Attempted Wife Murder in 1860’s Barton.
Can your Readers cope with some more trivia from Yours Truly? Well, alright. Here we go. Some long time ago I attended Creative Writing classes at Providence House. Another student, a young lady whose name I cannot recall, but I am sure she will forgive me, asked me about my Mother’s family, the Coulams. It had been this student’s intention to enquire into and then possibly write about an incident recorded as ‘Attempted Wife Murder’ in the Hull and Lincolnshire Times of 12th June, 1869. The name Coulam is recorded in the report and the fellow student knew that I was a member of that family. I was given a copy of the Article and extracts of both the Census of 1861 and of 1871. I regret to say that I did not pursue the matter nor, as far as I know, did the person in question. However when taken together the report and the Census details make for interesting reading.
The 1861 Census lists the names and occupations of the residents of the south side of High Street. The varieties of the occupations are very much as one would expect to find when reading about Victorian life and times. Included in the list are Cordwainers, Rope Makers, Druggist and Herbalist, Schoolmaster, Paris White Manufacturer, Tailors, Dressmaker, Joiners and Hairdressers, Groom, Grocers, Tanner and various labourers and shops. The residents are named and Sinkler (Sinclair), Todd and Coulam do not appear on this list.
The 1871 Census records the names of the occupants of 37 premises on the south side of High Street. The type of dwelling is shown but not the occupations of the householders except, of course, where it is plain from the Census records that the premises are occupied by a shop keeper be it grocer, druggist or watchmaker. The 37 comprise of 19 cottages , 4 grocers, 7 private houses and individual shops, Hairdresser, Tailor, Joiner, Shoe shop, Watchmaker, Druggist and 1 Private House with Shop attached.
newspaper report is part of the Barton News items in the paper, a paper
far removed from our sensational tabloids of today. In fact it goes
on to report the sale of a portion of the Blue Coat Charity estate.
Chapel affairs come next. The news item about the attempted murder
is quite lengthy and I will try to be brief. The facts as set out in
it are that on a Saturday evening, date not given but clearly on the
facts as stated it must have been the 12th June, a man of about 46
yrs, named John Sinclair went to a cottage in High Street, Barton,
the home of his estranged wife.
gave evidence as to the prisoner’s behaviour that morning. John
Beck, described as a gentleman, told the Bench that he saw the prisoner
on the Saturday morning, saying that Sinclair was ‘ much excited’ and
witness heard Sinclair say, “ before I sleep I’ll wash
my hands in their heart’s blood”. Beck said Sinclair was
passing his wife’s house at the time.
It is interesting to compare the 1861 and 1871 Censuses. In 1861 William Coulam, his wife and one child lived at No. 4, Hunters Lane, Barton upon Humber. The Census enumerator notes that Hunters Lane came immediately after the south side of High Street and immediately before the bottom part of Ferriby Road then Holydyke. It contained 11 houses. One might be forgiven for thinking that Hunters Lane was Hungate but the Town Map of 1855 clearly shows Hungate and High Street as they are now. Was Hunters Lane the name of a separate row of houses? After all, many of my age remember Winship Flags in High Street. And what about Rabbit Pie Row?
The 1861 Census extract included the north side of High Street. The Police Station was there of course but among others on that side were a Clergyman without Care of Souls, two Annuitants, a Brewer and a Common Brewer, a County Court High Bailiff and lastly at the Red Lion, one, Marshall, a Victualler. Where is Barton’s own Jane Austen, someone who would do justice to the High Balifs High Street and the residents?
Article kindly supplied by Mr C Watkinson