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Stillington and District Community Archive

In the Heart of North Yorkshire

Nocturnal Visitors


A singular case indeed was brought before Easingwold Petty Sessions on 28th February 1868.
The case concerned two farmworkers from Marton, John Howard and John Young, who had entered the house at Marton Priory Farm causing a disturbance late at night and were charged with damage and misconduct.
It appears that the farmer at Marton Priory, Mr John Rooke, was asleep in his bed just after midnight on Sunday 23rd February when he was awoken by a loud noise coming from an adjoining room where the family’s maid servant slept. Wondering what was happening Mr Rooke called out - the maid replied that there were two men in her room and it was they who were making the noise.
Immediately Mr Rooke armed himself with what was described in the newspaper reports as ‘a substantial stick’ and went after the men. He caught one and began to inflict ‘corporal punishment’ on him, making him cry out. It was at this point that Mr Rooke apparently realised he knew the man - he worked for Mr Yorke, who lived at one of the neighbouring farms, Marton Cottage. If that wasn’t enough it then transpired that the other man was one of his own workers!
With the help of his son Mr Rooke detained the men until Police Constable Eden could be sent for. On his arrival the PC took them into custody.  Later they were released on their own recognisances. It appears that the police took pity on the men who had both suffered some cuts and bruising.
The bench also treated the men leniently – fining themthen five shillings and costs. They were ordered to return to their respective employers.
The maid servant was dismissed from her service and was ordered to pay the expenses that incurred.

From York Herald and Yorkshire Gazette March 1868.


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