Thursday, 29 November 2012

29th November 1812: Multiple Arms Raids & Robberies at Deighton & Fartown, near Huddersfield

In the evening of Sunday 29th November 1812, a series of robberies were committed in the area of Deighton & Fartown, near Huddersfield.

At 9.15 p.m., a number of men with handguns entered the house of a Cloth Manufacturer called William Walker, of New Hall, near Fartown. The men demanded and were given Walker's gun - a pistol - and also took a powder horn. They then demanded money and were given £15 in notes but offered to trade them back for a golden Guinea - Walker agreed and took out his purse: it was a ruse, and the men seized all the coins in the purse, which amounted to five Guineas. The leading man - the lower half of whose face was covered with a black handkerchief - then proceeded to go through Walker's papers whilst the others levelled guns at the Manufacturer. Upon leaving, Walker and his family were warned not to leave the house for at least 2 hours on pain of death.

Next visited by the gang was a shopkeeper at Fartown named George Scholes. Scholes was liberated of a gun, up to 40 shillings in silver, a £5 note, up to 10 £1 notes, a pair of silver tea tongs and two silver teaspoons. The gang also inspected Scholes' cellar and took away a bottle of Rum and some other provisions. Scholes and his family were again warned not to leave for two hours, and that a guard would be left outside. After the group had left, Scholes noticed they had left behind a blunderbuss and a hatchet.

At 10.30 p.m., the gang arrived at the house of a farmer called Joshua Thornton of Jilley Royd, near Fixby. Four men entered the house - two armed with blunderbusses a third with a rifle and another with a pistol. They demanded arms from Thornton, and were told that he had neither. The gang then called out orders "Enoch, Captain, Sergeant and Hatchet-men to enter", and 2 other men entered - Thornton's wife then promised to find some money, and the 2 men were ordered back outside. The gang took a pocketbook containing £5 in notes from Mrs Thornton, who also received a blow to the head with the butt of a gun. One of the gang fired at Thornton himself, but the gun mis-fired. On leaving, the men told Thornton that they intended to use the money to buy weapons, which were to be used to shoot the Huddersfield Magistrate Joseph Radcliffe, and that when this was accomplished, they would return the money.

The next house visited belonged to James Brook of Brackenhall. The gang took away a silver watch, a £1 note and 4 shillings in silver.

At the house of John Woods, doors and windows were broken, but nothing worth taking could be found. The roll was called in Luddite fashion from 1 to 9 before the gang left.

The next destination was the home of William Radcliffe at Woodside: they made off with £11, 10 shillings and 6 pence in notes, six Guineas in gold and up to £3 in copper coins, as well as a silver watch. They also took some tea, loaf sugar and liquor, as well as some plates.

The last visit was paid to Moses Ball at Jilley Royd, where they obtained £2 & 10 shillings in silver coins.

Later, both Joshua Thornton and George Scholes believed they recognised two of the raiders and named them as Samuel Robinson and Joshua Fielding of Elland.

This is taken from the Leeds Mercury of 12th December 1812 and an undated report (though it was written before 1st December 1812, as it is mentioned elsewhere on this date) by a Sergeant Clark, which can be found at HO 40/2/3.

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