AN IMPERSONATION In March 1844 a person of gentlemanly appearance stopped at a small inn at Calton near Ashbourne and was unable to continue on his journey through illness. He had no money and was unable to give good account of himself. The parish priest visited him and he confessed that he ran away from home for a trivial offence. He gave the address of his mother in order that the clergyman might tell her of his plight and desire to return home. His sickness increased and with death approaching, he told a lady who visited him that the previous story was untrue. A blister on the chest revealed that this was in fact a young woman in disguise. She would not disclose the reason for pretending to be a boy and would not disclose her name for fear of disgracing her family. She was probably about 19 years of age with auburn hair, pale complexion, of medium height and familiar with the scriptures.
A few days later, after the death of the young person, the story unfolded. Her name was Ellen Hatfield, daughter of a Bugsworth tailor. Her father had died some years previously and her mother had married a boatman also residing in Bugsworth. Ellen had received an ordinary education at the village school. She displayed higher educational accomplishments that must have been obtained through living in service with several families. On the death of her father about five years previously she had gone to live with a lady in Scotland where she remained for some months. On leaving this position she dressed as a man assuming different roles including that of the mate of a merchant ship, holding that post until her sex was discovered. She figured as the son of a nobleman in various parts of the country and supported herself by obtaining the sympathy of those whom she approached.
Her mother seemed unaware of her way of life although receiving letters from time to time.
Ellen Hatfield was about twenty two years of age but in her male attire would have passed for a youth of about nineteen.
Man attacked on train In 1896 Mr Peter Green, landlord of the Crown & Mitre at Chinley and a well known member of the volunteers, boarded the Derby to Manchester train at Chinley. The other occupant of the compartment was Mr Bald Schofield, a tinplate worker from Chapel who had recently been discharged from the county asylum. On arrival at Bugsworth, Green appeared at the window screaming "murder". Green was covered in blood as was the floor of the train. His face was severely cut and bruised, one eye and one ear "completely made up". The guard and several passengers joined the two men until the train arrived at New Mills where the stationmaster attended to the injuries. Green preferred to return home by the next train rather than see a doctor at New Mills. He stated that Schofield, without provocation had attacked him with a stick but the latter claimed that Green struck the first blow. In October the Petty Sessions at Chapel heard the case but dismissed it with the expectation that it would come up in another court.
A Mystery Workmen at Crist quarry were faced with a mystery in 1837. They were in the habit of standing a horn upright in the ground and filling it with oil for lubricating the axles of their waggons. Each day they found the horn full to the brim with small stones and the oil almost gone. Puzzled, they decided to find the cause so next day they filled the horn with oil as usual and covered the ground around it with very soft clay. When they returned they found that as usual the horn was filled with stones but all around, the clay was imprinted with the impressions of rats paws.
Stolen Chicken In 1900, Henry Lowder,a Bugsworth tailor was caught by Ambrose Cook, landlord of the Rose and Crown, hiding in his hen house. One of the chickens was missing and Lowder was facing court proceedings.
Boots gone In 1896, George Pearson's shop was broken into. A small window had been forced and a number of boxes of boots were removed. Four pairs of boots were found abandoned on the road near the shop.
Six years for theft In 1861 Thomas Fowler and Robert Johnson, boatmen were charged with breaking into the house of Mr.W.Hodson and stealing property. Mr Hodson kept a general dealers shop and small public house and the accused were at his house on the morning of 14th July. Next morning some items of clothing had been stolen and these were found aboard Johnson's boat. No evidence was offered in court against Fowler and he was acquitted. Johnson however, was of a bad character and was found guilty. He was sentenced to six years penal servitude.
Stonemason Burgled 1865 and the house of James Waterhouse, stonemason was burgled. Some items of his clothing and a silver watch were stolen. A ladder from the yard was used to reach an upstairs window. The culprits had been seen about the village and the police traced them to a lodging house in Buxton. Stanley, Holdsworth and Woodward were each sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
Train Fraud 1877 and "The man from the pru" was caught defrauding the Midland Railway. Thomas Foster, insurance agent on numerous occasions had taken single tickets to and from Bugsworth, travelling well beyond his destination. At his final station, he would hand in return tickets which were valid 6 months, obtained in advance for short journeys, travelling for the most part without paying. Fined £5 4s 2d
A Bugsworth Romance A man visited the Chapel Union workhouse in 1843 asking to be allowed to enter. He gave his name as Ford, residing in Bugsworth which was within the same Union. He was not seeking to become a burden on the parish but wanted to meet a young woman, an inmate. He was asked whether he knew the woman to which he replied that he had never seen her before in his life.
Mr Ford explained that he hoped to emigrate to Australia but having been married before, he could not travel as an emigrant with his family unless he re-married. He had heard that the young woman he was anxious to see would be likely to make him a good wife if he could persuade her to accompany him.
The clerk granted him admittance to the workhouse and it seems that his charms won the woman over and she was allowed to leave the workhouse. A public rate payers meeting was called at which it was agreed to grant the young woman £10 when aboard ship. The minister was called in and he kindly offered to forgo his fee. That same day they were made man and wife and were very soon on their way to Australia.
Stolen Bale In 1861 a load of cotton was destined for Tinker's mill in Bugsworth aboard the narrowboat Fame and for Alice Bennett & Co of Chapel aboard the Sophia. 192lb of the cargo went missing during the voyage. Watching the lock at Phillips Park, a detective observed some boatmen carry a bale of cotton into a stable where the remainder of the stolen goods were found. Five boatmen were remanded for trial charged with the offence of stealing.
Man loses leg in fight In 1876 Thomas Handley was already bailed for a previous offence, when with John Madden,a boatmen, he assaulted, beat and abused John Thomas Goddard at Bugsworth. At the Crown Court, it was stated that Mr Goddard was unable to be present due to amputation of a leg following his injuries. Mr Edward Allen, a surgeon had examined him and declared him unable to travel. Goddard worked for Mr Sampsom Maden, a boat owner and his job was unloading boats. Having emptied his boat and wishing to go up the canal, he pushed his boat off and in doing so the stern got in the way of Handley and Madden's boat. "I will pull thy ears" called Handley to which Goddard replied "Thee cannot do it" and went forward and left the canal. Nothing more ocurred until two days later when he again encountered Handley who once more said "I will pull thy ears". "Will thee" replied Goddard as Handley went towards Bugsworth. In a little while he returned and said "I told thee I would pull thy ears"; "Well I am here" replied Goddard who guarded the first blow. The second struck him in the face however, and they fought until Goddard thought Handley beaten. Madden then sprang out of his boat and said to Handley "Art thou going to be beat by a thing like that ?"; "No" said Handley who then squared up again to Goddard. Again they fought and as they both fell to the ground Goddard was kicked behind the ear and became senseless. On coming round he found hiss nose to be bleeding, picked up a stone and said to Madden "It is you, I had a good mind to throw this at you". Madden then struck him in the face after which he got up and went off towards Bugsworth. He was followed by Handley ang again they fought. Madden then came up and struck him several times so that he became dizzy. Goddard's brother James and Horatio Bennett then came to his assistance but Handley again rushed in. Handley was induced to go away but by now Goddards leg had been hurt as he fell.
A police officer apprehended Handley and Madden and Dr Allen was called to examine Goddard. He found an abrasion to the cheek, a black eye and bruising to the head. Goddard complained of great pain in the chest, hean and knees. Two days later Dr. Allen found that the knee joint was inflamed and amputated the leg at the hip. Goddard also seemed to be suffering from "An affection of the brain".
The jury found both men guilty but recommended mercy. Madden was sentenced to six months hard labour and Handley to one month.
Idle Fellow In 1899, women living alone feared the "Bugsworth Nick Club". This consisted of a large number of men whose custom was to go around the village begging for money for beer. They would call at the homes of lone women and if refused, would damage the premises. One victim was Mrs Sarah Rowley, a widow, who seeing the gang approaching, armed with spades, shovels and hammers, locked her door. William Martin smashed the door with a hammer and when the men were asked to go away, they refused. Martin threatened his victim with the hammer which she grasped from him only to be seized by the throat and knocked down. The Reverend Bowers was passing and took the hammer from Martin who threatened to give the vicar a good hiding. Superintendent Gill, giving evidence in court said that Martin was an idle fellow and a terror to the neighbourhood. Martin was jailed for 28 days with hard labour and a fine of 5 shillings. His accomplice James Dale was fined 5 shillings