The lonely death of Christopher Hutchinson

A farm with a strange name, Stingamires. Named after the gill beyond. But what came first, the farm or the gill?

The farmhouse and attached outbuilding are Grade II Listed1North York Moors HER Records. No: 1288. The farmhouse was built in the 17th-century as a thatched longhouse typical of the North York Moors and containing a full cruck truss.

A year before the outbreak of the Great War, Christopher Hutchinson, aged 71, lived here on his own. He seemed quite a character and was described as ‘eccentric and [with] economical habits2Inquest was held at Stingamires Farm. Dunbley. | Whitby Gazette | Thursday 20 March 1913 | British Newspaper Archive. [online] Available at: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0001103/19130320/164/0007 [Accessed 15 Apr. 2022].. Although he was in receipt of 5s a week old-age pension, he was regularly supplied with food by neighbours, who took pity on him believing him to be poor3Starved To Death With £83. | Dundee Evening Telegraph | Thursday 20 March 1913 | British Newspaper Archive. [online] Available at: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000563/19130320/136/0005 [Accessed 15 Apr. 2022].. His occupation was said to be a pedlar4The Leeds Mercury. Thursday, | Leeds Mercury | Thursday 20 March 1913 | British Newspaper Archive. [online] Available at: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000748/19130320/082/0003 [Accessed 15 Apr. 2022]..

By mid-March, 1913, Hutchinson had not been seen since the 2nd., when he had complained of a pain in his chest5Ibid.; his neighbours grew worried and notified the police.

When the police arrived, they broke into his cottage at Stingamires, and found Hitchinson dead on his bed partly dressed. He had obviously been dead for several days.

They also found 6s 6d in loose money and a  bank note from the Barclay’s Bank at Stockton for £83. There was ‘no food in the house and nothing but “riff raff”‘, but there was was a six-chambered revolver, fully loaded6Ibid.. No poison or whisky was found in the house and there were no marks on Hutchinson’s body7Ibid..

At the inquest, “a verdict was returned in accordance with the medical evidence given8Starved To Death With £83. | Dundee Evening Telegraph | Thursday 20 March 1913 | British Newspaper Archive. [online] Available at: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000563/19130320/136/0005 [Accessed 15 Apr. 2022]..

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