The death of Joseph GREENHOUGH in Kirkdale Gaol

Manchester Courier, April 3rd 1877

Death of the prisoner Greenhough

Death has released Joseph GREENHOUGH from the imprisonment from which he was sentenced by Mr Baron HUDDLESTON at the late Liverpool Assizes. The prisoner was nearly 80 and well blessed with wealth. He owned considerable property in the county and was a member of St Helens Town Council. Amassing wealth seemed to have been one of the principal aims of his life.

The circumstances in which he made himself amenable to the law was that he induced a number of others, who share his punishment to attack the house occupied by a man named Henry MOORCROFT at Parr, which they proceeded to demolish. There was a dispute to the ownership, and instead of settling in the legal way GREENHOUGH declared “he would be his own magistrate.”

This might have led to fatal consequences for the MOORCROFTS were armed with guns. Mr Baron HUDDLESTON sentenced GREENHOUGH to twelve months, with hard labour, remarking that age did not seem to have affected his constitution.

The result proved appearances are deceptive, no sooner was he admitted to Kirkdale Gaol than the doctor found him unfit for prison labour, and now a few weeks after sentence he is dead. The punishment has proved more than he could bear.

Correspondence to show that the authorities did their best to ease his imprisonment, and under the peculiar circumstances no one will think that relaxing of discipline was more than demanded by humanity :--

Halewood, Liverpool, 26th March 1877

Dear Sir, -Mr GUEST has applied to me for permission for an interview with prisoner GREENHOUGH under sentence of imprisonment with hard labour from the last assizes, stating that the prisoner is suffering from a chronic complaint, producing a sudden affection of the heart, liable at any moment of emotion to produce most serious consequences.

I am aware that this is contrary to the strict regulations of prison discipline and as one of the grand jury finding the bill against him, I fully concur in the justice of the sentence, but under the peculiar circumstances his case and his advanced age of 78, I will take the responsibility of authorising you to grant the interview and extend to the prisoner every leniency which the case may admit of or the surgeon may direct on the information afforded by Mr GUEST. –Yours faithfully, R. NEILSON.

Chairman of visiting Justices.

To the Governor of the County Prison, Kirkdale

Kirkdale, County Prison, 31st March 1877

Dear Sir, - I beg to inform you of Mr GREENHOUGH’S death, and to state, in conformity with your letter of the 26th inst, that since his admission into the prison he has performed no work or labour of any kind. He was at once seen by the Surgeon, and ordered to have extra flannels and blankets, which were provided. I allows him to write letters and receive visits connected with his private affairs and on business. In short, the rules and regulations have been relaxed as far as possible in accordance with the instructions laid down for my guidance by yourself. He was admitted into hospital on the evening of the 26th inst, where his bed was placed by the fire. He was seen repeatedly by the surgeon and chaplain, both of which were present with him up to the period of his death. I took the earliest means of communicating with his family, and his widow is now here, The inquest will take place on Monday and at Mrs GREENHOUGH’S request her friend Mrs PEMBERTON will be present, - I am yours faithfully. G. E. LEGGETT, Governor


Chairman of visiting Justices.

An inquest upon the deceased was held yesterday at Kirkdale Gaol. I appeared from the evidence although sentenced to hard labour, the prisoner was exempted therefrom, owing to his extreme age. When admitted to the gaol he applied for warm clothing which was given to him. Owing to weakness, arising from violent diarrhoea, deceased was ordered to the hospital, where stimulants and better fare was given to him. The medical opinion tended to show there was no likelihood of deceased living out his sentence, and previous to his death a representation had been made to the Home Office by GREENHOUGH’S own London solicitor Mr PECKHAM,

The jury expressed an opinion that the gaol officials had done all that was possible for the deceased, and the Coroner remarked that the removal of GREENHOUGH at his time of life from a life of luxury to a prison cell must have been a terrible blow.

The jury returned a verdict of death from natural causes, to wit, failure of the heart, followed by bronchitis, affection and diarrhoea, accelerated by deceased’s age and imprisonment.

Prescot Reporter May 22nd 1877

The will of the late Joseph GREENOUGH of St Helens

Formerly a town councillor of St Helens who died in Kirkdale gaol on Good Friday while under sentence of 12 months imprisonment for riotous conduct has just been proved.

By the will, which was signed on the 27th June 1872, by Mr GREENOUGH appointed Alexander H. PEMBERTON watchmaker of Sutton and Robert LAWTON, agent, of Sutton as executors and gave them a legacy of £50 each for the trouble they would have in managing the estate. To them he gave all his freehold and leasehold estate in trust.

To his wife he gave an annuity of £100 as long as she remained a widow, to be reduced to £25 a year should she marry again. The first payment to be made 12 months after his death.

To six nephews and nieces he leaves £240 during their respective lives, whilst more than one, in equal shares, the first payment to be made twelve months after his death.

To each of eight children of his brother-in-law, £12 a year for ten years from his death, and at the termination of ten years £300 each.

To the treasurer or other proper officer of any infirmary of public hospital, which shall at any time within the period of 21 years from the testator’s death be established in St Helens and be fit for the reception of patients, the sum of £1,500. To the poor of Parr not being paupers, £50 a year for ever, to be expended by his trustees in articles to be given to the poor in the month of January each year,

As to the remainder of his estate the trustees are to allow the rents, issues and profits to accumulate for a period of 21 years at compound interest, the estate then to be divided amongst the children of his nephews and nieces in the manner he directs. His trustees to have full power to deal with his estate as they think proper. They may advance at their discretion any money for the maintenance and education of any minor interested or presumptively interested under the will. The surviving trustee or trustees are to appoint new ones, and they may reimburse themselves all expenses incurred in and about the execution of the trust.

He appointed Peter WIDDOWS of Wigan to be one of the trustees, on his attaining the age of 21 years and left him £50.

The first codicil to the will is dated June 7th 1875. By it he gives to his wife in addition to the annuity of £100, two freehold houses in Sutton, and a bond of £600 at four and a half percent, by the corporation of St Helens. And to his sister who was not mentioned in the will he leaves the annual sum of £15, the first payment to be made to her twelve months after his death.

The second codicil is dated July 16th 1875m and by it he revokes the appointment of Robert LAWTON and Peter WIDDOWS as executors and trustees and appoints in their stead his wife and Mr H. J. WIDDOWS, solicitor of Winwick.

The third codicil is dated December 7th 1875 and by it he revokes the appointment of Mr WIDDOWS and appoints Mr Henry Linden RILEY, solicitor of St Helens in his stead.

The will being approved under £180,000. It is said the read personal estate together will amount to about £250,000.


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