Hebden Township Historical Data

Newspaper Cuttings

Newspaper clipping from Leeds Intelligencer, 5th April 1785


This clipping, from 1785, gives the list of persons convicted under the 1776 Worsted Act. At the time much of the work involved in producing worsted wool from the fleece was done by out-workers, mainly women working from home. The process was vulnerable to fraud, in particular false reeling and short reeling as specified in the news cutting. The Worsted Act of 1776 was passed to cut the practice in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire. This allowed the manufacturers to supervise a body of inspectors, who were licensed by Justices of the Peace.

The newspaper cutting indicates that Sarah Dinsdale of Hebden, amongst others, was convicted for a third offence for fraud. For this, she was sentenced to a month of hard labour, and publicly whipped in Skipton on market day. The latter would have involved her being stripped to the waist, tied to the back of a cart, and whipped until her back was bloody. Her second conviction was five years earlier.

Sarah Dinsdale was born in Pately Bridge, in about 1748, to William Dinsdale who originally came from the Grassington area. She had three children out of wedlock, none of whom survived for more than a few years. She died in 1810.