The Sinkler Brothers

A local case where the Sinkler Brothers were sentenced to transportation is believed to be unique in so much as one brother was actually transported twice.

Elisha and John Sinkler (alias Hebden) of Pateley Bridge were notorious local poachers who often had violent encounters with local gamekeepers. Early in August, 1831 they severely beat up a gamekeeper named Barker, employed by Mrs. Lawrence of the Studley Estate on Dallowgill Moor.

Arrest warrants were issued by the Ripon Liberty Justices and on the 18th of September the Ripon Liberty Head Police Officer, Samuel Winn together with Thomas Dinsdale, the Ripon Sergeant-at-Mace and two Ripon Constables, Thomas Binns and Thomas Sweeting went to Stonebeck near Pateley Bridge to arrest the brothers. They captured Elisha but his brother, John and a young man named William Longthorne effected a rescue. A violent struggle took place during which Thomas Dinsdale was knifed. New warrants were issued and notices offering ten guineas reward for each brother and Longthorne were posted throughout the area.

On the 16th of November, 1832, Elisha was captured and he was delivered to York Castle to await trial at York Assizes. William Longthorne was also captured and delivered to York for trial.

They were tried on the 5th of March, 1833, were convicted of being accessories to wounding with intent to murder and sentenced to be hanged. This sentence was later commuted to transportation for 7 years.

Elisha sailed for Australia on the 30th of May, 1833 and arrived there on the 18th of October. He spent his first months at the Convict Settlement at Port Arthur and was later hired out to work on a local farm. In 1841 he was granted a pardon and returned to England where he resumed his poaching.

In 1843 he was involved in another stabbing incident and appeared before York Assize Court where on the 4th of March he was sentenced to transportation for life. He was sent to Australia for a second time but it is not known to which settlement he was allocated. He was again pardoned in 1856 and returned home.

His brother, John had evaded capture for 10 years despite the posting of further reward notices until he was finally caught in March, 1843. He was sentenced to death with an intimation that the sentence would be commuted to transportation which was finally set at 15 years. He left for Australia on the 13th of March, 1844. It is not know to which settlement he was allocated or exactly when he returned home.

After their return home the brothers had enough money to purchase property in the area and continued their poaching.

In 1871 they appeared before Ripon Court for poaching and threatening a gamekeeper. This time Elisha was fined £2 with costs and John was sentenced to 2 months hard labour in the Liberty Prison.

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