Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Update of the PAST NEWS........ 22nd February 1868

Catch up on the full story of last weeks NEWS...........

*Assault on Arthur Wragg

Arthur Wragg was the alleged victim in last week’s news, but there was an Arthur Wragg who had been in trouble with the police before, but not as the victim.  Was it the same Arthur?  I think it probably was as there is only one Arthur Wragg that I can find as being born in Chesterfield of the right age; He was born in 1845, the son of John and Ann Wragg who resided on Church Alley, under the shadow if the Crooked Spire.  Arthur had a younger brother named Reuben.

On 23rd December 1866 Arthur Wragg was charged with having assaulted an old man named George Fidler.  George stated that he was walking to his home on Silk Mill Yard when he saw Arthur, who proceeded to follow him down the yard to his front door, where he knocked him down at his door way.  It was also alleged that this was the third time this had happened. 

Arthur accused George of being drunk and having fallen himself.  He stated that George would have hurt his back “by tumbling out of bed drunk”.    George did not have any witnesses to collaborate his accusations and Arthur stood his ground and denied the actions.  Arthur told how George was swearing at him that night and agreed that he had walked over to him, at which point George had fallen over his own door mat.  George’s wife had also appeared and was said to have followed her husband falling over the door mat, whilst in her nightie. 

George recalled a few nights earlier when Arthur had been throwing stones at his door.  When he had gone out to Arthur, he had received a stone thrown straight at him which had extinguished the candle that he held for light. 

Arthur the defendant did have witnesses to the events of the 23rd December.  Margaret Collins told how George was “swearing and making a noise about 8 o’clock”.  She went on to tell how she went to the door to see what the commotion was about, she heard George say “you’re on again – I’ll spend £5 over you” to which Arthur replied that he didn’t have £5.  At this George fell over the mat, his wife came out and also fell over the mat.  The couple, she thought, were drunk.  Bridget Lester also backed up Arthur’s version of events confirming that he did not touch George.

The Bench decided that there was insufficient evidence to convict Arthur Wragg and George was made to pay the 2s 6d fine for expenses. 

Only 7 months on; in August 1866 Arthur Wragg a collier aged 20 years old was again in trouble for fighting in Silk Mill Yard.  He was found in the early hours of Sunday 2nd August stripped and fighting with another man.  Police Superintendent Stevens found the men and sent them packing.  But only 15 minutes later the argument had started up again.  The Bench heard how there was some sort of disturbance most weekends in the yard and how Arthur was a “great blackguard and nuisance”.  Arthur was of course not happy with this title and argued that he had gone into a friend’s home to clean up his face upon which when he returned back out into the yard he was attacked again.

His reputation did not do him justice and on this occasion Arthur was found guilty and sentenced to pay either 10s and costs or do 14 days imprisonment – to which he replied “By _____ I’ll do the 14 days like a horse”.

Was this the same Arthur Wragg as appeared as a victim in 1868?  Did he have a knack of finding trouble as he frequented the streets of Chesterfield?  Arthur Wragg died on 11th June 1887 at Victoria Street, Chesterfield.  He was aged 42 years old and unmarried.  He did not leave a will and so administration of his estate was given to his brother Reuben. 

As for John Sweeney, he was around the same age as Arthur, being born sometime around 1845 in Ireland.  In the 1871 census he was working as a labourer and lodging with Malechy Tracey a bricklayer’s labourer on Saltergate.  What became of him after this is not known – does anyone know his whereabouts afterwards?
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