Sunday, 28 April 2013

Echoes of our Past NEWS ....... 25th April 1863

Read all about it……. Echoes of our past NEWS

What was in the local news this weekend in 1863?


*Burglary at Baslow –

Mr Coates the druggist had been burgled twice before and so this time he was lucky to have woken when he saw an intruder stood at his bedroom door holding a candle.  Mr Coates kept a revolver at his bedside and so on sight of this the burglar fled.

When downstairs it was found that bread, potted beef and brandy had been stolen from the house and 1s 7d in copper from the shop. 

Mr Coates kept his money, which was a “considerable sum” in the bedroom with him.


*Froggatts Yard an unruly place to live –

v  Matthew Ryan an Irish man was charged after he spat at Bridget Murphy.  Bridget had left her house on Froggatts Yard to collect water when Matthew ran out of his house and spat into her face.  The incident was witnessed by Judy Burke.  Matthew was sentenced to two months hard labour.

v  Bridget Holland was in trouble after she stole water from the Chesterfield Water Works.  Bridget lived on Froggatts Yard and she volunteered to pay for the water in the court.  She was fined 1s and costs.

*”another nymph in trouble” –

A young woman of 18 years of age was charged with causing a disturbance on Low Pavement at about midnight on the Sunday night. 

The young lady was Mary Hibbert who had begun her life of prostitution at the young age of 14 years old.  She had been arrested before and gaoled. 

On the evening in question Mary was outside Mr Mason’s shop talking loudly to another woman, they were both clearly drunk.  P.C Windle asked them to be quiet and move on but Mary refused and began using bad language.

At her hearing Mary made an inferred allegation against P.C Windle when she stated “if he (Constable Windle) had not given me liberties, I should not have done what I did”.  The Mayor was obviously concerned about what Mary was insinuating and asked her what she meant by this statement.  Mary held her silence and simply smiled at the Mayor. 

She was gaoled for one month’s hard labour.

*Sad case of suicide at Ashover –

An elderly lady named Miss Sterndale took her own life last Saturday morning.  Miss Sterndale was a very well respected lady of the village and although she had been ill for some time it was a shock for the villagers to hear this sad news. 

She had taken herself down into the wine cellar of her home where she had hung herself.  She was found soon after but it was too late to resuscitate her. 

The inquest was held on the same day as the death at the Devonshire Arms and a verdict of insanity was declared.

*Death of Eliza Holmes –

Poor little Eliza was only 9 years old, the daughter of Alfred Holmes she lived at Whittington, her father was a farm labourer.

Eliza was described by her father as “not a healthy child”.  On the Wednesday she had been to school but was complaining about a pain in her left side.  That night she went to bed in reasonable spirits with what looked like a slight cold. 

The next morning Eliza was dressed when Alfred came home at breakfast time but she was laid on the sofa complaining of head ache and still the pain in her side.  They gave her 1/4oz of castor oil and left her to rest.  During the afternoon her mother Mrs Mary Ann Holmes administered Eliza a teaspoon of Turkey rhubarb and magnesia, and then at around 10pm she took another 1/2oz of castor oil.

During the night Eliza became confused and by Friday morning she was very ill.  Mr Marshall the doctor was sent for and found her to be vomiting.  Tragically at 6.30 am on Friday 17th April young Eliza passed away.

The inquest gave a verdict of “sudden death from disease of the heart”


*John Higginbottom draper to Mary Ann Short, daughter of Mr Thomas Short of Lordsmill Street on 14th April at the Wesleyan Chapel, Chesterfield

*Mr George Sampson of Tibshelf to Miss Sarah Booth of the Green Dragon Inn, Mansfield on 16th April at Mansfield


*B Maynard Lucas Esq aged 71 years at Highfield, Derbyshire on 18th April

*Mary Lloyd wife of Evan Lloyd Esq at St John’s Wood, London on 19th April, sister of Dr T Jones surgeon of Chesterfield

*Mr Henry Hibbert aged 37 years, landlord of the Castle Inn on 19th April

*Master Philip Woodward aged 5 months at Calver on 12th April

*Honourable Louisa Cavendish aged 84 years at Chiselhurst on 17th April, widow of the late William Cavendish, mother of the Duke of Devonshire

*Mr Daniel Barratt aged 68 years farmer of Curbar on 18th April

*Mater Frederick Coates aged 7 months of Curbar on 19th April


*A walking bet –

A man named T Johnson of Heeley attempted to walk 50 miles in 10 hours for a bet of £10.

He set off at Hyde Park, Sheffield and many came out to cheer him on.  At odds of 6 to 4 the “old scythe bearer” looked set to achieve his gaol.

He walked really well and had walked 25 miles in 4 hours 54 minutes at which time he had a small refreshment break then back on to the trail he went.  He was looking really happy and easily reaching his target until he got to 45 miles and which point he only had 1 hour, 4 minutes and 20 seconds left to walk the remaining 5 miles. 

His odds of achieving the bet were now 3 to 1 and he was now beginning to show signs of exhaustion.  So much so that at 47.25 miles he had no other option than to give up and he ended the walk.  He had walked for 9 hours and 21 minutes and it was said that had he been looked after in a manner fitting to the task he would have easily achieved his goal.

In compensation he was fed sherry, brandy and cold water which left him in a stupefied state.


*Canary magic –

A canary bird belonging to Samuel Beardsley of Clay Cross was causing much excitement after she hatched 5 birds from 4 eggs.  The miraculous event happened on 17th April and all of the baby birds were said to be doing well

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Update of the past NEWS .......... 19th April 1902


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

*Ada Dobson –

Poor Ada was the unwilling recipient of the amorous attentions of the young Irish man named James Wilson.  James was accused of beating Ada after she refused to leave her family and elope with him.  He beat her so badly that he was charged with attempted murder.

At the time of the incident Ada was staying with relations at Arkwright near Chesterfield.  Her brother Robert Herbert Dobson lived in the village with his wife and children, he worked as a coal miner.

Ada was born in Guisborough in Yorkshire in 1883, the daughter of Francis and Frances Ann Dobson.  In 1901 the year before the NEWS incident Ada was aged 17 years old and was working as a domestic servant for a merchant tailor named Robert Hewitt at Middlesbrough. 

When Ada was brought forward to give her account of events at the County Petty Sessions she told how she was 19 years old and had met James Wilson on Good Friday.  Since then she had walked out with him several times.  Ada described how James had asked her to walk down to the Markham Colliery with him on Sunday night; she had not wished to but dare not say or do otherwise.  When she got as far as the farm she went to turn back but James got hold of her, produced a handkerchief and tied it around her neck.  As he did this he caused her harm. 

At that point another person was close by and so James let go of her and they walked back towards the house.  On the way he promised her “I will do for you”.  A little further and he kicked her on the head which caused her to lose balance and fall into the gutter.  He helped her out of the gutter but again threatened her as before.

When the pair arrived at Robert Dobson’s home (Ada’s brother) she had torn clothes and went straight to bed.  James slept on the couch.  Before she went he again threatened her that if she told anyone about the night’s occurrences he would kill her.  What Ada’s sister in law heard was “good night and remember what I have said to you”. 

On the Monday morning Ada awoke at 9.30 am, she did not see James all that day until about 6pm that night.  The conversation was regarding sending Ada home at which James was not happy.  He asked Ada to walk with him but this time she did refuse.  Later that evening he returned and beat her repeatedly with a poker.

James was found guilty of wounding with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.  He was sentenced to four years imprisonment.

What became of Ada?  If anyone knows please do add her story to the comments section.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ X ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Echoes of our Past NEWS ......... 19th April 1902

Read all about it……. Echoes of our past NEWS
What was in the local news this weekend in 1902?


*Jealous Irish Man –

James Wilson a 25 year old employee of Markham Colliery was in serious trouble this week after he had beaten his girlfriend causing a near fatal situation.  He was from Belfast, Ireland and had only been living in Arkwright Town for the past 2 weeks, staying at the home of Robert Dobson.  James had secured himself a job as a detailer at Markham Colliery. 

Robert Dobson had a young sister living nearby named Ada; she was staying with her brother in law Henry Dunn.  Ada was 19 years old and spent a lot of time visiting her brother, so she soon became on friendly terms with the young Irish man James.

On the Sunday night the pair had been out together and had not returned to Robert Dobson’s home until 2am the following morning.  Mrs Dobson was not very impressed with the late time the couple had kept, but James assured her that it was his entire fault and she must not blame Ada.  Ada was also staying at the house that night, as the couple parted James whispered to her that she must not forget what they had talked about that evening.
James had asked Ada to go off with him and leave Arkwright Town and her family; Ada did not want to go. 

The next evening as James was getting ready to go to work Henry Dunn called at the Dobson’s home and conversation got around to the wellbeing of Ada.  Henry thought that Ada should be returned to Yorkshire to her family.  At this James was furious and declared that he was not going to work that night, he asked Ada to go outside with him to talk but Ada refused.  The situation became more intense after Ada was sent on an errand for Mrs Dobson and James followed her, harassing her in the process.  So much so that Mrs Dobson asked him to leave the house.  He packed his belongings into a bundle and left, but before he went he gave out the chilling words of promise to the two ladies “I shall do for you both before 12 o’clock tonight”.

True to his word James returned later that night and wielded a poker at poor Ada striking her several times causing her great injury, Mrs Dobson ran for help and returned with Henry Dunn to find Ada slumped almost dead.  She did manage to awake and fell into the arms of Mrs Dobson.

A search was made for James but it wasn’t until the next day when he walked through Arkwright Town as bold as brass, on his way to Chesterfield.  He was apprehended and was to stand trial today for the attempted murder of Ada Dobson.


*Cat custody –

A Persian cat was the centre of an agreement in-between Alfred Martin a shop keeper at Brampton and Emma Wall of Chester Street, each claiming to have ownership of the cat.

Emma was prosecuting Alfred after he allegedly sent our Bert Williams to steal the cat from her on 12th April.

Alfred argued that the cat was his after he found it wandering on Newbold Road as a kitten and had taken it home for his wife to look after.  There had never been any advertisement for a missing kitten and so the Martin family assumed ownership.  Emma said that she owned the cat and Mrs Ann Marsh and Miss Burcher both agreed with her story. 

Bert Williams had been offered 3d if he managed to bring the cat back to Alfred, but on the day he had found it Alfred only paid out 1d.  Emma had been offered £2 for the cat on a previous occasion but had not wanted to part with it.

Sadly for Alfred the Bench agreed with Emma and custody was placed with her, Alfred was fined 2s 6d and costs. 

*Death of Blue Bell landlord, Bolsover –

Mr George Revill had passed away on Tuesday 15th April after a long illness.  George was only 41 years of age. 

George had been a keen member of the local area being Urban Councillor until ill health caused him to resign a few months earlier.  He was a keen cricketer and was a member of the Town Cricket Club.  Eleven years ago George had left his position of foreman at Markham Colliery and taken over the running of the Blue Bell public house in Bolsover.  George leaves a widow and a large family.

*Education –

Many of the surrounding schools were advertising for next year’s intake –

v  Bakewell Grammar School, over 140 scholars – term starts 6th May 1902

v  Chesterfield College for girls, temporarily at the holy Trinity Institute – 5th May 1902

v  Belper Grammar School, established 1841, 3 vacancies for boarders – 6th May 1902

v  Netherthorpe Grammar School, Staveley, specialising in science; chemical and physical laboratories, woodwork and cookery, boys and girls.  Tuition fees £1 13s 4d per term – 28th April 1902


*Reverend David Ross Fotheringham, so of Rev David Fotheringham J.P of Northumberland Park, Tottenham to Mildred Taylor daughter of George Taylor Esq of Welford House, Bakewell on 15th April at All Saint’s Church, Bakewell

*Alfred McKay to Mary White daughter of Henry White on 16th April at the Holy Trinity Church, Chesterfield

*A Savage to Harriett Gertrude Rhodes daughter of George Rhodes of New Tupton on 16th April at St Lawrence’s Church, North Wingfield

*George Innes to Mary Newton on 16th April at Chesterfield Parish Church


*John Battersby aged 7 months son on 9th April at Cresswell

*Mary Ann Andrews aged 3 months on 12th April at Pinxton

*Edward Haywood aged 53 years on 10th April at South Normanton

*Rebecca Haywood aged 38 years on 14th April at South Normanton

*Mary Ellen Howe aged 35 years on 14th April at Newbold

*William Rayner aged 13 years on 11th April at Chesterfield

*Eliza Walker aged 60 years on 14th April at Chesterfield

*Thomas Cooke aged 70 years on 11th April at Speedwell, Staveley

*Ann Blanksby aged 23 years on 9th April at Chesterfield


*Hockey –

It was the final game of the season for Chesterfield’s hockey team on Saturday.  The team travelled to Sheffield to play the game against the Riverdale Club and won 8 goals to 2.

Chesterfield could boast an eventful season after playing 21 matches they won 14, drew 3 and lost only 4.  They had scored 99 goals but only conceded 33. 

Well done Chesterfield hockey team.


*2nd Volunteer Derbyshire Regiment –

April had been a good month and the following men have joined the Derbyshire Regiment –

v  C company – William Haycock, Lewis Jones and Edward Wood

v  D Company – Joseph J Gregory

v  F Company – George Fletcher Needham, Cecil Hopkinson, William Ball and John Ellse

v  M Company – William Bennett, Sampson Bennett, Raymond Wooley, Arthur Maycock and Edward A Harvey

v  Cycle Company – Ernest Aveyard

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Update of the Past NEWS......... 14th April 1883

Catch up on the full story of last weeks NEWS

*William Rutherford Benn and the Reverend  Julius Benn –

The son who murdered his own father at Matlock ............

The Reverend Benn and his son William arrived in Matlock Bath on Tuesday 27th February and booked themselves 2 beds and 1 sitting room at the property of Mr George Marchant and his family in Matlock Bridge.  Mr Marchant hired out a coach and horse and also offered guests a family run place to stay in Matlock.  The house was named The Cottage and was situated on Chesterfield Road, not far from the railway station.

The father and son told how they were visiting the area for the purpose of William’s health, they were very pleasant but unusually they asked Mr Marchant not to include them in the guest book and not to tell any of their visit.  It seems that they did not want any visitor’s and did not want to be disturbed.  Whilst in the area they visited all of the local attractions; Matlock Bath, Riber Castle, Millers Dale, Cromford and the Heights of Abraham. 

On the evening of Saturday 3rd March they took their evening meal and then retired to bed around 6pm.  Super was taken in to the men later that night around 9pm, The next morning on Sunday 4th March the Marchant family were up bright and early and set too preparing the breakfast for their guests.  At one point Mrs Mary Ann Marchant did hear a noise, but thought it was her mother making the clatter.

By 9am the guests had not arisen and the breakfast had gone cold.  This was unusual as the Reverend Benn and his son had been regular early risers during their stay.  The post man came and so Mrs Marchant went to the door of the suite and knocked, to awake the guests.  She thought she heard a murmur and then more snoring.  Mr Marchant went off to Church and left Mrs Marchant and her mother in the home.  He returned around 1pm to find his wife very anxious as she had been unable to wake the guests, despite several attempts and knocks at the door.

At this point Mr Marchant felt that there was something amiss, returned to the suite and again knocked loudly at the door, this time speaking in a loud voice.  This time the door was unbolted and the sight that awaited Mr Marchant was not at all pleasant.  Mr William Benn was stood pointing at the dead body of his father, the Reverend Julius Benn.  William was covered in blood from head to toes.

Mr Marchant feared for the safety of his wife and mother in law and ushered them out of the house, the police were called for.  He need not have worried as William did not cause for further alarm and instead stood motionless in shock.

Dr Moxon and Police Constable Smith arrived and entered the room; Dr Moxon tried to act in a normal way and wished William “good morning”.  William was still, he had cut his own throat.

Mr Hunter who was Dr Moxon’s assistant arrived and stitched up the gash on William’s throat.  Sergeant Gee also arrived at the crime scene and examined the dead body of the Reverend Benn, his head had been beaten and his brain was said to have been protruding from the skull.  Sergeant Else took William in to custody charged with “having wilfully murdered his father”.  William was removed to Derby Infirmary for treatment and observations.

The police were able to glean some information from the letters which had been sent to the Benn party at Matlock Bridge; the names and addresses were recorded.  The Reverend Julius Benn was pastor at the Old Gravel Congregational Church in St Georges in the East in London.  He left a wife and 7 children (including William) and lived at 119 Stepney Green, London.  William had been suffering with depression and had been under medical supervision at the Bethnal House Lunatic Asylum, London East, when the doctors felt that he had recovered enough the Reverend had brought him to Matlock Bridge for rest and relaxation to assist in his sons return to good health. 

The family of the Benn’s were quite assured that William had committed the act of murder due to mental problems.  It was told how he had only married a few months earlier in the December of 1882 and had been over studying in his business which had caused his mental breakdown.

The Inquest –

This was held at the Queens Head Hotel in Matlock Bridge and was headed by the Deputy coroner for the High Peak District Mr A O Brooks Esq.   The panel were told how William had struck the Reverend Benn with a chamber utensil, which caused his death.  The body was witnessed in the bed where it had been found by Mr Marchant the day earlier, it had been washed but was still an unpleasant sight to behold.  Mr Charles Taylor Mycock a draper from Hyde in Cheshire was called to identify the body; he was the nephew of the deceased.  The inquest was then adjourned until the next day, Tuesday –

Today the panel were told how, on the night of the killing William had stated “I did it with a chamber utensil”.  William was found guilty of having “wilfully murdered” his father Julius Benn at The Cottage, Matlock Bridge.

William was the third son of Julius Benn, aged 28 years old at the time.  His family and close friends spoke with great devotion and love for the poor man who would not have inflicted such savage actions to his father had he been in sound mind.  He had been employed by a business in London until a few months earlier, when he had become irritable and had been put in the care of an asylum.  He had only days before been given a clean bill of health from the doctors at the asylum and had been sanctioned fit enough to travel and rest in Matlock Bridge.

Sadly for William his nightmare was not to end their, having tried to cut his own throat at the scene of the murder he later attempted to throw himself from a window at the Derby Infirmary where he was being cared for after the event.  He sprained his ankle and caused injury to his back after he jumped the 21 feet to the ground.  Some said that he was not attempting his own life but trying to escape.  And so William was committed to Broadmoor Lunatic Asylum having been found to not being able to recover his sanity.

The will of Julius Benn was proved on 5th July 1883 and his wife Ann was beneficiary to his estate of £118 7s 6d. 

As for William, he was born in 1855 in Hendon, Middlesex.  On the 1871 census he is 16 years of age and works as a clerk at East India House.  Ten years on and just before this dreadful incident William is still single and working in the same occupation as a merchant’s clerk. 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ X ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



Saturday, 13 April 2013

Echoes of our Past NEWS............ 14th April 1883

Read all about it……. Echoes of our past NEWS

What was in the local news this weekend in 1883?


There was no major NEWS this week but there was a recipe for Golden Pudding.  The recipe was included in the advertisement for Hartley’s Marmalade and was as follows –

Golden Pudding
Take 2oz bread crumbs,
2oz suet,
3oz Hartley’s Marmalade,
2oz sugar,
2 eggs

Put the bread crumbs and suet (which must be chopped fine) into a
basin, with the Marmalade and sugar,
stir these well together; beat the eggs to a froth,
moisten the pudding with this, and when well mixed,
put into a well greased mould or basin,
tie down with a well floured cloth,
and boil 1 hour.

When turned out strew fine silted sugar over the top.



*Murderer at Matlock –

A man named William Rutherford Benn who murdered his father the Reverend Julius Benn has been found to be insane and thus has been taken to Broadmoor Lunatic Asylum.  He was said to have committed the murder a month earlier in March 1883.

*Chesterfield School Board –

Held its monthly meeting at the Municipal Hall.  The attendance figures for the schools were read by Mr Kerslake the school attendance officer –

v  Number of children registered – March; 2560  April; 2592

v  Average attendance – March; 1877  April; 1828

v  Highest weekly average – March; 2057  April; 2021

v  Lowest weekly average – March; 1699  April; 1583

*Midland Railway Tender’s –

The Railway was inviting tenders for “cleaning and painting” the station buildings –

v  Houses at Hasland

v  Stations at Bingley, Saltaire, Shipley and Manningham

v  Locomotive Department Buildings at Staveley

Painters and contractors were invited to apply by post before 9am on Thursday 19th April 1883.

*Pauper on the run –

Thomas Roe appeared at Ashbourne Police Court accused of “having absconded from the workhouse in cloths belonging to the Guardians and also with being drunk and disorderly in Dig Street”.

Thomas was found to be in a state “so helplessly drunk” on 3rd April at which point Recruiting Sergeant Cooper had to enlist some helpers to get Thomas onto the back of a hand cart so that he could be taken to the lock up.  He had the sum of £2 on his person at the time of arrest.

He was found guilty for both taking the Guardians property and being drunk and disorderly; charged 10s for the taking of property and £1 3s for being drunk.

*Serial offender –

John Cooper of Bakewell could boast great attendance figures after he had reached the grand total of 20 appearances at Bakewell Petty Sessions.  He was charged with being drunk and disorderly at Bakewell Fair on 26th March. 

Ironically John was not even the subject of the police’s attention; they were arresting another man when he tagged along and began to cause a disturbance.  He was fined 10s and costs but he was unable to pay and so he was committed to gaol for 14 days hard labour.


*Richard Walker eldest son of Richard Walker Esq of Matlock Bath to Fanny May only daughter of the late William Brooker Esq of Hodgkinson Hotel, Matlock Bath.  At the all Saints Church, Bakewell on 12th April

At the Parish Church, Chesterfield on

8th April –

*Mr Thomas Foy miner to Miss Fanny Wombwell

*Mr James Hurst engine tenter to Miss Sarah Fisher

9th April -

*Mr Thomas Mellors miner to Miss Maria Hull

*Mr George Wright miner to Miss Hannah Brown

12th April –

*Mr Henry Rainsminer to Miss Esther Ball


*Frederick Stanley Fenton “beloved and only child of Frederick and Davan Fenton” aged 7 years on 7th April

*Ellen Bridgett aged 49 years at St Marys Gate, Chesterfield on 9th April

*Hannah Bradley aged 58 years at Brimington on 5th April

*Ann Dronfield aged 67 years at Holymoorside on 7th April

*Edward Marsden aged 68 years at High Street, Whittington on 5th April

*Lucy A Mason aged 18 months at Mountcastle Street, Newbold on 6th April

*David H Tudor aged 2 years at Station Road, Chesterfield on 7th April


*Rufford Hunt –

The hunt took place on Friday 13th April at Owl Cotes Farm near Heath.  There was a good attendance as the weather was kind.

The Welbeck Cup was won by Lord Harrington’s Donovan and the prize was £30.  The Rufford Hunt Cup valued also at £30 was won by Mr R C Otter’s Driver.


*Chesterfield April Fair –

Chesterfield had been under restrictions after a contagious disease had caused the cattle market to be suspended.  The April fair was the first for many weeks in Chesterfield and lots of people turned out to attend the event.

The fair was limited in cattle as the news that the restrictions had been lifted was not common knowledge, but cows, sheep, pigs, horses and even cheese was sold on the day.  Although the quality of the animals was said to have been poor.