Saturday, 9 March 2013

Echoes of our Past, NEWS......... 11th March 1871

Read all about it……. Echoes of our past NEWS
What was in the local news this weekend in 1871?


*Women trouble –

A woman named Sarah Jones who was not from the area was found by P.C William Binney on Saltergate acting in a drunken and riotous manner.  She was shouting and swearing in front of the passers-by, which included children.  P.C Binney asked her to leave but this only made her worse.  When he attempted to move her on she lay down on the floor and refused to move.  He had to strap her legs together and carry her to the police office.

The next day she seemed to have calmed down and walked amiably down the Mayors Residence for her incident to be told.  He decided to remand her for 4 days, until the following Monday.  This brought on a return in Sarah’s unwieldy behaviour; she sat straight down on the floor and two officers had to carry her back to the Municipal Hall.  From there the Police Officers asked her to walk to the Gaol, but of course she was having none of it.  They tried to push her along, but when they walked through Theatre Yard she began shrieking loudly.  A wheelbarrow was then obtained and without instruction Sarah climbed in and was thus wheeled through the Market Place to the Police lock-up.

Monday morning came and the fun and games began again; as she had been so ill behaved the Bench decided to commit her for 21 days with hard labour.  Sarah once again seated herself on the floor and refused to move an inch.  This time her mode of transport was a short ladder, which she was tied to by the wrists and legs.  She was then moved on to the Gaol in the Market Place.  Sarah must have become quite a celebrity as it was said that a hundred people turned out to watch this last transfer.


*Derbyshire Police Force report –

The report was issued by the House of Commons and gave the following figures –

v  171 men in the Derbyshire force

v  623,992 acres area covered

v  272,400 population in 1861

v  347 indictable offences in the year

v  243 persons apprehended against 305 offences

The report suggested that the force need enlarging in Chesterfield, Smalley, Alfreton and Eckington due to the increase in population. 

Chesterfield Force –

v  14 men in the Chesterfield force

v  296 acres area covered

v  9,835 population in 1861

The duties of the Head Constable included; inspector of lodging houses and weights and measures, assisting the vagrancy officer, inspector of workshops and sanitation and billet master.  He is paid extra wages annually of £20 (sanitary inspector), £25 (inspector weights and measures) and £10 (assistant vagrancy officer).

The lock-ups were found to be inadequate and room in the Market Hall in Chesterfield had been purchased to serve as police cells.

*Bigamy –

Frederick Horton of Glossop was charged with marrying a lady named Lucy on 13th October 1867 whilst still legally married to another woman.

Frederick was 30 years old and had married his first wife Letitia Phillips on 17th February 1863 at Glossop.  He and his wife separated and she went away, her mother told Frederick that she had gone to live in France.  It was unknown whether Letitia was alive or dead and Frederick had made an attempt to find the answer.  Her mother had written that she suspected that she may have drowned. 

The Jury decided that Fredrick was guilty of bigamy, but asked that the Judge have mercy upon him.  Frederick was sentenced to three days imprisonment.  I have looked for his second marriage in the civil registration indexes and it does not appear, this may have been removed after this case.  Or, did Frederick suspect that he was marrying bigamously and fail to register the event to the authorities?

*Explosion at Staveley Colliery –

A slight explosion occurred on Friday morning at Staveley Coal and Iron Company’s Colliery.  Two men were burnt when the gas ignited and caused an explosion.  Luke Barrett was burnt on the face and Amos Oughton was burnt on the hands.

*Concealment of birth –

Ann Page and Sarah Page appeared at the Crown Court Derby accused of attempting to conceal the birth of a child on 21st December 1870 by burying the dead body at South Normanton.  The Grand Jury threw out the bill and Ann and Sarah walked free.

*Pancake Day –

To celebrate Shrove Tuesday Mr T Irving had provided the Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Hospital and Dispensary with flour and eggs to make into pancakes for the patients.


*George Moon to Elizabeth Beresford at the Parish Church, Chesterfield on 6th March

*Charles Hunt, lace manufacturer of Heanor to Eliza Ratcliffe of Chesterfield at the Parish Church, Chesterfield on 7th March

*Frederick Hudson Vickers, miner to Ellen Drury at the Parish Church, Chesterfield on 7th March


*Louisa Holdsworth aged 18 years at Alma Cottage, Clay Cross.  Louisa was the youngest daughter of Thomas Holdsworth a colliery proprietor and she had suffered a protracted illness

*John Johnson aged 17 years, son of Samuel and Lucy Johnson of Atlow Wynn, near Ashbourne

*George Pike, miller aged 66 years at Walton

*Ann Whetton aged 58 years, at Clay Cross, wife of John Whetton, horse keeper

*Edward Corrance Belfitt aged 9 weeks at Saltergate

*Charles Hesketh aged 3 months at Brampton

*Arthur Pemberton aged 2 years at Soresby Street


*Football –

A match was played in between Messrs Greenhalgh’s Club and Mansfield Athletic Club on Parr’s ground at Mansfield.  There was a good turnout of spectators and the play was said to have been “most interesting”.

Messrs Greenhalgh’s club won the game by 2 goals to 1.


*Railway Clocks –

A letter written by “A TRAVELLER” complained at the lack of synchronization of the train station clocks.  The watch of the writer “a very good one” varied at the Stockport Station by 8 minutes, which could have meant that he would have missed the train.  When he arrived in Buxton the time of his watch and the station clock was now the same. 



  1. That's great! The Sarah Jones incident sounds like pretty average behaviour on a Saturday night in Chesterfield - some things never change!

    1. Ha Ha oh yes - never a dull moment! Sarah sounds a stubborn one though!

  2. Lots of excitement in Derbyshire! I wonder what the woman's original complaint was, or whether they found out. Thanks for this bit of local history from the police report -- fascinating!

    1. Derbyshire seems to have been more wild in Victorian times than it is now! The police report was very interesting, so few police and so few arrests. I was suprised how few arrests there was, as from reading the newspaper reports it seems that there were many more.