Road death outside Bay Horse

Leeds Intelligencer
Saturday 6 April 1844

DISTRESSING AND FATAL ACCIDENT

On Monday last, a very distressing occurrence took place at Snow Hill, by which a son of Benjamin Dixon, Esq, of Wakefield, solicitor, lost his life. It appears that in the afternoon of that day, he had been walking towards Potovens, in company with some other children; and as they were returning, a cart was descending the hill from the bar just at the time the young people had reached the junction of the Bradford Road with Potovens Lane [now Wrenthorpe Road]. As they were playing, they unfortunately did not notice the approach of the cart, and Mr Dixon’s son ran backwards against the horse, which knocked him down on his face, and the wheel passed over his loins in slanting direction upwards; and though no bones were broken the injuries done to the spine were so great that death ensued before medical aid could reach him. An inquest was held on the same day, which was adjourned to Tuesday, before Thomas Lee, Esq, coroner, at the Bay Horse at Snow Hill, when the above facts were given in evidence, and a verdict of Accidental Death was returned. The driver, who was also the owner of the cart, was stated to be a very respectable and steady man, and showed deep concern at the lamentable occurrence. The coroner cautioned him to be more careful in future to be near the head of his horse when driving, remarking, at the same time, that nothing was more common than to see drivers loitering at an unwarrantable distance from their teams.

The Bensons and Lane Foxes

A little background on the family history of the one-time residents of Red Hall and prominent local landowners until the end of the 19th century.

Knaresborough Post
Saturday 26 July 1884

THE YORKSHIRE BENSONS

H V T writes to the Leeds Mercury Supplement:

A Dorothy Benson, according to Young’s “History of Whitby”, was living there in sixteen hundred and something, and that William Benson, of Whitby and of Ruswarp Hall, married Dorothy, daughter of Ingram Chapman, born April 28th, 1682, and had issue Thomas Benson, leaving William Benson, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Walker, and left Henry Walker Benson, who married Martha, daughter of John Hugo, and left issue (1) William, who had Robert; (2) Alfred; (3) Henry Walker Benson, now of Sunderland, who has Leofric de Temple Benson, and William Marsden Benson, &c.

A family of this name has long been seated at Halton, near Skipton-in-Craven. Whitaker states under this place, “One of the principal estates has long been held by the Benson family, from whom, probably, Lord Bingley was descended.”

“In 1699, Edmund Benson, of Halton, in the parish of Skipton, made his will, mentioning considerable property at Halton, Skipton, Halton East, and Appletreewick, and leaving three sons – Christopher, William, and Robert; and three daughters – Margaret, Sarah, and Mary.” There is a monument in Skipton Church to a Robert Benson, Esq, of Halton, dated 1818.

From the Plumpton Correspondence a family of this name resided at Plumpton or at Knaresborough, and were employed in legal work by the Plumptons in the latter half of the fifteenth and early part of the sixteenth centuries. Henry Benson, of Knaresborough, was elected MP for Knaresborough in 1641, but unseated for opposition to the dominant Parliamentary faction. He had two sons, according to the Fairfax Correspondence, who assisted in his election. Robert Benson, of Red Hall, near Wakefield, attorney and Clerk of Assize in Northern Circuit, was returned MP for Aldborough in 1673. He had issue Robert Benson (only son), of Wrenthorpe, near Wakefield, and of Bramham, who was created first Lord Bingley, and died in 1730, leaving an only daughter who married James Lane Fox, the ancestor of the present Squire of Bramham. Lord Bingley had very considerable property in Airedale, and especially around Skipton. Robert Benson, of York, made his will in 1765, describing himself as formerly of Leeds, leaving considerable property about York and in the North Riding, and mentioning three sons, Robert, John, and Thomas. Robert Benson, of Bradford and Leeds, married in 1773, Hannah, daughter of Stephen Parkinson, of Cragg Hall, and whose descendants, wealthy and in good position, still reside in the neighbourhood of Leeds. In 1799, a Robert Benson (probably the above) was appointed a trustee (qualification £100 a year, or £4,000 personality) of the Knaresborough and Skipton turnpike road. From 1801 to 1810 George Benson was Vicar of Ilkley.

Miners scrap at Silcoates

Yorkshire Evening Post
Friday 1 July 1892

PUGILISTS BOUND OVER AT WAKEFIELD

To-day, at the West Riding Court, Wakefield, James Jackson, miner, Bragg Lane End, and Joseph Farrer, miner, Brandicarr, were bound over their own recognisances of £5 to keep the for six months, and ordered to pay 18s costs each, on charge of committing breach the peace by fighting. The offence took place at Silcoates on the 18th ult., and describing the fight, the Rev W Field, headmaster Silcoates Hall, said the two men were stripped to the waist, and were very furious indeed, being half covered with blood. They were surrounded by a ring of people.

Suspected arson over 150 years ago

What with all the problems Daniel Milton caused Prophet Wroe in 1861 – claiming ownership of Melbourne House, preaching to thousands on Bradford Road, covering the walls of Wroe’s property with posters, and attempting to blow up one of the lodges it’s surprising the authorities didn’t try to pin these cases of arson on him.

Bradford Observer
Thursday 6 June 1861

SUPPOSED INCENDIARISM

About midnight yesterday week, a stack of wheat, situated at Bragg Lane End, about two-and-a-half miles from Wakefield, was discovered to be on fire, and there being but little water, it had to burn itself out. The damage done was about £35, which will fall on the owner, Mr Thomas Button. Again at midnight on Friday, another fire was discovered not far from the same place. This time the site was the stackyard of Mr James Henry Carr, farmer, the land belonging to “Prophet” Wroe, who is the leader of the Southcotian [sic] sect, and whose mansion (the centre of the earth) is in the neighbourhood. There were in the stackyard two wheat stacks, one straw stack, and one oat stack and in the adjoining shed, a large quantity of implements, besides forty loads of wheat. Again there was no water (except what could be got from a well in the yard), and so the best use was made of buckets, it being deemed useless to send for the engines from Wakefield. The result was the fire burnt on practically unchecked; on Saturday, at a late hour in the morning, it was not extinguished. The shed and its contents were destroyed, and nearly all the produce in the stacks. Mr Carr estimates his loss at £500, but he is insured (whether to the full extent or not we could not gather) in the Yorkshire Office. The most deplorable circumstance connected with both these fires is that they must have been the work of incendiaries.

Silcoates School reopens after fire

Sheffield Daily Telegraph
Friday 2 October 1908

NEW SCHOOL AT SILCOATES

The Right Hon Walter Runciman, President of the Board of Education, formally opened Silcoates School, near Wakefield, yesterday, and the occasion gave not only the principal functionary but other speakers opportunities alluding to views of the Government with regard to national education. The seminary declared open yesterday – though as a matter of fact it was already tenanted – has been erected to replace the buildings destroyed by fire some years ago. Behind it lies an interesting history. Originated in 1831, it was founded as an institution for the education of the sons of Independent ministers, and was called the Congregational School for the counties of Yorkshire end Lancashire. Subsequently, however, the title was changed to the Northern Congregational School. The sons of laymen were admitted, and the territorial limitation was abandoned. From time to time the finances of the undertaking suffered embarrassment. In 1871 the Silcoates estate was purchased for £15,000, and two years later were erected the buildings which were destroyed by fire. The Trustees own part of the coal rights of the estate, and the revenues derived therefrom are to be applied in the reduction of the mortgage. Roundly the scheme just completed involved an expenditure of £15,000, of which fully £7,000 has been either subscribed or promised. The ceremony was performed in glorious weather, and in presence of a gathering which included many of the elite of Congregationalism, to which body school belongs.

Franchising 19th-century style

With the repeated fiascos of the East Coast Mainline rail franchise, here’s how a very local franchise was put up for franchise for over 100 years. Bradford Road, formerly known as the Bradford and Wakefield Turnpike Road, had gates at various intervals including Snow Hill and Carr Gate. Here are the earliest and latest notices for franchise setting meetings found in the online newspaper archive. They date from 1766 and 1871.

Leeds Intelligencer
Tuesday 1 July 1766

TURNPIKES

THE Trustees for repairing the Roads from BRADFORD to WAKEFIELD, intend to meet at the house of Mr Whiteleg in Adwalton, on Wednesday the 9th Day of July inst. at Two in the Afternoon, in order let the Tolls to arise at the Barrs at Carr-Gate, Tingley-Gate, and Wisket-Hill, either together or separate, entered to immediately. Also to appoint a Surveyor; when any Person properly qualified for, and desirous to serve that Office, may attend; and on other special Business relating to the said Road.ss

SAMUEL LISTER,
Clerk to the said Trustees.

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer
Saturday 9 December 1871

BRADFORD AND WAKEFIELD TURNPIKE ROAD

Notice is hereby given, that a MEETING of the Trustees appointed under and by virtue of an Act passed in the fifty-ninth year of the reign of His late Majesty King George the Third, intituled “An Act for more effectually repairing and improving the road from Bradford to Wakefield, in the West Riding of the county of York”, will be held at the BULL HOTEL, in Westgate, in WAKEFIELD aforesaid, on Friday the Fifteenth day of December Next, at the hour of Twelve o’clock at noon, for the purpose of transacting any business relating to the trust that may then and there appear necessary. At the same time and place the Tolls to be taken from and after the 31st day of December next at the several tollhouses, toll-gates, and chain bars, now standing and being upon and across the said road, called or known by the names of the Tong Street, the Gildersome Street, the Carr Gate, and the Snow Hill Toll Bars, and the Gildersome Street, the Scotchman Lane End, the Bruntcliffe Thorn, and the Woodhouse Lane Chain Bars will be LET BY AUCTION, in the manner directed by the Statutes for regulating turnpike roads by the said trustees, subject to conditions to be produced at the said meeting, which said tolls produced at the last letting, and now produce the yearly sum of £2,780 above the expenses of collecting, and will be put up at the same sum. Whoever happens to be the highest bidder must at the same time pay one month in advance (if required) of the rent at which such tolls may be let, and give security, with sufficient sureties, to the satisfaction of the trustees of the said turnpike road for payment of the rest of the money monthly, or in such other proportions as shall be directed by the said trustees. – Dated this 9th day of October, 1871. – By Order.

JOHN DARLINGTON,
Clerk to the said Trustees.

Time finally called on Royal Oak pub

Standing on a site later occupied by Wrenthorpe Health Centre, the Royal Oak pub was at the heart of Potovens village life throughout the 1800s. Clubs and associations held their dinners and formal events there, and it was also the venue for most coroner’s inquest proceedings.

Despite its popularity, the pub’s owners couldn’t counter the force of the early 20th century Temperance Movement, nor was it deemed necessary to have so many pubs following the opening of Wrenthorpe Working Men’s Club in 1901. There were three pubs in the village centre in close proximity – The Malt Shovel, New Wheel and Royal Oak – one of them had to go.

Leeds Mercury
Tuesday 5 February 1907

PROSPECTIVE REDUCTIONS IN LOWER AGBRIGG
CHAIRMAN AND THE GROWTH OF CLUBS

The annual licensing meeting for the Lower Agbrigg Division of the West Riding was held at Wakefield yesterday, Mr Percy Tew presiding over a large attendance of members.

The Chairman observed that they had about an average number of public houses in the division, compared with other parts of the West Riding, but there were districts in the division where there were far too many public houses in proportion to the population.

The Justices were sorry to notice that whilst they were intrusted with very much larger powers of reducing the number of public houses there was a marked increase in the number of clubs, and there was not much encouragement to try to reduce facilities for drinking by a reduction of licences when they found the number of clubs increasing.

Apart from that question, however, they were of opinion there was a good number of public houses in the division which could be spared, and which were not required for the needs of the district. They were not in a position to deal with the question that day, but there were fourteen public houses, chiefly beerhouses, concerning which they had decided to consider at the adjourned Sessions a month hence whether or not they should be referred to the compensation authority.

The houses be considered at the adjourned Sessions are –Floating Light, Flockton Moor; Little Bull, Flockton; Farmer’s Boy, Flockton; Moulders’ Arms, Middlestown; Foresters’ Arms, Stocksmoor; Travellers’ Rest, Lofthouse Gate; Royal Oak, Potovens; Lord Nelson Inn, Carlton; Prince of Wales Inn, Carlton; Miners’ Arms, Ouchthorpe Lane, Stanley; Garden Gate, Stanley Lane End; Commercial Inn, Horbury; Ring o’Bells Inn, Horbury; Spotted Cow Tavern, Horbury Junction.

At the adjourned licensing meeting on 18 March, the Royal Oak was one of four pubs magistrates decided to refer to the Compensation Authority.

By early June the pub was among those publicised as having their licences refused and seeking compensation claims. Its landlord at the time was Thomas Walker, its owner The Tadcaster Tower Brewery.

The Sheffield Daily Telegraph of 10 July 1907 briefly reports the conclusions of the Compensation Committee, which was to pay the hefty sum of £1,608 for the loss of the Royal Oak’s licence. I wonder how the compensation was shared out between the brewery and the landlord.