December 13th

thwing meteorite

On 13th December 1760, John Courtney, gentleman, reported in his diary being awoken at midnight by the sound of bells ringing to announce that Hugh Bethell had declared himself a candidate for Parliament. The bells rang all day. A week later, Bethell changed his mind and withdrew his name.  He served as Beverley MP 1768-72.

On 13th December 1795, at 3p.m., a meteorite weighing 56 pounds landed in a field near Wold Cottage, Thwing, home of Capt Edward Topham. It embedded itself 9 inches into the soil, weighing 56lbs, and 3 ft long. Capt Topham displayed the meteorite in London at a charge of 1shilling. He raised a brick obelisk on the landing site (see photo). The meteorite is now in the Natural History Museum, and is the origin of the name of Wold Top Brewery’s ‘Falling Stone bitter’.

On 13th December 1816, Frederick Brown, 60, was buried in Holy Trinity, Hull, after dying in the workhouse. Born in Guinea, he worked as a labourer in a number of jobs in Whitby and Hull. In 1794 he was acquitted of burglary by a Hull jury, apparently a case of being mistaken for another black man.

On 13th December 1830, Joseph Robinson Pease, JP, recorded in his diary an attempt to swear in special constables to deal with the ‘Swing Riots’ by agricultural labourers protesting about high rents, low wages, and the introduction of new machinery. However, they found it difficult to recruit in Cottingham.

On 13th December 1842, Moses Roper, student and escaped slave, gave a lecture at Beverley Guildhall on his personal experience of slavery in the USA, in which he exhibited instruments of torture used on slaves. He lectured extensively and published an autobiography.

On 13th December 1889, John Nicholson reported seeing the “Plough Lads’ (groups of men not hired on farms) going round Beverley, dancing and asking for money or drink. They dressed in ‘motley garb’, with one dressed as a woman with a broom, one (Blether Dick) with a bladder on a stick, one with a coat covered in strips of rag. “Often … at lonely houses they are rude and bold, demanding money or drink in such a way as to terrify the women who have been left at home”.  

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