From the Darlington & Stockton Times of February 11, 1871

ON the previous Sunday afternoon at 2.30pm, reported the D&S Times 150 years ago, Joshua and Thomas Hodgson, aged 11 and 13, had left their home in “Lendrig’s Mill”, half-a-mile south of Barnard Castle, to attend Sunday School in the town.

This is probably a misprint, as Lendings Mill was a little to the south of Barney and today, a large static caravan park in Startforth occupies its site.

The boys decided, said the D&S, to take a short cut over the ice to the Desmesnes on the north bank of the river. As they reached the far bank, the ice gave way...

Walter Fieldhouse and Richard Holmes “both plunged into the water to the rescue, but the sudden immersion in the cold water produced cramp in the former, who lost hold of one of the victims, and was only able to keep hold of Thomas, when both were dragged out by Mr Holmes, little worse for the accident”.

Tragically, rafts and drags could find no sign of young Joshua “and it is feared that the swelling river will carry the unfortunate lad down the stream a considerable distance”.

There was more death 150 years ago at Redcar, where Middlesbrough skipper T Wright, of the Eden, had taken out ironworkers T Morgan and J Robinson, along with Swedish sailors August Anderson and Jost Quenten, in his boat for a sail on the sea.

However, the ebb tide made their return to the river impossible and they decided to run the boat ashore at Coatham and return for it “at a more favourable opportunity”.

“In running ashore, a heavy sea struck the boat, capsizing her and throwing all the men into the water,” said the D&S. “Quenten managed with the assistance of an oar to swim ashore, but the other four were drowned.”