Monday, 13 April 2015

The Patterdale Murder

Having read a number of Lakeland mining books recently, I was reading about the Greenside mine in Glenridding. This book is  written by Ian Tyler (the authority on mining history in lakeland) and is well worth a read to understand the history of the village and the mines around the area. In this book you will read of lead and silver, hard won in the hills of Greenside and the rest of the valley. One part the author drew my attention to was an incident that occurred on 8th March 1835 in Patterdale that I knew nothing about. This was the murder that occurred as a result of a brawl following a long waited for pay day. Pay was handed out at The Angel Pub in Penrith and was handed out every six months. One can imagine the bonanza that would have been to men used to tearing out a living from the hard underground rock that is Greenside, Glenridding. One part of the authors account I was troubled with was that the two miners, Joseph Bainbridge and John Greenwell, were brawling with locals and were ejected from The White Lion Inn, Patterdale, were later in Chitty Puss Lane (directly opposite the public house) and in order to protect themselves, they cut and whittled sticks to use to defend themselves, if set upon. Below is a photo of Chitty Puss Lane which is directly opposite the pub. My trouble was

 'Why would you remain in the area of the assault, hunting out a stick and whittling away when all you need to do is put distance between yourself and the scene of the trouble'. 

When one young man, a Thomas Grisdale of Hartsop Hall, came out of the pub the account reads that John Greenwell, using Joseph Bainbridge's knife, 'defended' himself and stabbed Thomas Grisdale, who incidentally had nothing to do with the original disturbance in the pub.

Chitty Puss Lane
It was my intention to research this for a fuller and more believable account. My wife began checking the internet for me before I engaged on any visit to Carlisle Archives and she did a sterling job, finding a whole history of the Grisdale Family and this account was covered in great detail. Not wishing to plagiarise another's work I will simply provide you with a link to that page of this detailed family history:

This goes into great detail on the actual events of the day, the eventual trial of both men with Bainbridge receiving a 'Not Guilty' verdict and Greenwell a 'Guilty', sentenced to death yet later commuted to 12 years transportation. This has close similarities to the currently running 'Banished' series on BBC2.

I will leave that article to fully explain but in the interests of enlightenment I draw the incident to your attention and the next time you have a pint in The White Lion you may choose to reflect on those events to add the your days experience.

One final addition is I visited Glenridding churchyard and found the grave of Thomas Grisdale, the pain of the family bites into your soul through the inscription carved into the hard green slate. I include a photograph of the stone and the inscription it holds.

Thomas Grisdales Graveston.
The inscription reads:

THOMAS, eldest son of
of Hartsop Hall in this Township
who was barbarously murdered by an unprovoked Assassin
on the evening of  SUNDAY March 8 1835
Aged 27 years.
By mans worst Crime he fell and not his own.
Beloved he lived and dying left a Name
With which his Parents mark this votive Stone'
The Grief is Theirs th'Assassin bears the Shame.
Better to sleep tho' in an early grave
Than like the murderer Cain exist a banished Slave.

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