Black Sheep Sunday – Yorkshire Sheep Rustling. Part I

I’m fortunate that my place of employment has access to the British Library’s online newspaper archive.  One quiet lunchtime I decided to put ‘Liverton’ and ‘Richardson’ in as search terms and see if there was any mention of this family and place in the papers.

To my surprise the search returned a series of news reports on two Richardson brothers who had been caught stealing sheep in October 1843 from Moorsholm.


William (b. 1813) and John (b. 1816) Richardson were the sons of John Richardson and Hannah Shaw of Liverton.  I haven’t been able to find them in the 1841 census – there are too many of the same name to be sure of the right ones.  The later newspaper reports mention their father being from Liverton, so I am sure I have the right family.

On the 28th October 1843, the two brothers were brought up before the York magistrates on a charge of stealing sheep from a Mr W.L. Lewis of Castleton.  The sheep had been missed from their grazing on the moors and were later spotted by a servant of Mr Lewis, being sold by John Richardson in the market at York.  Once before the magistrates, John claimed he had purchased the sheep in Stockton-on-Tees from an unknown person the previous Wednesday.

The magistrate recommended that Mr Lewis be informed of the matter, and to investigate further.  As the case stood at the present time nothing could be proven against the brothers and so they were discharged, with the condition that they did not attempt to sell the sheep until notified.


To be continued…..
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V

photo credit: Jason Gillyon via photopin cc

newspaper credit: YORK POLICE.—GUILDHALL. The York Herald, and General Advertiser (York, England), Saturday, October 21, 1843; pg. 5; Issue 3708. 19th Century British Library Newspapers: Part II

4 thoughts on “Black Sheep Sunday – Yorkshire Sheep Rustling. Part I

  1. Hi Carolyn,
    It seems like the phrase black sheep has two meanings within the context of this post. I believe that is what you were going for. They stole sheep. Black sheep means people who have done wrong. Congrats on the word play.
    I met you at Suzie’s blog party. Maybe you can check out my blog if you need any blogging tips. That’s when I write about. I also have blog parties like Suzie. I am actually having one this weekend and would love for you to come.

    Liked by 1 person

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