The Commission of Winter Assizes for the counties of Cumberland  and
Westmorland, grouped as Assize County No. 1, was opened on Monday night by  Mr.
Justice DAY. His Lordship was timed to arrive by the train from London  reaching
Carlisle at twenty minutes past five o’clock, and shortly before that  hour the
High Sheriff of Cumberland, Mr. George ROUTLEDGE, of Stone House,  Hayton, with
his chaplain, the Rev. Canon DIXON, Hayton, and his under sheriff,  Mr. E. L.
WAUGH, solicitor, Cockermouth, passed into the station, where a body  of the
county police under Superintendent SEMPILL had already taken up  position.

 The train arrived punctually, and his Lordship was at once conducted  by the
High Sheriff to his carriage which was waiting in Court-square,  
Superintendent SEMPILL and his men keeping off the crowd. The heralds blew the  usual
standard call, and the carriage started at a brisk pace for the judge’s  lodgings
in Portland-square, where the lordship put on the official robes.

 Following the usual custom, the mayor and the members of the  Corporation
would have been in attendance at the court at the time when his  Lordship was
timed to reach Carlisle; but on this occasion in order to avoid the  
inconvenience and weariness of a  long wait frequently experienced on the  former
occasions notice had been given to the civic officials of the city that  their
attendance would not be necessary till a quarter to six o'clock.

 At about that time the Mayor, with his sword bearer, Inspector  PHILLIPS,
and his mace bearer, Constable SCOON, accompanied by a small number of  the
members of the Town Council, assembled in the lobby of the Court, a passage  being
formed through the crowd at the gate by Superintendent SEMPILL and the  
county police. The learned judge having been received by the Mayor and those who  
accompanied him passed immediately to the Bench.

 The Commission was soon read by Mr. SHUTTLEWORTH, Clerk of Assize,  and his
Lordship having stated that business would be begun on Tuesday at eleven  o’
clock the ceremony terminated.

The business of the Cumberland and Westmorland Winter Assizes was  commenced
on Tuesday at the Crown Court, Carlisle, Mr. Justice DAY taking his  seat on
the Bench at eleven o’clock.

 The following were sworn on:


1. G. J. JOHNSON, Esq., Castlesteads (foreman).

2. Jonas LINDOW, Esq., Ehen Hall.

3. F. R. SEWELL, Esq., Brandling Gill.

4. S. P. FOSTER, Esq., Killhow.

5. C. FETHERSTONHAUGH, Esq., Staffield Hall.

6. H. P. SENHOUSE, Esq., Hames Hall.

7. R. S. FERGUSON, Esq., Carlisle.

8. Thomas HARTLEY, Esq., Gillfoot.

9. Thomas HORROCKS, Esq., Eden Brows.

10. John RICHARDSON, Esq., The Oaks.

11. W. FLETCHER, Esq., Brigham Hill.

12. James LUMB, Esq., Home Wood.

13. John DICKINSON, Esq., Rheda.

14. J. R. H. MAXWELL, Esq., Durran Hill.

15. W. B. GORDON, Esq., Edmond Castle.

16. W. A. ALEXANDER, Esq., Lorton.

17. W. S. LOSH, Esq., Wreaysyke.

18. W. PARKER, Esq., Carleton Hill.

19. G. W. MOUNSEY-HEYSHAM, Esq., Castletown.

20. G. H. OLIPHANT-FERGUSON, Esq., Broadfield.

21. W. E. A. JAMES, Esq., Barrock Park.

22. J. R. CREIGHTON, Esq., The Snabs.

23. H. C. HOWARD, Esq., Greystoke Castle.


 The Clerk of Assize having read the Queen’s proclamation against  vice,
profaneness, and immorality.

 His Lordship addressed the Grand Jury. He said -

 The Calendar of prisoners to be tried at these Assizes, although it  does
not contain very many charges, contains, I am sorry to say, some charges of  a
very grave character. Your duties, however, will be very light. I have had the  
opportunity of reading the depositions in all the cases, and I see that they  
have been so thoroughly investigated by the magistrates who have committed t
he  prisoners for trial, that I cannot imagine that you will have any
difficulty in  the charge of your duties, and I don’t see how I can be of any real
assistance  to you.

 It may be right, however, with respect to one or two of the graver  charges
that I should make a few short observations. The most serious charge you  will
have to investigate is, I am sorry to say, a charge of willful murder, made  
against a father who is charged with having killed his infant child - a child
of  somewhere about the age of one month. The death of the child was
abundantly  proved, and the charge against the father is supported by the evidence of  
witnesses who speak to having seen the killing and the slaying of the child by
 the father, and although two of the witnesses do differ, and differ it may  
be,  I won’t say materially, but to a considerable extent - as to the  precise
mode of killing yet, if you are satisfied upon the evidence before you  that
this prisoner did take this child and did cause its death, it will be your  
duty, notwithstanding any apparent discrepancy which may be material, and it may
 be important to investigate by and by in this Court - it will be your duty
to  find  a true bill for willful murder against this man. It is true when one  
speaks of willful murder that this is not the case, so far as I can judge, of
 murder premeditated in the ordinary or popular sense - it is not a case of  
murder so far as I can judge, committed through any sordid motive, but it was  
murder in the eye of the law - a murder in respect of which the prisoner’s
life,  if he is found guilty of the offence, will be justly forfeited, because
it was a  death caused by his wanton, brutal violence. And you must understand,
gentlemen,  there is no occasion to have motive, it is not necessary there
should be malice  in a popular sense of the term, it is sufficient if you are
satisfied that this  man did with his wanton violence take away the life of a

 The circumstances of the case make it a charge of willful murder.  About
this I wish you to entertain no doubt. Of course it is for you to  investigate
the evidence and ascertain whether the act is or is not brought home  to the
prisoner, but if the act is brought home to your satisfaction, I tell you  there
is nothing apparent on the face of the depositions which reduces the  offence
from murder to manslaughter.


     The next most serious offence which appears  upon the calendar is a
charge against a man seeking to destroy life and  attempting murder by means of
casting into a room where persons were asleep some  explosive substance. This is
a charge in one respect of a very different  character, because it is said
the prisoner acted from vindictive and malicious  motives - that he had some
time beforehand schemed and prepared the means of  carrying out his offence, and
the evidence against him, which is said to connect  him with the offence, is
that he must have obtained at the works upon which he  was engaged - in the
tunnel between Liverpool and Birkenhead - explosive  material used for the
purposes of those works, and having obtained that  explosive material he had carried
it with him to the place where the offence was  committed, and in the dead of
night through it through the window of a room  where his sister-in-law and
another person were lying asleep, and that he  committed that offence while
harboring malice and attempting to avenge himself  upon his sister-in-law for some
offence which he attributed to her.

 If you are satisfied upon the evidence brought upon you, that the  prisoner
did throw that explosive substance, it will be your duty to find a true  bill
against him of attempting to commit the offence.


Another offence, and one in one point of  view of a very serious character,
is a charge against two men who appear to be  respectable workmen, father and
son, of manslaughter.

 I say a serious charge, because a charge of manslaughter is always a  
serious charge; it always involves the destruction of one human life, and as you  
know it may entail according to  the circumstances, a grievous punishment  upon
those who are charged with the offence. At the same time one cannot but  feel
that in this case, although it may have been manslaughter, the offence was  
committed without malice; the offence was committed without forethought. It was  
committed in the course of an unfortunate dispute which arose between workmen
in  the mill in which a tool actually in the man’s use at the time became a
weapon  of the offence and defence; and in the course of the struggle which
cannot so  far as the prisoner is concerned, and so far as I see, justify the
blow struck,  or the thrust given, which caused the death of the man who had
originated the  dispute.

 Again, here also there is some discrepancy as to the precise cause of  
death. On the one hand it seems to have been suggested that the death may have  
been caused by a fall over a bench; but the weight of the medical evidence would  
seem rather to be that the death was occasioned by blows struck with a clamp.
 But, however that may be, if you find that in the course of the struggle,
which  was not a necessary struggle, so far as the prisoner is concerned, a blow
was  struck or an injury was caused which resulted in death it will be your
duty to  find a true bill for manslaughter against the prisoner.

 I may tell you that in this case it is most unfortunate for the  unhappy man
who died, and most unfortunate also for the prisoner, who is now  charged
with the serious offence that the death of the man was not necessary  
consequences of the injuries inflicted upon him. It would seem that, contrary to  the
advice of the medical man to whom he went to get the wounds - which  originally
appeared slight - attended to, he left his work and took to drinking,  and as a
consequence of that to some extent his death may be attributed. But at  the
same time you must bear in mind that if these blows were the original cause  of
his death the offence is the offence of manslaughter.

 It may be that he would have recovered of these wounds if he had  adopted a
more prudent and more reasonable course, but if you find that, as the  medical
witnesses say, the cause of death was injury to the brain by reason of  blows
inflicted upon the skull it will be your duty to find the prisoner guilty  of

 Any defence which may be made on the prisoner’s behalf, as also with  
reference to the persons charged with other offences will be dealt with in this  
court, where every suggestion that can be made to reduce the person from  
criminal liability altogether will be made and will be carefully considered by  the
jury before whom the case will eventually come. I am merely directing you in  
reference to the inquiry you are to make, and the results; and if you find true
 bills that more formal and careful investigation will take place before the
jury  which will be impanelled to try the case. His Lordship, having referred
to the  minor cases on the Calendar, dismissed the Grand Jury to their duties.


 The Calendar contained the names of nine prisoners,  implicated in eight
offences. Of these seven were imperfectly instructed, and  two could neither read
nor write. One person who had been admitted to bail  surrendered just before
the Assizes.

The Bar: - The following were present at the  Assizes:














Isabella SCOTT, 19, farm servant, imperfectly instructed pleaded  guilty to a
charge of maliciously setting fire to a farm building in the  possession of
George LITTLE, at Holm Cultram, on the 30th of August  last.

 Mr. DICKINSON, for the prosecution, strongly recommended the  prisoner to
mercy, stating she was now deeply repentant for what she had  done,  and his
Lordship said he would pass the most lenient sentence he  possibly could, viz.,
Twelve Calendar Months.

 He was afraid in passing in passing that sentence he was not  dealing as
severely as he ought to do in justice. He passed it with great  diffidence as to
whether he was doing right, but he hoped she was sincerely  repentant.



 George Tremble LAMB, 32, upholsterer, imperfectly instructed,  pleaded  
guilty to a charge of obtaining, by false pretences, 14 yards of  black Holland
from Messrs. John HUTHART and Company, on the 11th and 13th  October, 1882. He
also pleaded guilty to a further charge of obtaining by false  pretences, 36
yards of calico and 23 yards of black Holland, the property of  William WRIGHT,
on the 18th and 19th October.

 Mr. MATTINSON, who appeared for the prosecution, recommended  the man to
mercy on account of his previous good character. His Lordship said he  would pass
the most lenient sentence he thought it was his duty to do.

 The prisoner upon each charge would have to go to gaol for  two Months, the
terms, of course, to be concurrent.


 William MILL, 46, Labourer, imperfectly instructed pleaded guilty to  a
charge of stealing a suit of clothes, the property of Anthony PATRICKSON, at  the
parish of St. Bees, on the 6th August last.

 He also pleaded guilty to the charge of obtaining by false pretences  from
Henry M’ALEER a pair of boots, value 10s 6d., on the 10th August last.

 Prisoner also pleaded guilty to a third charge of feloniously forging  an
order for the delivery of a suit of clothes with intent to defraud Messrs.  John
BOYD and Son, in the parish of Workington, on the 11th of August  last.

 His Lordship in passing sentence upon the prisoner, said that nothing  
seemed a warning to him. He had previously been convicted at these Assizes for  
forgery, larceny, and false pretence, and had undergone a twelve months’  
imprisonment with hard labour. He had sent up a paper to him, (the judge)  ascribing
his offence to drink, but he, for his part did not see much connection  
between drink and larceny, and still less between drink and forgery.

 The prisoner had been convicted of forgery five years ago, and he was  now
again convicted, and yet he asked to be treated leniently, indulgently, and  
said, “If you do so I will refrain from drink.”

 It was trifling with him to ask such a thing. His duty there was to  
administer justice and protect people’s property against such people as the  
prisoner, who was a designing criminal.

 The sentence upon the prisoner was that he be kept at Penal servitude  for
five years, a sentence perhaps too lenient for a man like him.


John MAYNES alias John MAINS 27, coal miner, neither reads nor  writes;
Thomas DAVIS, alias Thomas DAVEY, 52, blacksmith, imperfectly  instructed; and
Robert DAVIS, alias Joseph NICHOLSON, 33, coal miner, neither  reads nor writes,
were charged together with other persons unknown, with having,  on the 15th
September last, being then respectively armed with certain  bludgeons, entered a
certain close of land, then in the occupation of Mr. Henry  FERGUSON, of
Branthwaite, for the purpose of taking and destroying  rabbits.

 Mr. DICKINSON prosecuted. The prisoners were undefended.

 The facts of the case were simply these: - It appears that on the  15th of
September two gamekeepers - one named KENDAL and the other SATTERTHWAITE  -
were watching the premises at Gilgarron, and after watching for some time they  
moved towards Branthwaite Wood, where they met three other keepers. The five  
keepers then went together, and while they were watching they heard a noise in  
an adjoining field as of a man moving, and then further on they discovered a  
hare net set. Two of them who were in front came upon two men. One of these
men  when he saw the keepers advancing said, “Come on,” and when the keepers
went  forward there was a struggle in which the keepers were knocked down with  

 When the other keepers came up two of the men “bolted,” but four  other
poachers, who until now had been in the background, then came forward, and  one
of them, the elder DAVIS, said, “Stand together, lads.” So they did, and the  
keepers made a rush at them. The keepers succeeded in handcuffing one man, but
 they were so completely over powered that even the man who was handcuffed
got  away, but, of course, information was given to the police, which led to the
 apprehension of the prisoners.

 The Learned Judge in summing up asked if the two sticks produced were  the
sort of things which men would use for the purpose of inflicting injury upon  
others. If they were of opinion the prisoners were out on the night in question
 and had these sticks with them they would probably think that they were
armed.  The main question, of course, was whether the men were there at all that
night.  Each prisoner had been identified by one or more of the witnesses, and
it was  for the jury to say whether they believed the witnesses.

 The jury returned a verdict to the effect that they found all three  guilty.

 His Lordship, in passing sentence, said Thomas DAVIS was an old  offender,
having been convicted eight times of various crimes, sheep stealing in  1862,
manslaughter in 1864, when he was sentenced to five years penal servitude;  for
being on premises for an unlawful purposes in 1878 and 1880; illegal  
possession of game and other offences in 1881. He seemed on this occasion to  have
acted as leader of the gang of poachers, and he must pass upon him a severe  
sentence. The sentence which he passed upon him must be a sentence of penal  
servitude. The law did not allow him to pass a less sentence of Penal servitude  
than seven years, and that was the sentence he passed upon him.

 This was not the first case against MAYNES, who had acted in a brutal  and
cowardly manner in striking one of the keepers from behind. He must,  however,
make a distinction between him and Thomas DAVIS, as he could not pass a  less
sentence of penal servitude than seven years he sentenced him to Twenty-one  
months hard labour.

 Robert DAVIS, from the evidence, had not acted with specially brutal  
conduct; he did not stand forward in the evidence as a leader of the gang. Upon  
him, therefore, he passed the sentence of Six months hard labour.


Anthony PROCTOR, 52, bobbin turner, imperfectly instructed was  charged with
unlawfully, maliciously, and feloniously killing and slaying  Alexander
AITKIN, at Caldbeck, on the first of July.

 Mr. HENRY prosecuted, and Mr. SHEE defended.

 The facts, as stated for the prosecution, were that the two men were  
working together at Mr. JENNINGS’ mill, at Caldbeck, on the day in question, at  
bobbin turning.

 The prisoner was standing at a lathe engaged in his avocation, and in  his
hand he held a wooden instrument called a clamp, used for the purpose of  
holding bobbins, when some words passed between him and the deceased, the latter  
seeming to have been dissatisfied with the way in which PROCTOR had done some
of  his work.

 Deceased used some strong language, and struck PROCTOR over the face  with
his fist. Prisoner, who still held the clamp in his hand, struck at  deceased
with it, and deceased ran round the lathe to him, when prisoner used  the
clamp, in the language of a witness, “like a flail,” inflicting two or three  
distinct wounds upon the deceased’s head.

 AITKEN left the mill and saw Dr.  TAYLOR, and three or four days  afterwards
left the mill altogether and went to a place called Eskdale, near  
Ravenglass, about 30 miles distant from Caldbeck. While there he took very ill,  and
died on the 8th July - a week after the occurrence - in Bootle  Workhouse.

 The jury returned a verdict of Not guilty and the prisoner was  discharged.