Saturday, 12 March 2016

A case of assault at the Granville Works, the Thanet Advertiser, 14th June 1879.

William Barnett was born in about 1838, at Douglas, The Isle of Man.  He was married to Mary Ann Barnett.  He had at least 6 children; Charlotte Barnett, born 1862 in Falmouth, Naomi Barnett, born 1867 in Falmouth, Catherine Barnett, born 1868 in Devonport, Francis Barnett, born 1879 in Ramsgate and Eliza Barnett, born about 1880 in Ramsgate – source Ancestry.

A few interesting points – that a 9 year old girl was expected to care for a 1 year old all day long on the streets, whilst both parents worked.  Also that William Barnett could throw a good punch…


William Barnett; a coastguardsman, was summoned for assaulting Jeremiah O'Shea, a night watchman, on the 24th May. –There was a cross summons taken out by Barnett against O'Shea for having assaulted his son, Francis Charles Barnett, on the same date. 

– Mr. Sparkes appeared for O'Shea, and Barnett pleaded guilty to the first charge.

—Jeremiah O'Shea, an Irishman, who was with, some difficulty understood, said he was a night-watchman on the Granville works. On the 24th of he went on duty at 4.30 p.m., and on visiting some buildings he found three little girls there stealing wood, the property of Mr. Davis (Edmund Francis Davis). 

As soon as they saw him they dropped the wood and ran, back into the building. He ran after them and caught one girl. He asked her for her name, and she said it was Barnett. He then asked her what she was doing there, and she replied that she was calling after a girl named Lizzie. He accused her of stealing wood, and she then asked to be let off, and promised never to go there again. 

About 6.30 the same evening the defendant came up to him where he was standing and accused him of striking his baby. Witness replied that he knew nothing of it, and went away. Defendant followed him, and struck him a swinging blow from behind with his fist, which knocked a tooth out, blackened his eye; and cut his ear. 

— In answer to the charge, defendant said he struck O'Shea for calling him a liar and saying that he sent his children out to steal; but he most emphatically denied striking him from behind. -- The complainant and defendant here changed places, and the counter charge was gone into.

 — Catherine Barnett, a little girl about nine years of age, said she was the daughter of William Barnett, and lived at the Coastguard-station: On Saturday, the 24th of May, she was on the hill behind the Coastguard-station, carrying her little brother Francis. She saw the defendant O'Shea there driving children from the fence. The other children ran away, but she did not. Defendant then came to her and struck her on the shoulder and the baby on the forehead with a stick. The same blow that struck her struck the baby, and made it cry.  There was a mark on the baby's forehead, which was made by the stick.  She had been doing nothing.  She was near the buildings which go down the hill by Mr. Sparkes: She was walking up the road when defendant went to her. She did not go through the buildings or run away. The blow hurt her shoulder. 

— Mary Ann Barnett, mother of the previous witness, said she sent her baby out in charge of her daughter Catherine. She met them both crying outside the station between four and five o'clock. There was a mark on the baby's forehead, but it had nearly gone by that time. She went to defendant and asked why he had struck the child, and he said for stealing wood; and he would strike her again. Witness said her daughter did not steal, as she was nursing the child, and defendant told her that she was a liar and sent her children out to steal. - For the-defence, Mr. Sparkes called Joseph Denham, who said he was foreman on the Granville estate. On the 24th of May he helped O'Shea chase some children away from the buildings. He did not notice any little girl carrying a baby. He saw one run away and stand against the fence crying, but he did not notice who it was. Children were continually entering the building and stealing wood.

—The Chairman said there were faults on both sides, and temper had been shown first by defendant O'Shea in striking the child, and then by the defendant Barnett, who committed a violent assault. They had at first intended to punish him severely, but, looking at the fact of the child having been struck, they would, dismiss both cases, each defendant to pay his own costs; and they would each be bound over hi the sum of £20 to keep the peace for six months.

—O'Shea here emphatically denied striking the child, and refused to, pay the costs, or to be bound over.—Mr. Leyy, however, told him that unless he consented to be bound over and paid the costs he would him to go to gaol and remain there for six months, - On hearing this, O'Shea at once paid the fees, and left the court grumbling.

Info from; Benedict Kelly.


  1. Interesting but random. Why do you think this is worth republishing?

    1. On the other hand, Joe, why do you suggest that this is not worth a repeat publishing? Just because you know all about the event it does not follow that everyone else does, does it?

    2. On the other hand, Joe, why do you suggest that this is not worth a repeat publishing? Just because you know all about the event it does not follow that everyone else does, does it?

    3. I didn't know about the event and I am interested. I just didn't really understand what was so special about it to make it worth mentioning here.

      Of course Michael is entitled to post about whatever he likes. I just couldn't quite see what was so important about this. And still don't, to be honest.

    4. I guess the proof is in the pudding, the web statistics show it was the third most viewed post out of the 5,000 views this week

  2. I'm interested in local history, particularly Ramsgate Joe, so Pugin related stuff like this pertaining to The Granville interests me and if it interests then I assume it will interest my readers.


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