W Brady and several other magistrates sitting at the Barnsley West
Riding police court yesterday, heard some singular statements in
connection with a charge against four miners, James Turner, John Scott,
Benjamine Thompson and Jas McQueen of Grimethorpe were brought up,
charged with having been on the enclosed premises of James Laybourne, a
farmer, of Brierley, on Sunday night, for a felonious purpose.
Quest said the facts were very peculiar. During last week a rumour got
abroad that Violet Farm, where prosecutor lived, was haunted, and as a
result numbers of people had flocked to the place, and considerable
damage had been done by people anxious to see the ghost. Mr Laybourne,
having been annoyed, complained to the police, and about ten o'clock on
Sunday night two officers were on the spot. They kept watch and saw two
of the prisoners enter the house through a window that had been broken,
they were secured, and the other two were seen in the kitchen finishing
of the remains of Mr Laybourne's supper. The prisoners were worse for
answer to the chairman, who asked the men to explain their singular
conduct, Scott said they only went to the farm to see the ghost, and he
added "I don't believe in ghosts, and I went to stay until twelve
o'clock to see it, but instead of a ghost it was a constable who
came" (laughter). The chairman said the least they could have done
was to have asked permission to gratify their curiosity. They would be
fined 40s each and costs.
Farm House 1906
and Catherine Fox tenanted the farm at this time. At the window
you can see their three daughters Emily, Ida and Mabel. I
remember as a young lad in the 1960s visiting the farm and
buying apples for 10 a penny from one of the girls who by this
time was quite elderly. The farm labourer is unknown. The family
are buried in the cemetery at St Paul's church.
Farm House 2003
Farmhouse with the building of the new housing estate taking
place on the site of the former Brierley Colliery and more
recently the Amco offices.
Laybourne was seen
after the proceedings by our correspondent, who says he evidently
believes the story that the house is visited in a mysterious manner, he
declares that some time ago the wash tub in the wash house was turned on
its side. The clothes were put back again, and some time afterwards
although the place was locked up, the tub was found once again turned
upside down with the clothes in it. He says all sorts of household
articles have been transferred from one room to another, pieces of light
furniture in the room have been "flashed" from one side to
another, and a three-legged stool has been known to dance around the
kitchen. Since Thursday last the mysterious happenings have been less
demonstrative. A local head of spiritualists have volunteered to pay him
a visit to try to elucidate the strange occurrences. Cushions had leaped
into the fireplace with such a "suddenness", Mr Laybourne said
"that you could hardly see them go". Actually small articles
had travelled up the stairs, as though directed by some magic wand, and
such articles were strewn all over the place. Asked if the inmates were
disturbed during the night, Mr L Laybourne said the disturbances chiefly
occurred in the forenoon's, and were confined to the kitchen, though in
the rooms above there had been heard mysterious sounds. Mrs Laybourne
and the members of the family have left the house, but Mr Laybourne and
his farmer friend are still living there.
was 40 shillings, which is £2. Quite an amount in those days).
Farm is situated at the top of Brierley Hill behind what was once the
colliery. Its view over Brierley Common and Ringstone Hill is a sight of
natural beauty. As we have already read, one of the previous tenants was
Mr Laybourne and there was also a Mr Dunhill.
1906, William and Catherine Fox tenanted the farm from George Saville
Foljambe Esq. Notts. The tenancy began in February with the rent as
£46.05s. 04d (£46.27 approx.)
£143.11s. 04d. (£143.57p approx.).
the 1960s the farm was tenanted by Tom Ward whose daughter Pat, provided
all the animals for the first and second series of All creatures great
and small, and also animals for the TV series Last of the Summer wine,
also for Nanny, Boon, Goodbye Mr Chips and many more TV programmes. In
December 1999 she lived in Creswell, Derbyshire.
farm employed many local residents over the years, and in the Baipip
archives you will find photographs of, Clem Pickering, Arthur Thorpe,
Reg Sheridan, William Fox jnr. who was the son of William and Catherine
Fox, Molly Weaver (later Mrs Swinbank and who probably served you with
petrol from the old filling station which was situated next door at
Orchard House), Billy Richard's and John Naycock as a young boy.
Old newspaper cuttings
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