1822-1955

George Staniforth's Burial Record

George Staniforth was baptised on April 7th, 1822 in Bolsterstone, Yorkshire, the son of Ann Staniforth.

He married Mary Jackson and together the two had seven children:


  • Joseph Staniforth, born 1844, he married Esther Whittington
  • Mary Staniforth, born 1846
  • John Staniforth, born 1844 (appears to have died young)
  • Sarah A Staniforth, born 1842
  • George Staniforth, born 1848
  • Emma Staniforth, born 1853
  • Asaph Staniforth, born 1854, he married Louisa Helliwell and two sons, Adin Asaph and Joseph Frances, and two daughters, Ada and Rebecca Agnes.

On the 1841 Census, George Staniforth is living with an elderly man named George Senior, his wife Mary Jackson is also in the household however they are not yet married.

By 1851 the two are married with his first four children, Sarah, John, Mary and George, he is working in the Coal pits.

On September 26 1856 George is buried in Bolsterstone, and his death appears to have been quite remarkable:

Manslaughter at Bolsterstone

On Sunday evening last, a wayside public house, called Broomhead Mill, about a mile from Bolsterstone, became the scene of a fatal affray, in which George Staniforth, labourer and game watcher of Bolsterstone, lost his life. A party of men, consisting of Joseph Shaw, the man who struck the fatal blow; Mark Helliwell, Joseph Smith, Alfred Shaw, Richard Hill, and the deceased George Staniforth; had been at the public house all the evening drinking together. Staniforth had been out for an hour and a half, but returned soon after nine o'clock. At ten o'clock, the landlady of the public house refused to fill any more ale. Upon this the whole party rose to leave the house. Staniforth had a bulldog with him, and Joseph Shaw a cur. As the men were lighting their pipes, Staniforth's dog flew at Shaw's and they began to fight. Shaw separated them, but they again got together. Staniforth was anxious for the dogs to fight it out; but Shaw, who said he cared something for his dog, again separated them. Upon this, Staniforth, who held in his hand a stout oaken stick, struck Shaw so violent a blow on the forehead with it, that he fell into a chair. In the heat of the moment, while smarting from the blow he had received, Shaw angrily seized the poker from the fire-place and struck Staniforth under the right ear. He fell on the floor and sighed two or three times. While lying there, Shaw kicked him in the chest, saying "I'll give thee something to sigh at." Joseph Smith seized Shaw and forced him into a chair, and then assisted the landlord of the house, who had been aroused by his wife, to place Staniforth on a sofa. As they were lifting him, he sighed and died immediately. The dogs were the immediate cause of all this misfortune. At an inquest held before T. Badger Esq. the Coroner, on Tuesday the following evidence was adduced :-

Joseph Smith, of the Green, near Bolsterstone, farmer, stated that he went to the Broomhead Mill public house on Sunday evening last. George Staniforth, Joseph Shaw, and others, were there. Between seven and eight, Staniforth went out, but returned soon after nine o'Clock. At ten O'clock, the landlady ceased filling. Soon after this, all prepared to leave. Staniforth had a bulldog with him, and shaw had a Cur. Staniforth's dog flew at Shaw's and began to fight. Shaw parted them twice, on which Staniforth struck him over the head with a stick. I bent to the fire to light my pipe, and when I turned round, Staniforth was lying bleeding on the floor, and Shaw was kicking him. I put Shaw down into a chair, Staniforth was lifted on the sofa, and died immediately.

Alfred Shaw, Race House, near Bolsterstone, Mason: I went to the Broomhead Mill public house about six o'clock. When Staniforth came in the first time, his dog was muzzled, and when he came the second time, the muzzle was off. Staniforth was "sharp fresh" and Shaw was sober. As we were going away, the dogs began to fight. Shaw did not want his dog to fight, and parted them. Staniforth struck Shaw over the head with a stick. I then saw Shaw seize the poker and strike Staniforth a violent blow over the head, which knocked him down. There had been no quarrelling between them. It was a word and a blow, and the blow came first.

Mark Helliwell, Lord fields, near Bolsterstone, labourer said that he was one of the party at Broomhead Mill on Sunday night. As we were about to go home, Staniforth's Dog and Shaw's dog began to fight. Shaw did not wish them to do so, but Staniforth did. They fought for a while, and Shaw parted them. They then fought a second time, and Shaw parted them. They then fought a second time, and Shaw parted them again. Staniforth then struck Shaw with a stick and marked him. He had hold of his stick with both hands. The stroke "maddled' Shaw and he "wambled" into his chair. He afterwards rose, seized the poker, and struck Staniforth over the right side of the head. I think he had hold of the poker with both hands. Staniforth fell on the floor, sighed once or twice, and died immedietely. Shaw punched him twice on his breast as he lay on the floor, and said "I'll give thee something to sigh at"

Grace Hartley, landlady of the Broomhead Mill public house said she ceased filling at ten o'clock. None of the men were intoxicated. They had been quite good friends till the dogs began to fight. Staniforth had a stick, and she tried to take it from him, but he was not willing to give it up. She went to fetch her husband and father from bed, for assistance. When she returned, the man was dying on the floor.

A post mortem examination of the body was made by Mr. John Sherwood Roberts, surgeon of Oughtibridge, and Mr William Walter Tinsley, surgeon to the Sheffield General Infirmary. They had found a slight bruise on the left breast, probably caused by the kick; a bruise over the right eyebrow, and a considerable effusion of bloody under the integument. There was a bruise upon and close behind the right ear, and the upper part of the neck beneath the right ear, and the upper part of the neck beneath the right ear was swollen. On removing the integuments of the scalp, they found a quantity of dark blood, and when the upper part of the skull had been removed, a large quantity of fluid and clotted blood was found. There was a small fracture at that part of the base of the skull, forming the roof of the nostrils and internally corresponding with the bruise over the right eyebrow. A serious fracture was found in the occipital bone at the back part of the skull; a portion of the skull being driven in lacerating the lateral sinus giving rise to the effusion of blood found upon the brain. This fracture corresponded to the bruise found behind the right ear. There was another fracture extending from the occipital bone through the petrus portion of the temporal bone. Both surgeons agreed in the opinion that the immediate cause of death was from the effusion of blood upon the surface of the brain, from the rupture of the right lateral sinus, producing pressure on the brain, and caused by the fracture of the skull at the back of the head. The fracture would be caused by a blow from such a poker, as the one now produced, and not by a fall.

Joseph Shaw, the accused after having been cautioned by the Coroner, said he and Staniforth had always been very good friends, and had never had any quarrel. The witnesses had all spoken the truth. The jury, after a short consultation returned a verdict of Manslaughter against Joseph Shaw, who was then committed to York under the Coroner's warrant. Staniforth has left a wife and six children.

On Thursday 13th December 1855, a further article can be found:

The Manslaughter at Bolsterstone

Joseph Shaw, 40, was indicted for the manslaughter of George Staniforth, at Bolsterstone, on the 23rd of September. Mr Hardy and Mr Maule? prosecuted: Mr. Johnson defended. On this day the prisoner met the deceased at the Broomhead tavern. They each had a dog with them. Staniforth's dog attacked Shaw's; Shaw separated them, but they got "hold again" and were again separated by Shaw, who said he did not want his dog to fight. Just at that moment the deceased raised a hardy oak stick, and with great force struck Shaw on the head. In the heat of passion, Shaw seized a poker and with it slayed the deceased, who died in a few minutes.

Mr Baron Martin said this was no crime, and he directed the jury to acquit the prisoner, who was at once set at liberty.