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A Beerhouse Fight


Times change, but not so much... this is an extract from a local newspaper, C1864:


Hugh Toole was placed in the dock charged unlawfully cutting and wounding James Burns the 1st inst., at Cleator Moor. Prosecutor been sworn, stated that on the evening of the inst., he and the prisoner were drinking together at Ward's and Savage's beerhouses at Cleator. Whilst they were in Savage's beerhouse, they and the prisoner wanted to fight with him. They left Savage's beerhouse about eight o'clock and as soon as they got upon the road they commenced to fight.

Whilst they were fighting he felt something sharp running into his left side. He told the prisoner he was stabbing him and then he (prosecutor) knocked him down. A man named Downey then took him home and Mr JB Wilson was for.

He wore the coat waistcoat trousers shirt produced upon the night he was stabbed. There were no cuts in them before that night. James Downey stated that he was a miner, and lived at Cleator Moor. On the night of the 1st inst., he found the prosecutor kicking the prisoner on the road at Cleator Moor.

He told prosecutor not kick the prisoner, and the prosecutor then told that the prisoner had stabbed him. He took the prosecutor to a window where there was a light he saw that he had been stabbed in the left side then took him home.

As he was going towards window with the prosecutor he heard rattling on the slates of one of the houses thought it might be a knife that had been thrown upon the slates. Mr JB Wilson surgeon said that on the night of the 1st instant, he examined the prosecutor and found an incised wound in his groin. The wound was about one inch in length about a quarter of an inch in depth. There was a cut in the trousers corresponding to the size of the wound. The wound was in a very dangerous place and if it had been about an inch more in the centre of the body the probability was that it would have been fatal.

Mary Savage beerhouse keeper, Cleator Moor stated that on the night of the 1st instant the prosecutor and the prisoner were drinking together in her house. She heard a noise and she thought they were quarrelling. She ordered the prisoner to leave the house and he did so. She endeavoured to prevent the prosecutor from going out of the house until the prisoner got away but she could not keep him in.

About ten minutes after they left the prisoner came back and asked if anyone in the house would search him to see if he had a knife upon him, as Hugh Toole had said he had stabbed him. She said there was no one in the house that would take the trouble to search him. Both prosecutor and prisoner were tipsy.

Police constable Iredale stated that on the night of the 1st instant he received information that the prosecutor had been stabbed in a fight with the prisoner. He apprehended the prisoner that night and charged him with stabbing the prosecutor. The prisoner said, " I didn't do it. I wish to - I had done it."

The next day he received the coat, trousers, shirt, and waistcoat produced from the prisoner. The coat was cut in six places the trousers in three the waistcoat in one and the shirt in two. The bench committed the prisoner to take his trial at the quarter sessions.
Birks Road Working Mens Club, Cleator Moor, C1900
Birks Road Working Mens Club, C1900


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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland: A Beerhouse Fight
A Beerhouse Fight
Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland
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