The Death of Thomas Dickinson - Greno Woods Sheffield October 1880

In his book "Smithy Rhymes and Stithy Chimes: Or the Short and Simple Annals of the Poor, Spelt by the Unlettered Muse of Your Humble Bard" Joseph Senior wrote the poem

THERE'S SOME ONE TO BLAME:
A DlRGE FOR THE POOR CRIPPLE WHO WAS FOUND STARVED TO DEATH IN GRENO WOOD, NEAR CHAPELTOWN, OCT. 24, l880.


A starved to death cripple, with finger bones bare,
Ah ! perhaps his last supper was eaten from there ;
Oh ! my soul, what a shame !
By hunger's tooth gnaw'd to the supper of death,
Where o'er the lean viands this grace froze his breath,
There is some one to blame !

Who gave Hoary Sorrow hard cinders to break ?
If earth won't for shattered humanity speak,
Oh ye Heav'ns, weep a flood!
Who spurned hÝm when dying from shelter and bed,
To seek a cold pillow where brambles were spread,
In yon dark northern wood ?


Had he been a prince or a lord of the soil,
Instead of a cripple who could not win oil
To keep life's lamp aflame,
The foulness would not have been cleared in a day '
0 Britons, awake dozing justice, and say
There is some one to blame !
 

Hark'. hark ! that sad groan, as it wings from his tongue
To the disc of God's throne, the angels are stung
And cry "shame, England, shame ! "
Ye poor-law dispensers and jurymen too,
Who can't pity cripples, may God pity you,
And that some one to blame.

And so naturally I had to enquire into the circumstances that led Joseph to compose the poem. Thankfully Joseph provided me with a date, and so I referred to The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent (Sheffield, England), Monday, October 25, 1880; (pg. 4; Issue 8125) which contained a report of a cripple dying in Greno Woods.

When Joseph referred to " with finger bones bare" he was shielding his readers from the actual reality of no fingers at all!. The other co-incidence is that Thomas was found by a Martin Dickinson but there is no indication that they were related

Sources

The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent (Sheffield, England), Monday, October 25, 1880; pg. 4; Issue 8125.

Smithy Rhymes and Stithy Chimes: Or the Short and Simple Annals of the Poor, Spelt by the Unlettered Muse of Your Humble Bard

Wortley Workhouse Sheffield

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This page was last updated on 04/01/12 11:07