Grinding poverty

The headline says Wrenthorpe, the address, Alverthorpe – confused? It’s all down to the Alverthorpe/Stanley township boundary along Foster Ford Beck/Balne Beck again. Pearson’s Buildings stood near the junction of Jerry Clay Lane with Wrenthorpe Lane (then called Potovens Road). The Royal Oak was almost next door, on the other side of the beck.

Wakefield and West Riding Herald
Saturday 27 March 1880

SHOCKING DEATH IN A HOVEL AT WRENTHORPE

Yesterday, the Coroner, T. Taylor, Esq., held an inquest at the Royal Oak Inn, Wrenthorpe, on the body of Thomas Moorhouse, a farm labourer, aged 56, who lived at Pearson’s Buildings, Alverthorpe. It appears that deceased lived with his son in a wretched hovel, containing one room, and that entirely devoid of furniture, excepting a stool and some sacks upon which to lie. He had for some time past been suffering from a cold, but would not see a doctor. On Thursday night he laid down on the sacks to go to sleep, and awoke between eleven and twelve o’clock, and appeared to be worse than usual. His son asked him whether he was to fetch a doctor, but he only replied by cursing him. About 20 minutes past one o’clock the son was awakened by hearing his father gasping. He called in a neighbour named Martin Quinn, but deceased expired almost immediately. A verdict of “Died from natural causes” was returned.

The pages of the West Riding coroner’s record book give more details on Moorhouse’s wretched life. Note how his son tries to sign his initials in the book and his neighbour his name.

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