Jonathan Haworth


The Raid on Bentley House, April 3 1857

Jonathan Haworth was born in Grane at Higher Ormerods in 1831. During the early 1850s he married Alice Holden, and in about 1854 the young family moved to Bentley House, tucked away on an unfrequented and isolated hillside a little south of Grane, where they farmed – and made whisky.

On 3 April 1857 the police and exciseman, tipped off by an informant, raided the house just before midnight:

“On going into the house, the officers proceeded to a square weaving shop, but observed nothing there but two pairs of looms. On examining the room above that they found it was a much larger room. They descended again to the weaving shop, and tapped the wall, which the defendant said was a gable end of the house. They found the mortar soft, but it corresponded with the other walls of the chamber. On looking at the flags they found that they had only been freshly laid. A few were taken up and after taking up a quantity of earth, an arched entrance cut out of the solid rock was discovered with an aperture just sufficient for one person to enter in a creeping position.

Home whisky still
Home whisky still

“On the officers entering the chamber by this, the only entrance, they found a new still and every apparatus requisite for the manufacture of illicit spirits, with a number of tubs, a quantity of wash, &c., which were immediately seized and conveyed to a place of safety. The flue of the fireplace in the room had been cut out of the rock and taken below the floor of the weaving shop and house until a junction was formed with the chimney of the house, so that one flue only could be seen to emit smoke. With the stone cut from the flue the partition wall of the weaving shop had been built so that no material had to be brought to the house.”[3]

“There were also found on the premises a still, about 20 pounds of treacle, 2 gallons of unfermented wort, and a small quantity of whisky in a bottle. Haworth and his wife were in the house and denied any knowledge of the dark room. Haworth said he had lived there 3 years.”[4]

Haworth was convicted of being on premises where illicit whisky was found and fined £30 and costs, in default to go to prison for three months. The prisoner then sold ten head of cattle and went to prison for a time to cover the shortfall in his finances.

James Morris also fell foul of the Revenue!

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[3] Blackburn Standard, May 20th 1857

[4] Preston Chronicle 11 April 1857

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