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Stillington and District Community Archive

In the Heart of North Yorkshire

An Old Sinner

In April 1868 Inspector James, stationed at Easingwold was called in by Mr W. Clark of Marton cum Moxby to investigate the theft of a pair of boots.

It was alleged by Mr Clark that the boots had been purloined by an old man named William Fenwick, an agricultural labourer who lived at Stillington.  He had been seen working in a field near where the boots had been stolen.

Information was passed on to Constable Eden, whose beat included Marton. He took a discription of the stolen boots from Mr Clark then proceeded to observe Fenwick about his business hoping to get a look at his footwear. Sure enough Constable Eden caught Fenwick wearing the boots. When confronted he confessed to the crime.

After being taken into custody Fenwick begged to be allowed to fetch some belongings from his house. Constable Eden allowed this, accompanying Fenwick to his house which was on the road to Easingwold. Once there Fenwick said he needed to go upstairs. On mounting the stairs he reached out to a shelf producing a razor with which he cut his throat. Fortunately he was prevented by the Constable from cutting it straight across though he lost a considerable amount of blood before Eden could block the wound with his finger.

A surgeon was called to patch up Fenwick who was then taken by horse and cart to Easingwold where he continued to threaten suicide and went on hunger strike. It transpired that Fenwick had been convicted of theft on previous occasions and feared he would be imprisoned again.

William Fenwick was in his 70s at the time. He was sentenced to one month and a day for felony. He died at Stillington in 1873 aged about 80 years.



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