But one phrase she used when she talked about her father has always stuck in my mind : “He was born the year that Jump the Bobby got shot.”
I’m not sure if she ever explained exactly who Jump was or why he was shot and I just filed it away in that mental folder marked miscellaneous. Then one day, by chance, I came across his story in an old copy of the Ashton Reporter. This is by way of a memorial.
William Jump was only the second policeman to be killed in the line of duty when he was shot in the early hours of 28th June 1862.
There had been a long-running and increasingly bitter strike by the brickmakers of the district. Non-union labour had been brought in to work the kilns and the strikers retaliated with violence and sabotage, including night-time break-ins to destroy the bricks that had been made and throwing thousands of needles into the clay so that it couldn’t be handled. They also hamstrung the brickmaster’s horses so they couldn’t work.
The situation had become so tense that the policemen patrolling the area at night with sidearms and several night watchmen narrowly avoided serious injury or worse.
On the night in question, Constable Jump and Sergeant Harrop were on patrol and met three men who were returning from a brickfield in Smallshaw where they had caused considerable damage by trampling on a large number of moist bricks.
When stopped by the two policemen, three shots were fired, one wounding Harrop in the head and the other killing Jump outright.
The murder caused public outrage and the Reporter editorial condemned the strikers, saying: “They have now sacrificed to their diabolical tyranny an unoffending man, and made his wife a widow, and his children orphans, to show their determination to continue in their lawless career.”
William Jump was just 30 years old and left his wife, Hannah, and five children all aged under ten. He was buried in the churchyard of St John the Evangelist in Hurst and above is a photo I took of his gravestone.
His widow was unforgiving of his murderers and there is an explicit curse in the inscription she chose for the gravestone:
Alas! the cruelty of human strife
That men should ere destroy his brother’s life.
Hurry his soul to meet its last account
And load his own with guilt of dread amount.
Two men were tried for his murder, Michael Burke and John Ward. Ward was hung for his crime, while Burke was spared the rope and sentenced to penal servitude for life.
Ward left the prisoner’s dock laughing after being sentenced and threw his cap to the crowd at his public execution.