Burglary at the home of Reverend Joseph Nodder
February 21st 1857
information provided by Jack Abbott.

The residence of the Rev J. Nodder, of Ashover near Chesterfield, stands alone in a secluded place about half a mile from the village.

On Saturday morning between the hours of one and two, Mrs. Nodder who slept in a room in front of the Hall heard an unusual noise. This she thought arose from her husband's room, which was situated in another part of the house. Presently she heard the noise again and went to the window where she saw the figure of a man outside, and close to the glass.

Mrs. Nodder clutching up the baby ran out of the room, shutting the door after her and holding it to.

Meanwhile the window was smashed and two men entered the room. Mrs. Nodder now locked the door leaving the burglars fastened in the room. They were provided however with a small crowbar and with this instrument they broke the panels of the door, unlocked it and got into the passage communicating with the bedrooms.

The first room they entered was that occupied by a niece to the Reverend gentleman. The lady was so alarmed that she jumped out in the yard, a depth of fourteen feet and in partial nudity ran for half a mile into the village to the Rectory house.

After escaping from the room Mrs. Nodder went into that occupied by her husband, and aroused him. Mr. Nodder jumped out of bed at once and armed himself with a pair of large pistols, the burglars outside the room, he called out,

"Now lads, now lads, Come on;"

"They are here"! Mrs. Nodder shouted in reply.

"If you enter I will shoot you,"

The burglars took no heed, but forced the door open, and one of them masked and disguised in a long gown or frock entered the room. He had a candle in his left hand, which he held low down. Mrs. Nodder cried to her husband to give them what they wanted. Mr. Nodder stepped a pace or two back, and said to the man. " Ill give you what you want ", fired one of the pistols and shot the fellow in the abdomen. The burglars now made a retreat, and as the man ran the shot fell from his clothes. They rushed into a bedroom and jumped through a window, taking the glass and framework with them.

Mrs. Nodder rang the alarm bell immediately, which brought about a dozen persons to the place, and a search was instituted for the wounded man.

As it was believed that from the shot and leap through the window he could not escape from the neighborhood; but though the footsteps of the thieves were traced for a long distance, and several masks and disguises were found, they got away for the time.

On Monday night however the principle of the gang - the man who was shot was arrested at Birmingham, the police had traced him to that town and then made inquiries at the various druggists, at length they went to a woman whose business is that of a bleeder with leeches. From here they learned that a man suffering from a gunshot wound had afflicted to her, and had been bled in the abdomen. The house where this man lay was accordingly visited. He was found in bed suffering from severe wounds in the abdomen, he appeared in an exhausted condition. He was of course taken into custody. The whole of the shots had been extracted and the prisoner was in a fair way of recovery. It appears he is a ticket of leave man and goes by the name of Shog.

Miss. Healey, the lady who jumped from the window to escape the burglars lies in a precocious state, she is suffering from an injury to the spine, and from great nervous excitement.


Prisoner Before the Magistrate - March 1857
The Burglary at Ashover

Thomas Wooton the man who was apprehended at Birmingham for the burglary at Ashover underwent examination on Monday.

The evidence of the Rev. Nodder and his wife exactly corresponded with the report, which appeared in our last impression. . We may remark however that the Rev. Nodder appeared not a little proud of his exploit.

Several other witnesses were examined who proved that the prisoner was near the prosecutors house about the time of the burglary, and traced him after he was wounded by Mr. Nodder towards Birmingham, where he was apprehended. The surgeon of the Birmingham Police said he found fifteen shot marks in the prisoners stomach, with some recent bruises. The prisoner left ankle was swollen as if from a strain.

The prisoner made no statement beyond occasionally remarking on the evidence.

He was committed for trial at the Derby, assizes Thursday March 19th 1857.


Prisoner at Derby Assizes, Thursday March 19th 1857

Thomas Wooton was charged before Mr. Justice Wightman with the burglary at the house of the Rev. Joseph Nodder at Ashover on 21st February 1857.

To the great surprise of the Court the prisoner pleaded guilty to the charge.

In passing sentence on the prisoner, Mr. Justice Wightman said - "From what I see in the depositions, Mr. Nodder exhibited the greatest courage and not withstanding that you had instruments likely to produce death or some grievous bodily harm. It appears the pistol, which he discharged at you, was unfortunately loaded only with small shot instead of with a ball or slugs. But fortunately it was discharged in a manner that left it quite impossible that you could escape conviction. - Think you are one of those persons of whose conduct we have lately heard so much.

By a mistaken leniency by the grant of a ticket of leave you were allowed for a time to avoid serving the full period of fifteen years transportation to which for a most serious offence you had been previously sentenced. The present case shows what your being set at liberty made a grievous mistake. The sentence of the court is that you be transported for twenty-five years beyond the sea."

The prisoner received the sentence with a smiling countenance.