Hasty Bank

An unexpected surprise as the sun broke beneath the bank of thick cloud that had covered Cleveland all afternoon. The light lasted a few minutes before the sun sank below the horizon. I happened to be at Bank Foot at the time, near Ingleby Greenhow.

Hasty Bank map

Poultry Crossing, Bank Foot

In his classic book Round and About the North Yorkshire Moors, Tom Scott Burns writes:

“One could never imagine an evil deed ever being committed within the quiet hamlet of Bank Foot, yet under the sheltering gaze of Turkey Nab a callous deed was committed on the night of Friday the 3rd October 1924. In the modest railway cottage at the incline foot, Hannah Ward and her younger brother waited long and patiently for their father’s return from the Dudley Arms pub at Ingleby Greenhow. Fearing something may have happened to her father, Hannah called at their neighbour’s, Medd Carpenter. With candle-lantern in hand, Medd stepped out into the blackness to appease Hannah’s fears. A brief search, and then a trail of blood was followed to a haystack near Bank Foot where the partially-concealed body of Frank Ward lay dead. The police called the following morning at Poultry House Crossing, the home of Jerry Dalton, near Bank Foot Farm. His wife said he had left the house to check some rabbit snares. In the process of scouring hedgerows and fields in the immediate area, police discovered Dalton with a self-inflicted wound slumped in a culvert. Dalton was convicted for the brutal murder and robbery of his best friend Frank Ward, and subsequently hanged for his crime.”

Frank Ward had worked as a banksman on the Rosedale mineral railway for 40 years. He lived in one of the cottages at the foot of the incline and was due to go on a holiday to Whitby the following day. His work colleague and so called friend,  Hubert (Jerry) Dalton ,was a platelayer on the same line. He lived a mile and a half or so from Ward at Poultry House Crossing.

In the photo the course of the old railway is on the left. The lady who lives at the cottage confirms it was previously known as Poultry House Cottage and was where Dalton lived. Incidentally Roseberry Topping can be seen just poking above the horizon on the right.

But I digress. At the bottom of the incline the men received their weekly pay packets and parted company at Ward’s cottage while Dalton walked along the railway to Poultry House Cottage.

That evening Ward set off on the three mile walk in the dark to Ingleby Greenhow. His intention was to pay his debts to village tradesmen, then later to call in at The Dudley Arms for a well deserved pint of beer.  He mistrusted banks and always carried with him his savings which amounted to about £100. His route would have taken him past Dalton’s cottage. It seems that Ward never arrived and his body was found in the early hours of the morning. Dalton was arrested for his murder for which  he was convicted at the Yorkshire Assizes in Leeds, and subsequently hanged.

For an excellent, more detailed account see the online edition of Now & Then magazine (June 2000) which is a freebie magazine delivered locally.