Jarratts Buildings - The Community

Roll of Dishonour – Violence

The following stories relate to incidents where the perpetrator does not appear to have been under the influence of alcohol. Jarratts was probably no better or worse than other working-class communities across the country. These incidents appear to have been spontaneous rather than premeditated and words boiled over into actions. This volatility may have been caused in part by the high occupancy of the site. People who clearly did not get on were living in close proximity, which made it difficult to walk away and cool down. Newspapers only reported a small amount of detail and in some situations it is not clear why the magistrates preferred the defendant's version of events. Sometimes the witnesses to an incident were relatives of those involved, or a close friend or neighbour. As such they may have had a vested interest in the outcome, rather than being truthful. Several of the incidents involved members of an extended family, which does not excuse, but does add context. Some of the issues that were accepted as provocation reflect the values of the time.

April 1857

William and Hannah Ibberson, (No 14) Harriet Winder (No 21) and Christiana Clegg were charged with assaulting Patrick Mooney, a county court bailiff. On 6th April Mooney had been sent to recover property from Joseph Wilkinson. When he got to Wilkinson’s house, he found it empty, as his belongings had been moved to Ibberson’s house. The bailiff went to Ibberson’s, accompanied by PC Batty. Mooney asked for Wilkinson’s goods but received only a barrage of foul language. Forcing his way inside and upstairs he attempted to take the bed to pieces, but Ibberson grabbed a bed post and threatened to strike Mooney with it. It took Mooney four hours to get at Ibberson’s goods, during which time he had to be guarded by Batty. When the bailiff went downstairs the women, who had gathered from neighbouring houses, began to hit him with kettles, saucepans and other kitchen implements. It was reported to have damaged his clothes and left him with a bedraggled appearance, but he was not otherwise hurt. Ibberson was fined £1 and costs of 18s were to be divided amongst the four assailants.

April 1861

Thomas Pashley, along with James McQuillan (No 49), Aaron Kilner (No 40) and James Scaife was charged with assaulting Police Constable Morley. Ambrose Haigh who had been arrested with the other four was discharged and gave evidence for the prosecution.

Around midnight on 1st April, Morley, who was then off-duty, had approached the five young men who had just left Smallwood's public house. Scaife asked for a light and whilst the policeman was feeling in his pocket, Pashley knocked him down. Morley struggled to his feet and grabbed Pashley, who yelled, “He knows us, let's kill the b…….”. He knocked the policeman over again and kicked him several times. All five then ran away leaving Morley on the ground with torn trousers and a hat and cape that were useless. He also had with a black eye, bruises and a broken rib.

Scaife denied any involvement but the other three acknowledged what they had each done. Magistrates fined Pashley 40s and costs, Kilner 20s and costs, whilst McQuillan and Scaife received a low fine of 5s and costs, which seems to reflect that they had stood by rather than taken part in the assault. All the defendants were lucky that the case was not sent to the Assize court as assaulting a policeman was a serious charge. The reason was that they had already spent several days in police cells waiting for a hearing before the magistrates.

In October 1866, Aaron Kilner was killed by a fall of stone at Edmunds Main Colliery. His widow Mary remarried, but following a second widowhood in the 1880s, she moved back to Jarratts and was still living there in 1914.

December 1864

George Swift, Sarah Swift and their son John Taylor, (No 20) along with Peter Duffey, Edward Stubbs, William Frobishaw, and Thomas Beevers were charged with assaulting William Simpson, who was in charge of the underground lift at Darley Main colliery. The five lads who were pony keepers asked Simpson to let them up the shaft. He had been instructed not to do this until the horse keeper had confirmed that all work was completed properly. When he refused, the lads started to create a disturbance and he had to chase them off with a stick as they were interfering with lifting coal.

When they returned to the shaft and renewed the disturbance he allowed them to get into the cage.

Later, when Simpson left the colliery the five boys began to throw stones at him. One struck him in the left eye and cut him severely. By this time, George and Sarah Swift had joined the fray. George seized hold of Simpson and told the boys to 'go into him'. They kicked him unmercifully about the legs. He suffered much loss of blood and had not been able to work since. Sarah was alleged to have struck him in the face. One of the stones, a very large and dangerous looking missile was produced in court.

The defence claimed that Simpson had repeatedly ill-used the boys in the pit, provoking them to retaliate. Witnesses corroborated Simpson's account and the five lads were each sentenced to ten days solitary confinement. Swift was sent to Wakefield gaol for two months with hard labour. Sarah was discharged.

John Taylor lived at Jarratts until the twentieth century. I have not located further lawbreaking on his part, suggesting that the ten days punishment worked.

July 1866

Seventeen year-old John Harper (No 15) pleaded guilty to assaulting George Copley (formerly of no 43). Copley had been walking on a footpath through a field on his way to Pindar Oaks Colliery, when someone called him. Turning round he saw a several young men. John Harper walked forward and struck Copley on his arm. Although he managed to work that day, his arm became so painful that he had to leave work early the following day, losing income. Harper was sentenced to seven days in jail.

No reason was given for the assault. In 1861, the census recorded Copley as an agricultural labourer. Whether his change of occupation was annoying the men from long-standing mining families was relevant is unknown.

May 1868

Future resident, Charles Stanley aged 10 was fined a shilling and costs for assaulting eight year old Annie Goodall, daughter of a local policeman. Annie was collecting water from a well at Darley Main Pit when, encouraged by his mother, Mary, Stanley knocked her down and threw a pail of water on her as she fell into a pile of cinders. Apparently Mary was angry that PC Goodall had recently taken one of her other sons to court. Despite noisy protestations she was not allowed to speak in court and was ejected at the request of the magistrates. PC Palmer seized her by the shoulders and turned her out of the courtroom. Her voice could still be heard after she got beyond the precincts of the clerk's office.

September 1869

A gang of youths which included John Gee (No 11), James Williams (No 44), Amos Lee, George Winder, William Jagger (No 5) Charles Swift, Benjamin Fitton (No 15), Richard James and Henry Glover (No 42), youths with their hair cut in the most approved pugilistic style were charged with assaulting Benjamin Thompson in Worsborough Dale on 17th August.

Thompson said the gang attacked him when he interveened to stop them ill-using another boy. Williams was alleged to have jumped on his back and held him whilst the others knocked him to the ground and struck and kicked him. He had not been able to work since the attack.

Williams said that Thompson had challenged the best three of them to a fight, though, at the time of his arrest, he had told PC Goodall that he and Lee were in Barnsley at the time and could get half a dozen witnesses to prove it. Gee, Williams, Lee Jagger, Fitton and James were fined a shilling each and ordered to pay the costs of 38s 6d. Had these been less, the magistrates said that the fine would have been heavier as a deterrent from attacking men on the road.

George Winder was discharged when Thompson said that the police had brought the wrong George Winder to court. Swift and Glover were also discharged because a witness for Thompson was unable to identify them.

March 1872

Charles Stanley (14) was charged with assaulting Arthur Bostock (13). At the time, Bostock was carrying a dog and Stanley struck him in the belly with a stick and then hit the dog over the head with it. A witness for Stanley denied that he had hit Bostock but acknowledged the attack on the dog. He was fined 2s 6d and costs of 12 shillings.

October 1872

William Winder (13) was charged with punching Arthur Bostock who was carrying a sack of potatoes along High Street and threatening to “punch his soul out”. Bostock's father said that he did not want to press the case but he did want protection for his son. Winder was fined 1s and costs.

It is interesting that this is the same victim as in the previous case, which may indicate that Bostock was seen as fair game for some reason.

June 1874

Caroline Glover (No 42) was fined 5s and costs for assaulting Phoebe Maw. The crime was committed after a court case in which Caroline's brother Henry had been convicted of assaulting Phoebe.

October 1874

Mary Winder was charged with assaulting Mary Phillips. It was alleged that Mary Winder had gone to Mary Philips' house, struck her in the face with a key, charged upstairs and attempted to throw Mrs Phillips' daughter-in-law out of the window. When Mrs Phillips arrived in the upstairs room, Mary Winder grabbed her hair and pulled a handful out. The hair was produced in court as evidence. The quarrel had started when Mrs Philips' daughter-in-law, who was Mary Winder's daughter, had gone to her house to fetch some clothes. Mary Winder was convicted of assault and ordered to pay the costs of the hearing.

October 1880

Sarah Harper (No 8) was charged with assaulting Fanny Haigh on 25th September. Fanny said that the previous day Sarah had had five fights with a neighbour. Fanny said that without provocation Sarah went up to her, struck her and called her offensive names. Unnamed witnesses proved that Fanny had started the fight but admitted that as soon as the first punch was landed that Sarah pitched into Fanny. The costs of this case were divided between both women.

Sarah then charged Fanny with assault. As the evidence was against her Fanny was ordered to pay the cost of this hearing.

November 1882

Hannah Spenser, who had recently moved from No 33 Jarratts to Worsborough Bridge was fined 5s for assaulting Agnes Beevers who lived at No 37. Hannah had charged Agnes with making comments about her, so Agnes had gone to Worsborough Bridge to try to reason with her former neighbour. Hannah called Agnes a liar, high words followed, and then Hannah hit her, knocked her down and pulled out a quantity of hair which was produced in court. It took three women to pull Hannah away.

October 1883

Jane Stafford and Sarah Ellesmere were charged with assaulting each other. It was reported that Sarah Ellesmere had gone into the yard where Jane Stafford lived, created a disturbance and struck several times with her fist. An unnamed witness said that when she arrived on the spot Mrs Ellesmere had Mrs Stafford down on the ground and was striking her. Sarah Ellesmere was fined 2s 6d and costs and the charges against Jane Stafford were dismissed.

September 1883

Squire Howson was summoned for assaulting Frances Taylor, a young child. It was alleged that he had struck her during an argument with her father. The case was dismissed.

August 1884

Worsborough Feast was a local festival and probably a local holiday. Feast events would have been attended by many people and pubs would have had good custom.

Picture of Carousel Roundabout
Carousel Roundabout

The day was spoilt for Martha Glover, Eliza Brown and Mary Padgett, all described as respectable looking women, when Alice Robinson charged them with assaulting her at the feast grounds. Martha was reported to have approached Alice and used some beastly language. When Alice said she would make her pay for the words, Martha hit her across the face, making her nose bleed. Eliza then helped Martha to knock Alice to the ground and both kicked her. On the way home, all three women waylaid Alice, knocked her to the ground again and beat her in a brutal manner before someone intervened to rescue her and help her home. Jane Senior and an un-named witness gave evidence corroborating Alice's story and saying that she was in a very weak state after the three women had set about her.

For the defence, Martha's brother-in-law Henry said Alice had struck the first blow, knocking Martha to the ground, and that Jane Senior had then joined with Alice in kicking her. Other unnamed witnesses confirmed this version. Alice Robinson was then charged with assaulting Martha Glover who said that whilst in the gala field Alice went over and called her names, and with Jane Senior's help had struck and beat her. Jane Senior, though not charged, was alleged to have grabbed the hat Martha was wearing and trampled it underfoot. The hat had cost 12 shillings. Mary Padgett then charged Alice Robinson with seizing her by the hair and striking her so that a tooth almost fell out. After hearing from PC Shanks, who had been called to the affray, that the women had been fighting and that they appeared to be one as bad as the other, the magistrates decided that gross perjury had been committed on all sides. They dismissed all the charges, leaving each woman to bear a share of the costs.

January 1887

William McDonald was amongst a group of five men who were charged with assaulting John Hardy, an insurance collector. Hardy was 25, and an innocent abroad as far as Worsborough's miners and tradesmen were concerned. The incident began when two of the defendants met Hardy in High Street, asked him to treat them with some beer and walked him to the Travellers Inn. When Hardy refused to stand a second round of drinks they betted him that he could not haul a dog against the canal. This was a pretext to get him to the water, and at the canal some of the group crossed a bridge, trailing a rope out as they went. They pretended to tie a dog to one end of the rope. The men who remained with Hardy fastened him to the other end of the rope and then shoved him into the icy water. The others then hauled him across whilst a crowd of up to 30 men had gathered to watch the sport. As soon as Hardy was across, everyone ran away. Hardy who lived in Barnsley, had to make his way back to town in soddened clothes. He asked for compensation for three days lost wages, the implication being that he had caught a chill.

The defence argued that Hardy had taken part willingly, but the magistrates considered that the five defendants had taken advantage of someone who could not look after himself and fined each of them 20s and cost of 33s, or a month in jail. It reflects badly on the crowd of observers that no-one remained to check that he was all right. The only help was from one of the defendants who had helped him from the water before running away.

July 1889

William Winder, a miner at Swaithe Main was fined 40s for breaking Joseph Birley's wrist. A scuffle occurred after Birley accused Winder of stealing his shirt. Birley had been unable to work since the assault and magistrates stated that 20s of the fine was to be paid to him as compensation. It appears that Winder did not have the shirt, but his aggressive response towards Birley was considered unreasonable.


Harriet Grist and Sarah Harper (No 51) were accused of assaulting each other. Sarah's house faced High Street. Hearing a noise outside she discovered that a crowd had gathered at a fight further along the road and that Harriet was threatening to fight her daughter. Sarah intervened to prevent any fight, but shortly afterwards Harriet came to her house with a pint pot of warm water which she threw at Sarah, soaking her clothes. The pot smashed on the floor. Mary Rogers corroborated this, whilst Harriet alleged that Sarah had gone to her house and struck her on the forehead with a fist. The magistrates dismissed both cases.

The next case was that of Hannah Padgett (No 5) who was accused of striking Harriet Grist and knocking a tooth out. Hannah's mother was reported to have held Harriet whilst Hannah hit her several times. Hannah said that she had pushed Harriet away when she tried to strike her sister. When Harriet hit her instead, she then retaliated. Hannah was fined 2s 6d and costs.

January 1898

Henry Howson and Squire Howson were charged with assaulting Patrick Dunleavy at The Travellers Rest. Dunleavy had recently arrived in Barnsley from County Mayo in Ireland. Both assailants hit Dunleavy, a coke burner, with their fists about the head and then Squire Howson grabbed the poker and attempted to hit out with that. Dunleavy said that he sustained a black eye, bruises all over his body and clog marks from being kicked.

The defence was that they had seen Dunleavy, holding the poker and attempting to hit a pit deputy named Henry Crossley, so they ran to help the victim.

Crossley said that he given half a crown to a penniless man and then gone with him to the pub to see if anyone else would contribute alms. Dunleavy had been sitting with four other Irishmen who became “very nasty”. One of them hit him and the Howsons and others came to his assistance.

After hearing several witnesses, magistrates considered that there was perjury on both sides and dismissed this case as a drunken brawl.

October 1899

Bridget Dunleavy (No 20) was charged with assaulting James Finan (No 21) with a poker. He said that he had gone to her house to ask why she had knocked his child's head against a wall. She told him to get out or she would do the same to him, so he hurriedly left. Whilst he was talking outside with his father and a few friends, a man named Steele who lodged at Bridget's came out and handed her a poker. She twice struck him over the head with the poker, knocking him to the ground. She then went inside and locked the door.

Blood flowed freely from the wound and it took Finan time to recover his composure. He and his friends then kicked at the door whilst the occupants of the house also kicked it from the inside until one of the door panels was broken through.

Bridget's defence was that Finan was drunk and had burst into her house at half past eleven on a Saturday night and sat down on a chair near the door whilst proclaiming himself the “best ….Irish boy that walked Worsborough Dale”. When Finan threatened to assault her Bridget said that she had refused to let her four Irish lodgers deal with him and had hit him with the poker to quieten him.

After hearing several witnesses, the magistrates fined her 5s and costs, saying that she had been under great provocation but that nothing could justify the use of a poker in such a way.

September 1901

Picture of a Pit Pony
Pit Pony

James Finan, a pit corporal, was charged with cruelty to a pit pony at Grimethorpe Colliery. The pony, called Dancer, became restless. When this was reported to Finan he placed a chain round its neck and fastened it to a staple in the roof. Finan then took no action when a labourer beat Dancer with a stick. Finan then threw lumps of coal which distressed the pony even more. Struggling to get free, it hanged itself.

Finan said that he had fastened the chain to the roof to keep the pony still so that the gears on its harness could be adjusted. Unfortunately the hook had slipped and despite his best efforts, he had been unable to unfasten Dancer. The magistrates said this was an extremely bad case and fined Finan 40s and costs.

September 1902

Sarah Ann Finan (No 21) was charged with assaulting 6 year-old Mary Dunleavy who lived next door at No 20. Sarah pleaded guilty but under provocation, which raised an immediate question in court as to how a child of Mary's age could provoke an adult woman. The assault arose from a children's quarrel between Mary and Sarah's 5 year-old daughter, Hannah, on 27th August. Sarah had come out of her house with a carving knife in her hand and struck Mary on the chest with the haft, bruising her. Mary's parents, Patrick and Bridget gave evidence about the assault and a doctor's certificate stated that Mary was suffering from shock. Her mother said that she had been too ill to get out of bed for several days. Sarah said that she had not deliberately struck Mary but had pushed her away from her own child. The magistrates said that she had no business to strike Mary in the manner alleged and fined her 5s and costs. The case ended with Sarah saying “I shan't pay”.

I have not located any further reports about this incident, which suggests that after reflecting on the matter the fine was paid.

May 1903

Joseph Fallis summoned Harry Smith and his wife Sarah for assault whilst Sarah summoned Fallis for aggravated assault. The charges arose from a game of bounce ball which Smith and Fallis had played for a 10s stake. Fallis won and paid up and the went to the Masons Arms where they had a drink together. The liquor went to Smith's head and he became quarrelsome. The landlord told both men to leave. Smith then threatened Fallis and when they were outside he began to hit and kick him. The attack continued as Fallis tried to walk home, with Smith threatening to punch him to death. Sarah Smith then arrived and shouted out for Mrs Fallis to come, saying that Smith would kill her lad. The scrap then ended with Smith kicking his own wife.

The following day, according to Fallis, Smith approached him wanting to fight for a sovereign. The consequence of the challenge was that Fallis dared not go outside.

Mrs Smith gave evidence that during the melee, Fallis had struck her several times. After hearing both parties, the magistrates decided that there had been a most disgraceful row in which both sides got mauled. They dismissed the case.

January 1906

Jonathan Gawthorpe was charged with assaulting his wife Frances. Both were middle-aged and had married the previous year. It was probably a marriage of practicality as they were both widowed. On Boxing Day, Frances had gone to a pub at Worsborough Common where she had been dancing. Jonathan had arrived and had struck her, giving her a black eye.

In his defence, Jonathan stated that he had been married for 31 years in total and had not had as much trouble in all those years with his first two wives as he had had in four months from his present one. The magistrates believed that the assault had originated from provocation and bound him over in the sum of £5 to keep the peace for three months.

The couple were living together at No 7 Jarratts in 1911 with three of Frances' children. Nothing is known about the state of their relationship at this point.

February 1906

Grace McDonald (No 43) was summoned by Elizabeth Nixon, housekeeper for a neighbour, for assault. Elizabeth claimed that on 10th February, when she was walking down High Street, Grace had used insulting language, hit her in the face with her fist, pulled her hair and knocked her down onto the tram lines where she lay in a dazed condition for some time. Ellen Whiteley and Arthur Booth corroborated this.

Squire Howson and his wife Ellen were called by Grace to confirm her story that Elizabeth had struck first and a fight had ensued in which Elizabeth had been worsted. It was noted that the Howsons were relatives of Grace McDonald and the police confirmed that Grace had used abusive language about Elizabeth when the summons was served on her.

keel inn
The Keel Inn

The magistrates dismissed the case. Some excited females at the back of the court attempted to applaud, but, as the Barnsley Chronicle observed, it was promptly suppressed.


William Harper and John Fallis were in court for unlawfully wounding John McCall. As McCall was now recovering from concussion and been discharged from hospital the case was reduced to assault at this point.

The incident happened outside the Keel Inn after McCall asked Harper to stop swearing. Harper became more abusive and the landlord told him to leave. As he went out he challenged McCall to a fight. McCall followed him out and Harper immediately jumped on him, knocked him to the ground and bit his ear, whilst Fallis kicked him on his head, face and legs.

McCall's sweetheart stated that Fallis had said, “give it to him now and leave him for dead”. Edith Haigh, also a witness said that McCall was on his hands and knees struggling to get up whilst being kicked in the head by the pair. She had pulled at Harper's coat as he was kicking, only to be threatened herself.

The defence was that Harper and McCall had agreed to fight and fought without kicking. Fallis had taken no part in the fight and the injuries had been caused by an unrecognised third person who ran away.

Magistrates considered the assault a brutal one and sentenced both men to a month in jail.

March 1909

Peter Finan (No 19) and Joseph Burgin (No 44) were both fined 5s and costs for obstructing the highway by fighting.

April 1915

Martha Hammond, Selina Ibbotson and Mary Ellen Symons were each convicted of obstructing the police. The women were Glover's mother, who had remarried after being widowed, his sister and his half sister, who were young married women. Family relationships, not apparent through surnames, were often involved in incidents on the site.

Trouble began at 10.45pm when an inebriated Private Herbert Glover distracted PC Ryan as he was trying to arrest two men outside Jarratts. The culprits ran away and Ryan arrested Glover for interfering. At this point, the three women tried to free Glover from Ryan's clutches by grabbing and tearing the constable's coat as he walked his prisoner to the High Street and then boarded a tram with him. Martha followed them onto the tram but was forced to leave by the conductor. The other two women walked to the police station but had no further opportunity to help their brother. They ran away when Ryan came out of the police station to arrest them also.

The three women were recognised and summoned to court, where Jarratts residents Grace McDonald and Squire Howson, gave evidence against them. The magistrates fined each of them 12s for obstructing the police. Herbert Glover received a similar fine when his case was heard separately.

With the war not going as well as many had been led to believe in August 1914, it may be that the women thought that a man who had volunteered to serve his country deserved special consideration. In their eyes, Ryan, a man who was not risking his life in battle, probably appeared to be acting in an authoritarian manner.

April 1926

Kate Wildsmith charged her neighbour Margaret Bentham (No 27) with assault, whilst Margaret Bentham charged Kate and her husband William with making threats. Kate alleged that when she walked past the house on 29th March, Margaret came out, struck and scratched her face and gave her a black eye. Margaret said that Kate had struck the first blow, often called her names and that William had threatened to throw her over the wall into Prison Row.

The magistrates preferred Kate's story as they fined Margaret 10s and dismissed the charges against the Wildsmiths.

October 1930

Elizabeth Hall (No 37) was fined 20s and costs for unlawfully wounding her neighbour, Richard Grimshaw. He said that she had hit his nose with a loaf tin and then hit him around the face and head with a poker. Her side of the encounter was not recorded by the press.

Compiled from newspaper reports, principally the Barnsley Chronicle, accessed via The British Newspaper Archive.