Gee! Lost plots and wet blankets

This one’s either atrocious reporting, bad typesetting or both.

Leeds Times
Saturday 1 May 1841


On Monday last, Gee was committed to take his trial for stealing a blanket, belonging to Mr Hill, of Wrenthorpe, near Wakefield. Last week, Gee’s period of confinement in Wakefield House of Correction for an offence, expired, and on his road to Bradford, he contrived to strip a hedge of the blanket in question. He was seen to come into Bradford with something suspicious tied up in a bundle, and was seized Charles Ingham, police officer, and the bundle searched, when it was found to contain a wet blanket, and after some inquiries the owner was found, and identified it by several marks.


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


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

Clerk to the said Trustees.

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer
Saturday 9 December 1871


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.

Clerk to the said Trustees.

Carter falls beneath moving cart

Leeds Mercury
Thursday 17 March 1887


Yesterday noon a shocking accident, which terminated fatally in the evening, took place on the Wakefield and Bradford road, near the large building at Carr Gate known as “Prophet Wroe’s Mansion”, about a couple of miles from Wakefield. About the time named William Jones, a carter living in Elm Street, Halifax, and in the employ of Mr Brears of Halifax, was in charge of a light lorry or waggon. He was jumping off the waggon, when one of his feet slipped, and he fell under the waggon, and the wheels passed over him. He was removed to the Clayton Hospital at Wakefield, where it was found that he was in a very critical state, having sustained a compound fracture of the skull, a fracture of the ribs on the left side, and a fracture of the left leg. The sufferer, who was a single man, and apparently between thirty-five and forty years of age, was admitted into the hospital at 1.15pm and died from shock to the system.

Attack on Italian

Leeds Times
Saturday 4 September 1880


At the Wakefield Court House, yesterday, a rough-looking fellow, named William Ashton, a labourer, of Potovens, was charged with breaking three images, the property of an Italian lad, Jaccheri Luigi. Mr J J Dunne acted as interpreter, complainant being able to speak French. He stated that on the 24th ult., while on the Bradford Road, on his way to Wakefield, and carrying the images, he met a waggon, in which was defendant and five others. As he passed them defendant threw stones at him, and broke the images. He was quite positive that defendant was the person. Ashton denied that he committed the damage. The Court held the charge proved, and with fine and costs, and allowing complainant 6s. damages, defendant was ordered to pay £1 or ten days.

Landowner outFoxed by local residents

Leeds Times
Saturday 26 April 1884


Our precious footpaths through the fields are in danger in many parts of the country, and it will require strong and vigorous efforts to retain them from the grasp of rapacious landowners. The villagers of Wrenthorpe, near Wakefield, are of this opinion, as their vigorous proceedings have plainly demonstrated. An unsuccessful attempt has been made to close a footpath at Wrenthorpe. It is called Fox Lane, and crosses a field from Bradford Road to Wrenthorpe, being 632 yards in length, and passes through land owned by Mr George Lane Fox, of Bramham Park. On Saturday an adjourned meeting of the ratepayers was held to consider the subject, the proceedings being extraordinary. Before the business began, Mr Bryan Ramsden, who is not a ratepayer, and who persisted in being present, was forcibly ejected. He was seized by a number of sturdy villagers, who literally threw him into the lobby, where for a time he paced up and down, but ultimately disappeared. On behalf of a motion for closing the path it was urged that the ratepayers might soon have to ask Mr Fox to aid them in widening Potovens Lane [now Wrenthorpe Road], and that he would be more ready to do so if the footway was abandoned. Mr B Lees spoke strongly against the proposal, and on a vote being taken the numbers were 57 for closing and 68 for keeping it open. Mr G Lane Fox is one of the best of our Tory magnates, and if the case is put fairly and fully before him, free from what interested persons may say, he is not the man to refuse justice to any individual or any body of men.

The Lane Fox family had previously lived at Red Hall and were big local (absentee) land owners. Much of the Red Hall estate came up for auction in 1896.

Note how the Times can’t resist having a parting political swipe at local residents.



Now that the Wakefield newspapers have been added to the Archive, here’s how the Wakefield Free Press reported the meeting.

Wakefield Free Press
Saturday 19 April 1884


At the request of George Lane Fox, Esq., of Bramham Park, a meeting of ratepayers was called by Messrs. John Bastow and Frederick Barnaby, the surveyors of highways of the hamlet of Wrenthorpe, and held in the Board Schools on Thursday last, for the purpose of considering the desirability of stopping the footpath leading from Potovens Lane [now Wrenthorpe Road] to Fox Lane, and to the Bradford Road, in the above hamlet, the footpath in question being 632 yards in length, or thereabouts. The proceedings were of a most disorderly character from beginning to end, many of the ratepayers during the progress of the meeting squabbling in groups and carrying on controversies in high-pitched tones, and in a manner which rendered it impossible for the chairman to conduct the business of the meeting. Immediately the doors were opened the room was besieged by many who were non-ratepayers, and had no right to be present at the meeting. These were requested to either withdraw or adjourn to another part of the room. The latter course was decided upon, but ere many minutes had elapsed they returned, and again added their mite to the confusion prevailing.

Mr Bastow contended that Mr Bryan Ramsden was not a ratepayer, and had no right to take part in that meeting in any way or give a vote.

Mr Ramsden retorted that he had consulted an authority, and he most certainly contended that he had a perfect right to vote, and intended to do so.

Mr Bastow having read the requisition for the calling of the meeting, remarked that it was the duty of the ratepayers to elect a chairman to preside, and he should be glad if they would do so; and ultimately Mr Joseph Thomas was elected to the seat of honour.

The Chairman, on rising, spoke in favour of the footpath being stopped. He had known it all his life, and it was not a convenience as to distance, so well as being worse, and more uneven than the high road. It was for the meeting to determine whether it was worth their while to stop that road or not. Many had come to the opinion that it was of no more use to the ratepayers as a footpath, and in summer time it had been the cause of crops being destroyed at a great loss to the farmer as well as to the public at large.

Mr Powell: Ask him to say something on the other side of the question.

A Ratepayer: It is the most convenient footpath is the township.

Mr John Wilkes, Bragg Lane End, protested against the footpath being stopped. There had been three attempts made to stop it, and all had failed. He would do all in his power to keep the footpath open.

Mr William Briggs, Red Hall, thought the footpath was inconvenient and dangerous to the little village below. There was a bridge over which it was very easy to trip and break a leg. The bridge had to be kept in repair by those who belonged to the footpath.

A Ratepayer: This is the thin end of the wedge – the old, old style; there has been too much of this kind in times gone by. We shall not have a public footpath if we go on.

Mr George Jacques said that evidently Mr Fox had made up his mind to fight the ratepayers to the end with the ratepayers’ money. They would throw money away and lose the footpath in the end.

A Voice: George Lane Fox cannot. He has not the power.

Mr Jacques: It would be a saving to George Lane Fox and the ratepayers as well.

Mr Joseph Pearson’s opinion, which he said was that of all sensible people, that the footpath was of no earthly use as a footpath. No doubt Mr Lane Fox would take action, and those who did oppose it must get their cash ready (uproar). He proposed that the footpath be stopped.

Mr Wilcock, farmer, Newton, seconded the proposition.

Mr Charles Howden proposed that the footpath be kept opened. They must nip this in the bud or they would find all their footpaths stopped at some future time.

Mr Edward Steele seconded the amendment, and also proposed that some one be appointed to check votes against Mr Thomas, both for and against.

Amidst extreme uproar and disorder a show of hands was taken in favour of keeping the footpath open, but it was an impossibility to count them properly, Mr Bastow remarking that he had counted 68, but was not certain that this was correct.

It was then unanimously agreed the votes should be counted as the voters passed out of the door. This left the room entirely occupied by those who were in favour of stopping the footpath, and the Chairman, having consulted with some of those present, at once announced that the meeting was adjourned until Tuesday next at five o’clock.

This announcement was received by those outside with the greatest surprise and consternation. In all rushed, and hard words and recriminations flew about wholesale, it being stated that most of the ratepayers being working men, could not attend at that hour.

Mr Edward Steele declared the chairman had no right, immediately their backs were turned, and whilst the votes were being taken, to postpone the meeting, and he gave notice that he should fight the legality of the point to the end.

Others expressed themselves dissatisfied, and amidst great confusion the meeting terminated.

Tragic death of John Wroe II

Yorkshire Evening Post
Tuesday 19 January 1932


The police are anxious to trace a cyclist aged about 25 who was riding a bicycle along Bradford Road, Carr Gate, East Ardsley, towards Bradford, at 5.30p.m. on Monday, and was the only witness of an accident which resulted in the death of John Wroe, farmer, of Carr Gate.

Wroe was knocked down by a motor-van owned by Newboulds, Ltd, of Bradford, and was terribly injured about the legs and body. He was taken to Clayton Hospital, Wakefield, and died soon after admission.

Yorkshire Evening Post
Wednesday 20 January 1932

Great-Grandson of “Prophet” Wroe

The death of a great-grandson of “Prophet” Wroe, founder of the Christian Israelite Movement, was inquired into at Wakefield to-day by the West Riding Coroner, Mr C J Haworth.

The dead man was John Wroe (52), of Melbourne House, Carr Gate, near Wakefield. On Monday evening he was knocked down by a motor-van, and sustained injuries from which he died shortly afterwards.

Muriel Cooke-Yarborough, dancing instructress, of Vernon Road, Leeds, said she was driving her car from Wakefield when the van passed her. The van pulled out to pass a cyclist and soon afterwards it slowed down. Witness saw a body in the road, and the van driver later said her: “I pulled out to avoid a cyclist, and never saw him”, meaning the dead man.

Horse-drawn traffic accident

Yorkshire Evening Post
Monday 14 January 1895


On Saturday night one of the Wakefield Omnibus Company’s vehicles was overturned at Snow Hill, with the result that several persons were more or less severely injured. It appears that the ’bus, which was drawn by two horses, left the Corn Exchange, Wakefield, at 7.15p.m., and was driven steadily in the direction of East Ardsley. On going down Snow Hill the driver applied the brake, and the ’bus wheels slipped on the snow until they got about three yards from some railings in front of the Bay Horse Inn at the junction of Potovens Lane [now Wrenthorpe Road] and Bradford Road. Potovens Lane is about two feet lower than the other road, which causes it to be very steep, and when turning the corner the ’bus suddenly overturned on its side. There were 16 passengers in the ’bus the time, and they were thrown upon each other with considerable force. Most of the occupants sustained cuts, sprains, and bruises, and following appear to have fared the worst – James Henry Hobkinson and Elizabeth Hobkinson, of Calvert’s Buildings, Potovens; Alice Green, widow, and Joe Barnaby of Bragg Lane End, Potovens.