~ Old News ~
GORNAL IN THE NEWS - OLD NEWS AND GOSSIP FROM AROUND THE VILLAGE
1870s
The major story in this decade was the attempted murder of Reverend James Rooker, Vicar of St. James's in 1879.
This story is covered in this seperate page HERE.
These reports were taken from newpapers of the time....
19th February, 1870
FATAL ACCIDENT AT A QUARRY.
On Friday a serious accident occurred at a stone quarry belonging to Messrs. Burton and Waterford, at Upper Gornal, Staffordshire. Four men were engaged on a piece of rock, and were removing some loose rubbish, when suddenly a large quantity fell, and they were knocked down and sent a distance of ten feet below. A married man named William Walker had both lungs burst and both legs and ribs broken. William Elwell, Joseph Fellows, and Thomas Hunt also sustained serious injuries. Walker died on his way home, but the others are progressing favourably.
County Observer and Monmouthshire Central Advertiser
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16 March, 1870
A novel defence was set up the other day by a prisoner at the Sedgley Police Court. Thomas Wakelam, of Lower Gornal, was charged with being drunk and disorderly, and with assaulting Police Constable Moffatt. Wakelams's defence was, "Your Worship, I'm the best man in Gornal!". The matter ended in a fine of half a crown and costs, which "the best man in Gornal" promptly paid.
The Guardian
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3rd December, 1870
STABBING CASE.
At the Sedgely Police court a boy about 11 years of age, named Joshua Turner, living at Gornal Wood, was charged with cutting and wounding Joseph Brook, aged 14 years, on the 7th inst. The lads were playing together, when a quarrel arose between them, and after exchanging blows and kicks for some time, Turner drew a sharp knife, and thrust it into the thigh of Brooks, causing a wound an inch and a half in length, and half an inch deep. The lad was so ill as to be confined to the house for a week.
Turner was committed to the Staffordshire Sessions for trial.
County Observer and Monmouthshire Central Advertiser
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6th October, 1871
A WELSH LEAK AT THE ONION FAIR.
SWANSEA GENTLEMAN ROBBED OF 370 IN A HOUSE OF ILL-FAME IN BIRMINGHAM.
A gentleman from Swansea, whilst under the influence of drink, was robbed, at a house of ill fame, in Hill-street, Birmingham, of 370 in bank notes, on the 30th ult., and a reward of 50 was offered for the apprehension of the thief. The gentleman came up to attend the Great Onion Fair. The reward being published, notice was sent to the various police stations in the district, and Inspector Tomlinson, of Sedgley, gave his men instructions to be upon the alert.
On Tuesday, Police-constable Moffatt heard that Mr. Richard Marsh, publican and butcher,[Five Ways Inn, Himley Road] had cashed a ten pound note bearing the number 11,071. As this was the number of one of the missing notes, the police-officer went to the house of William Lowe, Gornal Wood, and watched from two o'clock yesterday morning until half-past seven, when he saw Lowe leave the house. He then went to the house, and found, sleeping in the same room with William Lowe, and his wife Ruth, a girl of loose character, named Maria Worton, who was stated to be a lodger, having gone there the previous night. He ordered the two women to dress, and come downstairs, and as soon as they did so he took them into custody. He then searched the place, and in a box, belonging to the girl Worton, he found the sum of 9 13s. 2d. Between the bed and the mattress he found 7 5s. Gd., and a pocket handkerchief belonging to the gentleman who had been robbed. Two notes in addition were also found in the possession of Mrs. Lowe. The officer then took the two female prisoners to the police station, and afterwards returned and watched for the man.
After waiting some short time he succeeded in apprehending William Lowe. On Wednesday afternoon all three prisoners were taken before one of the local Magistrates, charged with being concerned in the robbery of banknotes, and they were remanded to Birmingham, where they were conveyed a short time afterwards. At the Police Court, Birmingham, yesterday, nine persons were charged with being implicated in the robbery of the above-named amount of money from Mr. Hopkins, a cattle dealer of Swansea. A prima facie case was established against the whole of them, and they were remanded until this day (Friday).
Reported the following day>>>>
Mary Ann Worton (22), Green's-buildings, Little Queen-Street; Wm. Lowe (44), miner, Ruth Low (41), his wife, of Gornal Wood; and James Doughty (47), fishmonger, Great King street, Dudley, were brought up, on remand from the previous day, on a charge of stealing bank notes to the value of 370 from a cattle dealer, named Hopkins, of Swansea.
Birmingham Daily Post
On 5th January, 1872, at the trial in Birmingham, Mary Ann Wharton, received 12 months for 'larceny from the person'. Mary Smith, received 8 months for 'receiving stolen goods' and James Doughty also 6 months imprisonment for receiving stolen goods.
Ruth Lowe was acquitted. No information found about the outcome for the other defendants.
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6 December, 1872
TAMPERING WITH VOTING PAPERS.
At the Sedgley Police Court (near Wolverhampton), on Saturday, before Mr. Spooner, stipendary magistrate, Edward Brooks, sexton and parish constable for Lower Gornal, was charged with having fabricated certain voting papers. The defendant was employed at the last election of the Upper Sedgley Local Board as a distributor and collecter of the voting papers.
It was proved that he did not leave a voting paper at the house of Enoch Harris, whose name appeared in the rate books. A voting paper, however, containing the name of Enoch Harris, purporting to have been signed by John Rogers for Harris, the latter being unable to write, was handed in by Brooks, and the votes it contained were allowed. The writing on the voting paper was identified as Brooks's by the Rev. J. Y. Rooker, for whom he had been sexton for several years.
Monmouthshire Merlin
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26th July, 1873
A young woman, named Mary Marsh, was killed by sunstroke on Monday, at Gornal, near Dudley, while watching a procession of Friendly Societies.
The Aberystwith Observer
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13th May, 1876
SUSPECTED HIGHWAY ROBBERY AT GORNAL WOOD.
On Wednesday night Police Constables Moffat and Barton found a cattle dealer, named Thomas Jones, lying in an insensible condition in the gutter at Gornal Wood. They conveyed him to his home, and medical aid having been rendered him he recovered his consciousness, when he stated that when he arrived at Dudley Railway Station from Kidderminster he took a cab, but as he was driven off he was accosted by two women of ill fame, who entered his cab and were driven with him to the Bull's Head Inn, Gornal Wood. They remained drinking in the house for about half-an-hour, and upon leaving the women were joined by a man, who shortly afterwards used great violence against him. Upon examining his pockets he found that 32 had been extracted from them. Yesterday, at the Dudley Police Court, a woman of ill fame, named Sophia Young, residing in Alma Place, in this town, was in custody on suspicion of having been one of the women who stole the money. She was ordered by the magistrates to be handed over to the Sedgley Police.
The Dudley Herald
On 10th July 1876, Sophia Young was convicted for 'robbery in company' and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment at Stafford Assizes.
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Saturday, October 28, 1876
DESTRUCTIVE FIRE.
On Tuesday night last, a fire broke out in a warehouse adjoining Mr. John Thompson's chemist's shop, Five Ways, Lower Gornal and completely destroyed the warehouse besides injuring the shop. It appears that the warehouse was filled with oil, turpentine, benzolene, and such like, and one of the barrels was found leaking. An assistant went into the place with a candle in order to discover the leak, and whilst doing so, some straw caught fire, and before it could be extinguished the fire extended to the oil, the building soon became one mass of flames. The assistant called for assistance, and in a short time, a great number of persons were in attendance, and by their exertions, the fire after raging for about half an hour, was subdued. One man, at imminent risk to himself, succeeded in bringing out a barrel of benzolene, and another man was almost suffocated, being brought out of the warehouse, where he was assisting removing some of the things, in an insensible condition. Though some of the furniture and things inside the shop were injured, no very serious damage was done, in consequence of the door leading to the warehouse was closed. It was a very fortunate thing the door was closed, as just over the door in the shop were a number of packages containing gunpowder. The damage to the stock and property is estimated at about 300.
The Dudley Herald and Wednesbury Borough News.
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10th November, 1876
A novel mode of effecting a burglary has just been discovered at Ruiton, Sedgley.
After Mr. and Mrs. Cooper had retired to rest on the 1st November burglars entered their room, and, having administered chloroform to them, burst open the cash box and extracted the sum of 8.
The inmates were recovering from their condition of stupor when the thieves decamped. On going down stairs Cooper found that chloroform had also been administered to the dog.
Birmingham Daily Mail
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19th January, 1877
DREADFUL COLLIERY EXPLOSION NEAR DUDLEY.
An explosion of a dreadful nature occurred on Tuesday at the Coppat Colliery, [?] Lower Gornal, whereby five persons were shockingly injured. When the company of men were about to leave work, a heavy fall of coal took place, which was followed by a dense volume of sulphur, which immediately exploded, scattering all the men that were in the vicinity.
Five persons were found dreadfully injured, two of whom were in a dying state, their flesh being frizzled from their bones. No reason can be assigned at present for so terrible an occurrence.
Monmouthshire Merlin
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15 August, 1877
A singular incident is reported from lower Gornal in Worcestershire, England. A party of people were returning home from Dudley to Lower Gornal when in the main road, known as Bagley's Lane, they were alarmed by the spectacle of a host of snakes and lizards advancing along the road, which literally swarmed with them for a distance of more than ten yards. It was difficult to walk without treading on them at every step, and the nerves of the ladies of the party were so shocked that they requested the gentlemen to carry them. This request was immediately complied with, and the snakes and lizards, although squashed by dozens, did not show any temper, but pursued their mysterious mark without attacking any one.
This incident was taken up and reported in an American Newspaper!
[Bagley's Lane as it was called was the eastern section of Graveyard (Grosvenor) Road]
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22nd October 1878
RIOTOUS CONDUCT OF WORKMEN -
At the Sedgley police-court on Monday two ironworkers, named Josh. Hackett, and James Whinchurch, were charged with rioting and assaulting the police at Lower Gornal. It has been customary for men to assemble at Gornal for the purpose of having dog racing and pigeon flying. On Monday, about two hundred men met with that object. A dispute occurred and a fight ensued, which ended in a general riot in which several persons were injured with stones. The prisoners were caught in the act of throwing missiles, and were sent to prison failing to pay the heavy fines inflicted.
South Wales Daily News.
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11 December, 1878
At Lower Gornal, on Monday night, a youth named John Marsh of Price's buildings, Lower Gornal, was sliding on a pool near Cooper's Bank. The Ice gave way, and he was thrown into the water, which is of great depth. His body was found about four hours after the occurrence.
The Guardian
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27th June, 1879
On Sunday, a prize pigeon flying match was to take place at Gornal, and men were deputed to take the pigeons. One, named Jacob Taylor (27), over-exerted himself in walking, and fell down dead. His companions, in order to carry out the match, proceeded on their journey, and left the dead man lying in the street.
The North Wales Express
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8th August, 1879
DISGUSTING CASE OF CANNIBALISM.
At Sedgley, on Tuesday, Zachariali Nayler, bricklayer, was charged with unlawfully wounding John Hall, miner. The parties met at Gornal, and, having quarrelled, Naylor knocked Hall down, bit on his right ear and swallowed it. The prisoner admitted the offence, and said he did it in consequenceof Hall attempting to strangle him. As prisoner had received provocation he was only ordered to pay 2, or in default six weeks imprisonment.
Monmouthshire Merlin
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