On This Day: ‘Man Killed In A Lead Mine’; ‘A Candidate For Transportation’

From the Derby Mercury, 16th December 1857:

Man Killed In A Lead Mine

On Friday last, a poor man named Thos. Thorpe, went from his cottage at Bonsall, to Mr. Greaves’, Cliff-house, Matlock, to beg a handful of mint, and not returning on that night or the next, his wife and family became seriously alarmed for his safety.  On Sunday morning some neighbours went in search, and ascertained that Thorpe had left Cliff-house with a quantity of mint, about six in the evening of Friday.  They then tracked his course homewards by leaves and sprigs of mint, to a mine shaft on Masson, then recently run in, but there the traces of the mint ceased.  On removing the rubbish in the hole the poor fellow was discovered about six feet from the surface, of course quite dead, and the body was removed to a farmhouse near to await a coroner’s inquest.

A Candidate For Transportation

Police Office, Derby  George Marshall, a youth of 14, was charged as follows:- Police-constable Davis stated: Prisoner came to me this morning and said, “Mr. Davis, I shall find you a job to-day.”  I replied, “What shall you do?”  He said, “I shall commit a robbery.”  I endeavoured to persuade him to go home, but he would not, and said, “I shall go to the first watchmaker’s shop I can, break a window, steal a watch and run my chance, as I mean to have seven years.”  I knew that prisoner had been twice convicted at the sessions, and also that he had been twice summarily committed, and therefore I thought it best to lock him up.  Prisoner, in reply to questions from the Mayor, said that he would rather be transported than live in Derby; that he had a comfortable home and neither his father nor his mother-in-law behaved ill to him, but he did not like to stay at home.  The Mayor doubted whether sending prisoner to gaol again would be productive of any good, as it was evident he had a propensity for stealing and leading an idle life; but on the mother-in-law saying they had done all they could for him, and that if he did not return home (and he said he would not) something worse was sure to happen to him, the Bench committed him, as a rogue and vagabond, for three months with hard labour.

We hold the Derby Mercury on microfilm  – just ring to book a microfilm reader.

On This Day: ‘A Swindler at Matlock’

From the Derbyshire Times, 18th July 1885:

 A SWINDLER AT MATLOCK

During the past few days a man giving the name of Thomas Fletcher, having also a number of aliases has been busily engaged imposing on the charitably disposed, in the neighbourhood of Matlock.  The fellow who wore clerical attire, visited Mr. Slack butcher, and represented himself to be a “local preacher in distress” and he attributed his poverty to the fact that he was suffering from a failing in the eyes, for which he had tried almost every kind of remedy without any benefit.  He also said that he had spent £180 in obtaining treatment and he succeeded in obtaining a gift of money.  He also said that Mr. Marsh of Wirksworth had generously assisted him, but fortunately it happens that Mr. Marsh and Mr. Slack are related and the fraud was discovered.  The police apprehended the man and found two hymn books and a number of religious pamphlets on him and it was discovered that he has been practising his imposition in the neighbourhood of Ilkeston and Langley Mill.  He is a stout tolerably good looking man about 50 years of age and is most plausible.  He has been accompanied by a woman of low repute who has been “fire eating” at public houses, and the pair were recently turned out of a lodging house at Matlock in consequence of their conduct.  When in the lock-up the man admitted that he had been in trouble at Chesterfield for selling a useless preparation supposed to be “vermin killer”, and was committed for trial.  On Monday morning he was brought before Dr. Harrison at Matlock and was sentenced to 14 days hard labour as a rogue and a vagabond.

The County Local Studies Library holds the Derbyshire Times (Chesterfield Edition) from 1854 – just ring to book a microfilm reader.