Samuel Sheard (1852-1856)

Samuel Sheard was a young child who died from starvation after becoming lost on Crosland Hill.


He was born around October 1852, the son of cloth finisher Richard Sheard of Quarmby Cliff End, Paddock, and his wife Sarah Ann.

Aged 3 years and 11 months, he was seen leaving home on the morning of Friday 5 September 1856 and playing with a group of other children in a nearby corn field. The children then went towards Milnsbridge, but Samuel didn't return with them.

By the mid-afternoon, the child had wandered to the other side of the river and arrived at the house of blacksmith John Cliffe. William Garside of Fir Ing, Longwood, happened to pass by and Cliffe asked him to come look at the boy. Garside recognised Samuel, who came up to him and took hold of his hand. Garside then took the child on the road towards his home and pointed him in the right direction — "I saw [him] go in the direction of the bridge, but could not see [him] cross." Garside was the last person to see Samuel Sheard alive.

When his son didn't return home, Richard Sheard began a fruitless search around the area around Crosland Hill. Over the next few days, local waterways were dragged and searches made of fields. The local town crier was engaged to spread the word around the district about the missing boy.

At around 4pm on the following Wednesday, farm labourer John Goodall was passing by a field of barley belonging to Mr. Hepworth when he spotted that a path had been trampled through the crop. Peering over the wall, he saw a child's hat and then the body of a child laid on its front. Thinking the boy was asleep, he shouted several times before there was no movement. Getting closer, he touched the arm but found it stiff and cold, and noticed that there were flies on the face.

Goodall then sent for a police constable who took the body to the Rising Sun on Crosland Hill.

At around 6pm, Mary Garside was tasked with laying out the body. She noted that the boy's stockings were dirty, and that "it's head, ears, and about its eyes, were fly-blown".

At the subsequent inquest held on Friday 12 September, the district coroner George Dyson was of the opinion that "the child had come to its death by wandering [...] it was a wet night, and doubtless it got into the field, and died before morning."

The jury returned a verdict of "Found dead in a barley field, without any marks of violence upon him; that he died from cold and exposure to the weather, and not from any injury of hurt".[1]

Notes and References

  1. "A Lost Child Found Dead from Starvation at Crosland Hill" in Huddersfield Chronicle (13/Sep/1856) and "Shocking Death of a Child" in Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner (13/Sep/1856).

Samuel Sheard (1852-1856)


Accidental deaths | People
This page was last modified on 1 November 2016 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

Search Huddersfield Exposed