INDEX

Trial of the Murderer of an Astley Tradesman

Alfred Dewlett Counts His Flock1871

Strange Goings On at Astley Green 1876

Hydrophobia at Astley

Sad Accident at the Queens Jubilee 1887

Balloon Decent at Tyldesley 1887

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  TRIAL OF THE MURDERER OF AN
ASTLEY TRADESMAN.

The title-page printed below is from an old
pamphlet published in Manchester

THE TRIAL
of
PHILIP HOOTON;

Auctioneer,
Late of the Parish of Button, St. Edmund's,
in the
County of Lincoln.
Who was executed at Lincoln, on Monday, the 6th
of March, 1769; and afterwards hung in chains
on Surfleet Common Marsh, for the most barbarous
and cruel murder of Mr. Samuel Stockton,
of Astley, in the County of Lancaster, chapman.
Taken during the Time of the Trial.
Which took up the space of five hours, when
eighteen substantial witnesses appeared against
the prisoner at the bar.
With all the depositions taken before his commitment
by the Coroner, and the justices who committed
him; pointing out such glaring circumstances
of guilt, which every thinking person
must, upon such strong evidence as deposed in
Court, pronounce him GUILTY; but Hooton
declared his innocence to the last moment,
—My plot grows full of death,
Murder is playing her great master-piece.
Lees' Alex,
—Foul deeds will rise,
Tho' all the earth o'erwhelm them to men's eyes;
And MURDER, tho' it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ.—
Shakespeare.
Manchester:
PRINTED BY SOWLEE AND RUSSELL.
1798.

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Alfred Dewlett Counts His Flock 1871

Having completed a visit of every house in my parish it may be interesting to learn of some of the changes that have taken place in the village, and the character of the population, as contrasted with the year 1845 the year before the coal mines were opened. Then the number of houses was 402 now 491, during the last 25 years 125 houses have been built, 36 pulled down. Then 25 houses were uninhabited now 61 are empty. At that period there were only four families of which any of the members worked at a colliery, at the present time there are 96, some of which have more or less connection with collieries. Only three residents in the village were employed on the canal as boatmen; now there are 34 heads of families so employed. There is a slight decrease in the population as compared with 1845, and even as compared with the last census.Alfred Dewlett vicar of Astley

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Strange Goings on at Astley Green 1876

Shots were fired and the sound of breaking glass was heard coming from the direction of the shop of Samuel Smith Astley Green near the canal bridge, thus attracted the attention of a neighbour who went to the shop door. On entering a pistol was presented to him and he was told if he did not go he would be shot. After a time more shots were heard at Mr. Smiths window, and the man with the gun was recognised as Samuel Smith aged about 21 years and son of the owner, who was heard declaring he would kill his father. After firing four shots from a couple of pistols he had with him, he went to his sisters Mrs.. Berry who lived higher up the village. She was in bed and her husband was not at home so she refused to let him in, this enraged Smith and he swore if she would not let her in he would shoot her. Mrs. Berry screamed murder, she was heard by Edward Griffin who lived at the butchers shop and he went to her assistance. Smith ran off and was chased by James Berry and his brother they were fired on four times and they failed to catch him. He had been working at the pit and said he had a disagreement with his father. He had been living with his sister Mrs. Hannah Fox at Tyldesley. He is probably insane and a warrant has been taken out for his arrest.

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Hydrophobia at Astley

On the 1 February 1880 a boatman named Richard Wignall aged 56 and residing at Astley employed by William Beaty also of Astley, died from hydrophobia caused by a bite from a dog on the 25 November 1879. He was assisting Beaty to place the dog, a bull terrier in a bag with the purpose of drowning it when it bit him on the thumb.The animal had previously bitten its owner on the cheek while he was asleep in his bed, and consequently the dog had to be destroyed. Wignall had the wound attended to as soon as it happened, and he appeared to be in good health until January 28th when he complained of a sore throat and pains in his chest. Doctor Hoyle was called, and said he was suffering from hydrophobia and he recommended that he be removed to Manchester Infirmary, Beaty refused to go up to the time of his death.

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In July 1880 a seven year old child the son of Joseph Findley of Astley Green was bitten on the thumb by a stray dog. By Tuesday the 1st August he began to show signs of hydrophobia, and was removed to the Manchester Infirmary where he died in fearful agony two days later.

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In March 1881 Peter Green lately a gamekeeper at Hulton Hall was bitten on the thumb by a strange retriever working for an estate at Astley. He sucked the wound at the time, and burned it with caustic, but died in terrible agony a short time later.

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Sad Accident at the Queens Jubilee 1887

 During the Queens Jubilee Celebrations at Astley Hall in connection of the fete of Wetherall Habitation of the Primrose League, James Taylor cab proprietor of 4 Ann Lane Astley Green met his death while helping to set off the fireworks. His wife was present when the accident happened and saw her husband take part in igniting the fireworks. She heard a shell go off, and was immediately told that her husband was hurt. She went home and shortly after he was brought back dead. The explosive had hit him directly over the heart. She had not seen his clothes but his waist was burnt. It was rumoured that the night before the Jubilee fete a married woman living at Astley dreamed that she had seen Taylor killed by an explosive, and that she had tried to dissuade him to have nothing to do with the letting off of the fireworks. Taylor however refused and met his death.

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  Balloon Decent at Tyldesley 1885

 On the 25th May 1885 a balloon descended in a field near Shakerley Colliery. The great monster was first observed over the parish church, the occupants plainly visible with the naked eye. It was thought it would land behind the baths, but sand bags were thrown away ascending to a higher altitude in the direction of the collieries, several attempts to land were made but it was not until they were over Jonathan Hindley’s clover field that the huge mass of silk was emptied of 136,000 cubic feet of gas. The natives of Tyldesley, Atherton, Mosley Common, Astley and Boothstown flocked in large numbers. Removing all the gas took some time, after which Mr. Hindley carted the balloon to the railway station. The ascent had been made from Farnworth near Widnes the same day.

 

The Royal Train at Tyldesley

 

On Tuesday the 8th May 1893 the Royal Train which her majesty the Queen was to travel the following Monday, on the occasion of her coming to open the Manchester Ship Canal, passing through Tyldesley and Chowbent en route from Wolverhampton to Preston via   Manchester on the trial trip. the train was the “Queen Empress” from the Chicago Exhibition, News of the event was made public and consequently, in numerous parts of the district, groups of people gathered to see such an unusual sight.