Riots at the Denaby Main Colliery – Grave Allegations against Company.

April 1881

Mexborough and Swinton Times 15th

The Riots at the Denaby Main Colliery

Grave Allegations against the Company.

Three Colliers named William Westwood, Mexborough; Thomas Hall, Mexborough; and George Singleton, alias Ecclestone on, Conisborough, was summoned for having assaulted police Constable Midgley at Denaby on 24 January last.

Mr F Parker Rhodes prosecuted and Mr W.J.Clegg defended.

In opening the case. Mr Rhodes explained that the summons, and not been taken out until the present time for the reason that a more serious offence was committed on the same day, arising out of the same circumstances in which the names of the men were unknown; the summons had been held back to ascertain, if possible, who were the guilty parties.

Mr Clegg: do you mean to say that these men have been charged with a more serious offence?

The Chairman: We do not understand it in that sense.

Mr Clegg: Oh.

Mr Rhodes proceeding, said the assault from playing of arose in this way. There was a man named Daniel came coming from his work at the pit. He (Mr rose) was remind their worships that a strike was going on at the time and that there were a number of men in the road throwing stones and causing a great disturbance.

Police Constable Midgley was coming back to Denaby from Rotherham police court and, seeing this system, he went to see what was the matter. Seen Ecclestone in the act of throwing, he went up, and seized it. Directly at the officer to:, Westwood and Hall grabbed at the Constable and “tripped” him, hurting him badly.

Cries were then raised off, “go into the b——- and kill him.” Happily, however, the Constable was released, and the threats were not carried into effect.

After the facts have been proved he (Mr Rhodes) should asked their worships to protect the police in the execution of what was an unpleasant duty.

Police Constable Midgley proved these facts, adding that there would be between 200 and 300 persons assembled together at the time.

By Mr Clegg: I have known the men before. They have lived at Denaby three or four years. Paul has been to America since he left Denaby, but he came back last summer. I have known where to find them. Since 24s January. Singleton didn’t say anything. When I charged him with throwing stones.

Police Sgt Ben also spoke to the disturbance. He saw Midgley, after he had been assaulted. His close with dirty. One of his hands was swollen and he complained of his harm being hurt. He pointed the three defendants out to him as the men who had assaulted him.

For the defence Mr Clegg said he could not but think that if friend and introduced some remarks about a serious offence to prejudice to some extent the defendants in the minds of the bench.

Not only was the police constables evidence uncorroborated, but the charge and not be made within a reasonable time. It was monstrous that the charge should be brought after an interval of 10 weeks, and if such delay was permitted no one could be safe. With reference to Mr Rhodes remarks about a strike he wished to contradict that on to say there was no strike at all.

Mr Rhodes: Probably it is the usual dispute as to whether it is a strike or a lockout.

Mr Clegg said he understood it was neither. There was some dispute between the Denaby company and the M.S.and Railway company, and the men could not be given work. This was no fault of the men of the company either will stop what he (Mr Clegg) had to say was that the assault was utterly denied, and it was worthy of note that the man Cane and others were alleged to have been assaulted and had not been called to corroborate the Constable. He would, therefore, ask that the case might be dismissed, insomuch as there had been no proof.

The chairman (after a short consultation). We shall fine the defendants 10 shillings each and the costs; 10 days imprisonment in default.

Thomas Shelton, Collier, Denaby, then answered a summons charging him with having assaulted. Daniel Cane on 24 January last. This was part of that, upon Came, referred to in the previous case.

Mr Parker Rhodes again prosecuted and Mr W.J.Clegg defended.

The Complainant said he received a blow in the mouth from the defendant will stop it loosening two of his top teeth and causing to fall to the ground.

By Mr Clegg I’ll not summoned the defendant. The “gaffer” has. I should not have taken any proceedings against it. I consider the all as “past and gone.”

Mr Clegg: it’s the company were doing it; they are paying all the expenses?

The Complainant: I don’t know.

Mr Rhodes: yes; every Farthing.

Mr Clegg: I thought so.

The Complainant having left the box, Mr Clegg said he was rather glad that he (complainant) I’ve got no complaint to make against the defendant.

Mr Rhodes:, but he didn’t say that.

Mr Clegg: he said he would not have taken the summons out, unless pressure had been brought to bear upon him by those who have him under their power, he would not have taken any proceedings against it. But, as he is in their power and is bound to do as they tell him, and as they are guaranteed him against all expenses, he has done so.

I say your time ought not to be taken up with an assault of this kind. I don’t for one moment say that this man did not strike him. He did so; but if the defendant were put upon his oath he would tell you that he had good reason for it; that the complainant’s spat a quid of `bacca’ in his face – and if he did this he richly deserved knocking down.

If this compulsion had not been used, you would never have heard anything about this matter – but it is part of the prosecution by a Colliery Co. of these men because they will not consent to reduction in their wages.

Mr Rhodes: That’s not true.

Mr Clegg: I say that it is true.

Mr Rhodes: I say it is not. Sure, some proof.

Mr Clegg (addressing the bench): if he does not like these things being said, he should not make remarks, which I have no doubt he is instructed to make. He refers to some other charges that had been made. I don’t say he was saying that which was untrue. I know into well to know that his incapable of doing anything of the kind. These people who instructed Mr Rhodes had something “behind the scenes”

I contend that is not the assault, the two assaults that you are here to try; but in order to give them (the company) some revenge for something else. If my friend had been instructed by the police authorities. I would have said nothing about it; but he was not so.

The Chairman: I thought you said a dispute had arisen at Denaby Main.

Mr Clegg: it’s a dispute on now. Before there was no dispute between the men, but there is just now between the Company and the men and they (the company) have raked of these things. I ask you not to be parties to such low proceedings.

Mr Rhodes: I asked for some proved to be given all that.

Mr Clegg: we object. You had no right to reply.

The Chairman (Mr Rose) you leave the matter in our hands.

Mr Rhodes: I am enquiries to do so. So (in an undertone, to Mr Clegg): a reply would be very inconvenient.

Mr Clegg: I don’t care about a reply when you haven’t the right. But when you haven’t, you shan’t.

The Chairman: we find the defendants 10 shillings and costs.

Mr Rhodes: I asked for CaneĀ“s expenses.

Mr Clegg: No. If the company is going for the luxury of law. Let them pay for it.

The Chairman: I think we must refuse it.

The case then ended

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