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December 2nd 1856 Cumberland Pacquet

The murder of a gamekeeper near Kirkoswald.

In our last issue we gave some particulars of the brutal murder of a gamekeeper in the employ of Mr Fetherstonhaugh of Staffield Hall in this county. The inquest on the body of the unfortunate man was opened before Wm Carrick Esq, coroner for the Eastern Division of the county, and a respectable jury at the Crown Inn, Ainstable, but adjourned till yesterday…

Margaret Simpson  (wife of the victim):

… “I heard him say on the day before his death, or on the day before that, he had seen one of the Grahams swaggering with his gun, but that he (my husband) did not let Graham see him. He said he believed they were poaching much, and he was going to look after them. On the morning of his death he got up very early before daybreak to look out for the Grahams. He did not say he suspected any other persons”


Nanny Graham of Longdale in the parish of Ainstable, wife of William Graham quarryman and small farmer:

“My two sons William and Henry are in custody, charged with the murder of Thomas Simpson. They were taken last night. They are labouring men. William is married, Harry is single. There are two other inmates of the house beside my husband and sons, namely Matthew aged nine years last midsummer, and Nanny aged eight last Brough-hill fair (in October last)

I was at home last Saturday all day, also was my husband, also Nanny. Ann an older daughter aged 21 years had been at home through the day but left our house and went to her situation at five o’clock that evening. Matthew left home that morning at ten o’clock with Henry and William, accompanied by Thomas Hogarth of Longdale. They went to Ruckcroft to break in a young horse. Henry and Thomas Hogarth came home about a quarter to three in the afternoon. My husband and Matthew came home with the horse about six o’clock in the evening. William came in about seven alone. He was that tipsy he could not stand steady. William went out and returned about eleven. It struck eleven after he came in. Some of the others left the house that evening after the time I have spoken of. The two young ones went to bed between seven and eight, Henry went next at nearly ten. John Hogarth was in when he went to bed. He slept upstairs. My husband went next. It was nearly twelve when I went. I was the only person up when William came in. He was fairly deranged then, but he never spoke and was quite tipsy. His father had scolded him very much for keeping the horse out. He went direct to bed. He slept upstairs. Harry got up first next morning, past eight. I think my husband next. I think William next. They were all up before me. All were at home on Sunday till after dinner. Henry was at church. William wore a dark velveteen coat, a light velveteen waistcoat and ribbed trousers, and laced boots shod with iron at the ties. William brought nothing home with him on Saturday night. Hogarth remained till it struck ten o’clock and before William returned. William was in Robert Hogarth’s, he never sat down after coming into our house. I heard Hogarth’s mistress say William was in there, and left four hours, and was very wild.

We had two guns in the house, single barrelled. William used one of them last week, in the fore end of the week. We only came home on Tuesday from beside Appleby. It was the one I broke yesterday. He shot a starling and jay piet. He had not the gun after that, that I saw. I did not see that he had any powder or shot.