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Whether we know it or not, most of us have some criminal ancestry lurking in our past, awaiting discovery. If you are a family historian you may well have unearthed one or two.


Elsewhere we tell the story of Richard Bennett and his friend Thomas Mansell who were transported to Australia for the capital offence of stealing a sheep; they were not even successful! And they were not the only Cradley people to be transported for similar offences.

However, most crime was even more petty, and on this page we list some of the cases of Drunkeness and Assault that took place (allegedly) in Cradley during the single year of 1888.

The list came to light during a recent conversation between Jill Guest and Peter Barnsley, when Peter came up with some work he had done years ago, transcribing court cases from the County Express newspaper in which Cradley people were implicated, either as perpetrator or victim, or both.

If you had ancestors in Cradley in 1888, you may find one or more them named here. For example, Richard Jones of Two Gates, fined for being drunk and disorderly, was my great, great uncle, while Eliza Partridge, fined for striking Thomas Barnsley Nock on the head with a cup in a public house, was my great, great grandma. We are not told what Tom Nock did to cause her to do it. Perhaps she just disliked him.

Read on, and see if you find anyone you know...

Nigel Brown

Note: The fines and costs are given in the money system in use at the time, which persisted until decimalisation in 1971. Prior to that every Pound Sterling (₤) comprised 20 shillings ("/-"), each of which comprised 12 pence. There were also half pennies and quarter pennies (farthings).

One pound (₤1.0.0) in 1888 was the equivalent of about ₤72 today (2012).


Drunkenness


Crime and punishment in 1888

Newspaper Detail

Name

Information Details

County Express 28th April 1888 p.8 col. 6

Thomas Willetts, Cradley


Fined 5/- (including costs) for drunkenness.


County Express 5th May 1888 p.8 col. 14


George Kirton, chainmaker, Cradley


Fined 2/6 + costs for drunkenness.


County Express 5th May 1888 p.8 col. 14


Will Bache, Cradley


Fined 2/6 + costs for drunkenness.


County Express 12th May 1888p.8 col. 4


Frank Smith Light Green, Cradley


1/- + costs.


County Express 12th May 1888p.8 col. 4


William Lee Labourer, Cradley


2/6d + costs.


County Express 26th May 1888 p.8 col. 6


William Faulkes, chainmaker, Cradley


1/- + costs.


County Express 26th May 1888 p.8 col. 6


William Kirton, chainmaker, Cradley


2/6 + costs.


County Express 26th May 1888 p.8 col. 6


John Wooton, nailmaker, Cradley


2/6 + costs.


County Express 8th September 1888


Thomas Davies, Carter, New Street, Cradley


Fined 2/6 + costs for being drunk and disorderly at Lyde Green.


County Express 8th September 1888


Thomas Crumpton, Carter, Lyde Green


Fined 2/6 + costs for being drunk and disorderly at Cradley.


County Express 8th September 1888


Richard Jones, Chainmaker, Two Gates


2/6 + costs for being drunk and disorderly at Two Gates.


County Express 8th September 1888


Henry Dovey, chainmaker, Two Gates


Fined similar sum for being drunk and disorderly at Wollescote.


County Express 22nd September 1888 p.5


George Ashmore, horse slaughterer, Cradley


5/- + costs for drunkenness.


County Express 13th October 1888 p.5 col.5


George Billingham, scrap-iron dealer, Cradley


Fined 5/- + costs for being drunk on licensed premises (apparently the Star & Anchor, Coventry St.


County Express 13th October 1888 p.5 col.5


Elijah Etherington, Cradley


Fined 2/6 + costs for drunkenness.


Assault

Newspaper Detail

Name

Information Details

County Express 25th February 1888 p.5 col.5


George Handley, Anchor striker


Fined 10/- + 14/- costs for assaulting William Hill at Cradley. "One of those unfortunate squabbles arising between members of Cradley Baptist Chapel." Mr T Homer prosecuting...


County Express 14th April 1888 p.5 col.


Selina Priest, married, Cradley


Fined 5/- for assaulting Alfred Pugh at Cradley on 7th April.


County Express 23rd June 1888 p.5 col.5


Hezekiah Bills, chainmaker, Cradley


Committed for trial on a charge of wounding Thomas Attwood, anchor striker, Cradley, at the Bridge Inn. Bills struck Attwood on the head with a cup in the course of a fight.

County Express 30th June p.7 col. 3


Hezekiah Bills


Bills received 1 month hard labour at Worcester (it was an "earthenware" cup).


County Express 7th July 1888 p.5


Samuel Beasley, chainmaker, Two Gates


Charged with damaging growing grass, stealing mushrooms and assaulting P.C. Daly. For the assault Beasley was fined 10/- + costs or 14 days.


County Express 4th August 1888 p.5 col. 15


Sarah Ann Taylor, single, Cradley


Fined 5/- + 11/- costs (or 14 days) for assaulting Elizabeth Taylor on 24th July at Cradley. E. Taylor said defendant was beating her little boy in the street and upon witness calling the boy into the house, defendant struck her on the head with a poker, and blacked her eyes with her fists. Defendant also threw a brush at her, which hit her in the back.


County Express 29th December 1888 p.8 col. 6


Eliza Partridge, droveresss, Cradley


Fined 5/- and £1 13 shillings costs for assaulting Thomas Barnsley Nock, puddler, Lyde Green, Cradley on 24th December by striking him on the head with a cup in a public house.