Leeds Intelligencer - SATURDAY 11 April 1846 - Fatal and Melancholy Event at Methley


Last week’s Intelligencer, we briefly mentioned that Mr. Edward Atkinson, the landlord of the Royal Oak Inn, Methley, near Leeds, had come to his death by being struck at by man named John Depledge. We now give the chief facts of the sad occurrence.

On Thursday in last week, Depledge, who was quite sober, was driving his master’s wagon from Leeds to Bradford, and he called at the Royal Oak Inn, in Methley, and got three pennyworth of gin, and drank it without sitting down. The innkeeper, Edward Atkinson, aged fifty-two, being then in the same room, intoxicated, and on friendly terms with Depledge, said €”now you shall treat me with three pennyworth. Depledge said I” have money, and walked out, followed by Atkinson, who took hold of his arm, and induced him to walk into the tap-room, when he renewed his entreaty fora small treat. The other again said, I have no money, but I don’t mind paying for it some time afterwards.

Atkinson then ordered two three pennyworths of gin, which on being bought, desired Depledge to pay for, who again said he had no money, and Atkinson ordered his maid to take the glasses back, which she did, but in few minutes he ordered them to be brought in again, when he gave one of them to Depledge, and drank tbe other himself; and then ordered them to be replenished, and gave Depledge sixpence to pay for them, saying €””Our folks will know nothing about it.”

Fatal and Melancholy Event at Methley

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Royal Oak Public House

After drinking their second glasses, they walked out of the room into the back-yard, arm in arm, in the most friendly way, and whilst there Atkinson by accident tripped himself up against the stable threshhold, and fell into the stable on some straw, pulling Depledge down upon him, and when he arose, charged Depledge with purposely throwing him down, and said Depledge should not go into his house again. He then walked to his back door, Depledge following him, and when be had got to the second, top step, Depledge was upon the first, he pushed Depledge off the step, went and fastened the door.

Depledge then became angry, and going round the front of the house where his waggon stood, he said he comes out again I’ll give him a d-d good milling.” Atkinson happening to have got to his front door, overheard him, and directly walked out towards him, and said What does thou say thou’ll do at me,” when Depledge went up to him and struck him a severe blow on the face, and Atkinson fell with his head heavily upon the flags, from whence he was carried into the house in a state of insensibility, in which state he remained until six o’clock next morning, when be died.

It was only about four hours before his death that his family became aware his danger, supposing the snoring comatose he was in, arose from the liquor had drunk. An inquest was held on the body, by Mr. Jewison, on Saturday, when it was found that his skull had been fractured very severely upon the temporal bone, by the fall, producing extravasion of blood, and pressure on the brain, of which be died. The injury was too great to admit of any relief.

The jury returned a verdict of “Manslaughter against John Depiedge,” who was in custody, and who was committed to York Castle, under the coroner’s warrant.

Note: He was sentenced to be imprisoned for ten days to solitary confinement.


The Leeds Intelligencer was founded by Griffith Wright in Leeds in 1754 as a four-page weekly and originally known as Wright’s Leeds Intelligencer. By the 1790’s it was viewed as the leading Tory organ in Yorkshire.

It was sold to the newly-formed Yorkshire Conservative Newspaper Company which turned the weekly Leeds Intelligencer into the daily Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, launched on July 2, 1866.

Founded: 1754
Last issue: 1866