Times Past – a selection of Coleorton News from the 18th Century

Up until quite recent time husbands were legally responsible for their wife’s debts unless they informed the public otherwise, hence this notice by an exasperated John Bailey:

Stamford Mercury 4th November 1731
Whereas Katherine the wife of John Bailey of Cole Orton near Ashby-de-la-Zouch in the county of Leicester, hath of late several times eloped from her said husband and contracted several debts contrary to his knowledge; this is therefore to discharge all persons from harbouring or giving credit to the said Katherine, for after this publick notice, I hereby declare that I will not be accountable to any person, nor pay any debts so contracted by her, as witness my hand this 22d Day of October 1731, John Bailey.

In 1759 Thomas Gamble absconded from Derby Goal and this reward notice was issued

Derby Mercury 5th October 1759
Whereas Thomas Gamble, of Coleorton, Leicestershire, is suspected to have been guilty of divers burglaries and felonies, and has now absconded. This is to give notice, that if any person will secure the said Thomas Gamble, so that he may be brought to justice, shall receive Three Guineas reward, of the Overseer of the Poor of Coleorton aforesaid.

He is a large big-bon'd man, about five feet nine or ten inches high, pitted with the small-pox, wears his own hair, and is remarkably bald on the crown, is about forty years of age, and has frequently gone about as a Cock-Feeder. Had on when he went away, a russet and white mixt coat, and breeches, a blue waistcoat and grey stockings, a pair of almost new pumps, and commonly wears his hat pretty much slouch'd.

Travel on footpad infested Georgian roads could be dangerous for those thought to be carrying money. More stories of Coleorton highwaymen were published in the May 2018 issue of St Mary's Parish magazine - read it here >>.

Stamford Mercury 10th April 1783
Leicester, April 4. We are informed that the surveyor of the turnpike-road between Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Loughborough, was robbed on Saturday morning last, between eight and nine in the morning, of twelve pounds and upwards. This robbery is said to have been committed in a stone pit near Coleorton; that the surveyor was going to see what stone had been got by the labourers employed there; when two men set upon him suddenly, rifled his pockets and attempted to cut his throat. We do not find that the wound is dangerous.

Abnormal weather was always a topic of interest.

Derby Mercury 10th July 1783
A little after nine o'Clock on Thursday last, the inhabitants of this town and neighbourhood were much alarmed by a most tremendous storm of thunder and lightening, which was soon accompanied with heavy rain, we scarce ever remember the claps of thunder more loud and awful; for about an hour and a half the lightening continued dreadful and almost without intermission.----------- Among the casualties the paper reports:

The Turnpike Keeper at Coleorton, we are informed, was killed as he was opening the bolt of the gate to let a person through.

Note: The Hinckley to Melbourne turnpike road ran through Coleorton on what was then known as Old Lane (today The Moorlands, The Moor and Lower Moor roads). Tolls were payable at two toll gates one near Sinope which stood close to the present railway bridge and was demolished in 1881 to make way for the bridge. The second, shown on an 1807 map stood near or on the site of the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Lower Moor Road (built in 1839). Reference is made in an undated toll levy to payment of a levy at 'Cartbrook' toll bar, this seems to be located somewhere between New Bold Gate and Old Lane Gate (near Sinope). I wonder if this refers to the small brook running through Lower Moor Road today? Does anyone know if this brook has a name? If anyone has this or any further information on the Toll Gates in Coleorton, no matter how small, the Coleorton Heritage Group would love to hear from you. Email heritagegroup@coleorton.org.uk