The death of Daniel Martin [1844]

The following documents relate to the death of Daniel Martin

On 23rd September 1844, James Tansey was having dinner with his wife and children at their home in Halifax. Daniel Martin – who was chasing his sister – rushed into Tansey's house - where the woman was lodging – and there was a scuffle in which Martin struck his sister and Tansey.

Tansey had a knife, and cut Martin below the ear, causing blood to flow.

like a water tap

Martin was taken to Halifax Infirmary, where he died the following morning.

At the York Winter Assizes, on 7th December 1844, Tansey was imprisoned for 6 months with hard labour for the manslaughter of Martin

The Evening Mail [Wednesday 2nd October 1844] reported

Dreadful Affray

On Monday last a most melancholy catastrophe occurred in Chapel Fold, Smithy Stake, Halifax, arising out of a quarrel, though apparently insignificant as to its origin, yet quickly led to the death of the originator – a man named Daniel Martin, a railway labourer age 24.

Martin had been drinking at the Sun Inn, Smithy Stake, and whilst he was there his sister and another woman came in and ordered drinks. On seeing them, Martin became very angry and ordered them both out and was about to inflict personal chastisement upon his sister, who, however, made her escape through the door followed by Martin. The sister then ran home to her lodgings, the house of Mr Tansey, imploring Tansey to protect her.

Tansey and his children were, at the time, quietly getting their dinners and there was also present a man named John Rocks, a lodger, who interfered on behalf of Martin's sister, when he was struck by Martin and sent against the table where the children were having their dinner, upsetting the dinner table.

At this point Tansey got up from his seat, still holding the knife with which he had been eating his dinner. He told Martin he would not allow such conduct in his house and endeavoured to put him out.

Martin, who was a very powerful fellow, then turned upon Tansey, handling him very roughly, Martin, the more powerful of the two, swung Tansey round against a wall and, according to Tansey's statement, he said that the point of the knife being in the direction of Martin's left ear, the latter during the turn at the wall, drove his head against it with great force, Tansey's elbow resting at this time against the wall, this giving a double force to the contact with the knife, which entered just below the left ear inflicting a three inch wound.

The wall and floor was drenched with blood and Martin rushed to the house door crying


A passer-by came to his assistance and helped to stop some of the bleeding.

Tansey went to the police office and requested that Martin be arrested and charged with assault.

Martin was taken to the Infirmary but he died the following morning.

On Wednesday, after the jury was summoned at the infirmary to view the body, they proceeded to another room where the inquest was held before Mr G. Dyson.

Verdict – Manslaughter. Tansey is still in custody


The Sun (London) [Tuesday 10th December 1844] reported

Those of our readers who are acquainted with Halifax will know that there is a quarter of the town called Hatters Yard and Gardener's Square which is principally inhabited by the lower class.

The jury found the prisoner guilty of manslaughter with a recommendation to mercy on account of having received considerable provocation in his own house.

HIS LORDSHIP addressed some appropriate remarks to the prisoner and sentenced him to six months imprisonment in the House of Correction with hard labour


© Malcolm Bull 2023
Revised 16:25 / 13th June 2023 / 6294

Page Ref: X499

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