Sad death at Broom Hall

Leicester Guardian
Wednesday 6 November 1872


On Wednesday an inquest was held before T Taylor Esq, at Snow Hill, near Wakefield, on the body of Sophia Thompson, wife of Mr George Thompson, farmer, Broom Hall, Wrenthorpe, near Wakefield, who had died from the effects of a large dose of arsenic taken by her in a gloss of brandy, whilst under the influence of drink. The deceased, who was forty-seven years of age, was addicted to drinking, and although she had generally drank at home, she had often returned from Wakefield the worse for liquor. She began drinking on Wednesday night week, and continued to do so for the next three days. Last Saturday morning the servant girl heard someone downstairs, about four o’clock, and, on going into the cellar, she found her mistress, who had been in the habit of getting up at nights and sometimes sleeping in the kitchen, talking to herself. The girl returned to bed, and some time afterwards she heard the deceased, who was tipsy, talking to herself in her room. The deceased went downstairs and stood before the kitchen fire a few minutes, and then returned upstairs. Mr Thompson had bought a pound of arsenic on the 18th instant to use in dressing wheat, and the deceased seems to have got some of it and drank it along with some brandy, for between eight and nine o’clock on Saturday morning the servant found her seated on a box upstairs with a glass of brandy before her. It was subsequently discovered, and she admitted that she had taken a large dose of arsenic in the brandy. Mr W Statter, of Wakefield, and his son were called in during the evening, and administered the usual antidotes for arsenic, but with little hope of success, and the woman died on Monday. – The jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased had poisoned herself when drunk.

Crop fire at Broom Hall Farm

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer
Friday 7 August 1868


On Tuesday night sparks from a passing railway engine ignited the highly-dried grass on the farm of Mr Thompson, Broom Hall, Potovens, near Wakefield. Although seen at once, before they could be subdued, the flames overran nearly three acres of meadow and stubble land. In two closes to which the fire penetrated were sheaves of corn awaiting removal to the barn, and had not vigorous efforts been made by the villagers, a portion of these at all events would have been burnt. About the time barley field, at Thornes, was set fire through the same cause, but fortunately some platelayers saw the smoke, and digging a trench, they managed to confine the conflagration within its limits.

Transportation for horse theft

The case of the men wrongly sentenced to transportation for burglary at Prophet Wroe’s home, Brandy Carr House in 1842 is well known. Here’s another transportation case from Broom Hall at the other side of Wrenthorpe which predates the Wroe story by ten years.

It starts with a rather run of the mill theft piece in the Leeds Intelligencer.

Leeds Intelligencer
Thursday 1 November 1831


In the course of Friday night last, grey mare, five years old, was stolen from a field at Potovens, near Wakefield, the property of Mr George Thompson. A reward of five guineas has been offered for the apprehension and conviction of the offender.

A couple of days later the Leeds Mercury provides more information about the theft in its Public Notices section. By now the reward had increased to seven guineas.

Leeds Mercury
Saturday 3 November 1832


STOLEN or STRAYED out of a field at Potovens, near Wakefield, on Friday Night, the 26th of October, or early on Saturday Morning the 27th, a Dark Grey MARE. Five Years Old, about Fifteen and Half Hands High. A large White Star on the Forehead, which rather inclines to the far side: at little White on the near Hind Foot, and White Hoof. Had a long Switch Tail, (has been docked), there has been Two small Warts on the far side, one near her [?]: she is very clean in her Legs, very broad in the Chest, and supposed to be in Foal.

If Strayed, whoever will deliver her to Mr George Thompson, Potovens, the Owner, shall be handsomely Rewarded for their trouble, or if Stolen, whoever will give such information as will lead to the Apprehension of the Offenders or Offenders, shall, upon Conviction, receive the above Reward, on Application to Mr George Thompson, Potovens: or to Mr Joshua Ellis, Police Officer, Wakefield.

Wakefield, October 27th 1832.

With such a vivid description of the horse, it wasn’t long before the miscreants were apprehended. Two labourers from Halifax – Yeoman Morton (34) and William Smith (39) – were arrested and brought to trial on 6 March, the following year at the Yorkshire Spring Assizes, York.

Leeds Mercury
Saturday 9 March 1833


YEOMAN MORTON, who pleaded guilty, and WM SMITH were charged with having stolen a Horse on the 26th October last, the property of George Thompson, of Potovens near Wakefield. Mr Dundas stated the case on the part of the prosecution and Mr Cottingham appeared for the prisoner. It appeared that the horse was left safe on the 25th Oct. and that on the following morning it was gone. The prisoners sold the horse under the pretence of its belonging to the sister of Yeoman Morton, to a person at Holmfirth, from whom it was afterwards taken to Glossop Hall, in Lancashire, where it was owned by the prosecutor. The Jury returned a verdict of guilty. Transported for Life.

The men were transported to Australia on the ship Heroine, arriving at New South Wales in September 1833. A harsh sentence perhaps, but the case reported in the newspaper column above Morton and Smith’s is even more severe. William Moorhouse of Bradford is sentenced to death for stealing a gold watch and snuff box.