Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

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Aug 2017

Mon 28 Aug 2017
Mike Bennett


I am very sorry to report the death of Chorley Historical & Archaeological Society member Mike Bennett on Monday 28 Aug 2017 at the age of 83. Mike was a member for many decades and for most of his membership he served on the committee being involved in many Society projects. One of those project was to preserve some Heraldic Stones from the site of Anderton Hall (previously Lady Hall) which was submerged by the construction of Upper Rivington Reservoir. The stones were built into a wall at the side of Rivington Hall in 1978 and Mike fixed the information plate.


Mike (7 Aug 1934 - 28 Aug 2017)
in 2003 on a Society outing

Mike fixing the information plate by Rivington Hall

The Heraldic Stones by Rivington Hall, Chorley.



Tue 08 Aug 2017
Martin Baggoley – Murder on the High Seas.


Martin, a retired probation officer of 40 years’ service in Manchester and Salford, is the author of several books on Victorian murders. The 3 murders he told of had a nautical nature and were all committed in the late 19th century.

His first story was of a murder on a Royal Navy ship. A particular seaman serving on HMS Griffon was guilty of insubordination after refusing orders. Unfortunately, matters got worse when the seaman murdered an officer of the ship. He was sent for trial at a court martial charged with wilful murder. Found guilty, he was sentenced to death. Pleas for mercy were received. The seaman himself tried to starve himself to death before he was due to be executed. However, he was executed for the dreadful deed that he committed.

Martin Baggoley

The second took place on a North Sea fishing smack out of Hull. Martin said it returned to port after 3 weeks at sea without its youngest crew member, a 14 years old boy. The boy’s parents were informed of him being lost overboard during a storm. Being lost as sea was a common occurrence. However, within a year of the said incident 3 crew members made a statement to police stating that 2 others, which included the captain, on board were guilty of murdering the boy. The case came to court and the boy’s death was due to a prolonged and brutal treatment by the captain. The boy was said to have angered him by a comment made about his family. The captain was found guilty and was sentenced to death.

The third incident took place on a yacht, the Mignonette, sailing from England to Australia in 1884. A storm in the South Atlantic badly damaged the yacht. The crew took to the safety dinghy and were set adrift with little food for survival. After nearly 3 weeks the situation had become desperate. Lots were drawn to see who would be killed, so giving the remaining crew a better chance of survival. The victim, Richard Parker, was one who had become delirious. His blood was drunk and his heart eaten. Days later the survivors were picked by a ship and were taken back to England. Statements were given that cannibalism took place but the police suspected murder. Two were sent for trial. The seafaring community supported the two who were said to have acted out of necessity in an appalling situation.

Although the 2 were found guilty and sentenced to death but were reprieved with a short prison sentence.

A twist to this is found in a novel published by American writer, Edgar Allan Poe some 45 years before called, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. A tale of shipwreck, mutiny and cannibalism. The victim in the tale is a Richard Parker.

Peter Robinson