Open a form to report problems or contribute information

 
1 Introduction 2 Message details 3 Upload file 4 Submitted
Page 1 of 4

Help and advice for Inquests 1875-1884 - from the North Devon Journal

If you have found a problem on this page then please report it on the following form. We will then do our best to fix it. If you are wanting advice then the best place to ask is on the area's specific email lists. All the information that we have is in the web pages, so please do not ask us to supply something that is not there. We are not able to offer a research service.

If you wish to report a problem, or contribute information, then do use the following form to tell us about it. We have a number of people each maintaining different sections of the web site, so it is important to submit information via a link on the relevant page otherwise it is likely to go to the wrong person and may not be acted upon.

Inquests Taken Into Suspicious Or Unexplained Deaths

For the County of Devon

1875-1884

Articles taken from North Devon Journal

Inquests

Coroner's Inquests were usually held within the space of 48 hours following a death that appeared to be of a suspicious or unexplained nature. They were usually held in a local public-house, ale house, municipal building, or parish workhouse, but sometimes in the building where the death occurred. The Coroner usually came from a legal or medical background and more often than not, appointed for life by the respective County. The Coroner and a Jury of between 12 and 24 persons, usually men of substantial standing, were empanelled to examine the body, hear witnesses, and the Jury then to come to a Verdict as to Cause of Death. The account of the Inquest appearing in local newspapers, included the name of the deceased, where they died, and how they died. Sometimes, age, occupation, parish or address, and other relatives' names can be found. In later years when Hospitals appear, people can be dying away from their parish after having been admitted to that institution, and the Inquest is therefore conducted where the death occurred, rather than where the person was living.

Provided by Lindsey Withers

[No's in brackets indicate the number of times that name occurs]

Names Included:  Ackland; Adams(2); Alford(2); Allen; Andrew(2); Andrews; Angel; Anstey; Arnold(2); Arthurs; Ashelford; Ashill; Baird; Baker(9); Balkwill; Balsdon; Banbury; Banks; Barber(2); Barnes; Barr; Barrett; Bartlett(3); Barwick(2); Basley; Bassett; Bastard; Bastin; Beauchamp; Bechley; Beckley; Beedle; Beer(2); Behenna; Bellamy; Bennett(4); Berry; Bickell; Bickham; Bickle; Bird; Bisney; Blachford; Blackford; Blackmore(2); Blake(4); Blatchford; Blight; Bond(3); Bossen; Bowden(4); Box; Boyle; Braddon; Brailey; Branton; Braund(2); Braunton; Bray; Brayley; Brend; Brendon; Bridgman; Bright; Brimson; Britton; Bromell; Brooks(2); Brown(4); Buckingham; Budd; Burch; Burge(2); Burgess; Burnell; Buse; Bushell(2); Butler; Bynom; Carter(2); Casely; Cawsey; Challacombe; Chamings; Chapple; Charley; Chiswell; Chown; Chubb; Chugg(2); Clarke(4); Classe; Clements; Cleverdon; Coates; Cockrem; Cocks; Cole(4); Collard; Colwill; Conybear; Cook(3); Copp; Corin; Cosway; Cottle; Courtenay; Cowler; Cox(2); Crabbe; Creedy; Crick; Crocker(3); Crocombe; Crosse; Crudge; Cullen; Curtis; Dart; Dashwood; Davey(2); Davie(3); Davies; Dawe; Day; Delve; Dendle; Dilke; Dilling; Dimond; Dinnicombe; Dobb; Dovell; Dowdle; Dowman; Down(3); Drew(3); Duncombe; Dunn; Durant; Dymond(2); Eastcott; Easterbrook; Eastman; Edwards(4); Ellacott; Ellicott; Elliott(3); Emery; Every; Facey; Faulkner; Foley; Ford(3); Fowler; Fry(2); Fulford; Furze; Gammon(4); Gayton; Gear; Geen; Gerry(2); Gest; Gibbings; Gibbs(2); Gilbert(2); Giles; Gillham; Gliddon; Glover; Gould(4); Gray; Greenley; Greenslade; Greenwood; Gregory(3); Grigg; Grimshaw; Gulley; Gunn; Hall(2); Hancock; Handford(2); Hannaford; Harding; Harris(6); Harrison; Hartley; Hartnoll; Harvey; Hatherley; Hayman; Heard; Hellyer; Herniman; Hewitt; Hicks; Higgins; Hill(5); Hills; Hinchcliffe; Hingston; Hocking; Hockings; Hodge; Hodges; Holland; Hollway; Holmes(2); Hookway; Hooper(2); Horrill; Horsford; Horwell; Hoskins; Hoyles;, Hughes; Humm; Hunt; Hussell; Huxtable(3); Incledon; Isaac; Jarring; Jeffreys; Jenkin; Jenkins(2); Jenn; Jerred; Jewell; Joce; Johns(3); Johnson(2); Joint; Jonas; Jones(2); Joy; Jury; Kempe; Kerslake; Keyworth; Kiff; Kingwill; Kingston; Knapman; Knight; Knill; Knott; Lake; Lamprey; Lancey; Landon; Langdon; Lashbrook; Latham; Lawrence(3); Leach(2); Lee(2); Lewis; Leworthy(2); Ley(3); Light(2); Lock(2); Loosemore; Lovelock; Lugg; Luxton; Lyne; Lytton; Maconaghey; Madge; Major(2); Mallett; Manning(2); Maredon; Marland; Marley(2); Marshall(2); Martin; Massingham; Matthews(2); May; Maynard; Mayne; McGeorge; Metherell; Miller; Millman; Mills; Mitchell(3); Moase(2); Mock(2); Mogford; Montandon; Moore(3); Moreland; Mortimer; Mounce; Moyses; Mugford; Nancekivell; Napper; Nethercott; Newcombe(2); Nicholls(3); Norman; Normington; Norswell; North; Northcote(2); Nott; Nutt; Offield; Oliver(2); O'Neill; Osborne; Osmant; Owen; Paddon; Page; Palmer(2); Parfitt; Parkhouse; Parkin(3); Parminter; Parnell; Parr; Parrick; Parris(2); Parsley; Parsons; Passmore(2); Pates; Payne; Peard(2); Pearson; Pellow; Pengelly; Penny; Perking; Perriman; Perrin; Perry(2); Perryman(2); Peters; Pethebridge; Phillips; Pile; Piper; Pitts; Podbury; Pook; Pope; Pratt; Preston; Prideaux(2); Pridham; Prouse; Pugsley; Pyke; Quance; Quartly; Quick(3); Radford(2); Ralph; Rathbone; Rattenbury; Read; Redler; Redstone; Redwood; Rew; Rice; Richards(9); Richardson; Ridd(4); Ridge; Robbins; Roberts; Robinson(2); Rooke; Rookes; Rottenbury; Rowden; Rowe; Rude; Sanders(4); Saunders; Saxton; Scoines; Searle; Seldon; Selley; Sercombe; Sexon; Shaddick; Shapland(2); Sharland; Shearman; Sherman; Shillson; Shipcott; Shipway; Short(3); Shortlands; Shortridge; Simpson; Skedgell; Skinner(2); Slee; Smale(2); Smeeth; Smith(9); Snell; Snow; Somerfield; Sommerwill; Sowden; Sparks; Sprague; Squire(2); Squires(2); Staddon; Stanbury(3); Stapleton; Stark; Steer; Stenner; Stevens; Stiling; Stone(4); Stote; Street; Stribling; Summerfield; Sutton; Sydney; Symons(2); Tamlyn; Tanton; Taverner; Taylor(3); Tester; Thomas(2); Thorne(2); Tolley; Toms(2); Took; Trace; Tree; Trick; Truscott; Tucker(5); Turberville; Turner; Tyler; Vanstone(3); Vaughan(2); Venn; Vickery; Vinson; Viviani; Vodden; Vosper; Wade; Ward; Ware; Warren(3); Waterfield; Watts(2); Webb; Webber(3); Weeks; Welch; Wellington; Welsford; Welsh; West(3); Westacott(5); Westaway; Westlake; White(3); Whitlock; Wilcocks; Willcox; Williams(4); Willis(3); Wills; Wilson; Winter(2); Wise; Wollacott; Wolloway; Wonnacott; Wood(2); Woollacott; Wotton; Wreford; Wright; Wyatt; Wybron; Yelland(2); Young(3)

Thursday 14 January 1875

NEWTON - Alleged Manslaughter By a Babyfarmer At Newton. - An Inquest was held at Newton on Wednesday by Mr Michelmore, County Coroner, relative to the death of MARGARET PHILLIPS, a child five months old, which had died the previous day under suspicious circumstances.  The child's mother gave birth to the deceased in Newton Workhouse, on August 1st, and on the 29th September she left the house, and placed the child with a widow named Betsy Binmore.  This woman lived in a court in East-street, Newton, and took care of several children.  Some of her young charges have lately died, but a witness named Ann Mudge, who had frequently visited Binmore, said she appeared to treat the children kindly, and to take proper care of them.  The dairyman who supplied the woman with milk, stated that she was in the habit of buying a pennyworth of scald milk every morning, and would sometimes have a pennyworth of raw or scald milk in the evening.  Mr Henry Gaye, surgeon, said he made a post-mortem examination of the deceased whose body was very emaciated.  The child was fully grown, but the ribs were showing through the skin, the limbs were small and shrunken, and the skin shrivelled.  Internally there was no appearance of fat, but the organs, as well as the brain, were perfectly healthy, and in the stomach there was half a teaspoonful of thin watery fluid, with a few particles of what appeared to be bread.  In children of this age there was generally something in the intestines, but those of the deceased were empty.  He could see no trace of disease to account for death, and in his opinion the child died from want of nutritious food.  There were other children in the house under twelve months old, and there was also a little boy about four or five years of age, who looked very well.  Mrs Binmore asked him to look at another child, and he did so.  This child had pretty much the appearance of the deceased, and seemed to be suffering from want of food.  The supply of milk was altogether inadequate.  After further evidence the Jury about midnight returned a verdict of Manslaughter against Binmore.

SWYMBRIDGE - Accidental Drowning Of A Little Boy. - On the evening of Friday last an Inquest was held at the New Inn, in the village of Swymbridge, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Wm. Burden was foreman, on the body of a little boy, nine years of age, called GEORGE SOMMERWILL, son of a labourer in the village called WILLIAM SOMMERWILL, who had been drowned in the quarry pit at Bestridge the previous Wednesday.  The principal witness was William Priscott, who deposed that he was at present, and had been for a great many years, employed as a quarryman at Bestridge lime quarry.  Knew the deceased very well, and he was also employed at the quarry.  The duty of the deceased was to turn the points of the tramway by which the "deads" were removed, and he was so employed on Wednesday.  Saw the deceased last alive about four o'clock in the afternoon, and he was then turning the points.  Witness and two others were loading the waggon with the "deads", and witness had driven his waggon to the other end of the quarry and had returned after about seven or eight minutes, when he was surprised at not seeing the deceased.  Near to where the deceased had been at work there was a pit which was full of water, and on looking into it witness saw a boy's hat on the surface of the water.  Fearing that something had happened, he gave an alarm, and the two men who were working with him, and whose names were George Remmetts and Frederick Pedler, came to the place, and they all tried if they could see the body, and endeavoured to get it out.  The water was dirty, and they could not see the body.  The space covered with the water was about eight landyards long and two landyards wide and the pit was about seven feet deep in water.  John Liverton came to render assistance, and he had an iron bar with him with a crook at one end, and with it he searched about for the body, and succeeded in finding it after it had been in the water from twenty minutes to half-an-hour.  Deceased, when taken out, appeared to be quite dead, and they carried him immediately to his father's house in the village.  The depth of water in the pit was much greater than usual in consequence of the heavy thaw since the last snow.  Witness did not consider the place dangerous, and thought deceased must have hitched his foot in the metals.  The Coroner asked whether something could not be done to prevent a similar accident happening again; but some of the Jury explained that the pit was not often so full as it was at that time, as the water, owing to the late thaw, had gained upon the pumps.  The Coroner thought if the pit had been railed in the accident would not have happened; but a Juryman stated that they were about to work at another part of the quarry, and to cut another incline, and therefore it would be unnecessary; also that it was some years ago since the pit was so full.  -  WILLIAM SOMMERWILL, tanner's labourer, said the deceased was his son.  He was a very sharp boy, and was earning 3s. a week.  The boy was rather young to be employed at the quarry, but he had a family of five children, and he was glad of his wages.  There were no marks of violence upon him.  The Jury consulted for a short time, after which the foreman said, as there were marks of loosened earth around the pit, and the poor boy having been seen such a short time before, there could be no doubt that he accidentally fell in:  they therefore returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."

Thursday 28 January 1875

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death Of A Young Woman. - On Wednesday an Inquest was held at the house of MRS MARY GIBBS, in the Square, before the Borough Coroner, (Mr R. I. Bencraft), on the body of MISS SUSAN GIBBS, aged 47, who was found dead on the floor of her bed-room, on the previous afternoon.  The deceased was a remarkably stout person, and was unfortunately addicted to habits of intemperance.  The servant of the house, a girl named Mary Snell, gave evidence of having procured for the deceased, at her own request, several pints of beer and sundry noggins of rum during a few days preceding her death, and stated that on Saturday last she was the worse for liquor, and so much so on Tuesday morning that MRS MARY GIBBS (her step-mother) sent her back to bed.  The servant saw the deceased the last time alive about half past 12 o'clock at noon, when she called her into the bedroom, and after speaking about MRS GIBBS complained of being very unwell.  At two o'clock, when the servant went up with her dinner, she found the deceased partly dressed, lying upon her face upon the floor of her bedroom, and on calling in medical assistance it was ascertained that she was dead.  - Mr J. W. Cooke, surgeon, deposed that he was called in to see the deceased, and found the body still warm.  He gave it as his opinion that she had not been dead more than half an hour.  He was satisfied that death was the result of natural causes either of apoplexy or disease of the heart.  Mary Ann King, daughter of the landlord of the Shipwrights' Arms, deposed that deceased was in the habit of coming to her house for beer and spirits, and on the previous day she had supplied deceased with a small quantity of rum in a bottle, which she took away with her.  This bottle still containing spirits was found in deceased's pocket.  Mr Cooke gave it as his opinion that deceased had not had much drink on the day she died, but that she might appear to be intoxicated and not really be so, from the effects of the disease which resulted in her death.  The Jury returned a verdict "That deceased died from Natural Causes and that death was accelerated by her indulgence in intoxicating liquors."  - The sad circumstance is a cause of much distress to the very respectable relatives of the deceased.

Thursday 11 February 1875

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death On Rolle's Quay. - A painful occurrence of this nature took place on Rolle's Quay, in the parish of Pilton, in this borough, on Sunday last, the victim being MRS MARY BRAILEY, wife of WM. BRAILEY, labourer.  Soon after twelve o'clock at noon on Sunday, a little boy of the deceased came into the house of her next door neighbour, Thomas Ridd, a bargeman, and said to his wife, "Mrs Ridd, please to come in, for mother is dying."  She accordingly went in immediately, and found the deceased very ill and vomiting.  She complained of pain in her stomach and chest, and said she thought she should be choked.  Presently afterwards she was taken with convulsive fits.  Mrs Ridd applied mustard and a linseed-meal poultice to the chest and throat, and sent away for a medical man, but before he had time to arrive deceased had another fit, and died in Mrs Ridd's presence about one o'clock.  An Inquest was held on the body at the Rolle Arms, Rolle's Quay, on Tuesday, before J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner for the County, and a respectable Jury (of which Mr William Dalling was foreman), when the above facts were deposed to by Mrs Ridd.  Mr Henry Jackson, assistant to Mr Harper, surgeon, was also sworn, and deposed that on the arrival of the messenger on Sunday last, as Mr Harper was not within and the case was urgent, witness went to see deceased, arriving at the house about twenty minutes past one, when he found she had been dead about a quarter of an hour.  He went upstairs, and examined the body.  There were no external marks of violence, and from the appearance and all he could gather from those present, as well as from the evidence of the former witness, his opinion was that death had arisen from natural causes, namely, from bronchitis and the rupture of a blood-vessel in the chest.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  - Deceased was 56 years of age.  What made the case more painful was that the husband was lying ill in bed at the time.

Thursday 18 February 1875

BARNSTAPLE - A Dead Body Found In The River. - As the 'Ada', of Bristol, having discharged her cargo at this port, was being towed down the river on the forenoon of Saturday last, the master (Captain Collings) being on board, with Stribling the pilot, and the mate (Henry Bell) and another seaman in the ship's boat towing, when they came nearly opposite Strand Houses, in the parish of Ashford, the mate in the boat called out that he saw a body floating in the water.  On pulling towards it they saw it was a man's body, with the face downwards.  A rope was attached to the body, by the master's orders, and made fast to the vessel, and it was towed to the beach at Appledore, where it was landed.  The features were so decomposed that identification from them was impossible; but the pilot (Stribling) saw from the clothes and the general appearance that it was the body of JOHN LIGHT, a fisherman, of Barnstaple, who was missed in November last, and supposed to be drowned, his boat having been found, bottom uppermost, near the Braunton lighthouse.  The corpse was taken charge of by the police, and lodged in the dead-house at Northam, where an Inquest was held upon it on Monday the 15th, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Wm. Davis was foreman.  The facts of the finding having been deposed to by the master and mate of the 'Ada', the son of the deceased, THOMAS LIGHT, who is also a fisherman, of Barnstaple, identified the body as that of his father, JOHN LIGHT, aged 63, who, on Sunday forenoon, the 19th November last, at half-past 10 or 11 o'clock, left his home saying that he was going to his boat, which was lying abreast of Bassett's Ridge, of Heanton Court.  The morning being very stormy, witness endeavoured to dissuade him from going, but in vain.  When he left her said he should be back about two o'clock.  Finding deceased did not return, witness and his brother, HENRY, went in search of him in the afternoon.  They found the boat was not off Heanton Court, and they went down the river to trace it.  At the higher side of Strand Houses they found one of the seats of the boat washed in, and one of the paddles washed on shore near it.  The boat was afterwards picked up lower down the river.  Had no doubt whatever the body was that of his father.  Knew his hat, which was a "sou-wester," and was fastened to his chin by some elastic, as well as the great coat and trousers he had on.  The witness's brother HENRY confirmed his evidence and concurred in his identification of the body.  - The Jury unhesitatingly returned a verdict of "Found Drowned in the river Taw."  The life of deceased was insured in the Bratton Club, and a reward of £10 had been offered for the discovery of the body by the person interested in the insurance.

Thursday 25 February 1875

TAVISTOCK - Death By Drink. - On Friday an Inquest was held at Drakewalls, Gunnislake, before Dr Thompson, Deputy Coroner, touching the death of ELLIS NORMINGTON, grocer, aged 52.  From the evidence of the wife and daughter it appeared that on Wednesday, the 10th, deceased came home from Albaston at 10.30 p.m., rather intoxicated,  and on going up to bed he fell backward over the stairs and pitched on his head.  He lingered until Wednesday, when he expired.  He was attended by Drs. Adams and Wood, who gave it as their opinion that he died from concussion of the brain.  Verdict "Accidental Death."

CREDITON - Shocking Accident On The Line.  A Father Greatly Injured And Son Killed. - Another melancholy and fatal accident on the North Devon Line took place on Tuesday morning between Crediton and Newton St. Cyres Stations, about a mile from the latter on the Crediton side.  Two labourers (father and son) named VANSTONE, residing near the Star Inn, in Crediton, and in the employ of Mr W. B. Berry, builder, of that town, were proceeding to their work at Winscott Farm, Newton St. Cyres, and by way of making the journey shorter they got on the line near Dunscombe, when the 6.20 a.m. passenger train from Crediton caught them a few feet beyond a bridge.  The son, who was about 18, is supposed to have been walking between the metals, and was killed on the spot, the body torn to pieces, fragments being carried some distance.  The father, who has seven children and a wife to provide for, had both his legs broken, ribs fractured and head severely injured.  He is lying in a very precarious condition at the Railway Inn, Newton St. Cyres, and it is feared cannot live long.  Later accounts state that the poor father also died soon afterwards.  At the Inquest held upon the bodies on Wednesday (yesterday), a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, the Jury saying that no blame attached to anyone but the unfortunate deceased themselves.

BIDEFORD - Strange Death Of A Farmer. - The death of a farmer occurred under singular circumstances on Tuesday evening last.  It appears that MR EDWARD GRIGG, farmer, of Court Barton Farm, in the parish of Yarnscombe, proceeded to Bideford market on the day named.  He was seen passing through the gate, on the Torrington-road, returning home, about nine o'clock in the evening, and on the following morning a farm labourer, proceeding to his work through Lake Park Field, found MR GRIGG lying on the ground dead.  The horse which the deceased had been riding he found grazing a short distance away.  Dr Jones, surgeon, of Torrington, was sent for, and after examining MR GRIGG stated that the unfortunate gentleman had been dead some hours.  An Inquest will, of course, be held.

Thursday 4 March 1875

YARNSCOMBE - Sad Death Of A Farmer. - We mentioned in our last the fact of the sudden death of MR EDWARD GRIGG, of Court Barton, in this parish, on his way home from Bideford market on Tuesday in last week.  An Inquest was held on Thursday last, at Court Barton, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner for the County, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Thomas Oatway was foreman, when the following evidence was adduced.  The first witness was Samuel Patt, of Yarnscombe, labourer, who deposed that on the morning before (Wednesday), about a quarter past seven, as he was proceeding to his work across Lake Park, which was a field on the farm of deceased, he saw a man lying on the ground upon his face and hands.  He took him by the right hand, which was curled up by his side, and considered that he was dead.  On looking more closely at the body he saw that it was that of the deceased, MR EDWARD GRIGG, of Court Barton.  There was a little blood under his mouth.  He left the body, and then went directly to the farm house and gave information, and afterwards went to apprise the policeman.  Miss Fanny Kelly, who lived at the farm-house, gave evidence that on learning from the last witness what he had seen, she hastened away to where the body was lying.  MR REUBEN GRIGG, son of deceased, also went, but on horseback, thinking to reach the spot sooner, but owing to his pony shying witness arrived first, and saw that it was the body of MR EDWARD GRIGG, which she then took by the shoulders and lifted a little but dropped it again.  When MR REUBEN came he turned the body over upon the back, and threw a little whiskey he had brought with him into the mouth, but it all flowed out again.  Witness remained at the spot until the policeman came.  The deceased was about 56 years of age.  John Stevens deposed that he belonged to the Devon Constabulary, and was stationed at Yarnscombe.  Having heard from the last witness at a few minutes past eight o'clock on Wednesday that the body of deceased had been found in Lake Park, he went thither and found the body dead and cold.  Five men came with a hurdle, upon which the body was laid, and he accompanied them and it to the farm house.  When the body had been deposited there, he searched the pockets in the presence of the last witness.  In the left hand jacket pocket he found the pocket book of deceased with his cheque book in it.  In the left hand trousers pocket there was a shilling, and in the right hand waistcoat pocket a clasped knife.  Miss Kelly, being recalled, further said that she found in the drawer of the deceased in his bedroom his purse, but there was nothing in it.  When he took his cheque book with him to market, he was not in the habit of taking much money with him; and she therefore did not think it strange that so little money was found upon his person.  The field in which the body was found was in the shortest road from Court Barton farm to Bideford or Torrington, and the deceased was often in the habit of going that way, as the public road was in a bad state of repair, and at that time was covered with ice.  Mr Thomas Pearce deposed that he was a farmer and resided at Yarnscombe.  Yesterday morning, at the request of MR REUBEN GRIGG, he went to Bideford to request some friends of deceased to come out. On going through the turnpike gate at Alverdiscott he enquired of the woman who kept it whether she heard any one go through the gate the night before, and she said she did, and that the rider halted just before he came up to the gate.  She and her husband had gone to bed.  She considered that it was MR GRIGG (the deceased), and that he halted in order to pay the toll, as he had not paid it in the morning; but, believing that it was MR GRIGG, and knowing that they should get the toll when they next saw him, they did not get up to receive it.  When witness got to the gate coming out of Bideford, he enquired of them, and was told by Mary Mock, the gate-keeper, that she saw the deceased on his passing through the gate the night before, and that he said as he passed "Good night!" and appeared perfectly sober.  Deceased asked him what time it was, and she replied that she did not think the nine o'clock train had gone up.  - Dr Chas. Richard Jones, of Torrington, deposed that he knew the deceased well, who was a patient of his.  He was sent for yesterday morning to come to Court Barton, and on his arrival was shown the body of the deceased, which was in bed, but not undressed.  On examining the body he found an extensive bruise in the face, and the nose was considerably flattened.  There was also a slight cut in the upper lip, the mouth was drawn on one side, and the backs of the hands were also severely bruised.  He had attended the deceased in a serious illness last year.  He was then suffering from diabetes, with fatty degeneration of the heart, attended with fluttering and palpitation.  His health had improved since that time, but he had been informed that he complained again of his heart last week, and also of his head, and that he looked very pale.  Witness attributed the death of deceased to a cessation of the heart's action.  His belief was that the deceased was walking his horse at the time, and that he had a fit, and was thrown forward on his face and lay insensible, and finally came to his death from long exposure to the excessive cold of the night.  This being all the evidence, the Jury found a verdict that deceased had come to his death from disease of the heart and from exposure to the cold.  Deceased was a respectable man, and was very well known in the markets of both Barnstaple and Bideford.  He had long occupied Court Barton, but was about to quite the farm at the coming Lady-day. He was a widower, but, it is said, was about to be married to a lady in the South of Devon.  He had been at Bideford market, as usual, and was on his way home when the fatal attack came upon him.  The state of the body forbad the belief, which was at first entertained, that death resulted from deceased having been accidentally thrown from his horse.  The horse was found grazing not far from him.  The family of deceased were not concerned at his not arriving home at night, because he had said on leaving in the morning that he might not return home until the next day.

Thursday 11 March 1875

TAVISTOCK - Death From The Cut Of A Thumb. - Mr R. R. Rodd, County Coroner, held an Inquest on Saturday evening, at Ganton Farm, Tavistock, concerning the death of a little boy, named STANLEY PEARSE NORSWELL, aged five years.  The deceased accidentally cut his thumb with a knife in February last, and as alarming symptoms set in, Mr G. W. Northey, surgeon, was sent for on Wednesday night.  Tetanus followed, and on Friday morning the child died.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

LYNTON - Death Of An Infant. - An Inquest was held on Saturday last, at the house of WM. CRICK, of this parish, labourer, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner for the County, on the body of the unbaptised male child of the said WM. CRICK and SARAH ANN his wife, which had been found dead in bed by the side of his parents on the morning of Wednesday the 3rd.  From the evidence of several witnesses it appeared that the child was a month old:  he was not strong from his birth, but was as well as usual except for a little cold on Tuesday night, when the father and mother went to bed.  After getting into bed the mother gave the child suck, and then turned round and fell asleep, leaving the infant apparently well and comfortable.  Nothing was heard of him during the night except once by the father, who heard him making a slight noise, but as it was but slight and not repeated he took no notice and went to sleep again.  At about half-past six, on the mother's awaking and calling to her husband that it was time to get up, she felt that the child was cold, and on taking him into her arms found that he was dead.  She told her husband, who exclaimed "Never! never!" but on looking at the child and seeing that it was even so, he ran to call two neighbours, Mrs Berry and Mrs Rock, and also to his mother at Barbrook Mill, and to the surgeon, Mr Hartley.  All of the4se came and found the mother in great trouble.  The surgeon examined the body, but found no marks of violence upon it, neither was there any circumstance to induce suspicion of any kind; and his opinion was that death had arisen from suffocation under the bed clothes.  The night was a very severe one.  The mother explained that the child had not been baptised, because they lived at some distance from the church, and the weather had been inclement and the child delicate.  The Jury (of which Mr William Rendle was foreman) returned a verdict that death had arisen from Accidental Suffocation.

Thursday 18 March 1875

BEAWORTHY - Mr Fulford, County Coroner, held an Inquest at Beaworthy on Wednesday, concerning the death of MR J. WESTLAKE, miller, of that place.  On Monday last deceased was cleaning the machinery of his mill, and in leaning across a wheel it was put in motion, and deceased was accidentally entangled in the machinery and crushed to death.  The Coroner strongly urged the necessity of taking such precautions as would prevent the recurrence of such a frightful accident.

BIDEFORD - Fatal Accident. - On Friday last, WILLIAM SHORTRIDGE, a young man in the employment of Mr William Pridham, coach proprietor, of Bideford and Barnstaple, was driving an empty wagon drawn by two horses from Bradworthy to Bideford.  In company with him was another man named Frederick Friendship, who was driving a single horse and wagon.  Deceased's wagon was in front.  They proceeded so far as New Haven, in Parkham parish, all well, and deceased then left his horses for a few minutes to obtain a light from Friendship to light his pipe, when he observed that he should drive on a little faster.  It was then getting about 10 o'clock in the night.  So soon as he got into his wagon again, Friendship heard deceased whip up his horses, and they started off at a brisk trot, and he saw no more of them.  This was about six miles from Bideford.  When he arrived at the Bideford Turnpike Gate, about 11 o'clock, he found the man at the toll bar had stopped the horses, as there was no driver.  Friendship at once brought Mr Oatway, Mr Pridham's manager, acquainted with it, and he, in company with George Geen, at once went in search of the deceased, but were unable to meet with him.  In the meantime, however, Mr Robert Withycombe, of Buckland Brewer, was passing the Lower Tucking Mill on horseback, which is about a mile from where deceased lit his pipe, when he saw a man lying down in the road by the side of the hedge; and on his arriving in Buckland Brewer he at once brought P.C. Arnold acquainted with the matter, and they immediately proceeded to the place, though Arnold was ill in bed at the time he was called, and they found the deceased lying on his face to the ground quite dead.  With the assistance of P.C. Bastard they removed him into the nearest house.  That accounts for Mr Oatway and Geen seeing nothing of deceased when they passed the spot, and it was some hours before it was discovered by the police who the poor fellow was.  The impression on the policeman's mind, from his dress, and having a railway door key in his pocket, was that he was a packer on the line, and had been to visit his friends in the country.  P.C. Bastard arrived in Bideford on Saturday morning about nine o'clock, and discovered who the poor fellow was, and by the first train following proceeded to Barnstaple to see the Coroner.  As deceased's cap was picked up several yards away from where he was lying, it is presumed that his cap must have fallen off, and in attempting to alight from the wagon whilst the horses were in motion he must have tripped and fallen on his head, and dislocated his neck, for he was lying in so near to the hedge away from the wheel tracks that it was impossible he could have received any injury from the wheels.  -  An Inquest was held on the body at Parkham, on Tuesday, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, when the facts above recorded were deposed to.  Mr Robert Withycombe, of Buckland Brewer, butcher, was the first witness, who was returning home from Yeo Vale at 10 o'clock on Friday night, and when he got to South Yeo his pony shied at something in the road, and he looked and saw a man lying on his face on some stones.  Witness did not dismount, but hastened to the policeman, and returned with him to the spot, where they found the deceased quite dead. Blood was issuing from his nose, and there was blood upon the stones where he had lain.  Went to the cottage of Daniel Lyle, and obtained permission to take the body there, and there they accordingly removed it.  - Fredk. Friendship was the next witness, and deposed that he and deceased had been to Bradworthy with two loads of plants, deceased driving a wagon and two horses, and witness a wagon and one horse.  They left at half-past six to return to Bideford, the wagons being then empty.  When they came to Kasemildas Bridge they both felt cold and got off and walked by the side of their wagons as far as New Haven, when deceased said he was warmer, and should get up and drive on a little faster, and having got a pipe of tobacco and a light from witness, he got up into his cart and drove away at a brisk trot.  Witness did not attempt to keep pace with him, but heard the waggon rattling on for some distance, and then lost all sound of it.  Was surprised at finding the waggon and horses at the  turnpike gate close to Bideford, and gave information to Mr Pridham's manager, who went immediately in quest of deceased, but without finding him or getting tidings of him that night.  - Mr Ezekiel Rouse, surgeon, of Bideford, deposed to his having gone on Sunday morning to view the body of deceased at Halsbury Mills, in the parish of Parkham. There were no marks of violence on it, but over the right eye there was a clean cut about an inch and half long, a bruise on the left side of the nose, and the posterior parts of the neck and trunk were discoloured from echymosis.  His opinion was that the neck was broken, and that it arose from deceased falling from the wagon in attempting to jump off.  - P.C. Bastard deposed to searching the pockets and finding in them two pencils, a knife, two pipes, two keys, and tobacco pouch.  Examining with his lamp near the spot, he picked up a threepenny piece.  This was all the evidence, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death from falling or being jerked from a wagon which he was driving."

ROMANSLEIGH - Coroner's Inquest, and Verdict Of Manslaughter.  - We reported in our last the fact of an unnatural mother buying her infant child alive, and of its being rescued after having lain four hours under the ashes in an ash-pit.  The little creature survived the cruel neglect and exposure only a few days, death having released it on Friday last.  An Inquest, of course, was called for by the circumstances, and was held at the farm-house of the woman's master, Mr William Webber, of Romansleigh Barton, on Monday last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner for Devon, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr William Adams was foreman.  The Jury having viewed the body, the following evidence was taken.  - Mrs Anne Webber deposed that she was the wife of Mr William Webber, occupier of Romansleigh Barton.  Knew GRACE ELLIOTT, who was a single woman, about 40 years of age, and had been living with witness as a servant for 20 years.  About three months since witness suspected her of being in the family way, and charged her with it, but she firmly denied it.  Witness charged her again several times subsequently, but she always denied it. On the morning of Monday last, the 8th instant, the woman was called, as usual, and came downstairs about 20 minutes past six, and went about her duties - lighted the fire, tended the pigs, and then went milking.  She came in from milking between seven and eight o'clock.  Witness was in the kitchen, and as ELLIOTT passed she noticed marks of blood upon her boots.  She then followed her into the dairy, and observing spots of blood about the floor, she said, "GRACE, are you unwell?"  to which she answered, "Yes".  Witness said, "Is it much?" and she replied, "Not much."  Witness bade her go upstairs, and said she must see what was the matter.  Having examined her, witness gave her some clean linen and ordered her to go to bed, which she refused to do, saying that she was not ill.  Witness then went downstairs and to the closet, where she saw marks of blood.  Asked GRACE ELLIOTT if she had been to the closet that morning, and she said she had not.  Witness then sent for a nurse, Mary Crang, and took her upstairs and shewed her the soiled linen.  By the nurse's persuasion the woman was got to bed.  The nurse then went home, and witness went about the work of the house.  Witness went, as usual, to feed the poultry and to see to the pigs, and on passing the ash-house observed that the door was a little open.  Went to shut it, but found she could not, as some of the ashes had fallen out.  On looking further into the ashes she observed a movement, and on touching the ashes she heard a little moan.  Being much frightened, she screamed out, and on turning up the ashes a little saw a child lying upon its face and hands.  This was about half-past ten in the forenoon. She ran into the house and sent again for Mary Crang, the nurse, and when she came told her there was a baby alive in the ashes, and took her to the spot.  She took up the child and brought it into the house and put it in a tub of warm water.  Witness ran into the yard, and sent one of her sons for the doctor.  Returned to the house and looked to the child, and then went upstairs and said to GRACE ELLIOTT, "Oh GRACE, how could you deceive me in this way?  I have found a child in the ashes."  She replied, "I did not like to tell."  Asked her where she was confined and she said it was by the bedside when she was dressing.  Witness said, "That is impossible, as there is no spot on the floor;" but she persisted that it was so.  Witness then asked how she took the child downstairs, and she said she carried it down in her arms.  Witness went down and waited for the doctor, Mr Sanders, and on his arrival told him what had happened.  The child was baptised on Wednesday, and called CHARLES.  When she found the child it was entirely covered over with the ashes, the mouth and eyes being filled with them.  - Mary Crang was the next witness, and deposed that she was the wife of John Crang, a small farmer, of Romansleigh, and had been accustomed to act as a nurse for a great many years.  Being sent for on Monday last by the last witness, and having seen what she shewed her upstairs, she went downstairs and saw GRACE ELLIOTT sweeping the kitchen.  Asked her what was the matter, and she said, "Nothing."  Witness said, "You had better go to bed."  She replied, "What do you want me to go to bed for?  There is nothing the matter."  Witness said, "You are bad, and had better go to bed, or you may pay your life for it."  She went away to bed, and witness returned home. She did not then think the woman had been confined.  She had hardly been back a quarter of an hour before Mrs Webber sent for her again, and on her arrival said, "Quick, Mrs Crang.  There is a baby in the ash-house."  Witness took it up in her hands and said, "There is life in it."  Carried it into the house, and put it in a tub of warm water.  It was as weak as it could be when witness took it from the ash-house.  Could only just see that there was life in it.  Did all that was necessary, and tried to keep the child alive.  Had been in attendance upon it at Mrs Webber's since Monday last, and had given it all proper nourishment.  The child wanted for nothing, and was also suckled by the mother.  It did not thrive, however, but got weaker and weaker.  About half-past twelve o'clock on Friday, the child was perceptibly worse, and witness sent for the doctor about two o'clock, but about half-past three the child died.  Mr Thomas Sanders deposed that he was a surgeon, and resided at Southmolton.  On the 8th March, between eleven and twelve o'clock in the forenoon, he was sent for to go to Romansleigh Barton to attend GRACE ELLIOTT and her child.  Went immediately, and arrived between twelve and one o'clock.  Was shewn the child, which he found to be in a very weak state, but somewhat recovered from the means which had been used by the nurse before his arrival.  All that was necessary to be done for the child by the nurse had been done, with the exception of clothing, of which none had been provided.  Witness wrote an order to the Southmolton Union-house for some baby linen, and then went upstairs to see GRACE ELLIOTT, the mother.  Requested her to allow him to examine her, which she readily did, and he found that she had been confined within a few hours.  Asked her where the birth had taken place, and she said, "By the bedside."  Witness told her he knew that was untrue, and she then confessed to having been confined in the closet.  On Friday last witness heard the child was dead; and the next day, by direction of the Coroner, made a post mortem examination of the body.  There were no external marks of violence.  The viscera was all in a healthy condition. The lungs floated readily after removal.  There was no obstruction of the trachea or oesophagus.  The intestines were quite empty, and the stomach nearly so, but a small quantity of coagulated milk exuded from the stomach on an incision being made.  Witness considered that the probable cause of death was exhaustion and debility, which was probably accelerated by exposure in the ash-house.  This being all the evidence, the Coroner, in summing up, told the Jury there could be no doubt the child was placed where it was found by the mother, GRACE ELLIOTT.  He thought they should dismiss the thought of a verdict of Wilful Murder, but, after the strong evidence given by the medical man, he thought there was sufficient ground for them to return a verdict of manslaughter.  However painful, they owed a duty to themselves and the country to return a just and proper verdict.  - The room was then cleared, and on its being re-opened after  a short interval the foreman announced that the Jury had unanimously agreed on a verdict of Manslaughter against GRACE ELLIOTT.  A warrant was then issued by the Coroner for the apprehension of the prisoner, who was thereupon taken in charge by the police. She remains, however, at the farm-house for the present, but will be brought before the magistrates so soon as she is well enough to be removed.  She is a woman of diminutive stature, and of very unpleasing countenance; and it is believed that this is not the first time of her being "in trouble".  Strong indignation is felt against her in the parish for her unnatural conduct.

Thursday 25 March 1875

BICKINGTON - Coroner's Inquest. - An Inquest was held on Thursday last, before John Hy. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr W. H. Pedler was foreman, on view of the body of JOSEPH PARKIN, aged 19, whose death was the result of an accident we reported in our last week's paper.  The evidence of Rd. Balch and Wm. Hooper, shipwrights in the yard of Messrs. Westacott and Sons, of Barnstaple, shipbuilders, shewed that on Monday the 8th inst., about four o'clock in the afternoon, the deceased with the witnesses and other men in the yard were engaged in carrying a plank on their shoulders from the steaming apparatus to the ship's side, when the foot of the deceased, who was hindmost, slipped in stepping off a piece of timber they had to pass over, and the plank they were carrying came down with a sudden jerk on his left shoulder.  He recovered himself without falling, but immediately afterwards complained that he had received hurt in his left side.  He sat down, and became faint and sick, and brought up blood.  He remained until six o'clock, but did not attempt to work again, and then went home.  Mr  J. W. Cooke, surgeon, deposed to his having been called in to see deceased as he was passing through Bickington on the Wednesday after, and that he found him in a high state of fever, and expectorating a little blood.  He continued to attend him until his death, which happened on the 15th, and which he attributed to the rupture of a vessel in the left lung through the violence of the strain he received when his foot slipped as aforesaid.  A verdict to that effect was returned unhesitatingly.

Thursday 1 April 1875

BARNSTAPLE - Death From Delirium Tremens. - Mr R. I. Bencraft held an Inquest at the North Devon Infirmary on Monday morning on the body of CHARLES BUSHELL, a carpenter, who died in that institution on Saturday morning.  Mr Charles Wallace Drew, the house surgeon, stated that the deceased came to the Infirmary on Tuesday, and complained of a pain in his right fore-arm.  The arm was swollen, but there was no bruise visible.  He told deceased it would probably be all right again in a few days.  Applied a wet bandage to the arm, and told him to come again in three or four days.  He came again to the Infirmary on Thursday afternoon.  His arm was then a great deal swollen, and two or three bladders had formed upon it; in fact, erysipelas had set in.  He admitted him into the house.  The deceased admitted to him that he had been drinking very hard.  The deceased sat by the fire until about six o'clock, when he went to bed.  He began to get delirious about nine o'clock, and remained in that state all night, struggling to get out of bed.  Towards morning he slept for an hour.  During Friday he was slightly delirious, and remained so during the following night.  On Saturday morning he was in a state of coma, and died about nine o'clock.  Mr Harper saw the deceased on Friday morning.  The deceased appeared as if he had been drinking a great deal lately.  He did from delirium tremens, hastened by the injury received to his arm.  Deceased was 28 years of age.  He made no statement to him (Mr Drew) as to how he received the injury in his arm.  Henry Champion and William Ingerson saw deceased at Broadbent's lodging-house, Green-lane, on Monday and Tuesday.  He complained then of great pain in his arm, and said he had been working for Mr Brady, at Wrafton, and that a piece of timber had fallen on his arm.  The Coroner stated that inquiries had been made, and it was found that the deceased had not been employed by Mr Brady.  The Jury, of whom Mr Cummings was foreman, returned as their verdict "That the deceased died from delirium tremens, which was accelerated by the injury to his arm."

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death Of A Young Woman. - A remarkable instance of quite sudden death occurred in this town on Sunday evening last to a respectable young woman, named JANE HICKS, aged about 30, a native of Cornwall, who was a domestic servant in the family of Mr Nicklin, music-seller, in the Square, where she was much esteemed as a well-conducted and worthy person.  She was in her usual health all day on Sunday, and in the evening, shortly after six o'clock, she left her master's house to call a young woman of her acquaintance, who was a servant at Mr Edward Dennis's, at Quay-place, to go with her to the Wesleyan Chapel.  Her friend went upstairs to get ready, and in her absence the deceased was talking to another young woman in the kitchen, when she complained of sudden illness, and her friend, who was hastily called downstairs, came just in time to prevent her falling by helping her to a chair, when she seemed to swoon away.  Mrs Dennis was not at home, and Mr Dennis was just going to church, when he was told by his servant that something was the matter with deceased, and he bade her loosen her dress, and bathe her face in cold water, and having left her a little brandy to give her he went away to church, not supposing that it was anything more than a fainting fit.  As deceased did not at all rally, the young women who were with her were much alarmed and sent over to Mr Nicklin's, and Miss Nicklin, who happened to be home, came immediately, and seeing that deceased was very ill, if not already dead, she hastened to Mr Cooke, surgeon, and then to Dr Budd's, but neither of those gentlemen was at home.  After some time Mr Gamble came and pronounced that life was extinct.  She had not spoken or given any signs of life after she was placed in the chair, and the probability is that death took place immediately.  The shock in her master's family, when intelligence arrived that deceased, who had left the house in perfect health but a half-hour or so before, was a corpse was very great.  An Inquest was held on the body the next morning (Monday) at 10 o'clock, at the Admiral Vernon Inn, in Maiden-street, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Coroner for the Borough, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Wm. Cummings was foreman, when - after the Jury had viewed the body - the following evidence was taken.

Mr Oliver Nicklin deposed that deceased had lived in his house as a domestic servant for somewhere about twelve months.  She did her work yesterday as usual.  She appeared to be in very good health and quite cheerful.  Witness saw her last alive about quarter past six o'clock, when she left the house to go to her place of worship, as he supposed.  Between half an hour and an hour after she had left, witness was sent for to go to Mr Dennis's, at Quay-place, and there he saw the deceased placed in a chair in the kitchen, and appearing to him to be quite dead.  She had been under no medical treatment to his knowledge during the time she had lived in his service.  All the ailments she had ever had that he knew of where a bad thumb, which she had when she came to him at first, and a swelled face from tooth-ache.  She was about 30 years of age.  She had lived with Mr Copp, of Horwood, before living with witness.  Her friends lived in Cornwall, but she had not lived at home for the last ten years.

Emily Berry:  I am staying at present at Mr Edward Dennis's, on the Quay.  At about quarter past six last evening the deceased came to Mr Dennis's house to call the servant there (Mary Gill) to go to chapel.  She went into the kitchen, and was there talking with me for about a quarter of an hour.  She did not complain.  She stood all the time waiting for Mary Gill who was getting ready.  She suddenly complained of a great pain in her left side.  I observed that she was going very pale, and I called upstairs to Mary to come down. She came immediately, and asked deceased how she was, but she could not speak to her, and then she assisted her to a chair.  She appeared to me to go off in a faint.  We got some cold water and bathed her face, and also got her some brandy and water, but she could not swallow it.  She seemed to die right away after she was placed in the chair. She did not scream or call out in any way.  Mr Gamble came some time afterwards, and examined the deceased.  In answer to a Juror, the witness said they called Mr Dennis, who thought she was faint, and gave them some brandy for her, and he then left to go to church.

Mary Gill:  I am a servant at Mr Edward Dennis's, Quay Place, Barnstaple.  I have known the deceased about nine months while she has been in the service of Mr Nicklin.  I found her in the kitchen at Mr Dennis's when I came down stairs last evening, at half-past six.  I had been called down by the last witness.  Deceased was standing in the window, but could not speak to me.  I saw there was something amiss with her, for she did not answer me.  I saw she was looking ill.  She would have fallen if I had not assisted her into the chair.  She was going to fall on to the ground, but I called the last witness, and we kept her up.  She died immediately without a struggle.  Her health has been very good since I have known her.  I never heard her complain but once, and that was some months ago.  My acquaintance with her was merely from meeting her on an evening to go to chapel together.  We were going to the Wesleyan Chapel last evening.  I do not know her age, nor do I know the young man to whom she was engaged, but I understood from her that she was engaged.  I gave her water to drink, and brandy and water, but she could not swallow it.  She made no answer in any way at all, but I heard her grate her teeth once.

Mr Charles Henry Gamble, surgeon:  I was called to the house of Mr Dennis last evening between seven and eight o'clock.  I do not know exactly the time.  I found the deceased in a sitting posture in a chair by the window in the kitchen.  She was dead, and appeared to have been dead from half an hour to an hour.  There was nothing particular in the countenance, only its pallor.  I had her undressed an hour or two afterwards, and examined her body.  She was well formed, well nourished, and her body was in good condition.  I could find nothing to indicate the cause of death.  I can only judge from what I heard, and from my own obser4vation, that her death was caused by syncope, or fainting fit.  There is no evidence of disease of the heart, but I have heard that since her death she would very soon get out of breath in running, and that after any severe exertion she would not be able to speak for a time.  She might have had a fatty or diseased heart.  It is possible she had taken a hearty tea, from which her stomach had become distended, and caused pressure on the heart.  If she had been laid on the floor at once, and her clothes loosened, it is possible the fatal event might have been averted.  He mentioned that as the treatment desirable to be pursued in all such cases.  There was no sign of apoplexy whatever. His belief was that death ensued from stoppage of the action of the heart.  A post mortem examination would, of course, reveal the actual cause of death, but from all he had seen and heard of the case he felt no hesitation in saying that death arose from natural causes.

This being all the evidence, the Coroner put it to the Jury whether they would desire to adjourn in order to have a post mortem examination.  It did not appear to him that there was any circumstance in the case which pointed to the necessity of such a course.  The Jury agreed that a post mortem was not called for, and instantly returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  The young man to whom deceased was to have been married was in an adjoining room during the Inquest, having been sent to on the occurrence of the fatal event, which, as may be supposed, was a cause of great distress to him.

Thursday 8 April 1875

EXMOOR - Fatal Accident. - On Saturday last, a fatal accident happened to a little boy, a relative of the wife of Mr Wm. Rudd, of Horsdon farm, on the forest of Exmoor.  The little fellow, who belonged to Instow, had gone out to Exmoor for a fortnight's holiday; and on Saturday last he accompanied one of Mr Rudd's men in a cart to an off-farm at some miles distance from Horsdon.  They were benighted before they could return, and a heavy fog set in, and in the darkness the man must have driven off the road and upset the cart, which turned over on the deceased, and killed him on the spot!  The man was not seriously hurt, and was able to remove the poor boy to the nearest farm house, which is in the parish of Withypool, where it was found that he was dead, and where the body awaits an Inquest by the Coroner for Somersetshire.  The unfortunate boy's name was DOBB, and his parents live at Yelland, near Instow.

Thursday 15 April 1875

ILFRACOMBE - Sudden Death. - A mournful instance of the uncertainty of human life occurred on Tuesday.  In the lower portion of the town an old man named BARWICK lived by himself in a small cottage at the foot of Compass Hill, and until recently obtained his livelihood by selling blacking, matches, &c.  On Tuesday morning, as no one had seen him leave his house, some neighbours, thinking he was unwell, went to the door and found it locked.  As no reply could be heard from inside to inquiries, the door was forced open, when the unfortunate man was found to be lying dead in his bed.  The deceased, who was about 54 years of age, was left a sum of money by his relatives some time since, and it is said that lately he has indulged in drinking habits.  After a medical man had been called, the corpse was given into the charge of the police to await the Inquest.  The event has caused great excitement in the neighbourhood of the Quay, as BARWICK was well known.

WITHYPOOL  -  Fatal Accident To A Little Boy. - We mentioned in our last that a little boy, ten years old, called GEORGE DOBB, son of parents living at Yelland, near Instow, who was on a visit to his uncle, Mr Wm. Rudd, of Horsden Farm, Exmoor, and who had accompanied one of Mr Rudd's men to a farm at Kingsbrompton; to which he is about to remove, was killed by the upsetting of the cart as they were returning in the evening.  The body was removed to Lanacre farm, where an Inquest was held on it on Friday last, before W. W. Munckton, Esq., County Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of whom Mr J. Anstey, postmaster, of Exford, was foreman, when the following evidence was given:-  Thomas Chapel said he was a farm labourer, and lived at Wintershead cot, in the parish of Exmoor.  On Saturday last he went to Kingsbrompton from Exmoor with cattle, and deceased accompanied him with a horse and trap.  While they were returning over Withypool common deceased was riding and witness was walking.  As they were going along he saw a place in the common which he thought was a wheel rut.  It was very dark at the time, and he had the horse by the head, when it suddenly made a spring, and he was knocked down, and the trap upset, deceased falling under it with some mangold wurtzel.  He was obliged to relieve the horse before he could get out the boy.  He was quite dead when he got him out.  He discovered then that it was a gulf or hole instead of a wheel rut, and that he had gone out of his way.  Elizabeth Rolls, who laid out the body, said there were no marks of violence, except a bruise on the chest, and the left collar bone appeared to be broken.  - Mary Milton, living with her father at Lanacre, said Thomas Chapel came there on Saturday evening last, between 8 and 9 o'clock, and said he had been upset on the common, and wanted some one to help him, as the boy who was with him was dead.  Her cousins went with him, and in the course of an hour and half the body was brought there.  - By a Juror:  Chapel was quite sober.  - William Greenslade, of Exford, said he and his brother went to the common with Thomas Chapel, and found the cart in the position he had stated, and deceased lying on the ground near it.  He had got out of the proper wheel track and into a deep gulf.  Chapel was perfectly sober.  - The Coroner, in summing up the evidence, said it appeared to be purely an accident, and he thought that the parishes ought to protect such dangerous places.  He gave instructions to Mr Richards, of Wintershead, one of the Jurymen and waywarden of Exmoor, to bring the case before the Highway Board. - The Jury, after a short consultation, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

NEWTON ABBOT - A very sudden death occurred near this town on Saturday, under somewhat peculiar circumstances.  Two respectable women, of Pimlico, Torquay - Mrs Howe and MRS SKINNER - agreed with a cabman called James Inch, of that town, for him to drive them to Ipplepen for 7s., where Mrs Howe had some friends.  He took them as far as Budleigh Barton, about a mile and half from the end of the journey, and then told them he should not proceed any further, giving as a reason that he wanted to return to Torquay, in order to work another job.  They thereupon offered him 2s. extra to drive them to their destination, but he refused to so, and insisted on their getting out of the cab, which they did.  Within a very short time afterwards MRS SKINNER died in the road, and her body was conveyed in a passing cart to Ipplepen.  The deceased, who was over middle age, had suffered from heart disease, and was the principal witness against the woman Ireland convicted at the last assizes for the burning of a child's body at Torquay. An Inquest was held on Monday last, when the foregoing facts were proved.  Mr Manley, surgeon, of Ipplepen, had made a post mortem examination of the body, and gave evidence that death was produced by congestion of the brain, caused by a spasm of the heart brought on by excitement.  The cabman (Inch) was called, and sworn after being duly cautioned, and gave evidence to the effect that he was only engaged to go to Budleigh Barton.  The Coroner briefly summed up, and the Jury, after half-an-hour's consultation, returned the following verdict:  "That the cause of death was spasmodic affection of the heart, produced by excitement, which was caused by the deceased being left in the road; and they also found that Inch, the cabman, contracted to take the party to Ipplepen, and failed to do so."  The Coroner said that the effect of this was a verdict of manslaughter against Inch, and ordered him to be taken into custody by Sergeant Nicholls, the Coroner afterwards committing Inch for trial at the next Assizes.

Thursday 22 April 1875

BERRYNARBOR - Fatal Gun Accident At Berrynarbor. - On Friday last WILLIAM HENRY RICHARDS, aged ten years, son of MR WM. RICAHRDS, f Newberry Farm, in the parish of Berrynarbor, was shot by the accidental explosion of a gun.  It appears that THOMAS RICHARDS, a lad 14 years of age, brother of the deceased, was sticking peas in his father's garden on that day, and that his brother FREDERICK was there assisting him.  Seeing some rooks in a field of corn hard by, he went into the house, and took from a rack a gun which had been hanging there loaded for some seven or eight months.  It was in a rusty uncared for condition, and had the appearance of being totally unfit for use.  With this gun he attempted three or four times to fire at the rooks, but being unable to make the gun go off, he rested it against a gatepost, and returned to his work.  The little brother WILLIAM passing through this gate, with a bundle of sticks under his arm, in some way knocked the gun over, and caused it to explode.  The contents lodged in his left side. This occurred about four p.m., and the little fellow died about eight o'clock in the evening.  It would seem that none of the older members of the family were in the house at the time of the accident, but the mother was fetched and arrived about ten minutes after the accident.  It is satisfactory to know before deceased expired he distinctly said to his mother and a neighbour who was attending him, that neither of his brothers had done it.  - An Inquest was held at the house on Monday, by the Deputy Coroner, J. H. Toller, Esq., when a verdict of Accidental Death was returned by the Jury.  Mr Lerwill, blacksmith, of Combmartin, was witness at the Inquest.  He was in his field at work, and saw the deceased and his two brothers in their father's field playing and laughing.  Presently he heard a gun go off, and saw the smoke and some pigeons arise, but took no particular notice and went on with his work.  Some time afterwards, THOS. RICHARDS, brother of the deceased, came from his father's house to where witness was, and on his passing him, witness asked "What was the matter just now when the gun went off?"  To which the brother said, "The gun went off and struck WILLY."  But as he did not appear to make much of it, and went away for his mother, who was a little distance off, witness supposed the gun might only have "kicked," and went on with his work; but soon afterwards, hearing a moan, he went over to MR RICHARDS'S, and there saw the deceased lying on the ground on his left side.  He went to the house; but finding no one there, took out a chair, and then carried deceased in his arms into the house.  He was bleeding very much, and witness feared he was dead. In about ten minutes the mother came.  The doctor had been previously sent for.  After carrying deceased to bed, witness left.  When the gun went off, the boys did not seem to be quarrelling, but at play.  Mrs Cutcliffe, who nursed the deceased, gave evidence that Mr Foquette, the surgeon, came from Ilfracombe, and said the injury would prove fatal.  In answer to witness's enquiries, deceased said neither of his brothers did it, and he did not know how it happened.  The other brother of deceased, ESCOTT RICHARDS, accounting for the gun being loaded, said that several months ago he placed it in the rack loaded, having before used it.  About two or three months ago he tried to draw the load, and got out some of the shot with difficulty, but was interrupted, and replaced the gun on the rack partly loaded.  There was nothing in the evidence to warrant the suspicion that the unfortunate occurrence was otherwise than purely accidently.

ILFRACOMBE - Sudden Death.  The Inquest. - The inquest on the body of RICHD. BARWICK, who was found dead in his bed, an account of which appeared in last week's 'Journal', was held at the Crown Inn, before J. H. Toller, Esq., on Thursday afternoon.  Mr T. Jones was chosen foreman of the Jury.  George Pile was first called, and deposed that he was a mason, residing at Ilfracombe.  Deceased was his particular friend, and 54 years of age.  On Monday evening he last saw him alone.  Deceased had appointed to meet witness at the Crown Inn, between eight and nine o'clock. He met him according to promise, but he appeared quite sober and only drank a pint in witness's sight.  Mr Berry, one of the Jury and landlord of the Crown Inn, here stated that he was quite sober when he came in.  The Coroner remarked that Mr Berry ought not to have been summoned on the Jury.  The witness Pile then stated further that he and the deceased left the Crown, about 9.30 p.m.  He was not prepared to swear that deceased was perfectly sober.  He went into deceased's house with him and lit the lamp.  He stayed in the house about half an hour.  In reply to the Coroner witness stated that he visited deceased every day. Next morning witness's little girl went to deceased's house to bring him a cup of tea and cook him a couple of eggs, but could not get in.  When he came home to dinner at noon he went to deceased's house and tried the door.  It was not locked.  He then entered and called deceased by name, but received no answer.  He went to the bedside, and found deceased was quite dead.  He then went and called Mr Berry, and also the police, and afterwards went for Dr Stoneham.  Mr Henry R. Foquette, surgeon, was then sworn, and stated that he knew deceased by sight, but had not heard till since his death that he drank.  He had viewed the body that day.  To all appearance he had died of apoplexy.  The body and limbs were much swollen.  He should not think what he had drunk the night of his decease was the cause of death; but if he had been living an intemperate life it was likely to produce disease of the liver, kidneys, and heart.  The whole thing might produce death by dropsy, through the fluids collecting in the cavities of the heart, and thus cause death.  The Coroner, in summing up, said he should advise the Jury, taking into consideration the evidence of Mr Foquette, to return a verdict to the effect that deceased died from natural causes, accelerated by intemperate habits. - Mr Jones thought they ought not to cast a stigma on the man by adding the words "intemperate habits."  Some of the Jury did not agree with this, but a verdict of "Died from Natural Causes" was ultimately brought in.

NORTHMOLTON - Fatal Accident To A Miner. - A fatal accident has befallen HUGH BLACKFORD, a foreman of a corps of men at the Bampfylde Mines, near Heasley Mill, in this parish.  It appears that at about ten o'clock on Friday night, as his corps were ascending one of the shafts to leave work, they met BLACKFORD with his lamp out on one of the levels.  One of the men lit his lamp, and begged him to follow them; but when they arrived at the mouth of the pit, finding he had not done so, proceeded homewards, thinking he might have ascended by another shaft, and so be in advance.  On arriving at Northmolton town they enquired at deceased's house for him, but heard that he had not arrived.  They at once returned to the mines, and, calling up the captain, descended with him down the shaft, in one of the flats of which they discovered the body of the poor fellow, literally smashed, the distance he must have fallen being 300 feet.  The captain had the body gathered together, and conveyed to the deceased'[s house, where on Saturday the Deputy Coroner, J. H. Toller, Esq., opened an Inquest thereon, but adjourned it for the attendance of the Inspector of Mines.  The deceased was about fifty years of age, and leaves a widow and five children totally unprovided for.  The adjourned Inquest is fixed for this day (Thursday).

Thursday 29 April 1875

COLYTON - A Woman Killed By Her Husband. - An Inquest was held at the Dolphin Hotel, on Thursday, on the body of MARY FOWLER, aged 64, wife of JOHN FOWLER, mason, who was killed by her husband during a quarrel.  It appears that the husband had returned home late from his garden, and his wife scolded him and called him names.  He had not been drinking, but he lost his temper, and took up a utensil and threw at her head.  She was severely cut about the temple, and bled profusely, but FOWLER left her and went to bed.  His little daughter by a previous marriage begged him, however, to get up, which he subsequently did, and attempted to stop the bleeding, but did not send for medical aid. Next day neighbours were called in by the woman, and a surgeon was sent for.  Her wound were attended to, and she seemed to get better, but subsequently became paralyzed through the injury to the brain.  Her depositions were taken (in which she said her husband struck her by accident), and she shortly afterwards died.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Manslaughter."

NORTHMOLTON - Fatal Accident To A Miner. - An adjourned Inquest was held on Thursday last, at the Poltimore Arms Inn, in this place, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on the body of HUGH BLACKFORD, who had come to his death the preceding Friday, (as reported in our last,) by falling from one of the levels of the Bampfylde mine.  The Inquest was adjourned from the preceding Saturday in order to give opportunity for Dr Clement Le Neve Foster, the Government Inspector, in pursuance of the Metalliferous Mines Regulation ct, 1872, to make an official inspection of the mine.  That he had done, and was present at the adjourned Inquest, and informed the Jury that in his opinion the place from which the deceased was supposed to have fallen was not at all dangerous.  The first witness was John Fisher, a miner's labourer, who deposed that he worked at the Bampfylde mine, and knew the deceased, whom he last saw alive between seven and eight o'clock on Friday evening, when he was at the 58 level, and told witness he was going to the 40 level.  Witness did not see that he had been drinking, and considered that he was perfectly sober.  - John Williams, also a miner's labourer, residing at Heasleigh, and working at the Bampfylde mine, last saw deceased alive at the 40 level at about eight o'clock on Friday evening, when he was in the dark, which was very unusual to him, and witness gave him a light.  When witness got to the top of the ladder he looked down and saw the light, but did not see deceased, but supposed he had gone eastward in the performance of his duties.  Had no idea how the accident happened.  - Mr Henry Thomas Haley, agent of the mine, deposed that he knew the deceased.  Witness was called out of bed about one o'clock on Saturday morning, and informed that deceased had not come for his clothes at the usual time, and that he was missing.  The first witness (Fisher) and a man named Short said they had been searching for him, but in vain.  Witness immediately dressed and went to the mine, into which he descended with five others.  They found his hat about 10 fathoms below the 40 level, and a little further they saw a portion of his brains and skull, and at the bottom *112 Fathoms) found his body quite dead and much mutilated.  Supposed he had fallen from above, about 72 fathoms, from the skip shaft.  He was not there in performance of his duty, and had no business whatever there.  Witness sent for Dr Spicer, and to inform the wife of deceased of what had occurred.  - John Short gave confirmatory evidence.  - Susannah Ridd, living at Northmolton, gave evidence that she knew the deceased, who was at her house on Friday afternoon, when he appeared sober and in good spirits.  He stayed above an hour, but had nothing at her house but a pipe of tobacco.  - Dr Spicer gave evidence that he knew deceased.  Was sent for on Saturday morning to see him, and found him quite dead, and that he had received excessive injuries only to be produced by great violence, such as a fall from a considerable height.  The left arm and shoulder and the right arm were broken.  Had attended him for diarrhoea and giddiness the Sunday preceding the accident, and had seen him two or three days after, when he said he was better.  It was possible he might have had another attack of giddiness, and lost his balance, and so fallen down the shaft.  This being all the evidence the Coroner summed up, and the Jury returned an open verdict that deceased came to his end by falling down a shaft in Bampfylde mine, but whether by accident or design there was no evidence to show, and that the spot was not a dangerous one.

Thursday 6 May 1875

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - We regret to record the quite sudden death, on Sunday last, near Plymouth, of a very worthy and much respected old gentleman, MR WM. SANDERS, formerly for many years in business in this town as a tailor in the Square, and resident here until about 12 months since, when, after the death of his wife, he removed to Plymouth to Live with his daughter and son-in-law, Mr John Pile.  He left Mr Pile's house, 5 Brunswick-terrace, Plymouth, on the morning of Sunday, being then very cheerful and in as good health as he had been for some time, and joined some friends to ride in a car a distance of about seven miles towards Venton Chapel, near Ridgway, where he was appointed to conduct Divine service as a local preacher of the Wesleyan Methodists - an office which he had filled very acceptably, and with the cordial esteem of all his brethren, for forty years or more.  After leaving the car he had to walk something more than a mile.  He was accompanied by another brother, whom, as he got near the place and found the time to begin the services had come, he desired to go on before him and commence with a hymn, as he was a younger man and could walk faster.  His friend did so; and the deceased soon after must have been seized with sudden illness, fell against the hedge, and died quite alone.  No doubt the walk was too much for his strength, and the exertion brought on an attack of heart disease, to which he had long been subject, and which proved fatal.  He had often made the journey before, and the work was one in which he greatly delighted.  The congregation naturally became alarmed at the non-arrival of the preacher, and his friend who had gone before went back in search of him, and found him as described, quite dead.  He was removed to the chapel, and the effect of the fatal event on the minds of the congregation was a very solemn one, better conceived than described.  The body remained on the Chapel premises until the next day, when an Inquest was held upon it before R. R. Rodd, Esq., County Coroner, and a respectable Jury.  The only witness was Mr John Parsons, farmer, who deposed that the deceased was a local preacher belonging to the Wesleyan Methodists.  About ten minutes to eleven on Sunday morning he met the deceased on the road to Venton Chapel, where he intended to officiate at the morning service.  The deceased told him he had been suffering very much during the day from palpitation of the heart, and could not walk fast, and thinking he should be late he desired witness to go on to the chapel and give out the 286th hymn.  Witness did so, and after waiting some time for deceased the congregation became alarmed.  He then went in search of him, and found him lying upon the road, about twenty yards from the chapel, quite dead.  Deceased, who suffered from heart disease, had often told him that he knew he should drop down dead in the road some time or other.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  -  Deceased was about in a few days to come to Barnstaple on a visit to his son (MR SANDERS, watchmaker, in Boutport-street); but instead of his coming, his remains will be brought for interment on Saturday in Pilton churchyard.  "Many fall as sudden, not as safe." 

Thursday 13 May 1875

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - An Inquest was held on Monday morning, at the Railway Hotel, Boutport-street, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Coroner for the Borough, and a respectable Jury (of which Mr George T. Gaydon was foreman), on the body of WILLIAM HENRY LEWORTHY OLIVER, aged 84, shoemaker, residing in Mallett's-row, in this town, who was at his work at home on the evening of Saturday, when he suddenly fell from his bench and expired.  A medical man was sent for, but he could only confirm the fact of the death.  Deceased had lived in London, and had been an ailing man.  The first witness was a young lad called William Henry Seldon, who deposed that he had known the deceased for six months or more.  Was at his house on Thursday evening, when deceased went out with him to several persons in the town on errands.  He was then as well as usual.  Was at his house again on Saturday evening, about seven o'clock, to see him about a pair of boots he had to mend for witness.  He was in his garret at work, and witness remained with him for two or three hours, during which deceased was at work.  He had gone down to speak to his wife, and came back and was standing talking to witness, saying he should not do any more until his wife came back, when witness observed him suddenly fall against the wall and then to the ground.  He did not speak, but groaned once.  Witness asked him what was the matter, but he did not answer.  Witness then went next door to Mr and Mrs Jewry, who came in directly, but could do nothing but send to the doctor.  Witness went in quest of deceased's wife, and found her at the Lamb.  Mrs Jewry came down and said they should send for some brandy, which was done.  -Mary Bater deposed that she lived at Mr Charles Symons's, opposite the deceased.  Had known him about 12 months, since he came to live there.  He had a wife and three young children.  Saw him on Friday, when he appeared as well as usual.  Had heard his wife say that the doctor in London told him he suffered from heart complaint.  A few minutes before nine on Saturday night she heard that deceased had dropped down, and her mistress gave her a drop of brandy to run across to give him, which she did.  Went up into the garret, and saw the deceased lying on his back, and his wife by him rubbing his chest.  He seemed to be quite dead.  His wife tried to give him the brandy but he could not swallow.  He was a very sober and industrious man. Heard his wife say on Saturday that he had had no work to do for the week until Saturday morning.  He and his wife were very quiet people, and lived together comfortably.  Mr Andrew Fernie, surgeon, deposed that he was sent for about nine o'clock on Saturday night to go to the house of deceased.  Had not known him before.  Found him lying on his back in a corner of the garret in which he worked.  Raised him and found him quite dead.  There was no appearance of his having struggled at all.  The opinion of witness was that death had resulted from syncope, or faintness.  His wife told witness that he had been subject to a heart complaint, and witness had no doubt that syncope resulted from some disease of the heart.  There was no reason to suspect that death had been produced by othe4r than natural causes.  He was a delicate sort of man.  His body was thin and spare.  Witness had heard that deceased had had but little work lately, and perhaps he had had not so much nutriment as might have been good for him.  Could not say if there was the appearance of great want in the house, as it was dark,.  The widow was much distressed, but did not complain.  The Coroner having summed up the Jury instantly found a verdict of "Died by Visitation of God."  The Jury gave their fees for the benefit of the widow.  [The widow and her three children are left in very destitute circumstances.  She is a very deserving person.  Some kind friends, compassionating her condition, are seeking to raise funds to buy her a sewing machine.  If any person should wish to contribute to that object, we shall readily take charge of any little donation which may be left at our office for the purpose. -ED]

EXETER - Sad Accident At Exeter. - A fatal case of drowning occurred on Thursday.  A young woman, about 16 or 17 years of age, belonging to Doddiscombleigh, but who was temporarily residing in the Commercial-road with a married sister named Pavey, had occasion to go out on an errand. She returned about half-past nine o'clock, and as she came down Quay-hill she was overtaken by a heavy shower.  She hurried to escape it, and the night being dark, and she being unacquainted with the road, she walked into the water just below the Custom House.  Her screams at once attracted attention, and every effort was immediately made to rescue her, but unfortunately without avail, the body not being picked up until nearly an hour after the occurrence.  An Enquiry was held on Friday evening, at the Custom House Inn, Quay, before H. W. Hooper, Esq. (City Coroner), touching the  death of ELLEN SERCOMBE, 15 years of age, the daughter of a farmer living at Berry Farm, Doddiscombsleigh, who met with her death under the distressing circumstances stated above.  The Jury having heard the evidence, considered the Town Council should have their attention again called to the fact that the Quay near the Custom House was entirely unprotected by chains or other safeguards, and that they were of opinion this should be seen to at once, as this was not the first fatal accident that had occur4red at the same spot.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and after the Inquest the Coroner viewed the place with the Jury, and promised to bring the matter, with the improvements suggested by the Jury, before the proper authorities.

DOLTON - Death Of A Young Man From A Blow. - A young man named GEO. LOCK, of this parish, a thatcher, came to his death suddenly on Tuesday night in last week, it is supposed from the effects of a blow received the evening before from John Dillon, son of Richard Dillon, farmer, of Lockley Farm, where deceased was at work.  The facts came out in evidence at the Inquest, which was held on the following Thursday, before J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a very respectable Jury, of which Mr George Arnold was foreman.  The Inquiry was opened at the house of deceased's mother, but was afterwards adjourned to the Royal Oak, in the village.  The first witness was a lad called William Mitchell, who was at work on Monday, May 3rd, at Lockley with the deceased.  About five o'clock in the afternoon, witness was in the barn, where Farmer Dillon was at work, and also Keziah Cudmore.  The farmer's son, John Dillon, came home and went into the barn, and witness then went out.  He met deceased going into the barn as he came out, and afterwards, hearing a noise, he looked through the keyhole and saw them all in a scuffle.  - The next witness was EMILY MARIA LOCK, sister of the deceased, who said she was a single-woman and lived at Dolton with her mother and sister, where deceased also lived.  Was at home on Monday the third, when her brother came in about seven o'clock in the evening, after he had left work, and asked witness if she had heard of the row at Lockley.  She told him she had not.  He then informed her that on John Dillon's coming home, about half-past five, he went into the barn, and there knocked down his father, and made his head bleed a good deal.  Mrs Dillon called on him (deceased) to help her husband, and as he was going to do so, John Dillon said, "I'll have you too, GEORGE LOCK," and with the same knocked him down.  Witness asked deceased if he was hurt, and he replied, "Not much," but said he had knocked his head a little behind.  He looked frightened, but did not afterwards complain of any pain in his head. Deceased also said he had fetched the policeman at Mrs Dillon's desire, and afterwards came straight home.  The next day he said he did not think he should go to Lockley, but did not say why.  He worked at home in the garden all day.  Witness had her breakfast and dinner with him, but he made no complaint of feeling otherwise than well.  After he had had his tea he went to chapel, and on his return took his supper.  During supper time he referred to what had taken place the night before, and remarked that John Dillon, when in the state he was in then, would as soon kill a man as look at him.  Witness had occasion to go out of the room for a few minutes, during which time her younger sister came to her and said her brother had dropped down.  Witness ran and helped him up and sat him upon a seat, when he groaned two or three times, and presently died in her arms!  -  Farmer Dillon also gave evidence, to the effect that he was in his barn at work binding reed with Keziah Cudmore and Wm. Mitchell, when his son John came into the barn between five and six o'clock, and ordered witness to let the horse out of the machine.  Witness said he would not, as he wanted to bind some more reed, and at the same time he put his hand on his son's shoulder and told him to go out of the barn.  He thereupon caught witness by the collar, and they both fell together, and tumbled over one another two or three times.  His son did not knock him down.  When he got up he went out of the barn, and outside he saw the deceased standing, and they went together into the kitchen, and then to Chapple's farm.  Witness professed that he did not see his son strike the deceased.  - The only other witness was Mr Leonard Smith, surgeon, of Dolton, who deposed that he was sent for on Tuesday night to see the deceased, whom on his arrival at the house he found dead.  By direction of the Coroner, witness had since made a post mortem examination of the body, assisted by Mr Mitchell, surgeon, of Dolton.  There was no mark of any kind on the scalp.  The brain was quite healthy.  On opening the chest and the pericardium he found the heart enormously enlarged.  The walls of both ventricles of the heart were thickened, more particularly the left ventricle.  There was a small quantity of fluid blood in the right ventricle but none in the left.  The semi-lunar valves of the aorta were very much thickened and quite inefficient to perform their functions properly.  The mitre valve was also diseased, and there was a patch of lymph of old standing in the lining membrane of the left ventricle immediately below the semi-lunar valve.  There was also a patch of lymph in the aorta and surface of the ventricle.  All that he had mentioned was the result of inflammation which had taken place a long time ago, perhaps years.  Witness considered that death resulted from disease of the heart, accelerated by agitation of mind.  This being all the evidence, the room was cleared while the Jury deliberated on their verdict, which after a brief consultation they delivered to the following effect:-  "That the said GEORGE LOCK died from disease of the hart, accelerated by what he witnessed on the evening of the day previous to his death."  -  There was much excitement in the village in consequence of the event, and there was some expectation that the Jury would have found a verdict which would have implicated Dillon, whose character for violent and quarrelsome conduct is well known.  He was the worse for liquor when he committed the assault upon his father and the deceased, who was a sober and well-conducted young man.

Thursday 20 May 1875

BUCKLAND BREWER - Death Of A Woodman. - A fatal accident happened on Saturday last, in East Heale Wood, the property of the Hon. Mark Rolle, to a man called WILLIAM EASTERBROOK, of this parish, labourer, aged about 35, who was working with and employed by Mr James Jewell, carpenter, in felling trees and ripping bark in East Heale Wood.  They were sawing the same tree, which fell from them when they had sufficiently sawn it, and they jumped upon their legs out of the way, when the tree in its fall broke the dead limb of another tree near, and it fell, and struck the deceased a heavy blow on the temple, which brought him to the ground, and killed him instantly!  Jewell ran to his assistance and caught him up, but there was no sign of life, and blood was flowing from his nose and mouth.  A man called George Elston, who was working at a few landyards off, came and assisted Jewell to carry deceased home to the village, about two miles from where the accident happened, having obtained a cart for the purpose at the distance of half a mile off.  The limb which caused death was as big round as one's arm, about six feet long, and fell from a height of about 20 feet.  An Inquest was held on the body on Monday, at the Coach and Horses Inn, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, when the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Killed by the Fall of a Dead Limb of a Tree, with a recommendation from the Jury that in future a signal man be placed in a convenient spot to give notice of impending danger."

TRENTISHOE - A Child Drowned. - An Inquest was held on Saturday last, before John H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, at the house of MRS MARY HOYLES, widow of a farmer of this parish, on the body of her little daughter, one year and nine months old, who was found drowned in a well on the Thursday previous.  The child, whose named was EDITYH, had been seen in the afternoon about two o'clock by John Hoyles, a labourer of the parish of Martinhoe, who works for MRS HOYLES and was employed on that day in the barn.  About twenty minutes after he had seen the child, his nephew, James Hoyle, who lives as a servant boy with MRS HOYLES, came to him in the barn and said the child EDITH was dead.  He ran away to the spot which the boy indicated, and there saw the deceased lying against the wall and quite dead.  The boy explained that he had gone to the village well, which is near his mistress's house, and from which the inhabitants are accustomed to get water, and on getting there he saw a child in the well, and on looking closer he saw it was his mistress's little daughter EDITH lying at the bottom of the well with her head downwards.  The water was about 17 inches deep.  He took out the body and laid it against the well, and ran away to tell his mistress and the last witness.  In answer to the Coroner, the man John Hoyles explained that there was no fence of any kind around the well, and in his opinion its present state was most dangerous to young children.  There could be no doubt that deceased had wandered unperceived down to the well, and there had fallen in and been drowned.  The witness said that some few years since a similar accident had taken place - a child had fallen into the well, but was taken out before life was extinct.  His decided opinion was that something should be done to obviate the danger.  The owner of the property was Miss Griffiths.  The Jury found a verdict of - "Found Drowned in a Well, with a recommendation from the Jury that the attention of the owner of the well be called to the very unprotected state in which it is."

BIDEFORD - Drowned In Bathing. - One of those accidents that happen almost yearly in our river, when one or more families are suddenly thrown into mourning - and which raises an enquiry whether something cannot be done to provide means to prevent so many valuable lives being lost, but which enquiry unfortunately dies away again with the momentary excitement which is created when a death occurs -a gain happened on Friday last, when a lad, aged 12 years, the son of SUPERINTENDENT VANSTONE, was drowned whilst bathing.  The deceased, in company with three of his school-fellows, went into the river to bathe just off from the Gas Works.  It appears deceased was but an indifferent swimmer, and whether it was the result of cramp, or whether he was frightened, cannot be known, but an alarm was given that he was sinking, and one of his companions, James Barrow, son of Mr Barrow, maltster, courageously went to his assistance, and for some time sustained him above water, but finding his strength failing him he was compelled to relinquish his hold, and deceased gradually sunk.  The sad occurrence was witnessed by some men on the opposite side of the river, who at once proceeded to the spot in a boat belonging to Mr Darke, which contained a large net.  On their reaching the place deceased had disappeared.  They at once cast the net around the place, and commenced to draw it in, but unfortunately one of the ropes they were pulling it in by parted, and before they could take it up and recast the net full 15 minutes elapsed, when they succeeded in drawing it to the shore with the body of deceased.  They immediately commenced too use means for restoration under the direction of Mr Lee, of London, surgeon, who happened to be in the vicinity at the time.  Dr Thompson came shortly afterwards on the scene, and Mr Hogg, chemist, followed.  Messrs. Cox and Rouse, surgeons, also lent their valuable assistance, but after trying every means for upwards of three quarters of an hour it was apparent the poor little fellow was beyond all human aid.  Great sympathy is felt for the parents and family.  The father has been chief constable for several years, and is deservedly respected.  - The Inquest was held on Saturday evening at the house of MR VANSTONE, before John Thompson, Esq., M.D., Borough Coroner (Mr Robert Burrow, foreman), when the evidence simply bore out the facts as given above, and a verdict was returned of "Accidental Death by Drowning."

Thursday 27 May 1875

BARNSTAPLE - The Fatal Accident in Boutport-Street. - On Thursday evening an Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr William Cummings was foreman, touching the death of MR JAMES BLACKMORE, aged 63 years, an old and valued servant of Mr Arthur Chichester, Bart., who was knocked down and run over by a horse and cart in Boutport-street, on Wednesday afternoon last, and who died of his injuries the same night at the Infirmary to which he was removed.  The following was the evidence adduced at the Inquest:-

William barrow deposed:  I am in the service of Sir Arthur Chichester as footman.  Yesterday afternoon, between two and three o'clock, I and the deceased were about to return from Barnstaple in a cart, when deceased stopped at his son's door near the Vicarage, Boutport-street, and went to the horse's head, and began doing something to the harness - unbuckling the chin-strap, I believe.  Just then a window slammed in a house near, and the horse began to plunge and bolted towards Mr Pinkett's house.  It then reared and kicked fearfully, the deceased holding it all the time with his arms round its neck.  It then gave the cart a sudden jerk and I was pitched out.  When I got up the horse was going down the street, and I saw deceased on the ground, and the horse go over him.  He was knocked down just by the Assembly Rooms.  I think the cart went over him as well.  When I went up to him he was unable to speak, and seemed insensible.  He was taken into Mr Gammon's, and a doctor sent for, and was shortly afterwards removed to the Infirmary.  The deceased was a carter, and had driven the horse for a considerable time.  He was quite sober.  The horse was considered a quiet one, but Irish horses are very uncertain.

By the Foreman:  The horse went on to the bridge, and was turned there and came back, and was stopped about the same place where it started from.

CHARLES BLACKMORE deposed:  Deceased was my father, and was 63 years of age.  He was a carter for 20 years past in the service of Sir Arthur Chichester, Bart., of Youlston Park.  He called upon me yesterday afternoon, about half-past two o'clock, with a horse and cart.  He said, "CHARLEY, come out and put a stitch in my reins."  When I came out, I went towards the cart and saw my father doing something at the head of the horse, with his arms about his head.  I saw the horse begin to plunge, and it came on to the kerbstone, and Mr Barrow fell out of the cart.  My father was still holding the horse, and I called to him to let the horse go, as it was then beginning to go faster  He still held on to it, and then I saw him fall, and the wheel go over his thigh.  Mr Jones came out of his house and picked him up, and we took him into Mr Gammon's.  I saw the horse come back, and then observed that it had nothing round its head.  My father was unconscious, and never spoke.  Mr Cooke and Mr Fernie were sent for, and he was taken to the Infirmary.  He seemed to recover himself a little afterwards, and knew me when I asked him who I was.  He was quite sober.

Mr John Beer Jones deposed:  About a quarter past two o'clock yesterday afternoon I was leaving the back part of my premises and coming through the passage, when I saw a horse and cart going rapidly down the street.  Immediately afterwards I saw the deceased lying on the ground in the middle of the street, opposite my front door, and in a line with the entrance to the Assembly Rooms.  He was lying with his head under his shoulders.  I lifted him up, and saw there was blood on his forehead, and that he was breathing very hard.  Mr Gammon came out, and assisted me and MR CHARLES BLACKMORE to take him into his house.  We had only got him to the pavement when the horse returned.  I saw there was nothing about the head of the horse - nothing to catch hold of him by.  The deceased did not appear to be conscious, but clutched with his hands, as if he thought he had still hold of the horse.  Mr Fernie was sent for, and arrived in about three minutes afterwards.

Mr Andrew Fernie deposed:  I am a medical practitioner living in Boutport-street.  Yesterday afternoon, between two and three o'clock, I was brought by Mr Gammon's servant to see the deceased.  I found him sustained by others in a chair just inside the doorway of Mr Gammon's house.  He appeared to be very much hurt, and was bleeding from his head.  I advised that he should be brought into the yard, and laid down on some sacking.  He had no pulse, and I thought he was going to die.  Some brandy that was given him, however, restored the pulse in a few minutes, and he moved his arms and legs as if endeavouring to get up.  He seemed to know that he was spoken to.  I sent for a stretcher, and had him conveyed to the Infirmary, after giving him some more brandy.  It appeared to me that the horse had kicked him on the temple, as there was a large bruise visible.  I considered him in a very dangerous state, and I believe he would have died then and there but for the brandy restoring his pulse.  He was clearly suffering from congestion of the brain.  I knew the deceased very well, and was talking to him in my surgery only a few hours before.  He was then quite sober, and apparently in his usual health.

Mr Charles Wallace Drew, house surgeon at the Infirmary, deposed:  The deceased was brought here about a quarter to four o'clock.  He was partially insensible when brought in, and I noticed that he had a large bruise over the left temple, and a small wound, but there was no fracture so far as I could make out.  There was a bruise on the left hip.  He was put to bed, and consciousness being restored he complained of great pain in his bowels, was very irritable, an struggled to get out of bed.  He died about half past nine o'clock.  I have made a post mortem examination, and found a rupture of a portion of the bowel, from which inflammation had resulted, in addition to which there was a large quantity of serum on the surface of the brain, arising from concussion.  Death resulted from these causes combined.  I asked him if he had been drinking, and he said "No."

The Coroner having summed up the facts of the evidence, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  - Deceased was a very respectable and steady man, well known in the town from his having for long years been in Sir Arthur's service and driving his cart.  It was stated in our last that the horse he was deriving was a young one:  we are informed that that was not the case:  the animal was fifteen years old or more.

YEOFORD - Fatal Accident To A Gentleman Farmer. - MR JOHN GOODWIN HUGHES, of Holsworthy, drove on Thursday morning to Okehampton, where he left his gig, and proceeded by train to the Cattle Show at Newton.  Returning by the last North Devon train, he, with other passengers for Okehampton, had to change carriages at Yeoford Junction, and lingering too long on the platform he did not attempt to enter a carriage until the train was in motion, and the unhappy man, missing his footing, fell between the platform and the rails, and his abdomen was fearfully crushed.  MR HUGHES, who was a remarkably tall, fine man of 38, did not live above a few minutes after the accident.

The Inquest. - Mr R. R. Crosse, County Coroner, held an Inquest on Saturday afternoon, at the Railway Inn, Yeoford, on the body of JOHN GOODWIN HUGHES, who met with his death on Thursday evening last, at the Yeoford Junction, of the North Devon Railway, under the distressing circumstances briefly reported above.  Mr Dormer, assistant divisional superintendent, and Inspector Cole, watched the case on behalf of the London and South Western Railway Company; and Mr J. F. Bromham, solicitor, Barnstaple, was present for a similar purpose on behalf of the deceased's friends.

The first witness called was John Oak, of Neworthy, near Holsworthy.  He deposed that he acted as hind to the deceased, who was a gentleman farmer, and had lately gone to reside at Holsworthy, near which place he had taken a farm.  Deceased was a single man, 38 years of age, and the son of a retired medical gentleman living at Barnstaple.  He saw deceased on Tuesday last, when he said he was going to the Devon County Agricultural Show at Newton Abbot on the following morning, and he had not seen him since, until he saw the body at the inn.  He had never seen deceased drunk.  By the solicitor:  He had only known deceased about six or seven weeks, during which time he had found him to be of a cheerful disposition, and not at all likely a man to throw away his life.  From what he had seen deceased he did not appear to have anything on his mind.

Harry Holcombe, porter at the Yeoford Junction, said that on Thursday evening, about 7.10, he saw the  deceased enter a second-class smoking carriage in Okehampton train, after having changed from the Exeter one.  Deceased just went inside the carriage and then got out again, and stood with the door in his hand talking to the other passengers in the compartment.  When the train was ready to start witness asked deceased if he was going on by that train, and he replied that he was.  Witness was holding the door open for deceased to get in, but was told by him to go on and leave the door alone, which he did.  Almost immediately the train began to move off, and when in motion the deceased ran after it, and caught hold of the handle of the door where he had been standing.  The station-master rushed after the deceased, caught hold of him, and tried to keep him back.  Just afterwards he saw deceased stumble and fall, and slip down between the platform and train, which passed over him.  After the train had gone out of the station, deceased, who was frightfully mutilated, was placed on a door, and carried to the Railway Inn, a short distance away.  - By the Solicitor:  Could assign no reason for deceased's quitting the train after having taken his seat.

William Cox, the guard of the train by which the deceased was killed, viz., the one due to leave at 7.18 from Yeoford to Lidford, stated that on Thursday evening he saw the deceased standing on the platform smoking, and talking to some people in a second-class carriage the door of which he held open.  He asked him if he was going on, but received no answer.  When everything was ready to start, witness went up and shut the carriage door, considering that deceased did not intend to travel by the train, and he then started it.  When the train was in motion he saw the deceased grasp the handle of the door, and run along the platform. He called to him to stand back, and to the station-master to catch hold of him to prevent his falling under the wheels.  Seeing the deceased fall, and the great danger he was in of being dragged under the wheels, he jumped into his van to put the brake on to try to stop the train, but almost immediately he felt the carriages going over the man's body.  After the train was topped he went back towards the station, and met Mr Hoyle, who said the unfortunate man was dead, having been killed on the spot.  Witness was asked by the Coroner if he noticed anything strange in the deceased's manner when he was walking on the platform, and replied that he was under the impression that MR HUGHES was under the influence of liquor.  By the Solicitor:  Was still of opinion that the deceased was under the influence of liquor.

Mr Samuel Hoyle, station master at Yeoford Junction, deposed that he observed the deceased on the platform before the starting of the train, standing at the door of a carriage.  As deceased did not take his seat in the train he considered that he was not going to travel by it.  When the train was in motion deceased grasped the handle of the door and ran after it. Witness rushed after him, and caught hold of him, and detained him a second or so, but he then rushed on again, stumbled and fell.  He held him up, running along by the side of the train to do so.  As deceased was dragged on until his strength was exhausted, he was compelled to let him go.  The train had then gone over deceased's foot, and was gradually drawing him under.  The wheels next went over deceased's leg, and then over his body.  Deceased was smoking when he left the train, had come out of a smoking-carriage.  From his manner he believed deceased was under the influence of liquor.  Everything was in due order before starting the train, and he could assign no reason at all for deceased's not taking his seat in proper time.

Mr George Cann, merchant, of Crediton, said he witnessed the whole of the melancholy affair from the window of a carriage two or three carriages away from the one at which deceased was standing.  There was a great number of passengers by the Okehampton train, and there was a good deal of rushing about.  He saw deceased walking on the platform long after he had taken his seat in the train.  He watched the deceased being gradually dragged under the wheels of the train, although Mr Hoyle held him up bravely until his strength failed him.  He believed that if Mr Hoyle had held on much longer, he too would have been dragged under the train, and in all probability have met with his death.  As it was Mr Hoyle's hat went under the wheels.  He thought no blame whatever could be attributed to any of the railway officials, and considered that everything that was possible to be done was done to save the life of the deceased.

The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  The remains of the deceased were conveyed to Barnstaple by the last train on Saturday night.

SOUTHMOLTON - Inquest. - The Borough Coroner, James Flexman, Esq., held an Inquest on Friday last, for inquiring into the cause of death of the infant child of MR EDWARD CLARKE, of the Red Lion Inn, Barnstaple-street.  From the evidence adduced, it appeared that the child, which was seven weeks old, was suckled by MRS CLARKE about four or five o'clock in the morning of that day, and on her awaking about half-past seven she found it dead.  It was imagined that the infant had died from spasms, and a verdict that the child had died from Natural Causes was returned.

BIDEFORD - The Mysterious Disappearance Of RADFORD. - The mystery was solved on Saturday morning last, when something was observed floating up the river by a man named Hooper, who on examining it found it was the body of the missing man, who disappeared from one of the buttresses of the Bideford bridge on the Saturday night previous.  The corpse was removed to deceased's house, and an Inquest held at the Red Lion on the same evening, before the Borough Coroner, John Thompson, Esq., M.D.  -  Mr H. Parsons was elected foreman of the Jury.  The first witness examined was Joseph Griffey, who said he had been in company with deceased on the Saturday night previous.  The last time he saw him was about 11.30 p.m.  He was then standing on one of the buttresses of the bridge, with a bag on his shoulder, which he presumed contained mussels, as he had seen him some time previous to this standing on one of the gullies of the bridge picking mussels.  The last words he said to deceased were, "Why did you not answer me when I called you so many times?"  Deceased replied that he did not hear him.  He then went under the arch of the bridge, and witness never saw him afterwards.  Previous to this last conversation with deceased he had called several times to him, and received no answer; and he had gone home, thinking deceased must have left, but not finding him at his house he had returned to the bridge, and seeing as man standing there who was known to RADFORD, he told him he thought RADFORD must be under the bridge, but he could get no reply from him.  The man spoken of shouted to RADFORD some offensive name, which at once brought a reply from deceased, who seemed very much put out by it, and swore out to him.  Witness then inquired of him why he had not answered his calls, and which brought the reply from the deceased mentioned above, "I did not hear you."  Deceased then went under the arch of the bridge muttering to himself, and witness never saw him alive afterwards.  He waited some time for deceased to come up to him on the bridge; and whilst he was so waiting a man named Cox came to him, and said witness's wife had asked him to come down and see what had become of them.  He told Cox that he was waiting for RADFORD to come up, and Cox said, "Oh! you may depend upon it he is come up and gone home," and they walked to deceased's residence together, but finding he was not there they returned to the bridge, and made every search for him without success.  Before witness went to deceased's house on the first occasion he heard a splash in the water, and had shouted out to deceased, who said he had fallen into the water, and he felt fresher after the ducking.  He could see the deceased distinctly, and there was no one with him under the bridge.  The next witness called was Edward Hooper, who deposed to the fact of seeing something floating in the river that morning, about five a.m., as he was standing on the Quay, and on running on to the bridge he saw the body of a man float under, and he at once went for a boat, and on taking up the body he found it was that of RADFORD, whom he had previously known.  This was all the evidence, and the Jury returned a verdict that "Deceased was Accidentally Drowned in the bridge pool whilst gathering mussels."  - [Another victim to the drink! - ED.]

EXETER - Sad Death Of A Tradesman At Exeter - An Enquiry was held on Friday evening, at the Valiant Soldier Inn, Holloway-street, before H. W. Hooper, Esq., City Coroner, touching the death of a man, aged 61, named CHARLES WYATT, lately residing at New Cottages, Parr-street, Newtown, which resulted from an apparently simple cut.  From the evidence adduced, it appeared that the deceased, on the 7th inst., was at his daughter's, who keeps a butcher's shop in Market-street.  He was rolling some lard off a breast of pork, and, not noticing the knife which lay on the meat, rolled his hand over it, and cut the palm, near the wrist, of his left hand, badly.  The wound was tied up, and during the same day he went to the Devon and Exeter Hospital, and had it dressed.  He was admitted an in-patient into the Hospital three days after the accident, when it was found that the whole of his left arm was inflamed.  Mr Hugh Gordon Cumming, house-surgeon of the hospital, considered that death resulted from the injury to the hand, and the Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

Thursday 3 June 1875

SWYMBRIDGE - Fatal Accident To A Man And Horse. - A distressing occurrence happened on Tuesday evening last, in this village, by which a respectable man, named PHILIP COURTENAY, who had been in the employ of Messrs. Smyth, tanners, for a number of years past, as his father had before him, came to a sudden and untimely end.  He was employed by his masters in fetching bark from the railway station with a cart and horse, which he was in the habit of driving.  He had been to the station that day several times, and had brought his loads back to the yard in safety, and had gone for what turned out to be the last time and taken up his load, and was returning with it, when, in descending the hill towards the village, it is believed that part of the harness broke, and the load coming upon the horse he was forced onward at an accelerated pace, which the deceased could not check, but, holding on at the horse's head, was forced against the wall by the roadside and crushed to death!  Death must have been almost instantaneous.  The horse rushed on at a furious pace down the hill, and being unable to turn at the bottom ran into the open doorway of a cottage occupied by George Yeo, and there fell and broke his neck. The horse was a valuable one, and perfectly quiet, having been driven by the ladies of Mr Smyth's family the day before.  The deceased was taken up and carried into an adjoining dwelling, where a medical man was sent for, but he could only pronounce him beyond human aid.  He was a very steady man, aged above 50, and was much respected both by his employers and by all who knew him. An Inquest was held on the body on the following evening, at the New Inn, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Henry Shapland was foreman, when the following evidence was adduced:-  The first witness was a young woman named Fanny Dennis, who deposed as follows:  I live in Swymbridge, and am the wife of Richard Dennis, labourer.  I knew the deceased, who lived at Swymbridge, and was in the employ of Messrs. John and William Smyth.  I was up at Mrs Scott's, in Taylor's-row, which leads up to the station, about seven o'clock in the evening, when I heard a horse and cart coming down the hill from the station at a quick pace, and on looking out I saw the deceased with a cart laden with bark drawn by one horse.  The deceased was leading the horse on the near side.  He was trying to keep back the horse, and calling out to him to stop, but he would not.  He had no control over the horse, which rushed forward, the deceased still holding at the head, and the horse went into the ditch, and forced the deceased against the wall, and crushed him.  I heard the deceased cry out, "Oh, my!"  I saw the horse run away with the cart down the hill, and the deceased fell into the ditch.  Other persons came quickly to his help.  - John Buzzacott deposed:  I am a labourer and live at Swymbridge.  Last evening, about seven o'clock, as I was going up Yarmacott Hill or Taylor's-row, I met the deceased coming down with a load of bark drawn by one horse.  The horse was going on quietly, and was led by the deceased on the near side.  I remarked to him that he had a pretty heavy load, and he said it was, but that the horse would go down all right.  I went on a few yards, and then heard the deceased call out to the horse to stop several times.  When I turned round, I saw that some part of the breeching had broken and was falling about the horse's heels.  The horse rushed away, and I saw the deceased fall in the ditch with his head against the wall, and the near wheel of the cart went right over him - across the chest so far as I could see.  I ran back to him and picked him up.  His brother lived close by, and came out and spoke to him, but he did not answer.  He appeared to be quite dead.  I left others to take charge of the body, while I went away for Dr Jackman, who came immediately, but pronounced him dead.  Deceased appeared to be perfectly sober when I spoke to him as I passed him.  The horse always appeared a quiet horse.  - John Huxtable: I am a labourer in the employ of Messrs. Smyth.  I went with the deceased last evening to the station and helped him to load the cart with bark.  I came on with him to the top of the hill from the station, where he stopped the horse for a moment.  He then came and took the horse by the head, which went on with him very quiet and steady.  Coming round the corner he got out of sight of me a few yards.  I was walking very steady, and the horse went on faster.  I did not hear any sound of the horse running away, but when I came up I found the deceased lying on the ground, with two or three people keeping up his head, and the horse was rushing down the hill.  I saw the deceased was quite dead, and ran after the horse, which I saw run into a cottage down at the foot of the hill, by which he killed himself.  The deceased was taken into Edward Taylor's cottage, and afterwards brought home to his own house. -  Charity Ridd, widow, who laid out the body, deposed that she was present when Mr Law, of Barnstaple, surgeon, examined the body of deceased, who said his ribs were broken in and that he had two wounds on his head.  This was all the evidence, and the Jury immediately returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

SIDMOUTH - Supposed Death From The String Of a Bee. - MR THOMAS PODBURY, farmer of Bowd, near Sidmouth, was on Monday morning engaged in hiving a butt of bees, when he was stung by one of them in the lip.  Almost immediately afterwards he became suddenly ill, and his wife came to his assistance and caught him in her arms.  Medical assistance was at once sent for, but MR PODBURY died some time before the arrival of the doctor.  At the Inquest the cause of death will probably be ascertained, but at present no other cause is assigned than that of the sting of the bee.  The deceased was upwards of 60 years of age.

Thursday 10 June 1875

HEANTON PUNCHARDON - Sudden Death Of An Old Man By Choking. - An Inquest was held on the afternoon of Friday last, at the Exeter Inn, in the village of Wrafton, in this parish, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on the body of a labourer named JOSEPH CHUGG, aged 83, who had died suddenly the day before while in the act of eating his dinner.  Sarah Petherick, at whose house the deceased had lodged for fourteen years, gave evidence that he got up as usual on Thursday morning and took his breakfast, and in the forenoon went several times into the garden.  His son, who lived in the village, used to send the old man his dinner, and on that day it consisted of a piece of beef, a piece of pork, with some potatoes and cabbage, which was brought to him by his daughter, and the deceased sat down to eat it at about two o'clock.  He ate one potatoe and some cabbage, but not any meat, when witness observed him throw up his hands, throw back his head, and heard him groan, but he did not speak.  She then asked him what was the matter - had he choked himself? but he made no answer.  She bade him open his mouth, out of which a piece of cabbage was sticking, and he did so, and she tried to pull it out but could not, it had gone so far back in the gullet.  She stayed by him and sent for help, and a near neighbour, Wm. Corney, blacksmith, came in and lifted up the head of deceased, but he became black in the face, and died in a few minutes.  The surgeon in the adjoining village of Braunton, Mr S. O. Lane, was also sent for and came as quickly as possible, but could only pronounce that death had occurred from suffocation.  Mr Corney gave evidence of his having been sent for and of his doing what he could to relieve the deceased.  He took off his neckerchief and opened his collar, and finding his throat much swollen tried first to force up what was in it, but failing to do so pressed it down, and then gave him a teaspoonful of water, which passed down, but another teaspoonful did not pass, and death ensued presently.  - Mr Lane deposed that he was at the house within about a quarter of an hour after the circumstance happened, and found every evidence that death had come of suffocation by a portion of the food getting into the windpipe.  He doubted whether he should have been able to save life if he had happened to be there at the time.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was immediately returned.

Thursday 17 June 1875

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death In The Street. - An Inquest was held at the Bristol Inn, Litchdon-street, on Saturday, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, touching the death of ANN STANBURY, aged 61, a nurse, one of the inmates of Penrose's almshouses, who was found dead that morning in the street opposite the Bristol Inn.  It appeared from the evidence adduced at the Inquest that Mr W. Webber Pile, tailor and draper, Boutport-street, called upon the deceased and desired her attendance as a nurse at his house on Saturday morning, between four and five o'clock; that she got up accordingly, and that her daughter placed a chair for her to enable her to get over the wall of the almshouses, the gate being at that time locked.  She saw her mother safely over the wall, and went into the house again, leaving her mother to pursue her way.  Deceased had, however, only gone a few yards, for at five o'clock that morning she was found lying in the street on her face and hands, quite dead, by a boy named Essery, employed at the pottery, who was going to his work.  The boy went and informed his master of the circumstances, and he told him to inform the police.  Whilst on that errand, a man named Charles Lock, who had passed along Litchdon-street only ten minutes before five, and could testify that deceased was not in the street at that time, on his return through the street found the body of deceased, and at once satisfied himself that she was dead.  Mr Cooke, surgeon, being sent for, at once pronounced her beyond human aid.  P.C. Downing had by that time caused the body to be removed into the Bristol Inn.  - Mr Cooke gave it as his opinion that deceased, who had apparently only just died when he saw her, had died from a sudden stoppage of the action of the heart, probably occasioned by her hurrying, and possibly by the exertion of getting over the wall.  She had evidently died instantaneously without a struggle.  The Coroner having summed up the facts, the Jury returned a verdict of "Died from Natural Causes."  Deceased was the widow of ABRAHAM STANBURY, son of MR JOHN STANBURY, of electioneering celebrity in the borough of Barnstaple in days of yore.

CHITTLEHAMPTON - Death Of ROBERT MADGE, Esq., - We regret to report the almost sudden death of MR ROBERT MADGE, a considerable landed proprietor in this parish, which occurred at the Manor House, Chittlehamholt, during the night of Tuesday in last week, precipitated by, if not altogether resulting from, his accidentally fallen from his horse in the hayfield in the evening of that day.  The deceased gentleman, who was in the prime of life, 47 years of age, had not been in good health for some time, and had been under medical care.  He was as well as usual on the day in question, and had ridden out with the otter hounds that same morning.  In the evening he rode up to the hayfield to see his men at work.  The horse was one of his hunters, and quite under control, although spirited.  Deceased was sitting at his ease on horseback behind the cart, which was being laden with hay, and as the cart moved off his horse made a slight jump, by which he was thrown out of the saddle and fell on the ground upon his back.  The men came immediately to his assistance and lifted him up, and in answer to the question whether he was hurt he said he did not think he was.  He was able to walk over to the hayrick, at a little distance, where he sat down upon some straw, and his carriage was sent for to take him home, although rather in opposition to his wishes, for he said he thought he should be able to walk home presently.  On attempting to rise to get into the carriage, he found he was unable, and he was lifted into it and driven home, and there at once put to bed.  He did not complain of having received any particular injury, but he was faint, and as he did not get better at about nine o'clock a messenger was sent for his medical attendant, Mr Harper, of Barnstaple, who at once obeyed the summons; but, as the distance was far to ride (there being no train running at that hour of the night), he did not arrive until past midnight, and then only to find that death had occurred at about half-past eleven o'clock.  An Inquest was held on the body at the residence of the deceased on the following Thursday, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner for the County, and a respectable Jury, before whom the following evidence was adduced:  - Samuel Stone deposed:  I am a labourer and reside in the parish of Chittlehampton.  I knew the deceased, MR ROBERT MADGE.  He resided at the Manor House, at Chittlehamholt, in Chittlehampton, and was a gentleman of independent means, about 47 years of age.  I was in his employ.  On Tuesday last I was at work in a hayfield belonging to the deceased.  Between seven and eight o'clock in the evening he rode into the field by the haymow on a bay horse.  He had been ill for some time, and therefore had not of late ridden the horse, but before he became ill he was accustomed to ride him frequently.  When the deceased rode in I was raking down the hayrick, and he told me to get the hay together in readiness to load.  He then rode up over the field to the place where the men were loading the cart, and sat upon his horse just behind the cart.  On the cart being moved off, the deceased's horse jumped a little, and the deceased fell off upon his back.  He was immediately taken up.  The horse ran down over the field, and the deceased walked to the rick, and sat down upon some straw by the side of the rick.  A messenger was at once despatched to his house to give information of what had occurred, and a carriage was sent for him.  On attempting to get up from the straw he found he could not walk, and he was put into the carriage, and driven to his residence.  As he was being driven down over the field I asked him if he had hurt himself, but he told me he did not feel that he had.  - Elias Down deposed:  I knew the deceased, MR ROBERT MADGE, and was in his employ as groom.  On Tuesday last I was in MR MADGE'S hayfield assisting the men.  I was at work on the top of the rick.  Between seven and eight o'clock in the evening the deceased rode into the field on a bay horse. He did not ride him very often.  It was a hunter, and was very spirited.  Seeing the men in the field lift the deceased up, I saw something had happened.  He walked to the rick and sat down upon some straw.  I went to him and asked him if he had hurt himself, when he replied he had hurt one of his fingers, and he put his hand inside the left side of his waistcoat, and said he hoped he had not hurt himself internally.  Seeing he was getting worse I asked him if I should fetch the carriage, when he replied he thought he should be able to walk home shortly.  Another man came down, and the deceased attempted to rise from the straw, but he found he could not.  He remained upon the straw until his carriage came, when he was taken home.  He also complained that he could not see.  I helped him into his carriage and went home with him, and remained with him until his death, which took place about half-past eleven o'clock on Tuesday night.  Whilst I remained with him he did not bring up any blood, but was faint.  On his becoming worse about nine o'clock, a messenger was despatched for Mr Harper, surgeon, of Barnstaple.  - Mr Joseph Harper deposed:  I live at Barnstaple, and am a surgeon.  I knew the deceased, MR ROBERT MADGE.  He had been a patient of mine for some months for diseased liver and dropsy.  On Tuesday evening last, about half-past ten, I received a message to come to MR MADGE immediately.  I accordingly went, and on my arrival, about one o'clock on Wednesday morning, I found he had been dead about an hour and a half.  I examined his body, but did not find any mark or bruise about him; but from the evidence I have heard he died from collapse produced by the fall. From the diseased state he was in a slight injury was sufficient to cause his death.  Had he been in good health I am of opinion that death would not have ensued from the fall.  This being all the evidence, the Jury came immediately to the conclusion that deceased died from the Visitation of God, but that his death was accelerated by an accidental fall from his horse.  Deceased was well known in the neighbourhood, especially in the hunting-field, and was esteemed for his general kindness and acts of good neighbourhood.  It was but a short time since that a presentation was made to him and MRS MADGE by their tenantry and friends in expression of their esteem.  Deceased leaves a widow but no children.  It is worthy of remark that the valuable horse he had ridden at the otter hunt in the morning, and which the messenger rode in on the same night to fetch the doctor, was found very ill next morning - no doubt, from the hard pace at which he was ridden - and died in the course of the day.

SAMPFORD PEVERELL - Two Children Suffocated. - On Friday an Inquest was held here touching the death of two children who were accidentally suffocated on the previous Monday.  The mother (MRS DUNN) had left the house for the purpose of taking her husband's breakfast, the children being both asleep, but on her return, about an hour afterwards, she saw smoke issuing from the door and window of the room.  She immediately unlocked the door and entered the room to find it full of smoke and both of her children dead.  During her absence the children, it is supposed, must have obtained possession of some matches, with which they set on fire the bed on which they were lying.  The smouldering straw filled the room with dense smoke.  Both children were suffocated.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, and the Coroner severely censured the mother for leaving matches within reach of the children.

Thursday 24 June 1875

BIDEFORD - A Child Drowned. - A little girl, aged five years, named ANNIE JURY, living with her grandfather, MR JOHN LOCK, in North-street, Bideford, was missed from her home on Monday evening.  On enquiries being made, it was found that she had been on the bank playing with several other little girls about her own age, and after diligent search had been made for her for several hours without avail, it was feared that she must have fallen into the river; and on searching the Pill at low water, about 11.30 p.m., the body of the child was found lying outside Mr Taylor's quay.  An Inquest was held the same evening before Dr Thompson, Borough Coroner; but as no one appears to have seen the child fall into the water, no light could be thrown upon the event.  Two little children, one five years and the other four years of age, who were playing with her in the early part of the evening, were questioned, but nothing could be elicited from the.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  Remarks are now being made on the dangerous state of the bank, leading out from the Strand, which, we hope, may lead to some kind of fence being placed there.  One part of it, in particular, is dangerous for grown up persons as well as children.

ABBOTSHAM - Suicide. - An Inquest was held on Tuesday last, before John H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner for the County, on the body of WILLIAM NETHERCOTT, of Stone, in this parish, labourer, aged 55, who had committed suicide by hanging himself the day before.  The deceased worked with Mr Cock, farmer, and was at his work as usual on Saturday, and his master's son gave evidence that he was working with him, and that he appeared to be in good health and spirits.  He was seen in his own house on Monday evening, at twenty minutes before seven, by James Ackland, the son of his next-door neighbour:  he was then blowing the fire, and in answer to the lad's remark that it was a fine morning, he said it was fine weather for those who had any hay to make.  He was not seen again alive; but about an hour after Mr Cock's  son, with whom he had been working on the Saturday, was going along the footpath towards Mr Heywood's farm, when he saw something white in an oak tree, and on going up to it found the deceased hanging from a branch of the tree and quite dead.  Deceased had been in the Exminster Asylum, from which he was discharged last October, and had appeared quite well ever since, except that he was subject occasionally to lowness of spirits.  There could be no doubt that he committed the act in a fit of despondency, and a verdict of "Temporary Insanity" was therefore returned without hesitation.

Thursday 8 July 1875

ILFRACOMBE - Supposed Suicide At Slade. - The little village of Slade was thrown into great excitement on Tuesday morning, by the fact that the body of a man named ROOK had been found in the reservoir. It seems that some eight or nine days ago, ROOK and another man named Balment were accused of cutting down some young trees in a copse near.  Fearing that proceedings would be taken, Balment left the neighbourhood and is supposed to be somewhere near London.  On Wednesday afternoon last, ROOK left his house with the intention of doing some work for Farmer Reed, and was not seen alive again.  His absence caused great anxiety to his wife and neighbours, but no tidings were heard of him until Tuesday morning, when a neighbour named Tucker thought he would go and look in the reservoir:  he did so, and found the dead body of ROOK in the water in an upright position.  He immediately raised the alarm, and the body was removed to await an Inquest.  No other motive can be imputed to the act but fear of prosecution.  Deceased leaves a wife and several children.  [It will be seen, by our report of the Petty Sessions on Monday at Combmartin, that the case against the deceased and his companion was adjudicated in their absence by the magistrates, who little thought that they were dealing with the offence of a dead man.  It was not an aggravated offence, and it was the expressed desire of the prosecutor, (J. G. Down, Esq.) that it should be visited leniently, his object being not to punish so much as to caution.  How the poor fellow should have taken the matter so much to heart as to throw his life away on account of it is very remarkable and very sad. - ED.]

FRITHELSTOCK - Inquest.  -  On Monday evening last an Inquest was held at Tucking Mill Cottage, in the parish of Frithelstock, before J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on the body of a child named JAMES MARLEY, aged two years and nine months, who met with his death by drowning on Sunday last.  It appeared from the evidence of the father that on Sunday about five o'clock in the afternoon the child was in the kitchen with Mrs Kemp who was there as nurse for his wife:  he had a biscuit in one hand and an apple in the other.  The father had occasion to go upstairs, where he stayed about five minutes.  On coming downstairs the nurse enquired for the deceased, as she wanted to give him his tea.  He (the father) then went out to look for the child, when hearing the voices of some bigger boys up in the wood, and fancying the child might be gone in that direction, he went towards the spot.  On reaching a well near the cottage, he saw the body of deceased floating on the water on its face and hands.  He at once took it out, and carried it to the nurse, who tried every means to restore it to life, but without avail.  A messenger was at once sent for Doctor Jones, who came and saw the body, and said that nothing could be done.  - In reply to the Coroner, the father stated that Mr Johnson, M.P., was the owner of the property, but he was not aware that he had ever been there to see it, nor had witness ever mentioned about having a door put against the well, as no accident had ever occurred there before.  The Jury having intimated that the dangerous state of the well should be represented to Mr Johnson, or his steward, with a view of preventing further accidents; and Mr P. Rousham, the foreman of the Jury, having engaged to acquaint the steward, Mr J. G. Cooper, of the fact; a verdict of Accidental Death by Drowning was at once returned.  It is hoped that the circumstances of this fatal accident, with those of another in a parish not far distant only a few weeks ago, will induce the owners of property having open and unprotected wells to adopt means for properly securing such places, so as to prevent a recurrence of such accidents.  Nothing can be more dangerous than having open wells near where there are young children.

Thursday 15 July 1875

BIDEFORD - Death By Drowning. - A fatal accident happened in the river Torridge on the evening of Tuesday.  A little boy called WILLIAM JOHN PARRIS, aged nine years, son of JOHN HARRIS, shipwright, of Northam, went out to bathe with three or four other boys about the same age, near Boat Hyde, where the beach shelves away rather suddenly, and he there got out of his depth, and there being no assistance at hand he was drowned.  His little companions ran away in affright, and gave the alarm, and persons were soon on the spot who succeeded in discovering the body after it had been in the water about half an hour.  The gentleman living at Boat Hyde House and other persons humanely did their best to endeavour to restore animation, but their efforts were abortive.  The body awaits an Inquest.

ILFRACOMBE - Supposed Suicide. - We mentioned in our last that the body of JOHN ROOKE, a labourer, belonging to Slade, in this parish, had been found in the reservoir, and that it was supposed that he had drowned himself under a feeling of unaccountable terror at his having been summoned to answer for the offence of felling three larch poles, in conjunction with a companion who has absconded, in a plantation in this parish belonging to J. G. Down, Esq.  An Inquest was held on the body on Thursday last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Thomas Jones was foreman, in the house of Philip Reed, at Slade, where the body was lying to await the Enquiry.  The Jury having viewed the body (which was in a state of rapid decomposition), Mr Richard Reed, farmer, of Slade, with whom deceased had worked constantly the last three years, gave evidence that he last saw him alive on Wednesday fortnight (the 30th June), after dinner, when he was near the meadow gate, and when he directed him what to go about, and left supposing he had gone to his work accordingly.  He afterwards found that he had not gone to his work, but at a place where he should have been to work his hook was found, about two gun shots below the Ilfracombe upper-reservoir.    Witness was not surprised at his absence, for he supposed he was keeping out of the way, having been informed that he had been summoned for cutting down some poles in the plantation.  He had had some conversation with him about it the same day he last saw him, but deceased did not appear to be much concerned about it.  He was informed yesterday that his body had been found in the reservoir, and went and recognised it.  His work did not lead him to the reservoir.  - P. Tucker, carpenter, of Colly Bridge, gave evidence that, having heard that the deceased had been missing for some days, he went along up the valley to make search for him, and coming to the upper-reservoir, after walking about it for some time, he saw a body about 15 feet from the edge of the water in a sitting posture and the head inclining backwards.  He immediately went and gave information, and with the assistance of P.C. Shepherd got the body out, when it proved to be that of deceased.  It seemed to have been in the water some days.  - P.C. Shepherd deposed to assisting the former witnesses in taking the body out of the water, and that the only thing he found in the pockets was a rabbit's wire.  He had seen him on Tuesday the 29th June, and told him of the poles that had been cut down in Little Shelfin plantation, and that he suspected him to have been concerned in the act, and that he would probably hear from him again.  He said he was sorry, and would not repeat the offence; and witness told him that if he pleaded guilty and his ignorance that he was doing anything wrong, it would probably be not so bad for him.  On the following Friday he went to his house with a summons, but his wife told him he was not at home and she had not seen him since the Wednesday.  The case was heard before the magistrates at Combmartin, on Monday, and a fine inflicted.  This being all the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."

Thursday 22 July 1875

CHULMLEIGH - Inquest. - At the Inquest held by J. H. Toller, Esq., on the body of JOHN STONE, labourer, (whose death by accident was reported in our last), it was shewn that the deceased was engaged to bring a load of wood from Chulmleigh.  As he was leaving the wood the cart over-turned, and a woman who discovered the unfortunate man's position sought the aid of Dr H. S. Traill, of Chulmleigh, who happened to be fishing near the scene of the accident.  The doctor found that the cart had been overturned on to its side, and that the left arm and shoulder of poor STONE were under the shaft, upon which the horse's weight rested.  The cart had to be unloaded before the body could be released.  The man was dead.  On examination, Dr Traill found that the deceased had sustained a dislocation of the left clavicle, and from the position and appearance of the body he concluded that death resulted from strangulation, the shaft of the cart having pressed on his neck and shoulder.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was recorded.

PLYMOUTH - Death Of A Policeman At Plymouth While Arresting A Navvy. - A sad tragedy was enacted on Thursday evening in Plymouth.  One of the steadiest of the borough police force was murdered while in the execution of his duty - he was arresting a labourer for assaulting a woman.  The particulars are as follows:-  Henry Kitts, 22 years of age, a native of Okehampton, has been living in Plymouth about ten months, and employed as a navvy under Mr Relf, the contractor for the extension of the South Western Railway.  For some time he has lived with a prostitute named Foster, at 5, Lower-lane.  They seem to have got on pretty well together up to Thursday, when Kitts, in order to buy some food, obtained from his employer 2s. "sub-money," bringing it home about six o'clock, when he retired for the night.  He then found that Foster had been drinking, and observed her in the Napoleon Inn.  A quarrel at once arose between them, and while in Lower-lane the man frequently struck the woman, one of his blows being so violent that blood flowed copiously from her head.  P.C. WILLIAM BENNETT, who was on duty in the neighbourhood, was called, and seeing Kitts strike Foster, he, in answer to her demand, proceeded to take him into custody for assault.  Kitts at once attempted to make his escape, and ran into the house, the policeman following close on his heels.  Kitts rushed right up to the top of the house, and had reached the garret door, when he found BENNETT close upon him.  Both clutched, and began to struggle.  The landing was small and whilst holding one another the men fell over the stairs, the constable being under, and Kitts on top of him.  Prisoner then seems to have got the upper hand, for when Mr Thomas Harvey, shoemaker, residing in Lower-lane, rushed up the first flight of stairs he found him kneeling on deceased's chest.  Harvey at once choked Kitts off and assisted BENNETT to rise.  When he got up the constable, true to his duty, caught hold of Kitts on one side, while Mr Harvey had hold of his collar on the other side, in which way the three walked down the stairs.  BENNETT did not relax his hold when they reached the street, and walked on to the corner of St Andrew-street.  Noticing then that he seemed ill, Harvey told the constable that he would take the prisoner to the Guildhall, and immediately afterwards BENNETT let the man go, observing "I must give it up; I must drop him," and Harvey conveyed him to the station-house.  Poor BENNETT was then taken across the street into the shop of Mr Barrett, butcher, where he was placed in a chair and attended to by Mr Thorne, Mr Smale, and others.  Mr Thorne asked BENNETT if Kitts had kicked him, to which he replied "No," adding that he could not breathe, and that he was dying.  Thorne also gave him some brandy, which he tried to swallow, but failed to do so, taking it into his mouth but bringing it up again.  He hardly spoke another word, and about twenty-five minutes after seven he quietly breathed his last.  The body was then placed upon a stretcher and taken to the police-station, where it was soon afterwards examined by Mr Wolferstan, the surgeon of the force.  All that was evident without a post mortem examination was that BENNETT was dead.  Singularly enough there were no external marks of violence.  BENNETT was a well-conducted young fellow, a native of Landrake, who had been in the Plymouth force since November 1873, having previously served in the force at Devonport.  His number was 45.  He had only been married two months, his wife being Jane Hooper, formerly a servant in the family of Mr George Edgcumbe.  Kitts when taken to the station-house appeared to have no idea that he had fatally injured BVENNETT; but when a few minutes after his own arrival the body of his late antagonist was borne on its stretcher through the room in which he sat, he became horror-stricken, and burst into violent tears and sobs.  At the Inquest on Friday evening a witness deposed that when in the lane the prisoner, who is a wrestler, threw the constable heavily and fell on him.  The medical testimony was that the deceased died from effusion of blood on the brain, caused by a fall, most likely in the stairs.  A verdict of Wilful Murder was returned. 

The railway navvy, Hy. Kitts, 24, was again brought before the Plymouth magistrates on Saturday, on a charge of murdering WM. BENNETT, a police.  The prisoner, after being charged and duly cautioned, made the following statement:-  "Me and the policeman fell over the stairs, and he fell on his poor head and hit his breast against the staircase."  He was then formally committed to the Assizes for trial on the charge of Wilful Murder.

TIVERTON - Sad And Fatal Accident. - We regret having to record an accident which terminated fatally yesterday to MR T. COOK, of Crazelowman Barton, a yeoman widely known and respected.  MR COOK attended the market on Tuesday as usual, and left the Palmerston Hotel on horseback about ten o'clock.  The animal he rode was young and spirited, and reaching home riderless caused some alarm.  MR COOK was afterwards found lying in the road, within a hundred yards of home, insensible, and it was found that the injury he had sustained was of a serious nature, which resulted in his death yesterday morning.  An Inquest will be held today.

Thursday 5 August 1875

BIDEFORD - Accident Death Of A Herbalist. - An Inquest was held at the 'King's Arms Inn,' on Saturday night last, before Dr Thompson, Borough Coroner, on the body of MR RICHARD COX, or, as he is more generally known in the country villages in this locality, DR COX, the herbalist.  Deceased was 69 years of age, and his residence was at Fore-street, Launceston.  Mr Simon Westcott was foreman of the Jury.  -  ELIZABETH COX, the widow, on being sworn, said that the deceased was her husband.  On the 15th of July she went with him in an open gig from Shebbear towards Torrington, and they proceeded safely to about a mile from Torrington, when on a sudden the horse fell, and they were both thrown out on the road, but both got up again and drove to the Railway Station at Torrington, where her husband had three penny worth of brandy at the Hotel there, and then they proceeded to Bideford, where they arrived between five and six o'clock.  Deceased went to bed soon after his arrival, and as he complained of great pain in his arm, witness applied bran and vinegar poultices to it, thinking it might be a sprain; but finding it got no better she called in Mr Rouse, surgeon, the following day, and he informed her the arm was broken.  - Thomas Dark, landlord of the 'King's Arms Inn,' said he had known deceased for the past fourteen years, and he had often stayed at his house.  On the day he met with the accident witness helped him out of the gig, when he said, "I fear I have broken my arm," but he bore up well.  On finding that he could move the fingers he said he thought his arm could not be broken.  He had every attention up to the time of his death.  Mr Ezekiel Rouse, surgeon, of Bideford, deposed that he was called in to see the deceased on Friday the 16th of July, at the 'King's Arms Inn,' and found him in bed complaining of great pain in his arm and general soreness throughout his body.  Witness examined him all over, but found no important injury, excepting that in his right arm.  The whole f the limb was greatly swollen, more especially just below the shoulder.  The elbow was also swollen.  The skin was gone in two places on the hinder external part of the joint.  The swelling was too great to admit of a very close examination, but he could distinctly distinguish that the arm was broken just above the elbow joint.  He thought it also extended to the joint.  When witness first saw him, he thought the condition of the limb serious, and that mortification might come on.  It was not in a condition to have splints, and he applied suitable lotion, which he continued up the 24th, when he applied a splint and bandage, and bent the elbow in its proper position.  It remained in that position until the Wednesday following, the swelling diminishing, but the discolouration increasing.  He altered the character of the splints on Wednesday to give deceased more relief.   On Thursday he had a great deal of hiccup, and more sickness, and all food made him vomit.  He died on Friday about the middle of the day. Witness had made a post mortem examination, and on examining his body found his arm much swollen and discoloured, and underneath the skin there was a considerable effusion of blood, especially near the elbow.  Examined the seat of fracture in the upper arm, and found the bone broken traversely about two inches above the elbow.  Below this the bone was broken down to the joint and into it.  there were twelve large fragments, and many small ones.  Considering the nature of the fracture, it was most unfortunate that he was not taken to some place near where the accident happened.  He expected a great deal of the injury in the breaking of the bone occurred on the journey after the accident.  Had the precise nature of the accident been ascertained at once, he should have advised the amputation of the arm, and he would have had some chance of recovery.  Witness found his liver greatly diseased and some inflammation in the coverings.  He thought there had been old standing disease, aggravated by the accident.  The state of the internal organs greatly contributed to his death.  This being all the evidence, Dr Thompson addressed the Jury, and pointed out the fallacy of thinking, as many people do, that because the fingers can be moved the arm is not broken.  He also spoke of the danger of removals after accidents of this kind.  It was no use reflecting on the present case, but his motive in referring to it was that the Press would take notice of it and the public generally be warned.  The life of deceased might probably have been saved, if surgical assistance had been promptly sought.  - Verdict, "Died from the Result of Accident."

APPLEDORE - A Child Drowned. - An Inquest was held in this place, on Friday last, the 30th ult., before John Henry Toler, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on the body of a little child called WILLIAM HENRY FISHLEY ROOKES, aged 2 ½ years, illegitimate son of a single woman called ANN ROOKES, of this place, who had been drowned by falling into the river unobserved the day before.  - George Knott, sailmaker, gave evidence that he was going in a boat towards Bideford, from Appledore, on Thursday, when the tide was rising and nearly full, and, in making a tack towards Tapley, he saw something floating on the water.  He pulled towards it and saw that it was a child floating upon its face and hands.  He took it into the boat, and seeing that it was quite dead he pulled on towards Bideford, and on meeting his employer, Mr Fishwick, he asked him what was best to be done with the body.  While they were talking, Isaac Short, of Appledore, mariner, came up in his boat, and on seeing the child recognised it as that of ANN ROOKE.  He had seen the child in the forenoon on the beach casting off the rope from a block of wood, and afterwards left him there scraping the pitch from a vessel's side.  This was before dinner, and the tide was not then up.  On his return from dinner he saw the mother and grandmother of the child, both in quest of him and crying because they could not find him.  He told them he had seen the child on the beach before he went to dinner, and he then went on towards Bideford, and there received the child from the former witness's boat, as before stated, and brought it back to the mother's house.  This was all the evidence, and the Jury immediately found a verdict of "Found Drowned."

Thursday 12 August 1875

NORTHTAWTON - Fatal Accident. - A shocking accident befell a man named THOMAS SANDERS, on Thursday last.  Whilst ripping stones in Bridge Quarry a large quantity of "deads" fell on him, and killed him instantaneously.  When taken out it was found that one of his hands was completely cut off as if with a hatchet, and his head was literally smashed to pieces, nothing being visible but his whiskers. He leaves a wife and several children.  Mr Robert Fulford, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest on the body, and the Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.

Thursday 19 August 1875

BRADWORTHY - Fatal Accident To A Farmer. - An Inquest was held on Friday last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., and a respectable Jury, at the farm-house of Worden, in this parish, being the late residence of the deceased, on the body of MR SAMUEL VANSTONE, farmer, aged about 38, who had come to his death by accidentally falling from a young horse which he was riding from the watering-pond to the field on the previous Sunday evening.  The son of deceased, JOHN VANSTONE, a lad of about thirteen years of age, gave evidence that on Sunday evening, between five and six o'clock, his father took two horses to the pond to drink, one of them being a young one.  He rode the latter, but without saddle, bridle, or halter, and drove the other.  Witness went on before to go beyond the pond, which was by the roadside, in order to prevent the horses from going further down the road.  The pond was not more than ten yards from the farm-house.  The horses having drank, deceased returned with him, and witness followed, but by a turn in the road and projection of the hedge lost sight of his father for a moment, but was somewhat frightened to hear the horses galloping, and on his turning the corner saw that his father was lying across the road and the horses at some distance galloping towards their field.  On getting up to his father he saw that blood was issuing from his right ear.  Within half a minute deceased asked him to move him up against the hedge, which he did.  A farmer who lived close by, Mr John Cann, was apprised of the accident, and hastened to the spot, when he found deceased against the hedge, and asked him what was the matter, but deceased could make him no answer.  Blood was issuing from his right ear, and on Mr Cann afterwards asking him if he could stand he said "No," and Mr Cann assisted to carry him into his house.  The assistance of Mr Rouse, surgeon, who lives in the parish, was immediately called in, and he made examination of the deceased, which ascertained that there was fracture of the neck, the bone of which was pressing on the spine, and he at once pronounced that the case was hopeless.  Deceased lay mostly in an insensible state until the following Tuesday morning, about eleven o'clock, when he expired.  The Jury returned as their verdict that deceased came to his death from the Effects of a Fall from a Horse.

NORTHAM - Death Of An Infant By Scalding. - An Inquest was held on Monday last, at the house of Mr Wm. Beer, master mariner, at Pimpley, in this parish, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Henry Williams was foreman, on view of the body of a little girl called ADA NORMAN, aged about 17 months, daughter of MRS CASSANDRA NORMAN, a married daughter of Mr Reed, who resides with him at present, her husband (MR WILLIAM HENRY NORMAN) being at Calcutta in his office of superintendent of ship-building docks in that port.  The evidence of the mother and grandmother shewed that deceased was in the kitchen with her mother on Friday forenoon last, when the latter took a part of a cup of boiling water from a kettle on the fire, and went with it into the dairy, and placed it on a low shelf there.  The deceased came in behind her just as she had laid down the cup, in order to go to the window to close the shutter as the wind was coming in; and as she turned to do so she heard the child scream, and saw that she had pulled the cup towards her, and the boiling contents fell over her bosom and the front part of her person.  The mother and Mrs Beer hastened to take off the little sufferer's clothes and to make applications to the scalds, which were severe.  Dr Pratt was sent for, and found that the scalds implicated nearly the whole of the front part of the chest, neck and shoulders.  He prescribed and had hopes that the child would survive, but violent convulsions came on, in which she died the next (Saturday) morning.  Verdict - "Accidental Death."

COMBMARTIN - Fatal Accident To A Boy. - An Unlucky Family.  An orphan boy, about 11 years of age, named RICHARD WILLIS, who lived with his aunt, JANE BURGESS, of this place, was unfortunately drowned in the sea early on the afternoon of Wednesday last.  Deceased met a companion named John Cutcliffe, son of Joseph Cutcliffe, of Berrynarbor, and proposed to him to go for a bathe, and they went away together to a spot of high ground overhanging the sea, where they undressed, and deceased jumped from the rock into the water.  Cutcliffe saw him rise to the surface once, but not seeing any more of him or hearing him call out he became alarmed, and ran off towards the village to get assistance.  A man called Down was the first to arrive at the spot, and found that two or three boys had come in a boat and were lifting the body with an oar, but they were unable to get it out, and Down not being able to swim could render no assistance.  Another young man named Thomas Gould, mariner, who happened to be on the Quay when the alarm was given, hastened to the place, and saw that the boys in the boat had just got the body to the surface, but being unable to hold it were obliged to let it go again.  He rushed into the water as he was, swam to the spot, and brought the body to the shore.  If he had been a few minutes earlier he would probably have saved the boy's life:  as it was, life was extinct when the body was brought to shore - or thought to be so, for it does not appear that any immediate endeavour was made to restore animation, although the attempt might not have been hopeless, as the body had not been submerged more than fifteen minutes.  After a longer interval Dr Kingdon came to the spot and saw the body and pronounced life extinct.  It does not appear whether the boy was able to swim or not, or what was the cause of death -whether cramp or what else.  The body shewed no bruises.  An Inquest was held on the body the next day at the King's Arms Inn, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a respectable Jury, which returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."  A remarkable series of fatalities seems to have befallen the family of which deceased was the last survivor.  His father was a sailor, and was drowned at sea some years ago.  His mother some time afterwards was accidentally killed in Cardiff by the falling of a large knob of coal upon her head.  Then a sister was killed in that place by being run over in the street; and now the lone orphan-boy has perished by drowning.

Thursday 26 August 1875

SOUTHMOLTON - We are sorry to record the death in our obituary of MISS GOULD, the second daughter of the late NICHOLAS GOULD, Esq., conveyancer, and clerk to the County Justices for the Southmolton division, she having suffered for about a fortnight from the effects of a fall from a vehicle in which she had been riding from Great Hele to Little Hele farm - the latter being the temporary residence of her sister, Mrs Trix.  It is said that concussion of the brain was the result of the accident.  An Inquest was held on Wednesday (yesterday) afternoon, before J. Flexman, Esq., the Borough Coroner, and a respectable Jury, by which a verdict was returned to the effect that death resulted from a fall, acting on a previously debilitated state of body.  The evidence shewed that it was not from the vehicle the deceased fell, but after she had got out of it and was walking towards home.

WESTLEIGH, near Tiverton - Fatal Accident At Westleigh.  A little boy named ROBERT MARSHALL, aged six years, met with his death under painful circumstances on Saturday.  It appears that on the day in question the boy had gone up to his father, who was at work at the New Kiln Quarry, and was running about in the neighbourhood, when a blast, which had been got in readiness, was fired by the father, ROBERT MARSHALL, and a fragment weighing about one hundred weight was thrown a distance of about 70 yards.  Striking the ground it rebounded and struck the poor lad on the head.  When taken up by his father the boy was insensible, and never rallied but died about one o'clock on Sunday morning.  A Coroner's Inquest was held on Monday, when a verdict of Accidental Death was returned.  The Coroner, in addressing the Jury remarked upon the advisability of giving due notice before the firing of blasts in the quarries in order that the public might have time to protect themselves against any possible accident from flying stones &c.

Thursday 2 September 1875

SWYMBRIDGE - Fatal Accident To A Boy. - An Inquest was held at the New Inn, in this village, on Monday evening last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on the body of ALEXANDER WATTS, aged 13, son of MR WILLIAM WATTS, mason, who died on the afternoon of the Saturday preceding, from the results of an accident which befell him on the previous Wednesday.  Deceased was a day-scholar at the West Buckland Devon County School, and had been to school on Wednesday, and returned in the afternoon about two o'clock, having ridden his father's pony.  His father, who had occasion after dinner to go to another part of the parish, had left word with his mother that the deceased on his return home was to put the pony in the cart, and go to Pitt farm for a ladder which had been left there.  He did so, and brought the ladder back; but, on getting into the village, the pony shied at a bough or something in the hedge, and deceased, who was sitting on a maund in the cart, was jerked off and fell in front of the cart, but not out of it, behind the pony, which, it is believed, kicked him in the stomach.  The pony ran on with the cart into a gate leading into the yard of Mr Alexander Gaydon, and deceased was found by Mrs Graddon, who happened to be working for Mr Gaydon, lying in front of the cart, with his left arm across the shaft,  and leaning on his stomach.  He was assisted off, and taken into Mr Gaydon's, and seated in a chair, and afterwards put to lie down on the bed, when he seemed to get better, but complained of pain in the bowels.  His father returned home at six o'clock, and went at once to Mr Gaydon's, where he saw deceased, who described what had happened, but he was well enough then to walk downstairs and to get into the cart, in which he was driven home.  Nothing serious seemed likely to result until Friday, when he appeared worse, and medical aid was procured from Barnstaple.  Mr Henry Jackson, assistant with Mr Harper, came at once, and on examining the deceased found marks of a bruise upon his right side about two inches above the hip, and great tenderness all over the intestines.  He had been very sick, and had had no use of his bowels since the accident.  He lingered in much pain until the afternoon of the next day, when he died.  The opinion of Mr Jackson given at the Inquest was that death was caused by injuries to the stomach and bowels and peritonitis, the result of the accident, and a verdict to that effect was returned.

Thursday 9 September 1875

BARNSTAPLE - A Porter Killed At Castle Hill Station. - On Tuesday evening an Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr G. Tyte Gaydon was foreman, on the body of a young man named JAMES HOLLWAY, aged 19, a porter at the Castle Hill Station on the Devon and Somerset railway, who had sustained such injuries by jumping off the train in motion on the previous afternoon as to result in his death in an hour after his admittance to the Infirmary.  The facts were detailed in the evidence given at the Inquest as follows:-  JOHN HOLLWAY, porter at Castle Hill station, brother of the deceased, deposed he was at the station on the arrival of the 1.43 train from Taunton on Monday afternoon.  It was not timed to stop at Filleigh.  He saw his brother riding on the engine of the train, and saw him attempt to jump off.  He missed his footing and fell under the steps of the carriages and the wall of the platform. Witness ran to him and caught him just as he was rising from the metals, when the train passed over him.  With the help of others he was lifted on the platform, and placed in a carriage of the train, the driver of which had then pulled up on hearing the sound of cries at the accident.  Witness came with him to the Infirmary, and no time was lost in getting him to that institution.  He made no statement of any kind, nor did he blame anyone.  Witness said he had known his brother jump from the engine whilst it was going through the station once before.  Deceased did not seem to get clear of the engine with one hand when he jumped from it.  - John Dodd, station master at Castle Hill, deposed that he saw that when deceased jumped from the engine he did not let go his hand.  He next saw him fall between the carriage and the platform, and as soon as the train passed he went to him and helped to lift him up.  Deceased only complained of pain in his arm.  He saw that the man was seriously injured, and he had him put into a carriage of the same train and brought on to the North Devon Infirmary, telegraphing to the station master at Barnstaple to have a conveyance ready to take him to the Infirmary.  The engine was only going at the rate of four miles an hour, and the train was pulled up in the length of two carriages.  It is against the rules to jump from a train whilst in motion.  -  James Braund, engine driver, deposed he first saw the deceased at Southmolton station, when he asked him if he was going through Castle Hill station steady, as he wanted to get off there.  Witness replied that he should be obliged to go slowly, on account of the facing points there.  Deceased then got upon the engine.  On arriving at Castle Hill station he slackened speed, and at the time deceased jumped off he was certain he was not driving more than from three to four miles an hour.  In jumping off the engine, the deceased did not let go the hand-rail, the consequence was he was drawn in by the motion of the train, and fell down between the platform and the carriages.  There was no difficulty in getting off an engine going at that speed, if they were used to it.  It was, however, against the rules to do so.  - Mr Arthur Stannard, contractor, a passenger in the train, confirmed the statement that the train was not going more than four miles an hour:  indeed, he thought it was stopping altogether.  - The Coroner, who happened to be in the same train, saw the man picked up, and saw that he had been dreadfully injured by being crushed between the platform and the carriage steps.  - Mr Edward Reynolds, the house surgeon of the Infirmary, described the injuries the deceased had received as of such a character as to preclude the possibility of his recovery, the whole of the ribs of the right side being broken, the right arm fractured in two places, the lungs lacerated, and the cavity of the chest full of blood.  It was not possible he could live after sustaining such injuries.  - The Coroner having summed up the facts, commenting on the danger of jumping from trains in motion, and the total absence of blame, attending anyone but the unfortunate deceased himself, the Jury found a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Death By Drowning. - On Thursday morning last, about seven o'clock, a young man named RICHARD CUTCLIFFE BOYLE, aged 18, son of respectable parents residing at Berrynarbor, and apprenticed to Mr Davies, grocer, High-street, Barnstaple, met with his death by drowning in the river through the capsizing of a boat.  He went down to the river in company with three other young men named Cook, Jones, and Edwards, for the purpose of having a bathe.  On reaching South Walk they looked out for a boat to take them up to the bathing ground, and seeing one lying in the river sufficiently large to take all four of them BOYLE and Cook got into a smaller boat for the purpose of bringing it to the shore.  The tide was up and running very strong, and they took the smaller boat across the tide.  Cook rowed the boat whilst BHOYLE stood up with a small anchor in his hand ready to throw into the larger boat when they neared it sufficiently.  Unfortunately in throwing the anchor BOYLE overbalanced himself, and falling against Cook the boat capsized and they were both precipitated into the water.  Cook being able to swim at once struck out for the shore, which he reached in an exhausted state, leaving BOYLE clinging to the upturned boat, as he could not swim, or only very little.  As the tide was running up the river at the rate of six knots an hour the boat was carried rapidly up. The young men on shore, with the assistance of another named Morgan, endeavoured to get a boat out to his assistance, but they could not loose it from its moorings, and Cook, as soon as he reached the shore, ran along the bank in the direction of the boat, which had drifted 100 yards up the river.   He there saw Capt. Mitchell, of the County Constabulary, bathing, and called out to him that there was a man drowning.  Capt. Mitchell at once swam out to his assistance, but unfortunately the boat was carried under the current, and when BOYLE was seen again he was a little distance from the boat.  He attempted to swim, but in a few moments he threw up his arms and sank.  Capt. Mitchell swam about expecting the body to rise again, but it did not, and it was supposed that the deceased must have been stunned by being carried against the rocks which are numerous in that part of the river.  The body was not recovered until Sunday afternoon, being found by Mr Bale, boat owner, about 250 yards beyond the place where he was seen to sink.  The body was taken to the North Country Inn, Boutport-street, to await an Inquest.

The Inquest was held on Monday evening at the North Country Inn before Mr R. I. Bencraft, Coroner, and the following Jury:-  Messrs. G. B. Pearse (foreman), Joseph Sellick, John Hopkins, James B. Rowe, Wm. Chanter, Jas. Webber, John Delve, John Plaice, Samuel Harris, Henry Jervis, and Wm. Burnett.  Mr J. P. Ffinch was present in the interest of the deceased's family.

The first witness called was Frank Cook, who deposed:  I am assistant with Mr Davies, grocer, High-street.  Deceased was an apprentice in the same establishment.  On Thursday morning last, about a quarter to seven o'clock, we left our master's house and went to bathe in the river Taw from the bank above the South Walk.  There were two other young fellows with us named Jones and Edwards.  When we got down to the river we wanted a boat to go up to the bathing ground.  We saw a large one moored in the river that was suitable, and we got into a small one to go to the larger one which was in the middle of the stream.  Only two of us got in.  I took the oars and deceased stood up all the way whilst I was pulling.  He was stood up behind me.  We had got within a short distance of the larger boat when deceased, who was about to throw an anchor into it, slipped his foot and fell against me.  We both went down on one side of the boat and it at once capsized, and we were both thrown into the water.  The anchor caught me on the leg, but I managed to get it off.  I went under the boat, and when I rose I saw deceased had got hold of the boat.  I told him to hold on and I swam away with the tide.  It was coming up very rapidly and took me quite away.  The boat was bottom upwards.  I heard him call out, before I reached the bank, to the other young men who were trying to get a boat off, to make haste.  A man named Morgan got into the boat with Jones, and they tried to get it off to go to his assistance just as I reached the bank and got out of the water.  I looked back and saw the boat, which had gone up the river about 100 yards distance, and deceased still clinging to it.  In a moment after I saw the tide drag the boat under the water.  When I saw deceased again he had let go of the boat and was trying to swim.  I ran up the bank taking my clothes off to go out to him, when I saw someone bathing.  It was the Superintendent of the County Police and he heard me call out.  Just at that time deceased threw up his hands and went down.  He was no great distance from Captain Mitchell, and he swam out to the place, but the body did not come up afterwards.  The Coroner here remarked that Captain Mitchell had told him he saw the young man in the water and could have saved him if he had known he was in danger, but he thought it was some one swimming up with the tide.  Mr Ffinch:  How long was it after the boat upset that you saw him sink?

Witness:  Only four or five minutes.

Mr Ffinch:  How far from the shore?

Witness:  It was just about the middle of the river.

Mr Ffinch:  Is there any other bathing place at all in Barnstaple?

Witness:  No.  We are not allowed to bathe within the limits of the borough.

Mr Ffinch:  So that you must go up into this most dangerous part of the river if you want to bathe at all.  Is there any life-belt or means of saving life kept near?

Witness:  No, nothing of the sort.

Mr Ffinch:  No appliances of any kind in case of accident?

Witness:  No.

In answer to the Coroner, witness said it was the regular bathing place, although it was known to have pits about it and to be very dangerous.

The foreman:  Did you borrow the boat, or take it without leave or liberty?

Witness:  If Mr Bale should not be there we take a boat and pay him when we come back.  I never knew a boat to capsize before.

The foreman:  I understand this boat has capsized before - once this summer.

Henry Bale was the next witness.  He deposed:  I did not see anything of this occurrence.  I searched for the body and found it yesterday afternoon, about ten minutes after three o'clock.  It was in deep water, about 9 ½ feet deep, and just above Black-barn, the usual bathing place.  I had a boat-hook fastened to a long staff.  I knew the deceased very well, but I did not see him on the morning of the accident.  If I am not there of a morning when they come, they take a boat and pay me after.  The boat they took was a proper boat, but was not the one they intended going in.  The one they were in is a pair-oared boat and proper for two, but they wanted the larger one to jump from and get in again.  The small boat is not the least crank.  I found the body about 250 yards from where he was said to have gone down, and 100 yards above the bathing place.  Altogether about 500 yards from where the accident occurred.

By Mr Ffinch:  Under the existing regulations, people must bathe there.  There was no place that would be safe - the river bed altered so much.  There were no appliances for saving life at that end of the town.  There was no drag or life buoy or anything of that kind.  It was a dangerous place where they bathed.  Black-barn was not so dangerous as Black-rock, but the latter was never used as a bathing place.

The foreman:  Is it not correct that this boat capsized once before this summer?:

Witness:  Some few weeks ago four men got in it and kept pitching off and pulling in until one of them tumbled overboard, and all four got into the water.  It is a very good boat.  It will carry three very heavy men.  I bought it at Ilfracombe and consider it a safe boat.

The foreman:  Don't you think it wrong to leave your boats to be taken in this way by anyone?  A stranger might take a very unsafe boat and not know it was so.  Parties should be there to lend out the boats.

Witness:  I do not think it wrong.  I give my customers permission to take the boats when I am not there.

Cook was re-called, and asked if Capt. Mitchell could have see the accident from where he was, but he replied that Capt. Mitchell was round the bend of the river, and could not possibly have seen it.

Mr Bale said he believed that the boat was drawn under by the anchor catching hold of the rock.

The Coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," and, at the suggestion of the foreman, owners of boats were cautioned not to allow any person to take their boats, but to hand them over themselves, and see that they were proper boats for the purpose, and not overloaded or placed in unskilled hands.

Thursday 16 September 1875

YEOVIL - The Late Mysterious Death Of a Barnstaple Gentleman At Yeovil.

Long Report of an Inquest regarding MR HENRY JOHN TURBERVILLE, late of Bradiford in the parish of Barnstaple.

Result:  The Jury's written verdict was as follows:  "That death resulted from deceased having whilst in an unsound state of mind taken cyanide of potassium, there by accelerating previous exhaustion, resulting in death."

Thursday 23 September 1875

SOUTHMOLTON - Coroner's Inquest. An Inquest was held at the Town Hall on Saturday evening, before James Flexman, Esq., Borough Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Joseph Kingdon was foreman, touching the death of ELIZABETH ANN SHAPLAND, an illegitimate child, eleven months old, who was found dead in bed by the side of its foster mother the same morning.  Mrs Betsy Lethaby deposed to being the wife of John Lethaby, living at 40, West-street.  On the 9th instant, at the request of the deceased's grandmother, who lives adjacent to her, she took the child to keep at 2s. 6d. a week.  During the whole time she had it, it suffered from diarrhoea, but had taken its food well up to Friday afternoon.  It then refused to take spoon meat, but fed heartily from the feeding bottle.  She procured half an ounce of syrup of rhubarb, a portion of which she gave the deceased, put it to bed, visited it several times before she retired to rest, and awoke about five o'clock, when she again gave it the feeding bottle.  She then went to sleep, and, on awaking about seven o'clock, found that the child was dead by her side.  She had been the mother of eight children, and attributed the illness of deceased to teething.  The Jury, after hearing the this and several other witness, without hesitation, found a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest On A Child. - On Monday morning, an Inquest was held at the Union Inn, Princess-street, in this borough, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, touching the death of an infant child, belonging to MR GEORGE BLIGHT, engineer, living in the same street.  The child was born on the 1st of the present month, and was described by its mother, ELIZABETH BLIGHT, who gave evidence, as being a very weakly child, though she had not had it attended medically.  On Sunday morning it was in bed with her, and at about one o'clock she suckled it and placed it on her right side.  On awaking at about six o'clock she turned to it to suckle it, when she found it was dead.  Mr Jackson, surgeon, was called in, and gave it as his opinion that the child had been suffocated by being covered with the bed-clothes.  He did not think it had been overlain.  When he examined it, it was still warm, and had not long been dead.  A verdict of "Accidental Death by Suffocation" was returned.

Thursday 30 September 1875

TORRINGTON - Accidental Death Of A Boy. - On Tuesday last an Inquest was held at the Railway Hotel, New-street, before J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, touching the death of EDWIN GILBERT, who died on Monday last from injuries received by falling from a tree in Wear-road on Friday last.  The Jury, of which Mr John Mallet was foreman, having viewed the body, the following evidence was taken: -  John Drayton, aged 14 years, said he lived at Torrington, and was the son of James Drayton, labourer.  He knew EDWIN GILBERT, who was a companion of his, and they both worked for John Handford, mason.  On Friday last they agreed to go to Wear-road on the Commons to gather some horse-chestnuts from some trees growing there.  After half-past five o'clock in the evening they both went there together.  Witness helped GILBERT to climb up into a tree.  He got on to the limbs of the tree and began to shake off some chestnuts, which he (Drayton) picked up from the ground.  After he had been up some time, he heard a sound as if a limb of the tree were breaking, and then saw GILBERT fall down into the road on his face and hands.  The tree was growing on a high bank by the side of the road.  Could not tell the distance he fell, but thought it must be 25 feet or more.  He was so frightened that he could not go near him.  He saw James Barrow coming down the road, and he called to John Taylor, who had passed along just before deceased fell off the tree.  - James Barrow deposed that on Friday last, about twenty minutes before seven in the evening, he was walking from Wear Gifford to Torrington, and when he came at the foot of the hill underneath a grove of trees, he saw a boy lying on his face and hands under a chestnut tree.  He asked Drayton (the last witness) why he lay there, and was told that he had fallen from the tree.  It was rather dark at the time, but on looking down he saw a pool of blood around his head.  He lifted him by the collar and turned him over.  His nose was flattened, and he was awfully disfigured and quite insensible.  Two persons carried him a few yards, when witness heard him groan.  Seeing a cart coming down the Barnstaple road, he hailed the persons (John Sing and William Furse), and they came with the cart, and he begged them to take the deceased to Dr Jones's.  Saw him put into the cart, and he was removed to his father's house in New-street.  Dr C. R. Jones, having stated that his two sons were in attendance on the deceased on Friday night during his absence, stated that on Saturday morning he saw the deceased, and examined the injuries he had received.  He found the face quite disfigured from a contusion on the forehead.  The eyelids were greatly ecchymosed.  There had been violent haemorrhage from the nose, and a lacerated wound in the forehead.  The boy was perfectly insensible, and could not be roused.  The eyes were insensible to light.  He saw him twice on Sunday, when his unconsciousness still remained.  He was of opinion that deceased died from concussion of the brain, and there was every probability that there was also a fracture of the skull.  He considered the case a hopeless one from the first.  In reply to a question put to him, Dr Jones further stated that he was not aware but that the boy had received proper treatment from his parents after the accident.  One of the jurymen remarked on the report which had been circulated through the town to the effect that, when the boy was taken to his home on the night of the accident, the father should have taken him upstairs and thrown him violently on the bed, saying he hoped the boy would die.  Sergeant Babbage stated that such a report had become general, and he had made every enquiry, but could not get any evidence to confirm it.  The Coroner stated that he was prepared to hear any evidence on the matter, if such evidence could be procured, but thought it very wrong for persons to raise such a report unless they were prepared with evidence to prove it.  In summing up the case, he stated that there could be no doubt but that the deceased met with his death by accidentally falling from a chestnut tree.  It was unfortunate that boys would run such risks, and he hoped that this case would be a warning to other lads not again to venture on such a dangerous expedition.  The Jury without a moment's consultation returned a verdict of "Accidental Death by Falling from a Chestnut Tree."

SOUTHMOLTON - The body of MR A. A. SHAPLAND, solicitor, of Epsom, (second son of MR J. T. SHAPLAND, of Southmolton, solicitor,) whose unfortunate death by being accidentally drowned at Teignmouth while bathing one the 18th ult. was reported in our last, was picked up on the beach at that place the Friday after, and an Inquest held on it the next day.  The Jury found by their verdict that death was Accidental, but they censured the bathing-guide because he had not his machine two feet into the water, and because he was not watching the bathers in order to render assistance, if necessary.

Thursday 7 October 1875

DREWSTEIGNTON - Dreadful Accident. - WILLIAM KNOTT, a labourer, aged 48, had his leg torn from his body in a steam thrashing machine at Fingle (Mr Palk's) on Wednesday evening last.  The poor fellow died in about five minutes after the accident.  An Inquest was held on Thursday at the Old Inn before Mr Coroner Fulford, when a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  It appears after the thrashing was finished the men were about to pass some corn and ears through the machine to winnow it, and the poor fellow was eager to assist a sack in over the top from another man's back, when his foot slipped and he was immediately drawn in.  His boot went through the machine, and his whole leg quite up to the hip was torn off.

Thursday 14 October 1875

LITTLE TORRINGTON - Fatal Accident To A Boy. - An Inquest was held in this parish on Friday last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a respectable Jury (of which Mr Joseph Wilson was foreman), on view of the body of a little boy, aged 12 years, called JOHN HENRY HANDFORD, son of JOHN HANDFORD, who is hind to the Rev. George de Cartaret Guille, rector of Little Torrington, who came to his death by being run over by a traction engine on the turnpike road on the Wednesday preceding (the 6th).  It appeared from the evidence of John Balsh, who is steersman to the traction engine, which belongs to Mr Holwill, of Torrington, and plies on the road chiefly to and from the clay moors in the parish of Petrockstow, that on Wednesday last the engine started, in charge of witness and of the driver, William Hoyles, to go from Torrington Town Mills to Annery Pottery, in the parish of Monkleigh.  There were two wagons laden with clay, which was discharged at Annery, and the wagons then loaded with lime for Meeth.  John Quick, the signalman, went in front of the engine about sixty yards, carrying the flag, as usual.  When they came to Broad Park, in the parish of Little Torrington, some boys were seen standing, whom the engine passed at the rate of from two to three miles an hour.  Descending the hill therefrom at a slightly accelerated pace (but not exceeding three miles an hour), the attention of witness was attracted by a little boy crying out and lifting up his hands, upon which the engine was topped, and witness jumped off and went back, and about half a dozen yards behind saw the deceased lying in the road.  He saw that he was badly injured in the thigh, upon which he took him up and carried him to his father's, a short distance off.  Boys often got between the trucks, and tried to get into them to ride, and witness and his comrades were always driving them off and warning them of the danger.  The driver, Wm. Hoyles, confirmed the foregoing evidence.  A companion of deceased, named Edmund Tolley, gave evidence that he was with him and other boys when the engine passed Broadpark Cross, and saw the deceased and two or three others follow the engine:  he did not go with them, but watched them for a minute, and saw the hinder truck pass over the deceased, but did not see him when he fell.  Dr Jones, of Torrington, gave evidence of his being called to the deceased in the afternoon of Wednesday last, and found him at his father's house in a state of collapse, and before he could complete his examination of his injuries the poor boy died.  His opinion was that the wheel had passed obliquely over the left groin and the left side of the pelvis, and that he must have been lying on his back at the time, as there was no dirt on the palms of his hands and his head and face were uninjured.  If the wheel had passed vertically over the body, in his opinion it would have been severed.  There could be little doubt that the little fellow was trying to get into the truck, when he fell on his back and the wheel passed over him.  - The Jury instantly returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  - No blame was to be imputed to any one; but some of the Jury said that if this unfortunate occurrence was not warning enough to deter boys from trying to get upon the engine or trucks, the men in charge ought to summon some of them before the magistrates to make examples of them.

SOUTHMOLTON - Coroner's Inquest. - An Inquest was held on Saturday night at No. 3, Factory Cottages, the residence of JOHN WINTER, on the body of his unbaptised child, aged 12 days, who was found the same morning dead in bed by the side of its mother.  The court was composed of James Flexman, Esq., Borough Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Wm. Lyddon was foreman.  The principal witness was the deceased's mother, who deposed to having suckled the child at eight o'clock the previous night, at which time she retired to bed, and again gave it the breast at twelve o'clock.  Was about to do so at four a.m., when she discovered that it was dead.  A verdict was returned of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 21 October 1875

ILFRACOMBE - The Fatal Accident To A Boy. - We regret to state that the accident to the boy named RIDGE, which was reported in last week's Journal, has terminated fatally.  The Inquest was held on Friday last at the Star Hotel, before J. H. Toller, Esq., and a Jury of which Mr W. Barns was chosen foreman.  After the Jury had viewed the body, the following evidence was taken:-  Joseph Hinks, boat-builder, deposed that on Tuesday last, about 8.40 a.m., he was down at the harbour, when he saw deceased on a horse which was coming out of the water.  Two boys were close by.  On coming out of the water the horse went at an easy pace.  The boys who were behind then commenced hurrying the horse, hissing at it and causing it to start off.  In answer to a Juror, witness said that he afterwards heard that the boys' names were Hancock and Lock.  The Coroner said he should like to see the boys.  - P.C. Shepherd replied that they were out of the town, he believed, but he would go in search of them.  - Examination continued:  The horse then started off as fast as it could go, and on coming to the chains of a vessel named the Echo, the horse's leg caught in the same, pitching the boy on the stone slip about 12 feet from the chain.  Witness then hurried up to the spot, and found the boy in the arms of Captain Hussell.  The blood was flowing profusely from the back of the head, and the boy was insensible.  The boy was at once taken home.  Did not see the boys throw anything at the horse.  - Captain James Eastaway Hussell, master of the Star of Brunswick, was then sworn, and deposed that on the morning of the accident he was going to his vessel, when he heard some shouting, and saw a horse coming up towards the slip at a full gallop with deceased mounted thereon.  The chain of the Echo being in the way brought the horse to a standstill, and pitched the boy off.  Witness then went and picked deceased up, he being on his back.  He gave a convulsive shudder, and was quite insensible.  Blood was coming from the head, and the front part of his forehead began to swell.  Witness then sent for the boy's father and the doctor, and, with John Carpenter and the father, carried deceased home.  - By the Foreman:  He heard at the time that some boys frightened the horse.  It was boys' (not men's) voices he heard.  It was a custom to send these little boys in charge of horses.  He thought it ought to be put a stop to.  - The Foreman:  I think the horsekeeper stands chargeable with a reprimand for putting such a small child in charge of a horse.  I heard the horse was first in charge of a smaller boy named Fisher.  - The Coroner said he must blame the custom of putting such small boys in charge of horses.  The boy Fisher was then called, and said he was ten years old.  He had charge of the horse first.  The boy Hancock who frightened it was also brought forward.  - P. Stoneham, Esq., surgeon, deposed to having been called on Tuesday morning to attend deceased.  He examined him, and found he had a wound on the scalp, but no fracture that he could detect.  He was, however, labouring under symptoms of concussion, and was insensible, and he never till the time of his death regained consciousness.  Deceased died from concussion of the brain.  - The Jury having expressed a desire to hear what the ostler had to say, William Dendle was called, and said that he looked after Mr Pridham's horses sometimes.  He had sent the boy Fisher to water the horse, as he had asked him to let him ride. - The Coroner:  This man did not send out the deceased:  what am I to go into this affair for?  - Mr Day:  But to whom are we to attach the blame?  - The Foreman:  I say Mr Pridham is to be blamed for allowing boys to take care of horses.  - The Coroner:  I am here to enquire into the cause of death.  - Mr Harris:  You can make a recommendation that the horses shall not be given in charge of boys.  - The Coroner said he thought Dendle ought to be ashamed of himself to put a boy ten years old on the horse.  - The witness Dendle replied that the boys kept bothering him so to let them ride, and the horse was very quiet.  The Coroner cautioned witness not to send children out on horses again.  After some deliberation, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  They did not blame any one in particular, but at the same time condemned the custom of sending boys to water horses, and hoped it would cease.

Thursday 28 October 1875

BIDEFORD - Sudden Death. - On Sunday morning last, MISS HODGES, was found dead in her bedroom by her brother, MR THOMAS HODGES, of the firm of Messrs. Oliver and Hodges, wholesale wine and spirit merchants, grocers, &c., High-street, Bideford.  The deceased acted as house-keeper to her brother, and, after arranging everything for the following day, retired to rest on the Saturday night in her usual health.  On the following morning, about seven o'clock, she called the servant, who proceeded to make a cup of chocolate, as was her usual custom, for her mistress, and on MR HODGES coming downstairs, he took the cup of chocolate up to his sister.  On knocking at her bedroom door and receiving no answer, he presumed she had fallen to sleep again, and would not disturb her; but on his going to the door an hour afterwards and receiving no reply, he opened the door, and the first thing which met his eyes was the prostrate body of his sister, who was lying on the floor before him.  Dr Ackland was sent for, and on his arrival pronounced life to be extinct.  Deceased had commenced to dress, as she had her stockings on, and the fatal attack must have been instantaneous, as she made no alarm, or she must have been heard.  A great deal of sympathy is felt for the family, who are much and deservedly respected.  - A Coroner's Inquest was held on the body on Monday evening, at the residence of the deceased, before Dr Thompson, Borough Coroner.  The gentlemen composing the Jury were - Mr J. C. Saunders, foreman, and Messrs. J. Joce, E. Down, Joshua Heywood, A. Oatway, R. T. Hookway, G. Pollard, T. Folland, S. Cruwys, H. Lee Hutchings, T. Hogg, and J. Brown.  - Dr Ackland deposed that on Sunday morning last, about 9.30, he was called to see the deceased, and found her partly dressed, lying on her back on the floor of her bedroom.  On examining the body he found her quite dead.  Her face was swollen, and of a bluish tint.  He was of opinion her death arose from coma, caused in all probability either by apoplexy or epilepsy.  On the bed was a wash-hand basin containing about a quarter to a half pint of bile, which gave ground to believe that she was suffering from some affection of the head.  - Emma Pitman stated that she had been in the service of deceased for about twelve months.  She had until recently enjoyed good health, but lately she had complained of head-ache, and she had tied a piece of flannel tightly around her head.  She had known deceased to be sick of a morning.  On the Saturday preceding her death she expressed herself as being better, and performed her usual duties until she retired to rest, which was about eleven o'clock.  On the following morning, about 7.30, she called her as usual, by means of a bell-pull.  - Mr Oliver said the deceased had acted as housekeeper to the establishment for upwards of fourteen years, and spoke to her general good health, until lately, when she had complained at times of great pain in the head.  - MR THOMAS HODGES, brother of deceased, who was much affected, also spoke of the great pain in the head deceased had suffered from for sometime past.  On Friday last she suffered acutely, and wore a flannel bandage round her head, but on the following day she was much better, ate a hearty dinner, and said how she enjoyed it.  She retired to bed about her usual hour.  He was not aware she was in the habit of taking medicine.  On the following morning, about half-past eight, he came downstairs, and finding the kettle boiling, he asked the servant to make Mr Oliver, his partner, (who had been unwell for some time,) a cup of cocoa, and he would take it upstairs to him, which she did; and she also made a cup for his sister, which he took to her bedroom door, but on receiving no response from her when he called, he thought she was asleep, and he would not disturb her.  He thereupon took the cocoa downstairs again, but on finding half an hour afterwards that his sister had not come down, he at once proceeded to her bedroom, and as she did not answer his call, he entered her room, and going round by her bedside found her lying full length on her back, perfectly motionless.  On touching her he found she was quite warm.  He immediately sent for medical aid, and Dr Ackland was soon in attendance.  - The Coroner briefly reviewed the evidence, remarking that though it was quite impossible for a medical man to state positively the exact cause of death without a post mortem examination, still there was nothing in this case to suggest in the slightest degree that deceased had come to her death by other than natural causes. The Jury at once returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.  The Jurors' fees were handed over to the foreman for the Bideford Dispensary and Infirmary.

BRAMPFORD SPEKE - A Mysterious Death. - Mr Crosse, County Coroner, held an Inquest on Friday at Brampford Speke, near Exeter, respecting the death of a Tiverton woman named BEEDLE, who had been missing from her home since the 8th instant, when she left late at night in a state of intoxication without bonnet or shawl.  On Wednesday her body was washed from the river into some marshes at Brampford Speke, and when examined by a medical man some contusions were found about the head, which led him to suppose that deceased had met her death through violence.  During the Inquiry a post mortem examination of the head was made, but there was no fracture of the skull, and the medical man expressed himself of opinion that death was caused by drowning.  The Jury returned an open verdict of "Found Drowned."

EXETER - Sudden Death In A Court Of Justice. - Some excitement was caused at the Castle of Exeter on Thursday, during the holding of the County Quarter Sessions, by the report that a man had dropped dead in the witnesses' ante-room.  The report proved true.  The deceased was GEORGE GILLHAM, of Berry Pomeroy, who was to have appeared a s a material witness in a fowl-stealing case.  He fell ill suddenly, while waiting for his case to come on, and was at once taken to the Devon and Exeter, but he died before he reached that institution.  Mr Hooper, Coroner, opened an Inquest at the Topsham Inn, when medical evidence was given, shewing that death resulted from natural causes, and a verdict to that effect was returned.

Thursday 4 November 1875

UGBOROUGH - Sad Effects Of Drink. - An Inquest was held on Saturday, by Mr H. Michelmore, Coroner, on the body of ANN WOOD, wife of GEORGE WOOD, of the Anchor Inn.  They had been married nine years, and during the last two years the deceased had drunk to excess.  She managed to get a duplicate key of the spirits, which her friends, however, succeeded in getting away from her, but she afterwards obtained it again.  On Thursday night her husband went to bed, leaving her and her step-daughter downstairs.  They went up to go to bed at half-past ten, the stepdaughter leaving the deceased to go into her bedroom.  Her husband was then half asleep, but remembered hearing her come in.  He awoke at half-past twelve, and, seeing a light downstairs, called, but not receiving any answer, went down, and found the deceased sitting by the fire with a small table by her side.  She was dead, with her head leaning on the chair.  On the table was a cup, with the dregs of brandy in it.  The duplicate key was afterwards found in the taproom.  The Coroner commented on the case, characterizing it as a very sad one; and the Jury returned a verdict, in accordance with the medical evidence, of "Death from apoplexy brought on by drinking."

TORRINGTON - Suicide Of A Pauper At the Torrington Union-House.  An aged pauper named WILLIAM CARTER, formerly a farm labourer of the parish of Yarnscombe, but occasionally an inmate of the Union house for some years past, and permanently since August in last year, committed suicide in the sick room on Monday last, by cutting his throat with his clasp knife, which inflicted a slight wound from which he bled to death.  An Inquest was held on the body on Wednesday (yesterday), at the Union house, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, at which Thomas Cann, the master of the Union House, was examined, as were also Ambrose Symonds, and William Hutchings, inmates, and Dr. C. R. Jones, the medical attendant of the house.  From their evidence it appeared that the deceased, who was 75 years of age, was of a very passionate and quarrelsome disposition, but had given no evidence of insanity, nor had he ever been known to threaten self-destruction.  He was in bed in the sick room, having been under the doctor's care, and there was no other patient in the room with him at the time.  The master had been in to see him between two and three o'clock in the afternoon, and had reproved him for having falsely accused some of the other inmates of smoking.  On leaving the room the master told him he must not again disturb the other inmates in the night, and added, "You understand what I say," to which deceased replied with a grunt, which was not uncommon with him.  Within less than half an hour after the master had left, Ambrose Symonds, another inmate, who was in the day-room adjoining, wanted to wash his hands, and opened the door of the sick-room for the purpose, when he saw the deceased with his head lying out over the bed, with a pool of blood under him, and a chamber partly filled with blood which had issued from a wound in his throat.  He was frightened, and ran hastily for assistance, and William Hutchings returned with him, and he then went and called the master, who returned and found the poor man in the state described, quite dead, with his clasp knife covered with blood on the stool by the side of the bed.  The poor creature must have committed the act immediately after the master first left him, and so noiselessly that no sound was heard in the room adjoining.  Dr Jones came immediately, and found that the wound had divided the skin and wounded the superficial jugular vein, and that death took place from haemorrhage.  The Jury, after some deliberation, found a verdict "That the deceased had destroyed himself, but in what state of mind he was at the time there was no evidence to show."

Thursday 18 November 1875

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death Of An Infant. - An Inquest was held at the Railway Hotel, Boutport-street, on Tuesday morning, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Coroner for the Borough, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr W. Cummings was foreman, touching the death of a child eight months old, infant son of JAMES EMERY, licensed hawker, Myrtle-place, which was found dead in bed by the side of its parents early on Monday morning.  The child was a strong and healthy one, and had ailed nothing from its birth up to Saturday last, when it was found to be suffering from a severe cold, causing great difficulty in breathing.  The mother was very ill in bed, only just recovering from typhoid fever, and could not attend it, and for some little time past the child had been sent to the creche in Lower Church-street, from which on Saturday evening it was returned very ill.  The father attended to it, but did not send for the doctor until the next day, and then the messenger failed to deliver the message required.  The child had nothing but milk, refusing solid food, and continued very ill.  Next morning, about six o'clock, the mother on awaking found that the child was dead.  Its head was on the pillow, and it appeared to have died placidly, there being no discolouration or rigidity of the body.  Mr J. W. Cooke saw the child after it was dead, and gave evidence that there was nothing in the appearance of the body to indicate that it had died from other than natural causes.  The Coroner, in summing up, said there had been great negligence in not sending for the doctor in the child's critical condition, and censured the father, who was present, for not doing so.  The father declared that he had sent Mrs Frances Smith for the doctor, but Mr Cooke stated that Mrs Smith only mentioned her own child.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 25 November 1875

BARNSTAPLE - A Child Burnt To Death. - An Inquest was held at the Unicorn Inn, Pilton, last evening (Wednesday), before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, touching the death of a child aged six years, named ELIZA GREGORY, daughter of JOHN GREGORY, a labourer at the tanyard, living at the Priory, Pilton.  It seems that the mother, who has four other children, went out of the house on Tuesday afternoon, about half-past three o'clock, to see her sister-in-law a few doors away, leaving the deceased in the house with another neighbour's child about the same age.  Nothing was seen of the children until about 10 minutes past four o'clock, when a woman named Jane Watts, wife of Thomas Watts, a porter, residing in the neighbourhood, happening to pass GREGORY'S house, observed fire in the passage. She went immediately, and found it was the deceased on her knees in the passage enveloped in flames.  She was not screaming, nor did she speak.  Mrs Watts at once reached down a sheet she saw on a line near, and wrapped the child in it.  By that time the mother, having been apprised of the melancholy occurrence, had hastened to the spot.  Mr Fernie, surgeon, was called, but he pronounced the burns so extensive that it was impossible the child could live.  She was fearfully burnt over all her body, and the hair was burnt off her head.  He did what he could to relieve her pain, and she died about one o'clock next morning.  The child explained that she was reaching the kettle to put it on the fire, when her pinafore caught fire.  She went out screaming into the passage, and tried to get into the next door neighbour's; but the children of the house closed the door against her, and she laid down on her face in the passage.  A similar statement was made by the other child who was present, and who had gone for assistance when Mrs Watts found the child in the passage under the dreadful circumstances narrated.   The witnesses called were Mrs Watts, Mrs Gammon, MRS GREGORY (the mother), and Mr Fernie.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Burned."

ALVERDISCOTT - A Child Drowned. - On Monday last, a little boy, four years of age, called WILLIAM HENRY BRAUNTON, son of HENRY BRAUNTON, of this parish, came to his death accidentally under the following circumstances.  He had gone out to play with an elder brother and sister and another little boy, when he ran away from the others, who returned after some time without him, supposing that he had found his way home.  On the return of his brother and sister the father asked them where the deceased was, when they said that they had thought he was home before them; upon which the father became alarmed, and went instantly in search, taking the elder brother with him.  They had not gone far when the little fellow called out to his father, "Here WILLY is in the well!" and sure enough it was so:  the child had fallen into an unprotected well by the road side and was drowned.  An Inquest was held on the body on Wednesday before J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, when these facts were deposed to, and a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" was returned, the Jury expressing their censure of the too common practice of leaving such dangerous wells open and accessible to children.

Thursday 2 December 1875

HATHERLEIGH - The Unfortunate man, JOHN SMALE, who was drowned at Hatherleigh on November 6th, was found in the river only three fields from the accident on Sunday last, by Mr Samuel Chowings.  An Inquest was held before Mr Fulford, Coroner.  Mr Hopper, his late master, and his brother, identified the body by the clothes.  In answer to a question from the Jury, Mr Hopper stated that he did not think the accident would have happened if there had been reins attached to the horse.  - Mr Downing spoke to seeing the man jump into the water to guide the horse.  The Jury were of opinion that the man had been accidentally drowned, in consequence of the horse, which was being driven without reins, running into the water; and censured the master for allowing the man to attempt to pass the water under such circumstances, especially as SMALE was a man of weak intellect.  - [The supposition that the body which was seen carried down by the flood at Torrington on Saturday fortnight was that of this young man could not have been correct.  We have seen no account of any one else having been missed in the neighbourhood.  Who could that corpse have been? - ED].

YEOFORD - Fatal Accident On The North Devon Railway. - On Tuesday morning a distressing and fatal accident occurred on the North Devon Railway, near the Yeoford Station, a spot which of late has become noted for the number of mishaps which have occurred there.  It appears that just as the 11.20 a.m. train from Lidford to Okehampton was nearing the Yeoford Station, the engine-driver suddenly pulled up.  Very naturally the passengers looked out to see the reason of the sudden stoppage, and on doing so they were horrified to find that beneath the wheels of the carriages was the mangled body of a man.  As soon as the train could be stopped, the body was removed, and was eventually conveyed to the Railway Inn, at Crediton, where it awaits an Inquest.  The unfortunate man was an elderly labourer, named WILLIAM WELSFORD, and resided at Bideford, and it would appear that he was knocked down by the engine in endeavouring to cross the line.

Thursday 16 December 1875

BIDEFORD - Immorality And Neglect. - Under this heading the 'Western Morning News' of the 9th gives the report of an Inquest held at Plymouth the previous evening on the body of an illegitimate child, seven years of age, called WILLIAM HENRY HOOKWAY, son of a widow residing at Bideford.  After the medical man had given evidence that the child suffered from hereditary constitutional disease, but had not received proper food and care, although he was not prepared to say that neglect had caused death, a witness called Elizabeth Parkhouse stated that she resided in Grosvenor-street, and in May last ANN HOOKWAY (a widow), mother of deceased, came to her house to be confined.  She told witness that she came from the North of Devon, that the father of the deceased was a business man of the town, and that she came there to be confined privately.  The deceased was born on the 18th May.  - Sarah Richards deposed that she resided at 33 Stillman-street, and had been in the habit of taking care of children.  She received the child about four months ago, and ever since she had had charge of it it had been very unwell and wasting away, but she had not taken it to a surgeon, nor had she had any advice.  She had always kept it clean, but she admitted that the surgeon told her that it was very dirty.  The child was taken ill on Tuesday week last, after it had been vaccinated; it became worse on Saturday night, and died the following morning.  The morning the deceased died she went to Mr Harper, surgeon, who vaccinated it, to get a certificate of death from him, although he had not seen the deceased during its illness.  - Eliza Gorman said that she was the sister-in-law of the mother of the deceased, and that the mother resided at Mill-street, Bideford, and kept a dairy, and had four legitimate children.  Her husband was a shipwright, but he had been dead some time.  When the mother came to Plymouth witness sent her to the witness Parkhouse, who consented to take her in.  The mother paid 4s. a week for the maintenance of the deceased.  Witness last saw the child about a month ago, and she was then told it was very well.  MRS HOOKWAY constantly asked her in her letters how the deceased was.  In answer to the Coroner, witness said that it was no difference to her whether the deceased was thriving or not.  - The Coroner condemned the system of keeping young children that was carried on in Plymouth.  In the present case a MRS HOOKWAY got into trouble, and not wishing the people of Bideford to know her condition, she came to Plymouth to be confined.  She left the town soon afterwards, leaving behind the deceased; and she did not care how it was looked after.  The child was diseased, and its state required especial attention, which, however, it did not receive.  He did not think that the Jury could make any one criminally liable, but he thought that there was neglect on some persons' part, and that they ought to be censured.  The Jury, after consulting for upwards of half an hour, returned a verdict "That the deceased died from Natural Causes; but, at the same time, they considered that the conduct of the mother (MRS HOOKWAY) and Eliza Gorman deserved to be severely censured, although they did not hold them to be criminally responsible; also that great blame was due to Sarah Richards, for not taking that care of the deceased that its condition required; and they strongly urged her to give up the system of taking in children."  - The Coroner, at the request of the Jury, disallowed the expenses of all the witnesses.

Thursday 23 December 1875

DAWLISH - It was stated a few days ago that the son and two daughters of MR BICKHAM, painter, had been severely burnt by the ignition of some black grate varnish and the bursting of the jar which had contained it.  MISS BICKHAM died on Friday morning, and her brother and sister are in a dangerous state. 

The Fatal Burning - Last Wednesday week, Dec. 8th, at MR BICKHAM's, painter and glazier, Brunswick-place, a jar of black grate varnish, which was either frozen or too thick for use, had been placed on a stove in the kitchen to dissolve, and it is supposed the jar must have been cracked by the heat, for on being removed by MR BICKHAM'S son the bottom fell out, when he was near the door, and the varnish ran about the room, which was instantly in flames.  The two daughters were in the kitchen, and while running out they were burnt severely, as was also the son, who, notwithstanding his injuries, did what he could to arrest the progress of the flames. So dreadfully was the eldest daughter burnt that she died a few days since, and an Inquest was held at the Royal Hotel on Saturday evening, before Mr Coroner Michelmore and a respectable Jury.  After the Jury had viewed the body, a pitiable sight, the Inquiry commenced by first taking the evidence of CHARLES BICKHAM, at the house.  Mr Parsons, the medical man, being in attendance, said that CHARLES BICKHAM wished to describe to the Coroner and Jury how the accident occurred.  -  WM. BICKHAM said he was a saddler, at present residing at Exeter, but he was sent for on the day of the accident, and the deceased, who was his sister CHARLOTTE, described to him how it occurred.  In answer to the Coroner, witness said he had himself used the jar in the same way a great many times during the last ten years.  The Coroner remarked it was very dangerous indeed to use an earthenware jar in this way by placing it on the fire, and the accident would no doubt be a warning to every one for the future.  - Mr A. D. Parsons, surgeon, who lives near, said he happened to be home on the morning of the accident, when the youngest MISS BICKHAM ran into his house with portions of her dress on fire.  He returned to the house with her immediately and had attended the sufferers every since.  After hearing the above evidence, the Jury were unanimous in returning a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 30 December 1875

DEVONPORT - A Family Poisoned. - A melancholy case of accidental poisoning, which has resulted in one death - that of a little girl, SUSANNAH ELLEN PARNELL, four years old - has occurred at Devonport.  On Thursday the grandmother of the deceased made broth for dinner, and into it placed a sprig or two of what she believed to be parsley, taken from a bunch which had been used from previously without any ill effects.  The mother has recently been confined, and her nurse ate but little of it, as it was sour.  That little, however, made her very sick.  The grandmother, the deceased, and the charwoman, ate heartily of the broth, although at the time it was noticed that it was unaccountably peppery.  Very soon afterwards the three were seized with violent pains; but after vomiting, the grandmother and charwoman recovered somewhat.  The deceased, however, was unable to vomit, but foamed at the mouth, and in a few hours was seized with a fit, and died.  At the Inquest held on Christmas-eve, Mr Bennett, surgeon, said in his opinion death had resulted from eating monkshood - an irritant poison - which much resembled parsley, and had been gathered for it in mistake.  No monkshead was found amongst the parsley that was left.  The Inquest was adjourned  in order that a post mortem examination and further inquiries might be made.  The grandmother's life is despaired of.

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - On Monday afternoon, an old man named EMMANUEL CHAPPLE belonging to the parish of Barnstaple, over eighty years of age, fell down as he was walking through the market, and almost immediately expired.  Deceased had long been an inmate of the workhouse, having come out on leave, and the body was conveyed there, and on Tuesday Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, held an Inquiry into the cause of death, when, upon the evidence of Mr Cooke, medical officer to the Union, it appeared that deceased had for a long time suffered from heart disease; and the Jury thereupon returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 6 January 1876

TORRINGTON - Inquest. - On Thursday last, an Inquest was held at the Railway Hotel, by J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on the body of ROBERT COPP, who died suddenly on the previous day (as reported in our last).  It appeared from the evidence of HENRY COPP, son of deceased, aged 13 years, that about 2.30 p.m. on the 29th Dec., he was working with his father, levelling a bank for Mr J. B. Reed, near Staple Vale:  they were both working with shovels, when he saw his father lean on the shovel staff for a few minutes, and then fall down on his back.  His father did not complain or make any noise.  On going to him he looked to be dead.  He called for assistance, and two men named Martin and Matthews (who were working near) came and a cart was procured to take deceased home.  About twelve months ago his father had suffered rheumatism, and went to the Barnstaple Infirmary, but he had lately enjoyed general good health.  Dr. Jones stated that he had known deceased for many years.  He used to keep horses, and had worked for him.  About twelve months since he had an attack of rheumatism, and was attended by Mr Pattinson, surgeon.  He got worse, and went to the Infirmary, where he was an in-patient for several weeks.  Some weeks since he saw deceased working in a  field for Mr J. Mallet, and after some conversation, he examined deceased, who complained of debility and difficulty of breathing in going up hill.  He told deceased that he had a rheumatic heart, and that he must be cautious.  His opinion was that deceased died from disease of the heart.  The Jury at once returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.  Deceased was 58 years of age, and has left a widow and seven children.

PLYMPTON - The danger of trespassing on a  railway received a sad illustration on Saturday evening, when MR TRUSCOTT, aged 47 years, was knocked down by the up mail train when taking a short cut across the South Devon line at Laira to reach his home at Plympton.  The Jury at the Coroner's Inquest exonerated every one from blame, and praised the railway officials for their promptitude and humanity.

BARNSTAPLE - Another Sudden Death At Barnstaple. - At ten o'clock on Monday morning an Inquest was held at the North Country Inn, Boutport-street, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of JAMES HEARD, labourer, of Green-lane, in this town, who died on Saturday evening in a very sudden manner, under circumstances disclosed in the following evidence.  - The Jury having been duly sworn, ROSA HEARD deposed that the deceased JAMES HEARD was her husband:  he was a labourer, and was 32 years of age.  He was used to work in a barge belonging to Mr Lauder, of Pottington, lime-burner.  He had been out to work every day since she married him - about two years ago, and was an industrious sober man.  They had no family.  On Saturday last he went to his work, as usual, about six o'clock, a.m., and except that he had a bad cough he was in his usual state of health.  When he returned from his work about seven o'clock in the evening he was shivering.  He had his supper, consisting of tea and fish and bread, and then said he would go to bed.  She afterwards went out to get some provisions for the house, and was away about three quarters of an hour.  When she returned she went upstairs to deceased, who said he would like some rum and water.  She went out to get it, and upon her return deceased said - "There is something the matter with me.  I can't draw my breath."  She then called in a neighbour, and sent for Mr Fernie, who arrived in a few minutes.  Deceased was then looking very pale, and was gasping for breath, and within ten minutes after Mr Fernie arrived he died.  - Wm. Parminter, labourer, said he had known deceased for the last twenty years, and used to work with him discharging vessels.  On Saturday he was employed with him discharging a vessel called the New Lydney Trader, for Mr Alfred How.  She was laden with coals, and was discharging at Rolle's Quay.  Deceased worked at the winch, and while winding he let it go, and the handle struck him on the lower part of the stomach.  After the blow he said he could hardly breathe, and stopped working for a few minutes.  They left off working at six o'clock, and shared 4s. each for their work, and afterwards had a pint of beer each at Mrs Pyke's, and deceased went home.  He complained of being shivered. He drank three pints of beer during his work.  Mr Andrew Fernie, surgeon, deposed that he was called to the deceased about nine o'clock on Saturday evening, and found him sitting up in bed, looking very ill, and gasping for breath.  He could hardly speak, and seemed as if he were being suffocated.  He gave deceased a stimulating draught, but it had no effect upon him.  The deceased fell back on the pillow and died in a few minutes.  He could not state positively the cause of his death.  There were no marks on his body.  - The Coroner recommended that the Enquiry be adjourned until Tuesday evening in order that Mr Fernie should make a post mortem examination of the body, and the Jury concurring therein, an adjournment took place accordingly.  - The adjourned Inquest for the result of the post mortem examination was held at the North Country Inn on Tuesday evening.  Mr Andrew Fernie, M.R.C.S., deposed that in accordance with the order of the Coroner he had made a post mortem examination of the body of deceased.  He found a considerable amount of bloody fluid in the pericardium (the bag containing the heart).  The presence of this fluid would prevent action of the heart, and so cause death.  He had no doubt that did cause death.  The heart itself appeared to be healthy, and the other organs of the body also, excepting the right lung, which was not so healthy:  it was somewhat adherent to the ribs, and showed indication of former disease; but this would have nothing to do with the man's death.  He was inclined to think that death was the result of a blow, and that the fluid he found, and which prevented the heart's action, was caused by the two blows referred to in the evidence.  There were no external marks of the blows.  He considered the presence of the fluid sufficient to cause death, as deceased was in other respects a healthy man, and might have lived for years.  - The Coroner, in summing up to the Jury, said he thought that was all the evidence he need call before them.  The last time they met to enquire into the matter they were rather astonished at the very sudden way in which the man died - his being found, shortly after he came home and had had his supper, gasping for breath, and dying in a few moments.  Mr Fernie had now told them he had opened the body and found the presence of this fluid in the pericardium.  It was an unusual thing to find in a normal condition any fluid of that kind; and the presence of it there was no doubt the result of the accident.  He believed the Jury would agree with the doctor in his opinion - which there seemed no reason to question - that death was caused by some blow; and they had it in evidence that deceased actually received two severe blows which might cause this effusion to take place:  therefore his death was the result of accident.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 13 January 1876

EXETER - Sad Death Of An Exeter Lady. - MISS JESSIE ROWE, stepdaughter to Mr Kendall, magistrate for Exeter, and residing with him, was in the habit of taking sedatives for pains in the stomach and toothache, and on Monday last unfortunately took an overdose of "Hunter's Solution of Chloral," which threw her into a profound sleep, from which she never awoke!  An Inquest was held on the body, at which strong observations were made by the medical man and the Jury condemning the use of chloral except under medical supervision.

Thursday 20 January 1876

BARNSTAPLE - Left In the Road To Perish. - A very sad account was given in our last, under our Ilfracombe head, of the melancholy end (by being frozen to death) of a man called SAMUEL HENRY GAYTON, who had lived for some years in that town, but a short time ago removed to Williton, in West Somerset, near which place the fatal occurrence took place.  The deceased, we find, was a native of Barnstaple, son of parents who years ago kept the Town Arms, in Anchor-lane, and served an apprenticeship in this town, after which he removed to Ilfracombe.  The fuller particulars of the occasion of his death, as they were described at the Inquest, exhibit a picture of inhumanity such as is seldom witnessed, nor does it become less revolting from the only explanation or extenuation which is to be offered for it, viz., that the poor victim and the cruel people who should have befriended him were all more or less intoxicated.  The following report of the Inquest is from a paper of the locality: - "On Tuesday an Inquest was held at Williton (Somerset), touching the death of SAMUEL HENRY GAYTON, a gas fitter in the employ of Messrs. Gliddon, of that place.  On Saturday he went with his employer, Mr Gliddon, to a fire at Escot Farm, and helped to work the engine. After the fire was extinguished he was pressed by Mr Gliddon, sen., to go home, but instead of complying he with another man (Collins) went and had something to drink in the house.  Afterwards they were met between eight and nine p.m., between Vellow and Sampford Brett, by George Yandell, both drunk.  After walking a short distance GAYTON said he wanted to stop; the other went on, and when GAYTON started again he, no doubt, took the wrong road, wandered towards Monksilver, and then back again.  The deceased, it seems, was met by a man named Langdon, and assisted some distance along the road until Jacob's pond was reached.  Here he said he could go no further, and he begged his companion to try and get some tea or some warm water at a cottage occupied by a labourer named Roatley.  This was refused, and Roatley tried to kick the deceased while he lay in the road, as he said he had thrown water over him at the fire.  Deceased begged to be taken into the house, and even to be allowed to lie down in the pigstye, but Roatley said he should not stay on his premises.  Langdon then went away, leaving the deceased lying in the hedge, with Roatley and his wife standing by.  A gamekeeper named Parsons, who lived in an adjoining cottage, arrived, and being told it was a tipsy man, passed on and went indoors.  Roatley and his wife also went into their house, and to bed, leaving GAYTON in the hedge.  Parsons about twelve o'clock came out to see if GAYTON was gone, and finding he was not, threatened him with the police, and again went indoors and to bed.  The deceased remained on the spot, and was found quite dead and frozen the next morning, the night having been a most severe one.  At the fire his clothes had become saturated with water, and he had neglected to change them.  He had complained to Langdon, the man who met him, that he was frozen, and Langdon having placed his hand on his naked chest, found, to use his own expression, that he was 'as cold as ice.'  - The Coroner very strongly censured Roatley and Parsons, remarking that they were morally guilty of the poor man's death, through their inhuman conduct, and he regretted that he had not the power to commit them for trial.  The Jury returned a verdict of 'Death from Exposure,' and added a rider to the effect that 'the conduct of Langdon, Parsons and Roatley and his wife (especially the last three) was most inhuman and brutal.'"  Deceased leaves a wife (also a native of Barnstaple) and one child.

Thursday 27 January 1876

TOTNES - Alleged Cruelty To  A Mother, Near Totnes. - A Man And His Wife Committed For Manslaughter.  - Mr H. Michelmore, County Coroner, held an Inquest on Friday evening respecting the death of ELIZABETH ELLIOTT, aged 73 years.  The deceased had been twice married, and on the death of her second husband she went to live with her son by her first husband.  This son, who is named JOHN HANNAFORD, is married, and keeps the Maltster's Arms, at Tuckenhay, in the parish of Ashprington, and it is stated that when his mother went to live with him she had about £100 belonging to her.  MRS ELLIOTT died on Tuesday morning, and the charges made by her neighbours were so serious that the policeman stationed at Ashprington laid the matter before the Coroner, who instructed Messrs. Hains and Wallis, surgeons, of Totnes, to make a post mortem examination of the body.  At the Inquest, Susan Camp stated that the deceased had complained to her of having been kept short of food, and that she had seen the HANNAFORD'S ill-treat the deceased.  Mary Clements another woman living near by, corroborated this evidence.  Mr Hains, surgeon, stated that he and Mr Wallis had made a post mortem examination of the body, and found it emaciated to a very great extent.  There were recent scars, which appeared to be remains of old wounds, upon the legs, arms and chest.  Every organ of the body was perfectly healthy, but there was not the slightest trace of food inside, and the whole body was devoid of fatty substance.  The brain was healthy, but there was an accumulation of serum in each lateral ventricle, and this was the immediate cause of death by producing serious apoplexy.  Mr Albert J. Wallis corroborated Mr Hain's testimony, and in reply to the Coroner's Jury, both witnesses expressed their opinion that the accumulation of serum was caused by debility, and that the cause of the debility was want of nourishment.  - HANNAFORD and his wife, after being cautioned, denied having treated the deceased cruelly, or having kept her short of food.  They called a young man named Hockings, who works near the place, and who stated that he had at times seen the deceased taking her meals.  The Jury, after an absence of twenty minutes, returned as a verdict that the deceased died from neglect and want of proper care.  - The Coroner said he quite concurred with the verdict, which was tantamount to manslaughter.  -  HANNAFORD and his wife were then committed for trial at the Assizes on a charge of manslaughter, and the Coroner accepted the bail of two sureties in £50 each.  The Inquiry lasted from four until half-past ten.

Thursday 17 February 1876

PLYMOUTH - Fatal Accident On The South Devon Line. - During the thirty years that the South Devon Railway remained the property of an independent company no passenger was ever killed on the line from causes beyond his own control.  It is somewhat singular , therefore, that within ten days of the management passing into the hands of the Great Western Railway Company, an accident should have occurred w2hich unfortunately has been attended with fatal results.  Of course the transfer in no way contributed to this, as the management has, as yet, undergone no change.  A train from Plymouth, when nearing Tavistock Station, passed over points which had been imperfectly opened, and the engine and the two foremost carriages left the rails.  the passengers received a severe shaking, and one of them, HENRY SKINNER, a cattle dealer, was thrown forward and then jerked backwards against the seat.  He was brought to Plymouth, and died on Monday night.  A Coroner's Inquest was opened and was adjourned for the production of technical evidence as to the condition of the points.  We are informed that the deceased was insured for £1,000 in the Accidental Insurance Company.

Thursday 24 February 1876

MERTON - Sudden Death. - An Inquest was held in this parish on Monday last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner for the County, on the body of MR JOHN MOASE, carpenter, aged 73, who had died suddenly.  It appeared from the evidence that deceased resided with his daughter, the wife of Richard Harris, carpenter.  About three o'clock in the afternoon of Friday last, being then in his usual health, he left his home to go to Little Potheredge Farm, about a mile and half from Merton village, for some butter for the family.  He arrived at the farm-yard, and went into the carpenter's shop, where a man named John Stapleton was at work, whom he knew, and with whom he talked pleasantly and made no complaint.  He said he had come to the farm for some butter, and left to go into the farm-house to get it, but in two or three minutes returned to the carpenter's shop, and said he was feeling poorly in his stomach.  He said he would lie down, but Stapleton advised him not, and he sat down, and at his request Stapleton went into the farm-house for the butter.  Having informed the inmates that deceased was ill, some of them came out immediately and gave him some brandy, which seemed to revive him.  Within a short time the farmer (Mr Wm. Routcliffe) came in, and finding the deceased so unwell, ordered a donkey cart to be got ready to take him home, which was done, and deceased was helped into it and took the reins, the farmer's daughter, Miss Ann Routcliffe, walking by his side.  He became worse as he got towards home, and complained that his heart felt as though it would jump out of its socket.  He kept groaning as if in much pain, and at last let go the reins and fell back into the cart, and on reaching his daughter's house a few minutes afterwards he was found to be dead.  Deceased had often complained of pains in the chest.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Died by the Visitation of God."

CHULMLEIGH - Fatal Accident To A Boy. - On Tuesday in last week (the 15thinst.), as JOHN BAKER, aged 13, servant at Week Farm, in this parish, was employed in driving the horses in a thrashing machine, by some untoward accident he got his right hand up to his wrist between the wheels of the machine.  The machinery was immediately stopped, the poor boy rescued, and surgical assistance obtained.  Dr Trail was in attendance, and Mr Tidboald and Dr Daley also saw the poor lad.  The laceration of the limb was very severe, but it was hoped at first the case would do well, until a day or two afterwards, when symptoms of gangrene appeared, which spread rapidly.  It was contemplated on Sunday to give the poor boy a chance for his life by amputating the arm; but it was found that already the trunk was affected by mortification, so that there was no hope, and he died about noon the next day.  He was a boy of very weakly constitution.  An Inquest was held on the body on Wednesday (yesterday), before J. Hy. Toller, Esq., Deputy Corner for the County when evidence was given which shewed that no one except the deceased himself was at fault for the occurrence, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

TAVISTOCK - The Coroner's Inquest into the cause of the death of HENRY SKINNER, cattle dealer, who was injured in the late railway accident at Tavistock, concluded on Friday night, after eleven o'clock.  The Jury returned a verdict of Manslaughter against William Tubbs, switchman, who was then committed for trial, bail being accepted.

Thursday 2 March 1876

EXETER - Sudden Death At Exeter - Mr Hooper, Coroner for Exeter, held an Inquest on Thursday afternoon at the Bishop Blaze Inn, respecting the death of a tinman named WM. RUDE, aged 76 years.  Mary Endacott, with whom the deceased lodged, stated that he was in his usual good health up to six o'clock on Wednesday evening.  After tea he engaged in cheerful conversation with several neighbours, and was in the act of filling his tobacco pipe, when he was noticed to suddenly turn pale and totter.  A doctor was instantly sent for, but the old man died within a few minutes of the medical man's arrival.  Mr Toswill, surgeon, said he could hardly decide whether the cause of death was heart disease, apoplexy, or aneurism, but it was evidently the result of natural causes.  A verdict to that effect was returned.

Thursday 23 March 1876

BRAUNTON - Sudden Death of MR PEARD, of Sandfield. - An Inquest was held at Sandfield House, in this parish, on Saturday last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on the body of JOHN PEARD, Esq., aged 73, who had been found dead in the road in the parish of Ashford that morning early.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased had left home the day before in his usual health to ride on horseback to Bideford.  In passing through Barnstaple, he called at Mr Hewish's, the Angel, on the Quay, where he saw Mr Hewish, jun., whom he told that he wanted to see his father about a bullock, and would call in the evening on his return.  He rode away about four in the afternoon, and returned about seven in the evening.  He alighted at the Angel, and saw Mr Hewish, with whom he remained fifteen or twenty minutes, and then got upon his horse and rode away slowly.  He appeared quite well, made no complaint, and Mr Hewish said he never saw him looking better.  He took the old road to Braunton, as he often preferred to do.  Mr Elliott, butcher, was returning with Mr Banfield, of Springfield, from Barnstaple, in a trap, and on passing Upcott Lodge heard a person coming behind them on horseback, and on getting near the gate which leads down to Springfield the person came up to them, and they saw it was MR PEARD, who said "Good night," and asked if they were going to Braunton, to which they said "No," and he rejoined, "I am, and I wish you were."  He then went on, and was not afterwards seen alive.  MR PEARD'S family were somewhat alarmed at his not returning in his usual time, and waited up for him until late, when they concluded that he had remained for the night with his nephew at Bideford, which he sometimes did, and they went to bed.  Next morning, however, they were much alarmed at finding that the horse had found his way home without his rider, and was grazing in front of the house.  Concluding, of course, that something amiss had happened, MR JAMES HENRY PEARD, son of deceased, hastened to Braunton, and called on Mr S. O. Lane, the surgeon, who accompanied him in his carriage on the new road towards Barnstaple, and sent a boy on the old road, knowing that the deceased took one road sometimes and sometimes the other.  They had not gone far when they met the postman, who had come from Barnstaple, and as he had seen or heard nothing of the deceased they inferred that he must have come by the old road, and therefore returned and took that road towards Barnstaple, but had not gone above half a mile when they met the boy coming towards them with the news that the deceased had been picked up in the road dead that morning between six and seven o'clock by Wm. Seage, who works with Mr George Ley, at Mainstone Farm, Ashford, about fifty cloth yards from the third mile post on the Barnstaple side and about three-quarters of a mile from the spot at which he parted from Mr Elliott and Mr Banfield.  He was lying on his back across the road, his hat and walking-stick being by his right side.  The body did not appear to have been at all disturbed, and as the road is not a much frequented one it is very likely that Seage was the first person who had passed from the time the deceased lay there.  Seage did not know the gentleman, but went and told his master, Mr Ley, at Mainstone, who came to the spot and then got a horse and cart and removed the body to Mr Ley's barn, and sent off to inform the police-sergeant at Braunton, and it was the messenger of Mr Ley whom the boy of MR PEARD met on the road, and who gave him the information.  MR PEARD and Mr Lane hastened to the barn, where the latter identified the body and examined it.  Deceased had been dead for several hours.  There were no bruises or other marks of injury whatever, so that it is not probable the deceased fell off his horse.  The likelihood is that, feeling unwell, he alighted, and then had a seizure, in which he fell, and never rallied.  Possibly the intense cold of the night may have hastened the fatal issue.  Deceased had had a seizure about three years before, and had since been partially paralysed.  From the position of his hat and stick the doctor thought deceased had never moved after he fell.  There were a few shillings in his pocket, a key and a pencil.  He was not in the habit of carrying a purse.  There was not the smallest reason for supposing that the body had been in any way disturbed.  By Mr Lane's order the body was removed to the residence of deceased.  Mr Lane had often warned deceased that he ought not to be out at night alone.  Upon his evidence the Jury had no hesitation in finding a verdict of "Found on the turnpike road dead from apoplexy."

Thursday 30 March 1876

CREDITON - Death Through Drink. - On Saturday R. R. Crosse, Esq., held an Inquest at the Union Workhouse touching the death of MATTHEW BELLAMY, 63, a farm labourer, of Colebrook, which presented some suspicious circumstances.  The deceased was admitted to the Workhouse on the 11th inst.  He stated that he was suffering from a blow, and that he believed his ribs were broken.  He died on Wednesday.  Mr Wm. Vanstone, master of the Crediton Union, stated the facts of the reception, kind treatment, and death of the deceased in the house.  JOHN BELLAMY, 11, son of the deceased, stated that on the 9th inst. his father came home tipsy.  His mother threw a three-legged stool at him, but it did not hit him.  His father fell back in his chair from being tipsy.  Deceased took up the stool and threw it at his wife.  There was no more quarrelling after.  Witness did not know whether his father hurt himself by falling on the chair.  Elizabeth Burrows, a neighbour of the parties, also gave evidence of the quarrel.  Mr Edward, surgeon, stated that an injury which the deceased had received on the left side was the cause of death.  The injury must have been inflicted by a heavy blow, or by a heavy fall on a point of a chair. He did not think it could have been caused by a man falling on the chair as described by the boy.  MRS BELLAMY gave evidence exonerating herself.  The Jury returned the following verdict - "That deceased died from the effects of an injury inflicted on the left side, but how or by what means such injury was inflicted no evidence appears to the Jury.

BARNSTAPLE - A Girl Scalded To Death. - On Saturday last, R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of a little girl, four years old, named BEATRICE SMITH, who was scalded to death under the following circumstances.  The deceased was the illegitimate off-spring of a charwoman named CHARLOTTE BAKER, living in Boden's-row, and whilst the mother was out at work the child was looked after by the next door neighbour, Mrs Harris.  On the 11th instant the child was in Mrs Harris's house, asleep on the floor in front of the fire, and after she had been in that position for about three hours, the kettle of boiling water which was on the fire turned over, owing to the sticks underneath having burned down.  The contents of the kettle fell on the deceased, who was very much scalded.  Mrs Harris and a woman named Amelia Lock were in the room at the time, and the former, instead of immediately going for medical assistance, ran to the house of a Mrs Gammon, who she understood could "say words" to get out the fire.  Mrs Gammon was upstairs, and she told the daughter to go up and tell her mother what had happened.  By the time she returned the mother of the child had arrived, and she requested her (Mrs Harris) to get some oils to strike the scalds with.  She obtained a bottle of oil at the Dispensary, and some of it was applied to the scalds.  The child got no better, and the next day Mr J. W. Cooke, surgeon, was sent for, but the poor little thing lingered on until Thursday last, when it died.  - Mr Cooke stated that a day or two after the accident occurred sympathetic fever set in, and the child died from exhaustion, the result of the injuries sustained by the scalds.  Had he been called in before, he did not think it would have made any difference as to the result.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death, but they appended a rider to the verdict to the effect that, according to the evidence, much negligence and carelessness was attributable to the two women who were present when the accident occurred.  We hardly know whether more to condemn the shocking inhumanity of the two women who could see the little innocent lying before the fire, and did not rush to rescue her from the boiling fluid; or to pity the ignorant superstition which could appeal to a woman to "say words" over the sufferer.  Clearly the schoolmaster has yet much to do both to instruct and to humanise. - ED.

EXETER - Fatal Accident At The Exeter Queen-Street, Station. - Mr Coroner Hooper held an Inquest on Monday evening at the Valiant Soldier Inn, Exeter, touching the death of WILLIAM RICHARDSON, aged 46.  Inspector Rogers watched the Inquiry on behalf of the Railway Company.  AGNES RICHARDSON, deceased's wife, residing at Appledore, identified the body as that of her husband, who was a plate-layer on the London and South Western Railway.  David Penwarden, a ganger at the Queen-street Station, said the deceased was working on the line about al quarter past ten that morning.  When the 10.15 up train was starting some trucks were being shunted, but owing to the noise being by the engine they did not hear the trucks coming. One of the trucks struck the deceased, knocked him down, and went over him, cutting his right leg off just above the knee.  Witness was stooping at the time the trucks came along, and received a severe blow in the hip, but could not tell whether it was from the deceased or the trucks.  Witness lifted up the deceased, who cried out, "Oh, my God, let me lie down and die!"  Samuel Crocker, foreman of the goods yard at the station, said the engine-driver blew his whistle, and he shouted to the men to get out of the way:  saw several of them do so.  The first truck was laden with coal, and would probably weight about 15 tons.  Alexander Dean, engine-driver, having given evidence, Mr H. G. Cummings, house surgeon at the Hospital, said deceased died almost directly he was brought to the Hospital.  The Jury considered there was no blame attached to any one, and returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 6 April 1876

BARNSTAPLE - Mysterious Case of Sudden Death. - On Saturday morning, R. I. Bencraft, Esq., the Borough Coroner, held an Inquest at the Star Inn, on the Quay, on the body of CHARLES MITCHELL, a young man, who acted in the capacity of machinist and gasman to M. Gompertz's panorama, which has been on exhibition at the Music Hall.

The Jury, of whom Mr G. T. Gaydon was foreman, having viewed the body, Mr Elijah Pryce was called, and deposed that his home was in London, but he was now travelling as manager of the panorama.  Deceased, who was the machinist and gasman, was about 29 years of age, and had been connected with the company nearly four years.  They arrived by train on Wednesday morning from Exeter.  He had been apparently in good health, but had complained a day or two before his death of a pain in his chest.  He attended to his duties as usual on Thursday evening, and remained after the performance to extinguish the gas and see that all was right.  Witness passed him on the stairs a few minutes after 10 o'clock, and bade him good night.  That was the last he saw of him.  He noticed nothing the matter with him, and he appeared to be perfectly sober.  He was a young man of temperate habits, and was married, but was living apart from his wife.  John Pratt, assistant-machinist, who stated Inverness to be his home, deposed that he had known the deceased about two years, and came with him from Exeter to Barnstaple on Wednesday.  They occupied the same bedroom at a lodging-house in Cross-street, kept by Mr John Wall.  They left the Music Hall together about 10 o'clock on Thursday night, and entered the public-house opposite, where the deceased had two-pennyworth of rum and witness a glass of beer.  They remained there about half-an-hour, but had nothing more to drink.  He complained of a pain in his chest, but did not look ill.  He said there seemed to be a weight on his chest, which pulled him to the ground, and rendered his breathing a matter of difficulty, and he also said he had never suffered so much before.  Witness, however, did not notice that he breathed heavily.  They went straight home, and before going to bed deceased had a basin of gruel with some rum in it, which he had requested the landlady in the morning to prepare for him.  Witness slept in the same bed, and followed him to the room in about 20 minutes or half-an-hour.  Deceased was not asleep, but appeared to have been reading, for there were a candle and a book on the chair by his side.  Nothing passed between them beyond one or two casual remarks but about two o'clock in the morning witness was awakened by the deceased groaning and struggling, and there was also a gurgling noise in his throat.  Witness shouted to him and tried to raise him, but he still remained unconscious, and witness therefore called in another member of the company, named Fraser, who slept in an adjoining room.  He came in, and witness then resolved to go for a doctor, and he and the landlady's son accordingly went and fetched Mr Fernie.  They returned in about 10 minutes, and the deceased was then dead.  The witness added that he was not aware that deceased was suffering from any affection of the heart or lungs, and he confirmed the last witness's statement as to the temperateness of his habits.  In reply to Mr Fernie, he mentioned that the deceased first complained of the pain in his chest on Thursday morning, when he arose earlier than usual, remarking that he could not lie any longer.  Charles Robert Fraser, who also described himself as an assistant-machinist, deposed to being called in by the last witness about the time mentioned.  Pratt struck a light, and when witness looked at the deceased he was lying on his back, and there was a gurgling noise proceeding from his throat.  They lifted him up, and Pratt went for a doctor.  He drew one breath, and then witness raised his head and listened, but could not hear him breathe.  Just afterwards, however, he drew another long breath, and the rattling noise in his throat was repeated, and he moved no more afterwards.  This took place only a minute or two after Pratt's departure.  Witness could quite confirm what had been said with reference to the deceased's sobriety.

Mr Fernie deposed that on arriving at the house where deceased was lodging, having been called by Pratt, he found the deceased lying on his back in bed, with his arms extended at a little distance from his body.  He was dead, but was warm, so that life could only have been extinct a very short time.  there was no distortion of his features, and his fingers were not convulsed.  The bed was not much disturbed, and he appeared to have died quietly in the position in which witness found him.  Witness looked at his fingers because he thought he might have died in a fit of epilepsy, and also observed his tongue, which, however, was not bitten.  The pupils of the eyes were in a natural condition, being neither contracted nor dilated.  There was no blood in his mouth, but a little froth was oozing from one corner.  There were no marks of violence on the body. Replying to the Coroner, Mr Fernie said he could not give an opinion as to the cause of death:  he could only conjecture from the circumstance of the pain in the chest that there was something wrong there, but was quite ignorant of what it was.  The symptoms were not inconsistent with heart disease, or the rupture of a blood-vessel, but the difficulty was that the young man had been perfectly healthy before.  Had heart disease existed he would most likely have complained at intervals, but, so far as he had been able to learn, he had made no complaint whatever before experiencing the pain in the chest.  He could not even express an opinion that death was from natural causes without making a post mortem examination, but could say that there was nothing to indicate that death was otherwise than natural.  The Coroner informed the Jury of his willingness to adjourn the Enquiry until Monday, and order a post mortem examination to be made in the interim, if they considered it necessary; but for his own part he thought the evidence they had heard was quite sufficient to enable them to return a verdict, for there were no circumstances whatever to lead them to suppose that there was any foul play, or that death was attributable to anything but natural causes.  The Jury at once acquiesced in the Coroner's opinion, and returned a verdict in accordance with his suggestion - "Died by Visitation of God."

Thursday 13 April 1876

OKEHAMPTON - Suicide. - On Thursday morning a labourer, named JOHN TOLLEY, sought to destroy his life by cutting his throat with a razor.  He had previously given evidence of being insane.  Dr Waters was soon in attendance, and found that some hopes could be entertained of his recovery since the jugular vein had not been severed, but the unfortunate man survived only until three o'clock on Saturday morning.  An Inquest was held on the body on Saturday, and a verdict to the effect that deceased was of Unsound Mind was returned.  Deceased leaves a wife and one child.

Thursday 20 April 1876

APPLEDORE - Death Of A Child By Burning. - An Inquest was held on Monday last, in this place, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on view of the body of a little boy called GEORGE HENRY BYNOM, aged two years and five months, the son of WILLIAM BYNOM, seaman, who had come to his death in consequence of burns received by his having accidentally set himself on fire in the kitchen of his father's house on the Friday morning previous.  The evidence shewed that the deceased's father was at sea and the mother a very sickly person.  The sister of deceased was down early on Friday morning to light the fire and get breakfast, and in doing so she set down the candle alight on the ground before the fireplace, when the deceased came towards it unperceived and caught his dress on fire.  His screams brought the mother from the room adjoining, who extinguished the flames and sent away for the doctor, Mr Pratt, who came at once, and found that the deceased had received severe burns on the right side of the abdomen, the thigh, and the cheek.  All suitable assistance was given, but the shock to the nervous system was so great that the poor little sufferer expired the afternoon of the next day.  Verdict, "Death by Accidental Burning."

Thursday 27 April 1876

DEVONPORT - Murder By A Father At Devonport. - At the Devonport Police-court, on Monday, WILLIAM ISAAC ROBINSON, was placed at the bar, charged with the wilful murder of his child, GERTRUDE LUCY BREMNER ROBINSON, aged three years.  - Supt. Lynn said that at a quarter to nine that morning, on coming to the station, he found the prisoner there in charge of Police Constable Horne.  He said, "What is this?"  Prisoner replied, "I have killed my child."  Witness said, "I don't believe it is true."  Prisoner replied, "Oh yes, it is:  it is quite true."  One of the police brought witness a pair of trousers which were covered with blood, and prisoner said, "That is the child's blood."  He also said, "I took her from home to school.  I cleaned the school and I cut her throat."  Witness said, "Are you quite sure the child is dead?"  Prisoner replied, "Yes, I am quite sure she is dead.  I went back to see if she was dead, because I would not have her living."  Witness went to the public school at Stoke, and there saw a child lying with her throat cut, and her head nearly cut off.  The prisoner appeared sober.  He said he had drunk a shilling's worth of brandy, but he said this was drunk "after the deed was done."  Witness had ascertained that prisoner had been drinking for the last three weeks.  - The Chairman:  Do you wish to ask the superintendent any questions?  Have you anything to say why you should not be remanded until Wednesday?  - The Prisoner: No, sir. - ROBINSON was then remanded.  The prisoner, who is a man of short stature, appeared perfectly unconcerned.  He has a wife and four children.

At the Inquest on Monday evening, a servant of the accused stated that her master directed her to dress the child, as he had promised to take her to the schools when he went to clean them.  Her mistress afterwards sent her to look for the child, and she went to the school.  The doors were locked, and on seeing the deceased's cloak on a desk, she got through a window and found the child lying on the floor with its throat cut.  A policeman said that ROBINSON came to the station in the morning and stated that he wanted to give information respecting a murder that he had committed.  The constable, thinking him under the influence of drink, and seeing that he was in a profuse perspiration, told him to sit and cool himself.  ROBINSON sat patiently for some minutes, and then the constable asked various questions, to which the accused gave rational replies.  He stated that he murdered the child to save her from the worry to which he was subjected, and that he had intended to murder the two other children, but this one murder was such an awful job that he could not do it.  The worry was caused by his wife's mother and sister.  He sat reading a newspaper until the superintendent arrived.  - The Inquest was adjourned to Wednesday, when a verdict of Wilful Murder was returned by the Jury, and he was committed for trial to the Assizes.

Thursday 4 May 1876

BARNSTAPLE - Sad And Sudden Death. - An instance of sudden death took place early on Wednesday morning, in Gaydon-street, in this town, the victim being a respectable female, MISS MARY CHALLACOMBE, aged about 38, daughter of MR GEORGE CHALLACOMBE, of Combmartin, mason.  The deceased had been for the last fourteen years in service as lady's maid with an elderly lady in Bath, who died some months ago, leaving deceased a small legacy.  Deceased had for many years been engaged to a respectable man called Thos. Mogridge, who lives as coachman at Gorwell, near this town.  They were now about to be married, and deceased left Bath early in February and came to Barnstaple, where she lived in Trinity-street, with John Mogridge, dairyman, the brother of her intended husband.  He had bought a house in Gaydon-street for their future home, and to it she removed on Saturday last, for the purpose of getting it ready for their occupation, their banns having been called twice, and their intention being to be married in a week or two.  She was of frail and delicate frame, and had a teasing cough.  Her appetite was not good, and she was extremely thin; but to her sister-in-law, Mrs Mogridge, who used to tell her she was worse than she thought herself, she would say that it was from her long confinement with her mistress, but that she had no doubt she should get better as the spring advanced and the warm weather came on.  Her sister-in-law wished her to see a medical man, but she would not, and said that her mistress's doctor at Bath (Dr Coates) had given her a prescription which always did her good, and she got a bottle of medicine made up by Mr Curtis on Saturday, which she took, but without finding much relief from it.  Her sister-in-law saw her on Tuesday afternoon on her return with her husband from milking, and took her in a jug of fresh milk, which she begged she would drink,  and she promised to do so, and also said she was taking port wine, which the doctor in Bath ordered her.  A young woman named Annie Delve, dressmaker at Mr Vellacott's, who lodged in Trinity-street with Mr and Mrs Mogridge, and had slept with the deceased since she came from Bath, went with her for the sake of company to her new home in Gaydon-street on Saturday night, and had gone and slept with her every night since.  On Tuesday night she went there after supper, and found deceased as well as usual.  She took some biscuits and a glass of port wine for supper, and gave her friend a glass of wine also.  They went to bed about ten o'clock.  Deceased was restless during the night, said she was in no particular pain, but complained of feeling very unwell, and had a slight cough, but told her companion not to be alarmed, as she had been often as ill or worse.  She got up about five o'clock, and gave deceased a little wine and egg; and half an hour afterwards, thinking her very ill, she got up and went out to Trinity-street and called Mrs Mogridge, who arose quickly and dressed herself, and within ten minutes or a quarter of an hour they were back to the deceased, but were shocked to find her dead!  The hands were folded, and she appeared to have died without the slightest struggle.  A woman named Abbott hastily summoned Mr Mernie, who came at once, but could only pronounce that deceased had expired, and he thought she had been dead from half an hour to an hour.  He gave his opinion that deceased, being of a very weak constitution, had died of syncope.  An Inquest was held on the body on Wednesday evening, at the Stag's Head Inn, at the head of Bear-street, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Samuel Hill was foreman; when evidence to the foregoing facts was given by Annie Delve, Mrs Mogridge, and Mr Fernie.  In answer to the Coroner, the medical man said he saw nothing in the circumstances or in the appearance of the body to indicate that death had taken place from other than natural causes.  The prescription from which the medicine was made up contained no ingredient that could be injurious, but was simply a tonic.  Under the recommendation of the Coroner, who said it appeared to be a case of sudden death from purely natural causes, the Jury returned a verdict to that effect.  The stroke is a very painful one to the person to whom deceased was about to be married.  It had been a long engagement, and they were much attached to each other, and there seemed open to them the prospect of years of happiness, when it was thus suddenly eclipsed.

Thursday 18 May 1876

BOW  - A Man And Horse Killed On The North Devon Railway. - On Saturday afternoon last a shocking accident occurred on the North Devon Railway.  For a long time past several hundred men have been engaged in doubling the line between Newton St. Cyres and Yeoford, and more recently in erecting better accommodation at Yeoford Junction Station, and also in doubling the line from that station on to Bow, with the object, we believe, of extending the double line on to Okehampton and Plymouth.  On Saturday, as the afternoon train from Okehampton to Exeter had gone about half-a-mile beyond Bow Station, a "tip" horse, which was in charge of a workman, named SAMUEL HARRIS, became restive, owing to the near approach of the train.  HARRIS then went to the head of the animal and held him, but as the train approached, the horse got on to the rails and with HARRIS at his head endeavouring to get him off, the engine came down upon them both with tremendous force, being almost at full speed at the time.  The poor fellow was killed instantaneously, but the horse, after being knocked a little distance, raised himself and staggered a few paces, and then fell dead.  The deceased was a young man, and had only recently come to Bow with his father and mother, to whose house his body was afterwards conveyed.  Very singularly, it was the same engine (with the same driver) which killed one of the contractor's men at the same spot a few months ago.

The Inquest was held on Monday afternoon by the Coroner, Mr Crosse, of Cullompton, near the deceased's parents' house at Bow.  There was a full attendance of jurymen.  Inspector Rogers watched the case on behalf of the South Western Railway Company.  The Coroner, in opening the case, said it was a strange and unfortunate coincidence that the driver of the train which killed this man on Saturday was the same as the one who was in charge of an engine which killed a man a short time since at Crediton.  It was well he should state that there was then a strict investigation, the verdict of which was that the driver was quite exonerated from blame.  That the same man drove the engine that killed both these unfortunate people should not therefore in any way prejudice the minds of the Jury.  - Wm. Sparkes, ganger, said the deceased, who was 23 years of age, was a "tip runner."  On Saturday as the midday train from Bow to Exeter was leaving the former station, the deceased was running some trucks into the "turn out" siding.  As the train approached, the deceased unchained the horse from the waggon, and stood with him facing the train.  This was the custom with railway horses, so that they might get accustomed to the trains passing near them.  This particular horse was a rather restive one, but he had been on the bank from four to five months, and had always been accustomed to face the train.  The deceased was a young man quite qualified to take charge of a horse of this kind.  When the train came to within twelve or thirteen feet of where the horse and the deceased were standing, the former made a plunge and swung the deceased round towards the engine.  The train passed on, and as it passed he saw the horse rise and fall dead, whilst immediately afterwards he saw HARRIS lying between the metals.  His skull was fractured, his ears cut off, and nearly the whole of the bones in the back appeared to be broken.  Life was quite extinct, and the deceased, who was a single man, was removed on a hurdle to his parents' house.  As far as witness saw there was no blame attributable to any one.  The horse had been held on the same day quite as close as he now was to the passing trains.  - Gustavus Alford, a lad who was looking on at the work, said he saw the horse swing the deceased directly in front of the engine, and he appeared to be dragged for about twenty paces by the fire-box.  Wm. Glass, the stoker, gave similar evidence.  The horse was standing quiet until the engine came almost abreast of him.  He had never noticed a horse so close to the train before as was this one.  - In answer to the Coroner the ganger said the horse had been in the stable lately, and was very fresh.  He believed that the deceased's intention was to master the horse, if possible, and he might have made a little too free with him.  - The Coroner said he thought they had all the evidence that could be obtained, and the Company had given every facility by sending their servants as witnesses.  He did not see that there was any blame to be attached to any one.  - The Jury concurred, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death Of MR RICHARD CHARLEY, formerly of Combmartin.  - The Birmingham papers report the sudden death, in that town, on Monday se'nnight, of MR RICHARD CHARLEY, a native of Combmartin, formerly for some time resident in Barnstaple, and well known and very respectably connected in this neighbourhood.  The deceased gentleman appears to have arrived in Birmingham on the Sunday night at the Queen's Hotel, and not coming down the next day entrance was made into his bedroom, where he was found dead.  A phial bottle which had contained poison, and was labelled "Laudanum - poison," was found in his bedroom, and suggested the idea of suicide; but it is satisfactory to find, from the evidence of the medical man at the Inquest that there was no ground for that suspicion, but that death most probably arose from disease of the heart, from which deceased had long suffered.  The following is the report of the circumstances of the case, as published by the 'Birmingham Post':-  "The Sudden Death At The Queen's Hotel.  -  An Inquest was held on Wednesday morning at the Queen's Hotel by Mr Hawkes, Borough Coroner, upon the body of RICHARD CHARLEY (35), commercial traveller, of Manchester, who was found dead in bed at the above hotel on Monday last.  - Capt. Bridges, of King's Norton, said he had known the deceased several years.  Lately he had been travelling for Messrs. Hannie and Dixon, wine and spirit merchants, of Manchester, and had recently contracted one of two bad debts, but he was not in pecuniary difficulties.  He was married, and had five young children.  He had suffered very much from heart disease.  - Emma Clarke, book-keeper at the hotel, said the deceased came to the hotel about midnight on Sunday and engaged a bed.  He ordered a glass of brandy, and after drinking it and paying his bill he went to his room.  - David Turbitt, the hall porter, said he received instructions from the manager about a quarter-past one o'clock on Monday afternoon to get a ladder and look through the window of the bedroom occupied by the deceased.  He did so, and saw deceased lying on his back in bed, apparently dead.  - Police Constable Dawe said he was called to the Queen's Hotel shortly after two o'clock on Monday afternoon, and found deceased dead in bed.  - Inspector Willis, the Coroner's officer, said he had made a search of the room where deceased died, and found on the washhand stand a glass with a little sediment at the bottom of it.  He afterwards found a small phial labelled 'laudanum - poison' among the coal in the fire-grate.  - Mr Oliver Pemberton said he had made a post mortem examination of the body.  Internally he found all the organs healthy with the exception of the heart, the walls of which were in the condition of fatty degeneration.  The stomach gave off no suspicious odour, and he was of opinion that death had resulted from the failure of the heart's action during sleep.  If he knew that a sleeping dose of opium had been taken it would not alter his opinion.  In answer to the Coroner, he said the length of time intervening between the probable period of death and his examination of the body might account for the absence of odour to which he had referred.  - The Coroner, in summing up, said the Jury would have to decide whether the deceased died from Natural Causes or from taking a dose of tincture of opium, and also whether the medicine was taken with the intention to destroy life.  It was strange that a respectable commercial man, representing an important house, having a wife and family, should arrive at a hotel on Sunday night, totally without luggage, and that he should pay for his bed before retiring to rest.  He came to the hotel on a bitterly cold night, at a time when it was difficult for a stranger to get food, and what was more likely with a person having a diseased heart than that he should carry with him tincture of opium.  He ventured to say that there was nothing whatever to lead them to suppose that it was a case of suicide.  A verdict of 'Death from Natural Causes' was returned."  -  Deceased was the son of the late MR RICHARD CHARLEY, of Nutcombe, in the parish of Combmartin, and inherited a handsome property at his father's decease.  He went abroad in early life, and was in Australia for some little time.  On his return to this country he married, and afterwards settled as a farmer on a large estate near Kidderminster, where he lived in the style of an opulent country gentleman.  Business, however, did not answer to his expectations; and he had lately engaged himself to travel for a Manchester firm in the wine and spirit trade.  His mother resides at Bradiford, in this borough, and his widow and five children are with her.  - The deceased was buried at Wilton, near Birmingham, on Wednesday.  A friend was present at the funeral whom he had engaged to meet at Chester at the very hour at which his remains were interred.

CHITTLEHAMPTON - Sad Death Of a Farmer. - A very melancholy case of accidental death to a farmer of this parish happened on Wednesday in last week.  The deceased was MR ROBERT GULLEY, who rented  a small estate called Riding-cross, belonging to Mrs Graddon, near Chittlehampton village.  He was an unmarried man, 43 years of age, and his mother lived with him.  On Tuesday morning last he was up early for the purpose of driving his flock of about seventy sheep to be depastured on Dartmoor for the summer.  His mother's servant girl got up at four o'clock to get him breakfast, and he left on horseback at half-past four, driving the flock of sheep before him, and intending to return home the same night.  He reached his destination, left his sheep, and began his journey homewards towards the evening.  Nothing is known of him after he left Dartmoor until the next morning, at about six o'clock, when a man named Josiah Turner, a labourer, living at Riddlecombe, in the parish of Ashreigney, was going to his work ripping, having two companions (Richard Marles and John Turner) with him, and when they were going along the road in that parish, not far from Hollacombe Moor, they saw a horse grazing by the side of the hedge, having the saddle under his neck turned upwards, and about three landyards further on in the middle of the road lay a man on his left side.  He was living, but insensible, and they saw that he had received a wound at the back of his head, from which blood had flowed, for there was blood in several parts of the road near where he lay.  Josiah Turner got upon the horse and rode off to Mr James Boundy, at Riddlecombe, who returned with him to the spot, when they found that Marles and John Turner had removed the poor man in the meantime to the farm-house of Coalhouse, which was very near by.  There the farmer seated him on the chair near the fire, and endeavoured to revive him, but without avail.  He sent off to Dolton for the doctor, and Mr Sloane Mitchell arrived early in the forenoon, and found the deceased on a chair by the fire in an insensible state.  He helped him to bed, and then examined him, when he found a scalp wound on the left side of the back of the head, apparently not deep, for it did not seem to reach the bone.  He was suffering under severe concussion of the brain, and shock to the system, but as he became warmer and his pulse and breathing were good the doctor hoped he would have rallied.  He left directions about him, and sent his assistant to see him in the evening, when he found him much worse and rapidly sinking, and he died before morning.  As the deceased did not return home as expected, his brother set off the next day in quest of him, and on reaching Ashreigney heard that a man had been picked up in the road, and was lying at Coalhouse Farm, and on going thither found that he injured man was his brother.  The deceased, however, did not recognise him, nor did he show any sign of consciousness up to the time of his death.  The doctor's opinion was that death resulted from the concussion and shock, aggravated by exposure to the night air for several hours.  It is presumed that the accident happened soon after midnight; for a man called Richard Joslin, who lives at Hollacombe Moor, by the roadside, not more than a quarter of a mile from the place where deceased was found in the road, was in bed between twelve and one o'clock, and hearing a horse passing the house, which was unusual at that hour, he got out of bed and looked into the road, and saw a horse going along at a very steady pace, and the man who was riding was leaning forward upon the horse's neck, the reins being slack and moving to and fro, as Joslin could clearly see in the bright moonlight.  It was not long after this, in all likelihood, that deceased either fell or was thrown from his horse, for there were marks on the horse's knees as if he had fallen, and near the spot were some black horse-hairs which had come from the knees, and there were also marks of deceased's cord trousers as if he had made several attempts to rise, but was unable. -  An Inquest was held on the body on Saturday last, at Riddlecombe, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, when the facts above stated were deposed to by the several witnesses, and a verdict of "Accidentally Killed by Falling from his Horse" was returned.  Deceased was an exceedingly steady and respectable man, and was much esteemed by his neighbours.  There was not the smallest suspicion of his having been in liquor, for he was a most abstemious man, and his mother's evidence was that she had never seen him the worse for liquor, nor did she believe that any one else ever had.  It was an extremely long day's journey that he was attempting - hardly less than sixty miles there and back; and there is no doubt that he was asleep in his saddle when Joslin saw him pass, and that the horse soon after fell from fatigue or drowsiness and threw his rider, who lay exposed to the night air until nature sank beyond recovery.  The vicar of his parish, the Rev. R. E. Trefusis, hearing what had befallen him, very kindly rode over to see his unfortunate parishioner, but he was alike beyond medical relief or spiritual consolation.

TAWSTOCK - Sudden Death. - An Inquest was held on Monday last, at Harepie, in this parish, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on the body of WILLIAM NEWCOMBE, aged 62, a farm labourer, who had died suddenly between six and seven o'clock the preceding (Sunday) morning.  It appeared that deceased had been in his usual health up to his death, but had for more than a twelvemonth complained occasionally of severe pains in his stomach and the region of the heart.  He got up on Sunday morning soon after six o'clock, and went out into the field to see his mare, which was there grazing.  He returned from the field almost immediately, and went to the house of William Hill, his near neighbour, and asked him to come down quickly and help up his mare, which had fallen into the ditch.  Hill did so, and went to the field, but could see nothing of the deceased or the mare.  The deceased, after calling Hill, must have returned into his own house, when he called upstairs to his wife, who was in bed, telling her that the mare was in the ditch, and that he had been to Bill Hill to come to help him to get her out.  His wife said she would get up immediately, but he replied, "Don't hurry yourself."  These were the last words he spoke.  On getting downstairs just afterwards she found him lying on the floor insensible.  Hill came in from the field and saw that he had ceased to breathe.  Medical aid was sent for from Barnstaple, and Mr Henry Jackson was very soon on the spot.  the body was still warm, but life was quite extinct, and Mr Jackson had no doubt that death had arisen from syncope, the result of disease of the heart.  A verdict was returned of "Sudden Death from Disease of the Heart."

Thursday 25 May 1876

ILFRACOMBE - A Sad And Serious Accident occurred on Sunday morning, about quarter past twelve o'clock, which should be a warning to those who recklessly risk their lives by clambering about our cliffs.  THOMAS VAUGHAN, the engineer of the steam-tug Lizard, belonging to Pill, went on shore under Hillsborough-hill, that morning, with the fireman of the same boat, Robert Reath, and began to scale the face of the hill.  VAUGHAN had ascended to a considerable height, on a ridge that surmounts a small cave, called Swallows Hole - from the fact that swallows, strangely enough, build there - and, in attempting to gather some primroses, slipped his foot and slid down the hill-side with great rapidity, till, coming in contact with a projection, he was tilted over and so fell, head foremost, to the bottom.  His companion shouted to those on board the Lizard, requesting them to send for a doctor, which they did, whilst some of them went to their unfortunate shipmates' assistance, but William Ashford was soon on the scene with his boat, and conveyed him across the harbour to the Pier Hotel, from whence he was taken to the Cottage Hospital, and was attended by three surgeons - Messrs. Stoneham, Gardner, and Foquet.  He has injured his spine, is paralysed in the lower part of his body, and no hopes are entertained of his recovery.  The poor fellow has constantly called for his mother.  The young girl to whom he is engaged arrived on Monday, and has remained by his bedside nursing him every since.  VAUGHAN died about eleven o'clock on Tuesday night.  An Inquest will be held.

Thursday 1 June 1876

NEWTON ABBOT - Sudden Death On The Road. - On Saturday afternoon a sad occurrence took place on the road between Newton and Torquay. JOHN HUNT, a carter, in the employ of Messrs. Vicary and Sons, wholesale tanners, of Newton Abbot, had been sent to Torquay to gather skins as usual, and was returning with his horse and waggon between three and four o'clock.  He was accompanied by his little boy, seven years old, and when near Law's Bridge the man said to his son that he was feeling very bad.  Almost immediately, and whilst the horse was going on, the man fell off his seat in the front part of the waggon to the ground.  The boy stopped the horse at once, and several persons happening to be near took up his father, who was found to be dead.  The body was removed to the Torbay Infirmary, where an Inquest was held in the evening before H. Michelmore, Esq., County Coroner. The evidence shewed that the cause of death was heart disease, and a verdict to that effect was returned.  The deceased, who lived in the Grove, Newton Abbot, was forty years of age.  He leaves a widow and six children.

ILFRACOMBE - The Fatal Fall From Hillsborough Hill. -  An Inquest on the body of JOSEPH VAUGHAN, who fell from Hillsborough Hill on Sunday week last, was held at the Hospital on Thursday afternoon, before J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner.  The first witness called was THOS. VAUGHAN, brother of deceased, who deposed that he lived at Cardiff, and was a painter  He arrived there on Tuesday evening, having heard what had occurred.  His brother's age was 21, and he belonged to the steam-tug Lizard.  His brother merely recognised him, but could not give him any account of the accident.  The Coroner remarked that, in the absence of the young man Reece, who was with deceased when he met with the accident, they were deprived of the best evidence they could get.  As it was, they could only obtain hearsay evidence.  Mr Jones, the foreman of the Jury, thought certainly that it would be more satisfactory to obtain Reece's evidence.  William Ashford deposed:  I live at Ilfracombe, and am a boatman.  Last Sunday, about 11.30, I was on the pier, close to my boat, when a man whose name I did not know passed by.  He enquired of me where a doctor lived.  I asked him what the matter was, and he replied that one of the men belonging to the tug-boat had fallen off the cliff.  Two other men were standing by, and we got into the boat and went straight to the place where the accident happened.  When we arrived there, we found a man lying on his back with a jacket under his head.  A man belonging to the Lizard, and another man belonging to another tug-boat were standing by.  Two other men belonging to the tug were approaching with some boards to lay deceased upon, so as to bring him down to my boat  We then landed him on the pier, and fell in with Mr Gardner, surgeon.  One of the men named Reece was with him when he fell.  The deceased was then  accordingly taken into the Pier Hotel for a few minutes, and then removed to the Hospital.  I only heard him say, "Leave me alone; I am dying."  P.C. Shepherd here stated that Reece told him deceased was getting some flowers when he slid down.  Mr F. Gardner, surgeon, deposed:  On Sunday last, about twelve o'clock, I happened to be on my way to the Quay, when I met two men, who requested my immediate attendance on a man who had fallen from Hillsborough.  By the time I got to the Quay deceased had just been landed.  I had him taken into the Pier Hotel, in order that I might see the extent of his injuries, and give him any temporary relief.  Finding the accident to be a very serious one, I advised his immediate removal to the Cottage Hospital.  On my way I met Mr Foquette, and soon after deceased arrived here, Mr Stoneham called in.  Deceased told me he was in great pain in his neck, and that all the bones in his body were broken, and that I was to leave him alone and let him die.  On examination at the Hospital, it was ascertained that he had a fracture of the skull, which, curiously enough, did not produce the symptoms which usually attend it.  Generally speaking, in such cases there is perfect unconsciousness.  He was almost totally paralysed, and since death the suspected cause has been ascertained - there was a fracture of the spine about the lower part of the cervical vertebrae.  Most of the muscles of respiration were paralysed, owing to the spinal cord being injured above the origin of the nerves which supply them.  He breathed entirely by the diaphragm.  His death was a little hastened by a slight bronchitis attack in consequence of not having the power of coughing, and so clearing the chest.  He was perfectly sensible up to within a quarter of an hour before his death, which took place about eleven o'clock.  When I asked him why he went up the hill, his answer was, to get a good view westward.  - The Coroner said he had expected to hear something more from Mr Gardner, regarding what deceased said to him about how the accident happened.  The nurse, who was called in, said she had never heard deceased give any account of how the accident happened.  The Foreman said he thought they could not under any circumstances return an open verdict.  - The Coroner then adjourned the Inquest, sine die for attendance of the witness Reece.  The adjourned Inquest was resumed on Tuesday afternoon at the Hospital.  After the names of the Jury had been called over, John James Reece was sworn, and deposed that he was foreman on board the tug Lizard.  On Sunday week, accompanied by deceased and another man from another tug-boat, he went ashore on Hillsborough beach.  Seeing some flowers on the side of the hill, witness and deceased went up the slope, and threw them down to the man on the beach.  They then clambered on, and reached the top of the gut above the Swallow's Hole, and determined to come down on the other side.  they got on pretty well until they came to a projecting ledge of rock, which witness got round, as he had nails in his boots.  In trying to follow, deceased slipped, and slid for a long distance with his face towards the ground, until he came to another projecting ledge, when he seemed to turn right over and fall.  Witness then made haste down.  After he fell over the last ledge he could not see deceased, but he heard him call out, "Mind you do not fall too, Jack."  When nearing the bottom he had to jump a considerable distance to get on the beach.  He then found deceased with his head and shoulders between two rocks, and his legs projecting upwards.  Deceased said he was dying.  Witness then slightly moved him, placed his jacket underneath his head for a pillow, and called to the other man, who had gone off in the punt.  He also told the men on the tug to bring a board on shore, which they did.  Deceased was then taken to the Cottage Hospital.  - After a very short deliberation, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  [The young man VAUGHAN had intended to have been married in about a fortnight's time.  The young lady to whom he was engaged came on Monday, and sat with him during that night and the next day.  His brother arrived an hour or two before his death, but his mother did not see him alive, as she did not arrive until the next morning.  The brother, THOMAS VAUGHAN, was sometime since suffering from a suicidal mania, and the recent trouble seems to have caused a return of the malady, as, on Thursday evening, when going aboard the tug steamer Start, which had come to take the remains of JOSEPH VAUGHAN to Cardiff, he jumped into the water, and was with difficulty rescued.  When in the water he called out, "Let me go to my brother!"

PLYMOUTH - Sad and Strangely Sudden Death At Plymouth. - On Saturday evening Mr T. C. Brian, Borough Coroner, held an Inquest at 121 Union-street, Plymouth, relative to the death of COBDEN TOMS, aged 21 years.  Mr Thos. Doidge, bookseller, stated that the deceased, who was a native of Torrington, resided in his house, and had been an apprentice and assistant in his shop for upwards of twelve years.  Within the past two years the deceased had been losing flesh, but his general health had been good, although he had sometimes complained of numbness in the extremities, and giddiness.   Witness had advised him to get medical advice, in fact had offered to procure it for him, but he made light of his ailment, and refused.  Deceased ultimately saw surgeon, who prescribed a tonic, and told him it was general debility from which he was suffering.  On Friday the deceased appeared to be perfectly well, and during the day he prepared a number of books for the Plymouth Free Library, and partook of hearty meals.  He spent a portion of the evening at a Good Templars' Lodge, where he delivered a speech, and afterwards went to the house of Mr Chambers, whom he was in the habit of visiting, finally returning to witness's house at eleven o'clock, when he retired to rest.  When called the next morning at 7.30, as was the usual practice, the deceased was found to be dead:  he was in bed lying in a perfectly natural position.  A surgeon, who was called in, stated that deceased had been dead about five hours.  The deceased was a member of several Temperance Societies.  The Coroner remarked that there could be no doubt that the deceased died from Natural Causes, and the Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

Thursday 8 June 1876

BUCKLAND BREWER - Fatal Accident. - On Wednesday last a lad named JOHN METHERELL, 14 years of age, met with his death in the following manner.  Deceased was sent by his master, Mr John Davey, of Friends farm, Buckland Brewer, in company with another lad a few years older than himself, named Richard Kelly, to fetch an implement from a field to the farm.  Kelly got between the shafts of the cart, and deceased pushed behind.  Before reaching the farm they had to go down a steep hill, known as Friends-hill; and to check the progress of the cart it was drawn in near to the hedge, the near wheel being in the water-table.  Deceased, it appeared, jumped into the cart, and when it had proceeded about half way down, the near wheel was driven upon the hedge, and the cart consequently upset, throwing deceased out, and falling over upon him.  The point of the axle penetrated his skull, and caused such a wound that though assistance was speedily at hand, the poor lad literally bled to death on the spot.  Our correspondent happened to be passing the spot shortly afterwards, and seeing a cart there and such a large quantity of blood, he concluded that a horse had stumbled there and was killed where he lay.  He was horror-stricken to find, however, that the blood was that of the poor boy. Dr Thompson was sent for, and quickly arrived, but life was extinct.  The lad's remains were carried into his master's house, which only a few minutes before he had left in such good health and spirits.  His parents, who reside at Littleham, were soon brought acquainted with the melancholy event, but arrived only to find their son no more.  An Inquest was held on the body on the next day (Thursday, June 1st), before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a respectable Jury, when most of the foregoing facts were deposed to.  The lads were not drawing the cart from Bideford, but from the farmyard to a field, about 30 yards distant, to fetch home a pair of chain harrows, and they hauled the cart themselves instead of fetching in the horse from the field, because they could do it quicker.  Kelly could not keep back the cart going downhill, and it upset and fell over upon the deceased.  On the accident taking place Kelly went up to deceased and found him lying in the road insensible, with the blood issuing in a stream from a wound in his head.  He called the assistance of Ellen Easterbrook, a servant in the farm-house, and together they lifted deceased up, and he breathed once or twice.  The boy's master and Mr T. R. James afterwards came, and they took him to the nearest field and washed the blood off, and gave him spirits in the hope of reviving him, but to no effect.  He was quite dead.  He was then conveyed back to the farm-house.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 15 June 1876

BIDEFORD - Sudden Death. - On Monday last a man named CHARLES TUCKER, a blacksmith, about 70 years of age, was brought to the Union Workhouse in a donkey cart.  The master of the Workhouse (Mr Eastman) believing the man to be dying, at once sent for medical assistance, and caused the man to be removed to the Hospital, where he administered some brandy to him, and proceeded to undress him.  He died, however, while he was doing so.  On the following day (Tuesday) an Inquest was held in the Board-room of the Workhouse, before John Thompson, Esq., M.D., Borough Coroner.  the Jury were composed of Mr J. Edwards (foreman), and Messrs. J. Lugg. J. Mules, J. Stoneman, H. Lee Hutchings, W. Honey, T. Folland, T. Hard, W. Gent, Richard Hookway, John Clarke, Thos. Jenkens, and Henry Milsome.  The first witness, Mr Martin William James, of Abbotsham, smith, deposed that he had known deceased for five or six years, and deceased had occasionally worked for him, being a blacksmith; but for the past two months he had not been able to work constantly, on account of an affection in his breath.  This was observable more particularly during the past fortnight.  On account of his complaint, instead of walking to and from Bideford every day, he had slept in a garret, where he had made up a bed for himself, belonging to witness.  Deceased at times would take his food with his family, and when he did so he would eat as heartily as another man.  He was, however, a very hard drinker.  The last day he worked was on Monday, the 5th instant, when he complained of being very unwell, especially in his breath.  On the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday he went to Bideford fishing.  On the Friday and Saturday he did nothing.  On the Sunday he told witness he should work the following day; but the Monday morning he seemed worse.  Witness asked him to partake of some food, which he declined, but drank a cup of tea.  On mentioning his case to the overseer of the parish, he recommended his removal to the Workhouse, and he got his donkey and cart to take him.  He was then well enough to get into the cart unaided, but he seemed to get worse on the road, and by the time he reached Bideford Workhouse he required the assistance of two persons to help him into the House, where he was at once seated on a chair, and witness left. - By a Juror:  Deceased used to drink very hard at times.  He had a bed-tie to lie upon in the garret, and a blanket, but could not say whether he undressed himself.  -The Juror said his reason for asking was that he had known deceased lie out in a carriage in out-houses for nights together without undressing.  - Mr Eastman, Master of the Bideford Workhouse, deposed to the deceased being brought to the House in a donkey cart.  Seeing that he was very dangerously ill, he at once sent for a medical man, and Mr C. Sinclair Thompson was speedily in attendance.  In the meanwhile he had him removed to the Workhouse Hospital, and administered brandy to him, and before he had undressed him, Mr Thompson arrived.  He inquired of deceased his age, and he said he was in his 70th year.  Mr C. Sinclair Thompson deposed that he was a registered practitioner of medicine.  On Monday last, between 11 and 12 a.m., he received a message to attend the Workhouse, and on arriving there he saw the deceased in the Hospital, partially undressed.  Brandy had been administered to him.  Deceased was then alive, and he spoke to him, but received no reply.  He expired a few moments after.  There was no indication from the appearance of the deceased that he had died from anything other than Natural Causes - from the evidence he should say probably accelerated by drink and privation.  The Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

Thursday 22 June 1876

TIVERTON - A Young Woman Drunk To Death. - An Inquest was held at the Town Hall on Wednesday evening, before F. Mackenzie, Esq., the Borough Coroner, on the body of ELIZA REDWOOD, who was found dead in her house at Hit-or-Miss Court, on the same morning.  - JANE REDWOOD (mother of the deceased), Harriet Cockram, and William Dunsford (landlord of the Rising Sun Inn), gave evidence, the former stating that she never saw her daughter in such a drunken state before.  Deceased left her house shortly after nine, and on returning some time after, complained of having had a fall, and then sat in the stairs and went to sleep.  Witness did not take much notice of this, as deceased had been accustomed, when in liquor, to do the same thing.  When witness got up the next morning she found her daughter was dead.  A verdict that deceased me her death by the fall and excessive drinking was returned.

Thursday 29 June 1876

BABBACOMBE - Sad Death By Drowning. - A distressing case of drowning occurred on Saturday morning.  It appears that about noon MISS ALICE JANE OWEN, about 15 years of age, residing in the Teignmouth-road, with her mother and sister, went to the Great Oddicombe Beach, accompanied by the latter, who is a few years her senior, for the purpose of bathing.  they engaged a machine from a man named Weymouth.  Shortly afterwards Mr Brown, a gentleman of Torquay, who was standing on the Downs, observed the two young ladies floating, having, it is supposed, lost their hold of the rope attached to the machine and been carried off their feet by a receding wave.  Mr Brown immediately raised an alarm, and Weymouth, who was some distance away looking after some crab pots, pulled in the direction he was directed.  He found MISS ALICE OWEN floating face downwards and her sister in a sinking condition.  The bodies were placed in the boat and conveyed ashore, Mr Brown having previously sent for Drs. Chilcott and Steele.  These gentlemen were soon in attendance, and after a short time succeeded in restoring animation to the elder sister, but failed in the other case.  The body was afterwards removed to Mr Hancorn's, chemist, St. Mary Church.  At eight o'clock in the evening an Inquest was held at Ash's Commercial Hotel before Mr Coroner Michelmore.  The Jury, of whom Mr R. Lear was the foreman, returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," but censured Weymouth for being at so great a distance from the place where the young ladies were bathing.  No doubt more stringent bye-laws will now be made with a view to prevent such accidents in future.

Thursday 6 July 1876

SOUTHMOLTON - Coroner's Inquest. - An Inquest was held on Monday last, at the Guildhall, on the body of the male illegitimate child of HARRIET WARREN, of this town.  The Inquiry took place before James Flexman, Esq., and a respectable Jury.  The Jury, after viewing the body at the grandparents', returned to the Guildhall, where the following evidence was adduced.  Jane Bendle, midwife, said she attended HARRIET WARREN in her confinement on the 21st ultimo.  It was a dangerous case, and she sent for a medical man (Mr Saunders).  She gave birth to a male child.  Witness attended on the mother and child for eight days, and during that period, especially the first three days, she did not consider the child would live: after that he seemed rather better.  The medical man visited the mother and child once after the birth.  She left the child in charge of the grandmother.  On Sunday she was sent for about three o'clock in the morning, and was desired to come as quickly as possible by the grandmother, as she thought the child was dead.  She went to the house, and found the child in bed with his mother, who was sitting up with him.  She took the child and carried him downstairs, and on examination found him dead.  There was nothing escaping from his mouth.  His face was very pale.  She kept him for three quarters of an hour on her lap, and then undressed him and found the lower parts of the body discoloured.  - MARY WARREN, the grandmother, said the deceased was the illegitimate child of her daughter who resided with her.  The child was not strong from his birth, but had improved a little lately.  Her daughter had not suckled the child.  On Saturday, about nine o'clock, she fed the child, and he was taken to bed with the mother.  Before witness went to bed she went into her daughter's bed-room, and saw the baby lying in her daughter's arms, and both appeared to be asleep.  Between two and three o'clock on Sunday morning she heard her daughter call and request her to bring in a light, as she said she did not hear her baby breathe.  She did so, and she then put on her clothes and fetched the nurse.  She did not hear a noise, or the child cry during the night, and her bed room adjoined her daughter's.  She saw no cause for sending for a medical man.  -  HARRIET WARREN, mother of the child, said she and the child went to sleep quickly after going to bed on the night in question, and the child did not disturb her during the night. On waking up she did not hear the baby breathe, and she called for her mother to bring a light.  When she awoke the child was in the same position as she left him the night before.  His face was outside the clothes.  He had never required medicine.  A verdict was given of "Natural Death."

Thursday 13 July 1876

DEVONPORT - Shocking Tragedy At Devonport.  A Woman Killed By Her Husband, A Native of Southmolton.

Devonport will hold an unenviable position for crimes of violence in the calendar of the forthcoming Devon Assizes. Already the magistrates have had to commit Thomas Robinson, a seaman pensioner, for the murder of his little daughter, and now the Bench is called upon to investigate a case of fatal violence which occurred in the borough on Thursday afternoon.  The accused in the present case is THOMAS ELLICOTT, a shoemaker, the victim is his wife, and the crime seems to be directly attributable to the misconduct of prisoner's daughter, and to that fruitful source of crime, drink.  ELLICOTT is 47 years of age, and was born at Southmolton; but his parents were Plymouth people, and he has lived most of his life in the Three Towns, having served his apprenticeship in Plymouth.  Soon after he was out of his time he went to Truro, and there became acquainted with and married the deceased woman, whose maiden name was MARY ANN HALLARD.  By him she had had sixteen children, and four are now living.  Their ages are 17. 11, 7 and 4 respectively, the three elder being girls, and the youngest a boy.

ELLICOTT and his wife have for several years lived in two rooms at 5, Monument-street, Devonport, a house which stands among several others in a court leading out of Monument-street, and all of which are rented of the Lord of the Manor by ELLICOTT, who sub-let to many other families.  ELLICOTT has the name of being an excellent workman, and could command any amount of work; and, in fact, has had constant employment from Mr Hooper, bootmaker, of Stonehouse.  He has all along been known to his neighbours as a drinking man, and when intoxicated to be of very violent habits, and to beat the deceased and his children severely.  Within the last few months, however, he has become a total abstainer, stuck to his work, and has been attentive to his family, especially the youngest child, of whom he was very fond.  But the eldest daughter, who is apprenticed to a bootbinder, has stayed away from work and remained out all night, a fact which seems to have severely troubled both parents, and on Monday the prisoner took the girl before Mr Lynn, superintendent of Police, to ask his advice as to what he should do with her.  Mr Lynn pointed out that a girl of that age could not be prevented by law from acting as she had, but at the same time he advised her to return home and not to offend again in this way.  ~She promised amendment, but, in spite of her promise, remained away from home on Wednesday night.  Since Sunday ELLICOTT has taken to drink again, and has been in a state of semi-intoxication ever since.  He was out nearly all night on Wednesday, and on Thursday morning went drinking whilst out on the search.  He is known to have had a glass of ale in the Guardship Inn, Pembroke-street, kept by a man named Ash, and then he went home and lay down, sleeping for an hour or two.  About three o'clock in the afternoon he got up, and, finding both his wife and daughter absent, he went out again, walking through Monument-street, and proceeding to the Guardship Inn.  Here, in the bar, he found his wife sitting down.  She had come in, the landlord states, about five minutes before, and after her came one of the prisoner's tenants - a Mrs Wallas.  Deceased asked her to have a glass of porter, which she took, and after drinking it went away, going home, and meeting the prisoner as he came out of his house.  As soon as prisoner came into the bar and observed his wife, he slapped her face, and told her to go home.  She replied, "I am not going to until you do," at the same time rising from her feet and going to the door. Before she could clear it the prisoner raised his foot and kicked her.  She then went out of the house, but in a minute or two returned, and repeated that she should not go home until prisoner did. Prisoner said her place was home with the children, and both then left the house together, turning the corner into Monument-street.  Here prisoner told deceased for the third time to go home, and met with the same rejoinder as he received before.  He then pushed her slightly, and she advanced a little towards him and received a second push.  She then crossed the road, and prisoner followed, and having been told for the fourth time that his wife would not go home until he did, he struck her a severe blow on the left temple with his fist, the force of which caused the unfortunate woman to reel once or twice, then to lean against the wall, and immediately afterwards to fall on the pavement.

The whole occurrence had transpired in so short a time that but few persons were present when the blow was struck.  But P.C. (32) Westlake was coming down the hill, and he hastened to the spot.  He raised deceased, and finding that she could not stand, and did not answer his questions as to whether she was much hurt, he left her in the custody of some women, and went to the Guardship Inn, whither prisoner had returned.  He told him that his wife was seriously ill, and he had better see about getting her home and fetching a doctor.  Prisoner at first said he would not come out, but on the policeman telling him his wife was seriously injured he left the house (the landlord of which, by-the-bye, did not supply him with any drink).  When he came out, however, he found that several women had carried the deceased away, and Westlake at once went off for a surgeon, prisoner walking home leisurely.

The Constable found Mr P. F. Delarne, surgeon, at the public vaccination station at Ker-street, and he at once went to the house, but found the woman dead.  The only visible injury was a concussion on the left temple, about the size of a walnut. The Coroner ordered a post mortem examination to be made.  When the surgeon's opinion was pronounced Westlake took ELLICOTT into custody and proceeded to the Guildhall, where Mr Lynn charged him with causing the death of his wife by striking her with his fist.  He said he did push her, but he never intended to kill her, adding that his daughter was at the bottom of it all.  He was confined in the cells, and brought before the magistrates next morning

The Devonport magistrates on Friday remanded THOS. ELLICOTT on a charge of killing his wife.  The Devonport Coroner commenced and concluded an Inquest into the same melancholy affair, and the Jury returned a verdict of Manslaughter.  It is a sad and significant fact that the prisoner, when formally charged, said, "I was a teetotaller for four months until today, and I have only had two glasses of ale.  I did strike my wife, but I never meant to kill her.  I loved her dearly."

Thursday 20 July 1876

SOUTHMOLTON - Determined Suicide. - On Sunday, July 16th, GEO. BEER, labourer, aged 46, of No. 34 Cook's Cross, Southmolton, committed suicide by cutting his throat, and afterwards hanging himself to the stair railings.  An Inquest was held on Monday, the 17th, before J. Flexman, Esq., Borough Coroner, at the Town Hall, at 12 o'clock.  Mr T. Chapple, Square, was chosen foreman of the Jury.  Subjoined is the evidence:-  Ann Hill said she had known the deceased for the last 17 or 18 years.  Saw him on Saturday about two, in a field belonging to Mr Narracott, in the parish of Southmolton.  He had his hand to his head.  He had been mowing with her husband.  She asked him what was the matter, and he said, "Not much, only I can't get my scythe to cut."  She gave him a cup of tea.  He said, "I shall go home."  His boy went with him.  I called to see him on Sunday morning at 10 o'clock.  I asked him how he was, and he said, "Much better."  I asked him if I should give him a cup of tea, and he said, "No."  I went to the house several times to see if he was up, and about four o'clock I rattled the window with a stick and got no answer.  I returned, and told my husband I was alarmed about GEORGE BEER, as I could not make him hear.  About half-an-hour after I went again, but could not make him hear.  Saw John Whitefield, and told him I was in trouble about the deceased, and asked him for a ladder.  My husband went up to the window, but could see no one.  He then took out a pane of glass.  Mr Whitefield took off the window, and got in.  He said he thought there was something wrong, for the place was covered with blood.  He went to the stairs, and found him hanging.  I and my husband opened the door and went in and saw him hanging in the stairs.  The rope was round his neck.  I never heard him complain of anything for a length of time.  About  seven years ago he was sunstruck, and was missing for many days.  He was found near Southmolton-road Station.  He was ill for many weeks.  - Thomas Hill and John Whitefield gave confirmatory evidence.  Mr Ley, surgeon, deposed:  I was fetched at about quarter to six on Sunday evening last.  I went and saw the body.  It was quite cold when I examined it.  I had it cut down.  Deceased's right foot was just resting on the stair.  the rope was tied to the rails.  He died from strangulation.  He might have stood on the stairs if he had wished.  After he was cut down I saw a cut about three inches on the right side of the neck, just through the skin.  On the left side was a deeper and longer cut, but not sufficient to cause death.  I have no doubt but he might have been hurt by the sun on Saturday last.  The Jury returned a verdict that deceased committed suicide while in an Unsound State of Mind.

SWYMBRIDGE - Fatal and Sad Accident. - A melancholy accident, attended with fatal consequences in one case, and by serious injuries in others, occurred near Gunn, in the northern part of this parish, on Friday week.  MR WM. CHAMINGS, farmer, of Yard Gate, in the parish of Northmolton, eldest son of the venerable NICHOLAS CHAMINGS, of Highbray, left his home on Friday morning, about half past eight o'clock, to attend the market at Barnstaple, as was his custom.  He drove in his light market-cart, and had with him his daughter MARY ANN, aged 22, MISS FANNY CHAMINGS, of Swansea, (a cousin of hers,) and two friends who had been on a visit at Yard Gate, Mrs Chapman, of Swansea, and Miss Hannah Williams, of Plymouth, the latter of whom was intending to return home to Plymouth that day.  There was also a sheep in the cart, and a bag of cut grass for the horse.  The daughter, MISS CHAMINGS drove, as she frequently did, the horse being a very steady one.  MR CHAMINGS walked at first a short distance, and then got up into the cart behind and rode on the bag of hay.  They proceeded safely several miles, until they came to the head of the hill near Mr Pyke-Nott's chapel at Gunn, when the shafts suddenly rose (it is supposed from the belly-band having broken), and the horse quickened his pace greatly.  MISS CHAMINGS guessed what had happened, and came to the front to endeavour to hold back the horse, her father at the same time telling her to "keep the horse straight," and himself also seizing hold of the reins from behind over his daughter's shoulder.  the horse, however, had become much frightened, and pursued its course at a rapid pace until it came two or three landyards beyond the blacksmith's shop at Gunn, where it ran into the hedge, upset the vehicle, threw out all the living freight into the road, and itself broke away with the shafts by its sides.  Assistance was instantly rendered by Mr Pristacott, the blacksmith, who saw the accident from his shop and ran towards the spot.  On coming up he saw that MR CHAMINGS - whom he knew perfectly well - was very seriously hurt.  He lay on the ground in the ditch on his face and hands.  He lifted him up and spoke to him but got no answer, and the blood was flowing freely from his nose and ears.  It was a stone hedge into which they were all thrown, which made the collision more severe.  Other assistance came, and MR CHAMINGS was removed to Mr Pristacott's house, when cold water was applied to his temples, but he did not in the slightest degree revive.  He was put to bed and the doctor sent for from Barnstaple.  Meanwhile the other four persons had picked themselves up with assistance, all being severely bruised, Miss Williams particularly so. They were all greatly frightened, and were hardly able to explain how the accident happened.  It came on them so suddenly as to have bewildered them, and they were all in great pain from the injuries they had received. Within an hour or two Mr Jackson, assistant to Mr Harper, surgeon, arrived, followed by Mr Harper in no long time afterwards; but their services unfortunately were of no avail to the principal sufferer, MR CHAMINGS.  It was found that he had received a large bruise over the left eye, as well as the left side of the head.  there was no external wound about the head, but fracture of the parietal bone could be felt.  He was perfectly insensible, nor did he recover any gleam of consciousness.  Both pupils were dilated, and he was in a state of collapse, from which he did not at all rally.  He lay in that state until the next night (Saturday) when he expired.  The wounds of all the others were dressed, and they were able to be removed to their friends' except Miss Williams, who was the most seriously hurt.  She had sustained lacerations in the face and other parts, with very serious injury of the knee, fracture of the jaw, her teeth knocked out, and other painful injuries.  She was carried the next day to the North Devon Infirmary, where she remains, and is doing well; but it was days after the accident before she had fully recovered her senses.  The bruises of the others were chiefly in their faces, which are for the time greatly disfigured.  An Inquest was held on the body of MR CHAMINGS (who was 50 years of age), on Monday morning, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a respectable Jury.  Evidence was given by the daughter, MISS CHAMINGS, of the facts of the case, so far as she could describe them.  The horse was walking when first she saw the shafts to lift up, and then he set off to gallop.  She did all she cold to restrain him; but when they had gone a little further she noticed the shafts rise again and swerve across the horse's back, but she remembered no more until she found herself on the ground.  The blacksmith also, Mr Pristacott, gave evidence of his observations.  He was at work between 10 and 11 o'clock in the forenoon when he heard a horse and cart coming down the hill very fast.  He looked out at his window, and saw the horse pass galloping with the cart.  Presently he heard a scream, and a sound as of the cart turning over.  He ran to the spot, about two landyards from his house, and saw all the five persons thrown together in a heap,  MR CHAMINGS lay as before described.  He took him up, and laid him against the bank, and he heard him sigh once.  Extensive bruises were visible on the head, and blood flowed freely from the wounds and the nose.  He was quickly removed to witness's cottage, as were all the females who were more or less injured.  the evidence of Mr Harper described the nature of the injuries deceased had received, which were those accompanying violent concussion of the brain.  He saw that the case was an utterly hopeless one from the first.  Of course the Jury had no hesitation in agreeing to a verdict of "Accidental Death".  The case is a very sad one, and has excited a very large degree of sympathy, the deceased being well known and very highly esteemed.  Like his father before him, he was a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Society, and for many years most usefully sustained the office of superintendent of a village Sunday school in his neighbourhood, besides being a leader and local preacher, and in other Christian activities striving always to do good.  He has left a widow and a son and daughter to mourn their great and unlooked for bereavement.  His remains were interred on Wednesday, in the family grave at Highbray, by the ministry of the Rev. J. W. Edmonds, in the presence of a very large number of Christian friends and neighbours. 

BARNSTAPLE - Awfully Sudden Death. - On Tuesday evening the Borough Coroner, R. I. Bencraft, Esq., held a court at the Stag's Head, Bear-street, to enquire into the circumstances attendant upon the death of a young woman named MARY BEHENNA, 21 years of age, living with her parents at Pilton, and employed as a dressmaker.  The details of the sad event will be found in the following evidence:-       Mr Alfred Bater was chosen Foreman of the Jury, and after the body (which lay at the house of Mr Watts, near the Bible Christian Chapel) had been viewed, Mr Edward Yates was called, and deposed that he lived in Well-street and was manager of Dicks's boot warehouse. He had known the deceased for some time as having been employed as a dressmaker at Mr Smyth's.  On the previous evening he was in her company at a meeting of the Lodge of Good Templars, held in the school-room at the rear of the Bible Christian Chapel, in Reform-street, Derby.  She appeared at first to be in her usual health, and read about five lines out of the ritual in the opening ceremony; but whilst the list of officers was being called he observed her put her hand to her head, as if she was in pain.  She was seated at that time.  She laid her head on the desk before her, and raised herself again, and then commenced to swing to and fro in the chair.  He supported her with his arm, and as she seemed to have fainted he, with Mr Willoughby and Mr Matthews, carried her into the chapel and laid her down on the form, putting his coat under her head for a pillow.  they obtained some water and bathed her temples and the palms of her hands, and loosened her necktie, and whilst they were so engaged her father came in.  They raised her to a reclining position, and her father poured some water down her throat, but she only drank a little, and the rest gurgled in her throat.  She did not recover consciousness, and in a short time they took her to the house of Mr Watts, and in about quarter of an hour sent for Mr Fernie, surgeon, who arrived in five minutes.  Her father spoke to her, but she made no answer.  Some time afterwards, whilst they were proceeding with the business of the Lodge, a sister brought the intelligence that the young woman was dead.

Mr W. E. Matthews, saddler, another member of the Lodge, was called and gave evidence exactly similar to that of the last witness; and the father of the deceased, MR WM. BEHENNA, was then called and deposed that his daughter had lived with him at his home at Pilton.  She was of a delicate constitution, and was subject to fainting fits.  The hot weather seemed to have affected her, and she had been very poorly during the past week, and had taken very little food.  She had been brought up in the Juvenile Templars' Lodge, and had only tasted alcoholic liquor once in her life, he believed, and then in obedience to medical orders.

Mr Fernie was next sworn, and deposed that he was called to see the deceased about nine o'clock on the previous evening.  He was at home at the time, and went at once, merely stopping to take a case of medicine with him.  He saw the deceased lying down, the upper part of her dress having been removed, and he immediately saw that she was dead.  He should say that life had been extinct about a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes.  Foam was oozing from the nose, the lips were blue, and she was pulseless, and the heart had also ceased to beat.  The expression of her features was calm, and she appeared to have expired without a struggle.  He had no doubt that death was caused by syncope, or faintness, stopping the action of the heart.  the faintness was probably induced by the intense heat f the weather, and it occurred just at the time when the body was exhausted from the fatigue of the day.  If persons were abstemious, and took but little food, nothing was more likely than that they should be seized with faintness, as in this case, and the attack might have been induced by the deceased having taken little nourishment recently.  The witness added that, in cases of alarming faintness, it was always very much better to allow a person to lie on the ground or anywhere else instead of raising the head, as appeared to have been done in this case, for the action of the heart was more likely to be sustained.  the throat of the deceased, he stated in reply to further questions, was quite free, and her stays had been removed.  He noticed that they were not tight ones.  The Coroner then summed up briefly.  The deceased seemed to have been engaged in a praiseworthy manner by assisting the cause of temperance, and there was nothing to show that her death was anything but a visitation of the Almighty, as it might be regarded.  Under the circumstances he did not see that any verdict could be returned but one of "Death from Natural Causes."  The Jury fell in with the Coroner's suggestion, and returned a verdict accordingly.  Much sympathy is felt in the town for the relatives of the deceased in their sad and sudden bereavement, and for Mr Willoughby, who was present at the Inquest, and to whom the deceased was engaged.

Thursday 27 July 1876

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Case Of Drowning. - On Friday evening, an Inquest was held by the Borough Coroner, R. I. Bencraft, Esq., at the house of Messrs. Rush and Co., general drapers, of Joy-street, on the body of one of Mr Rush's apprentices, ALFRED RICHARDS, aged 19, who was drowned that morning whilst bathing at Pottington Point.  The Jury, having chosen Mr A. Bater as their foreman, proceeded to view the body, after which the following evidence was adduced:-      John Pugsley deposed that he was an apprentice to Messrs. Rush and Co., and had known the deceased, a fellow apprentice, for 18 months.  They both slept in the house and that morning they arose at quarter past six o'clock, and went to bathe at Pottington Point, accompanied by Frederick Jocelyn, who lived with them, and by Wm. Skinner and Wm. Snell, two young men engaged at Mr Lyle's, draper, in the same street.  Skinner, who was the only one that could swim, went into the water first, and RICHARDS next, witness believed, and the latter went out until the water was up to his neck.  The tide had just commenced to ebb.  Witness had undressed, and went to the brink when he saw the deceased struggling, having apparently lost his footing.  He (witness) called out to Skinner to go to his assistance, and Skinner went to him and brought him a little way towards the shore; but the deceased caught hold of Skinner around the neck, and the latter said, "Don't do that, or we shall both go down."  Skinner released himself from the deceased's grasp, and was about to seize hold of him again, when he disappeared and they saw nothing more of him.  Skinner came ashore, and they all dressed as fast as possible, and proceeded home.  by the time they started he must have been under water about five minutes.  While they were dressing a vessel passed down the river with a boat in tow, and they called to the men in charge for assistance, telling them what had happened, but they only laughed and passed on.  They saw no one until they arrived home; and the first person whom they formed of the occurrence was the cook, who acquainted Mr Rush with it.  they saw Mr Cutcliffe and Mr Follett, and the former went to the spot, which they pointed out to him; and, after diving several times, he managed to find the body and bring it to shore.  About an hour had then elapsed since the deceased sank. Mr J. Harper, surgeon, came down to the Point, and saw the body, and pronounced life to be extinct.  Before his arrival Cutcliffe attempted to resuscitate him by rubbing him, but without effect.  - In reply to the Jury, the witness said he supposed the deceased must have missed his footing and been carried away from the shore by the receding tide.  the scene of the accident was just below the little boat-house where the stone hedge commenced.

William Skinner, the young man alluded to by the last witness, gave similar evidence, and mentioned that he had heard Pugsley warn the deceased when he entered the water not to go out of his depth. He (witness) gave him the same advice, at the same time reminding him that there were some pits there; but the deceased replied, "I don't care."  When he heard Pugsley call out that the deceased was in danger, witness swam as fast as he could to his assistance.  He had sunk twice before he reached him, and as he was going down the third time he seized him by the hair of his head, and succeeded in getting him a little distance towards the shore, but on letting go his hold of him shortly afterwards, in order to seize him in a different position, he sank, and witness then seeing no more of him swam ashore.  It was after extricating himself from deceased's grasp around his neck that he let go his hold.  Being interrogated by the Coroner as to why he and the others who were with him did not get assistance from Rolle's Quay or some other place near, instead of coming all the way into the town, the witness said he thought the deceased had been in the water long enough to be drowned, so that it would be useless to get assistance.  - [It is perhaps due to the witness to state that he is a good deal smaller than the deceased, and apparently younger.]

William Snell, another of the deceased's companions, gave a corresponding account of the circumstances of the occurrence; and Richard Cutcliffe, assistant to Mr Ratcliffe, grocer, deposed that he went to bathe that morning, and arrived there about five minutes past seven. Having heard of what had occurred he dived several times after the body, and at last found it about three or four feet from the bank in about four feet of water, and took it ashore, where he endeavoured to restore animation by rubbing, but without avail.  The tide had at that time receded about two feet and half, so that deceased probably sank in six or seven feet of water.  The Coroner, in summing up, remarked that the river was a dangerous one for bathing, especially at Pottington Point, and during his long experience as Coroner for the Borough he had hardly ever known a hot season such as the present during which some such sad event had not occurred.  It was rather strange that the lads did not go to the nearest place for help. but they had stated that they thought it was too late.  It was always, however, advisable to seek assistance without delay, instead of giving up the case as a hopeless one; and he might mention that instances were known in which persons were resuscitated after having been submerged upwards of a quarter of an hour.  As to the statement of the boys that their cries were disregarded by the men in the vessel, he hoped they (the men) thought it was a joke which the lads were trying to play upon them, or he could not believe that they would have acted as they did.  After alluding to the temerity with which the deceased had acted, and for which he had paid so dearly, and expressing a hope that his sad example would have the effect of making others more cautious, the Coroner concluded by suggesting to the Jury that the only verdict returnable under the circumstances was one of Accidental Death.  The foreman remarked that he thought Mr Cutcliffe was deserving of some reward for the courageous way in which he recovered the body of the deceased, although his assistance - of course through no fault of his own - came too late; and Mr Cutcliffe, in thanking the foreman, remarked that had he been there when the event took place he did not think the deceased would have been drowned.  Mr Rush suggested that the Jury might with propriety make some remark that a proper bathing place in connection with the town ought to be provided by the Town Council, who , he observed, on some occasions spent the public money carelessly. There had not been a season pass since his residence in the town without an accident, and he certainly considered it highly desirable to have a bathing place, especially as there was no lack of suitable places.  A Juryman expressed himself as quite agreeing in Mr Rush's remarks, and there was evidently a general feeling in the same direction.  The Coroner pointed out that it was not a subject which had not been brought before the Town Council, and on more than one occasion, and he had no doubt that accidents of this kind would be much less frequent if a proper place were provided and a boat kept there.  It was hardly a matter, however, upon which the Jury need remark, but he had no doubt that what had been said would be made public through the medium of the newspapers. Mr Rush further observed that if a private individual speculated in providing such a desideratum he had no doubt it would answer well.  The Coroner having stated that Mr Harper had seen him and informed him that life was quite extinct when he saw the body of the deceased, the Jury returned an open verdict of Death by Drowning.

TORRINGTON - A Child Scalded To Death. - On Monday last an Inquest was held before J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, at Norwood Farm, in this parish, on the body of BESSIE STANBURY, only child of MR WM. STANBURY, farmer, who died on Sunday last from the effects of scalding on the previous day.  The Jury (of which Mr H. H. Pidgeon was foreman) having viewed the body, the following evidence was taken:-  Mary Jane Blight said she lived as a domestic servant with MR STANBURY.  On Saturday morning last she took a tin pan of hot milk from the bodley in the kitchen, and placed it on the floor in the salting-house to cool.  She did not shut the door, but went into the wash house close by about her other work.  The milk in the pan was scalding hot.  About ten minutes afterwards she was called into the salting house by MRS STANBURY, and there saw the child in her arms, and MRS STANBURY then told her that she had taken the child out of the pan of milk. -  MARY STANBURY, the mother of deceased, stated that between nine and ten o'clock on Saturday morning the child was with her in the dairy.  She was about 18 months old.  She wanted to touch the butter, which she prevented, and the child then ran playfully out.  the salthouse is close by the dairy.  In about two minutes she heard an unnatural scream in the salthouse and on rushing in found the child sitting down in the pan of hot milk, with its arms out over.  She immediately took it out, brought it into the kitchen, and sent at once for Dr Jones; but before he arrived she applied treacle and vinegar to the scalds, which were confined to the stomach and lower parts of the body.  The child died at eight o'clock on Sunday morning.  (MRS STANBURY appeared deeply affected whilst giving her evidence, the deceased being a most lovely girl and an only child.)  -  Mr J. D. Jones, surgeon, &c., stated that he was sent for on Saturday morning last between ten and eleven o'clock, and came there immediately.  On his arrival he found deceased in MRS STANBURY'S arms in the front parlour.  She told him the child had tumbled into a pan of hot milk, and was severely scalded.  He proceeded to examine the child and found severe scalds on the buttock and inner parts of the thighs.  The severest scald was on the lower part of the abdomen, which was generally the most fatal seat of injury.  He wrapped the extremities in flour and linen, and applied Carron's oils to the wound in the abdomen.  He noticed that the deceased seemed very insensible to pain, which, taken with the seat of injury, he considered an unfavourable symptom.  In the afternoon he sent some medicine for the child, but from the first he considered the case unfavourable.  In his opinion the cause of death was due principally to the shock of the nervous system.  The Jury at once returned a verdict of "Accidental Death from Scalding."

Thursday 3 August 1876

BARNSTAPLE - Frightful And Fatal Accident. - On Monday morning R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, held an Inquest at the North Devon Infirmary, on the body of a man named JOHN PAVEY, who died in that institution on the previous Saturday from the effects of an injury he received on the 15th July under the circumstances disclosed by the evidence adduced, and described briefly in our report of the accident last week.  After the body had been viewed by the Jury, Mr George Lake deposed that he was clerk to Mr W. Pridham, the agent at Barnstaple for the delivery of goods from the London and South Western Railway.  The deceased had been a carter in the same employ; and on Saturday, the 15th July, he was at the Station assisting to unload from a truck a block of free-stone, weighing 3 tons 6 cwt., which was being lifted from the truck to the ground by means of a crane.  The deceased and himself were working the handle of the crane.  They thought that the stone was hoisted high enough to clear the truck, but the men in the truck said it must be raised higher, and one of them took the brake whilst the deceased held the handle of the crane.  Witness let go the brake, and PAVEY put his knee under it, and endeavoured to put the carne out of gear, but he did not succeed, and the handle moved round.  He then let go the brake by removing his knee from it, and held on with both hands to the handle, but he was not strong enough to keep it still.  He told witness to keep still, and let go the handle, which flew round very rapidly, and he then made an attempt to jump backwards on the handle, and in doing so it struck him under the right knee and knocked him out of the way of the crane, the handle being broken by the force of the blow.  He cried out that his leg was broken, and fainted; and the head porter, Brockliss, caught him on a piece of timber, and the poor fellow was at once placed in a van and conveyed to the Infirmary.  - Brockliss, the head porter, having given a similar narrative of the sad occurrence, Mr J. Harper, surgeon, deposed that the deceased was brought to the Infirmary about half-past three on the day in question. Witness was present when he arrived, and had him undressed, when he discovered that he was suffering from a lacerated wound at the back of the right knee, and from some considerable bruises on the same leg.  He was placed under witness's care, and progressed satisfactorily until the 19th, when he had a severe attack of phlebitis, or inflammation of the veins of the leg, and there was also a great swelling on the right side of his body.  On Saturday morning last he was taken faint, but rallied.  He, however, again fainted soon after one o'clock, and then died in a state of syncope.  He had since made a post mortem examination of the body, and had found that the left ventricle of the heart contained several clots of blood.  He was of opinion that death was the result of embolism, caused by the injury to the leg.  The Coroner briefly summed up, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 10 August 1876

TORCROSS - Horrible Discovery At Torcross. - A very strange event has occurred at Beeson, a remote fishing village on the south coast of Devon, between Torcross and the Start.  Among the residents were a man and his wife named SMITH, who had once occupied a respectable position, but had become so reduced in circumstances that they were compelled to have pay of the parish.  The man, it should be observed, has been remarkable for his eccentricities.  At the pay day last week neither the man nor his wife came before the relieving officer, but SMITH sent a little girl for the money.  When she came back, he asked her to go upstairs and see his wife.  The unsuspecting child did as she was told, ignorant of the cause of a dreadful stench which filled the house.  No sooner had she entered the upstair room, however, than the shocking secret was revealed; for there lay the woman, not only a livid corpse, but in an advanced state of decomposition.  The piercing screams of the terrified child aroused the neighbours, as she rushed away from the room so horribly tenanted.  She could hardly explain the cause of her alarm, but it was speedily revealed as the villagers en masse rushed to the spot and up the cottage stairs.  As they entered the house SMITH left it, and he has not been seen since.  It is believed, therefore, that he must have committed suicide by throwing himself into the sea.  From the condition of the body it was evident that the woman had been dead several days, so that last week's was not the only pauper pay SMITH had drawn for a corpse.  An Inquest has proved satisfactorily that there was no foul play, but that deceased died from an affection of the heart.

SOUTHMOLTON - Child Found Dead In Bed. - An Inquest was held on Thursday last, before J. F. Flexman, Esq., Coroner, on the body of JAMES HAYMAN, 15 months old, son of JAMES HAYMAN, rural postman between Southmolton and Satterleigh, who was found dead in bed, by its father's side, on the morning of the day above-named.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Dead, with no marks of violence on the Body."

NORTHAM - Death From Heart Disease. - On Thursday last, J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at Northam, on the body of MARY STAPLETON, a lady resident at that place, who died under the peculiar circumstances disclosed by the following evidence:-  Christopher Northcote deposed that he lived at Northam, and was groom to Mr James.  He knew the deceased as a lady of independent means, living in Centre-terrace, in which he also resided.  On the previous morning one of his little girls came to him and said that no one had seen MISS STAPLETON either on the Tuesday or the Wednesday morning; that the blinds of the house were down;, and that the door was locked.  Witness went to the spot, and, getting over the back yard wall, opened the wash-house window with a knife.  He crawled through the opening,, and unlocked the front door, when two neighbours - Mrs Jeffrey and Mrs Nicholls - went upstairs with him.  As soon as they got to the front bedroom door, which was open, they saw the deceased lying across the bed undressed, and quite dead.  They went downstairs and ultimately went for Mr Rouse, surgeon, of Bideford.  - Mary Jeffrey deposed that when she accompanied the last witness to the bedroom she saw some vomit on the stairs, and added that the last time she saw deceased alive was between four and five o'clock on the previous Monday afternoon. She then asked the deceased how she was, and she replied "Nicely."  - Mr E. Rouse, surgeon, deposed that he went to the house on the previous morning, and saw the deceased.  Her hands were clenched together, and the body was cold and rigid.  He found no marks of violence, and had no doubt that she died from heart disease, from which she had suffered for some years, and for which she had been attended by medical men.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 17 August 1876

BEAFORD - Accidental Death. - Yesterday (Wednesday) J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at Beaford on the body of a labouring man named WILLIAM WARE, who died on the previous day from the effects of falling from a mow of corn.  The body having been viewed by the Jury, Mr James Snell Chamings, farmer, of Beaford, was called, and deposed that the deceased, who was about 55 years of age, had been in his employ as an agricultural labourer.  On the previous Monday he was making a mow of corn in one of witness's fields, when he showed his hand to a man named Bennet, who was on the mow assisting him, and remarked that he had been pricked by the pick of one of the men who was throwing up the corn.  He went in the direction of the other end of the mow, when, from some cause - perhaps from stooping for a pick- he fell off with one of the implements in his hand.  Witness went to him and asked him what was the matter, when he said he should die, for he could move neither hand nor foot.  He was at once taken home by witness in a cart.  He was a very industrious, sober man, and was not in drink when the accident occurred.  Robert Heard, carpenter, of Beaford, and son-in-law to the deceased, gave evidence that he saw the deceased in bed on Monday evening last, and the latter then told him that he had been poorly for a day or two, and felt giddy whilst making the mow; and putting his foot on a sheaf, it slipped, and he fell over with it.  MARY ANN WARE, the widow, deposed that her husband gave her a similar account of the way in which the accident occurred as he did to the last witness.  Mr Smith, surgeon, was sent for and pronounced his neck to be injured.  He expired about eleven o'clock on the following (Tuesday) morning.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 24 August 1876

BIDEFORD - Sad Death Of A Young Woman By Burning. - On Monday last, an Inquest was held before Dr Thompson, Borough Coroner, on the body of BESSIE, daughter of MR J. W. MAJOR, auctioneer, who died on Sunday last from the effects of fearful burns received on Saturday night.  The Jury were composed of Mr Thomas Martin, foreman, and Messrs. W. Oatway, E. Cowell, J. Stoneman, T. Tedrake, W. Pound, St. Stone, W. Lewis, W. Berry, A. Staite, S. S. Cruwys, W. Berry, Elias Luxton.  -  MR MAJOR stated that deceased was 14 years of age.  On the preceding Saturday night, about half-past ten o'clock, deceased and a younger sister aged 12 years retired to rest.  He at that time was in his kitchen in conversation with a Mr Lewis, a neighbour.  About a quarter of an hour after he heard some shrieks in the street, and in running towards his front door he met some persons rushing into his house  On his meeting them they said, "Oh, Mr Willis, your house is on fire in the children's bedroom."  He immediately ran upstairs, and on the first floor met his youngest daughter, who exclaimed, "Oh father, BESSIE is on fire."  He went up to her bedroom and found her standing there in flames.  All her night-clothes had been burnt from her, with the exception of the band which went round her neck, which he at once put his arm around and extinguished the fire.  Mr Lewis speedily came to his assistance, and other neighbours.  A doctor was sent for, and Mr Cox came immediately.  -  SUSAN EVALINE MAJOR, sister of the deceased, said she was 12 years of age.  On Saturday night last she went to bed with her sister BESSIE, shortly after ten o'clock.  They both got into bed.  Her sister had a book in her hand and she placed the candlestick on the bed and commenced to read aloud.  Witness, however, soon fell asleep, but was awakened shortly after by loud scrams, when she saw her sister standing in front of the washstand in flames.  She had apparently gone there for water.  She said to witness that she was dying, and asked her to run for father, which she did, and she met him coming up the stairs.  - Mr Edgar Cox said he was called to attend the deceased about 11 o'clock on Saturday night last, and he found her suffering from extensive burns all over the front of her body.  Both thighs front and back were much burnt, as were also her arms.  He applied the usual means of treatment in such cases; but did not think she would recover from the first.  He visited her twice, and she died the following morning.  The Jury returned a verdict "That the deceased met with her death by burning, accidentally, casually, and by misadventure, brought about by reading in bed."  Deceased was a member of the church choir, and the day preceding the accident had, in company with the other members of the choir, been to Clovelly.  One of the choir in speaking of deceased said - "She has endeared herself to all of us by her gentle manners and sweet disposition."

Thursday 7 September 1876

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - R. I. Bencraft, Esq., the Borough Coroner, held an Inquest at the Globe Inn, Queen street, on Monday, touching the death of a girl fifteen years of age, named ELIZABETH PROUSE.  - EDWIN PROUSE, her brother, stated that his sister resided with him and his father at Aze's-lane.  She had always been in a delicate state of health, and had abscesses (externally) in her neck.  The last time he saw her alive was on Saturday night, when she was going to bed.  On passing her bedroom the next morning, the door being open, he saw that she was looking very strange whilst lying in bed.  Upon going over to her he discovered that she was dead, although she was not quite cold.  He called his father, and immediately afterwards Mr Jackson was sent for.  Mr Jackson said he thought death was due to exhaustion produced by diarrhoea.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

CHUDLEIGH - Shocking Fatality At Chudleigh. - Mr H. Michelmore, County Coroner, held an Inquest on Thursday at Chudleigh touching the death of ROBERT BAKER, of Kingsteignton, who met with his death at the Harcombe Lime-kilns on Wednesday.  The deceased was in the employ of Mr Joseph Lake, lime merchant, of Kingsteignton, and was in charge of a horse that had drawn some stone from the quarry to the kiln-bed.  The cart was backed against the pit circle, and a pole about ten feet long was placed behind the wheels.  When the stone was being tipped from the cart into the kiln the pole must have moved away from behind the wheels, as the horse and cart went further back and fell into the burning pit.  BAKER called out to John Lake, manager of the quarry, "Oh, John, what shall us do!" and Lake immediately threw some culm on the kiln fire to damp it, and ran below to stop the draught.  He was not absent more than about four minutes, and on his return to the kiln bed he found BAKER in the kiln, as if he was trying to free the horse from its harness.  Lake at once jumped in.  The horse was then down, but BAKER was on his legs, and endeavouring to vomit.  Lake got him up across the horse and cart, and he was then about two feet from the top of the kiln.  BAKER was unconscious, and he fell forward against the kiln.  The poor fellow was got out and placed on the kiln-bed; but he shortly afterwards died.  Dr Massiah, who was called to  the scene of this accident, stated that from the appearance of the body he was satisfied that the deceased was suffocated by the fumes of the burning lime.  - The Coroner, in summing up, spoke of the danger of tipping loaded carts directly into the kiln, instead of depositing the material on the kiln-bed.  The Jury, after a short consultation, returned a verdict that the deceased was Accidentally Suffocated, but they condemned the practice of tipping loaded carts into the mouth of the kiln as being very dangerous to life.  The deceased was about 25 years of age, and leaves a wife and one child.  The Jury gave their  fees for the relief of the widow.

Thursday 14 September 1876

BARNSTAPLE - The Death Of MR COCKREM - An Inquest was held at the Horse and Groom Inn, on Saturday morning, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., and a Jury of which Mr Thomas Baker was foreman, upon the body of MR WILLIAM COCKREM, who died on Friday from the lock-jaw.  The Coroner in opening the Enquiry said that the primary cause of the death of the deceased was an accident which happened about a month ago, but he had no discretion in such cases but to call an Inquest, however long a period might have elapsed.  He described the case as a very painful and distressing one, but said that, with his experience, he had never known an instance in which a man recovered from lock-jaw.  MRS MARY ANN COCKREM was the first witness called.  She appeared much distressed, and the Coroner said he would have spared her feelings if that were possible, but she was the only person with the deceased when the accident happened.

Witness deposed:-  The deceased was my husband. He was 44 years of age, and his business was that of a second-hand clothes' dealer.  On Wednesday, the 9th of August, I went with him to our garden, which is situate in Myrtle place.  I was not very well, and he asked me to lock up the shop and go up to the garden and take a little fresh air. It was in the afternoon, between three and four o'clock.  We kept three pigs in a stye there, and just as we got inside the garden door we saw that one of the pigs had got out.  My husband caught it by the leg with the intention of putting it back.  The pig pulled him down, and dragged him a little way.  He was in his shirt sleeves, as he had been working there before during the day, and when he got up, having the pig in his hand, I saw blood running from a wound near the elbow.  I don't know how the accident occurred - whether his arm was cut by a stone or a spade which was standing close by.  He placed the pig in the stye, and I bound up the wound with my handkerchief and told him to go to the doctor.  The wound was about an inch long, and was jagged, so that it looked as if a dog had bitten him.  My husband went straight to Mr Fernie, surgeon.  I asked him when he came back what the doctor had said, and my husband said he had been told that it was a very bad cut.  It had been sewn up with two stitches, and some plaster had been put on.  The doctor had also put his arm in a sling.  He went to the doctor to have it dressed two or three times a day after that, but, on the Saturday week after, he said he felt a soreness in his jaws.  Before that the wound appeared to be healing, and I dressed it several times myself.  My husband felt stiff and sore about the jaws, and he had some difficulty in eating.  I thought he had caught a cold.  On the Sunday I found that he could not eat his dinner, and he gradually got worse.  On Wednesday he went to Mr Fernie, and when he came back he said that he had asked the doctor if the stiffness he felt was a symptom of lock-jaw, but Mr Fernie told him to go home, and send up his wife.  I then went up, and he told me that my husband had got every symptom of lock-jaw, and that he would advise him to go to the Infirmary.  I said that if I thought he would get better I did not mind his going, and he himself said he would go.  He went over, but was not contented.  He only stayed from ten o'clock in the morning until three in the afternoon, and then he got out of bed and said he must go home and be tended there.  On the same evening he was seen by Mr Jackson and Mr Harper, and Dr Forester was also called in.  The first I saw of the spasms was on the Friday after, and afterwards they continued to get worse until the time of his death, which occurred yesterday about a quarter past one, a.m.  -  MRS COCKREM'S brother, who was present, said he had been telegraphed for from Devonport, and he must say that he never saw kinder treatment given to any patient than MR COCKREM had received at the hands of the medical men whose names had been mentioned.   - Mr Jackson deposed:  I was called last Thursday fortnight to see the deceased for the first time. He was then lying in bed, and I saw that he had a wound on his right arm, about half-an-inch from the elbow.  It was an irregular outline, and the surface had not united, and the discharge was very unhealthy that came from it.  The surface all round was inflamed and slightly swollen.  It was a most unhealthy wound.  He complained of stiffness in his jaws, and he could only open them to the extent of about half-an-inch; also a twitching of the muscles of the chin.  The other appearances of tetanus were very distinctly marked.  The third day after I saw him the spasms came on, and, shortly after, the arching of the back, after which the spasms were continual at intervals until his death.  I saw the deceased about an hour before he died.  He was unconscious, breathing heavily, and from the continual action of the spasms it was evident that a vessel in the brain had given way.  Death was the result of tetanus produced by the wound in his arm.  In answer to the Coroner, the witness said he did not think that amputation of the arm would have been of any use.  Something must also be put down to the weather, as at this time of the year wounds were more difficult of treatment.  - The foreman:  The treatment by Mr Fernie in the first instance was the same as you should have adopted?  - Witness:  Oh! yes.  - The Coroner summed up shortly, and said that everything had been done that medical skill could suggest in regard to a case which must from the first have been hopeless.  In answer to the foreman, Mr Jackson said that deaths from lockjaw generally took place within a shorter period.  Mr Westacott (a juror) said that MR COCKREM was a man of an exceptionally strong constitution.  The Jury then returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

The funeral took place on Sunday at the Cemetery, in the presence of a large number of persons who had assembled to witness the ceremony.  The body was followed by about 80 members of the local Court of Foresters, with which the deceased had been associated, and the funeral oration was pronounced over the grave by Bro. L. Lockyer, the Chief Ranger of the Court.  The ceremony was impressively performed by the Rev. A. Macdonald, pastor of the Baptist Chapel, in Boutport-street.

SOUTHMOLTON - Death In The Belfry. - A remarkable instance of the great uncertainty of human life occurred in this town on Saturday evening last.  JOHN TUCKER, a mason, who has been in the employ of Mr Sanders, builder, of this town, and who was particularly fond of ringing the church bells, died from disease of the heart whilst engaged in his favourite pastime, after his ordinary work at the end of the week was completed.  The deceased had partaken of his tea and read his newspaper prior to leaving his home in South-street, where he resided with his sister.  He complained of pain in his head, and remarked that he was going to assist in ringing, but that he should not go to the belfry that evening had he not promised to do so.  He was of full habit, 46 years of age, and unmarried.  An Inquest was held on Monday morning last at the Guildhall, before James Flexman, Esq., Borough Coroner.  Before the commencement of the investigation the jurors (of whom Mr W. Hawkes was foreman) went to the deceased's house and viewed the body.  On their return to the Hall, Peter Mason deposed that on Saturday evening he and others went to the belfry, and rang, as was a frequent custom at the end of the week, about half-past seven o'clock.  The deceased came there about a quarter of an hour afterwards, and he and the deceased rang the tenor or big bell, and whilst so ringing, the latter said "Cotty, take hold f the rope, my head is giddy!"  He immediately let go the rope, reeled, and was caught by George Chapple, another ringer.  He died instantly.  Mr Thomas Sanders, of the firm of Furse and Sanders, surgeons, was at once fetched, and soon arrived, and pronounced life to be extinct.  -  JANE TUCKER, sister of the deceased, deposed that her brother lived with her in a house behind Mr Bowden's, in South-street.  The deceased partook of tea, and after reading his newspaper went away.  Before leaving he complained of having pain in his head.  He was very fond of ringing, and left the house about seven o'clock.  George Chapple corroborated the statement of Peter Mason and said he heard deceased say "Take hold of the rope," and he caught him in his arms.  The body was with difficulty taken down over the belfry steps, and conveyed to MISS TUCKER'S on a stretcher by the ringers.  Peter Mason stated that the deceased had often complained of palpitation of the heart after ringing, and it appeared that he had frequently declined to ring the tenor bell on that account, but on this occasion he took it without scruple, and appeared remarkably well and happy.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was given.

Thursday 21 September 1876

SOUTHMOLTON - Sudden Death Of the High Bailiff. - On Thursday morning last another remarkable instance of the uncertainty of human life occurred in this town.  MR JOHN MANNING, the High Bailiff of the Southmolton County Court, died after about a couple f hours' illness, at his residence in East-street.  The deceased had held the office of High Bailiff ever since the establishment of the Court nearly thirty years ago, and appeared at the Court held before Mr Serjeant Petersdorff on the day previously.  The melancholy particulars will be read hereunder, being the evidence taken before the Borough Coroner, James Flexman, Esq., and a respectable Jury, of which Mr George Snow was foreman.  The Inquest was of a very lengthened character.  -  Jane Gibbings deposed as follows:  I knew the deceased, JOHN MANNING, and have lived with him for 5 ½ years past.  He enjoyed tolerably good health, although Mr Furse has been called in occasionally.  He was last ill on Wednesday.  On Tuesday last he was in and out many times.  He left about two o'clock, and returned about six or half-past.  He had been drinking.  He remained about half-an-hour, and after tea went out again.  He had not a black eye then.  I found him home about a quarter before eleven.  I found him on the chair near the fire.  His eye was bleeding.  He said he had fallen against the key of the door.  I got warm water and washed him, and he went upstairs without assistance, undressed himself and went into bed.  I did not speak to him during the night, but I heard him.  He asked me the next morning whether his eye had turned dark, and I told him it was dark.  I got some water at his request, and washed his eye:  that was about seven o'clock.  I carried him some tea and bread and butter afterwards, and I left him in bed.  He came down in about half an hour, and at his request I got him some brandy, and beat up the yolk of an egg with warm milk, which he drank.  It was half a noggin of brandy (about two ounces). This was about nine o'clock.  He did not shake so much as before, after taking it.  He could not hold the pen to write:  he shook all over his body.  He was the bailiff f the Court.  He left the house about eleven o'clock.  He left without having more brandy, as several persons came to see him.  He came back about two o'clock.  I inquired whether the County Court was over?  He said "No."  He did not remain home five minutes.  He took up some papers and left.  From this time I did not see him until eight o'clock.  Two or three messengers were sent to the house from the Court for him.  I went in search of him, but could not find him.  I sent a man to the Tinto, near the station, to inquire whether or not he was there, and the messenger (John Harris) remained with him until he returned about eight o'clock.  I got him some tea, and cooked some mushrooms, of which he partook.  He went to the George to see a traveller at Mr Gould's request, and afterwards to the Town Arms, and he came back again before nine o'clock.  Gould remained in the house till deceased returned, and then the latter went to bed.  About half-past nine I went to bed, and he was fast asleep, and I do not believe he awoke until seven o'clock the next morning.  He slept soundly.  I slept in the same room when deceased had been drinking.  About seven o'clock he was coughing, and then he asked me to give him a cup of tea with a little brandy in it.  There were no shops open, and I could not get it.  At this time he got out of his bed, and went into my bed, and after drinking some tea he said he was better.  I then went down stairs and dressed my two children, and sent up the elder child to enquire whether or not he would have more tea, and she said, "Dadda won't speak, but his eyes are open."  I called to him several times, but could not get him to speak, and I went upstairs and spoke to him, but could get no answer.  He rose up in the bed, and after rubbing the bed he began to cry.  I noticed deceased's mouth was drawn on one side.  I called Mary Adams, who was coming in the passage, and told her MR MANNING was ill.  Nurse Bendle was in the street, and I desired Adams to call her in, which she did.  I ran for Mr Furse, surgeon, I believe, about eight o'clock.  He was not up, and on my return I found deceased lying in the same state, and I went for Mr Furse again.  He came a few minutes afterwards.  (Witness here stated that before she began to dress deceased coughed a good deal - that Mr Furse's name was mentioned, but deceased said he did not think that gentleman would come to him.  She replied, "Yes, Sir, he will come to you, as your bill is paid."  He said he would have tea and brandy, and if not better he would have the doctor.)  In reply to a juror, witness said deceased was under the influence of drink when he went to bed on Wednesday night, but was capable of taking care of himself then.  Witness was 20 years of age.  -  Jane Bendle deposed as follows:  I am a nurse, and have known deceased for some years.  On Thursday last I was in East street and Mary Adams called me into deceased's house, as he was very ill.  Found deceased lying in bed in a fit.  The housekeeper was standing at the bottom of the bed.  She asked me what I thought?  I said he was dying, and told her to go for Mr Furse as quickly as she could.  She did so.  It might have been then ten minutes to nine  I am positive what I state is quite right.  In five or ten minutes Mr Furse came and gave me orders what to do, as it would soon be one way or the other.  I did what Mr Furse requested, and remained till he died.  His death was within half an hour.  I think he heard when Mr Furse came in.  I have attended him on his fainting away before, at the request of Jane Gibbings, on three former occasions.  Everything in the room appeared to be in great confusion.  Something was in a bottle on the mantelpiece.  Witness stated she was in a hurried state at the time; whereupon the Coroner remarked that he would give her a word of advice, which was never to get hurried.  Witness said it was enough to frighten anyone.  - The Coroner:  Then all I can say is, you are not fit for a nurse.  - Examination continued:  He took nothing after I came into the room.  Mrs Nicholas's daughter was there and Mary Adams, when I came.  Shortly after another of Nichols's daughters came, and her mother.  Another young woman came into the bedroom named Eliza Partridge, and I ordered her down.  Thos. Gould came into the room before he died, also John Harris, and next the wife came, afterwards his brother, but it was after his death.  I never saw but one bed in the room before this.  - Mary Ann Maire said:  I reside in East-street, and my house is next door to deceased's.  I have frequently been in the habit of seeing him, but did not often speak to him.  I saw him about half-past ten on Wednesday last.  He had some papers in his hand.  We have often been annoyed in the night by the inmates, but not particularly by MR MANNING.  The noise was not like quarrelling and fighting, but larking.  I have been sent for to come into the house, but refused to go.  On Tuesday night I heard MR MANNING knocking and calling for "Jane" for more than half an hour from ten to half-past.  He was in darkness.  - Lucy Bowden said:  I am the daughter of Mr Samuel Rumbeton, landlord of the Tinto Public-house, where I was keeping house on Wednesday.  The deceased came there about three or just after.  He left long before dark - I should think about six or half-past.  He had four three-pennyworths of gin mixed with warm water and sugar.  He was sober when he came there.  - John Harris, his assistant, came and asked for him, and went into the parlour to him.  MR MANNING ordered a glass of ale for him, and paid for it.  He said, in answer to a question of mine, that he fell against the door the previous night, and received a black eye.  - WM. MANNING deposed that he was a brother of the deceased, and saw him alive on the Tuesday previous.  On Thursday morning he went towards deceased's house, but before he arrived was informed he was dead.  On entering the house I found the parties already named.  On entering the office, Jane Gibbings came in and informed me that the deceased had recently received 25l. from the County Court Office, and began to search about the papers as though looking for something.  I asked the widow, who has not lived with her husband for more than 20 years, if she had searched her husband's pockets.  She said she could not.  I said, "I will."  I went upstairs and asked for his clothes, and searched his pockets, and found nothing at all in them.  The servant accounted for this by stating that many bills had been paid lately. Edwin Furse deposed:  I am a surgeon residing in this town. I was sent for about a quarter before nine on Thursday last to visit deceased.  I went as quickly as possible, and found him in a state of insensibility, and suffering from epileptic form of convulsions, from which he died in the course of half-an-hour.  I observed a small cut on the right eyebrow, with discolouration around the eye.  The convulsions may have been produced by injury to the brain; but from the evidence I have heard, and my knowledge of the general mode of life of the deceased, I am of opinion that the convulsions were produced by disease, and accelerated by the excessive use of alcohol.  - The Coroner remarked that the case was melancholy from beginning to end.  The Inquiry had been a very prolonged one, much longer than he should have wished for, but his desire had been to sift and bring the matter before the Jury as clearly as possible.  He then took a short review of the evidence, and thought the Jury would agree with him that the case was one which required an Inquiry.  It was clear that there had been no foul play, and that deceased died from Natural Causes there could be no doubt.  The Jury , after a short consultation, gave that as their verdict.  - Deceased was 64 years of age.  The Inquiry lasted about five hours.

Thursday 28 September 1876

BARNSTAPLE - Death From Alcoholic Poisoning. - We regret to have to announce the death, under peculiarly sad circumstances. of SERGT. MAJOR JOHNSON, of the North Devon Hussars - a regret which will be shared by a large circle of his friends and acquaintances in North Devon.  He was passing down Queen-street about a quarter to eight on Saturday evening, apparently the worse for liquor, and, finding himself unable to walk any further, he clung to a man named Smith, who, with assistance, took him into the house of a Mr Ridge, close by, where he was laid on the hearth rug.  MRS JOHNSON was immediately sent for, and on her arrival she was not at all alarmed, for she thought he was merely under the influence of liquor, having seen him in the same state, unhappily, many times before.  He was covered up and supported by a pillow, and after vomiting for some considerable time he went to sleep. Just before two o'clock Mr and Mrs Ridge retired to rest, and at that time MRS JOHNSON still thought there was nothing seriously wrong with her husband, but that after sleeping a little longer he would be able to go home.  About six o'clock the next morning Mrs Ridge came downstairs, and on looking at the deceased she at once discovered that he was dead.  She immediately sent for a surgeon, and on the arrival of Mr Harper in a few minutes he pronounced that life had been extinct for some hours.  Strange to say, MRS JOHNSON was not aware of the fact that death had taken place, and when Mrs Ridge, on getting downstairs, asked her how he was, she replied that he was about the same.  The belief is current that she, not being at all alarmed at her husband's prostration, fell asleep, and hence it was that she was ignorant of the melancholy fact until apprised of it by Mrs Ridge.  The deceased was a man of robust, soldier-like appearance, was noted for the activity he displayed in his habits and professional duties, and was respected both by his superiors and his subordinates for his urbanity and courtesy, as well as for his firmness and decision.  He had seen active service with the 10th Hussars, having gone immediately to the Crimea after a nine years' stay in India.  He was an efficient soldier and had made himself conversant with the new drill which has been lately introduced, and which he took great pains in imparting to those who came under his instruction.

The Inquest was opened on Monday morning by the Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft, but as no evidence was forthcoming to account for the whereabouts of the deceased during the hour which elapsed between his leaving the house of Trumpet-Major Leigh, where he had called, and his being seen in Queen-street, the Inquiry was adjourned until the following evening, the Jury having formally viewed the body in order that the interment might not be delayed.

On Tuesday evening at seven o'clock the Jury, with their foreman, Mr G. Wadham, met the Coroner at Mr Lock's Railway Hotel, when the following evidence was adduced.

Mrs Elizabeth Ridge, wife of Thomas Ridge, shoemaker, in the employ of Mr Harding, and living in Queen-street, deposed:  On Saturday evening, about a quarter to eight, I was told that the deceased was very tipsy, and could scarcely walk.  In a few minutes I went to the door, and saw him at the corner of Hardaway Head, talking to a man named Smith.  He appeared to be very tipsy, and I noticed him throw his arm around Smith's neck and lean his head on his breast, as if he were unable to stand.  I went across and asked Smith to help him into my house.  I did not hear the deceased, whom I knew quite well, say anything.  When he got half-way across the street, he lost his legs altogether, and a man named Vicary, who was passing, went to Smith's assistance and helped him to bring deceased into my house.  They brought him in, and I laid him down on the matting, put some pillows under his head, and sent for MRS JOHNSON. The floor is of brick, covered with matting.  I brought a quilt and some other things from upstairs, and wrapped him up.  My daughter went for MRS JOHNSON at once, and the latter came in about ten minutes.  She said he was tipsy, and would be all right in a few hours, after he had had some sleep.  She got the teapot to make him a cup of tea.  He vomited a good deal till eleven o'clock, and then seemed to go to sleep.  About eleven I suggested that a doctor should be sent for, but MRS JOHNSON did not consider it necessary, as she thought there was nothing more the matter with him than that he was intoxicated.  My husband came home about a quarter to eleven, and saw the deceased.  MRS JOHNSON sat down on a pillow beside her husband, and was awake when we went to bed, about a quarter to two.  She would not allow us to sit up any longer:  she said he would get better, and they would both go home - he had been in the same state many times before, and had recovered after a little sleep.  He seemed to be sleeping comfortably at a quarter to two.  He was lying on his right side, and was not breathing heavily.  At six o'clock I heard MRS JOHNSON moving about in the kitchen, and I went down for the purpose of making a cup of tea.  I went into the parlour - the room in which the deceased was lying - and asked his wife how he was, and she replied that he did not seem to be any better.  I went over and looked at him, and saw that he was dead.  I called down my husband, and he went for Mr Harper directly.  I felt the arms of the deceased, which were cold and quite stiff.  His wife did not seem to think he was dead.  Mr Harper arrived in about half-an-hour, and pronounced him to be dead.  Mr Ridge, who was on the Jury, mentioned that Mr Harper arrived in a quarter of an hour instead of half-an-hour, as his wife had stated.

The man Smith was then called, and deposed:  I was in Queen-street last Saturday evening, when I saw SERGT. MAJOR JOHNSON, who asked me to help him home, saying that he was the worse for liquor.  A little boy was standing near, and the deceased observed, "My little boy would say I was drunk."  When he asked me to take him home he put his arm round my neck and nearly choked me.  Mrs Ridge told me to take him into her house, and with the assistance of a man named Vicary I did so.  He didn't completely lose his legs until he got to the steps, when he suddenly seemed to be worse, and as he was a heavy man I and Mrs Ridge could not get him up.

The Coroner put it to the Jury whether, after the evidence of Mrs Ridge, who was a very respectable person, and had made her statement in a very straightforward, satisfactory manner, the evidence of MRS JOHNSON, who was in an adjoining room, could not be dispensed with.  The Jury, through their foreman, expressed their satisfaction with Mrs Ridge's testimony, and their belief that it was unnecessary to call the widow.

Frederick Blight, an assistant to Mr Ratcliffe, grocer and wine and spirit merchant, of 41, High-street, deposed:  I have known the deceased some years.  He came into the little room behind my employer's shop last Saturday evening, about seven o'clock as near as I can say, and asked for three pennyworth of brandy and a bottle of soda water, with which I served him, and afterwards he had another "brandy" and a bottle of seltzer water.  He took nothing else.  He was quite sober when he came and also when he went away, which he did in about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour.  He was alone.  I didn't see him sit down, and he did not complain of feeling unwell:  he was apparently in his usual health.  When he went out he walked as straight as when he came in, and I am certain that he was far from intoxicated.  He wished me "good night" when he left, and also spoke to others of the assistants in the shop.

John Stanbury, cabinet-maker in the employ of Mr Symons, deposed:  I knew the deceased well.  About 20 minutes to eight on Saturday evening I saw him coming along the little narrow kerb by Mr Seldon's malthouse in Joy-street.  Just before getting to the malthouse he made a little slip off the kerb, and in coming round the corner of the street to get into Boutport-street he made another "cant."  I remarked to my companion - "I think the Sergeant has had about as much as he can carry".  I watched him as far as Mr Bartlett's, the coal merchant , but did not see him make any more "cants."  He was walking uprightly.

The Jury remarked upon the fact that when the deceased, according to Blight's statement, left Mr Ratcliffe's, it was only about al quarter past seven, whilst it was twenty minutes to eight when seen by Stanbury in Joy-street - a very short distance from the shop - so that if both the witnesses were right in their estimate of the time, the deceased must have been somewhere during the interval.

Stanbury, on being further interrogated on the point, said he was quite sure he was correct, and mentioned that he had some little time before heard the half-hour struck by one of the public clocks; and it was pointed out that his statement was corroborated by that of Mrs Ridge, who fixed the time when the deceased was in Queen-street at a quarter to eight.  Blight, on the other hand, said he would not be positive that he was right.  Stanbury next stated, in reply to a Juror, that he made the remark respecting the deceased's sobriety because of the "cants" he made, and not because he was unsteady in his gait when he had left the narrow kerb.  Mr Harper deposed:  I was called on Sunday morning, about a quarter before seven o'clock, to see deceased.  I went immediately, and found him at Mrs Ridge's, in Queen-street, lying on his side on the floor of the sitting room, with his arms folded over his chest, and covered with a counterpane and a great coat.  He was dressed, but the collar and necktie had been removed, and his shirt collar unbuttoned.  He was perfectly cold and stiff, and had been dead several hours - four or five, at the least.  The matting on which he was lying was wet around his head, as if he had been very sick.  I made a post mortem examination on Monday morning, and found that the body was well nourished, but much discoloured about the head, neck and back, the result of hypostasis.  There were no marks of violence, but bloody froth had issued from the mouth and nose.  On opening the head, I found the brain quite healthy.  I examined the chest, and found about three-quarters of a pint of red fluid in the cavities.  The lungs were slightly adhered to the chest walls, the result of old pleurisy, otherwise they appeared healthy.  The heart was soft, fatty, and easily torn, but it was free from valvular disease  In the stomach I found three-quarters of a pint of black, sour-smelling fluid, with an alcoholic odour; but there was no food.  The stomach itself had dark patches on the posterior parts, but there was no ulcer, nor was there any structural change.  I did not examine the intestines, as they appeared free from disease, but I saw that the liver, though small, was otherwise healthy.  The windpipe was free from any accumulation, and I consider that the deceased died in a state of collapse, and that, taking into consideration the state of his heart, the collapse was caused by vomiting and exhaustion, consequent upon an excessive dose of alcohol.  Mr Harper, on being asked whether he could have saved the deceased's life had he been called in on the Saturday evening, expressed an opinion that death might have been avoided if he had been put into a bed, and made warm and comfortable.  The collapse, he went on to say, was not an unusual occurrence after large doses of spirit had been taken; and, although the deceased might not have drunk a very large quantity on Saturday, he had a large quantity of alcohol in his system, his blood being impregnated with it.  Alcohol was not eliminating very rapidly from the system; and there was a little alcohol in the fluid contents of the stomach. He was quite sure that death was not caused by apoplexy, for the brain was perfectly healthy.  It was here stated that the deceased was 52 years of age.

The Coroner then summed up, and in doing so said there was no doubt that on the night in question the deceased was intoxicated, for he said so himself, and he was of course a pretty good judge of his own state.  That, too, was the impression made upon his wife, but for which the fact of her not sending for a medical man would have been very strange.  He did not think that any further inquiry would alter the aspects of the case in any way, even if it were found that after leaving Mr Ratcliffe's shop he called somewhere and had something else to drink.  The Jury at once intimated their intention to return a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.  The Coroner then prepared the following verdict, which met with the approval of the Jury:- "That the deceased, on the 24th September inst., died at Queen-street, in this borough, and that his death was caused by collapse, produced by alcoholic poisoning."

WARKLEIGH - Death From Drowning. - An Inquest was held in the above parish on Wednesday, in last week, by J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on the body of a little boy named WILLIAM DYMOND, aged three years and nine months, who was found drowned in a pond on the previous Monday.  ELIZABETH WOLLACOTT deposed that she last saw her grandchild, the deceased, alive a few minutes before five o'clock on Monday evening.  She lived in a cottage adjoining that of the father of the deceased, and at the time mentioned he came to her door, but, telling him he had better not come in, as his grandfather was poorly, she sent him off to play as usual.  About half-past six the same evening a little girl named Ellen came to her and said there was something in the pond which had got a face and hair.  She immediately went to the pond, and saw the deceased floating in the water, and as he was within her reach she took him out.  The poor little fellow showed no signs of life, and though they placed him in a pan of hot water and well rubbed him they were unable to produce re-animation.  - Lewis Rew, mason, of Landkey, gave corroborative evidence as to the finding of the body and the means taken for resuscitation, after hearing which the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Drowning.

BARNSTAPLE - Awfully Sudden Death. - On Friday evening Mr R. I. Bencraft, Coroner for the Borough, held an Inquest at the house of Mr Arnold, cabinet maker, High-street, on the body of MISS SUSANNAH BRIDGMAN, an elderly lady, who died suddenly during the preceding night under the circumstances detailed in the evidence.  The Jury having viewed the body, which lay at the house, MR JOHN BRIDGMAN was called and deposed that the deceased, who was unmarried, was his sister, and was 59 years of age.  She was of no occupation, and had resided for several years past at Exeter with a sister, having come to Barnstaple about a month since on a visit.  Since she had been here she had lodged at Mr Arnold's house.  She had been partially paralysed for some considerable time.  He had seen her almost daily since she had been here, and was with her on the previous night.  She had her supper between nine and ten o'clock, and then appeared more cheerful than usual; and when he left, before ten o'clock she was preparing to retire to rest.  That morning, about nine o'clock, he was sent for, and on going into her bedroom found her lying on her left side, quite dead.  She did not appear to have struggled at all.  - Eliza Dennis, servant to Miss Arnold, said that the deceased could not walk without assistance, being weak in her left side.  She went to bed on Thursday night about ten o'clock, and witness's mistress assisted to undress her.  Witness went to her bedroom about half-past eight that morning, and spoke to her, but received no reply, and found on examination that she was dead.  - Dr Budd testified that he had known the deceased for more than 40 years.  She was a person of delicate health and nervous temperament, and of late years had been gradually getting more feeble.  He saw her a year or so ago, and she was then suffering, he thought, from a diseased state of the vessels of the brain, besides partial paralysis.  On going to her that morning, having been called about nine o'clock, he found her lying in bed on her left side, with her knees drawn up and her right hand clenched.  There was no sign of any str5uggle having taken place, and he believed that her death was almost instantaneous.  He considered that she had been dead for some hours, and in his opinion apoplexy was the cause of her decease.  The Jury at once returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.

Thursday 12 October 1876

ATHERINGTON - Death Of A Child By Scalding. - An Inquest was held on Monday last, at Ford Down, in this parish, before John H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on the body of ELIZABETH JANE LOOSEMORE, infant daughter of JOHN LOOSEMORE, labourer, who had died the preceding Friday night from the effects of scalds.  The mother of the deceased deposed that, on the Wednesday preceding, between six and seven o'clock in the evening, she was in her kitchen with her infant sitting by her between four and five feet from the fire.  She had occasion to move a boiler of potatoes from the fire to a corner a little nearer the child (about four feet from her).  She took some sticks from the fire, put on some greens, and placed a knife on the table, when she suddenly heard the child cry out.  On hastening to her instantly, she found she had been scalded with hot water which had come from the boiler in the corner.  The injury was about the feet, legs, and lower parts of the body.  She stripped off the little thing's clothes, and got some linseed oil and applied to the scalded parts, and sent for Mrs Galliford, in the village, who was in the habit of attending to scalds, and who came in the morning and applied ointment to the wounds, and came also on the following day and did the same; but on Friday afternoon, seeing the child getting worse, the mother sent for the surgeon from Barnstaple, and Mr Jackson came immediately, but only to find the child convulsed and on the point of death, and she died shortly afterwards in his presence.  He did not think the treatment of Mrs Galliford was injudicious. The Jury returned a verdict of - "Died from Scalds accidentally received."

Thursday 19 October 1876

BRIXHAM - Fatal Case of Somnambulism at Brixham. - An Inquest was held at the Bolton Hotel, on Friday evening, before H. Michelmore, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of JANE BOWDEN, a widow, 75 years of age.  The deceased lived in Middle-street, with her son.  On Thursday morning, at five minutes to three o'clock, whilst P.C. Wotton was walking along the street on duty, he heard a window lifted, and on looking up he saw a figure in a night dress, sitting on a ledge of a window, holding it up apparently with one hand.  He called out very loudly three times, but the person paid no attention to his warning.  She slipped off the window ledge, and, striking against the ledge of the next window below, her body was thrown into the middle of the street.  The constable immediately ran to the body, picked it up, and found it to be that of an old woman.  He knocked at the door, and learnt from the deceased's son that the body was that of his mother.  The deceased fell a depth of 25 feet, and she received such injuries as resulted in her death.  It was the unanimous opinion that the deceased got out of the window whilst asleep, and that she fell down whilst in an unconscious state.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BARNSTAPLE - Mysterious Case of Death.  Sad Revelations.  On Thursday afternoon the Borough Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft, opened an Inquest at the North Country Inn, in this town, on the body of a middle-aged woman, the wife of MR WILLIAM READ, of Darnley Cottage, Victoria-road, Ilfracombe.  The evidence reveals the lamentable fact that the unfortunate woman was addicted to fits of excessive drinking, although she was not habitually intemperate; and on Thursday se'nnight, after one of her outbursts, she managed to elude the vigilance of her husband and left home.  She is supposed to have slept at Morthoe that night, and on the following day she came on to Barnstaple by train. On Friday evening she went to the house of a relative named Goss, living at Pilton, but left early the next morning, and in the course of the day visited Mrs Payne, in the High-street; and after leaving there, having refused to take Mrs Payne's advice to return to her husband, she seems to have gone to several public-houses with a view of being accommodated with a bed.  Ultimately she engaged lodgings at the house of Mr Dymond, No. 2, Boutport-street, and as she was suffering from intermittent vomiting Mr Fernie was called in and attended her up to the time of her death, which occurred after intense suffering on Wednesday afternoon.  Before her decease she made a statement to the effect that she had taken something in the shape of poison at the house of Mr Goss; but Mrs Goss denies the possibility of her having done so.  She also said that she had been drugged; and that point, which is now being investigated by the police, assumes an important aspect from the fact that Mr Fernie, as the result of the post mortem examination, inclines to the belief the inflammation from which death resulted was caused by poison.  The mystery will be cleared up when the analysis of the stomach has been made, for which purpose, amongst others, the Inquiry stands adjourned.

Three o'clock was the time fixed upon for the Inquest but Mr William Dalling, coal merchant, one of the gentlemen summoned, was not then in attendance, and as only the proper number had been summoned, the proceedings could not be commenced.  The Coroner said that on the last occasion that an Inquest was held at that end of the town, the Jury were kept waiting from the same cause.  He had never fined anyone yet for non-attendance, but he had full power to do so, and there was no reason why he should not exercise that power in the present instance.  A Juror suggested that the penalty should be imposed, so that people who were summoned in future might take warning.  A similar opinion was pretty generally expressed, and the Coroner had just decided to fine the absentee £5 when he put in an appearance.  The Coroner informed him of what had taken place, when he expressed regret for his default, and requested that he might be excused.  The Coroner enquired if he had any excuse to offer for having kept the Court waiting half-an-hour, when he said that he had been pressed to attend to several business matters.  The Coroner said he felt that he ought to impose the penalty, although it was against his inclination to do so; but he would make a note of the matter.

The Jury then chose Mr John Bridgman their foreman, after which the Coroner opened the Enquiry by remarking that he believed the main question for consideration would be whether the deceased died from exhaustion following upon excessive doses of intoxicating liquor, or whether she had taken anything in the shape of poison.  They would probably be called to determine whether a post mortem examination would be necessary.

The body having been viewed, the following evidence was taken:-  MR WM. READ deposed:  I formerly carried on business as a tailor and draper at Liverpool, but for the past four years have lived at Darnley Cottage, Victoria-road, Ilfracombe.  The deceased was my wife, and I think she is 39 years of age, but am not positive.  We have been married 16 years and have five children living.  On Thursday morning last, about nine o'clock as near as I can tell, my wife got out of bed, rang the bell and asked the girl to bring her up a cup of tea.  Whilst this was being prepared, she dressed herself.  She put on clean clothing and her best dress, and I then asked her, "Where are you going today?" when she replied, "I am going to leave."  I said, "I am determined you shan't leave. Wait till you get perfectly sober, and then if you are disposed to go you may."  I also remarked that I would bet her a sovereign that she would not leave.  She went to bed about ten o'clock on the previous night.  - The Coroner:  Do you mean to say she was not sober the next morning?  -  Witness:  She was in an excited state, sir.  - Q:  Had she been drinking on the previous night?  - A:  Yes, she was the worse for drink.  - Q.:  Had she lately given way to habits of intemperance?  - A.:  Well, if the truth must be told, she had.  - Q.:  How long?  -A.:  I should think for twelve years.  -Q.:  And lately she had been often intoxicated?  0 A.:  She had a very severe illness after her confinement, and she was ten weeks in bed then.  I am sorry to say that this is the third "bout" she has had since then.  -Q.:   It is a fact, then, that she has been indulging too freely in drink?  - A.:  Yes.  That was the cause of my leaving Liverpool.  I brought her to Ilfracombe in the hope of reforming her, and for the first two years that we were down here she never touched a drop.  -Q.:  Where did she get the drink?  -A.:  That is a thing we have been trying to find out for a long time, but we have not succeeded. Principally she would have it at home, and there were bottles to be found everywhere.  - Examination continued:  On the previous day she went to the London Inn, and afterwards asked me to go to the Panorama.  I saw in a minute that she had been indulging, and I told her so, but she denied it.  While walking with her I felt something knocking against my leg, and I found that she had got a bottle of gin.  When I told her on the Thursday morning that she would not go, she drank the cup of tea, and I went down to breakfast; and when I had finished I looked in her bedroom and saw that she had lain down again.  Thinking she was all right I went down again, and out into the back for a few minutes.  On my return, I asked the servant where her mistress was, and she replied that MRS READ was in the sitting-room.  I searched all over the house, but could not find her, and I then went to the railway station to see if she intended going by train, but could see nothing of her.  She was wearing a pair of boots which were a disgrace to anybody.  I went back home, and found that during my absence she had been for a night-dress, and had wanted to get a ride to Westdown in a carrier's cart.  I made enquiries, but could hear nothing about her.  My suspicion was that she had gone to Morte, but I could not make out for certain.  On Friday afternoon, whilst I was walking in the fields near the station with Mr Toms and Mr Harmes, Mr King, the Station master, told me she had gone to Morte. I had not told my friends anything about it, because I was really ashamed to mention the matter.  It seemed that she went and saw the people at the station, and they offered to get her a cup of tea, but she would not take anything.  Mr King said that his wife had been to Barnstaple, and in returning she saw my wife take the train from Morte Station to Barnstaple at five minutes past two.  I suppose, therefore, that she slept at Morte Thursday night.  On Saturday Mrs Payne, of Barnstaple, telegraphed to me to the effect that my wife was at her house, and asking me to come over and fetch her away.  I had solemnly declared, when she left my house in that manner, that she should not enter it again.  However, my friends thought it would be better to have her home, and Mr Toms went to Barnstaple to advise her to come back, but she refused.  The next I heard of her was on the Monday, when I had another telegram from Mrs Payne and Mrs Heddon together, saying that she was dying.  I went over by the next train, and saw my wife at the house of Mrs Dymond, in Boutport-street.  She was in a very bad condition, but she seemed to be well looked after, and I thought she would get over it, as she had done before.  A doctor was sent for while I was there, and I did not go back until the last train.  On the following day I heard that she was slightly better.  When I was with her on the Monday she spoke to me kindly, and seemed to be thankful I had come, but she made no statement about having taken anything.  She was continually vomiting all the time I was there.  On Wednesday morning I packed up a lot of clean clothes to send on to her by the carrier, but about two o'clock I received a telegram stating that she was dying, and asking me to come.  I went by the next train, but she was dead when I arrived.  Her maiden name was Roberts, and her father lives at Nottingham.  I don't think she suffered from any disease.  She was a fine, healthy, strong woman.  - The foreman:  Some statement has been made about her suffering from a gathering?  -  Witness:  Back last spring she was ill in bed in a very prostrate condition for some weeks, but she recovered again.  The doctors did not agree as to what was the matter with her.  - The Foreman:  Has there been any unpleasantness between you and your wife?  - Witness:  There has been a little unpleasantness about this affair, of course.  - Q.:  Anything special just previous to her leaving?  -A.:  No, Sir.  I certainly told her she was very wrong, and blamed her very much for getting into such a state. - Q.:  Did she ever threaten to make away with herself?  -A.:  Not seriously, I think; but she has done so when she has been in such a state as to be hardly accountable for her actions.  When she had too much to drink she was always in a kind of mania - wanted to separate, and so on.  She has been away and left me before, but I have told her many times that if she did leave in that manner she should never come back again.

A Juror observed that he noticed a swelling on one side of the face of deceased; but Mr Fernie, who was present, said it was only the effect of decomposition.  Mr Hames, chemist, Pilton, referring to a statement which had been made suggesting that oxalic acid had been taken by the deceased, said he found, on reference to his books, that he had not sold any of that commodity for weeks, and added that if the deceased had taken such a thing as that, it would have acted immediately.  The Foreman:  If she had got it she need not have taken it immediately. 

Mr Hames:  Is there no paper or no signs of her having it in the house where she lay?  Oxalic acid would act the minute it was taken down.  - He produced a labelled parcel showing how much of the poison he sold for a penny, and said he entered the sale of every parcel of the kind.  Mr Fernie:  Can anyone buy this stuff?  Mr Hames:  You can go to anyone in the town and buy it, in the same way that you can get oil of vitriol or sulphate of zinc.  The Coroner intimated that, under the circumstances, Mrs Hames would not be required to give evidence, and that gentleman withdrew.

Mr Read:  I may say for the information of the Jury, that with regard to the vomiting, I have known her to be continually sick for 36 hours, when she had had nothing but the drink.  At such times, soda water, or whatever she took, came right back immediately.

Mr Fernie:  that is not uncommon in cases of excessive drinking.

The Coroner said it would, perhaps, be advisable to consider at that stage whether a post mortem examination would be required.  They had heard from the doctor that, as a consequence of excessive drinking, the stomach might get into such a state that it would reject everything.  Perhaps the doctor could tell them, if he saw the vomit, whether there was anything in it.  Mr Fernie:  It was not alone the appearance of the woman which raised suspicion, but the statement made by Mrs Payne. 

Mary, the wife of Mr Thomas Payne, draper, High-street, deposed:  I have known the deceased for some time - five or six years - but I have only seen her twice before last Saturday.  On that day she came to my house soon after twelve o'clock.  I was not at home, and a Miss Chapple, a person in my employ, showed her into the sitting room, there to await my return.  When I came back I found her there.  I walked in, and she sat on the couch.  I looked at her, and said - "What! MRS READ!"  She said, "Yes, don't you know me?"  My reply was, "I scarcely do now."  She asked why, and I said, "Are you in this bad state again?"  She appeared to be intoxicated, and I have no doubt that she was.  A glass of water had been given her before I came, and she now asked me for another.  I said to her, "What do you do here?  Where is your husband, that you have got into this state?  Why do you act liked this?"  Her reply was, "I have come to you for advice.  Will you, as a friend, let me stay in your house for two or three days?"  I said, "I can't do so.  I can't accommodate you, because I have not got a spare room."  It seemed to me best that she should go home, and I offered to take her to the station; but she would not take my advice.  When she was asked whether a telegram should be sent to her husband, she first said "Yes," and then "No"; and, finally, she followed me from the sitting room into the shop, sat down, and became very much excited.  I telegraphed to her husband within half an hour.  Meantime, MRS READ kept her seat in the shop, leaned over the counter, and remained in that position till some time after four o'clock.  She said she was very ill, and expressed a wish to be shown to a bedroom.  I told her I should have no objection to that, but she could not stay in the house.  She refused to take a cup of tea, but wanted very much to go up to the bedroom.  At last, I allowed her to do so, and she went to my room up three or four flights of stairs.  She had been asleep part of the time when in the shop, and I thought she was getting sensible.  I was in hopes that her husband would come and fetch her, but nobody came, and I went up again to the deceased, and told her I could not let her stop up there.  I was put out of the way, and I told her it was a great liberty to come as she had, and particularly to go into my room when I had not another for myself.  With the same, she said it was unkindness.  I said, "You are well enough now to go home, and I will take you if you like."  She refused to do that, however, and, saying that she would go away, she went down the stairs, walking as well as I could, and opened a glass door leading to the passage.  She called for her umbrella and went out, turning down the street in the direction of the bridge.  I called out to her, "That is not the way to the Station," but she took no notice.  She walked on, and I saw her go as far as Mr Joce's shop. She spoke to him and again walked on in the same direction.  I went down and asked Mr Joce what she had wanted.  He said that she asked for nothing to drink, but only that he would recommend her where she could get a bed.  He recommended her to the Ilfracombe Inn.  It was then more than half-past four, but not five o'clock.  I saw no more of the deceased until Monday morning, when she was lying in Mrs Dymond's house in a very bad state. We thought of taking her home, but the woman was so sick that I thought it was better first of all to fetch a doctor.  I fetched Mr Fernie, and the woman died on the Wednesday.

The Coroner:  But did she make any statement to you before her death?

Witness:  Oh, I remained with her constantly on Monday until two o'clock on Tuesday morning.  About one o'clock I was holding her head, and she was vomiting very much.  Suddenly she said to me, "Do you know, Mrs Payne, I think I have poisoned myself?"  I said, "Have you, MRS READ?"  She replied, "Not intentionally," and I asked her what she had taken, and where she got it.  "At Mrs Goss's, she said.  I asked her, "When, and how?"  Her reply was - "I went to a cupboard, and I drank out of a bottle, and after that I have been very bad, and I have been worse ever since.  I thought it was peppermint I had taken, but I found it was not."  It seems that she slept at the house of a Mrs Goss, at Pilton, on the Friday night.

MR READ:  Mr Goss is an uncle of mine.

The Coroner (to Witness):  Did she ever make any other statement?

Witness:  She told me she never would go back to her husband, because she had been treated so badly.  I asked her why she left the house in the way she did, and her reply was, "Because my husband has beaten me black and blue.  I have the marks to show, and that is the cause of my drinking."  That was when she came to me on the first occasion.

The Coroner:  Did she ever say anything about making away with herself?

Witness: When I pressed her to go home, she said she would rather throw herself under the train, or into the river. She once said to me, too, "I am not a real drunkard, you know; sometimes I don't have anything for twelve months".  I asked her if that was not the third time she had been like that since last May, and she did not reply.

A Juror:  When she talked about being beaten did she show you any marks?

Witness:  I have asked if there were any marks on her body, and have been told that there is not one.

A Juror:  Then her statement on that point is not correct.

Mrs Goss, the wife of John Goss, living at Pilton, was next questioned by the Coroner.  She is a hale old lady, about eighty years of age, and rather hard of hearing.  She said that she knew the deceased, who had sometimes visited her house.  - Q.:  Do you recollect her coming to your house last Friday night?  -A.:  I remember her coming, but I think it was on a Tuesday.  I was gone upstairs to go to bed.  - Q.:  Are you sure it was a Tuesday - wasn't it the day you go to market?  -  A.:  I don't go to the market hardly ever, now.  - Q.:  Was it two or three days ago that she came to your house?  A.:  Yes.  - Q.  Then tell us all about it.  -A.:  I went upstairs, and I was partially undressed, and my husband told me to be quick and make up the bedding:  that I did, and MRS READ came up and went into bed.  -Q.:  She was not very well, but had taken a drop too much, was that it?  -A.:  I could see that, you know; but then I didn't think it would all end like this.  I begged of her to take some tea, but she would rather have water.  She did drink a great quantity of water, to be sure.  I asked her ever so many times to let me make her some tea, but she wouldn't have it.  -Q.:  Was there any cupboard in the chamber where she was?  -A.:  Yes, sir, but there was nothing in it but empty bottles.  -Q.:  Was there anything in those bottles which she could drink?  -A.:  No, sir.  -Q.:  Did they use to have peppermint in them?  -A.:  Yes, sir, but the bottles had been there a long time, and I had used no peppermint never since two years agone.

The Foreman:  Was there any peppermint in any of the bottles?  Mrs Goss:  There was not a drop in any of them, and they were quite wholesome.

To the Coroner:  MRS READ left the next morning about seven o'clock.  She would not have any breakfast or any tea.  Cold water, she said, was best for her.  She kept on throwing up phlegm when in bed during the night.

A Juror:  It appears that she was very sick before she had the opportunity of getting at the bottles.  The Coroner:  How long after she came into the house was it before she was sick?  Mrs Goss:  Almost directly, Sir.  As soon as she took off her clothes, she vomited very much.  -Q.:  Could she get any poison in your house?  - A.:  No, Sir, I will take my oath on that.  -Q.:  Any sheep dipping, or that sort of thing about?  -A.:  No, Sir, nothing of that sort.  She kept begging me to get her some brandy or some beer, but I told her that I was not in the habit of going to a public-house, and that I thought spirits or beer would do her more hurt than good.  I don't think she had any money, but some person told me she had 5d.  The Coroner:  It seems that our inquiry would not be complete unless a post mortem examination was made.  The stomach would show whether she had taken any poison. If she did, you might find out where she got it.  I should like to ask Mr Fernie if he saw anything that in his mind accounted for this excessive vomiting.

Mr Fernie:  I do not think mere drink would have brought about the condition she was in.  I said so directly I saw her.  It seemed to me that there must be something more.

The Coroner (to MR READ):  To your knowledge had she been drinking heavily during the past month.

MR READ:  Pretty heavily, but not so heavily as I have known her.

The Coroner:  In what condition would she generally be after drinking so much?  MR READ:  If she were to get too much to drink at night she would be sick the next morning, and then she kept on drinking more to cure herself.  It would pass off ultimately, but it took a long time.  Some time in the beginning of September she had a "bout" I think, but it was a short one.

The Coroner:  Where did she get the money?  MR READ:  She borrowed it - got it on trust or something.  In this town she pledged her watch.  That was on the Saturday, and she got £2 for it.  It was at Mr Moon's, I think, in some lane.  A Juror:  She must have been drunk when she went to pledge the watch.

Mr Fernie:  When I saw her on the Monday, she was very cold and had no pulse.  I was told she had been drinking, but I did not think that would account for the symptoms.  She was extremely tender over the bowels, and it seemed to me that the symptoms might have been produced by some irritant she had taken.  There was some difference of opinion amongst the Jury as to whether a post mortem was necessary, but Mr Fernie said he could not tell the cause of death until he had made such an examination, and the Inquest was adjourned until the next morning for that purpose.

The Inquiry was resumed at the North Country Inn, on Friday morning, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., and the same Jury.

The Coroner, at the commencement of the proceedings, said a letter written by the father of the deceased had been put into his hands, and MR READ seemed to wish that it should be read.  That would, no doubt, be very satisfactory to the latter, because it showed MR READ'S conduct had been that of a kind husband.  The letter was written from 18, Arkwright-street, Nottingham, and was as follows:-  "Oct. 11. - My dear sir, - I duly received your very sad and depressing letter, and I assure you I was taken with great surprise, because I was given to understand that a great and beneficial change had taken place since the time you went into the country.  In fact, all her letters gave me to understand that she never touched anything stronger than tea.....  I had felt to myself how comfortable you must both be since she had left off drink.  But it seems I have been sadly deceived.  What is most distressing to me is her leaving her home and trying to scandalise you amongst your relations and friends.  This last is very serious and heart-rending, and if my pities would avail you anything I would send you a thousand of them.  I sincerely sympathise with you in the sad event which has happened, and if my writing to her would be of any use I would do so at once.  She has broken her promises before, and I am afraid she will do so again.  How happy and comfortable you both would be but for this extreme folly she gives herself up to. - I am, dear sir, your afflicted father, William Roberts."  - The Coroner said it would seem that there was nothing with which to reproach the husband:  it was rather the reverse.

Mr Andrew Fernie deposed: I was called to see the deceased on Monday morning, the 10th October.  Mrs Payne came for me.  She was then lying in a back room at the house of Mr John Dymond.  She looked very miserable and wretched and dirty in that room, and had been vomiting a great deal.  Her hands were quite cold, and she was pulseless.  I told the people in the house that the first thing to be done was to get her into another room, put clean things on her, and light a fire.  When she had been thus removed, I visited her again.  I told the friends that she was extremely ill, and that I thought she would not live.  It was my opinion then that she was suffering from something worse than mere vomiting from drink.  She was continually throwing up a lot f black fluid, and she complained of a pain over her stomach and bowels.  I saw her several times that day, and all that she kept on asking for was drink - not intoxicating liquor, but water.  I attempted to give her a little nourishment, but everything she swallowed came up again immediately.  Turpentine was applied, but her hands continued to be icy cold, and there was no pulse.  On Tuesday morning I went round again, and Mrs Payne then told me of the statement the woman had made in the night - that she had taken poison of some sort.  I then asked her myself whether she had taken anything, accidentally or wilfully, telling her we wanted to know what it was, in order to find out a remedy.  She would not state definitely that she had or had not, but only said she thought she drank something at Mr Goss's which did not agree with her - that she swallowed something which she thought peppermint, which did her harm. She said to me, once or twice, "Do you think this could be caused only by drink?"  and she seemed reluctant to tell all she knew.  All day Tuesday she remained very ill.  They injected milk and egg and beef tea, and the hands did get a little warmer, although there was still no pulse.  At the latter part of that day, the stomach retained a little nourishment, and she passed a better night.  On Wednesday morning, she spoke more and clearer than she had done - spoke of her husband, and asked me to look at her tongue.  The inside of her mouth and the tongue were ulcerated.  She complained very much of that.  She died some time in the early part of the afternoon.  This morning I made a post mortem examination.  The body was that f a fat and well-nourished woman, and, with the exception of the stomach, all the organs - the heart, lungs, &c., were healthy.  The stomach was very much inflamed at the part nearest the swallow - at the caidiac end, as we call it.  The other parts were slightly inflamed.  That was, no doubt, the cause of the sickness, which resulted in death.  The inflammation was no doubt caused by some irritant, but I cannot say what it was.  Inflammation of the stomach is an exceedingly rare disease, except as the result of taking irritant or corrosive poison.  Whether it could be produced by large quantities of alcohol is a matter of doubt. On reference to authorities, I find that such cases are exceedingly rare.  To make the inquiry complete, I should say that the stomach should be analysed.  That would settle the matter.

A Juror:  There has been something said about a gathering.  Did you find anything of that?

Mr Fernie:  I found that there had been something the matter at the lower part of the body, but that was entirely distinct from the present symptoms.

Charlotte, the wife of John Dymond, a labourer, was the next witness called.  She said:  I live at No. 3, Boutport-street.  Deceased first came to my house about a quarter after five o'clock on Saturday evening.  Mrs Pyke, at the Green Dragon across the way, would not take her in, but had recommended her to me.  She came in and asked me for a bed.  I told her I could not give her one.  Then she had a sort of a struggle, and I offered to make her a cup of tea.  The woman came in, and just afterwards Mrs Heddon, a lady living out at Rawleigh, came by and said to me "You take her in, and I'll see you are all right."  The lady "bided" with the deceased some time, and the latter said she was sick, because she had had nothing to eat for three days.  Not long after Mr Payne and Mr Toms came to her with a basket carriage, and asked her to go home, but she refused.  We had to carry her to bed, and she was sick from that time.  She brought up a great quantity of black vomit, which smelt strongly of spirit.  She never slept a moment from the time that she was brought into the house.

A Juror:  Did you give her anything on the Sunday?

Witness:  She had two sixpennyworths of brandy, with about four bottles of soda water - that's what she had.

Mr Fernie:  What condition was she in on Sunday?  Witness:  She was in a cold bath of sweat.  A Juror:  Has she been to the Braunton Inn?  Witness:  That I don't know for certain.  When she was down at my house, a little girl - a little Brown - came down to her, and said, "You must please come up to ma at once?"  A Juror:  Did she not say she had been somewhere and had been drugged?  Witness:  Oh, yes.  She said she had half a glass of brandy, and as soon as she drank it she felt a difference in herself.  In answer to the Coroner, witness said that the deceased wore a red shawl, and she had a bottle of gin under her arm, which she let down on the floor in such a way that the contents were lost.  She had kept the bottle.  The Coroner said he believed it would be found that the gin was produced at the King's Arms.  It would be very desirable to trace the woman, if possible, from the time that she got the money on her watch, to her arrival at Mrs Dymond's house and inquiries might be made for that purpose during the adjournment for an analysis of the stomach. It seemed that the woman had more than £1 10s. with her when she reached Mr Dymond's house.  Mr Dymond said that the deceased had also been to Mr Baker's, at the Mermaid, and she there dropped a handkerchief, which witness picked up afterwards.

After some conversation, it was agreed that the Inquest should be adjourned to Saturday evening next, and that the stomach should, in the meantime, be sent to Dr Blyth for analysis, while the police were instructed to make further inquiries in reference to the actions of the deceased after leaving Mrs Payne's house on Saturday.

Thursday 26 October 1876

EXETER - Another Victim To Drink At Exeter. - An Inquest was held at Exeter yesterday respecting the death of JAMES CRREDY, formerly a baker to the St. Thomas Workhouse.  Mrs Lydia Lypell, who occupies rooms in the same house as the deceased, stated that on Friday evening last a man named Drake called to see him, and as he stayed so long as to lose his train to Wellington, where he intended to go that night, was persuaded by the deceased to remain with him all night.  During the night witness heard a noise in CREEDY'S room, and on proceeding downstairs found the deceased on the floor, he having fallen from his chair.  Deceased was then in a sitting position. Witness spoke to Drake, who was on the bed, and asked him to assist her in raising the deceased.  Drake replied that CREEDY had had a "drep too much," and would be all right after having a "nap."  Witness then left the room.  Some time afterwards she again heard a noise, and went to CREEDY'S room, and the put a pillow under his head.  Drake left in the morning, and after he was gone witness bathed the deceased's head with vinegar, and gave him some tea.  Finding that he was very ill, she sent for Mr Perkins, who, on arriving, found that the man was dying.  His breath smelt very strongly of alcoholic liquor.  Mr Perkins applied the usual remedies, but without effect.  Death occurred shortly afterwards.  Mr Perkins said it resulted from the excessive quantity of drink taken, coupled with exposure and a verdict to that effect was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - The Case of Mysterious Death. -  The adjourned Inquest on the body of MARY ANN READ, who died under circumstances  which justified the belief that she was poisoned, was held at the North Country Inn on Saturday evening, before Mr R. I. Bencraft, the Borough Coroner, and the same Jury.

[Further long account, but ending with the following verdict.:-]

The Coroner:  I don't think I need pursue this Inquiry any further by calling other witnesses.  I think, from this report of Dr Blyth, that it is pretty clear that death resulted from taking oxalic acid, which was found in the vomit.  The Jury have heard a description of the woman's sufferings, and there can be little doubt that the effects of the poison were so violent that every particle of the substance taken was thrown up.  I would suggest that you should find a verdict to the effect that you are of opinion, from the evidence that has been put before you, and from the certificate of Dr Blyth, that her death has been caused by oxalic acid, but how administered and where obtained you have no evidence to show.  The police may find out some day where the poison was obtained, but they have not as yet been able to do so.   The Jury then returned a verdict in accordance with the Coroner's suggestion.

SWYMBRIDGE - A Man Found Hanged In His House. - Yesterday, an Inquest was held at Swymbridge, by J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, upon the body of a man named JOHN SEXON, who was found hanging dead in his own house on the previous Monday.  The following evidence was taken:  - JAMES SEXON deposed that he was a plumber living at Barnstaple, and that the deceased was his brother.  The latter had for some time resided in the parish of Swymbridge, where he was employed, in his trade as a tanner, by Messrs. Smyth.  He was thirty eight years of age, and resided in a house by himself.  On Saturday night last, witness went out to see his brother, but he was not at home, and witness was informed that he had left Mr Smyth's employ because he had stopped away from his work.  Witness then returned to Barnstaple; but, on the following day, he went again to Swymbridge, and called at the house where his brother lived.  The door was fastened, and the neighbours stated that he had not been at home during the night, and that, on Saturday evening, he was seen going in the direction of the village.  Witness ultimately found his brother at the Lamb and Flag Inn, just about the time that people were going to Church in the afternoon.  Deceased came to the door - he did not appear to be tipsy - and said he had slept at the Inn the night before.  Witness then walked about for some time, but returned to the Lamb and Flag about five o'clock, and was asked by the landlord if he would take some tea, to which he consented.  About half-past six o'clock, witness and the deceased started for home, the latter walking without any assistance and appearing quite sober.  Upon reaching the house they sat down together, and in the course of conversation deceased said he expected to go back again to Mr Smyth's on Monday, but that if he could not get there he should go to Wales. About a quarter to eight o'clock the witness left,  his brother then appearing to be quite well.  He was told at the Lamb and Flag that his brother was tipsy the night before, and that the landlord took charge of him, and gave him breakfast and dinner on the Sunday.  Elizabeth, the wife of Mr Courtenay, who works at Messrs. Smyth's tan yard, said she knew the deceased, who had lived in a house adjoining theirs at Swymbridge Newland.  On Friday last she noticed that he seemed rather low spirited.  On the Monday afternoon, between three and four o'clock, while in her own house, she heard a noise in the deceased's back-house, as if a person were moving about with his feet and rattling the door.  She thought the man must be bringing in some sticks to make a fire for his tea; but she did not go in, thinking the deceased might not like it.  About half-past six o'clock her husband came home from work, and she told him what she had heard.  After supper her husband tried the door of the deceased's house, and found it locked.  Suspecting something wrong, he gave information to the policeman. Witness saw the deceased leave for Swymbridge on the Saturday afternoon, but she did not see him afterwards.  - P.S. John Rich deposed that he lived at Landkey Newland.  On Monday, in consequence of information received, he went to the house of JOHN SEXON about eleven o'clock at night.  He tried the door, and found it locked, with the key on the inside. Turning his lantern on the window, he called out "JOHN SEXON." There was no reply.  He then took a loose pane of glass from the window, opened it, and got into the house.  Near the door in the back room he found the deceased hanging by the neck by a cord attached to a staple in the beam.  The man was quite dead, and seemed to have been so for some time.  Witness then unlocked the door, admitted Mr Hammet and other persons who had come to the spot, and they untied the cord and carried the body of the deceased upstairs.  The cord had made a deep purple mark around the neck, the deceased's tongue was protruding, his knees were a little bent, while his arms were held straight down. A stool lay near the deceased's feet, and, so far as he could remember, that was laying on the side when the body was first found.  Deceased had a silver watch in his pocket and 1s. 2d. in money.  The watch seemed to have been wound up.  After hearing this evidence, the Jury returned an Open Verdict.

DARTMOUTH - Strange Death At Dartmouth. - An Inquest was held at the Dart Yacht Club Hotel, Kingswear, on Saturday night, by Mr Michelmore, County Coroner, respecting the death of JOHN BARBER, a gardener, in the employ of Mr Brooking, of Ridley House.  On Friday night deceased, who was married and had a family, was found lying flat on the ground quite dead, with his face and hands in a large tub of water, sunk in the garden.  There being no evidence to show that the deceased was of a melancholy temperament, but the reverse, an open verdict was returned.  Mr Barnes, of Kingswear, who had been summoned on the Jury, was fined £2 for non-attendance.  He had written stating that he should not attend, as it was illegal to hold an Inquest at such an hour.

BIDEFORD - Child Scalded To Death. - On Friday, an Inquest was held at Nicholl's Brewery, High-street, Bideford, before Dr. Thompson, Borough Coroner, touching the death of JAMES ARTHUR NICHOLLS, aged 22 months.  Mr William Endean was the foreman of the Jury.  - WM. NICHOLLS, father of the deceased, said that in the afternoon a servant girl took the child into the brewery, where there is a landing over the mash tub.  To get on to it a person would have to climb up three feet.  There being no steps the servant got on and lifted the child up.  They were there about six minutes.  The platform was quite safe, and firmly fixed.  The mash tub contained at the time liquor of 190 degrees of temperature, and was about two feet deep.  He heard the servant call out, "Master, the child is in the beer."  Witness instantly took the child out, cut off its clothes, and sent for a doctor, who immediately attended.  The child was put into a tub naked and covered all over with barm before the doctor arrived.  - Emma Davis said she was servant to MR NICHOLLS, and part of her duty was to look after the child.  On the afternoon of Thursday she went into the brewery with the child about half-past three o'clock, and got on the landing to see the beer running out of the furnace into the mashtub.  She took the child up with her on the landing, and remained there about a quarter of an hour.  She jumped off the platform and attempted to take off the child, when it ran backwards and fell over into the mash-tub.  She was aware of the danger and was afraid he would fall in. - Charles Sinclair Thompson said he was called on Thursday afternoon to see MR NICHOLS'S child.  When he got to the house he found the child naked in a foot-tub in the kitchen.  He was smeared all over with barm by his father.  The child was scalded from head to foot in front and behind; the skin was all off his hands and feet.  He wrapped the child in cotton wool, applied common oil, and gave him laudanum and chloroform.  The child died about six o'clock.  The Jury returned the following verdict:-  "That JAMES ARTHUR NICHOLLS came to his death by accidentally falling into a mash tub containing very hot wort; at the same time the Jury recommended that a barrier or rail be placed on the platform to prevent any accident in the future."

Thursday 16 November 1876

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Death Of A Single Woman. - On Tuesday evening Mr R. I. Bencraft held an Inquest at the Golden Fleece Inn, on the body of AMELIA WESTACOTT, who died under the circumstances below related. - Mr Dunstan, of Barnstaple, stated that on Monday the 30th ult., about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, as he was going along the road to Ashford, near a little bridge some distance beyond the turnpike, he heard what he thought a faint moan.  It was scarcely audible, and he was inclined to pass on; but he put his head over the parapet of the bridge and he heard a woman groaning.  He then clambered over the hedge, and in the stream he saw a woman lying upon her back.  She was entirely covered with the exception of the upper part of her face, just enough to breathe.  He got the assistance of a man who was passing, and had her placed by the side of a hedge.  She could not speak, and did not answer any of the questions put to her.  Ultimately her father arrived, and he said she had been unwell for some time, and that she was not in her right senses.  She had frequently been out of her mind, and ought not to have been allowed out.  Witness afterwards went and fetched some brandy, and a farmer named Bampfield rode back to Barnstaple to the police station.  Mr Bampfield, jun., farmer, of Ashford, corroborated.  - Mr George Songhurst (Superintendent of Police) deposed to visiting the Ashford-road on the 30th ultimo and finding the deceased there with her father.  She was very exhausted and did not speak, and he had her removed home, when he sent for Mr Fernie, surgeon.  W. WESTACOTT, shoemaker, the father of the deceased, said his daughter was 46 years of age, and was a single woman.  She had lived at home with him for the past two years, but previous to that had lived for sixteen years as housemaid with Mr Palmer, of Instow, whose service she had to leave owing to illness.  During the past twelve months her health has been very bad.  Sometimes she appeared to be very "strange."  On the 30th ultimo he did not see her go out, as he was away at the time.  His son told him he could not keep her in.  She said she should go out and look for her father; she knew where to find him.  He did not see her again until he was sent for to the Braunton-road.  She did not know him and could not speak.  She was afterwards taken home, and had been in bed ever since until she died on Monday, the 13th inst.  He did not think she was in her right senses at the time she walked down the road.  He had never heard her threaten to destroy herself, but he had heard she had made such a threat.  Mr A. Fernie, surgeon, said he had attended deceased off and on for some years for consumption of the lungs.  He saw her on the 30th ult and gave instructions to restore warmth, and by the evening she had become better.  When he last saw her she appeared tolerably comfortable and that was ten days ago.  He could not tell exactly the circumstances under which she died, but he was not surprised at hearing of her death.  He did not think she could have recovered from the shock:  it must have hastened her death.  She told him that she went for a walk, could not get back, and went into the water.  He supposed that she died from exhaustion, as she was very thin and weak.  He did not think she could have been in her right mind; the disease had evidently weakened her mind.  The Jury returned a verdict that the deceased died from exhaustion, accelerated by her immersion in the water, and that at the time she got into the water she was in an unsound state of mind.

Thursday 23 November 1876

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest. - On Saturday evening last, R. I. Bencraft, Esq., the Borough Coroner, opened an Inquest at the North Devon Infirmary on the body of a deceased inmate named MARY RICHARDS, an old woman, who was supposed to have died from the effects of an accident she met with on Michaelmas-day.  Mr Thomas Baker was chosen foreman of the Jury.  - The body having been viewed, John Passmore, a labouring man, living in the borough, was called, and deposed that on the 29th September he was taking the horse of his employer, Mr Pridham, from the yard leading into Joy-street to the stable.  He let go his hold of it in order to unfasten the stable-door, and while thus engaged a goat jumped out against the animal and frightened it; whereupon it turned round and galloped down the yard.  He follow3d the animal, but could not catch it, and when he got to the top of Joy-street he saw a crowd of people around the deceased, who, it appeared, had been knocked down by the horse.  Someone obtained a conveyance from Mr Pridham, and took the deceased to the Infirmary.  He thought he heard her say, as she was about to start, that her leg was gone, or that she had broken her leg.  The horse fell down outside Mr Moon's shop, and when witness reached the Golden Fleece he found that someone had stopped it. It had only sustained a slight injury.  - The Coroner intimated that the Inquiry must be adjourned until Monday, in consequence of the absence of medical evidence.  When the Jury re-assembled on Monday evening, Edwin James Hancock, an apprentice, deposed to seeing the horse rush down the yard into Joy-street. It seemed to make an attempt to break through Mr Hodge's window, but did not do so, and went on at a furious pace down Holland-street, knocking down the deceased.  She was just about to turn the corner near Mr Elliott's butcher's shop.  The horse seemed to knock her down, and gallop right over her, and it afterwards knocked down a lad named Osborne, but did not hurt him.  Deceased was insensible when taken up; and in about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour she was conveyed to the Infirmary.  - Mr C. Jones, temporary house-surgeon of the Infirmary at the time, deposed that he and Mr Reynolds examined the deceased on the same evening that she was admitted, and they found her suffering from a severely contused right arm and an abrasion of the left cheek and temple.  She gave her age as 70, but looked much older.  From inquiries he made he found that about four years ago she had a fit of paralysis, from which she had almost recovered.  A few days after her admittance, and when her wounds had all but healed, she was attacked with another fit.  Her tongue and mouth were drawn a little on one side, and she never used her left arm afterwards.  He could not say whether the accident caused or accelerated the attack.  It might have accelerated it, but in all probability it would have come sooner or later.  She gradually became weaker and weaker, the paralysis increasing, until she died on Saturday.  She slept quietly away, having become excessively weak from exhaustion.  - A Juror remarked that he had heard a report that the woman was bitten by the horse; but Mr Jones said that from the examination he made he was in a position to say that she was not injured in that way at all.  The Coroner said that there was no one open to blame in the matter, and that perhaps the wonder was that, under the circumstances, other persons were not injured by the horse.  At his suggestion the Jury at once returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased died from the effects of a Paralytic Seizure, accelerated by the accident.

EXETER - Melancholy Suicide At Exeter. - An Inquest was held at Exeter on Friday respecting the death of MRS S. G. S. W. BISNEY.  Deceased, who was the wife of MR CHARLES BISNEY, hatter, of High-street, Exeter, was 63 years of age.  According to her husband's statement she had never enjoyed good health, and had recently shewn symptoms of nervous depression, being especially distressed by his late pecuniary embarrassments.  MR BISNEY had often pressed her to procure medical advice, but she  preferred the homeopathic treatment, which she had studied somewhat carefully.  On Thursday morning his wife appeared as cheerful as usual, and when he last saw her alive, about four o'clock, there was nothing in her manner to excite suspicion. An hour afterwards the housekeeper told him something had happened to her mistress, and on going to his dressing-room he found the deceased kneeling on the floor with her head resting on a small tin bath, which contained a quantity of blood that had flowed from a wound in her throat.  Two doctors were sent for, but their services were of no avail; in fact, death must have taken place before the witness entered the room.  It appeared that the wound had been inflicted with one of MR BISNEY'S razors.  - In reply to the Coroner, MR BISNEY stated that he was contemplating removal, and the prospect of the change affected his wife very much, as they had occupied the High-street premises for upwards of twenty years.  Evidence was given by Susan Norris, the housekeeper, Mr Ball, nephew of MR BISNEY, and Mr G. F. Webb, surgeon.  The Coroner, in summing up, expressed sympathy - which he was sure the Jury shared with him - for MR BISNEY in his sad bereavement, and intimated that there was little or no reason to doubt that the deceased's mind was so affected by her husband's misfortunes as to render her unconscious of the nature of the fatal act.  The Jury, after a brief consultation, unanimously returned a verdict that the deceased committed suicide while in a state of Temporary Insanity."

Thursday 30 November 1876

BARNSTAPLE - Death Of An Infant From Suffocation. - On Saturday last an Inquest was held by R. I. Bencraft, Esq., the Borough Coroner, on the body of WILLIAM, the infant son of MR D. PRIDEAUX, manure merchant, of this town.  It appeared from the evidence of MRS PRIDEAUX that the child was eleven weeks old, and, with the exception of having suffered from flatulency, had been healthy since his birth.  On the preceding night he was apparently well, and he slept with her and her husband, between her and the wall.  He went to sleep, and did not to her knowledge awake during the night; and about eight o'clock the following morning she was about to take him up, when she discovered that he was lifeless.  She immediately sent for Mr Harper.  - Mr Harper gave evidence that he found the child dead in bed.  Froth was issuing from the right nostril, the lips were dark, and the left side of the face was discoloured.  He was very stiff and quite cold, and had probably been dead several hours.  In witness's opinion the cause of death was suffocation.  The Jury at once returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased was Accidentally Suffocated whilst in bed with his parents.

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - MRS MARY WESTACOTT, an elderly lady, whose late husband formerly carried on the business of a butcher in Aze's-lane and who has filled the position of governess of the creche in Trinity-street, expired very suddenly on Tuesday night.  Heart disease is rumoured to be the cause of death, but as the deceased had not been under medical attendance, an Inquest will be held this (Thursday) morning.

Thursday 7 December 1876

BARNSTAPLE - The Sudden Death Of MRS WESTACOTT. - On Thursday morning Mr R. I. Bencraft, the Borough Coroner, met a Jury at the Barnstaple Inn, Trinity-street, and held an Inquiry into the circumstances attendant upon the death of MRS MARY WESTACOTT, aged 61, the widow of a butcher who formerly carried on business in this town. - Mr Cummings having been chosen foreman of the Jury, SARAH ANNE WESTACOTT, who seemed to be much affected whilst giving her evidence, was called and deposed that she had been in the service of Mrs Whitefield in Boutport-street, but, having left her situation two or three weeks ago, had since resided at home with her mother, the deceased, who was the matron of the Crèche, or infant day nursery, in Trinity-street.  The deceased had lately complained of a pain in her side, and had been troubled with a cough at night.  On Tuesday evening, about a quarter to eight, witness met her leaving her house on an errand to Mrs Ffinch, at Newport, and she then seemed to be very well - indeed, better than usual.  Witness did not see her again until later in the evening, when she was brought home dead.  - Elizabeth Beer, a married woman, living also in Trinity-street, deposed that about half-past nine on Tuesday night the deceased, whom she did not know intimately, knocked at her door, and asked to be allowed to sit down because she had been taken with a very severe pain in the heart.  Witness at once gave her consent, and the deceased went in and sat down on a chair.  She was breathing very hard, and said she was suffering very badly from a pain in the chest, and she also discharged some vomit, which was tinged with blood.  She seemed to get no better, and witness therefore went for Mr Gamble, and on her return the deceased was dying.  That was about twenty minutes or half-an-hour after she entered the house.  Mr Shapland, Mr Gamble's assistant, was with the deceased by the time witness returned, and Mr Gamble followed in about ten minutes.  She died in the chair.  - In reply to the foreman, the witness said that the deceased evidently knew that she was very ill; and in answer to Mr Gamble she said that the cough she had was of a choking, convulsive character.  - The Coroner said he had no evidence as to what the deceased took at Mrs Ffinch's, but if it were found to be necessary, the Jury could have some testimony on the point.  Mr Gamble said he had heard that she had supper, and he also mentioned that the deceased had never been under his care.  Being sworn, he deposed to going to Mrs Beer's house on Tuesday evening and to finding that deceased, who was seated on a chair, had just expired.  He was shown the vomit, and was told the history of the case; and from what had come to his knowledge, it was his opinion that she was suffering slightly from bronchitis, and her walking home in the cold, perhaps hurriedly, and just after a meal, brought on a sudden attack of congestion of the lungs, which impeded her breathing and so suffocated her.  That was merely an opinion, for it was impossible to determine the point definitely without making a post mortem examination.  - A Juror remarked that on the evening in question the deceased came into his shop and seemed to be in uncommonly high spirits and to be rather excited, in consequence, he supposed, of there being a meeting of ladies at the creche.  - The Coroner told the Jury that Mr Gamble's hypothesis as to the cause of death seemed to him to carry with it a good deal of probability, and that in the absence of any suspicion that the deceased had taken poison he did not think it was necessary to have a post mortem examination made.  He therefore suggested that a verdict should be returned to the effect that the deceased died from Natural Causes, namely, Congestion of the Lungs.  Mr Gamble mentioned that the cause of death could not have been heart disease, because had it been the deceased would have died with much more suddenness; neither could it have been apoplexy, for the symptoms would have been different.  The Jury expressed themselves as being satisfied with the evidence adduced, and returned a verdict accordant with the Coroner's suggestion.

Thursday 14 December 1876

EXETER - Strange Death Of An Exeter Tradesman. - Mr Hooper, Coroner of Exeter, held an Inquest on Friday respecting the death of MR J. MALLETT, a tradesman, who died under very peculiar circumstances.  A few nights since two men were walking on the Quay, when they observed a man lying on the ground in an unconscious state.  They at first thought he was dead, but after some minutes symptoms of life were noticed, and they raised him to his feet.  The sufferer who seemed to have had a fit walked with assistance as far as Holloway-street, where the men left him, as he appeared to be considerably better, and it was raining heavily.  A quarter of an hour later one of the men named Holmes, heard that the body of a man had been found in the river, and on going to the Port Royal Inn, he saw that it was the same person as he had found on the Quay.  Mr Edwards, of the Port Royal Inn, stated that between ten and eleven o'clock he was walking towards the Quay, when he noticed an object floating in the river near the bank.  He immediately ran back to his house, seized a boathook, jumped into a boat and intercepted the object, which proved to be the body of a man.  With assistance, the body was landed.  It was not quite cold, and the persevering application of the usual remedies succeeded in restoring animation.  The unfortunate man, who was identified as MR MALLETT, of High-street, was attended by Mr Tosswill, surgeon, and then removed to the Hospital.  Next morning, having slightly rallied, the patient was taken to his own residence, where he was attended by Mr Phelps, surgeon. He improved a little, but the strain to which the constitution had been exposed proved too much, and death supervened on Thursday morning.  It was elicited from one of the deceased's sons that at the time of the sad occurrence his father was financially embarrassed, but there was no evidence to show that suicide had been committed.  Mr Tosswill stated that the appearance of the deceased when he was called to see him was consistent either with the supposition that he had been drinking or that he had suffered from an epileptic fit.  Mr Phelps said death resulted from acute inflammation, caused by the sudden immersion.  The Jury returned a verdict to that effect, adding that there was no evidence to shew how the deceased got into the water.  The conduct of Messrs. Holmes and Edwards was highly praised.

Thursday 28 December 1876

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Death Of An Old Man. - An Inquest was held by R. I. Bencraft, Esq., the Borough Coroner, on Friday evening last, at the North Devon Infirmary, touching the death of RICHARD WEBBER, 87 years of age, who had been admitted on the preceding Wednesday.  The following evidence was adduced:-  Mr Henry Cummins deposed that he resided at Newton Tracey.  On Wednesday morning last, in consequence of a communication made to him by his servant, Eliza Rowden, he visited a field, about three hundred yards from his house, where he found the deceased, who was quite unconscious, with his feet in a pool of water.  Witness took him up, placed him against the hedge, and administered brandy, but it was all to no purpose, for he could not get the old man to articulate a syllable.  subsequently witness sent for a horse and cart, and had him conveyed to the Infirmary.  Robert Joce Longman, of Linuscott, deposed to taking the deceased to the Infirmary in his (witness's) cart, and mentioned that the old man was unconscious the whole of the time.  Mr Muxworthy, Master of the Union Workhouse, deposed that deceased had asked leave of him to go and visit some friends, who resided in the neighbourhood of Newton Tracey, and that he was to have returned on Friday.  He appeared to be in his usual state of health when he left.  Mr Pronger, House Surgeon at the Infirmary, deposed that the deceased's pulse was very feeble when he was brought in, and that he was in a state of collapse.  He could not swallow anything, and died between eleven and twelve o'clock the same night.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Exposure to the Cold."

HONITON - Drowned In A Water Butt. - An Inquest was held on Friday at the Vine Inn, by Mr Coroner Cox, touching the death of a widow woman named MARY ANN NORTHCOTE, a laundress, 58 years of age, who was found drowned in a water butt the same morning.  From the evidence it appeared that deceased was seized with an epileptic fit on Wednesday, but, according to the medical evidence, seemed better on Thursday.  MATILDA NORTHCOTE, daughter-in-law of the deceased, said she saw MRS NORTHCOTE all right in bed at a quarter past five.  Witness dropped off to sleep, but, on awakening shortly after, found her mother-in-law missing from the bed.  Witness immediately made search, and about a quarter past seven found her in the water-butt adjoining the house quite dead.  Dr Macaulay said he had attended the deceased, who was suffering from an epileptic seizure, and her mind was affected thereby.  She appeared better on Thursday, but complained of pains in her head.  The Jury found a verdict that deceased had committed suicide during Temporary Insanity.

EXETER - The Case Of Death At A Christmas Feast. - On Tuesday afternoon, H. W. Hooper, Esq., City Coroner, held an Inquest at the Country House Inn, Catherine-street, touching the death of ELIZABETH GLIDDON, 77 years of age, lately residing in Paris-street, Exeter, which took place under very sudden circumstances during the feast given by "The Wandering Exonian" to about thirty old folks, at the Country House Inn, on Christmas Day.  Elizabeth Welshman, the first witness called, said she knew the deceased, who lived in Paris-street.  She was a single woman, and was 77 years of age last May.  She was a native of Tavistock. Witness saw her last Thursday morning, and, in the course of conversation, deceased told her that she was in better health than she had been for some time.  She was in receipt of parochial relief, and had no other means of subsistence.  She told witness that she was going to dine at the Country House on Christmas Day, when a dinner was to be given to the old folks by Mr H. Hems, and she had always looked forward with pleasure to this dinner.  The deceased several times complained to witness about some disease in her heart, which she thought was spasms.  - Mr H. Hems said he had known the deceased for some years past.  During the last seven or eight years he had been in the habit of entertaining a number of old people at dinner on Christmas Day, and the deceased was recommended to him as being a person who never had any dinner at all.  She had frequently been his guest at these annual dinner parties, and came to the Country House Inn shortly after one o'clock on Christmas Day.  He received her in the room, and she appeared to be in good health.  The viands provided for the dinner consisted of roast beef, mutton, pork, geese, and fowls, followed by plum pudding, mince pies, &c.  He observed that the deceased ate very sparingly.  Shortly after dessert was placed on the table he observed the head of the deceased fall heavily on the table.  He thought she had fainted, and, as the room was very hot at the time, he suggested that she should be removed to another room.  She had had very little to drink during dinner, and a bowl of punch had only just been placed upon the table when he observed the deceased falling.  She was removed to an adjoining room immediately, and was accompanied by Mrs Hems and others.  Shortly after he heard the old lady was dead.  The foreman of the Jury, in returning the verdict that the deceased died from Natural Causes, said they all united in expressing their sympathy with Mr Hems on the melancholy event which had called them together, and as representing to some extent the citizens of Exeter they begged to thank Mr Hems for his kindness to the poor.

Thursday 1 February 1877

BARNSTAPLE - Death From The Fall Of A Wall. - On Tuesday evening, at the North Devon Infirmary, Mr R. I. Bencraft, the Coroner for the Borough, held an Inquiry into the circumstances of the death of THOMAS HALL, an elderly man, belonging to Eastacott, in the parish of Tawstock, who died soon after being admitted to the Infirmary on the previous day, from the effects of an accident he met with while following his avocation of a mason.  - Mr W. Cummings was selected foreman of the Jury, who formally viewed the body.  - Richard Hill, mason, also of Tawstock, deposed that to the best of his knowledge the deceased was 64 years of age.  About ten o'clock on Monday morning he and witness were engaged in removing a cob wall, about 9 feet high, and from 16 feet to 18 feet long, which separated a farm-yard from an orchard at Lynscott, belonging to Sir Bourchier Palk Wrey, Bart.  Witness was the foreman, and the deceased and another man were working under him.  Whilst they were under-mining the wall, to the depth of about six inches, witness heard it crack, and, calling out to the deceased, "Come on, TOM, the wall is coming on us," jumped between an apple tree and some stones, and just managed to escape injury.  The deceased, however, was not so fortunate, although he had a good way of escape, for when about seven and a half feet from it the falling wall caught him and partially buried him.  The fore part of his body and also his right leg were clear, and another step would have saved him, but, as it was, part of his back was covered with the debris, and he was forced down on his face and hands.  He said, "Clear me, if you can, behind"; and, putting a coat under his head, so that his face should not come in contact with the ground, witness, with the assistance of others, at once set about releasing him from his unfortunate position.  Having done so, they removed him to a neighbouring house, and witness washed his head, face, and hands, whilst a horse and cart were being got ready to convey him to the Infirmary.  No time was lost, and he was brought to Barnstaple with all possible dispatch, arriving here about ten minutes past twelve.  Witness came in with the deceased, who was sensible all the time.  During the journey he referred to his only child - a daughter of nineteen years of age - remarking that it would be a bad thing for poor little ANNIE.  He did not appear to be in great pain, but he complained of feeling rather cold, whereupon witness took off his coat and covered him with it.  - Mr Galliford (a member of the Jury) enquired whether there was anything done to prevent the wall falling suddenly, such as a piece of wood placed diagonally against the top of it.  - Mr Hill said there was not, but added that a low buttress, about five feet high, was used for the purpose of protection, but that part of it had been removed by the deceased.  - Mr C. E. Pronger, house surgeon at the Infirmary, gave evidence that the deceased was admitted about ten minutes past twelve on the previous day.  Witness saw him in the cart, and could then see that he was suffering greatly from the shock, as well as from severe injuries.  He was not unconscious, and could answer one or two questions which were put to him, in reply to one of which he stated that where he felt pain was in the lower part of the abdomen. He soon became unconscious, and died about a quarter to two.  Witness had since made a post mortem examination, and found a fracture of the pelvis and a rupture of the bladder, and that a large quantity of blood had extravasated into the abdominal cavity.  Those injuries were quite sufficient to account for the poor fellow's death.  Remarking that it would be safer it, in the removal of walls, precautions were taken to prevent an accident, the Coroner expressed an opinion that the duty of the Jury was to find a verdict of "Accidental Death," which they at once did.

Thursday 8 February 1877

BARNSTAPLE - The Case Of Death From Burning. - The Inquest upon the body of the child EDWARD MAJOR, whose death from burning we reported last week, was held on Thursday afternoon, at the Mason's Arms, Hardaway Head, before Mr R. I. Bencraft, the Borough Coroner.  Mr Alfred Bater was elected foreman of the Jury; and after the body had been viewed, William Henry Dell, who lodges with the father of the deceased (a shipwright), was called, and deposed that on Tuesday morning, about seven o'clock, he heard the deceased go downstairs.  The father had arisen about a quarter of an hour before, and had called upstairs to his wife that he had lit the fire, and was going to his work.  After the child had been downstairs about five minutes he screamed out "Mamma!" twice, whereupon witness immediately went down and found the little fellow at the bottom of the stairs enveloped in flames.  MRS MAJOR ran down in front of witness, and wrapped the child in a coat, which extinguished the flames.  The child, who had only a shirt on when he went downstairs, appeared to be very much frightened; and when the coat was removed, witness noticed that his flesh was very much burnt, particularly on the chest and under the chin.  Witness procured some oil from the shop of Mr Curtis, the chemist, and then went for Mr Fernie, surgeon, who arrived within 20 minutes. The poor little sufferer lingered on until about four o'clock on the following morning, when he died.  He would have been four years old had he lived till April next.  Mr Fernie gave evidence that when he arrived at MR MAJOR'S house he saw the child on his mother's lap.  He was much burnt about the chest and stomach, and under the arms; and the wounds had been already dressed with oil.  Witness gave directions as to the treatment which should be followed, and saw the child again in the evening, when he was twitching a little, and witness thought he would die.  Death resulted from convulsions, caused by the burns.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Burnt."

Thursday 15 February 1877

BIDEFORD - Sad Suicide Of MR GEORGE COX. - One of the most enterprising men of our day in this locality has met with his death under very painful circumstances.  Every one acquainted with the history of Bideford and the trade thereof during the past thirty years must have known or heard of MR GEORGE COX, the shipbuilder, of Cleavehouses, who at one time employed more men directly and indirectly in the shipbuilding trade than perhaps any other shipbuilder in the county of Devon.  It is stated that his annual returns have sometimes exceeded £75,000.  His name as a builder, and the excellence of his ships, are known in almost every important shipping port in the world.  His large business, however, added to the anxiety incidental to the introduction of iron into the shipbuilding trade, followed by the panic of 1866, seems to have been too much for his powers of mind, and he began soon after that date to show symptoms of mental decay.  At first they were very slight, and it was hoped by retiring from business his health might be restored; but to the disappointment of his friends he was seen to gradually become worse, until at times he would become perfectly beside himself.  He had shewn no violent symptoms, however, until within the last year or so, when it has sometimes been found necessary to have him watched night and day.  He would rally from those fits after a while, and to all out-ward appearance recover his command of himself, and would then at intervals appear in the yard, where the business is now conducted by his son.  About a month since he had a very violent attack, and by the recommendation of his medical adviser a person was kept to watch him night and day, and all articles of a destructive nature were removed from his reach.  He continued in that state for a fortnight, and once he managed to elude his keeper, and got out of the house.  Diligent search was made for him, and as he seemed to be anxious to go by train somewhere, enquiries were made for him at the different railway stations without effect, and he was ultimately discovered concealed in a pigs' house.  At the end of a fortnight he seemed much better, and as he persisted in lying in bed the services of the person who had been watching him were dispensed with.  Though he seemed gradually to get better he persisted in lying in bed until Wednesday evening last, when his tea was taken up to him, but he declined to take it, saying he would go downstairs and have it.  His granddaughter faintly remonstrated with him upon dressing at such a late hour (six o'clock); but, being pleased to see him apparently so much better, she did not persist, fearing she might excite him.  He shortly afterwards dressed, came down stairs, and made a hearty tea.  About half-past seven o'clock he made an excuse for going outside the door, and with the exception of being met a few minutes afterwards at a short distance from his gate, it is not known that he was ever seen alive from that time.  His not returning in a few minutes, as expected, caused some alarm, and his grandson, in company with a lad, went in search until one o'clock a.m., without avail.  A lad was then stationed in the garden with a lantern, with the hope that if he was hiding from his pursuers he would, on finding that they had given up the search, return; but their alarm was increased when it was found he did not return, and at daylight men were sent out in all parts to scour the district in pursuit of him without effect, until about half-past one in the afternoon of Thursday, when a body was seen floating in the water just outside the new Golf Club at Westward Ho, which proved to be that of the missing gentleman. The friends were communicated with, and the body removed to the Northam dead-house; and on Saturday an Inquest was held at Penhorwood's Kings Head, Northam, before J. Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner.  The following gentlemen composed the Jury:- Mr Henry Williams, foreman; and Messrs. John Penhorwood, William Bassett, William Blake, Alexander Penhorwood, Edward Cook, Robert Sanders, Hooper Birth, Charles Chapple, H. Cawsey, Robert Batten, and William Hunt.  - The Jury having viewed the body, the following evidence was given.  -  Robert Charles Hutton deposed:  I am a coast-guard, stationed at Westward Ho. On Thursday last, about half-past one o'clock, p.m., I was at the watch-house, when a lad informed me that something like the body of a man was washing ashore.  I at once communicated the information to the other men on the station, and proceeded to the spot indicated by the lad, and about four or five yards off I saw the body of a man floating just under the surface of the water.  I went out, seized hold of it, and brought it in so far as I could.  By this time the other men at the station had arrived, and we took the body out of the water, and placed it on to the beach.  I immediately went for a police constable, and saw P.C. Hearn, and informed him what had been done, and requested him to accompany me to Westward Ho, which he did.  I found on my return the body had been recognised as that of MR COX, which on the arrival of P.C. Hearn he confirmed.  - P.C. Hearn corroborated the evidence of the first witness as to the body being that of MR COX, whom he had known for many years.  Witness proceeded to search his pockets He had on two coats, and in the pockets he found an ivory two-foot rule, pocket comb, a boy's marble, and two handkerchiefs.  In his waistcoat pockets he found a scripture text book and sundry pieces of paper.  -  MISS EDITH ANN COX deposed:  I am a granddaughter of deceased, who was a retired shipbuilder, and resided at Olive Cottage, Orchard Hill, in the parish of Northam.  He was 68 years of age.  Witness had for the past two weeks resided at her grandfather's as a companion to her grandmother and him.  She last saw her grandfather alive on Wednesday evening last, about half-past seven o'clock.  She had a short time before that taken him his tea upstairs, as usual, for he had persisted in lying in bed for three weeks past.  On this occasion he refused to take it, and said he would get up and dress.  She remonstrated with him on the lateness of the hour, but he persisted, and she was very pleased to see how much better he seemed.  She took his tea downstairs, and he shortly afterwards came down and ate a most hearty tea.  About half-past seven o'clock he made some pretext for going into the garden, when witness asked "Shall I go with you, grandpa?"  He replied, "I don't want you," but the manner in which he said it did not create any suspicion in her mind, and as he seemed too feeble to go very far, she did not wish to excite him by following him.  He had often done it before and returned.  She said "Where are you going?"  He replied, "I don't know."  After waiting about half-an-hour and he did not return, her brother, who had arrived in the mean time, went, accompanied by a lad, in pursuit of him, and they remained in search of him until one a.m., when they returned to the house, the lad remaining in the garden with a lighted lantern.  At daybreak men were sent in all directions in search of him, and at half past three o'clock on Thursday afternoon she leant that a body had been picked up on the Burrows, which proved to be that of her grandfather.  - Mr G. Lock, baker, Northam, deposed that he was on his rounds delivering bread on Wednesday night, and on going to Orchard Hill, about half-past seven o'clock, he met MR GEORGE COX going away from his house in the direction of the Northam road.  It was very dark, but he had lights in his cart, and could distinctly see it was MR COX, who was walking feebly with a stick.  Did not exchange any words with him, but went on to MR COX'S house and delivered his bread; but as this must have been within a few minutes of his leaving the house nothing was said to him about MR COX being missed, and the seeing of him in the road at that hour did not excite any suspicion in his mind, nor did he see anything unusual in MR COX'S manner.  When he met him he was walking steadily along, as he usually did.  - Mr Robert Sanders deposed that he had known deceased for many years.  Witness had been  in his employ as a smith, and was now working for his son, his successor in the business.  On the 10th January last MR JOHN COX asked him if he would go and sit with his father, who seemed very much affected in his mind; and as witness was so well known to him he thought he was the best person they could have.  Witness consented to go.  When he got to the house MR COX was missing.  After first searching the garden and outhouses without finding him, witness went to the railway station to enquire whether he had been seen there, as he often seemed anxious to get away somewhere by rail; but finding he had not been there he returned, and in the interval deceased had been discovered hid away in a pigs' house.  He mentioned several other circumstances in connection with the deceased gentleman, clearly proving that at times he was not accountable for his actions.  One idea which seemed to have great hold upon his mind was that the house he was in would be blown up.  He said he knew cannons were fixed for the purpose, and named a gentleman who, he was sure, would blow him up.  This hallucination seemed to work very strongly with him as bed time approached, and he would urge on witness to escape. This he thought accounted for his reason for escaping as he did from the house last Wednesday night.  Witness remained with him night and day for rather more than a fortnight, and, acting under the directions of Dr Ackland, deceased's medical adviser, witness moved every article out of his room to prevent deceased committing any rash act.  During the whole of the time he watched him he did not think he could be said at any time to be of sound mind.  - This being the whole of the evidence, the Deputy Coroner observed that there was nothing to show deceased had committed suicide; he might have been accidentally drowned.  If the former, they had sufficient evidence, he thought, to satisfy them that at times he was not of sound mind.  The most charitable verdict would be an open one.  - The Jury at once returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."

BARNSTAPLE - Awfully Sudden Death.  - Much excitement was caused in the town on Tuesday evening by the report that MR J. PARKIN, of the Golden Fleece Hotel, in Tuly-street, had met with his death in a very sudden manner, and the report proved only too true.  A variety of rumours were in circulation as to the cause of death, but it was shown by the evidence adduced at the Inquest that the deceased overbalanced himself, fell from the gig in which he was riding, and so fractured the base of his skull.  The Inquiry was held before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., the Borough Coroner, at the deceased's house, yesterday (Wednesday) evening, at six o'clock.  Mr Cummings was chosen foreman of the Jury, and after the body of the deceased (who was 56 years of age) had been viewed, the following evidence was received:-  Mr John Elliott, butcher, of High-street, deposed:  Yesterday I and the deceased went in my gig, and with my horse, to Churchill, in the parish of Eastdown, to a sale of cattle and implements.  The deceased drove, as I have the use of one hand only.  We started about noon, and arrived there soon after one, and had dinner.  The deceased appeared to be in his usual good health.  He had nothing to drink with his dinner but had a glass of grog afterwards.  We attended the sale, and started for home about five, he having another glass of grog before we started.  When we got to the Oakwell Cross road the horse did not turn into the Barnstaple road, but went just into the road leading to Oakwell, when MR PARKIN stopped it.  He lighted his pipe, and was then turning the horse round slowly, when I heard him say "Oh!" and I saw that he was falling out over the side of the cart.  I caught him by the leg, and held him a short time, but was obliged to let him go, for he was a very heavy man, and I had but one arm. I think that must have broken his fall.  He fell on his head, rolled over on his back, and never moved afterwards.  - Mr Harper:  He must have grazed the side  of his face as he was falling, I suppose?  - Witness:  Yes, sir, I expect so.  I got out of the trap as quickly as possible, and went to the deceased, and noticed that over his right eye there was a film.  - Mr Harper:  there was a lot of mud in the right eye.  - Witness:  The horse did not run away, but went to the side of the road.  The deceased gave two short gasps, and did not move afterwards.  I raised him, and leaned his head against my knee, and had to wait there half-an-hour before anyone came.  then Mr Gould, the auctioneer, and Mr Tamlyn came up.  - Mr Gould:  I met a child in the road about two minutes before reaching the deceased, and was informed that there was a man lying dead in the road, whereupon I told the driver to hasten on.  - Mr Elliott:  Mr Gould advised me to send to the nearest farmhouse for a cart, whilst he went on and sent a medical man.  When the cart came - there was some straw in it - we lifted the deceased into it, and brought him into Barnstaple as quickly as possible.  We met Mr Jackson, the surgeon, about Weytown.  We got home about a quarter to eight.  - The Coroner:  Was the deceased perfectly sober?  - Witness:  Yes, sir.  - Q.  Can you account for his falling out?  - A.  I suppose that in turning the horse round he over-balanced himself.  - Mr  J. Harper:  I was here when the deceased arrived in a cart last night, about eight o'clock.  I examined him, and found that he was dead, and had him removed upstairs to his bedroom.  He was dressed, and there was some mud over the back part of his overcoat.  I had him undressed.  There were some cuts and bruises on his face, but no other external injury.  At the base of the skull there is extravasation; and I consider that he died from fracture of the base of the skull.  The top of the head, upon which the deceased seems to have fallen is elastic, and a person pitching upon it would be likely to fracture the base instead of that part of the skull.  That is as far as I can say without making a post mortem examination. - Q.  Can you tell from the external marks where he pitched?  - A.  No, but I should think he fell over the wheel and pitched on the top of his head.  He was a very heavy man, weighing perhaps, seventeen stone.  - Q.  Did you notice any appearance which would indicate an attack of apoplexy, or heart disease?  - A. No.  He has been in unusually good health for a long time.  - Mr Gould gave evidence corroborative of that of Mr Elliott, and mentioned that he shook hands with the deceased about five minutes before the latter left the sale, and could state that he was perfectly sober.  - In summing up, the Coroner said he could quite understand a heavy man like the deceased over-balancing himself and fracturing the base of his skull.  He did not see any necessity for a post mortem examination for the evidence to his mind was satisfactory as to the cause of death, but if the Jury wished it he would order the examination to be made.  If the deceased had been insured against accident, he should take care to have more explicit testimony upon the point; but he was not so insured, and therefore it was unnecessary to be so scrupulous.  He suggested that a verdict of "Accidental Death" should under the circumstances be returned.  The Jury at once coincided, and a verdict was returned accordingly.

Thursday 22 February 1877

BARNSTAPLE - Death Under Peculiar Circumstances. - The Borough Coroner (R. I. Bencraft, Esq.) held an Inquest at the Barnstaple Union Workhouse, on Saturday, on the body of an inmate named JOHN PERRIN, an old man of 83 years of age, who died from the effects of injuries he sustained under somewhat suspicious circumstances on Monday, the 5th instant.  Mr A. Bater was elected foreman of the Jury. - John Jones, an indoor pauper, deposed that he was admitted to the Workhouse in Oct. last, and had been acquainted with deceased ever since.  Deceased always appeared to be in a fair state of health.  On Monday the 5th inst., witness heard some one shouting in the men's ward, and on proceeding thither he found deceased on the floor, saying he wanted some one to help him up.  Another inmate named Wm. Ellis was with him. Witness assisted deceased to his feet, and, with a man named Dyer, carried him into the sleeping ward, as he was unable to walk. He was then undressed and put to bed, and Mr Cooke was immediately sent for.  During this time deceased complained of injury to his hip.  He stated that Ellis was going to strike him, when his foot slipped, and he fell down.  It was daylight when this occurred.  As soon as witness came to them, Ellis said deceased had fallen, whilst the deceased asserted that Ellis had knocked him down; but the latter denied having done so.  - William Ellis, another inmate, 78 years of age, deposed that he was well acquainted with the deceased.  On the afternoon of the day named, he and deceased were together, and while deceased was stooping to pick up his walking-stick, his foot slipped and he fell down on the ground very heavily.  As soon as he fell, he cried out, "I think I have broken my thigh."  The witness Jones then came in, and deceased was conveyed to his bedroom.  Witness and deceased had not quarrelled, neither was there any ill-feeling between them.  - Mr Cooke, surgeon, gave evidence that on the day in question, about six o'clock in the evening, he was sent for to attend deceased.  The man appeared to be in great pain, and on examining him witness found a contusion of the left thigh, and that the limb was very much swollen.  As far as witness could ascertain, he had sustained a fracture of the neck of the thigh-bone.  Subsequently an irritating fever set in, and deceased died from exhaustion on the night of the 16h instant.  His death was the result of the injuries he had sustained to his thigh.  He was delirious for several days.  - The Jury, considering that the evidence did not establish the culpability of the man Ellis, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 1 March 1877

TIVERTON - Sad Death Of A Tradesman. - A distressing and fatal accident to MR HERBERT SHARLAND, jeweller, has cast quite a gloom over the town.  The deceased left his house on Wednesday afternoon to go to Dulverton on business, and on returning, late the same night, his horse shied, so it is conjectured, and threw him off.  He lay in the road until five o'clock the next morning, when his groans attracted the notice of a labourer living near, who went to his assistance, and in the course of the morning he was taken to his home, but lived only about twenty-four hours. - An Inquest was held on the body on Saturday afternoon, before F. Mackenzie, Esq., Borough Coroner, and a Jury, of whom Mr J. Stevens was foreman.  - Mr John Reddrop, surgeon, said he was called to see deceased at one o'clock on Thursday afternoon.  He was then at his own house.  He was sensible at times, and able to answer questions put to him.  He found a bruise of the scalp on the top of the head, without, however, any corresponding depression of bone.  There was also a superficial cut at the back of the left ear, from which blood had flowed.  He found no other surgical injuries.  He continued to see him until the time of his death, which occurred on Friday morning about half-past seven o'clock.  The internal injuries to the head were quite sufficient to have caused death.  The other evidence adduced shewed that deceased, who had been to Dulverton on business, called at the White Horse Inn, Bampton, about a quarter to eleven, on his return journey.  He remained there about an hour, and remarked to a person present that his horse was restive, and that he was afraid of it.  He led the horse away on leaving the inn, but had not gone far before, with assistance, he mounted, and rode away.  About five o'clock the following morning he was found in the road by a labourer, who thought deceased was asleep, and aroused him, asking him where he had come from.  Deceased replied, "From Mr Nelder's"  (MR SHARLAND had been to the Carnarvon Arms Hotel, Dulverton, of which Mr Nelder is the proprietor.)  This man got the deceased to his feet, and he then walked away, wishing the man "Good morning."  A labourer living about sixty yards further on was subsequently aroused by the groans of someone whom he thought to be within the turnpike gate.  He went to his bedroom window, and seeing a person lying in the road, he put on his clothes and went downstairs.  He found deceased lying with his head towards the bridge, and his legs projecting into the road.  This man got him on his legs, and finding he was badly injured, assisted him to the Exeter Inn, the landlord of which he called up.  A fire was lighted, deceased warmed, and given some stimulant.  Later in the morning he was driven in a four-wheeler to his house at Tiverton, and at times seemed sensible, but lingered only about 24 hours, death resulting as stated in the medical evidence.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  Deceased's hat and whip were found near the Exeter Inn, and the horse tied to a gate about two miles further on.

Thursday 15 March 1877

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death Of An Infant - On Saturday, Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, held an Inquest at the Exeter Inn, Litchdon-street, on the body of an infant, the illegitimate daughter of a young woman named LUCY YOUNG.  - The Coroner stated that the child was born on the previous Wednesday morning, but on the Friday, when somebody called to see the baby, on taking it out of bed from its mother's side it was discovered to be dead.  It seemed that the mother was not aware that the child was dead, or that there was anything the matter with it.  The doctor could not say what was the cause of death, and under these circumstances he considered it was a proper case to make some inquiry into.  If, after hearing the facts of the case, the Jury came to the conclusion that death was the result of natural causes only, it would still shew the public, and persons who got into trouble in that way, that those things were not allowed to pass unnoticed, and that for the safety of infant life it was necessary sometimes to hold inquiries of that sort.  The evidence given went to shew that at the birth of the child there was neither nurse nor doctor, but an aunt of the mother of the child waited upon her.  The child was weakly from its birth, and on the second day after it was born a Mrs Guard called to see the baby, and in taking it out of bed she found that it was dead.  Its lips and hands were purple, but the body was quite warm.  - A Mrs French deposed that about a quarter of an hour before Mrs Guard came in the child was put to the breast, but she could not say that it sucked.  She fancied she heard it sucking, but it was so weak that she could not tell.  She never gave a thought as to the child being dead.  When the child was taken from the bed, the mother had it on her left arm close to her body.  - Mr Cooke, surgeon, deposed that he was sent for on Friday, and on arriving found that the child was dead, and had been dead for some little time, but it was quite warm.  There were no marks of violence about it, and it appeared to be a fully developed child.  He had no reason to suppose that death was caused by other than natural causes.  If it was a weakly, delicate child it might have been suffocated by being held tightly against the mother, but the evidence went to shew that it was not so held.  Being delicate, he dared say it had not sucked much, not having strength to do so, and died from exhaustion.  The Coroner then summed up, and advised the Jury to return a verdict of death from Natural Causes, as there appeared to be nothing to shew that it died otherwise.  - A verdict  accordingly was then returned.

CREDITON - Sad Accident. - An Inquest was held on Saturday at the Topsham Inn, South-st., Exeter, before Mr Coroner Hooper, into the cause of death of JOHN TREE, a waggoner, aged 71, lately in the employ of Mr Matthews, farmer of Collihole, Crediton.  Deceased on the 8th ult. was engaged in taking earth from one field to another.  Having finished his day's work he mounted the waggon, which was drawn by two horses, and while turning a corner of a lane which leads into the farm, the waggon turned over and fell upon the unfortunate man.  His cries soon brought assistance, and he was removed to the Devon and Exeter Hospital.  Mr Matthews was of opinion the horse must have struggled a good deal, as the waggon lay across the deceased's thighs and back. In answer to a Juryman, the witness said TREE had no reins at the time of the accident, although he had on several occasions been cautioned never to drive without them.  Mr Cummings, House Surgeon at the Hospital, said when the deceased was admitted as a patient he seemed in great pain, and after a few days his back, hips, and stomach, turned black, and congestion of the lungs subsequently set in and the bruises came out in large sores.  To this he attributed the deceased's death, and the Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

Thursday 22 March 1877

BARNSTAPLE - The Recent Case Of Drowning. - The body of the little boy GEORGE BRAY LEWORTHY, six years and a half old, who was drowned about the middle of February in that part of the river Yeo which runs parallel with the bottom of the lawn of Pilton House, was discovered in the river Taw on Friday afternoon last by a young man named Howard, who was pulling up the river with a companion.  The most rigid search was instituted for the body immediately after the sad occurrence, but without success; and as this circumstance gave aggravation to the sorrow the parents felt at their bereavement, much gratification has been expressed that they are no longer denied the small consolation of having the mortal remains of the poor little fellow interred in "God's acre."  A reward of £1 had been offered by the parents for the recovery of the body; but, to their credit be, it said, the young men who made the discovery preferred to forego it, their sufficient reward being that they have been the means of gratifying the sorrowing parents.  - The Inquest was held on the following (Saturday) morning, at the Reform Inn, Pilton, by the Coroner for the Borough, R. I. Bencraft, Esq.  The foreman of the Jury was Mr John Moor, and after the body (which was of course in an advanced stage of decomposition) had been viewed, the following evidence was received: - MR LEWORTHY, a smith in the employ of Messrs. Miller, Bros., said that he was the father of the deceased, whom he last saw alive on the morning of the 15th February, after breakfast, and before going to work.  The child attended, as usual, a dame school kept by Miss Elizabeth Essery, in Pilton-street, and that day he did not come home to dinner as was his wont.  At three o'clock in the afternoon witness, whilst at work at the factory, received a message from his wife, requesting him to go home at once, because the little boy could not be found.  He at once went home, and on arriving there his wife said to him, "They say our little GEORGIE has fallen into the river."  She saw him about half-past twelve - from that to one o'clock - playing marbles outside the house, and as he did not come home to dinner she began to be alarmed, and, when the time came for the children to return to school, went to the schoolmistress, who informed her that some companions of the little boy had told her that GEORGIE would not be at school any more, for he had fallen into the river, at a part called "Copsey."  The morning but one afterwards witness's wife was crying, when one of the deceased's companions said, "Little GEORGIE is in the water.  He went down through the water, and his face was so red, and he went right down into the two big holes," meaning under the bridge.  It was impossible to recognise the features of the deceased in the body which the Jury had viewed, but witness had identified it by the clothes - particularly by the waistband and by the tips of the shoes.  - A little fellow named Alfred Williams was interrogated by the Coroner as to what he knew of the accident, when he said that the deceased fell into the river behind the bushes.  He did not see him fall in, but saw him floating down the river, and disappear through the bridge.  - The Coroner:  Did you tell anyone about it?  - A.:  I told the schoolmistress.  - Q.: Did his sisters go home?  - A.:  His sister was crying.  - MR LEWORTHY:  The sister had some flowers when she got home, and she seemed so delighted with them that she forgot all about her brother.  - It was mentioned that the bushes alluded to by the little boy were about a couple of gunshots from the bridge, so that the deceased must have floated a considerable distance before sinking.  - John Howard, compositor, deposed that he and a companion named Henry Thomas Coles, telegraph clerk, were pulling up the river shortly before four o'clock.  It was low water, and in the absence of a steersman, the boat grounded at Black Barn, and as witness was pushing it off he happened to see a pair of boots projecting from the row of railings which jutted out into the water.  He exclaimed to his companion, "There's that child that was drowned, Harry;" and jumping out of the boat they found that the surmise was correct.  - Mr Bale explained that if there was anything drifting near the spot where the body had lodged it would most probably stop against the rails, for it was a place where the north and west winds met.  - Continuing his evidence, the witness said that Mr Bale was fetched, and he brought a cloth, in which they wrapped the body, when it was conveyed to the Castle Quay; and having gone to the factory and apprised MR LEWORTHY of his discovery, witness returned to the Quay and helped to convey the body to the father's house.  - MR LEWORTHY added to his former statement that his daughter remarked to her mother at dinner on the day in question that "GEORGE was wet again; he had been in the water."  - The Coroner commented upon the bareness of the features of the case, and having expressed the sympathy of the Jury with the parents in their sorrow, he suggested a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," which was at once returned.  MR LEWORTHY wished, through the medium of the Press, to express his gratitude to the large number of persons who had rendered service in searching for the body, and he took occasion also to thank the young men who found it, adding that they were of course entitled to the reward he had offered.  - The witness Howard at once said that neither he nor Coles wished to receive any emolument, whereupon MR LEWORTHY again thanked them, and their conduct was endorsed with the approval of the Coroner.  Mr Bale wished to offer a public contradiction to the report which had been circulated asserting that he had refused to deliver up the body of the deceased until the reward was paid, for which there was, of course, not the shadow of a foundation.

MEMBURY - Strange Suicide At Membury. - An Inquest was held at Hill Farm, Membury, on Monday, before Mr E. C. Fox, Deputy Coroner, respecting the death of ROBERT PARRIS, a well-to-do farmer, 77 years of age.  Deceased's son, who lived with him, stated that on Saturday morning, shortly after two o'clock, he heard a very strange noise, and went to the room of the deceased, whom he found with his throat cut.  Medical assistance was immediately sent for, but in spite of the attention he received deceased died on Saturday evening.  The witness could assign no reason whatever for the strange act, as his father was not in any way embarrassed, and he retired to bed on the Friday night in apparently good health and spirits.  He had been conversing with witness, who was over 50 years of age, on the previous day, as to his intention of giving up the farm to him. After deceased had committed the rash act he was able to converse a little, and although he assigned no reason for it, he expressed his regret at having acted in such a manner.  The deceased was occasionally "queer."  The medical and other testimony corroborated this evidence, and the Jury, after a few minutes' deliberation, returned a verdict of "Temporary Insanity."

Thursday 29 March 1877

SOUTHMOLTON - Coroner's Inquest. - An Inquest was held on Friday afternoon by the Borough Coroner, J. Flexman, Esq., on the body of MARY ROBINSON, wife of an agricultural labourer, who was found dead in an armchair on the previous day at noon by her son, who on going to his dinner looked in to see his mother and on Mr Sanders, surgeon, being sent for, that gentleman pronounced her to have been dead for hours.  A report was circulated throughout the town, previous to the Inquest, that she had taken poison, which report was false.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  Deceased was 63 years of age.

EXETER - Mysterious Occurrence At Exeter. - A mysterious case of poisoning is at present being investigated at Exeter, by Mr H. W. Hooper, City Coroner.  On Saturday last a young girl named EMILY HOSKINS, aged about 15 years, daughter of a baker in Smythen-street, and who had previously enjoyed good health, suddenly became seized with convulsions and died within one hour and a half of the attack.  An Inquest was opened on Monday, but the medical man, Mr Roper, could not account for the death, as there was a great deal of dissatisfaction existing with regard to the case, Mr Roper was requested to make a post mortem examination of the body.  On the Enquiry being resumed, Mr Roper again stated that he could not account for the girl's death, although he had made a post mortem examination of the body.  The vessels in her head were very full of blood, but the lungs and heart were perfectly healthy.  The stomach was immensely distended with gas, and contained a small quantity of semi-fluid.  Seeing that this was, no doubt, the cause of death he carefully removed that organ and its contents and placed them in a jar, which he sealed down and gave to the Coroner.  the appearance of the stomach and upper part of the intestines were certainly not normal, but the large intestine and lower parts of the stomach were in their natural state.  The parts which he removed were of a pinkish colour, but he could not say that this was caused by irritant poison, because he was not an analytical chemist.  The stomach was certainly in a state of irritation, such as would lead him to suppose that if the deceased had lived a few hours longer, it would have developed into a violent inflammation, which might have gone through the whole system.  - Jane Woodhouse, servant, in the employ of MR HOSKINS, stated that half an hour before the deceased was attacked she saw her go to the tap in the bakehouse with a cup and put some sugar in it, pour water upon the sugar, and then go up stairs.  She afterwards went to the tap and rinsed out the cup repeatedly, and then went to the closet several times.  - John Small, journeyman to MR HOSKINS, stated that on Wednesday morning he found a piece of paper with the word "poison" upon it in the place where the last witness saw the deceased go with the cup.  The witnesses stated that the child dreaded going to school, and often did not go when sent.  They alleged that she had been well treated at home, and none of them could suggest why she took poison or where she bought it.  - The Inquest was adjourned until Saturday March 31st, and meanwhile the contents of the stomach will be analysed.

Thursday 12 April 1877

BARNSTAPLE - A Child Drowned. - Another accident of this description happened yesterday (Wednesday), at Bradiford, in this borough, to a fine little boy, five years of age, only child of MRS PRIDHAM, sister of Mr George Davey, junr., of Lion Mills, who has just come to occupy his newly-built residence opposite the Mills, where his sister and the deceased were living with him.  The little fellow was at play in the garden in front of the house after dinner, and was not missed until the return of Mr Davey, from Barnstaple, who enquired for him, and on search being made he could not be found, but after a while his body was discovered floating in the pond in the garden of Cedar Cottage, to which it must have been carried by the stream under the roadway.  The child in his play must have slipped unperceived into the mill-leat, which flows by the garden of Mr Davey.  A messenger was dispatched instantly for Mr Harper, who was quickly on the spot and tried means to restore animation, but without success.  An Inquest will be held on the body by the Borough Coroner this (Thursday) morning, at nine o'clock.  The distress of the mother and family is very great, and the more because they have so recently come to reside on the premises.  It is remarkable that a similar accident occurred only a few weeks ago in the river Yeo, in the same parish.

Thursday 19 April 1877

BARNSTAPLE - The Melancholy Case Of Drowning At Bradiford. - The Inquest on the body of the little boy, WILLIAM DAVEY PRIDHAM, who was drowned at Lion Mills, the residence of his grandfather, Mr G. Davey, on Wednesday in last week, (as reported in our last) was held on Thursday morning, at Mr Davey's house, by the Borough Coroner, R. I. Bencraft, Esq.  -  Mr Baylis was foreman of the Jury; and after the Jury had viewed the body, Mr Davey, junr., was called, and was much affected whilst giving his evidence.  He deposed that the deceased and his mother, MRS PRIDHAM, who was witness's sister, resided with him.  He saw the deceased alive last at one o'clock on the previous day, when he was in his usual state of perfect health and good spirits.  After dinner witness went to Barnstaple, and on his return - about five o'clock - he noticed that his mother and sister (MRS PRIDHAM) were out in front of the house.  He had his horse put into the stable, and on going there he enquired what they were doing, to which they replied that they had lost "poor little BIRDIE" (the deceased), and had not seen him for the last three-quarters of an hour.  At witness's suggestion, they went down by the side of the stream, crossed the road, and went to Miss Levine's, at Cedar Cottage.  They walked straight through the passage of the house and into the garden, and on approaching the pond he saw the deceased floating in it on his back.  Witness called the gardener, who plunged into the water and took the child out, and they then carried him into Miss Levine's house, where they undressed him and applied mustard poultices to his feet, back and neck, and also used hot water jars, but without effect.  The child must have been dead when taken out of the water, but at first witness thought he felt a little warmth in the back.  Mr Harper, surgeon, was immediately sent for, and he arrived in about a quarter of an hour.  It was witness's opinion that the little fellow fell into the water just outside the dining-room, and there was a great deal of water running at the time.  He had many times cautioned the deceased not to go near the water.  - Joseph Dark, Mr Davey's gardener, gave evidence that he saw the deceased playing outside the sitting-room window about half-past four in the afternoon of Wednesday, and he was not then near the water.  The next time he saw the child was when he was in the pond.  There were four feet of water in the pond at the time.  - Mr Harper deposed that about a quarter past five o'clock in the afternoon he was returning from Mr Dennis's when he met a messenger whom Mr Davey had sent for him.  He at once went to Miss Levine's house, and in the sitting-room saw the body of the deceased lying on a mattress on the floor, and Mr George Davey and his gardener, with others, endeavouring to restore animation.  Witness used artificial means for that purpose for about half-an-hour, but without avail.  He examined the body, and discovered a bruise on the forehead, which was, no doubt, caused when passing under the arch through which he must have passed in order to get into the pond.  Water and froth were proceeding from the mouth and nostrils, showing that death resulted from drowning: and it was witness's opinion that the child was dead some time before being taken out of the water.  - The Coroner said there was no doubt that immediately the poor little fellow got into the water he lost his legs and was carried away through the arch and into the pond, where he was found.  Under the circumstances the obvious verdict for the Jury to return was one of "Accidental Death," which they accordingly found.

Thursday 10 May 1877

NORTHMOLTON - Dreadful Case Of Death by Hydrophobia. - It is distressing to state that the plague of mad dogs which has lately infested this neighbourhood has resulted in a case of hydrophobia.  In the month of January last a keeper of Lord Poltimore's, named DANIEL YELLAND, of Northmolton, while on his road from Southmolton to Northmolton, met a dog which he thought belonged to a neighbour.  He called it, and it came to him in a surly sort of way, and ultimately made a snap at his hand, and bit him in the left hand between the finger and thumb.  He gave the dog a kick, and sent him off, and thought no more of the bite, which healed up in a day or two.  On Saturday last, however, the poor fellow was attacked with every symptom of this awful malady, from which he died in great agony on Tuesday.

The Inquest:-  The Enquiry was held on Wednesday at Bampfylde Mine, in the parish of Northmolton, by J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner.  The first witness was the widow, who deposed:  I live at Barnham Cottage in this parish, and am the wife of the deceased, DANIEL YELLAND.  The deceased was gamekeeper to the Right Hon. Lord Poltimore.  In the month of January last, and whilst his lordship was shooting in the neighbourhood, my husband and myself were walking side by side in Fylden road.  He was on my left hand side, and he handed to me a bag and said, "There is a dog coming," and as it passed him he put his hand down and took hold of it, thinking he knew it, when it bit him.  A wound was inflicted between the third and fourth fingers of the right hand, and also on the wrist of the left hand.  The dog passed on, and we saw nothing more of it, and my husband did not seem to think anything more of the bits, having been bitten several times before by dogs.  When we got home I took some cold water and bathed the wounds.  About three or four days afterwards my husband consulted Mr Furse, surgeon, of Southmolton, who gave him some ointment.  The wounds then healed up nicely, and he suffered no inconvenience, doing his work as usual.  However, about a fortnight or three weeks ago he complained of a tingling in his right hand, but did not cease working until Friday last, when he said he had a pain in his stomach, and was ill all over his body.  He got worse until Saturday, when he came downstairs about three o'clock in the afternoon, but, feeling worse, he went to bed again in about an hour.  He asked for some cold water to drink whilst downstairs, and I gave him some, but he could not drink it.  He asked me to put it behind him, and I put a spoon in it and placed it on a stool at the back of him.  He reached out for a spoonful of the water, but was unable to get it to his mouth.  He kept on trying, but could not get the water to his mouth.  Finding he was getting worse I sent for Mr Furse.  When he returned to bed I took him some hot water, in which to bathe his feet, but he was unable to use it.  When I went into the room with it he became very excited, and could not look at it.  Mr Furse came about nine o'clock.  The deceased continued to have paroxysms of convulsions, during which he would foam at the mouth and bark like a dog.  They continued at intervals until about eight o'clock on Tuesday morning, when he died.  Before the doctor came he said he should die, but begged me not to allow him to be used badly.  - Mr Wm. Burnell, farmer, deposed:  I knew the deceased, and on Monday afternoon, about four o'clock, I went to his house to see him.  When I got there I was told no one was allowed to see him, but a severe paroxysm having come on, Mr Louis Riccard, who had been in charge of him the whole day, asked me to come upstairs.  I went upstairs, but did not go into the bedroom, for fear of frightening the deceased.  As Mr Riccard was obliged to go home, he asked me to take charge of the deceased, and I then went into the room, and remained with him, with the exception of some short intervals, until he died.  During the time I was with him he had several paroxysms, some of which were of great violence.  He would foam at the mouth, and would threaten to tear in pieces anyone who came near him.  He would also bark like a dog in a rage, and gnash his teeth, as if trying to bite; and he seemed to be gnawing the inside of his cheeks.  At times he was sensible, when he was in great dread of being suffocated.  About five o'clock on Tuesday morning he had a very severe fit, which continued up till the time of his death, about half-past eight.  He was constantly in dread of my giving him something to take away his life.  - Henry Smith, a fellow gamekeeper of the deceased, who kept the last witness company in his watch, deposed:  I went to the deceased's room about six o'clock on Monday morning.  He was walking about the room, and I begged him to go to bed; and he said he would if I would go back a little towards the stairs.  I did so, and he then had a fit, and rushed at me wanting to bite me.  I ran back, shutting the door after me, and went downstairs, as also did Samuel Nott, who is a labourer working for Mrs Passmore, at North Radworthy.  The next I saw of him was his looking out of his bedroom window.  I went outside and looked up to him, and begged him to return to his bed.  He said, "You keep back, Harry.  Don't meddle with me, or I will bite you."  He let himself down from the window, leaped over a stone wall, and ran over the meadow until he came to a running stream at the bottom of it, when he appeared to stop.  He had on nothing but a flannel and a common shirt.  He remained in the meadow about 20 minutes, until Mr Riccard persuaded him to return to his bed.  About eleven o'clock on Monday morning we tied him with a  rope, but sufficiently loose to enable him to move during the paroxysms.  He was about 35 years of age.  - Edwin Furse, Esq. (Mayor of Southmolton), deposed:  I am a surgeon, at Southmolton, and was sent for to the deceased on the evening of Saturday last.  I visited him accordingly, and found him in bed.  On enquiry, he told me he thought he had taken a chill.  He complained of a sense of tightness or oppression across the chest.  I proceeded to examine the lungs, when, on exposing the chest, he was seized with a sudden spasm, and asked me to keep away from him for a few minutes.  My suspicion was then aroused, and I enquired how he could swallow, when he told me he had great difficulty.  I ordered some tea to be brought, and found he was totally unable to swallow it.  He attempted to do so, which produced a return of the spasm.  I examined the throat, and found it perfectly healthy.  He then told me he felt a tingling sensation in the right hand, proceeding from the cicatrix of a wound which he had received about four months before.  He also complained of shooting pain in the right arm.  His intellectual faculties were perfectly clear.  I told him I should prescribe for him, and then went downstairs and told his wife and the attendant that he was suffering from the early symptoms of hydrophobia, and would certainly die, and that, as he would probably become violent, it was important that assistance should be procured to restrain him if necessary . I visited the deceased again on Sunday morning in consultation with my partner, Dr Dickinson, who had previously seen three cases of hydrophobia.  His symptoms were then much more developed, and Dr Dickinson agreed with me that it was a decided case of hydrophobia.  I saw the deceased again on the following Monday morning, when he had arrived at the third and last stage of the disease, and I found it necessary to restrain him.  In consequence of an opinion being expressed by a medical gentleman that he was suffering from dipsomania, and not hydrophobia, I telegraphed to Barnstaple to Dr Blyth, who visited him on the evening of the same day, and fully endorsed my opinion as to the nature of the disease and also as to the treatment I had prescribed.  He died on the following morning about half-past eight from combined influence of spasm of the glottis and exhaustion.  In conclusion, Mr Furse described the paroxysms which came upon the deceased as of a very violent and horrible character, and said that the spasm in the throat caused a noise similar to the bark of a dog.  On each visit he tried to persuade him to take nourishment, but he was never able to take a particle of fluid.  - The Jury returned the following verdict:-  "That the deceased died from the effects of bites, received in the month of January last, from a certain dog, in the parish of Northmolton, thereby producing hydrophobia; that the Jury recommend the authorities to use their utmost endeavours to prevent the spread of hydrophobia; and also that a like recommendation be forwarded to the Rural Sanitary Authority of the Union of Southmolton."  - The case has caused the utmost terror for many miles round this neighbourhood, where it is known that other mad dogs have been lately seen.  The fear is that there may be yet other cases of this horrible disease.  The authorities have most properly ordered all dogs to be confined.  The unfortunate deceased was a very respectable man, and had long been in Lord Poltimore's service.

Thursday 24 May 1877

TIVERTON - The Fatality On The Exe. - An Inquiry was held at Tiverton on Thursday, by the Borough Coroner, touching the death of the young men, JOSEPH THOMAS COLLARD and WILLIAM TAYLOR, who were drowned in the river Exe on Tuesday evening.  It appeared from the evidence that some of the party had been fishing, and on their way home JOSEPH COLLARD (one of the deceased) let one of the oars fall, and, on his reaching after it, water was let into the boat.  The other persons in it, leaned the other side, and, as a consequence, more water was admitted.  COLLARD, being of opinion that the boat would sink, put his foot on the edge and leaped into the water, causing the boat to capsize, and the four others to be precipitated into the water.  Two of the party were able to swim, and succeeded in reaching the shore, and were the means of saving ARTHUR COLLARD, the brother of one of the deceased.  - The Coroner asked the witness Williams if the boat would have been righted if the deceased, COLALRD, had not jumped out, and he replied that it would.  After a short consultation the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Drowning."

Thursday 31 May 1877

LOXHORE - Distressing Case Of Suicide. - On Tuesday a labouring man of this place, named WM. RICHARDS, was found hanging from an apple tree in an orchard.  He was at once cut down by James Seldon, but was found to be dead, having been suspended for some time.  He had been engaged in the morning, with others, ripping in Smithapark wood, and when they ceased work at lunch time he went away, and was not again seen until found as described.  An Inquest is to be held today (Thursday) at noon.  Deceased was 60 years of age.

WALKHAMPTON - Murder And Suicide By A Devonshire Farmer. - A crime, of which no adequate explanation has been offered, was perpetrated at Park Town, some miles from Walkhampton, on Sunday.  JOHN GILES, a man 53 years of age, had for some time occupied Park Town Farm. He was left a widower three years ago, but in the course of twelve months he re-married, the second wife being the widow f a farmer named Mortimer.  By his first wife GILES had a son, a lad six years of age, named JOSEPH GEORGE.  GILES went to Horrabridge to transact some business on Saturday, and stayed in the village until the public-houses were closed for the night.  His prolonged absence crated some alarm in his wife's mind, but he eventually reached home in safety at a late hour.  He had evidently been drinking, although he does not appear to have been intoxicated, and the wife states that no quarrel took place between them.  Next morning GILES rose at his usual hour, and took his breakfast apparently in good spirits.  He went out walking, and returned to the house about ten o'clock.  By this time the lad had finished his breakfast, and he left with his father, it being their usual custom to go to look after the cattle.  The sheep dog belonging to GILES accompanied them.  This seems to have been the last time they were seen alive.  As the day progressed, the prolonged absence of father and son created apprehension in the farmhouse, and this feeling was heightened when, about seven in the evening, the dog returned alone, and although at once fed, manifested considerable restlessness.  MRS GILES and the servants then commenced a search of the farm, and on a bank called the Hitoms, near the house, MRS GILES, led by the dog, found the hats of her husband and stepson.  About an hour later Mr Joseph Mortimer, a neighbouring farmer, who was assisting in the search, discovered the dead bodies of GILES and his boy in the river Walkham, near the same bank.  The bodies were covered with water, and were tied together by a rope.  The child's head was on the father's shoulder, and the little boy had evidently struggled.  The watch found on GILES had stopped at five minutes past one o'clock.  The deceased had manifested great fondness for the child.  On Monday, Mr R. R. Rodd, County Coroner, held an Inquest on the bodies at the late residence of the deceased; when the Jury, of whom Mr James Clogg was foreman, returned a verdict of "Found Drowned, but that there was no evidence as to how the deceased came into the water."

STARCROSS - Fatal Boat Accident. - About seven o'clock on Sunday evening a female named BENNETT, living with Farmer Haydon, came to the pier just as a boat containing two seafaring men and a little child was leaving for Exmouth.  BENNETT said she wanted to go to Exmouth, and she was allowed to join the party.  Shortly after hoisting sail, which was made fast to the side, the boat capsized.  Carry, a man of Dawlish, and another, seeing the accident from the pier, immediately took a boat and went to the rescue.  The female had disappeared, and they rowed to the two men, one of whom had the child under his arm.  The body of the woman was recovered, and taken to Exmouth to await an Inquest.  It is said the accident was due to the folly of making fast the main sheet.

Thursday 7 June 1877

LOXHORE - Mysterious Case Of Suicide. - On Thursday last, J. H. Toller, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest upon the body of a labouring man named WM. RICHARDS, of Lower Loxhore, who, as reported in our last, committed suicide by hanging himself on the previous Tuesday.  After the body had been viewed, the following evidence was adduced:-  Wm. Priscott deposed:  I live at Loxhore Cott, and am a carpenter.  I knew the deceased, who was a labourer and was 59 years of age.  On Tuesday last he was at work for me in Smithapark Wood ripping, with several others, including myself - in all about 16.  About half-past nine a.m. we left off work, and went to our luncheon in a field adjoining the wood.  In about ten minutes I looked round, and, not seeing the deceased, asked where he was and why he did not come to have some cider, when two men named Richard Hutchings and Ernest Pickard said he was gone.  Nothing unpleasant had occurred that morning between the deceased and any one else - that I'll swear to.  He was of a passionate temperament, and a small matter would provoke him to temper, but there was nothing to upset him on the day in question, and I never in my life was connected with a pleasanter company of rippers.  I had a little ordinary conversation with him on Tuesday morning, and he appeared to me to be sound in his mind.  - James Seldon, farm labourer, of Loxhore, deposed:  I knew the deceased well, and saw him last alive about a fortnight since.  On Tuesday last, about one o'clock p.m., as I was in Lower Loxhore road, on my way to Barnstaple, I saw something hanging from an apple tree in an orchard, and about eight or ten perches from me.  I did not perceive what it was when I first looked, but on looking again I saw that it was a man hanging.  I attracted the attention of Mr Nicholas Cook, ropemaker, and we both as quickly as possible proceeded to the orchard, when I saw that it was the deceased who was suspended from the tree.  The rope was tied to a branch of the tree.  Neither of the deceased's feet touched the ground.  We immediately cut him down, but there were  no signs of life.  I was always on good terms with him.  - Mr Cook gave similar evidence, adding that, so far as he knew, the deceased was a good sort of fellow, and that he could not account for his having committed so rash an act.  the deceased could easily get up into the tree.  - Mr Anthony Pugsley, farmer, of Coombe, deposed:  On Tuesday morning last, about ten o'clock, I saw the deceased coming from Smithapark Wood across part of my farm.  I asked him where he was going at that time of day.  At first he made no reply.  I then asked him if there was anything amiss, when he replied that he had a very bad headache, and was going home. I enquired how the ripping was going on, and he said it had gone on better that morning than the day before.  He seemed to be dejected, and spoke very low.  - The verdict of the Jury was to the effect that the deceased was found hanged, but that there was no evidence to show in what state of mind he was at the time.

ASHBURTON - Suicide By A Farmer. - On Thursday an Inquest was held before Mr Coroner Michelmore on the body of MR WILLIAM KINGWILL, of Westabrook Farm, who hanged himself in his cow shed on Tuesday.  Mr W. Irish, a neighbouring farmer, who was doing some ploughing for deceased, was visited by him in the field in the morning.  As MRS KINGWILL could not find him afterwards, at one, when he left the field, he searched the premises and found deceased hanging in the cowhouse, and nearly cold.  Witness at once cut him down, and Dr Adams was called, but he pronounced life to be quite extinct.  In answer to the Coroner, witness said he thought deceased was in a strange way.  - JOHN KINGWILL, a brother of deceased, a retired farmer, said his brother was 48 years of age, and had rented Westabrook of Mr Amery four years.  Never saw him tipsy, but thought a little drink would upset him.  MARY KINGWILL stated that deceased was her husband, and that he had been in a low and depressed state for two years.  He drank a good deal of cider, which she believed told on his constitution.  Deceased was in good circumstances, and she had never heard him threaten to destroy himself.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Temporary Insanity."

TORRINGTON - Sudden Death - Inquest.  On Wednesday evening last, 30th ult., a sudden death occurred at the Union Workhouse to MR GEORGE BAKER, the well-known and respected porter, the particulars of which were elicited at the Inquest held at the Board room of the Union on Friday last, before J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner.  - Richard Dymond, P.C., (water bailiff,) stated that he knew the deceased, who was a friend of his.  On Wednesday evening, about half-past eight o'clock, he called at the Union to see him.  He found him standing at the front door, and on asking him how he was, deceased replied, "All right, thanks."  Deceased's wife (who is cook at the Union) then came out, and after standing there talking for a few minutes, the deceased went in to fetch his hat.  In about a minute afterwards there was a noise, as if a chair had fallen.  MRS BAKER, on looking round, saw her husband lying on the floor, and called to witness, who went in and helped him up.  He was lying on his face and hands.  He never spoke or groaned.  His wife got some brandy and put it to his mouth, but he could not swallow any.  Deceased was afterwards removed to his bed and undressed.  - Thomas Cann, master of the Union, stated that about half-past eight on Wednesday night he was in his office, when he heard MARY BAKER, the cook, running upstairs in a great hurry.  He asked her what was the matter, and she desired him to give her some brandy, as her husband had fallen down and she feared he was dead.  She appeared very much frightened.  He gave her some brandy, and allowed her to the porter's room, where he found P.C. Dymond holding deceased up in a sitting posture, and to all appearance dead.  She tried to get some of the brandy down his throat, but he could not swallow.  Witness at once sent for the doctor, who came in about half an hour.  The deceased was about 34 years of age, and had previously to all appearance enjoyed good health.  - Dr J. D. Jones stated that on Wednesday evening, between eight and nine o'clock, he was sent for by Mr Cann to visit the Union-house, as the porter had fallen down in a fit.  He went as soon as possible, and found the deceased in bed quite dead.  He examined him, and found his eyes slightly congested, and the veins of the neck rather distended.  There was slight discolouration of the face, but in all other respects the deceased seemed to have died without a struggle.  In his opinion the cause of death was congestive apoplexy.  He was a man of very full habit, very stout, with a short thick neck.  The immediate cause of death was compression from effused blood.  The Coroner said there was no doubt but the deceased died of apoplexy, although he was very young in years to die of such a disease.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.  The deceased had been porter for about a year and nine months, previous to which time he had acted as one of the Borough Police in this town, and was much respected.  He was a native of Colebrook, near Crediton, to which parish the corpse was removed on Sunday last for interment.  The deceased had no children.

Thursday 14 June 1877

BUCKLAND BREWER  -  Fatal Accident. - The accident to MR JOHN DURANT, aged 62, of this parish, farmer, which we reported in our last, terminated fatally, as was feared, on Thursday.  An Inquest was held on the body on Saturday, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a respectable Jury.  After the Jury had viewed the body, MR THOMAS DURANT, son of the deceased, gave evidence that on Friday the 1st inst. he was engaged with the deceased and a labourer named Edward Smale, in taking down a cob wall, which was no longer required, and which they intended to sift for manure.  Deceased was in the middle of the wall, and witness, seeing it falling, called out to him and caught hold of him to pull him away, but they were not able to escape, and part of the wall came upon both of them and threw them to the ground.  Witness was but slightly injured, and was able to get up immediately; but the deceased lay on the ground insensible.  Witness fetched a trap and took his father home, where he soon revived.  Deceased did not think his injury serious at first, but as he did not get better he consented to have medical assistance on the Sunday.  He complained that the cob had struck him between the shoulders.  He said it was an unlucky blow, but that "it was the Lord's will."  - The workman Smale corroborated his young master's evidence.  - Mr Charles Sinclair Thompson, son and assistant of Dr Thompson, of Bideford, deposed to having found deceased on Sunday suffering from paralysis of the legs and bladder.  There were no marks of bruises on the back, nor did he complain of great pain, but the legs were much bruised.  The paralysis of the lower extremities increased and congestion of the lungs set in.  The cause of death was concussion and compression of the spine, accelerated by congestion of the left lung.  The Jury at once returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 21 June 1877

BARNSTAPLE - Case Of Sudden Death. - At seven o'clock on Friday evening, Mr R. I., Bencraft, the Borough Coroner, held an Inquest at the White Lion, Silver-street, on the body of JANE GILBERTA, the wife of JOHN GILBERT, a coach painter, in the employ of Mr Gibbings, who had died suddenly the same morning.  - Mr T. Chapple was chosen foreman of the Jury.  -  JOHN GILBERT, husband of the deceased, gave evidence that his wife was about 36 years of age.  They had been married thirteen years, and had had seven children, the youngest of whom was sixteen months old.  The deceased had been in fair health during the past year or so, and there had been no need to call a doctor to her; but some few days ago she complained of a slight cold.  Before going to bed on the previous night, which she did at about ten o'clock, she took a drop of weak brandy and water and ate two small biscuits.  She had lain down once or twice during the day, and had complained of a pain in the neck.  Witness went to bed about three quarters of an hour after his wife, and she was then asleep.  The youngest child slept in the bed with them.  About three o'clock in the morning witness was awakened by hearing the child cry.  He called his wife two or three times, but she did not answer, and he then put his hand on her forehead and found it was cold, whereupon he struck a light and called for his sister, who was in the next room.  They then saw that the deceased was dead.  Witness at once went and called Mr Cooke, surgeon, who was at the house within five minutes.  Deceased had never had fits, or anything of that kind.  When he went to bed he noticed that she was rather flushed, but he attributed that to the brandy she had taken.  She did not seem to be breathing unnaturally.  - Mr J. W. Cooke deposed that when he arrived at the house he found the deceased dead.  She was cold, and had apparently been dead for some time - for two or three hours, perhaps.  Death seemed to have occurred very quietly - without any struggle.  He could not state with certainty the cause of death; but from appearances, and from what he had heard, he conjectured that it was heart disease.  There was no reason to suppose that death resulted from any other than Natural Causes.  Replying to the Coroner, several of the Jurors said that GILBERT and his wife lived very happily.  He was a steady man, and she was a respectable, industrious woman.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

BARNSTAPLE - A Sad And Singular Case Of Death. - The boy HENRY WONNACOTT, ten years of age, from West Buckland, who, as we reported last week, was admitted to the North Devon Infirmary a few days ago, suffering from what it was hoped was nothing more serious than an injury to the right eye-lid, died in that institution on Monday from compression of the brain, the skull having been fractured.  An Inquest was held on Tuesday afternoon, at the Infirmary, by the Borough Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft, who, after Mr T. Baker had been chosen foreman of the Jury, and the body had been viewed, received the following evidence:-  WM. WONNACOTT, a labouring man living at West Buckland, deposed that the deceased was his grandchild, and had always lived with him from his birth.  They were working together in a field on Saturday the 9th inst., and at seven o'clock left work and went in the direction of their  home, the boy carrying a mattock and a stick.  He went on before witness.  They had to get over a hedge in order to get into the road, which was about two feet lower than the field, and when, as witness judged, the boy got to the hedge, he heard him cry out.  He at once ran towards him, and found him lying in the road, bleeding profusely from the right eye, and as one end of the stick he had been carrying was covered with blood witness conjectured that in getting over the hedge he must have caught his foot in a bramble and fallen forward into the road, his eye coming on to the stick.  Witness tied up the wound, and assisted the boy home - a distance of two miles.  He did not ask him how the accident occurred in consequence of the intense pain the deceased was suffering.  They got home between eight and nine o'clock, and a horse and cart belonging to Mr Adams was then got ready, and the boy was brought straight in to the Infirmary without any time being lost.  After he got into the trap he vomited a good deal, and brought up blood.  He still seemed to be in great pain, and said nothing as to how the accident happened.  Witness's daughter and a nephew brought him in to the Infirmary.  -  Mr Wellington Lake, a duly registered medical practitioner, acting as house surgeon at the Infirmary, in the temporary absence of Mr Pronger, deposed that he saw the deceased when he arrived at the institution - between nine and ten p.m.  There was a wound on the upper lid of the right eye, but there was no external enlargement whatever, and the injury appeared to be a slight one.  By the use of the probe witness first ascertained that the eye itself was not injured, and he then probed upwards in order to see whether the skull was affected, but this operation caused the little fellow such intense pain that he deemed it wise to desist from further examination.  It being a maxim of surgery never to make light of a wound in the head, even when there are no dangerous symptoms, witness admitted the boy as an in-patient, and then dressed the wound with a simple cold water dressing.  On the following day Mr Gamble saw the deceased, and confirmed witness in the course he had taken, remarking that he had done wisely in not continuing to probe upwards; that if it was merely inflammation the cold water dressing was a proper remedy; and that if the skull had been fractured the symptoms would appear. Mr Gamble took charge of the patient, who went on pretty well until the 12th, when symptoms of compression of the brain supervened.  Then his head was shaved and leeches applied; but these measures were ineffectual, and he became gradually worse until he sank into a comatose state, and lost control over all parts of his body.  He was unconscious, but had occasional intervals when he was able to recognise his friends.  In that state he continued until Monday evening, about half-past eight, when he died.  Since his death witness had probed the wound again, and had found a wide crack in the skull, through which the instrument went into the brain.  He therefore could pronounce that death was caused primarily by fracture of the roof of the orbit, and secondarily by compression of the brain as a consequence thereof.  Witness believed there was no possibility of saving his life, even if he had been treated for fracture of the skull from the first, for the fissure was a large one.  The case was an interesting one, and was examined by most of the medical staff, all of whom were of the same opinion as witness concerning how it should be treated.  The boy suffered acute pain during the first three days, but not afterwards, as he then became incapable of feeling.  The grandfather mentioned that the stick which deceased was carrying was of the size of an ordinary walking stick, and, strange to say, the end of it upon which he noticed blood was not at all pointed.  - The Coroner remarked that the relatives did all they could for the little fellow, bringing him in to the Infirmary without delay, which was better than calling in a local doctor; and as there was no reason to doubt that death was the result of an accident, he suggested a verdict to that effect.  The Jury immediately returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BIDEFORD - Inquest. - On Monday evening an Inquest was held in Allhalland-street, before Dr Thompson, Coroner for the Borough, touching the death of ELIZABETH ANN CASELY, aged two years and nine months.  - The grandmother of the deceased deposed that the child resided with her.  On Friday last she emptied some boiling water into a tray, when the child came behind her, and fell backward into the tray.  The child was instantly taken out, and Mr Cox, surgeon, sent for, who attended the case until Sunday morning, when the child died from the scalds it had received.  The verdict of the Jury was to the effect that the child came to her death by Accidentally falling into boiling water.

Thursday 28 June 1877

CLOVELLY - Inquest. - We mentioned in our last that the body of one of the four men belonging to this parish, who were unfortunately drowned on the 7th ult. by the upsetting of a boat, was picked up on Wednesday in last week.  An Inquest was held on the remains the day following, at the Red Lion Inn, in the village, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, for the County.  The first witness was Capt. George Whitefield, who identified the body as that of MR WILLIAM PENGELLY.  He knew him by some articles of his dress.  - James Beer gave evidence of the circumstances connected with the accident.  The schooner Rose of the Torridge was lying off, bound for Cadiz.  The master (Richard Mills) was witness's son-in-law.  Witness, William Beer, and Robert Badcock had put the captain on board from Clovelly in their boat, called the Mary Anne.  The deceased and three others (William Burman, James Bates, and Wm. Pengelly) had put off in the afternoon, about three o'clock, in another boat, called the Victory.  Witness and his friends left them on board soon after and returned in their boat to Clovelly.  Everything was perfectly pleasant and agreeable on board.  The schooner had weighed anchor and was proceeding down channel, the deceased and his three companions being on board.  Nothing was seen of them afterwards, but their boat was picked up the second day after by a passing vessel. Neither of the men was the worse for liquor when witness and his friends left.  Samuel Parsons, mariner, gave evidence that he and John Prince were in the bay trawling the day before, and saw the body of deceased floating in the water, and took it on board, and landed it at the pier, and gave it in charge of the police.  - P.C. John Stevens, of the Devon County Police, deposed to his having taken charge of the body the preceding afternoon, about five o'clock.  In the left-hand trousers pocket there was a purse and a nail (which he produced), but nothing else.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."

BRAUNTON - Sad Case Of Death By Accident. - Much concern was occasioned in Braunton on Monday last by the terribly violent and sudden death which happened to CHARLES LAMPREY, a lad seventeen years old, the son of MR GEORGE LAMPREY, landlord of the White Lion.  The circumstances of the sad event were disclosed by the evidence given at the Inquest, which was held at the White Lion on Tuesday evening, by J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner.  After Mr Wm. Symons had been chosen foreman of the Jury, the body was viewed.  The upper part of the left side of the chest, just below the collar-bone, was much puffed up, and Mr Lane, the surgeon, explained that that was owing to the lungs having been violently ruptured and displaced.  The first witness called was Mr George Perryman Hartnoll, who deposed:  Yesterday I was carrying hay in Barn Close Field (situate near the White Lion).  When I entered the field at eleven o'clock in the morning there were two men on the rick, George Dendle and William Tucker, and my son Charles was on the top of a load of hay pitching the hay up to them, whilst the deceased, who was not in my employ, but had merely come in, in a friendly way, was standing at the horse's head. I went across to the other side of the field to look at some beans and peas, and had been there but a short time, when, looking round, I saw the horse and cart coming towards me, the cart being then partly laden with hay.  The horse came at full gallop, and I saw my son fall off behind on to the ground, whilst the deceased held on to the horse's head.  When he came near me I shouted to him to leave go, for I was afraid he would be crushed between the hedge of the field and the shaft of the cart; and just afterwards he lost his footing and fell, and the horse galloped right over him as he lay on the ground, one of the wheels also going over his body.  The horse continued to gallop on, but presently stopped.  Immediately that the deceased fell I ran towards him, and when I got to him I saw blood running from his mouth.  He was lying on his back, but he turned over and never moved again.  He did not speak a word.  I ran for assistance, and Mr Lane arrived within four or five minutes, and found that the poor fellow was dead.  The horse is a very quiet one, and I never knew him run away before.  Two or three of the Jurymen remarked that they had never met with a quieter horse, and Mr Lane added that it was a very powerful animal, weighing, he should think, at a rough guess, a ton.  Mr Hartnolll mentioned that the deceased knew the horse well, and often used to hold it and Mr Lane suggested that this probably was why the lad clung so tenaciously to it when it ran away, thinking from his knowledge of the horse that he should be able to master it.  The Coroner interrogated Mr Hartnoll as to the cause of the horse starting off, and the witness replied that he could not give any positive information upon the point, but could offer two suggestions.  The first, and perhaps the more probable, was that it was frightened by seeing the hay being pitched up on the rick, for the blinker had slipped off one of its eyes, the harness having become slightly disarranged.  He noticed at the time that the harness was so disarranged.  The second suggestion was that the horse started off in consequence of being teased by the flies.  It was for the purpose of protecting it from them that the deceased was standing at its head.  George Dendle, a labourer in Mr Hartnoll's employ, gave similar evidence.  He was standing on the rick, and the deceased was at the horse's head, feeding it with hay.  It was standing very quiet, as usual, when, without anything remarkable having occurred within witness's observation, it walked away, then commenced to trot and finally went into a gallop, the deceased holding on to its head until, as narrated by Mr Hartnoll, he let go his hold and was trodden upon.  Witness could not account for the animal's starting off except in the way suggested by Mr Hartnoll.  He, too, noticed that when it walked away its harness was disarranged.

Mr Lane deposed:  Yesterday morning, shortly after eleven o'clock, I was in Mar Hartnoll's house, when Wm. Tucker's wife came in and said that Mr Hortnoll's horse had run away, and that she was afraid some one was very much hurt.  I at once went to the scene of the accident, which is but a few hundred yards from Mr Hartnoll's house, and when I got there I saw deceased lying on his face and hands.  He was dead.  I turned him over and examined him, and found that the upper part f the chest was crushed in.  From what I have heard and seen, I have no doubt that through the horse treading upon him and the wheel going over him, his lungs were ruptured, and most likely his heart as well.  The injuries were of such a dreadful nature that death must have been almost instantaneous.  It was stated that the horse was 16 ½ hands high, and was very fat; and one or two of the Jury remarked that scarcely its equal in size was to be found in the neighbourhood - certainly not in the parish of Braunton.  The Coroner characterised it as one of those frightful cases of accidental death which sometimes occurred, and in which no one was to be blamed.  There was not the least doubt as to the cause of death, and the only point upon which there was no certain testimony was as to the cause of the animal starting away from the rick.  Upon that point the Jury had heard all that could be said.  Not the least blame was imputable to anyone concerned in the sad affair, and it was quite clear that the course for the Jury to pursue was to return a simple verdict of "Accidental Death."  A verdict to that effect was at once returned; and, on the suggestion of the foreman, the Jury gave their fee of 1s. each for the benefit of deceased's parents.  A brother of MR LAMPREY, the father, was present and received the money, for which he thanked the Jurors on his brother's behalf.

Thursday 5 July 1877

SANDFORD - Fatal Accident. - As MR WEBBER, butcher and cattle dealer, was returning home, on Thursday last, he fell from his horse, and was found lying on the road, evidently in great suffering.  MR WEBBER was conveyed to his residence, where he shortly after died.  An Inquest was held on the body by Mr Crosse, Coroner, on Friday, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" returned by the Jury.  MR WEBBER was much respected in the neighbourhood.

TAVISTOCK - Fatal Effects of Anger.  - A young man named THOMAS OSBORNE, 20 years of age, and an apprentice at the iron works of Messrs. Nicholls, Matthews, and Col,, at Tavistock, died on Friday afternoon from the effects of a blow which he received at the hands of a labourer named John Andrews.  It is stated that some of the workmen had been drinking water from a can, and that OSBORNE spat a little of it over Andrews's shirt, whereupon, in attempting to throw something at OSBORNE, Andrews cut his finger, and this appeared so to exasperate him that he picked up a piece of iron, about 2lbs. in weight, which happened to be near, and threw at the young man, who fell to the ground in the hope of escaping the blow.  the iron, however, struck him on the head so violently that it broke in his skull, and he survived only a couple of hours.  Mr W. C. Northey was soon in attendance on the sufferer.  A verdict of 'Manslaughter' was returned by the Coroner's Jury at Tavistock on Saturday against John Andrews, workman in Messrs. Nicholls, Matthews, and Co.'s iron foundry there, who caused the death of an apprentice, named OSBORNE, by throwing a piece of iron at him.  The prisoner and deceased worked in the same shop, and deceased had exasperated Andrews by a series of practical jokes at his expense.  Andrews was afterwards brought before the magistrates and committed for trial on the charge, but was released on bail.

BRAUNTON - A Boy Shot By His Brother. - We reported an accident happening in this place last week, by which a lad was killed through the running away of a horse in the hay harvest field.  On the seventh day afterwards there happened a still more painful case of accidental death, the victim being a boy called PHILIP PERRYMAN, aged 13, who was killed by a short from a revolver, which was in the hands of his brother.  The sad occurrence took place at Knowle, in this parish, on Monday morning, the deceased being the son of the late MR GEORGE PERRYMAN, farmer, who was living with his widowed mother.  He was a fine lad, of good parts, had lately left school, and his friends were hoping to get him a situation at the railway station.  His brother, THOMAS, the unfortunate cause of his death, who was 26 years of age, had been for some years living in London as assistant in the drapery warehouse of Mr Fry, in Bishopsgate-street.  He came down on Saturday on a visit to his friends, and on Monday morning he and his two brothers (the deceased being one) were in the garden near their mother's cottage, and the eldest, who had unfortunately brought his six-chamber revolver with him, was firing it off at a mark to amuse his younger brothers.  He had discharged first two cartridges, then six, and was in the act of loading it again, when the deceased took hold of the revolver, which immediately went off, and the charge entered his left breast.  He made an exclamation to the effect that he was not hurt, and fell into his brother's arms, who carried him into the house and to bed, but he was dead before he got there.  The charge had entered his heart, and was, of course, immediately fatal.  The doctor was sent for, who could only pronounce that the poor boy was beyond human skill.  - An Inquest was held on the body on Wednesday (yesterday) at noon, at Miss Robinson's schoolroom at Knowle, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr George Pettle was foreman.  The Jury having viewed the body, the following evidence was taken.  -  JOHN PERRYMAN, aged 14:  I live at Knowle, in Braunton.  I sleep at home at my mother's, and work for Farmer Isaac, of Winsom.  The deceased was my younger brother, and was 13 years old.  I saw him alive last in the court of my mother's house on Monday morning, at half-past seven.  My eldest brother THOMAS was present.  He came down from London on Saturday evening last for his holiday.  He brought with him a six-chamber revolver, which he showed to me, but warned me not to touch it.  It was not loaded then.  On Monday morning we were all three in the yard.  My elder brother had the revolver with him and had it loaded.  He was firing it off to amuse me and the deceased. He put in two cartridges first and discharged them, then six more and discharged them also.  He then went upstairs for more cartridges, and the deceased called to him, "Bring down twelve, TOM."  He came down again, and was loading the revolver.  He had put in three cartridges, and was in the act of putting in the fourth, when the deceased, who was standing close by, put forth his hand and touched the trigger of the revolver, which immediately went off against the deceased, who instantly put up his hand to his breast, and exclaimed, "You have not hurt me, dear Tom," and threw his arms around the neck of my brother, who carried him down the court into the house.  My mother looked out at the window, and said, "PHILIP, you are going to die.  Look to Jesus!"  My eldest brother carried him upstairs and laid him down on the bed.  There was very little blood.  He died as soon as he was laid on the bed.  He did not speak, or groan, or give any sign of life.  We sent away for Mr Lane, the surgeon.  - The young man, THOMAS PERRYMAN, was the next witness.  Having given evidence that he lived in London, and was down on a visit to his mother for a fortnight's holiday, he went on to say that he brought down his revolver with him for the purpose of practice and to amuse his brothers.  He had it in the yard on Monday morning, and was firing at a mark.  He had discharged it eight times, and was reloading it.  He had loaded three chambers and was in the act of loading the fourth, when the deceased, who was by his side, put out his hand and caught hold of it, and it went off, he knew not how.  Witness made him stand behind him at first, that he might not meddle with the revolver, but he afterwards came by his side.  Witness was much overcome by the occurrence, so much that he could not say what the deceased said more than "Dear TOM."  He carried him down the yard and upstairs and laid him on the bed, but he was quite dead.  Deceased did not walk at all after he spoke, or give any sign of life.  - Mr Stephen Orson Lane, surgeon, of Braunton, deposed that on Monday morning last, about eight o'clock, he was sent for to go to Knowle.  He went immediately to the house of MRS PERRYMAN, and was shewn upstairs, where he found the deceased lying on the bed.  He was quite dead.  On stripping him and examining the body he found only one external mark of violence, which was a small wound over the region of the heart - such a wound as would be caused by such a conical bullet as that produced, discharged from the revolver.  The bullet passed between two ribs in the fleshy part, and did not strike the bone.  It entered the heart, and deceased would have just time to make such an exclamation as that deposed to, and died instantly.  There was no loss of blood externally, the shirt being merely stained.  Witness asked for the revolver, which was found in the garden, into which the brother had thrown it out of his hand when the accident happened, and three chambers were still loaded, which he (the witness) discharged.  This was all the evidence.  The Coroner summed up  in very feeling terms, characterising the case as one of the saddest he had ever known because of the close relationship between the deceased and the young man who was the innocent cause of his death.  He had come down from London anticipating a happy time with his family and friends, but all his expected joy had been suddenly turned into the deepest sorrow.  He could not but sympathise most sincerely with the young man, for the event was one which he would never forget to the day of his death.  He could suggest no other verdict to the Jury than that of "Death by Misadventure," which they accordingly returned immediately.  The young man, THOMAS PERRYMAN, was very much dejected.  He is spoken of as a most respectable man, and very affectionate to his brothers, to whom, being much their senior, he was almost as a father.

BARNSTAPLE - Case of Sudden Death. - We have to chronicle another instance of sudden death, in the case of ELIZA, wife of WM. WINTER, brushmaker, of Honey-pot lane, off Castle street, which happened on Saturday evening last.  The Inquest was held at nine o'clock on Monday morning before the Borough Coroner, R. I. Bencraft, Esq.  Mr Wm. Bennett was foreman of the Jury; and after the body had been viewed, Charles Jones, a groom, deposed that about a quarter to six o'clock on Saturday evening he was passing the deceased's house on his way home, being accompanied by a dog which Mr Hewish had given him.  As he passed the house the deceased (who knew the dog) called him in for the purpose of giving the animal some food.  He and the dog accordingly went into the house and the deceased reached down from a dresser in the kitchen, a basin containing some meat, and put it on the floor for the dog to eat.  When the dog had almost finished eating it, witness picked the basin up, and was about to put it back on the dresser, when the deceased exclaimed, "I'm falling!" and fell back into a chair which was standing beside the fire-place.  She was falling over on one side, and witness, with deceased's husband and daughter, who were in the room, went to her assistance and supported her.  The daughter fetched a glass of water and poured some of it into her mouth, but she was unable to swallow it.  Witness offered to run for a doctor, but did not go because the daughter said she thought it was only a fit of hysterics, and that her mother would be all right again shortly.  However, the deceased commenced to get black in the face, and then he ran for Mr Hewish, who, with two others, at once came in and felt her pulse, which soon afterwards stopped.  She died a minute after Mr Hewish's arrival.  She said nothing beyond the exclamation that she was falling, and did not even groan or sign.  Some froth came from her mouth. - Mr Wm. Hewish, veterinary surgeon, gave evidence that he had known the deceased for the last 16 years.  She had enjoyed very fair health until about a fortnight ago, since when she had complained of pains in her back and chest.  She had also been getting uncomfortably stout.  He believed that she had had no medical attendance, but on Saturday obtained a recommendation to the Dispensary, to which she was to go on the following Tuesday.  - Mr Hewish then deposed to being called in by the last witness, whose evidence he corroborated, adding that her pulse was beating at from 100 to 150 when he felt it.  She was so stout and short of breath that on Friday, when she went to market, she was scarcely able to get home.  She was a woman of temperate habits.  -  WM. WINTER, husband of the deceased, deposed that she was 52 years of age.  She had been poorly for two or three months; and during the last week or two had complained particularly of pains in her side and chest.  She was a stout woman, but he did not know that she had got much stouter within the last few weeks.  She had no medical attendance, but had taken some pills upon the advice of a lady who called with tracts.  She was not subject to fits.  The witness was questioned as to the pills by some of the Jury;, and he stated that they could have had no connection with her death, for she had not taken any for a fortnight.  She had them from Mr Pratt's.  She was a small eater, for she could not keep much food upon her stomach.  Mr Harper, surgeon, deposed that he was called to the deceased at a few minutes to six on Saturday evening.  He found her seated on a chair in the kitchen, supported by Mr Hewish and her husband.  She was dead, but had only been so a few minutes, for her body was quite warm.  Her face was blue; froth was issuing from the mouth; and the pupils of the eyes were dilated.  He had her carried upstairs and undressed, and he then examined the body, and found that there were no marks of violence.  From the history of the case he had no doubt that she died of heart disease.  The Coroner said that it was about as sudden a case of death as had ever come under his notice.  It was evident that heart disease was the cause and he did not think there was any necessity for a post mortem examination to be made; but if the Jury thought differently he would adjourn the Enquiry.  The Jury were of the same opinion as the Coroner, and a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 12 July 1877

CREDITON - Sad Drowning. - ANNIE MARY ANSTEY, aged about 23, half sister to MR ANSTEY, of the Lamb Inn, with whom she has lived for several years, was much respected by all who knew her.  For some time past a certain strangeness had been noticed in her, and medical advice was taken.  On Wednesday morning she got up, dressed herself, and left the house without saying anything to her friends, who, finding she did not return, became alarmed.  Search was made everywhere, and about four in the afternoon the body of the poor young woman was found in the Creedy in some five feet of water.  There is no accounting for the deplorable act.  At the Inquest held by Mr Crosse on Friday, a verdict of "Temporary Insanity" was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest. - The Borough Coroner, R. I. Bencraft, Esq., held an Inquest at the North Devon Infirmary yesterday (Wednesday) morning, touching the death of RICHARD BIRD, 55 years of age, a native of Wear Gifford.  Mr Thomas Chapple was chosen foreman of the Jury.  Mr C. H. Gamble, surgeon, a member of the medical staff, deposed that deceased was admitted on the 3rd instant, suffering from a varicose vein in the right leg.  Witness ordered him to bed, and he remained there until his death.  On Tuesday morning, about ten o/'clock, he was taken worse, and when witness's attention was directed to him, he was suffering from quickness of the pulse, had some difficulty in breathing, and complained of pain in the bowels.  Witness examined him, and finding that there was something wrong in the right lung he again prescribed for him.  He died two or three hours afterwards.  A post mortem examination had been since made by Mr Pronger, the house surgeon, at which witness was present, when it was found that deceased died from a sudden attack of apoplexy to the right lung, caused by an effusion of blood.  The blood discharged itself into the cavity of the pleura, which was a very unusual thing.  He had never met with a similar case.  Mr C. E. Pronger corroborated Mr Gamble's evidence, adding that Mr Lake (who had been doing duty for him during his absence) had informed him that on the Monday night he was called up to the deceased.  The next morning deceased complained of feeling very prostrate, and of a pain across the diaphragm.  There was no external haemorrhage.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 26 July 1877

DAWLISH - Death From Chloroform. - An Inquest was held at the Townhall, Dawlish, on Friday evening by Mr Michelmore, County Coroner, respecting the death of SARAH CRUDGE, a young lady, who was on a visit to the town for the benefit of her health.  It was stated that the deceased was a native of Devizes, Wilts, and that she had recently recovered from scarlet fever.  Having an external squint of the right eye, she was desirous of being put under the effects of chloroform by Mr F. M. Cann, surgeon, to have the eye set right.  She was lodging at Miss Hill's, Alexandra-terrace, but as she wished to keep her intentions as secret as possible the operation was performed at the house of another friend, Miss Blacking, residing in Regent-street.  Mr Cann had previously offered to perform the operation at his house without administering the anaesthetic, but she preferred to have it administered, and after due examination of her system the operation was performed on Wednesday evening last, between five and six o'clock, and it was considered to be successful, as the eye had a natural appearance, and she wished Mr Cann "good evening" on his leaving.  She afterwards occasionally vomited, and was very heavy and sleepy.  Mr Cann visited her about 9 p.m. and finding her sleeping, as he considered comfortably, he left again.  Deceased was more restless before than after nine.  About eleven p.m. the same night as Miss Blacking was about to raise her to give her some milk deceased seized her arm, and before she could be raised upright she was dead.  Mr Gaye, of Newton, who had made a post mortem examination, said he found the brain diseased, and that the disease was of long standing.  He considered that death resulted from an effusion of blood on the substance of the brain, but no doubt death was accelerated by the efforts of vomiting caused by the administration of chloroform.  The quantity administered was, however, very small.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence, and considering the chloroform was properly administered they exonerated Mr Cann from all blame. 

Thursday 2 August 1877

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident In The River. - A sad accident, which was fatal to a young man called ELIAS MAY, aged 24, occurred in the river near Pottington Point on Tuesday evening, the circumstances of which were elicited in the evidence taken at an Inquest held last evening (Wednesday) at half-past seven o'clock, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., the Borough Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Arthur Webber was foreman, at the North Country Inn, in Boutport-street.  The Jury having viewed the body, which lay at a house opposite, where the deceased had lodged, the first witness called was Henry Ford, the bargeman who was at work with the deceased when the accident happened.  He deposed that he was captain of a barge belonging to Mr William Garland, which plied up and down the river.  Deceased had been his mate since the 18th June last.  He was a single man aged 24, and had come from the parish of Chawleigh.  On Tuesday morning they took a barge load of manure to Mr Skinner at Chivnor, and returned with the tide in the evening about nine o'clock to Pottington Point, where they brought the barge to an anchor and fastened the sails.  The barge was empty.  Witness took a rope and went with it in the barge's boat to the shore to make it fast to a mooring post.  He had not reached the point, but was 22 fathoms from the barge, when he heard something fall into the water, and on hearing the sound of the splash he called out to the deceased "BILL!" but received no reply, but in a few moments afterwards heard a sound like "Oh!" and pulled back to the barge immediately, but could see nothing of the deceased, only he saw the water bubbling.  When he left the barge he was on the deck paying out the rope as witness took it to the shore.  It was a dark evening and foggy.  Witness picked up the hat of deceased and his coat floating.  He pulled round the barge many times, and then pulled ashore, and went away as fast as he could to the station-house for the drags.   Twenty minutes had elapsed after he fell into the water before witness reached the station-house, where he got the drags, and P.C. Sargent went with him to the barge, and after dragging about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour they picked up the body near the place where he must have fallen in.  They took the body ashore to the Castle quay, and gave it up to the police, who took it to the boat-house, and afterwards to deceased's lodgings.  Attempts were made to restore animation, but in vain.  Deceased was perfectly sober at the time, and was a steady and well-conducted man.  Witness's opinion was that deceased was in the act of taking off his coat and slipped his foot and fell backwards.  - John Kingdon deposed that he was on the drawbridge as the policeman and the last witness passed with the drags, and he went with them and recovered the body.  There was no sign of life.  The injury to the eye of deceased occurred from its being caught by the drag.  There were seven or eight feet of water at the place, with a stony bottom.  Mr Fernie, surgeon, deposed that he was called to the deceased about ten o'clock last night, and found the body lying on the floor of the boat-house next to the Salutation Inn.  He examined the body.  A good deal of froth was issuing from his mouth, and he was quite dead.  There was the mark of a wound on the upper lid of the left eye, and the skin on that side of the face was grazed.  Re-examining the body this morning, he observed that a strip of the ear on the same side was torn away.  Had no doubt these injuries arose from the drags.  There were no other marks of injury upon him. He had no doubt that death was produced by drowning.  - Verdict, "Accidental Death."

HIGHBRAY - Fatal Accident. - An accident happened on the 21st ult. to a labouring man named JOHN RIDD, of Holewater, in the parish of Northmolton, from the effects of which he died on the evening of the 24th.  An Inquest was held on the body before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner for the County, on the 28th, at Holewater, and the following facts came out in the evidence.  The deceased, who was about 66 years of age, was at work on Saturday sen'nnight for Mr William Thorne, farmer, of East Yard, in the parish of Highbray, and was employed in the hayfield carting the hay from one field to another for the purpose of drying.  In leading his horse with a load of hay towards the gate, the wheel got on a mound, and the cart was thereby upset, and the deceased jammed between the horse and the hedge, his right hand caught by the off-shaft, his feet pressed by the near shaft, and the horse's back against his legs.  The farmer's daughter was holding the gate, and, seeing what had happened, she called to and ran after her brother who had just gone through the gate with another load, and he returned, but was obliged to obtain further assistance before the poor man could be released.  He was taken to his home, and complained of much pain in the stomach.  The doctor was sent for next day, who found that he was suffering from internal injuries, from which he died on the 24th.  Verdict - "Accidental Death."

Thursday 9 August 1877

CHULMLEIGH - Inquest.  - J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest yesterday (Wednesday), at Chulmleigh, on the body of JAMES GRIMSHAW, colt-breaker, of that place, who had died from the effects of a fall from a horse. No one was called who saw the accident, but Mr William Ford, farmer, of Hunticott, in this parish, gave evidence that on Saturday, about one o'clock in the afternoon, the deceased passed his house on a colt, which he was riding without saddle or bridle, having only a halter.  Five minutes afterwards he came back without the colt, saying that the animal had shied, he did not know from what cause, and had thrown him off; that he fell upon the right side of his head, where he felt great pain, and that whilst upon the ground he was kicked in the left arm.  Witness put his arm into a sling, and offered to take him home in his cart, but he preferred to ride, so as to avoid being shaken.  Witness therefore helped him up on to a horse, and his son William walked beside him.  Deceased preferred to go home and see a doctor there rather than wait at witness's house.  Mr Thomas Sanders, surgeon, Chulmleigh, deposed that upon seeing deceased at half-past two in the afternoon he found him suffering from a compound fracture of the left arm, a severe bruise over the left eye, another on the left side of the back part of his head, and others elsewhere.  He also complained of a severe pain in the chest, which he attributed to the fall.  Witness reduced the fracture, and saw him again in the evening, when he complained of pains all over his body.  On Sunday witness again saw him, and on Monday he found that all the wounds had assumed a gangrenous aspect. He gradually became worse, and died about nine o'clock on Tuesday evening.  The immediate cause of death was rapidly spreading traumatic gangrene.  That gangrene supervened was owing to the deteriorated condition of the deceased's blood.  The accident was not of such a nature as to justify amputation at first, and after the gangrene showed itself it would have been useless.  A verdict of Accidental Death was returned.

ILFRACOMBE - Shocking Death Of A County Gentleman. - On Friday afternoon last a sad case of suicide occurred at the Clarence Hotel, in this town.  Some five weeks since, CHARLES FETHERSTONE DILKE, Esq., of Maxstoke Castle, Warwickshire, accompanied by his medical attendant and his valet, came to the Hotel.  The next day MR DILKE, with Dr Cumming, the medical attendant, started for Lynton, having secured places on the outside of the coach.  While between Watermouth and Combmartin, on a high part of the road near the cliff, MR DILKE jumped off the coach and broke his leg.  (It was reported at the time that he fell off.)  He was at once brought back to the Clarence Hotel, and, of course, has been confined to his bed ever since.  It does not appear that the coach was in any danger at the time;  but his explanation of his jumping off was that he was seized with an uncontrollable impulse to do so.  On Friday last his valet took up lunch to his master, but his appetite being poor the valet went down to order some cutlets, leaving the knife and fork by MR DILKE'S bedside.  On his return the valet was horrified to find the bed covered with blood, and, immediately summoning Dr Cumming, it was found that the unfortunate gentleman had with the dinner knife cut his throat, and so effectually that death must have been instantaneous.  Of course there was the utmost consternation in the house and in the town when the dreadful event became known.  An Inquest was opened on the next day before J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Wivell was chosen foreman.  The Coroner said that at the request of Dr Cumming he proposed, with the consent of the Jury, to open the Inquest and then adjourn the proceedings until Monday, in order to await the arrival of the relatives of the deceased, who were desirous of being present at the Inquest.  No objection been raised to this on the part of the Jury, Dr Cummings was called, and identified the body which the Jury had just seen as that of CHARLES FETHERSTONE DILKE; and the proceedings were then adjourned until Monday, at 10 o'clock, at which hour they were resumed.  John Chatfield deposed as follows:-  I reside at Maxstoke Castle, and was butler to deceased, who was a gentleman of considerable position and property.  About five weeks since we left home for Ilfracombe, accompanied by Dr Cumming.  Deceased was not in good health at the time, and has since been low in spirits.  On Friday last he was very low spirited during the morning.  On the 5th July he broke his leg while going to Lynton, and has been confined to his bed since.  About a quarter past two on Friday I took up to deceased his lunch (some cold boiled beef), but his appetite was not good.  He said he did not seem to fancy it, and was evidently low spirited.  Thinking that a hot cutlet might tempt his appetite, I suggested that I should order one; and as he seemed to raise no objection I went down stairs to do so.  When I left he was leaning back on the bed, with the knife and fork on a little table at the side.  I was certainly not away longer than three minutes.  When I returned, I found the bed covered in blood, and deceased's head was lying slightly forward.  I at once went to the next room for Mr Cumming, and said, "Make haste, Sir, something dreadful has happened."  He returned with me, and on examining deceased said, "I am afraid it is all over."  Deceased appeared to be quite dead.  At the request of Mr Cumming I sent for Mr Gardner, and then returned to the room.  The dinner knife was lying on deceased's right hand side, and was covered with blood.  (The knife was here produced.)  - By the Jury:  I have been in deceased's service about 18 months, and never heard him threaten his life.  He would talk a little free at times, and was very low spirited.  - Mr Robert Frederick Cumming deposed that he had been medical attendant to the deceased for the past three months.  About five weeks since they came to Ilfracombe.  Deceased had not been in good health for some time, and was suffering from some affection of the brain.  On Friday last he was called from the room adjoining the deceased by Chatfield, about twenty minutes past two o'clock.  He went in, and found the bed covered with blood.  He raised the head of the deceased, and found a large wound across the throat.  Witness then wiped away the blood and brought the windpipe forward, but he saw that deceased was dead.  He at once sent for Mr Gardner, who arrived in about five or six minutes.  Deceased's mind was certainly not sound at times.  He was occasionally very low and depressed.  At times, however, he could be left for a long time.  When going to Lynton on the 5th July with the deceased the latter jumped off the coach on a high ill near Combmartin; and when afterwards asked the reason, said he felt he must do so as the height made him giddy.  - Mr Frederick Gardner, surgeon, deposed that on Friday last he was sent for to the Clarence Hotel , and on the stairs he was told by Dr Cumming that MR DILKE, whom he has previously attended for a broken leg, had cut his throat.  He went into the room and saw a large wound across the throat dividing all the principal structures.  - The Coroner then asked the Jury if they wished to hear any further evidence as to the previous state of deceased's mind.  The Foreman said he thought they were all perfectly satisfied on that point; and they at once returned a verdict to the effect that deceased committed suicide while in a state of Unsound Mind.  The brother of deceased and several friends were present during the Enquiry, and the next day the corpse was removed to the family residence in Warwickshire.  It is stated that the Marquis of Queensbury and the Earl of Aylesford, friends of the deceased, hastened down to this place on being informed by telegraph of the sad event, and left again on the same day (Sunday).

SOUTHMOLTON - Sudden Death. - On Tuesday, MR SPRAGUE, farmer, of Bampton, attended Brushford market, and after doing some business there he went to the railway station, and sat down on the platform, to wait for the train.  After he had sat some little time, it was observed that he was leaning considerably forward, so a person on the platform touched him on the shoulder.  Then it was observed that MR SPRAGUE was dead.  The body was removed to one of the station rooms to await an Inquest.

Thursday 16 August 1877

BARNSTAPLE - Sad And Fatal Accident. - On Friday last a young man named HENRY LIGHT, a labourer, aged 31, who lived in Belle Meadow, met with an accident which proved fatal the next day.  He had been employed by Capt. Pearce, the harbour master, to help in unloading the steam-boat Neath Abbey.  Whilst so engaged, he slipped off the lank into the hold, and, falling on a lot of bar and rod iron, the side of his head was severely cut.  He was at once taken to the Infirmary, where he died on Saturday, the injuries he had received being so serious that medical aid was of no avail.  The deceased was married, but had no children.  His father was drowned in the river some three years ago.  The Inquest was held on Monday morning, at the Infirmary, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, Mr Chapple being foreman of the Jury.

Mr G. B. Pearce deposed: On Friday morning, between nine and ten o'clock, the deceased was engaged carrying goods ashore from the S. S. Neath Abbey, which has been running between this town and Bristol since last March.  A long plank was laid from the quay across the hatchway of the vessel, and the good were taken out of the hold by a steam winch.  Deceased stood in the middle of the plank, which was made of three-inch deals, bolted together.  Here he had to stand and take the goods then being delivered - sacks of maize - on his shoulders.  I have often warned the men not to go on to the planks until the sacks or bags were above it.,  The man who worked the winch was a careful sober fellow, who was on the engine.  As the chain came up, where this accident happened, the hook caught the plank, and "canted" it on one side, deceased falling into the hold, a distance of about 16 feet.  He fell on a lot of iron.  We brought him up directly, and I ordered him to be sent to the Infirmary at once.  Before this occurred, we had got out several great hogsheads of sugar, and nothing happened.  When the man who worked the winch saw the hook catch, he lowered the chain immediately, so that it was all right again in a moment.  I had employed deceased and another man to bring me some gravel in a barge, which I wanted for ballast for the steamer.  The latter did not arrive in time, and I gave deceased the job in order to fill up time.  The deceased was sober.  As far as I know he had had nothing to drink that morning.  I never give them anything to drink.  To a Juror:  He had nothing on his shoulders when the plank was "canted."  I believe the poor fellow was frightened, for the plank was righted again in a second.  I generally take care to employ the same men, if I can, and I think I had had this man and his brother once before.  Mr Ernest Pronger deposed:  I am house surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary.  About ten o'clock on Friday morning, the deceased was brought here.  He was unconscious.  He was bleeding freely from the left ear and the nose, and from two wounds on the scalp above and behind the left ear.  He also had a wound on the left arm, below the elbow.  I had him taken to the ward, undressed, and put to bed, but he did not recover consciousness from that time until his death.  Very little could be done for him, and he died about nine o'clock on Saturday night.  I have since made a post mortem examination - only of the head, and I found a fracture of the base of the skull, and laceration of the substance of the brain, which were sufficient to account for his death.  They were such injuries as would be occasion by a fall like that described.  The Coroner briefly summed up, remarking that it was clear, from the evidence, that no blame could be attached to anyone, and saying he was glad to hear that, while the men were paid well, no allowance was made to them in the way of beer, so that, in the present case, there was no question as to deceased being sober.  The Jury at once returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BISHOPSNYMPTON - A "White Witch" and A Dying Woman. - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at the Mason's Arms, in Bishopsnympton, by J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, respecting the death of ELIZABETH SANDERS, the wife of a cattle doctor, who keeps a shop n the village, with a few drugs in the window, over which he styles himself a "Chemist," and on the door in a brass plate, on which are the words "Veterinary Surgeon."  Locally he is well known as DR SANDERS.  Another man connected with the case is one John Harper, of Westdown, near Barnstaple, well known as "the White Witch."  This man is consulted far and near by a large number of people throughout North Devon, and is implicitly believed in.  The first witness called was - Mr Edwin Furse, surgeon, Southmolton, who deposed that about eight or nine weeks ago he was called in to attend the deceased, and found her suffering from an attack of rheumatic fever, from which she rallied.  On the 14th July, he was called in again and found her suffering from chronic bronchitis and general debility.  He attended her up to the 3rd August, when he considered her in a  very precarious but not hopeless state.  Dr Budd, of Barnstaple, saw the deceased in consultation with him on the 30th.  On August 4th he (witness) heard that a man named Harper, known as "the White Witch," had been sent for, and he therefore did not afterwards see the deceased.  He and Dr Budd agreed as to the nature of the case and treatment.  Deceased died on Tuesday.  He was applied to for a certificate of death, but, finding she had been seen and prescribed for by Harper, declined to give one.

MARY ANN WALDRON stated that she was the daughter of deceased, who was 54 years old.  About eight or nine weeks ago she was taken ill, and was attended by Messrs. Furse and Dickinson, of Southmolton, surgeons, who told witness her mother was suffering from rheumatic fever.  She remained quite an invalid, but was able to walk about the house.  On the 14th July the last witness was sent for, and continued to attend deceased until the 3rd instant.  On August 3rd MR SANDERS, her step-father, went to Westdown for Mr Harper, who the following day came and saw her mother.  He felt her pulse, and said she was very weak and feverish, and that he was not sure he could do any good, as he was "only an humble instrument in the hand of God, and we must leave the result to Him."  He told her (witness) that he had with him some bitters which would cool down the fever, ease the mouth and throat, and, if the deceased continued to take them, would alleviate the breath.  He gave her a powder, and told her to pour a pint of boiling water to one quarter of it, which she did.  The remainder she now produced.  He said he always administered that in every kind of fever, except typhus.  He remained about an hour-and-a-half in the room, and had some refreshment there.  The mixture in the bottle was what she prepared from the powder, and was the first and only medicine of Harper's that her mother took.  She died last Tuesday. Harper wished to know the day and hour of her mother's birth so as to find out under what planet she was born.  They told him the day; they couldn't tell him the hour.  He took out a pocket-book, and out of it a piece of paper, on which he wrote "ELIZABETH SANDERS, Bishopsnympton," and her mother's age.  Her two little sisters, Mrs Rodd (the wife of the parish clerk), and MR SANDERS were in the room, but not the whole time.  Mrs Rodd was sent for by Mr Harper to speak to him.  He had two tin boxes; he took his pocket-book out of one, and several other things out of the other.  Saw on the paper the names Mercury and Jupiter, and the names of other planets.  Her mother took a wine glass full of Mr Harper's medicine every day up to the day of her death; she took none of Mr Furse's medicine after Harper came.

Eliza Rodd, wife of James Rodd, parish clerk and shoemaker, Bishopsnympton, said:  I was sent for on Saturday last to speak to MRS SANDERS, the deceased.  I went and saw Mr Harper there at dinner.  I went upstairs to MRS SANDERS, and in about a quarter of an hour Mr Harper came up.  I saw him feel her pulse.  He said she was feverish.  He said something about the planets. He asked me if I could see some writing he had.  He also asked MR SANDERS and John Waldron, who were there.  We neither of us could; the only one who could was MISS WALDRON.  He wrote something about the planet  He had some iron rods with bits of parchment; they struck one against the other.  The deceased took them in her hands off a table by her bedside.  He asked us to look and see what he was about.  He did some other things, but I can't tell what it was exactly.  MR SANDERS held them in her hands for about a minute - one at a time.  He said he did not see why deceased should not recover.

ROBERT SANDERS stated that he was a cattle doctor, and after describing his wife's illness, he gave his evidence in a very unsatisfactory manner. (Mr Joseph Kingdon, the managing clerk to the clerk of Southmolton county justices, happening to be in the room, he at the request of the Jury, and with the consent o the Coroner, examined him.)  Witness said:  I went for Mr Harper, knowing he was a herbalist doctor, and thinking he might do my missus some good.  Mr Harper said the fever was running very high, and if she didn't get rid of the fever, the fever would of her, or something like that.  He said he did not expect she could live long.  He left some bitters for her to take.  He did not give her anything then.  He took a small pocket book out of one of his tin cases, and took out a piece of paper and wrote my missus's name and her age.  He might have written the name of a planet or two.  He had some iron rods in another old tin box, seven or eight in number, and other "trinklements."  There might have been something on the top of the rods hanging on.  I think I saw one of the rods in my missus's hand.  He talked a good deal, but what he said I don't know now.  He told her she might get better, and she mightn't.  He might have told her to strike the iron rod on a piece of stuff - which looked to me like iron - he put on the table by the bedside.  On being questioned as to what he paid Harper, witness asked the Coroner whether he was bound to tell.  - The Coroner replied:  Yes, and tell the truth; whereupon witness said:  Well, I asked him just before he left what I was in debt.  He said:  Five and twenty shillings, and I paid him like a man before he left my house last Saturday 25s.  I gave him a glass of rum and water also (Laughter).  Mrs Rodd was in the room while he was there.  I sent my little girl to Mrs Rodd as Mr Harper wanted to see her.  Mr Harper might, and he mightn't, but I don't recollect whether he did or didn't say it was necessary that he should have two or three persons in the room to believe in his faith before he could do anything for my wife.  At this stage of the proceedings the Coroner said he thought no more evidence could be taken that day.  The foreman said the Jury thought they ought to hear the evidence of Harper, and in the meantime the bottle of mixture and powder left by him should be analysed by Dr Blyth, the county analyst.  The Coroner concurred, and the mixture and powder were then taken by Supt. Wood and sealed in the presence of the Jury for Dr Blyth's analysis, and the Inquest was adjourned until August 20th. As far as could be ascertained, it was thought the powder left by Harper was chirretta, a harmless sort of herb.

DAWLISH - Fatal Bathing Accident At Dawlish. - An Inquest was opened last on Saturday night at Dawlish on the body of WALTER WILLCOX. Deceased was one of a party of excursionists from Bristol.  In the afternoon he went to bathe at the cove with some companions, who suddenly missed him.  The man in charge of the bathing machines in a few minutes discovered his body in five or six feet of water.  It was quickly recovered, and in the meantime medical aid was sent for.  The usual means for restoring animation were resorted to, but, notwithstanding the short time which had elapsed, life was extinct.  The Coroner order a post mortem examination, and the Inquest was adjourned for that purpose.

Thursday 23 August 1877

BISHOPSNYMPTON - The North Devon White Witch. - Adjourned Inquest.  The adjourned Inquest on the body of ELIZABETH SANDERS, of Bishopsnympton, who died on Tuesday week last, was held on Monday by J. H. Toller, Esq.  It will be remembered that besides the man Harper having introduced the use of his rods and iron, tipped with the names of the planets, he left some bitters for the deceased to take.  The Inquest was, therefore, adjourned in order to give Dr Blyth, the county analyst, an opportunity of analysing the bitters, and also that a post mortem examination of the body might be made.  Mr Superintendent Wood, of Southmolton, proved that on Thursday, the 9th inst., he took possession of some bitters, a bottle containing a mixture and a packet of powders, said to have been given by John Harper to be administered to the deceased.  He sealed the whole in two different parcels, and on the following day he went to Barnstaple, and handed the same to Dr Blyth, with directions to analyse the same.  On Sunday, the 12th, he received Dr Blyth's report, which he produced:-  "The powder consisted of the broken stalks and fragments of the engthrea centaurium, or common centuary, or of some plant nearly allied to it.  The liquid was contained in a bass's beer bottle, and had a label tied to it with the word 'physic' written upon it.  It consisted of 9 1`/2 ounces of a straw coloured neutral and bitter fluid.  It was found to be simply and solely an infusion or tea of herbs.  In neither the powder nor the liquid was there any poisonous substance; both were of the most harmless, inert, and innocent character. Injury, of course, would result to a person seriously ill if such simples usurped the place of more potent remedies."  - Mr Furse, surgeon, deposed to making a post mortem examination on the 11th int., on the body of deceased, assisted by Dr Dickenson, the result of which was that he found that death resulted from fatty degeneration of the heart, with bronchitis and congestion of the lungs.  He had heard the report of Dr Blyth read, and he undoubtedly thought that nothing contained in the mixture prescribed by Harper conduced  to or accelerated her death, and believed that if he (Mr Furse) had continued his services to the time of her death he could not have saved her.  This being the whole of the evidence, the Coroner briefly summed up.  After thanking the Jury for the care and attention they had bestowed upon the Inquiry, which had caused so much excitement, not only in the neighbourhood, but all over the country, and which had been the means of bringing to light the occult practices of the man Harper, who for years past had been practising upon the credulity of the ignorant and unwary, proceeded to say that, from the report of Dr Blyth and the evidence of Mr Furse, there was no doubt that the deceased died from Natural Causes, namely, from fatty degeneration of the heart with bronchitis, and that there was nothing deleterious or poisonous in that which was left by Harper at the deceased's house and given to the deceased.  In fact, it was perfectly harmless.  - The Jury, without retiring, immediately returned the following verdict, "That the deceased died from fatty degeneration of the heart with bronchitis."  They desired to express their regret that the existence of such superstition as had been manifested in the parish of Bishopsnympton should have necessitated the Enquiry.  A bottle containing a liquid and some powdered herb, left by Harper as medicine for the deceased, had been analysed by Dr Blyth, the county analyst.

TIVERTON - Fatal Accident. -  An accident, which also proved fatal, occurred on Monday last to ELIZABETH OSMANT, a woman, aged 43 years, in Passmore Court yard, Bampton street.  Some children had thrown some dirt into a window, and MRS OSMANT went out and caught hold of one of them, a little girl, who struggled, and MRS OSMANT fell backwards upon her head.  She never spoke afterwards, and died on Tuesday night.  The Inquest was held at the Town Hall on Thursday afternoon, but the evidence not being considered sufficient to establish whether the deceased died from the immediate effects of the fall, or a previous disease of the heart, the Coroner adjourned the Enquiry for the purpose of making a post mortem examination.

EXETER - Fatal Accident at Exeter. - An Inquiry was held on Friday evening at the Topsham Inn, South-street, before H. W. Hooper, Esq. (City Coroner), into the circumstances of the death of RICHARD BAKER, aged 65, a carter, employed at Mr Vicary's factory, Northtawton.  On the 18th June, the deceased was driving a horse and cart, which contained a bag of wool weighing 360 pounds, from Chagford to Northtawton.  He was accompanied by his daughter, SARAH BAKER.  About 4.30 in the afternoon they were descending a hill near Lew Down, the deceased riding on the cart, and his daughter walking behind.  Going down the hill the horse suddenly shied, one of the wheels went into the hedge, and the cart over-turned.  The deceased was thrown out, and the cart and the bag of wool fell on him.  His daughter pulled him out as well as she could, and afterwards a man came along and assisted her.  The deceased was put into the cart and driven to his home, where he was attended by Dr Budd.  The doctor ordered his removal to the Hospital, and he was received at the Devon and Exeter Hospital, at Exeter, the same night.  There he was attended by Mr T. Wilson Caird, surgeon, and it was found that he had a compound fracture of both bones of the left leg.  Consultations were held on his case, and he progressed favourably for the first month, but afterwards symptoms of stomach disease appeared, and he died at the Hospital on Thursday morning.  Mr Caird said he assisted to make a post mortem examination of the body at the Coroner's request.  They found that the deceased suffered from chronic ulcers, and that he died from disease of the stomach, possibly accelerated by the accident, which weakened the system.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 30 August 1877

BRAUNTON - Fatal Blasting Accident. - We regret to state that the accident to WILLIAM KIFF, of this place, which we reported last week, has proved fatal.  The following is the report of the Inquest in the 'Exeter Daily Telegram':  - At the Valiant Soldier Inn, on Monday evening, Mr Hooper, the Borough Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of WILLIAM KIFF, aged 33, who died at the Exeter hospital on Saturday from the effects of an accident.  Deceased, who lived at Knowle, Braunton, had been in the employment of Mr Shephard, and on the 15th of August was engaged at the Exminster Asylum, driving an adit to form a connection between one well and another which was in process of formation.  The seven men engaged were about 117 feet below the surface, and the distance between the two wells was 250 feet.  At about half-past five in the morning, deceased and another fellow, named John Winser, were in the adit.  Blasting had to be resorted to in order to get through the red rock, and, while deceased was engaged in charging the blast-hole with rock powder, an explosion took place. Both the men were knocked down, but Winser, being the hindermost, escaped with little injury, while deceased was fearfully cut, but managed, with assistance to climb up the ladder to the surface.  After Mr Davis, of the Asylum, had seen deceased, he was conveyed to the Hospital.  According to the evidence of Mr Anthony John Bathe, acting house surgeon at the Hospital, deceased's face and the upper part of his chest and left thigh and leg were burnt and lacerated.  His eyes were full of powder, and his right wrist shattered very much, one of the bones being laid bare for an inch-and-a-half, and the wound black from the burning of the gunpowder.  A consultation was held on the case, and it was considered unadvisable for any operation to be performed on the shattered arm.  Deceased progressed favourably until Friday morning, when he commenced to sink, and died at midnight on Saturday from tetanus arising from the injuries.  According to the evidence of Winser, deceased (who was Winser's superior) was alone to blame for the accident, because he persisted in using an iron bar to force in the charge instead of the proper wooden instrument provided.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," expressing their opinion, in which the Coroner concurred, that Winser was entirely exonerated from blame.

TIVERTON - Charge of Manslaughter By A Quack Doctor. - Charles Hornsey, on bail, described as a clock and watch maker, of Cullompton, was brought before the county magistrates at their Petty Sessions on Tuesday, charged with Manslaughter, on the 28th July.  Hornsey visited Bampton, and the deceased, RHODA BURGE, wife of a labourer in the employ of Mr J. T. Periam, placed herself under his care, she having suffered for some years from bad legs, and had been told the defendant was in the habit of treating similar cases, and could effect a cure.  MRS BURGE died on the 18th of August, and on Monday an adjourned Inquest was held at the White Horse, Bampton.  A post mortem examination had been made by Mr Attwater, and Dr Blyth, the county analyst, deposed that, on an examination of the lotion used by the deceased, he found that it contained corrosive sublimate and sulphate of potash.  From his analysis he considered deceased died from the effects of mercury.  On the application of Sergt. Yole, the defendant was remanded until Friday, but liberated on bail.

Thursday 6 September 1877

BARNSTAPLE - Sad And Fatal Accident. - On Tuesday evening, Mr R. I. Bencraft, as Borough Coroner, held an Inquest at the North Devon Infirmary on the body of a little boy of twelve, named THOMAS WELCH (whose father is a sweep living in Queen-street), who met with his death in the accidental way disclosed by the evidence.  Mr Wadham was elected foreman of the Jury.  -  After the body had been viewed, a little boy named Albert Marland gave evidence that on the previous afternoon, about five o'clock, he and the deceased went over to Mr Westacott's shipbuilding yard together after school for the purpose of play.  They went up some steps, and got on to a new vessel which was being built; and whilst deceased was running round a post he slipped, and fell off from the stairs on to the timber below.  Witness was frightened and ran away, and did not say anything about what had happened until he got home, when he told his mother.  He did not think that the deceased fell because of a plank giving way, but simply because his foot slipped.  Witness had been to the yard before, as his father worked there, and was on the vessel at the time of the accident.  - Robert Acty, a shipwright employed by Mr Westacott, deposed that on Monday evening he was in the yard when he heard the sound of something falling, and on looking up he saw a boy's leg sticking up amongst some timber lying on the ground near the vessel.  Witness at once ran across to the boy and picked him up.  He did not breathe, and some water was obtained and his face bathed with it, and then witness and John Dell carried him to the Infirmary.  His pulse beat for a few minutes, but witness thought he was dead before the Infirmary was reached.  Deceased must have fallen 12 or 13 feet.  - Mr C. E. Pronger, house surgeon at the Infirmary, deposed that the deceased was brought in dead about 20 minutes to six.  He had made a post mortem examination, and had found an extensive fracture on the base of the skull, corresponding to the point of juncture  of the brain with the spinal cord.  That injury was quite sufficient to cause death. - Mr Baker, one of the Jury, said he should recommend Mr Westacott not to allow boys to run about his yard.  The witness Acty said that when any were seen they were turned out, but sometimes they managed to avoid observation.  The Jury then at once returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

HATHERLEIGH - Death Of A Child By The Upsetting Of A Benzoline Lamp. - On Tuesday last an Inquest was held at Upcott Farm, before Mr Coroner Fulford, on the body of ELIZABETH, daughter of MR THOMAS SELDON, aged three.  The evidence showed the child was put to bed by the mother about ten o'clock on Sunday night, and was afterwards removed by the servant girl to her bed, where it usually slept.  The servant had a benzoline lamp, and placed it on the head of the bed, which, she said, was the usual place.  The child, being a little restless, knocked down the lamp, and the bed was at once enveloped in flames. The family was alarmed and the flames extinguished as soon as possible.  The child's face and right side were much burned, but not very deep.  The sufferer survived 24 hours.  Mr Gould, surgeon, said that death was caused by the shock to the system, the result of the burning.  The Jury returned a verdict accordingly.  The Coroner remarked on the very straight-forward manner the servant girl had given her evidence, and also said how careful heads of families should be in procuring suitable lamps and vessels to contain so dangerous a liquid.  These remarks were endorsed by all the Jury.

Thursday 13 September 1877

NEWTON TRACEY - Sudden Death. - Yesterday (Wednesday) an Inquest was held at this place by J. H. Toller, Esq., on the body of MR JOHN CLARKE, tailor, aged seven-two, who died on Sunday night without having been ill previously.  The evidence showed that when the deceased went to bed on Sunday night he was cheerful and seemed to be pretty well, except that he complained of stiffness in the back, which probably arose from a fall he met with on the previous Thursday, when a cart in which he was driving came into collision with another near Kennacott Farm, Fremington.  On Monday morning it was found that he was dead, and he had expired without his son, who slept in the same room with him, being aware that anything was the matter.  Mr Jackson, surgeon, of Barnstaple, being communicated with, came and examined the body, upon which there were no bruises or marks of violence, and the conclusions at which he arrived were that death resulted from Natural Causes - very probably from heart disease, and that any injuries he received by the fall were too trivial to have caused death.  The verdict of the Jury was in accordance with this testimony.

HARTLAND - Death Of A Medical Man From an Overdose of Opium.  -  A sad case of what is supposed to be accidental death, resulting from taking an overdose of opium, occurred in this place on Tuesday in last week, the victim being a medical man, MR JOSEPH RYMER DOWMAN, aged 37, who was brother-in-law to the vicar of the parish, the REV. THOMAS H. CHOPE, and lived not far from the vicarage.  Unfortunately the deceased had addicted himself to habits of intemperance, which, there can be no doubt, were remotely, if not immediately, the occasion of his death.  The facts of the case will be found detailed in the following evidence, which was given at the Inquest held on the following Thursday, the 6th inst., at the New Inn, before John Henry Toller, Esq., of Barnstaple, Deputy Coroner for the County, and a respectable Jury. The body of the deceased (which was lying on a bed in his dining-room) having been viewed by the Jury, the first witness called was - Annie Hambly, who deposed that she was a single woman and lived at Hartland as domestic servant to the deceased.  She had been about ten months in his service.  Deceased was very much given to drink.  For the last week or two prior to his death he had been poorly in a cold.  Witness last saw him on Tuesday morning at an early hour, when he was in bed, and appeared very dull and sleepy, but she did not know what was the matter with him.  He died the same morning.  He remarked to her that that day last week poor Master Willie Chope, of the Vicarage, died.  He also desired her to order a horse for his carriage, as he intended to drive out to Gorvin at three in the afternoon to visit a patient. 

Sarah Curtis, wife of William Curtis, of Hartland, carpenter, deposed that she resided at Hartland, and was at present attending as nurse on the two youngest children of the Rev. T. H. Chope at the Vicarage.  On Monday last, just about twelve o'clock at noon, she was called upon to go to the deceased, whom she found sitting in an armchair in his dining room.  She had before seen him about nine o'clock that morning, when he came down stairs and bade her "Good morning."  About half-an-hour after this she noticed the deceased go into his surgery, and in about a minute saw him come out again, and observed on his coming out that he wiped his mouth with his pockethandkerchief, which he afterwards put back in his pocket.  He then went again into the dining room.  Witness went into the kitchen, and while she remained there her attention was called by the last witness (Annie Hambly) to the state which she had noticed the deceased to be in the dining room.  The door of the dining room was open, and the deceased called for witness.  She went in, and he asked her if she was keeping school with the children, to which she replied that she was.  Deceased had the appearance of being very sleepy, and complained of the cold.  He remarked that he felt drowsy, and thought he should go to sleep a bit.  Witness then left the house.  It was soon after twelve o'clock at noon that she was sent for to the house again to attend upon him.  He then looked as if he were asleep, and was making a very strange noise in his breathing.  She was with him from about twelve o'clock on Monday until about four o'clock on Tuesday morning, when he died.  Mr Cooke, of Clovelly, the surgeon, was sent for on Monday, and arrived about two o'clock in the afternoon.  He gave orders to those in attendance not to let the deceased go to sleep.  they kept rousing him to prevent his doing so.  Mary Ann Braund, wife of Humphrey Braund, of Hartland, labourer, was in attendance on deceased with witness.  They tried by every means in their power to keep him awake; and he at different times put up his finger to show that he was not asleep.  He remained in the dining room all the time until his death.

The Rev. Thomas How Chope deposed that he resided at Hartland and was vicar of the parish.  The deceased was the brother of witness's wife.  On Monday last, about quarter past ten in the forenoon, Mrs Chope called on the deceased (her brother), and on seeing the state he was in sent for witness to come immediately, as she thought he was dying.  Witness went, and found deceased sitting in his arm chair in a state of stupor with his eyes open and upturned.  Witness at once taxed him with having taken some drug; to which he replied by muttering something which was unintelligible.  His sister (Mrs Chope) suggested his telegraphing for Mr Cooke, the surgeon, of Clovelly, but instead of doing so witness sent Mr Prowse, of the New Inn, in a carriage to fetch Mr Cooke.  He did not see the necessity of telegraphing for Mr Cooke because he had before seen deceased in a worse state than he was then in, and he had recovered.  He thought that after a little sleep he would recover as he had done before.  Upon noticing a cessation of the deceased's pulse witness became frightened, roused him to consciousness, sent instantly to Mr Daniel Carter, of Hartland, and telegraphed to Mr Cooke to come on the road to meet the carriage that had been sent for him.  Mr Carter came to the house first, and afterwards Mr Cooke.  He was thought in great danger, and prayers were said over him by the vicar, in which his sister and those present joined.  Dr Madge, of London, happened to be staying at Clovelly, and he also was telegraphed for and came to the deceased.  The stomach pump was resorted to and other remedies such as are usual in cases when persons have taken opium.  After a while the deceased was restored to perfect consciousness. Witness saw him sit up, and heard him say, "I do not feel equal to answering, but I hear all that is said."  After being roused he would fall back to stertorous breathing again, such breathing as he had before heard from him when called on similar occasions before to see him.  Between ten and eleven o'clock on Monday night, after Mr Cooke had left, deceased vomited very considerably, and he then seemed better.  All who were about him were ordered by Mr Cooke to keep deceased well roused, and not to suffer him to go to sleep.  He seemed to be aware of the state he was in, and said he would make signs from time to time to shew that he was not asleep, and he did so.  The deceased partially revived after this, and with help was able to walk across the room, as he had also done about seven o'clock in the evening.  Soon after midnight, seeing that deceased was much better, witness left him and went upstairs and lay down.  His sleep was broken, and about a quarter of an hour before four he was roused by his second daughter, who said MR DOWMAN was worse. He immediately got up and went to him, and assisted one of the nurses to turn him over on his back, he having got on his face and hands.  At about four o'clock he became evidently worse, and died almost immediately.  Just before his death he said something of which witness could only distinguish the word "die."  Witness's belief was that deceased had taken opium as he had known him to do before.  He suffered a great deal from want of sleep, and occasionally resorted to opium to compose him to sleep.  He was intemperate at times.

Mr George Richard Cooke, of Clovelly, surgeon, deposed that he was sent for in the middle of the day on Monday last to come to the deceased.  He went immediately, and found him apparently dying, with symptoms of poison by opium. He applied the usual remedies, and requested that a telegram should be sent to Dr Madge, of London, who was visiting Clovelly, to ask his attendance, as he (witness) thought deceased would die.  they used the stomach pump, washed out the stomach, and injected strong black coffee and sal volatile, and also administered a stimulating enema, applied mustard poultices to the back of the neck, chest and soles of the feet, and adopted every means to arouse the deceased.,  Their efforts were so far successful that before witness left him at nine o'clock he appeared perfectly conscious.  The pupils, although not dilated to their normal size, were much larger  Witness left directions that deceased was on no account to be allowed to sleep, but to be kept moving about and to be supplied freely with strong black coffee.  He thanked witness for coming over, and was so far recovered that witness felt justified in leaving.  In his opinion death was the result of fatal syncope, due in a great measure to a weak condition of heart accelerated by the taking of opium.  He thought also that the taking of the poison was accidental.  The Jury came immediately to a verdict - "Died from the effects of taking an overdose of opium, but not with the intention of destroying himself."  Deceased was buried on Saturday at noon. He was unmarried.  We see it stated that this is the sixth case of sudden death which has happened in this parish during the last few weeks.

BRAUNTON - A Child Drowned. - An Inquest was held on Saturday last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, at the house of the father of the deceased, on the body of a little child, aged a year and ten months, daughter of CHARLES GOULD, carpenter, who came to her death by being accidentally drowned in the mill-stream the day before.  The evidence shewed that the father was at work in his garden in the forenoon, having the little girl with him, who wanted to look over the bridge into the stream of water which ran by, and he lifted her up for the purpose, which she seemed to enjoy much, and he then took her down again and she remained with him for ten minutes or more while he was digging potatoes.  She then made her way to the garden door, when her mother met her, and mother and child remained in his sight three or four minutes.  He went on with his work supposing the child to be in her mother's care; but after some minutes he went in to empty his bucket of potatoes, and met his wife, but not seeing the child asked where she was.  She said, "Isn't it with you?" and then made a great alarm concluding that the little thing was drowned.  They ran to the stream, but saw nothing, but the little girl of a neighbour said that "ELIZA had gone into the stream."  The neighbours came out and joined in the search for the child, and some hastened to the mill and gave the alarm, when Mr Bidder, the miller, ran to the grating as quickly as possible, and there, sure enough, was the body of the child lying against it.  He took it out, and handed it to the child's mother, but, unfortunately, life was extinct, nor could animation be recovered.  Of course the only verdict possible was "Accidental Death."  This is the fourth fatal accident that has occurred lately in or near this village.

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Case Of Death From Hydrophobia. - We are much pained at having to report that the child CYRIL DAWE (elder son of MR S. DAWE, outfitter, &c., carrying on business in High-street, and living at No. 6, Nelson Terrace, Newport), who was fearfully bitten by a large dog about three weeks ago, has died from hydrophobia.  It will be remembered that the poor little fellow, who was little over four years old, was very badly mangled by the brute which attacked him in the lane, at the back of his father's residence, his face being terribly lacerated; but the wounds healed with surprising rapidity, there being not the slightest suppuration, and at the end of a fortnight he was so far recovered that Mr Cooke, the surgeon who was in attendance upon him, ceased his visits.  This happy state of things encouraged the child's parents and friends in their hope that no evil consequences would ensue.  Sad to say, on Saturday last he became unwell, and when Mr Cooke saw him in the forenoon of that day he observed symptoms which he identified beyond the possibility of doubt as premonitory of the dreaded hydrophobia.  By nine o'clock on Monday morning the malady had developed to the second stage, when the child became affected with spasms and went into violent convulsions, in which he shrieked terribly.  Before this time he had been able to eat, and also to drink, but could not take liquids except with difficulty, his throat being affected in the painful way peculiar to hydrophobia; but now the very sight of anything to eat or drink was sufficient to induce convulsions.  Fortunately the little sufferer had not to continue long in this distressing condition, for in three or four hours nature succumbed and he passed away.  Quite a sensation of horror was felt in the town when the sad fact became known, and deep sympathy with the parents and friends of the deceased was everywhere expressed.  The Borough Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft, at once had a Jury summoned, (the father desiring that that necessary formality should be gone through as early as possible,) who met at the Park Hotel, Newport, at six o'clock on Monday evening.  Mr C. S. Willshire (the Mayor) was chosen foreman, and the other gentlemen were - Dr. A. Wynter Blyth, Messrs. Wm. Avery, J. Partridge, H. Vellacott, J. F. Rockhey, R. Lancey, W. Michael, W. C. Leach, A. Rush, S. Lyle, and J. Morrison.

After the Jury had been empanelled the Coroner explained the sad circumstances under which they had been called together.  They then repaired to MR DAWE'S house to view the body, and on returning the Coroner announced that the Enquiry could not be finished that evening, in consequence of its being impossible to obtain the evidence of an essential witness, Mr James Davey, the grandfather of the deceased, who drove away the dog which had mutilated the child.  Mr Davey was an aged gentleman, and being very asthmatic was afraid to venture out into the open air in the evening.  He (the Coroner) had suggested that the Court should sit in a room of the house to take the old gentleman's evidence, but that was not desirable because MRS DAWE was in hysterics.  After some little discussion, it was decided to adjourn the Enquiry until ten o'clock the following morning, at the Guildhall; but first to take the evidence of the surgeon, Mr Cooke, who was present.  That gentleman deposed as follows:-  On Friday, the 17th August, three weeks ago last Friday, somewhere about half-past one p.m., I was sent for to see the deceased.  I went immediately, and on arriving at No. 6, Nelson Terrace, I saw him in the kitchen, in Mr Davey's arms, who was bathing his face.  I examined him, and found that his face was lacerated in a great many places and in every part, and three of the wounds were very large.  They were very jagged, and were all such wounds as might have been caused by the bite of a dog. I went home to get the things I required, and then returned and dressed the wounds, putting in several sutures.  The wounds all healed without the least suppuration, and at the end of a fortnight the child was perfectly well.  I never in my life met with a case in which such bad wounds healed so rapidly and so well.  The last time I attended him was on the Saturday fortnight, and he was then so far recovered that I did not think it necessary to attend him further.  On Saturday morning last I received a note from MRS DAWE stating that she was going to take her little boy to Morthoe and that she was afraid he was too poorly, and asking me to attend and give my opinion whether he was fit to go.  I accordingly visited him, and found him suffering from all the premonitory symptoms of hydrophobia.  He had been restless during the night, starting in his sleep, and had complained of his throat, saying he felt as if he had a bone there.  I at once suspected that it was a case of hydrophobia, because the symptoms were so distinct, and I told the child's grandmother so; and though I did not tell MRS DAWE, I think she must have suspected it too.  The symptoms continued very much the same until this morning, when the second stage of the disease, which generally supervenes on the second or third day, commenced, and the child then had violent spasms of the whole body, and shrieked fearfully.  He became violently convulsive, and continued so until his death, at half-past one.  In answer to Jurors, Mr Cooke said deceased did not show any desire to bite, nor did he continue quite sensible to the end.

The Coroner:  Wasn't his death somewhat rapid? 

Mr Cooke:  Yes.  I and Mr Harper, whom I called in, both thought he would have lived on for some time longer, but the attacks were so violent that he was very soon gone.  In my opinion death was caused by hydrophobia, the result of the injuries received on the 17th.

The Court now broke up, and on assembling on Tuesday morning at the appointed place and time, Mr James Davey, who apologised for having, by his inability to come out on the previous evening, necessitated an adjournment, was called and deposed:  I am a retired draper, living at Newton Abbott, and am at present on a visit to my son-in-law, MR DAWE, the father of the deceased child.  On Friday the 17th August MRS DAWE and I were returning home from the South Walk, accompanied by two children - the deceased, who is 4 ¼ years of age, and his brother, SAMUEL WILFRED, who is three years old.  We went to the house by the back way, and the children remained playing on the mound whilst I and MRS DAWE walked gently on.  We waited until we saw them turn the corner and come into the lane, and MRS DAWE then entered the house in order to prepare the dinner, leaving me in the lane, as I am so slow in my movements.  I think it was then somewhere about half-past twelve, for our dinner was ordered at that time, it being market day.  Before I entered the garden I turned round to see where the children were, for I did not like to leave them out of sight, and seeing that they had turned the corner of the lane, and were a very few yards from me, I entered the garden.  I had been there a very short time - only a minute or two - when I heard dreadful shrieks coming from the children, for I recognised their voices immediately.  I went into the lane, and saw the two children on the ground, and a large brown dog either upon them or very near them - I was so excited that I can scarcely say which.  I shouted as loudly as I could, and raised a large stick which I held in my hand, and then the dog scampered away as fast as possible out of the lane, and was out of sight in a moment.  (The witness was pressed to describe the dog more minutely than he had done, but he said he was unable to do so, for, as would naturally be the case, his attention was concentrated upon the children, rather than upon the dog.)  I went to the children as fast as I was able, and when I got to them I found the deceased covered with blood.  His face was so bloody that there was not a feature to be seen, and I at first thought the child was scalped, for the skin seemed to have been torn right back.  He screamed dreadfully, and said, "Oh! the dog has bitten me!  the dog has bitten me."  I was unable to carry him, but I led him home.  the other little boy's hands were covered with blood, and I feared that he had been bitten too, but very providentially it was not so, and the deceased said that his brother tried to push the dog away from him, and so the blood got on to his hands. The dress of the deceased was saturated with blood all the way down, and on afterwards going to the lane I found two pools of blood there.  I took him into the kitchen, and MRS DAWE came down, and we at once sent off two servants for a doctor, and meanwhile bathed the child's face with warm water.  Mr Cooke came in about a quarter of an hour, and whilst he was gone for the things he wanted MR DAWE came home.

In reply to the Coroner, Mr Davey added that there were some hairs in the lane which he at first thought were dog's hairs, but upon making enquiries he found they were not.  Ellen Burbridge, one of the servants, gave evidence as to the deceased being brought home, but she did not give any fresh information.

The Coroner said that the evidence showed very clearly that the child died from hydrophobia, the result of the injuries inflicted by a strange dog on the 17th August.  It was unfortunate that the brute could not be traced.  Two or three dogs had been suspected, and more than one, he believed had been killed, and it was to be hoped that the animal in question was one of them.  At any rate it was pretty evident that it could not be alive now, for he had the authority of an eminent medical man who was on the Jury for saying that a dog which was in a condition to communicate hydrophobia could not live more than a week afterwards, and therefore any animal which was now apparently healthy could not have been the one which inflicted the injuries.  The Jury had noticed how providential it was that the younger child, who was so near as to be stained with his brother's blood, was not bitten or scratched, for if he had been the consequences would probably have been fatal in his case as well.

The Jury at once returned the following verdict:-  "That on the 10th September inst. the said CYRIL DAWE died of hydrophobia, the effect of bites received from a rabid dog at large on the 17th August last; and we recommend the County and Borough Authorities to put the Dogs' Act again into force in and around Barnstaple for the next three months.  We beg to express our sincere condolence with the parents and relatives of the deceased."  The Jury gave their fee of 6d. each to the North Devon Infirmary.

Thursday 20 September 1877

BARNSTAPLE - Suicide Of An Orphan Boy. - The town was excited on Monday last by rumours that a boy named JOHN THORNE, aged 14, living with his uncle, MR WM. THORNE (late of Truro), at Hardaway Head, had committed suicide by drowning himself, in consequence of some angry words addressed to him by his uncle, whom he had displeased on Saturday morning.  Unfortunately there is only too much reason to fear that the boy, in a fit of depression, did put an end to his life; for he was heard to say in the workshop on Saturday morning that he would rather cut his throat than go home.  He left work just before one o'clock, and was never seen again - at least, so it appeared at the Inquest - until his body was found on Monday morning in the river near the Shillies.  There was no evidence adduced at the Inquest that he had ever been treated unkindly by his uncle, and the only thing for which the latter can be at all condemned is a remark which unfortunately escaped him in the heat of temper whilst rebuking his nephew for misconduct, to the effect that he had better go and drown himself in the bridge pool.  This had a reference to a melancholy incident in the history of the deceased's family, for five or six years ago his father, who had been for many years boots at the Golden Lion Hotel, but had been discharged for physical infirmity, committed suicide in the pool under the bridge.  The mother was addicted to habits of intemperance, and two of the children were kindly taken charge of by two brothers of the deceased father.  One of them was the deceased, and the other is still living with his uncle in the town and doing well.  The reference to the father's death, which must have wounded the boy's feelings, cannot be regarded as anything less than cruel; but still it must be remembered that it was made in passion, and it must not be set against years of fatherly care which the uncle had bestowed upon him.  There was no direct evidence of suicide adduced at the Inquest, and therefore the Jury returned an open verdict.

The Inquest was opened at the Exeter Inn, Litchdon-street, to which the body was brought on being discovered, on Monday afternoon, by the Borough Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft.  Mr Vickery was elected foreman of the Jury, and after the body had been viewed, a boy named Wm. Britton, son of the photographer, was called, and deposed that that morning about eleven o'clock, he was walking along the Seven Brethren Bank, with some companions.  Just by Pill they saw a body in the water.  It was lying on the face, and was in about two feet of water.  They told Mr H. Bale, the boat keeper, what they had seen, and he went up in a boat, and tied a rope to the neck and heels of the body, and towed it down to the landing-place, when it was conveyed to the inn.  This was the only evidence which could be obtained at such short notice, and the Enquiry was adjourned until seven o'clock on Wednesday evening.  The Jury re-assembled at that time, when - WM. THORNE, of Hardaway Head, wood turner and cabinet-maker, deposed as follows:-  Deceased was my nephew.  He has lived with me between nine and ten years.  He was with me before his father was drowned, but went back to his home and returned to me after his father's death.  He worked as a cabinet maker, and was in the employ of Mr Fisher, of Trinity-street, his wages being 2s. a week.  He had breakfast at half-past eight on Saturday morning with me, and then returned to his work, to which he had been before breakfast.  I saw him at ten o'clock that morning, at Mr Fisher's, who had sent for me.  On the Thursday previous the deceased had brought me a wrong message from Mr Fisher about the length of the screws of a what-not, which I consequently made an inch and a half too short, and Mr Fisher sent to me about it.  I went, and finding that it was the deceased's fault, I became angry.  - The Coroner:  What did you say to him?  - Witness:  Really, sir, I cannot recollect, I was in such a passion.  I scolded him, but not so much as I have done on previous occasions.  - Q.  Did he make any reply?  A.  No.  I saw a smile on his face, and that made me more angry.  Q.  It didn't last long, I suppose?  A.  No, sir.  - Q.  You returned home?  A.  Yes, and left him there.  It was then not more than a quarter past ten.  The boy didn't come home to dinner at one o'clock, and before two I went in search of him, but could not find him.  - Q.  Was he a pretty good boy in the house?  A.  Yes, sir.  I can't find fault with him.  _ Q.  What sort of a temperament was he?  A. Sometimes passionate and irritable, but it was soon over.  - Q.  He was not of a morose, sullen disposition?  A.  Oh! no, sir. -Q.  He didn't use any threat about not coming home again, or anything of the sort?  -A. Oh! nothing, sir:  he said nothing at all.

William Milton, of Hardaway Head, a joiner in Mr Fisher's employ, deposed:  I was in my master's workshop on Saturday morning when MR THORNE came in and had an interview with his nephew.  He was angry.  The first words he used were, "You're a pretty fine lot here."  Another boy laughed when MR THORNE was talking to the deceased, and he checked him, and then turned round to the deceased and said in the heat of passion, "You had better go out and put yourself in the bridge pool."  He soon went out.  -Q.  Did you hear any allusion to the boy's father?  A.  No, sir.  - The Coroner:  There are all sorts of reports about, and it is my duty therefore to ask.  Did the boy make any reply?  A.  No. sir, nothing.

MR THORNE:  Mr Bencraft, if you'll allow Mr Milton, he is able to convince the Jury I never ill treated the boy.  Witness:  Yes, in the course of the morning, before dinner time, he said his uncle had never beaten him but once in his life.  - The Foreman:  Did you hear him say that he wouldn't go home to dinner?  A.  Yes, sir, he said he didn't care to go.  -  Q.  Where did he talk about going?  A.  He said he would go t Swymbridge, and different other places.  I said, "JOHNNY, I can tell you where you had better go."  He looked up and smiled, and said, "I suppose you will say I am to go home?"  I replied, "Yes," and he said he would rather cut his throat than do that.  He left the shop a few minutes before one.  Mr Fisher having sent him on an errand.  I never saw him afterwards.  - By the Coroner:  I have never at all heard him complain of being treated badly at home.

The Coroner: It is satisfactory to know that.

MR THORNE:  I have two witnesses here who live in the same court, who can give evidence as to my treatment of the boy.  The Coroner:  I don't think that is necessary for there is no accusation against you, MR THORNE.

Mr Milton:  There is one thing I had forgotten, and that is that the reason the boy gave for not liking to go home was that he was afraid he should be shut up without any food on the Sunday. 

MR and MRS THORNE both positively declared that they had never kept the deceased without food in their lives, and expressed astonishment that he should have made such a statement.  The Coroner said it was unfortunate that MR THORNE made the remark about the pool to the boy, but, of course, he never dreamt that anything would come from it, nor was it any indication of unkind treatment.  Indeed,  from what the witness Milton had said, the Jury must feel that MR THORNE had treated his nephew kindly. It was for the Jury to say whether they considered death to be the result of an accident, or whether it was a case of suicide:  or, what was perhaps the best course to pursue in the absence of sufficient evidence, to return a simple verdict of "Found Drowned," with the addendum that there was nothing to show how he got into the water.  The Jury, after two or three minutes' private consultation, unanimously returned a verdict to that effect.

Thursday 27 September 1877

PLYMOUTH - The Sleep Of Death. - An Inquest was held by Mr T. Brian, Coroner for Plymouth, on Wednesday, concerning the death of MR JACOB JARRING, aged 87 years.  The deceased was a retired farmer, and resided at Holbeton, where for the last 40 years he had preached in one of the chapels.  On Tuesday last deceased came to the house of Mr Martin, 33, York-street, Plymouth, intending to remain a few days on a visit.  He went to bed about 10.30 p.m., and on Wednesday morning, about half-past six, a cup of tea was taken to his bedroom.  He then appeared to be sleeping very soundly, and was not disturbed.  About an hour later Mr Martin went to him and found him dead.  Mr Jackson, surgeon, was sent for and pronounced life to be extinct.  Deceased had been rather weak for the last two months, and had had two slight seizures.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident Through Drunkenness. - Mr R. I. Bencraft, the Borough Coroner, with a Jury of whom Mr G. T. Gaydon was the foreman, at the North Devon Infirmary, on Saturday morning, held an Inquest upon the body of a labouring man, THOMAS GAMMON, about 45 years of age, who lived at Milltown, Marwood, and on market-days acted as ostler at the Green Dragon Inn, in this town, and who had died the morning of the day before at that Institution, having been brought in the morning previous (Thursday) suffering from a severe accident.  Only two witnesses were called, namely, Thomas Mitchell, brother-in-law to the deceased, and Mr C. E. Pronger, the house surgeon of the Infirmary; and their evidence disclosed that the deceased, who leaves a wife and eight children, was a man ordinarily of temperate habits, but would drink to excess when temptation was placed in his way, as on market days, when he was treated by persons who put up at the Green Dragon.  He was engaged at the stables all day on Wednesday, it being the first day of the Fair, and on calling for the witness Mitchell at the North Country Inn, about half-past ten at night, to go home, he was seen to be under the influence of drink.  However, he drank two or three glasses of beer more, and remained there about three-quarters of an hour, when he started to go home, accompanied by his son, WM. GAMMON, and his nephew, of the same name.  Mitchell followed on horseback, and overtook them at the Maretop turnpike gate, and after they had gone together a short distance the young men put the deceased on to the horse behind witness, as he found great difficulty in walking being so tipsy.  The young men held him on, but after they had gone about two miles in that fashion the horse moved off in a jog-trot, leaving them behind, and the deceased then lost his balance and fell off.  Mitchell made an endeavour to catch him, but could not succeed and nearly fell off himself in the attempt.  On hearing the fall the young men, who were about a couple of land yards behind, ran up to the deceased, whom they found lying on his back unconscious.  He neither moved nor spoke.  Mitchell at once rode home, which was only a mile or so further, and procured a spring-cart with which he returned to the deceased and brought him straight in to the infirmary.  He  arrived there about a quarter past one in the morning, and was at once seen by the house surgeon, who found blood running from his mouth, nose, and ear.  He was perfectly insensible, and appeared to have sustained a fracture of his skull, and he was treated accordingly.  He remained in an unconscious state up to the time of his death, which took place at ten minutes past two on Friday morning.  By direction of the Coroner, Mr Pronger made a post mortem examination of the head, and found an extensive fracture on the left side of the skull, extending from the crown to the base, and to this injury there could be no question that death was attributable.  The witness Mitchell was interrogated by the Coroner as to what condition he and the two young men were in, and he asseverated that they were all quite sober.  The Coroner summed up the circumstances revealed by the evidence, and suggested a verdict of "Accidental Death" to which the Jury at once agreed.

Thursday 11 October 1877

BARNSTAPLE - Shocking Wife Murder In Barnstaple. - Feelings of consternation and intense excitement were awakened in this town on the morning of Saturday last by the rumour that a dreadful murder had taken place over-night in Diamond-street.  The report passed rapidly from lip to lip, and the subject became quickly the sole topic of conversation.  Enquiry proved that the rumour was only too true.  It was ascertained that the unhappy murderer, who was lodged in the station-house, was WILLIAM HUSSELL, a man of the age of 30, by trade a butcher, and renting a shop in the Butchers' Market; and the unfortunate victim of his bloody deed was his wife, MARY HUSSELL, of the age of 29 years, daughter of MR THOMAS BELLEW, farmer  of Northam, near Bideford.  HUSSELL is the only son of MR WM. HUSSELL, who has also a shop in the Butchers' Market, which he has occupied for a great many years.  He belonged to the parish of Fremington, and formerly owned an estate in that parish.  His wretched son was bred to the business of his father, but emigrated to America about ten years ago, from which, howe3ver, he returned in about a twelvemonth, at the earnest solicitation of his fond mother, and soon after set up business in this town.  About seven years since he was married at Appledore to the young woman who has now perished by his violence.  They went to live at first at a small house in Summerland-place, which belonged to her father's second wife (who was a Mrs Free when he married her).  Afterwards they removed to several other parts of the town, including the North Walk, and thence about two years ago into the little dwelling which will henceforth be memorable as the scene of the murder.  It is situate in a court called Sanders's Court, in Diamond-street.  The court consists of six small tenements, and that which HUSSELL occupied was the innermost of the six.  They had five children, of which the eldest is a girl nearly six years old, named POLLY; the second died; the third is a little boy of 3 ½ years, named WILLIAM; the fourth, also a boy, of about a year and half, named THOMAS; and the youngest an infant in arms, which the mother was suckling at the very time her husband stabbed her, and which was six weeks old the day after the event.  It is said that the prisoner was kind to the deceased for some time after their marriage, and was a respectable man, doing a fair business in his trade, in which she assisted him with great assiduity.  Drink was always his besetment; and his love of the cup grew upon him, until as is its wont, it became his absorbing passion, and he surrendered himself to its mastery, and sank down to be a habitual drunkard.  Unfortunately for him, there were some of his neighbours in his own trade who were kindred spirits in their fondness for the drink, and the one encouraged the others in their disgusting excesses.  As is but too natural, home, wife and children became neglected by the miserable man; and, as is natural too, frequent disagreements happened between him and his wife in consequence.  She is described as an industrious and hardworking woman, who did her best to make his home comfortable and to take care of their children.  But his ill-usage and neglect of her became confirmed as the tyranny of the drink over him became more complete.  His conduct in other respects was very bad; and it is but about two years ago that he was sent to prison for two months for shockingly indecent conduct towards a little girl then in his service.  He would come home pretty nearly every night in a state of intoxication, and the noise he would make was a cause of great disturbance to the inmates of the neighbouring dwellings, who often complained of it to Mr Sanders, their landlord.  His poor wife, however, had to bear the brunt of his brutal misconduct, and he would frequently beat her, and make use of the most horrid threats towards her.  Some four months ago, in one of his nocturnal disturbances, his wife went to the police-station for assistance, when P.C. Macleod came down, and found the prisoner in the act of endeavouring to set his wife's clothes on fire by means of lighted matches.  He recommended her to give him into custody, but she declined to do so, as she had also done on other occasions when the police had been sent for.  She had been advised also repeatedly to get him bound over to keep the peace towards her, but she uniformly declined to do so.  The neighbours had advised her often to leave him because of his dreadful threats, and to go with her children to her father at Northam; but she would always decline, saying that she was not afraid of him, for that those who talked so much about killing their wives never did it. 

[Long report on events leading up to the murder.]

The Coroner's Inquest. - Was held at six o'clock the same evening, by the Borough Coroner, R. I. Bencraft, Esq., in the large dining-room of the Royal and Fortescue Hotel, the back premises of which are almost opposite the court where the murder was committed.  Mr R. Ashton was foreman of the Jury, the other members of which were Messrs. J. Channon, F. Symons, N. Saxon, J. F. Rockhey, T. Hearson, H. Ballinger, J. Smyth, H. Hunt, J. P. Kiell, W. Sanders, and S. Allin.  Several tradesmen of the town and others were also present, amongst them the Mayor (C. S. Willshire, Esq.) and the ex-Mayor (Mr Avery), Dr Budd, Mr Lionel Bencraft, Mr J. P. Ffinch, &c.

After the Jury had been duly empanelled, the Coroner said it was with great regret he found himself called upon to summon a Jury to enquire into a case such as that which would be presented to them that evening.  He congratulated himself that during an experience of over a quarter of a century as Coroner of this Borough he had never before had a case of murder come before him, and he extremely deplored that such an occurrence should now come under his official cognizance.  The occasion of their having been called together was to Enquire into the circumstances attending the death of an unfortunate woman named MARY HUSSELL; and from what had come to his knowledge he had no doubt that after they had heard the evidence, which would show that death was caused by deceased's husband, their verdict could be no other than that of "Wilful Murder."  As to the state  the man was in when he committed the deed, that was not a matter for the investigation of this court.  If they found that by the use of an unlawful weapon, namely, a knife, which he raised against his wife, who at the very time was suckling his own infant - if they found that by that means he took her life, their verdict could only point to one issue, and that was to send the case for investigation to a higher court, where the accused would be charged with the crime of wilful murder.  The accused was not now present, but he felt sure that he would suffer nothing by his absence.  The Jury would give due weight to the evidence which would be brought before them, and he was assured that their verdict would be in strict accordance with the oath they had just taken. First he must ask them to go with him and view the body, and after that he should call witnesses who would describe in what way the deceased lost her life, and then, if the evidence warranted that conclusion, it would be their duty, however painful it might be, to return a verdict against the husband on the capital charge. If there were any extenuating circumstances or anything to be said on the man's behalf, it would be for him to urge it on his trial.  In conclusion the Coroner again expressed his regret that so lamentable a case should have arisen.

The Jury now adjourned to the house and viewed the body, which was lying on a board in the front room of the house.  The upper part of the body was exposed to view, in order that the Jury might see the wounds which were the cause of death.  They were terrible gashes, and the sight was a most ghastly one, from which the Jury were not sorry to escape.

Long description of witnesses' evidence and in conclusion:  - 

The Coroner said that after the protracted Enquiry which had taken place he, knowing the intelligence and capabilities of the Jury, did not think there was any necessity for him to make any lengthened remarks upon the case.  The evidence shewed that it was a most frightful case, and the occurrence was one the details of which everyone must hear with horror.  But there could not be, he presumed, two opinions as to the cause of death being primarily the wounds which were inflicted on this unfortunate woman by her husband, and that he inflicted them intentionally.  He therefore thought the Jury had no alternative but to find a verdict of "Wilful Murder" against WILLIAM HUSSELL.  The Coroner then handed to the foreman the following form of verdict, which, he said, was the proper form in such cases:  "That on the 5th day of October inst., at Sanders's Court, in the said Borough, one WILLIAM HUSSELL, the husband of the deceased, MARY HUSSELL, with a certain knife then and there by him held, feloniously, wilfully, and with malice aforethought, did inflict wounds on the body of the said MARY HSUSELL, of which wounds she did then and there die." 

Mr Kiell at first objected to the words "malice aforethought," because he thought there was no proof of such malice being an element of the case; but it was point d out to him that it was only a formula, and that it was the only form of a verdict of "Wilful Murder", and he therefore waived his objection.

The Foreman then returned the document to the Coroner, and announced that the Jury were unanimous in returning a verdict of "Wilful Murder" against WM. HUSSELL.  The form was then filled up and signed by the Jury.

Thursday 18 October 1877

PLYMOUTH - A Presentment Of Death. - Mr T. C. Brian, Borough Coroner, held an Inquest at Plymouth on Friday respecting the death of MR SAMUEL WISE, farmer, of South Coombe, near Milton Abbot.  The deceased arrived at the house of Mr Soper, Tavistock-street, on a visit n Thursday afternoon, and then complained of being unwell.  About ten o'clock at night he retired to rest, and was next morning found dead in his bed.  The deceased apparently had a presentment that he would die suddenly, for before going to bed on Thursday evening he told Miss  Soper where to telegraph in case of anything happening to him, and he always carried a slip of paper about him with his name and address written on it.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

TEDBURN ST. MARY. - Sad Death Of A Farmer. - An Inquest was held at Tedburn St. Mary on Saturday by Mr Coroner Crosse on the body of a farmer named JOHN TAVERNER, who met with his death under the following circumstances:-  On Thursday evening he attended the manure audit at the Red Lion Inn, Taphouse.  He left about ten o'clock in company with a man named Hugh Lethebridge, to whose house he went and partook of more drink.  Lethebridge stated that he left to go home about midnight, declining witness's offer to see him home.  Deceased's wife had waited up for him until about two o'clock, and then despatched two of deceased's labourers in search of him.  Pinson, the parish constable, accompanied them, and it was not until Friday afternoon they discovered deceased lying under a hedge in one of Mr Presson's fields.  He was quite dead.  There appeared to be no marks of violence on his body, beyond some scratches and bruises about the face.  On him was found £14.  The policeman had him removed to his own residence and sent for Dr Connor, who gave it as his opinion that death resulted from an injury to the spine, which he considered might have been caused by deceased falling in clambering over the hedge underneath which he was found.  It is supposed that when he met with the accident he was going across the fields to get home more quickly.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Dead."

BARNSTAPLE - The Late Death By Drowning. - The body of the unfortunate man MARLAND, a shipwright, of this town, who fell out of a boat by the railway bridge near the Ilfracombe station on Thursday, the 27th ult., and was drowned, was discovered on Thursday last at Bishopstawton.  A diligent search was instituted just after the occurrence, and was continued for several days, but without success, and it was left for the body to be found by accident.  An Inquest was held at the Ring of Bells, Bishopstawton, before J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on the same day, when the following evidence was adduced:-  Elizabeth, wife of Wm. Guard, of Barnstaple, deposed that she knew the deceased, GEORGE MARLAND, who was  a shipwright in the employ of Messrs. Westacott and Sons, and 27 years of age.  She had viewed the body which was found that morning, and could identify it as that of MARLAND.  John Gould, a labourer, living at Hollacombe, in the parish of Fremington, deposed: On the morning of the 27th September last a new vessel named the Marian, which had been launched about two weeks before from Messrs. Westacott's shipyard, was being towed down the river to Appledore in two boats.  The deceased, myself, and two others, one named Fredk. Reed, the other a sailor who was going on board the Marian, were in one of the boats.  We towed the new ship down to Broadsands, near Appledore, and there we were employed all the day throwing ballast into her.  About six o'clock in the evening, when we had finished, the deceased, Fredk. Reed, George Arnold, John Pearce, and my son John Gould, left Broadsands in a boat belonging to the smack Fanny, to go up the river Taw to Barnstaple.  The deceased had a little drop of beer during the day while at work, but I cannot say that he was tipsy.  I also had taken a little.  When we came to Penhill Reach my son left the boat and walked home.  There was no quarrelling on board the boat.  My son rowed with me until he left, and then John Pearce took his oar, and we rowed on together.  There were only two of us at the oars, and Reed steered.  We came up the river very well, and intended to pull the boat to Messrs. Westacott's yard, but the tide, coming up very fast, drove hr against one of the posts of the railway bridge.  She struck with a very heavy jerk, and the deceased was thrown out over into the water.  We saw nothing of him afterwards, the night being rather dark.  Before the boat struck against the post I was desired to pull in my oar, which I did, as it was feared, if we went through the bridge with the oar out, some one might get knocked overboard.  I cannot swear that one of us was drunk.  - John Pearce, an apprentice to Mr Westacott, gave a similar account of the accident, as follows:-  When we came to the railway station we had not water enough to take us to the yard, and we had to keep by the bridge in order to try and land there.  It was dark, being about half-past seven o'clock.  When we got about fifty yards our boat struck broadside on a part of the railway bridge, and the deceased fell out.  The tide swung our boat round with the stern towards the railway bridge, and, when she struck the post, deceased, who was sitting on the gunwale, fell into the water, head foremost.  I saw him rise once, but we were unable to render any assistance.  When our boat was swung round, it was kept tight between the pillars.  The tide was flowing very fast.  John Payne, a labourer, living at Bishopstawton, deposed that, that morning, about a quarter past nine, he was on the railway at Bishopstawton, when he thought he saw the body of a man floating in the water.  He went to the place, saw that it was a body, and called assistance to help to get it out.  It had on clothing, but no hat.  He gave information to the police, and the body was taken to the place where it was now lying.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased was Accidentally Drowned.

BIDEFORD - Sudden And Singular Death Of MR FRANK COLE. - MR FRANK COLE, printer, late of this town, was found dead in his bed at the White Hart Inn, in Weymouth, shortly after seven o'clock on the morning of Saturday last.  He had lately been a commercial traveller, and represented a firm at Nottingham, and also one at Exeter.  An Inquest was held on the body on the evening of the same day, at which evidence was given that deceased was a hard drinker; that he was drunk for many days before his death; and that the night before he died he had taken a draught given him by the landlord which the chemist had prepared for the purpose of "composing a man who had been in liquor for a fortnight."  He was found in the morning cold and stiff, and with a frothy substance issuing from his mouth.  Dr Lush examined the body, but could not determine the cause of death; and the Inquest was adjourned to Wednesday, the 24th, in order to permit a post mortem examination, and an analysis of the contents of the stomach, which the Jury directed to be made by Mr Stodart, of Bristol.

SOUTHMOLTON - Coroner's Inquest. - An Inquest was held at the Guildhall on Saturday night before James Flexman, Esq., Borough Coroner, and a respectable Jury - of which Mr James Kingsland was foreman - on the body of JOHN ALLEN, a child of seven months old, who was found dead in bed by the side of its parents the same morning.  The Coroner said there was no doubt but that the child died from convulsions, and he therefore did not think that there was any necessity for summoning a medical practitioner.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 15 November 1877

BIDEFORD - Fatal Accident. - We reported last week that a little boy, the son of MR WILLIAM JOHNS, was killed by a waggon running over him.  From the evidence taken at the Inquest, which was held on Thursday evening last, it appeared that the child is two years and nine months old.  He had been to school in the afternoon, and shortly after returning home he, in company with one of his sisters, aged about seven years, went out on the Quay.  Just afterwards Thomas Redcliffe, in the employ of Mr Squire, grocer, was in the act of backing a horse and waggon through the narrow lane leading from the Quay to Mr Squire's stores, and when about two-thirds the distance he felt some sudden obstruction.  He at once pulled his horse forward a short distance and got on his knees and looked under the waggon, when he saw the deceased standing in the middle of the road-way, two or three feet from the waggon.  Redcliffe shouted for Mr Hobbs, the foreman at Mr Squire's stores, who came out immediately.  An older sister of the deceased than the one who previously had charge of him came up at the same time, and took the child up in her arms and handed him to his mother, who was standing at her front door at the time.  Redcliffe did not at first think the child was much injured, but he afterwards turned very pale, and a doctor was sent for.  The child cried, but very faintly.  Mr S. Thompson said he was sent for, but when he arrived he found the child dead.  He caused the body to be undressed, but there were no evident marks of severe injury.  There was a small abrasion on the right shoulder blade, but he could not discover that any bones were fractured.  The appearance of the body was that of a healthy child, and, judging from the evidence he had just heard, he was of opinion that death was caused by violence.  From a desultory conversation which followed, we gathered that the Jury were of opinion that the little fellow, seeing the waggon coming towards him, instead of running back, placed himself against the wall, thinking the waggon might pass him; but the passage being so narrow as that it will barely permit of a waggon passing through it, the poor little fellow was crushed between the wheel and the wall, and was only liberated by the driver leading his horse forward as soon as he felt the obstruction.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

RACKENFORD - The Drink Again. - Mr R. R. Crosse, County Coroner, held an Inquiry at Canworthy Farm, Rackenford, on Friday, respecting the death of WILLIAM HENRY LUXTON, aged 7 years, who was killed by the upsetting of a cart at Loxbeare.  MRS MARY LUXTON deposed that on Tuesday last she went with her son (the deceased) to Tiverton with a horse and cart.  About three or four p.m. she saw Thomas Winsor in Tiverton with a wagon and two horses belonging to his master, Mr Daniel Matthews,  of the Bell Inn, Rackenford.  He was then the worse for drink.  About twenty minutes to six she passed the same wagon coming up the hill at Leightown, Loxbeare, Winsor was driving, and Thomas Pitt, farmer, of Rackenford, was sitting in the wagon.  When she got to the plain she pulled her horse in close to a bank on the near side, and, hearing the wagon coming at a very fast trot, she called out to the driver to pull in; but he took no notice, and suddenly the front wheel of the wagon struck the wheel of her cart, and knocked it over the bank into the field.  She was thrown into the leat, and was up to her waist in water.  It was dark.  She called to deceased, and he said faintly, "Here, mother."  She screamed as loud as she could; but the wagon went on at the same pace.  The bank was about two feet and a half high, and the drop into the field about ten feet.  The width of the turnpike road was sixteen feet.  She got out after a short time, and went along the road, still calling for help, when William Sedgebear and two others came to her assistance, and got out the horse and cart, and her child's dead body.  - William Sedgebear, labourer, said he found the cart upset, with the wheels in the air, and the horse on its back in the leat.  The boy was lying on his face with the rail of the cart across his back just below the shoulder blades.  He was quite dead.  About an hour after the accident Pitt came back to see if anything was wrong, and when taxed with not stopping or coming back sooner, he said he could not get his legs free from the things in the wagon.  - Thomas Pitt deposed that he was riding home in the wagon with Winsor, who was sober.  They stopped at the Rose and Crown and had one pint of beer, and Winsor drank about a wine-glassful.  The landlord persuaded Winsor to drive on home, and he went off at a stiff pace.  At the top of the hill he (witness) saw a cart in front.  It went to the off side, and then crossed to the near side - the horse close to the bank, and the tail of the cart towards the centre of the road.  As the wagon passed, going four to five miles an hour, the front wheel slightly struck the wheel of the cart.  They went on, and afterwards saw the cart standing in the road.  Did not believe the blow from the wagon knocked the cart over, and did not hear anyone call or scream.  - Thomas Winsor and John Davey, labourer, who was riding on the tail of the wagon, gave similar evidence.  The Jury,  after half an hour's consideration, returned a verdict that deceased was Accidentally Killed.  There was, however, one dissentient.  The Coroner in addressing Winsor, informed him that the Jury had come to a merciful verdict, although they all agreed that he had been negligent and heartless. He hoped the case would be a warning to him and others. 

Thursday 29 November 1877

CLOVELLY - Accidental Death. - An Inquest was held on Wednesday (yesterday) before John H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on the body of CHARLOTTE GEST, of this place, aged 67, widow of the late JOHN GEST, labourer, who lived with her daughter, the wife of William Babb, labourer, and was coming downstairs on Monday morning, with an infant child in her arms and another child by her side, when she fell four or five steps down to the foot of the stairs, where she lay.  Her daughter ran to her assistance and placed her in her lap, but she did not speak.  A child was sent for Susan Downing, a neighbour, who came directly, and assisted deceased to bed.  William Babb also came from his work, and deceased's son, JOHN GEST, gamekeeper, who procured the doctor, but on his arrival, between ten and eleven o'clock in the forenoon, he pronounced the poor woman dead.  She had been a weakly woman, and subject to fits, and it was suggested that she might have fallen in one of them.  There were no marks of injury on her body.  Having heard the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death by Falling Downstairs."

Thursday 6 December 1877

HATHERLEIGH - Dead In The Field. - On Tuesday morning an Inquest was held at Medland Farm, before Mr Coroner Fulford and a respectable Jury, of whom Mr W. D. Blatchford was foreman, on the body of MR JOHN WEEKS, aged 68.  Deceased left his house about 3 p.m. on Saturday to look after the cattle on his farm, and as he did not return about six the family became alarmed and went in search of him, when to their dismay they found him dead in one of the fields.  In the opinion of Dr Gould death was caused by heart disease.  A verdict was returned accordingly.  Deceased leaves a widow and long family, mostly grown up, to mourn their loss.  Much sympathy is felt for them.

BISHOPSTAWTON - Suicide By A Farmer. - We mentioned in our last that a farmer in this parish, MR THOMAS LOVERING MOORE, belonging to a very respectable family in the adjoining parish of Tawstock, had committed suicide.  The Inquest was held on the body at the residence of the deceased, Mount Pleasant, on Thursday last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Joseph Sanders was foreman.  The first witness was the widow of the deceased, MRS ANNE MOORE, who deposed that deceased was a farmer and was 63 years of age.  He and witness breakfasted together on Tuesday morning, when he was in good health and in his usual spirits, but the day before she had noticed that he appeared rather low, but not so much so as to cause any concern.  About ten o'clock in the forenoon, witness left the house to go to Barnstaple, leaving deceased at home, sitting by the fire and smoking his pipe.  He wished her "Good morning!" as she left, and said he intended to go to his brother's at Overton, and would lock the door and leave the key in the window-sill, where they were accustomed to leave the key for one another.  They were the only persons living in the house.  Witness returned between twelve and one o'clock, and, finding the key in the appointed place, she supposed that he had gone to his brother's, as he said he should.  She unlocked the door, went into the house and made up the fire to get herself a cup of tea, when she heard a slight noise in the room above, which she supposed might be made by the cat.  She went up to see what it was, walked through the first room and into the next, where she saw the deceased lying on the floor, with a quantity of blood about him.  She exclaimed, "Oh! what have you done?  What have you done?" but there was no answer.  He was lying on his stomach, with his face downwards in the blood.  She was much hurried, and went right down to Mr Crocker's in the road, where she saw Mrs Crocker, whom she told of what had happened, and she said she would send her husband in to town for the doctor.  The deceased was of rather a melancholy temperament, and she could assign no reason for his committing the rash act. They were very comfortable together, and he was very kind to her.  About twelve months ago deceased became bound at a bank in Torrington with another person for a sum of money, and she thought that preyed upon his mind at times.  - Mr Arthur Nicholls, farmer, of Bishopstawton, deposed that deceased occupied a house of his.  He appeared to be in sound mind, and as well as usual when he last saw him, which was on Tuesday forenoon, about half-past ten o'clock.  Witness was at work in the garden of deceased's house, pruning some apple trees, and deceased was standing by and looking on.  Witness noticed nothing at all unusual in his manner.  Deceased soon after left the garden and went into the house and witness went into an adjoining garden to work, and remained until half-past eleven, but saw nothing more of the deceased.  - Mr Charles Hamlen Gamble, of Barnstaple surgeon, deposed that on Tuesday, about half-past one o'clock, he was driving towards Barnstaple from Tawton, when he was stopped by Mr Hoskins, of Pill, and told that MR MOORE, at Mount Pleasant, had cut his throat.  Being requested by Mr Hoskins to do so, he drove back and up to Mount Pleasant, and there saw John Furse at the door and Mrs Abbott inside.  He went upstairs, and there saw the deceased in an inner room lying on the floor between the window and the bed.  He was lying on his back slightly on the right side close to the wall, with the right arm stretched out.  There was a good deal of blood on the floor and an open razor lying about a foot from the right hand.  The body was lifeless but warm.  On examination he found a very deep wound across the throat just above the windpipe, dividing all the soft parts down to the spine.  The wound in the throat was the cause of death, and from the position of the body and the surrounding circumstances he had no doubt that the wound was inflicted by himself.  He thought the widow must have been mistaken when she said the deceased was lying on his face and hands when she first saw him.  Deceased might probably have been dead an hour when witness saw him.  - John Furse, labourer, Bishopstawton, deposed that at about one o'clock on Tuesday he was working in a field of Mr Crocker's when a little girl called him to go to MR MOORE'S telling him at the same time what had happened.  He went immediately, and Mr Crocker rode up as he got to the house.  They went in, and, after searching the house, found the deceased in an inner room upstairs as had been described.  Deceased was quick in his temper, and a little nervous.  - Mr Thomas Crocker, farmer, of Cross, in Bishopstawton, deposed that he knew the deceased, having married his cousin.  On Tuesday, about one o'clock, the widow of deceased came to the house of witness, and said to his wife, "COUSIN THOMAS has cut his throat."  Witness reached home soon after, and, on hearing what his wife said, went away for the doctor, first going to the house of deceased, whom he found as before described.  Deceased was at the house of witness on Sunday afternoon, when he appeared to be very flighty and restless, and seemed hardly to know what he was about.  This being all the evidence, the Jury came to a verdict that deceased came to his death by cutting his throat with a razor, but in what state of mind he was at the time there was not sufficient evidence to show.

ILFRACOMBE - A Child Burnt To Death. - Yesterday (Wednesday) the County Coroner, J. H. Toller, Esq., held an Inquest in this town on the body of a child five years old, named SAMUEL WELSH, whose parents are labouring people living at Wellington, Somerset, and who had been adopted by his uncle, Mr Collins, mason, of Ilfracombe.  The evidence showed that on Monday, the 19th ult., between nine and ten o'clock, the deceased's aunt accompanied him upstairs to bed, and left him, as she often did, to take off his clothes himself, placing the candle at the top of the stairs.  Five minutes afterwards she heard the poor little fellow scream, and upon going to the room found him enveloped in flames, his shirt being on fire.  She extinguished the flames by wrapping him in a woollen shawl, and he was put to bed.  A neighbour, Mr Bridgman, went for Mr Foquette, surgeon, who feared that the child's injuries were too severe for him to recover.  This unfortunately proved to be the case, for though the little sufferer rallied two or three days after getting over the first shock, he gradually became worse, and sank into death on Tuesday evening.  These facts were testified to by Mrs Collins, Mr Bridgman, and Mr Foquette, the latter of whom mentioned that no attention was wanting to the child; and the result of the Enquiry was a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 13 December 1877

OKEHAMPTON - Alleged Infanticide. - A preliminary Inquiry was held by the Coroner, R. Fulford, Esq., and a Jury, of whom Mr Thomas Hawker was foreman, at the White Horse Hotel, on Thursday last, on the body of a female child found on Dartmoor.  Sufficient evidence was adduced to justify an adjournment of the Inquest until Tuesday, and subsequently the apprehension of a widow woman, named MARY ANN PELLOW, the daughter of Thomas Kelly, of Holstock, Okehampton.  PELLOW'S husband has been dead some three or four years, and she has previously given birth to four children.  She is about 34 years of age, and has been engaged in assisting a sister-in-law, who is a laundress, at Belston, and occasionally working in the fields.  She was apprehended on a charge of concealment of birth, and was taken before a magistrate on Friday evening, and committed to the lock-up at Northtawton.  The body of the child, which is a well-developed and fully-matured infant, was found wrapped up in an apron, under some stones, the face and nose being much flattened, and with a strongly marked identification around the neck.  A post mortem examination was ordered, and has been undertaken by Dr Waters, and he, it is understood, has called in another medical man to assist him.  A joint report from the medical men will be presented at the adjourned Inquiry.  The accused woman is said to have made a statement, admitting having given birth to a child about a month since, which, she says, occurred during unconsciousness, in the open air, and on returning to consciousness she found it dead by her side.  - At the adjourned Inquest on Monday, the widow woman PELLOW, who lives with her father, Richard Kelley, in a cottage situated in the high ground between Belstone and Okehampton, acknowledged herself to be the mother of the child, and that "what was done to the child she did"; but she denied that she had murdered it.  The medical man pronounced that the child had had a separate existence, and had died by strangulation.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder," upon which the Coroner issued his warrant for her committal.

Thursday 27 December 1877

PLYMOUTH - Fatality At A Railway Station At Plymouth. - Mr T. C. Brian, Borough Coroner, held an Inquiry on Saturday at the Plymouth Guildhall, into the circumstances attending the death of JOHN BUTLER, aged 26 years, a shunting porter, engaged at the Millbay Railway Station.  The evidence adduced showed that between six and seven o'clock on Friday morning the deceased, upon the arrival of the luggage train from Exeter, attempted to get upon one of the trucks whilst it was in motion, for the purpose of riding into the station, and in doing so he inadvertently put his right leg between the spokes of one of the wheels, and it was literally smashed to pieces.  He was immediately extricated, and conveyed to the South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital, where the injured limb was amputated.  The deceased lingered until early on Friday evening, when he expired.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 3 January 1878

EXETER - An Exeter Coroner's Jury on Friday evening returned the rare verdict of "Death from Excessive Drinking."  The deceased was a stonemason named BOWDEN.  He had lived apart from his wife for ten or twelve years, she having left him in consequence of his intemperate habits.  Three weeks since he was turned out of his lodgings when in a state of intoxication, and was driven in a fly to the house of a Mrs Coombes.  there he drank gin and water all day long, and was still drunk when he died.  Medical evidence shewed death had arisen from alcoholic poisoning.

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death Of A Prisoner. - On Saturday morning the Borough Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft, held an Inquest at the Borough gaol on the body of RICHARD DAVIE, of Bideford, aged 37, who was suffering a term of six months' imprisonment for having embezzled money as agent at Bideford for Messrs. Wheeler and Wilson's sewing machines.  The unfortunate man was in a very bad state of health when he was committed to the gaol, in October, and for that reason he was excused from hard labour, and put upon a diet more nourishing than that he would otherwise have had, and was also allowed other indulgences by Mr R. Webber, the Governor of the gaol, who, with the other officers, were thanked for their attentions to the deceased by some of the latter's relations who were present at the Enquiry.  - The foreman of the Jury was Mr John Baker.  Mr John Balsden, warder, deposed that the prisoner was suffering confinement for embezzlement, committed at Bideford.  He was admitted on the 5th October last, and was then evidently in a  very delicate state of health.  He complained of pains in his chest, and his legs had been much swollen since he had been in the gaol.  Yesterday (Friday) afternoon, about two o'clock, witness visited him in his cell, and found him lying on the floor on his face, with his arms extended, quite dead, but still warm.  Witness called the gaoler, who came immediately, and together they placed the body of the deceased on the bed, and witness then went for Mr Cooke, the surgeon of the gaol, who arrived in about a quarter of an hour.  The last time witness saw the deceased alive was about eight o'clock the same morning, when he said he felt better than usual, and indeed appeared to be so.  Mr R. Webber gave evidence that the deceased's term of imprisonment was six calendar months with hard labour, but on the day after his admission he was seen by Mr Cooke, and by that gentleman's orders was excused hard labour, in consequence of ill-health, and was also allowed 2 ¼  lbs. of mutton a week, and some arrowroot, sugar, and milk; besides which witness permitted the gas in his cell to be burning all night, in order that he might be more comfortable, although the temperature of the compartment was always kept at 60 degrees.  Mr Cooke also allowed him to retain his flannels and other articles of clothing which were not provided in the prison.  The deceased suffered from palpitation of the heart.  The witness deposed to being called by the warder to the deceased's cell on the previous day; and in reply to the foreman he added that the deceased had his dinner just before one o'clock.  It consisted of about six ounces of mutton and a pint of broth, and it was given to the deceased by the matron in the cooking-house, in which he was allowed to spend a portion of his time, as it was warm and comfortable for him. He made no complaint, and lately seemed to be improving in health.  He had eaten his dinner before he was stricken down, there being only two or three table spoonsful of the broth left.  Had he had the power he could easily have summoned assistance, for in each of the cells there was communication with a bell, and there was a contrivance by which the person who responded to the summons could see from which cell it proceeded.  - Mr Cooke deposed that when he examined the deceased the day after his admission to the prison he found him suffering from organic affection of the heart which at the time he (witness) thought would grow rapidly worse.  Witness gave him every indulgence that was possible, but he grew worse, the dropsy which was an accompaniment of his disease increasing very much.  Witness, being sent for, went to the prison on Friday and found the deceased lying in his cell, dead, but still warm.  He had been dead probably about half an hour, and witness believed that he died instantly, without a struggle.  His opinion was that death was caused by sudden stoppage of the action of the heart.  The Coroner, in summing up, said it would no doubt be satisfactory to the friends of the deceased to know that he had been shown all humanity since he had been in prison, so that his death could not be attributed to rigorous treatment.  A brother-in-law of the deceased remarked that all his friends were glad to know that he had been treated so kindly by Mr Webber and the other officers of the gaol.  In reply to the foreman, Mr Webber said that on the Friday afternoon he sent a telegraphic message to the mother of the deceased, apprising her of her son's death.  The Jury at once returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  The deceased was a widower, with no family, but was the support of his mother, and during his incarceration is said to have looked forward with pleasure to the time when he should be able to rejoin her.  The Mayor of the Borough (Mr Alderman Willshire) attended the Enquiry.

CHARLES - Sudden Death Of A Farmer. - An Inquest was held on Friday last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner for the County, and a respectable Jury (of which Mr W. H. Loosemore was foreman) on view of the body of MR WILLIAM HENRY SMITH, of Brayford Hill, in this parish, farmer and landowner, who had died somewhat suddenly on the night of the preceding Wednesday.  The young son of the deceased, FREDERICK HENRY SMITH, gave evidence that his father was 34 years of age.  On Wednesday he complained of pain all over him, and went early to bed.  Witness slept with his father, and followed him to bed at a little before seven o'clock.  His father was a drinking man, and was not quite sober when he went to bed.  Witness, when he came to bed, asked his father if he was worse, and he replied that he did not know that he was.  About half an hour after he went into bed he was awoke by deceased coughing.  Between nine and half-past he again awoke and found deceased very restless.  His father had been subject to fits, and, fearing he was going to have a fit, he called for John Fry, who was sleeping in an adjoining room, to come in, which he did.  John Fry deposed that he belonged to Stoke Rivers, and was a labourer, and had been staying at the house of deceased during the last three months or more.  Hearing the last witness call "John! John!" when he was in bed about half-past nine o'clock on Wednesday night, he got up immediately and went into the room of deceased, whom he found lying on his back in a fit, as he had seen him many times before.  He lifted him, and bathed his temples and hands in cold water, which seemed to revive him.  In answer to witness's enquiry if he knew him, he said he did  Witness went downstairs to get up the fire before he sent to a neighbour (Mrs Mary Ridd) to come, but he had not left the room many minutes when the last witness called him, and he went up and found that deceased wanted to get out of bed.  He soothed him and took him into his arms, when he had another fit, in which he died at about a quarter to ten o'clock.  Deceased was very often tipsy, and witness had seen him in six or seven fits within the last three months.  There was no doctor nearer than Southmolton, which was seven miles.  Deceased had been suffering from a cold for several days.  -Mrs Mary Ridd, a neighbour, deposed to having been called by deceased's son, and she went to the house immediately with her husband, but found deceased dead.  He was a drinking man, as everyone knew, and occasionally had fits.  - Mr James Flexman, of Southmolton, surgeon, deposed that deceased was a patient of his, and he had attended him several times for epilepsy, the last time being in July last.  The Jury returned a verdict that deceased died suddenly from a fit of epilepsy.  Deceased was only 34 years of age - an early victim to his habits of excess.

Thursday 10 January 1878

BARNSTAPLE - The Disappearance Of A Barnstaple Publican. - Last week we reported that ELIJAH COLE, the landlord of the Albert Inn, Diamond-street, in this town, had been missing since Friday, the 28th ult.  He was last seen, on the evening of that day, near the North Walk, under the influence of drink, and as his hat was picked up on the following morning on the bank of the river Yeo, near Mr Gould's yard, it was feared that he had accidentally fallen or otherwise got into the water and was drowned.  This apprehension has now been confirmed by the finding of the unfortunate man's body, which was discovered on Sunday afternoon by a fisherman named George Mock, about three miles down the river, nearly abreast of Ashford, and was at once brought to the Albert Inn.  An Inquest was held there on Monday evening, before the Borough Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft, and a Jury, of whom Mr Bryant was foreman.  The Jury having been sworn, the Coroner explained why they had been summoned, and said that as all sorts of reports had been circulated as to the condition the deceased was in on the day of his disappearance, it would be well for the window to be called in evidence, much as he was sorry to require of her anything which could at all add to the poignancy of her grief.  The principal point to which he should have to direct their attention was whether the deceased was likely to have fallen into the river accidentally, or whether he got there designedly for the purpose of taking his own life.  Pertinent to that enquiry was the fact that COLE'S hat had been picked up in such a position as would lead one to suppose that he slipped into the water by accident; and as about that time there was a great deal of fresh water running down the river, he would, in that event, soon be swept away.

ANNIE COLE, the widow of the deceased, was then called, and deposed:  My late husband was 48 years of age.  The last time I saw him alive was between three and four o'clock in the afternoon of Friday, the 28th December, and at that time he was in his usual state of good health.  He said nothing to me before he left home, and I supposed that he had gone for a walk, as he frequently did.   - Q.  Had you had any quarrel with him that afternoon or that day?  - A.  Not at all, sir.  - Q.  And you had been on your usual good terms with him?  A.  Yes, sir, very good for some time.  - Q.  Had he ever threatened to take his life?  A.  No, sir, not that I am aware of.  - Q.  Had he been drinking a little that day, do you think?  A.  He had taken a little two or three days previously, and he had hardly recovered from the effects of it.  -Q.  He was a little under the influence of drink, then, on this Friday?  A.  Yes, sir.  - Q.  Has that hat (produced) been brought to you?  A. Yes, sir, it was brought to me last Tuesday.  I recognised it as my husband's - the one he was wearing when I last saw him.  - Q.  Was your husband in the habit of walking in the North Walk?  A.  Occasionally.  -Q.  How long have you been married to him?  A. Eleven years.  - Q.  Have you any family?  A.  yes, sir, one child.  - Q.  I believe you are his second wife?  A.  Yes, sir.

John Ridd, a fisherman, living in Castle-lane, deposed that on Saturday, the 29th December , he picked up the hat produced in the outer footpath in the North Walk, on the edge of the river Yeo, and about 20 yards from Mr Gould's yard.  It was full of rain water.  Near the hat was a mooring-post, to which was tied a rope by which a vessel lying at the Quay was secured.  Anyone walking along might easily catch his foot in the rope, and a person doing that would be almost sure to fall into the river, the bank being very steep.  The bank was 16ft or 17 ft high, and was composed of pitch and stone, and it was so steep that the fishermen had to crawl on their hands and knees when they had occasion to go up or down it.  George Mock, another fisherman, who plies up and down the river, deposed that about half-past twelve on Sunday he was about three miles down the river, just this side of Ashford, when he saw in a channel in the middle of the river something which he at first thought was a stick.  He remarked to his brother, who was with him, "We'll go and see what it is. It may be the man who is lost," and he then went about 20 yards from the boat, there being no more than about six inches of water, and saw that it was the body f a man.  He turned it over, and then saw that it was the body of COLE.  It was just touching the ground, but it must previously have been floating about, for a boat had passed through the channel about half an hour before without the man seeing it.  Witness and his brother dragged the body along to the boat, and as there was a breeze blowing at the time they were able to come back at once without waiting for the return of the tide.  Witness did not notice any marks on the body, but a little blood was coming from the nose.  When the body was landed the pockets were searched by P.C. Sargent, and 4 ½d was found.  Mr Hayman, a Juror, mentioned that about four o'clock on the Friday the deceased called at his house to see him, wishing to go for a walk with him.  He never saw the deceased after eleven o'clock in the morning, and at that time he had in his hand the hat now produced.  Superintendent Songhurst reported that he had ascertained that the deceased called at the Ilfracombe, the Braunton, and the North Country Inns, between half-past five and six o'clock on the evening of his disappearance. He was so much under the influence of drink that at the Ilfracombe Inn he was not supplied, and after having one glass of ale at the Braunton Inn he was obliged to leave to go home.  P.C. Sargent said the landlord of the North Country Inn had informed him that the deceased called at that house about six o'clock, and enquired for his brother-in-law, Mr Toms.  He appeared to have been drinking, but was not very drunk.  He treated a man to a pint of beer, and called for a glass for himself, but Mr Jarvis believed that he did not drink it. 

The Coroner offered t adjourn the Enquiry until the following day for the attendance of the keepers of the inns if the Jury desired that course to be taken, but for his own part he did not think it necessary.  There was no evidence to show how the deceased came into the water, and therefore their duty seemed to be to return a simple verdict of "Found Drowned"; but whilst that was so the probability was that it was a case of accident.  The deceased had, no doubt, taken more intoxicating drink than was good for him, and in that way had lost his life, as so many other persons had done.  The Jury at once returned the verdict suggested by the Coroner.

Thursday 17 January 1878

HOLSWORTHY - Sad Accidents. - On Monday, at Halwill, JOHN SMITH, aged 18, belonging to Southmolton, was thrown from a truck whilst in motion on the line, and two loaded waggons passed over his right leg, crushing it in a dreadful manner.  Messrs. Pearce and Gould, surgeons, were quickly in attendance, and found great difficulty in rallying the poor fellow from the terrible shock and the faintness from the excessive loss of blood.  They at length amputated the limb just below the knee joint, after which he was immediately sent to the Exeter Hospital to receive that care which could not be given him at his own lodgings.  He died a few hours after admission, and an Inquest was held upon the body on Wednesday afternoon. 

Thursday 31 January 1878

TORRINGTON - Death From Burns. - J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest in the Board room of the Torrington Union, on Thursday last, on the body of a child-inmate, named THOMAS HENRY SANDFORD MOORE, aged four years.  - The evidence showed that on Saturday the 17th November last, in the temporary absence of Lucy Wheeler, who had charge of the nursery, the child's clothes accidentally caught fire.  His screams brought Wheeler to his assistance, and she endeavoured to extinguish the flames by wrapping her clothes around him, but failing, she threw some water over him, and so succeeded in her object.  But by this time the poor little fellow had been severely burnt on the back of his head, the left breast, upper portion of the stomach, and about the thighs and the sight of the left eye was seriously injured.  He had before been a delicate child, and had suffered from a cough, and was almost continually crying; and that he lingered on until the day before the Inquest, and then died from the effects of burns upon his constitution.  He was attended to by ~Dr Jones, who stated that he received from the officials all requisite attention.  The Jury returned the only verdict possible under the circumstances - "Death from Accident."

TORRINGTON - Death From Want Of Nourishment. - An Inquest the second within four days in this town, was held at the Torridge Inn, on Monday last, before the Deputy Coroner, J. H. Toller, Esq., on the body of FANNY NOTT, a single woman, lodging in the town, who died, if not from absolute privation, as was supposed by many, at least from want of nourishing food, as was abundantly proved by the evidence.  Mary Ann, wife of Robert Pollard, labourer, of Mill-street Common, was the first witness.  She deposed that she knew the deceased, who was a single woman, fifty years of age.  For about two months she had lodged at witness's house, and witness was accustomed to see her daily.  She used to go to work, washing and sewing, three half days in the week, and the rest of her time was occupied in sewing buttons in gloves and in plain work.  Witness had known her for two years, and during that time she had been in a failing state of health.  She suffered from a bad cough.  Before she resided with witness she had been in the Torrington Workhouse several times.  She was never in want of anything.  She paid 9d. a week for her lodging, and lived better than witness did.  Her diet consisted chiefly of bread and butter, meat and vegetables, and when she could afford it she would have half a pint of beer.  She had never complained to witness of being in want, nor did she know that she had so complained to anyone else.  Until Wednesday night last she was no worse than usual, but she then complained of weakness in the stomach, and desired that witness should go to Mr Tanton, the relieving officer, for an order to admit her to the Workhouse the next day.  Witness accordingly procured the order, telling Mr Tanton that the deceased would be glad if she could have a conveyance to take her up the hill to the House, as she was unable to walk up.  Mr Tanton replied that he could not give permission for that until the parish doctor had seen the deceased.  Witness went to Mr Lait the same evening, and as he was not in, witness left word with Miss Lait, asking him to come and see the deceased on the following morning.  At eleven o'clock on Thursday morning, when Mr Lait, having been again sent for, came, she was much worse, and Mr Lait said she was sinking for want of brandy and nourishing things.  Witness went to Mr Tanton and procured some nutriment, and Mr Lait said that if the deceased revived after taking them she could be conveyed to the House.  By Mr Lait's direction, witness beat up the yolk of an egg in a basin, and added about a quarter of a noggin of brandy, some boiling water, and some sugar, and stirred the whole up and took it to the deceased, who drank about three parts of it.  She was then in bed, but in the morning she got up.  Witness afterwards put her to bed, and left her under the care of a neighbour whilst she went to Mr Tanton for the order for more nutriment.  Shortly after her return Mr Tanton came, and deceased told him she should go into the Workhouse on the Friday morning.  Whilst Mr Tanton was with her she said she felt cold, and he advised that a jar of hot water should be applied to her feet, which was done.  She was offered some brandy and water, but this she refused, preferring some tea.  Witness sent her up some tea and cake by her little boy, whom she immediately followed into the bedroom.  When she got there she found the deceased struggling, with her head in the pillow  Witness took her by the arm and said, "FANNY, FANNY, what is it?" and she gave two or three more struggles and then died.  This was between four and five o'clock on Thursday afternoon.  - Mr James Tanton, the relieving officer, deposed that on the morning of Thursday, having been supplied with a certificate by Mr Lait, testifying that the deceased was suffering from great privation as well as from disease, and required nourishment, he supplied last witness with two pennyworth of biscuits, half-a-pound of sugar, two ounces of arrowroot, two eggs, and four ounces of brandy.  When witness went to see her she complained of feeling very ill, and witness said he would not recommend her to go to the Workhouse then, as she thought of doing.  She said she would wait until the next morning  He, however, at the time thought she was dying.  Deceased asked if she could have someone to stay with her during the night, and he engaged a woman named Grace Richards, who was there, for that purpose.  In consequence of Mr Lait certifying that the poor woman's death arose from want, he deferred registering the death until he had communicated with Supt. Rousham, who in turn communicated with the Coroner.  The person who brought witness the certificate told him Mr Lait had said it was a case which should be enquired into.  - Mr Wm. Lait, surgeon, gave evidence that he did not attend to the order to visit the deceased on the night it was left at his residence, being absent from home, but at eleven o'clock on the following morning he called upon her, and found her sitting on a stool downstairs.  She was extremely weak, so much so that she was pulseless, and could not articulate distinctly.  Witness ordered her to bed, and sent Mrs Pollard to the relieving officer for some nourishing food, and also told her he would give her a list of the things required if she would come to his house.  However, as he wanted to get out of town, he wrote a note to Mr Tanton, specifying what was wanted.  He told Mr Tanton that the deceased was not in a fit state to be removed to the house, and that whether she was moved or not she would die.  She died from amuria, and he had no doubt that an effusion of water upon the brain took place.  She was in such an extremely weak condition that she could not digest and assimilate her usual food.  He did not attach censure or blame to anyone.  The verdict of the Jury was, after a patient investigation, "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 14 February 1878

PLYMOUTH - Sudden Death Of A Liverpool Shipowner. - An Inquest was held on Saturday evening at the Dolphin Inn, Barbican, Plymouth, by Mr Brian, Borough Coroner, respecting the death of MR EPHRAIM ANGEL, of Hatherleigh, who died suddenly that morning at the residence of Mr T. W. Hoppin, stationer, Southside-street.  MR ANGEL was the principal partner in the firm of Angel and Company, shipowners, of India Buildings, Liverpool.  The barque Fortuna, of Liverpool, belonged to the firm, had just discharged a cargo of coals for the Gas Works, and was lying in Cattewater, preparatory to undergoing some repairs, and MR ANGEL was on a visit to Plymouth to superintend the arrangements for those repairs.  He was a tall and very stout man, and had latterly been suffering from heart disease.  He arranged on Friday evening to sleep at Mr Hoppin's residence, and went to bed apparently in his usual health.  Shortly after half-past three o'clock in the morning he called for assistance, and Mr Hoppin proceeded to the bedroom, and at four o'clock MR ANGEL died in his arms.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Died from Natural, Causes."  A hearse left Plymouth at 11.30 a.m. on Sunday with the body of deceased for Fishley House, Hatherleigh, MR ANGEL'S late residence.  Deceased held large property in that neighbourhood.  He was 57 years of age, and leaves a grown up family, of whom one son is in the firm at Liverpool, and another is a shipbroker at Cardiff.

BISHOPSTAWTON - Sad Case Of Suicide. - The village of Bishopstawton was quite overcast with gloom on Sunday last by the intelligence that a respectable and highly respected resident had committed suicide by drowning himself.  The subject of the report, which was circulated just as the people were preparing for afternoon service at the church, was GEORGE BRITTON, who had reached the ripe age of sixty-nine years.  He was, we believe, a native of the parish, and had for many years occupied, with credit to himself and satisfaction to his employer, the situation of carpenter at Hall.  About a month ago he was attached with an affection of the brain, and was attended by Mr Cooke, surgeon, of Barnstaple, who gave orders that he should be watched, lest he should do himself injury.  The suspicion that he might lay violent hands on himself arose from the fits of despondency under which he suffered, and from the strangeness of his conduct, which was such as to show that he at times was not in his right mind.  He had long been a consistent member of the church at Barnstaple of which the pastor is the venerable Mr Chapman; but his mind had become imbued with the conviction that his was a lost soul, so that he lost all hope.  When in his despairing moods he dreaded to see anyone enter the house, and would refuse to speak to anyone, and he excited at the most ordinary circumstances; but he was not always in this condition, being at times quite rational. The second day that he felt strange in his head he was obliged to leave his work and go home to bed, and he has never been well enough since to return to his employment.  The affection of the head took the form of giddiness, and he used to say that all objects seemed to him to be double.  About two o'clock on Sunday afternoon, after a hearty dinner - for his illness had not impaired his appetite - he went into the garden, where he was seen by his wife from the bedroom window.  Nothing was afterwards seen of him, and in all probability he at once went to the river and drowned himself, for by three o'clock his hat was found on the bank.  His wife states that this circumstance did not lead her to suppose that he had committed suicide; but others viewed it in a more ominous light, and the alarm having been given, the river was at once diligently searched.  However, the body was not found until about one o'clock on the following day.  About ten o'clock on Monday morning George Mock, fisherman, of Barnstaple, went up the river in search of the body, and before him was a boat in which were a young man named Dennis, also of Barnstaple, and another named Fry, who were bent on the same errand.  Mock commenced the search near where the hat of the deceased was found and after working until one o'clock he felt his prong come in contact with a soft substance, which he brought to the surface with a mussel-rake, when he found that it was that of which he was in quest.  With assistance he hauled it into the boat and took it ashore, and after it had been identified by the police, it was taken to the house of the deceased.  Deceased had a son and a daughter, the latter of whom is married and lives in the village, whilst the former, who is also grown up, lives in London.  The sad news of his father's disappearance was telegraphed to him on Sunday, and he came to his old home on Monday, to learn that the worst apprehensions as to the fate of the deceased had been confirmed. The Inquest was held at the house of the deceased on Tuesday, by J. H. Toller, Esq., the Deputy Coroner, who received the evidence of the fisherman Jock and of the widow, embodying most of the above facts.  The Jury took a charitable view of the matter, and as there was no absolute proof of suicide they returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."  - It sadly singular that only a short time ago a resident of the same parish put an end to his life, and that just before a man who, as in this case, went into a state of despondency, attempted suicide, in which, however, he failed.

Thursday 21 February 1878

CHITTLEHAMPTON - Death Of An Imbecile From Neglect. - On Monday the Deputy Coroner for the County, J. H. Toller, Esq., met a Jury at Leary, in this parish, and held an Inquest upon the body of a man of weak understanding, named THOMAS WREFORD, aged 37 years, who died on the previous Wednesday.  The deceased was the son of a widow who lives at Crediton, and though he had had a good education, his intellect was so weak that he was only able to do work about a farm.  In March of last year he went to work for Mr Thomas Slader, farmer, of Huxtable, East Buckland parish, with whom he lived, and he continued there until the sixth of the present month, when he was removed to the house of William Wonnacott, at Leary, his mother having received a note from Mrs Slader four days previously informing her that her son was very ill.  Now for the first time he was seen by a medical man - Mr Sanders, surgeon, of Southmolton, who found him suffering from acute disease of the left lung and from a number of sores, and who also found that, through not having been properly attended to, he was in a dreadfully dirty condition.  The poor fellow lingered on until the 13th inst., when he died.  The evidence certainly points to great neglect on the part of those under whose care the deceased was placed.  Putting aside the repeated statements of the deceased that Mr Slader often beat and kicked him, and the rumours that he was kept without sufficient food, there are the facts that he should have received medical treatment long before he was brought to Leary; that though he must have been ill for some time prior to his death, his mother was only communicated with eleven days before that event; that Mr Slader positively refused to allow a surgeon to see him even to pronounce whether he was in a fit state to be removed, his only anxiety being to get rid of the unfortunate fellow; and that when he was removed he was found to be in a loathsome condition, into which he could only have got by neglect.  A good deal of evidence was adduced, and after reading it we doubt not that most of our readers will come to the conclusion that the circumstances fully justify the censure which the Coroner, in summing up, passed upon Mr Slader.

The first witness called was MARY ANN WREFORD, the mother of the deceased, who deposed:  I live at Crediton, and am a widow.  the deceased, my son, was 37 years of age.  He was of weak intellect, but was capable of doing some kinds of farm work.  On the 26th March he went to reside with Mr Thomas Slader, a farmer residing at Huxtable, East Buckland.  He was to be kept, but was not to have any wages in money.  On the 18th October last, as I was staying in the neighbourhood for a few days, I went to see him, and was received very kindly by Mr and Mrs Slader.  We all dined together on that occasion, including the deceased.  He at that time looked very well, and appeared to be very comfortable, and he made no complaint.  I left in the afternoon on the same day, and the deceased accompanied me to Filleigh, where I was staying.  On the 2nd inst. I received a note from Mrs Slader saying my son was very ill, and wishing me to come as quickly as possible to see him.  I went the same day, and found him looking better than I had expected to see him.  He was suffering from sore feet, as he did every winter, and was weak.  Mr and Mrs Slader wished him to be taken away, but I said he had better not be removed until a doctor had seen him.  Mr Slader pressed for his removal, saying that Mrs Slader was unwell, and he objected to a doctor or nurse being sent for, preferring that he should be taken away at once.  On the 6th inst., thinking that the deceased was in a fit state to be moved, I had him conveyed to the residence of Mr Wm. Wonnacott, at Leary, and on the same evening I sent for Mr Sanders, surgeon, of Southmolton, who came on the following day.  On the 6th I also sent for the Rev. J. H. Copleston, the rector of West Buckland, to come and visit my son, as he was very ill.  Whilst he was with Mr Slader the deceased told me that he (Mr S.) knocked him about, and kicked him, but he did not say when, and he gave me no particulars of his having been ill-used.  His head was in a dirty state, and when he was undressed I found that he had some sores about him.  He was removed to Leary in a spring cart, by Mr Slader, and had a nurse with him.  I walked, and got to Leary a few minutes afterwards.  Whilst he was at Mr Slader's, during the interval between my being sent for and his being conveyed to Leary, I visited him daily. On the Sunday I and Mrs Slader had some conversation as to whether he should remain in bed, and whilst I advised that he should not get up, Mrs Slader said she thought he had better come downstairs for a little time.  When I visited the house on the Monday I found him up and sitting by the fire, at which I was somewhat surprised.

Mary, wife of Wm. Wonnacott, labourer, of Leary, deposed:  On the 6th inst., by the direction of last witness, I went to Mrs Slader's for the deceased, accompanied by MRS WREFORD.  The deceased was in bed when we arrived, and Mr Slader dressed him and brought him downstairs, and a cart having been got ready, he was brought to my house.  He remained with me up to his death, on the 13th inst.  Whilst with me he stated that Mr Slader had knocked him and kicked him.  He had a wound on his back, and another on his pin bone.  When he was brought to my house I found that his head was very dirty.  I also noticed the appearance of a scald about his right leg.

Rebecca Rice, single woman, of East Buckland, deposed that she had long been accustomed to visit at Mr Slader's, and had frequently seen the deceased there, but had never seen him ill-treated either by Mr or Mrs Slader.  It was not true that he ate potato-skins - at least she never saw him, for there was no lack of food.  She never saw the deceased either struck or kicked by anyone of the household.

Mr T. Sanders, surgeon, Southmolton, gave evidence as follows:-   On the 6th inst. a message was left at my house for me to visit THOMAS WREFORD on the following day at Mrs Wonnacott's.  I went accordingly, and found him in bed.  He was of weak intellect:  I found him suffering from disease of the left lung, a large wound on the lower part of his spine, and a scald on the outer side of his right leg, about midway between the knee and the ankle.  He had also other sores about his legs, but none of importance.  His mother called my attention to the fact that he had vermin in his head and beard.  My partner, Mr Furse, saw him on the 10th, and on the 12th, the day before his death, I again visited him, for the last time.  I have this day made a post mortem examination of the body, and have ascertained that death resulted from disease of the left lung, together with the wound on the spine, both of which combined to produce exhaustion.  The wound had the appearance of a bed sore, such as might have been produced by his lying long in one position.  He should have had medical aid some time before I was called in.  The wound had evidently not received proper attention.  The disease of the lung has been developing itself for, I should think, the last three or four months, and it was sufficient of itself to cause death.

The Rev. J. H. Copleston was next sworn, and deposed:-  I knew the deceased as a young man of weak intellect but of good education.  I had not seen him for some months until the afternoon of the 6th inst., when I went to Wonnacott's house, having been communicated with, and found MRS WREFORD and Mrs Wonnacott undressing the deceased.  They drew my attention to his condition, and I saw him almost naked, and examined his body and helped him to bed.  I was quite shocked at his having been removed in such a state of weakness without medical advice having been sought.  I heard from his mother that she had only lately been informed of his illness, and that she had desired to have a doctor to him at Mr Slader's, but that she was not allowed to have either a nurse or a doctor to him, for the reason that they "were not going to have their house ranged by nurse or doctor."  The indignation the mother and Mrs Wonnacott felt at the time was very marked.  I was myself horrified at the condition the deceased was in, although I honestly confess I did not think he would die so quickly.  I saw one very bad wound at the base of the spine.  There were other marks on his body, including one considerable wound and some scalds on the legs.  His mother accounted for the scalds, but she remarked that she was surprised to find him out of bed when she went to Huxtable one day.  The head of the deceased looked very filthy; there was a little blood in one of the ears, and the skin altogether testified that he had been irregularly cared for.  I asked the deceased how he got his wounds, and he did not seem to be able to say.  I then asked him if he was ever kicked, and he said he was, and in reply to a further question he said he was sometimes struck with a stick.  I asked him if Farmer Slader struck him, and he said, "Yes."  I then asked him whether they had ever hit him over the head with a stick, and he said, "Yes," and when I asked him what kind of a stick it was he said it was an ash stick.  I asked him  if, when Farmer Slader dressed him, he ever cuffed him with his hand, and he replied in the affirmative.  I gathered that I was called in so pressingly from mixed motives, one of which was a clear wish on the part of the friends of the deceased that I should share their indignation at the neglect the deceased appeared to have suffered.  I left the deceased, who was being well cared for. On the 9th instant his mother told me that though he might get better his lungs were diseased, and he could not survive very long.  I had to leave home, and heard nothing more of him until Thursday morning, when I was informed that he was dead.

Mary Ann Holloway, dressmaker, of West Buckland, deposed that she knew the deceased, having worked for Mrs Slader for the last six years.  The last time she saw the deceased was about a month ago, when she dined and supped at Mrs Slader's.  The deceased took his meals with the family, and ate heartily.  She had always seen him treated as one of the family.

John Cole, farmer, Northmolton, deposed that he knew the deceased.  He was taken ill on the 25th ult,, but ate heartily on that day.  Witness was also present when he was taken away, and helped up him in the cart.  He never saw Mr or Mrs Slader ill-treat him, but he was treated quite as if he were a member of the family, and took his meals with them.  Witness was able to speak as to the general treatment the deceased had received, for since he (the deceased) had been living with Mr Slader he had visited the farm two or three times a week.

Willie Ward, in the service of Mr Copleston, deposed that a day or two before the deceased was taken to Leary John Slader, son of the deceased's employer, aged about nine years, told him they were obliged to chain the chamber door in order to prevent the deceased from getting at the pigs' potatoes and eating them.

Frederick Wonnacott, son of the Mr Wonnacott at whose house deceased died, gave exactly similar evidence, after which Sarah, wife of Wm. Ridd, labourer, West Buckland, deposed that she washed for Mrs Slader and had done so whilst the deceased was living there.  He always had plenty of food whilst she was there, and all the members of the family had seemed very kind to him:  she had never heard Mr or Mrs Slader give him an angry word.  She had been at Mr Slader's house once a fortnight.

George Vesper, labourer, West Buckland:  I knew the deceased.  On the day before he was taken from Mr Slader's house I was sent to Mr Slader's with a note from MRS WREFORD to him.  Mr Slader was not at home, and I waited in the kitchen for his return.  The deceased was seated by the fire.  He was looking thin.  I asked him how he was, when he said he was very poorly, and had been so for about a fortnight.  He further said he had been wet in his feet a good bit, and that that was how he got thin.

Thomas Slader, who volunteered his evidence, and gave it after having been duly warned by the Coroner that he must take the responsibility of any statement which incriminated himself, deposed:  The deceased resided with me from the 26th March last until the 6th inst.  I always treated him kindly, and looked after him as much as after myself.  He took his meals with my family, and always had plenty to eat, and had the same kind of food I had myself.  I swear that I never ill-treated him in my life.  The reason I would not allow a doctor or a nurse to come to the house was because my wife, who suffers from heart disease, was ill, and she could not attend to him if he continued in the house; and therefore I wanted him removed.  I did not communicate earlier with the deceased's mother because she was going about to different places and I did not know where to send to her.  I never saw my wife beat or otherwise ill-treat the deceased, and have never heard her say that she has done so.  As to the wound on the lower part of his spine, I think it probable it may have been caused by his coming down a ladder backwards, which was his invariable way of descending.  Or it may have arisen from his reckless riding whilst taking the horses to and from the water.  I have remonstrated with him because of his coming down the ladder backwards and have asked him to be more careful in taking the horses to water.  He was very hearty, and would eat as much again as any other man, and for the last two months there was no satisfying him.  I never locked or chained him in his room.

This being the whole of the evidence, the Coroner summed up, and remarked that he considered Thomas Slader had been guilty of great neglect towards the unfortunate deceased, and that from the weakness of his intellect he should have received more instead of less attention than persons of sound understanding.  The Jury then returned an Open Verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 7 March 1878

STOKE RIVERS - Death By Drowning. - An Inquest was held on Monday last, before John H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, at Barnacott, in this parish, the residence of Mr John Tamlyn, on the body of JAMES LEWORTHY, of West Buckland, carpenter, about 60 years of age, who was found drowned in a quarry not far from Barnacott farmhouse on Sunday morning.  Deceased worked for Mr Tamlyn, and came to Barnacott on Saturday to make preparations to begin on Monday to build a cottage.  After remaining for three or four hours he left about half-past three to go home, and does not appear to have been seen alive afterwards.  The next morning (Sunday), as Mr Tamlyn was out for a short walk, he came to a gate about 300 yards from his house which led to a quarry.  He stopped to look in, and in the water at the bottom of the quarry, which was about three feet deep, he observed something which looked like a man's jacket, and on going near and touching it the face and hands of a man appeared, and he saw that it was the deceased, who was quite dead.  He went home and sent to the adjoining parish of Bratton Fleming for the constable (John Vodden), who came, and with the help of William Turner (one of Mr Tamlyn's labourers) they got out the body and had it removed in a cart to the barn, there to await an Inquest.  There were bad bruises on the face, head, and legs, and blood about the stones, which, no doubt had come from the bruises.  In the pockets were sundry little carpenters' tools, with some other trifling things, and a purse in which was ½d.  P.C. Vodden confirmed Mr Tamlyn's evidence, described the wounds, the most considerable of which was a deep one in the right side of the forehead, said he had traced footmarks in several parts about the quarry corresponding to deceased's boots, but no others, and that he had given information to the Coroner.  - Mr Henry Jackson, of Barnstaple, surgeon, deposed that he had examined the body, on which he found several wounds, such as might have been received by falling on the stones into the quarry, but none of which was so serious as to have caused death.  He had no doubt deceased had fallen on the edge of the quarry, by which he had received the injuries, and had been unable to get out of the water, which was not above three feet in depth, and so was drowned.  The policeman further deposed that, in a field adjoining the quarry, in a bog into which deceased had probably fallen, he had that morning picked up a hat, which Mr Tamlyn believed to be the one deceased was wearing when last he saw him alive.  The Jury found an Open Verdict of "Found Drowned in a Quarry Pit."

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - On Tuesday Mr R. I. Bencraft, the Borough Coroner, held an Inquest at the Bristol Inn, on the body of HARRIETT BARNES, aged 47, a widow who had lived in a  tenement in the Bristol Inn Court, with a daughter and two sons, and who had died suddenly on Monday afternoon.  When the Jury went to the house to view the body it was found that the deceased and her children had been living in a state of dreadful destitution.  Almost the only article in the house which could be placed under the denomination of furniture was an old bed, the covering of which consisted principally of dirty rags; and on this the deceased, her daughter, aged 16, and who is in an advanced stage of consumption, and her two sons, aged severally fourteen and eleven, had been in the habit of sleeping.  The first witness called was Charles Penrose, who described himself as a musician.  He deposed that he lived a few doors from the house occupied by the family of the deceased.  He had known the unfortunate woman ever since she came to reside in the court, two years ago.  She was a widow, with a daughter and two sons, one of whom worked at Mr Brady's factory, and the other for Mr Lock, butcher.  The deceased earned her living as a charwoman.  On Monday morning she fetched some wood in a hand cart from Mr Brady's.  She then appeared to be in her usual state of health, except that she complained of a pain in her side, in consequence of which she asked for a little brandy, and had some given her by a neighbour, Mrs Greenwood.  About half-past two in the afternoon he was told that the deceased had fallen down, and on going up the court he found her lying under the window, moaning and unconscious.  Mr Cooke was sent for, and arrived in two or three  minutes.  The invalid daughter was in bed in the kitchen, and she cried out, "Oh, my poor mother!"  The deceased died, and her body was removed to the stable close by, and shortly afterwards the daughter was removed from the bed and the body placed thereon.  The poor woman had occasionally complained of want of food, and witness's wife had given her a cup of tea and other things.  The deceased was of a quiet disposition.  - WM. BARNES, the elder of the two sons of the deceased, deposed that he worked at Mr Brady's, and earned 3s. per week.  His father, who was a mason, died about ten years ago, at Southmolton, and they came to Barnstaple four years ago, and had lived in the Bristol Inn Court two about years.  His brother JOHN attended the Holy Trinity School, and was not earning anything; but his sister, MARY JANE, was in receipt of 5s. a week from the parish.  They had only one bed, which was in the kitchen, the bedrooms not being occupied.  On Monday he went to work as usual, but was sent for about three o'clock, and then found that his mother was dead.  She had been an out-patient at the Infirmary for about three months.  They had three meals a day, and were never in want of food.  His mother was a temperate woman, and used to spend what money she obtained in procuring the necessaries of life for herself and family.  - Mr J. W. Cooke, the parish surgeon, deposed that he had known the deceased about four years, during which time he had been in constant attendance on her daughter, who was in a decline.  He had never attended the deceased professionally.  She was a delicate woman, but appeared to be able to work, and was out of doors a good deal.  He found the deceased outside her house on the previous afternoon, supported by the witness Penrose.  She was dead, but still warm.  He had examined the body, and from the evidence he was of opinion that she had over-exerted herself in the morning, and that her death was caused by syncope.  He had no reason to suppose that her death was the result of other than Natural Causes.  The Jury did not think a post mortem examination necessary, and returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 14 March 1878

TORRINGTON - Sad Case Of Suicide. - On Friday morning last, shortly after 10 o'clock, considerable excitement was caused by the intelligence that MRS JANE BASTARD, wife of MR JOHN D. BASTARD, fishing tackle maker, adjoining the Market-place, had committed suicide by hanging herself.  It was soon ascertained that the rumour was true, and great sympathy was expressed for the bereaved husband and his family in connection with the unfortunate occurrence.  A telegraph message was sent to Mr Toller, Deputy Coroner, Barnstaple, and the Inquest on the body of the unfortunate deceased was appointed for Saturday last, at noon.  A respectable Jury, of which Mr H. L. Mallet was foreman, was chosen, and by request of MR BASTARD the Inquest was held on his premises.  The Jury having been sworn, they, with the Coroner, proceeded to view the body, after which they proceeded to the spot where the rash act had been committed, and on their return the following evidence was taken:-  Mary Jane Isaac, sworn:  I am a domestic servant to MR JOHN DENBOW BASTARD.  I knew the deceased, JANE BASTARD, the wife of the above MR BASTARD.  On yesterday morning I was in her bedroom.  She was then in her bed very quiet, and did not speak to me.  I had taken up her breakfast about half-past eight.  When I had given her her breakfast she told me to go down.  I was the last person that saw her alive.  She used to be calling all day and night long, and was constantly talking to herself, and my opinion was that she was not in her right mind.  - JOHN DENBOW BASTARD (who appeared deeply affected), on being sworn, stated that his deceased wife was 63 years of age.  He did not consider her in her right mind.  She was for ever calling loudly, so that he could hear her all over the house.  On Friday morning, just before 10 o'clock, some one came to his shop for him to go on Castle Hill and look at the state of the water in the river, and he accompanied him.  He was not away above five minutes, and when he returned he met his daughter in the passage, and she said to him - "We cannot find mamma."  He then went up into the bedroom and looked under the bed, but could not see her.  He then searched every room in the house, but could not find her.  He had not known her to stand by herself for more than 12 months, and therefore thought it extraordinary she should have left her bedroom.  He pursued his search, and at last found her in a  loft at the back of his premises, hanging by a rope to a beam (there was a chair close by, with a shawl thereon, and a pair of shoes on the floor).  He scarcely knew what he was about, and screamed with fright.  He lifted up the deceased, and the rope came off her neck.  He carried her back to her bedroom, not knowing whether she was dead or no, and sent for a doctor.  (In order to get to the loft, the deceased had to walk through a landing and a long passage which led into a back room, and from thence down over a flight of stairs into a back house, from which she ascended two flights of stairs before the loft could be reached.)  In the loft there happened to be a rope attached to a beam as a swing for children, which had been there for a considerable time.  A chair was also kept there to be used by the servant when she had to put clothes there for drying.  The rope had been thrown twice round the beam by the deceased, who must have then stood on the chair, made a loop in the rope, put her head through, and swung herself off the chair.  - Edward Sutcliff, M.D., deposed as follows:-  The deceased was a patient of mine, and had been so since October, 1876.  She took to her bed about January, 1877.  She was suffering from heart disease and from noises in her head and ears.  In February, 1877, she became quite melancholy.  She believed she was so wicked that she was quite lost, and refused all food for some days.  I then explained to her that if she would not take her food I must have recourse to the stomach pump.  Since that time there had been no trouble with her about taking her food.  At that time she was in a very weak and exhausted state.  She had from that time become stronger, and required more watching, and had remained in that state down to the present time.  I told MR BASTARD that she needed watching, and two women were engaged for that purpose.  I have seen her occasionally.  I was sent for about 10 o'clock yesterday morning.  I found her body in bed, perfectly dead, but not cold.  She had a double mark of the rope in her neck which corresponded exactly with the way in which the rope was hanging to the beam.  In general, insane persons have extra cunning and extra strength.  Her state of mind was such that of my knowledge, and by my direction, everything was kept out of her way whereby she might take her life.  I have not the shadow of a doubt but she came to her death by hanging, and that all care was taken of her.  - This being the whole of the evidence, the Coroner remarked that this was a sad case of self destruction.  It was the duty of the Jury to ascertain what state of mind she was in at the time of committing the rash act.  The evidence seemed very clear on that point, and he thought they would have no difficulty in coming to the decision that she was not of sound mind.  - The Jury at once gave their verdict, "That deceased came to her death by hanging herself, being at the time of Unsound Mind."  Before being discharged the Jury unanimously desired (through the foreman) to express their sympathy with MR BASTARD and his family.

SOUTHMOLTON - Shocking And Fatal Accident. - A sad accident happened here on Monday last to a man named RICHARD SAXTON, who worked for Mr John Greensalde, of Rowley, Romansleigh.  It appears the man had been sent to the town for a load of manure, and was returning with a wagon and two horses, heavily laden.  He was observed to be the worse for liquor, and Mr Cole, of the Unicorn Hotel, sent his man (Tibbs) to go with him out of the town.  They proceeded down South-street, through Mill-street, and on arriving near the Cemetery the deceased man SAXTON persistently refused to allow the other to drive.  In his attempt to take the reins the horses were pulled on one side, and the wagon struck against the kerb, when both men were thrown out.  Both wheels of the wagon passed over the poor fellow SAXTON, and Tibbs was severely shaken.  Mr C. Bridgman, who with his servant was in his field bundling hay, observing the accident, immediately ran to the man and carried him to the Mill-lane tollgate and fetched medical aid.  The poor fellow was so injured, however, that he died in about a quarter of an hour afterwards.  He leaves a widow with a child at her breast, and several other children, to mourn their loss.  After the accident the horses, which were a very sprightly pair, started off, and by miracle almost turned the corner at the tollgate without any damage, and were not stopped until they had gone almost a mile out of town towards Alswere, their road home. An Inquest was held on Tuesday last before the Borough Coroner, James Flexman, Esq., and the following Jury:-  Messrs. J. E. Eldridge, J. Hodge, J. Sanders, W. Kingdon, C. Blackmore, W. Huxtable, J. Trawin, S. Ashelford, H. Nutt, Hugh Selley, W. Brayley, and G. Bater.  Mr J. Hodge was chosen foreman.  Having been duly sworn, the proceeded to view the body, which was lying at the Mill-lane tollhouse.  Having done so, the first witness called was Mr C. Bridgman, of the Star, who deposed:  I did not know deceased personally, but about a quarter to half-past two on the 11th March I was in the Star field, adjoining Mill-lane, bundling hay, and I saw deceased and Tibbs in a wagon drawn by two horses, which was laden very heavily.  Deceased was standing on the shafts on the near side, and the other on the off side.  Deceased had the reins of the fore horse and Tibbs the hinder one, and it appeared that Tibbs wanted the reins of both.  The horses appeared very restless.  Deceased pulled the horses close to the Cemetery wall, and Tibbs pulled them out again, when a few yards further on they came against the opposite side of the kerb, but I could not say which pulled the horses that side, and being in the field side I could not see the wheel go over deceased, but was informed by Mr T. Wilmetts that both were thrown out.  I immediately went out over the hedge, and saw both men lying on the ground.  I went and helped up the deceased, and asked Tibbs whether he was injured, when he said he did not know.  I could see that the wheels had been over deceased's body, and I said to several people that were there that he would be sure to die, and that they had better take him to the turnpike gate, and I would fetch the doctor, which I did, and returned with Mr Furse.  He was alive when I returned, but could not speak.  By the desire of Mr Furse I went and got some brandy.  From the time that the accident occurred to his death was not more than a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes at the utmost.  - John Earle deposed:  I reside in Southmolton, and on Monday I was in Mill-lane with some bread.  I heard some horses and a wagon coming which sounded as if they were coming fast and heavily loaded.  The road was fresh coated.  I thought I would wait till they were passed, and then walk in the road.  I stopped and looked round, and saw two men on the shafts of the wagon.  They appeared sitting on them, and while I was looking at them the wheels struck against something and both men were thrown off.  The deceased fell under the wheels of the wagon, which appeared to go right over his chest.  I ran over to the turnpike porchway, and I called on Mr Huxtable and said, "I believe the man is murdered."  I told Mrs Hodges at the gate I expected something would be brought in, and then returned to where the accident occurred and saw Mr Bridgman and T. Wilmetts, and Tibbs lying on the ground, and I asked Mr Bridgman whether Tibbs was hurted, and helped deceased to the turnpike, but did not remain until he died.  - William Tibbs deposed:  I reside in Southmolton, and work for Mr W. Cole, at the Unicorn Hotel.  I knew the deceased well.  I saw him yesterday, about ten o'clock, with his horses and wagon.  I said, "Where are you going?"  He said, "After some manure, but I don't know where.  I shall see master directly."  I returned to the garden to work, and did not see him again until he returned with his wagon loaded about the middle of the day.  I helped out the shaft horse and put it in the stable, and he fed them, and went away, I believe, after some errands, and did not return, I should think, for half an hour.  I then went and gave the horses some water with him, and he went away again, and did not return for half an hour more.  He then said, "I shall make away home."  I said, "RICHARD, I don't think you are much fit to go home.  I will go part way with you."  I and Mr Cole's other servant man put the horses in the wagon, the deceased being able to do but very little.  About this time Mr Cole came out in the yard, and told me I should go home with him, as he was not fit to go with the horses, he having drank a little.  Myself and fellow servant led the horses out of the yard, the deceased following holding the reins in his hand, and when he got to Mr Sanders's he got on the shaft of the wagon by himself, and, having a new ship which he began to snack, the horses went down South-street at a stiff pace, but deceased pulled them up at the bottom of South-street opposite Mr Bennett's, where he had two new halters, which he said were paid for.  We again started, and I asked him again to give me the reins, and told him to get up on the top of the wagon, but he said, "I will not.  I can drive myself."  We went on, and by his still snacking the whip the front horse got very restless, and wanted to go.  When we came near the Cemetery he pulled the horses across the road, and drove against the kerb of the footpath; that caused a jerk, by which we were both thrown off.  I got up as quick as I could, and when I came to myself I saw Mr Bridgman and Mr Johnson's man, whom I asked to ride after the horses, they having started off.  The deceased was picked up by Mr Bridgman and others, and they told me to go after the horses.  I got over to them down by the mile post, Mr Johnson's man having caught them.  I only had one three pennyworth of gin, which was given me by the deceased at Mr Eldridge's, and it was all I had for the day.  - Mr W. Cole deposed:  I reside at the Unicorn Hotel, and have known the deceased SAXTON, for several years.  I saw him yesterday about ten o'clock.  He wanted some guano of me, and Indian corn of Mr Vicary.  I said, "Just come out in the malthouse and see some barley I am working."  I said, "You will load both the corn and the guano at Mr Vicary's."  He said, "Very well, I will do it at once."  I offered him a glass of beer, which he accepted, and that was all he had in my house for the day.  I saw him again between one and two o'clock.  Tibbs told me he did not think deceased was fit to go with the horses.  I went out in the yard, and saw SAXTON, and said, "Well, DICK, what's the matter?"  He said, "Well, master, I don't feel very well."  I told him he had been drinking, but he replied that he had not had much.  I asked him to come in and rest himself, when he replied that he could take care of his horses.  He seemed obstinate.  I went to the garden where Tibbs was working, and I told him to try and keep him, and if he could not then he should see him home and take care of the horses.  I heard the horses were put in, and saw then come out of the yard, Tibbs being on one side and SACTON on the other, who was not capable of managing a pair of horses, and it would not have been right of me to have let him go without someone with him, as he staggered along, and I halloaed to Tibbs, and asked him to stop, and as he would not come back I made him get up and ride, and watched them out of sight.  I never saw the deceased the worse for liquor but once, and that was some six or seven years ago, although I frequently saw him at my house.  - E. Furse, Esq., surgeon, deposed:  I reside at Southmolton, and was sent for to go to the Mill-lane gate about half-past two to visit the deceased.  I went immediately, and found the deceased seated in a chair, supported by two or three men.  He was pulseless, and was evidently dying.  I immediately removed him to a mattress on the floor, and endeavoured to give him some brandy, which he was not able to swallow.  I remained with him about a quarter of an hour, when he died from internal injuries, produced by the wheels of a heavily laden wagon passing over his body.  - The Coroner summed up the case, and said he had not the least doubt from the evidence that the deceased was the worse for liquor, and when men were like that they were apt to be very obstinate, and he must say Mr Cole had done all he could to see him home safe, and he should think it was purely an accident.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  - The Jury gave their fees to the poor widow of deceased.

Thursday 28 March 1878

BRIXHAM - Death At Brixham From Excessive Drinking. - Mr Michelmore, County Coroner, held an Inquest on Monday at the Waterman's Arms, Higher Brixham, on WM. STONE, aged 36, a stonemason.  From the evidence of Sarah Ann Green, with whom deceased lodged, it appeared that STONE came home on Saturday at eight p.m. very tipsy, and asked for a light, which was given him.  He then went to the closet, and not returning for a quarter of an hour or so, Mrs Green sent her daughter to see what he was doing, and she found him lying insensible on the floor.  She called STONE'S father, who was in the house at the time, and he was taken into the back kitchen, and placed on the floor, where he was allowed to lie until eight o'clock the following morning.  As he then shewed no signs of returning consciousness, he was taken up and put to bed.  Mr Searle, the parish doctor, was sent for, but on his arrival the man was dead.  Deceased had, it was said, for many years been given to habits of intemperance.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased died from an apoplectic fit brought on by excessive drinking, and the Coroner severely censured the conduct of the lodging-house keeper, and also the father, for their gross neglect in allowing the deceased to lie on a cold floor so many hours unattended, either by them or any medical man.

CRUWYS MORCHARD - Fatal Accident. - On Wednesday Mr Crosse, County Coroner, held an Inquest at Cruwys Morchard on the body of a lad, about 15, named WOOD, whose parents reside in St Andrew's-street, Tiverton.  WOOD, it seems, was in the employ of Mr Abel Blake, of Sidborough Farm, and on Saturday morning had ridden to Tiverton for a load of lime, which he took to his master's farm at Cruwys Morchard.  While returning from Cruwys Morchard to Sidborough during the afternoon, it appears the unfortunate lad fell from the waggon, the wheels of which passed over his head, causing instantaneous death.  The horses proceeded on their journey, and the lifeless body of WOOD was a short time afterwards found on the roadside by some passers-by.  A verdict was returned in accordance with the above facts.

Thursday 11 April 1878

BIDEFORD - Sudden Death Of An Infant. - On Monday night last, an Inquest was held before the Borough Coroner, Dr Thompson, to Enquire into the cause of death of the infant child of MR THOMAS PADDON, joiner, Willett street.  It was one of those cases, the Coroner remarked, that are happening all over the country.  The mortality amongst infants under 12 months of age was immense, and amongst a class who, if possible, were too careful of their children, and show their affection by wrapping and in some instances smothering them under their bed clothes.  The weaker the child was the more liable that was to happen, so that a weak and delicate child would often succumb when a stronger one would live through it.  The Coroner said he made these remarks, not that there was any evidence to show the child in the present instance had been smothered, but rather as a warning to parents generally.  - From the evidence of the father it appeared the child had been ailing for two months past, and a fortnight since some medicine was obtained for it from a medical man, who did not see the child. Deceased had a bad cough, and his wife and himself thought it was whooping cough.  On Saturday night last they retired to bed about 12 o'clock, witness taking the child up from the cradle and depositing it on the side of the bed by his mother.  The child was never laid between them.  The child then took the bottle.  On account of its being unwell they kept a light burning, and about 4 a.m. he awoke and saw the child, which was quiet and appeared to be asleep…  About 8 a.m., however, he was awoke by his wife's screams, who stated the child was dead.  He at once arose and went for Mr Cox.  The child at that time was cold and stiff.  A neighbour was examined who afterwards washed the child, and she deposed that the child was well nourished and free from bruise.  Verdict, "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 18 April 1878

FREMINGTON - Drowning Of A Child. - A fatal accident occurred at Muddlebridge, in this parish, on the afternoon of the 16th instant, to a little boy aged about four years, called CHAS, COWLER, son of a labourer.  The little fellow was playing with another child on the banks of the stream at Middlebridge, when he accidentally fell into the water.  His companion went home and told what had happened, and the parents and others immediately repaired to the spot which the child described, but could not see the body.  On the drags being brought, however, it was soon recovered, but too late to save life, which was quite extinct.  An Inquest was held on the body the next day (Wednesday), before J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, when the above facts were deposed to, and a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" was returned, and the Jury having viewed the spot found it to be in a dangerous state from not being sufficiently fenced, and recommended that the attention of the directors of the London and South Western Railway Company, who are the reputed owners, should be called to the subject with a view to the fence being made secure.

LANGTREE - Death Of A Child By A Scald. - An Inquest was held in this parish on Monday last, by J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on view of the body of an infant child, 14 months old, called PHOEBE ANN BRADDON, daughter of WILLIAM BRADDON, labourer, who died on Friday last from injuries received from her clothes taking fire on the 14th last month.  The statement of the mother was that, on the day last named, she had to go to her mother-in-law's for milk, and left the deceased in the doorway of her cottage.  She returned without the milk, and had not been absent more than three minutes, when she found the child by the fire with its clothes burning.  There was very little fire on the hearth.  She wrapped her clothes around the child, and easily put out the fire.  She saw the child was burnt about the left arm, under the chin, and a little under the right arm. She did not think the injuries serious, and on her mother-in-law's coming in with the milk she looked at the burns, and then went to get some application to be made to the burnt places.  The child seemed to be easy and to get better.  On Thursday last, however, she seemed to be getting worse, and the mother shewed her to the doctor, who looked at the injuries, and said the scald in the arm was enough to make her very bad, and that he would send out some oils, which he did the next day, but the child sank and died within ten minutes of the oils being brought into the house.  She should have shewn the child to the doctor earlier if she had supposed there was any danger.  - The mother-in-law, HARRIET BRADDON, gave corroborative evidence, and said her daughter-in-law was a most careful mother.  The Jury expressed regret that earlier recourse was not had to medical assistance, but returned a verdict of "Accidental Death by Burning."

Thursday 25 April 1878

BUCKLAND BREWER - Fatal Accident To A Farmer. - We regret to report that an accident, which was immediately fatal, happened on Tuesday evening last, about half-past five, to MR THOMAS CLEVERDON, a farmer of this parish, aged 54, occupier of Gorwood Farm.  He had been to Bideford market, and was riding a young and rather spirited horse.  He left early in the afternoon, having, it is feared, drank too freely.  He set off from Bideford up the street at a very fast pace, and was seen in the road still riding almost at the top of the horse's speed.  He had reached a placed called Moorhead Hill, in the parish of Littleham, about four miles from Bideford, and was descending the hill at a furious rate, when he seems to have become alarmed, and to have contemplated throwing himself off the horse, (being unable to pull him up,) for he disengaged his feet from the stirrups, but, before he could jump off (if such was his intention), he was observed to fall heavily on to the road upon his head.  A person whom he had passed on the road was soon on the spot, and came to his assistance, but the unfortunate man was beyond human aid.  He had fallen on his head, and inflicted a terrible fracture of the skull, from which death must have been instantaneous.  Deceased has left a young widow, but his family by a former wife are grown up.  An Inquest will be held on the body.  Deceased had ridden the horse to Bideford market for sale, and had succeeded in disposing of it to Dr Thompson.  He stipulated, however, that he should be allowed to ride it home; and, although dissuaded from doing so, he persisted, with the sad result above described.

SILVERTON - Fatal Railway Accident. - A terrible railway fatality occurred at Silverton on Thursday last.  MRS DREW, wife of MR J. M. DREW, of the Bridge Paper Mills, Silverton, was waiting at the station, on the up-platform, for the arrival of the down train, by which she expected some friends.  A few minutes before five o'clock she left the up-platform, where she had been in conversation with Mr Garland, gardener to Sir Thomas Acland, and crossed the line to the down-platform.  Almost immediately after she had crossed, the approach of the 4.45 up north-mail from Exeter, which does not stop at Silverton, was signalled; and as it was nearing the station Mr Garland and the Silverton station-master were horrified to see MRS DREW in the act of re-crossing the line.  They did their utmost, by shouting and motioning to her, to warn her of her danger, but she apparently did not observe them.  The engine of the train struck the unfortunate lady before she could get out of the way, and her body was frightfully mutilated, death being of course instantaneous.  The remains of the deceased were collected and placed in one of the waiting room, under the direction of Mr Mears, the district superintendent, who hastened to the scene by special engine, on receiving a telegraphic announcement of the accident.  Subsequently, under the supervision of Sir Thomas Acland and a medical man, the shattered body was removed to the residence of MR DREW, for whom the deepest sympathy is entertained on account of his bereavement under circumstances so distressing. - An Inquest was held on the remains on Saturday.  After evidence of the accident had been given, the foreman said the Jury were decidedly of opinion that death was purely Accidental.  At the same time, they suggested that it would be advisable that the Railway Company should do away with the level crossing, and provide other means for the public crossing the line.  At the present time there was no waiting-room on the down-platform, and as this train was fifty minutes late, MRS DREW must either have waited this time on the platform or have crossed the level crossing again to get to the waiting-room.  They suggested that the level crossing should be done away with, and that accommodation should be provided on the down platform.  The Jury also desired to express their sincere sympathy with MR DREW and his relatives at the loss they had sustained by this most disastrous accident.  The Coroner said he was very glad to hear the recommendations of the Jury, in which he quite concurred.  A verdict of "Accidental Death," and acquitting the railway officials from all blame, was then returned.

VIRGINSTOW - Suspicious Death. - A Coroner's Inquiry was held on Wednesday, at Two Slough, Virginstow, 10 miles south-east of Holsworthy, on the body of ANN JENKINS, house-keeper to Mr Harris, who died suddenly on Sunday night last, under circumstances reported in our last.  Mr Richard Tapley, solicitor, appeared on behalf of the parents of the deceased, and Mr C. Vicary Bridgman for Mr Harris.  The body having been identified by the father of the deceased, the same witness stated that his daughter, who was 23 years of age, had been housekeeper with Mr Harris for over a year.  He saw her last Michaelmas, when she appeared in her usual health.  At that time she was not engaged to anyone, but was in correspondence with a man named Johns.  The witness had since heard that his daughter was enciente.  -  Mary Perkins, a servant in the employ of Mr Harris, stated that the deceased appeared to be in her usual health on Sunday night.  Witness occupied a room between the rooms of the deceased and Mr Harris.  She heard both go to their respective rooms shortly after ten o'clock, and about midnight she heard a moaning noise proceeding from the room occupied by the deceased.  The moaning or groaning was repeated, and witness got up and went to the room.  She spoke twice to the deceased, but receiving no reply, went and lit a candle, and again went back.  Still receiving no reply to her question as to what was the matter, she became alarmed, and roused Mr Harris, who came at once.  He inquired what was wrong, and lifted the deceased in the bed, but she said nothing, and died after drawing one or two breaths.  Medical aid and the assistance of the neighbours were called in as soon as Mr Harris became aware that something serious was the matter. - Mr Thomas Harris, who tendered himself as a witness through Mr Bridgman, corroborated the statement of the previous witness.  - Dr Ash, of Holsworthy, said that about 2.30 on Monday morning last he was called to the house of Mr Harris, and on arriving there found the deceased dead.  He had not known her before, and when he saw her she had apparently been dead about three hours.  He saw that her skin was much discoloured, and on examination discovered that she was pregnant.  From further observations, and from what he heard, he came to the conclusion that she had not died from natural causes.  The result of a subsequent post mortem examination was a discovery that the bowels were much distended from gases.  There were no marks of external violence, and the organs were uniformly healthy; but the gullet at the back of the throat was red and congested, its lining membrane raised and stripped off, and this condition extended to the stomach, which was more or less inflames, one large black patch being almost gangrenous.  The intestines were similarly inflamed.  In the stomach, mixed with some partly digested food, were large quantities of coarsely powdered leaves.  The appearance in no way corresponded with any known disease, but were those of some acrid poison.  The deceased was between six and seven months advanced in pregnancy, and instruments had evidently been used.  - Police-sergeant Thomas Stone deposed to finding certain herbs in decoction, and a portion of yew tree stepped as tea; also some pills in a pocket belonging to deceased, and some powdered dry leaves. - Dr Ash pronounced the herbs produced to be Irish yew, cyprus and juniper, and the powder to be the leaf coarsely powdered.  It corresponded with the substance found in the stomach.  The use of these herbs was well known, and he had no doubt they had been the cause of death.  - Mr Edward T. Pearse, who assisted at the post mortem examination, corroborated the evidence of Dr Ash, and fully concurred in the opinion expressed by that gentleman.  The Coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict that the deceased had administered to herself the noxious poison which caused her death.

Thursday 2 May 1878

BUCKLAND BREWER - The Late Fatal Accident. - An Inquest was held on Thursday last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner for the County, at Gorwood Farm, in this parish, on view of the body of MR THOMAS CLEVERDON, yeoman, aged 52, who was killed by a fall from his horse, when returning home from Bideford the previous Tuesday, as described in a  paragraph in last week's paper.  The Jury having viewed the body, William Williams, farm labourer, of Littleham, deposed that he was on the road returning from his work on the day in question, about six o'clock, when the deceased passed him at Moorhead hill, in Littleham, galloping to the top of the horse's speed.  Witness knew the deceased very well and the horse, which was a spirited one.  Saw that he was trying to stop the horse, but he could not succeed in doing so.  After he had passed witness about six landyards the hat of deceased fell off, when he seemed to let go the bridle and tried to get off from the horse, in doing which he fell heavily on his back with his head down the hill.  He was about twelve landyards from witness when he dropped. Witness ran to him instantly, and found blood flowing from his mouth very fast.  He did not move in the slightest degree, and witness believed him to have been quite dead when he got up to him.  Rebecca Scoynes, wife of Robert Scoynes, of Littleham, farm labourer, was in the road when deceased fell, and went with witness to his help.  Witness got some straw and laid deceased on it by the road side and threw a bed sheet over him. Mrs Scoynes remained by the body while witness went for his master, Mr William Heywood, of Littleham Court, who came at once, and with him Mr Durant, of Ford farm, Buckland Brewer, who took the deceased home in his cart.  Deceased had the reputation of being given to drink, but witness should not have said he was drunk by his way of riding just before the accident, although he had since heard that he came out of Bideford the worse for liquor.  Rebecca Scoynes corroborated the last witness.  She did not think any man in his sober senses would ride in the way deceased was riding.  There were some little boys on the hill who had great difficulty in getting out of his way, and so also had witness herself.  - Harriett Marshall, of Buckland Brewer, deposed that she was present at Gorwood Farm when deceased was brought home dead on Tuesday last.  Dr Thompson of Bideford, was sent for, who examined the body in presence of witness, and pronounced that death had been caused by injuries received to his head by the fall.  - Verdict, "Accidental Death."

Thursday 9 May 1878

BARNSTAPLE - Shocking Death At The Barnstaple Brewery. - On Friday evening, Mr Incledon Bencraft, the Borough Coroner, held an Inquest at the North Devon Infirmary on the body of WM. REDSTONE, aged 32, who, after some hours of intense suffering, had died at that Institution the day before from scalds received through falling into a vat of boiling wort at the Barnstaple Brewery.  After Mr Cummings had been chosen foreman of the Jury, and the body had been viewed, Mr Arthur Barrett deposed that he was manager of the Barnstaple Brewery, and lived next door to it.  The deceased was an indoor labourer, and had been employed in the Brewery about twelve months, as witness believed.  On the previous morning the deceased was attending to the various processes of brewing, and witness saw him at least every half hour all the morning up to one o'clock.  At that time he left him in the Brewery, still at work, and went to have his dinner.  Just as he had commenced dinner, another of the men called his attention to a leakage in one of the vats, and witness returned to the Brewery to direct the deceased to empty the vat as soon as possible.  He then returned to his meal, leaving the deceased busily engaged in one of the upper rooms.  He was quite sober, and it was no fault of deceased that the vessel was leaking, and witness believed that the accident which cost him his life occurred through his hurry to prevent the mischief arising from the defect in the vat.  Witness had only just sat down again when the servant girl ran into the room saying that someone in the Brewery was crying "Murder!" and as soon as she opened the door he heard someone screaming.  He went out as quickly as possible, and at the door of the Brewery met Mr Ford, the tailor, living near, who also had been attracted by the cries.  They ran upstairs and found the deceased lying down in a room in the top storey, groaning and crying out because of his pain.  He said he had tumbled into the wort, but witness was so much agitated that he could not now remember the details of the unfortunate man's statement.  There was, however, but one vessel into which he could have fallen, and that contained several barrels of boiling liquid, to a depth of 18 or 20 inches.  It was heated to about 190 or 200 degrees.  They took some of the deceased's clothes off, and wrapped him in a blanket, and Mr Ford fetched him some brandy.  They carried him downstairs and then took him straight to the Infirmary.  He said in reply to a question, that his head was immersed, as well as the lower parts of his body, but witness thought that could not have been so.  The probability was that he stepped backwards through the open trap-door into the vat - a distance of about four feet, and that only the lower part of his body was immersed, the scalds on the chest arising from the splashes which followed the plunge.  the trap door had been opened purposely, as it was sometimes; of course if it had not been open the accident would not have occurred.  A Juror mentioned that the deceased told his wife that he had opened the trap-door to let out the steam from the vat, and that he went away from it to do something, and afterwards stepped backwards through it.  - Mr Barrett added, in reply to a question, that the trap-door was about 2ft. 6in. square.  - Mr Samuel Ford deposed that shortly after one o'clock on Thursday he heard a man screaming in the Brewery, and at once ran there, meeting the last witness as the latter had stated.  He could corroborate what Mr Barrett had said.  The deceased was perfectly sober, and quite sensible.  He said the pain he was suffering was dreadful.  - Mr J. W. Cooke said he was sent for about half-past one to the Infirmary, in the absence of the House Surgeon.  He found the deceased in bed in the accident ward.  He was undressed, and the nurses were applying oil and cotton wool to the wounds, which was the right thing to do.  He found that the deceased was severely scalded over the greater part of the body, the head and face only being free from injury.  He was very much collapsed, and was evidently in great pain.  They had already given him some brandy.  Witness ordered him a  composing draught, and very soon afterwards the house surgeon came in, and witness left him to his care.  He did not at the outset think the deceased would recover, the shock being so serious, and the injuries so extensive.  He was quite conscious, but witness did not question him much, as he feared it might distress him.  - Mr Kay, house surgeon, deposed to finding the deceased in the condition described by Mr Cooke.  Witness saw him several times.  He partially rallied in the afternoon, but the shock was too severe, and he died about twenty minutes past ten at night.  Mr Harper saw him during the evening.  - The Coroner said it did not appear that anyone was to blame, nor that any blame attached to the poor man himself, for he, no doubt, fell through the trap in the manner described by Mr Barrett.  Perhaps it was incautious to work so near the opening, with boiling liquid underneath, but still men had done it, and did it every day, and it could not be called culpable negligence, though it was not the wisest thing to do.  He understood that the deceased, whom he believed to be a well-conducted man, had left a widow, but no children.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," to which was added a rider to the effect that they considered that a grating or some other protections should be placed over the trap door of the vat when it contained boiling liquor. 

BARNSTAPLE - Death From The Rupture Of A Blood Vessel.  -  A startling case of sudden death occurred on Saturday afternoon, in Joy street, the unfortunate subject of it being JAMES BOSSEN, a mason, about forty-five years of age, who lived in Vicarage street.  He suffered from asthma, and seems to have had a fit of coughing as he was going home from his work, for he ruptured one of the blood-vessels of the lungs, and in five minutes from the time that attention was attracted to him by his staggering gait in the street he was dead.  Some time ago he left this neighbourhood and went to Wales, with his wife and children; but in consequence of the slackness of trade there he has recently returned to Barnstaple, and as he had left his family in the Principality he was lodging at a house in Vicarage-street. An Inquest was held on the body in the Council-chamber of the Guildhall on Monday evening by the Borough Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft.  Mr T. Baker having been elected foreman, the Jury proceeded to the cottage in which the deceased lodged to view the body.  This unpleasant duty having been performed, the Jury returned to the Guildhall.  The first witness was James Hicks, foreman of works in the employ of the Town Council, who deposed that about ten minutes past four on Saturday afternoon he was in Joy-street, and saw the deceased, whom he knew well, outside the Co-operative shop.  Saw that he was staggering, and that he discharged some blood from his mouth, and then he beckoned to witness to come to him.  Witness at once ran and took him by the arm.  Deceased endeavoured to speak, but could not.  Mr Bushell, the draper, came up and took him by the other arm, and they assisted him to Mr Bushell's side door.  Mr Bushell released his hold on him in order to open the door, when the deceased slipped down on to this knees, and froth coming from his mouth witness became alarmed.  Before this a Mr Lee had taken him by the arm, and witness got someone else to support him on the other side, and then left to fetch Mr Fernie, whom he met in company with Mr Bushell.  Mr Fernie had the deceased removed to Mr Seldon's malthouse.  Witness's impression was that the deceased died when he slipped down on his knees.  That was about five minutes after he first went to him. - Mr Andrew Fernie deposed to being fetched by Mr Bushell to see a man who was very ill outside his door.  He found the deceased on his knees in Joy-street, supported by some men.  Frothy blood was issuing from his mouth, and he appeared to be unconscious.  Witness had him removed to Mr Seldon's malthouse, where his mouth was wiped, and his clothes loosed.  Several large clots of blood came from his mouth.  He gave two or three convulsive gasps, and never moved afterwards.  His heart was not beating, and he had no pulse, and witness believed he died before he was carried to the malthouse. From the haemorrhage and other symptoms, and from what witness had heard, he believed that death ensued from the rupture of a blood-vessel of the lungs, which were in a diseased condition.  He had not been in attendance upon the deceased, but had heard that he suffered from diseased lungs.  He did not appear to have been drinking.  - Mr Partridge, chemist, of High-street, deposed that the deceased, who was in the employ of Mr Bowden, had been working on his premises for the last ten or twelve days.  He was a steady, respectable man, and suffered a good deal from asthma, which witness believed he contracted while working in Wales.  A few days ago he remarked, "If the Lord knew how much I suffer He would take me home."  On Friday morning it rained heavily, and after working in it until about ten o'clock the deceased said he could stand it no longer and he must give up. On Saturday morning, when the weather was fine, he again came to work, and said that kind of weather suited him.  He left work at four o'clock on Saturday afternoon, and was then quite sober.  His intention was to go out to Swymbridge, where his father lived.  -  The Coroner remarked that he knew how soon death supervened after the rupture of a vessel, an instance of it having recently occurred in his own family.  He could not help saying that this borough very much needed a mortuary, with which most large towns were now supplied.  He and the Jury had found the body in a small bedroom, up a very narrow staircase, and the effluvium they had to encounter as they approached the room was something intolerable; and if the corpse remained there two or three days longer he did not know what might not happen to the inmates of the cottage.  The stench was so great that it was as much as they could do to get into the room, and it had made him and some of them feel quite ill.  He had before now expressed the opinion that in this town amongst its public conveniences there should be a building in which dead bodies might be deposited, so that the living might not be injured by the dead.  He should bring the subject under the notice of the proper authorities, and hoped that this obvious want would be supplied.  - The verdict of the Jury was to the effect that death was the result of Natural Causes.

ILFRACOMBE - Fatal Accident. -  On Saturday evening last a little girl, three years of age, named BESSIE WYBRON, while playing outside of her parents' house in Fore-street, which is situated upon a bank some 15ft. high, fell off into the road beneath, and received such injuries as resulted in her death.  She was picked up in an insensible state; and notwithstanding that medical aid was secured, she died shortly after nine o'clock.  The poor child appears t have fallen upon her head, as death was caused by concussion of the brain.  - An Inquest was held before J. H. Toller, Esq., concerning the child's death, at 5 p.m. on Monday evening, at Mrs Gardner's refreshment house, Fore-street.  - Mr J. Jones was appointed foreman of the Jury.  - The first witness examined was the mother of the deceased child, MATILDA WYBRON, who deposed that deceased was three years old on April 28th.  On Saturday evening last, about six o'clock, she was playing outside the house, which stands on a bank situated in Fore-street.  Witness cautioned her several times not to go near the railings, or she would fall.  Shortly afterwards witness saw her near the railings, and called her to the door.  Deceased then went in after her doll, and witness went upstairs to make the bed.  She looked out of the window once, and saw the child playing on the steps outside Mrs Rowe's house, and called her back.  - (The Coroner here asked witness why she did not keep the child in, as the place appeared to be very unsafe?  - Witness replied that she could not always keep her indoors.  The Foreman said it certainly was not a safe place for children.  - Mr Fry, one of the Jurymen, said, "Nor for grown up people either, if they should be top-heavy.")  - Witness then proceeded to state that she then went and finished her bed, when she heard a lot of people talking in the street, and heard a little boy say, "Little BESSIE has fallen over."  She then ran downstairs and took the child in her arms from some person, but was so frightened she did not know who it was.  Witness then carried deceased into the house, and sent for medical aid.  There was a severe blow on the left side of the head, and when Mr Gardner arrived he said the child was in great danger, and must be kept quiet.  He came down again about 9.30 p.m., when deceased was dying, and she died while he was there.  In answer to the foreman, witness said deceased was on the bank by herself, and she had no reason to suppose that anyone pushed her.  The height was about 15 ft. - P.C. John Shepherd was sworn, and stated that about 6 p.m. he was standing at the police station door with another constable, when he saw something fall into the road.  He said to the other constable, "A child has fallen from the bank," and ran to the place; but a woman named Pile crossed the road and picked the child up and handed it to the mother before he arrived there.  The child did not move after it fell, and did not make any noise until it was taken into the house, when it moaned.  Witness saw deceased was much injured, and told them to send for a medical man.  He then saw Mr Stoneham in his trap driving up the street, and asked him to look in.  Witness well knew the scene of the accident and considered it a dangerous place for young children:  while the present railings remained another accident was likely to happen.  Two similar accidents had happened previously. The foreman said he did not think the mother was entirely free from blame, as before going upstairs she should have taken the precaution to put the board up at the door.  Mr Fry said he thought no blame attached to the mother.  there was no back door, and the front was the only place to get air.  The blame was to live in such a place.  Mr Davey considered the principal blame attached to the owner of the property.  After some further conversation, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and appended a note recommending the owner to put better protection to prevent a similar accident in the future. The Jury gave their fees t the mother of the child.

Thursday 16 May 1878

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest AT the Union Workhouse. - On Saturday evening Mr R. I. Bencraft, the Borough Coroner, held an Inquest in the Board room of the Union Workhouse upon the body of MARY LEY, an old woman of 80, from Braunton, who had died the day before a few hours after her admission to the House, under circumstances which decided the Guardians that an Inquiry should be held.  The Jury were kept waiting for half an hour through the non-attendance of Robert Oatway, described as a carpenter, of Back-lane, and they were unable to proceed with the investigation until the Coroner's officer had gone out and found a substitute, who was forthcoming in the person of Mr S. G. Maunder, schoolmaster, who was elected foreman.  the Guardians were represented by their Clerk, Mr W. H. Toller.

Having explained to the Jury the circumstances under which they had been summoned, the Coroner said that if they found from the evidence that there had been any negligence on the part of those who removed the deceased to the Workhouse, or if it were shewn to be an improper thing for her to be so removed at all, they would not hesitate to censure the persons who were responsible.  After the body had been viewed, Mr Richard Vicary, relieving officer, gave the following evidence:-  I know the deceased, MARY LEY, who was a widow, living at Nethercott, Braunton. She was chargeable to the Common Fund of the Union, and in receipt of 3s. 6d. per week.  She has been on the books a number f years - long before I became relieving officer.  When I first went into the district - about two and three quarters years ago - she had 2s. 6d. a week.  On Saturday last, the 4th inst., her daughter-in-law, ANNE LEY, came to me at Braunton, and said it was impossible for her to keep the deceased any longer, and asked for an order for her admission into the House.  She remarked that the deceased was very troublesome from her infirmity, being bedridden.  I told her I could not give her an order before I had seen Mr Lane, the medical officer of the district, and asked him if the deceased was in a fit state to be removed.  I and MRS LEY met Mr Lane just outside the reading-room, and when I asked him if he thought it would be dangerous to remove the old lady to the Workhouse, he said that he did not think there would be any danger if she were removed carefully that day.  It was then about ten o'clock in the morning.  - The Coroner:  Did he mention that day?  - Witness:  Yes, and he directed that she should be taken in a spring cart, with a bundle of straw in it, and that she should be well wrapped up.  On the strength of that I gave MRS LEY an order for the House, and she promised to take her mother-in-law in the same day.

MRS LEY:  No, sir, begging your pardon:  I was afraid I should not be able to get a horse and cart.

The Coroner:  You mustn't interrupt.  (To Mr Vicary):  Now be careful.  Just recollect whether MRS LEY promised to remove the deceased at any particular time?

Witness:  I directed her where to go to get a horse and cart.

The Coroner:  And did you understand that she would remove her the same day?

Witness:  Certainly, sir.

The Coroner:  Well, I'll put it "as I understood."

Witness:  I further told her I would, on behalf of the Guardians, bear every expense that was incurred.  On Wednesday last I came to the Workhouse with an old woman, and on looking at the book was surprised to find that the deceased had not then been brought in.  The last time I saw her was about a month ago.  She has only been at her son's house about that time.  She was in bed when I saw her, although not completely bed-ridden then , I believe.  She did not appear to be suffering from anything but old age.  She fetched her allowance herself every week up till about eight weeks ago.  She was very deaf.

Mr Bater:  Has any application been made for more pay?

Witness:  An application came before the Board from the daughter-in-law on the 26th April for more relief, and the Guardians took the case into consideration, and thought that as the old lady was living with her son 3s. 6d. was a sufficient allowance.

In answer to further enquiries it transpired that GEORGE LEY, the son of deceased, was a labouring man, with ten children, only three of whom, however, lived at home.  The amount of out-relief generally given was 2s. 6d. per week, but that was exceeded in certain cases.

Mr Toller:  Is not 3s. 6d. liberal relief?

Witness:  Yes, sir, for a single person living out of the House.

Mr Toller:  Do you happen to know what the cost of paupers in the House is?

Witness: Two and ninepence and a fraction, I believe.

ANNE LEY, the daughter-in-law, was next examined, and in reply to questions from the Coroner she deposed:  - The deceased, who was 80 years of age, came to my house about a month ago from Mrs Counibear's house, at Braunton.  She was then bedridden, and was filthily dirty, being black and smutty with dust from the chimney in her bedroom.  That was the reason I had her at my own house.  At first she was always sick after eating, but that stopped about three or four days after I took her.

Q.  Did you keep her in a better state?  - A.  Of course I did:  that was why I took her away from Mrs Counibear's.  I made application for further pay, because it was a lot of trouble to keep the deceased clean, as she was bedridden, and I told Mr Vicary I and my daughters had nearly worked ourselves off our legs washing.  My house consists of two bedrooms and a kitchen.  I put the deceased in the smallest bedroom, by herself, for there was not room in it for another bed, and my children were obliged to sleep in the room with me and my husband.  They are a boy, who is 12 years old, and two girls aged nine and seven.  I told the deceased I should be obliged to put her into the Workhouse, and she didn't at all mind:   she said she knew the people there and they knew her.  She had been there before - about twenty years ago.  I and my husband brought the deceased in to the House last Thursday, in a horse and cart.  It was not a spring cart, but one which is used for hay and straw. I got it from Mr Elliott's, my husband's master.  We put plenty of straw into the cart, a dust bed-tie, which was as good as any feather bed, and a feather pillow for her head, and we wrapped her up very carefully with plenty of shawls, sheets, counterpanes, and other things.  She seemed to be as well as at any time since she had lived with us:  if she had been at all worse I should have gone to Mr Lane before removing her.  She did not appear to be at all weaker than usual.   It was a splendid day.  We started about one o'clock and got to the Workhouse about four.  We took her in our arms and carried her upstairs into the sick ward, and she was put to bed.  I put a sixpence into her hand and wished her good-bye, and she shook hands with me.  She did not complain, and did not seem to be sinking when I left her.  - Q.  Why didn't you take her in on the Saturday?  A.  Because my husband's master wasn't at home, and I didn't know where else to get a cart.  - Q.  Did you promise Mr Vicary to take her in on the Saturday?  A.  I could not have promised, because I didn't know for certain.  On Monday it was very wet all day.  On Tuesday they were very busy, and master thought we had better leave it till Thursday.  - Q. Then you mean to say your husband was unable to get a cart to bring her in until Thursday?  A.  Yes, sir.  - Q.  Did you try anyone else besides your master.  A.  I was so busy myself that I was nearly worn out.  - Q.  When did Mr Lane last see her?  A. About eight or ten days before the Saturday.  - Q.  Did he know you were going to remove the deceased?  A.  Yes, on the Saturday.  I went to him before I went to Mr Vicary.

By the Foreman:  What Mr Lane said to me was that the sooner the deceased was removed the better.  He also said that that was a fine day, and I replied that I could not promise for certain to take her in then because I was not sure of getting a horse and cart.  - Q.  Did he say you were to take her in that day?  A. He said, "It is a fine day, if you could take her in today."

In reply to further questions, the witness added:   The deceased's appetite did not fail her.  I am not aware she suffered from any particular disease.  She told me once that Mr Lane had said he thought she had the liver complaint, but he never told me that.  She supposed it was that that made her so hungry. On the Thursday she had a fried rasher and bread and a cup of tea.  She preferred a rasher to bread and butter.  Then she had some broth for her lunch, and another rasher for her dinner, and a cup of tea, and I gave her some brandy before putting on her clothes.  The rashers were not very large ones.

Mr Lane, medical officer of the Braunton d strict, deposed:  I have known the deceased for many years, and have been in attendance upon her lately.  This day week Mr Vicary asked me if she was in a fit state to be removed, and what he has said is perfectly correct. I saw her last on the 23rd of last month, and she then seemed to be much better than when at Braunton, for she was kept in a dirty, filthy state there.  At her son's, however, she was kept exceedingly clean.  When Mr Vicary spoke to me I asked last witness if her mother-in-law was as well as when I last saw her, and as she replied affirmatively, I replied, "If that is the case you can remove her."  We mentioned the names of several persons of whom she could get a spring cart, that of Mr Lamprey amongst others.  I didn't know that the deceased was not brought in on the Saturday until last evening.  LEY came to me and said she was taken in on the Thursday, and she died on Friday morning.  He said she was not worse on the Thursday morning than she had been.  - Q.  If she had been removed on the Thursday do you think it might have been without danger to her life?  A.  I fancy so from what last witness told me of her condition.  - Q. I suppose you can hardly give an opinion as to whether her allowance - 3s. 6d. - was sufficient?  A.  I don't know, but there was no great expense.  I twice ordered her brandy when she was at Mrs Counibear's.  She was kept remarkably clean by her daughter-in-law, and had every attention paid her.

Mr J. W. Cooke deposed:  I am surgeon at the Workhouse.  I came here on Thursday afternoon, about four o'clock, to visit the inmates, and saw the deceased, who had just been brought in, lying on a bed in the sick ward.  She was in a most exhausted state, and did not appear to take nay notice of her surroundings, but lay with her eyes closed.  I understand, however, that she was very deaf, so that that may have been the cause of that.  I ordered her some brandy, which I believe she had, and I understand she had had some before I arrived.  I am informed she died early the next morning.  - Q. From the state she was in did you think it right that she should have been brought in that afternoon?  A.  When I saw her I did make the remark that I thought it a pity she should have been brought in.  - Q.  Did she speak at all?  A. No.

Mr Lane:  She was so deaf that you could hardly make her hear anything you said, and it was her habit to keep her eyes closed.

The Coroner:  What is your opinion as to the cause of her death?

Mr Cooke:  I believe she died from exhaustion, consequent upon old age.  I could not tell whether she was suffering from any disease.  - Q.  Do you think her death was hastened by her journey?  A.   I have no opportunity of judging, because I did not see her before her removal.  It might have been, and on the other hand she might have died the same if she had been left at home.  No doubt it was a long journey for her to be brought in such a weak condition; but though death might have been accelerated, the probability is that she would not have lived long.

Maria Rowe, nurse at the Workhouse, deposed:  I was present when the deceased was brought in, and I assisted to take her to the sick ward, where she was carried by the porter.  I think it was between three and four o'clock.  She was taken to the infirm ward and placed on a bed.  She could not be undressed because she was too much exhausted. I gave her some brandy and water, but she didn't take very much.  She began to revive somewhat soon afterwards, and spoke to the other nurse, whom she knew.  I saw her again in about an hour and a half.  She then had a little tea to drink.  I last saw her alive about eleven o'clock that night, when she was in a comfortable sleep. She did not complain, and was almost too weak and exhausted to do so.  I let her lie about an hour and a half before I had her undressed.  I left her during the night with Betty Ley, who soon after six on Friday morning came to my bedroom and told me that the deceased was dead.  I at once ran to the beside and found that she was dead, but not cold.  - Q.  You have had some experience as a nurse:  can you tell us what was her condition when she arrived?  A.  I told the woman I did not think she would live very long.  I also said it was a pity she should have been removed in that condition.  I certainly thought she was too weak and too ill to be removed.

Elizabeth Ley, an inmate of the House, who acts as assistant-nurse, and who at the close of her evidence mentioned that the deceased was her aunt, deposed:  After she had lain quiet some time she asked if she had come to the Workhouse.  I said she had, and she then said, "I thank God for it."  She lay a little while longer, and then asked after one of my sisters…  She said nothing more for several hours.  I remained in a room next to the infirm ward all night.  About half-past three in the morning she called to me and asked me to turn her over on to the other side.  I did so, and gave her some brandy and water.  She slept for some time longer and then again asked to be turned over and also asked for some water, which I gave her.  She then lay until about half-past six, when she once more asked to be turned over, and directly I had turned her over she died.  She recognised me, but made no complaint that she had been brought in.

The Coroner said that was all the evidence that it seemed necessary to take. Having enumerated the principal facts which had been revealed, he said it was a pity that the deceased was not removed on the Saturday, in accordance with Mr Lane's directions, and it was also to be regretted that as the delay had occurred - for which the Jury had heard MRS LEY'S reasons - Mr Lane was not called in to see the old lady on the Thursday, for he might then have altered his opinion as to the advisability of removing her.  There had evidently been a little want of judgment on the part of the daughter-in-law, but it did not amount to culpable negligence.  No doubt death was accelerated by the journey, but still there was every reason to believe that in any case it would not have been deferred very long.  Whilst there was no culpable conduct on the part of anyone, he thought that the Guardians had taken quite the right course in communicating with him; and it was as much for the benefit of the relatives as well as in the public interest that an Inquiry had been held, for otherwise all kinds of unpleasant rumours might have been circulated.  He thought the Jury must come to the conclusion that death was produced by exhaustion, arising from extreme old age, and it was for them to consider whether it was right to add a rider to the effect that it was to be regretted that the daughter-in-law did not at once remove the deceased or, after the delay, call in Mr Lane.  As to the allowance the Guardians had made her, 3s. 6d. might at first sight seem to be a very small amount, but it would purchase more food than a person in her condition was likely to consume, and her relatives did not want to get any profit.  And, of course, she had the alternative of admission into the House, where she would have been much better cared for and enjoyed more comforts.  It was, no doubt, the best thing that could happen to her that she should be taken into the House, and that seemed to be her own opinion, judging by her remark to the witness, Elizabeth Ley.  After a very short consultation the Jury returned an Open Verdict to the effect that Death arose from Extreme Old Age.

Thursday 30 May 1878

GOODLEIGH - Suicide Of A Labourer. - An Inquest was held in this parish on Saturday last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on view of the body of RICHARD LANCEY, a labouring man, aged about 50, who had committed suicide in an outhouse near his dwelling on the morning of that day.  The evidence of Wm. Way, an old man of 84, who was the first to find deceased, was to the effect that that morning, about half-past seven, he went out to get some sticks to light the fire, and in a shippon in the village close to his house he saw the deceased, whom he had known very well.  He seemed to be standing up, and his face was a little on one side.  He did not move or speak, and witness went over to him, and then found that he was hanging by the neck from the rung of a ladder.  He was quite dead and cold.  Witness gave an alarm, and the neighbours came and cut the body down.  Witness had remarked that deceased had not been in his usual spirits for two or three weeks past.  - James Norman was one of those who came to cut down the body.  The rope was round his neck, with a knot just under his left ear.  With the assistance of others, he carried the body to the house of deceased close by.  Witness had not seen him for near a fortnight.  - John Tucker, publican, deposed that he last saw the deceased on the previous Saturday, when he was at witness's house.  He was very low, and complained of pain in his head.  - AGNES LANCEY, wife of deceased, deposed that the last time she saw him was on the Wednesday morning before his death, when he had his breakfast, and went, as she supposed, to his work at Mr Phillips's, Stoneyard Farm, but she had since found he did not go there.  He had been in a very low state lately, and complained much of pain in his head, which, he said, was more than he could bear.  She believed he was not in his right mind when he committed the rash act.  He had been wandering about since Wednesday, where she did not know, and she had given information to the police on the Friday, after having herself made every inquiry for him.   This being all the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased had committed suicide while in an Unsound State of Mind.  It came out that the deceased had of late been drinking to great excess.

SHEEPWASH - Burnt To Death. - An Inquest was held on Tuesday, before Mr Coroner Fulford, on the body of MARY ELIZABETH BALSDON, about two years of age, only child of a labourer.  The mother was busy preparing supper when the child took up a benzoline lamp to light it.  The lamp fell a little on one side, when the oil ran out in a stream of fire on the child's clothing, scorching her face, left arm, and leg.  Mr Rouse, surgeon, was soon by the sufferer but she died the next day.  It being purely accidental, a verdict was returned accordingly.

Thursday 6 June 1878

EXETER - The Fatal Accident At The Exeter Queen-Street Station. - On Thursday afternoon, Mr W. H. Hooper, City Coroner, held an Inquest at the house of Mr James Cornish, the Topsham Inn, South-street, Exeter, to investigate the circumstances attending the death of SAMUEL LATHAM, who was accidentally killed on Wednesday evening at the Queen-street Station of the London and South Western Railway (as reported in our last).  The deceased was 22 years of age, and resided at 33, Hanover-street, Pimlico.  He was a grocers' assistant, employed at the Naval and Military Cooperative Store, in Queen-street, Westminster.  He was a native of PARRACOMBE, Devon, and respectably connected, his relatives being resident at Pilton, near Barnstaple.  Recently he had an illness of seven weeks' duration, a severe attack of rheumatic fever, and in his convalescence he had obtained medical advice for ophthalmia and haemorrhage.  Having written to his relatives for money, he informed them that he would come down into the country until he had somewhat recovered his health.  Accordingly, on Wednesday morning he left the Waterloo Terminus by the nine o'clock train, and arrived at Exeter about 1.37 p.m.  Later in the afternoon he went to the telegraph office at the station, and was then in such a confused and irresolute condition, that he was unable to write a telegram.  The clerk in charge wrote for him, and out of five telegrams which were written, three were forwarded to Mrs Batchelor, with whom he lodged, in Hanover-street, Pimlico. After this he obtained his luggage from the cloak-room and went towards the Post Office, but immediately returned by the path leading down to the station from the Queen street bridge.  It is believed that his intention was, before returning to London, to see his brother and brother-in-law, who are in the employ of Messrs. Chaplin and Horne, at the goods station.  In crossing the line at the level crossing only used by the company's servants, instead of going over the bridge, he was knocked down by one of two horseboxes which were being brought by an engine from the siding at the other side of the bridge.  Three wheels passed over him, and a fourth rested upon him.  All the bones of the chest were smashed, and death must have been instantaneous.  Mr W. D. Stamp, surgeon, of the Royal Albert Hospital, Devonport, was in the train, and examined the unfortunate man's injuries.  Inspector Rogers had the man placed upon a stretcher and conveyed to the Devon and Exeter Hospital, where Mr Roper made a further examination of the dreadful injuries which had been sustained.  The letters found in the pockets of the deceased let to the discovery of his friends.

A Jury of eighteen having been sworn, of whom Mr George Coles was foreman, they proceeded to the Hospital to view the body.  On their return, ELLEN LATHAM, of Brampford Speke, said that the body of the deceased was that of her late brother SAMUEL LATHAM, who was 22 years old last birthday.  He was a native of Parracombe, Devon, and resided at 33 Hanover-street, Pimlico.  He had been employed as a grocers' assistant, at the Naval and Military Co-operative Stores in Queen-street, Westminster.  She did not know that he was in Exeter until she was informed of his death.  Last time she saw him was a twelvemonth ago last September, at Brampford Speke.  At that time he was in good health.  In reply to a Juror, the witness said she had been in correspondence with her brother up to last week, when he said he had been in ill-health and thought about coming home soon, but did not say when.

Mr Wm. Davey, of Pilton, remarked that he was an uncle of the young man.  Mrs Davey saw him a month ago. At that time he had been suffering for seven weeks from rheumatic fever, but had gone to business again.  His aunt noticed that he was looking quite ill, but there was nothing to affect the young man's mind that they were aware of.

Robert Crispin, porter at the Queen-street Station, said he was on duty on the down platform at 6.20 on Wednesday evening.  The down train was divided into two parts, and the engine went down into the field for two horseboxes.  As they were coming into the station with the horseboxes he was riding with one foot on the step of the van and the other on one of the horseboxes, when he saw someone cross behind the tail part of the train.  The horsebox nearest the station rose up, and a voice called out that there was somebody under the wheels.  The driver was signalled to stop.  The man was then pulled out from under the wheels and laid on the ground.  He appeared to breathe two or three times.  A stretcher was procured and the man was removed to the Hospital.  Three wheels had gone over him, and the fourth was upon him.  At the time of the accident the horseboxes were being moved at the rate of only four miles an hour.

Thomas Robert Loveless, telegraph clerk at the Queen-street Station, said that at 1.45 the deceased came to write a telegram out, and was about five minutes writing his name and address - S. LATHAM, Exeter."  Seeing that he was in some difficulty, he asked him if he wanted to send a telegram.  The man said, "Yes, but I feel so confused."  Witness offered to write it for him, and did so.  The telegram was addressed to a Mrs Batchelor, of 93, Hanover-street, London, and stated, "I have arrived in Exeter safely."  He then left the telegraph office, but came back again in four minutes' time, after the telegram had been despatched, and wished to send another telegram to the same address.  It was written out for him, and stated, "I shall return to London by the next train."  It was paid for and forwarded.  About a quarter-of-an-hour after, he came to the office and said he did not know what to do, but he thought he would send another telegram, saying that he would stay here for three or four weeks.  After this was written out for him he stood reading it for about four or five minutes, when he said, "I shan't send it, but stay here."  He did not pay for it, and left the office.  In about twenty minutes' time he came again, saying that he had made up his mind to return to London after all.  It was written out for him; he read it, and then said after all he would not send it.  Witness asked him if he was in trouble. He blushed and said "No."  Eventually he said, "I feel as if I'm in a trance."  At three o'clock he came again and said he wished to send another telegram to the same party, and it was written out for him, saying that he should remain in Exeter for three or four days, and if Mrs Batchelor wanted to reply she was to telegraph to Queen-street Railway Station.  Deceased left the office, and returned to the station about half-past five, but witness did not see him until about 6.15 or 6.20 p.m., walking very slowly from the station towards the Post Office, as if he was in thought, looking rather pale and down-hearted.  At half-past five o'clock a reply for the deceased was brought by a Post Office messenger, and handed to him by a clerk.  Witness's impression was that the man was thinking a good deal, but he could not say that he was of unsound mind.

Inspector Rogers said the reply was to the effect that the man had better stay in the country a little while longer until his health was better.  He could not find the telegram on the body, but had seen a copy of it.  He produced a document which shewed that the deceased had attended an hospital.

Mr Roper, surgeon, after examining the document, said it had reference to ophthalmia.  Mr Davey said his nephew had written to say that he was almost blind of one of his eyes.  The Coroner then examined Mr Davey as a witness. He said that two months ago his wife went to London, and saw her nephew at the Co-operative Stores, on the first day he had returned to business after a seven weeks' severe attack of rheumatic fever.  He was then somewhat recovering.  A letter had been received from him, stating that he had been laid up ever since, and he really wanted some pecuniary assistance.  Money was sent him, and he was advised to come home, as it would be better for his health.  After some time he replied that he would have answered the letter before, but had been suffering in one of his eyes from haemorrhage, bleeding at the nose as could be seen he had still, as his handkerchief was saturated with blood.

Inspector John Rogers, inspector of police in the employ of the London and South Western Railway Company, said that at 6.20 p.m. on Wednesday he heard  someone shout, and saw the deceased under the wheels of the horsebox at the extreme end of the platform.  Deceased was taken up, and witness had him put upon a stretcher and taken to the Hospital.  A medical man, Mr W. D. Stamp, of the Royal Albert Hospital, Devonport, was in the train, and on examining the man, expressed an opinion that he was dead.  At the Hospital he was searched, and on him there was found a quantity of letters, with the address of his sister, "MISS LATHAM, Brampford Speke," a pencil case, two rings, two studs, three postage stamps, £3 in gold, £1 0s. 6d. in silver, 10 ¼d. in copper, two pawnbrokers' duplicates, a silver watch, and a chain.  His portmanteau and bag were at the station.  The duplicates referred to an Albert-chain and another article, pledged in Westminster and at Clapham for £1 and 15s.  The portmanteau contained some medicine in bottles.  The portmanteau and bag had been handed to his friends.  From inquiry he believed that the deceased came by the nine o'clock train from London, which would bring him to Exeter about 1.37.

Mr C. H. Roper, one of the surgeons at the Devon and Exeter Hospital, examined the body immediately upon arrival.  He found that all the bones of the front of the chest were smashed in, his collar bones, breast bone, and ribs were crushed, but the skin was not broken.  It was quite obvious that death must have been immediate.  The paper found on him showed that he was suffering from one of his eyes; and he had probably not sufficiently recovered from a bad attack of rheumatic fever to bear the fatigue of travelling.

The Coroner told the Jury that the facts were before them, and it was for them to say whether the death had been accidental.  Mr Davey remarked that the deceased had a brother and brother-in-law at the Queen-street goods station, and probably he was going over the line to see them.  Inspector Rogers said they were most respectable men, employed by Messrs. Chaplin and Horne.  The Coroner said this was most important, for it showed that the man had an object in crossing the line.  There could be no blame, under any circumstances, to the Company, for they had notices posted that nobody must cross the line except at the foot bridge.  The Jury intimated that their unanimous opinion was that the death of the deceased had been purely Accidental.  The Coroner said he thought that was a proper verdict - that was his idea of it.

APPLEDORE - Child Murder And Desperate Attempt At Suicide.  Verdict of Wilful Murder.  -  The town of Appledore, at the mouth of the rivers Taw and Torridge, was on Sunday morning thrown into a considerable state of consternation by the news that a young woman named ANNIE BERRY SYDNEY, the wife of a seaman, living in New-street, had not only made two attempts to drown herself and her infant child, but had afterwards succeeded in depriving the infant of life by cutting its throat with a table-knife.  The poor woman, it appears, has been in a very weak state since her last confinement, six months ago, and at times has acted in a strange manner, and has been very incoherent.  The services of two medical men had been obtained for her, and these gentlemen suspected her sanity, and were only waiting for positive evidence of mental derangement to have her removed to a lunatic asylum.  That evidence is now forthcoming; for there can be no doubt that she would never have become a matricide but for insanity.  Since the committal of the dreadful deed the poor woman has been in bed in a weak state, partially owing to her immersion in the water.  She is at present in the custody of the police, and will be brought before the Magistrates at Bideford as soon as she is well enough to be removed.

An Inquest was held on the body of the infant on Monday, at the Bell Inn, Appledore, by the Deputy Coroner, J. H. Toller, Esq.,  and a respectable Jury, of whom Mr George Baker was the foreman.  Each witness was examined by Superintendent Rousham, of the Devon Constabulary. 

The first witness called was Georgina Cawsey, a girl of 18, who deposed that she was servant to Capt. Tatem, residing at the Marine Parade, Appledore.  On Saturday last, at 7.20, she was cleaning the front door of the house, and on going to throw the dirt she had swept up into the water she saw MRS SYDNEY and her baby, the former being up to her breast in the water.  Witness said, "What are you doing here so early in the morning?"  She replied, "I am going to drown myself."  Witness said, "No, come up."  She said, "No, I'm going to drown myself and the baby."  Witness said she would fetch her (MRS SYDNEY'S) mother, to which she replied, "If you go for my mother I will go further into the water."  The baby was in her arms at the time.  She made a move to go further into the water, and witness ran and called assistance, and she was taken out.

Joseph Lamey, a seaman, belonging to the smack Charlotte, deposed that on Sunday morning, about half-past nine, he was on board the Charlotte, which was lying on the beach near the Bell Inn slip, when he heard a Mrs Blackmore screaming that a woman was in the water.  He looked and saw MRS SYDNEY up to her hips in the water.  In her right hand she was grasping hold of a mooring chain, and one side of her head was under water.  He jumped from the side of the vessel, but by that time his brother had reached her and was assisting her out of the water.

Charles Lamey, a seaman, brother of the last witness, deposed that on Sunday morning he was on the beach about half-past nine o'clock, near the Bell Inn Slip, when he heard his brother call out that there was a woman in the water.  He ran towards her, and found it was MRS ANN SYDNEY.  She was then above her knees in water.  He caught her round the neck and asked her to rise, and then lifted her up.  She said, "Stop a minute:  let me fetch myself."  A young man named Wm. Hobbs asked her where the baby was, and she replied, "Dead in bed."  He then assisted her home to her mother's house.

MARY ANN TATEM, a widow, the mother of MRS SYDNEY, was next examined.  She said her daughter was 26 years of age, and the wife of THOMAS JOHN SYDNEY, Appledore, mariner.  For the last six months she had been very weak, and had been under the treatment of Dr C. Pratt up to the present time.  She was very quiet, and her spirits were low, but witness had not observed any signs of insanity.  On Saturday last she left her own home in New-street with witness, who stayed behind to lock the door, whilst she went on.  She then had the baby in her arms. On arriving at her house on the Quay, she found her daughter was not there.  About a quarter of an hour after she came in, and witness then noticed that the skirt of her dress was wet.  She accordingly said, "Where have you been?"  and her daughter replied, "Down to the water."  Witness asked, "How could you go down to frighten your poor mother?"  She replied, "I don't know."  The baby's clothes were wet also. Witness did not give any information to the police, because she thought her daughter acted in the way described to frighten her.  She made her a cup of tea and put her to bed, and kept the baby down with her (witness).  About 3.30 pm., she got up, and remained with witness the rest of the day, going to bed about 10.30 p.m.  On the following morning witness arose about seven o'clock, leaving her daughter in bed with the baby.  She was absent about half an hour, and when she returned with some food she stayed with her about half an hour.  When she left her again she said, "I will lie a little while," and witness replied, "I will make some gruel for you."  She then went to her own house, and about half an hour afterwards some one came and said, "Your daughter is in the water again."  She at once ran out, and met her daughter coming towards her, helped by two young men, and saturated with dirt and water.  On reaching her house, witness asked her where the baby was, and she answered that it was either in bed or dead, witness was not quite sure which.  MRS SYDNEY had always been kind to the children.  There had been no disagreement between her and her husband during the past 12 months.  The knife (an ordinary black handled dinner-knife) now produced she recognised as belonging to her daughter.  The child was about six months old.

By the Foreman:  My daughter was very desponding at times.

By a Juror:  She has often said she was not fit to live, and that she did not know what was the matter with her.

Dr Pratt deposed that he attended MRS SYDNEY in her confinement on the 1st December last.  On the 18th March her mother requested him to see her, saying she was in a very weak state.  He attended her regularly until the 29th April, when finding she was in such a nervous, desponding state he thought it well to call in his brother, Dr C. Pratt.  He saw and prescribed for her, and they had been attending her conjointly up to the present time.  Witness saw her on the 29th May, when she told him she was no better, and was going to apply for a recommend for the Infirmary, to see Dr Budd.  He saw her again on the 2nd June, when she appeared to be very incoherent.  He was of opinion that she was in a desponding state, and should be sent to an asylum, but was waiting for positive proof of insanity.  He attributed her condition to her late confinement.  On Sunday morning last, at ten minutes after ten, two little boys called on him saying that MRS SYDNEY'S child's throat was cut.  He proceeded to the house in New-street, and found the baby lying in bed gasping, and with an incision on the left side of the throat.  The child's clothes and the bed were saturated with blood.  The wound might have been caused by the knife produced.  The length of the wound was about two inches, and sufficient to cause death, and he believed death ensued from it.  He did not examine the wound sufficiently to pronounce the depth of it, but the veins were divided.  He then proceeded to the house of Mrs Tatem, where he saw MRS SYDNEY.  When he asked her where the knife was that she committed the crime with, she replied, "Up to the house."

By a Juryman:  My opinion is that she was in a most desponding state.

By the Foreman:  She had every care from her mother.

By a Juryman:  I had neither seen nor heard of any act to justify me in certifying that she was insane, but had I heard of her going into the water on Saturday I should have deemed it sufficient.

P.C. Parker, the constable stationed at Appledore, deposed that on Sunday, about 9.45 a.m., he went to MRS SYDNEY'S house, Appledore, and in a bedrooms aw a child lying on a bed, bleeding from a wound in its throat.  Dr F. Pratt was present.  The child was living when he entered, but died two or three minutes afterwards.  He proceeded to Mr Tatem's house, where he found MRS SYDNEY in bed upstairs.  He said, "ANN SYDNEY, I charge you with the wilful murder of your infant child, MARY ANN TATEM SYDNEY."  She replied, "It is owing to my confinement."  She said those words three times.  He replied, "You must consider yourself in custody."

P.C. Barrow deposed that on Sunday he went to the house of ANN SYDNEY, and on searching the bedroom found the knife produced concealed under a toilet cover.  It had spots of blood upon it.

The Coroner in summing up, said that all the Jury had at present to decide was the cause and manner of death, and not the question of MRS SYDNEY'S mental condition, which must be left to another tribunal.  From the evidence it seemed clear that no other verdict that that of Wilful Murder against the mother could be returned.  The Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

SHIRWELL - Sudden Death. - On Tuesday J. H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest in this parish on the body of JOHN VENN, a labourer, 63 years of age, who had died quite suddenly.  The widow of deceased deposed that on Saturday evening he returned from his work between six and seven o'clock.  He appeared to be very well, and ate his supper as usual, consisting of bread and bacon, bread and butter, and tea.  After supper he went into the garden and worked until dark, when he came in and, it being somewhat cold, lighted the fire and made some tea, and also toasted some bacon and ate it.  He then sat down on a stool and went to sleep, it being now past ten o'clock.  She awoke him, and he rose up, and having offered her more tea, said he would go to bed, as he was sleepy.  Shortly after he had gone to bed she heard him make a noise in his throat three times, and getting no reply to her enquiry what was the matter with him, she took a light and went to the bed, when she found he was dead.  Mr Andrew Fernie, surgeon, Barnstaple, gave evidence that he examined the body between ten and eleven o'clock on Sunday morning, a messenger having apprised him during the night of the deceased's sudden death.  There were no external marks of violence, and no indication of any struggle or fit, and deceased seemed to have died quietly.  His wife had been an invalid for several years, during which he had been in the habit of coming to witness's surgery for medicine.  He had no reason to suspect that death ensued from any other than Natural Causes.  The Jury returned a verdict to that effect.

OKEHAMPTON - Sad Accident. - An accident happened to MR LEWIS, cashier of the Okehampton Branch of the National Provincial Bank, on Thursday.  MR LEWIS was returning to Okehampton after his weekly visit to Northtawton about five o'clock, and when about half a mile from the town the horse he was driving shied at MR LEWIS'S dog, just as a cross-way was being passed, and the unfortunate gentleman was pitched into the road.  He was picked up by Mr J. Davey and Mr Drake, who were passing at the time, and taken back to Northtawton.  With the assistance of Dr Budd and Mr Robert Fulford, he was carried to a room in the Gostwyck Arms.  Dr Budd discovered that he had sustained a fracture of the skull and considered recovery hopeless.  The Injuries proved fatal, deceased expiring on Friday evening.  - The Inquest was held at the Gostwyck Arms at Northtawton on Saturday, before Robert Fulford, Esq., the Coroner of the district.  The first witness called was Mr John E. Scivell, clerk in the National Provincial Bank of England, at Okehampton, who was with deceased at the time.  He said they had a setter dog with them, and as they were driving along very steadily the dog, which had gone into a field adjoining the road, came running down the road from Winkleigh and caused to horse to shy and swerve.  The wheels of the carriage ran up the hedge immediately by the corner of the cross roads, and the vehicle was upset.  The carriage was turned quite upside down, and deceased and himself were thrown into the road. Witness got up and went to the deceased, whom he found lying on his side quite insensible.  Very shortly after the accident Mr Drake and Mr Davey came to the spot, and MR LEWIS was removed by them to North Tawton.  Dr Budd, of North Tawton, said he saw deceased at the Gostwyck Arms the same evening.  He was quite insensible, and remained in that state up to the time of his death, which was caused by an extensive fracture of the skull, the result no doubt of the accident described.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and as the road was considered a very dangerous one, it was understood that a communication would be addressed to the Chulmleigh Highway Board on the subject.  The sad affair has cast quite a gloom over the neighbourhood.

Thursday 13 June 1878

TORQUAY - Infanticide. - Mr Michelmore, County Coroner, held an Inquest at Torquay on Thursday respecting the death of the illegitimate child of LOUISA HARDING, 28 years of age, who has been living for some six months as servant with Mr and Mrs Bovey, of 4 Woodland grove, Babbicombe-road, Torquay.  It appears that on Wednesday morning Mrs Bovey, on going upstairs, saw something under the girl's bed, which led to the admission by the girl that she had been confined, and the statement that the child was born dead.  She then produced the body from a box in her bedroom.  The police having been communicated with, Sergeant Ockford went to the premises, and was told by the girl, upon her being charged with concealment of birth, that "she was alone, had no friends, and knew not what to do.  Her mistress was very kind to her, and she wishes she had told her of it."  The sergeant searched the room, but could find no baby linen.  The medical evidence given by Mr Richardson was to the effect that the child had been born alive, in a healthy condition, and had died from suffocation.  The Coroner said that he could see from the evidence but two courses open to the Jury, namely, to return a verdict of either manslaughter or wilful murder.  The Jury after a brief deliberation, returned a verdict of Manslaughter.

KINGSNYMPTON - Fatal Accident. - On Saturday last, in the afternoon, a sad and fatal accident happened at Yeo Town Farm, in this parish.  A man named JAMES MITCHELL, a labourer, aged 47, was engaged in taking down some old cob walls belonging to a building which was formerly a dwelling-house, but had gone to decay.  About half-past four he was in the act of digging out a portion under, so as to more easily throw down the wall, and in doing so it fell on him, and crushed him to death before he could be extricated.  The accident was witnessed by a little boy named Trigger, at whose father's house hard by deceased lodged, and who was standing by watching deceased at work, and he ran to the poor man after the wall had fallen on him, and asked him if he was much hurt, but he made no answer, only he groaned heavily, upon which the boy ran to the house to his mother and told her what had happened, and she came to the spot and found that part of the fallen wall had struck deceased on the back of the head, and he had fallen against a stone wall which adjoined the cob.  She spoke to him three times, but he made no answer, and she considered he was dead.  She ran in one direction for assistance, and sent her little boy in another direction, and on her return she found that Henry Snow and her husband had come, who removed deceased to an unoccupied cottage, but he was quite dead.  These facts were deposed to at an Inquest held on the body on Monday last, before John H. Toller, Esq., Deputy Coroner, at the New Inn, Kingsnympton.  After hearing the evidence the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 20 June 1878

BIDEFORD - Fatal Accident To A Gentleman. - On Tuesday evening last, about eight o'clock, JOHN PYKE, Esq., of North Down, was returning home in his Bath chair, drawn by a pony, the property of his brother, B. PYKE, Esq., when, on reaching nearly to the head of Bridgeland-street, for some unascertained reason the pony suddenly started off at a gallop, and rounding the top of the street the Bath chair upset, and MR PYKE was thrown with great violence to the ground, the side of his head coming in contact with the kerb-stone, causing a fearful gash, which bled profusely.  Several persons who witnessed the accident quickly rendered assistance, and, the pony being first released from the chair, MR PYKE was at once placed in it, and as the injury he had received was of a most alarming character, and he being at least half a mile from his residence, it was thought best to take him into the hospital close by.  Whilst this was being done, medical aid was sent for, and within a few minutes of his arrival at the hospital Mr Rouse was in attendance.  He at once proceeded to staunch the bleeding, by sewing up the wound and otherwise.  Shortly after this Mr Sinclair Thompson arrived, and the two medical gentlemen consulted together, and after doing so, stimulants were administered.  Up to this time MR PYKE had not shown the slightest sign of consciousness.  He, however, gradually sunk, and in less than an hour after the accident he expired.  MRS PYKE was in London at the time, and was immediately telegraphed for.  The deceased's brother, MR B. PYKE, was sent for, and was present when the deceased gentleman died.  MR PYKE for two or three years past has been invalided, and unable to take much walking exercise; but might have been seen daily, when the weather permitted, in his Bath chair, drawn by a donkey, with a boy in attendance; but on the day when the fatal accident occurred the donkey, it appeared, was otherwise engaged, and MR PYKE obtained the load of his brother's pony, with what sad result has been already stated.  Deceased was about 70.

The following day (Wednesday) an Inquest was held on the body before the Borough Coroner, John Thompson, Esq., M.D., and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Thomas Martin was foreman.  The first witness examined was Mr H. Lee Hutchings, who deposed that on the previous evening, about eight o'clock, he was seated in his office at the top of Bridgeland-street, when his attention was attracted to the deceased, who was seated in a Bath chair, drawn by a pony that was galloping at a furious rate near the top of the street.  MR PYKE looked very much alarmed, as the chair he was seated in was swaying to and fro.  The pony turned sharply round the corner of the street in the direction of his home, and deceased was thereby thrown out of the chair with great violence on his face to the ground, the side of his head coming in contact with the kerb-stone outside Mr Clark's shop window.  The chair then fell over on him, and he appeared to have his feet entangled in the chair, for when it rebounded from the ground deceased was thrown over on his back.  He was in that position when witness reached him.  Witness placed one arm under him, and gently lifted his head, when he saw a fearful gash on the right side, which was bleeding profusely.  He was bleeding also from the nose, and was quite insensible.  Several persons soon congregated, and medical aid was sought for in the meantime.  Water was procured, but it was impossible to give it to him; and though Mr Short, Mrs Purchase and many persons present, as well as witness himself, expressed their willingness to remove him into their houses, witness was of opinion, from the serious condition of the deceased, that the most fitting place to remove him to was the Infirmary.  The pony, that had stood still after the accident, was now disengaged from the chair, the right trace not having broken, and deceased very carefully placed in the same, and removed to the Infirmary.  Witness remained there till he died.  Dr Rouse was in attendance in less than five minutes after deceased was taken in.  - Mr James Braund deposed that he knew MR PYKE very well.  The last time he saw him was in Bridgeland-street last night, about quarter to eight o'clock.  He was in  a Bath chair drawn by a pony that was galloping very fast.  Witness was in Mr H. Lee Hutchings' s house at the top of the street, and immediately ran to his assistance, but by the time he came out deceased was lying on his back insensible, and bleeding very much from his nose and head.  He assisted in raising him up, and rendered help to Mr Hutchings and others who removed him to the infirmary.  Mr Rouse deposed that he was a registered medical practitioner living, at Bridgeland-street, Bideford,  He knew MR JOHN D. PYKE well, and saw him yesterday evening at the Bideford Infirmary about a quarter to twenty minutes after eight o'clock.  Found him suffering from a large scalp wound, extending from the left centre of his head to the right ear, bleeding freely, with arterial haemorrhage.  Blood was also coming from his nose and mouth.  The bridge of the nose was fractured.  Did not observe any other part of his head.  He was quite insensible.  Pupils of the eyes were contracted, and did not answer to the light.  There were no voluntary movements of the limbs.  Succeeded in stopping the bleeding from the scalp effectually, but the blood continued to flow from the nose.  Considered the case perilous.  Remained with him to his death.  Tried him with a little brandy and water, but he could not take it, and he died within half an hour of witness's entering.  Witness had no doubt that he died from the injuries he received in his head. - Mary Pengilly, a servant of deceased, deposed that she saw him go out in his Bath chair yesterday, driving a pony, the property of his brother.  On going down the hill from the house, the front wheel of the carriage struck the pony's heel, and he started off.  Her master could scarcely stop it, but he succeeded in doing so just outside Mr Folley's.   It was the first time master had the pony in that carriage, but MRS B. PYKE had often driven out in it, but there was always some one with it.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," at the same time, as a caution to others, they added that it was their opinion the chair was unsuited for a pony, and the probability was that the front part of it struck the pony's heels, which caused him to run away, and deceased being invalided was incompetent to control the animal.

Thursday 27 June 1878

BARNSTAPLE - Death From Suffocation. - The Borough Coroner, R. I. Bencraft, Esq., held an Inquest at the Mason's Arms, Hardaway Head, on Friday evening, on the body of the infant child of DANIEL DELVE, a mason living close by.  Mr Cummins was chosen foreman of the Jury.  ELIZABETH DELVE, the mother of the child, deposed that it was a month old last Sunday.  On Thursday night she went to bed with it about a quarter-past eleven, her husband sleeping in another bed with two other children. She gave it the breast twice, the second time being about half-past twelve, and she then went to sleep with the child on her arm.  When she got up, about a quarter past eight the next morning, she saw that something was the matter with the child, and, being frightened, she called in Mrs Weston, a neighbour, who told her the child was dead.  Mr Jackson was thereupon at once sent for.  The deceased, though cross, had not suffered from any illness, so far as she knew, so that she had had no medical advice for it.  - Mrs Weston having given similar evidence, so far as it went, Mr Jackson deposed to finding the child dead.  He examined it, and found that there were no external marks of violence.  The body was full of blood, and a little froth was issuing from the mouth and nostrils.  Apparently death had ensued some hours before, and he had no doubt that it arose from natural causes - in all probability from suffocation.  He had attended MRS DELVE for the last four or five years, and had noticed that she was a kind, affectionate mother. - The verdict was in correspondence with the medical evidence.

Thursday 4 July 1878

BARNSTAPLE - Death By Falling From A Hayrick. - On Friday last, as an old man called JOHN RADFORD, of this town, 75 years of age, was at work in a hayfield on the Braunton road, belonging to Mr Spurway, and was on the rick receiving the hay, he fell from it on his head, a height of 14 feet, whereby he received serious injury.  He was removed to the North Devon Infirmary, where he died the next day.  An Inquest was held on the body on the evening of Saturday, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., the Borough Coroner, at which the following evidence was given:-  Henry Goss, of Pilton, labourer, deposed that he was in the hayfield near the Braunton turnpike-gate on the afternoon of Friday, about three o'clock.  Witness was by the rick, and the deceased was upon it, about 14 feet from the ground.  Witness was raking up the hay between the rick and the hedge, when the deceased suddenly fell from the rick on to witness's feet.  He fell on his head and lay insensible for a few minutes, when he said, as they were endeavouring to move him, "Let me lie."  With assistance witness removed him to some straw near the rick, and then put him into a cart, in which he was taken to the Infirmary, to which a woman called French accompanied him.  He complained of pain in his chest.  - Wm. Heddon, also of the parish of Pilton, labourer, corroborated the evidence of former witness, and said that the deceased was quite sober at the time of the occurrence, and had been working as usual all day.  - Mr Wm. Kay gave evidence that he was house surgeon at the Infirmary.  The deceased was brought to the Institution on Friday last, about four o'clock p.m., in a cart upon some straw.  He was immediately taken to the accident ward, where he was undressed and put to bed.  Witness examined him, and found his breast-bone and several ribs fractured.  He was in a state of collapse, his pulse weak, and he was breathing with great difficulty.  Stimulants were given to him, and an injection of morphia was made.  He rallied slightly, and became conscious.  He told witness that he had fallen off the rick on his head.  He died at one o'clock that day (Saturday).  Death was the result of the injuries above described.  He was seen by Mr Harper, surgeon of the Institution, twice on Friday night and again that morning before his death.  - The Jury unhesitatingly returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 18 July 1878

MERTON - Fatal Accident. - An Inquest was held on Saturday last (being the first Inquest he has held since his appointment to the coronership,) before John Henry Toller, Esq., Coroner for the District, at the Maltscoop Inn, in this parish, on the body of RICHARD EDWARDS, aged 19, farm servant in the employ of Mr A. Manning, of Hartleigh Barton, in the parish of Buckland Filleigh, who came to his death by accident on the Wednesday previous.  The Jury (of which Mr Wm. Stoneman was foreman) having viewed the body, Lewis Tallamy was called in evidence, and deposed that he was a farm servant in the employ of Mr Brooks, of Buckland Filleigh.  He knew the deceased, who was servant to Mr Manning.  On Wednesday last witness went with a horse and cart to the Torrington station for a load of manure for his master.  Returning from the station, he was accompanied by deceased and his brother JOSEPH each of whom was driving a waggon with two horses.   JOSEPH EDWARDS went first and was leading his horses; deceased followed; and witness came behind.  Deceased had reins, but witness did not know if he had them in his hands.  After they had been on the road for some time witness observed both JOSEPH EDWEARDS and the deceased standing on the shafts of their respective waggons.  On reaching Way Moor, in the parish of Petersmarland, near a little elbow in the road, witness came up to deceased lying in the middle of the road, and saw that blood was issuing from his chin and also from his trousers.  Witness called to deceased's brother, who came back to the spot.  In answer to witness's enquiries, deceased said that his horses had gone on, and that the wheel had run over his thigh.  They helped him into witness's cart, when deceased complained that he was in much pain.  He explained that the wheel of his waggon went over a stone in the road, and jerked him off, and the hind wheel went over him.  When they came to Windswell Hill, they overtook the wagon of deceased, which witness drove on, leaving deceased (who said he was able to do so) to drive witness's cart.  On reaching Windswell, JOSEPH EDWARDS got another horse and cart, into which they put the deceased and drove him on to his own home at Merton.  The wound in the leg was bleeding the whole way.  Witness drove the waggon to Mr Manning's.  - JOSEPH EDWARDS, who is a servant at Mr Burrington's, Middle Marland, Petrockstow, gave similar evidence.  When he arrived at Yard Farm he heard some one cry out, and he stopped and looked round, and then saw his brother's horses and waggon coming on with no one in charge.  Stopped the horses and went back to Way Moor Hill, where he saw his brother lying on his right side and the last witness with him.  He said he had fallen off the waggon.  He was quite sober at the time.  Witness assisted him into Tallamy's cart, and at Windswell witness got another cart, with a mattress in it, upon which he laid the deceased, and drove him home to Merton.  It never occurred to witness, when he came up to deceased at first, to take him to the nearest house and send for the doctor.  The doctor was sent for after they reached Merton.  - Mr Leonard Smith, of Dolton, surgeon, gave evidence of having been sent for to go to Merton to the deceased.  Arrived there about half-past seven o'clock in the evening, and found the deceased in bed very faint and propped up by a pillow.  There was a bandage tied tightly around the middle of the thigh.  On examining the limb found a fracture in two places, one below and the other above the knee.  Untied the bandage, but no blood flowed, nor did he lose any from that time to his death; but, on inquiry, witness found that deceased had lost a very great quantity of blood prior to his (witness's) arrival.  He died in about a quarter of an hour.  The injury was such as would have necessitated the amputation of the limb; but in all probability the life of deceased would have been saved if assistance had been earlier rendered and the bleeding staunched.  Witness had no doubt that death had resulted from loss of blood and shock to the system.  A verdict was returned to the effect that deceased came to his end from injuries received by the accident.

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - We regret to record an instance of sudden death which occurred in this town on Friday afternoon last, the victim being MR JOHN PASSMORE, a well-known and highly respected farmer and cattle breeder, the owner of the barton of Aller, in the parish of Bishopsnympton, where he resided.  MR PASSMORE had come to Barnstaple on the market-day, as he often did, and was in his usual health.  He took tea soon after five o'clock in the afternoon at the house of his friend and relative, Mr Hayman, in High-street, where MRS PASSMORE was on a visit, and left intending to catch the train of the Devon and Somerset Railway at 5.55 p.m., in order to return home.  It is believed that he had plenty of time to have walked leisurely, but he seems himself to have doubted it, so that he hurried at a faster pace than he was accustomed, and when he had got on past Barbican and near to the Gasworks he felt ill, and asked Mr Tarr, who was passing, and was also going to the train, to help him, which he very kindly did, and he walked on a few paces leaning on Mr Tarr's arm.  He became worse, however, and was unable to proceed further, but sat down on a heap of stones by the roadside, from which he was assisted to the house of a neighbour close by, where he was seated on a chair supported by two or three friends, and a surgeon sent for.  Mr Pronger (the partner of Messrs. Law and Gamble), who happened to be in the surgery, which was at only a short distance, came immediately, and was in time to see the deceased breathe his last, which he did within little more than ten minutes from the time he was first seized.  The Superintendent of Police came and took charge of the body and the articles MR PASSMORE had about him, and then applied at two or three public-houses to endeavour to get permission to deposit the remains to await an Inquest, in case that should be deemed necessary.  The publicans, however, on whom he called were reluctant to receive the corpse; and it was eventually removed to the dead-house of the North Devon Infirmary.  The shock to MRS PASSMORE and her friends, on the intelligence reaching them that he was no more who had but a few minutes before left them apparently in good health, may be better conceived than described.  The deceased, although in the prime of life (52 years of age) and inclined to be stout, was not a robust man, and had occasion to consult his medical attendant at Southmolton not many weeks ago.  That gentleman was sent to, but he was unable to give a certificate of the cause of death.  The Borough Coroner, therefore, (Mr R. I. Bencraft,) was communicated with, who appointed to hold an Inquest at six o'clock on Saturday evening.

At that hour, accordingly, a respectable Jury assembled, which consisted of - Messrs. John Gould (foreman), James Harris, James Holloway, Henry Whitefield, Thomas Chapple, Wm. Heywood, John Mills, John Lake, Arthur Webber, Wm. Fisher, John Cruwys, and Wm. Sanders.

The Coroner, after briefly stating the circumstances of the death, took the opportunity of repeating a complaint he had had to make on several previous occasions, viz., of the want of a suitable mortuary, to which the bodies of persons drowned or who died away from home might be removed for temporary deposit until their friends could be communicated with or an Inquest held.  He trusted the authorities would consider the subject, and provide such a receptacle.

The Jury having viewed the body, the first witness called was Mr William Tarr, who deposed as follows:-  I am an innkeeper, and keep the King's Arms Hotel, in this town.  About twelve minutes to six o'clock last evening I was on my way to the station of the Devon and Somerset Railway, in company with my brother.  We had hardly come to the Gasworks, a little past Summerland Place, when we came up to the deceased, who was walking in the same direction.  As I passed him, he caught me by the arm, and said, "Help me!"  I said, "All right.  What can I do?"  He walked a few steps towards the station leaning on my arm.  He was walking about four miles an hour.  There was plenty of time to catch the train, and I was walking leisurely.  After a few steps he stopped and rested against the wall. He coughed badly, and I said, "What is the matter?"  I am not sure whether he replied that it was asthma or heart disease, but he said one of the two.  I saw that he was getting worse.  He went across to the new buildings opposite, and tried to open the gate, but he could not.  He had a bad fit of coughing, and said he must lie down.  There were two men who assisted to take off his coat, and he lay down upon it on a heap of stones.  These two persons knew him.  I saw that his lips were getting purple, and I said to him that he had better have a doctor, and he replied "Yes."  A doctor was then sent for.  A woman (Mrs Jones) came out, and kindly offered to take him into her house, and I and the two men helped him to Robert Jones's house, and there we sat him in a chair.  I waited until the doctor came, which was not more than a few minutes.  He was living when Mr Pronger, the surgeon, arrived, but he only survived a few minutes, not exceeding five.  I do not think it was more than ten minutes from the time he was seized until he was dead.  I am but lately come to Barnstaple, and did not know the deceased.  I remained until the Superintendent of Police arrived, when I left.

Mr Charles E. Pronger:  I am a surgeon practising in Barnstaple.  Last evening, about five or ten minutes to six, I was called by a messenger to the deceased.  I happened to be at the surgery at the time, which is very near.  I returned with the messenger at once, and found the deceased sitting on a chair at the house of Robert Jones, at Barbican, and supported by two or three friends.  He was very livid, perfectly unconscious, pulseless, and gasping - in fact, in the act of dying.  He gave a few gasps, and died almost immediately.  I sent for the Superintendent of Police, and remained there until he came.  My opinion is that death arose from heart disease, with which all the appearances were consistent. Probably his hurrying to the station contributed to the result.  He was probably suffering from heart disease, and the excitement of running of walking fast might have accelerated his death.

George Songhurst:  I am the Superintendent of Police of this Borough.  From the information of the death of the deceased I proceeded to Mr Jones's house, and found the body.  Mr Pronger had searched the pockets, and I took possession o the contents, which consisted of 3s. in money, a watch, pocket book, cheque book and other articles, including 20 keys.  I went to two or three public houses, but the innkeepers refused to take in the body.  I met Col. Russell in the Square, who went to the Infirmary, and got permission for it to be removed there.  I afterwards met Mr James Harris, of Barbican, who offered to take the body into his house, but it was thought better to convey it to the Infirmary, to which some of my men removed it.  The deceased was quite dead when I arrived.  I have often had the same difficulty in getting dead bodies received into public houses.

The Coroner said he did not think it necessary to call any further evidence.  He could not conceive that the Jury would have any difficulty in coming to a verdict; but he had the power, of course, to order a post mortem examination to be taken in case they should desire to ascertain with certainty the cause of death.  There was not the smallest ground of suspicion in the case, and he did not suppose the Jury would require further evidence.   The foreman, having consulted the Jury, said they were perfectly satisfied, and a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was thereupon returned.  The Coroner repeated what he had before said as to the propriety of providing a public mortuary, and trusted the Town Council would take the matter into their early consideration.  On the suggestion of Mr James Harris, the Jury gave their fees for the benefit of the Infirmary.

The remains were removed on Tuesday morning in a hearse to Bishopsnympton, where they were interred by the Vicar, the Rev. O. L. O'Neill, in the presence of a very large number of mourners and friends, some from considerable distances, who wished to pay a last tribute of respect to one whom they had known and lived, and whose premature death they deeply deplored.  The tidings of his untimely end, indeed, caused general regret and sorrow through the whole neighbourhood.  The coffin ( a very handsome one) was made by Mr James Martin of Cross-street, Barnstaple, and the funeral arrangements were in the hands of Messrs. Gould, of Ludgate House.

Thursday 25 July 1878

MOLLAND - Suicide of MR FRANCIS QUARTLY. - We regret to record that MR FRANCIS QUARTLY, of West Molland, in this parish, came to a premature end on Friday last by an act of self-destruction.  Deceased was comparatively a young man, only 35 years of age, was married and had four children ,and about two years ago came into the farm on the retirement of his uncle (MR JAMES QUARTLY, the celebrated cattle breeder) from business.  An unhappy malady had betrayed itself in his younger sister, on account of which she was removed to Wonford Asylum several months ago.  The circumstance appeared to prey on the mind of the deceased, and there can be no doubt that it was in a fit of temporary derangement he committed suicide.  He was an intelligent and highly respectable man, and bade fair to sustain the great reputation of the name of QUARTLY as a breeder of North Devon stock. He was of the most temperate habits, and the kindness of his manners endeared him to all his neighbours, who manifest the deepest sympathy with the bereaved widow and her fatherless children.  The circumstances of the sad event are given underneath.

An Inquest was held on the body at the farm-house on Saturday last, before J. H. Toller, Esq., Coroner for the district, and a respectable Jury of 13, of whom Mr William Halse was foreman.  Having viewed the body, the Jury received the following evidence.

The first witness was MR JOHN QUARTLY, of Great Champson Farm, in the same parish, the father of the deceased, who deposed that his son was about 35 years of age.  He (the deceased) had farmed the West Molland estate for the last two years.  He was married and had four children. On the morning of the day before (Friday), deceased's wife came across to witness's farm, which is about half a mile from West Molland, and said to him, "I can't find FRANK, and the privy door is bolted on the inside."  Witness took his horse immediately, galloped off to West Molland, and went directly to the closet and tried to push open the door with his hands, but, not succeeding in doing so, he got an iron bar and forced it open.  It was bolted very firmly from the inside.  When witness got inside he found his son lying on the stone floor, with his head resting on the seat, there not being room for him on the floor to lie straight along.  Observed a large gash in his throat, and there was a quantity of blood on the floor, and much more in the hole of the privy.  The sheath of a razor lay on the inside of the window.  (At this stage of the evidence, at the suggestion of the learned Coroner the Jury went and viewed the place, which presented a shocking spectacle.)  Witness instantly went out and called for assistance, and Joseph Bragg and John Tout came soon after.  They obtained a sheet from the house, and returned with it to the place, and finding the deceased quite dead they wrapped the body in the sheet and conveyed it into the house.  The hands were both open, and on examining the floor they found the razor, which witness now produced.  Deceased must have  bolted himself in.  About six weeks ago he came over to witness at his farm and said he could not put the men to work.  For the last six or seven months he had been very much depressed in spirits on account of his sister, who is an inmate of the asylum at Wonford, and he remarked that he should have to be put there too.  He had many times told witness that he felt something in his head, but he could not tell what it was, whether it was water or what else.  He felt it on the top of his head, but more in the inside.  He also said he feared the gates were shut against him.  For the last six weeks deceased had done scarcely anything about the farm, and witness had been obliged to do what he could to help him; but on Thursday morning (the day before the occurrence) he appeared very much better, and went about his farm as usual.  It was a very hot day, and deceased exposed himself a good deal to the sun.  Witness was in his hayfield all the day.  The least thing would excite deceased.   He heard that the rooks had pulled up his turnips, which very much excited him.  Some years since he had the scarlet fever, and was cupped for it, and witness did not think he had been altogether right since.

Joseph Bragg, one of the two men who came to MR QUARTLY'S assistance, confirmed his evidence.  He deposed that he was a labourer, and worked for deceased's father.  Going to his work a little after six on Friday morning, he saw the wife of the deceased running out of Champson farm-yard, and was told by deceased's younger brother HENRY, that "MR FRANK was lost."  Witness offered to go in search of him, but was bidden by MR HENRY to go to his work milking the cows, but to come immediately in case he should be sent for.  A horse was sent to him soon afterwards with word that he was to go to West Molland, and he did so, and there met MR HENRY in the yard, who told him his brother had been found dead.  Saw his master (MR JOHN QUARTLY) presently, who told him to fetch Mr Hill, the constable, and also a woman to assist.  Went to Hill's house, but he was not at home.  A woman named Dart came back with him.  Assisted his master and another man called Tout in removing the body to the house.  A razor was found near the body, and there was a great deal of blood.  About five or six weeks ago, while witness was milking at Champson farm, deceased came to him and said he wanted to talk with him, and wished to know when it would be convenient to witness that he should do so.  Witness told him at about ten o'clock, and at that hour he came. They walked together up over the fields, and deceased told him that when he was in bed at night he kept thinking until he hardly knew what he was thinking about.  At another time he said he was not fit to attend to his business.  Witness firmly believed that for some time past deceased's mind had not been right.

Mr Albert Hind, of Southmolton, surgeon, deposed that deceased was a patient of his.  In November last deceased mentioned to him that he was much troubled about his sister, and that his family were afraid they should have to put her into an asylum.  It was only about six weeks ago that deceased first came to him as a patient, about which time he (witness) received a note from MRS QUARTLY requesting him to see her husband.  On the next day he went to West Molland, where he saw the deceased, who said he was very low-spirited.  Witness asked him the cause, and he said it was about his sister, and he was afraid he should be like her.  He complained of an uneasy feeling in his head, particularly when he swallowed.  Witness prescribed remedies, which deceased said he would follow, but that he did not think they would do him any good.  A few days afterwards deceased called on him at Southmolton, but did not appear to be any better.  Witness was sent for a little after 10 the day before (Friday) and rode immediately to West Molland, where he found deceased laid out on the floor of an upstairs room.  There was a deep wound in the upper part of the throat, such as a razor might produce.  there was a mark on his forehead as if caused by a fall.  It was the opinion of witness that the wound was self-inflicted, and that deceased was not in his right mind at the time.

This being all the evidence, the learned coroner stated to the Jury that there could be no doubt as to the means by which deceased came to his end, and that it would be for their consideration whether he was of sound mind or not when he committed the fatal act.  The Jury without hesitation returned a verdict that "Deceased Destroyed himself with a razor while in a state of Temporary Insanity."

EXETER - Fatal Occurrence At A Railway Station. - The Coroner of Exeter held an Inquiry on Thursday respecting the death of a man named SAMUEL PARR, who had died at the Devon and Exeter Hospital, where he had been taken after being severely injured at St. David's railway station.  The deceased, who was in the employ of the Great Western Company, went to work about six o'clock on the 10th instant, and, to save himself the trouble of going around a good's train, attempted to get to the other side by crawling underneath a truck.  At that moment the train started, and the wheels passed over one of his legs.  - Mr Cumming, house surgeon at the hospital, stated that the deceased sustained injuries to the left foot just over the ankle joint.  The patient progressed favourably until the 15th instant, when it was found that tetanus (lock jaw) had set in.  The foot was amputated, but the deceased expired on the following day.  Death, in his opinion, resulted from tetanus.  The Jury returned a verdict to that effect.

Thursday 8 August 1878

BRADWORTHY - Death By Drowning Of A Brother And Sister. - A sad fatality happened in this parish on Thursday last, - the death  by drowning in the reservoir of two children of JAMES STANBURY, labourer, viz., MARY GRACE STANB URY, aged 12 years, and RICHARD, aged 8.  The father was employed on the farm of Mr Lawrence Wickett, and, after being at work in the forenoon, returned home to dinner about one o'clock.  His wife was dead, and his family consisted of the two children above named, and another daughter, SOPHIA ANNE, of the age of 11.  They dined all together in comfort, and the father left again for his work a little before two, little thinking that in another hour he should be bereaved of two of his family.  But so it was.  About a quarter before three o'clock news came to Mr Wickett at his farms that two of STANBURY'S children were drowned in the reservoir.  He instantly communicated the intelligence to the father, and they both ran together to the reservoir of the Bude Canal, about half a mile distant, and on coming there found the report but too true.  They saw the head of the little boy, but the water was too deep to permit them to reach the body, and they had to wait until a boat could be brought to the spot, into which they got with two others, and soon reached the body, which they brought to shore, but found life to be extinct.  They then dragged for the other body, which in about ten minutes they recovered.  Both were naked and quite dead.  It appeared that the third child had agreed to go to bathe with them, but on coming to the spot her heart failed her, and she would not go into the water, but she waited to see her brother and sister go in and dip their heads and paddle about.  While they were disporting themselves in this way, the little boy seemed to get out of his depth and to be in danger, but she bravely told him to take hold of her hand, which he did, and got to the edge of the water.  The other sister had hold of the brother's other hand, and she must have dragged him back into the water, for the one on land lost sight of them both, and, after raising a cry of "Murder!" ran off to get assistance.  An Inquest was held on the bodies at the father's house on Saturday last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Coroner for the district, before which the following evidence was taken.

JAMES STANBURY, the father, who was much affected, deposed that he lived in Bradworthy, and was a labourer.  The deceased were his children, and he had also another daughter, SOPHIA ANNE, aged about 11 years.  They all dined with him on Thursday afternoon, just after one o'clock, and before two o'clock he went again to his work at Mr Wickett's.  He had not returned to work much above half an hour when his master told him there was a report that two of his children were drowned in the reservoir.  On hearing this he returned home immediately, and found that what he had heard was true. The reservoir was but a short distance from his house.  Mr Wickett and he obtained a boat and got into it with others, and succeeded in recovering both the bodies, but they were quite dead.  He had never known either of his children to bathe in the reservoir before, and at dinner time neither of them said anything about going to bathe.

Mr Lawrence Wickett, farmer of Bradworthy, deposed that between two and three o'clock on Thursday afternoon he heard an alarm that two of the children of last witness had been drowned in the reservoir.  He informed the father, and they both ran as fast as they could to the spot.  On coming to the reservoir witness first saw the head of one of the children, who appeared to be lying on the left side.  They put in a stick to try the depth of the water, thinking they might be able to walk in to the place, but, finding it to be too deep, they obtained a boat and the father and he with two others got into it, and very soon took up the body they had seen, which was that of the boy.  It lay in a pit which was eight or nine feet in depth.  They could see nothing of the other, but after dragging about ten minutes they found the little girl. Both were quite dead.  When they got them to land both turned very dark about the mouth.  Took the bodies to the father's house.

SOPHIA ANN STANBURY, sister of the deceased, deposed that on the afternoon of Thursday, just after their father returned to his work from dinner, she and her brother and sister (the two deceased) agreed to go to the reservoir to bathe.  they did so accordingly, and all undressed to go into the water.  Witness, however, became afraid and would not go in.  Her sister asked her to go in, but she said she would not.  Her sister said she should not like her if she did not go into the water with her and RICHARD, but she replied that she did not care if she didn't, but that she would not go in.  The two deceased then went into the water hand in hand, and were dipping up and down in it.  She looked on, and saw that her brother appeared to be in danger.  It was near the shore, and witness reached out her hand to him, which he took, and she drew him to the edge; but her sister was holding on to the brother's other hand, and must have drawn him back into the water, for they both immediately appeared to be drowning.  She then lost sight of them both.  She screamed "Murder!" and ran away to get assistance, and in a few minutes her father and Mr Wickett came.  This being all the evidence, a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned while Bathing" was returned without hesitation.  The sad occurrence excited much sympathy among the neighbours, great numbers of whom attended the funeral on Sunday, when both bodies were interred in the same grave.

WEST ANSTEY - Inquest. - An Inquest was held in this parish on Wednesday, (yesterday) before J. H. Toller, Esq., Coroner for the district, on the body of the infant child of a widow woman called ANNE POOK, which was either still-born or died soon after its birth on Sunday morning.  The child was illegitimate, and there were circumstances of suspicion in the case which made it proper that an Inquiry before the Coroner should take place.  But the evidence of Dr Spicer, of Northmolton, who was sent for soon after the woman was taken in labour and went immediately, but found that the child had been born and was dead, and who had since made a post mortem examination by order of the Coroner, was to the effect that respiration had never been established, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Found Dead."

Thursday 15 August 1878

ATHERINGTON - Singular Death Of A Child. - An Inquest was held at Umberleigh, in this parish, on Thursday last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Coroner for Devon, on the body of a little child, four years old, called FREDERICK QUICK, son of JOHN QUICK, labourer, who had died suddenly under somewhat remarkable circumstances on the Monday previous.  Deceased was in the early stage of whooping cough, and on Monday evening his mother had fried some potatoes for him, and was waiting upon him while he ate them.  He took a teaspoonful into his mouth, and was in the act of swallowing it when a fit of coughing came on, and he held forth his head and appeared to be choked in a moment.  The mother hastily took him up in her arms and ran to the next door with him, where a neighbour called James Darch met her and took the child from her, beat him on the back, and turned him up head downwards, but the obstruction did not pass, and the child died in his arms (if, indeed, he was not dead before he took him).  The Coroner thought it right, on being informed of the facts, that a surgeon should see the body, and Mr Harper, of Barnstaple, went out and examined it, and gave evidence at the Inquest that all the appearances indicated that death had resulted from suffocation, and the Jury returned a verdict to that effect.

Thursday 22 August 1878

HAMPSTEAD - The Murder of an Okehampton Woman At Hampstead. - Identification of the Murderer.  We reported in our last the death of a young man and woman at Hampstead, on Tuesday night, and the belief that he had shot her and afterwards himself.  About a quarter-past nine o'clock, William Reeve, coachman to Mr Mannering, of Arkwright-road, Hampstead, was going along Manners-road, a very retired spot, when he passed a young man and young woman, who stood there talking.  Reeve went into his master's coach-house, and directly afterwards heard the report of a gun.  He returned to where he had seen the persons talking, and there found two bodies lying, bleeding profusely.  Reeve hurried off to the Hampstead Police-station, and saw Inspector Moorhouse, who despatched Detective-Sergeant Thomas, a sergeant and a constable to the scene of the tragedy. Inspector Moorhouse and Acting-Inspector Head also went to where the bodies were lying, and there being no doubt that both were dead, the Inspector had the bodies conveyed to the Hampstead mortuary.  At the mortuary Dr Brown examined the bodies, and pronounced life to be extinct.    The woman has been identified as RHODA JEFFREYS, aged about 20 or 21, in service at Mr Edward Curwen's, Westridge, Prince Arthur-road, Hampstead, and her parents reside at Okehampton.  The deceased was not identified until Wednesday, when Mr Austin, a retired oil and colour merchant, residing in the Alexandra-road, Holloway, identified the body of the young man found dead at Hampstead, from a pistol-shot wound, as that of his son Edward Austin.  Deceased had been a foreman butcher, but had recently been out of employment.  He had been keeping company with RHODA JEFFREYS, the deceased young woman, for twelve months, and last Sunday night he accompanied her, as he had frequently done before, to Mr Brock's Chapel, at Hampstead.  It is stated they were much attached to each other, and that last week he took her for a trip to Gravesend.  The letter sound in the pockets of the deceased persons were written in such kindly terms that Inspector Moorhouse's first impression was that both the deceased had been murdered by a third person, probably from jealousy, who might have thrown the pistol down and run away.  On the head, however, of the deceased man being examined, it was seen that he had been shot through the roof of the mouth, the shot passing through the top of the head, and taking part of his brains away into his cap.  This led to the supposition that he had first murdered the girl and then shot himself.  The supposition is strengthened by the fact that his father has identified the pistol as having belonged to the deceased.  He states that latterly, seeing him cleaning and loading it, he remonstrated with him, and several times asked him what he was going to do with it.  Last Saturday afternoon he went so far as to tell him that if he did not put up the pistol he would go to the police and make him give it up.  The deceased young woman, who has been about two months in her last employment, is spoken of as being exceedingly well conducted.  She was a fine-looking girl, with a clear fresh complexion, and black wavy ringlets.  The young man was of a strong powerful build, standing nearly six feet high.  The motive, if any, for the dreadful act is as yet quite involved in mystery.  The deceased were heard having words in the road where the occurrence took place, about 100 yards from the young woman's master's house.  What the quarrel was about no one yet seems to know.  It may, however, be mentioned that latterly Austin had been importuning her to go to Brighton with him, and stay a little time there with some of his friends.  She had asked for a holiday to go, but was strongly advised by her other fellow-servants not to go unless she knew where she was going, and that he really had friends there to take her to, with whom she would be safe.  Inquiries having during the past week been made, and she wishing to go, it was agreed that she should have her holiday and go, and she had promised him that she would. On Monday, however, she received a letter from a sister residing at Bow, near London, who is dangerously ill, begging her to come and see her, and to help to remove her to her parents' home at Okehampton.  On Tuesday, RHODA JEFFREYS went to Bow to see her sister, but whether she had agreed to go home with her to Okehampton instead of Brighton with Austin, and had thus disappointed and offended him, is not yet known.  There are no grounds for thinking that she was keeping company with anyone else.  Beyond the fact that he had the pistol, there was nothing in the conduct of either when they left their respective homes to lead to the apprehension that something wrong would happen.  JEFFREYS went cheerfully out of the house, telling her fellow-servants she was going to meet Edward, and would not be long away.  Austin left his father's house at Holloway, at six o'clock, wishing his sisters "Goodbye," and at the same time telling them he should be home by ten o'clock.  His father states that the deceased man was not in any pecuniary difficulties, for though the deceased was out of work, he (the father) always kept him well supplied with money.  No letters have yet been found going to show that RHODA JEFFREYS wished to break the engagement off.  It is said that Austin lost his mother three months ago, and that since then he had been noticed to be more violent in his temper.  Some further details throw more light upon the mysterious tragedy.  It is reported that some other young man besides Edward Austin had been corresponding with the deceased girl, RHODA JEFFREYS, and on Thursday some notes from another man were discovered, tending to show that there is some foundation for the rumour.  Another young man seems to have succeeded in obtaining a photograph from her, and to have been desirous of having an interview with her.  The Inquest on the remains of RHODA JEFFREYS took place on Friday at the Duke of Hamilton, New End; and also an Inquest on Edward Austin.  The facts above stated were deposed to.  P.S. Sergeant deposed to going to the place where the bodies lay.  In the woman's purse were some scraps of paper, which were read to the Jury.  One was asking JEFFREYS for her photograph, and another asking her for an interview.  They were signed by Ernest H. Whitehorne, of 20, Featherstone-buildings.  The father of the man gave evidence as to his son's having the pistol on Saturday. He saw nothing wrong with deceased.  He was rather excitable, and was at times rather inclined to indulge in drink.  Witness lost his wife two months ago, and that seemed to prey on the mind of his son.  The girl had visited his house, and his son seemed much attached to her.  - The Coroner summed up, and the Jury, without leaving the room, found a verdict to the effect that RHODA JEFFREYS was shot by Edward Austin, and that he then committed suicide, he being at the time in a state of unsound mind.  It is stated that the parents of the murdered girl live at Jacobstowe, in which place she was brought up, and not at Okehampton; but the deceased lived three years in the service of the Okehampton Town Clerk.

At noon, on Saturday, the funeral of RHODA JEFFREYS, the murdered young woman, took place at Hampstead New Cemetery, Fortune-green.  The service was performed by the Rev. Charles Hill, of Galashiels, Scotland, Baptist minister.  The mourners were three sisters, one brother, and four or five fellow-servants of the deceased.  The cortege started from the house of the undertaker.  A private grave has been purchased by Mr Curwen, the girl's employer, who also pays for the funeral.  The young man Austin was buried in the same cemetery immediately after the Inquest on Friday afternoon, the Rev. J. R. Cox, Nonconformist minister, of Bow, officiating.

EAST ANSTEY - Suicide Of A Woman. - An Inquest was held in this parish on Wednesday in last week, by John Henry Toller, Esq., ne of the Coroners for the county, on view of the body of MARY CLARKE, aged 58, wife of CHARLES CLARKE, packer at the East Anstey station of the Devon and Somerset Railway, who had cut her throat in her dwelling house on Tuesday the 6th instant, from the effects of which she died on Sunday the 11th.  From the evidence of the several witnesses it appeared that, soon after six o'clock in the morning of the 6th, the husband of the deceased and their son, who is a farm labourer, left the house to go to their work.  Deceased complained to her son that she had "a nasty pain in the stomach," and was "dreadfully bad."  She had not been in health for many months past.  In the course of the forenoon Ellen Pavy, of Knowstone, assistant to a licensed hawker, called at the house with her basket of earthenware for sale, when she found the deceased sitting before the fire, with a cloth around her neck and blood about her clothes.  She asked the deceased what was the matter, and what was the meaning of the blood, but she made no answer.  She then went and called Mrs Palfrey, a neighbour, who went back to the house with her, and found deceased washing her hands.  In answer to Mrs Palfrey deceased seemed unable to speak, but on her putting her hands to her right arm deceased pulled down the cloth which was round her neck, and the women saw that her throat was cut.  On their asking her what had caused her to do it she said, "Trouble."  In her evidence Mrs Palfrey said she had seen the deceased once or twice the worse for liquor.  To another person who asked her deceased said it was "lowness" which made her do it.  the husband and son of the deceased were soon on the spot, and a surgeon sent for from Dulverton, and Mr J. B. Collyns came at once in place of his friend Mr Robinson, and found a gaping wound in the throat fully six inches long, which he sewed up.  Mr Robinson came the next morning, and attended her to the time of her death.  The deed was done with the husband's razor, which she afterwards wiped and restored to its place, but on its being examined the marks of blood were found upon it.  The husband gave the razor to the policeman (Bolt) who gave evidence that the deceased was often intoxicated.  The husband said she had had bronchitis, and had been otherwise ill for a twelvemonth, but she was much as usual when he left home in the morning, and he had never heard her threaten to cut her throat.  Mr Collyns, having heard the evidence of the deceased's addiction to excess, suggested that her faculties might have become so weakened as to render her irresponsible for her actions.  The Jury came to a verdict to the effect that deceased destroyed herself by cutting her throat with a razor, but that there was no evidence to show what was her state of mind at the time.

OKEHAMPTON - Sudden Death At Okehampton. - An Inquest was held on Monday at Okehampton by Mr Robert Fulford, County Coroner, respecting the death of MRS WRIGHT (wife of MR JAMES WRIGHT, china dealer), who died suddenly on Saturday evening.  A verdict that "Deceased died from Heart Disease" was returned.  MRS WRIGHT was in her usual health on Saturday, and was returning from a short walk when she suddenly dropped down and died.  The deceased had been married to her present husband but a few months only.

Thursday 29 August 1878

SWYMBRIDGE - Almost Sudden Death Of A Young Man. - An Inquest was held at the New Inn, in this village, on Wednesday (yesterday), before John Henry Toller, Esq., one of the Coroners for the County, on the body of JOHN SNELL, aged 23, a farm servant living with Mrs Hartnoll, of Marsh, who had died the day before after an illness of a few hours.  The mother of deceased, HONOR SNELL, who is a widow, and lives in the village with her son, JAMES SNELL, gave evidence that the deceased was at her house on Monday evening between seven and eight o'clock, and sat for an hour with her.  He was in his usual health, talked cheerfully, and made no complaint.  He left to go to Marsh; but the next morning, about four o'clock, she was disturbed by a knocking at her door, and the voice of her son asking her to come down and let him in, for that he was very bad.  She went down stairs and did so, and when he came into the house he said, "Oh Mother! do give me a cup of tea, for I am very ill."  She got him a cup of tea quickly, and he drank it, but kept on still complaining that he was in great pain in his stomach and in the small of his back.  He was very uneasy, and kept going upstairs and lying on the bed, and then coming down and sitting upon the chair.  He brought up the tea soon after he had swallowed it.  Witness had to leave to go to her work at Marsh at eight o'clock, and left deceased under the care of her daughter-in-law, ANN SNELL, who sent for Mr Jackman, a medical man in the village, soon after eight o'clock, to come to see the deceased, which he did, and pronounced him dangerously ill, saying that he doubted if he would live another hour.  At Mr Jackman's instance she sent to Barnstaple for another medical man, and Mr Pronger (of the firm Messrs. Law, Gamble and Pronger) came immediately, arriving before eleven o'clock.  He found deceased suffering great pain, and that there was much tenderness in the region of the stomach, with violent vomiting and some difficulty of breathing.  He administered suitable medicines, but deceased got no better, and gradually sank until a quarter past two o'clock when he died.  Mr Pronger's opinion was the death resulted from inflammation of the stomach, with probably some congestion of the lungs.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Died from Natural Causes."

Thursday 5 September 1878

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death of SIR FREDERICK WILLIAMS. - We deeply regret to have to announce, as our readers have regretted to learn, that SIR FREDERICK MARTYN WILLIAMS, Bart., M.P., of Heanton House, near Barnstaple, and Goonvrea, Cornwall, died on Tuesday last, in this neighbourhood, under circumstances which render his demise peculiarly painful.  The sterling qualities of his character, which was that of a true English gentleman, his genial disposition, and his kindly, hearty manners, made the deceased baronet exceedingly popular with all with whom he had to do.  By those in similar stations of life with himself, he was admired as a faithful friend, and welcomed as an agreeable companion; and those in subordinate positions looked up to him with respectful esteem.  As a politician he secured the respect both of friends and foes, for, though belonging to a party, he was no bigoted partizan, and we can testify from personal observation that those who are in sympathy with his political creed are not louder in their expression of grief at his decease than are those whose views are entirely different.  The sad intelligence reached Barnstaple on Tuesday evening, but it was not generally known either in the town or the neighbourhood until Wednesday morning.  It was at first received with incredulity, so improbable was it felt to be; but doubt was speedily changed into sorrowful certainty.  The event then formed a universal topic of lamentation, and great was the expression of sympathy with the relatives, and especially with LADY WILLIAMS and her family, in their bereavement.  The deceased leaves thirteen children, the youngest of whom is an infant of only a few months, whilst the oldest is about nineteen years of age, and, being a son, will succeed his father in the title.  He has passed an examination for admission into the Army, and is at present undergoing a course of training at Sandhurst.  SIR FREDERICK had only come into this neighbourhood on the day before his death. He left LADY WILLIAMS and the family at Goonvrea on Saturday or Sunday to meet some friends at Heanton Punchardon for the shooting season. He reached there on Monday morning; but as Heanton House was in the hands of the painters he did not take up his abode there, but stayed at the Manor House at Wrafton, in the same parish - the residence of his steward, Mr F. T. Hussey.  In the afternoon of the same day he was joined by his friends - the Rev. G. F. S. Powell, of Sutton Veny, near Warminster, Wiltshire and Mr A. P. E. Powell, a gentleman residing in the same locality, both of them brothers of LADY WILLIAMS.  SIR FREDERICK spent some hours in consultation with Mr Hussey, and about nine o'clock he dined with his friends and ate heartily.  He was then in the robust state of health which he usually enjoyed, and in high spirits.  In this condition he retired to rest, at about eleven o'clock, but during the night he was sick, and was somewhat unwell and depressed in spirits when he arose the next morning.  About eleven o'clock his friends started on a shooting expedition, and soon afterwards he went to the dining room and lay down on the sofa, hoping to feel better after he had slept.  He was heard breathing stertorously for some time by Mr Hussey and a servant, and as he did not care to be disturbed when asleep, the door of the room was closed, and no one went inside, although Mr Hussey was in waiting to see his principal when he should awake.  At half-past seven the Messrs. Powell returned, and one of them, whose appetite had been sharpened by his day's sport, went into the dining room to see if preparations had been made for dinner.  The blind being down he passed out without noticing that the hon. baronet - or, rather, his body - was lying on the sofa; but directly afterwards the servant went in to lay the cloth, and, alarmed to observe that one of SIR FREDERICK'S hands and his face were discoloured, she hastily called in Mr Hussey, who at once saw that there was something seriously the matter.  Messengers were at once despatched to Barnstaple and Braunton for medical aid, and to CAPT. WILLIAMS of Pilton House, SIR FREDERICK'S brother, and such means of restoring animation as suggested themselves were used, but without effect, and when Mr Lane, surgeon, of Braunton, and Mr T. S. Law, of Barnstaple, arrived, they pronounced that life had been extinct for two or three hours.  All the symptoms point to the conclusion that death was caused by apoplexy, and the medical gentlemen speak of it as an instance in which death supervened with unusual rapidity.  It is conjectured that a blood-vessel ruptured on the brain soon after SIR FREDERICK lay down, and that there was a profuse haemorrhage, with the result that a large clot of blood pressed on the brain, and so produced death.  It was too late to communicate the appalling tidings to LADY WILLIAMS on Tuesday night, but on Wednesday morning she was telegraphed to, and although, of course, profoundly distressed by the intelligence, she was expected at Wrafton last night.  The Coroner for the division, J. H. Toller, Esq., was apprised of the circumstances of the case on Wednesday morning, and he promptly arranged to hold an Inquest at the Manor House at two o'clock the same afternoon.

The Inquest. -  At the appointed time the Coroner met a most respectable Jury at Mr Hussey's residence.  The Jury comprised Messrs. G. H. Day (foreman), H. Alford, W. Martin, G. Berry, T. Berry, C. Lovering, C. Cloke, J. D. Reed, G. P. Hartnoll, G. Leigh, J. Berry, J. Skinner and C. H. Skinner.  CAPT WILLIAMS was present, as was also Mr Lionel Bencraft of Barnstaple, who represented the friends of the deceased.  The Coroner having explained the solemn and important purpose for which the Jury had been called together, they adjourned to the dining-room to view the body, and on their return - Mr Frank Tooze Hussey was called.  Examined by the Coroner, he gave evidence as follows:  - I live at Wrafton, in the parish of Heanton Punchardon, and have been steward to SIR FREDERICK WILLIAMS whom I last saw alive about one o'clock on Tuesday, lying on the sofa in the dining-room.  In the morning I had an interview with him in this room, lasting for half or three-quarters of an hour, and at the end of the interview he retired to the dining-room to lie down on the sofa, in order to take some rest.  - Q.  Did you see much of him on Monday?  A.  AI saw him on his arrival here, by the 11.30 train, and was with him the greater part of the day, until about seven o'clock.  He was then very cheerful, and in capital spirits.  He left his seat in Cornwall either on Saturday or on Sunday, and came from Exeter on Monday.  He took up his abode here because Heanton House was in course of painting.  He dined about seven o'clock on Monday evening, and I did not see him again that day, as I did not sleep in the house.  I saw him next on Tuesday morning, after he had had his breakfast.  I don't think he intended to shoot with his friends, although he might have thought of accompanying them.  He did not so express himself, but that was what I gleaned from his remarks.  As a matter of fact he didn't go with them, for I saw him in this room after they had started, and then ensued the conversation to which I have already referred.  He was depressed, and said he was not feeling very well.  -Q.  I believe there is some cause for his depression of spirits?  A.  Yes; ever since he met with the accident when out shooting he has been very much depressed at times.  He observed that he hoped to be all right after he had taken a little sleep, and he then walked into the dining-room and lay down on the sofa.  About one o'clock I passed through the passage and the door of the dining-room being open, I was able to see SIR FREDERICK lying on the sofa, asleep, and breathing very hard.  That was the last time I saw him alive.  - Q.  I believe SIR FREDERICK had a great aversion to being disturbed when taking rest?  A.  Yes; he always requested not to be disturbed when he went to lay down.  The servant shut the door about two o'clock I am informed.  During the afternoon I was constantly in and out to see if he had awaked, as he had said that if he was well enough he should go out in the afternoon for a walk.  I heard him still breathing stertorously up to about half-past two, when I went to my dinner; but I did not think there was anything the matter.  I knew that SIR FREDERICK was a strong man, and I was not therefore surprised to hear him breathing hard.  During the day I enquired of the servants if they had heard him moving, and they replied that they had not; but about seven o'clock the servant called me into the dining-room, and on entering I saw SIR FREDERICK lying on the sofa in a position similar to that he was in when I saw him before.  I felt him, and found that he was cold, and that his limbs were rigid.  I did not see that he was breathing then, and my belief is that he was dead.  I did not stop to examine him, but immediately went to call his friends.

By Mr Law:  SIR FREDERICK'S breathing resembled snoring:  it was very strong and stertorous.

Mary Ann Holmes, the next witness, was somewhat affected whilst giving her evidence.  She deposed:  I reside here, and am a domestic servant with Mr Hussey.  I have often seen SIR FREDERICK WILLIAMS, and saw him here on Monday last.  I heard him whistling in this room:  he appeared to be very cheerful.  In the evening he came into the kitchen to me twice - the first time between seven and eight o'clock, and the second time at eight, about which time he dined.  He came to ask me what there was for dinner, and he said, seeing that I was very hot, "Mary, don't distress yourself about the dinner.  What you get will be very good, and I shall enjoy it."  I waited on him at the dinner-table, and I think he did enjoy it, and also his lunch, which he had about two o'clock.  On Monday night, about half-past 11, he again saw me, and told me he would put out the lamps if I went to bed, and he asked me to take a cup of tea to his bedroom at seven o'clock in the morning and some water at eight.   He was still in good spirits, and appeared to be in perfect health.  At seven o'clock I took a cup of tea and placed outside his bedroom door, at which I knocked twice, when he replied, "All right."  He did not take the tea, and at eight o'clock I took a cup to his beside.  He did not say very much, but I could see he was not very well.  He came downstairs just after nine, partly dressed, and returned to his bedroom.  He breakfasted with his friends, and when I went in to remove the breakfast things he asked that some cold water and a glass might be taken into the dining-room.  He afterwards drank something in a glass, which I supposed to be whisky and water.  After he had had a long talk with Mr Hussey he went into the dining-room, and when I went to the larder-door I heard him snoring very loudly.  That was between eleven and twelve o'clock, I should say.  I went into the room, and he said, "Mary, I want to be quiet," and so I went out, closing the door after me.  The door is an awkward one to fasten, and as when I passed it afterwards I saw that it was not quite closed I pulled it to.  Before doing so I looked in and saw him still lying on the sofa, and heard him snoring.  I heard him also for a long time after that as I passed through the passage, which I kept as quiet as possible, so that he should not be disturbed.  Mr Hussey asked me several times whether SIR FREDERICK was awake.  The gentlemen returned from shooting about seven o'clock, and the Rev. Mr  Powell knocked at the dining room door, and getting no answer he went in.  I said, "SIR FREDERICK is not very well today."  I went into the room with a lamp to lay the cloth for dinner.  SIR FREDE3RICK was still lying on the sofa, and I noticed that his hand, which was leaning over the sofa, was discoloured, being purple, as was also his face.  I rushed into the yard and called master, who came in, followed by the gentlemen who were staying in the house.  We sent for medical men, and bathed his face with vinegar and water, and put his feet in hot water.  The room was dark, and I did not think SIR FREDERICK was dead when I saw him.  When Mr Law, the surgeon, came he said he was dead.  - The witness added that during Monday night SIR FREDERICK retched a great deal.

The Rev. George Francis Sydenham Powell gave evidence as follows:-  I reside near Warminster, in Wiltshire, and am a clergyman of the Church of England.  SIR FREDERICK WILLIAMS was my brother-in-law.  On Monday last I visited him here, arriving by the four o'clock train.  I and my brother dined with him about nine o'clock that evening, and he was then perfectly well.  I should think we left the room to go upstairs about a quarter to eleven.  We all three had a smoke down here, and when he had shown my brother into his bedroom SIR FREDERICK came into my room, as he had frequently done before when we were together.  We stood and chatted for a short time, he finishing his pipe, whilst I relighted mine, and presently he went to his own room.  The next morning we breakfasted together about a quarter-past nine.  I and my brother went out shooting together, leaving SIR FREDERICK at home.  We did not expect him to go with us, for he was a little out of sorts, and he said he should not shoot.

CAPT. WILLIAMS, here remarked that since his accident SIR FREDERICK did not care to shoot in company.

Mr Powell continued:-  We returned about a quarter past seven, and I went to the door of the dining-room and knocked.  Receiving no answer I went in, my object being to see what preparation had been made for dinner.  It was dusk, and I believe the window-blind was down, so that I did not see that SIR FREDERICK was in the room.  I did not look for him, thinking that he was lying down in his bedroom.  A minute or two after I had left the room Mr Hussey met me in the hall and whispered into my ear, "I believe SIR FREDERICK is dead."  Mr Hussey immediately sent for Mr Law, and then, at my suggestion, for Mr Lane, as he lived nearer than Mr Law.  CAPT. WILLIAMS was also sent for.  I was present when Mr Lane arrived.  He pronounced SIR FREDERICK to be dead before touching him.

Mr S. O. Lane, surgeon, of Braunton, deposed:  Last evening I was sent for to see SIR FREDERICK WILLIAMS, who, I was told, was very ill.  I was out when the messenger came, but I returned within about five minutes, and found a horse and cart to bring me here.  I arrived here a few minutes before eight.  I met Mr Hussey at the gate, and he told me he feared SIR FREDERICK was dead.  I went into the dining-room and saw him lying on the sofa, quite dead.  I examined the body.  I believe the cause of death was the rupture of a blood-vessel on the brain, causing apoplexy.  There must have been profuse haemorrhage for death to have supervened so soon, the degree of rapidity with which death ensues being dependent upon the quantity of blood which is effused upon the brain from the ruptured vessel.  If there had been but little haemorrhage paralysis, and not death, might have resulted; but in this case no doubt a very large clot was pressed upon the brain.  I should think death had taken place two or three hours.  The probability is that the attack came on soon after SIR FREDERICK lay down, and no doubt it was the cause of the stertorous breathing which the witnesses heard.  I should think the deceased gentleman never moved after he was attacked.

Mr T. S. Law, surgeon, of Barnstaple, deposed:  About half-past seven I received a message to come to Wrafton to see SIR FREDERICK WILLIAMS, who was very ill.  I arrived here shortly after eight, and at the gate met Mr Lane, who said SIR FREDERICK was dead.  I went into the room and examined the body, and satisfied myself that life was extinct.  I believe that the rupture of a blood-vessel on the brain was the cause of death, and I concur in Mr Lane's opinion that he had been dead some hours.

The Coroner said he need not detain the Jury much longer, for it was clear from the evidence that death resulted from the rupture of a blood-vessel on the brain, and he had no doubt that they would unhesitatingly return a verdict to that effect.

The foreman said the Jury were unanimous in giving a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.  The Jury, having signed the verdict and requested that their fees should be given to the North Devon Infirmary or some other charity, were thanked by the Coroner for their services and dismissed.

The late SIR FREDERICK was the son of Sir William Williams, the first baronet, of Tregullowscorrier, Cornwall, who died in 1870, and of Caroline, daughter of Richard Eales, Esq., of Easdon, in this county.  He was born on the 25th January, 1830 (being thus only 48 years of age), was educated at Winchester, and in 1858 married the present Lady Williams, who was the youngest daughter of the Rev. Robert V. Law, rector of Christian Malford, Wiltshire, and the granddaughter of the Right Rev. Dr Law, Bishop of Bath and Wells.  He was first elected for Truro in February 1865 and has ever since represented it in Parliament; and besides being a D.L. and J.P. of Cornwall and a J.P. for Devonshire, he was a fellow of the Royal Geological Society.

SAMPFORD COURTNAY - The Fatal Accident At Sampford Courtnay. - An Inquest was held at the Sampford Courtnay Station on Thursday, before R. M. Fulford, Esq., Coroner, on the body of JOHN SMITH, a labourer in the employ of Mr Brady, railway contractor, who was knocked down by an engine and killed on Wednesday, whilst at work on the line, as reported in our last.  The deceased who was about 50 years of age, was a resident of Southmolton, but had been working on the line for some months.  From the evidence of Joseph Morcom, a fellow labourer, John Sharland, the engine-driver, and others, it appeared that about one o'clock on Wednesday the deceased was engaged with a party of labourers in doubling the line between Sampford Courtnay and Okehampton.  Deceased was engaged in filling one of the waggons.  Morcom, whilst in another waggon, heard a train signalled, and just afterwards, on looking down, saw the deceased, who was very deaf, come from the back of the waggons and attempt to cross the line, probably with a view of getting his dinner.  Morcom immediately shouted to deceased to get out of the way.  Deceased heard him, looked up, and tried to jump back off the line.  By this time the train was close on him, and struck him in the breast with such force that he was thrown a distance of fifteen yards along the side of the line.  Deceased's fellow labourers at once went to his assistance, but found that he was quite dead.  The train was signalled to warn the men in the cutting to keep clear, and at the time of the accident steam had been shut off with a view of stopping at Sampford Courtnay, about three-quarters of a mile distant.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," expressing their belief that the accident had arisen through the deceased being deaf.  An opinion was also expressed that persons troubled with this infirmity should not be employed on railways.  - Mr Rogers, who watched the case on behalf of the London and South Western Railway Company, said that the deceased was not employed by the Company, but by the contractor.  All the Company's servants were examined on this point before they were engaged.

SWYMBRIDGE - Sudden Death. - On Tuesday J. H. Toller, Esq., Coroner, visited this parish to hold an Inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of WM. COTTLE, a labouring man, about 61 years of age, who died after a few hours' illness on the Sunday before.  - Mrs Elizabeth Houle, the wife of a farmer, deposed that on Sunday afternoon last the deceased, who had but one leg and one arm, came to her house between three and four o'clock in the afternoon with some plums for the children.  She asked him how he was, and he said he had had a cold in the week, but was then better; and he appeared to be very cheerful.  He remained at her house until six o'clock and then left, saying, in reply to Mr Houle's remark that he hoped he would come on the following day to finish the harvest, "Please God I'll come and see it finished."  Between eight and nine o'clock witness received a message from the wife of the deceased requesting her and her husband to go to her and take with them some linseed meal and brandy, as the deceased was very ill.  They went immediately, and found him in bed.  He said he was better than when he was first taken, and he persisted in saying that up to about half-past eleven, when he died.  He found difficulty in breathing, and several remedies were applied, and seemed to do him good.  About half-an-hour before he died Mr Jackson, surgeon, of Barnstaple, was sent for, but of course he was dead before medical aid arrived.  Amongst other remedies that were applied, some boiling water was put into a teapot and he sucked the steam which was emitted, and said that that did him more good than anything else.  -  Maria, wife of John Dunn, gave similar evidence.  - Mr Henry Jackson deposed that as he was at Torrington when sent for, Mr Kay, the house surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, went out to Swymbridge for him.  There were no marks of violence about the body, and to the best of his belief death was caused by the bursting of a large artery.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 12 September 1878

BARNSTAPLE - A Singular Case Of Poisoning. - An Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary on Monday morning by the Borough Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft, on the body of a little boy two years old, named CHARLES SQUIRE (the son of a smith living in Trinity-street) who died in the Infirmary the day before from the effects of some carbolic acid, which he accidentally drank.  The unfortunate little fellow was playing with another little boy, four years old, named Edward Bassett, whose father, a groom in the employ of Mr Gamble, surgeon, lives in Church-street.  Bassett went to Mr Gamble's stables, and took from the saddle room a bottle, which had been there for some time.  Not caring to ascertain the nature of the contents by taking them himself, he handed the bottle to a little girl, who just put it to her lips, and then the deceased drank from it, and immediately cried out from intense pain.  He was at once taken to Mr Gamble's surgery, and thence to the Infirmary, but in spite of the attentions of Mr Gamble and of the House Surgeon he died on Sunday, after having suffered great pain, from exhaustion, consequent upon the injuries he had received.  - The Coroner, having given a statement of the above facts, remarked upon the carelessness of keeping deadly poisons in such a position as that it was possible for children to have access to them.  ARTHUR SQUIRE, the father of the deceased, gave evidence that his son was two years old last month.  On Saturday afternoon, about ten minutes past five, as he was passing the corner of Mr Gamble's coachhouse on his way home from work, he heard a bottle smash and a child scream loudly.  He passed the little boy Bassett and went into his own house, and there saw that there was something the matter with the deceased, who had just been brought in by another child, out of whose mouth some white frothy liquid was coming.  Witness thought he had taken something which had done him harm, and he at once carried the child into Mr Gamble's surgery.  Mr Gamble attended to the child at once, and in about half-an-hour, at his direction, witness brought him to the Infirmary accompanied by Mr G.  He afterwards saw the pieces of a broken bottle in the street outside his front door, and observed that there was a little brown-coloured liquid in the end of the bottle, which was taken to Mr Gamble's surgery by a boy named Stevens.  In reply to the foreman, the witness added that he did not know where the child obtained the bottle from, but knew that it was not from his house.  Having seen the fragments of the bottle, he was able to say that there was no label upon it. - Mr C. H. Gamble deposed that he had just come into his house on Saturday afternoon, soon after five o'clock, when he was called to the surgery, where he found SQUIRES with his child in his arms.  The child was crying very much, and his mouth was blistered and whitened, apparently from having swallowed some caustic fluid, which, from the smell and from subsequent enquiry, he found to be carbolic acid.  The liquid appeared to have gone into the stomach.  He used the customary remedies in such cases - olive oil, lime water, and milk, and he got the child to be sick several times.  In about half-an-hour, finding that he was no better, and knowing that SQUIRE'S wife was an invalid, he directed that the child should be taken to the Infirmary, where all that could be done for him was done.  Death resulted from exhaustion consequent upon the injuries to the mouth and stomach.  He was not previously aware that there was any carbolic acid in his stable, but from enquiries he had made he had found that that which the child drank must have come thence.  He could not state how it came there.  The carbolic acid which he saw in the end of the bottle spoken of by SQUIRE was impure, as was evidence from it s colour, which was brown, instead of white.  - Mr Wm. Kay, house surgeon, deposed that the deceased was brought to the Infirmary about half-past five on Saturday afternoon by Mr Gamble, who attended him himself, administering oils and other emollients, &c.  The child was suffering from the effects of some irritant poison, which witness, from the symptoms and the smell, supposed to be carbolic acid.  The lips and mouth were excoriated.  When brought in, the deceased was suffering the effects of the shock.  He was nearly insensible, and was breathing very rapidly and with difficulty.  In that state he continued during the night, and died from exhaustion at twenty minutes past twelve on Sunday.  Witness saw him several times during the night.  -  Aaron Bassett, the father of the boy of that name, deposed that there was a medicine bottle in the saddle room of his employer's stable, but he did not know what its contents were, and he never used them.  On Saturday afternoon he found that the bottle was gone.  The fragments he saw in the street outside SQUIRE'S door he supposed to be the same.  The bottle was kept on the floor, and it was therefore possible for a child in the saddle room to take it up.  Witness saw his little boy near the stable on the afternoon in question.  - The little boy Bassett was now called forward and was interrogated by the Coroner (Not on oath), but he was evidently afraid to speak. However, it was elicited from him, with the help of his mother, that it was he who took the bottle from the saddle room, and that after a little girl had put it to her mouth, deceased drank from it.  - The Coroner cautioned the boy not to interfere with strange things again, and then briefly summed up, remarking that it was a case of misadventure, and that the child who had just been before the Jury could not, of course, be held accountable for the unfortunate result of his conduct, in consequence of his tender years.  It was greatly to be lamented that the bottle was kept without a label, and within the reach of children, and he hoped that this sad case would serve as a warning to people who had poison on their premises.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased died from having Accidentally Drunk Carbolic Acid.

Thursday 19 September 1878

BARNSTAPLE - Death From Apoplexy. - On Thursday evening the Borough Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft, held an Inquest at the Angel Inn, Quay, on the body of JOSEPH STRIBLING, a pilot, 35 years of age, living in Hearson's Court, hard by, who had died suddenly that morning.  Mr Cummings was foreman of the Jury, and after the body had been viewed, HENRIETTA STRIBLING, the widow, was called, and deposed that on the previous day her husband was engaged in piloting a vessel called the Nelly from Paige's Pill up the river Taw. She believed he brought her as far as a point in the river called "The General."  He reached his home about nine o'clock in the evening, seeming in his usual health.  He had some fried meat and bread, and some tea, for supper, and made a hearty meal, and shortly after ten o'clock he went out to speak to Capt. Lemon.  She went to bed about half-past ten, and in about three quarters of an hour she heard deceased coming up the court.  He entered the house, and asked if she was in bed, and on her replying that she was, he went outside and sat on the doorstep.  She went down soon afterwards, and Mrs Hagley, a neighbour, assisted her in bringing him into the house.  He seemed to be sleepy, and unable to walk, and being unable to get upstairs he sat down beside the fire, and she remained with him and presently brought down a mattress, upon which he lay.  At midnight he was sick, and had by that time become insensible, and he also vomited twice afterwards.  She became alarmed, and at about a quarter past five o'clock sent for Mr J. W. Cooke, surgeon, who arrived about six o'clock.  Deceased continued in the same state until about nine o'clock, when he died.  He breathed very loudly, and smelt of brandy.  - John Hagley, a labourer, living next door to the deceased, deposed that he saw the latter shortly after eleven o'clock on Wednesday night, sitting by the side of his own door smoking.  He asked witness to get him something to drink, which he declined to do, thinking that STRIBLING had had enough already.  In about a quarter of an hour he attempted to enter his own house, but fell down, and was helped indoors by MRS STRIBLING and witness's wife.  - Mr J. W. Cooke deposed that shortly before six o'clock that morning he was called to see the deceased.  He went at once, and found him lying on a mattress in the kitchen, perfectly insensible, breathing stertorously, and to all appearances dying.  The symptoms were quite consistent with apoplexy.  He had no mark of violence on his person, and in all probability his death was the result of natural causes.  The Jury returned a verdict to this effect, and gave their fees to the widow of the deceased.

Thursday 26 September 1878

BARNSTAPLE - Death Under Singular Circumstances. - On Friday last John Henry Toller, Esq., Coroner for this division of the county, held an Inquest on the body of a respectable labouring man of the parish of Georgeham, named JOHN HOLLAND, aged 56, who met with his death under the unusual circumstance disclosed by the following evidence:-  The first witness, Mr C. H. Elliott, farmer, of Braunton, deposed that the deceased was in the employ of his father, Mr John Elliott, farmer and butcher, of Braunton, for whom he had worked for 30 years.  On Wednesday HOLLAND had to drive 18 bullocks to Barnstaple Fair, and witness assisted him:  they had a horse between them.  The bullocks not being sold, the deceased proceeded to drive them home, and witness left him so engaged at the top of the hill at Pilton between one and two o'clock the same afternoon.  He was then on horseback.  Witness was somewhat surprised that the deceased had not returned to the farm by the evening, but he thought that perhaps he had put the bullocks in their proper place, which was about a mile and half from the homestead, and gone to his home at Georgeham.  However, as he had not returned by noon on Thursday, witness went in search of him, and found eight of the bullocks in the road at Halsinger, in the parish of Braunton, nine at Beercharter, in the same parish, and the remaining one at Bradiford, and the horse on which the deceased had been riding he found in the road by Pilland, in Pilton, without a bridle and in charge of a boy, who had found it straying, had put a halter round its neck, and was then riding it.  Making enquiries at the Bradiford turnpike gate, he found from Mrs Mock that the deceased passed through the gate on horseback about two o'clock on Wednesday, driving the bullocks.  He afterwards made every possible enquiry about Bradiford and Barnstaple, and, unable to learn anything of the deceased, gave information at the county and borough police-stations in Barnstaple.  That (Friday) morning he arose between four and five o'clock, and renewed the search, and at Bradiford gate met Mr Davey, senior, of Lion Mills, who agreed to accompany him.  They presently met Mrs Heddon, of Bradiford, who said that on Wednesday she held a stick for a man whilst he went in pursuit of a bullock up Tutshill-lane, and he did not return for it.  Witness and Mr Davey thereupon went up the lane, and when they reached  stile leading into a field they saw around the post a bridle which witness recognised as that worn by the horse which deceased was riding.  The chinstay of the bridle was broken, and in that way probably the horse broke loose.  Witness went into the field, whilst Mr Davey went up the lane, and in about a minute the latter found the body of the deceased, lying on the stomach, with arms and legs out-stretched, and hands firmly clenched.  Mr Davey went away to inform the police, and witness remained by the body until P.C. Tippett, of the County Constabulary, came and took charge of it.  This was about half-past eight in the morning.  There was very little traffic in the lane, so little that the bushes were almost grown across the road.  The deceased was a sober, honest, and industrious man.  - Mr Harper, surgeon, deposed that he had that day examined the body of the deceased.  The clothes were covered in mud, and were wet in front.  The face was purple; bloody froth was coming from the mouth; there was a small bruise over the right forehead, and the chest was also much discoloured.  There was considerable post mortem rigidity, so that death had ensued some time previously.  There were no marks of violence about the body, and he had no reason to suppose from his examination that death was due to any but natural causes.  - Mrs Mary Heddon, wife of Mr George Heddon, of Bradiford Cottage, deposed that about half-past one on Wednesday, hearing a horse coming very fast through the lane leading to Halse Mills, she opened the door and saw a man on horseback, who asked her how far the lane extended.  She replied that she thought it was not far.  He rode out through the lane and returned with a long stick, which he gave her, asking her to be kind enough to stay there and keep a bullock which had gone up Tutshill-lane from going to Halse Mills.  He then rode up the lane, and she remained some time, and then, as he did not return, gave the stick to her husband, who stayed at the corner of the mill-stream for half-an-hour, and then came back and said that as he had seen nothing either of the bullock or of the man he supposed they had gone through the lane into the Braunton road.  The man was perfectly sober.  She had that day seen the body which the Jury had viewed, and could state that it was that of the man she had been speaking about.  - P.C. Tippett deposed that he examined the spot where the body was found, and also the vicinity, but observed no marks of a struggle.  In the pockets of the deceased he found a watch, 4s. 6d. in silver, 3d in coppers, two keys a knife, and a little tract (all produced).  - This was the whole of the evidence, and the verdict of the Jury was one of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 3 October 1878

KINGSKERSWELL - MR CHARLES HENRY WILLS, retired lieutenant in the army, residing at Rose Cottage, Kings Kerswell, in this county, died suddenly on Friday last, and at the Coroner's Inquest, it was shewn that death resulted from an overdose of opium pills, which he was in the habit of taking to relieve pain and to procure sleep.

Thursday 10 October 1878

BUCKLAND BREWER - Sudden Death. - Yesterday (Wednesday), J. H. Toller, Esq., Coroner, held an Inquest in this parish, on the body of an old man of 75, named WM. SQUIRE, a mason by trade, who had been ailing for some years, and died suddenly on Monday.  The evidence showed that at half-past ten o'clock on Monday morning the deceased was sitting by the fire in his kitchen, and being asked by his grandson, FREDERICK CHARLES SQUIRE, how he was, said he was no worse.  When the boy returned, about noon, he found his grandfather lying upon the floor, and, being alarmed, called his father CALEB SQUIRE.  It was then found that the old man was dead.  Mr C. S. Thompson, of Bideford, who had attended the deceased for three years up to the past few months, when he seemed to have become better, was sent for.  He examined the body, and found no external injury except a bruise on the forehead, probably caused by the fall from the chair.  From the facts that death was accompanied by loss of blood, and that the deceased used to spit blood, he conjectured that death arose from the rupture of a large blood-vessel in the lungs.  The verdict of the Jury was to this effect.

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident To An Infant. - On Monday evening the Borough Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft, held an Inquest at Newport, in this borough, on the body of CARRIE, the infant child of MR THOMAS THORNE, butcher, of South-street.  The Jury elected Mr Wadham as their foreman, and after the body had been viewed, Florence Clifford, a girl of 12 years of age, the daughter of Mr Clifford, butcher, of Barnstaple, deposed that the deceased was her niece, deceased's mother being her sister.  She was 16 months old.  About half-past five o'clock on Saturday afternoon MRS THORNE'S servant, Mary Jane Robbins, went to take  chair in to Mrs Beer's, two doors below, and witness went with her, carrying the baby in her arms.  She was accustomed to nurse the deceased, but did not live with her sister, but at home, at Derby.  The servant stopped to speak to someone, and consequently witness got in front of her.  The cue of one of her shoes was loose, and outside Mrs Gaydon's it caught in a stone, and she fell on the flagging, with the child, who reached the ground first, and fell on the crown of her head.  Witness was walking at the time, not running, and she was not pushed by anyone.  The servant picked up the deceased, who screamed as if in pain, and took her into the house, and about half-an-hour afterwards, the child not getting better, witness went for Mr Cooke, surgeon, who came in about an hour.  The child died at half-past one on the following morning.  - The foreman suggested that Mr Cooke should have been sent for immediately after the accident.  - Mr Cooke replied that no neglect was to be charged upon the parents for not doing so, for children frequently fell about without being hurt, and as soon as it was found in this case that the child was injured the last witness came for him.  If he had been on the spot he could not have saved the child's life.  - The foreman subsequently admitted the reasonableness of this view of the matter.  - Mary, wife of Thomas Cutcliffe (stone mason, of Pilton) deposed that she was nursing MRS THORNE, who had recently been confined.  Immediately after the accident her attention was called to the child, who was very sick.  She washed the dirt from her, and laid her carefully in the cradle, and then went upstairs to wait on MRS THORNE, and as the child was still very sick when she came down the doctor was sent for.  The deceased had been teething, and had been very poorly for the last fortnight.  - Mary Jane Robbins deposed that, when picked up, the deceased was some little distance from Florence Clifford.  The child stopped screaming in about ten minutes, and was quiet afterwards.  She gave her some tea, and she became very sick, and then Mr Cooke was sent for.  A swelling came out on the child's head about as large as a good-sized marble.  - Mr J. W. Cooke gave evidence that, being engaged, he was not able to go to the deceased immediately upon receiving the message, but went half or three-quarters of an hour afterwards.  He found the child in the nurse's lap, perfectly insensible, and the right side of the body was convulsed - a symptom of concussion of the brain, as also were the insensibility and the sickness.  He examined the head, but found no external mark, and what had been described by the last witness must have been a natural protuberance.  He had the child put into a warm bath, and remained with her until she was taken out, and then went home to prepare some medicine.  About ten o'clock he again saw her, and she then seemed to be rather better.  The convulsions had ceased, and consciousness had partially returned.  Death resulted from exhaustion consequent upon the convulsions, the primary cause being concussion of the brain.  There was possibly an internal fracture of the skull and laceration of the brain, but there was evidently concussion, which would be quite sufficient to produce death.  Mr Cooke added that the deceased was a splendid child.  The Jury at once returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BUDE - The Drowning Of A Farmer. - An Inquest on the remains of the late MR WILLIAM BANBURY, of Pinkworthy Farm, Pyworthy, whose mysterious disappearance from Bude and the finding of his body we have already published, was held at the Falcon Hotel, Bude, on Thursday.  Evidence was given shewing that the deceased left Stratton on the night of the Bude Fair for his home, and was not seen afterwards till his body was found in the canal at Bude.  The police-constable stated that the money and papers of the deceased were found safe in his pockets.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."  It is remarkable that forty years ago the father of the deceased came to his death in the same way.  He had been to Bude, and left in the evening in a state of intoxication, and nothing was afterwards seen of him until his body was found some days afterwards drowned in the canal.

Thursday 24 October 1878

WADEBRIDGE - Sudden Death Of A Commercial Traveller. - An Inquiry was held on Saturday evening at Wadebridge, before Mr Hanley, District Coroner, touching the death of MR GEORGE SHIPCOTT, commercial traveller for Messrs. Quick and Co., leather merchants, Queen-street, Exeter.  - Mr Lee, hotel proprietor, deposed that the deceased slept at his hotel on Friday night, and got up on Saturday morning between seven and eight o'clock, and took a walk.  He did business with various persons in the town, and about ten o'clock had a cup of tea taken to him in the commercial room, but he had nothing to eat.  No notice was taken of him until about eleven o'clock, when he was seen coming from the stables to the house, and he then appeared to be in his usual health; but one of the servants who went to the commercial room about twelve o'clock saw him on the floor.  She called Mr Lee, and he immediately sent for Mr Wilkins, who attended in a few minutes, and, after examination, pronounced MR SHIPCOTT dead.  - The medical testimony at the Inquest was that the deceased died of apoplexy, and a verdict to that effect was returned.  - Mr Quick, jun., who arrived from Exeter during the Inquest, spoke of the deceased having had a previous attack, and stated that when the telegram reached Exeter announcing his death it caused but little surprise, as sudden death was anticipated.

Thursday 31 October 1878

TORRINGTON - Sudden Death In The Union House. - An Inquest was held on Saturday last, at the Workhouse of the Torrington Union, before John Henry Toller, Esq., one of the County Coroners, on the body of WILLIAM ACKLAND, aged 85, who had been an inmate of the Workhouse for many years.  The evidence of the master (Mr Thomas Cann), and of Andrew Goss, another inmate, shewed that on the afternoon of Thursday last deceased was in his ordinary state of health, and was employed with Goss, under the direction of the master, in piling up logs of firewood in an outhouse at the bottom of the garden.  About four o'clock the master had to leave the shed for a few minutes, and in his absence, and when in the act of receiving a piece of wood from Goss, the deceased sat suddenly down on the ground with his head forward.  Goss went behind him to prevent him falling, and spoke to him, but he made no answer, and there is little doubt that he died instantly.  His body was taken to the hospital ward, and the medical man sent for.  Dr Jones, who has charge of the house, happened to be returning from a journey within a few minutes, and called at the Union-house on his way home, and there learned what had happened.  He found on the deceased no mark of violence, and gave it as his opinion that death had resulted from disease of the heart, from which deceased had long suffered.  A verdict to that effect was immediately returned.

COMBMARTIN - Fatal Accident. - An accident, which resulted fatally, occurred on Saturday se'nnight, the 19th inst., to a little boy named JOHN EASTMAN, aged six years, son of GEORGE EASTMAN, limeburner, of this place.  A man named Samuel Cutcliffe, a workman with Mr Richard Clogg, farmer and limeburner, had been to his master's field with two loads of lime, one of the carts being drawn by two horses and the other by one.  On his return he took out the horses, and, meeting with an older brother of the deceased, named SAMUEL GEORGE EASTMAN, aged nine years, he asked him to walk down after the horses to the water, and after they had drank to drive them up again to the stable.  He did so, and took the deceased with him, who had a little stick in his hand, with which he struck the hindermost horse, and the animal kicked him.  The poor child received the kick in his face, which bled very much.  The nose was broken, and there was other injury to the face.  He was taken home and the wounds dressed; and the next day Dr Kingdon was sent for, who found a considerable wound across the bridge of the nose, the bones of which were badly broken.  The cut extended from the bridge f the nose down the right side of the face.  He did what he could in the case, but inflammation set in, which extended to the brain, and the child died on Wednesday the 23rd.  An Inquest was held on the body on Monday the 28th, at the Red Lion Inn, before John Henry Toller, Esq., Coroner, when, the above facts having been deposed to, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death from the Kick of a Horse."

Thursday 14 November 1878

TORQUAY - Shocking Death Of A Tutor By Burning. - An Inquest was held at Mount Braddon Villa, Torquay, on Friday afternoon, before Dr Gaye, Deputy Coroner, to investigate the painful circumstances under which JOHN JOSEPH MASSINGHAM, 23 years of age, a tutor to a young gentleman residing in the house, came to his death.  - The first witness called was George Calder, a coachman, living with Mrs Gregory, Mount Braddon.  He said he had known the deceased since the 8th of July:  he was staying in Mrs Gregory's house in Roxburgh, where he was tutor to Master Gregory.  Deceased remained at Roxburgh until about three weeks ago, and to witness's knowledge he did not suffer from any fit during that period.  On the previous Monday, between five and six o'clock, deceased came to Torquay.  He dined with the family at seven o'clock, and appeared in his usual health.  At about ten the same night, the housemaid told witness that she thought there was something wrong with deceased, because she had heard him screaming for help from his bedroom.  Witness went upstairs, and found the bedroom door locked.  He broke the door open, and saw deceased on his knees by the side of the door. Witness helped deceased to stand, and he said, "Oh, Henry, I can't see."  Witness asked him what had happened, but deceased did not answer him.  He was locked in the room alone.  There was no light there, but there was a fire burning in the grate.  Deceased was helped to on the bed, and a doctor was sent for.  Witness saw deceased occasionally until his death, which took place at ten o'clock on Thursday night.  On the night of the occurrence deceased took neither wine nor beer, and witness believed he was a total abstainer.  - Jane Lane, the housemaid, said she saw the deceased in his bedroom before seven o'clock on the Monday evening and then a little after nine.  She just heard him speaking like as if two were together.  After prayers, about ten o'clock, she heard the deceased screaming out for help.  She ran down and spoke to the coachman.  She asked the deceased after he was in bed, "How did he get it done?"  and he replied that he couldn't tell her.  -  William Bennett Dalby, M.D., a physician practising at Torquay, said on Monday night a messenger came to his house at ten o'clock from Mrs Gregory's, at Mount Braddon's, asking him to come at once and see the tutor, who was fastened in his bedroom screaming for help.  Witness came at once, and on his going into the deceased's bedroom he found him on the bed very much burnt.  He discovered on the carpet evidence of the deceased's having struggled on the ground, as portions of his burnt clothes were lying about.  He was partially conscious, but soon became incoherent.  He could not tell witness how the accident had happened.  From inquiries that he had made, witness ascertained that deceased was a man of much note, very clever and talented, and that he had been studying very hard lately.  His right hand was nearly consumed, and his arm was burnt up to the shoulder, as was the right side of his back and chest, the whole of his right side, and part of the left of his head.  Deceased died on Thursday night, about ten o'clock.  During the time previous to his death he said nothing to witness as to how the accident had happened.  Witness thought he must have been seized with a fit while leaning on the mantelpiece, and have fallen into the fire, where he probably remained for some time and then rolled on to the ground, and it must have been then that he screamed for help.  The cause of death was exhaustion, following the burns received.  - The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence, and that the deceased's death was caused Accidentally.

DEVONPORT - Sad Death At Devonport From Burning. - The Devonport Borough Coroner held an Inquest at Stoke, on Thursday evening, into the circumstances attending the death of FREDERICK GEORGE MUGFORD, about 14 months old.  -  ZEPPORAH MUGFORD, wife of GEORGE FREDERICK MUGFORD, plasterer, residing at Belfield Cottage, Stoke, said the deceased was her child.  On Saturday, about midnight her husband was sitting in a chair asleep, when witness, who was going to bed, and who had a benzoline lamp in her hand, gave him a push in order to awaken him.  Startled by being aroused so suddenly, he threw back his arm and knocked the lamp out of her hand and into the cradle containing the deceased, thereby setting fire to the clothes.  The flames spread very rapidly.  She went to catch hold of the child, when in his half-awakened state her husband caught hold of her instead of the deceased.  The child was then caught up, and the husband took the burning clothes from the cradle and threw them on the mat, thus setting the carpet on fire.  He then took up the burning material, which he threw into the garden.  The deceased was very much burnt about the arms and face, and the father was also burnt very badly.  Mr Thorn, surgeon, ordered the father to the Royal Albert Hospital, but he considered the deceased too young to be sent there.  The child became convulsed on Tuesday and died early on Wednesday morning.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 21 November 1878

LYNTON - Fatal Accident. - An Inquest was held on Saturday last, at the Cottage Hospital, before John Henry Toller, Esq., one of the Coroners for Devon, on the body of a young man called CHARLES STILING, aged 21, a farm labourer at New Mill, in this parish, who died on the preceding Thursday (the 14th) from the effects of an accident which he received on the 5th November, when he, with some others, were engaged in celebrating Guy Fawkes's Day, and in doing so were discharging the barrel of an old fowling piece, which unfortunately exploded, and caused a wound in the calf of the right leg of deceased, and he died from its becoming mortified.  The evidence of George Dellbridge, millwright, of Barbrook Mill and John Latham, boot and shoemaker, of the same place, showed that they were engaged, with deceased and others, in burning tar barrels and petroleum, and in discharging a musket barrel, in celebration of the 5th November.  The barrel was fastened to a block of wood, and went off well enough when first discharged, but on being loaded again by the deceased, it missed fire, and after in vain endeavouring four or five times to make it go off, deceased took a stick and split the top of it, lighted it at the fire which was on the ground, and then applied the top of the stick to the nipple of the barrel, but neither then did it discharge.  He then took the barrel in his right hand and the block in his left, and stooped down, when the piece suddenly exploded and the deceased fell to the ground.  The two witnesses took him up and fund that his leg was injured, and after pulling up the right leg of his trousers found a wound in the calf of the leg about the size of a pennypiece, from which the blood was issuing.  He was taken to the house of Mr Kingdon, close by, (at Barbrook Mill,) where all kindness was shown him, and he sat before the fire while the doctor was sent for from Lynton.  All were perfectly sober at the time, which was about ten o'clock at night, and the occurrence was purely accidental.  Mr Hartley, surgeon, happened to be in the way, and came immediately to Mr Kingdon's, where he found deceased sitting before the fire, and on examination found that he had received a contused and lacerated circular wound on the inner side of the calf of the right leg.  There was little bleeding at the time, nor had there been much.  The wound was dressed, and deceased was removed to the Cottage Hospital, where the surgeon attended him every day.  There were no symptoms in the case to suggest danger until Tuesday 12th, the week after the accident, when a large vein of the leg appeared to be plugged as if by a clot of blood, and the next morning it was found that the circulation in the lower part of the limb had become arrested.  Mr Hartley at once telegraphed to Barnstaple, and Mr Harper, surgeon, arrived as soon as possible, but by this time mortification of the limb had set in.  They consulted as to the propriety of amputation, and decided that it would be useless.  Mr Hartley continued in attendance on deceased until his death, which took place about nine o'clock in the evening of the 14th.  Having heard the evidence, the Jury immediately returned a verdict of "Died from Mortification arising from a wound in his right leg caused by the Accidental Discharge of a Gun Barrel."

HONITON - Fatal Accident Under Singular Circumstances. - An Inquest was held on Thursday evening, at the White Hart Inn, before the Deputy Coroner (Dr Macauley), upon the body of MRS GRACE LAKE, wife of MR THOS. LAKE, hairdresser, Honiton, who met with her death by falling over a flight of stairs, on Wednesday night last.  The first witness called was the husband of deceased, who deposed that on Wednesday he went to Sidmouth, and returned about five o'clock in the evening.  Witness then went into the White Hart Inn.  About nine in the evening he left the Inn, and, on reaching his house, which is close by, he found the door bolted.  Witness returned to the public-house, and told the landlord.  He then proceeded down the street, and saw a policeman, who went back with witness to his house.  The door was still locked, and the policeman called to the window.  The deceased looked out, but would not come down and open the door.  The door was then burst open, and witness went inside, when his wife attempted to come down stairs, and, in doing so, fell to the bottom.  Dr Shortridge was sent for, and on his arrival he examined the deceased, and found that she had received a severe blow on the head.  She died the next morning about six o'clock.  Dr Shortridge was called and he said he thought the deceased died from concussion of the brain.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 28 November 1878

YARNSCOMBE - Death Of An Illegitimate Child - Neglect Of The Mother And Horrible Wickedness. - An Inquest was held at the Hunter's Inn, in this parish, on Wednesday (yesterday), before John Henry Toller, Esq., one of the Coroners for the County, and a respectable Jury, on view of the body of ELIZA PETHEBRIDGE, aged three years and ten months, daughter of MARIA PETHEBRIDGE, single woman, who lives in the house of her brother, EMANUEL PETHEBRIDGE, labourer.  The first witness was Elizabeth Ballment, wife of the county policeman stationed in the village, who deposed that she knew the deceased very well, who was a healthy and well-nourished child, and did not appear to want for anything.  On the evening of Friday last the child's mother came to her and told her the child was ill, and asked her to call and see her, which she did about five o'clock the same evening, and found the deceased in the arms of the mother's brother, EMANUAL PETHEBRIDGE, who was nursing her by the fire.  The child was dressed, but appeared very ill, and witness persuaded the mother to send for the doctor.  She did not remember whether EMANUEL PETHEBRIDGE made any reply, but the mother said she did not know how she could get the doctor, as she had no one to send for him.  Witness saw that the child had the measles, and thought they were "going back."  Had been in the habit of seeing the child daily, but not since she had had the measles, and had never heard that the mother ill-treated her in any way.  Dr John Day Jones, physician and surgeon, of Torrington, who is the parish doctor of Yarnscombe, deposed that about half-past eight o'clock on the morning of last Saturday, the 23rd, EMANUEL PETHEBRIDGE came to his house with an order from Mr Thorne, the overseer, to give attendance to the child of MARIA PETHEBRIDGE, sick with measles.  He asked the man how long the children had been ill, and why he had not been sent for before, and he replied that they had been ill for a week, but that the mother did not think it necessary to have the doctor.  He went as soon as he could, and arrived at Yarnscombe between nine and ten o'clock.  When he came to the house he found the child was dead.  He saw on the body a few faint marks which resembled measles.  Asked the mother why she had not sent for him earlier as he was the parish doctor, and she answered that "she knew nothing about the parish doctor," and that it was a long way to send.  He told her it was a case of great neglect, and that he should not give a certificate to bury the corpse.  Death had resulted from inflammation arising from partially suppressed measles.  The child was well nourished, and appeared to have been properly taken care of.  Of course he could not say the child would have lived if he had been called in earlier, but she would have had a great chance of living.  The mother, MARIA PETHEBRIDGE gave evidence that the deceased was her base child.  She was taken ill on Saturday the 16th, but witness thought that she was sickening for the measles, and that a doctor was not necessary.  Her neighbours told her that other children in the village had recovered from measles without the doctor, and they did not see why hers should not.  The child went on from day to day sometimes better and sometimes worse, until Friday evening, when she seemed to get worse, and witness went to the first witness (Mrs Ballment) and asked her to come and see her, which she did.  Mrs Ballment said the child was very ill, when witness rose up and said she would go for a doctor, but Mrs Ballment said she would leave it until the morning.  The child seemed afterwards t get a little better, but at about four o'clock next morning she became much worse, and at witness's request her brother, EMANUEL PETHEBRIDGE, got up at five o'clock and went for the doctor, but at nine o'clock, before the doctor arrived, the child died.  Having heard the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict that deceased had died from measles, and that the mother was neglectful in not having obtained medical assistance earlier.  In announcing the verdict to her, the Coroner severely rebuked her for her neglect of her child; and said also that, although it was not within his province officially, he considered it a duty he owed to the public to censure her for living in the disreputable way she was known to be.  The only reply of the woman was that she did not care what people said of her.  The allusion made in the latter remark of the Coroner was to the horrible fact that the woman and her brother are, and for many years have been, living together as man and wife, and that several children, some dead and some living, have been born of this incestuous intercourse!

BIDEFORD - Death By Drowning. - On Wednesday last, (as reported in our last), a little girl aged seven years, named JULIA DORCAS DASHWOOD, daughter of the coachman living at Hallsannery, was drowned by falling off a baulk of timber into the river outside Mr How's yard.  The poor child lay perfectly still on her back, and floated a distance of 100 yards before she was picked up. She was taken up outside Hampton Terrace and carried to the Dispensary.  An Inquest was held at the hospital on the following day before the Borough Coroner, Dr J. Thompson, and a respectable Jury, of whom Mr William Oatway was foreman.  -  Mrs Ellen Stevens deposed:- Yesterday, about three o'clock, I was at Mr Bird's house in the new road, adjoining the river, when two little boys came into the house and said, "Will you come and help a little girl out of the water?  She has fallen in on her back."  I rushed out, and saw a little girl floating in the water about 30 yards from me.  I shouted out to my brother-in-law, Henry Bird, who at once ran in the direction of a boat.  I afterwards saw a boat go towards her containing two men, who picked the child up out of the water and took her to land.  The child did not sink during the whole time.  - William Braunton, aged eight years, one of the little boys referred to by the previous witness, said that he lived at Hallsannery with the deceased, and on Wednesday afternoon he saw her and her brother by the side of the river, and he went down to them.  Deceased shortly afterwards got into a boat, and the boat was carried out in the stream for a short distance.  It did not go far, as it was moored to some timber by a chain.  She took hold of the end of the chain that was fastened to the boat, and pulled it in against the timber, and got out on one of the baulks, which turned over, and she fell into the river on her back.  In company with her brother, he at once went and called for assistance.  - Mr Ezekiel Rouse, surgeon, deposed that the preceding day, about 3.30 p.m., he was called to the hospital to see a child that had fallen into the river.  He went at once, and found deceased in front of the fire wrapped in blankets.  The attendants were rubbing her with their hands.  Her heart was beating very feebly, which was the only sign of life.  He proceeded to use means to produce respiration for about an hour, but without avail.  She was quite dead by half-past four o'clock.  He said that when he came into the hospital he observed that one or two of the men who had brought the child there were members of the Rifle Corps; and he thought it would be a good thing if each member would make himself acquainted with the treatment adopted for the recovery of persons who laboured under suspended animation from immersion.  In this instance fifteen minutes of valuable time might have been saved.  The Jury returned a verdict that deceased came to her death by Accidentally Falling Into the River and recommended that suitable instructions for the treatment of persons who may have fallen into the water be printed and posted in proper situations in the town.  The Coroner promised to bring the recommendation of the Jury before the authorities.

Thursday 5 December 1878

GEORGEHAM - Death By Accident Of A Farmer. - A melancholy and fatal accident happened on the evening of Friday last to MR WILLIAM HANCOCK, farmer, of Darracott, in this parish, who had been to Barnstaple market, and on his return in the evening in his market-cart, accompanied by his wife, had reached the door of his house and was getting down from the cart when he fell and broke his neck!  Of course death resulted immediately.  An Inquest was held on the body the next day before John Henry Toller, Esq., one of the Coroners for the county, and a respectable Jury, before whom the following evidence was adduced:-  MRS ELIZABETH HANCOCK, widow of the deceased, deposed that her husband was 62 years of age.  The day previous she went to Barnstaple market in the market cart, and her husband followed her by the half-past ten o'clock train from Braunton.  About three o'clock in the afternoon witness left the market and went to the Green Dragon public -house, in Boutport-street, where they were in the habit of putting up, and there she met the deceased.  She expected he had a glass of beer.  When she was ready to go she had the horse put in, and her husband being ready to come away with her, they left Barnstaple together in the cart about five o'clock, the deceased driving.  When they got to the Ashford Hotel, her husband pulled up, for she thought the horse had caught up a stone in his off fore-foot, and as Thomas Ashton, whom she knew, happened to come up at the time on his way home to Braunton, she begged him to look, but he found no stone, only the shoe was partly off, and he took it off and put it into the cart.  There was no blacksmith's shop near at which they could have the shoe put on, and they drove on to Braunton, where they intended to stop at Mr Elliott's to have the shoe put on, but there was no one there to do it, and they proceeded on home in safety, although the horse was a little lame.  They arrived in front of their own house about seven o'clock.  Deceased had driven all the way.  She could not say that he was not tipsy, but she did not consider him so, although he had drank a little.  On their arrival it was raining and very cold. She said to him she did not know how she could get out of the cart, and so far as she could recollect he said something like the same to her.  She called to some of their family to come out, and their son, daughter-in-law, and two servant boys came immediately, one of them bringing a lantern.  Deceased had been for some time very weak in his legs, and was besides very wet and cold.  Witness was preparing to get out of the cart, and was in the act of handing her whittle to her daughter-in-law, when she heard her husband fall out of the cart.  They were all much alarmed, and his son and daughter-in-law went and lifted him up and assisted him into the house.  He had talked sensibly all the way home, and told her what he had been doing in the forenoon after she left.  She could not say that he was quite sober, nor that he was tipsy, nor could she say how he fell out of the cart.  -  WILLIAM HANCOCK, the son, gave evidence that he lived at  Darracott with his father, and dined with him the day previous before he went to Barnstaple.  He was quite sober when he left.  In the evening, about seven o'clock, witness heard his mother calling him from the road in front of the house, and went out, with his wife and the two servant boys.  Found that his father was on the off side of the cart and his mother on the near side.  Both his father and mother spoke, but he could not exactly say what they said.  He believed it was something about the weather being cold and wet.  While he and his wife were standing by his mother he observed his father move in the cart and then turn and fall right out over on the off side.  The horse was quiet and perfectly still.  Witness rushed over to him and lifted him up, but deceased did not utter a word, neither did he move, but appeared at the time to be dead.  They carried him into the house, and sent for Mr Lane, the surgeon, from Braunton, who came the same evening. - Mr S. O. Lane, of Braunton, surgeon, deposed that he was called to the deceased and went immediately.  Found him seated on a chair, but on examining him saw that he was dead.  Assisted in taking him to the next room, and had all his clothes taken off, and on examining him found a slight bruise on his forehead.  On examining the top of the spine, he found that the second bone of the vertebrae was broken.  He could feel and distinctly hear the friction of one bone against another.  Death must have been instantaneous.  From the evidence he had heard he had no doubt that death was caused by deceased falling out of the cart.  - The Jury found a verdict of "Accidental Death from a fall from a cart."  The rector of the parish, the Rev. W. G. Morcom, was present during the Inquest.

Thursday 12 December 1878

SUTCOMBE - A Child Burnt To Death. - An Inquest was held in this parish on Saturday last, before John Henry Toller, Esq., one of the Coroners for Devon, on the body of a little girl called CATHERINE TRICK, aged about seven years, daughter of JAMES TRICK, gardener to the rector, who came to her death by being accidentally burnt in her fathers and mother's house the preceding Wednesday.  The evidence shewed that the deceased had been left by her mother, with her little brother JAMES, aged four years, while she went on an errand to her husband, who was at work at the parsonage.  This was about a quarter to two in the afternoon, and the rectory was about a mile distant.  About three o'clock a woman named Gliddon was passing the village, and heard a child calling "Mother!"  She went in and saw that the house was full of smoke and the deceased lying on the floor.  She was much frightened, and went and called a neighbour, Mary Horn, and they then both took up the child, who was lying on the floor, with her clothes consumed and her person much burnt, and she was quite dead.  The mother came in immediately, and on seeing the poor child she swooned away.  Dr Rouse, of Bradworthy, was sent for, and came quickly, but only to pronounce that death arose from the violence of the shock to the system caused by the burning.  The little brother said deceased was hanging up the tea kettle, and so caught her clothes on fire.  The evidence showed that the mother was a most affectionate parent.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

EXETER - Another Suicide At Exeter. - On Saturday Mr Hooper, Coroner of Exeter held a third Inquest for the week on the body of a suicide.  The deceased, ISAAC JOHN WEST, who was employed as boots and ostler at the South Western Hotel, Paul-street, was found hanging in a loft belonging to Mr Elmore, his employer.  He was about 20 years of age, and was under an engagement to be married in a few days to a young woman, named Fanny Young.  During the last few days, however, the young man became strange in his manner; and a conversation he had with another female acquaintance, who thought that he was not doing wisely to marry, seemed to make him very depressed in spirits.  On the body of the deceased was found a letter from his intended wife, couched in very affectionate terms, stating that she would leave it to him to fix the day of their marriage.  It was stated, in reply to the Jury, that deceased had once before attempted to commit suicide.  A verdict of "Temporary Insanity" was returned.

HATHERLEIGH - On Wednesday an Inquest was held before Mr Coroner Fulford, on the body of MISS ANN BOX, a native of Halwell, aged 73 years, who died suddenly on Saturday last.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased was of independent means, and lived in a cottage by herself.  MISS ELIZABETH BOX, of the New Inn, a distant relative, happened to visit the old lady just before she died, and offered to send for the doctor, when the deceased replied that she was past all cure, and almost immediately fell out of her chair and expired.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 26 December 1878

NORTHMOLTON - A Child Burnt To Death. - An Inquest was held by John Henry Toller, Esq., one of the Coroners for the county, at Molland Farm, in this parish, on Saturday last, on the body of NICHOLAS BURNELL, aged two years and nine months, son of MR WILLIAM BURNELL, of Molland Farm, yeoman, who had died on Thursday morning, the 19th, in consequence of burns received on the Tuesday week previous, the 10th inst.  The evidence showed that soon after 11 o'clock in the forenoon of the 10th, MRS BURNELL and the deceased child, together with her elder daughter MARY, were sitting before the kitchen fire, when one of the servant girls, called Susan Leworthy, who had swept up the dirt from the salting house, threw it into the fire, and in it there must have been some explosive substance, for immediately there was an explosion, and all of them were more or less set on fire.  MRS BURNELL put out the fire on her own dress and caught up the deceased in her arms, who had received severe burns in his face, neck and arms.  The servant, Susan Leworthy, also put out the fire on her dress and that of the child MARY, whom she took up and went to the door to call assistance, and Grace Carey, another servant who was coming from the shippon, saw them and came to their help.  The burns on the child MARY were not severe, but those of the deceased were very serious.  Suitable applications were made at once, and Mr Sanders, surgeon, was sent for from Southmolton, who came immediately and attended the child up to his death.  He was of opinion from the first that the injuries would prove fatal.  The Jury returned a verdict that the deceased came to his death by being Accidentally Burnt.

Thursday 2 January 1879

ILFRACOMBE - Coroner's Inquest. - On Friday an Inquest was held at the Railway Hotel, before J. H. Toller, Esq., Coroner, on view of the body of SARAH KNIGHT, 62 years of age, a widow woman who resided in Horne Lane.  The first witness was Samuel Wilkey, a soldier, who said that he saw the woman fall in High-street, and he helped her up and took her home.  She was certainly the worse for liquor.  He returned to her house with a neighbour, and at MRS KNIGHT'S request pulled off her boots, and finally left her, sitting in a chair, about ten minutes to eleven.  -  ABRAHAM KNIGHT, son of deceased, said he saw her about half-past seven, when he left her in High-street.  About ten minutes past eleven he went home, and on trying to go upstairs in the dark he felt something, and on getting a light it was his mother.  Her head was on the floor, at the foot of the stairs, and her feet on the third step from the bottom.  He lifted her up, and sent for Dr Gardner.  His mother had been subject to fits.  Mr Gardner said, when he was called in he found the woman supported by last witness, but quite dead.  He had attended the family for 15 or 16 years, and had some remembrance of attending deceased for injuries caused by falling in a fit.  He examined the body, and found no external injury which would account for death.  The neck was not dislocated.  Death might have resulted from a fit; and if the woman had been indulging in drink to excess, it would predispose her to a fit.  There was no evidence before the Jury as to what the woman had done, or where she had been, from half-past seven until nearly eleven, except a statement (not on oath) by P.C. Shepherd, that she had purchased a pint of ale and a noggin of gin at the Exeter Inn.  The Jury, therefore, after a long Inquiry, returned the verdict that the deceased was found at the foot of the stairs, and of the exact cause of death there was no evidence, but there was no suspicion of foul play.  They also expressed a wish that the police should ascertain, if possible, whether the deceased had been served with drink while in a state of intoxication, and, if so, that it might be reported to the proper authorities.

EXETER - Sudden Death At Exeter. - An Inquest was held at Exeter on Monday on the body of WILLIAM BUDD, 25, late a milkman, residing in Union-terrace, who dropped down dead on Sunday morning, whilst on his rounds with milk.  It appears that the deceased left his home in his usual health, and whilst in the act of supplying milk to one of his customers, fell down at the door of the house.  Medical aid was procured, but life was extinct - the cause of death being heart disease.  A verdict was returned at the Inquest of "Death from Natural Causes."

DEVONPORT - Remarkable Fatality At Devonport. - Mr Vaughan held an Inquest at Morice Town, Devonport, on Thursday, relative to the death of JANE HIGGINS, aged 34 years, wife of a gunner in the Royal Navy, residing at 3, Haddington-road.  On Wednesday MRS HIGGINS ate some oranges and apples, and did not appear to suffer any ill effects from so doing until night:  then, when in bed, her husband was awakened by a curious noise, and found her choking, and she died quickly afterwards.  A post mortem examination was made, and it was found that a large piece of undigested orange in one of her lungs had prevented breathing.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

EXETER - Sudden Death At Exeter. - The City Coroner held an Inquest at the Pack Horse Inn, St. David's, on Thursday, on the body of MR GEORGE PATES, chemist and druggist, who lately carried on business in that city, and who died suddenly at his nephew's residence in Queen-street on Christmas day.  Miss Fanny Clarke said that she was a niece of the deceased, and lived at No. 57, Queen-street.  Her uncle was 58 years of age.  At ten minutes to one on Christmas Day, the deceased came to witness's house with the intention of spending the day there.  Witness saw him when he came, and he appeared in his usual health.  The deceased dined at one o'clock, and in the afternoon he went to the Cathedral, and witness accompanied him.  On his return home after the service, the deceased had a spasm, and rested for about five minutes against the Post-office in Queen-street.  Before reaching the house the deceased was again obliged to rest.  When he got to the house the deceased went upstairs, and sat down in the drawing room, in front of the fire.  He made a few casual remarks, and said that he thought the weather had taken away ten years of his life, and as he said this his head fell forward, and he did not breathe afterwards.  Witness caught him in her arms, and tore open the collar of his shirt, but she found that he was dead.  Dr Drake said that he had known the deceased for some time, and about two months ago he was sent for and visited him.  Witness then found him suffering from a difficulty in breathing.  On Christmas Day, about five p.m., he was sent for to Mr Clarke's house in Queen-street, to see the deceased, whom he found dead, but he did not appear to have been so long.  There were no marks of violence on the body, nor were the pupils of his eyes dilated.  Witness considered that the cause of death was spasms of the heart.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

BARNSTAPLE - Suspicion Of A Crime Dispelled. - On Friday evening the Borough Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft, held an Inquest at the Windsor Hotel, Bradiford, in this borough, on the body of the newly-born illegitimate female child of FANNY CONYBEAR, a young woman employed at the Glove Factory and living with her parents at Bradiford.  Supt. Songhurst was present to watch the Enquiry.  Mr Wm. Gilbert was chosen foreman of the Jury.  In explaining the circumstances under which they had been called together, the Coroner said no medical man or midwife was present at the birth, and when Mr Fernie saw the body of the child afterwards he noticed a mark on the throat which suggested the suspicion of foul play, and made an Inquest necessary.  The Jury having viewed the body, and observed the mark mentioned by the Coroner, ELIZABETH CONYBEAR was called, and deposed that she was the wife of GEORGE CONYBEAR, labourer, and the mother of FANNY CONYBEAR.  She had not been sure that her daughter was pregnant, although she had suspected it for some time.  Her daughter, with her father and brother, spent Christmas Day at Braunton with the family of Mr Labbett, the smith, to whom she was related, and returned by the eight o'clock train.  When she reached home she was shaking with cold, and she complained that in consequence of the slippery condition of the roads she had fallen three times, and hurt herself.  She refused to have any tea, and went to bed. She slept with witness, her husband sleeping in another bed in the same room with a son.  About one o'clock in the morning witness heard her calling from another room, into which she had gone, "Mother, light the lamp."  Witness saw that she was in labour, and called Mrs Spurway, the next door neighbour, who came in.  In about a quarter of an hour her daughter was delivered.  The child never breathed.  Witness looked at it and saw that it was not alive, and then went for Mrs Gavin, a nurse.  In reply to the Coroner, the witness added that this was the second child her daughter had given birth to.  The first was born in the Workhouse about six weeks before last Christmas and died.  Her daughter had since kept proper hours, and had not been given to drink.  Replying to further questions, suggested by Supt. Songhurst, she said that so far as she knew her daughter had made no provision in the way of baby-linen.  She made no provision on the former occasion, and was then supplied with linen in the Workhouse.  Mrs Spurway said she was present at the birth, but did not look at the child until after the arrival of Mrs Gavin.  It made no cry.  Before going for the nurse, MRS CONYBEAR looked at the child, and said it was dead.  The mother did not touch it.  -  Elizabeth, wife of Henry Gavin, labourer, deposed that she turned down the bed clothes on arriving at the house, and saw the baby, which was dead.  She refused to leave the house unless a medical man was sent for, as she was not a professional midwife, and she was told that Mr Fernie would be sent for immediately.  She remained about an hour and did what was necessary.  She noticed a little mark under the chin of the baby, but had said nothing about it, and should not have done so now if she had not been asked. She had never seen such a mark before and she had assisted at a good many births.  - Mr A. Fernie, surgeon, deposed that about one o'clock on Thursday afternoon he received from Mrs Copp, a neighbour of the CONYBEARS, an order which had been obtained from the relieving officer, Mr Vicary, at nine o'clock that morning, requiring his attendance upon FANNY CONYBEAR.  It had been brought to his surgery earlier in the day in his absence.  He saw the mother in bed.  She seemed to be doing pretty well.  He examined the body, and found it to be that of a child of seven months, or, perhaps, rather more, well-formed and sufficiently developed to live if it had been born alive.  He observed a mark just over the windpipe, as though some pressure had been applied.  It was a purple spot, such as might be caused by the pressure of a finger or thumb.  He was unable to certify that the child was born dead, and he told the Registrar so.  He could not now, not having made a post mortem examination, pronounce whether the child ever breathed.  Even if he discovered that, it would not follow that the child had an existence separate from its mother, although it would be improbable, in a case of such easy birth, that it should breathe and then cease to exist.  The Jury at once agreed that a post mortem examination should be made, and the Enquiry was adjourned to Saturday evening for that purpose.  Mr Fernie then stated that he had found the lungs to be perfectly airless - a condition which proved that the child was still-born.  The bruise he had noticed was a very slight one, and did not extend below the skin to the windpipe; and it was probably caused by some accident during birth.  It was very singular that there should be such a mark in such a place:  he had never seen a similar mark before.  It was very satisfactory to find that the child was still-born, because now no suspicion attached to anyone.  Probably the falls the mother seemed to have had, which caused the birth to be premature, had something to do with the child being still-born.  The Coroner, having remarked on the satisfactory result of the Enquiry, and the singular combination of suspicious circumstances, the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the child was Still-Born.

Thursday 9 January 1879

EXETER - Fatal Fall At Exeter. - An Inquest was held at Exeter on Thursday by Mr Hooper, Coroner, on a widow named ELIZABETH VOSPER, aged 66 years.  On November 2nd the deceased fell over two stairs and was taken to the Devon and Exeter Hospital, where it was found she had fractured her right leg, and hurt the back of the heel.  For sometime she did well, but tetanus set in, and proved fatal. 

EXETER  - Another Inquest was held on a labourer named WILLIAM TESTER, who died in the Devon and Exeter Hospital.  Deceased had received injuries through falling over some stairs whilst intoxicated, and died from inflammation, probably arising from the fall.  Verdicts in accordance with the medical evidence were returned.

HARTLAND - Fatal Accident. - On Thursday last, the coachman at Clovelly Court, the seat of the Fane family, was in the act of driving a spirited horse in a market cart from Hartland to the Court House, when it reared, and the driver was precipitated over the back of the cart into the roadway.  He was at once taken to the King's Arms, and Dr Curteis, surgeon, was sent for; but it was soon apparent that the injury received was to the spine, and would prove fatal. He lingered until Monday last, when he expired.  Deceased was about 60 years of age.  He had been in the family for many years, and was highly respected by every member.  The Inquest on the body of the deceased, whose name was JAMES PARRICK, and his age 64, was held before John Henry Toller, Esq., one of the Coroners for the county, at the King's Arms Inn, on Tuesday the 7th inst.  The first witness was Richard Burman, of Clovelly, blacksmith, who deposed that he was with the deceased at the time of the accident, having accompanied him in a spring market-cart from Clovelly to Hartland Abbey, where they arrived at four o'clock in the afternoon, and left again about seven.  On arriving at Hartland town, as witness had business there, they put up the horse and cart at the King's Arms, to which they returned between eight and nine o'clock, and ordered the horse and cart out in order to return home. The ostler brought the horse to the door, and deceased got up into the cart, and witness was preparing to follow, when the horse reared being rather fresh, and deceased fell over the back of the cart to the ground.  When picked up, he exclaimed,  "I am done! I am done!"  He was taken into the house and put to bed, and at his request a doctor was sent for, but he died on Monday.  Deceased was not at all tipsy at the time.  - The ostler, John Clatworthy, gave corroborative evidence, as did also Mr Thomas Hogg, the landlord.  The medical man, Dr Jerome O'Brian Curteis, of Hartland, physician and surgeon, gave evidence to having been called to the deceased on Thursday evening, between eight and nine o'clock, whom he found sitting in an arm chair at the King's Arms before the fire.  He complained of numbness in the legs, and on examining, witness found there was complete loss of motion and sensation.  He ordered him to bed, suspecting injury to the spine.  On examining him witness could find no fracture, but on calling in Dr Carter, of Hartland, they came to the conclusion that there was laceration of the spine and membranes causing extravasation of blood, which induced paralysis to the lower part of the body.  The immediate cause of death was congestion of the lungs and exhaustion.  Deceased was perfectly conscious up to a short time of his death.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death from a Fall from a Cart," and much commended the unremitting care and attention which deceased received from Mr and Mrs Hogg from the time of the accident up to his death.  The Jury gave their fees to the widow of deceased.

Thursday 16 January 1879

EXETER - Fatal Attempt At Rescue. - An Inquest was held at Exeter on Thursday respecting the death of ANN LYNE, aged 50 years, the wife of a shoemaker.  The deceased had been employed as a sorter in the Trews Weir Paper Mill, and in December last a woman named Trump was handing her a cup of tea across a machine when her arm caught in the cogs, and as MRS LYNE was trying to release her own right arm was caught in a similar manner.  Both women were taken to the Devon and Exeter Hospital, and for a long time MRS LYNE seemed to be recovering; but tetanus set in, and proved fatal.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 23 January 1879

ILFRACOMBE - Sad Boat Accident. - On Thursday last, a melancholy accident, by which one sailor lost his life, and another had a very narrow escape, occurred outside the harbour.  Shortly before eleven o'clock, Richard Souch and RICHARD BRAUND, boatmen, went out to look after the spillers which they had set the previous evening.  As they were near Hele Bay, they saw a smack making for the harbour.  Wishing, if possible, to earn the hobble (pilotage), they at once made off to her.  The sea was running high at the time, with the wind blowing strongly from the east.  As they were rounding the stern of the smack, the boat became entangled with the tow line of a boat belonging to the vessel, which she was towing behind her, and they were capsized.  Fortunately another small boat was near at hand, with two men in her, and the master of the smack hailing them, they soon arrived on the spot and picked up the two men in the water just as they were sinking.  Souch, however, was recovered some eight or ten minutes before BRAUND.  Both men were insensible when taken into the boat, but they were quickly brought on shore, and taken to the Red Lion Inn.  Mr Gardner, surgeon, and several other medical men were speedily summoned, and everything was done to resuscitate the unfortunate men.  After some time Souch recovered, but it appeared that BRAUND was dead before he was taken out of the water.  He leaves a wife and two children.    On Saturday an Inquest was held n the body of the deceased, ROBERT BRAUND, at the Britannia Hotel, before J. H. Toller, Esq., the Coroner for the district. Mr J. Fry was chosen foreman of the Jury.  After the Jury had viewed the body, the following evidence was given:-  James Knill Doweswell, master of the smack Olive Branch, said he belonged to Henbury, Gloucester.  On Thursday last he sailed from Penarth for Lynmouth, but owing to the severity of the weather he had to run to Ilfracombe.  His crew consisted of another man, George Workman, and himself.  When about a mile from the harbour he saw two  boats pulling off with two men in each boat.  He got a rope ready on the port side to fling to the boat; but when the leading boat came near one of the men shouted, "Starboard your helm."  He did so, and then the boat came to the starboard side, and he flung a line to them.  As they were catching it they became entangled with the paynter of his small boat, which was towing behind, and their boat was capsized, and the men thrown into the water.  Witness then called to the men to render assistance, and they did so, and picked both the men up, and brought them ashore as quickly as possible.  - By a Juror:  We were going about six miles an hour at the time, and it would have taken us quite half an hour to back and return to the spot.  Our boat also filled with water, but it never touched the deceased.  The men were in the water ten minutes at the outside.  Souch, when he was in the water, caught hold of our boat and capsized it.  - Thomas Davie, boatman, of Ilfracombe, deposed that on Thursday he and another man named Hopkins went out in a boat, when they saw another boat with Souch and BRAUND in it pulling for a smack.  They did not see the boat capsize, but they saw the master waving his hat.  Thinking something was the matter, they rowed on quickly, and came alongside a man in the water, who proved to be Souch.  After some difficulty they pulled him into the boat, and went on and picked up BRAUND, who was also floating.  They then returned quickly to the shore.  The sea was very rough, and he should say it was nearly ten minutes after Souch was picked up before BRAUND was recovered.  Neither showed any signs of life at first, but Souch somewhat revived before reaching the shore.  Nothing further could have been done.  - In reply to a Juryman, witness said that when both the men were picked up they were sinking, and only their hair was visible above the water.  The gig came out and towed them in.  When in the boat they rubbed the hands, &c., of both men.  - George Hopkins, sailor, having corroborated the evidence of the previous witness, P.C. Shepherd stated that on their arrival on shore the men received every attention.  Several medical men were present, and rendered assistance, but in the case of BRAUND without effect. - The Coroner having stated that there was no question that BRAUND had met his death purely by accident, and that no one was in any way to blame, the Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

Thursday 30 January 1879

PARKHAM - Suicide. - On Saturday last a farm labourer named SAMUEL CLEMENTS, who was in the employ of Mrs Greaves, Foxdown, Parkham, committed suicide by hanging himself with a rope.  Deceased had been to Bideford on the preceding day for a load of coal for his employer, and on the coal being weighed it was found to be 1 ¾ cwt. short.  On the Saturday the hind to the estate, named Hopper, proceeded to Bideford to make enquiries concerning the coal, ordering the deceased in the meanwhile to thresh some corn in the barn.  Deceased was seen to go there, but some considerable time having elapsed without the sound of threshing being heard, one of the servants proceeded to the barn, and found the door fastened on the inside.  Fearing something serious had happened, he at once communicated with his fellow servant, who effected an entrance by forcing open the door, when the sickening spectacle of the deceased suspended by a rope from a beam met their gaze.  He was immediately cut down, but life was already extinct.  Deceased was of middle age, and leaves a widow and three children.  An Inquest was held upon the body on Monday last, at the Hoops Inn, in this parish, before J. H. Toller, Esq., one f the Coroners for the county, when evidence was given by Mr Charles Hopper, bailiff to Mrs Greaves, to the effect that deceased was a married man, about 38 years of age, and worked as a labourer for Mrs Greaves.  On Saturday morning deceased brought a horse and trap to witness at Howell to proceed to Bideford, and witness told him to go to work in the Plantation.  He seemed as well as usual, but witness always thought him of rather weak mind.  He saw no more of him until his return from Bideford in the evening, when he heard what had happened, and went to the barn, where he found deceased lying on the oats, stiff and cold.  There was a rope around his neck, which witness produced.  - Thomas Slee, labourer, deposed to his having seen deceased in the morning, when he appeared as usual.  He was wanting at dinner time, and the other servants wondered where he was.  About five o'clock in the evening a girl called Hannaford came to him to ask him to go to the barn with the key, as some person had looked in at the keyhole, and thought deceased was there.  He went immediately and broke open the door, and found deceased hanging by the neck from one of the timbers of the roof.  With Richard Squire, a painter, of Bideford, who was there at work, witness got up on the oats and cut him down, but he was quite dead and cold.  They laid the body on the oats.  - The Jury found a verdict to the effect that deceased died by his own hand, but in what state of mind he was when he committed the act there was no evidence to shew.  A correspondent adds that when deceased was returning from Bideford with his load of coal on Friday last he was observed by P.C. Frude to be filling a bag with coal from the load, and after doing so he left it at a neighbours who had asked him to bring her home some.  On being taxed with it by the police-officer, he said he had bought the sack of coal in Bideford and paid for it; but on the constable going into Bideford the following day, he ascertained that was false.  It is probable that preyed so much on the mind of deceased as to prompt him to commit the rash act.  Deceased was  grandson of ABRAHAM CLEMENT, who was found murdered in a cottage in this parish seven years ago, about whose death there remains a mystery as to who was the perpetrator of it, which has not been solved, and probably never will be.

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal And Shocking Accident. - On Friday evening a terrible accident, which was almost instantaneously fatal, befell a middle-aged man named WM. BENNETT, a carter in the employ of Messrs. Seldon and Manning, of this town.  The unfortunate man was on the road to Barnstaple with a heavy waggon-load of furniture from the residence of Mr Brewer, of Castle Hill, and in coming down Mount Sandford he, from a cause which is wholly unknown, fell off the waggon and was run over, and so shockingly crushed that, though picked up immediately, he was found to be dying.  He was a steady and obliging man, and leaves a wife and several children.  - The body having been brought to the Infirmary, the Borough Coroner held an Inquest there on Saturday evening.  Mr Bater was elected foreman, and the Jury then proceeded to view the body.  John Stanbury, a cabinet-maker employed by Mr F. Symons, deposed that on the day before he was engaged in removing furniture from Mr Brewer's residence, at Castle Hill, to Barnstaple.  There were three waggons used for the purpose, one belonging to Mr Symons, another to Mr Dalling, and the third to Messrs. Seldon and Manning.  The deceased was in charge of the last, which was a pair-horse waggon.  He left Mr Brewer's between five and six in the evening, and the waggon then contained about a ton and a half of furniture.  Deceased was quite sober, and had not drunk more than two glasses of beer all day, for he had been feeling poorly.  Seeing that the horses were fresh, and remembering that the deceased was in charge of the waggon alone, whilst there were two men with each of the others, witness said to him, on leading his horses through the gateway, "BENNETT, your horses are rather fresh:  you had better go behind Dalling's."  Here replied, "You don't know the horses so well as I do," and, having given the same answer when witness again advised him not to go in front, he trotted on ahead, remarking that his horses were fresh.  Witness followed close behind, in Mr Symons's waggon, and the other vehicle was behind that.  At the New Inn, Swimbridge, they all stopped, and whilst the others had a quart of beer between them, the deceased, at witness's suggestion and as his gift, had three pennyworth of gin, as he still complained of feeling unwell.  They then renewed their journey, Mr Dalling's waggon, in which witness rode, now taking the lead, and Messrs. Seldon and Manning's coming second.  In going down Mount Sandford witness, who was driving, pulled on one side, in order to let the deceased's waggon pass.  It went by a t a very rapid rate, and as it was passing witness (supposing deceased to be still driving) said, "BENNETT, that won't do, driving down the road so fast as that."  There was a drag on the vehicle, but it was not down.  Witness did not know at that time that the deceased was not with the waggon, but directly it passed a man named Harris, who was riding with him, called upon him to stop, there being something in the road a little way back.  He got out, and on reaching the object found that it was the deceased, who was lying on his back in the middle of the road, motionless.  Witness spoke to  him, but he made no reply, and on lifting him up he found he was dead.  He left him in charge of the other men, and then ran on after the horses and waggon, which, however, he was unable to overtake.  They were stopped in Boutport-street, he was afterwards told, by a young man named Harris.  Deceased was lying almost in the middle of the road, but a little on his driving side, just at the steepest part of the hill.  - In reply to a Juror (Mr G. Baker), the witness mentioned that there was both a drag and a safe-chain to the waggon.  - Frederick Dunn, a lad also in the employ of Mr Symons, deposed that he held up the deceased when the last witness started after the horses.  The only signs of life he noticed were three groans, and the deceased then died.  Mr Davis, of the farm hard by, lent them his cart, and some straw, and they covered the deceased up and brought him to the Infirmary.  - Mr James Davis gave similar evidence.  - Mr Wm. Kay, house surgeon at the Infirmary, deposed that, being informed that the deceased was being brought in, he went out to meet him.  He met the cart near Mr Pearce's, at Newport, and, looking at the deceased, found that he was dead.  The body was brought to the mortuary of the Infirmary, and on examining it witness found that the right side had been run over.  Several ribs were broken and forced into the lungs, and there was a large swelling, caused by the blood from the lungs.  The right arm was completely smashed, and there was an abrasion on the back of the head.  Witness could not tell whether the deceased had had a fit, but there were no indications which pointed to that conclusion. A Juror said he had just been told by a son of the deceased that on the Friday morning his father had a fit, and was warned that it would not be safe for him to go with the waggon.  The Coroner said that perhaps the deceased was jolted off the waggon by the horses breaking into a trot.  No one was to blame, and the only verdict the Jury could return was one of "Accidental Death".  The verdict was in accordance with this suggestions.

Thursday 6 February 1879

EXETER - Mr Coroner Hooper held an Inquest on Monday at the Topsham Inn, South-street, Exeter, on the bodies of JOHN SQUIRES, 23, late of Braunton, and EDWIN ASHILL, 24, of Okehampton, who met with their deaths under the following circumstances:-  Deceased were labourers, in the employ of Mr Brady, the contractor for the doubling of the line between Cheldon Junction and Bridestowe Station.  On Friday about noon they were engaged in excavating earth in a cutting near Sourton Down, in the parish of Bridestowe.  For this purpose they were, with another man named Mott, perched upon a plank about six feet from the ground, so as to be able easily to throw what they dug out into a waggon placed below.  While in this position the earth overhanging them gave way, knocking SQUIRES on to the waggon, and ASHILL into the four-foot way, and partially covering them both. The other man escaped unhurt.  they being seriously injured by the fall were removed to the Hospital at Exeter - SQUIRES died an hour after he was admitted, ASHILL lingered on until seven o'clock the next morning, when he also expired.  ASHILL was married; the other had no relatives living.  It seemed from the evidence of the foreman of the works that the accident was due to some extent to an error of judgment on the part of the deceased themselves.  The ground above them being hard in consequence of recent frost, they had taken the advantage of digging in further than was consistent with safety, thinking they might afterwards bring down at one stroke the ground which was overhead.  The thaw that set in on Friday had rendered the ground less hard, and it gave way, falling in upon them.  The Jury, though they had no wish to cast blame upon anyone, suggested to the foreman of works the desirability of seeing in all future cases that the men did not excavate the ground so far in before they had removed that above them, and thus make an accident of this nature impossible.  The Foreman promised to pay every regard to this suggestion.  He had been connected with railways and public works for a period of over 30 years, and never before had an accident happen to any man under his charge.  He did not see the deceased on the morning in question, or he should certainly have prevented their running into the danger they had done.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

TORRINGTON - Suicide. - PHILIP SANDERS, an agricultural labourer, living in Mill-street, in this town, committed suicide on Monday morning, between five and six o'clock, in an outhouse of his own dwelling, by hanging himself to a rafter in the roof.  An Inquest was held on the body the next day (Tuesday), at the Torridge Inn, before John Henry Toller, Esq., one of the Coroners for the county, at which the facts were deposed to by the following witnesses, viz., ANN SANDERS, widow of the deceased; HENRY SANDERS, his son, aged 16, Henry Allen, a neighbour, and Mr Edward Sutcliffe, surgeon.  The deceased was 55 years of age, and had been married to his present wife about five months. He had living with him a grown-up son and daughter by his former wife.  He was a man of rather weak mind, and had lately troubled himself with the fear that his work would be cut down to three days a week, and what he should do then he did not now.  He remained indoors all day on Sunday, and complained of a strange pain in his head; and in the evening at his suggestion his wife went over to her brother's house for an hour, and came back soon after nine o'clock with the son and daughter, who had called for her on their return from chapel.  They found deceased in bed, and he said he had come to bed at a quarter past nine.  He did not complain of anything amiss, although he had been in low spirits and strange in his manner for three months past.  He slept pretty well, and got up soon after five o'clock in the morning, and went downstairs, as his wife supposed, to see what time it was, as he had to leave early for his work, which was two miles off.  He did not come back to the bedroom, and the daughter saw him go to the outhouse, and called out to her brother to go down and see what he was doing, which he did after an interval, and found his father with a rope round his neck hanging to a rafter of the roof, and a stool by his side.  The lad got a knife from the kitchen and cut the rope, and his father fell to the ground, and appeared to be quite dead.  He alarmed the house, and also Henry Allen, who lived near, and who came immediately, and found the poor man lying dead.  The surgeon, Mr Sutcliff, arrived before half-past six o'clock, but only to pronounce that he was dead.    There was a mark of the rope on his neck, and a mark of a blow on his forehead, which was caused, no doubt, by the body's falling after the son had cut it down.  The Jury, having heard the evidence found a verdict that deceased had hanged himself, being at the time of Unsound Mind.

BRAUNTON - Fatal Accident To A Farmer. - A sad accident, which has proved fatal, occurred on the forenoon of Thursday last to MR THOMAS PERRYMAN, of this parish, farmer, who was hauling manure to one of his fields, in Pixey Lane, when, in coming through a gate with his cart, in which he was standing up, the wheel struck against the gate, which was kept open by a stone placed against the lowest bar, and he was jerked off his feet and fell back over the cart to the ground.  No one was with him at the time to witness the accident; but within a short time afterwards Mr John Hammond Lovering, who was carting dung from his father's (Mr C. H. Lovering's) farm yard to Pixey Lane Field, met a horse and cart with no one in charge, and the reins under the horse's feet, and about twenty landyards further on came up to the deceased lying in the road upon his left side.  He knew him, and spoke to him, but deceased did not at first answer, but on Mr R. M. Atkins, of the village, coming up just at the time, they got a cart and lifted deceased into it, when, in answer to their inquiries as to his injury, he said he had broken his neck.  They asked him how it had happened, when he said he believed he had hitched the cart in the gate.  He was immediately taken to this home and Mr Lane, the surgeon, was sent for, who on seeing him at once feared that it was a fatal case, and continued to attend the deceased until his death, which happened on the Sunday morning following.  An Inquest was held on the body on the next day (Monday), before John Henry Toller, Esq., one of the Coroners for the county, and a respectable Jury, before whom the above facts were deposed to by Mr J. H. Lovering, Mr R. M. Atkins, Jane Gammon, (who attended the deceased after the accident,) and Mr S. O. Lane, who gave it as his opinion that death resulted from the fracture by the fall of the fifth cervical vertebra, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" was accordingly returned.  Deceased was 65 years of age.

NORTHMOLTON - Death Of A Child By Scalding. - An Inquest was held on Saturday last, the 1st inst., at the Poltimore Arms, in this parish, on the body of HERBERT EDWIN SMITH, a child of two years of age, son of a single woman named CHARITY SMITH, living in service in this parish, whose death was caused by being scalded with water pouring out of a teakettle, as he was sitting before the fire on the lap of an old woman named Margaret Webb, in the house of Richard Kingdon, a few doors from the Poltimore Arms, on the 17th December last.  From the evidence of Jane Blackford, a widow woman who lived in the house of Kingdon, he being 80 years of age, to take care of him, it appeared that she took the deceased child in the month of May last to keep for the mother at a certain weekly allowance.  An old woman named Margaret Webb came to lodge in the same house.  On the 17th December the old man was sitting by the fire on one side after dinner and Margaret Webb on the other, when witness gave the latter the deceased child to hold on her lap while she put away the dinner things, as she had often done before.  Having done so, and wanting to go upstairs, she desired her little boy (John Crang, her son by her first husband) to take the child, but he did not do so immediately, as he wanted to go out.  Witness had only been upstairs a short time when she heard the child scream, and ran down and found that she was still on Margaret Webb's lap, but was much scalded.  She sent off to Dr Spicer at once, and applied grated potato to the scald before the doctor came.  The old woman said that the old man Kingdon was sliding up the kettle, when thinking he was not doing it right, being near-sighted, she leaned forward to help him, and, the kettle being fuller than she had thought, the water poured out of the spout on the deceased child and also scalded herself.  The old woman was taken to the Union Workhouse at Southmolton some days after, where she still remains.  - Dr Spicer gave evidence that he went to the house about half-past three o'clock in the afternoon of December 17th, and found the child very much scalded about the lower part of the person.  Applied the proper remedies, and attended him daily to his death.  The inflammatory stage passed favourably, but the exhaustion was greater than the child could sustain and he sank under it.  The old woman was too infirm to be trusted with the care of a child, but he had no apprehension that any evil was intended.  The child died last Thursday. The Jury found a verdict of "Accidentally Scalded to Death," but censured the woman Blackford for having entrusted the child to the care of a person so old and infirm as to be unable to protect him.  It is remarkable that the old man (Kingdon) died the day before the Inquest was held, and his corpse lay in the house with that of the child.

Thursday 13 February 1879

BARNSTAPLE - A Child Burnt To Death. - Last week we reported that a boy of four years, named EMANUEL NUTT, the son of a wood turner living at Newington-street, Derby, in this borough, was badly burnt, and had been received into the Infirmary.  The poor little fellow, who was the eldest but one of four children, was accustomed to sleep with his grandmother, who arose about half-past six on the morning of Tuesday the 4th instant, and went to her work in the factory, leaving him in bed.  His mother got up about half-past seven, and just before half-past eight, when downstairs, she heard him scream, and on reaching him found him on the bed with his night-shirt in flames.  She immediately took off the garment, but by this time the child was so badly burnt about the upper part of his body that he was speechless.  He was unable to tell his mother how his night-shirt ignited; but she conjectured that by standing upon a chair he reached a box of matches from a chest of drawers, and that in playing with the lucifers he set himself on fire.  She, however, was unable to find any partly burnt match, the presence of which would have favoured this supposition.  She did not think the child was badly burnt; but finding that after anointing him with oil he still remained speechless and in a state of semi-collapse, she determined that he should be taken to the Infirmary.  He was accordingly carried there by his father, and upon examining him Mr Kay, the house surgeon, pronounced it to be so serious a case that the child had better be left at the Infirmary.  Every attention was paid him, but life was only prolonged until eight o'clock on Saturday evening, when death ensued from the exhaustion and internal congestion consequent upon the burns.  - The Inquest was held at the Infirmary on Monday morning by the Borough Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft, and a Jury whose foreman was Mr Pitney; and after the above facts had been deposed to by MRS NUTT, the mother, and Mr Kay, the Coroner suggested a verdict of "Accidental Death," remarking that it was somewhat incautious of the grandmother to leave matches in such a position as to be accessible to the deceased.  A verdict having been returned accordingly, the Jury gave their fees to the child's mother.

Thursday 27 February 1879

TORRINGTON - Another Suicide. - On Tuesday morning last, PHILIP BLAKE, of Calf-street, grounder, committed suicide by cutting his throat with a razor.  It appears that the deceased (who is about 74 years of age) got up at the usual hour on Tuesday morning, and partook of a cup of tea in company with his son and Mr Thomas Pow (who resides in part of the same house). Shortly afterwards the son left to go to his work close by, and Mr Pow went away, leaving the deceased in the kitchen.  Not long afterwards a married daughter of Mr Pow (who was in bed), hearing a noise in the kitchen, listened, and fancying that she heard a sound as of a person groaning, she went down, and saw deceased lying on the floor near the fire place in a pool of blood.  She thought at first that he had broken a blood-vessel, but it was found that he had cut his throat with a razor which was near.  Dr Sutcliff was called in, but it was soon found that life was gone.  - An Inquest was held on the body yesterday (Wednesday), before J. H. Toller, Esq., Coroner for the County, at which evidence was given by JAMES BLAKE, (deceased's son), Elizabeth Friend, Thomas Pow, and Dr Sutcliff.  Deceased appeared to have laboured under the apprehension that he would come to want, "as his club money was almost done."  He had been suffering from bronchitis, but had given no reason to apprehend that he contemplated suicide.  He lived an hour after the doctor's arrival, but never rallied, and his death took place from haemorrhage from the smaller vessels, the windpipe and the larger vessels being uninjured.  The razor was found under him, and the sheath on the table.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Temporary Insanity."

Thursday 6 March 1879

EXETER - A Fatal Overdose. - An Inquest was held at St. Thomas's, Exeter, on Thursday, by Mr Crosse, County Coroner, on MARY ANN BRENDON, aged 6 years.  It was stated that the child had been suffering from fever, and had been prescribed a tonic by a medical man, to be taken in teaspoonfuls at intervals during the day.  During the temporary absence of her nurse on the 20th inst. deceased contrived to get the medicine bottle, containing about ten does, the whole of which she drank.  From that time she got worse, and died on the 24th.  A verdict in accordance with the evidence was returned.

EXETER - Death From Excessive Drinking. - Mr Crosse, County Coroner, held an Inquest on Thursday at St. Thomas's, Exeter, on MARIA COOK, aged 52.  On Monday the deceased, who had been addicted to habits of intemperance, was taken to her home in a drunken state, and was put to bed, where she remained insensible until her death the following evening.  John Franks, a neighbour of the deceased, deposed that COOK had borne the character of a drunkard.  On Monday evening he saw her carrying a clock, and observed her fall three times in coming down Bridge-street.  Witness carried the clock and assisted her home.  On arriving at her home she fell backwards and struck the back of her head.  Mr R. J. Andrews, surgeon, said he saw the deceased just before she died.  He could form no opinion as to the cause of death beyond what he ascertained from the neighbours.  Death must have been occasioned by excessive drinking.  He did not think the fall caused death. The Coroner said the case appeared to him to be one of the most disgraceful and melancholy that had come under his notice.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that death resulted from Excessive Drinking.

Thursday 27 March 1879

SOUTHMOLTON - Accident And Death. - An Inquest was held on Monday last, before the Borough Coroner, James Flexman, Esq., as to the death of SALLY CROCKER, who died on the previous Thursday from the result of a fall into the fire.  Mr Richard Courtney was foreman of the Jury.  Only two witnesses were examined.  Mr Wm. Nutt deposed:  I live next door to deceased.  On the 14th inst., about 4 p.m., I was called to go to see her.  On entering the house, I found her leaning against the stairs. She spoke, and said she