12th May 1861

FEARFUL INCIDENT AT FAIR

Tuesday last being the “pleasure fair” day in Bridgenorth, there was the usual assemblage of “shows”. Amongst these was a theatrical establishment, in front of which was erected a slack rope apparatus, consisting of two upright poles with a rope suspended across.

Between five and six o’clock in the evening, one of the company was engaged going through a variety of evolutions on this rope, in presence of a large concourse of people. One portion of the performance consisted in the man slipping from the cross rope to one suspended vertically from its centre, and from this he swung like a man hanging.

This noose was intended to fit under the chin and at the back of the head, but by some means it slipped from its position and encircled the neck of the performer. He was seen to struggle, but it being considered part of the performance, the people applauded and the band continued to play while the man was in the death agony.

At length, the performer’s hands dropped to his sides, his features beginning to blacken, with other unmistakeable evidences that he was suffering from strangulation.

A fearful scene of excitement ensued. Women ran about shrieking and wringing their hands, and for some time all was confusion.

At length, a ladder was procured and while several persons held it in an upright position as firmly as they could from below, a man out of the crowd climbed up and cut the poor fellow down.

Owing to the agitation that prevailed, and the imminence of the man’s danger, proper means were not used to catch him as he fell, and he dropped a distance of from twelve to fifteen feet on to the platform, his head striking the end of it with great force.

He was at once conveyed to the nearest public house. He remained for a considerable time in a state of insensibility, but at length suspended animation was restored, and he is now in a fair way of recovery.

EXTRAORDINARY CASE OF CONCEALMENT OF SEX

Thomas Green, was committed to the New Bailey for a period of twenty days, for contempt of court, or non-compliance with a judgment obtained at a previous court. The debt amounted in all to £1 14s 6d, and was the balance of an account for a suit of clothes.

The defendant was noted for his aversion to paying debts, and had had the opportunity of meditating upon the wickedness of the world in general, and the gross wickedness of creditors in particular, on two previous occasions, when he had “served time” in the New Bailey.

Defendant was supposed to be between thirty and forty years old and was a married man.

Mr Green was difficult to catch, but at length, on Friday evening, he was “snared” and conveyed to his comfortable old quarters. Mr Green, however, grumbled at the inconsiderateness of the judge in giving him another spell.

The warders thought a bath would tone his nervous system, and hinted as much. The bath room was reached, and the attendant urged Mr Green to “throw those things off, and step in.” Mr Green made a most unreasonable objection; the attendant interjected a threat, and then laid hands on the prisoner after the gentlemanly manner of Government officials.

Waistcoat followed coat, and both lay on the floor, when a long pause took place. Mr Green affirmed something which rather astonished his friend. Certain, other officials were immediately summoned, and the affirmation was confirmed. Mr Thomas Green was a lady!

A difficulty immediately arose in the minds of the officials with respect to the legality of detaining the “lady.” The county court offices are near the prison, and, we believe, one of the officials was summoned, the result was that “Mr Thomas Green.” after being subjected to a curious interrogation, was dismissed to her affectionate wife.

Green stated that when very young, she was in the service of a lady who, requiring the services of a little page, dressed her up as a boy, and she has retained the dress of a male ever since.

After leaving service, “Mr. Green” worked in a mill as a hooker and stitcher, drawing men’s wages. Being tolerably well off and lonely, he married. Mr Green’s marriage, the neighbours say, has been a very happy one.

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