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Forum Home > Memorabilia From the past. > Netherton Tales.

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

In the area bounded by the loop of the Netherton Canal, sit both Windmill End, and Darby End. Between the two, at least in 1818, lay  the supposedly pristine acres of Withymoor Mill Farm. Described as having rich arable land, complete with attractive Farmhouse and outbuildings, the whole 27 acres was put up for auction, the tenant being one David Walker. What he thought about the agents discription is anyones guess, but in reality, it was a somewhat short of truth. For a start, the canal ran through the property, complete with a coal wharfe and rail road. That was because the Knowle Colliery was the farms neighbour, although they did have to pay the land owners £20 a year rent to use them. To the north, lay the Collieries of Lord Dudley and Major St Paul, and to the west, the belching smoking stacks of the Attwood Families, furnaces. The big attraction though, was the fact that beneath the land lay an 11 yard thick seam of coal. How anyone could have the audacity to say it was rich arable land I can't imagine, having been polluted with many years of sooty deposits. It was said, that David Walkers few Cows gave grey milk, and the Chickens, being so near the furances, laid hard boiled eggs, and even the old cock had a cough. The buildings, after the sale, were soon gone, replaced by the winding gear of Withymoor Colliery, and the fields covered by the waste from the pit. A warning I suppose, to all the other small farmers in the area, of what was to come, and sadly it did.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 14, 2012 at 3:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Netherton, Windmill End, Darby End, Bumble Hole.


The Battle of Bumble Hole.


Now in times long by, there were at least 14 public houses in Bumble Hole. All of them well frequented by Boatmen, Ironworkers and Colliers, and one, well known in the district for arranging that rather cruel sport " Cock Fighting ". The pub in question was " The Malt Shovel ", and it was the base for two men well known for breeding good fighting cocks, the brothers, Theophilus and Thomas Dunn. Yes, the offspring of the one and only Dudley Devil, the other Theophilus Dunn. The date in question, and the day of the " Battle " was 30th March, 1885, when a challenge from the supports of the sport from Darlaston, turned up to answer a challange made by another breeder, Joseph Manders. A large crowd from the old "Jaw Bone Colliery ", ( not the real name of course, more likely Noah Hingleys No.6 pit ) where the Dunns worked, turned out and laid bets on their champion breeders bird, " The Red-un ". The men from Darlaston did the same, and the fight got under way. It didn't last long as Dunns bird soon despatched the grey cock from Darlaston, and in an angry exchange of views concerning a bit of cheating, all hell broke out. Men poured out of the pubs front and back doors, puching kicking and gouging, stopping all traffic in the road, and spreading as far as the Canal. Over 86 men were alleged to have been involved, although after the Rev. Enoch Griffiths called the police to break it up, only a handful could be identified. The two Dunns, David Hipkiss, Jack Greaves, and William Timmington, all from Netherton, William Edge, from Cradley Heath, and Joseph Manders from Darlaston, were the only ones charged over the battle. At the police Court, a few days later, Chief Superintendent Burton was almost hopping mad with rage, for the witnesses seemed a bit reluctant to repeat what they had said in their orginal statements. The preacher now said, that although he had seen both cocks pulled from bags, he wasn't sure now who had done it. He said he had seen Theophilus Dunn giving a man change, but couldn't swear it was for a bet. Jessie Ward, another upright witness, now said he couldn't be sure that either Edge, or another man called Yardley, actually handled the birds. No amount of questioning changed the witness'es, so the Magistrates, although convinced that Cock Fighting had taken place, were compelled, without evidence, to dismiss the case. Now if you think, at this stage of the story, that someone had been " got at ", ten out of ten for observation. The story goes, that before the Court appearence, the Rev Griffiths, the chief witness, had been pursuaded by the Dunns to visit them at the mine. With a bit of help from their friends, they had then suspended the pious gentleman over the top of the pit shaft, and cut off one of his legs, then, threatening to cut off the other one, send him to his doom down the shaft. For those who are still concentrating on the facts, it should become clear that the Rev Griffiths had a wooden leg, the original having been carelessly lost in a former life, as a miner. This act, which quickly spread around Bumble Hole, was enough to fade many memories of the cock fight. What is surprising, is that despite some broken limbs in the battle, no one was prosecuted for the fighting at the Malt Shovel. Perhaps Superintendent Burton knew when he was beaten, and simply threw in the towel. Close knit community in Netherton.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

January 12, 2013 at 3:25 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Far be it from me to suggest, that the Dunn family were a of the criminal fraternity. It's just that they seem to get on the wrong side of the law a few times, like this true tale. In 1869, Frederick Dunn was the licencee of the White Swan, Baptist End, near Netherton. Now like most landlords of the time, who didn't always stick to the rule governing the sale of Beer and Spirits, Frederick Dunn was used to opening quietly on a Sunday, and serving a few regulars. On this one Sunday in July, he had standing at his bar, James Venables, who sank more than one or two pints of Mr Dunns excellent brew. he wasn't alone, for matching him, drink for drink, was a woman, Mary Ann Ruston. Some time in the late afternoon, possibly they had run out of money, they both staggered off into the setting sunset. Mary Ann Ruston, was well known in Rowley Regis for her drinking, and also for having a bit of a temper, and they hadn't gone far when an argument started. During a scuffle, with Mary getting more frustrated with James, she pulled out a knife and casually stabbed him. Some hours later, poor James died, and where, and when, they had been drinking, soon came out. Mary Ruston was charged with Murder, and sent off to await her trial at Worcester Assizies, and thanks to the Coroner, who wasn't impressed that Frederick Dunn had served Beer on the Lords Day, had him arrested and charged. When he came up before the Magistrates, they weren't impressed either, concluding that if he hadn't opened and let them in, James Venables would probably still be alive. They fined him 50 shillings for selling beer on a Sunday, and he had to pay the costs as well. As for Mary Ann Ruston, whose trial did not come up until December 1869, she was given 15 Calender months imprisonment for the offence, which including her time waiting, amounted to 20 months. She may have concidered herself a bit hard done by really, for she had been so drunk, she could hardly remember the incident. Makes you wonder, just what Frederick Dunn actually put into his home brewed beer.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

January 31, 2014 at 3:12 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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