From this newspaper, March 24, 1917

EDITH GREEN, alias “Madam French”, appeared in court in Ripon charged with “pretending to tell the fortune of a soldier by palmistry”.

Madam French had come from Leeds with her mother, Margaret, who was charged with aiding and abetting.

On March 8, Lance Corporal J Bocock had gone to have his fortune read.

“The elder woman took him into a partitioned off apartment and told him to sit down on a box,” said the report. “Edith Green then sat down in front of him and took hold of his hand. She told him he was fond of music and would make a good violinist. As a matter of fact, he did not know a note of music and was not musically inclined.

“She told him he would make a good businessman and good mechanic. She said he had been in France and had come home about five months ago, and that he would not go out again as the war would be over in May and he would be in civilian life in August.

“She further told him that he was single but there was a lady in his life and that he would get married in June 1918, that he would go to Australia in in September 1918 with his wife and would prosper. He paid his fee of 6d and left the shop.”

Other soldiers then went in. L-Cpl Higgins was told he was a splendid mechanic who would go to Africa in 1918 and make his fortune. “In civilian life, he is a cloth finisher,” said the D&S.

L-Cpl Mealing, a hairdresser, was told he excelled in commercial abilities, and L-Cpl Whittaker, a policeman, who was he was a married man with three children. He “Madam French” that he had only one child, “whereupon she said his wife would have another child in three years’ time”.

Edith and her mother were each fined 20 shillings.

March 25, 1967

IN a busy issue of the paper, John Healey, 64, of Eppleby, near Darlington, was reported to have drowned at Rockliffe, near Hurworth, “when the two ton dumper he was driving for the Northumbrian Water Board overturned into the river”.

In Ripon, police with loudhailers were touring the streets warning that the sanitary department had lost a tin of Cadbury’s Marvel powdered milk which contained “a blue granular powder”. The powder was mouse poison which would cause children “to become unconscious very quickly”.

At the King’s Head Hotel in Darlington, Bill Rodgers, MP for Stockton and Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs told the annual dinner of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors that for the country to join the EEC would be “the most significant event in British affairs for almost 500 years”.

He said: “There would be the very greatest danger that we would become a stagnant backwater if we were deliberately and consciously to choose to cut ourselves off from the wider European associations because we were afraid of change.”

In 1981, Mr Rodgers was one of the “gang of four” who defected from Labour to form the SDP. However, he lost his Stockton seat, after 21 years, at the 1983 election.

March 23, 1867

A FATAL incident of “the most lamentable character” had occurred in the small village of Seamer, a couple of miles north of Stokesley. It had involved men who were in the service of Edward Sherwood who had been ill in bed, attended by his wife, when the incident occurred.

Patrick Monaghan arrived “in a state of inebriation” at Mr Sherwood’s house bearing some medicine. Among those he found there was Christopher Spence, who also seems to have been imbibing.

“In a friendly way, they began to try their skill in wrestling, but did not proceed long before the wrath of Monaghan was aroused,” reported the D&S. “He lost all control over his passion, and struck Spence whilst the struggle was going on.”

The two were obviously well acquainted, and Spence walked away from the wrestle.

“Monaghan became so enraged that he followed Spence into the middle of the room and there stuck him such a blow as felled him to the ground. Not content with that, he followed up his outrageous conduct by kicking Spence while he lay in a helpless condition on the floor.”

After the last kick, Spence “gave three groans”, and Monaghan fell asleep. An inquest in the curious pub in Seamer, the King’s Head, found that Spence had died due to manslaughter and Monaghan was committed to stand trial at York Assizes.