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.

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