How many times have we heard, “This wouldn’t have happened in my day”? Whilst researching for our “Stories Behind the Headstones” project we came across plenty of evidence to suggest that anti-social behaviour goes back far further than any of us would imagine. Today, we’re sharing this story from 1872.

Birmingham Daily Post – Thursday 05 September 1872


An outrage of a murderous nature was committed by a gang of men, on a farm labourer, at Castle Bromwich, on Tuesday night.

About a fortnight ago a man named Thomas Danlary (25), a labourer, went from Walsall, where he resided, to Hodge Hill, near Castle Bromwich, in search of work. He succeeded in obtaining employment at the farm of Mr. Ward, Hodge Hill.

On Tuesday evening, after working all day in gathering the harvest, he left his work about seven o’clock, and went to his lodgings at the farm, where he remained for a short time, and then went with his brother, who was also employed by Mr. Ward, to a public- house, called the Castle Inn.

He there drank a quantity of ale, became intoxicated, and left about half-past nine o’clock, and walked towards the farm. His brother remained behind. When he was about one hundred yards from the farm house two strange men came from a Ledge close by, and stopped him. They asked him where he was going, and he. replied, to his lodgings. One of them, without any provocation, then struck him on the head, knocking him down. Three or four other men came out of the hedge, some held him down, in spite of his struggles and cries, while the others turned his pockets out.

On finding nothing of any value in his pockets, they brutally kicked him. He regained his legs with difficulty, and endeavoured to defend himself from the attacks of the men; but he was soon overpowered, kicked, knocked down, and beaten unmercifully. The men were evidently afraid that someone would be attracted by Danlary’s cr1es, for some of them retreated and Danlary, taking advantage of the opportunity, attempted to run away in the direction of the farm, but they Intercepted him, and one of them stabbed him in the left side with a knife, and the whole gang then ran away.

Danlary, on receiving the wound, fell to the ground, He called loudly for help, but falling to attract anyone he got up and managed to reach the farm where he was met, as he was approaching the house, by his master, who on seeing his condition, and hearing his statement Immediately ordered him to be conveyed in a cart to the General Hospital. at Birmingham, where it was found that he had received a severe incised wound between the 8th and 9th ribs penetrating to the lungs.

All attempts to elicit a clear statement of the occurrence proved fruitless in consequence of his being intoxicated. He lies in a very critical state. None of his assailants have as yet been apprehended.

Leave a Reply