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1916 Jan 22nd
Frederick Fields, farm servant, of Butterwick, was charged with assaulting Willie Barnes, a plough driver, on January 17th. Complainant stated that he was driving the horses ploughing on Messrs Dennis’ farm, and when he got back to the stable the defendant kicked him because he had taken the horses into the stable before him. – Clifford Harrison and Clarence Maud gave corroborative evidence. – Defendant said he was head horseman, and when he told the lad he should not have put the horses in the stable before him, the lad was cheeky, and he kicked him. – The chairman told the defendant he had done wrong in kicking the lad, and should have reported the lad’s conduct to the foreman. – Fined 15/- including costs.

1916 Feb 5th
Inspector Weston presented his annual report which stated that the division contained 51,098 acres, 3,371 inhabited houses, and a population of 13,525. There is a licensed house to every 270 of the population. There are also three clubs – one at Althorp, one at Crowle, and one at Eastoft – with a total membership of 382.

45 persons had been proceeded against for drunkenness, 37 males and 8 females, 2 males proceeded against twice, making the number 47. This is a decrease of 57 on the year. Of the number proceeded against 17 were non-resident. The number of cases of drunkenness for the past five years were as follows: 1911, 105; 1912, 132; 1913, 103; 1914, 104; 1915, 47. On the whole the houses have been well conducted.

1916 Apr 1st
John Couch, of Crowle, was summoned by William Thompson, cabinet maker, of Crowle, for an assault, at Crowle, on March 16th. Couch raised objections to Mr. Smales adjudicating in this case, as he was a personal friend of Thompson’s, and Mr. Smales said he would retire if the Chairman wished, but he did not, and he therefore remained.

Complainant opened the proceedings by saying he charged the defendant with committing a violent and premeditated assault, and produced a plan of the scene of action.

At 7.30p.m., he said, he went to the reading room of the Crowle Liberal Club, when there were present, H Eyre, R Pidd, and J Fretwell. When he entered the defendant said, “Now you …”. He replied: “Why should I be bullied like this. Can’t you leave me alone?” Couch then struck him a violent blow on the mouth, smashing a tooth, and making an abrasion of the lip. He sat down and said “Why should I be struck like this,” and the defendant then made a further attempt to attack him, but he left the room. During the day there had been an heated argument between them – Cross examined: I did not come up and scratch your hand with my teeth, and then run away, you followed me. I did not strike you upstairs with a stool, and did not pass any remarks about your wife.

Henry Eyre said: I was in the reading room when Thompson and Couch came in, and heard some heated words used. On looking up I saw Couch with his arm up, which I thought was a striking attitude, but did not see a blow. Thompson ran away. – The Chairman: Tell us what you saw, and not so much of what you think. You are taking the position of an unwilling witness, and are very little use. Cross examined: I did not tell T Janney that I saw Couch strike you.

Robert Pidd said: I was in the reading room when Thompson came in, followed by Eyre, and then Couch. Couch and Thompson were arguing the point, and Couch said to Thompson, “I am not going to have your dirty slang.” I did not see any blows as I was sitting with my back to them. There was no scuffling. Thompson ran out, and Couch followed him. I thought they had gone out for a spar. – Thompson commenced to cross examine, but the clerk pointed out that this was his own witness, and he must not cross examine him except he looked upon him as a hostile witness. Pidd stated that Couch afterwards threatened to strike him without any cause. He was very excited.

John Fretwell said: I simply saw nothing. There was a commotion for about two minutes, and Thompson ran away. I was busy reading the paper.

Robert Whitely said: I was in the club at dinner time when Couch came in, and reached out his hand to shake hands with Thompson and said: “I shall not be friends with a … like you”. Thompson said: “If you leave me alone, I shall leave you alone”.

Couch (on oath) said: I have been tantalised by Thompson in a scandalous way. I never struck him, but he struck me with a stool, and scratched my hand with his teeth. I said, “I can’t stand that,” and he then ran away and caught his face on the door. It’s his game to run away. He pulled the door behind him, and ran into another door.

William Cranidge said he could not give any evidence as to the assault, and he and another witness were therefore not heard.

The chairman said the Bench had decided to dismiss the case. Couch then asked for expenses, which were not allowed.

1916 May 13th
John Alfred Barker, horseman at Mr. R Brown’s, West Butterwick, was charged with assaulting James William Bassindale, aged 15, a farm servant at the same farm, on April 33rd [sic]. – Thomas Bassindale gave corroborative evidence. – Defendant said the offence was really committed in fun. – A fine of 25/- was imposed.

1916 July 15th
Amos Jackson, painter, and William Brown, steelworker, of Ashby, were charged with committing an aggravated assault upon Alice Leeman, a domestic servant, aged 19, at Derrythorpe, on July 11th. – Complainant stated that she was returning to her situation in Epworth, from Keadby, about 9pm, when she met two young men in a trap. They got out and one of them pushed her off her cycle and she fell on the ground, and after a struggle got away. When she got to Epworth she informed her mistress and the police. – Evidence was given by B West, E Sissons, and Pc Hencher as to having seen the men drive towards Beltoft on the evening in question. – Jackson said they never got out of the trap after leaving Epworth until they arrived at Ashby, and had never seen the defendant until that day. They waved to two girls in Epworth, and never met any person on a cycle on the Beltoft road. They got home at 5.30 – the other defendant, Brown, gave similar evidence. – William A Houghton, of Ashby, said he saw the two defendants drive into Ashby after 10pm on Whit Sunday. – Mary Fullford of the Red Lion, Epworth, said the two defendants left the Red Lion at 8.15 or 8.30, and they were sober. – Arthur Watson, of Ashby, spoke as to the good characters held by both defendants. – Mr Symes appeared for the defendants and Mr Gamble for the prosecution. – The chairman said they had hesitated as to sending the defendants to prison. It was a most aggravated assault, and as they were determined to protect girls passing along the highway a fine of £5 and costs of 5/3 would be imposed in each case.

1916 Aug 12th
In the Lincolnshire Fens where it has been customary to employ Irish harvest-men in considerable numbers, a difficulty this season has arisen which threatens serious trouble. In Deeping St. Nicholas, near Spalding, the local labourers refuse to work with the Irishmen, and farmers are refusing to employ them. The grievance of the English labourers is that whilst our young men are in Ireland receiving 1s. per day as government pay, the Irish labourers – excluded from the Military Service Act – take their places at 5s.6p. and 7s. per day. The situation is described as serious. Inquiries made in Spalding of farmers attending the weekly market showed that the labour trouble was of a serious character. The local farmers would be glad to employ the Irishmen, but are afraid of the rupture with the English labourers, which had been distinctly threatened. Shopkeepers and innkeepers decline to accommodate the Irishmen or have anything to do with them. In Deeping Fen, where a large number of Irishmen are usually employed at the present time, only three have secured work, and it was reported on Tuesday that these three were leaving. A considerable number of Irishmen have come into the district expecting to find work, but they are walking about the streets of Spalding.

1916 Sept 9th
A very heavy thunderstorm passed over this district on Monday evening. In the Wroot district the lightning was vivid, and at Bulhassacks Farm, occupied by Mr. John Chesman, a large clover stack of about 35 tons was set on fire. Only a very small portion of it was saved by the workers who were engaged throughout the night in dealing with the fire.

1916 Sept 16th
Arthur Cawkwell, Fred Kynman, Sydney Weaver, and Alfred Kynman, youths of Wroot, were charged with doing damage to the amount of 10/- to a plum tree, at Hundreds Farm, Wroot, belonging to Thos. J Blaydes. – Pc Hallam stated that he was at the farm on August 27th. when the defendants came up and threw pieces of wood into the tree. I spoke to them, and Cawkwell said: ‘ We have as much right to the plums as anyone else. If we don’t get them they will rot.’ They had their pockets full of plums. – Fined 5/- and costs.

1916 Sept 16th
John Sharp of Owston Ferry was brought up on remand for arrears of a bastardy order obtained by Mabel Bateman, of Owston Ferry, ammounting to £6/2/6. – Inspector Weston said he had an employer who would pay the money if the man would work for him, which he agreed to do. He had been rejected by the army.

1916 Dec 9th
Thomas Amery, of Crowle, was charged with trespassing in search of game on land at Crowle, occupied by Thomas Sayles, on November 25th. – Complainant stated that he had a grass field on Eastoft Road, in which was a rabbit warren. The defendant had no authority to take rabbits from this field. – Frederick Mason said he was coming from his field at the Ings at 3.30pm., with his boy, when he saw a man in Mr Sayles’ field, and saw Amery pull a ferret out of a hole. He said to Amery, ‘ You are caught this time, Thomas, and I expect you will hear further about it.’ He then ran away. The ferret produced by the defendant was not the one he had in the field. – Fred Mason (11), son of the last witness, said he was with his father, and saw a man running away from his father. He was not near him, and did not know who the man was. The ferret produced was not the one he saw in the field. – Defendant denied having been in the field, or along that road. He only went straight back to his garden and back home. Fred Key said he saw the defendant go to his garden at 3.30pm., and return ten minutes later with a basket of potatoes. – Arthur Parkinson, hairdresser, Crowle, said the defendant went to his shop at 4.20, and left at 4.35pm. – The Bench thought the case had been proved, and a fine of £1 and costs 7/6 was imposed and a fortnight’s time was allowed for payment.

[This case was reported in The Epworth Bells, and provides further information]