Darius Clegg, Joseph Clegg & Fowler Drake

In the 1850s, Darius Clegg, his brother Joseph Clegg and Fowler Drake were charged and convicted of a number of assaults in Halifax.

On 10th March 1855, newspapers reported

Murderous Assault on a Watchman
A Policeman Cut & Wounded in the Execution of His Duty

Three men – Darius Clegg, his brother Joseph Clegg and Fowler Drake – were charged with violently assaulting John Holmes a watchman of Crossley & Leeming, machinists, at the bottom of Southowram Bank, Halifax. Darius Clegg was likewise charged with cutting and wounding Abraham Taylor a police constable.

The two Cleggs formerly resided at the bottom of town supported by prostitutes and both had been in the West.Yorks militia.

The court heard that Darius Clegg had been found fighting with another man at the bottom of Southowram Bank near the Moulders' Arms. Clegg had the mastery over his opponent and Holmes, being attracted by the noise, observing the barbarous treatment by Clegg, called out

Don't murder the man

Clegg then struck the watchman. Holmes was dragged across the road by Joseph Clegg and Fowler Drake where they all fell upon him, kicking and beating him in a ferocious manner.

The attention of the Magistrates was called to another offence of a very serious nature, exposing Darius Clegg to transportation for life.

The two constables, Arnold and Taylor, took hold of Darius Clegg to take him to the police station but Clegg somehow managed to free his right hand and PC Taylor said

He's stabbed me, he has cut me

John Holmes said he lived in Southowram Bank and was a watchman for Crossley & Leeming at the bottom of Southowram Bank and his masters premises were on each side of the road leading from Southowram Bank to the Parish Church. He said he had found Darius Clegg kicking a man as hard as he could.

Witness said

What are you doing? Be quiet. Have you no humanity amongst you?

Darius Clegg then struck him in the face. Fowler Drake, Joseph Clegg and another man came towards the witness saying

D....him, knock his bloody head off, we will pay him, if he be to pay

Drake said

Lads don't kill him

and then stamped on his head with his feet. Witness called out for help from Mr Walton keeper of the Moulders Arms. Thomas Halliday, a mechanic employed by Messrs Berry of New Bank and residing at North Bridge-end, gave evidence and also Charles Woodhead, a plasterer living in Cripplegate opposite the Lamb Inn. Abraham Taylor one of the police constables said he lived in Duke Street.

The Mayor:

Darius Clegg you stand convicted to take your trial at York Assizes for cutting and wounding Abraham Taylor, and you, Joseph Clegg and Fowler Drake will each be committed to York Castle for assaulting John Holmes.


The England & Wales Criminal Registers [undated] record

Darius Clegg was sentenced to 1 calendar month's imprisonment with hard labour on the first charge and 4 years penal servitude for the second offence

At the Wakefield Intermediate Session [4th March 1858]

Fowler Drake and Joseph Clegg were each sentenced to 3 years' imprisonment. Fowler Drake late of Wakefield was charged with taking from the person by force of arms at Halifax eight shillings of the current silver of the realm, nine pennies of the copper coin of the realm and one half penny of the current copper coin of the realm from the person of Samuel Lumb.

Witnesses were Samuel Lumb and David Womersley.

Sentenced to 3 years penal servitude


© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 12:32 / 17th May 2021 / 6451

Page Ref: X444

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