George Bancroft's "Disgraceful Conduct" !






The following story appeared in the Bradford Observer newspaper on 2nd May 1874, and involved  George Bancroft [1851-1931] a 23 year old man, who's occupation was a carter in a stone quarry run by his father Joseph Bancroft, from the village of Oxenhope near Keighley. The article describes an incident that occurred involving him and some friends on their way home from a Saturday night’s drinking session in Keighley.


‘DISGRACEFUL CONDUCT ON THE HIGHWAY.’
‘At the Keighley Petty Sessions yesterday, Lot Hawker, cart driver of Oxenhope, was charged with furious driving; and George Bancroft of Oxenhope; and Joseph Holmes of Denholme were charged with having been drunk and riotous. It appears that the three defendants, none of whom appeared, had been in Keighley on Saturday night last. Before starting, as was alleged, a whip had been stolen by some of the party from the stable of the Royal Hotel, Damside. After leaving, these and two others drove up Halifax Road, and after passing Ingrow, Howker, who was the driver, lashed the horse most unmercifully, and Bancroft and Holmes were standing in the trap and shouting and swearing at the people whom they passed. When they got to New Road Side two of the men got out and attacked a man named Judson, and broke one of the bones in his ankle.
A little higher up Howker and one of the others again got out of the conveyance and again attacked two young men named James Pickles and Trevor Dixon who were walking quietly home. Pickles was seized by the “scruff of the neck” and thrown to the ground, and then kicked severely on the thigh, and Dixon had this stolen whip broken over his head. It was stated that the case of felony had been arranged by paying for the whips; and that Bancroft had also arranged to pay the wages and expenses of Judson, while he was unable to work.
Mr. Craven, Chairman of the Bench, said the magistrates were sorry that the defendants had not been brought up for the assault as well as the other offences, as in that case they would have been dealt with much more severely. As it was, they had inflicted the heaviest penalty in their power….Howker 40/- and costs, and Bancroft and Holmes 10/- each and costs.’

George did not have an easy early life. He was born in 1851 at a farmhouse called 'White Hill' at Far Oxenhope, the son of Joseph and Pricilla Bancroft. He was one of a family of eleven children, and his father at that time was a quarryman  at a local stone quarry known as Deep Arse Delph...which later became known as Deep House Delph.
Deep House Delph Quarry

George married in 1870, at the early age of 19years to Grace Uttley, but unfortunately the marriage was not a long one because Grace died within 2 years in June 1872, at the early age of only 21 years, leaving George with a young child to care for. Fortunately he was living next door to his parents at Bradshaw Head, so I would imagine his mother took over looking after the child.

As mentioned earlier, George's occupation was a carter in a stone quarry close to where the family lived, and the job of a carter in a quarry was quite a hard and dangerous one, working outside in all conditions, manhandling large slabs of stone that had to be transported on a horse and cart to the nearest stone yard for final finishing off before being transported on to the final customer. The following picture is not of George, but of another local carter, with a stone slab  that would probably have been used as an engine bed. The picture was taken on a very quiet street in central Keighley early one morning.  The stone slab in the picture is typical of the kind of product made out of the rough rock grit that lies on top of the flags that were extracted from the quarry where George worked.


Stone Carters in Keighley

He went on to marry for a second time in 1876, to Priscilla Feather, and he have another 3 children with her, one son and 2 daughters.  

After the death of George's father Joseph in 1889, he took over the running of the Dog and Gun Pub at Bradshaw Head, midway between Oxenhope and Denholme, where the 1901 census describes him as a 'Beer and Spirit Retailer'. At the time of the next census 10 years later in 1911, he had moved  to Prince Street in Haworth and was now listed as a 'General Labourer'.
George died on 8th June 1931 at the age of 80 years, and was buried at the Oxenhope Methodist Graveyard.

During George's time as landlord of the Dog & Gun Pub, there was a great deal of activity in the locality with illegal gambling on Sundays. 'Pitch and Toss' took place mainly where there was a pub and a quiet place nearby, such as a quarry, well away from the long arm of the law, and although no direct reference has ever been made linking George Bancroft's time at the Dog & Gun, and Deep House Delph Quarry with this gambling, it is quite likely that there was some involvement....click here to read  more details about all this!


The Dog & Gun, Bradshaw Head....today

 
[I wrote an article previously about George Bancroft's father, Joseph, who had an interesting life as a weaver....delver....farmer....publican... and finally quarrymaster!...you can read his story by clicking here
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