From the Archive

Crime and Punishment

With crime and punishment never far from the news a look back through the archives reveals that in times past these issues have never been far away from the public gaze. Two cases featured in our records show how justice was dispensed in the early and late 19th Century. It may be interesting to see if any assumptions or parallels can be made with regard to our own age.

The first comes from 1814 and relates the trials(?), tribulations and ultimately revival of Thomas Yarwood along with William (possibly a relative) who was convicted of burglary and duly sentenced.
Born circa 1797 possibly at Appleton or Waverham, Cheshire. Native place: Cheshire. (Parish of Waverham, County of Chester.) Parents unknown. Occupation in England: tailor. Pale complexion, flaxen hair, grey eyes, height 5′ 7 3/4″.
15.12.1813 Committed for trial. Offence: burglary.
18.4.1814 Chester (Cheshire?) Spring (Lent?) Assizes. Trial by jury. Found guilty.
Death sentence. Aged 18 years.
18.6.1 814 Sentence commuted to ‘Transportation to New South Wales for Life”
30.7.1814 Secretary of State was notified of prisoners awaiting transportation.

Document stated of Thomas Yarwood: “but indiferant –1st offence – healthgood
2.8.1814 High Sheriff of the County of Chester directed to forward prisoners to Thames River hulks.
15.8.1814 Eight convicts sent from Chester prison to the hulks in River Thames. (see below)
17.8.1814 Prisoners arrive River Thames. Thomas Yarwood placed on hulk ‘Institia’.
Nov. 1814 Ship “Indefatigable” (Howes as Master).
200 convicts, including Thomas Yarwood, departed Thames.
25.4 1815 Ship “Indefatigable” arrived Sydney.

1818 Thomas Yarwood applied for Ticket of Leave.
Granted 31.1.1819(?) by Governor Macquarie, (Ticket number 1795.)
Servant to Peter Patillow(?).
29.2.1819 William Woods born.
16.1 1.1821 Sarah Woods born.
1822 Muster shows Thomas Yarwood as a landholder at Windsor.
21 .6 1822 Applied for Banns for marriage.
4 .7.1822 Banns for marriage approved.
12. 8.1822 Thomas Yarwood married Sarah Mary Stubbs at St Mathews Church Windsor. John Crop was Chaplain. William and Sarah were baptised.
Married name was Wood.
8.10.1822 Elizabeth Wood born.
24.5.1824 Keturah Wood born.
1825 Muster showed Thomas Yarwood as a landholder at Windsor – Clink’s Farm, First Branch or Lower Portland Head, Hawkesbury River.
4.1 1.1826 Mary Wood born.
Nov. 1828 Population census showed Thomas (aged 30 years, Ticket of Leave,
Protestant, Farmer) & Sarah (30 years, Came free to colony,
Protestant), Sarah Jnr (8 years, born in colony, Protestant), Elizabeth
(6 years, born in colony, Protestant) & Catherine (4 years, born in colony,
Protestant) (=Keturah) listed under name Yarwood.
Residence Lower Portland Head, Hawkesbury.
Acres 40, cleared 12, cultivated12,horses nil, cattle 9.
Two assigned servants: Thos Hill, 35, Free by servitude, “Agamenmon” 1820;
Geo. Trueman, 28, Free by servitude, “Glory” 1818.
18.12.1828 Thomas Wood born.
6.3.1831 Eliza Wood born.

15.5.1832 Conditional pardon 68) was granted.
29.2.1833 William James Wood born. (Alt. date of birth 27.9.1833.) Baptised Yarwood.
28.10.1835 Rebecca Wood born. Baptised Yarwood.
7.12.1837 Sophia Matilda Wood born.
15.1.1840 Kezia Wood born.
1841 Census: at Sally’s Vale, Windsor; 9 persons.
1842 Mary Wood born.
Thomas Yarwood: Died circa 1849. (Between 5.5.1843 & 20.2.1850.) (A Thomas Wood, aged 40, was buried on 17.8.1837.)

WILLIAM YARWOOD was convicted with Thomas Yarwood. Native place: Cheshire. Frorn
Appleton. Aged 21 (or 20). Labourer. Height 5′ 11 1/2″.Pale complexion, flaxen hair, grey eyes. Possibly a brother of Thomas Yarwood. Ticket of leave #2450. Conditional pardon # 38. Letter to Secretary of State 30.7.1814 states: “has been a good character. Health good.”
Listed in census of Nov. 1828 as aged 35 years. Ticket of Leave. Arrived “Indefatigable” 1815. Protestant. Life sentence. Labourer. Employer: Jas. Holland, Castlereagh St., Sydney.

Compiled Dec. 1993 by Laurie Woods from information provided by Geoffrey Woods and Lorna Baillie-Mace.
This document as a footnote is a transcript showing the instruction to remove 12 convicts , including it is assumed, the above mentioned, to hulks from Chester Gaol.

(There are much less clear copies of written orders held in the archive should anyone wish to see them.)
The second case refers to an activity that appears to have been very popular in the local area (other sources refer to this and Bear Baiting) but had been banned in 1843. This particular offence took place in 1873 so it should be safe to assume that those involved were well aware of the law!


Cockfighting in Weaverham

Did you know that in 1873 Weaverham gained some national notoriety when cockfighting was uncovered here in the village? And this despite the fact that cock pits were banned by statute in 1849?
The resultant court cases were reported not only in the Northwich Guardian but also in The Times and also led to questions to the Home Secretary in the House of Commons and letters to the Editor of The Times.

The Northwich Guardian of 31st May 1873 reported:-
Having received information that an unusual number of game cocks were being conveyed by rail in the neighbourhood of Northwich, last week, the police authorities placed detectives at various points where it was thought probable the gamesters were consigned for. After some close watching they were traced to Mere Bank House, near Weaverham, the residence of Mr. W. Marshall. No time was lost in making complete arrangements for a raid on the premises and on Friday afternoon a numerous body of police under the directions of Superintendents Rowbottom & Mayho paid a visit to Mere Bank in plain clothes. Being unable to obtain ready admission to the premises, the officers scaled the walls and on getting into the yard found between 20 and 30 gentlemen in a state of confusion. They proceeded to the saddle room and there found a properly formed cock pit, where there was every appearance of combat having recently taken place, as there was a quantity of feathers and blood on the ground. They then made a thorough search in the adjoining buildings and discovered two cocks, newly killed, about 30 live cocks, several of which were “trimmed” in a scientific style and a considerable number of spurs. The two dead birds, the spurs and a fine live cock, which is supposed to be a “champion ‘ were seized by the police. Measures were then taken to obtain the names of the gentlemen present and about a score complied with the requests of the officers but four or five succeeded in making their escape and displayed wonderful agility in doing so. Mr. Marshall and three or four local gentlemen were on the scene but others hailed from various parts of England and Ireland. It is said that a competition was taking place between a number of English and Irish cocks. As the police were approaching Mere Bank a trumpet was sounded by a person near the premises and it was surmised that this was a warning signal to the promoters of the match. Legal proceedings have been instituted and the case will be investigated before a bench of magistrates.

The Times of 2nd July 1873 noted:-
At Oakmere Court House on 30th June 1873 before Mr. G. Wilbraham and other Magistrates, Mr William Marshall answered charges of cockfighting in his stable on 23rd May. Mr. E. L. Ashworth of Manchester appeared for the defendant who was fined 5 shillings (the full penalty) plus costs. The Manchester Guardian states 26 other summonses had been issued to other persons, many of them occupying high positions in the County, but these have been withdrawn although not improbable that the case may again come before the public shortly.
Robin Shinkfield
Sources: Northwich Guardian 31/5/1873 Weaverham History Society
The Times 2/7/1873

Comments are closed.