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Petty Sessions

Snippets from the Reports in the Newspapers

Adapted, Eric Jenkins, 11th April 2008, from The Northampton Mercury, 18th May 1867, page 8

John Bull, a Rushden chimney "sweeper" was before the Wellingborough Petty Sessions on 10th May 1867.

Fredenck Urban Sartoris did not take the chair as he usually did, perhaps because he knew John Bull. H M Stockdale was chairman. Police Constable William Bedford charged John Bull with having been drunk and riotous m the public street at Rushden on 18th April 1867.

P.C. Bedford: He was drunk, cursing and swearing very much.

John Bull: I was not drunk. I was very excited because my wife was drunk. I admit that this failing of hers has sometimes driven me to drink.

Chairman: Constable, do you have any doubt that he was drunk?

P.C. Bedford: None whatever.

John Bull was fined five shillings and ordered to pay nine shillings and sixpence Court costs.

Note: He was still listed as a Rushden chimney "sweeper" in Whellan's Directory for 1874, page 246

Rushden Echo, 22nd March 1901, transcribed by Greville Watson

One Taken, the Other Left
Information reached PS Dunn, of Rushden, not long ago, that an overcoat, the property of Rev J Wood, of Knotting, had been stolen. By the way, Mr Wood is a well-known anti-Ritualist lecturer in seaside towns. The rev gentleman owns land at Rushden, and employed two men – John Scrivener and Charles Welch – who slept in a coach house, where the coat, which was valued at 21/-, hung. The officer, on hearing of the matter, took a cycling trip to Bedford where he happened to see the two men, and told them the coat was missing. Welch professed astonishment at this, and said he knew nothing about it. Scrivener followed his example, but when the officer searched him a pawn ticket, found on him, relating to a coat, gave the lie to his words. He then owned up to taking the coat, but said the rev gentleman owed him 5s.  A Bedford pawnbroker gave the men 2s for the garment. Both the gentlemen appeared in the dock at Wellingborough on Friday. Scrivener, the prosecutor said, had no doubt had a bad influence on Welch. When sworn, Scrivener said he did not mean to keep the coat, but it was stated he had previously been sentenced for stealing a jacket and vest. While Welch was allowed to go on his way, Scrivener was sentenced to durance vile for a month.

Rushden Echo, 29th March 1901, transcribed by Greville Watson

A Thief of Time
Taking time by the forelock is all very well, but when it comes to taking a watch without its owner’s permission, well….  But Ernest Cuthbert, of Stanwick, did so on March 15th. The owner of the watch was Samuel Watson, a Rushden carpenter, who told the Wellingborough magistrates on Friday the facts of the case when Cuthbert was charged with stealing the watch. The two slept in one room one night, and when prosecutor got up in the morning he left a watch and chain, value 25s, hanging on the bed rail. That same evening both the watch and the prisoner had gone. The watch produced by PS Dunn was the one. Harold Hemmings, an assistant pawnbroker at Wellingborough, gave defendant 7/6d on the watch. According to PS Dunn the prisoner was a lazy character. The officer found him trying to pawn a hired bicycle. Ernest has retired for a period of six weeks, during which time he will be lodged and boarded at the ratepayers’ expense.

The Argus, Friday 30th September 1910, transcribed by Kay Collins

Wellingborough Petty Sessions Court
Midland Railway Cases
Israel Meadows, yard clerk, Rushden, was charged with larceny as a servant of the Midland Railway Company, by stealing one pair of boots value 10s.6d, the property of the said company, at Rushden, between July 21st and September 21st. Thomas Eaton, carman, Rushden, and Frederick Wm Evans, checker, Rushden, were charged with larceny as servants of the Midland Railway Company, by stealing eight dozen glace kid skins, valued at £13, the property of the said company, at Rushden, on or about August 12th. Ebenezer Cox, dealer, Rushden, was charged with receiving eight dozen skins, valued at £13, well knowing them to have been stolen, at Rushden, during the last two months.

Mr. R. J. Turner (Beale and Co., Birmingham) appeared for the Midland Railway, and Mr. J. C. Parker for the defence. Defendants evidently felt their position very keenly.

Mr Turner said in this case the prosecution desired a remand till Tuesday, on which day he understood their worships would be able to go into the cases. He hoped to have all the charges ready on that day. He asked that the cases might be adjourned till Tuesday at eleven o’clock. The Chairman asked if defendants had anything to say why they should not be remanded. Defendants offered no objection. Mr. Parker asked if the Bench would entertain the question of bail at that stage. The Chairman said they could not do so until after Tuesday next.

After the Beans
Three Rushden boys were charged with stealing about three gallons of beans, valued at 1s.6d., the property of Charles Edwin Knight, at Rushden on September 16th. Thos. A. Knight, brother of Charles Knight, said he saw the boys, one of whom was carrying a bag. They ran away when they saw him. He found that the stacks in the field had been pulled about, and the beans pulled off. P.S. Avery said he saw the boys separately, and the admitted taking the beans. Two of the boys were ordered to receive six strokes with the birch, and the other was fined 5s.

Alleged Compounding a Felony
John Ogden Wright, baker, Rushden, was charged that he did unlawfully compound a felony of 35, stolen by Arthur Boyce, at Rushden on or about August 12th. Mr. W. W. James prosecuted, and Mr. A. J. Darnell defended. Arthur Boyce, baker’s assistant, residing at 132, Twickenham-road, Leytonstone, said he had been in the employ of the defendant at Rushden. His duty was to deliver bread and receive money in payment. He had not handed over all the monies received to Mr. Wright.

When accused by Mr. Wright of not having paid all money he received, witness told his master he would pay him back, when he said, “I must have £3 now or I shall summon you”. Defendant also said witness must work out another £2 owing in monies not paid over. Harry Boyce, drayman, brother to the last witness, said Mr. Wright told him his brother had been robbing him right and left. Witness asked: “How much?” and he said, “About £5 as near as we can get it”. Witness promised to tell his father, who was a very strict man. He (witness) did not think he would pay. Defendant said, “If I cannot get £3 I shall have him locked up”. Charles Boyce, father of the youth, engine driver, Yelden, saw defendant on the evening of August 12th, and he was told that his son had robbed him of £5 or more. Witness said he was very sorry Defendant suggested that witness should lay down £3, and witness did so, and was given a receipt for the money. On August 31st he received a letter informing him that his son had run away, and asking him to go and see him. Witness did so, and defendant asked for a further 30s. Witness refused to pay any more. Mr. James said after that evidence he did not propose to call the inspector. After the statement of the last witness he felt that he could not succeed in getting a conviction for compounding a felony. Mr. Darnell said that that meant that his friend could not support the charge. He submitted that if anyone should be charged it should be the man who had just given evidence. He asked the Bench to dismiss the case. The Chairman said they would allow the case to be withdrawn. In answer to Mr. Darnell, the Chairman said they adhered to their decision to allow the case to be withdrawn, which was equivalent to a dismissal. Mr. Darnell thanked the Bench, and hoped the Press would make a note of it.

Rushden Echo, 18th March 1921, transcribed by Kay Collins

Notes of the Week – Topics of Local and General Interest - Rushden’s Great Need
The need of a Petty Sessional Court at Rushden – says the “Northampton Daily Chronicle” – is demonstrated practically every Friday, when a number of cases (mostly for minor or technical offences) are heard by the Bench sitting at Wellingborough. The penalty for offenders from Rushden – and of course, elsewhere in the district – is doubled by the inconvenience and loss of time necessitated by the attendance of defendants at Wellingboro’. A man who forgets his motor licence has his work dislocated for practically a day in order to answer summons; or a working man whose lamp goes out and who “chances his luck”, is made to lose a day’s pay, perhaps, as well as paying a fine. The matter had long been a grievance hugged by Rushden people, and the most strenuous efforts have been made by the Rushden Urban Council at various times to secure redress. All has been without avail, and the inadvertent wrong doers continue to suffer.

Rushden Echo, 18th March 1921, transcribed by Kay Collins

Wellingborough Petty Sessions - Friday Last
Before Mr. Owen Parker C.B.E., Mrs. Heygate, Messrs. E. Parsons, W. Bazeley, Saddington, Allibone and Gent.

Charles Henry Dilley, shoehand, Rushden for not keeping a dog under control at night was fined 10s.

Three Rushden shoehands, two aged 14, the other 13, were summoned for stealing a 4lb box of caramels, value 6/8, the goods of Messrs Bell Bros. at Rushden on March 5, and a 14 year old boy was summoned for receiving 1lb of the caramels, knowing them to have been stolen. Harold Jarvis, salesman for Messrs. Bell Bros., Kettering, said he had a sweet stall on the Green, Rushden. He missed a box of caramels, the same as that now produced. P.S. Lawrence said that when questioned one boy asserted that he knew nothing about it, but later admitted he and the other two lads stole the box, and they divided the sweets and hid them. Witness accompanied the boy and found the sweets wrapped in handkerchiefs. The boy charged with receiving admitted he went to the others while they were dividing the sweets, and helped himself. The boys were placed under the probation officer for 18 months, the parents to pay 3/9 costs each.

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