A ROBBERY AT THE RODNEY INN - October 1856

The following is an article that appeared in The Times in October 1856 under the heading

Daring Robbery in Yorkshire

DARING ROBBERY IN YORKSHIRE. __ A robbery of a most daring character was perpetrated on the evening of Monday last at the house of Mr. Fearn, of the Rodney Inn, Loxley, near Sheffield.  During the afternoon five strange men, two of them well and the other shabbily attired, entered the house, and proceeded to a little private room between the bar and the staircase.  They called for a good supply of best beer, with bread and cheese, and politely declined all the suggestions of the landlady to join the company in another room, where there was a comfortable fire.  They replied that they should be extremely comfortable where they were, and shortly became very jovial - almost uproarious, one of them, at intervals, singing songs which his friends loudly applauded.  One of the men, however, was observed to manifest great restlessness, and proceed several times into a little garden at the back of the house, and also out of the front door.  Mrs Fearn thought the conduct of her guests somewhat strange, and feeling some uneasiness about the contents of her till in the bar kept an eye upon them.  Locked up in a drawer in her bedroom were 49 sovereigns, one half-sovereign, one 10/- note, six /- notes, and about 20s in silver, making in all 90/- 10s, accumulated against the rent and license day; but no idea of danger with regard to this sum ever crossed her mind.  Just at dusk a gentleman drove to the door in a gig, accompanied by two ladies, and, alighting in a great hurry, ordered "mulled" ale, with bread and cheese, to be ready as quickly as possible, representing that he was anxious to catch a train at Sheffield.  In the bustle of attending to the new arrivals the attention of the landlady and her maidservant (the only persons in care of the house at the time) was withdrawn for a while from the suspicious customers in the private room.  The five men left shortly afterwards, and on retiring to bed a few hours later Mr and Mrs Fearn, found  that their bedroom had been entered by thieves.  Two little drawers, belonging to a set, were lying on the floor, with the greater part of their contents strewn about, and the 90/- 10s, previously locked up in one of them, had been taken away.  The aged couple were in great distress at their loss.  It appears that the restless customer above referred to had during the evening sent a little boy for a farthing candle and a box of lucifer matches, and several matches were found scattered about the bedroom.  The only article taken besides the money was a bag containing metal spoons, although there was a watch lying on the drawers and several gold rings in them.  It is supposed that the thieves ascertained the locality of the money drawer by watching the landlady fetch one of them change for a sovereign during an early period of the evening.  It is mere matter of suspicion as to whether the gentlemen and ladies who drove up in a gig were connected with the robbers, but little doubt is entertained that the robbery was committed while they were in the house by the restless man, who, having on boots so worn and light that his tread could scarcely be heard would be able to glide noiselessly upstairs unobserved during the bustle.  No information has yet been obtained at all likely to lead to the discovery of the thieves.

The only other report I have is from The Leeds Mercury dated 11th October 1856

The only photograph of the Rodney Inn that I have been able to locate was taken some fifty years after the robbery but it does give an indication of how isolated the area was back in the  mid nineteenth century.   

As far as I'm aware the police never did apprehend and bring the robbers to justice (nothing ever changes) and so I suppose the case is still open. If you do have any further information to offer, please let me know, or contact "ye olde crimestoppers"

Notes

The Times, Oct 10, 1856; page. 9; Issue 22495

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