Hue and Cry: Three Yorkshire Murders (1951) by Stanley Chadwick

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Published for THE YORKSHIRE CRIME SOCIETY by PRESS. LTD. 38, Byram Arcade, Westgate, Huddersfield 1951

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By the courtesy and co- operation of The Press, The Yorkshire Crime Society has been able to make its first ad- venture into print. From the industrious pen of Mr. Stanley Chadwick, we present vivid and well-documented accounts of three notable Yorkshire murders, which we feel sure will be of great interest both to the general reader and to the student of County history.

There can be no doubt that Mr. eminently qualified for the task he has set himself. His published works include: ‘““The Factory King’’ (the story of Richard Oastler) ; ‘“Theatre Royal’’ (the romance of the Huddersfield stage) ; ‘‘All Stations to Manchester !”’ (to commemorate the centenary of the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway) ; ‘‘Gateway to the South’’ (Huddersfield and Sheffield Junction Railway centenary) ; and many others.

I hope I shall not be misunderstood when I say that Mr. Chadwick has now turned his attention to crime. Of the three murders he has chosen to portray for us, perhaps only one—that of ‘‘Bill 0’ Jack’s’’— has continued to live in the public memory, and this is no doubt due, as the author points out, to the efforts of strolling players to keep the tragedy fresh in the public mind. I am able to say with personal assurance that Mr. Chadwick has been most painstaking in his research- es and the accounts the reader finds in the following pages are as accu- rate as patience and thoroughness can make them.

On one point only has Mr. Chadwick, for the present at any rate, had to confess himself baffled. That is the question of what really happened to Michael M’Cabe after he had been sentenced to trans- portation for life for his part—such as it was—in the Mirfield slaughter. The Home Office Convict Transportation Registers have been exhaust- ively searched but M’Cabe’s name does not appear. For the rest, the reader will be the best judge as to whether or not Mr. Chadwick’s pen has lost any of its cunning now it has been turned in the direction of a new historical field.


Huddersfield, 1951.

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CONTENTS _ Foreword ok Bit oO. Jack's Bind ce IT Mirfield Triple Murder

Ti Phe Shot Gamekeepers Cy Ae IV Calendar of the Murders


‘Bill o’ Jack’s’’. A photograph of the Moor Cock Inn shortly before its closure on ee 20th, 1937, and subsequent demolition I Ae

Water Royd, Mirfield. _A’view of Suet is to-day ... Deep Clough, Buckstones. The part of the Moor where the

body of Robert Kenyon was discovered buried under a

heap of stones on oa oe F903 >.

‘Bill o’ ee * photograph by. Stanley Shaw.

Water Royd and Deep Clough by R. A Clayborn.

All rights reserved by the Author.

First published — August,


11 19 26



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66 ; 10 99 JACK S HE originality of Jack Bradbury, mine host of ‘‘The Shooters’ I Arms’’, a lonely inn situated amidst the wild moorland of the Greenfield Valley, between Holmfirth and Saddleworth, was in some degree preserved to the final closing of the inn fourteen years ago. During the lifetime of Jack Bradbury the inn was usually alluded to as Jack’s’’, and when his son William became the licensee it was called “Bill o’ Jack’s.’” For some unexplained reason “‘Bill’’ Bradbury changed the proper name from ‘‘The Shooters’ Arms’’ to ‘‘The Moor ‘Cock The foundations of the building had been laid nearly three hundred years before as “‘Cragg House.’”’ With the exception of the construction of the reservoirs by the Ashton Joint Water Board the neighbourhood in whiich ‘‘Bill o’ Jack’s’’-was situated remained almost unchanged during the last cen- tury. There are a few houses on the main Holmfirth-Greenfield road, but the inn was built apart, with the moorland stretching around, sleet swept and dreary in winter but with a grandeur in summer which made it a favourite haunt of ramblers and picknickers,


William Bradbury was almost as popular with his few neighbours and the gamekeepers as his father had been. He was hale and hearty for his age and had a cheery word for everyone, including the gypsies who sometimes camped near the inn. His son Thomas, however, had _ none of these attributes, and was both unpopular and greedy in his dealings. Tom was physically a powerful man, and in his young days had been a fighter with bare fists and a wrestler. I In Tom Bradbury the gipsies had a sworn enemy, for in return for allowing them to camp and gather wood for their fires he demanded payment, declaring that the land was his property. Poachers after red grouse on the moors had also fallen foul of Tom, who was himself reputed to be a good shot and not above taking a risk with the keepers. Poachers if caught in those days were sent to Botany Bay, the British penal settlement in New South Wales. I Tom Bradbury was married and lived with his wife and three children in a small cottage about a mile distant from The Moor Cock.

He frequently visited his father and after the death of his mother

occasionally remained overnight at the inn on account of the age of the old man.


Monday, April 2nd, 1832, had passed rather quietly at the inn, with only a few Irish tramps calling for a glass of ale. I Early in the evening Reuben Platt, who had known the Bradburys all his life, called at the inn and afterwards walked with Tom to the village. About a quarter of a mile from The Moor Cock the two men were by three men of the labouring class who carried sticks and inquired the way to Holmfirth. The three strangers looked so tired


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and footsore that Tom’s suspicions were aroused at their supposed intention of walking the eight miles to Holmfirth, and he suggested to Reuben that they should keep a watch on their movements. ‘Tom was also suspicious because in one of the men he saw a faint resemblance to a man who had stolen some of his poultry a year before. The presence of the Irishmen in the neighbourhood is ex- plained by the fact that the road between Holmfirth and Greenfield was at the time under construction. Tom and Reuben Platt parted company at a place called White- head’s Store, where Tom made some purchases and also asked quest- ions about the three men passed on the road. Probably fearing for the safety of his aged father at the inn, Tom did not unduly delay his departure forhome. One of the villagers who passed The Moor Cock towards midnight heard a great noise and presumed the company in liquor. Had he ventured to investigate he might have been in time to prevent the brutal happenings at the inn, or at least have been able to _ identify the perpetrators of the outrage.


The grim discoveries at the Moor Cock Inn on the morning of April 3rd, 1832, have inspired many solutions of the murderous attack made on the landlord and his son the previous evening. In several versions known facts have been. disregarded for the sake of sensation- alism, with the result that the solution of the mystery was apparently the last thing desired. A reconstruction of the crime is now possible after a full investigation of all the evidence. , double murder was disclosed at about ten by the little grand-daughter of the old man, who had been sent by her mother for some yeast. Upon opening the door she found her grandfather

and uncle lying on the floor, bleeding profusely, with their dog howl- —

ing beside them. The child ran out of the house almost into the arms of Mr. Samuel Higginbottom, a surgeon of Uppermill, who rendered immediate assistance to the wounds of the two sufferers without, how- ever, any hope of their recovery. The room at the inn bore unmistakable evidence of a terrific struggle. The walls were besmeared over with blood, and in one place there was the imprint of a man’s hand and also footsteps marked in blood on the stairs. The weapons used by the assailants were an axe, a spade, and a swordstick. A broken horse pistol was found by Mr. Higginbottom in the roadway, the bullet of which had been fired in the house. Adhering to the butt of the pistol were some hairs from the head of Tom Bradbury. 3 Tom had made the greater resistance to the attack, and fifteen wounds were found to have been inflicted about his head, in addition to a fractured skull. He survived for nearly sixteen hours under excruciating suffering, and died without regaining consciousness. The old man, although desperately mangled, particularly on the face and legs, was able to give a brief account of what took place at the inn after the departure of his son. He stated that five Irishmen

entered the house and, after compelling him to disclose where

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money was concealed, they attacked him. William Bradbury survived his son by ten hours and died on the Wednesday morning at one o clock. . ARRESTED MEN UNIDENTIFIED It is probable the attack on the elder Bradbury was provoked by his accusing one of the Irishmen of stealing his son’s poultry, hence his dying words, ‘‘Bradburys never forget.’’ There is reason for believing that Tom arrived back at the inn at the moment of this attack, and that a brutal struggle ensued. Only a man of Tom’s power- ful physique could have possibly made such a stubborn resistance: _. The murderers fortified themselves with brandy before they ransacked the rooms, for the rim of a bottle and pot left on the table were smeared with blood. Several suits of men’s clothes and other I wearing apparel were taken, also £7 in money from behind a drawer, but a receptacle in one of the walls containing about £40 in gold and silver had been overlooked. Of the provisions which Tom had pur- chased at the village store only the candles remained scattered about the floor. I Several men answering to the description of the three Irishmen seen by Reuben Platt and Tom Bradbury on the evening of the murder were apprehended by the police, but in each case Platt refused to iden- tify them. There is no reason for assuming that Platt had a hand in the murder, for he was on intimate terms with both men. His reluctance to assist the police was probably due to the fear of being implicated in the crime, for it is certain that he was present at the inn sometime during the evening and aware of all that had taken place. I ‘Suspicion also fell upon two men living at Hoowood, near Holm- firth, who although they bore the surname as the deceased were in no way related. James (or Jamie) Bradbury and his son, Joe, were examined before the Huddersfield magistrates, but they were able to set up an alibi which secured their acquittal. I


Shortly before the murder Jamie Bradbury had been accused by Tom Bradbury of poaching near ‘‘Bill 0’ Jack’s’’ and had been bound over to answer the charge at the Pontefract Spring Sessions. which opened on April 3rd. Tom Bradbury was the principal witness against him as well as prosecutor, and naturally the magistrates were surprised when Jamie appeared before them and demanded to be acquitted on the grounds that the prosecutor was unable to appear against him. The discovery of the murder was not made until ten in the morning, yet when Bradbury passed through Meltham at eight o’clock he is reputed to have said that ‘‘Tom o’ Bill’s’’ would never appear against him in Pontefract. a The conclusion to be reached from Jamie Bradbury’s remarks is that he was also present at the inn on the night of the murder, which

would explain the statement of old William Bradbury that hé was _

by five men. The three Irishmen were probably interrupted their foul work by the arrival of Reuben Platt, who had intended to


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remain with the father until the return of hisson. Platt, however, was unable to prevent the double murder, and Jamie Bradbury, who had gone to the inn to square accounts with his prosecutor, was probably one of the assailants.

It is said that until the night of the murder oe Bradbury was a heavy and boisterous drinker, but that afterwards he was never seen in a public house, the inference being that he was afraid lest he should ‘say something while under the influence of liquor. Rumour also said that the coat which he had worn on April 2nd was never seen again.


At the Coroner’s inquest held on April 7th, 1832, at King William ‘the Fourth Inn, Uppermill, before ‘‘a respectable jury,’’ a verdict was returned of ‘‘Wilful murder against some person or persons at present a unknown.’’ A reward of £100 was offered for the discovery of the murderers, which was later increased by the Secretary of State to £200, oo with the further inducement of the King’s pardon to any party concern- a ed (except the actual murderers) for information of the accomplices.

_ Upwards of 32,000 persons visited the scene of the tragedy on the Sunday following, and the bodies were also interred in Saddleworth Churchyard in the presence of a large number of spectators. dpe inscription on the tombstone erected over the grave is as follows :

Here lie interred the dreadfully bruised and lacerated bodies of William Bradbury and Thomas, his son, who were together savagely murdered in an inhumanly horrid manner, on Monday night, April 2nd, 1832 ; William being 84 and Thomas 46 years of age.

Three verses written by a Mr. James Platt, of Prospecton, provide an appropriate epitaph :

Throughout the land, wherever news is read, Intelligence of their sad death has spread; Those now who talk of far-famed Greenfield hills, Will think of Bill o’ Jack’s and Tom o’ Bills.

Such interest did their tragic end excite, That, ere they were removed from human sight, Thousands on thousands daily came to see The bloody scene of the catastrophe. One house, one business, and one bed, And one most shocking death they had; One funeral came, one inquest past, And now one grave they have at last. A fourth verse composed by Mr. Platt did not meet with the app- robation of the friends of the déceased and was not carved on the stone: For suffering thus were they the vilest then ? This foolish notion reader do not cherish. Hear what the Saviour still proclaims to men: Unless ye all repent, ye too must likewise perish.


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For many years after the murder “‘Bill 0’ Jack’s’’ attracted large numbers of morbid-minded persons, and in an old directory for 1857 the following entry appears after Greenfield: To this spot thousands of individuals from Manchester and neighbourhood resort in the summer months to obtain a glance at the isolated cottage. Incidentally, a Bradbury was still the licensee of the inn. One of the last links with the murder was the death in New York on October 21st, 1877, of Mrs. Hannah Shaw, grandchild of William Bradbury. Jamie Bradbury died on September 29th, 1851, aged fifty-nine years. The ‘‘Bill o’ Jack’s’’ murder has been dramatised on many occasions, and in fact less than a month after the crime performances were being given at the Oldham Theatre of “‘The Greenfield Tragedy, or the Unknown Assassins.’’ The last presentation of the tragedy was undertaken by the Kennedy Players at the Huddersfield Theatre Royal during the week of May 29th, 1933. An old axe was exhibited outside the theatre, but doubts were expressed about its connection with the murder, “The late D. Sykes also introduced the murder into

of his novels entitled ‘‘Miriam.’


‘‘Bill o’ Jack’s’’ was famous as a place of refreshment and rest for many years, and served a genuine public need for hikers and holiday- makers on the moors. The inn was known to thousands of people in Yorkshire and Lancashire, and it was therefore no surprise that a vig- I orous protest was made when early in 1936 the Ashton Joint Water

- Board, the owners of the property, announced their intention of closing I

the house. The danger of contamination of the reservoirs above the . inn was given as the reason for the Board’s decision, but in a local pro- test which was subsequently organised, it was observed that the danger to the reservoirs would be greater if the place was closed. The Board _ refused to change its decision and the inn was closed on ae 20th, 1937. The story of “‘Bill o’ Jack’s’’ has survived for well over a

and thrilled one generation after another. The inn is now a heap of

stones, but the memory of its dark deeds on the night of April 2nd, 1832, still excites interest ane conjecture when mentioned in Yorkshire or Lancashire.

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MIRFIELD TRIPLE MURDER OW present day crime reporters would have rejoiced if only they could have ‘‘covered’’ the horrible and mysterious murders committed in the usually quiet village of Mirfield, near Dewsbury, on Wednesday, May 12th, 1847. There was everything dear to their hearts—a sickening scene, with blood-stained razor and poker ; inhuman and diabolical butchery of an aged couple and young servant girl, the latter about to be married; arrest of hawker and knife and razor grinder; trial and acquittal; second trial and death sentence; confession from the condemned cell; and public execution before a. crowd of over 30,000 people. Of course, the county newspapers of the day\did devote many columns of small print to the crime, but the presentation lacked the expert hand of Fleet Street ‘‘ copy-tasters ’’ and lay-out men. Even the dramatic confession was treated no differently from the rest of the news in the paper. Only the headlines shocked the reader out of his accustomed calm: ‘‘ Most Appalling Tragedy ’’; “‘ Triple Murder *’; and ‘‘ A Whole Household Ruthlessly Destroyed.”’ But then 1847 was long before the days of popular education and mass newspaper circulations, and probably few of the people who followed the case had sufficient learning to read the newspaper accounts which were published. No doubt these reports were read by one gifted member of the community to excited groups gathered over ale tankards at the local hostelry, and afterwards carried to other small groups in the district. There was no lack of visitors to the scene of the crime, however, and for a time the village had all the characteristics of a country fair.

OLD FOLKS AT HOME — In 1847 Water Royd, Mirfield—still occupied as a residence—was a small country house, having a garden in front and situate about two hundred yards from the King’s Head Inn. On the ground floor were

og dining-room and a drawing-room; with kitchen at the rear and three

upstairs bedrooms. The back garden was the same distance from the Baptist Chapel. The house was built facing the village and in the heart

of a thickly. populated locality, with several houses in the immediate

neighbourhood. Only a low wall surrounded the front garden. I The occupants of Water Royd were James Wraith, aged 76 years, formerly steward to Joseph Ingham, of Blake Hall. He was a com- missioner of roads and possessed of moderate means, owning Water Royd and farming about six acres of land. Living with him was his — wife, Ann, aged 70 years. She also had some property and two sons by her former husband, one of whom she was reputed to allow £1 per week for his maintenance. Ministering to the daily needs of the couple was ‘‘a promising young woman’’ of nearly 20 years named Caroline Ellis, who was to have been a bride during the forthcoming Mirfield Feast.


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- A short time before May 12th, Miss Ellis had an argument with a certain Patrick Reid over the taking of a tea caddy from the house. INeid was a knife and razor grinder by trade. After his quarrel with Caroline Ellis, Mr, Wraith ordered him not to call at the house again. Reid used threats and shouted : ‘‘I’ll revenge on you either at time or another.’’ He then went away and called at the residence of Thomas Kilty for a soldering iron. — 7


At twenty-five minutes to one o’clock on the twelfth day of May, _ 1847, Reid called at Water Royd and conversed for five minutes with _ the servant girl. Then he took the soldering iron which he had bor- rowed from Kilty and concealed in a basket which he carried, and struck the girla severe blow onthe head. She shrieked out, staggered to the back door, and before she could recover herself Reid had struck again and felled her to the ground. ~ a Hearing the: scream, Mr. Wraith, who was in the dining-room, got up from his chair and, still carrying his silver pint containing beer, stepped into the passage which connected the two front rooms with the kitchen. Reid did not hesitate but struck the old man such a blow on the head that the iron flew from the handle. Mr. Wraith staggered into the room he had just left and Reid dashed into the kitchen to pick up the poker and was just in time to meet Mrs. Wraith running out of the dining-room for the front door. Two or three blows on the head accounted for the Irishman’s third victim, and he in the act of rifling the pockets of the bleeding and insénsible old man lying on the floor when he heard a knock on the kitchen door. Thinking it was the girl, Reid went into the kitchen but found her lying lifeless. Resuming his nefarious task, he took some money out of the drawers, the watch from Mr. Wraith, and the ring from Wraith’s finger. Then there was a further knock on the kitchen door and Reid went and slightly opened it. A hawker (Michael M’Cabe) was standing on the doorstep and inquired if there was anything in his line which he required. Reid replied: ‘' No, sir,’’ and shut and bolted the door. While ransacking the drawers in the house, Reid found a case containing two razors. One of these he took out and cut the throats of all his three victims, washed his hands and wiped them on the towel, and left the house by the kitchen door. Locking it behind him, he threw both the key and the soldering iron into the well in the back garden, and then hurried home. ee AWFUL DISCOVERY

When Joseph Green, a great-nephew of Mr. Wraith, went to the home of hhis uncle at half-past one as previously promised, he found to his surprise the kitchen door fastened and the window shutters also partly closed. He went to the front of the house, discovered the curtains of the lower rooms drawn, knocked on the door, but received ho answer. Then he chanced to look down at the doorstep, and becoming alarmed at the pool of blood which had come from under the door bottom, the boy ran home to tell his mother. His father


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was working in a neighbouring field, so the mother went to the King’s Head Inn for help.. Together with the landlord she hurried to Water Royd, and an entrance was effected through the kitchen window.

In the words of a contemporary report ‘‘a most horrifying and ©

sickening spectacle ’’ met their gaze. The first victim discovered was the servant girl lying on the floor weltering in her own blood, with her

_ head towards the kitchen door. Her head was smashed in a most

dreadful manner, with her brains scattered all over the floor and throat cut from ear to ear. In the passage behind the front door was Mrs. Wraith. She, too, presented a ghastly sight, with right eye completely driven out, skull beaten in, and throat also cut. Her husband was found stretched out upon the carpet in the dining-room, with his lower jaw fractured and throat cut, all the arteries being divided and his head nearly severed. The whole house presented a scene of inhuman and diabolical butchery which gave it every appearance of a slaughter house. eee


It was at first supposed that Caroline Ellis had been cleaning the brass fender in the kitchen when the murderer entered the house and struck her a tremendous blow with the poker, for the fender was partly cleaned and whiting was scattered on the floor. Three of the fingers of her left hand were smashed to pulp.

The old couple had been partaking of dinner and a meat pie was. on the table. A piece of pie was found on the sideboard, apparently having been placed there in haste when one of the diners had become

_ alarmed over the noise from the kitchen. The table cloth and knives and forks were spotted with blood, and there was also blood mixed with the beer in the silver pint. The carpet was likewise sodden with blood. oe

_A folded razor was laid upon the breast of the old man, and a.

poker, considerably bent by the force of the blows which had been struck, was laid at his feet. A search of the house revealed that neither _ the drawing-room nor the upstairs rooms had been disturbed. Mr. _ Wraith’s trousers pockets had been turned inside out, and in the corner of the left hand pocket half a sovereign, which had been overlooked by the murderer, was found. The bodies were quite warm when

discovered, and the surgeon who was immediately summoned I

expressed the opinion they could not have been dead more than half an hour or at the most three quarters. I The news of the tragedy spread with lightning rapidity, and the entire inhabitants of the neighbourhood were paralysed with horror and alarm. The circumstances of the bent poker at his feet and razor across his breast gave rise to the rumour during the afternoon that the old man had committed a double murder and afterwards destroyed _ himself, The mother of Caroline Ellis was so affected by the news of the fate of her daughter that the shock disturbed the balance of her mind. Later the same afternoon an Irishman named Michael M’Cabe, described as a hawker, was apprehended by the police at Royd Nook, Mirfield. I :


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I The inquest was held at the King’s Head Inn, Mirfield, on ‘the Thursday morning, before highly respectable jury.’ =‘ Their first task was to view the bodies in the house of death, the coroner com- menting on the fact that they (the bodies) had been moved. : ‘M’Cabe was brought before the coroner and informed of the accusation against him. In appearance he was a thin spare man, aged 35-years, about five feet nine inches in height, and his counten-

ance and the manner in which he conducted himself did not suggest I

he was the perpetrator of such an atrocious series of murders. Indeed, he maintained the utmost self-possession throughout the proceedings, paying great attention to the evidence, and correcting the police when _ they mistook or omitted to state exactly his own observations. He was dressed in a long fustian (coarse cloth) coat, dark coloured trousers, and had a slouched hat rather crushed by his daily burdens. M’Cabe, who was well known to the Wraiths, lived at Clough Lane Top, Robert- town, and was married with three children. M’Cabe, in his statement to the police, described his visit to Water Royd, and of a man whom he did not know answering his knock on the door. He observed blood on the floor of the passage and apparently some. which had run under the door got on his shoes and stockings, for when they were examined at the police station they contained human blood stains. (The shoes were old ones, with the

soles worn through). The inquest was adjourned to May 27th,

M’Cabe being.detained in custody. The day after the opening of the

inquest the police took into custody a second man named Patrick.

Reid, who had been seen lurking by the Wraiths’ house at a quarter to one on the day of the tragedy. Reid was arrested at Daw Green, where he lived with his father and mother. He was a hawker dealing in hardware, and sold tea caddies.


The morbid curiosity of the public was responsible for the most.

amazing scenes at Water Royd. The day before the funeral the three corpses were laid out in the drawing-room and seen by hundreds of people. Mr. and Mrs. Wraith were interred in Mirfield Churchyard before an immense assemblage, and the same vast audience watched the remains of Caroline Ellis laid to rest in the burying ground attached

to the Wesleyan Chapel. Afterwards the throng made its way to the

house at Water Royd.

Similar scenes were repeated on Sunday and Monday. The. sightseers were so great on the Sabbath that policemen had to be I

stationed in the different rooms to preserve some degree of decorum, and hasten the departure of visitors in order that others could take their places. After the funeral the floors of the rooms were cleaned and only a few spots of blood on the walls and ceiling of the dining-

room were visible. But this did not prevent the visitors from satisfy-

ing their morbid tastes, and flowers, sprigs of box, and even single leaves were taken away from the garden as mementoes of


3 x ¢ . ey am y 7, Sel Se ees fee ‘ og : a ise seek ‘ & iS eZ : PS Fae x ce % ra

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also twelve gentlemen of the Press

me Ri Meats iin Keg Wee ors ix pa Gee Ls : Be ng a“ be bt I f in 4

If anything, public interest had increased when the adjourned inquest was resumed. The house was still the chief attraction, and persons in holiday attire and vehicles from all parts continued to disturb the peace of Mirfield. The interior inspection of Water Royd

-~ was discontinued after May 29th, but still the crowds gathered to gaze

at the building. From the King’s Head Inn the coroner and jury and ’" adjourned to the large Wes- I leyan Schoolroom. Before the inquest was again adjourned, evi- dence was given by a constable, John Leadbeater, of how he had searched the yard and well at Water Royd, pumped the water out of the latter, and sent a boy down to bring up the missing key and solder- ing iron. Evidence of the quarrel between Reid and Caroline Ellis, and

identification of the soldering iron as the one borrowed by Reid, was

the feature of the inquest proceedings on June 10th. The jury only deliberated for ten minutes before returning a unanimous verdict of

murder’’ against Patrick Reid and Michael M’Cabe in each

of the three cases. The announcement did not occasion any demonstra- tion, although the previous evening an effigy of Reid had been burnt at Ossett, amid the execrations of the populace.


The magistrates’ examination of the two prisoners opened at the new Dewsbury Court House on May 22nd. A contemporary account of the hearing described Reid as ‘‘a raw Irishman, aged about 21 years, of strong muscular power, with a tinge of ferocity in his countenance.” Both men were shabbily dressed and covered with little more than rags. After proceedings which lasted twenty minutes, » they were remanded in custody for a week. A further week’s remand was necessary upon their second appearance in court. Evidence of ownership of the soldering iron and the fact that several ladies were accommodated with seats on the Bench, were the outstanding items of the resumed hearing on June Sth. The fourth and final examination of Reid and M’Cabe took place at Dewsbury on June 26th. Again there was a large proportion of females in the crowded court-house. The evidence of William West, a Leeds chemist, that the articles of clothing and the soldering iron which he had analysed revealed traces of human blood, was the chief sensation of the proceedings. ‘Reid was committed to the Assizes for trial, while M’Cabe was- detained in custody under the


The York Summer Assizes opened at York Castle on July 10th, 1847. The calendar comprised ninety-six prisoners and eleven out on bail—a total of one hundred and seven. Six were charged with wilful . murder, three manslaughter, eight malicious stabbing and wounding, sixteen highway robbery accompanied with violence, twenty burglary

_ and house breaking, eleven with forgery, nine horse and cattle

and the others with various offences. ° 15

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A large crowd assembled outside the Castle gates as early as

seven o'clock in the morning. Patrick Reid appeared before Mr.

Justice Wightman in the Crown Court, and was charged with having ©

killed and murdered James Wraith. In a low but firm tone of VOICce he replied, ‘‘Not guilty.’’ Counsel for the prosecution were Mr. Bliss

and Mr. Overend, while the prisoner was defended by Mr. Serjeant Wilkins and Mr, William Digby Seymour. On the table in the court was displayed a Deautiful and accurate model of the house at Water :

Royd, together with a larger and separate model of the kitchen. One newspaper report of the trial extended to thirteen full columns complete with map. M’Cabe was under examination and cross- examination for three hours. To many of the questions he replied with great hesitancy, and some had to be repeated several times before he gave what could be taken as an answer. He repeated his previous story of his visit to Water Royd on May 12th. M’Cabe looked rather

thin and was nothing like so respectably dressed as Reid, who paid —

great attention to his statements. The court adjourned at a quarter to eight in the evening and re- sumed its sitting the following morning at nine o’clock. Mr. Wilkins speech for the defence occupied exactly two hours, and his Lordship’s summing up lasted two and a half hours. The jury retired at ten minutes past six and returned to court after an absence of two hours and forty minutes to ask a question of his Lordship. This was written

on a slip of paper, given to the Judge, who handed it back to one of. :

the jury to read. 3 I The question was : ‘‘The jury wish to know if the prisoner be acquitted of the murder of James Wraith, can he afterwards be put on his trial for the murder of the two women, should further evidence be found?’’ ‘“‘That is not a question, gentlemen,’’ replied the Judge, “which you can take into your consideration, nor any right to enter- tain. You are to decide only as to the murder of James Wraith.’’ The jury again retired and after an absence of only five minutes

returned with a verdict of Guilty.’’ There was no audible I

expression of feeling in the court, which immediately adjourned. In the Crown Court on Wednesday, Mr. Bliss made application for the detention of Reid until the next Assizes. He resumed his

application the next day, and produced further evidence of the

murders of Ann Wraith and Caroline Ellis. At Friday’s sitting of

the court the Judge agreed that the charge of murdering the

females should stand over until the next general gaol delivery.

I SECOND TRIAL Before Mr. Justice Patteson at York on Saturday, December 18th, 1847, Patrick Reid was charged with the wilful murder of Ann Wraith and Caroline Ellis; Michael M’Cabe was charged. with aiding and

_ abetting, and assisting Patrick Reid, and further charged with the

wilful murder of Ann Wraith and Caroline Ellis. In a firm voice both -men pleaded ‘‘Not guilty.’’ Only the charge of causing the death of Caroline Ellis was proceded with. M’Cabe was given notice only the day previous that he would be tried for this offence.


x / 64 i a iat A Ny BS eg Tha ee oe

ae eae te

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The trial opened on Monday, December 20th, and continued on ~ the Tuesday and Wednesday. One piece of circumstantial evidence strongly incriminated Reid, for it was disclosed that James Wraith’s watch and other property of the murdered family had been recovered from a house in Ireland where ‘his mother had gone to reside. The jury took one hour and a half in reaching their verdict, which was one of guilty of murder against both prisoners. Asked if he had anything to say, M’Cabe replied, “‘I am innocent of the crime laid at my charge.’’ ‘Reid remained silent. During delivery of judgment M’Cabe fell forward and had to be assisted to a seat, but after the death sentence was passed both men walked with a firm step from the dock.


Immediately following the trial, Mr. Robert Dale, the attorney for Reid, communicated to M’Cabe’s counsel a confession made to him _ by Reid previous to his trial. I Subsequently there was considerable criticism in legal and other circles of the line of defence taken during the trial by Reid’s counsel, Mr. Seymour. Although he had full knowledge of the confession, yet he had tried to put the full weight of the charge on M’Cabe’s shoulders. I I Reid’s confession was a very full statement of what took place at Water Royd on May 12th, from the moment he struck the servant girl on the head with the soldering iron to his final act of throwing both the implement and the kitchen door key down the well. In the con- demned cell, in the presence of the prison authorities, M’Cabe entreated Reid to say whether he (M’Cabe) knew anything about the dastardly deed he had perpetrated at ‘Water Royd when he called at the house on May 12th. “‘No,”’ replied Reid. ‘‘You did not. If I had thought you had known anything about it, I should have murdered you too.”’ In further coversation Reid told M’Cabe he had brought upon himself his condemnation by the false statements he had made about the affair. The general view was that the verdict of the jury in the second trial was clearly justified by the evidence. At the trial a girl of thirteen _ years gave evidence that she had seen both Reid and M’Cabe in close conversation after the murder had been committed, while another _ Mirfield hawker swore to having watched them proceeding in the direc- tion of Water Royd within sixty yards of each other. The Home Secretary, Sir George Grey, was informed of Reid’s confession, and on ~ _ Thursday morning, December 30th, the Governor of York Castle received notice of a respite of the sentence of death passed on M’Cabe. _ Towards the end of February, 1848, it was announced that M’Cabe was to be transported for life, but a search of the Home Office Convict Transportation Registers has failed to reveal whether the sentence was actually carried out. I ae


From the condemned cell at York Castle, Reid made a more detailed confession in which he acknowledged the justice of the sen- tence passed upon him. ‘'I do hereby solemnly and sincerely,’’ he


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wrote, ‘‘and as I expect shortly to appear before God, declare that I alone am guilty of the murder of Caroline Ellis, James Wraith, and Ann Wraith, and that Michael M’Cabe, now also lying under sentence of death for the murder of Caroline Ellis, had nothing whatever to do - with her murder or the murders of James Wraith and Ann Wraith.’’ In the presence of a crowd of people estimated to have numbered between thirty and forty thousand, Patrick Reid paid the penalty for his foul deed on the afternoon of Saturday, January 8th, 1848. The place of execution was the ‘‘New Drop,’’ which had been built behind - the Castle walls in 1801-02 to replace the Tyburn which stood on the Knavesmire. Long before day-break carpenters were busy erecting the scaffold, and the preparations continued as trains with extra carriages, and conveyances of all kinds, converged on the city. It was

to the credit of the vast throng that all behaved “‘with great decorum’’

throughout the whole proceedings. The operation of pinioning the prisoner was carried out between eleven and twelve o’clock, and with the hands of the clock at twelve he was brought forth on to the scaffold. His appearance for the first time before the crowd was received with both emotions of sympathy

and shouts of derision. Reid knelt down with the Roman Catholic

priest, who read aloud a long prayer and then pronounced a parting benediction. Rising to his feet, Reid said to those immediately around him, ‘Well, gentlemen, I wish to say that I alone am the guilty person ; that M’Cabe is entirely innocent, and that no human being in the world had anything to do with it but myself.’’ The county execution- er, Nathaniel Howard, having firmly secured the culprit’s legs, put on

the black cap, and appeared to give extra care in the rope

round the prisoner’s neck. There was profound silence as the bolt was drawn, which turned to a chilling horror when it was seen that the looseness of the rope caused the body to drop. Instead of instantaneous deprivation of life the unfortunate man was strangled and his death struggle was plainly

visible to the assemblage. After the lifeless body had hung suspended I

for an hour, it was cut down, placed in a shell, and interred. in the precincts of the prison. Crimes of the brutal nature of the Mirfield triple murder are

happily rare to-day. Modern methods of police detection would

have certainly avoided a second trial and M’Cabe would not have been subjected to his prolonged mental torture. Not only the crime

but the mode of trial contained much that is repugnant to present day —

conceptions of justice. Fortunately the men who reported the case did nothing to inflame local passions by their presentation in their otherwise more blood might have stained the roads of Mirfie:d.


ae eS ii

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HE cold-blooded nature of this crime has caused a wave of horror to sweep the country,’’ was how a contemporary writer _ described the finding of the dead bodies of two gamekeepers on Buckstones Moors on Thursday, September 10th, 1903. The dramatic arrest of a small Oldham farmer and his subsequent discharge after lengthy local police court proceedings, while it produced many intense situations, failed to disclose the secret of the grim tragedy. Buckstones—‘‘The Dartmoor of the North’’—is a wild stretch of moorland rising to a height of fifteen hundred feet above sea level, four miles north-west of Marsden and ten miles from Huddersfield. The scene of the tragedy was a point between the Great Western Inn and Buckstones, the latter being used as a shooting-box with a reputation of having been a secret meeting place of the Luddites in the days when. it was the Buck Inn. Both houses are well known to travellers on the main roads to Oldham and Manchester, but in 1903 this stretch of roadway was not used nearly as much as it is nowadays by motor traffic. -


- William Henry Uttley, known to his associates as ‘‘Bill 0’ Mark’s,”’ was aged fifty-eight years, and employed as a gamekeeper by Messrs. Joseph Crowther, John Edward Crowther, and Thomas Henry Kamsden, who held the shooting rights over the Marsden Moors. He resided at the White Cottage, Marsden, built in a cleft half-way tween Buckstones and the Manchester Road, being married with three children. His father’s death thirty-six years before the Buckstones — crime was the result of being shot, the circumstances in this case indicating an accident. 3 . Robert Kenyon, aged twenty-six years, was the son of the head gamekeeper, James Kenyon, with whom he lived at Buckstones. He was employed as a carter in Oldham but usually assisted his father _ during the shooting season. While Uttley was a man of powerful phy- sique, his nephew was rather on the slender side. The older Kenyon had been gamekeeper to Messrs. Crowther and Ramsden for twenty-three years, previous to which he had served Lord Stamford in a similar capacity for thirteen years. He had been twice married, Robert being the child of his second wife (there were four children by the first marriage.) ‘William Uttley was his brother-in-law by reason of having married Kenyon’s second wife’s sister. SEN Kain and mist enveloped the moors when James Kenyon and his son left their cottage on Wednesday afternoon, September 9th, 1903, to watch the game. They had not been long together when the elder Kenyon thought he recognised a man with a gun poaching on the moors at Ben Cut, about three-quarters of a mile away. Warning his son that the suspect was a desperate character, he told him what to do and to leave his gun with him. Robert thereupon went unarmed in chase of the man, and was soon lost to sight. That was the last time


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eS ee ee ee ae ee Oe


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James Kenyon saw his son alive, and it was not until about noon the following day that his dead body was found in a drift known as eee meee? I


As Robert did not return, his father remained on the moors until about six o’clock. When at midnight his son had still not arrived he decided to go out in search of him. The bleak stretches of moorland were now bathed in moonlight, but although the old man roamed to and fro over the ground all the night, he failed to find any © trace of his missing son. I By dawn the distracted father made his weary way to the new shooting-box which was being built by Mr. J. Crowther, a contractor, and told his story. A search party was at once organised and in less than an hour’s time (at 9-40 a.m.) they found not Robert Kenyon but his uncle, William Uttley. The gamekeeper was lying face down- wards on his right shoulder, with a ghastly gunshot wound behind the left ear. He had apparently been shot from behind and at very close range. Grouse pellets had been used, for later thirty pellets were ex- tracted from the body. . Uttley’s dog was guarding his dead . -master. The search was now intensified for Rober Kenyon, and soon I between fifty and sixty Marsden mill operatives were scouring the moors. About noon three searchers named Ellis Sykes, John Marsden, and Harry Allen passed a clough about a mile from the spot where the first gamekeeper’s body had been discovered. Sykes noticed that the grass had been trodden down and said to his companions: ‘‘ I feel Kenyon is somewhere near. Let us go back and look at that drift (Deep Clough) again.’’


It took only a few minutes before they came upon a heap of earth and stones, from which were protruding a pair of clogs. Two large stones had been placed on Robert Kenyon’s body and the mound had been arranged in a most careful way. Except for the clogs jutting out it might have been unnoticed for a long time. An examination of the dead gamekeeper revealed that he must have been killed instantaneously. The father’s grief was considerable at the tragic discovery. Heavy rain made the task of conveying the body to Buckstones most difficult, while at the same time obliterating all traces of the murderers’ tracks. Information was sent to the police at Saddleworth and Marsden, and two superintendents and three con- stables were dispatched to the scene of the murders. Inquiries disclosed that Uttley had left home at 2-30 ’clock on ‘the Wednesday afternoon, and that he had recently issued several summonses for game trespass. It was at first thought that Uttley had been shot by young Kenyon. Afterwards the theory was advanced that when Robert Kenyon had left his father to go after the suspected I poacher, he had come upon him and been shot. Uttley, who was also out on the moors, had heard the shot, and immediately decided to


Page 24

find out what was taking place. The murderer, or murderers, took cover and shot him as he passed. The burying of young Kenyon’s body, however, was the work of more than one man, and if Uttley had heard a shot fired why had not James Kenyon also heard it and proceeded in the same direction as his brother-in-law? I Public interest in the crime was tremendous, and thousands visited Buckstones Moors. At Saddleworth Station a small army of guides I met the trains and for a fee of one shilling conducted the sightseers first to the home of the Kenyons, and then to the part of the moor where the two bodies were found. Those who returned to Saddle- worth rounded off the day’s outing by visiting the churchyard, there to gaze upon the half-obliterated gravestone of the ‘‘ Bill 0’ Jack’s ”’ victims. 3 =


Forty Pressmen came to Marsden from all parts of the country on Monday, September 14th, for the coroner’s inquest. The Coun- cil Chamber of the Mechanics’ Institute was too small to accommodate everyone, and it was decided to use the large hall on the second floor, © The musical instruments of a travelling choir were stacked in one corner ready for the evening concert. _ A striking figure at the inquest was old Mr. Kenyon, dressed in his gamekeeper’s green jacket with brass buttons, knee breeches, and gaiters. He was also concerned in a dramatic incident when the coroner requested him to write on a slip of paper the name of the man he believed he had seen on the moor while with his son. Not even the jury were allowed to learn the identity of the suspect, the coroner stating that the paper would be passed to the police. lo The atmosphere in the court-room was intense as the old man gave his evidence. He said he could not swear to the identity of the individual his son had given chase. Exhibits to the jury included the charred and blood-bespattered clothes of the murdered men. After proceedings lasting three and a half hours, the jury returned a verdict of Wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.’’ Wiliam Uttley was buried in Marsden Churchyard on the day of the inquest, while the following day Robert Kenyon was laid to rest in a shady recess in the churchyard at Hurst, near Ashton-under-Lyne. Hardly had the earth closed on the two victims before the police made an arrest, and then commenced court proceedings which extended over a month, with the accused making eight appearances before the mag- istrates.


The man whom the police apprehended was Henry Buckley, of Sholver Farm, Moorside, Oldham, and his was the name Kenyon had written down at the inquest. Buckley was married with four children, one a boy aged fourteen years, and was the leader of an Oldham Temperance Society. When his friends heard of his arrest they at once subscribed money for his defence, which was subsequently most ably undertaken by G. P. Fripp, an Oldham solicitor. I


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After a night in a cell at the Huddersfield County Police Office, Buckley was brought before the Justices, but it was nearly five o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, September 16th, before the proceed- ings opened. The delay was caused by bringing old Mr. Kenyon to Huddersfield, for he was to have given evidence had the Justices desired it. Once again he was a conspicuous figure in his gamekeeper’s dress. He was accommodated with a chair and when Buckley was brought into the room the old fellow changed his oaken staff from his right hand to his left, and uplifted his clenched fist and shook it in the direction of the prisoner, who did not notice the action. __ Buckley’s demeanour while he was before the magistrates was not that of a guilty person. His keen brown eyes, drooping mous- tache, and smart bearing was in keeping with the clear and direct way in which he spoke. The proceedings barely lasted six minutes, dur- ing which time Buckley was charged with being concerned in the mur- ders of the two Buckstones gamekeepers, to which he replied, ‘‘ I am innocent.’’ A remand was applied for until the following Tuesday, bail being refused, and the prisoner taken to Wakefield. The only new item in connection with the case to excite public interest before the resumed hearing was the discovery of Robert Kenyon’s silver lever

watch, missing from his pocket when his dead body had been found.

Three workmen picked up a red handkerchief with the watch and chain inside, a short distance from where Uttley’s body had lain. A LONG RECOGNITION

Long before eleven o'clock in the forenoon of September 22nd, a dense crowd assembled in the vicinity of the West Riding County -

‘Police Court in Princess Street, Huddersfield. Some of the people

were allowed admission to the court-yard, but the pressure of the crowd outside upon the gates called for a posse of police on foot and a couple of mounted police to preserve order. Inside the court the people were packed like herrings in a bos and the first thing the magistrates ordered was the opening of all the win- dows. J. H. Turner, of Huddersfield, appeared to pjrosecute on behalf of the Treasury, and Mr. Fripp represented Buckley. No evi- dence was called, but Mr. Turner made a statement and asked for a

further remand for a week. Mr. Fripp made an earnest appeal for

bail, but this was refused, and twenty minutes sufficed for the whole proceedings. During this hearing James Kenyon sat at the solicitors’ table.

I Upon leaving the court-house he was followed up Princess Street and

along New Street by a large crowd, and required an escort of several constables. The Oldham newspapers continued to give columns of space to the case, and new were made for ee to

_ Buckley’s defence fund.

When Buckley made his third appearance in court on September 29th, the time was occupied in hearing the evidence of James Kenyon, father of the younger of the deceased gamekeepers. He was three hours

the witness-box, and in the course of his evidence swore that he saw

no one except the accused on the moor. ‘* I ‘owned’ him by his I 23

Page 26

walk and the peculiar way in which he carried his Suni Kenyon.

admitted the figure he had recognised at Ben Cut had been three- quarters of a mile away. I ue I


Buckley never denied being on the moors that day, but main- - tained he did not go beyond Friarmere Moor. Shooting was ‘‘ free on this part of the moor, it never having been enclosed. Having ’’ a bird, Buckley searched for it a while, but failing to find

it returned home, had tea at 5-30 o’clock, and then walked two miles :

from his farm for an evening meeting of the Greenacres Temperance Society, of which he was the president. Here is what Buckley said in a statement to Police-Sergeant Charles Taylor at his farm on September 10th (the day the bodies were discovered.on the moors) : ‘“'On Wednesday, September 9th, I was at Friarmere after dinner. I sat under the wall until about

3 p.m. I shot at a bird, but could not find it. It started raining. —

I was sitting under the wall and searching for the bird about an hour. I saw two men on the moor about 3-15 p.m. or 3-30 p.m. One was going on the flat towards Jockey Gruff and the other was going up towards Ben Cut new boundary wash. My wife and son Richard came up with my pony and cart about 4 p.m., near to Crawshaw Hey wall. We then drove home. I and Arthur Settle, of Delph, and two others I do not know, went about five o’clock this morning, but came back without a bird. Wesawanother man. ‘We shot in Jockey Gruff. We were on Friarmere Moor. I have been on the moors three days this week and two days last week.» I shoot with cartridges, using eights and sixes.”’ It was suggested that two weeks before the murders took place, Kenyon, sen., and Buckley had had a bit of a ‘‘ fratch over the latter’s refusal to produce a licence. Kenyon had alleged he (Buckley) did not possess one, while Buckley in turn had offered to bet him a sovereign he could produce a licence. Kenyon declined, and after further argument Buckley offered to exhibit the licence if Kenyon would pay a penny. This offer was also declined. After a protest from Mr. Fripp over the “‘ slipshod ° the prosecution by the Treasury, a fourth remand was ordered. After the hearing the crowd in the street got a little out of hand, a wood sett being aimed at the mounted police. One man was seized with a fit, and falling, cut his head badly on the adjacent Town Hall steps. As a result of this disorderly scene parts of the streets in the vicinity of the court-house were closed to the public the following week.


Harold Thomas, a Sheffield barrister, took over the prosecution = from Mr. Turner when the hearing was resumed on October 6th, and ‘immediately caused a sensation. He announced that following a search

of Buckley’s house, a quantity of cartridges, wads, shots, and other things had been found which corresponded with what had been dis-

covered near the bodies. The prosecution submitted that the circum-

stantial evidence justified committing the accused for trial. 24


manner of I

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And. there rested the whole of the prosecution’s case. The police brought no witness who saw Buckley driving home on the road in his trap. Old Kenyon’s evidence in the main was based upon unsupported testimony. It was, in fact, flatly contradicted by three roadmen work- ing on the moors. A man named Abraham Shaw also told the Court that the day following the murders James Kenyon had remarked to ‘him that it was ‘‘a queer thing his son had not turned up on Wednes- day. He must have been pursuing somebody,’’ Kenyon added_as an afterthought. Two persons—a farmer and a farm labourer—testi- fied that they had both seen Buckley returning home in his trap. I Kenyon, as a father, was no doubt anxious to see a victim found and a man hanged for the murder of hisson. The police, having made an arrest, were reluctant to release their hold. Cried Mr. Fripp : evidence of people well known to harbour enmity towards the accused has been heard. More than one of the witnesses has deliber- ately committed perjury. Yet we are asked to commit a man to stand his trial on a particularly brutal crime to satisfy the vengeance of James Between the sixth and seventh court appearance of Buckley, the exhumation of the body of William Henry Uttley was agreed to by the Home Secretary and took place on October 12th.

A POPULAR VERDICT On Friday, October 16th, Mr. Fripp ably stated the case for the defence, and the magistrates retired and were absent for one hour and twenty-eight minutes. Upon their return the chairman said the Bench were of the opinion the evidence adduced did not justify them com- mitting Buckley for trial. There was an outburst of cheering and a scene followed as Buckley shook hands with the chairman of the bench and with Mr. Fripp. The magistrates’ decision on the whole was popular, for throughout the court proceedings Buckley had had the sympathy of the public. Mr. Fripp was also the recipient of many congratulations on the way he had conducted his case, for he impressed everyone in court with his intense concentration, alertness and patience, Meetings continued to be held in Lancashire and Yorkshire in aid of Buckley’s defence expenses, and on Friday, October 23rd, he appeared on the platform at Milnsbridge and thanked the audience. His daughter recited ‘‘The Pet of the Circus.’’ About this time post- ers were issued by the police offering a reward of £300 to any person who could furnish them with information. The hand of death has long since removed the principal characters of this grim, moorland tragedy. James Kenyon died on February 11th, 1923, aged ninety years, and Mr. Fripp died on July 3rd the same year (aged seventy-four years). The murders remain unsolved and the secret of how the two gamekeepers met their deaths is locked in the tight grip of the heather and rocks which only by the merest of accidents yielded the bodies forty-eight years ago.


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Where Committed ,

Persons Murdered

Court Proceedings

Monday, 1832

Wednesday May 12th, 1847

Wednesday, September 9th, 1903

The Moor Cock Inn, near Greenfield

Water Royd, Mirfield, near Dewsbury

Buckstones Moors, near Marsden

William Bradbury (84) Thomas Bradbury (46)

James Wraith (76) Ann Wraith (70) — Caroline Ellis (19)

Wiliam Henry Uttley (58) Robert Kenyon (26)

James Bradbury and Joe Bradbury examined by Huddersfield magistrates and discharged

I Patrick Reid .

executed at York on January 8th, 1848 , Michael M’Cabe transported for life (announced)

Henry Buckley eight appearances before Huddersfield West Riding magistrates, but decided no case for (rial:

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(Those marked with an asterisk are out of print.)

THE FACTORY KING. The Life and Labours of Richard*Oastler. ROYAL.’’ The Romance of the Huddersfield Stage.







Editor of ‘‘RUGBY LEAGUE REVIEW’’ (Founded September, 1946). .

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