William Deighton


William Deighton – or Dighton – came to Halifax in April 1759 as Supervisor of Taxes and Excise for the Halifax area, after having served in various parts of the south of England.

He collected taxes on produce such as cloth and beer.

He married Unknown.


  1. Elias [b 1744] – who was married and working as a  journeyman in Birmingham
  2. Penelope [1745-1763] – who was buried at Halifax Parish  Church
  3. Thomas [b 1746] – who was in the East Indies
  4. William [b 1748] – who was an apprentice candlestick-maker
  5. Susannah [b 1750]
  6. John [b 1752]
  7. Mary [b 1755]
  8. George [b 1757]

He encountered the work of the local coiners when accepting payment for taxes and duties, much of which was offered in the clipped and debased coinage.

He subsequently pursued the Cragg Vale coiners – although it was not officially his concern and was outside his duties.

With the help of the informer, James Broadbent, he was able to arrest several members of the gang, including the leader, David Hartley, and James Jagger, John Sutcliffe, Thomas Clayton, John Pickles, and Isaac Dewhurst

These arrests sparked off the plan to murder him. The plan was organised by Isaac Hartley and money for the murderers – which amounted to 100 guineas – was provided by several local coiners and sympathisers including David Hartley, Jonathan Boulton, Luke Dewhurst and Abraham Lumb

On 9th November 1769, Deighton had been conducting business at a local inn with attorney, Thomas Sayer. Returning to his home

at the bottom of Swires Road

which was either Bull Close, Halifax, Savile Hall, or Savile Close - he was murdered around midnight by Matthew Normington and Robert Thomas, as Thomas Clayton kept a lookout. The location of the attack is said to have been at the bottom of Swires Road.

The gun which they used had misfired, and Deighton had to be shot several times. He had been shot twice, once in the head, and had then been robbed, kicked and trampled.

William & daughter Penelope were buried at Halifax Parish Church. His widow was recommended by the Yorkshire gentry as an object of Royal bounty, and received from King George III a gift of £200 and an annuity of £50 for life.

Around the 1970s, the Wheatsheaf pub in Halifax was renamed William Deighton pub for him

© Malcolm Bull 2023
Revised 14:18 / 24th January 2023 / 5936

Page Ref: MMD19

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