Rockley Buckley, weaver. She had been badly burned and later died. The verdict was accidental death.

1898.  Harry Gill, a sculptor, of Netherthong was summoned under the Council Rabies order because his little poodle dog was running around without a muzzle. He was fined the nominal penalty of 5/-.

1899 At Huddersfield County Police Court, Henry Wilson, grocer’s assistant, and Joseph Whitehead , grocer of Netherthong, were summoned for having worked a horse in an unfit state. The bench fined Woodhead 10s and 7/6 costs and Wilson 5/- and 7/6 costs.

1903. There was a major tragedy in Netherthong lane resulting in the sad end of Sam Laycock , a labourer of Scholes Moor. He was employed to assist in the work of the threshing machine. As the traction machine was drawing the machine down the lane he was attempting to jump on the draw bar between the engine and machine and fell under one of the wheels. An inquest was held and the jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

1905. In January at the Holmfirth Police Court, Hirst Roebuck, a farmer in the village who did not respond to his name, was summoned for leaving two horses and waggons in the highway without anyone in charge. P.C.Butler said that he was on duty at 8.50 at Towngate and saw Roebuck’s waggons and two horses unattended. He watched them until 9.30 and then went to the defendant who was in the tap room of the Queen’s Arms. When spoken to the defendant  said he would leave them there either for witness or anyone else . He was fined 2/6 and 4/- costs were imposed.

In April at the same court, Mr.John Penny applied for a vaccination exemption certificate on the ground that he had a conscientious belief it would injure his child’s health.  His request was granted.

1906. In February at the Holmfirth Police Court , it was alleged that there was no proper accommodation for “ baiting” horses at Netherthong . Joseph Roebuck and Richard Fretwell, both teamers of Denby Dale, were summoned for obstructing the roadway. P.C.Butler said that on Tuesday, the 1st. February at 1pm he was on duty at Towngate when he saw horses and wagons left unattended outside the Queen’s Arms Inn. At 1.10 one of the horses got across the road. After hearing the witnesses and defendants , the Chairman said that he would treat them leniently and fined them 1/- each with costs.

  At the same Court in April, Thomas Bartley a farmer of Netherthong, pleaded not guilty to the charge of being asleep while in charge of a horse and wagon. P.C.Butler said he was on duty at 12.30 midnight on the highway at Thongs Bridge when he saw Bartley’s wagon and 2 horses in the road. He was found wrapped up in a rug and laid out in the base of the wagon. Sergeant Hudson woke him up. Bartley said that he had only got into the wagon at the top of Hagg Wood and was studying a bit when he saw the two policemen. He protested that he was not asleep. The bench decided that he had been asleep and fined him 1/- with 4/- costs.

1907.  P.C.Butler said that on April 12 he was on duty in Elmwood, Netherthong, and he saw the defendant , Newton Buckley a teamer who was in charge of two horses and a cart , riding on the cart shaft with no reins attached to the horses. He was fined 2s 6d with 4s costs.

In September a Netherthong stonemason, Benjamin Gill, was complimented by the Barnsley Bench on his share of bringing about the arrest of a tramping cooper, William Bailey, who attempted to assault a young girl near Penistone. It was reported that on Saturday a waggonette party was proceeding towards Noblethorpe to the Unionist demonstration. It would appear that near Ingbirchworth, a girl, 15 year old Mary Ann Woodward, and her mother were on their way to Penistone with some eggs. The mother turned back home for something and Bailey at once set on the girl. She was badly used in the struggle and the eggs smashed. Fortunately the Netherthong Conservatives came on the scene. Bailey ran away and, on the girl telling her tale, Benjamin Gill ( one time the champion bowler in the local junior clubs ) set off in pursuit along with some of his companions. It was a stern chase but in the end Bailey was captured. When he attended court he was found guilty and sentenced to six months hard labour.

 Later that year at Holmfirth Police Court Albert Seddon, a farmer from Netherthong, was summoned for having failed to cause sheep to be dipped in the manner prescribed by the Sheep Dipping Order of 1907. The Chairman let the defendant off with a fine of 1/- per sheep and costs of 6s 8d.

In September 1909, the following letter which was addressed to the Editor of the Express was published under the heading ” A dangerous place at Netherthong “. …..Sir. You will perhaps excuse me asking you to insert in your next Saturday’s weekly popular issue, the following paragraph, which has reference to a very dangerous place the children have to pass when going to and from the school at Netherthong. When leaving the school they make this their playground. It is a very dangerous place indeed to which I can bear testimony for, in passing one day, I saw that one of our scholars might have had a leg broken as there are lots of large stones which ought to be removed before something serious should happen to the children. I think something should be done before this takes place. Hoping the parents of the children will take this matter up for their own welfare. Yours etc. ONE IN SYMPATHY WITH THE CHILDREN,

For whatever reason, there were no reported crimes or misdemeanours in the Express for the years 1910, 1911,1912 and 1913. The only piece of news was that in March 1913, P.C.Barker of Netherthong, retired from the West Riding Police Force after 25 years service 20 of which had been served in the Holmfirth District.

 1914. In March, there was a burglary at Joseph Woodhead & Co. grocers. In the morning it was found that someone had broken through a window and it appeared that only about 3/- had been left in the till and the burglar also took a few small articles and a pair of cufflinks. No culprit was found.

At Holmfirth Police Court , William Sewell, innkeeper at Deanhouse, was summoned for contravention of the swine flu regulations by failing to deliver up a licence on the completion of the removal of live swine from Lancashire. The defendant said that he had forgotten to get the licence. He was fined 10/- with 6/6 cost.

Joseph Dyson, a drover of Huddersfield, was summoned for using obscene language in Netherthong but he failed to appear. P.C. Denton gave evidence and said the defendant was driving beasts at the time. He gave a false name and address. He was fined 10/- and 7/6 costs in his absence.

1915. Holmfirth Police Court. John Wordsworth of Netherthong, a retired mechanic, was fined 10/- for keeping a dog without a licence.

 James Watkinson, manufacturer of Netherthong, was summoned for keeping a dog without a licence. Inspector Foster said the defendant had only had the dog for one month and had forgotten to register it. The chairman said the offence was obviously due to an oversight but the penalty must still be 10/-.

1916. In February Hirst Roebuck was summoned to Holmfirth Police Court for causing cruelty to a horse. He pleaded guilty and was fined 20/-. 

 In June at the same Court , proceedings were taken against Joseph Rusby , labourer , and Fred Moorhouse, willeyer, both of Netherthong, for neglecting to obtain signed statements from lodgers. This was taken under section 20 of the Alien Registration Consolidation Order 1916 which required that the occupier had to get a signed statement of identity from each person staying in a property. Although the magistrates considered  it was a serious offence they agreed that failing to fill up the register had been done in ignorance with no intention to break the law. They were fined a nominal 10/-.

  One feature of the reports of incidents in the local paper was a growing number of those associated with the motor car which was only just starting to appear on the roads.  The first recorded one in Netherthong did not result in any injury  but was unusual in that it attracted lots of interest , had many witnesses and an equal number of conflicting reports. Hubert Thorp, a manufacturer from Cumberworth, was summoned for driving a motor car to the danger of the public in Netherthong. Inspector Foster saw the defendant driving a motor car in the village and he was evidently trying to turn round and in doing so bumped into the wall and after  crossing the road he just “ shaved “ the kerbstone. After pulling up he walked very unsteadily into the Clothier’s Arms. The inspector followed him and found him to be very much under the influence of drink and told him that he was not in a fit condition to drive his car. On coming out of the pub , the defendant made an effort to get into his car. The inspector would not let him and arranged for him to be driven home.  In court the defendant said he was not drunk which several witnesses confirmed. After a long trial the Chairman said the bench had decided that due to all the contradictory evidence  they would dismiss the case.

 In December George Porter, a millhand of Netherthong, was summoned for not shading lights in his dwelling house. P.C.Dent reported that on Nov. 27 he saw 2 bedroom lights burning. The case was dismissed on payment of costs.

 1917. In January, Harry Hobson of Netherthong. who was engaged at Vickerman & Son, was inspecting the motor car of which he was in charge when the battery ignited and he was severely burnt about the face. Dr. Matthews rendered assistance and said Hobson was making recovery. The same month, Howard Denton, the 17 year old son of P.C. Denton, the village constable,met with a serious accident at the manufacturer’s premises of B. Vickerman & Sons. He was caught by a string hanging from the revolving shafting and his thumb was sheared from his left hand. Two months later in March a serious accident occurred at Haywood & Sons Marsh Mills in Huddersfield to Esta Mabel Mosley, 15 years old, a weaver who had formerly resided in Netherthong. It was found that she had sustained a fracture to the side of the skull. The Inquest was given evidence that the girl in examining a loom had put her head between the breast beam and the going part of the loom. It was set in motion by a young girl who was unaware that Esta was in a position of danger. The verdict was Accidental Death. Because Esta had been formerly connected with the Wesleyan Chapel, her funeral was held there.

Later that year, in September, some boys were bathing in the New Dam when one of them became exhausted and was in danger of drowning. Mr.H.Mellor, who was in the vicinity, became aware of the boy’s problem and hurried to the dam, threw his coat off and jumped in the water to affect a timely rescue.

1918. In August at Holmfirth Police Court, Hirst Roebuck , a farmer of Netherthong, was summoned, at the instance of the Holmfirth Education Committee, for illegally employing his son , Arthur, a boy of school age. The defendant did not appear. The Clerk said that anyone taking into his employ a child under the age of 14 was liable to penalty. Mr.Morton, the attendance officer, said he had seen the boy in charge of his father’s horse and cart and this had been going on for 6-8 weeks at least. It was not an emergency and the boy was being employed nine months before he was eligible. A fine of 10/- was imposed.

  At the same court a month later, Raymond Stokes, a carter of Netherthong, was summoned for not sending his son to school regularly. The boy who was 12 years old had been absent 40 times in 3 months. The father was fined 5/-

   1919.  The first report of the year from the Holmfirth Police Court concerned a 13 year old schoolboy from the village who was charged with breaking and entering the National School and stealing 6d. He was also accused of stealing keys and a ring from an outhouse in the village but he pleaded not guily to that offence.

  In May there was a lot of local interest in a case of assault on a nurse of Deanhouse Institution.  The case was held at Holmfirth Police Court and the defendant was a well-built man, named Frank Kaye, of Farnley Tyas and the complainant was Miss H.Lambert a nurse. He was charged with having committed an assault on Miss Lambert and he pleaded not guilty.  It appeared that Miss Lambert had leave on the Saturday and went to see her parents in Wakefield. She returned in the evening and arrived at Honley about 9.30. To reach Deanhouse she walked along the road near Hagg House and when she got to Dean Brook she met the defendant who, without a single word, closed on her, put his arms round her and pinned her against the wall. She screamed and he had to let go of one arm to put his hand over her mouth.  She was them able to strike him with her umbrella. He pinned her against the wall again and tried to kiss her but she bit him on the cheek, struggled violently and screamed. A young man named Rollinson , who was a bit further up the road heard her screaming and ran to the place to find the defendant struggling with Miss Lambert. The defendant ran away but Rollinson, much to his credit, ran after him and caught him. A man called Hobson, who was in an adjoining field, joined in. The defendant refused to give his name. The complainant was very distressed but reached the Institution and contacted the police. It appeared that the defendant had been in Netherthong during the day on a drinking expedition and had left about 9pm.

 When he was questioned by police in Farnley Tyas the following day, the defendant said he knew nothing about a woman but he did have marks on  his face and the back of his hand. It was a long court case with witnesses being called and cross-examined. After deliberating in private for a few minutes, the Chairman announced that the committee considered the defendant guilty of a serious offence and he was fined £10 with 18/6 costs.

     May at the Holmfirth Police Court saw the return of Raymond Stokes, a farmer at Netherthong, who was once again accused of employing his son, Eric, contrary to the provisions of the Education Act. The Clerk said there had been a previous order and penalty with respect to this boy and it seemed to be a question with the father as to whether it was more profitable for him to pay the fine and have the lad working with him rather than send him to school. The bench imposed a fine of £1.

At the Police Court in Holmfirth in June 1920, Albert Edward Turner, a pig dealer at Netherthong, was summoned for failing to keep a register with respect to pigs. He did not appear but sent a letter pleading guilty but innocently so. He was fined 20/-

Tom Wilkinson, a motor driver from the village, was summoned by the Holmfirth Police Court in April 1921 for driving a motor vehicle without a rear red light. P.C.Gillespie said that at 8.30pm on March 13 he saw the defendant driving a car in Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth and, as there was no red light on the vehicle, he whistled for him to stop but he took no notice. He saw the defendant the following day who admitted he knew the light was out. He was fined 20s.