This blog is produced to assist all genealogy researchers of BANCROFT families originating from the county of YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND.
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Michael Bancroft “swapped” a cow... and what happened !
Here’s an interesting little tale from the Leeds Newspaper of 23rd
June 1877, entitled ‘Swapped a a Cow, and the Result’ concerning Michael
Bancroft, a farmer from the village of Oxenhope near Keighley, and the problems
he had with the sale of one of his cows.
Michael Bancroft was born on 6th February 1839 in
the Bocking area, which is in the Bingley parish, area although geographically
is nearer Keighley. He was the son of Michael and Ann [nee Shackleton], and was
one of a family of eight children. His father was a weaver, and later a
woolcomber in the area and Michael initially became a house painter, before
taking up as a farmer in the 1870’s at a 38 acre farm called ‘Birks’ near the
village of Oxenhope.
1881census - Birks Farm
He married Susie Earnshaw [1840-1897] from Oxenhope, and
they went on to have at least ten children, several who died in infancy.
Here is the story about the cow incident, taken from the
Courthouse on Wednesday, the Judge and a jury were engaged for some hours in
hearing an action brought by Michael Bancroft against Joseph Wood, to recover a
sum of £21, for the alleged detention of a cow. The plaintiff was a farmer at
Birks, Oxenhope, and the defendant was also a farmer at Haworth. They had been
in the habit of trading with each other for years. And in April last, the
plaintiff, who kept milking cows, had a geld which he wished to sell. The
defendant called and examined her, and a day or two after the plaintiff
examined the cows of the defendant to select one in exchange. A bargain was
struck, the plaintiff paid £2-12s-6p, and getting in exchange for his cow one
of the defendant’s cows and a calf. The animals were exchanged on the following day
[The 19th April]. After the plaintiff’s cow was put in the mistal of
the defendant’s, she took ill, and though advised to get a cow doctor to her,
he kept her without any attempt to recover her till the 27th April
when, [while the plaintiff and his wife were away from home] he sent the cow back, and
took away the cow he had given in exchange. The plaintiff, on finding the cow
returned, called a local cow doctor, and afterwards a Veterinary Surgeon, who
found her suffering from superacute inflammation of the lungs. The cow got
gradually worse and died on the 15th May. The defence took the form
of a counter claim for damages in consequence of the plaintiff having warranted
the cow, and having stated that it was “ all right”. The veterinary surgeon
however gave it as his opinion that the cow had, for at least two months been suffering from
pulmonary consumption. His Honor asked the jury to consider whether there had
been a absolute warranty that the cow was alright, or whether without any
warranty, there had been a knowingly false representation on the part of the plaintiff.
The jury found for the plaintiff, awarding Bancroft damages of £17-10s, and his Honor
expressed concurrence with the verdict.’
Looking at the photograph below, showing the view from Birks Farm, its easy to see how running an isolated small farm on the moors, high up on hills above Oxenhope must have been difficult, particularly in winter, and it looks as though farming did not prove to be a success for
Michael and his family because by the time of the1891census Michael, with
his wife and remaining six children were now living down in the Lowertown area of
Oxenhope, with his occupation listed as a woolcomber.
Michael died on 2nd October 1900, age 61 years,
and was buried at Oxenhope Weslyan Burial Ground