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~ Old News ~
GORNAL IN THE NEWS - OLD NEWS AND GOSSIP FROM AROUND THE VILLAGE
These reports were taken from newpapers of the time....
9th January 1860
FEARFUL BURNING OF AN OLD WOMAN AND CHILD
At Upper Gornal, near Dudley, an aged woman named Mary Turner a relative of, and residing with Mr. Collins, butcher and cattle dealer, was on Friday night put in a back kitchen of the house before the fire. She is a a poor decrepid woman, and nearly lacking her ordinary senses. A child, not many months old was placed in her lap while the child's mother, a Mrs Hilton, a charwoman, did her work, the poor woman and child were found surrounded by flames, and were in such a state to be unapproachable. Neither of them made any noise and the old woman was quite unconscious when discovered. Both the woman and child were so dreadfully burned there was no hope of recovery.
22nd October 1864
THE COLLIERS STRIKE
Mr. Tomlinson, sergeant of police, has arrested a man as the chief of the mob who committed early on Monday morning the dastardly outrage of blowing up a house at Lower Gornal, with the intention of injuring the inmates. Considerable interest was shown by the miners on strike when the apprehension became known, and some followed him, he protesting his innocence to those around him. This man's real name is Thomas Marsh, but he is only known as Thomas Pea. He is a miner, residing at Gornal Wood, only a short way from the house of Joseph Roberts. Marsh has been on strike ever since the unhappy struggle between the masters and men began, and he has acted somewhat prominently in the demonstrations of the men. On Tuesday morning, as Samuel Mason, a man who had been at work at the old rate of wages, at Mr. Hodgkiss's colliery, at Wednesbury Bridge, was standing near to his own door, one of the colliers' bands, which had been perambuating the neighbourhood, approached him, with about sixty or seventy persons, and the mob hemmed him in, and taunted him with being a blackleg, pushed him about, and struck him. He had on more than one occasion previously been waylaid by men on strike, and threatened.
The Illustrated Usk Observer and Raglan Herald
Another account follows...
21nd October 1864
THE MURDEROUS OUTRAGE BY A COLLIER.
On Thursday a special petty session was held at the Police court, Sedgley, to hear the charge preferred by Joseph Roberts, a miner, of Lower Gornal, against another miner, named Thomas Marsh, otherwise 'Pea' for putting into his bed-room, on the morning of Monday last a bottle containing an explosive mixture, and partially blowing his house up, and imperilling the lives of himself and family.
During the hearing a crowd of miners on strike waited anxiously outside the court to learn the result. Marsh is about 29 years old. He had no professional assistance. Joseph Roberts swore that he was a miner, and lived at Kettle's-bank, Lower Gornal. He knew the prisoner Marsh. He (witness) had resumed his work some time ago at the Himley Colliery, at the old scale of wages, and in consequents of doing so he had been called a number of bad names by the men on strike and bad been threatened by the prisoner several times, and especially on the 20th September last, when the prisoner met him and said, "You think you have done something grand now by going to work, I will tell you this, that if we cannot spite you one way we will another. There will be an explosion at your house before a fortnight has passed-so beware".
About five o'clock on Monday morning last, and about an hour after the explosion at the house of witness, the prisoner with another miner, came to the cottage, and commenced looking at the ruins, and began smiling and very much pleased, and walked away laughing.
Only sufficient evidence was taken to justify a remand to Tuesday next at Bilston, that he might be brought before the stipendiary.
Application was made for the prisoner to be bailed out, but the bench refused.
A Reward of £25 is offered for such evidence as will secure the conviction of the offenders.
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