The Times (30/Oct/1812) – The Murderers of Mr. Horsfall

Mill owner William Horsfall was shot by Luddites on 28 April 1812.



A very important event happened here on Thursday last, of which, as the Leeds Mercury of today does not appear to have any information, I hasten to communicate the intelligence.

A man has been taken up and examined before the indefatigable Magistrate, Joseph Radcliffe, Esq. and has at length received the offer of his Majesty’s pardon, and given the most complete and satisfactory evidence of the horrible murder of Mr. W. Horsfall. In consequence of this, the whole of the wretches concerned in that dreadful transaction have been taken and committed to York Castle, to take their trial at the ensuing Commission of Assize. He was with the party (four in number) when Mr. Horsfall was shot. They were furnished with pistols by ——, who ordered them to take their stand in a plantation on Crosland Moor. Two others soon after joined them, and took their station about twenty yards below them. When the unfortunate gentleman came up, two fired. They then all fred across the fields and —— damned them all the way for not firing their pieces. Two ran forwards to Honley, four miles off ; and two more stopped at a place called Dungeon Wood, and his their pistols at ——’s house there, in some flocks, left their great coats, and immediately in their jackets to Huddersfield, where the news of the murder had but just arrived. The next morning they all four met at the workshop of their employer (a cropped), and —— produced a Bible, and made them all swear not to betray each other.

These villains have frequently been examined before, but have always been discharged for want of sufficient evidence. One behaved with the greatest effrontery till he saw ——, and then he changed colour, and gasped for breath. When he came out, he said, “Damn that ——, he has done me.”

It appears that —— and —— have been chiefs in all the disgraceful transactions that have occurred in this part of the country the last twelve months, especially at Rawfolds, where the former was Captain of the gun-division, and the latter of the pistol. —— has thus made discoveries which will lead to a great number of these offenders, and, it is hoped, ultimately restore the West Riding to its former tranquillity.

The Times (30.Oct.1812) - The Murderers of Mr. Horsfall

The Times (26/Oct/1812) – Murder of Mr. Horsfall

Mill owner William Horsfall was shot by Luddites on 28 April 1812.

Government, as well as individuals, have been using all possible diligence in endeavouring to discover the murderer of Mr. Horsfall, who was shot at mid-day, during the riotous proceedings of the Luddites at and near Huddersfield. Among those who have been suspected is a man named Joshua Haigh, a native of Huddersfield, who, during the disturbances, enlisted with a recruiting party into the 51st regiment, and a short time after the attack on the mill, which was so ably defended, he was strongly suspected to have been concerned in the attack, from the circumstances of a hat with his name on it, being found in a brook leading from the mill. On the evening of the day Mr. Horsfall was murdered, when he went home, he appeared extremely agitated when he heard any noise. After he went to bed, he was heard to talk loudly in his sleep, calling out loudly they were coming to take him. In the morning it was ascertained that he had absconded, and no doubt was entertained but he had got out of the window. No tidings were heard of him till a short time since, when the serjeant who had enlisted him into the 51st regiment being recruiting in Ireland, met him there, and took him into custody as a deserter, and had him conveyed to the depot of the regiment, at Brebourn Lees, in Kent, where he was received into the regiment with the punishment of being deprived his bounty, which he has not received when he enlisted. These circumstances getting known at Huddersfield, a warrant against Haigh was sent by Mr. Radclife, of Mill’s bridge, to the Secretary of State’s office, where is was backed for the county of Kent; and Lavender, the Bow Street officer, was dispatched with it, and took Haigh into custody at Brebourn Lees, and conveyed him from thence to Wakefield, where he is lodge in the prison.

The Times (26.Oct.1812) - Murder of Mr. Horsfall

The Times (04/May/1812) – Pardon and Reward

Saturday’s Gazette offers his Majesty’s pardon and a reward of 2000l. for the conviction of the persons who shot Mr. W. Horsefall, of Marsden, near Huddersfield, on Tuesday, of which wounds he is since dead ; also 600l. reward and a pardon for the person who fired at Mr. W. Trentham, of Nottingham, on Monday evening last, as he was knocking at his own door, and wounded him in the breast ; 100l. for the persons who discharged a gun at Mr. J. Raynor, of Lenthwaite, West Riding, on the 23rd of April, the ball of which went through his hat ; 100 guineas and a pardon for the discovery of the persons who discharged a gun at Mr. E. Whitehead, Deputy Constable at Huddersfield, as he was going to bed, on the 15th inst. ; and 200l. for the conviction of the persons who, on the night of the 21st of March, fired upon the boat’s crew of his Majesty’s schooner Pioneer, after she had chased three smuggling gallies on shore between Walmer and Deal, and by which two of them escaped.

The Times (04.May.1812) - Pardon and Reward

The Observer (03/May/1812) – Disturbances in the Country

Mill owner William Horsfall was shot by Luddites on 28 April 1812.


Letters from the country state that, though the great tumults have subsided, shocking outrages are committed by small parties of depredators and assassins.

Mr. Horsfall, a principal manufacturer, was shot in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield, by four men, who fired at him on Tuesday evening last, from behind a wall, as he was retiring from Manchester market.

Mr. Cartwright, who so bravely defended his property, in Yorkshire, has been fired at on three distinct occasions, but without doing him the slightest injury.

Every thing was tranquil at Manchester on the 29th.

Leeds Mercury (02/May/1812) – Atrocious Murder

Mill owner William Horsfall was shot by Luddites on 28 April 1812.


On Tuesday evening last, about half past six o’clock, as Mr. William Horsfall, a very extensive Woollen Manufacturer, at Marsden, about seven miles from Huddersfield, was returning from the market at that place, he was assassinated on the public road, on Crosland Moor.

The circumstances, as states to us by an eyewitness of this most barbarous Murder are these :— Mr. Horsfall and a Manufacturer, of the name Eastwood, had left Huddersfield together, and at a short distance before they came to the fate spot, Mr. Eastwood stopped to water his horse, while Mr. Horsfall rode leisurely along the road ; when he had come within about 500 yards of the Warren Inn, a distance of about a mile and a half from Huddersfield, on the Manchester road, four men, each armed with a horse pistol, who had just before stepped out of a small plantation, placed the barrels of their pistols in apertures in the wall, apparently prepared for that purpose ; the muzzle of two of these pieces Mr. Horsfall distinctly saw, but before he had time to extricate himself from his perilous situation, they all four fired, and inflicted four wounds in the left side of their victim, who instantly fell from his horse, and the blood flowed from the wounds in torrents. A number of passengers both horse and foot rushed almost instantly to the spot, and, after disentangling his foot from the stirrup, he was some difficulty got to the Inn.

The Murderers, after they had perpetrated the sanguinary deed, walked to the distance of some yards, and soon after briskening their speed, they ran towards Dungeon Wood, and entirely escaped undiscovered, no pursuit or search having been made after them, till the arrival of a troop of the Queen’s Bays, about three quarters of an hour afterwards. One of the Assassins is described to us as about six feet high, another as a low portly man, and the two others as about five feet six or seven inches high, and rather slender ; they all wore dark coarse woollen coats, and appeared to be working men.

From a professional Gentleman, who was called in to visit Mr. Horsfall, we learn, that three of the wounds, out of the four, were slight, and unattended with danger, but the fourth made by a musket ball, which entering the abdomen on the left side had taken a downward direction, and lodged in the back park of the right thigh, from which it was extracted on Wednesday, along with a pistol ball, at which time, some faint hopes were entertained of the patient’s recovery ; but on Thursday morning, about five o’clock, a profuse bleeding came on, accompanied by mortification, by which the thigh was swollen to an enormous size, and between eight and nine o’clock that morning, he expired, in perfect possession of his faculties.

Mr. Horsfall had a very large Woollen Manufactory at Marsden, wherein about 400 work people were employed ; and in part of his premises there are Shearing Machines, which have been erected about seven years, and have attained considerable perfection ; this circumstance, with the additional one of his unremitting activity in detecting, and bringing to justice the persons engaged in the attack at Rawfolds, and other Mills, had rendered him obnoxious in a high degree to the machine destroyers, who knowing his premises were too well defended to justify an attack on his property, committed a crime against his person, that will embitter every future day of their existence, and, that will, in all probability through the retributive justice of that Being, from who no secrets are hid, bring the blood-stained perpetrators of this worst of crimes, to an ignominious end.

A reward of £2000 will, we understand, be offered immediately to any person who will give such information as will lead to the conviction of any one or more of the four men concerned in the murder of Mr. Horsfall.

Murder of William Horsfall - Leeds Mercury 02 May 1812

Leeds Intelligencer (18/Mar/1793)

On Thurfday morning laft, a girl about eight years old, the daughter of George Armitage, of Lockwood, was unfortunately killed in a fcribbing engine at Folly-hall, near Huddersfield. It is fuppofed that a fpindle had cought her clothes, as fhe lay afleep ; which drawing her to the cylinder caufed her face to be mangled in a manner too fhocking to relate.

On Thursday morning last, a girl about eight years old, the daughter of George Armitage, of Lockwood, was unfortunately killed in a scribbing engine at Folly Hall, near Huddersfield. It is supposed that a spindle had caught her clothes, as she lay asleep ; which drawing her to the cylinder caused her face to be mangled in a manner too shocking to relate.