From the Darlington & Stockton Times of March 4, 1922

“IT was very unfortunate that in pleasant village there should be this bad feeling,” said Judge McCarthy sitting at Northallerton Police Court as he heard platelayer Stephen Dixon, of Danby Wiske, sue engineman Wilfred Craggs and his two sons, William and Arthur, for £20 loss of wages and personal suffering.

Mr Dixon was secretary of the Danby Wiske village institute and was proposing a fellow platelayer should be elected as the new institute caretaker. However, Wilfred’s promotion of a former soldier for the post angered Mr Dixon to such an extent that he was “breathing fire” against him. Wilfred in turn called Mr Dixon a “twister”.

The two men lived just two doors away from each other, and the dispute quickly spread to their wives.

On October 24 the previous year, the women had been quarrelling in the open, causing William to intervene between them and demand that Mrs Dixon apologise for insulting his mother “in front of about 40 schoolchildren”. Mr Dixon then arrived and dragged William away by the throat.

The Craggs family went home to lick their wounds – “it was not the first or the tenth time that Mrs Dixon had scandalised my mother”, William told the court – and regroup while Mr Dixon – the plaintiff – went about his business.

From the D&S Times of 100 years ago

From the D&S Times of 100 years ago

“The plaintiff, after milking the cows, returned to his home, lit his pipe, and was wheeling his barrow by the side of his house when defendant came up and struck him, knocking him down,” said the D&S.

Mrs Dixon rushed to see what was going on. “Plaintiff’s wife came out and saw her husband down and the three defendants striking him, while defendant’s mother encouraged them,” said the D&S.

Then Mrs Dixon herself came under attack. “Mrs Craggs ran out and seized her by the hair, and Mrs Craggs cried out: 'Go at him. Give him it, lads'.”

They certainly did give him it. “The wood pipe was broken, four teeth were knocked out and plaintiff was made unconscious,” said the D&S. Mr Dixon could not remember anything for three days after the assault.

The village constable said that until the institute election, the two families had not been “quarrelsome characters”.

The judge was dismayed by what had happened in the “pleasant village” of Danby Wiske and said it was his job “to stop the violent operation of bad blood”.

He felt the Craggses had assaulted Mr Dixon and ordered that Wilfred and William should each pay him ten guineas compensation.