From the Darlington & Stockton Times of December 3, 1870

AT Barnard Castle market 150 years ago, a farmer “indulged rather too freely” and lost his purse although “for some reason best known to himself” he didn’t tell anyone.

“The bellman called through the streets at Barnard Castle that a purse had been found containing a sum of money and that the owner could have the same by giving a description to him,” said the D&S Times. The embarrassed farmer anonymously came forward and claimed his purse, which contained three five pound notes, seven sovereigns and four silver shillings. He gave William Deaton, the finder, “four sovereigns for his honesty”.

Up the dale at Middleton, masons were putting the final touches to the Wesleyan Chapel. The wall above the main windows was full height when the scaffolding, with one man standing on it, gave way.

“He just had time to seize hold of the top of the wall and he held on in this dangerous position for nearly five minutes,” said the D&S. “Had he slipped his hold, ore the stones given way, he would have fallen a height of 50ft and been killed on the spot.”

Fortunately his colleagues reached him before his grasp on the wall, and on life, gave out, but he was so shocked he had to lie down for two hours.