People

Shearsby, 5 January 1856: Richard Goode charged with robbing his father

Court Reporter: I am reporting from the second day of the Leicestershire Lent Assizes held in Leicester Castle on Tuesday 4th March 1856. Richard Goode was charged with breaking and entering a building on the 5th of January 1856 and stealing 52lbs of barley from his father. The barley was said to be worth about 2 shillings.

T. Bell: As the prosecutor in this case, I call John Goode, a farmer of Shearsby, as a witness.

John Goode: I have to confess that the prisoner is my son. Now, by my house in Church Street is a stable, and next to the stable is a barn. On the 4th of January, there was a quantity of just-threshed barley in the barn. Young George Moore had locked up and given me the key. I kept watch that night and around one o’clock I saw Richard pass by me and stand for some little while outside the window. At that, I called Kempin, the parish constable. He lives just a few doors down from me in Church Street. Before I began watching the barn, I had made sure it was locked.

T. Bell: What happened next?

John Goode: When I went to the barn with Kempin I found the door open. There was a bag in the barn containing barley and chaff which had been dug out of the bulk. I also saw a crowbar, which was not one of mine. I did not see my son enter the barn though. Nor did I ever find any of my barley in his possession.

George Kempin: On the morning of the 5th of January I went to John Goode’s barn and found the fastened. This was at about ten o’clock in the morning. I found that there was a large hole in the door-post and through that, I could see Richard Goode putting barley in a bag. I called out “Dick, what are you doing there?” I went round to the back of the barn, but by then he had made his escape. I saw him running away, but could not catch him.

George Kempin: Later that same morning I went round to Richard Goode’s house which is about a quarter of a mile from the barn. I found him there in bed. I searched his house but did not find anything there. I do have this crowbar though, which a young lad named Moore gave me.

Court Reporter: The lad he referred to was 16 year old George Moore from Mill Street, Shearsby; Joseph Moore’s son.

George Moore: When I locked the barn up Friday night there was no bag inside. There was a crowbar by the doorway next morning and that weren’t there Friday night neither.

Superintendent Deakins: I thoroughly examined the premises and found on the barn door a gouge that corresponds exactly to the end of this here crowbar.

Richard Goode: I am out of work these days and that has got me behind with my rent. When that has happened before I have had to go round to my mother’s and she has given me the stuff I need. That is what happened this time too. She said she would give me some barley so I could make a few shillings. Come down at eleven o’clock she said. Well I went down with her to the barn, but I never took any barley away and I never stole any of it.

Court Reporter: The jury found the prisoner guilty. After this verdict, Mr. Noon revealed a previous conviction against the prisoner six years back and that itself followed another conviction for felony. In 1850 he had been sentenced to seven years’ transportation and he is now a ‘ticket-of-leave’ man. The Court now sentenced him to seven years penal servitude.

Superintendent Deakins: Was he the chap I caught ten year ago a-stealing his father’s horse?

References

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, March 08, 1856; pg. [1].

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, June 13, 1846

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, May 21, 1853; pg. [1]; [Mary Goode convicted of shoplifting]

“England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NYT9-16G : 30 December 2014, John Goode, 09 Jun 1794); citing SAINT MARY,HINCKLEY,LEICESTER,ENGLAND, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 590,785.

“England and Wales Census, 1851,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:SGFG-7MV : 1 November 2017), John Goode, Knaptoft, Leicestershire, England; citing Knaptoft, Leicestershire, England, p. 2, from “1851 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing PRO HO 107, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.

“England and Wales Census, 1851,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:SGFK-H7P : 1 November 2017), George Moore in household of Joseph Moore, Knaptoft, Leicestershire, England; citing Knaptoft, Leicestershire, England, p. 6, from “1851 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing PRO HO 107, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.

“England and Wales Census, 1851,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:SGFG-7M5 : 1 November 2017), George Kempin, Knaptoft, Leicestershire, England; citing Knaptoft, Leicestershire, England, p. 1, from “1851 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing PRO HO 107, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.

Advertisements

Bath Inn, Shearsby, 18 April 1839: William Simons’s land up for auction

Potential purchasers of agricultural land were invited to gather at the house of Mrs. Reeve, the Bath Inn, Shearsby, on Thursday 18th of April 1839 at 4PM. On offer was the field to the right hand side of the turnpike road from Leicester to Welford, at the foot of John Ball Hill, owned by William Simons. This field (or Close) contained 3 acres 2 roods of excellent grazing land.

Also for sale that day was the dwelling-house, then occupied by Thomas Ross, with its spinning-room, comb-shop and offices. In the 1841 census Thomas Ross was found living in Church Street with his children Grace and James.

There were also two tenements, with a shared garden, in the occupation of – Weston and – Whitmore in Mill Street. In 1841, 30-year old John Whitmore, agricultural labourer, lived with his wife Ann (25), daughter Mary (5) and sons John (2) and William (1). Robert Weston (28) was a stocking frame knitter, living with his wife, also Ann, and daughters Harriet (4) and Mary (2). Both families living just next door to  John Pallet’s smithy.

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, April 13, 1839; pg. [2];

© 2017. Please check the timeline to view this story in the context of other village stories by date.

 

Shearsby, 14 January 1835: William Simons’s Insolvency

By the end of 1835 hard times had caught up with 54 year old William Simons. The debts had piled up beyond his ability ever to discharge them and he had had to sign the legal papers to end his tailoring business by insolvency. William Walker, a Shearsby farmer (and friend) and Thomas Davies, a Leicester grocer, took responsibly for managing affairs on his behalf. They were hoping to sort out as much as possible within two months. Anyone who owed money to Simons was asked to pay the estate or risk being sued themselves.

That was not the only trial William and Ann had to face that year. On 26th May their 25-year-old son Thomas passed away and was buried in the village churchyard.

In April 1939 William Simons was selling land that he owned in the parish. However, eventually things may not have worked out too badly for him, as in 1846 William Simons was noted as the School-Master for the Shearsby village children.

William was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Simons and had been christened in the village church on 5 August 1781. In the 1851 census, William Simons, aged 69 and a teacher, was living in Mill Street, with his wife Ann. She was a few years older than him and originally from Wanlip.

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, January 17, 1835; pg. [1];

Leicester Exchange, 21 October 1834: Thomas Ross takes on the Truck System. Part 1

Thomas Ross was born in Shearsby and christened in the village church on 24 April 1796. He and most of his family worked in the wool trade, usually specifically with worsted, in Leicestershire, with the exception of younger brother George who emigrated to America for a time. Thomas had married Grace Peet of Countesthorpe in September 1815 and in 1834 had two children Grace, aged 10 and James, aged 4.

Moses Stephen Pegg was born in Leicester and christened on 28 May 1794. He was not a mere ‘informer’, he claimed, but an Inspector of Hawker’s Licenses. However, he acknowledged that this was “an Irish sinecure: all work and no pay”. He did receive a share in all the penalties from cases he brought forward, though “not more than paid his expenses and compensated him for the anxiety of mind he suffered in discharge of his duties”. He frequently gets a mention in the court reports of the Leicester Chronicle in the 1830s. A possible relative, Thomas Pegg, lived in Shearsby in 1841.

Bankart & Co. were worsted spinners based in Westbridge, Leicester. They made an appearance in Pigot and co.’s national commercial directory for 1828-9. Samuel T. Bankart was born in 1792 in Leicester and in 1851 was living as ‘a gentleman’ in Gaddesby, Leicestershire. There are memorials to members of the Bankart family in the St. Mary de Castro church in the Leicester Castle precinct.

The Truck Act 1831 was a pioneering piece of British employment law, setting the trend towards later Victorian labour law. Section 3 required that: “The entire amount of the wages earned by.. any artificer.. shall be actually paid to such artificer in the current coin of this realm.” Payment by truck is traditionally seen as an abuse of labour, taking the form of the payment of wages in goods rather than coin. This was a practice prevalent especially in the hand-made nail trade in the Black Country; Framework-knitting in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire and hand-loom weaving in Gloucestershire (Hilton, 1958). Since the goods taken could be overvalued or be of reduced quality it was unfair individually and as it made wage comparisons impossible it was unfair collectively too. However, it has been argued (Tan, 2006) that a system where credit was extended to workers was mutually beneficial.

The Petty Sessions were held by the county magistrates in the Assembly Rooms on Hotel in Leicester on Saturdays.

On Tuesday 21 October 1834 it was Moses Pegg taking the initiative in a case against T. Bankart, as owner of Bankart & Co., on a charge of paying one of his workmen, Thomas Ross, in goods rather than cash. He said that Ross had been compelled to take goods from the shop of Bankart’s overlooker Mr. Barsby of Market Street. The Magistrates refused to let the case go forward without evidence that Bankart himself paid his workmen in goods, or that he had an interest in Barsby’s business.

Ross came forward at that point to make his case, but had not got beyond half a dozen words when the magistrates stopped him, asking him to leave the room and return, if he chose, when sober.

He did so the following week.

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, April 07, 1832

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, October 25, 1834

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, November 01, 1834

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, November 08, 1834

“England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NP7Q-22V : 30 December 2014), Thos. Ross, 24 Apr 1796; citing SHEARSBY, LEICESTER, ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 585,287.

Banks, S (2014) Informal Justice in England and Wales, 1760-1914, Boydell & Brewer, Suffolk. p.118. http://bit.ly/2m9MtKo

Truck Act 1831 (1976). The Modern Law Review, 39, pp. 101.

Hilton, G.W. (1958) The Truck Act of 1831. The Economic History Review, 10 (3), pp. 470.

Tan, Elaine S. (2006) Regulating Wages in Kind: Theory and Evidence from Britain. Journal of Law, Economics and  organisation; 22 (2): 442-458. doi: 10.1093/jleo/ewj013

Shearsby, 1846: A village in a pleasant valley

William White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Leicestershire was published in Sheffield in 1846 at 12s. for subscribers or 13s. 6d. if they wanted the calfskin binding and the map. Its pages contain a snapshot of the village at this, almost mid-century, point. The principal inhabitants are listed in alphabetical order with their occupations and there is brief outline of the main attractions of the village for travellers.

The village was said to be situated in a pleasant valley near to the Leicester and Welford road. The waters of the Shearsby Spa at the Baths Inn were claimed to be long held in repute for their medicinal properties, but the proportions of soda, sulphate of magnesia, lime, atmospheric air and other traces are listed for those in doubt.

The church (St. Mary Magdalen) was described as a long, low and ancient structure, though the tower, with its four bells, had been rebuilt in 1789.

Concern for the poor of the village had been expressed by the provision of four small tenements purchased  from the estates of Simon Ward and John Seale, with £60 set aside for distributions of bread. The tenements were let out and raised £4. 10s. a year. An Oddfellows Lodge meeting in the New Inn ran 13 acres of garden allotments, easing pressure on the otherwise landless poor.

The lands of the chapelry had been enclosed in 1773, with current Rector, Rev. James Tindall, enjoying the proceeds of 212 acres in Shearsby. The Duke of Rutland, as Lord of the Manor of Knaptoft, owned some of the land, but the majority was shared between W.K and T.Walker, William Reeve and William Ward.

Tenant farmers included Thomas Blockley, Thomas Brown, John Freer, John Goode, Richard Messenger, C. Palmer and Christina Walker. The carriers, Thomas Bottrill and Ann Robinson, made trips to Leicester on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Education was looked after by schoolmistress Mary Green, schoolmaster William Simons and Miss Sarah Weston, who ran a boarding school.

Of the inns and taverns there was Henry Morris, also a cattle dealer, at the Old Crown; William Reeve at The Baths; Robert Burdett farmed and looked after the New Inn; and Richard Elliott Bottrill, (himself a tallow chandler) at the Chandler’s Arms.

Other occupations were represented by Mary Ann Brown, milliner; Laxton Darnell, miller and baker; Edward Harris, blacksmith; Richard Heighton, wheelwright; John Herbert, bricklayer; George Kampin, carpenter; John and Thomas Read, fellmongers; Moore Smart, framework knitter; John Williams, shopkeeper; John Elliott and William Vyce were butchers; Thomas Bonser and Joseph Moore were tailors; Thomas Archer, Thomas Hunt and Henry Robinson the shoemakers and the two cowkeepers were Robert Chance and William Elliott.

White, William (1846) History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Leicestershire, and the Small County of Rutland.. Sheffield, Robert Leader. [Online] https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=c2MRAQAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false Accessed 27 February 2017

Featured image: Ordnance Survey 1835 [online] http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~249280~5516242:63–Lutterworth,-Leicester,-SE-Quad?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:leicester;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=8&trs=24

Further research

Does the 1841 census for the village give any clues about where the people mentioned here lived?