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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:17 am 
Spider Lady
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Burnley Express

Saturday 26 January 1895

A Story Of Fifty Years Ago

From The "History of Briercliffe And Extwistle"
[By Tattersall Wilkinson]

To rustic youths, he had no cause to yield,
A better workman never took the field,
Had not his failing been the death of hares,
Keeping a dog, and making nets and snares,
An evening long, he lengthened out his tales.

Then praised the persons who had brought his hares,
Forgot his wants, his miseries, and his cares,
Tho' old, infirm, and rack'd with many a pain,
He almost wished to pass such nights again.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

John Walton or "Jack," as he was commonly called by his neighbours, the subject of the following memoir, was born and reared on a farm in Black House-lane - a sequestered district in the township of Briercliffe, about a mile east of Haggate. He was one of a numerous stock of "Buirdly chiels and clever lassies," whose ancestors belonged to a good old English race of "Natural Hunters" - or poachers as they are vulgarly called. His father, old Tom Walton, was a fine athletic specimen of humanity, a representative of a race which is fast disappearing in these degenerate days of cotton mills and sheds. Two of Old Tom's brothers entered the army when young. James enlisted in the Foot Guards, and died in London, while John served his country as a cavalry soldier in the Royal Oxford Blues, and took part in the ever memorable charge against the French Cuirassiers at the close of the battle of Waterloo in 1815. He finally retired with a pension, and died at his native village of Haggate.
The subject of this story was a chip of the "old block," bold and good-natured to a fault, but fond of catching a hare by night or by day; in fact his weakness in that direction always led him into trouble. However, after "sowing his wild oats," he ultimately married and settled down in life, and in a great measure abandoned his predatory habits; in fact, he had given up catching hares altogether. It would have been lucky for Jack had his brother gone the same way. When he relinquished poaching, an old obligation hung over him in the shape of a surcharge for having carried a gun without a license, some five or six years before - a circumstance which was almost forgotten, but which brought him within one of those antiquated forest laws handed down from the middle ages. He resided in a small cottage at T'foot, in walverden valley, near to Haggate, where he followed the occupation of a handloom weaver. Owing to an escapade committed by his brother, in which he had taken no part whatsoever, two police officers from Burnley entered his house armed with a warrant for his apprehension, in connection with the surcharge already mentioned. On making known their business, on the spur of the moment and no doubt smarting under the injustice of the proceeding, he requested the favour of putting on his clogs previous to being taken away. No sooner had he accomplished this, than he attacked the two guardians of the peace, and punched them bodily out of the house. They soon found they had caught a "Tartar," and were only too glad to make an inglorious retreat.
The following morning Mr. Superintendent McCabe, a retired military officer who had seen service in the Spanish civil war under General De Lacy Evans, with a strong posse of policemen armed cap a pie, appeared at T'Foot to bring this poor cotton weaver to justice. In the meantime John had not been idle. He strongly barricaded the door, and retired up into the chamber, dragging after him a ladder which was the only means of access, thus rendering ingress from below almost impossible in the face of a determined and active opponent. The upper part of this mimic fortress was well supplied with ammunition in the shape of a heap of small stones handy for bombardment. The superintendent with his men at once advanced to the attack, driving in one of the windows, which the besieged immediately utilised as a porthole through which he made the stones rattle on their bodies. McCabe was soon put hors de combat by a well-directed missile, which laid him sprawling on the ground while the blood trickled down his cheeks, while his men showed the white feather by decamping out of range, of "Jack's" primitive artillery. The chief went in search of a doctor; he seemed to think he had had enough. After this the police kept hovering about all the day, not daring to have a second edition of the morning's assault, while the bold defender sat on the inside of the window ledge smoking, and now and them jocularly twitting his enemies on their bravery. Towards evening he sent for Robert Taylor, the village constable, on whose arrival he said, "Come here, Robert, I'll not hurt thee. Tha may tack me, but I never give up to those soft yeds." He ultimately surrendered to the village constable, and was tried and convicted at the ensuing Lancaster Assizes for assaulting the police and resisting his lawful apprehension, and was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment. After his release he settled at Nelson as a barber, where he lived a worthy member of society, and died full of years a short time ago.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:43 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:46 pm
Posts: 364
Location: cambridge
''T'foot'' wiil be Fennymore Foot, I guess. Various other spellings.

My WATSON ancestors lived there c. 1809 to 1814.

Rex


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:12 am 
Spider Lady
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:23 pm
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Location: Staffordshire
We passed by there on the walk last weekend

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:32 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:28 am
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Location: Near Chorley
Lovely down there.

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