Henry Thornton and Henry Ward - The Thirsk 2 - 1883

Henry Thornton was a joiner in Thirsk sentenced to imprisonment with Henry Ward in 1883 for stealing ten shillings worth of oats straw. The solicitor, Henry Smith, was involved in Henry Thornton's appeal and a petition on behalf of Henry Ward to the Secretary of State.

It was unusual for Henry to have become involved in a case like this. He did not generally work for the public.

Henry acted mainly as an agent to his brother Reginald Bell in connection with the Thirsk Hall Estate; the Thirsk Race Committee or public bodies such as the Burial Board or Manorial Court. Perhaps he was involved because the defendants worked regularly for Thirsk Race Committee - they are found in the meeting accounts around the time.

The documents held are an original transcript of a petition signed by a lengthy list of residents of Thirsk and a summons to an appeal hearing on behalf of Henry Thornton. It is not known whether Henry Thornton's appeal was upheld or whether Henry Ward was released.

The petition is an interesting list, including many residents of Thirsk and their occupations at that time. For the most part they are employees and tenants of the Thirsk Hall Estate, or traders around Thirsk Market Place. In may cases they were fellow masons mentioned in the history of the Thirsk Falcon Lodge.

Henry's brother Reginald Bell, as a JP, might not have been able to sign (even if he wanted to). Fellow freemason Adam Carlisle Bamlett is a notable non signatory. Even Samuel Cass's son, Arthur William Cass, signed.

In general the signatories do tend to be the younger adults.

Many residents of Thirsk will be able to find a large number of their ancestors amongst the names.

The petition

The summons

The petition

To The Right Honourable the Secretary of State
(Home Department)

The Humble Petition of the Undersigned Inhabitants of Thirsk in the North Riding of the County of York.


  1. That Henry Ward of Sowerby near Thirsk Labourer and Henry Thornton of Thirsk Joiner were on the 26th day of November 1883 at the Justice Room Sowerby near Thirsk before The Honourable George Edwin Lascelles (Chairman) and a full bench of Magistrates convicted "For that he the said Henry Ward on the 24th day of November 1883 at the township of Thirsk in the said Riding did then and there feloniously steal take and carry away a quantity of Oat Straw to the value of ten shillings the property of one Samuel Cass and for that he the said Henry Thornton on the day and year and at the place aforesaid did aid abet counsel and procure the said Henry Ward to do and commit the said felony contrary to the statute in such case made and provided" and sentenced to six weeks imprisonment.
  2. The said Henry Thornton on the 29th day of November 1883 gave notice of appeal against such conviction and duly entered into his recognizances with sufficient Sureties for the prosecution of such appeal and was thereupon liberated from prison pending such appeal
  3. The said Henry Ward by reason of his poverty would be unable to procure sufficient sureties and therefore no notice of appeal has been given on his account.
  4. That your Petitioners are informed and believe that the above named Henry Ward and Henry Thornton had no felonious intent when they took the said straw but took it under the impression that they had leave to do so.
  5. That your petitioners believe that had the said Henry Ward and Henry Thornton been represented by Counsel at their trial and had the facts and circumstances of the case fully explained to the sitting Justices they would have been acquitted
  6. That Your Petitioners think it very hard that Henry Ward on account of his poverty should have to remain in prison when Henry Thornton through his better circumstances is able to be released pending his appeal
  7. And your petitioners therefore pray you will have the case enquired into and the sentence passed on Henry Ward remitted

And your Petitioners will ever pray

NameTrade or Calling
James WaltonLicensed Victualler
William W. HallFarmer Thirsk
John EberlePhysician
Geo FreemanAuctioneer & Valuer
George DowsonSeed & Cake Merchant
William HallHotel propr. and Farmer
Reginald HartleyPhysician and Surgeon
Henry SmithSolicitor
William CamidgeCanon of York & Rural Dean
Thos J WilkinsonBank Manager
Richard PearsonSeed Merchant
William ColtmanDraper
John FarmeryBoot Maker
Henry LongfordPhysician & Surgeon
Jas H LeightonIronmonger
George James WigglesworthIronmonger
G W KempTailor
A W CassSolicitor
Robert JacquesPostmaster Thirsk
Bernard MansfieldSowerby Thirsk
John BellThirsk
James DanbyTin Plate Worker
Edwin JohnsonCattle Dealer, Thirsk
John WoodwardHotel proprietor
Leonard ThompsonChemist
Herbert PriorProfessor of Music
John LeeButcher Ham & Bacon Factor
C H Hawxwell 
John WoodwardAuctioneer
Simon StottRope and Twine Manufacturer
John HoggPork Butcher
G E MyersDraper
S W SkipperWatchmaker
Rob. A HayDraper
A C MarrBrewer
F W WhitwellChemist
J RhodesBrewer & Spirit Merchant
Zaccheus WrightBookseller
John WrightInnkeeper
Thomas F WigglesworthIronmonger
Thomas GusouAccountant
John BellPrinter
John GillGas Manager
J RutherfordButcher
W AllansonBoot Maker
Robt SkillbeckGrocer
George DicksonDraper
George SeaversHay Dealer Thirsk
William CowtonInn Keeper
Edward ReedDraper
William PattisonPainter
Thomas RymerMiller
G H RutherfordButcher
J PattisonCoachbuilder
Hy DaleIronmonger
George WareTinner
A MoseyProvision Merchant
Charles LongPainter & Clog Maker
Charles JohnsonPiper Lane Shoemaker
George WalburnCarter
Benjamin CooperBricktile Maker
William James HornerButcher
William WildonButcher
R A FawcettGrocer Market Place
William TruemanInnkeeper Tailor
Thomas GreenwoodForeman Tailor
James RutherfordPainter
John Smith FarmeryCordwainer
George PearsonCow Keeper
Richard BarleyActuary
Herbert KirbyGentleman
William HowButcher
H B CloughIronmonger
Robert HolydayGrocer
George WrightBootmaker
John Headley WrightPostman
John StockdaleCordwainer
Thomas BraithwaiteCordwainer
T W ButterfieldJoiner
Jas KeenJoiner
J R BigginsMason
George WrightTailor
Joshua HutchinsonOstler
John Ths DodsworthClerk
George TwellerGroom
Thomas LouthwaiteInnkeeper
W BendelowCoal Leader
William FoggittInnkeeper
Isaac TweddalBricklayer
Joseph WhiteheadLabourer
Robert LongInnkeeper
Thomas TweedyBrewer
Robert RobsonWatchmaker
F R HansellBank Cashier
J L BodenBank Manager
James WatsonDrayman
Robert RichardsonJoiner & Cabinetmaker
John FoxReporter Thirsk
John WildYeoman
John HarrisBank Manager
G H LancasterSaddler
Robt LeeTaxidermist
R LeesamGas Manager
William Dale BatemanGrocer
Thomas BrownLabourer
John GilesLabourer
William LancasterLabourer
John StoreyLabourer
Joseph WatsonTailor
Thomas FergusonLabourer
Thomas LongBricklay
George HagleyLabourer
William BulmerLabourer
James BrownLabourer
John SpenceLabourer
William HaytonLabourer
John LongTailor
George BendelowPlatelayer
John ScottCurrier
George CooperBrickmaker
Louis RoweTailor
Joshua ButcherLabourer
Thomas LisleJoiner
Edward WilleyFarmer
William RaperBacon Factor
William FergusonLabourer
Fred WalkerPlatelayer
James PattisonJoiner
John WardSignalman
Henry WardFarm Labourer
Robert BarkerJoiner Thirsk
W KendrewLabourer
F CouplandKilvington
S HutchinsonLabourer
G DawsLabourer
J WeighellGardener
Thomas HarlandLabourer
Joseph JacksonMiller
Frederic MillerLabourer
John MaysNorby
Richard BrownLabourer
Philip PetlerLabourer
James DinsdaleDriller
John WalkerLabourer
Martin LofthouseLabourer
Mathew FergusonLabourer
John CockfieldMoulder
Charles ParvinSignalman
Septimus DowsonLabourer
James KendrewRailway Labourer
J StapyltonShoemaker
George StapyltonShoemaker
Miles StapyltonShoemaker
Thomas HarrisonGrocer
Thos BriggsJoiner
Tom ParvinFarm Labourer
John WardTaylor & Outfitter
John Watson RathrayCarver & Gilder
Edward PipePlumber
Edward MeancockPainter

The summons

VICTORIA, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith. To

and every of them greeting. We command you and every one of you, that leaving undone all other Business, and giving over all Excuses whatsoever, you, and every one of you, be in your proper Persons before the Justices assigned to keep the peace in the North-Riding of the County of York; and also to hear and determine divers Felonies, Trespasses and other Misdemeanors committed in the said Riding at the next General Quarter Sessions of the Peace to be holden at Northallerton in the said riding, on Tuesday, the First day of January at the hour of Eleven in the Forenoon of the same day, to testify the truth inall things, according to your Knowledge, in a certain Appeal to be then and there heard and determined between Henry Thornton Appellant, and Samuel Cass and Malcolm McPherson Respondent, on the Part and Behalf of the the said appellant and this in no wise omit, under Forfeiture of One Hundred Pounds, to be levied out of your and every of your Goods and Chattels to our Use, if you or any of you make Default in the Premises. WITNESS. George Frederick Samuel Marquis of Ripon, Keeper of the Rolls for the Riding aforesaid, the First day of January in the Forty Seventh Year of our Reign.


(Closes with a stamp device of the court of the North Riding of York.)

Image of the summons