Old Kankey

I commented on The Lodge (Lodge St) in response to Wendy Coupe’s enquiry which led me to the Middleton Guardian Newspaper Archive and OLD KANKEY of Kankey Ginnel body-snatching fame. Below is the only reference I have managed to find to the word Kankey. William Lancashire resided in a house in Back Lodge St adjacent to Kankey Ginnel. He was a bachelor and, for a time, lived there with his brother. The report of his death in the Middleton Guardian, 4 Nov 1882, wasn’t over sensitive or tactful:

‘SUDDEN DEATH OF “OWD KANKEY” – About a quarter past eight on Friday night, William Lancashire, better known as “Owd Kankey”, was discovered dead in his house, near the cemetery wall behind Lodge-street. A neighbour happening to enter the house at the time stated, found the deceased lying on the coals in the kitchen, his right hand grasping the coal scuttle. The deceased has for several years suffered severely from bronchitis , and was under the care of Dr. Stelfox. He had evidently gone into the kitchen for the purpose of replenishing his fire, when he was overcome with an attack of illness, in which he died. The deceased was about 70 years old. He was a man of eccentric habits, and was celebrated on account of his recluse life which he lead, and there are few who can boast of having passed his threshold during his latter days. He was in stature a diminutive man, scarcely four feet high, his back bent by the three score years and ten which he carried. He seemed to have an aversion for soap and water, and to have extended  this feeling to his household, indeed on several occasions the sanitary authority have received complaints in this respect. He was quiet and harmless, his very unoffensiveness often making him the butt of numerous jokes. By what means he subsisted is hardly known, but it is reported that since his decease a considerable sum has been found concealed in various parts of his house.’

I’ve checked to see if his family had to take out letters of administrations but they appear not to have done. Back Lodge Street was also referred to as Fir Street in one census.

There is nothing in any national or local newspaper regarding grave robbing in Middleton. However, Sam Bamford delayed his daughter’s burial for a month to ensure body snatchers wouldn’t be interested in the body so, presumably, it went on in Middleton.