Black Sheep Sunday

Black Sheep Sunday – Martha Espley (1839-1908)

Black Sheep Sunday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

To participate in Black Sheep Sunday simply create a post with the main focus being an ancestor with a “shaded past.”

Martha Espley is my wife’s 1st cousin 3x removed. She was born about 1839 to parents John Espley and Sarah Johnson. Martha’s grandparents, James Espley and Martha Silvester, are my wife’s 3x great grandparents.

As far as I can tell Martha had three children “out of wedlock”:-

John Espley – born 12 December 1859
Charles Espley – born 15 March 1862
Samuel Espley – born about June 1870

Shortly after Charles was born Martha found herself in court on a charge of “attempted child murder”.

Below are two extracts from the Chester Chronicle of 9 August 1862.

The first is part of the address to the grand jury at Chester Crown Court on Monday 4 August by Mr Justice Channell.

Chester Chronicle - 9 August 1862 [1].png

There was another case upon the calendar in which a woman was charged with attempting to murder her child, of about three weeks old; the case was a very short one; it appeared that the mother had been delivered at the Workhouse, and left of her own accord, taking the child with her, and on the day in question she must have tied up the child’s mouth with a bandage in a way which the prosecution suggested was intended to produce death by suffocation. The woman’s account was that she was in distress, and she proposed to go to the adjoining village to get some refreshment either by begging or some way or another, intending to return to the child, but she denied the charge of attempting to murder it. It might be that the woman bound the bandage round the child’s mouth for the purpose of preventing it from crying, and not to produce the effect which the prosecution attributed to it. A necessary ingredient in the case was whether the intention existed of murdering the child, and if they found that this did not exist, they should ignore the bill. He did not invite them to do so, but merely mentioned it for their consideration. His Lordship referred to an Act of Parliament which made it a misdemeanour to expose any child under two years of age.

This second extract reports on the verdict of the jury.

Chester Chronicle - 9 August 1862.png

CHARGE OF ATTEMPTED CHILD MURDER

Martha Espley, 22, was charged with attempting to murder a male child of the age of three weeks, of which she was the mother, by fastening a bandage round its mouth and nose, and throwing it into a field and deserting it, at Buglawton, on the 3rd April.

Counsel for the prosecution, Mr Swetenham; for the prisoner, Mr Brandt.

The jury, after a brief consultation, returned a verdict of Not Guilty.

The image below is from the Criminal Register showing that Martha was acquitted.

Criminal Registers 1791-1892.png

Martha subsequently married Samuel Hazeldine sometime in the September quarter of 1875. They had at least five children together over the next ten years.

Martha died, at the age of about 69 in the last months of 1908.

Black Sheep Sunday – Elijah Skelding (1827-1888)

Black Sheep Sunday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

To participate in Black Sheep Sunday simply create a post with the main focus being an ancestor with a “shaded past.”

Elijah Skelding is my wife’s great grand uncle – a brother of her great grandfather Imri Skelding.

Elijah was born about 1827 in the area around Lye, Worcestershire. His parents are William Skelding and Catherine Taylor, my wife’s 2x great grandparents.

Elijah married Harriet Taylor sometime in the December quarter of 1850 in Dudley, Staffordshire and they had at least five children:-

Eunice – born 1855
William – born 1857
Agnes – born 1859
Adam – born 1862
David – born 1864

In the census returns for 1851 to 1881 Elijah is described as a “nail maker” or a “horse nail maker”.

I recently found the following newspaper article from the Worcestershire Chronicle of 21 October 1857. Elijah is described as an “Odd Fellow”. The Odd Fellows are one of the earliest and oldest fraternal societies – see this history from Wikipedia

Worcestershire Chronicle - 21 October 1857.png

ODD FELLOWS – Elijah Skelding was charged with stealing an umbrella, the property of John Taylor, on the 11th instant. Prisoner and prosecutor are Odd Fellows, and on the day named had, with others of the fraternity, been at a the funeral of one of the brethren. They afterwards adjourned to the Kings Head for business. Taylor took an umbrella with him to the house, and it was shortly missed. Prisoner, who had left, was suspected, and prosecutor’s brother, William, followed him. He overtook him in the road with the missing article, and at once accused him of theft, upon which a tussle ensued, which gave rise to two summonses, Skelding charging William Taylor with an assault and William Taylor charging Skelding with ditto. The summonses were both dismissed, Skelding being committed for trial on the charge of larceny.

Details of the alleged crime were entered in the Worcestershire register of Persons Committed, or Bailed to appear for Trial, or Indicted. The image below shows that Elijah was charged with “simple larceny.” The final column of the page is to record whether the person was acquitted or the case discharged. For all the cases on this page, including Elijah, it says “No Bill” – in other words the case did not proceed to trial.

Elijah Skelding - Criminal Registers.png

Interestingly Elijah married Harriet Taylor and his mother was Catherine Taylor – I wonder if the Taylor’s from the newspaper article are relatives and there was some sort of family disagreement at play here. Pure conjecture and fantasy on my part no doubt!!

Black Sheep Sunday – John Robert Stowell (1901-1966)

Black Sheep Sunday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

To participate in Black Sheep Sunday simply create a post with the main focus being an ancestor with a “shaded past.”

John Robert Stowell is my 1st cousin 2x removed. His parents are Robert Alexander Stowell and Edith Annie Burns. Our common ancestors are John Stowell and Ann Astin, my 2x great grandparents.

As far as I can tell John Robert was the only child of of his parents. His birth is registered in Burnley, Lancashire.

He married Sarah Ellis sometime in the September quarter of 1926. They has no children. He then married Ellen Ainsworth in 1935, the marriage is registered in Q4. John Robert and Ellen had one son – James in 1936.

On the face of it not an ancestor I would normally write a blog post about…until I found the following newspaper article from the Lancashire Evening News of 11 December 1929.

Lancashire Evening News - 11 Dec 1929.png

If ever I needed more information from a newspaper article this is it. What did he do that required a sentence of three months in prison with hard labour. The article is woefully short on some vital details.

I can find Ellen and James in the 1939 Register but there is no sign of John Robert. So perhaps there is more to John Robert Stowell than I first thought!

 

Black Sheep Sunday – Eleanor Hopkinson (Part 2)

I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with baited breath to find out what happened to Eleanor Hopkinson and George Carradice since last week’s revelations.

Below is the newspaper account of the trial as reported in the Kendal Mercury on 21 October 1865.

Kendal MercuryWESTMORLAND QUARTER SESSIONS

STEALING £10 FROM THE PERSON – MOON’S CASE

Eleanor Hopkinson and George Carradice were charged with stealing £10 from the person of John Moon, on the 1st October. Both were also indicted for receiving the money. They were also charged on another count with stealing a silver watch from the person of Leonard Metcalfe on the 1st of October. Prisoners pleaded Not Guilty.

Mr Mc”Oubrey addressed the jury for the prosecution, said: Mr Moon was a basket maker in Kendal, at the time of the robbery. He received £60 in 12 £5 notes from Mr C G Thomson, as a legacy. On receiving this money, perhaps he was not so careful of his conduct as he might have been. At any rate he was in the house about 12 o’clock. He had at this time five £5 notes, and had occasion to go to the privy. On his way there he had to pass the house where the two prisoners lived. While there the female prisoner came and used him very indecently. He made his way out as soon as possible, and on getting up on Sunday morning he found the five notes were gone. He gave notice of the robbery immediately to Serge. Hogarth. When, on Sunday evening Eleanor Hopkinson was in the Black Bull, she asked for change for a £5 note. Now, this note note was one of the very numbers which Mr Moon gave to the police, 257E. A boy named Mark went for change to Mr Break’s. Breaks went up stairs to get change, and, very properly took it himself over to Mrs Thompson. This note was afterwards given to Mr Hibberd. Mr Hibberd on this went to the house and apprehended the prisoner Hopkinson, and he afterwards found the other note, number 90G in a heap of ashes, a very unlikely place to find notes honestly come by.

He then called John Moon, who was sworn and said; I live in yard No. 109, Highgate; I am a basket maker. The prisoners Carradice and Hopkinson live in the same yard. I remember last Sunday morning; early on that morning, I had occasion to go to the privy – it was then about twenty minutes past twelve; to get to the closet I had to pass the prisoners’ house. The female prisoner came to me whilst I was in the closet; she used me very roughly; I had had some drink in the evening, I knew what I was doing. I left her in the privy, I was not more than three or four minutes in the place. When I went to the privy I had five five pound notes in my pocket. They were five notes issued by the Kendal Bank. I first missed the notes about seven o’clock on the same morning. I gave the number of two of the notes at the Bank, on Monday morning. It was directly the Bank opened. (The notes were here handed to the witness for identification.) I can identify these as two of the notes. I have not seen the notes since Saturday up to this minute. The numbers of the notes are 90G and 257E. I speak from memory. They are two of the notes I lost on Sunday morning.

Cross-examined: I received the money on Friday night about six o’clock.

Did you drink at all that night? – I had a glass or two.

Did you drink on Saturday? – Oh, yes, I had a good sup.

Well, were you so drunk that you did know what you were doing? – No, I was fresh but I knew what I was about.

Were you “fresh” at six o’clock? – Yes

And I suppose you got “fresher” afterwards? – I was better afterwards.

What! did you get better the more you drank? – Yes.

How much drink did you have on Saturday? – Oh, I can’t say.

Did you have twenty glasses? – I don’t think i did, I might have had a dozen.
A dozen glasses of what? – Oh, ale.

Did you have no spirits? – I had a glass of rum in the morning.

As “freshener” I suppose. Did you have anything else in the day, except ale? – No. I was last in the White Hart, I had a glass or two of ale there. I have a wife, it was not my wife I met. I met the woman at the Exchange, she did not get any £5 notes from me – we took a walk down Miller-field, to Miller-bridge. That was between eight and nine o’clock. I am certain she had nothing to do with the loss of the notes. I gave her a glass or two. I had the notes in my inside waistcoat pocket. I knew well I was doing when I got home. I gave several people a glass of ale, they knew that I had the money. When I was in the privy the woman came in to me – I was not there two minutes. I got out as soon as I could. I felt her “rummaging” about my breast. I did not examine my pockets when I got in the house. I felt that the notes were there about twelve o’clock. It was about twenty minutes past twelve when I was in the privy. The numbers of the two notes were 257E and 90G. I know the numbers of several more.

Name them. – I have an objection to doing so.

Being ordered by the Bench to do so he gave numbers of two more of the notes.

Examination resumed: I had the numbers in my memory. I am a basket maker.

I am the son of William Mark, who was an innkeeper. My mother keeps the Black Bull, in Kirkland. I live with her. I remember Sunday last. The female prisoner was in our house on that day. About nine at night she asked mother if she could change the note. Mother could not. The prisoner offered to give me a penny if I would change it. She had some other notes in a piece of white calico, they were folded up. She took one out to give to me to change. I went to several places. I went Richard Breaks, who took the note and went across with me to our house with the change.

Cross-examined: It was about half-past nine. She used to come to the house to clean.

Richard Breaks was then sworn – I am a grocer, living in Kirkland. I remember the last witness coming to my house; it was a little past nine on Sunday night. he asked if I could change his mother a five-pound note. I asked what kind of note it was. He said, “ A Kendal note”. He handed the note to me. I took it upstairs and changed it. I left the note upstairs, and took the change to the Black Bull. I found the landlady and a good many women there. I asked who wanted change: none of the women would take to the note or the change. I called the landlady into the kitchen. She said it belonged to Eleanor Musgrove (the female prisoner goes by this name), but that she the landlady would have nothing to do with it. I gave the note back to Mrs Thompson.

Margaret Thompson, was sworn, and said: My husband kept the Black Bull. On the 1st of October the prisoner came in on the Sunday evening and asked for change. She sent the boy for it. Mr Breaks afterwards came across with the money. She was in the lobby waiting, when se asked me for the money. I told her I would give it to the right owner. I fetched the note from Mr Breaks and gave it to Mr Hibberd.

Edward Hibberd said: I am superintendent of police. On Monday morning last, a little after ten o’clock, I received this note I now produce, No 257E, from the last witness, Mrs Thompson. Shortly afterwards I apprehended the prisoner, Eleanor Hopkinson, at her house in a yard in Highgate. I charged her with stealing five five-pound notes from John Moon, whilst in a privy together late on Saturday night, or early on Sunday morning. She took from some part of her dress these two keys (produced in court), which she gave to a woman named Mary Barber. I took the keys from her. She said that one belonged to a tea caddy, an the other to the lower room or coal cellar. I locked the prisoner up. The house door was locked. I returned to the house soon after, and partially searched the house. The room where the prisoners lived was locked. I locked the door again when I left. When I returned again to the room I found the lock broken off and the door standing open. The prisoner Carradice was sitting on the floor at the far end of the room. he was the worse for liquor. I searched the room and found beneath some ashes and rubbish about eighteen inches from where the prisoner was sitting a piece of rag and a five pound note, No 90G. I took Carradice into custody and brought him to the office. I charged him with being concerned in the robbery of notes from Mr Moon on Sunday morning.

This was the case for the prosecution. Mr Fawcett then addressed the jury for the defence. He said he appeared only on behalf of the female prisoner. he not disguise from himself or from the jury that it was a very serious charge, and at first glance it did seem as if the prisoner were guilty. He then explained the law on felony, and said that unless he could persuade them that the woman could satisfactorily account for the amount of money it would go very hard against them. he must say there was something very curious about the manner in which the money was lost. Did the jury really think the woman was the one who took the notes? and, although he did not appear on the part of the man he could not see any fact against him. He then sifted the whole evidence, and left the case with the jury.

The jury retired, and on re-entering gave in a verdict of “guilt against the woman”, but found the man innocent. The woman was sentenced to seven years’ penal servitude.

WATCH STEALING

The prisoners were then further charged with stealing a watch, the property of Leonard Metcalfe, on the 1st of October.

Mr Mounsey appeared for the prosecution, and called Leonard Metcalfe, who said: He is a driver at the Commercial Hotel, and started about eleven o’clock on the night of Saturday, the 30th of September, to take a party to Holme. he started from that place about two o’clock on Sunday morning. Falling asleep several times, he was at length aroused by two men unknown to him shouting “Len”. On looking up to see what time it was, he found his watch was gone.

Superintendent Hibberd deposed to findning the watch, with the bank-notes, in the prisoner Carradice’s room.

The jury acquitted both prisoners.

Interestingly, despite giving quite a full account of the trial the Kendal Mercury did not include Eleanor’s reaction to being found guilty and to her sentence. Unlike the Westmorland Gazette and the Carlisle Journal which both reported – The prisoner screamed out vile malediction against the Chairman, and was removed from the dock cursing.

So what is “penal servitude”? It really just means a term of imprisonment that usually included hard labour.

Eleanor spent about ten months in prison at Kendal and was then transferred to Brixton Prison in July 1866.

Below you can see the:-

  • Criminal Register for Kendal for 20 October 1865 showing Eleanor Hopkinson and George Carradice
  • Record showing that Eleanor was transferred to Brixton Prison on 27 July 1866.

Kendal Criminal Register

Brixton Prison

Clearly Eleanor did not complete seven years locked up because as I said in Part 1 of this story last week she appears in the 1871 census living with George Carradice in Kendal.

Kendal 1871 Census

Black Sheep Sunday – Eleanor Hopkinson (Part 1)

Eleanor Musgrove is my 2nd great grand aunt. She is the daughter of my 3x great grandparents William Musgrove and Harriot Francis.

Eleanor was born in 1838 and baptised on 2 July that year in Kendal, Westmorland. She married Edward Hopkinson in 1855.

From what I have been able to establish so far from newspaper archives Eleanor was often up to “no good”.

My blog post HERE reports her being sent to the House of Correction for three months in February 1861 for stealing.

The article below from the Westmorland Gazette of 7 October 1865 suggests that a spell in “chokey” didn’t teach Eleanor any lessons.

Eleanor HopkinsonCHARGE OF STEALING £25

Eleanor Hopkinson, alias “Nell Muss”, George Carradice, Mary Barber, and Harrison Musgrove, were charged with stealing five five-pound notes, the property of John Moon, a swiller. Mr C G Thompson appeared for the prosecutor, and Mr C T Clark, (Lancaster), for the defence. The case occupied a considerable time, so that we can only give the main facts. The prosecutor, according to his own account, late on Saturday night went down the yard, at the bottom of which the prisoners lodge, and there met with the woman Hopkinson, who lives with the prisoner Carradice. Next morning he missed the notes and gave information of the numbers to the bank, and also informed the police. From further evidence it appeared that on Sunday evening the prisoner Hopkinson tried to change one of the notes at the Black Bull Inn, and that upon searching the prisoners’ lodgings Mr Hibberd found another of the notes (also identified by the prosecutor) concealed (and also a watch) in some ashes.

Hopkinson and Carradice were committed for trial, but there not appearing to be sufficient evidence against Barber and Musgrove, they were discharged.

CHARGE OF STEALING A WATCH

Eleanor Hopkinson and George Carradice were then charged with stealing a watch, the property of Leonard Medcalf, a driver. The watch was found by Mr Hibbered while searching for the bank notes, wrapped up together with a note, in a piece of calico, under some ashes and other rubbish. The prosecutor had lost the watch while on the road between Kendal and Holme, and it was no doubt stolen when he was asleep.

Carradice was committed for trial on the charge, and the woman was discharged.

Next Sunday remember to come back for the result of the trial of Eleanor and George!!

Regular readers of my blog will know that Harrison Musgrove (brother of Eleanor) mentioned in the first case in the article is also one of my ancestors – it makes a nice change to see him not charged with an offence this time!!  You can read more about him in the Black Sheep Sunday category of my blog.

Carradice is also one of my ancestral names from this time in Kendal. However I do not have a George Carradice in my family tree at the moment, but I suppose there is still time for me to identify yet another felon in my history!!

I checked the 1871 census and found George Carradice and Eleanor Carradice living in Kirkland Capper Lane, Kendal.

Black Sheep Sunday – John Britliff (The Killing Field) – Part 2

Just over a year ago I posted about my wife’s 3x great grandfather, John Britliff, who was convicted of manslaughter for killing his wife. Here’s a link to the original post – Black Sheep Sunday – John Britliff (The Killing Field) https://mikeydawson.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/black-sheep-sunday-john-britliff-the-killing-field/

Since then I have been contacted by Karen who lives in Australia – John Britliff is also her 3x great grandfather.

You will see from the original post that John was sentenced to 10 years transportation in 1843 but he was back in Lincolnshire by the time of the 1851 census. So this raised a number of questions for me:-

  • Did he really get transported?
  • If he did get transported for 10 years how come he is back in England after 8 years?
  • Did he get a “certificate of freedom” for good behaviour after serving part of his sentence?
  • How did he afford the fare back to England?

I have to admit I hadn’t made any progress answering these questions before now.

Karen alerted me to the use of Prison Ships (Hulks). Because of overcrowding in the prisons in Australia many convicts served their sentences on prison hulks moored on The Thames. Here’s a bit of background but there is lots more on the Internet – http://vcp.e2bn.org/justice/page11382-sentencing-to-departure-prison-hulks-convict-gaols.html

Anyway thanks to Karen I found some prison hulk records on Ancestry.co.uk. Fortunately these included the details for John Britliff or Britcliffe as he was described.

Image

So there we have it – John served his sentence on the hulk Warrior. He must have been given an early release for good behaviour and returned to Lincolnshire.

Black Sheep Sunday – Alfred Gawthrop

Alfred Gawthrop is my 1st cousin 3x removed.  Our common ancestors are Martin Gawthrop and Ann Kighley, my 3x great grandparents.

Below is a report from the Burnley Express of 8 November 1916 when Alfred and eighteen other defendants were in court charged with drinking out of hours – in other words they were caught having a “lock in”.  

£78 IN FINES

Burnley Express - 8 November 1916

Burnley Express – 8 November 1916

NELSON AND DISTRICT DEFENDANTS

Some heavy fines were imposed by the magistrates at the Skipton Petty Sessions on Saturday in a licensing case which occupied four hours.  Mr. J. W. Morkill presided.

There were nineteen defendants in all.  The following were summoned for consuming intoxicating liquors on licensed premises, the Moor Cock Inn, Brogden (between Blacko and Gisburn), during closing hours:  John William Ogden, farmer;  Bolton Wilkinson, labourer;  Joseph Smith, farmer;  George Whitaker, millhand;  Fred Gott, carter;  Fred Snowden, carter;  Jonas Stephenson, carrier;  and Alfred Gawthrop, farmer, all of Cowling;  Benjamin Cawdrey, dealer, of Bradford;  Thomas Broughton, dealer;  Isabella Rhodes, married;  and Lilly West, weaver, of Colne;  James Ince, barber, Brierfield;  William Emmott, farmer, Blacko;  Brown Speake, farmer, and Walter Waddington, farmer, both of Nelson; and James Craddock, farmer, of Brogden.  Emmott was further summoned for treating, and West for being treated with intoxicating liquors on licensed premises.  Jane Utley, the landlady, was summoned for supplying intoxicating liquors, but owing to the fact that she was too ill to appear in court, the case against her was withdrawn.  The landlord, Isaac Utley, was summoned on three counts, for supplying liquor, for permitting it to be consumed on licensed premises during closing hours, and for permitting treating.  All the defendants pleaded “Not Guilty”.  Mr. J. C. Waddington, solicitor, Burnley, represented the landlord, while Mr. J. E. Newell, solicitor, Skipton, defended the men from Cowling.

For the prosecution, Police-Sergeant Williams and P.C. Milburn gave evidence as to what they witnessed after 9.30 at night on Thursday, when they were engaged in watching the inn.  The two officers said they saw three vehicles standing outside the Moor Cock, and persons who had occupied them had apparently gone inside the house and appeared to be having a very good time, for they could hear the piano being played and popular airs being sung.  They went to the rear of the premises, and through a broken window had a clear view into the tap-room, and could distinctly hear orders being given for drinks, while at times strong language was used.  Neither of the officers heard at any time any orders for mineral waters or food.  There was another window close to, which looked directly into the bar, and owing to the fact that the curtains did not come quite to the bottom the officers could see all that went on inside.  They saw the landlord and landlady filling beer, whisky, and stout, and subsequently take it into the smoke-room, where the company was seated.  The people inside were very rowdy.

That kind of thing, the officers stated, went on until 10-45pm., when they heard a voice shout, “Bring a —– whisky hot and a beer.”  They saw the landlord come to the bar, and then they slipped round to the front of the house and entered just in time to see the landlord going into the smoke-room with a tray on which there were a glass of whisky and a glass of beer.  They followed him into the room, and saw him place the whisky before the defendant West and  the beer before Emmott, who tendered 1s. in payment by placing it on the tray.  The landlord gave him some change and left the room, taking with him three glasses, which they saw emptied by some of the company.  Police-Sergeant Williams took the glass of whisky from the defendant West and a portion of the beer from Emmott.  He also took a glass of whisky from Wilkinson and a half-glass of beer from Ogden, all of which he produced.  At that time there were fourteen empty glasses on the tables.  The defendants were all told that they would be reported.

All the defendants, some on oath, denied that they were served with any intoxicating liquors after half-past 9.  Several of them stated that they ordered and were supplied with tea, bread and cheese.

The Bench retired to consider their decision, and on their return Mr. Morkill said that they had decided to convict in all cases, except in respect to the charge against the defendant West of being treated, which case would be dismissed.

The Bench imposed penalties of £20 in each of the first two summonses against the landlord, Utley, and £10 in the third, while Emmott was fined £5 for treating.  Fines of 40s. each were imposed on Ogden, Wilkinson, Smith, Whitaker, Gawthrop, Emmott, Speake, Waddington, and Craddock; and 20s. each on Gott, Snowden, Stephenson, Cawdrey, Broughton, Rhodes, West, and Ince.