Wednesday, 10 October 2012

10th October 1812: Joseph Radcliffe issues warrants for suspects in the assassination of William Horsfall, and others

After receiving information from Francis Vickerman & Joseph Oldham about possible suspects in the assassination of William Horsfall, the authorities in Huddersfield acted on Saturday 10th October 1812. The sequence of events is not clear to this day, but we know from a letter from General Acland to General Maitland that in the evening, Joseph Radcliffe had issued warrants for the arrest of the croppers George Mellor, Benjamin Armitage, Thomas Smith & one other not named by Acland. They were taken up either that evening or in the early hours of the 11th October.

Also brought before Joseph Radcliffe for questioning were almost the entire household of the master clothdresser Joseph Mellor, also named by Vickerman: Joseph's wife Martha, the apprentices John Kinder & Thomas Durrance (though not the apprentice Francis Vickerman junior), and James Varley, a cropper who worked for Mellor. Whether or not the information they volunteered in their initial examinations led to the arrest of Mellor et al is unclear, but likely, given that Joseph Oldham had only named George Mellor.

Acland's letter (of the 11th October 1812) is at HO 40/2/8.

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