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Help and advice for Inquests 1895-1904 - from the North Devon Journal

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Inquests Taken Into Suspicious Or Unexplained Deaths

For the County of Devon

1895-1904

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:  Abrahams; Adams; Alford; Allen; Andrew; Annear; Arbery; Ash; Ashton(2); Austin; Axworthy; Ayre(2); Badgley; Bagley; Baker(2); Bale(3); Ball; Balsdon; Barrow(3); Bartlett; Bastin; Battershill; Battishall; Bawden; Bealey; Beer(2); Bell; Bellamy; Bennett(4); Bingham; Bishop; Blackmore; Blackwill; Blatchford; Bleakley; Blomfield; Booth; Bowden(4); Bowens; Bradford; Brailey; Bramble; Braund(2); Braunton; Brayley; Breyley; Bridle; Briggs; Broad; Brooks; Brown(3); Browne; Buchan; Buckley; Bull; Bunn; Burnett; Burrow; Burt; Buse; Bushen; Bussell; Butland; Cameron; Cann; Challacombe; Chichester; Chope; Chudley; Chugg(2); Clark; Clarke(2); Clarkson; Clatworthy; Clements(2); Clifton; Close; Coe; Cole; Conibear; Cooke(2); Coombes; Cooper; Courtney; Cousins; Cox; Crang; Crinspin; Crocker; Crowhurst; Cudmore(2); Cummings; Cure; Curtis(2); Davey(6); Davis(2); Daw; Dayman; Dean; Delbridge; Dennis; Derry; Ditchett; Dockings; Donnet; Down(3); Doyle; Draper; Dummett; Dyer; Dymond; Eastman; Edwards; Ellicott; Elliott; Ellis(2); Elsip; Elworthy; England; Essery; Evans(2); Facey; Farley(2); Farmer; Fawcett; Ferrier(2); Finch; Fisher(2); Fishleigh; Fishley; Flew; Ford; Fordham; Foster; Foxcroft; Fry; Gains; Gammon(2); Gardner; Gear(2); Geen(2); Gerry; Gibbons; Glover(2); Gooding; Goodman; Gorrell; Gorvedd; Goss; Gossett; Gould; Grant; Grass; Greenslade(2); Greet; Griffey; Griffiths; Guy; Haines; Hall(3); Hallet; Ham; Hambling; Hammett; Hancock(2); Handford; Harding(2); Hare; Harper(2); Harris(5); Hartnoll; Hawkins; Haynes; Hayward; Head; Headon; Heal; Hearn(3); Heat; Heddon; Hellings; Hext; Heywood; Hill(3); Hinks; Hiscox; Hobbs; Hodge(2); Hodges; Hogan; Holland(2); Holloway; Holman; Holmes(2); Holt; Honeyball; Honeychurch; Hooper; Hopkins; Horsford; Horton; Horwill; Hugo; Hunt(2); Hurdon; Hurman; Hutchings; Huxtable(4); Incledon; Ingham; Ireland; Irwin; Isaac; Jackson; Jacob; Jeffery(2); Jefford; Jenkins; Jewell; Johns(3); Johnson; Joliffe; Jones; Jordan(2); Kennah; Kerslake; Kerswell; Keyte; Kiff; Kift; Labbett; Lamey; Langdon; Lappidge; Lawley; Leare; Lee(3); Lemon; Lethaby(2); Lewis(4); Ley(2); Lintern; Liverton; Lloyd(2); Lock(3); Loomis; Luscombe(2); Luxton(4); Lynn; Mallett; Maltby; Manley; Marks; Marshall; Martin(2); Matters; Matthews; May; McCaffery; Meardon; Medhurst; Metters; Millman; Mills(3); Mitchell(2); Mock; Molesworth; Moore(5); Morrish(2); Mortimer; Mortimore; Mountjoy(2); Moxon; Moyce; Nethercott; Norman(3); Northam; Northcott; Nott; Noyce; Oliver; Osbourne; Packer; Paddon; Palmer(2); Parker; Parkes; Parkin; Parris; Passmore(3); Pearce; Penhall; Perrin; Pert; Pett; Phillips; Philpott; Pike; Pile(2); Pincombe; Pinkham; Podgers; Pope; Potter(2); Potts; Pound; Powley; Price; Pring; Prowse; Puddicombe; Pugsley; Pyle; Quartly; Quick; Quinton; Radford; Rae; Rattenbury; Ravenhill; Reed(2); Reynolds; Richards(4); Ridd(3); Ridge; Roberts; Robins; Rogers; Rook; Rosscallan; Rottenbury; Roulstone; Rowe(3); Rowse; Sampson; Sanders(4); Sandy; Saunders; Savin; Scoins(2); Scroggie; Sealey; Searle; Shaddick(2); Shazell; Short; Shute; Simpson; Sing; Skidmore; Skinner(5); Slee(2); Sleeman; Smale; Small; Smallridge; Smith(6); Snell(2); Souch; Sparkes(2); Sparks; Spiller; Squire(3); Squires; Stabbach; Stanley; Stapledon; Stephens; Stevens(2); Stoneman; Stranger; Strawbridge; Stribling(2); Sullivan; Sussex; Symons; Tamlyn; Tancock(2); Tarr; Tatham; Taylor(4); Terry; Thomas; Thorne(2); Trigger; Trute; Tucker(2); Turner; Twitchen; Vanstone(4); Vile; Vosper; Wainwright; Waite; Walker; Ward(3); Ware(2); Warren(2); Watts(3); Webber(2); Weeks(2); Westacott; Westcott; Whelan; White(2); Williams; Wilmetts; Wilson; Withycombe; Wollacott; Wood; Woodman; Wright; Wyatt; Youlden; Young;

Thursday 3 January 1895

EXMINSTER - Suicide At The County Asylum. - An Inquest was held by Mr H. W. Gould, At Exminster Asylum, on Friday, on the body of PHILIP NORMAN.  Dr Saunders said that deceased, who se age was 67, was admitted to the Asylum from Great Torrington, on the 16th November.  He was suffering from senile demention of 11 years' standing.  It was said in his admission paper that deceased had threatened to drown himself, but he had observed no suicidal tendency.  Deceased was always cheerful.  On Thursday morning there were three attendants in deceased's ward, which contained 38 patients.  James Beer, attendant, deposed to observing nothing unusual in deceased's appearance on Thursday morning.  At 7.30, however, he found him dead, hanging by a neckerchief, which was fastened to a bar outside a window.  His knees were touching the ground.  Thomas Webber, attendant, also gave evidence.  Mr Robert Clapp, senior assistant surgeon, attributed the death of deceased to syncope, caused by strangulation.  A verdict of "Suicide while of Unsound Mind" was returned.

Thursday 10 January 1895

ARLINGTON - Expiring In The Roadway At Morthoe. - A sad case of sudden death occurred on Monday last.  Going on a visit to some friends in Westdown, MISS BUSHEN accompanied her father to Morthoe Station, where they separated, the latter proceeding to Wollacombe, while the young woman walked alone to her intended destination.  She had not travelled far, however, before she dropped down dead by the wayside, where she was soon afterwards discovered by two men going towards Morthoe Station.  She had relinquished her business duties at Torrington a few months since on account of ill-health, but it was confidently hoped that she was becoming convalescent.  Great sympathy is expressed for the bereaved parents and family.

At the Inquest, held at the Fortescue Hotel, Morthoe, by Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, Mr Robins stated that when he found the body it was quite warm, but life was extinct, and there was no sign that any struggle had taken place.  Deceased was lying beside the hedge, her face being of a purple blue colour, and blood being discharged from her nose and mouth.  He went to the railway-station, and came back again with Mr Lodder, stationmaster.  The body was at last identified by Mrs Seward of Trimstone.  P.C. Eastmond, of Westdown, afterwards came, and took charge of the body.  Dr J. R. Harper, of Barnstaple, stated that he had attended deceased professionally and he last saw her on December 28th.  She was troubled with palpitation of the heart.  She had a very irregular heart.  In his opinion death was due to cardiac syncope, or failure of the heart's action.  The coldness of the drive might have had something to do with death.  - John Anslow, labourer, deposed to seeing MISS BUSHEN walking on the road previous to her body being found.  She walked slowly, and seemed uncertain as to where she was going.  P.C. Eastmond said he found 2s. 2 ½d. in deceased's pocket.  Nothing about her was disturbed.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death through failure of the heart's action."

BURRINGTON - Suicide At Burrington. - Yesterday Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest at Upcott Farm, Burrington, on the body of WM. PROWSE, who had been found hanging in a shippen on Monday night.  - ROBERT WILLIAM PROWSE, farmer, of Upcott, said his deceased son was 18 years and 11 months old.  He lived at Upcott and assisted in the farm work.  Thirteen years ago the deceased had a very serious attack of scarlet fever, which left bad effects from which he never thoroughly recovered.  He was troubled with gatherings in the head, which produced discharge from the ear.  This occurred pretty regularly every six months, but during the past year there had been no such attack.  Three months ago he noticed that deceased began to show signs of depression, and he was never quite himself afterwards.  In November he obtained medical advice, and deceased had been to Plymouth and West Buckland for a change.  He had shown symptoms of depression since his return, but had been able to attend to his duty on the farm.  He appeared better the last time he saw him at mid-day on Monday.  In the afternoon he (witness) went to Burrington and on his return he learnt of what had happened to his son.  - ROBERT PROWSE said that at five o'clock on Monday evening he and his brother JAMES went into the shippen to attend to some bullocks when they found the deceased hanging by a rope.  The body was cut down by a servant boy and taken into the house.  John Short and P.C. Jas. Farley also gave evidence.  The latter said he had noticed that the deceased always seemed different from the other boys on the farm; he was particularly quiet and appeared to be often lost in thought.  A verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane" was returned.

HIGH BICKINGTON - Scalded To Death. - MR WILLIAM CHUGG, of Vanterhill Farm, has lost his three-year old son, JOHN CHUGG, under distressing circumstances.  At the Inquest held on Friday MR CHUGG stated that on the previous Sunday, between five and six o'clock he heard his wife scream, and running into the kitchen he saw his child in a bucket of boiling water.  He took the boy out of the bucket, and assisted Miss Knight to take off its clothes, whilst his wife did all she possibly could to alleviate the child's sufferings.  Dr Morse, of Torrington, was sent for and quickly arrived, but the child died on Wednesday.  - EDITH CHUGG, mother of deceased, deposed that herself, the servant, and the child were in the kitchen at the time of the accident.  Witness did not know that the bucket contained boiling water, and she thought it was careless of the servant to leave near where the child was playing.  - Miss Knight having given evidence, Jane Isaac, the servant, aged sixteen, stated that on the evening in question she was preparing food for the pigs in the kitchen, which she often used for the purpose.  She only left the bucket for a moment in order to put back the kettle when the child fell in.  She had noticed the boy playing about, but did not think there was any danger. MR and MRS CHUGG, in whose service she had been for nearly two years, had since discharged her.  - By the Jury:  She went into the front kitchen with the kettle.  MR and MRS CHUGG and one of the servant lads were in the back kitchen at the time, and could have looked after the child.  Dr Morse deposed that Miss Knight had well and properly attended to the child previous to his arrival.  Death was due to shock to the system in consequence of severe scalds extending from the chest to the ankles.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, the Jury expressing sympathy with the parents.

MARTINHOE - Fatal Fall Of A Pensioner. - At Wooda Bay, Martinhoe, on Thursday, Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of ANTHONY HOLT, aged fifty-six, pensioner, originally belonging to the 32nd Foot.  - P.S. Pratt, stationed at Parracombe, deposed that HOLT had been lodging at the Glen Hotel, Wooda Bay.  On Tuesday, in consequence of information received, witness came to Wooda Bay, where he found deceased lying at the bottom of a flight of steps leading to a wooden structure used for bedroom accommodation when the Wooda Bay Hotel was full in the season.  Several persons informed him that HOLT had fallen down the steps, and they did not like to remove the body until he had seen it.  Over deceased's left temple there was a severe wound and on one of his legs a mark, whilst there was a quantity of blood on the steps.  There were only pension papers in deceased's pockets.  HOLT, whom he knew well, had told him that he had not relatives in this neighbourhood, and that he came from Ireland (Kingston, he believed).  - Edward Delbridge, labourer, stated that on the previous Tuesday he met deceased in the passage of the Wooda Bay Hotel.  HOLT said he wanted to lie down somewhere, and witness helped him into the wooden structure.  Witness and a man named Burgess were passing the spot an hour later when they found deceased lying at the bottom of the steps with his head downwards.  They lifted HOLT up, and discovered that he was quite dead.  - Ernest Parkin, labourer, deposed that HOLT attended a party in his house on Monday night.  He slept in a chair by the fire, and about nine o'clock on Tuesday morning left the house sober and, in his opinion, he was capable of taking care of himself.  - Richard Hancock, temporary manager of the Hotel, stated that about 9.30 on Thursday morning HOLT asked for a drink of whiskey.  Witness informed him that he owed a little score already, and he thought that he had had some drink, and that more would not then do him any good.  HOLT was not intoxicated to any extent; he seemed able to walk and to take care of himself.  He did not see him alive again after he left the bar.  Dr H. R. Henley, stated that he had attended HOLT professionally during the past three years.  he was in delicate health, and suffered from chronic bronchitis.  When he examined the body he found a small lacerated wound on the left temple, and two wounds on the front of the left leg, such as might have been caused by a fall.  Death resulted, in his opinion, from shock to the system, consequent on the fall down the steps.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 24 January 1895

OKEHAMPTON - At the Okehampton Town Hall on Wednesday, Mr Coroner J. D. Prickman held an Inquest concerning the death of WILLIAM DOWN, a lad eleven years of age, who died on Monday.  It was alleged that death was partly caused by ill-treatment on the part of the mother and step-father, but this could not be substantiated.  Drs. Burd and Passmore, who attended the lad, said the cause of death was inflammation of the spinal cord, which was developed owing to the lad sleeping out during the cold weather.  The parents said that if the lad had committed a wrong act he would not come home, but sleep out.  He was insured for £5 in the Prudential Office.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned by the Jury.

Thursday 30 January 1895

BISHOPSTAWTON - Fatal Accident At Bishopstawton. - JOHN BALE, platelayer, aged sixty-four, of Bishopstawton, was at work on the railway at Bishopstawton on Friday, when the down train - which, apparently, the unfortunate man had not observed - due to arrive at Barnstaple Junction at 1.16 p.m., knocked him over the embankment, death being instantaneous.  Particulars of the lamentable occurrence were forthcoming at the inquest, held at the Chichester Arms on Saturday, before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.  -  Emma Scott, married daughter of deceased, deposed that BALE lodged with her.  She last saw him alive at 6.30 on Friday morning, when he left for work.  At 3 o'clock the intelligence was brought to her that he had been killed on the railway. - Matthew Warren, platelayer, stated that deceased, Thomas Lock, and himself were working on the railway shortly after one o'clock on the previous day.  They were short distances from each other, witness being nearly opposite the Church, Lock a little further up, and BALE about forty landyards away.  He (witness) saw the down train approaching, and got off the line.  Soon afterwards the train struck BALE and knocked him over the bank.  Before witness saw the train he heard the whistle of the engine.  From Bishopstawton upwards the line was straight for nearly two miles.  The train went on to Barnstaple without having stopped.  there was a strong wind blowing at the time.  Witness and Lock proceeded to the scene of the accident, and found BALE fearfully injured and quite dead at the bottom of the bank.  To the signalman at the box witness promptly reported the matter.  It seemed that Inspector Bird, who was in the train, witnessed the accident.  Shortly afterwards an engine and a carriage came up from Barnstaple.  Under the Inspector's instruction the body was removed to the Chichester Arms.  - By the Jury:  He could not say whether BALE stood with his face or his back to the engine at the time.  - Thomas Lock, platelayer, giving corroborative evidence, said that when he saw the train near he moved out of the way and shouted to BALE, who was nearest Barnstaple.  The wind was howling at the time and he did not suppose that BALE heard him.  BALE was wearing a cap with flaps over his ears, in accordance with custom.   Just as the train passed witness the whistle was blown.  Witness saw BALE go over the line, after having been struck, and subsequently found him to be quite dead.  To the best of his belief no fault rested with the engine driver or anyone else.  - Henry Pope, who has been in the employ of the L. & S.W.R. Company for over thirty years, deposed that there were two engines attached to the train.  Witness was in charge of the first engine, a fireman named Charles Jarman being also present.  They were about 150 cloth yards from the deceased when Jarman blew his whistle.  Looking over the side of the engine and again seeing that the man was in the same position, he again sounded the whistle.  Deceased, however, did not get off the line, and the engine struck him, Jarman witnessing the accident.  As they were so near Barnstaple witness thought there was nothing to be gained by stopping the train.  They proceeded to the Junction Station, where they reported the matter.  - Charles Jarman, fireman, stated that the deceased was standing in a stooping position with his legs across the rails and his back to the train.  Witness sounded the whistle both when about 150 yards distant and 40 yards, and if BALE had heard the whistle when first blown he could easily have got out of the way.  Inspector G. H. Bird said he was in the guard's van when the accident happened.  The whistle had been sounded twice with the signal off when witness saw BALE knocked over the embankment.  He at first thought about stopping the train, but decided to run on to Barnstaple in order to get assistance.  The wind probably prevented deceased hearing the whistle.  Witness was a member of the St. John's Ambulance Association, and by means of an engine and carriage he returned to the spot with an ambulance, &c., but found BALE lying dead.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 7 February 1895

PARKHAM - Accidental Death. - On January 16th, RICHARD GLOVER, farm labourer, aged forty-four was engaged in taking down a cob wall at Parkham, when a portion fell on him.  His employer (Thomas Dark, farmer) went to his assistance, and it was found he was seriously injured.  Taken home in a cart, GLOVER was placed under the care of Dr Emtage.  He was suffering from shock and injuries to the spine, the latter causing paralysis to the lower part of the body.  GLOVER appeared to rally for the first three days, but it was practicably a hopeless case, and death ensued on Monday.  At the Inquest held on Monday by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 14 February 1895

STONEHOUSE - At an Inquest held at the Royal Naval Hospital, Stonehouse, on the body of Staff Commander WILLIAM EDWARD PARKER, of H.M.S. Prince Albert, the Jury returned a verdict of death from blood poisoning, occasioned by wounds which were self-inflicted whilst deceased was Temporarily Deranged.

Thursday 21 February 1895

MEETH - Death From The Cold At Meeth. - An Inquest was held at the New Inn, Meeth, before Mr Coroner Prickman, touching the death of JOSEPH BATTISALL, master shoemaker, aged 71, who was found dead a few yards from his house on Wednesday morning about 7.30.  It appeared from the evidence that the old man had been at his son's house in Meeth village from about 11 a.m. (Tuesday) until about 8.30 p.m., when he left to go home.  He appeared in his usual health; in fact, he said he was better than he had been for some time past.  The next morning, as a labourer named George Gill was going into the village to post a letter, he found the poor man by the side of a hedge quite dead.  He ran to the house of GEORGE BATTISALL (son of the deceased), who lived about 70 yards away, and coming back together, they carried deceased into the house he had tried to reach the previous night.  After various witnesses had been called, Dr Pullen gave it as his opinion that deceased died from syncope, brought on by exposure to the cold.  The Jury, after a short deliberation, gave a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.  The distance from one house to the other was only about 70 or 80 yards, and the poor old man dropped down about four or five yards from his own door.

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest. - MRS MARY LOCK, wife of MR T. LOCK (butler at Hall, Bishopstawton) having been found dead in her house at Pulchrass-street, Barnstaple, yesterday morning, by a neighbour, an Inquest on the body was held in the afternoon at the Barnstaple Inn by Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner.  - THOMAS LOCK identified the body as that of his wife, who was sixty-six years of age.  He was a residential butler at Hall, and last saw her alive on Friday, when he took tea with her.  She was in fairly good health (her only ailment was a swollen leg) and had not been under medical treatment for some time.  His wife had a comfortable home.  There were four sons, who lived at a distance.  - Fanny Morgan, a neighbour of the deceased for the last eighteen years, stated that at twelve o'clock on Tuesday MRS LOCK informed her she had not been very well for a day or two, having had a bad cold.  She was in apparently good health, and was hanging clothes in the garden.  Hearing, at eight o'clock that morning, that a postman was at MRS LOCK'S door and could not get any answer, witness went into the house and found deceased lying in the kitchen on her back, quite dead and stiff.  Witness gave information at the police station of what she had seen. - By the Coroner:  Never heard MRS LOCK complain of having fainting fits.  - Inspector J. F. Coleman (of the Barnstaple Police) who resides near the deceased, corroborated the last witness's statement, and said he took possession of the keys of the house until MR LOCK arrived.  - Dr Johnston said he was called to deceased's house shortly before nine o'clock that morning, and he found her as described.  There was blood on her arm and on examination he found a wound at the back of the head.  Her limbs were stiff, and he should think MRS LOCK had been dead at least twenty hours.  She fell with her head against a box, on one corner of which there was a spot of blood.  Should say that MRS LOCK died from syncope.  Some chops were in the frying pan on the fire partially cooked.  The general appearance suggested nothing suspicious.  - By Jurymen:  The wound in the head was a triangular wound, about half an inch each way.  Did not believe the head was fractured.  Should not think anyone could have saved her life by administering a stimulant when she fell.  The Coroner summed up in support of Dr Johnston's view, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 28 February 1895

APPLEDORE - A sad fatality occurred here on Wednesday night in last week.  The crew  of the ketch 'Arabella,' of Gloucester (which is lying at Skern, which is opposite the lighthouse), came here in their boat for water and provisions.  They left about half-past seven, and arrived safely to their vessel.  Trevall (the seaman) went on board and made fast the painter of the boat, and put out the ladder for the rest to come up.  Captain Cann and HENRY EVANS (aged sixty-five) and mate.  When the captain was half way up the ladder, he heard EVANS fall out of the boat into the water, which was only two or three feet deep, as the tide was ebbing.  He (the captain) at once jumped into the water, and, with the help of Trevall, got EVANS into the boat, when they found that the poor fellow was dead.  They at once brought him to Appledore and fetched Dr Pratt, who examined the body and pronounced life to be extinct.  He also found severe wounds and bruises n the face and mouth, and stated that deceased did not die from drowning, but from concussion of the brain, caused by striking against the vessel's side in falling.  Deceased was the father-in-law of Captain Cann, who had the body conveyed to the Coach and Horses Inn, where an Inquest was held on Thursday afternoon by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, Captain J. Fishwick being foreman of the Jury.  After hearing the evidence of the crew and Dr Pratt, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death from Concussion of the Brain."  Great sympathy is felt for Captain Cann, as deceased was a strong able man, who left a widow and another daughter, besides Captain Cann's wife.  The funeral of the deceased took place in St. Mary's Churchyard on Saturday afternoon.  Both daughters of the deceased were present, and also a large number of sailors, who were willing to pay a last tribute of respect to their sailor friend.

Thursday 21 March 1895

EXMOUTH - A nurse, in the employ of COLONEL BADGLEY, of Exmouth, made a shocking mistake.  She placed her master's son, aged nine months, into a bath of hot water, she not knowing it was so hot, not having tested it.  The baby was so badly scalded that it died.  At the Inquest the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BIDEFORD - At Bideford, on Friday, Mr Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquiry into the death of WINSTONE JOHN CURTIS HAYWARD, 36, civil engineer, retired, who died somewhat suddenly at his residence, Rock Cottage, Abbotsham-road, on Wednesday morning.  It appears that he was a man of intemperate habits.  He went out on Tuesday evening against the will of his wife, who said he was the kindest man on earth when sober, and was brought home at 11.30 p.m.  She assisted him to bed, and read him to sleep, as she was wont to do.  Next morning he said he was unwell, and she sent for a doctor, but before he could arrive her husband died.  Dr Ackland, who had attended him for four years, said there was no doubt deceased slowly poisoned himself with liquor, his death being due to chronic alcoholism.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

Thursday 4 April 1895

APPLEDORE - A Sad Fatality occurred on Thursday, a young man named THOMAS MOYCE, aged 20, being drowned whilst dredging for mussels in the estuary of the river Torridge.  He was alone in his boat (as is customary) and went out with a lot of others, but his boat was the farthest out, being near the "Pulley's" buoy, known to sailors as "Old Walls."  It was his first attempt at dredging mussels, which consists of letting down a long rake with a net attached and then pulling it to the surface.  he was seen by the others to be standing in the middle of his boat and to throw overboard his dredge.  As the tide runs at this place about sixteen knots an hour, when the dredge reached the bottom it naturally pulled the boat up sharply, and deceased having hold of the handle, the water commenced to run in the boat.  Seeing this he let go the dredge and ran to the stern of the boat, but not before she had begun to sink.  Deceased was an accomplished swimmer, and was seen by the others to be swimming splendidly, although he had all his clothes on, and the sea was rough at the time.  The other men at once pulled up their anchors and tried to get at him, but he sank just as the nearest boat, with a man named William Cox, got within a hundred yards of him, and he was seen no more.  As the tide runs so strongly it is thought that he must have been drawn under by the strong current, as the place is known to be exceedingly dangerous.  The body was picked up at "Hart Weir" Rocks, near the Braunton lighthouse on Friday, and brought to his brother's house at Appledore.  An Inquest was held on Saturday afternoon at the Public Hall.  Mr H. R. Moody being chosen foreman of the Jury.  The body was identified by his brother, JOHN H. MOYCE, and William Cox and John Mitchell gave evidence as to seeing the deceased swim bravely and then suddenly sink.  Robert Hocken proved finding the body, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Drowning."

SOUTHMOLTON - An Inquest was held at Stone Barton on Monday evening on the body of WILLIAM ELWORTHY, formerly of Beatridge, Swymbridge, and of Southwood House, Southmolton.  The deceased, who was seventy-seven years of age, fell while crossing a room on the 14th of March and fractured his thigh, this being the cause of death.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 18 April 1895

BRAUNTON - Fatal Accident To A Braunton Sailor. - Yesterday (Wednesday) an Inquest was held at Ilfracombe by Mr J. F. Bromham, on the body of WILLIAM TERRY, aged 27, who died on Monday as the result of injuries received through falling from the mast of the vessel F.A.M.E., under circumstances reported in last week's Journal.  The accident happened while the ship was about five miles from Baggy Point, the injured man being removed to the Cottage Hospital at Ilfracombe, where he received every attention.  William Stevens, Captain of the F.A.M.E., detailed the circumstances yesterday, and in answer to the Jury, said there was no defect of any sort in the timber or gearing.  The Jury, who returned a verdict of "Accidental Death", expressed sympathy with the widow, to whom they gave their fees.  The deceased resided at Braunton.

CLOVELLY - On Tuesday Mr J. F. Bromham (County Coroner) held an Inquest at Clovelly on the body of ELSIE MAUD BEER, aged five years.  The father, a gamekeeper, said since Monday week the child had been ill, but was still able to play about the house.  On Friday her condition became serious, and in the evening witness went to Hartland for Dr Keays, who told him to wait at the house until he had seen the child.  When the doctor came back the father was informed by him that the child was dead.  Dr Keays said the child died from general causes and pneumonia, and that his reason for refusing a certificate was that he considered the parents had acted improperly in not calling in medical assistance before Friday, as the child must have been seriously ill for three or four days.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 25 April 1895

BRATTON FLEMING - A sad case of sudden death occurred here on Tuesday.  WILLIAM CONIBEAR, a labourer, went to his work on Leworthy Farm, occupied by Mr Burge and was engaged in spreading earth.  Two hours later he was found lying dead in the field.  An Inquest will be held today.

SWYMBRIDGE - Suicide At Swymbridge. - THOMAS WITHYCOMBE, gardener, aged 70, who (as reported in our last issue) cut his throat with a razor on April 15th, died on Sunday evening, the Inquest being held on the following day by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.  - MARY WITHYCOMBE stated that WITHYCOMBE (her late husband) had been suffering from bronchitis and other illness during the past fifteen weeks, being under the treatment of Dr John Harper, of Barnstaple.  She left the house temporarily between 10 and 11 a.m. on April 15th, her husband being in bed.  Returning half an hour later, she asked him whether he would have a cup of tea, and hearing a strange noise she proceeded upstairs.  Her husband was sitting close to the window, and she saw that he had cut his throat, a razor being by his side.  She tied her apron round his throat, and, with the assistance of Mrs Southcombe (a neighbour), subsequently got him into bed.  Dr Harper was telephoned for from Mr Smyth's, and Mr Joseph Harper, surgeon, arrived at 2.30 and sewed up the wound.  Dr John Harper had attended WITHYCOMBE ever since; but her husband died at six o'clock on Sunday evening.  Deceased had been depressed in spirits for the past few weeks, but there was nothing in his manner that necessitated his being watched, and she had no idea that he contemplated a rash act.  -  ELLEN WITHYCOMBE and P.S. Jeffery, of Landkey, having given evidence, Dr J. R. Harper stated that deceased had for some months been suffering from chronic bronchitis and Bright's disease.  The wound in the throat extended from the left side of the neck to the front of the throat, and was very deep, the muscles and uraphagus being severed.  He assumed that his being unable to work through illness preyed upon WITHYCOMBE'S mind, but he had no reason to suspect that he would commit suicide.  The actual cause of death was exhaustion, consequent on the injuries sustained.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 2 May 1895

BRATTON FLEMING - Mr J. F. Bromham held an Inquest at Bratton Fleming on Thursday on the body of WILLIAM CONIBEAR, a labourer.  Deceased was a farm labourer, aged 55 years.  On Tuesday he went to work as usual at Leworthy Farm for Mr Burge, and was found dead (as reported last week)close to where he had been working in a field.  Dr Manning said he was satisfied that death was from heart disease.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes.

CHULMLEIGH - Sudden Death Of A Farmer. - MR JOHN COOKE, aged sixty-five, of Garland Farm, Chulmleigh, visited his brother on Sunday at Little Silver Farm, Mariansleigh.  After eating a hearty supper, he sat by the fire smoking, and had a glass of beer in his hand.  Hearing the glass fall, his brother entered the room and found MR COOKE dead.  MRS COOKE was at the time dressing for the purpose or returning to Chulmleigh.  At an Inquest held on Tuesday, by Mr J. F. Bromham, it transpired that eighteen months ago deceased had a severe attack of rheumatic fever, and his breathing had since been affected, but there was no suspicion of heart trouble.  Dr Smyth stated that a severe attack of rheumatic fever, in a man of the age of MR COOKE, often left heart disease.  He was of opinion that that was the cause of death.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 9 May 1895

BRAUNTON - Fatal Accident At Braunton.  CAPTAIN INCLEDON killed. - A painful sensation was caused at Braunton on Saturday afternoon by MR JOSEPH INCLEDON, sea captain and coal merchant, aged fifty-seven, being thrown from his cart and almost instantaneously killed.  William Henry Pugsley, ship-master, appeared to have been the only person who witnessed the accident.  He stated (at the Inquest conducted by Mr Coroner Bromham on Monday) that about three o'clock on Saturday afternoon he had a conversation with CAPTAIN INCLEDON, who was standing in the roadway near the old Schoolroom with his pony and cart.  With the intention of getting into the cart, CAPTAIN INCLEDON had put one knee on the shaft and one hand on the butt, and was endeavouring to grasp the reins with the other, when the pony moved forward.  The cart came into contact with the kerbstone, and the considerable noise occasioned thereby frightened the pony and caused it to bolt in the direction of the New Inn.  When the pony and cart were turning the corner, CAPTAIN INCLEDON was precipitated into the roadway with great violence.  Running down to the spot, witness, with the assistance of several persons who arrived, raised CAPTAIN INCLEDON, but he neither spoke nor moved.  Within a minute or two Dr W. J. Harper arrived, and at his instructions MR INCLEDON was removed into the New Inn, where it was found he was dead.  Dr S. H. Lane deposed that he found MR INCLEDON lying quite dead on the smoking-room table of the New Inn. Examination by his partner (Dr W. J. Harper) and himself revealed the fact that the neck was fractured and that the head was injured.  MR INCLEDON was a heavy man, and death must have been instantaneous. Having known the deceased very well, he was in a position to say that he was a temperate man; and witness did not believe the accident would have occurred had MR INCLEDON taken the precaution to seize the reins before attempting to mount.  In this respect drivers  of carts could never, in his (witness's) opinion, be too careful.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

The funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon, and was one of the largest ever witnessed in Braunton.  CAPTAIN INCLEDON was a member of the Order of Oddfellows, and about fifty members of the local branch were among those who joined in the procession.  The Vicar (Rev. E. R. Gotto) being absent from the parish, the Rev. C. E. Lamb (Rector of Heanton Punchardon) conducted the burial service, which was witnessed by a large crowd of sympathetic spectators, and was most impressive throughout.  CAPTAIN INCLEDON was a native of Heanton Punchardon, but had resided for a number of years at Braunton, where he was much respected and esteemed.  He leaves a widow, three sons, and three daughters to mourn their loss.

Thursday 16 May 1895

EXETER - Mr F. Burrow, County Coroner, held an Inquest at the Plymouth Inn, Exeter, on Saturday, respecting the death of GEORGE KERSWELL, forty-five, whose body was found in the canal on Friday.  The Coroner said while everything pointed to suicide, he did not think the evidence sufficient to justify them in coming to the conclusion that such was the case, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."

Thursday 23 May 1895

NORTHMOLTON - Fatal Accident. - JOHN DAVEY, labourer, aged 38, who (as we reported in our last issue) was kicked by a colt on the 11th inst., died at Northmolton on Wednesday last, the Inquest being held on the following day by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner. - P.C. J. Webber first spoke to an interview with DAVEY after the occurrence, when the unfortunate man stated that he had been accidentally kicked by a colt belonging to Mr Merson.  - John Merson, farmer, of Brynsworthy, Northmolton, deposed that on the 11th inst., DAVEY called at his house with some meat.  DAVEY asked for a drink of cider, but witness told him to go to the house for one, adding that he (Merson) would rather not leave the colt.  Deceased said he was accustomed to horses, and would hold the colt; and witness, having cautioned him to be careful in regard to the animal, left him in charge of it in order to obtain a glass of cider for him.  On his return he found deceased lying on his left side in the roadway, and having helped him up asked what had occurred.  DAVEY replied that the colt had kicked him in the stomach, but he was not much hurt.  Witness offered him some brandy, but DAVEY said he preferred the cider, which he drank and then walked away, apparently unhurt.  Visiting DAVEY at his house the same evening, witness found him in bed, but had not seen him since.

By the Foreman:  When he came out of the house he saw the colt quietly walking up the roadway.  - Thomas Coles, farmer, stated that after the accident DAVEY did a little work for him.  He mentioned that he had been kicked by a colt, but did not complain of any pain before leaving.  Dr R. S. Spicer deposed that on the 11th inst. he found deceased in bed, suffering from much pain.  He relieved him, but the pains subsequently re-appeared, and he discovered that there were symptoms of obstruction of the bowels.  Sickness and haemorrhage set in, and witness informed the family that DAVEY could not possibly recover.  Death was the result of a kick or kicks received from the colt.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 30 May 1895

TORRINGTON - Death From Burns. - ELIZABETH PINKHAM, glover, aged forty-five, of Torrington, died in the North Devon Infirmary on Friday as the result of burns received at Torrington on May 5th.  At the Inquest held by Mr R. I. Bencraft, Barnstaple Borough Coroner, on Friday, Lucy Richards, of Calf-street, Torrington, stated that shortly after midnight on May 5th she was in bed, when she heard a crash, and going to the head of the stairs she found her sister (the deceased) on her back and enveloped in flames, the remains of a paraffin lamp being by her side.  PINKHAM went to bed, and witness applied linseed oil and flour to her arms and chest, which were severely burnt.  Dr Mackindew attended PINKHAM for nine days, and then consented to her removal to the North Devon Infirmary, to which institution she was then taken.  Thomas Richards, husband of the last witness, gave corroborative evidence.  Mr F. Penny, house surgeon, spoke of the extensive burns sustained by deceased, and said he did not from the first hold out any hopes of PINKHAM'S recovery.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned by the Jury, of which Mr T. Chapple was foreman.

Thursday 6 June 1895

MARIANSLEIGH - Fatal Fall. - JOHN ASH, 75 years of age, living at Allswere Village, Mariansleigh, had a serious fall on Wednesday.  He has for some time been in failing health, being crippled with rheumatism and partially blind.  He fell from the top of the stairs at his residence to the bottom.  He was assisted to bed by his daughter, Mary Ann Brayley.  Dr Sanders, of Southmolton, was sent for, and soon arrived, but the deceased expired while the medical man was in the room.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned at the Inquest on Friday, held before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.

Thursday 13 June 1895

WOOLFARDISWORTHY - Fatal Accident At Woolsery Races. - At Church Park Farm, Woolsery, on Monday, Mr J. F. Bromham held an Inquest into the death of RICHARD DOUGLAS HARDING, a youth of 15, son of MR JOHN HARDING of Walland Farm, who died on Sunday, as the result of an accident at the Woolsery Male Club Sports last Thursday.  From the evidence of P.S. Hard, posted at Bucks Cross, it appears that the sports were held in a field adjoining Church Park Farm, in the occupation of Mr Hall.  One item was a pony race.  Four ponies started, deceased riding one of them.  The leading pony fell in the first round, and then the pony which was ridden by deceased fell over the other.  Deceased was thrown and the pony rolled over him.  Witness went to his assistance, and tried to restore animation but without avail.  Deceased was carried into Mr Hall's house on a door, and Dr Rouse was telegraphed for.  - By the Jury:  He was not able to say whether it was imprudent on the part of the committee to allow a pony race to be run in such a small field (3 or 4 acres).  The leading pony did not fall at the bend, but on the straight, probably owing to the dry and slippery nature of the ground.  - Mr G. Andrews, tailor, Cranford, owner of the pony, said deceased asked him to lend him the pony for the race.  Knowing deceased as a clever rider he had no hesitation in lending it.  It was a four year old, but had never been raced before.  He did not think the size of the field had anything to do with the accident, for which, in his opinion, nobody was to blame.  - Mr Lewis Judd, a male nurse, who witnessed the accident, and attended the lad until his death, at about 12.45 p.m. on Sunday, said Dr Rouse was assiduous in his attendance, but there was no hope from the first for the lad.  Dr Rouse said he received a message and rode out to Woolsery on Thursday evening and found deceased in bed unconscious.  There was total insensibility down the left side, and evidently the lad's neck was broken high up.  He could tell this because of the freedom of movement of the head, it could be turned almost any way.  There must have been some injury to the spinal cord.  From the first there was little hope of recovery.  On Friday he met Dr Emtage in consultation, and Dr Emtage was on his way to the house on Sunday when informed that the lad had passed away.  The actual cause of death was injury to the spinal cord.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death by Accident," and added a rider expressing sympathy with MR and MRS HARDING.

Thursday 20 June 1895

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest On An Infant. - At the Barnstaple Union Workhouse on Saturday afternoon, Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of WILLIAM HENRY MOORE, aged fifteen days, the illegitimate child of ELIZABETH MOORE, of Atherington.  The evidence showed that on February 7th the mother of deceased was admitted into the Workhouse.  The child had been in good health from its birth.  When awaking at 6.30 on Saturday morning, MOORE, looking at her child, found it was dead.  - Dr J.W. Cooke, Medical Officer to the Union, said there was every indication that the child had been overlain and thus suffocated.  The mother had probably fallen asleep while nursing the child.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 27 June 1895

BARNSTAPLE - Bathing Fatality At Barnstaple.  A Boy Drowned at Pottington.  A Bathing Place Wanted. - Whilst bathing with companions at Pottington between one and two o'clock on Tuesday, CHARLES PEARCE, the ten year old son of a fish hawker residing in Green Lane, was accidentally drowned.  The whole of the particulars in regard to the sad occurrence were elicited at the Inquest held at the Bear Inn yesterday (Wednesday) morning by Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner.  Mr E. S. Arnold was chosen foreman of the Jury.  In opening the proceedings, the Coroner said this was only one of a long series of Inquests which he had held on the bodies of persons who had met their death by bathing in dangerous and deep parts of the river Taw.  No doubt they would again hear the old question cropping up about the necessity of providing a bathing place for Barnstaple.  It seemed to be a scandal that a town of the character of Barnstaple, situated as it was by the side of a beautiful river, should be without a bathing place.  It was past belief, in this age of great engineering enterprise, that someone could not inaugurate a plan by which they could be supplied with a proper bathing place.  He was glad to see that the Mayor had called attention to the matter, and he hoped - not because he did not think that the old Taw would not continue to claim victims - that some practical steps would be taken in order to give effect to the scheme proposed.  Really he did not think the difficulties were insurmountable, and he believed the latest scheme before them was very feasible, and hoped that it would be soon carried out.  Of all the improvements in connection with the town there was not one for which the inhabitants would be more grateful than the provision of a suitable bathing place.

The Foreman: (to the Coroner):  "How many times have you been called upon by juries to bring the question of the necessity of a bathing place before the authorities?"

The Coroner:  "On several occasions," adding that he had invariably given effect to the requests made.

THOMAS PEARCE, fish hawker, father of deceased, gave evidence of identification.  He last saw his boy alive on Monday evening, when he drove him away from the water.  The boy was at school on Monday morning. 

FRANCIS PEARCE, aged eight years, spoke to himself, his brother (the deceased), and other boys bathing together at Pottington Point on Tuesday between one and two o'clock.  CHARLES PEARCE, who could not swim, went out of his depth, sank, and did not rise for some time.  James Passmore pulled the body out of the water.  Several persons subsequently came to the spot and endeavoured to bring his brother round, but failed.

FRED PEARCE, a little boy, said deceased was his uncle.  They went bathing on Tuesday, and CHARLES PEARCE got into a pit and sank.  He rose four or five times, and witness tried to save him by catching hold of his hand. Deceased pulled witness out of his depth, but being able to swim a little he managed to get ashore.  PEARCE had been in the water about three minutes when he was taken out by two boys named Passmore.

P.C. G. Mules, of the County Constabulary, and stationed at Barnstaple, deposed that on Tuesday he was sent for, and arrived at Pottington about 1.40 p.m.  Judging from appearances, PEARCE was then quite dead.  Witness sent for Dr John Harper, who arrived soon afterwards.  Immediately on arrival witness resorted to Dr Sylvester's mode of restoring animation, which consisted of moving the arms upwards and downwards about fifteen times every minute, but his efforts were unavailing.  The tide was out at the time, but there was a strong current running at the spot where PEARCE was drowned.

Dr John Harper deposed that he was sent for about two o'clock.  With P.C. Mules he endeavoured for half-an-hour to restore animation, but failed.  In witness's opinion PEARCE was dead when the body was taken out of the water.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," adding (at the suggestion of the Foreman) the "usual rider" as to the necessity for the provision of a bathing place.  The Foreman:  It is like thrashing the wind to ask the Town Council to do anything in the matter.  The Coroner observed that they might well defer other improvements suggested in connection with the town until a bathing place was provided.  Ten of the Jurymen gave their fees to deceased's parents, who are in poor circumstances.

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Death Of An Exeter Man At Barnstaple.  Adjournment Of The Inquest. - MR THOMAS HILL ROWE, commercial traveller, of St. Thomas's, Exeter, died at Barnstaple on Sunday under most deplorable circumstances.  Extraordinary rumours were circulated as to the manner in which MR ROWE sustained the injuries which resulted in his death.  Consequently much interest was manifested in the Inquest which was held at the Commercial Hotel, the Strand, on Monday afternoon, by Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner.  Mr W. A. Roberts, solicitor, of Barnstaple, watched the proceedings on behalf of MRS ROWE (the widow).  Mr R. Eddy, Superintendent of the Barnstaple Borough Police, was present in his official capacity.  The foreman of the Jury was Mr T. Pedler.  In opening the proceedings, the Coroner said that from information which had reached him he had no doubt that MR ROWE'S death was due to a fracture of the base of the skull, the result of an accidental fall on the previous Wednesday evening.  He did not know whether it would be necessary to order a post mortem examination, in order to ascertain exactly what the injury was.  However, he should call (in addition to other persons) the two medical gentlemen who attended deceased prior to his death.  The Jury  would then be able to judge for themselves whether or not a post mortem examination was necessary.  There was one peculiar feature about the case.  On the evening in question, deceased was in the company of a brother commercial traveller, whose name and address they had been unable to discover. Both MR ROWE and the strange gentleman lodged at the Commercial Hotel, the stranger leaving Barnstaple for Bideford by the first train on the morning following the accident.  Other people who were present at the time of the accident could depose to the facts thereof.  Still, if the Jury thought the evidence of the stranger should be before them, the Inquest could be adjourned for his attendance.  The evidence was then taken.

MR HERBERT ROWE, brother of deceased, gave evidence of identification.  Deceased was forty years of age, and had left a wife and four children.  He last saw him alive on Wednesday week, at his home in St. Thomas's.  - By Mr Roberts:  Although not a total abstainer, he was temperate in his habits.  His brother had been in the employ of Messrs. Stone and Son, chemists, for twenty years, commencing as an apprentice, and ultimately becoming traveller for the firm.

John Cockrem, of the wine and spirit vaults, the Strand, stated that during the past twelve months MR ROWE (the deceased) had paid occasional visits to his house.  MR ROWE called on the previous Wednesday about five p.m., and having had a drink, left in the company of a tall gentleman.  He heard the two (who appeared to be great friends) remark that they were going to do some boating.  They returned between ten and eleven p.m., and had two drinks each.  MR ROWE also purchased a small bottle of whiskey on the two leaving at eleven o'clock.  - The Coroner:  What was their condition?  - Both had had a drop to drink, but were nothing out of the way.  - Superintendent Eddy:  Was there any other gentleman with the deceased?  - Witness:  Yes, a young gentleman named George Dennis, who left the house at the same time.  They drank together, and deceased and Dennis played two games on a little skittle board.  They did not disagree, and left apparently on the best of terms.  The only noise he heard outside the house subsequent to the men's departure was the sound of female footsteps.  Two females called at the house about five minutes to eleven.  One of them was named Hill, but the name of the other he did not know.

Sarah Hill, of Tuly-street, deposed that about 11.15 p.m. on the previous Wednesday she and a Mrs Downey were proceeding along the Strand when they saw deceased, who had apparently fallen, being raised from the ground by a tall gentleman.  The men, who were strangers to them, said "Good evening," when ROWE staggered backward at a running pace and fell on his back on the other side of the road.  Mr G. Dennis was walking up Cross-street at the time, and witness called to him to assist deceased.  Mrs Downey went over and raised deceased's head, and MR ROWE'S companion left in order to fetch a doctor.  Mr Dennis remarked that he could have nothing to do with the matter, as deceased was a stranger to him, and then went away.  MR ROWE'S companion returned in about ten minutes, and as he could not find a doctor elsewhere went to the Gentleman's Club on the Strand in search of one. Deceased bled profusely, and a gentleman came along from the Club and wiped the blood from his head.  A Mrs Miller fetched P.C. Pugsley, who subsequently brought Dr John Harper to the spot.  Witness remained until deceased's removal to the North Devon Infirmary.  She thought that MR ROWE was very drunk.  - By Mr Roberts:  Did not know deceased or his companion, and had not previously seen them.  Was not sure whether MR ROWE hurt himself when he first fell, but did not think he did, inasmuch as he afterwards said "Good evening."  When deceased's companion did not find Dr Cooke at the Club witness asked him to come back to MR ROWE, but he did not, and walked away by himself.  - By Superintendent Eddy:  Dennis came from the direction of the North Walk, and walked up Cross-street without speaking to deceased and the other gentleman.  She was perfectly sure no one touched the deceased or caused him to fall.

Kate Downey, widow, of Olinda Place, gave corroborative evidence.  When MR ROWE was picked up on the first occasion witness said "Are you hurt?" and he replied "Oh, no."  He then commenced to run backwards, as witness thought, in fun, and she remarked "You stupid, you will fall again."  He staggered to the other side of the street, and fell on his head, witness hearing the blow distinctly.  She ran over, and seeing he was bleeding profusely, she raised his head and advised that a doctor should be fetched.  Deceased's companion said he would fetch one, and went away, but did not return.  She remained in charge of deceased until the arrival of Dr Harper.  P.C. Pugsley had previously arrived, and placed deceased against Mr Cockrem's bar door.  Someone asked deceased where he lived, but he seemed to be wandering.  The only remark he made was "Go to bed; I shall be there presently."  - By Superintendent Eddy:  Dennis was near the Post Office when deceased fell.  He fell at the bottom of Cross-street.  No one pushed him.  - By the Foreman:  Could not say whether deceased was drunk or sober.  She saw pieces of a bottle on the ground, and she remarked that it was fortunate deceased's head did not come into contact with them.

P.C. Pugsley spoke t finding deceased in charge of the last witness.  MR ROWE was bleeding profusely from the right ear.  Witness sat him against Mr Cockrem's bar door.  Dr Harper, on being fetched by witness, ordered deceased's removal to the Infirmary.  Witness and P.C. Bowden took MR ROWE to the Infirmary on a stretcher.  Dr Harper assisting them.  While being attended to in bed by Dr Penny deceased said "Don't," whilst he also offered other similar remarks.  -By Superintendent Eddy:  When MR ROWE was on the ground at the bottom of Cross-street, a tall gentleman passed.  Witness did not see Mr Dennis.

Dr J. R. Harper stated that he found deceased totally unconscious, bleeding profusely from the right ear, and presenting the usual symptoms of concussion of the brain.  He accompanied him to the Infirmary, and left him in charge of Dr Penny, the House Surgeon.  Had attended deceased since Thursday night, when he was removed to the Commercial Hotel.  MR ROWE died on Sunday morning, death being due to a fracture of the skull.  Should think he also sustained some injury to the kidneys.  MR ROWE developed a bruise near the right ear, whilst there were also bruises on the arms, the latter being possibly caused by lifting deceased, who was a heavy man.  - By Mr Roberts:  The fracture of the skull might have been caused by deceased falling backwards.  It was not in his opinion caused by a man's fist or a stick. There was nothing in MR ROWE'S appearance to suggest that he was drunk.

Mr F. Penny stated that when MR ROWE was admitted to the Infirmary he was very nearly unconscious, and bleeding from the right ear.  Witness did what was necessary in the way of treatment.  As he thought MR ROWE might become delirious he asked P.C. Pugsley to remain with him.  On being put to bed MR ROWE went to sleep, and he then dispensed with the police constable's services.  At 7.30 next morning MR ROWE, who, as far as he could judge, was suffering from a fractured skull, wanted to leave the institution.  Witness told him of the seriousness of his condition, and urged him to remain.  ROWE, however, insisted on going out, and in the evening he left the institution in a cab, Mrs Hutchinson (of the Commercial Hotel) accompanying him.  - Supt. Eddy:  Did MR ROWE make any complaint?  - Witness:  I asked how the injury was sustained; and he said "I can remember nothing about it."

Summing up, the Coroner said he thought the evidence was sufficiently clear to guide the Jury to a correct conclusion.  It was too much to be feared that the poor fellow had been indulging rather freely - he would not say he was tipsy at the time, because the evidence did not show it - in stimulants, so that this was another of the many instances which showed that there was danger in indulgences of this kind.  Believing it was a case of accidental death, he invited the Jury to return a verdict accordingly.

The Jury having had a consultation together, the foreman announced that the majority were in favour of the Inquiry being adjourned in order that the companion of deceased might give evidence.  They would also like to hear what Mrs Hutchinson knew regarding the matter.

Mrs Hutchinson then stated that on the previous Wednesday deceased and his companion had tea together at the Commercial Hotel.  MR ROWE had stayed at her house for many years; the other gentleman (who was tall and had a large nose) had stayed occasionally at the Commercial Hotel, but she neither knew his name nor what firm he represented.  Having had tea, the two left together at eight o'clock, being on friendly terms and perfectly sober.  MR ROWE was a temperate man, and regular in his habits.  The strange gentleman returned shortly after eleven o'clock, and left next morning for Bideford by the 8.10 train.  She stayed up until 1.30 a.m. on Thursday morning waiting for MR ROWE, who, however, did not put in an appearance.  Before the stranger went to bed she asked him where deceased was, and he replied "You need not trouble; he will be in presently."  She repeated the question several times before the stranger left, the answer being nearly the same in each instance.  He declared that ROWE had not been drowned, saying they went out boating in the evening, and came back all right together. By Superintendent Eddy:  The stranger had no luggage; only a very small bag.

The coroner observed that if the Inquest were adjourned the fact that MR ROWE had died as the result of a fractured skull sustained in a fall could not be altered.  The Majority of the Jury still desired an adjournment, the Inquest being then adjourned until July 8th, when at 6 p.m. the proceedings will be resumed at the Guildhall.  The Coroner ordered a post mortem examination, which was made on Monday evening by Dr Jon Harper and Mr Penny.  The body was removed to Exeter on Tuesday morning.

Thursday 11 July 1895

SWANSEA - CAPTAIN CHICHESTER Drowned At Swansea. - Early on Saturday morning CAPTAIN JOHN CHICHESTER, coal merchant. of Braunton, met with an untimely end at Swansea Docks.  CAPTAIN CHICHESTER left Braunton on Thursday in charge of the Cambria (of which he was the owner) for the purpose of bringing a cargo of flour from Swansea.  This had been shipped, and arrangements made for the return journey.  In endeavouring to board the ship, however, CAPTAIN CHICHESTER, instead of walking on the Dock gates, slipped into the basin.  A passing sailor heard the splash, and got CAPTAIN CHICHESTER out of the water as soon as possible.  But this was unavailing, the unfortunate man expiring almost immediately.  A medical man whose services were requisitioned gave it as his opinion that death was the result of shock, caused by falling into the water.  At the Inquest held on Saturday a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" was recorded.  The body was removed to Braunton on Monday in the Cambria, Messrs. JOHN and REUBEN CHICHESTER (sons of deceased) and WILLIAM CHICHESTER (nephew) being in charge of the boat.  CAPTAIN CHICHESTER , who was 56 years of age, was greatly respected by his neighbours at Braunton.  He leaves a widow and family, for whom the deepest sympathy is felt.  CAPTAIN CHICHESTER had traded to and from Wales for many years. The funeral on Tuesday afternoon was attended by all classes of the community, seafaring men being very numerous.  The mortal remains were interred in the Parish Churchyard, the Rev. C. E. Lamb (Rector of Heanton Punchardon) conducting the impressive service.  Flags were observed to be flying at half-mast during the afternoon.

BARNSTAPLE - The Sad Death Of A Commercial Traveller At Barnstaple.  Verdict of Accidental Death. - At Barnstaple Guildhall on Monday evening, the Inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of MR T. H. ROWE, commercial traveller, of Exeter, was resumed before Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner.  The Inquest had been adjourned a fortnight previously in order that the attendance might be secured, and the evidence taken, of a gentleman friend who was in the company of the deceased when, through falling backwards, he sustained injuries which resulted in his death.

The Coroner in opening the proceedings, said that after some difficulty they had discovered the whereabouts of the gentleman in question, who, it had transpired, was named Adams.  They had just received from Mr Adams, a telegram, dated from Yeoford, and which read:  "Delayed through a mistake.  Will arrive at Barnstaple 6.59"; so that he would be in attendance at a later stage of the proceedings.

Dr J. R. Harper then stated that in accordance with the Coroner's instructions, he and Mr F. Penny, House Surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, made a post-mortem examination of deceased.  They found the skull to be fractured, whilst the brain was also slightly lacerated.  In his opinion death was due to these injuries.  - By the Coroner:  There was not another wound behind the ear.  The blow must have been received from a very hard substance.  If it had been received from a fist or a stick he should have expected to have seen more local re-action.  He was not of opinion that the blow had been inflicted by a man's fist.  - By Mr J. P. Ffinch (who represented the Ocean Accident Insurance Company):  Deceased's liver was enlarged.  - By Mr M. H. Toller (who watched the case on behalf of deceased's family):  An enlarged liver would be the result of drinking. - Mr Toller:  Would that be caused by one night's drinking?  - Witness:  No; it would take some considerable time for a person to get such an enlargement.  - By Superintendent Eddy (of the borough police):  A fall backwards would be sufficient to cause the injury at the back of the head.

Mr F. Penny, House Surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, gave it as his opinion that death resulted from a fracture of the skull, which was accompanied by a tear or laceration of a portion of the brain.  The blow was at the back of the head, slightly on the right side, and would be produced by a hard flat substance.  - By Mr Vosser (a Juryman):  He should not consider the injury was caused by a kick.  - By Mr Ffinch:  He saw deceased on his arrival at the Infirmary. Witness could not say definitely that he was drunk.  MR ROWE smelt of liquor, and witness should think that he had been drinking.  The enlargement of the liver was not caused by immediate drinking.  By Mr Toller:  The taking of a few glasses daily would be likely to cause the enlargement of the liver.  A large liver did not prove that a person was in the habit of getting drunk.  Moderate drinking would produce a large liver.

G. Dennis, a young gentleman, deposed that at about 10.40 p.m. on June 19th he called at Mr Cockram's wine and spirit vaults, the Strand, where he found the deceased and another man.  They left the premises about the same time, witness proceeding by himself towards Cyprus Island.  On returning, he was proceeding up Cross-street, when a young woman named Sarah Hill called after him, and asked that MR ROWE might be rendered assistance.  Witness saw deceased lying on the ground, but thinking it was simply a case of drunkenness he did not interfere, but moved on.  - By Mr Toller:  Deceased and witness played some games of table skittles whilst at the wine and spirit vaults.  MR ROWE had something to drink, but witness could not say that he had five or six whiskies.  - Mr Ffinch:  Did you see anyone strike him or quarrel with him?  - Witness:  No, sir.  - By Superintendent Eddy:  Deceased was on the ground when witness arrived.  His reason for leaving him was not a cowardly one; because he thought he was drunk he did not care to have anything to do with him.  - The Coroner:  There were other persons with him.

H. Clarke, boot manufacturer, of High Street, stated that he called at the wine and spirit vaults, the Strand, at 10.40 on the night in question.  Mr Dennis and MR ROWE were playing table skittles.  Deceased gave witness a cigar, and there was no quarrelling or disturbance of any kind.  MR ROWE was not sober.  Witness was the first one to leave and did not see deceased go out.  - By Mr Toller:  Deceased was excited and said foolish things.  ROWE was drunk.  He showed this by lurching about the room when he endeavoured to sit down, and by saying when the cigars were handed to him:  "Did I pay for those?  They --- things are no good to me.  Will you have one?"  At the same time ROWE threw one of the cigars across the table to witness.  - By Mr Vosper:  Witness, who lived near the wine and spirit vaults, hard some females laughing in the street after he went to bed.  - A Juryman:  It was no laughing matter.  - By Mr Ffinch:  After the game of skittles Mr Dennis received four cigars, and he handed two to deceased and kept two himself.  - Mr Vosper observed that he understood considerable ingenuity was required to play table skittles.  (Another Juror:  Yes.)  Deceased appeared to have won the game and he (Mr Vosper) should not think under the circumstances that he could have been intoxicated.

Inspector Coleman (called at the request of one or two Jurymen) deposed that about 11.10 p.m. on June 19th, he proceeded along the Strand.  He saw three gentlemen and two females near the Congregational Schoolroom. They were talking quietly and did nothing to cause suspicion that anything was wrong.  He should say that the man who wore a straw hat was "worse" than the others. - By Mr Toller:  Neither gave any indication of being the worse for liquor, whilst they did not make any noise. - By Superintendent Eddy:  He knew neither of the persons and did not go across to them.  He could not form an opinion as to whether they were drunk or not.

J. C. Adams, commercial traveller (the gentleman who was in deceased's company on the night of the occurrence) now put in an appearance.  Having apologised for being late, he deposed that he had known deceased for three years, and stated that he was in his company on the day in question.  Witness arrived at Barnstaple by the 1.15 p.m. train, and in the afternoon saw deceased at the wine and spirit vaults, the Strand.  They had tea together at Quay House, and afterwards went boating, each rowing in turn.  Subsequently, they visited the Queen's Hotel, then went to another public-house (the name of which he did not know), and afterwards returned to the Strand wine and spirit vaults.  ROWE played skittles with another gentleman, and when the landlord called time they all left the premises together.  Deceased, however, who did not appear intoxicated, but a bit fresh, immediately returned to the premises to get a flask of whisky in order that he and witness might spend an hour together at the Hotel.  On getting on the doorstep, ROWE attempted to put the bottle of whisky in his pocket, but it fell and was smashed.  Deceased then fetched another bottle of whisky, but that likewise fell and was smashed.  Just afterwards deceased fell in a sitting position, and witness assisted him up. Some women came along at the time, and half-a-dozen words had not been exchanged when the deceased started running backwards. Witness remarked "Don't be stupid, or you will fall again."  He had barely uttered these words when ROWE fell on his back.  Although not thinking that ROWE was seriously injured, he saw, nevertheless, that he was injured, and he left in order to fetch a doctor.  He called at two places without success.  On his return, however, he found that MR ROWE was being attended to by Dr Harper, and knowing that he was to be taken to the North Devon Infirmary, witness returned to his lodgings at Quay House.  Mrs Hutchinson put him a question regarding MR ROWE, and he informed her that he would be back presently.  He thought deceased was simply bleeding from the nose, and that he would return from the Infirmary all right next morning.  Witness stayed up for some time with another commercial traveller at Quay House.  He had to visit Bideford next day by the train leaving Barnstaple at 8.40 a.m., and he left the town accordingly.  Witness was at Plymouth when he saw by the newspapers what had occurred.  He immediately went to Plymouth Police Station and told the police authorities what he knew regarding the matter.  - By Mr Toller:  Did not think deceased was the worse for drink in the afternoon.  Having had tea together, they went up the river, deceased not being intoxicated.  They each had two drinks at the Queen's, and some drink at the wine and spirit vaults.  When they left deceased was intoxicated, and witness had had sufficient.  Deceased ran backwards a considerable distance before falling.  He did not trip over anything.  ROWE did not drink an whisky out of the bottles.  Deceased was rather "peculiar", or (to adopt the expression of a Juryman), "lively" when on the river, and was certainly drunk when he fell.  - By Mr T. Pedler (The Foreman of the Jury):  Witness did not know at the time that ROWE had struck his head.  He thought he was bleeding from the nose.  - By Superintendant Eddy:  Was positive no one touched the deceased or caused him to fall.  - By a Juryman:  The females did not make any remarks about deceased being drunk. - Mr Toller:  Mr Cockrem says ROWE was not drunk.  - By Mr Ffinch:  Deceased lost his legs and fell from the effects of being intoxicated; no one struck him.  - Further examined, the witness said deceased and himself had the same number of glasses in the evening.  Witness had not been drinking in the day; and he could not say that ROWE had.  He did not want to worry Mrs Hutchinson; therefore did not tell her of what had happened.  Witness reiterated the expression that he did not think at the time that the accident was anything so serious as it was; and he extremely regretted MR ROWE'S death.

The Coroner, summing up, said it was very clear from the evidence that the death of MR ROWE was the result of the blow which he sustained in the manner spoken of by one of the witnesses - namely, running backwards, falling on the stone pavement, and fracturing the skull at the base of the head.  There could be no doubt as to what his condition was at the time - he had been drinking rather too freely, and was intoxicated, and unable to keep his legs, was also unable to take care of himself.  It had been proved that there was no quarrelling, and that no one pushed the deceased.  The injury was sustained in the way described, and was a pure accident.  Mr Adams screened his friend, but they could well understand why he did not tell Mrs Hutchinson what had happened.  It was from the belief that it was not a very serious accident which had happened, and in the hope that he would arrive all right from the Infirmary in the morning.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 18 July 1895

HARTLAND - Sad Fatal Accident At Hartland. - As a party of Bidefordians who had attended a Unionist meeting at Hartland on Thursday was driving past Providence, Clovelly, the vehicle in which they were seated was overturned, MR R. B. MOLESWORTHY being so severely injured that he expired on Saturday morning.  Mr Tedrake sustained a dislocation of the shoulder, while Mr Friendship's leg was injured. Mr Billson called at Mr Berriman's farm on Friday to inquire after MR MOLESWORTH.  The deceased was a private gentleman, and leaves a widow and two children, aged two and three years respectively. - AT the Inquest held at Highford Model Farm on Saturday, W. H. Friendship, of Bideford, stated that in a two horse waggonette a party consisting of the owner and driver (Mr T. Martin), MR MOLESWORTH (who also sat on the box), Mr T. Tedrake and witness visited Hartland, and attended a Unionist meeting on Thursday.  On the return journey being commenced they took up P.S. Hard, of Buck's Cross.  The night was very dark and stormy, and shortly afterwards the driver went too near the hedge, and the horses, frightened at something, took the carriage up the hedge, the vehicle then overturning.  Witness spoke to the injuries (detailed above) received by various members of the party.  They went to Hartland as soon as possible for medical assistance.  In his opinion it was a pure accident, and the driver could not have prevented it.  Deceased was removed to Highford Farmhouse in an unconscious condition.  - Sergeant W. Hard gave corroborative evidence, and said that by the accident he was thrown over thirty feet, and that before alighting he turned a somersault.  - Thos. Martin (who has had thirty years' experience of driving) stated that something frightened the horses, and on their bolting the wheels went up the side of the hedge and the waggonette overturned.  Witness was driving very steadily, and after being thrown held on to the reins in order to prevent the horses again bolting.  - Dr T. Keays, of Hartland (who with Dr Rouse attended MR MOLESWORTH after the accident) said death was due to injury sustained to the base of the skull.  From the outset he regarded the case as hopeless.  - The Coroner, (Mr J. F. Bromham) said it was a sad affair, but it was a pure accident, there being no blame attaching to the driver.  They all much deplored the accident, and their sympathies were with the family of deceased.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death" and tendered their deepest sympathy to deceased's family.  They also added a rider, asking the Coroner to call the attention of the Bideford Rural District Council to the unsafeness of the road, in consequence of its narrowness and the projecting hedge.

Thursday 1 August 1895

BARNSTAPLE - Suicide Of An In-Patient At The North Devon Infirmary. - There was a startling and sad occurrence at the North Devon Infirmary, Barnstaple, early on Thursday morning, an in-patient named FREDK. DAVEY, aged 37, carpenter, of Torrington, cutting his throat with a sharp pocket knife, in No. 2 ward, and dying as the result a quarter of an hour later. - The Inquest was held at five o'clock, before Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, of Barnstaple.  - Wm. Bennet, a solicitor's clerk, of Torrington, stated that he was deceased's brother-in-law.  Three weeks ago, DAVEY, (who was in a very delicate state of health, and extremely weak) became an out-patient at the North Devon Infirmary.  As deceased and his wife feared DAVEY would not be able to undertake the journey without assistance, witness accompanied him from Barnstaple to Torrington, and back.  The journey was effected with some little difficulty, deceased having to rest on Barnstaple Bridge, and at Mr H. Clarke's shop in High-street.  At the latter place DAVEY drank some milk which witness fetched for him.  DAVEY, having seen Mr F. Penny, House Surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, remarked to him:  "Bill, I could see the doctor thought it is a bad case."  Witness, who had had a conversation with Mr Penny, replied, "The doctor hopes to keep you here a fortnight or three weeks, and then to send you on to the Convalescent Home at Morthoe."  DAVEY, who had complained that at times he almost lost his head through weakness, had worked at Peters Marland up to about three weeks ago.  He had left a widow and six children, another child being expected.  - Mr F. Penny, House Surgeon at the Infirmary, deposed that DAVEY was admitted an in-patient on the previous Tuesday, having been an out-patient for a fortnight previously.  Called from the female ward, to one of the men's wards (No. 2) shortly after 7 o'clock that morning, he found DAVEY on the floor, with two men holding him and endeavouring to stop the blood which was running from his throat.  DAVEY had a deep punctured wound in the left side of the neck, whilst his left internal jugular vein was severed.  Having treated DAVEY, witness sent for Dr Cooke, but before the latter's arrival some few minutes later the man was dead.  DAVEY was in a terribly weak state.  Witness had no reason to suspect that he contemplated a rash act. If he had, DAVEY would have been placed under special supervision.  - Wm. Westacott, slaughterman of Barnstaple, and now an in-patient at the institution, stated that, hearing screams proceeding from No. 2 ward that morning, he ran into the ward.  DAVEY'S bed was surrounded by a screen, and on looking inside he found deceased lying on his face and hands on the floor, and heard blood rushing from his throat.  Subsequently he found DAVEY'S pocket-knife - a very sharp instrument - lying on the floor, and covered with blood.  Witness happened to be carrying a table-cloth, and this he promptly tied around deceased's throat.  Mr Penny arrived almost immediately, but the man died in about a quarter of an hour, his only remark after the occurrence being "Let me die quiet, dear mother."  - The Jury, of which Mr J. Kingdon was foreman, returned a verdict of "Death whilst Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 8 August 1895

HIGH BICKINGTON - Suicide. - MR JOHN SLEE, butcher, aged 59, shot himself with a gun on Monday, and at the Inquest a verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane" was returned.

ILFRACOMBE - MR WALTER WARREN, of Bath, commercial traveller, was bathing in Raparee Cove on Tuesday, when he was taken ill, dying while in the water.  At the Inquest yesterday Dr Foquett stated that death was due to failure of the heart's action, and a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 15 August 1895

ILFRACOMBE - Sad Death At Ilfracombe. - At Ilfracombe on Tuesday, Dr E. J. Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of ELIZA JANE KENNAH, widow, aged 64, who resided alone at Mullhead Terrace.  On Saturday evening Maria Lewis, charwoman, was asked by Mrs Saunders to go and inquire how MRS KENNAH was, as she had heard she was ill.  Saunders found deceased crouched down between the bedroom and sitting-room doors.  MRS KENNAH did not speak, and Saunders lifted her into bed and covered her up.  Asked what she thought was the matter with deceased, Mrs Vallacott gave it as her opinion that deceased was drunk.  Dr W. A. Payne was called to MRS KENNAH at 1 p.m. on Sunday. She was then in a weak and almost pulseless condition, but  just conscious.  MRS KENNAH, who said she felt pain in the small of the back, died in the evening.  Dr Payne had attended deceased for influenza and pneumonia in the early part of the year, but he gave it as his opinion that the probable cause of death was failure of the heart, following continuous alcoholism.  There was no evidence to suspect suicide or foul play:  very possibly deceased had been taking alcohol without food.  The verdict was that "the deceased died of Failure of the Heart's Action following the excessive use of alcohol."

Thursday 22 August 1895

WESTWARD HO - Suicide Of A Lady At Westward Ho. - There was a very sad occurrence at Westward Ho on Saturday morning, a lady named MISS MAUD PENHALL, aged thirty-three years (who has been staying at the well-known watering place for the benefit of her health) jumping from the window of a house at Fosteth Terrace, receiving such shocking injuries to her head that death was instantaneous.

DR JOHN THOMAS PENHALL, retired physician, of Broadway, near Worcester, stated (at the Inquest, held before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, in the evening) that for the last thirteen months his daughter had been in bad health and suffering from melancholia.  It was supposed that this was the result of repeated attacks of influenza.  Since her illness she had had two trained nurses to attend to her, one taking night duty and the other day.  Witness came to Westward Ho with his family on June 10th last, and took a house (No. 3 Fosteth Terrace) for deceased and the two nurses.  For himself and the rest of his family he took a house a little distance off.  Since deceased had been at Westward Ho she had improved in health, but there was no improvement in her depression.  The nurses were both from one institution (Westminster Nursing Home), and he had every reason to be satisfied with them.

Miss Emma Chaplyn, one of the nurses in attendance on the deceased lady, said that since they had been at Westward Ho deceased's general health had improved greatly, and her spirits had somewhat improved, as she smiled more often when talked to.  She had been able to take short walks and drives, but always in company with witness and the other nurse.  On Friday night witness took night duty, the other nurse sleeping in a room adjoining.  That morning she opened both doors about half-past seven, and just after eight got deceased out of bed.  Then she left the room for a moment, both doors being open, and the other nurse in her room, so that she could see into deceased's room.  She heard the other nurse scream, and on rushing back found that MISS PENHALL had jumped out of the window. They had securely wedged down the lower sash, and the upper sash, though partly open, was also wedged, and they thought it could not be moved either way.  Deceased must have jumped on the dressing table and gone through the upper part of the window, the weight of her body forcing down the upper sash a little way.  Witness ran downstairs and found her on the pavement.  Death must have been instantaneous.

Nurse Woodhouse corroborated.  Hearing a movement she looked into the room and saw the deceased's feet disappear out of the window.  Deceased suffered from melancholia in such an acute form that she had not spoken to anyone for months.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane," and expressed sympathy with the parents.

Thursday 5 September 1895

BIDEFORD - Boy Drowned At Bideford. - A boy, named ALBERT YOUNG, aged nine, was drowned in the Torridge near Ford Rock on Saturday morning.  The body was not recovered until Sunday.  Mr Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest on the body at the Torridge Inn, Bideford, on Monday afternoon.  Mr John Lugg was foreman of the Jury.

FRANCIS YOUNG, a labourer, identified the body as that of his son ALBERT, who went out with his brother JOHN, aged seven, and Charles Short, aged nine, to pick blackberries on Saturday morning, and who was afterwards found drowned in the river.  He knew his son sometimes went into the river and had cautioned him not to do so.

Charles Short, aged nine, son of a shoemaker, who was not sworn because of his tender years, said he and the two YOUNGS went to pick blackberries, but when near the river they took off their clothes to bathe.  ALBERT YOUNG said he saw some fishes jumping and meant to catch them.  He walked out into deep water and fell forward on his face, being washed out beyond his depth.  He cried "Charley Short," and witness swam out to him, and let him take a hand, but deceased let go again, and went under.  Witness did not see him again.  He swam ashore and dressed, and gathering up ALBERT'S clothes, took them to his mother.  In the road he saw a man in a cart, and told him of the accident, but he took no notice.

By the Jury:  He was the only one who could swim.  He had never bathed at that spot before.  They did not intend to bathe when they left home, but to go picking blackberries, and took cans with them.  JOHN YOUNG said that his brother cried out as he was drowning "M other, mother."  But his story agreed that Short made a plucky attempt, for one so young, to save his brother.

John Marley, bargeman, Bideford, said he had an idea the body had been carried far up the river, and on Sunday morning, at low water, walked up the bank as far as Tinnacott Quarry, where he saw deceased lying nearly high and dry.  He was face downwards, with one arm under his breast.  He should say Tinnacott was three-quarters of a mile from Little America, where deceased was bathing when drowned.  The body was wrapped in sheets, and brought down to How's yard in a boat, and thence in a cart to the home.  The Coroner, in summing up, said no blame appeared to attach to anybody.  As long as there were boys, and a river, so long would boys find their way in, and accidents occur, notwithstanding the warnings of their parents.  - The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Drowning.  - The Foreman said the Jury would like to impress on the Town Council the question of baths.  They would like to see proper public bathing accommodation provided.  - The Coroner:   I will communicate with the authorities, though I don't know that they will take much notice.  - A Juryman:  These boys would not have gone to bathe if there had been any.  - The Foreman:  That is not the point.  The fact remains there is no place.  - The Coroner:  We have talked in Barnstaple about baths ever since I have been there, 35 years, and every time there is a fresh death from drowning it is brought up again; but there it remains.  Perhaps the Bideford authorities are not so easy-going.  The Jury gave their fees to the parents of deceased.

Thursday 12 September 1895

SOUTHMOLTON - Sad Bathing Fatality At Southmolton. - Mr T. Sanders, F.R.C.S., Borough Coroner for Southmolton, held an Inquest on Monday evening at the Town Hall, Southmolton, on the body of JAMES BAGLEY, of the Royal Engineers, who had been drowned while bathing on Sunday.  The Jury, of which Mr Kingdon was foreman, was composed of Messrs. A. Kingdon, W. Short, A. D. Cock, R. D. Thorne, F. Moore, W. J. Webb, J. Bulworthy, S. Western, J. Smith, J. Collacott, W. Hawkes, and W. Brayley.  - Richard Bennett, corporal of the Royal Engineers deposed that he had been in Southmolton since last Wednesday, and knew the deceased, who was a sapper in the Royal Engineers and had been lodging at Mr Crocombe's, in Barnstaple-street.  He saw him there shortly before two o'clock on Sunday last.  He was told by Mr Wm. Western about four o'clock that the deceased had been drowned.  He identified the body when taken out of the water.  The deceased was perfectly sober when he left him.  He was taken from Hacche Lime Pit at 2.55 p.m. on Monday.  The deceased was at the Wesleyan Chapel in the morning, and was in the company of the witness till 1.45 p.m.  -  William Western, carpenter, of Southmolton, stated that he was with the deceased on the day named.  He met him about 2.45 p.m. on that day in Barnstaple-street, and went for a walk with him and several others to the lime pool.  They all went to the further end of the pool.  One of the party suggested a bathe, and deceased and two others went in.  Deceased dived in.  Witness did not go into the water.  Deceased swam about 40 or 50 yards.  He went towards the middle of the pool.  Witness expected him to return, but instead he kept bobbing up and down.  He did not seem to be in distress, and one of the party thought he was having a game.  Witness stood up and went towards him, and he then saw him sink; he suddenly threw up his arms and went down.  He was then about forty feet from him.  Witness called to a man named Richard Jones, who was in the water, and said "Be quick, I believe the man is drowning."  Jones tried to get near him, but was hindered by the weeds, and when he did get near the man was gone.  There was much weed there, and witness thought he was entangled with it.  Witness could not swim.  Alfred Gard and himself went and reported the death to the Sergeant of Police and Corporal Bennett. Nothing could have been done to rescue him.  - By a Juryman:  Jones was five or six yards from deceased when he went down.  He was a strong swimmer, and was quite sober.  - Alfred Gard, of Southmolton, said he was also present at the lime pits at the same time with the deceased and the previous witness, whose evidence he corroborated.  Jones said to him that the weed hindered his progress and put his own life in danger.  - Henry James Smyth, surgeon, of Southmolton, said he had examined the body of the deceased that afternoon at the mortuary of the Workhouse.  He had then been dead rather more twenty-four hours.  The body presented all the usual signs of drowning, and the cause of death was suffocation - due to drowning.  The Foreman asked if there were any signs of cramp.  - Witness said he did not expect to find any, and there were none.  The Coroner said he hoped this would act as a caution, and would prevent people from going to the pits when they had a suitable bathing-place free from weeds in which to swim.  - Corporal Bennett, re-called, said the deceased was about 24 or 25 years of age.  He did not know the place of his residence.  A verdict of "Accidental Death by Drowning" was returned, the foreman remarking that he was desirous of supplementing the remarks of the Coroner that now a suitable bathing-place had been provided by the Council he hoped that it would be used in preference to these dangerous pits.  It was also suggested that the owner of the pits (Earl Fortescue) should be asked to have a notice placed near them stating that the pits were dangerous, all the persons bathing there on that afternoon being strangers to the town.  The Coroner promised to give effect to the wishes of the Jury.  The remains of the sapper, JAMES BAGLEY, who lost his life whilst bathing at Southmolton on Sunday, were removed to Exeter for interment on Tuesday.  Placed on a hand hearse, the coffin was covered with the Union Jack.  The body was preceded by a detachment of the local Volunteers, under the command of Quarter-Master Sergeant Kingdon, and the Volunteer Band played the Dead March in Saul.  Among those who followed the body in addition to his comrades were the late Chaplain of the local Rifle Corps (Rev. F. King), Sergeant-Instructor Parle, &c.  A flag floating half-mast high, was dipped three times at the Tinto Hotel.  The body was taken by the 11.30 a.m. train via the Exe Valley line.

Thursday 19 September 1895

ILFRACOMBE - Sudden Death Of A Woman At Ilfracombe. - At the Ilfracombe Town Hall on Thursday afternoon, DR E. J. Slade-King held an Inquest on the body of EMMA LEWIS, aged 49, charwoman, whose death occurred suddenly on the previous evening.  Mr J. Myatt was chosen foreman of the Jury.

JOHN CLARENCE a labourer, of 7 Clarence Cottages, said that the body just viewed was that of his wife.  She was about 49 years of age, and he last saw her alive at breakfast time on Wednesday morning.  She was then quite well and went to Capstone House to work for the day.  Deceased a couple of weeks ago complained of a pain in her head.  Joanna Cutcliffe, Capstone House, was the next witness.  Deceased came to witness's house on Wednesday as usual to do washing.  This was about 11 o'clock in the morning and she did her day's work.  Whilst there she had lunch and dinner of good ordinary food, and the last meal was taken at about tea time.  At six o'clock she left as usual, in company with a lady to go to 2, Belgrave Villas.  As far as witness knew deceased was as well as usual, and she had never complained about any pains.

Mr W. A. Payne, medical practitioner, deposed that he was passing along the Wilder Road opposite the Ilfracombe Hotel at 6.15 p.m., when someone asked him to see to a woman on the opposite side of the road.  He found her very ill, and she was standing holding on to the railings retching and vomiting blood-stained saliva.  Witness had a cab ordered and deceased gave her name and told the cabman to drive to her home. They had not proceeded far before witness saw that deceased was getting very bad, and he stopped the cab and obtained some brandy.  Deceased never rallied, but only lived a quarter of an hour afterwards, and expired on a mat in the hall of the Runnacleave Hotel.  He was not able to form an opinion as to the cause of death.  The Inquest was adjourned until Monday afternoon and Dr Payne was ordered to make a post mortem examination.

The adjourned Inquest was held on Monday afternoon, Dr Payne, medical practitioner, announced the result of the post-mortem examination.  There were no external marks of violence on the body; but the lungs were in a  congested state.  The remains of a meal were found in the stomach, which was distended.  The heart was normal in size and of a good colour. The cause of death was congestive oedema of the lungs.  The Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

WESTDOWN - Inquest At Westdown.  An Unfounded Rumour. - On Tuesday last an Inquest was held at the Crown inn, Westdown, before Mr J. F. Bromham, (County Coroner) on the body of FREDERICK KIFF, aged six months, the child of GEORGE KIFF, mason's labourer.  The father of the child said that when he returned home from work on Saturday evening he found that his youngest child was dead.  The child was never strong, but it took its food fairly well.  It was fed with new milk, and also with condensed milk, whilst it occasionally had boiled bread and cornflour.  The child was in its usual health when he left home in the morning.  His wife went to Ilfracombe to work as a charwoman, and while she was away the eldest daughter (aged 15) looked after the family (there were seven children).  He never heard anyone complain of the child being neglected.  In answer to the police, witness said his wife was only working two days a week, but she also did blackberry picking.  - SUSAN KIFF, mother of the child, also gave evidence.  The deceased child had never to her knowledge been really ill.  It took food fairly well, but did not seem to thrive on it.  She never considered it bad enough to call in a doctor.  When she returned home on Saturday she found that the child was unwell, and it died while on her lap.  She at once went to Ilfracombe and informed the parish doctor.  She had no idea what caused the death of the child.  - In answer to the police she said she saw Mrs Hewitt (who attended her at her confinement) at Ilfracombe three weeks ago, and Mrs Hewitt told her that people were saying she neglected the child.  She replied that she left the child with her daughter, who gave it plenty of food while she was away.  - Ann Hewitt deposed that three weeks ago she told MRS KIFF at Ilfracombe that the tale at Westdown was that she was starving the baby.  MRS KIFF replied "What a lie."  She (witness) had not seen the child since six weeks after its birth.  MARY KIFF also gave evidence.  Mr Walter Cooper, surgeon, of Barnstaple, said that having made a post mortem examination he was able to state that the child died from inflammation of the left lung.  there was some congestion of the kidneys.  There was nothing to warrant the statement that the child died from starvation.  He thought it quite likely that, although the child died from inflammation of the lungs, the mother might not have perceived any special symptoms.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

MORTHOE - Sad Fatal Accident At Morthoe. - An Inquest was held at Castle Rock, Morthoe, on Tuesday, on the body of EMILY MARGARET WARD, who met with her death while returning from church on Sunday last.  Deputy Coroner Dr Slade King conducted the Inquiry. Mr Beer being the foreman of the Jury.  - Oliver St. John, nephew of the deceased lady, deposed that he was driving on Sunday to Wollacombe with deceased, when he heard the shafts crack, and immediately the occupants of the vehicle were thrown into the road.  On his asking deceased if she was hurt she replied in the negative, and he then took charge of the pony.  The Rev. St. John, son-in-law, stated that he followed the carriage after deceased left Morthoe Church, and when he arrived at the spot where the accident happened deceased was being carried into Castle Rock.  Henry James Buckmaster, a gentleman passing at the time of the accident, stated that the pony was going very steadily at the time, but stepped on a stone (many of which were lying about the road at this spot), and, falling forward, caused the accident.  He helped to support deceased into the house.  Dr Hollings deposed that death was due to apoplexy, brought on by the shock.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death, exonerating the driver, but adding that the proper Authority should be at once communicated with  as to the dangerous state of the road.

PARKHAM - Mr J. F. Bromham, (County Coroner) held an Inquest at Parkham on Saturday on the body of a child named JOSEPH GLOVER, son of MARY GRACE GLOVER.  The child was born in the Bideford Workhouse about a month ago, and had been very weakly since birth.  Mother and child came out of the Workhouse on Tuesday.  On Thursday night, about twelve o'clock, the child awoke and sucked the bottle, but not freely.  About 4 o'clock the same morning the mother awoke and found that the child was dead.  The child had diarrhoea and sickness on Thursday afternoon.  Dr Gooding, of Bideford, considered that death was due to Natural Causes, and the Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

Thursday 26 September 1895

APPLEDORE - Fatal Accident At Appledore. - On Saturday morning an Inquest was held at the Dock Inn by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on the body of ETHEL SUSANNAH LOCK, who died from injuries received by catching on fire on Wednesday. Capt. J. Fishwick was chosen foreman of the Jury.  - William Lamey said:  I am a shipwright living at New Street, and the body just viewed is that of my step-daughter, who was 12 years old.  Last Wednesday, when at work on the Quay, a little before eight o'clock someone came to me and told me that the deceased had caught fire.  I went home as fast as I could and found the child in bed.  I found that Dr Pratt had been sent for but had not arrived, so I went after him myself.  I saw the doctor, and he took me to the surgery and gave me a bottle of mixture to give her.  I took it home, and shortly afterwards the doctor came.  She was very severely burnt, and was quite conscious.  She told her mother and myself that she was taking the kettle from the fireplace, and was holding it with part of her dress, and this caught fire.  She died on the following day about eleven o'clock.  Dr Mahood came to see her on Wednesday afternoon, and took charge of the case, and he saw her again on Thursday morning.  I understood from him that there was little hope of her recovery.  My wife was too ill to attend to her herself, but Nurse Pring and some neighbours attended to her and did the best they could for her.  My wife is too ill to attend the Inquest.  - Samuel Marshall said:  I am a master mariner, and lived in New Street, close to last witness.  Last Wednesday morning, a little before eight o'clock, when I was downstairs, my daughter was in her room dressing, and she called downstairs to me "Father, ETHEL LOCK is burning to death!"  I at once ran in, and saw the girl in the kitchen all on fire.  Her mother was upstairs screaming with fright, and I shouted to her to throw me down a blanket, which she did.  I then wrapped the blanket round the child, and thus put out the fire.  I found that her mother had been downstairs in her nightdress, but could not put out the fire, and on hearing me coming in she ran upstairs again.  She came down again after the fire was put out, and several neighbours also came in.  Someone went for a doctor, and I left after I had done all I could.  I saw that the mother had burnt her arms badly in her efforts to put the fire out.  After I had put the fire out the child said "Mr Marshall am I all right?"  - Allen Edward Mahood said:  I am an M.B., and a Fellow of the College of Surgeons of all England. I was called to see the deceased on Wednesday about four o'clock, and went to the house and found her in bed suffering from extreme burns.  I found the usual remedies had been applied and Dr Pratt called in.  The burns extended all over the front of the upper parts of the body, including the arms and face.  In addition to this there were extensive burns on the legs.  I saw at once there was little or no hope of the girl's recovery, and told the parents so.  I thought she would die in a few hours, as the burns were so extensive and the shock to the system so great.  I heard the child say that she caught on fire in the kitchen while attending to the fire.  The mother said she was in the habit of lighting the fire and getting the breakfast.  Is aw her again early on Thursday morning, when she was sinking fast.  I am able to say that every possible attention was given to her.  Nurse Pring was in attendance and the neighbours did what they could.  The actual cause of death was shock to the system caused by the extensive burns.  The mother is under my care, and unable to attend today.  - By the Foreman of the Jury:  Dr Pratt was called first as he was nearest, and he came as fast as he possibly could and rendered proper treatment, but as it was really my case it was afterwards left in my charge. - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," caused by shock to the system, brought about by the extensive burns.

Thursday 3 October 1895

WITHERIDGE - MR GEORGE AYRE, farmer, aged 80, was riding to church at Rackenford on the 22nd September, when he was thrown from his horse, sustaining injuries which proved fatal on the following Friday.  At the Inquest on Monday a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 10 October 1895

OKEHAMPTON - Suicide At Okehampton. - A widow named ANN POUND, aged 62, was found dead in her house in East-street, Okehampton, on Thursday, with her throat cut.  The deceased came from Kingsbridge to Okehampton, which is her native town, about six months ago, and took a couple of rooms in the house of Mrs Dinah Smale, in East-street.  Since then she had been in the habit of going away at intervals, and spending a few days; but she never told any of her neighbours where she was going or when she should return again.  Deceased not having been seen for some days, a young man, named William Luxton, opened the window of her sitting room on Thursday,  and on pulling aside the blind, found the deceased lying in the middle of the room with her throat cut, and a razor by her side.  A basin, with some pieces of paper besmeared with blood, was also lying on the floor.  Dr Burd, who was called in, thought from the appearance of the body that the old lady must have been dead for some days.  An Inquest was held on the body on Saturday, when it was stated that deceased was not in want, as several pounds were found in her possession, in addition to which she had a banking account.  Since the death of her husband she had been in a very despondent frame of mind.  A verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane" was returned.

EASTDOWN - Suicide Of A Farmer's Son At Eastdown. - Consternation prevailed in the quiet village of Eastdown on Sunday, when it became known that MR C. BASTIN, jun., of Churchill Farm, had taken his life.  Deceased (who was about thirty-two years of age and a single man) had suffered from indigestion and pains in the head for some time.  MR BASIN, sen., saw him on the landing dressed at half-past ten on Sunday morning.  Half-an-hour later the report of a gun was heard, and on proceeding upstairs MRS ANN BASTIN found that the unfortunate man had shot himself with a gun generally kept near the clock in the kitchen.  As a farmer, deceased was well known and respected not only in Eastdown, but throughout a wide district.  Much sympathy is expressed for the relatives in their bereavement.

The Inquest was held on Monday, before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.  - MR C. BASTIN, sen., stated that his son, the deceased ( who lived with him), had suffered a good deal from indigestion, which was accompanied by pains in the head.  As his son was unwell on SAturday, he (witness0 thought of sending for Dr Ware, of Barnstaple, but as the doctor knew his complaint the deceased preferred sending for some medicine.  The workman having returned with it, his son took some, said it did him good, and went to bed about nine o'clock.  About four o'clock next morning his son came into his room and complained that he was again suffering from indigestion.  At witness's invitation, deceased lay down on his bed, but again returned to his own room about half an hour later.  Later in the morning his son had some bread and milk in his bedroom.  About half-past ten witness saw him on the landing dressed, and in replying to a question he said he fancied he was a trifle better.  Shortly before eleven o'clock the report of a gun was heard; and on MRS ANN BASTIN (witness's sister-in-law) proceeding upstairs she screamed for assistance.  Witness went up at once and found his son lying on the floor dead.  The police and Dr Ware were sent for.  His son generally kept two double-barrelled guns, and a bag of cartridges by the side of the clock in the kitchen.  One of the guns had been removed, but witness had no idea when his son did this.

Prudence Coats, housekeeper at Churchill, spoke to deceased suffering in his head for some time past.  As she was going downstairs at six o'clock on Sunday morning.  MR BASTIN, jun., who was sitting on the top rail, said "There has been a lot of people outside here tonight, and the policemen have come after me."  Deceased repeated the statement, and witness noticed that he was looking rather strange, and that there was something wrong.  She did not notice, whilst making the beds after breakfast, that there was any gun in deceased's room.  The guns were in their ordinary places in the kitchen on Saturday afternoon, but she did not see them afterwards.  Deceased had been low-spirited and ill for some time, but she never saw him so bad and peculiar as he was on Sunday morning.  Should conclude from his manner that his mind had become unhinged.

P.C. John Stevens, of Sherwill, deposed that at 2.15 on Sunday, he found deceased lying dead on the upstairs landing, with a double-barrelled gun lying by his left side.  In one barrel there was a discharged cartridge, and in the other a loaded one.  There was a large pool of blood under the head (which was shockingly injured), and there were blood and brains on the ceiling overhead.  With the assistance of a woman he removed deceased into a bedroom.

Dr J. W. L. Ware, of Barnstaple, stated that he had attended deceased professionally at various times.  He suffered principally from indigestion and severe pains in the head.  Witness received a letter from him last Saturday forenoon saying he was ill and could not sleep, and he sent him some medicine.  On receiving a message on Sunday, he proceeded to Churchill, where he found MR BASTIN dead.  Evidently the gun must have been discharged into the mouth, as the head was reduced to a pulp.  There were no other injuries.  He was of opinion that deceased committed Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

Thursday 17 October 1895

FILLEIGH - Terrible Fatal Accident At Filleigh. - There was a shocking fatal accident at Mr Huxtable's Plough Works, Filleigh, on Friday, HENRY FERRIER, aged eighteen years, one of the employees, being accidentally crushed by the water wheel, and receiving such terrible injuries that death was almost instantaneous.  - An Inquest was held on Monday before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.  - RICHARD FERRIER, father of deceased, said his son had been employed by Mr Huxtable for two months as an improver at implement making.  At half-past three on Friday afternoon, witness heard that an accident had happened, and, proceeding to the Plough Works, he found his son lying dead in the blacksmith's shop.  Witness was informed that his son had been crushed in the water wheel.  After information had been given to the police the body was removed to witness's house.  - Herbert Clatworthy (who had been in the employ of Mr Huxtable about a week) deposed that deceased and himself were the only persons in the workshop during the dinner hour on Friday.  About a quarter to two FERRIER opened a little door, which leads from the workshop into the water wheel, and went through it.  On getting outside deceased looked back and asked witness to turn on the water.  He asked FERRIER what he was going about, the reply being that he wanted to see the wheel working.  Witness then turned on the water from the inside; but immediately afterwards he heard FERRIER cry out.  Being alarmed at this, witness immediately turned off the water. he then went out through the doorway to see what had happened; and he found that deceased was crushed between the wheel and the wall.  FERRIER called out twice, "Turn back the wheel," and then his head dropped forward, the unfortunate man not speaking afterwards.  Witness did his utmost to turn back the wheel, but was unsuccessful.  Mr Pugsley lived close by, and he ran down and told him what had happened.  Accompanied by Mr Gould, Mr Pugsley came back, and they managed to extricate FERRIER, who was quite dead, from the wheel. When witness turned on the water he thought it was only in order that FERRIER might see the wheel go round.  Witness had since heard that FERRIER was in the habit of occasionally riding round on the inside of the wheel.  - By the Jury:  The body stopped the wheel.  -John Huxtable, proprietor of the works, stated that the doorway through which the deceased went out from the workshop was usually securely fastened, and it was not easily opened.  Except himself and his son no one was allowed access to the wheel by this doorway.  Whilst at Barnstaple on Friday he received a telegram to the effect that an accident had occurred, and returning by the 3.25 p.m. train, he found that deceased had been accidentally killed in the manner described.  Witness had no idea that anyone attempted to ride round the wheel.  At any time it would be a most dangerous practice, and liable to lead to accident.  - Richard Pugsley spoke to being called by the first witness, and to finding FERRIER jammed between the wheel and the wall, and to releasing him as quickly as possible. FERRIER was quite dead.  - John Gould corroborated, and said he had never known anyone riding around the wheel.  Dr Henry J. Smyth, partner to Dr Sanders, Southmolton, stated that deceased's ribs were broken, whilst there were internal injuries, as the result of the pressure of the wheel.  Death must have ensued rapidly.  - A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 24 October 1895

BARNSTAPLE - Terrible Fall At Barnstaple.  A Child Killed. - On Monday afternoon JOHN JORDAN, aged 3 ½ years, the only son of MR J. JORDAN, the Borough Accountant, was leaning from a bedroom window in the top storey of his father's residence in Ashleigh-road when he lost his balance and fell into the yard at the back of the house, a distance of 25 feet, sustaining terrible injuries which proved fatal the same day.  AMR JORDAN is a public official, who is esteemed and respected by all classes of the community and he and his wife - who has been seriously ill - have the profoundest sympathy of the townspeople in their painful bereavement.

The facts connected with the sad accident were elicited at the Inquest which was held at MR JORDAN'S residence at noon on Tuesday before Mr R. I. Bencraft, the Borough Coroner.  Mr T. R. Seldon was the foreman of the Jury.  In opening the Inquiry the Coroner commented on the sad nature of the case and said the accident was one of those unforeseen and inscrutable occurrences which no foresight could prevent.  - MR JOHN JORDAN, the Borough Accountant, gave evidence of identification.  The deceased was three years and five months old.  When he left home at two o'clock on Monday the boy was in his usual health.  At a quarter past five, when in the company of Mr C. A. Youings (one of the Jurymen) he was informed of the accident, and he hurried home at once.  He found Dr Cooke in the house, and the doctor remained there until 7.20, when the child died. - Lucy Blackmore, domestic servant, in the employ of MR JORDAN, said it had been her duty to look after the children, of whom there were five - four girls and the deceased.  About half-past four on Monday the deceased and his sister ELLEN accompanied her to her bedroom. While she was cleaning herself the children each threw a hair pin from the window (which was at the top of the house), into the yard at the rear of the premises.  The girl went downstairs in order to pick the pins up, and while the deceased was telling her where to find them he lost his balance and fell out of the window.  She rushed downstairs and found the boy lying in the yard (which is paved with brick), just outside the dining-room window.  She carried him into the kitchen, placed him on the table, and called Mrs Ayre (who was in attendance on MRS JORDAN).  She ran to Dr Cooke's house, and the doctor at once proceeded to MR JORDAN'S residence.  MRS JORDAN was unable to come downstairs, as she was ill.  - In answer to Jurymen, the witness said the boy was standing on a cot, which was close to the window, at the time of the accident.  She saw him falling, but he was out of the window before she could reach him. - Mr J. W. Cooke, medical practitioner, said he received a message to go to MR JORDAN'S house just after half-past four on Monday.  When he arrived at the house he removed the deceased's clothes and carried the boy upstairs.  He was perfectly unconscious and was bleeding from mouth and nose.  There was a large contusion on the left side of the head and there was a fracture of the skull.  In addition there were fractures of the right thigh and the left arm.  The boy was in a perfectly hopeless condition, and he died at 7.20.  Death was due to the injuries resulting from the fall from the window into the yard below.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and (through the Foreman) expressed deep sympathy with MR and MRS JORDAN in their great loss.  The Jury also requested that their fees should be devoted to purchasing a wreath to be placed on the grave of the deceased.

TORRINGTON - On Saturday morning MR HENRY HOOPER suddenly dropped down dead whilst washing.  Deceased's daughter heard a noise in her father's bedroom, and on going in saw him lying on the floor with a towel in his hand.  She at once obtained medical aid, but life was found to be extinct.  Deceased was taken ill a short time ago and has not been well since.  He was 67 years of age, and leaves a widow and some grown up sons and daughters.  He formerly carried on the business of draper, but for 20 years has been an agent for the Prudential Assurance Company.  On Monday afternoon Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Enquiry at the Town Hall, Torrington, as to the death of MR HENRY HOOPER.  Mr G. Gunn was chosen foreman of the Jury.  - MISS L. HOOPER, daughter of deceased, stated that her father was 67 years of age, and had been an insurance agent.  He had been on his usual round on Friday to Monkleigh and Bideford, and went to bed about 10 o'clock.  He did not complain of being ill that night, but in the morning when he came down he said his heart had been bad during the night.  As he did not call her as usual on SAturday morning she went up to his room about 8 o'clock, burst open the door and found her father lying on the floor.  She found he was warm and she fetched Doctor Sutcliffe.  - Dr Sutcliffe having given evidence the Jury returned a verdict of death from Natural Causes.  The funeral, which took place yesterday, was attended by Mr Summerfield, of Barnstaple (the District Superintendent of the Prudential Assurance Company) and other representatives of the Company in North Devon.  The Prudential staff in the district sent a beautiful wreath.

Thursday 31 October 1895

BIDEFORD - Fatal Accident At Bideford. - Mr Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest at Bideford yesterday, concerning the death of ALICE BALL, aged 5 years, who was blown over the lower part of Bideford Quay by the storm of October 4th and sustained injuries from which she died at the hospital.  Evidence as to the circumstances and extent of the injuries having been given, the Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.  Dr Rouse hoped an iron railing would be put along the Quay, which is 18 feet high at the spot where the accident happened.  The Jury embodied the suggestion in a rider.

STICKLEPATH - Child Drowned At Sticklepath. - Mr Coroner Prickman held an Inquest at the Taw River Hotel, Sticklepath, last week on the body of VICTOR FINCH, aged one year and ten months, who was drowned in the River Taw on the 21st inst.  - Mary Ann Cooper, of South Zeal, said she saw the deceased playing with some other children in the garden adjoining the mill leat.  The water in the leat was about a foot deep, and the bank five feet high.  - THOMAS FINCH, blacksmith, of Sticklepath, said the deceased was his only child.  He went into the garden to fetch his child to dinner, and found him lying in the river quite dead.  The other children who were playing with deceased were too young to give evidence.  Dr Middlemist, of Okehampton, said he considered the child was stunned by the fall.  A verdict of "Accidental Drowning" was returned.

Thursday 14 November 1895

HARTLAND - A Child Accidentally Poisoned At Hartland. - At Yagland Farm, Hartland, Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of MARY ELIZABETH BURROW, aged eight years, daughter of MR WM. BURROW, who died under peculiarly distressing circumstances on Sunday last.  ELIZABETH BURROW, the mother, stated that her three children being a little out of health lately, she had been giving them milk of sulphur.  Shortly before eight o'clock on Sunday she instructed the servant girl (Bertha Squires) to get some of the sulphur from the kitchen.  Squires returned with a teacup three-part filled with what witness believed to be sulphur.  The morning being dark she did notice the colour of it, and she gave a dose to her child MARY.  A few minutes afterwards the deceased began to urge and to be sick.  Witness's husband said "You haven't given the child anything wrong, have you?" and she replied "No, of course not."  On examination, MR BURROW discovered, however, that they had given the child arsenic, and Dr Keays was sent for, but shortly after his arrival the child died.  Witness knew there was arsenic in a pot in the kitchen cupboard.  The sulphur was partly kept in a canvas bag and partly in a pot.  The servant had been with them over seven years and they had always found her reliable, good, and fond of the children.  She felt quite certain that Squires brought the arsenic by mistake.  Could not persuade the child to take some hot milk and water after her husband left for the doctor.  There was no label on either pot, but that which contained the arsenic was tied down.  - WILLIAM BURROW, father of deceased, corroborated.  He kept the arsenic for killing vermin and for the purposes of sheep wash.  The arsenic was well out of reach, and it did not occur to him that it was dangerous to keep it in the cupboard.  - Bertha Squires also gave evidence.  She explained that she had never before fetched any sulphur from the kitchen cupboard.  Recollected that a long time ago arsenic was kept in the cupboard, but forgot all about it on Sunday morning.  She quite believed when she took the arsenic out of the pot that it was sulphur. It was dark at the time, and she did not notice the colour.  - P.C. J. Patt, of Hartland, also gave evidence.  His impression was that the girl innocently made a mistake about the matter.  The parents of the deceased child seemed almost broken-hearted on Sunday.  - Mr T. Keays, medical practitioner, of Hartland, said the child died from a dose of arsenic administered to her, in his opinion, by mistake.  Even if medical aid had been available immediately after the dose had been taken, it was very doubtful whether the child's life would have been saved.  The mother informed him that the child took nearly a teaspoonful, and this was sufficient to poison fifty people.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was recorded.

Thursday 28 November 1895

BIDEFORD - WILLIAM CLEMENTS, who had been a carpenter on the Moreton Estate for 33 years, had suffered from heart disease of late.  Last Thursday he started from his cottage to go to work, but did not reach his destination.  Search being made he was found lying quite dead in the new drive.  Dr Gorse, his medical man told Mr Coroner Bromham, on Friday that death was due to syncope, and the Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

Thursday 19 December 1895

BEAFORD - Sad Fatal Accident To A Lady At Beaford. - A sad tale was told at Beaford on Saturday , when Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of an elderly lady named MRS FANNY BROWNE.  Three months ago MR JOHN BEASLEY BROWNE, a gentleman of no occupation, and his wife (the deceased) came from West Kensington to Beaford for the benefit of their health, taking up their abode at Riversdale House.  MR BROWNE has been an invalid for four or five years, and as he was in great pain one night about six weeks ago, his wife got out of bed in order to attend to him.  Being also in very delicate health, MRS BROWNE was liable to fall at times, and she had a heavy fall on this occasion.  She thought she had merely bruised herself badly, and could not be prevailed upon to have a medical man called in until twelve days later, when Dr Drummond was summoned.  Satisfied that she had dislocated her hip, Dr Drummond (in conjunction with Dr Sutcliffe) subsequently put MRS BROWNE under chloroform, and endeavoured to reduce the dislocation, but their efforts were not attended by success.  It was suggested that further attempts should be made with rope and pulleys, but as a medical man in London thought it had better not be done, this course was not adopted.  MRS BROWNE remained in bed up to Thursday, on which day her husband left her room temporarily, being shocked on his return to find that she had expired.  In the opinion of Dr Drummond, death arose from exhaustion and indirectly from the shock to the system.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned by the Jury.  Much sympathy is expressed for the bereaved husband.

WEST ANSTEY - Suicide Of A Farmer's Wife At West Anstey. - A most determined case of suicide was investigated by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner at West Anstey, on Tuesday.  MR JOHN BLACKWILL, farmer, of Rugby Pitt Farm, left his house about 6.15 a.m. on Saturday in order to feed the cattle, his wife being in bed at the time with their ten months old child.  On his return an hour later MR BLACKWILL found that his wife was not downstairs as usual.  He called to her, but received no answer, and as he smelt gunpowder he proceeded upstairs.  A shocking spectacle presented itself, MRS BLACKWILL having blown out her brains with a gun (tied to a chair) the muzzle of which was close to her head.  The little child lay in bed by the side of the unfortunate woman uninjured.  The gun was always kept on a beam in over the kitchen.  MR BLACKWILL used it for rook shooting, leaving two barrels charged and not observing when it was removed from its usual place.  MRS BLACKWILL had been mentally afflicted for some years, and Dr G. F Sydenham, of Dulverton, had examined her repeatedly with the view of seeing whether she was a fit subject for an asylum, but had never found her in such a condition as to justify his certifying to this effect.  He had no doubt she died from a shot wound self inflicted, and that when she committed the act she was Temporarily Insane.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

Thursday 23 January 1896

BRAUNTON - Distressing Gun Accident At Braunton.  Death of MR E. C. INCLEDON-WEBBER. - A painful sensation was created at Braunton on Monday, when it became known that MR EDWARD CHICHESTER INCLEDON0-WEBBER, of Buckland House, Braunton, had expired as the result of a gun accident which occurred two days previously.  Accompanied by a man named Sydney Huxtable, MR WEBBER did some rabbiting on Saturday, and was returning home in the afternoon when, in attempting to climb over a high fence, he fell backwards.  Huxtable having dropped his loaded gun, assisted MR WEBBER to rise; but they had barely re-started when HUXTABLE'S gun exploded, with the result that MR WEBBER was shot in the right arm.  On MR WEBBER being conveyed home shortly afterwards, it was found that the accident was of such a serious nature that amputation was absolutely essential.  The operation was successfully performed, but MR WEBBER only rallied temporarily, and passed away on Monday afternoon.  MR WEBBER, who was about fifty-nine years of age, was the son of the late MR CHARLES H. WEBBER, of Buckland House.  He married in 1867, Georgina Chisholm, third daughter of Major W. Barbet Beare, of Kingsgate, Isle of Thanet.  Residing at Braunton for many years, MR WEBBER was for some time a representative of the district on the Barnstaple Board of Guardians and the Rural Sanitary Authority.  He proved a most conscientious member, and he always served the interests of Braunton on the respective bodies faithfully and well.  MR WEBBER was a Churchman, whilst he was a staunch Conservative; but he always gave political opponents due credit for the opinions which they entertained.  He was a man of most kindly and generous disposition, and his familiar figure will be much missed at Braunton.  Deceased leaves a widow, three sons, and three daughters, for whom the most profound sympathy is expressed.  The funeral will take place at half-past twelve today, when the mortal remains will be interred in the St. Brannock's burial ground.

The Inquest was held at St. Brannock's House on Tuesday afternoon.  Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, conducted.  Mr James Isaac being foreman of the Jury.  The body having been viewed, Sydney Huxtable, labourer, of Vellator, stated that about 3.50 on Saturday afternoon, MR WEBBER and himself were in Clarke's Lane, Braunton, returning from rabbit shooting.  MR WEBBER endeavoured to clamber over the hedge, but the stick which he grasped broke, and he fell about 10ft. into the roadway.  Witness dropped the gun which (lent by Mr Symons, of Buckland Farm) he was carrying, and assisted MR WEBBER to rise.  MR WEBBER rose in a dazed condition, but on being asked by witness whether he had hurt himself, replied "Only a little shake."  Witness having wiped the mud from MR WEBBER'S face, the latter said "I think we will finish up and go in" (meaning his house.)  Witness had fired one shot with the gun - a breechloader, centre fire - at the top of the lane, but had re-loaded it with common cartridges, and it was charged in both barrels.  Deceased and himself re-started walking along together, witness holding the gun in his right hand, with the muzzle pointed over his left arm, in a horizontal position.  MR WEBBER being on his left about six or eight land-yards off.  They had only gone a couple of steps when the gun exploded.  Witness was wearing a loose coat and jersey at the time, and could not say what caused it to go off.

At the request of the Coroner, two jurymen left the room at this stage for the purpose of examining the gun, and on their return said that in their opinion the gun was reliable and that the trigger would require a fair pull before an explosion followed.  Witness, continuing, said MR WEBBER had walked about four land-yards when he remarked "I believe I am shot" and immediately lay against the hedge and slipped down.  Having again dropped the gun, witness hurried to his assistance, when MR WEBBER said "Rush to Symons."  Witness did so, Mrs Symons being followed to the spot by her husband.  Mr Symons fetched Dr Walter Harper, who arrived as Mr Cunningham, Mr Symons, Mr Isaac, and witness were taking deceased home in Mr Symons's cart.  MR WEBBER and himself lunched in one of the fields, and had nothing intoxicating to drink.

Asked by the Coroner whether he had any further explanation to offer in regard to the occurrence, witness said he dropped the gun in a hurry when going to MR WEBBER'S assistance after falling off the hedge, and he thought whether or not this interfered with the trigger and had something to do with the gun going off so easily afterwards.  Witness did not know whether both barrels went off or one.  Subsequently he returned the gun to Mrs Symons, and he admitted he did not warn her that it was loaded.

In answer to Mr J. P. Ffinch (who represented deceased's family), witness said he was invited by MR WEBBER to accompany him on Saturday, as he had done on previous occasions. 

Mrs John Symons, of Buckland Farm, deposed that about four o'clock on Saturday afternoon Huxtable rushed to her house, saying "Mrs Symons, do run up; MR WEBBER is shot."  She proceeded to Clarke's Lane, where MR WEBBER (who was sensible) was laying against a stone ditch.  Witness remarked to Huxtable "How did it happen?"  Huxtable replied "I was turning the gun, and with the same it went off."  He then handed her the gun (which was lying some distance from MR WEBBER), together with some cartridges, and she took the whole indoors.  Huxtable did not say that the gun was loaded.

P.S. Luckraft (on behalf of the police):  When Huxtable said "I was turning the gun and it went off," did MR WEBBER make a statement of any kind?  Witness:  MR WEBBER said nothing.  P.S. Luckraft:  It is in direct opposition to what she told me two hours ago.

Dr Walter J. Harper stated he was in his surgery about 4.30 p.m. on Saturday, when a messenger came, asking that he should go at once to Buckland.  Witness drove there immediately, and found MR WEBBER being driven through Buckland Wood on his way home.  On examination, after arrival at St. Brannock's House witness found that the upper third of the big bone of the right arm was completely splintered.  MR WEBBER  had lost much blood, and was in a state of collapse.  Seeing it was a very serious case, witness telegraphed to Barnstaple for assistance.  Meanwhile Dr Lane, (his partner) put in an appearance, and ultimately as the result of a consultation between Drs. Harper (2) and Jackson (of Barnstaple), Lane and witness, deceased's arm was amputated up to the shoulder joint, the operation being satisfactorily performed.  It was noticed whilst the operation was in progress that the shoulder blade was also splintered, but there was no exit wound.  Once during the operation it was thought MR WEBBER had expired, but he rallied on stimulants being administered.  Witness stayed up with MR WEBBER on Saturday night, when he became delirious and sick from the chloroform, but did not seem much collapsed.  After getting worse on Sunday morning, MR WEBBER again rallied, but gradually sank from Sunday evening, dying on Monday afternoon about half-past four.  The immediate cause of death was shock and cardiac failure of the heart from haemorrhage.  MR WEBBER made no statement to him as to how the accident occurred.

The Coroner:  Was the wound consistent with the account given by the first witness?  Witness:  Yes, I think so, but I consider the muzzle of the gun must have been slightly raised at the time.  The Coroner observed that the accident was the result of a person meddling with firearms who was inefficient.

P.S. Luckraft, having intimated to the Coroner and Jury that Mrs Symons wished to correct her former evidence.  Mrs Symons was re-called, and she explained that when she said that MR WEBBER "said nothing," she meant that he said nothing to her.  In answer to Huxtable's remark, "You know MR WEBBER, it is a pure accident, don't you?" deceased replied "Yes, a pure accident."

The Coroner expressed astonishment that Mrs Symons had not mentioned this before, but had no doubt that what she now said actually took place, and that she misunderstood his previous question.  Dr Harper, in answer to the Coroner, said Huxtable was perfectly sober on Saturday, and seemed terribly upset about the accident.

This was the whole of the evidence, and the Coroner, addressing the Jury, said that Huxtable (who appeared to be a nervous man) was quite a novice in the use of firearms, and had no business with them on Saturday.  The best of firearms in the hands of men who seemed to know nothing about them, sometimes became the most dangerous weapons.  Every year there were millions of rounds fired by recruits in the Army and by Volunteers, and there was not one accident per three million rounds simply because the men who fired had their weapons well under control.  In spite of all that could be done, MR WEBBER had died as the result of Saturday's accident, and they all very much deplored the sad occurrence.  In concluding, the Coroner said the fact of Huxtable having been asked by MR WEBBER to accompany him, and there not being any suspicion of bad feeling or animus between them - Huxtable in fact, seemed properly affected by the sad part he had played in MR WEBBER'S death - were circumstances which the Jury must well weigh in their minds in arriving at their verdict. 

The Jury immediately returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  They, however, added a rider to the effect that Huxtable was a totally unfit person to have charge of a gun, and it was through his carelessness that MR WEBBER came to his death.  The Jury further expressed their deep sympathy with the widow and family in their sad bereavement.

BIDEFORD - Sad Suicide AT Bideford.  Pathetic Letters. - The people of Bideford were greatly shocked on Thursday by the news that MR ARTHUR HENRY GOSSETT, aged 41, threw himself in front of a passing train between Bideford and Instow on Wednesday night.  The act was premeditated, deceased having apparently travelled direct from London for the purpose of destroying himself.  He was a very brilliant man.  As a scholar of Winchester he went to New College, Oxford, where he obtained a scholarship and two double firsts, being elected a Fellow of his College.  At the time of his death he was one of the masters of Harrow.  his family is well known, his father having been for many years Vicar of Northam.  The affair is a terrible blow to his aged mother.

Mr Coroner Bromham held the Inquest at Bideford on Thursday evening.  Mr W. Dawe was foreman of the Jury.  - Prebendary Dimond Churchward said deceased's mother lived at Westward Ho.  That morning he found amongst his letters one from deceased, dated January 15th, 1896.  There was no address, but the envelope bore the postmarks "Basingstoke," "Reading", and "Bideford,"  It ran:-

Dear Mr Churchward - You will be terribly shocked to hear that I have committed suicide by throwing myself under a train this evening between Bideford and Instow.  I am sure God will not hold me guilty of it.  I have suffered so much lately from sleeplessness and nervous irritability, and feel an indescribable craving for death drawing me on.  I look to you to break the news to my mother and sister.  Be sure that they do not see my body.  If it is necessary for it to be identified by a near  relation, my brother can be summoned from Scotland.  I wish to be buried in Northam Churchyard.  Farewell.  - A. B. GOSSETT.

P.S. - My family do not know that I have returned from Italy to England.  I went away for a change, but only felt worse, and had a longing to die in sight of the old parish and be buried with my own in the churchyard.  CHARLOTTE (his sister) may wonder that I have not written her lately.  I have not felt up to it, but my feelings to all the dear ones are the same.

Mr William Rowden, stationmaster at Instow, said deceased travelled from Waterloo on Wednesday by the express, first class, and got out at Instow at 4.50.  He had no luggage, and his appearance was so strange that he had him watched, until he went along the road towards Bideford.  - Ganger William Sharley, London and South Western Railway, said he found the body lying in a dyke about five feet from the line.  He called Mr Dalby, stationmaster at Bideford, who went down the line to the spot, a little the Bideford side of the limekiln.  There was a gash in the side of deceased's neck, where he had been caught by the cow-catcher of a passing train, presumably the 9 o'clock down though no marks had been found on any of the engines running over the line during the time the tragedy must have occurred.  The body was removed to Bideford Railway Station and placed in a waiting-room.  P.C. Carpenter said deceased's two coats, hat and watch were beside his body.  In the overcoat he found the following letter:-

To the first person who finds my body - My name is ARTHUR HENRY GOSSETT, son of MRS GOSSETT, of Westward Ho.  Inform immediately Mr Churchward, vicar at Northam, of my death.  He must break the news to my family at Westward Ho.  I am driven to this by illness and want of sleep.  My family believe me to be in Italy.  I have been there and returned, as the change did me no good.

Witness also found on deceased a photograph of deceased's mother, with the following on the back:- "To my own darling mother. - Forgive me, and pray to God for my soul.  He will not hold me responsible for my death.  I was ill, and could not live longer.  - Your own son, ARTHUR."  Witness also found 30s. in money and some foreign paper money on deceased.  Dr Sinclair Thompson said the cause of death was fracture of the spine.  The Coroner, summing up, said the friends of deceased would have the sympathy of the Jury.  there was no doubt that it was a case of Suicide, and he thought it was equally clear that the unfortunate gentleman was insane at the time. The Jury returned a verdict that deceased committed Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane.

The remains of MR ARTHUR HENRY GOSSETT were interred on Saturday in the Churchyard at Northam, of which parish his late father, the REV. I. GOSSETT, was Vicar.  The funeral cortege left the residence of deceased's mother at Westward Ho, the mourners being the Misses MARY and LUCY GOSSETT, and Mrs Coxe (sisters), Colonel GOSSETT (brother), the Rev. H. Coxe, Oxford (brother-in-law), and the Rev. R. W. Sealy, of Abbotsham. At the Churchyard gates the mourning party were met by the Vicar (the Rev. M. D. Dimond Churchward) and the Curate (the Rev. J. Asplet).  The coffin was brought from the church to the front gates, and the whole party then proceeded into the Church yard.  There were several friends around the grave.  The ceremony was quietly and impressively performed.  Two wreaths were placed upon the coffin.  The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Vellacott, Trapnell and Merefield, drapers, Bideford.

Thursday 30 January 1896

BIDEFORD - Tragic Accident At Bideford. -  Bidefordians were shocked on Friday night by the fatal termination of an accident which occurred at Mr H. J. Meredith's workshop in High-street early in the day.  It seems that two men, GEORGE MOUNTJOY and John Jewell, were in the smiths' hop with others.  Jewell was grinding a chaff-cutting knife upon an emery wheel, when, without warning, the wheel (which was revolving at a very high speed) exploded, the fragments scattering in all directions.  It is thought that Jewell might have accidentally jammed the knife against the wheel, and the check thus brought to its speed, may have caused it to snap.  Jewell's arm was broken and frightfully cut.  MOUNTJOY, the other man, who was talking to another workman, was felled to the earth bleeding profusely.  An apprentice had a narrow escape, as he moved away from a smith's bellows just a second before a portion of the wheel struck the handle he had been holding, and smashed it to pieces.  Drs. Thompson and Grose were called without delay, and they directed that both men should be taken to the hospital.  They were both conscious, and suffering great pain.  MOUNTJOY, who had sustained injuries to his lung, heart and had the ribs of his left side crushed, succumbed to the shock at a quarter past six, less than three hours after admittance to the hospital.  Jewell's arm was set, and he is doing as well as can be expected.  An Inquest was opened by Mr Bromham on Saturday, but as the Inspector of Factories could not attend, it was adjourned (after formal evidence of identification) until Wednesday.  Among the Wesleyan body of the town the sad event has created a very painful sensation.  Deceased was a very active member.  He taught in the Sunday school, sang in the choir, played in the band, and was a poor fund steward.  He was a member of the adult Rechabite Order of twenty years standing, and previously belonged to the juvenile branch.  He also belonged to the Bideford Good Templars' Lodge.  The pulpit of Bideford Wesleyan Church band wore the bade of mourning.  Rev. G. E. Polkinghorne made touching reference to the tragedy, in the morning and evening, and voiced the sympathy of the great congregation both in address and prayer.  The funeral took place on Monday afternoon in the new public cemetery. The cortege was one of the longest seen in Bideford of recent years.

Mr J. Jones, Inspector of Factories, attended the Inquest yesterday, and in the course of the Inquiry said Mr Meredith had taken every precaution, and was not to blame in the slightest degree.  He recommended Mr Meredith to detail a man to examine such wheels before they were used, so that any flaw might be detected.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," adding a rider that the wheel was being properly worked at the time.

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Death Of A Child At Barnstaple - GALDDIS AMY SHADDICK, aged fifteen months, daughter of the proprietor of the Windsor Hotel, Bradiford, died on Sunday as the result of an accident.  Suffering from bronchitis on Saturday, the infant was placed in a cradle near the fire, on which was a kettle with a long spout for steaming purposes.  During the mother's temporary absence, one of the children poked the fire and upset the kettle, with the result that the child's chest and abdomen were severely scalded.  Dr Manning was called in, and everything possible was done for the child which, however, expired on Sunday.  At the Inquest on Monday, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, the Jury expressing sympathy with the parents in their bereavement.  Mr A. Bencraft (Deputy Coroner) conducted the Inquest, Mr Hancock being foreman of the Jury.

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Result Of An Accident At Barnstaple. - On January 14th, JANE GOSS, aged sixty-five, wife of a baker, fell in Lower church-street, Barnstaple, with the result that her left thigh was broken.  MRS GOSS was conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary on the following day, but she died at the institution on Sunday.  At the Inquest on Monday, conducted by Mr A. Bencraft, Deputy Coroner (in the absence through illness of the Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft), Mr F. Penny stated that when admitted MRS GOSS was suffering from a fracture of the left thigh bone, from shock and an acute attack of bronchitis.  MRS GOSS rallied a good deal, but became so troublesome that she had to be placed in a ward by herself.  The bronchitis became worse, and MRS GOSS expired on Sunday.  To a person of her age the accident would be very dangerous, and witness did not expect that she would recover from it.  - Jane Cowler, wife of a labourer, spoke to MRS GOSS falling in Lower Church-street on January 14th.  Witness raised her and after she had stayed at her house for some little time she was taken home.  Dr Cooke, who was called in soon after the accident, told MRS GOSS her thigh was broken, and that she ought to go to the Infirmary.  Although in great pain, MRS GOSS thought she had only received a bruise, and refused to go to the Infirmary.  - WILLILAM GOSS stated that deceased, his late wife, left the house on January 14th for the purpose of buying some apples.  She was very weak at the time, and went out against his advice.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was recorded by the Jury, of which Mr G. T. Dawson was foreman.

Thursday 13 February 1896

EXETER - A Mother Censured At Exeter. - An Inquest was held at Exeter on Thursday by Mr W. H. Hooper relative to the death of MAUD ALICE ROGERS, aged 4 years.  The mother said the child was taken ill on Monday evening, and the following morning a neighbour advised her to take it to a doctor, as it shewed signs of having a very bad cold.  As witness could not go away, the neighbour took the child to the medical man between eleven and twelve, and the little girl died about one o'clock.  In reply to the Coroner the woman said the child used to run out at night.  She had been before the magistrates for beating her child and was told to keep away from the public houses for a month.  Her husband was in a convalescent home at Torquay.  The Chief Constable said the woman had been seen out as late as eleven o'clock at night with her children.  She was severely reprimanded by the magistrates.  The foreman of the Jury corroborated the statement that the child was allowed out late at night.  The Chief Constable said there had undoubtedly been neglect on the part of the mother.  Dr McKeith said death was due to congestion of the lungs, but from his knowledge of the mother he did not feel justified in giving a certificate of death without first communicating with the Coroner.  If the mother was aware of the child's condition, it was a gross act of cruelty to allow it to go out of doors.  The Coroner said the case amounted almost to criminal negligence, or even manslaughter.  The Jury returned a verdict of death from Natural Causes, and expressed the opinion that the mother was deserving a severe censure.  The Coroner said he quite agreed.  He seriously cautioned MRS ROGERS, and said she had good reason to be thankful that the Jury had not sent her to take her trial.  He hoped this would be a warning to her, and that she would give up the habits to which she had been addicted.

Thursday 20 February 1896

BARNSTAPLE - Death From Apoplexy. - At the Barley Mow Inn, Barnstaple, on Friday, an Inquest was held on the body of JAMES RADFORD, carter, aged 65, of Lock's Court, Boutport-street.  HARRIET RADFORD, the widow, stated that her husband attended a pigeon-shooting match at Morthoe on Wednesday, returning home about seven o'clock.  RADFORD having had a little supper, she unlaced his boots, and he went to bed in his usual health.  Just afterwards, as she was preparing a cup of tea in the kitchen, deceased fell downstairs, pitching on the back of his head in the kitchen.  With the assistance of Mrs Guard, a neighbour, witness got him upstairs.  He was unconscious for an hour, and this was followed by severe sickness, but he then became all right, and getting into bed, slept all through the night.  On Thursday morning, about seven o'clock, she took her husband a cup of tea.  An hour later he came downstairs, and complained of feeling bad in his head.  Having had another cup of tea, he again went to bed and lapsed into unconsciousness.  Sent for by witness, Dr Jackson attended, but her husband died about three o'clock in the afternoon.  In answer to questions, witness said her husband might have had something to drink, but was sober on Wednesday evening.  A piece of carpet at the top of the stairs might have caused him to trip.  Dr Jackson stated that at 10.45 on Thursday morning RADFORD presented symptoms of apoplexy.  Witness prescribed for him, but the symptoms increased, and RADFORD died about three o'clock.  In his opinion, death was due to the bursting of a blood vessel, which might possibly have been accelerated by the fall downstairs, although it was just as possible that the bursting of the blood vessel caused RADFORD to fall downstairs.  There was a bruise about the size of a halfpenny on the back of the head, whilst there was a small scar on the nose, but there was nothing to show that the spine had been injured or the skull fractured.  RADFORD was a typical person of the class likely to be apoplectic - being a short, thick set man with a florid, ruddy face.  The Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft) having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Apoplexy."  - Deceased-s funeral on Sunday afternoon was attended by the widow and six sons and numerous friends.

Thursday 5 March 1896

SWYMBRIDGE - Extraordinary Case At Swymbridge.  A Man Found Drowned in Eighteen Inches Of Water. - Under extraordinary circumstances the death occurred at Swymbridge, on Sunday, of JOHN CROCKER, farm labourer, aged thirty-four.  George Geen, of Torr Down Farm,  stated (at the Inquest on Tuesday) that CROCKER had been in his employ for three years.  He had his dinner at Torr Down on Sunday and then left the house.  CROCKER had not returned on Monday morning, and Mr Geen, astonished at his absence, sent one of his men to his mother's house (one mile distant), but he was not there.  There had been no unpleasantness between deceased and himself, and he presumed he must have been taken ill somewhere.  CROCKER'S whereabouts were not discovered until half-past one, when James Yeo, labourer, whilst drawing timber, saw him lying face downwards in Taddiport Stream about half-a-mile from Torr Down.  Although the stream was six feet wide, the water was so shallow at the spot that deceased's body was not entirely covered.  Mr Geen, Mr Scott and Yeo lifted CROCKER out of the water and found he was quite dead.  When P.C. Gribble arrived subsequently the body was lying on the bank.  There were no marks of violence on the body, nor any appearance on the bank of a struggle.  Deceased's lever watch had stopped at a quarter to three (presumably Sunday).  There were also a pocket-knife and a handkerchief in his clothing.  CROCKER'S box at Mr Geen's contained nearly £68 in gold, whilst there were also papers which showed that he was in a good financial position.  On the previous Thursday P.C. Gribble saw the deceased, when he was in good spirits and jokingly referred to his approaching marriage.  CROCKER was a quiet respectable man, and was the last person Gribble would have suspected of having suicidal intentions.  Mr J. F. Bromham, the Coroner, remarked that there was an entire absence of motive, and therefore it would be unfair to assume that CROCKER committed suicide.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."

Thursday 12 March 1896

ALWINGTON - The Case Of Poisoning. - As reported in our last issue, STUDLEY LEE, the three-year-old son of a labourer residing at Alwington, died on Wednesday from belladonna poisoning.  Evidence showed, at the Inquest on Thursday, that the father had bought a bottle of lotion from Dr Gooding, Bideford, late on Monday night.  He left it on the kitchen table, and early next morning went milking.  When he returned, his sister Mrs Gifford, who was keeping house, told him deceased had pulled out the cork of the bottle with his teeth, and drunk some of its contents.  His elder brother also had some.  LEE had no idea of the nature of the lotion, but as the child seemed queer, gave him an emetic, which had small effect.  The father then galloped for Dr Gooding, who returned with him, and applied the stomach-pump, and administered antidotes and stimulants.  The child died the same afternoon.  His brother was also very ill, but is not out of danger.  Dr Gooding said the bottle contained belladonna and glycerine, and was intended for outward application only.  It was poisonous, but had no label "poison", because LEE knew it was not for internal use.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 2 April 1896

BISHOPSTAWTON - MR JOHN RICHARDS, signalman on the Midland Railway at Eardisley, who met with a fatal accident on Saturday, was the son of MR RICHARDS, gardener at Hall (Mr Chichester's) for many years.  The deceased (who was 41 years of age, and leaves a widow and five children) was cutting a piece of leather while at home when the knife slipped, cutting the main artery inside the left thigh.  Before medical aid could be procured he had bled to death, all the efforts made to stop the bleeding being unavailing.  His death cast quite a gloom over Kinnersley, where he resided, for during his 14 years' residence in the parish he had won the respect and esteem of all.  He took a great interest in parish business, and was re-elected a Parish Councillor three weeks ago. At the Inquest a verdict of Accidental Death was returned.  The funeral was very largely attended.

BARNSTAPLE - A Lad's Death At Barnstaple.  Alleged Assault Denied.  Death From Natural Causes.  - Barnstaple Borough Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft) held an Inquest at the North Devon Infirmary on Monday relative to the death of WALTER GEORGE THORNE, aged thirteen years, son of a labourer residing at Bickington.  Curious rumours having been circulated as to the cause of the boy's illness, Superintendent Eddy, of the Barnstaple Police, and Inspector Minns, of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, were present.

The Coroner remarked at the outset that he deemed it advisable to hold an Enquiry in consequence of certain rumours that had been freely spread abroad that the boy's illness was caused by an injury he received while at service at Instow.  He had directed a post-mortem examination in the interest of the parents and the lad's employers, but it had been reported to him that death was due to brain disease.

HENRY THORNE, father of deceased, said that for three weeks prior to Monday, the 16th inst., his son was employed at the Marine Hotel, Instow. his duties being to clean boots, knives, &c.  On  Sunday, the 15th inst., he walked home from Instow, and during the afternoon complained of headache.  Seeing that one of his ears was red and swollen he asked his son what had caused it and he replied that Mr Nicholls, his employer, had boxed his ears "because he could not get through his dinner quick enough."  - Cross-examined by Mr J. Bosson, who appeared on behalf of Mr Nichols:  Witness was aware that Mrs Nicholls had spoken to his wife about the boy on the previous Saturday.  She said he was lazy.  Notwithstanding the boy's charge against Mr Nicholls he sent him back to his employ on the Sunday evening by train.  He identified the writing of a letter produced as that of his wife's which was sent to Mrs Nicholls after the boy had gone back to Instow. 

Mr Bosson read the letter, which was as follows:-  My husband wishes me to write to say that he thought it best for you to send WALTER home at once by Flew (carrier); if too late by Fear (carrier). He says he is sure the boy is ill, as he could hardly walk to the station.  He believes he is quite done up.  there must be a weakness somewhere, or else he would have an appetite like another boy.  I do not think it would be advisable to keep him there as he might be laid up.  I am not vindicating any bad temper, but I am sure there must be something very wrong.  Kindly pay him and send him home, and I shall be very much obliged.  - E.A. THORNE.

Continuing, Mr Bosson pointed out that there was no reference in the letter to any ill-treatment to the witness.  Wasn't the boy weakly?  - A:  He did not appear to be a delicate boy.

MRS E. A. THORNE admitted writing the above letter on the Sunday evening that deceased returned to Instow.  On Monday, the 16th, deceased was sent home as she had requested, and on the following Wednesday, as he appeared to be getting worse in his head, she sent for Dr Lemarchand, of Barnstaple.  On the previous Sunday her husband remarked "that he wished he had not sent the boy back," and it was upon her husband's advice that she wrote to have him sent home.  She thought anxiety was the cause of the boy's illness.  When he spoke of the box on the ears the deceased said "it nearly knocked him silly."  When Mrs Nicholls saw her about the boy she told her that she ought to have come to her before.  Cross-examined by Mr Bosson:  She wrote the letter produced some time after the boy came home.  Mr Bosson also read this letter to the Jury.  It was addressed to Mrs Nicholls, and was as follows:-  I am writing to bring you acquainted with my little boy's state.  He is lying between life and death with brain fever, and I consider the cause lays at your door, as he has been hounded from morning to night with nothing in his inside because he had no appetite.  Anyone could plainly see he was ill on Sunday, and I am sorry I let him go back, but if the worst comes I shall hold you both responsible for his death, as he told us on Sunday that Mr Nicholls boxed his ears, which was plain to be seen, as it was red and swollen - most inhuman treatment.  I shall bring the case before the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.  I know you are not bound to be troubled with other people's children, but I do say you ought to have sent him home.  He was always cold, simply dying on his legs.  If you treat this matter lightly it will not be so well, for I have a mother's feelings as well as you.

Dr Lemarchand said that he was called to see the boy at Diptford Cottages on the 18th inst., and he found him hysterical, feverish, and in a tremulous condition.  He complained of pain in his head and back.  There was a small mark on his right ear, like a healing sore.  It was very small, and might have been caused by anything.  The boy was not in bed.  He was visited by himself and Dr Cooke alternately, and upon their advice he was afterwards removed to the Infirmary.  Witness saw him at the Infirmary on Tuesday night last, and he then presented all the symptoms of inflammation of the brain.  The boy suffered from tubercular meningitis, but the symptoms did not become marked until the Sunday previous to his death, which occurred on Saturday last.  Witness had since made a post mortem examination, and evidence of tubercular meningitis, or inflammation of the brain, was very clear.  It was a common disease in young children, and was the cause of death in the present case, and not due in any way to injury.  The mark on the ear was a mere scratch, as there was no bruise whatever under it.  - Mr Bosson:  Assuming that the boy's ears had been boxed and there had been a bruise, would it create the disease that caused death?  -  A:  No.  The disease did not arise from any injury.  He could not find evidence of external violence.  By the Jury:  Deceased died from a definite and specific disease.

Mr Bosson said Mr Nicholls was able to prove that the charge against him of having boxed the boy's ears was entirely false.  One of his workmen named Dicker was in the kitchen at dinner with the deceased, and would state on oath that Mr Nicholls did not even touch the boy.  Mr Nicholls stated on oath that he complained to the boy on Sunday dinner time of having thrown his breakfast under the table.  He strongly denied boxing the boy's ears either on that occasion or at any other time. The boy was weakly constituted.  In answer to Inspector Minns, Mr Nicholls said the boy rose about seven and finished his work (which was not laborious) about eight p.m.  Deceased did not complain of being overworked, and he had no complaint to make respecting him.  Mr Bosson was prepared to call Dicker as a witness.  The Coroner said Mr Nicholls evidence was perfectly straightforward, and the Jury did not think further evidence necessary.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 16 April 1896

EXMOUTH - Supposed Child Murder & Attempted Suicide At Exmouth. - On Thursday afternoon a woman named MAY, the wife of a gardener, was found dripping wet and foaming at the mouth near the Maer Rocks, Exmouth. Some distance away the dead body of her infant female child, aged three months, was discovered upon the rocks.  It had met its death by drowning.  The mother was taken to the Maud Hospital, and the infant to the Maud Mortuary to await an Inquest.  It is supposed that the woman walked into the water near where she was seen, and crawled out again in an exhausted condition, and that the child drifted to where it was recovered.  Some time ago the woman's little son died from injuries received by falling into the fire at Clyst St. Mary, since which time she has suffered from melancholia.

LONDON  - Suicide of MR BUNN, of Fremington. - Mr John Troutbeck held an Inquest on Tuesday, at the St Martin's Vestry Hall, Charing Cross, on the body of MR CHARLES BUNN, 36, of Fremington, who (as stated on page 2) committed suicide at the Constitutional Club on Friday last.  - WILLIAM FREDERICK BUNN, a retired Major in the Army living at 36 Bury-street, St. James's, identified deceased as his brother, who had lately returned from the Canaries.  he had been staying at the Constitutional Club. Witness last saw him alive on April 2nd, when he said he had a great deal of trouble, his brother-in-law having died on the voyage home from the Canaries.  He also said he suffered from insomnia. Witness had discovered a letter addressed to him by the deceased, in which he said he had a great dread of an illness which he knew would prove fatal.  Clara Andrews, housemaid at the Constitutional Club, said that she heard groans in the bed-room of the deceased on Friday morning.  She opened the door and saw MR BUNN lying on his back on the floor.  He was bleeding from a wound in the temple, and had a revolver in his hand.  A doctor was called, who ordered his removal to a hospital.  Dr A. Wilkins, house physician at Charing Cross Hospital, said life was extinct when he examined the deceased.  There was a bullet wound through the brain.  A verdict of Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane was returned.

Thursday 23 April 1896

MOLLAND  - Sad Fatality near Southmolton.  Death Of A Well-Known Farmer. - On Saturday, about noon, as MR HENRY QUARTLY, of Great Champson, Molland, was returning home from Southmolton, being early for the train, he proceeded along the line from Southmolton Station, with the intention of walking to Molland Station.  He had gone as far as what is known as "White Chapel Crossing" when he was overtaken by the 11.35 a.m. up train from Southmolton. The driver blew his whistle several times, but MR QUARTLY appeared either dazed or lost in thought, and before he had time to get off the line the engine had dashed upon him, and death must have instantaneously ensued.  The remains, shockingly mutilated, of the deceased gentleman were at once removed to the Black Cock Hotel, at Molland Station by the following goods train.  MR QUARTLY was well known in agricultural society, both in the county and throughout the West of England.  He as a noted breeder of Devon cattle, and his services as a judge of sheep or cattle were frequently in request.  MR QUARTLY was a member of the Executive of the Devon County Agricultural Association, and was also actively interested in the work of the Bath and West of England Society.  He was fifty-one years of age, and unmarried.  It was only some two years since that his father, MR QUARTLY, died at a ripe old age.  MR QUARTLY, who was greatly respected throughout the whole district, was of a quiet and retiring disposition, and on the previous evening retired from the office of churchwarden of his native parish.  He was during the forthcoming session to have given some lectures on sheep-shearing in connection with the Technical Education scheme.  Following in the steps of his father and grandfather, MR QUARTLY was an earnest and consistent Liberal, and had more than once been the host of the Member for the Division when he was in the neighbourhood.  Deceased was a kind-hearted Christian, and a true friend to those who were brought into close contact with him.  A large number will mourn his untimely end.  The reputation of the QUARTLY family as being among the leading agriculturists of the Kingdom has been continued during several generations, and the only remaining representative of the family in the male line is the son of the late MR FRANK QUARTLY, an elder brother of the deceased, now living at Great Champson.

At the Black Cock Hotel, Molland, on Monday an Inquest was held by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, Chief-Inspector Shattock represented the G. W. R. Company, and Mr Fred Day, Southmolton, was present on behalf of the relatives.  Mr W. A. D. Passmore was foreman of the Jury.

The Coroner proposed to first call medical evidence, as the doctor would also be able to identify the body.

Dr Albert Hind, Southmolton, deposed that deceased was about 50 years of age, and unmarried.  On Saturday afternoon, hearing of the accident, witness drove to the Black Cock Hotel, at Molland Station, and saw the body of deceased lying in one of the downstair rooms.  He found the three principal bones of the head had been smashed and the brain removed.  There were also extensive injuries to the body, and death must have been instantaneous.  Witness saw the deceased in Southmolton between 10 and 11 o'clock on Saturday as he passed the window of his house, but did not speak to him.

James Green, engine driver in the service of the G. W. R., said he was in charge, as driver, of the 11.35 a.m. up passenger train from Southmolton on Saturday morning.  When about a mile-and-a-half from Southmolton, witness and the fireman both noticed the deceased walking on the line with his back towards them.  It was very foggy, and they could see but a short distance away.  He should say deceased was about 150 yards in front when they first saw him.  He was walking in the centre between the rails. Witness sounded the whistle at once, and seeing he took no notice sounded it again and applied the break.  The fireman also sounded the break whistle, which made greater noise, but MR QUARTLY made not the slightest effort to leave the rails, nor did he turn his head.  There was plenty of time for him to have left the rails if he had felt inclined, but before the train could be stopped, he was knocked down between the metals.  The wind at the time of the accident was blowing in the direction the train was going, and witness was surprised that deceased took no notice of the whistle.  The engine was brought to a standstill within about twenty yards of MR QUARTLY, who was lying just at the tail end of the train, of the line, quite dead.  They left the body in charge of James Hulland, a packer on the line, and two other men who came up, and at Molland witness informed the station-master of what had occurred.

Montague Bundy, fireman on the train in question, corroborated.  Deceased did not take any notice whatever of the noise of the whistles.  As soon as they saw him walking on the line everything was done that could be possibly done to stop the train.  Dr Hind, recalled, stated that he was not aware that deceased was hard of hearing.  He was certainly not when he last had a conversation with him, but he had not spoken to him recently.  George Potter, guard, on the same train, said he heard the whistle blow some three times just after leaving Southmolton.  Witness was looking out at the time and recognised MR QUARTLY walking on the line.  He knew the deceased quite well.  He made no effort to get out of the way, and it was impossible for them to stop the train in time to prevent the accident.  There was plenty of time for deceased to have left the line if he had heard the whistle.  It was a foggy morning, and the train had just come round a curve in the line before they saw deceased.

James Hulland, packer in the employ of the Great Western Railway, stated that on Saturday morning he was working on the line about a mile-and-a-quarter above Southmolton station when deceased passed him walking up the line by the side of the metals.  He told him that no trespassers were allowed on the line, and he replied that he was not going very far, but wanted to call at a farm house a little way on.  He proceeded on his way by the footpath.  The up train followed a little later and witness afterwards hearing the small whistle and the break whistle both blow thought something had happened and ran up the line to find that MR QUARTLY had been killed, and the train that had stopped just moving away.  The body was placed on the up goods train, which came up about ten minutes afterwards, and conveyed to Molland.  John Todd, station-master at Southmolton, said he received a telegram from Molland on Saturday morning, and proceeded on the goods train to where the accident happened, and had the body removed to the Black Cock.  Witness knew the deceased quite well, but did not see him at Southmolton that day.  He must have got on the railway some distance from Southmolton station.

William Edward Sanders, of the firm of Sanders and Mountjoy, Southmolton, deposed that deceased saw him on Saturday on a matter of business, and he seemed just as usual.  When he called at their office witness casually asked him how he was, and he replied that he was feeling quite well.  There was not the slightest evidence in his manner to suggest that he was at all worried or depressed; on the contrary, he seemed particularly business-like, and on leaving he said he would call again when he was next in town, about another matter.  Mr Frederick Day, Southmolton, gave evidence as deceased's family solicitor. MR QUARTLY called at his office on Saturday just after ten o'clock about an ordinary matter of business, in no way worrying.  He was with witness for about a quarter-of-an-hour, discussing with his usual keenness, and there was nothing peculiar in his appearance or manner.  He was in good financial position, and had nothing that witness knew of to worry him.  As he left his office he said his sister-in-law, MRS QUARTLY, was coming down to see witness by the next train upon another matter of business.   Witness was greatly surprised when he heard of his death, and was strongly of opinion that he must have met his death by accident and not premeditation.  The Coroner, in reviewing the evidence, said he was sure they all very much sympathised with the relatives of deceased in the sad loss they had sustained.  MR QUARTLY was, no doubt, known personally to every member of the Jury, as he was to himself, and it was a very sad thing indeed to think that deceased who was in Southmolton on Saturday in his usual health and spirits, should have been so suddenly hurried into eternity.  The cause of death was abundantly clear, and he thought they would be of opinion from the evidence that no blame could be attached to anyone.  They had been told that deceased was not hard of hearing, but it was quite possible that he, being lost in thought, did not hear the whistles.  There was certainly no evidence to warrant them in coming to the conclusion that deceased committed suicide.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death", and were unanimously of opinion that no blame was attributable to anyone.

TEIGNMOUTH - Murder Of Three Children At Teignmouth.  Suicide Of The Father. - A lodging house keeper named HENRY HAINES, occupying the Spring Gardens on the Den Promenade, at Teignmouth, cut the throats of his three children, two boys, aged respectively four years and three years, and a girl of ten months, Monday afternoon, and afterwards cut his own throat, the heads in each case being nearly severed from the bodies.  It is stated that HAINES had been for some time depressed in spirits, and that he and his wife did not live very happily.  It is also asserted that he intended to kill her also, but she evaded him.  The murderer was aged about 40 and had been married a second time.  He had three children by his second wife, these being the three whom he murdered.  HARRY, the boy by his first wife, is about 8 years old, and he was sent to post some letters before the crime was committed.  During the temporary absence of his wife, who had gone upstairs to wait on the lodger, HAINES cut the throats of the three children.  The servant girl, Bertha Newland, was in the kitchen, only a few yards away, but she did not hear any noise, as HAINES had closed the door.  He went up a flight of a dozen stairs, entered a bedroom, and fell on the landing. Traces of blood showed this.  MRS HAINES heard nothing, but on descending another flight of stairs the murdered children met her view.  She raised an alarm which brought to her assistance several persons, and police aid was immediately sought.

The Inquest on the bodies of HENRY GEORGE HAINES and his three children, whose throats he cut on Monday, afterwards taking his own life, was opened on Tuesday at Teignmouth.  The widow said her husband had often threatened to kill her and himself.  On Monday morning he walked up and downstairs declaring he was mad.  While she was upstairs for about five minutes the tragedy was enacted.  The Inquiry was adjourned until today.

PORTSMOUTH - The Portsmouth Tragedy. - The Inquest on ELSIE MATTHEWS, the child whose body was found in a field at Copnor, was resumed at Portsmouth on Wednesday.   MATTHEWS'S wife said that ELSIE'S mother died in 1892; he left Teignmouth with the child Easter Monday evening, saying he was taking her to London; next morning she had a telegram announcing their safe arrival in the metropolis, but the message had been handed in at Botley, near Portsmouth.  On the Wednesday morning she received a letter saying he could never hope to bear his good name again, and that he had left ELSIE looking so happy.  Her husband told her he had married another woman before ELSIE'S mother, and that she was alive; he also stated he was married to Maloney, the woman with whom he eloped from Teignmouth.  At the resumed Inquest on the body of ELSIE MATTHEWS at Portsmouth on Thursday, Detective Moth deposed that while in his custody the prisoner MATTHEWS said:  "People will probably wonder why I did not put her into the water; but I could not do that.  I wish I had killed myself after I had done it."  :Prisoner had previously told another detective that the child was frightened to death by the barking of some dogs.  The Jury found a verdict of "Wilful Murder" against MATTHEWS, who was committed for trial on the Coroner's warrant to Winchester Assizes.  At Portsmouth on Monday PHILIP MATTHEWS, groom, of Teignmouth, was again remanded, charged with having murdered his daughter ELSIE.  It was pointed out that the prisoner was financially in desperate straits, his connection with Maloney, the parlourmaid, was notorious, and he had also to provide for his wife and child.  It was suggested that he strangled the child with his left hand whilst she was sleeping in his arms.  Miss Maloney, against whom a demonstration was made by the people in court - deposed that prisoner told her he left the child with friends.  She went to Salisbury to marry prisoner on March 25th, but refused to go through the ceremony, prisoner having told her he had given a wrong name.  Maloney and her mother gave evidence as to the visit of the pair at Easter.

Thursday 30 April 1896

GEORGENYMPTON - Fatal Accident. - On April 8th, MRS MARY CARTER GREENSLADE, widow of the late MR THOMAS GREENSLADE, cattle dealer, fell in her house, and sustained a broken thigh.  Dr Sanders was called in, and the injured lady was also otherwise attended to by Mrs Shapland, Mrs Webber and Mrs Pemberthy, but she passed away last week.  Having regard for her advanced age (seventy seven years) Dr Sanders from the first held out little hope of her recovery.  At the Inquest held by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

LANGTREE - Death From A Fall At Langtree. - JOHN SHORT, a retired farm labourer, aged 82 years, living at Langtree, died on Wednesday from the effects of a fall from a ladder. On Tuesday, the 14th inst., his daughter (SARAH SHORT) heard her father, who was in a shed close to his house, call out "SARAH".  She went to the shed and found that her father had fallen from a moveable ladder.  He was removed to the house apparently not much hurt.  On the following day, however, Dr Macindoe was sent for.  On Friday, as deceased seemed worst, Dr Macindoe was sent for.  On Sunday Dr Sutcliffe visited the deceased.  Deceased died on Wednesday morning.  Every possible care was taken of him from the time of the accident to his death.  An Inquest was held on Friday by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner. Dr Sutcliffe, among other witnesses, gave evidence.  He said the actual cause of death was shock to the system, consequent on the fall.  Nothing could be done in the way of medical aid further than was done.  Seeing him daily would have been no advantage.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 14 May 1896

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Case Of Drowning At Barnstaple. - A melancholy case of drowning occurred at Barnstaple on Sunday afternoon, MR GEORGE EDWARD HANCOCK, aged 25, son of MR J. N. HANCOCK, of Pilton, losing his life while attempting to rescue a boy who was in distress while bathing in the Taw.  Shortly after four o'clock MR HANCOCK was walking along Anchor Wood Bank with Mr W. J. Lord when a boy named Powe, who was bathing, was heard to cry for help.  MR HANCOCK and Mr Lord, together with Mr W. R. Johnson and some other persons who were on the Bank, rushed to the water's edge, the deceased saying "I'm not much of a swimmer, but I'll have a try."  He divested himself of his coat and waistcoat, and went into the water.  The tide was flowing in at the time, and the deceased, after seizing the drowning boy, was unable to make any headway against it.  Seeing this, Mr Johnson, who had taken off some of his clothes so as to be ready to help, swam out, caught hold of the boy and managed to convey him safely to the bank.  The lad was in a very exhausted state.  Mr Johnson then found that MR HANCOCK was not making any headway against the tide, which formed an eddy at this point, and on asking if there was anything wrong was urged to go out to the swimmer's assistance.  Although exhausted by his previous effort, Mr Johnson at once swam out to deceased and endeavoured to assist him, but as his strength failed, he was obliged to return to the bank.  At this point Mr A. Bencraft, who had undressed himself in the meantime, entered the water, but before he could reach HANCOCK, the poor fellow had sunk, never to rise again.  Just afterwards a boat which had been hailed arrived, and within two minutes the body had been recovered.  Attempts were made to restore animation in the approved style, but they were, unhappily, unsuccessful; and so the brave young fellow lost his life in his heroic effort to save another from a watery grave.  It is a lamentable reflection that - as Mr Johnson showed at the inquest - MR HANCOCK'S life might have been saved had there been a sufficient number of helpers forthcoming from among the crowd assembled on the bank to wade into the water, and by linking hands enable Mr Johnson to render assistance which in his exhausted condition he was not able to afford unaided.  There was a rumour that MR HANCOCK suffered from heart disease, and that his death was due to this and not to drowning.  But the medical evidence adduced at the Inquest showed that the rumour was unfounded.  The deceased possessed exceptional business abilities, and he was the right-hand helper of his father, who is a well-known builder and contractor.  He was of a retiring disposition, but his genial temper made him exceedingly popular.  The news of his untimely death caused a great sensation, and throughout the town the keenest sympathy is felt with the bereaved relatives.

The Inquest was held at three o'clock on Monday at the Chichester Arms, Pilton, the residence of the deceased's father, before Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner.  Mr T. Wadham was selected foreman of the Jury.  In opening the Inquiry the Coroner said that during the forty years he had been Coroner he had never known a case attended with sadder and more tragic circumstances than this one.

William Robert Johnson, clerk at the Devon and Cornwall Bank, and residing at Deptford Villas, deposed that shortly before half-past four on Sunday afternoon he was walking along Anchor Wood Bank when he heard some boys shouting and saw them gesticulating on the brink of the river opposite the railway swing bridge.  With HANCOCK, Lord and others he ran to where the boys were standing, and then saw a boy struggling in the water.  HANCOCK made some remark to Lord which he did not catch, and he then threw off his coat and vest and swam out to the boy.  In the meantime he (witness) had taken off some of his garments and his boots, in case of emergency.  He noticed that HANCOCK, on reaching the boy, could make no headway against the current, for he appeared to remain stationary, and thinking there was something wrong he swam out to him.  He caught hold of the boy by the arms and by swimming on his back he conveyed him to the bank.  Having done this he looked back to see how HANCOCK was getting on.  Having his trousers and boots on HANCOCK was apparently not able to get along and in  answer to him he said, "For God's sake, come and help me."  HANCOCK said this just loud enough for him to hear.  He at once swam out to him, and told HANCOCK not to clutch him, and he said he would not.  He gave HANCOCK his hand, and he helped him until his own strength gave way.  He had previously exhausted himself by taking the boy to the bank, so he could not take HANCOCK very far, being obliged to relax his hold.  Just afterwards he noticed that HANCOCK disappeared beneath the water.  A boat had been hailed, and on its coming up he indicated where the young fellow sank.  Just before this Mr Bencraft had swum out.  Very soon he felt the body with his foot, and it was then taken into the boat and conveyed to the shore, where efforts to restore animation were made in the orthodox way.  Some water came from deceased's mouth, but not so much as he should have imagined would be the case.  After deceased was removed from the water he saw him gasp more than once.  He should not think the body was under water more than a minute and a half or two minutes, but it was difficult to gauge time under such circumstances.

In answer to the Foreman, the witness said he saw only one boy in danger.  Another Juryman asked if the deceased could not have been helped by persons wading and linking hands.  Mr Johnson replied in the affirmative, and said he felt strongly upon the point.  If the people had formed a line as he requested them to do by catching hold of each other's hand he should have been able to assist the deceased.  It was impossible for him to do it along.  He asked the people to do this, but only Mr Lord came out. Mr Lord could not swim.  The pit in which deceased was drowned was seven or eight feet deep. Mr Bencraft divested himself of his clothes and swam out; he did not know who else was on the bank.

Frederick Mogridge, fisherman, stated that about half-past four on Sunday afternoon he was rowing up the river with John Roulston and Thomas Ridd.  When outside the railway bridge they heard shouts.  They rowed across the river and found that deceased had just disappeared.  In a couple of minutes the body was recovered.  He carried the body to the shore, where Roulston and others with Dr Reston (of Strand House), who arrived almost immediately, tried to restore the deceased.  Dr Cooper and Dr J. R. Harper were also on the spot in ten minutes.  He did not notice any signs of life when he carried the body to the shore.  Archibald Bencraft, solicitor, also gave evidence.  He said he saw Mr Johnson bring in the boy, HANCOCK then swimming behind.  He thought HANCOCK was doing comfortably and well, and that there was no necessity to go to his assistance.  But when he saw Mr Johnson go out again and return he felt that the situation was a grave one, and he immediately took off his clothes and swam out to help HANCOCK.  Before he could reach the spot, however, HANCOCK had gone under, and he did not again rise.  The boat then came up, and the body was speedily recovered.  Roulston was familiar with rescue work, having saved many lives, and he at once began to try artificial respiration.  Dr Reston coming up just afterwards.  He thought there was life in deceased when taken out of the water.  Roulston told witness he was alive, and he said, "Thank God for that".  The body was not under the water more than a minute and a half - it did not seem more.

A member of the Jury said he observed the affair through an opera glass from the Strand, and it seemed to him that HANCOCK died before he went under the water.  In answer to Mr J. Bater (Juryman), Mr Johnson said he had not stated that anyone refused to help by forming a line.  He suggested that hands should be linked, but volunteers did not come forward  Mr Bencraft was taking off his clothes at this time.  This was before the deceased had disappeared.

Walter Cooper, surgeon, deposed that immediately on receiving a message at half-past four on Sunday he went to the Anchor Wood Bank.  He found Dr Reston and others trying artificial respiration on deceased.  This was kept up for three quarters of an hour, but without avail.  The body was then taken to the Infirmary, where the galvanic battery was used.  There was, however, no response at all.  When he arrived, he thought life was quite extinct.  Judging from external appearances death was unquestionably due to drowning.  He had not made a post mortem examination, as the Coroner did not think it necessary.  Although in exceptional cases persons who had been under the water five minutes had survived, total immersion for a minute and a half or two minutes was quite enough to prove fatal.  In answer to Mr Bater, Mr Cooper said drowning persons did not always rise after once sinking.  The probability was that deceased took a large gulp of water, and as all the air was out of the lungs he did not rise at all.  P.C. Bowden gave formal evidence as to conveying the body to the North Devon Infirmary and subsequently removing it to MR HANCOCK'S residence at Pilton.

The Coroner said the medical evidence left no doubt as to what was the cause of death.  On behalf of the Jury he wished to express deep sympathy with the parents in their sad bereavement.  The noble young fellow lost his lie in a gallant attempt to save the life of a fellow creature, and although this was no alleviation of their present sorrow it would, he was sure, be a great comfort to the parents as long as they lived.  The Foreman said he was desired by the Jury to thank Mr Johnson for the noble manner in which he acted on the occasion. 

A verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" was returned, the Jury deciding that their fees should be devoted to the purchase of a wreath to be placed on the grave of the deceased.  Mr Bater observed that this sad case supplied further evidence in support of the provision of a bathing place.  The Coroner said he had no doubt it would lead to some steps being taken by the Council.  He believed the Council had done what it thought it could do, but he hoped the matter would again be approached.  It might be that in consequence of the alterations which the new railway would necessitate better facilities for establishing a bathing place would be afforded.  A Juror remarked that something besides "considering" the question was needed.  The Coroner said there were difficulties, but he thought they ought to be surmounted.  There should unquestionably be a proper bathing place for Barnstaple. There was a yearly loss of life through bathing in the Taw, and he should like through the Press to warn the public of the danger which attended bathing in this part of the river.  There were shifting pits, which were a source of great danger.  Mr Bater remarked that if others had done their duty on Sunday like Mr Johnson there would have been no loss of life.  The Foreman said it appeared that the others could not swim. Mr Johnson and Mr Bencraft made noble efforts to prevent loss of life.  After a little further conversation in the same strain, the proceedings terminated.

PLYMOUTH - An Inquest was held by Mr Coroner Rodd on Tuesday at Crownhill, touching the death of DAVID SCROGGIE, twenty-two, of Plymouth, whose body was found in the reservoir at Knackersknowle.  A verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned.  A letter found on deceased stated that he had no desire to live, having been jilted by his young lady.

Thursday 21 May 1896

APPLEDORE - Fatal Termination To An Accident. - About a fortnight ago CAPTAIN STEPHEN HARE and Thomas H. Carter, a master mariner, were on board a large vessel at Appledore belonging to the former.  Whilst they were engaged in bending the main-sail, a strap gave way, and both fell on to the beach, a distance of about twelve feet.  Carter was not hurt, beyond his finer being knocked out of joint.  HARE appeared injured, and went home to the Prince of Wales Hotel.  Dr Pratt was called in eight days after the accident, but he was not told  of it until he went again to see the deceased.  He then examined him, and found that he was suffering internally.  Hare expired on Sunday, the actual cause of death being congestion of the lungs, caused by a fall.  At the Inquest conducted by Mr J. F. Bromham on Monday, the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Congestion of the lungs, originating from the result of an accident by falling from a barge."  - Deceased leaves a widow and one child (a daughter), who was married recently, and at the time of his death was away on her honeymoon.  The utmost sympathy is expressed for the widow and daughter in their great bereavement.

SHEBBEAR - A Brave Lad Drowned At Shebbear. - A painful sensation was created at Shebbear on Sunday evening by the drowning, in the river Torridge, of ERNEST MARTIN, aged sixteen, in an attempt to save another lad who was in distress.  The circumstances of the sad event were elicited on Tuesday, when the Inquest was held by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.   JAMES MARTIN, farm labourer, identified the body as that of his son, who was an apprentice to a local mason.  Witness was informed about five o'clock on Sunday that his son had been drowned, and, hurrying to the spot, he saw his lifeless body being taken out of a pit in the Torridge.  His son was almost fully dressed, only his coat being off.  As soon as the body was taken to witness's house Dr Clarke arrived.  - John Wivell, apprentice at carriage building, deposed that he was bathing in the Torridge on Sunday afternoon, when he got into a pit and sank.  three or four young men were on the bank, and MARTIN jumped in and lifted him out of the pit.  Witness managed to scramble to the bank, but it was some time before he recovered.  When he  got round he was informed that MARTIN had been drowned.  - Wm. Heard, son of a miller, stated that MARTIN (who only took off his coat) walked into the river.  He managed to get Wivell out, but he sank himself and did not rise again.  Witness immediately ran off for assistance, and the body was subsequently recovered by Mr Wycombe, of Black Torrington.  - Barton Woods Wycombe, of Browsworthy Cottage, Black Torrington, spoke to hearing from his servants whilst at home on Sunday that a boy had been drowned.  He proceeded to the Torridge bank, where he saw about twenty people assembled, two being in the water searching for MARTIN'S body.  Witness made an "otter dive" on three occasions, and at last succeeded in bringing the body to the surface by means of an iron crook.  Witness made every effort to resuscitate MARTIN, but his efforts were unavailing.  He understood that the body had been in the water for over an hour.  The pit was dangerous by reason of a strong under-current, and should be avoided by persons bathing.  - Dr Albert B. Clarke said MARTIN had been dead for some "little time" when he arrived at the house.  The body presented the appearance of death from drowning.  Efforts to resuscitate after five minutes complete immersion were seldom of any use, although it was always well to try to restore persons.  Much sympathy was expressed with the family, and a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" was returned.

Thursday 18 June 1896

NORTHMOLTON - Fatal Burns At Northmolton. - Mr Coroner Bromham investigated a burning fatality at Northmolton yesterday.  The victim was FRANK LETHABY, aged three years and six months.  ROGER LETHABY, shoemaker, deceased's father, stated that on Sunday afternoon he retired with the child to bed for a rest, his wife going into a second bedroom with another child.  After witness had been asleep some little time he heard screams, and running downstairs he saw deceased coming from the passage into the kitchen in flames.  Witness managed to extinguish the flames, but burnt his hands considerably in the effort.  Mrs Westacott came in, and his wife also rushed downstairs.  They undressed the child and oil was applied to the burns.  Dr Spicer came soon after, but the child died on Monday morning.  There was a wood fire in the kitchen, and witness discovered that the little boy had removed some of the burning wood in a firepan outside the house, where, he considered, the accident occurred.  Sarah Westacott spoke to seeing the child all right outside the house previous to the occurrence, and t her being afterwards called in by the father.  Dr Spicer did all he possibly could for the child.  Dr Spicer deposed that he found the child suffering from very severe burns which extended two inches below the knees on the back of the legs to the loins.  He entertained no hopes of its recovery, and the child died from shock to the system.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was recorded.

TEIGNMOUTH - Frightful Fatality At Teignmouth.  Crushed By An Engine.  - Teignmouth's 1896 list of horrors was on Friday afternoon added to by the deplorable death of a little girl, aged seven years, who was terribly crushed by Mr R. C. Fenton's well-known and much-abused traction engine.  The engine left Torquay early on Friday morning for Holcombe, near Dawlish, with three trucks heavily laden with bricks.  The load comprised 10,000 bricks, the weight of which, independent of the trucks was about 28 tons.  Teignmouth was reached just before two o'clock in the afternoon, and the engine proceeded down Fore-street hill, intending to pass through Orchard Gardens.  Mr Fenton was on the engine with the driver.  Going down the hill the wheels "skidded."  Steam was shut off and the break applied, but just as the engine commenced to turn towards Orchard Gardens the weight of the load behind swung it half-round, driving the back part of the engine into Mr Bonner's confectioner's shop.  The front truck was forced up to the pavement and partially entered the shop with the engine, smashing in the window and a portion of a wall.  The  engine was nearly overturned.  So quickly did the accident happen that three little girls on the pavement outside the shop were unable to escape.  FRANCES MAUD WAITE, aged seven, was caught between the back of the engine and the wall, and was probably killed on the spot.  Her playmates were rescued unhurt from under the front truck by Mr Grainger, a painter.  The other poor child was suspended between the wall and the engine in the gaze of the onlookers, who were powerless to remove her until the tedious work of unloading the trucks had been accomplished.  With the assistance of Mr W. E. Jones, surveyor of the District Council, and his men, this was done as quickly as possible, but it was past five o'clock when the removal of the trucks righted the engine and allowed the child's body to be recovered.  Her face and legs were not damaged, but her body was crushed in an indescribable manner.   SERGT. WAITE, drill instructor to the local volunteer company, and formerly of Crediton and Barnstaple, is her father.  Mrs Richards, assistant, was in the shop when the engine crushed in, but she escaped unhurt at the back.  Mr Fenton had experienced difficulty in getting the load up Bitten-hill, leading into the town, and had to take up two trucks first and return with the engine for the third, as the wheels slipped.

At the London Hotel, Teignmouth, on Monday afternoon, Mr Coroner Hacker held an adjourned Inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of FRANCES MAUD WAITE, aged seven years, daughter of a Volunteer instructor, who was killed by a traction engine on Friday evening. After hearing the evidence, the Jury were absent an hour considering their verdict.  When they returned the foreman announced that their finding was:  "That the engine got out of control, and consequently caught the child and crushed it between the wall and the rear part of the engine.  That proper care or precaution was not shown in descending the hill, owing to an error of judgment in approaching the Fore-street hill at too great a speed, and not applying the brakes at the proper moment."   To this they attached the following rider - "That the County Council's attention be called to the fact that the regulations for traction engines travelling on hilly roads such as those of South Devon are inadequate; that such traction engines are dangerous; and that Parliamentary interference is called for."

MARWOOD - Suicide Of An Elderly Man At Marwood. - NICHOLAS PASSMORE, aged 58, originally a labourer, came to an untimely end at Marwood on Sunday, cutting his throat with a razor and dying almost immediately.  Deceased (who committed the rash act in the temporary absence of his wife from the house) had been in ill-health for some time, but he did not lead anyone to suppose that he contemplated suicide.  The sad occurrence caused a great shock in his household, and in the parish generally.  According to the widow (at the Inquest on Monday) the family came from Combmartin to reside at Huish, Marwood, about fourteen months ago.  Lately her husband had been very ill, under the care of Dr Manning, of Combmartin.  He had been confined to his bed for the past fortnight, and whilst she was sleeping by his side last Sunday afternoon he requested her to get him some bovril.  She ran into Mr Clogg's house to obtain some hot water, and when she returned to the bedroom she saw that something had happened.  She at once called David Watts, but she was too much alarmed and distressed to return herself.  Her husband's manner was peculiar on Sunday but he never threatened suicide or led her to suppose he would ever commit such an act.  - David Watts, farm labourer, spoke to MRS PASSMORE screaming on Sunday afternoon about 5.30.  Seeing him she said "Run, run, run, NICOL has cut his throat."  He found the deceased on the floor of the bedroom with his throat cut and a razor in his right hand.  Witness took the razor from PASSMORE and spoke to him, but he received no answer.  PASSMORE was living when he arrived, but died in about a quarter of an hour.  There was a pool of blood on the floor, and deceased's shirt and flannel were saturated with blood.  George Kiff helped PASSMORE into bed, and George Courtney started off for Dr Manning.  To the best of his belief MR and MRS PASSMORE lived on good terms.  P.C. W. Hedgeland, who visited the house on receiving information of the occurrence, stated he could not find any letter or anything in deceased's bedroom to throw any light on the matter.  - Dr N. S. Manning, of Combmartin, said he had known deceased for the past three years.  He had always been in bad health more or less, and during the last fortnight had been confined to his bed from a chill.  At Kentisbury on Sunday evening Mr Fredk. Clogg, informed him of what had happened, and when witness arrived at Huish, PASSMORE had been dead for an hour or more.  There was a large incised wound across the front of PASSMORE'S neck, the windpipe and the left carotid artery and both internal jugular veins being severed.  Death must have ensued quickly, and even if a medical man had been present earlier he did not think anything could have been done for PASSMORE.  Deceased had been depressed through ill-health, but he had no reason to suspect he would commit suicide.  The Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 25 June 1896

ILFRACOMBE - Fatal Fall At Wildersmouth. - On Saturday last, a little girl named GRACE HARRIS, daughter of one of the coastguardsmen, fell from the Pulpit Rock, and sustained a fracture of the skull.  She was at once taken to the Cottage hospital, and attended by Dr Gardner, but died the next day.  The Inquest was held at the Hospital, St. Brannock's Road, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner for the district.  Mr Foster was chosen foreman on the Jury, and after the body had been viewed the first witness called was JAMES HARRIS, who said deceased was his daughter, GRACE HANNAH, seven years of age on Thursday last.  On Saturday last, about 4 p.m., witness was at home, at Ruperts Wood and was informed that his daughter had fallen off the Pulpit Rock, at Wildersmouth beach.  Witness went at once and found the child lying on the ground, at the back of the rock, on her right side.  There was a crowd of people around, and two gentlemen were giving all assistance they could.  Witness was advised not to let the child see him, to avoid agitation.  A doctor arrived almost immediately after witness, and the child was removed to the hospital, by the advice of the two gentlemen referred to, though witness wished to take her home.  The child was taken on a stretcher to the hospital. About an hour and a half after this, witness and his wife were allowed to see her, but did not speak to her; his wife stayed behind with the child, who recognised her mother.  Witness did not see her again, but his wife stayed at the Hospital until ten o'clock the next morning, and visited her again at 2 p.m., staying until the child died, at 3.45 p.m.  The rock was, he believed, about 30 feet high.

Walter Kelly said he had a photographic stand on the beach on Saturday afternoon, and saw the child about twenty minutes to four, playing on the beach with others.  Witness saw GRACE HARRIS, whom he knew well, run up the rock referred to by the last witness. Children were accustomed to play on the rock continually.  Witness saw the child disappear, but did not know she had fallen, as many people climbed over at the back.  A little girl told witness that someone was hurt, and he went to inquire, being directed to the spot where the child lay.  Witness ran for a doctor, but someone else took up the errand, and witness returned to the child and gave what help he could.  Mr R. Barrett, headmaster of the British School, said he was close to the beach on the day named, about 4 p.m.  He did not see the child fall, but a young man named Day came up the steps near the new Bandstand, and called out to witness to fetch a doctor.  Thinking an accident had happened, witness sent Day for a doctor, and went to do what he could himself.  He found the child at the back of the Pulpit Rock; a gentleman was kneeling beside her, holding her hands.  There was a terrible gash on the head, and the brain protruded, blood was flowing profusely, and witness did his utmost to stop it, by pressing the temporal arteries, which had a good effect.  Witness had attended a course of First Aid lectures, and applied the knowledge thus gained.    Witness advised the father not to remove the child before the doctor arrived.  The child was conscious, and kept crying, crying out about a pain in her arm, but did not refer to the wound in the head.  She said nothing as to the cause of the injury.  On examining the rock, after the child had been removed, witness saw evidence that the head had struck a jagged part, about 10 feet from the top; the whole fall would be about 24 feet.

Dr E. F. Gardner said he was called to the Hospital at 4.30 p.m. on the 20th June, and saw the injured child there, in bed.  She was suffering from shock and had a large lacerated wound across the top of the head, running from ear to ear.  The skull was fractured, and the brain was protruding from each end of the wound. The child was perfectly conscious at the time.  He saw her again at midnight, and on the following day at one p.m.  Everything possible was done, but the case was hopeless from the first.  The actual cause of death was fracture of the skull and shock to the system.  The right arm was fractured as well as the skull.  The Matron of the Hospital (Nurse Wood) deposed that the death of the child took place at 5.30 p.m. on Sunday.  She was conscious almost to the last, but said nothing as to the cause of the fall.  After the Coroner had briefly gone over the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  The Jury expressed their deep sympathy with the parents of the child and handed the fees to the father, who gave them to the Cottage Hospital.

PLYMOUTH - The woman ANN HALLET, aged forty-three, who jumped from a third floor window at the Plymouth Workhouse on Wednesday, and who was reported to be in a precarious state, died the same evening.  She had been an inmate of the house since April 10th, and was the wife of a town porter.  A verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was returned at the Inquest.

OKEHAMPTON - Shocking Death Of An Okehampton Farmer. - MR WILLIAM HENRY GUY, a farmer, living at Fatherford, Okehampton, was killed on the railway about a mile from Okehampton early on Thursday morning.  It appears deceased was walking on the line, and, not hearing the approach of a goods train, was run over and cut to pieces.  The remains were conveyed to Sampford Courtenay Station, but subsequently taken to Okehampton, where Mr J. D. Prickman (County Coroner) held an Inquest on Friday evening.  MR ALBERT E. GUY, brother of deceased, said on Tuesday evening deceased bought a horse from Mr Blanchford, of Paize Farm, Sampford Courtenay, and arranged to fetch it early on Thursday morning.  Thomas Tett, driver of the newspaper train, said that when near the accommodation bridge for New-buildings he felt the engine lurch.  He looked back and saw  man's hat roll out from under the train.  There is a curve in the line near the spot.  He stopped the train and going back found the body on the line. There was plenty of room for anyone to walk by the side of the railway in the path.  Robert Ware, guard of the train, corroborated.  - Dr Young, of Okehampton, said the wheels had evidently gone completely over the body.  The right arm was cut off, and the upper part of the chest was separated from the trunk. - P.C. Berry of Sampford Courtenay, found on the body £18 10s. in cash, a note for £10 and five deposit notes to the amount of £52.  The Jury, of whom Mr Thomas Jessop was foreman, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BIDEFORD - At the Union Inn, Bideford, on Friday, an Inquest was held by Mr Coroner Bromham respecting the death of EMILY SHADDICK, wife of JOHN THOMAS SHADDICK, mason's labourer.  MRS SHADDICK lived in the New Row, Bideford, and on Thursday morning was found on the kitchen floor, unconscious by Lucy Backway, wife of a painter, living a short distance from them.  The doctor was called, but the deceased did not recover consciousness.  The doctor stated that MRS SHADDICK senr., had said deceased was "overshadowed" by someone, and had taken some stuff obtained from that person.  He, therefore, on receipt of a telegram from the Coroner, made a post mortem examination, and gave the cause of death as being from an apoplectic fit.  the Coroner said there seemed to be a misunderstanding.  The woman said the doctor misunderstood what she said when he stated that she had told him deceased was overshadowed, and that she had got some medicine from some person for her.  His opinion, after what the doctor had said, was that death was caused by an apoplectic fit.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes, namely, an apoplectic fit.

Thursday 2 July 1896

KNOWSTONE - Suicide Of A Farm Labourer At Knowstone. A Curious Letter. - At Knowstone, on Saturday, Mr Coroner Bromham held an Inquest on the body of GEORGE BOWENS, farm labourer, aged thirty-one.  The facts elicited were that deceased had been in the employ of Mr William Quartly, of Knowstone, for fifteen months.  BOWENS ploughed a field with two horses on Thursday, and in the evening Mr Quartly found one of the horses in the field with one of its eyes knocked out.  BOWENS was sent for to bathe the horse's eye, but he could not be found.  The man did not go home, and his wife early on Friday morning informed Mr John Marshall, a neighbour, that he had not then returned.  Mr Marshall and his brother James instituted a search, and eventually found, in one of Mr Quartly's linhays BOWENS hanging by a halter to a beam quite dead.  They informed P.C. Stacey, who promptly appeared on the spot and cut the body down.  Stacey, on looking around, saw, written (with a slate stone) on the cover of a hay turner the words, addressed to deceased's wife:  "Good bye, my dear, xxxxxx, God bless you and my dear little ones.  The horse did it, I don't know how.  There is no blame to my dear wife."  The hay cover, bearing the words, was produced at the Inquest.  Mr Quartly remarked that BOWENS, who was a steady man, had worked for him for the past fifteen months. Witness did not know how the accident occurred to the horse, and if deceased had told him he should have overlooked it.  Had never had any angry words with deceased.  BOWENS had been, at times, rather "strange and peculiar" in his manner.  A verdict of Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was returned.

Thursday 16 July 1896

MONKOKEHAMPTON - Inquest At Monkokehampton.  - An Inquest was held by Mr J. D. Prickman (County Coroner) at the Old Swan Inn, Monkokehampton, touching the death of a boy named JOHN CLEMENTS, aged 3 ½ years.  Constable Crook said he was with Mr William Risdon in Monkokehampton village, outside the blacksmith's shop on Wednesday afternoon, about half-past 5, when he heard a horse galloping on the road with a butt-cart.  He tried to stop the horse as it passed, but failed.  The cart was loaded with six bags of manure.  He noticed that there was something wrong with the cart, as the shafts were down.  The horse tried to stop two or three times, but as soon as it did the front cross-piece of the cart came to its heels and forced the animal on.  He followed the horse and cart and saw that they were going straight for the deceased, who was sitting on the pavement in front of the Swan Inn. He saw the horse fall, and lost sight of the boy.  When he came up he found the deceased between the shafts and under the horses neck.  He took him up, and he commenced to bleed.  Deceased never spoke, but lived about an hour.  There was a cut on his left temple.  The horse and cart belonged to Mrs Goss, of Pixton, and William Alford, aged about 16 years, was in charge.  Alford came up within a minute or so of the occurrence and explained the circumstances of the horse running away and the tackle getting unhitched.  The occurrence was, in witness's opinion, a pure accident, and no human foresight could have prevented it.  Mr William Risdon, of Monkokehampton, corroborated.  William Alford, the driver, said just before he came into the village he was leading the horse, when all at once it commenced kicking.  He looked round and saw that the back chain had unhitched.  The horse began to run, and witness tried to stop it, but could not, as it was pushed on so fast by the load, and the animal soon got out of his hands and galloped away.  Dr Glynn, of Hatherleigh, having given evidence, the Jury returned a verdict that death was caused from haemorrhage and shock to the system, caused by a blow on the forehead, accidentally caused by the running away of a horse with a cart.

Thursday 23 July 1896

BIDEFORD - Sad Drowning Fatality At Bideford. - Mr Coroner Bromham held an Inquest at the Torridge Inn, Bideford, on Monday, on the body of WILLIAM JAMES LLOYD, a mason, who was drowned while bathing in the river Torridge on Sunday morning.  Mr Thomas Tucker was foreman of the Jury.  - WILLIAM LLOYD, labourer, of Meddon-street, Bideford, deposed that WILLIAM JAMES LLOYD was a mason, and 25 years of age.  Deceased leaves a widow and one child.  James Eastman, a carriage painter of Bideford, stated that he went with deceased for a bathe at Ford Rock, Bideford.  Deceased swam out a short distance, and was in the act of returning to the shore, when witness saw him commence to struggle in the water, and heard him call out something.  Witness called for two boys who were about 20 yards from deceased.  Witness also tried to get at deceased with the help of a young man named Butler, but could not reach him.  Before the boats had arrived the deceased had disappeared.  A young man named Nicholls dived after deceased, but could not find him.  The deceased was a poor swimmer.  Henry Butler corroborated.  William Giddy, fisherman, deposed to recovering the body about two hours after deceased had disappeared.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned, " and added a rider requesting the Bideford Town Council to place stakes and ropes, enclosing a space for indifferent swimmers at Ford Rock, with grappling irons and life preservers.

BRATTON FLEMING - Fatal Accident At Bratton Fleming. - Yesterday (Wednesday) Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest at the White Hart Inn, Bratton Fleming, on the body of JOHN HUNT, of Pennyhole Farm, who died on Tuesday from injuries received through his pony falling upon him.  RICHARD HUNT, of Loxhore, son of the deceased, said his father was 69 years of age.  He left a widow and five grown-up children.  H. Camp, labourer, deposed that he was at the White Hart Inn on July 4th, when he brought deceased's pony out of the stable.  He held the animal for deceased to mount.  MR HUNT mounted and said, "All right, let go the pony."  As soon as he let go the bridle, the pony reared, and deceased fell to the ground, the pony falling upon him.  Deceased was evidently much injured, and with assistance witness carried him into the Inn.  The pony was very restive, and appeared in a hurry to get on.  There was curb bit on it.  In answer to the Jury, the witness said the deceased was perfectly sober at the time.  - WILLIAM HUNT, son of deceased, said this was the first time the curb had been used on the pony.  The deceased found he could not hold it with a snaffle.  P.C. Carpenter also gave evidence.  Dr Manning deposed to attending the deceased.  When he arrived he found a bruise on the side of the head, the deceased's right arm and leg being paralysed.  Death was due to inflammation of the brain, caused by the accident.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 6 August 1896

GREAT TORRINGTON - Sad Gun Accident At Little Torrington.  A Town Councillor Killed. - A sad fatal accident happened at Little Torrington on Friday afternoon to MR WILLIAM HENRY LABBETT, builder, of New-street, Great Torrington.  Deceased, accompanied by his brother MR JOHN LABBETT, and Mr Cawsey, took part in a rabbit shoot on the latter's farm at Woodlands, Little Torrington.  They experienced a difficulty in getting the ferret out of a rabbit's hole, and to enable them to accomplish their purpose deceased placed the butt end of his gun in to the hole.  In with-drawing the gun it went off, the whole of the charge entering deceased's body, in the lower part of the stomach.  A doctor was sent for, and deceased was taken to his home in a cab, where, after a lapse of two hours, he expired.  Deceased was a member of the Town Council.  Only a week ago his wife died.  He leaves no family.  The sad event caused a painful sensation at Torrington, where deceased was respected by all classes.

On Saturday an Inquest was held at the Railway Hotel, Great Torrington, by Mr J. F. Bromham (County Coroner).  Mr B. T. James, solicitor, watched the case for the relatives.  Mr G. Gunn, was chosen foreman of the Jury.  MR JOHN LABBETT, brother of the deceased, and a mason of Swansea, said he had been on a visit to his late brother for the past week.  Deceased was 49 years of age.  On Friday afternoon witness and deceased by arrangement went to Mr Cawsey's farm, at Woodlands, Little Torrington, deceased taking his breech-loader double-barrelled gun and his ferret.  Immediately on arriving, the, with Mr Cawsey, went out on the farm rabbiting.  When the accident occurred, Mr Cawsey was on one side of a fence, and witness and deceased the other side.  Deceased was about five yards away from him, and he heard him speaking to Mr Cawsey, who was on the other side of the fence, about the ferret.  He then heard a gun go off, and deceased called out "I'm a dead man."  He saw him fall, and ran to his assistance at once.  Mr Cawsey crossed the hedge.  The gun was lying on the hedge where deceased dropped it. Mr Cawsey ran for a doctor.  Before leaving the scene of the accident witness asked deceased to explain how the accident happened.  He replied that he put the butt end of the gun into the hole so that Mr Cawsey might get the ferret on the other side of the hedge.  As he was pulling the gun back the trigger caught in a twig or something, and the gun went off.  It was about 7 o'clock in the evening when his brother died.  In answer to Mr James, witness gave some further particulars, and said his brother was in a large way of business, and had several contracts on hand.  As far as he knew he was financially sound, and was in his usual good spirits up to the time of the accident.  John Cawsey corroborated the last witness's evidence, and added that he had not the slightest doubt that the statement made by the deceased after the accident was perfectly correct.  He examined the gun in the evening, and he found both hammers down.  Neither of them was "cocked."  He was of opinion that both hammers were down when the butt end of the gun was put into the hole, but that in pulling the gun out of the hole one of the hammers, owing to some obstruction, became slightly lifted up, and when the obstruction was passed the hammer went down again, and the gun was then fired.  - A Juryman remarked that that was a very good explanation of the accident.  - Mr Mackindoe, surgeon, assistant to Dr Sutcliffe, said that on visiting the deceased he found him lying on his side close by the hedge.  He was conscious, but he was in great pain, and he had his knees drawn up.  He made a slight examination, and found a terrible gun-shot wound in the left side below the ribs.  One of the ribs was smashed.  He saw at once that there was very little hope of life.  In the statement deceased made to him he said the muzzle of the gun was against his side as he drew it from the rabbit hole.  After he was taken home witness gave him chloroform, partly to ease the pain and partly to enable witness to make a further examination.  Deceased never came round again, and died of haemorrhage.  This was the whole of the evidence, and the Coroner briefly summed up, expressing sympathy with the friends of the deceased.  The Jury returned a unanimous verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 13 August 1896

TORRINGTON - An Infants Death At Torrington. - At the Old Inn, Torrington , on Tuesday, an Inquest was held by Mr Coroner Bromham on the body of FLORENCE EVELINE SUSSEX, aged about four months.  Mr J. Quick was appointed foreman of the Jury.  Dr Wm. Chas. Burt, of Torrington, stated that 11 p.m. on August 3rd, he was called by deceased's father, who stated that the child (which he said was in witness's club) had been ill two or three days.  He asked SUSSEX whether he thought the child was dying, and he said "No, it is only very bad."  He therefore thought that it could stand over until the morning.  SUSSEX came again at 12 o'clock, after witness had gone to bed, and asked him to come and see the child.  He inquired whether the child was worse, SUSSEX replying that he did not think so, but the mother and others were anxious about the child, and did not like to go to bed until he had seen it. Witness went down with the father as soon as he could to his house in Well Street.  He examined the child (which was in a cradle in the kitchen) and found it was only semi-conscious and in the last stage of emaciation.  Witness informed the parents that he thought it was too late to give the child any medicine, but he ordered it raw meat (pounded up in a mortar) and brandy to be mixed with milk.  SUSSEX sent for him again the next morning about 9 o'clock, and witness found the child in about the same condition.  He gave it some medicine, but did not see the child afterwards alive.  On Sunday morning, about half-past nine, the father of the child came to his house and told him it was dead.  He told him that he could not give the usual certificate as to the cause of death, and that he should report the matter to the Coroner.  His principal reason for not giving a certificate was that the child had been allowed to get so very ill before a doctor was sent for.  Another reason why he declined to give a certificate was that he was dissatisfied with the condition of the child when he was first called in.  The child had not only wasted away, but was practically nothing but skin and bones.  He had weighed the child since death, and it was 6 ¼ pounds.  The ordinary weight of the child should be about 11 pounds.  His opinion was that the child had been fed on improper food, and food it did not assimilate.  Witness thought that there had been neglect of the child, and that had brought on its bad state of health and general condition of emaciation and consequently led to its death.  - By the Jury:  Could not say that the child died of any organic disease, but his opinion was that it died of improper feeding.  As a matter of fact the child was not in his club.  - In reply to Mr Lawman, representing the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Dr Burt said the child was fairly clean.  The mother told him that the child was healthy when born.  - By Captain Buchanan (Superintendent of Police):  He should think the child had been in a semi-conscious condition for two or three hours before he saw it.  He told the father that medical advice ought to have been sought before, and SUSSEX said he had been away all the day.  - MARY BESSIE SUSSEX stated that the deceased (her child) was four months old.  After its birth she nursed the child for about a fortnight, and then (in consequence of her milk being bad) the child was fed (by means of a bottle) with raw milk mixed with water.  The milk was put fresh into the bottle two or three times a day.  She always had the charge of the child, which was small from its birth.  After the child was weaned and fed with a bottle it seemed to gain flesh for a bit.  She did not notice anything wrong with it until the Saturday previous to the doctor being called in, when it had a cold.  On the Sunday deceased seemed to be better again.  On Monday morning the child seemed better and she went to Clovelly with her husband and some friends.  She left the child for the day in charge of Mrs Vodden, a neighbour.  They returned from Clovelly about 10 p.m. and found the child so bad that her husband went to Dr Burt and asked him to come and see it.  He came afterwards and told her what to do, and she carried out his instructions.  Her husband was a farm labourer, earning 12s. per week.  She did not work herself.  The reason why she did not send for the doctor before was that she did not think he was required.  The child was not insured, and they derived no advantage in the shape of money by its death.  They had two children besides the deceased.  - WILLIAM S. SUSSEX, the father of the child, said he was away all day and only home at night.  The deceased child was small from birth.  - Elizabeth Hammett (midwife), said she attended MRS SUSSEX in all her confinements and deceased (when born) was smaller than the other children.  She had frequently seen the child since.   The baby has wasted, but it always seemed very cheerful and ate its food.  She always considered the baby was kept clean and looked after.  Did not believe the child died from neglect or improper feeding.  - Elizabeth Vodden said she was a neighbour of the SUSSEX family.  A week previously MRS SUSSEX was going to Clovelly, so she asked her to look after the baby.  The child was brought into her house and remained there all day.  Milk was brought for its use during the day.  The child was not very well when it was brought in and seemed to get worse during the day.  When the parents returned she told them of it and advised them to have a doctor.  As neighbour to the SUSSEX'S she was often in their house, and the mother looked after her children.  Elizabeth Judd said she supplied MRS SUSSEX on an average for the past four months with half-pint of new milk and two quarts of scald milk.  The coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict that the child died from Natural Causes and was weakly from birth.

ILFRACOMBE - A Sad Case Of Suicide. - At the Castle Coffee Tavern, Church-street, Ilfracombe, on Monday afternoon, Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of MRS LUCY WEBBER, aged 27, wife of MR WILLIAM HENRY WEBBER, baker, Wilder Road, adjoining the National Schools, who jumped from a garret window on Sunday morning, sustaining injuries from which she died the same night.

Mr J. P. Huxtable was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The first witness was deceased's husband, who said he last saw his wife alive about 8.45 p.m. on the evening previous.  She was in bed, having had a fall from a window, about 20 feet.  She had been weak and strange at times.  Witness was downstairs, and hearing Nurse Seldon call to his wife, went to see what it was.  He then saw her going from the ledge of the roof.  After coming into contact with a wire clothes line, she fell to the ground.  The window his wife fell from was that of an empty room.  Witness ran downstairs and out at the back to pick his wife up.  She was alive, but witness could not remember whether she spoke or not.  The time of the fall was just after midnight on Saturday.  Dr Payne was sent for, and his wife lingered until about 8.45 on Sunday evening.  Witness did not know that his wife threatened to do away with herself, and knew of no reason for her saying such a thing.

By the Foreman:  Nurse Seldon was in MRS WEBBER'S own room when she left it.

By P.S. Pike:  Witness had only left his wife's room about 2 minutes before the fall.

Susan Seldon said she was looking after MRS WEBBER, and was fetched to her on Saturday morning.  MR WEBBER took her to MRS WEBBER'S room, she not knowing MRS WEBBER until then. Deceased whispered when she wanted anything, and complained of pains in the stomach.  Dr Payne ordered her egg and milk which she swallowed.  Deceased talked in a funny way sometimes, fancying she saw things in the room.  Dr Payne told witness to keep MRS WEBBER quiet.  She never threatened to injure herself. Deceased on SAturday night left her room. She was very light and active, and ran upstairs.  After the fall from the window, MR WEBBER asked her to call the neighbours, and she did so, but was too frightened to go into the room where MRS WEBBER was for some time.  Witness did not hear deceased speak after the accident.

By the Foreman:  During Saturday afternoon MRS WEBBER tried to leave the room, but witness stopped her.

Thomas Henry Joliffe, mason, said deceased was his daughter.  He was called to see her about 12.30 on Sunday morning.  He saw her in bed, and was told she had fallen from a window.  he had never noticed anything wrong in her mind. She was always healthy, but had not been quite well since the birth of her first child.  She lived on good terms with her husband.  Witness knew Dr Payne of whom his daughter spoke highly, had been attending her.  At this stage, the Inquest was adjourned until Tuesday, for the attendance of Dr Payne.

At the adjourned Inquest, Dr Payne said he had been attending deceased for about two days, and she was evidently suffering from mental depression, but had no physical disease.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased died through injuries received through a fall from a bedroom window whilst Temporarily Insane.  The Jury unanimously agreed to give their fees to deceased's husband, as a mark of their sympathy.

TORRINGTON - Suicide Of A North Devon Farm Bailiff. - An Inquest was held on Wednesday at Huish Barton, near Torrington, by Mr J. F. Bromham, on the body of JAMES ADAMS, who was bailiff to Lord Clinton.  GEORGE JAMES ADAMS, his son, said that the deceased was 46 years of age, and had been in Lord Clinton's employ about ten months as farm bailiff.  Between 6 and 7 o'clock the previous morning, his father was missed while the men were waiting to receive their orders for work.  Witness went into the drying house and found his father hanging there.  The workmen went into the drying house and took the body down.  His father had been depressed and in a low state of mind for some time past, and had been attended by Dr Drummond.  - John Cudmore, a labourer in the employ of Lord Clinton, corroborated.  He had noticed that the deceased had been depressed of late.  On Monday evening he had a conversation with MR ADAMS, and he then considered his manner was rather strange.  - John Cockwell gave similar evidence.  -  Dr Drummond, of Dolton, said deceased had suffered from indigestion, and had been in a very depressed state for some time.  The deceased's wife had told him that her husband had been grieving about the bad state of the crops in consequence of the dry weather.  There was nothing, however, in deceased's manner which made it necessary that he should be constantly watched.  - Henry Wright, clerk of the works on the Clinton Estate, said that at times lately he had noticed that the deceased had been restless and slightly depressed.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane."  - The Jury voted their fees to the North Devon Infirmary, the foreman promising to forward the money.

Thursday 20 August 1896

BIDEFORD - Sad Fatal Accident At Clovelly. - MR ARTHUR HENRY GORRELL, aged 17, son of MR R. GORRELL, carpenter, Silver-street, Bideford, visited Clovelly on Monday, and while he was sitting on the rocks under the road to the left of the harbour he was struck in the head by a stone, sustaining such terrible injuries that he died shortly afterwards.  The melancholy facts were adduced in evidence at the Inquest held yesterday by Mr Coroner Bromham at the Torridge Inn, Bideford.  Capt. J. Pengilly was chosen foreman of the Jury.  - Herbert J. Harding, mason, identified the body as that of his late brother-in-law, ARTHUR HENRY GORRELL.  Deceased was learning his trade as painter.  On Monday a party of about 22, all relatives of deceased, went to Clovelly in a break for a picnic.  After partaking of dinner, the party went on to the quay, and after seeing a steamer arrive, they had a photograph of the group taken.  Some then went out in boats afterwards.  Witness said that he had come ashore from a boat when he saw a stone fall.  he sang out that a stone was falling, and as the deceased was getting up the stone struck him on the back of the head, and he fell over on to his mother.  Deceased was rendered immediately unconscious.  Several persons came to assist, and also two doctors.  After the doctors had done all they could for him deceased was placed in the break on a mattress lent by the coastguard.  They started for home, one of the medical men accompanying them.  After they had driven about a mile his brother-in-law expired.  Witness did not know how the accident happened.  - By the Foreman:  Witness did not at the time see anyone on the cliff.  There were a great number of people on the beach at the time.  - Frederick Boughton, police constable at Clovelly, said about 3.45 p.m. on Monday, he heard that an accident had occurred on Clovelly Beach.  He went to him on the beach, but the deceased had been removed to the coastguard's boathouse, where two doctors were attending to him.  While deceased was at the boathouse, witness kept the crowd from the window of the house, and was informed that the stone was dislodged from the cliff above, by two gentlemen.  One being pointed out, witness asked him if he could give any account of how the stone was dislodged.  He said "I and my friend were trying to sit on the wall and the stone fell over, rested on the ledge, and then rolled down the cliff.  We shouted out, but could not say that those below heard."  Witness afterwards took their names and addresses and they left in a steamer for Lynmouth.  The gentlemen gave witness their names and addresses most willingly.  they were very much cut up about the matter, and said it was a pure accident.  The stone now produced, 42 lbs. in weight, was afterwards handed to witness by Mr Thomas Pengilly as being the one that struck deceased.  He found that the stone fitted in the place in the wall.  The all, which is on the cliff below which the accident occurred, is 42 inches high.  The stone must have fallen a distance of about 85 feet.  There was no mortar or anything to hold the stone, which could be easily dislodged.  The wall belongs to the District Council.  - By the Jury:  After once the stone was dislodged, there was nothing to stop it from rolling on to the beach. - Alfred Nuthall, living at Kingston-on-Thames, and in business with his father, who is a tea merchant, deposed that for some time he had been staying at Lynmouth with his brother.  On Monday he went to Clovelly in a steamer with a friend, Mr Ramsbotham.  This was his first visit to Clovelly, and he knew nothing about the place.  Between 3 o'clock and 4 o'clock he and his friend went for a stroll and sat down on the wall.  They had been on the wall for some time, and in order to get near to his friend witness moved a little, and as he did so, heard a stone fall.  Both saw the stone fall, but could do nothing to stop it from going over the cliff.  They both shouted as loud as they could to those below.  Witness saw the stone strike someone, and saw the person fall forward, and they both immediately ran down to see if they could render any assistance. It was a purely accidental occurrence.  In consequence of a telegram that the poor fellow was dead, and that an Inquest would be held they came to Bideford.  - Mr William Ramsbotham, clerk in the office of the School Board of London, who was with the previous witness when the accident occurred, corroborated, and said he shouted "look out there," and was afterwards informed he had been heard in the boats.  - Mr Arnold Moritz, M.B., Highgate, deposed to hearing shouting from the quay, and finding deceased with the base of his skull fractured.  He accompanied GORRELL into Bideford, and when about a mile out deceased died.  His injuries were very serious.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and added a rider, calling upon the local authorities to attend to the wall.

BRADWORTHY - Fatal Accident To  A Boy At Bradworthy. - The circumstances attending the death of JOHN FRY FISHLEIGH, aged thirteen years, as the result of falling from a pony cart were investigated by Mr Coroner Bromham at Lower Town, Bradworthy, on Tuesday.  Deceased's father is a farmer in Canada.  - Ruth Jennings, deceased's aunt, said she had brought up the boy.  On Saturday, about seven p.m. he left Bradworthy with her pony and cart for the purpose of meeting his cousin, who was coming from Holsworthy.  Later she was told he had met with an accident, and between nine and ten p.m. the poor boy was brought home dead.  The boy had often driven the pony, which had been in her possession some years, and was very quiet.  - Richard Ashton, farmer, of Lower Holsworthy, deposed that at eight p.m. on Saturday he came across a pony-cart upset in the roadway about threequarters of a mile from Bradworthy.  On examination, he discovered FISHLEIGH under the cart lying on his face.  The pony was standing quietly grazing in the hedge.  Witness lifted the cart and extricated the boy, who was quite dead.  Witness put the lad by the side of the hedge whilst he obtained assistance, the body being subsequently conveyed home.  - Dr G. W. Emtage, of Bradworthy, informed the Jury that he heard of the accident soon after eight p.m. on Saturday, and shortly afterwards had the body conveyed home.  The unfortunate lad was quite dead, his neck having been broken.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

NEWTON ABBOT - At Newton Abbot Town Hall on Thursday, Mr Coroner Hacker opened an Inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of MRS GRANT, who is supposed to have been murdered by her husband on Sunday morning.  The man still lies at the hospital suffering from injuries sustained by throwing himself in front of a train in an attempt to commit suicide, but as he is expected to recover in about a fortnight, the Inquest was adjourned for that period in order that he might attend the proceedings.

Thursday 27 August 1896

ILFRACOMBE - Terrible And Fatal Fall From The Cliffs.  Inquest And Verdict. - On Tuesday morning, about nine, the body of a young man was found on the beach, under the Torrs, and it proved to be that of HENRY VIDAL MOXON, youngest son of CAPTAIN MOXON, of Torr Park.  The body was taken on a stretcher to the parents' house, and on Wednesday morning an Inquest was held at the House, Hillside, Torrs Park, before E. J. Slade-Kind, Esq., Deputy Coroner for the district.

Mr Tattam was chosen foreman of the Jury, and after the body had been viewed, the first witness called was Colonel Hopkinson, of Redland, Bristol, who identified the body as that of HENRY VIDAL MOXON, aged 21, of Hillside, Torrs Park.  He was a medical student of the University College, London.  Witness last saw him alive on Monday last, about 10 a.m., passing along the Wilder Road, near the Hotel Tennis Courts.  Witness last spoke to him on the previous Saturday, he was in his usual health, and conversed with cheerfulness about his work.  Deceased was fond of collecting plants, and last year witness's son went with him to the Tors cliffs for the purpose.

Richard Souch, boatman, Ilfracombe, said that on Tuesday last he was on the Tors Walk's beach, about 9 a.m., when he saw a body on the beach lying on the sand, twenty yards below high water mark. Witness went over the slips into White Pebble Bay, and found the body of a man, dressed, all the clothing being wet.  There was no hat on.  The body seemed to have been left where it was by the tide, which was ebbing.  Deceased was lying on his back, and perfectly free.  There were no marks of violence, and the body was stiff.  Witness sent a lad for the police, to whom he handed over the body.  Witness had been sent to search for deceased by his father, who had told him to round the Hangman.  - By the Jury:  If found, the set of the tide would have been likely to wash him in and out close by the same place. Witness found a wet coat at some distance from the body; it seemed as if it had been washed off.  There were no marks of dirt on the coat.

CAPTAIN THOMAS MOXON, father of the deceased, said that his son took lunch with him on Monday last, about 1.15 p.m. and was in his ordinary health and spirits.  He waited half-an-hour after lunch for a friend, with whom he had appointed to take a walk, but the friend did not come.  Deceased left the house at 2.15 p.m., but did not say where he was going.  Witness only knew he was going for a short walk, intending to return to tea at 4 p.m.  Witness knew nothing of his son's movements between the time he left the house, and the time he was brought in.  Deceased was short-sighted, and was very fond of climbing about the rocks and cliffs at times; he knew the coast thoroughly well.  When deceased did not come back to tea MRS MOXON became anxious, but witness thought he had gone to a teaching engagement.  At 9 p.m. witness himself became anxious, and hearing that his son had not been at his pupil's notice was given to the police and further enquiries were made.  Witness engaged a boatman at the Pier to search for his son, and the body was brought home about 10 a.m. on Tuesday.  The coat brought with it was the one deceased was wearing when he left the house on Monday.  The pockets contained sand and small sea-beach pebbles; the coat was not torn or marked in any way.  Deceased was inclined to be venturesome.  - By the Jury:  The boots indicated that deceased had probably been on soft ground.  There were no marks or scratches on the hands.

Colonel Hopkinson, re-called, said the afternoon of Monday was very thick, hazy, and wet.

Dr J. T. Gardner deposed that deceased was one of his patients, and was a young man of great ability.  Witness had not attended him medically for some time as he had been thoroughly well.  Deceased was fond of botany, and anything scientific.  He was given to climbing.  Witness saw the body on Tuesday morning at Hillside, about 10.45.  It was on the bed, stripped; the face and head were swollen and congested; the neck was broken, and the base of the skull was fractured.  Witness was of opinion that death was the result of a fall, and that it almost immediately followed the injury; deceased would at once have become unconscious.  There were no marks of the head having struck a rock, it was more likely that he fell direct on to the sand or gravel.  No injuries were apparent on the rest of the body. 

The Coroner having briefly reviewed the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased met with his death as the result of an Accidental Fall.  The Jury also desired the Coroner to express their deep sympathy with CAPTAIN and MRS MOXON and family in their bereavement, and in promising to do so Dr Slade-King spoke warmly of the ability of the deceased as a former member of the Science and Art Classes.  The fees of the Jury were given to the Hospital Saturday Fund.

BIDEFORD - Fatal Fall Over Bideford Quay. - An Inquest was held at the Bideford Infirmary on Saturday by Mr Coroner Bromham on the body of WILLIAM TAYLOR, an inmate of the Bideford Workhouse, who died from the result of injuries received through falling over Bideford Quay on Wednesday, August 12th, the result of defective eyesight.  HERBERT TAYLOR, grandson of deceased, stated he was on the quay about five o'clock on the day of the occurrence, when deceased came along and someone called his attention to the fact that his grandfather was walking towards the edge of the Quay.  Deceased was some distance away.  Witness called out and made a rush for him, but he fell over the Quay to the mud below, a distance of some twenty feet, before witness could get close to stop deceased.  He was picked up and removed to the Hospital.  Mr W. H. Andrews, Master of the Workhouse, stated that deceased was almost blind.  Dr C. K. Ackland said the deceased sustained a dislocated shoulder, and several ribs broken, and his lungs pierced, which was the cause of death.  The Jury, of which Mr H. Baglow was foreman, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 3 September 1896

NEWTON ABBOT. - The Alleged Wife Murder At Newton Abbot. - The adjourned Inquest on the body of MRS GRANT was held at Newton Abbot on Thursday, when further evidence as to the repeated quarrels between deceased and her husband was given.  GRANT had frequently expressed doubts as to his wife's fidelity.  When a child was born eighteen months ago he entered the bedroom during the temporary absence of the nurse and frightened his wife.  When remonstrated with he said he meant to torture his wife as a cat tortured a mouse.  He frequently drove his wife out of the house at night and had threatened to knock out her brains, and he made a will leaving all his property to his sister's children.  Ultimately the Inquest was adjourned until September 11th, when it is believed that GRANT will be able to attend.

Thursday 17 September 1896

NEWTON ABBOT - The Inquest on MRS SARAH GRANT, who, it is alleged, was killed by her husband at Newton Abbot on August 9th, was concluded on Friday.  The evidence showed that the husband has shown signs of mental derangement ever since an accident he had in 1872, and had once attempted to shoot himself.  A verdict of Death from Injuries Wilfully Inflicted was returned, and GRANT was committed for trial on the charge of Murder.  At Newton Abbot on Saturday HARRY GRANT was committed for trial, charged with the murder of his wife.  Medical evidence was adduced to show that GRANT suffered from mania.

Thursday 24 September 1896

EXETER - Mr J. Burrow, jun., held an Inquest at Exeter on Thursday relative to the death of LOUISA GREENSLADE, a single woman, 72 years of age, residing at 20 Pinhoe-road.  Ernest Boucher on Tuesday evening took her up a glass of milk, which she usually drank before going to bed.  He knocked at her bedroom door, but received no answer, and on looking in noticed deceased lying on the floor.  Mr F. Steele Perkins, surgeon, said deceased had been dead about five hours.  On opening the windpipe he found a piece of pork which deceased had evidently tried to eat for dinner, but which had stuck in her throat and caused suffocation.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

ILFRACOMBE - Sad Sudden Death At Ilfracombe. - An Inquest was held at 54 St Brannock's Road, Ilfracombe, before Dr E. J. Slade-King, on Monday morning, touching the death of ALFRED JAMES MOORE, grocer, who died under sad circumstances on Saturday.  Mr E. H. Wood was chosen foreman of the Jury. -  NORAH MOORE, widow of the deceased, identified the body of her late husband, who was 41 years of age.  On Friday evening at about 10 o'clock he came home from business - Mrs Broome's, grocer, High-street - and was apparently in his usual health.  He partook of a basin of Liebig's Extract  for his supper and they retired to rest.  About 5.30 on Saturday morning she was aroused by a noise which evidently proceeded from her husband's throat.  She spoke to him, but he made no reply, and finding that he was helpless, she called her mother, and sent for Dr Langridge.  The doctor came as soon as possible.  Deceased had not been ill since December, 1893, when he suffered from an attack of influenza.  - Dr Langridge stated that he arrived at deceased's house about 6 o'clock on Thursday morning, and found him in bed unconscious.  He did not think deceased breathed after his arrival, but he gave one or two gasps.  He did his best to restore animation, but without avail.  There was no evidence whatever to show that death was due to other than natural causes.  The Coroner pointed out to the Jury that this was all the evidence which could be called, unless they thought fit to order a post-mortem examination.  - The Jury thought such a course entirely unnecessary, and returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  They expressed their sympathy with the widow and family of the deceased, to whom they gave their fees.

Thursday 1 October 1896

ASHREIGNEY - Suicide At Ashreigney. - The suicide of SAMUEL PADDON, farm labourer, aged sixty-three, formed the subject of an Inquest at Ashreigney on Friday.  According to evidence deceased went to bed in his usual health on Wednesday night, and rising at six o'clock on Thursday morning, left the house.  - Emma Kenner deposed that she subsequently found deceased hanging to an apple-tree in the orchard, and raised an alarm.  He had got up into the tree by means of a ladder.  - Mr Samuel Boundy, jun., stated that he visited the orchard, cut the body down from the tree, and had it conveyed to his house.  He knew deceased very well, and he was about the last person he should have thought would have committed such a rash act.  - P.C. Farleigh gave evidence, and said deceased was a steady, sober man, and he did not know of any reason for his destroying himself.  The Jury returned a verdict of suicide whilst Temporarily Insane.

BRAUNTON - The Sad Accident At Braunton.  Death of MR HEDDON.  -  Much regret was expressed at Braunton on Thursday, when it became known that MR THOMAS HEDDON, of Heanton-street, had expired as the result of the accident which occurred to him just one week previously.  The Inquest was held at the police station in the evening, before Dr Slade-King, of Ilfracombe.  - Henry Chichester, mariner, having deposed that HEDDON was eighty-six years of age and formerly a stonecutter -  George Lacy, naval pensioner, was called.  He deposed that whilst walking past the Railway Inn on the evening of the 16th he saw deceased stop about 10 to 15 yds. in front of him.  HEDDON was standing from 4 feet to 6 feet from the kerb, when some horses (ridden by boys) came around the corner.  Witness called out, but one of the horses struck deceased who fell, the other passing over him without touching him.  It was dark at the time, and witness assisted the old man to his house, and Wm. Luscombe sent for Dr Harper.  - William John Cole, road excavator, said he saw a young man named Luscombe and a lad riding the horses up Caen-street.  One of the animals shied, and Luscombe struck it with a halter.  The animals galloped round the corner, and witness called out "If you don't mind what you are about you will be riding over somebody."  Luscombe, who could not have seen deceased before he struck his horse, tried to pull up, but the old man was knocked down.  Witness having lifted deceased up called out to the riders to come back; and they carried deceased home.  - Sidney Gubb (in the employ of Mr Huxtable, farmer) who said he did not understand the nature of an oath, stated that he was riding the second horse and saw the accident.  The horses only had halters on at the time.  - The Coroner enquired whether witness had been to school, and he replied that he had left school, and was at work on a farm.  He was fourteen years of age, and could not write his name.  The Coroner said it was a perfect disgrace that such a thing should be allowed.  People had to pay heavy rates for education and here was a boy supposed to have passed through a school who was absolutely ignorant.  - P.S. Luckraft who watched the case on behalf of the police, called P.C. Prideaux, who deposed to having twice previously cautioned Luscombe against furious riding and driving.  The Coroner pointed out to the Jury that if it was their opinion that Luscombe rode the horses faster than he legally ought to have done, it would be their duty to return a verdict of manslaughter.  - Dr Walter Harper deposed that he had attended HEDDON, who died from concussion of the brain and general shock.  After a long consultation the Jury agreed upon a verdict of "Accidental Death" and passed a rider that they considered the corner by the premises known as the old Barnstaple Inn dangerous.

Thursday 8 October 1896

ASHREIGNEY. - A Child Burnt To Death. - Mr Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest at Riddlescombe, Ashreigney, on Thursday, on the body of a little boy, aged two and a half years, named SYDNEY ERNEST HARRIS, the son of a carpenter.  On Monday evening, according to the evidence, the child's mother took a crock of brine from the fire and placed it on the floor, against the wall, to cool.  About two hours afterwards, the child fell into the crock in a sitting posture.  She took him out at once, but he did not cry or scream.  Her daughter went to Dolton for Dr Sutcliffe. Before he came, however, the mother had undressed the child and put sweet oil to the scalds.  The poor little fellow lingered until about half-past three o'clock the next day.  SUSAN HARRIS, a sister of the deceased, corroborated the above statement, but she could not say how long the crock had been off the fire.  Dr Sutcliffe proved dressing the scalds.  After leaving the house he did not again hear from the parents.  The actual cause of death was shock to the system, consequent on the severe burns.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

COLEDRIDGE - FRANCIS NORTHAM, aged 17, son of MR W. NORTHAM, farmer, of Coleridge, was driving a pair of horses in a wagon to Northtawton Railway Station on Wednesday morning in last week, when the shaft pin slipped and the horses bolted.  The youth held on to the shaft horse's head, but the pair went so fast that he had to let go.  The waggon knocked him down and passed over him.  He breathed once or twice, moved his arm once, and died.  At the Inquest held by Mr Prickman on the same evening as the accident, the Jury (Mr J. C. Pierce, foreman) returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 15 October 1896

SWYMBRIDGE - Strange Suicide Of A Boy At Swymbridge. - On Friday night THOMAS GEORGE LEY, aged thirteen, was missed by his employer, Mr L. H. Alford, Dennington Barton, Swybridge, and a search for him up to midnight proved unavailing.  Next morning, however, RICHARD LEY, father of the boy, found his lifeless body hanging in a barn situated on the farm.  The sad discovery caused a great sensation at Swymbridge, and much sympathy was expressed for the unfortunate lad's relatives.  The circumstances of the case were elicited at an Inquest conducted by Mr Bromham, County Coroner, on Saturday, at Dennington.  Mr Alford deposed that deceased had been in his employ as indoor farm servant for eighteen months.  Returning from the North of England (where he had been on business) about six o'clock on Friday evening, he was informed that deceased had not taken the cows in, in accordance with custom.  Thinking the lad might have been taken ill in one of the fields, a search was instituted, LEY'S father being among the party.  The search was continued until between eleven and twelve o'clock at night, but nothing could be seen of LEY.  Whilst witness was dressing about six o'clock on Saturday morning, however, MR LEY came to the house and announced that he had found his boy in the barn.  Witness did not look into the barn on the previous evening.  MR LEY and one of two others having said the lad was not there  Deceased was found to be hanging to a beam at the further end of the barn, the feet being rather more than two feet from the ground.  In connection with the rope by which deceased suspended there was a roughly tied knot.  The body was promptly cut down, but was quite cold, and life had apparently been extinct for several hours.  In order to get into the barn, deceased must have first entered the loft by means of a ladder.  LEY was a well-behaved, quiet lad, and he had no idea what induced him to commit suicide.  On enquiry, witness could not find that anything had gone wrong in the house, or that LEY had been found fault with by anyone.  Some six or seven years ago an uncle of the deceased committed suicide.  - By the Jury:  Deceased must have taken the rope used from one of the carts in a shed.  - RICHARD LEY spoke to hearing that his boy was missing on Friday evening and to joining in the search.  Witness opened the door of the barn, and called out deceased's name.  He received no answer, and not considering his son was there, he closed the door.  Taking a lamp into the barn on Saturday morning, witness saw his son at the other end.  he first thought he was standing up, but on getting nearer found he was hanging.  Subsequently Mr Alford assisted to cut down the body.  Witness last saw him alive about five minutes to three o'clock on Friday afternoon, when he was in the lower yard of the farm.  There was nothing in his manner or appearance to lead anyone to suppose that he intended to commit suicide.  Witness knew of nothing that was worrying him, except he told him that Mr Harris's gardener wanted him to come with him to work.  Witness advised him to remain where he was and be contented, inasmuch as he had a good place at Mr Alford's.  -  Wm. Smith, gardener to Mr Harris, of Dennington House, denied having said anything to LEY to induce him to leave Mr Alford's employ.  LEY inquired recently whether "GEORGE," the late boy, was coming back again, witness replying that it was uncertain, and that if he did not, he should be having someone else.  He (Smith) inquired what LEY earned at Mr Alford's, and on LEY answering "2s. a week and board and lodging," he remarked that it was pretty good for a farm lad.  Witness last saw deceased whilst in Dennington Drive about a quarter past four on Friday afternoon.  LEY was proceeding in the direction of Dennington Barton.  He generally spoke to witness, but did not on this occasion.  Had said nothing which would cause the lad to be disappointed at being unable to leave Mr Alford's service.  - A verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was returned.

Thursday 22 October 1896

BRATTON FLEMING - The Terrible Burning Accident At Bratton Fleming.  Death Of The Victim.  -  In our last issue we gave particulars of a shocking accident sustained by SAMUEL KERSLAKE, retired carpenter, aged seventy-five, at Bratton Fleming last week.  The unfortunate man, who was conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary suffering from severe burns, expired on Sunday evening, an Inquest being held on Monday afternoon by Mr A. Bencraft, Deputy Coroner for Barnstaple (acting for Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, who was unwell). Mr W. Mitchell was chosen foreman of the Jury.

Sidney Hill, farmer's son, stated that about 8.45 p.m. on the previous Tuesday the landlady of the White Hart Inn, Bratton Fleming, asked him to help deceased to his house, which was about 200 yards distant.  KERSLAKE suffered from gout, and was difficult to get home; and witness got another young man to assist him.  As to whether deceased was drunk he did not know what to say; a very little drink would upset KERSLAKE.  On arrival at deceased's house, they took him upstairs and put him on the bed.  Deceased. however, would not stay there, and they then placed him in a chair which was close to the bed.  They wanted to extinguish the candle which was in an old-fashioned, but firm candle-stick on the dresser, but KERSLAKE would not allow them.  As they did not consider KERSLAKE'S condition dangerous, they left the candle burning, and took their departure.  About twenty minutes afterwards witness passed the house, but did not hear anything unusual. - By the Jury:  The candlestick was about 5 feet from the bed, and there was about 1 ¼ inches of candle.

Wm. Radmore, farm labourer, residing next door to deceased, deposed that about 9.45 p.m. on Tuesday night they heard groans proceeding from KEWRSLAKE'S house.  They entered and proceeding upstairs, found him on the top with his clothes on fire, the room being full of smoke.  Deceased was sensible, but did not make any statement relative to the occurrence.  Deceased was severely burned in the lower part of the body, and only portions of his trousers, waistcoat and shirt remained.  Witness's wife called in P.C. Carpenter, and witness remained with KERSLAKE all night.  Deceased (who did not appear to be in any pain) was about seven o'clock next morning removed to the Infirmary in accordance with Dr Jackson's instructions.  By the Coroner:  Witness found the candlestick upset in the middle of the room, there being no candle.

P.C. Carpenter informed the Jury that at 10 p.m. he found KERSLAKE sitting in a chair.  The last witness (who was standing beside him) told him what had occurred, and witness cut off the remaining portions of deceased's trousers, and applied oil to the burns.  The deceased was terribly burnt, and some of his flesh dropped off as he was being put into bed.  KERSLAKE seemed to know him, but was wandering in his thoughts.  Dr Jackson was sent for, and witness ultimately left KERSLAKE in charge of his daughter, who came from Pilton, Barnstaple.

Dr Mark Jackson, of Barnstaple, deposed that he was called to Bratton Fleming between twelve and one o'clock on Wednesday morning.  He immediately proceeded to KERSLAKE'S house and found him in bed suffering from very severe and deep burns on the right side and around the right thigh as far as the knee.  As deceased had no relatives living at Bratton Fleming, witness suggested that MR KERSLAKE should be removed to the North Devon Infirmary, where he would be properly nursed.  Witness had since attended him in the Infirmary, but owing to his great age and the severity of the injuries it could scarcely be expected that he would survive any time, and he died from shocks to the system on Sunday evening.

The Coroner, summing up, said it was very dangerous and undesirable for an old man of seventy-five to indulge too freely in alcoholic liquors; whilst he commented on the undesirability of old people living alone.  He had known a great many cases in which the lives of people might have been saved provided anyone had been living in the same house with them when accidents occurred, whilst he had known a great many others in which lives had been just saved by neighbours.  There could be no doubt that in this case the injuries were accidental, and he advised the Jury to return a verdict of Accidental Death.  The Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

BULKWORTHY - Fatal Accident At Bulkworthy. - An Inquest was held on Tuesday by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on the body of an old man, WILLIAM HEARN, a carpenter, living at Haytown, Bulkworthy.  He was also the Parish Clerk. One day last week he was employed in cutting a large bough off a tree in the churchyard.  He was being assisted by John Tarr, gardener to the Rector of Abbot's Bickington, the Rev. G. P. A. Blomefield.  Every proper precaution seems to have been taken to ensure safety, a rope having been tied to the tree to prevent the limb coming down suddenly.  The deceased was in the tree and not on the ladder, and the gardener was on the ground holding the end of the rope.  The deceased was a little higher up than the bough that had to come off.  While he was in the tree the bough fell, and the shock of the fall threw the deceased to the ground, a distance of about 20 ft.  He was rendered unconscious, and blood flowed from his mouth.  He was taken to his house and Dr Emtage was sent for.  Deceased never recovered consciousness, and died on Monday morning.  The cause of death was, according to Dr Emtage, concussion of the brain and a fractured skull.  There was practically little or no hope of his recovery from the first.  The deceased was attended at home by his daughter and some friends.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 5 November 1896

BARNSTAPLE - The Sudden Death of A Barnstaple Man.  -  An Inquest on the body of MR SIDNEY WOODMAN, painter, aged forty-four, who, as we announced in our last issue, expired suddenly on Wednesday evening, was held at the North Devon Infirmary on Thursday, before Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner.  The Jury selected Mr Frank Fisher as their foreman.  - The Coroner, having briefly acquainted the Jury with the circumstances of the sad event, called MRS WOODMAN, who stated that her husband had been in delicate health for a great many years - having suffered, among other things, from congestion of the lungs, pleurisy, and a cough - and a medical man had informed him that he would never be strong.  He was last under medical treatment about two years ago, when Dr Lemarchand attended him, but he had continued to be unwell.  About 7.30 the previous evening they left their house in Trinity-place in order to attend a service at the Roman Catholic Church. Witness remarked that her husband was walking slowly, and when outside the Trinity Boys' School he asked her to stop.  Witness at once did so, whereupon her husband commenced to vomit blood.  Calling loudly for help, she assisted him into Church-street, but her husband, who was now vomiting blood to an alarming extent, sank on the pavement near the Catholic Church and expired.  Several persons put in an appearance, and her husband, having been seen by Dr Lemarchand, was promptly removed to the Infirmary.  - Dr. A. W. Lemarchand spoke to proceeding to Church-street immediately on being summoned by Mr Greenwood.  MR WOODMAN was on a shutter apparently dead, and witness accompanied the men who had charge of him to the Infirmary, which was situated only a short distance away. Mr F. Penny and witness examined the body on arrival at the institution, but life was extinct.  Not being certain as to the cause of death, witness had, in accordance with instructions from the Coroner, made a post mortem examination.  Death was due to a defect in the heart, causing a rupture.  A hole had been in course of formation, and when it was completed blood escaped, which accounted for the remarkable vomit.  The Coroner alluded to the awful suddenness with which death ensued n this case.  As a member of the St. John's Ambulance Association, MR WOODMAN had rendered splendid service in connection with the local Volunteers and football, and his loss would be greatly felt in the town.  Deceased was a man of good character, and he suggested that the Jury should express sympathy with the widow in the loss which she had sustained.  The Jury unanimously adopted the Coroner's suggested and decided that death was due to an affection of the heart.

Thursday 12 November 1896

BRIXHAM - An Inquest was held at Brixham on Thursday evening touching the death of SAMUEL YOULDEN, aged 18 years, who died at the Cottage Hospital from injuries received by a fall over a cliff at Coombe Lake, on October 26th, whilst rabbiting.  Evidence was given by deceased's father, Mr Henry Hooper, P.S. Newbury, and Dr G. B. Elliott.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  The doctor stated that the police splendidly supported the fractured limbs of the deceased before bringing him to the hospital, and he complemented them on their ambulance skill.

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident At Barnstaple. - Mr Coroner Bencraft and a Jury investigated a rather unusual case at Barnstaple yesterday.  The deceased was LOUISA BARTLETT, aged fifty-seven, wife of a retired coal merchant living in Vicarage Street.  The husband, who is very advanced in years, deposed that he slept on the ground floor of the house, and on Saturday evening he retired to bed, leaving his wife in the front kitchen doing some house-work.  Later on he heard his wife groaning, and proceeding into the kitchen, he found her lying on the floor.  Deceased asked, "How did I fall?" and witness having observed "Have you had a fall?" raised her and sat her in a chair.  He made her comfortable, and she went off to sleep.  Witness returned to his room, and having subsequently found his wife was sleeping soundly he decided not to disturb her.  When he awoke in the morning  she was still sleeping, and becoming alarmed in the afternoon, witness called in some neighbours.  - Mrs Huxtable, a neighbour, stated that on Sunday afternoon she found MRS BARTLETT sitting in a chair, breathing very hard, and, as she thought, dying.  Witness called another neighbour, and went off as fast as she could for Dr Harper.  Sarah Glass, another neighbour, gave corroborative evidence.  - Dr J. R. Harper stated that he attended MRS BARTLETT, who died early on Monday morning from haemorrhage on the brain, the result of a fall.  There could be no doubt she was quite conscious when spoken to by her husband, and there was nothing extraordinary in her going to sleep.  From the first there was no hope of her recovery.  The Coroner having summed up, the Jury (of which Mr G. T. Dawson was foreman) returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BRAUNTON - Terrible Accident At Braunton. - A shocking accident which terminated fatally occurred at Braunton on Friday.  Engaged in feeding a threshing machine at "Freshmarch," JAS MOCK, shoemaker, aged 27, allowed his right arm to be drawn into the machine.  The limb was torn from the body, whilst (through sudden contact with the machine) MOCK sustained terrible wounds in the head.  A fellow workman named J. Symons raised MOCK and P.S. Luckraft having applied bandages, the poor fellow was removed to the North Devon Infirmary, where he expired the same night.  The accident caused a painful sensation in Braunton and the neighbourhood.

At an Inquest held at the Infirmary on Saturday by Mr R. I. Bencraft (Barnstaple Borough Coroner), J. Symons deposed that MOCK was accustomed to feed threshing machines.  In order to prevent thistles getting into his hands, deceased on Friday wore a pair of leather gloves which were secured around his wrists.  Witness was engaged in supplying MOCK with the corn being used, and on turning round after picking up an armful he observed that MOCK'S right arm was caught in the machine.  As he shouted the belt came off the machine, and MOCK'S right arm having been torn from the body, the poor fellow sank to the ground.  With assistance witness raised him; and MOCK having enquired "Where is my arm?" did not speak afterwards.

P.S. Luckraft related his knowledge of the circumstances.  Deceased was carefully conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary.  MOCK'S right arm and glove were found in the lower part of the machine.

Dr J. W. Penny stated that MOCK was brought to the institution in a state of collapse.  The right arm was torn away (only threads of the skin remaining) and there were several wounds on the skull.  Witness and Dr J. Harper attended to MOCK.  His recovery was very doubtful, and he passed away at 10.15 the same night.

The Coroner in summing up, remarked that the fact that the glove was secured possibly operated against MOCK freeing himself from the machine.  If gloves could be dispensed with, or worn without being fastened in connection with threshing it would, indeed, be a good thing.  The Jury agreed with the Coroner's remarks.  A verdict of Accidental Death was recorded.

The funeral took place yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon, the last rites being performed in the parish churchyard by the Curate (Rev. E. A. Pearce).  Deceased, who was a single man, was one of the ringers at St. Brannock's, and was engaged in the belfry in celebrating a wedding only a week since.  He was a respectable man, of very genial disposition, and was much respected and esteemed.  The utmost sympathy is expressed for the relatives.

CHALLACOMBE - Suicide Of A Farm Labourer At Challacombe. - AMOS TAMLYN, a farm labourer, aged forty years, having been found dead in the river Bray at Challacombe, the circumstances were on Friday inquired into by Mr Coroner Bromham and a Jury.  - Thos. Dalling, of Buscombe Farm, deposed that deceased had been in his employ about a year and a half.  Witness last saw him alive at eleven o'clock on Wednesday, when he was working in the homestead.  As TAMLYN was missing, a search was instituted between five and six p.m., and about 9.30 p.m. witness and others found his body in Northland Pit, which was 10ft. deep and a part of the river Bray, situated about a quarter-of-a-mile from Buscombe Farm.  The Sergeant of Police was sent for, and on his arrival the body was got out by means of a gaff.  Witness should say deceased was a man of weak mind, and was easily upset.  He understood that a young woman (who left witness's service about three weeks since) was in trouble through TAMLYN.

Anthony Leworthy, deceased's fellow workman, deposed that on Wednesday morning, TAMLYN informed him he was to be married on SAturday week. He looked a bit strange, as he always did when anything upset him.  Witness last saw him in the barn a little before twelve o'clock.

P.C. J. Endacott stated that he found on deceased 3s. 8d. in a purse and a watch and chain, the watch having stopped at three o'clock. Deceased's box, which he subsequently searched, contained £68 in gold and 6d in silver, in addition to several receipted bills and a quantity of clothes.  There were no marks of violence on the body, which presented the appearance of death from drowning.  - Mary Ann Thorne, of Berrynarbor, deposed that up to three weeks previously she was in the service of Mr and Mrs Dalling.  As the result of intimacy with TAMLYN she was now enciente.  On Tuesday she visited TAMLYN at Buscombe Farm, and he promised to marry her, and left her to fix the date, which she decided should be Saturday week.  Deceased was at times rather strange in his manner, but she did not notice anything peculiar on the morning in question.  TAMLYN kissed her and promised to see her again before she left on Wednesday, but did not do so.  A verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was returned.

Thursday 12 December 1896

BEAFORD - Sad Death Of A North Devon Farmer. - On Monday Mr J. F. Bromham held an Inquest at Beaford, on the body of ROBERT PUDDICOMBE, aged 58, farmer of Riverleigh Manor.  On the 27th ult., MR PUDDICOMBE was badly kicked in the back by a horse that had broken into an orchard.  His son assisted him to bed, and sent for Dr Drummond, who found that deceased had three or four ribs broken, and that the right lung had been penetrated.  In addition to Mr Drummong, MR PUDDICOMBE had since been attended by Drs. Sutcliffe, J. Harper (Barnstaple), and H. Sinclair.  In spite of every attention, however, deceased lapsed into unconsciousness and died from congestion and haemorrhage.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 24 December 1896

LITTLEHAM - Determined Suicide At Littleham. - ALBERT DENNIS aged sixty, who was very subject to fits, fell down a flight of ten steps about a fortnight ago and injured his head at App's Brewery, Bideford, where he was employed.  Inability to work since apparently depressed him.   DENNIS was at the Brewery last Saturday about 5.30 p.m., but he suddenly left, saying to William Westacott and another workman, "Good night, each of you."  DENNIS lodged with Westacott (at Littleham), who was informed about ten o'clock by his wife that the man was missing.  Whilst Westacott was dressing, Jabez Gay, engine-driver at App's Brewery, instituted a search, and found DENNIS lying in a fowl's house with his throat cut.  In answer to a question, the unfortunate man said he had committed the rash act with a pocket-knife which he had replaced in his pocket.  Dr Rouse (fetched by a man named Shute) was promptly in attendance, but DENNIS expired twenty minutes after his arrival.  Deceased had severed all the superficial jugular veins, and four branches of the internal jugular vein, and in addition had thrust the knife into his throat and made a punctured wound.  Whilst being examined deceased made the remark, "My God.  I am dying," and expired from shock and loss f blood.  - A verdict of "Suicide whilst Insane" was returned at the Inquest held by Mr Coroner Bromham on Monday.

Thursday 31 December 1896

TORRINGTON - Killed By A Fall From The Pavement. - On Saturday Mr J.F. Bromham, Coroner, held an Inquest at Mr E. Short's Railway Hotel on the body of JAMES SING, shoemaker, aged 71, of New-street, Torrington, who was killed on Christmas Eve by falling off the pavement in front of his house.  Mr Wm. Dunsford was chosen foreman of the Jury.  - Elizabeth Sweet, wife of Henry Sweet, mason, identified the body as that of her father.  She last saw him alive on Christmas Eve, about 7 o'clock.  He told her he had just ceased work.  He was perfectly sober.  - CHARLES SING, tailor, nephew of deceased, said that on Christmas Eve,  just before 2 o'clock, he was coming from his house, which was two doors from where deceased lived, and saw his uncle just ahead of him.  He was walking with his stick to guide him, his sight being defective, and all of a sudden he saw him fall over the causeway into the road.  Witness jumped off the pavement and went to his assistance.  He called to him "Uncle JIM" twice but he did not answer.  He neither spoke nor moved.  Witness then fetched Dr Morse.  By the Jury:  The street lamps were lighted, but the nearest lamp was some distance from where deceased fell.  - Charles Tenny, carpenter, living at Woking, but home on a visit to his mother, stated that deceased called at their house on Christmas Eve between seven and eight o'clock.  He was perfectly sober, and there was nothing amiss with him.  - Dr Morse said he had attended deceased professionally.  About five months since deceased had an attack of erysipelas, which had left his sight defective.  Previously he had a slight attack of paralysis.  He was called to deceased on Christmas Eve.  He found him indoors lying on a sofa quite dead.  There was a large bruise on his forehead, sufficient to cause concussion of the brain.  This injury doubtless caused his death as there was no other marks on him.  By the Jury:  The light where the deceased fell was very bad.  - The Coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," with a rider that the Town Council be asked to provide another lamp near the spot, and also that their attention be called to the dangerous state of the pavement.

Thursday 22 April 1897

LONGDOWN - Suicide At Parridge. - At the Inquest held by the Deputy Coroner, Mr A. Barrow, of Cullompton, at Longdown, on Thursday relative to the suicide of a man named HORWILL, a gardener and gamekeeper at Parridge House, who shot himself with a gun under circumstances already reported, the Jury, of which Mr He[?]es, school master of Ide, was foreman, found that HORWILL committed suicide whilst of Unsound Mind.

Thursday 29 April 1897

TORRINGTON - At Torrington on Monday Mr J. F. Bromham held an Inquest on the body of CHARITY COLLINS, aged 75, who was found dead in a gipsy caravan on Langtree Common on Friday morning. Deceased suffered from asthma. She remained in bed on Thursday.  At six o'clock on Friday her daughter discovered her dead.  Dr Sutcliffe attributed death to heart disease and a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

TORRINGTON - It is with regret that we record the death of MR JOHN MALLETT, a native of this town.  Deceased had for some time been the agent to a large estate at Udney Park, Teddington.  He was missed from his home a week or two since, and his body was ultimately found in the Thames.  At the Inquest a verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned, the Coroner remarking that he believed that death was accidental.  He was a member of the District Council, and honorary superintendent of the local fire brigade.  Deceased's mother and sister still live in this town and great sympathy is felt for them in their sad bereavement.

Thursday 20 May 1897

FREMINGTON - The Fremington Calamity.  Two Deaths.  The Inquests. - Described at length in last week's Journal, the calamity at Tew's Lane Claypits, Fremington, on Wednesday afternoon, resulted in FRANCIS RICHARD PASSMORE, aged 21 years, of Anchor Wood being killed by the unexpected slipping of a mass of clay, and in Henry Paterson, aged 52, and HENRY STEVENS, aged 45, being seriously injured.  The body of PASSMORE was conveyed to the house of his parents (who carry on a dairy and farming business), the other two men being conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary at Barnstaple.  The condition of Stevens was not such as to give cause for alarm at the time.  Following the accident he drove into Bickington for assistance and afterwards assisted in extricating PASSMORE'S body, and both he and Paterson appeared to progress favourably for the first 24 hours after admission to the institution.  After this, however, matters took a turn for the worse in connection with STEVENS, and he passed away at the Infirmary about six o'clock on Friday morning.  Pate3rson's condition, too, became very critical, and fears were entertained as to his recovery.  It is satisfactory to report that he is now making good progress towards recovery.

The Inquest on the body of PASSMORE took place at the New Inn, Bickington, on Friday afternoon before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.  Among those present were Mr Martin, of Clifton, Inspector of Mines and Quarries; Mr C. E. R. Chanter, of Barnstaple (representing the owner and the lessee of the land), Mr C. H. Brannam, of the Art Pottery, Barnstaple (the lessee of the claypits); and P. S. Jeffery, of Landkey (who watched the case on behalf of the police.)  The foreman of the Jury was Mr Kitson Lock.

The first witness, Arthur Latham, labourer, in the employ of Mr Brannam, deposed that at the claypits on Wednesday afternoon PASSMORE and Paterson were digging clay at the pits, STEVENS and witness being engaged in carting it to another part of the field.  About half-past two, witness was going into the pit with his horse and butt, when he observed a large mass of clay slipping away.  PASSMORE was in the act of taking out what was termed a chimney, and Paterson was standing near, whilst STEVENS was loading up another butt.  Witness shouted to them "Look out, or you will all be killed," and the men commenced to retreat, but PASSMORE was buried with the exception of his head, whilst the others were partly buried.  Witness saw that PASSMORE was dead, and went to the assistance of STEVENS, whom he released with little difficulty.  STEVENS, although badly injured, went for assistance, witness remaining and endeavouring to extricate PASSMORE.  Paterson was too much injured to rende4r assistance.  Shortly after STEVENS left, Fred Sluman arrived, followed by Mr H. Seldon and his workman.  Mr Seldon sent off Sluman for medical aid and witness, Seldon, his workman and P.C. Craigo (who also arrived) and others got out the body of PASSMORE from under the clay.  PASSMORE had been working in the pit for a little over a fortnight.  Drs. Lemarchand and Cooper arrived promptly from Barnstaple and by their direction Paterson and STEVENS were conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary, the body of PASSMORE being taken to his parent's house at Anchor Wood.  - By Mr Martin:  The bed of clay was on the side of rising ground. In order to get out the clay the deads above the clay, several feet in depth, were first removed.  The depth of the clay where the men were working on Wednesday was about 12 feet, and the width about 10 feet.  The chimney or cut was about 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep.  Should think the quantity of clay which fell was about 20 cart loads.  Witness had worked there about three days.  - By Mr Chanter:  PASSMORE and Paterson during the day examined the face of the clay which fell in order to see whether it was safe.  A slight crack was noticed in another part of the pit.

Frank Sluman, labourer, in the employ of Mr Seldon, stated that on Wednesday afternoon STEVENS informed his master at Home Farm that an accident had happened and witness (who was two fields from the pit) at once proceeded to the spot.  Paterson (who was standing) shouted to him to be as quick as he could, as there was a man buried.  Going a little further, he found that PASSMORE was buried under a mass of clay, only his head and shoulders being visible.  Witness assisted Latham to dig away the clay.  At an early stage, Mr Seldon sent him off to Barnstaple for medical aid, deceased's body then being uncovered with the exception of his legs.  Witness accompanied Dr Cooper to the pit, on arriving at which they found that deceased's body had been temporarily removed to a shed near.  The other men were subsequently removed to the Infirmary.

P.C. E. J. Crago, of Fremington, who was called to the pita t about 2.30 p.m., informed the Jury that he saw Paterson being helped into a cart by Latham and another man.  Witness saw that PASSMORE'S body had been partly uncovered, and he assisted to remove the deceased.  Should think the clay which slipped away weighed from 15 to 20 tons.  Witness ( who was an ambulance member) rendered assistance to Paterson.  By Mr Chanter:  Both Paterson and STEVENS worked at the claypit last year.

RICHARD PASSMORE, deceased's father, said that until recently his son worked with him.  He carted clay from the pit last year, but had only been employed in the pit during the past fortnight.  Deceased had endeavoured to get into the Metropolitan police force, but failed to pass in consequence of a slight defect in one of his legs.  Heard of the accident whilst at work in a field, and arrived home just as the body was being taken into the house.  By Mr Chanter:  Paterson sent for his son.  Did not know who employed him, but Mr Brannam paid his son his wages.

Dr Walter Cooper gave evidence.  He found PASSMORE lying in a shed in the pit, and had been dead about half an hour.  Deceased had sustained fractures ...   [portion of the text missing]

JAMES STEVENS stated that his brother (the deceased) worked as a carter for Mr Brannam, and he was forty-five years of age.  Arthur Latham again spoke of the accident at the pit.  STEVENS was knocked down by lumps of falling clay, but soon got up again, and, having tipped half a butt of clay, drove away for assistance.  He subsequently rendered assistance in connection with the other men, but complained of pain around his waist.  Dr Cooper deposed that shortly after his arrival at the pit STEVENS fainted.  The only external mark was one caused by a lump of clay on the right shoulder.  Removed to the Infirmary, STEVENS progressed, but grave symptoms appeared on Thursday evening, and STEVENS expired the following morning.  On making a post mortem, witness discovered extensive peritonitis, which had been caused by the rupture of portions of the intestines, previously diseased.  Paterson had informed him that STEVENS was struck in the back by the clay, and thrown face downwards.  The rupture may have been caused by the fall, or in STEVENS' subsequent exertions in shovelling up clay.  There was no sign of a direct blow, but death was, in his opinion, the result of the accident.

The Foreman suggested that STEVENS might have ruptured himself in tipping the half butt of clay; but the witness Latham explained that as soon as the pins were taken out the butts tipped themselves.  The Coroner thought it quite clear that death was the result of the accident which they all regretted.  Paterson held the contract for digging the clay, and the way in which the quarry had been worked did not appear to have been the safest.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was also recorded in this instance.

The mortal remains of deceased were consigned to their last resting place on Tuesday afternoon at Trinity Churchyard, the service being conducted by the Rev. E. C. Atherton.  Deceased had been a member of Court "Taw Vale" A.O.F. for 22 years and a large number of Foresters attended, wearing their funeral sashes, thereby paying a last tribute of respect to the memory of their departed brother.  The funeral address of the Order was impressively read at the graveside by Bro. J. Cross, S.W.  The Chief Ranger, Bro. W. B. Bennett, being a relative, was present with the mourners.

Thursday 1 July 1897

FRITHELSTOCK - A Miller Accidentally Killed By A Cyclist Near Torrington. - There was a most deplorable accident near Torrington on Wednesday evening in last week.  Walking home, MR THOMAS FORD, of Drummett's Mills, was run into by a local cyclist, and, falling heavily, he became unconscious.  MR FORD was soon taken home, but the injuries he sustained were of such a serious character that he expired in a few hours.  The affair has caused widespread regret in North Devon, where MR FORD (who was 53 years of age) was well-known and respected.  Deceased leaves a widow and daughter to mourn their loss.  The circumstances of the sad accident were elicited at an Inquest held by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, at Frithelstock, on Friday.  Mr J. Quick was foreman of the Jury; Mr W. A. Roberts, (Barnstaple) represented the family; Mr B. T. James (Barnstaple) appeared on behalf of Mr W. P. Rew; and Superintendent Buchanan represented the police.

MRS ELLEN FORD stated that her husband (the deceased) on Wednesday went to Bideford, intending to return by an evening train.  A little after half-past nine o'clock Mr Wm. Rew called at the house for assistance, explaining that he had run against MR FORD with his bicycle.  Witness and her daughter saw deceased lying in the roadway near their house, with his head resting on a young man's knee.  He was unconscious.  MR FORD was removed into his house and Mr Rew went for a doctor.  He afterwards assisted MR FORD to bed, and visited him again about five o'clock the next morning, remaining until deceased died at about six o'clock.  Mr Rew exhibited the greatest distress about the occurrence, and from the account he gave witness considered it was a pure accident.

William Pitt Rew, cashier at Messrs. Fox, Fowler and Co.'s Bank, Torrington, who volunteered to give evidence, said that on Wednesday evening he accompanied two ladies back from Torrington to Bideford on cycles.  He returned to Torrington alone.  He was an experienced cyclist.  Just after turning Peakham Corner, close to Drummett's Mill, he saw three persons coming towards him, and upon his ringing his bell they got out of the way, and he passed them all right.  Almost immediately afterwards he observed MR FORD coming towards him, and he again rang his bell.  MR FORD first made a motion to his left and then wavered and sprang back again, but by so doing he unfortunately came into collision with witness's cycle.  Witness was going at a moderate pace but the force of the collision knocked deceased down and witness was upset into the hedge.  As soon as witness recovered himself he went to MR FORD'S assistance, and a young man whom he had previously passed also came back. They tried to lift him, but as he was a heavy man and unconscious they were unable to do so.  Witness then acquainted MRS FORD of the accident, as stated.  He remained with MR FORD until 1 a.m., rendering what assistance he cold.  He called at Drummett Farm again at five o'clock, and remained there until MR FORD died.  Witness expressed the deepest regret at the accident, and added that had deceased stood still when he rang the bell, or kept on the side to which he first moved, it would not have occurred.  Richard Shepperd, engine cleaner, in the employ of the London and South Western Railway Company at Torrington spoke to assisting in the removal of MR FORD to his house.  Dr E. H. Sutcliffe, Torrington, said he found MR FORD quite unconscious.  There were no external marks of violence, except a slight depression on the right side of the skull.  Death resulted from compression of the brain by haemorrhage.  The Coroner, in reviewing the evidence, said the accident was a very serious one, not alone to the bereaved widow and family, but also to Mr Rew.  There was, however, nothing to warrant a verdict of manslaughter.  It seemed clear that the sad occurrence was purely accidental and that no blame could be attached to anyone.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," expressed their sympathy with MRS FORD and family, and exonerated Mr Rew from blame.  The funeral of the deceased took place on Saturday.  There were a large number present, testifying to the respect in which deceased was held.  The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. E. J. Jeffery, Vicar of Frithelstock, of which parish MR FORD had been a churchwarden.

NOTE:  At the time of transcription, most of 1897 is missing from the Archive.

Thursday 13 January 1898

EXETER - Sad Death Of An Exeter Doctor. - DR A. G. BLOMFIELD, a well-known physician in Devon, was found dead in bed at his residence, West Southernhay, Exeter, on Saturday morning.  Deceased, who was 43 years of age, has suffered from insomnia of late, and it is thought that he took too strong a dose of some narcotic.  MR BLOMFIELD, an M.D. of Aberdeen, M.R.C.S. and L.S.A., held several public appointments in the city, and was much esteemed.  He was for some years house surgeon at Devon and Exeter Hospital, resigning in 1887.  When deceased retired to rest on Friday evening, he was apparently in usual health, but failed to appear at breakfast.  The household becoming alarmed, he was called, and no response being obtained, the door was burst opened.  He was found in bed, and all efforts to arouse him proving futile, Dr Gorden and Mr Russell Coombe were summoned.  They at once pronounced life extinct, and there was every indication that death resulted from the over dose of a drug.  At the Inquest a verdict of Death from Misadventure was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - A Woman's Fatal Fall At Barnstaple. - Nineteen years ago JAMES BENNETT, waggoner, was accidentally killed at Barnstaple, and a similar sad fate has now overtaken his widow, JANE BENNETT.  Deceased (who was sixty-four years of age and resided in Newington-street) was a sober, industrious charwoman and an early riser.  She was at the house of Mrs Gammon, builder's wife, last Wednesday, and, having had supper, left for home shortly after ten p.m. in good health and spirits.  Harriet Hill, a neighbour, heard her go to bed about 11.15 p.m.  Nothing had been seen of her up to 9.30 on the following morning, and neighbours concluded that something was wrong.  After one of MRS BENNETT'S sons and Geo. H. Acland had failed to effect an entrance, a ladder was placed against the house, and Acland, entering the bedroom window, found MRS BENNETT lying dead at the bottom of the stairs.  She was fully dressed, and the position of the body, together with the fact that a lamp was lying close by, pointed to her having fallen downstairs.  There was a bruise on one side of the face, and one arm seemed dark.  Dr Joseph Harper, who saw the body shortly afterwards, was of opinion that life had been extinct about two hours, and that death was caused by the shock of falling downstairs.  He understood she suffered from influenza some time since, and she probably suffered from a weak heart.  Mr Coroner Bencraft and a Jury (of which Mr T. Barwick was foreman) having heard the evidence in accordance with the foregoing particulars at the Union Inn on Thursday, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 20 January 1898

AUSTRALIA - Sad Death Of A North Devon Lady In Australia. - The Australian mail just received brought particulars of a very sad accident which resulted in the death of a lady well-known at Instow - MRS HEAT, a daughter of MR BENJAMIN SKINNER, formerly of the Marine Hotel, Instow.  Particulars of the painful occurrence will be found in the subjoined report taken from a

Melbourne paper:-  "A very painful accident, attended with serious results, befel MRS HEAT, wife of MR CHRISTOPHER HEAT, importer, Melbourne, at her residence, Eaglemont, Heidelberg, on Monday.  MRS HEAT was superintending some laundry work in which her domestics were engaged, when her skirt became ignited through getting into close contact with the fire under the copper.  The fact was not noticed for a few moments, although a smell of burning was remarked.  On MRS HEAT entering her house, her garments were ablaze.  She naturally became greatly affrighted, and, screaming loudly, rushed from one bedroom to another.  In her endeavour to extinguish the flames she set fire to the bed and bedding, and then rolled on the carpets, the flames burning a hole in them.  The servants came to the rescue and Mrs Greaves and Mrs Bach, neighbours, hearing the alarm, rushed in.  They found the house full of smoke, the bedding burning, and MRS HEAT, with nearly all her clothes burnt off, in fearful agony.  The flames were extinguished with all possible haste, and medical aid summoned.  Dr Abel Rollason answered the call almost immediately, followed by Dr Gordon Phillips.  The lady was found to be burnt very severely about the body and limbs.  The poor lady, notwithstanding the careful attention of Dr Rollason and a trained nurse, collapsed on Tuesday night and succumbed to her severe and painful injuries.  Sergt. Burton at once reported the matter to the District Coroner, who instructed Mr Davey, J.P., to hold a magisterial Inquiry.  This took place on Wednesday afternoon.  Dr Rollason stated death was due to shock of the system, caused by excessive burns.  A finding was arrived at in accordance with the medical testimony."

Thursday 27 January 1898

TORRINGTON - The Fatal Accident Near Torrington. - On Friday an Inquest was held at the Railway Hotel, Torrington, by Mr J. F. Bromham, touching the death of ROBERT DAVEY.  WILLIAM DAVEY, son of the deceased, identified the body.  Deceased was a clay miner, and for many years had worked for the North Devon Clay Company.  The last time he saw him alive was on Tuesday evening.  DAVEY left early the next morning for work, and about 4 o'clock he was brought home dead.  Deceased was 39 years of age.  Mr Henry Holwill said he was manager of the North Devon Clay Works.  He had seen the place where the accident occurred to the deceased.  This was in one of the clay mines situated in the parish of Merton.  At the time of the accident DAVEY was working in the mine at about 100 feet from the surface.  The deceased was an experienced clay miner.  At the time of the accident he was in the main incline.  The men worked there by the light of candles, it not being necessary to have enclosed lamps.  By Mr Stawell:  timber was placed to keep the clay up, and the piece that fell on the deceased came from between the timbers.  No similar accident had occurred.  By the Jury:  Witness understood that the piece of clay that fell from the roof was about one cwt., and fell from a height of about three feet.

Mr Martin, Inspector of Mines, elicited from Mr Holwill the way in which the mines were worked.  George Dymond said he was a clay miner, and worked for the North Devon Clay Company.  He was not in the mine when the accident happened, but was at the top of the pit.  One of the men below called him, saying that DAVEY was killed.  He went down into the mine at once, and found deceased on the ground.  He was not quite dead, but nearly so.  As quickly as they could they got him to the top and put him in the engine-house.  Notice was given to the manager, and a doctor was sent for.  It was about 11 o'clock in the day when the accident happened.  In answer to the Jury, witness said he saw the lump of clay that fell, which he considered was about 1cwt.  In answer to Mr Martin, witness said deceased was not quite dead when brought to the surface, but died long before Mr Morse came out.

John Bright said he was a clay miner, and was in the mine at Merton when the accident happened to deceased.  He was heaving a piece of timber to put in the "bucket".  About 11 o'clock in the morning, as deceased was stooping to pick up the timber, a lump of clay fell and struck him on the head, and forced his head against the timber.  Immediately witness saw what had happened he ran forward and took off the lump of clay which had fallen on deceased.  He lifted him up and called "ROBERT," but DAVEY never spoke nor moved.  Witness found that blood was running from deceased's mouth and ears, and gave an alarm at once to the two men who were above, and as soon as they came down they put DAVEY into the bucket and had him taken to the top.  Notice was given to the manager, and a doctor was sent for.  DAVEY was not quite dead when they reached the engine-house, as he breathed once or twice, but he died shortly after.  Witness considered that the accident was one for which there was no blame attaching to anyone.  He had worked in the Company's clay mines several years, but this was the first accident he knew of.  Mr Morse said he was called to go to the Clay Works, and arrived there about twenty minutes to 2 o'clock.  He found the deceased in an engine-house.  He was quite dead, and had evidently been so some time.  The body was laid out on a door covered with sacks.  On removing the covering from his head witness saw a great deal of blood coming from deceased's ears and nose.  He had him removed to Torrington in one of the Company's vans.  When the body was brought home witness made a further examination.  He found no external injuries, but considered that death was caused by fracture of the base of and other injuries to the skull.  The Coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict that DAVEY accidentally met his death while working in a clay mine in the parish of Merton.  Mr Holwill expressed the sympathy of the Company for the family of the deceased.  The Jury gave their fees to the widow.  The funeral of the deceased took place on Sunday.  Hundreds of people followed the remains to the Cemetery.  Nearly all deceased's fellow-workmen attended, besides a large number of the Untied Patriots' Club.  The Mayor (Mr A. J. Lawman) and Mr H. Holwill were also present.  The service was conducted by the Rev. F. E. Jones (Vicar).

SAUNTON - Sudden Death At Saunton - GEORGE PUGSLEY, a farm labourer, died with startling suddenness at Saunton on Thursday morning.  Save that some time ago he mentioned that he had "stitch" in his side, PUGSLEY enjoyed very good health - was, indeed, a picture of health.  He went to bed apparently all right on Wednesday night, but early next morning was discovered by his wife to be very ill.  Medical aid was summoned, but the poor fellow expired within a very short time.  At the Inquest on Friday (conducted by Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner) Dr W. J. Harper satisfied the Jury, of which Mr H. Howard was foreman, that PUGSLEY died from heart trouble, and verdict of Death from Natural Causes was returned.  Deceased (who was a native of Shirwell) had been in the employ of Mr Tucker, of Saunton, for eleven years.  Much sympathy is felt for the widow.

Thursday 3 February 1898

SOUTH MOLTON - On Thursday afternoon the little son of THOMAS HEYWOOD, was found drowned in a tank behind the residence of Mr John Kingdon, of South-street, by whom the body was discovered.  The little fellow was only three years old, and on being examined by Dr Wigham at the request of P.C. Pairs life was found to be extinct.  An Inquest was held by Dr Sanders (Borough Coroner) at the town Hall on the following day, when a verdict of Accidental Death was returned by the Jury.

TIVERTON - An Inquest was held at Tiverton Infirmary on Friday night touching the death of WILLIAM HAMBLING, of Kilkhampton.  Deceased was at work for Mr Newton, of Buckfastleigh, at Stoodleigh, and whilst feeding a steam circular saw, a piece of wood about five feet long, with a flaw in it, caught in the wheel, flew up into deceased's face and felled him.  At Tiverton Infirmary he was found suffering from a compound fracture of the skull.  He was able to describe how the accident occurred, but after the performance of an operation became more unconscious and died the next day.  He was 28 years of age, unmarried and until recently, worked as a shoemaker.

BARNSTAPLE - Suicide Of A Railway Servant At Barnstaple.  The Final Letter. - A case of suicide occupied the attention of Mr Coroner Bromham and a Jury ()of which Mr J. Tyte was foreman) at the Bowden Temperance Hotel, Sticklepath, Barnstaple, on Monday afternoon.  The deceased was JOHN HANNAFORD HODGE, assistant ticket collector at the Barnstaple Junction, who committed suicide by hanging himself to a bedroom door at his house, 9, Signal Terrace, that morning.  HODGE (who was 41 years of age) leaves a widow and five children.  He had been in the employ of the South Western Railway Company for over twenty years.

ELIZABETH ANN HODGE, deceased's widow, stated that her husband had not been at work since Thursday, through indisposition.  He had remained in bed, but about 10.30 that morning he informed her he was going to get up, and would go and see the doctor.  She resumed her work downstairs.  Half-an-hour later her little daughter discovered that some strong cord was tied to the knob of the bedroom door.  Going upstairs, witness saw that the cord ran over the framework of the door, and on forcing it open she saw her husband hanging by the cord on the other side.  A neighbour (Mrs Glover) fetched a knife from the kitchen, and witness cut down the body.  She believed her husband was dead, but not being sure she sent Mrs Glover for Dr Ware.  Her husband had not had any worry to her knowledge.  He had certainly been unwell for a week or so, his indisposition commencing with influenza.  He really ought to have stopped work before Thursday.  Martha Ann Glover (who was called to the house by deceased's little daughter) related her knowledge of the affair.

John Kingdom, another neighbour, who removed the cord from HODGE'S neck immediately after he had been cut down, said it was tied loosely (the knot being an ordinary one) and he was able to slip it over the deceased's head.  Life was, so far as he could see, extinct.  It appeared that deceased had tied the4 knot whilst standing on a chair, and then kicked the latter away.  Had heard during the past few days that the deceased's was ill.  Dr J. W. L. Ware, of Barnstaple, stated that he knew deceased quite well, but he had not been under his care lately.  Proceeded immediately to HODGE'S house on being called that morning, and found that HODGE had been dead some little time.  Noticed some notes lying open on the table, and he handed them to P.C. Cousins, who arrived just afterwards.  Was informed by MRS HODGE that deceased had complained of pains in his back and head.  These were distinct symptoms of influenza, and were often accompanied by mental depression of a suicidal tendency.  In his opinion HODGE was suffering from such depression, and this induced him to commit suicide.

P.C. J. Cousins of Tawstock (who was called to the scene about half-an-hour after the act was committed) produced the cord with which deceased hanged himself, and also the notes handed him by Dr Ware.  The first note (which was addressed to Mr Stevens, relief agent at Barnstaple Junction), and dated January 28th, ran:  "I am sorry to say that something took me across the back.  I got out this morning to come to work, but could not stand upright, and as Edmonds came down, and my wife told him I was bad and could not come to work I thought that would do.  I am sir yours, &c., J. HODGE."  Mr Stevens's reply the same day was:  "With reference to the attached you are well aware of the Co.'s rule, and that is that when a man falls sick a medical certificate must be produced.  Please send me same at one."  At the back of one of these notes, deceased wrote, in pencil, to his wife:  "My dear LIZZEY, - My poor head and back.  I cannot stand it any longer.  Good-bye, my [blank], and all the dear children.  I hope they will be good to you.  Good bye, my dear:  God bless you. - JACK."  Inspector Pollard, who was present, identified deceased's handwriting.  The Coroner, summing up, said he had known HODGE for a number of years, and he was very much liked.  It was sad to think of a man ending his life in this way, and he could not help thinking that in cases of suicide persons must be insane.  Inspector Pollard, in answer to the Foreman, said he did not think there was anything to worry HODGE.  Deceased had a report from the Company to answer, but had not done so.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide, whilst Temporarily Insane, following influenza," and gave their fees to the widow.

Thursday 10 February 1898

BARNSTAPLE - A Protection Against Drowning At Pilton. - At a recent Inquest on a blacksmith named LUXTON, who was supposed to have been accidentally drowned by falling over Pilton Quay, the Jury, it will be remembered, pointed out the necessity of some barrier being placed between the Quay and the river.  Mr Coroner Bencraft, at another Inquest held yesterday, was glad to announce that Pilton Feoffees (who are the owners of the Quay) have since put up substantial posts and rails as a protection.  But he might point out that a little further on, between Mr Berry's stores and some sheds, there was a piece of ground (used for the discharging of vessels, adjoining the river, and this was also unprotected.  There was nothing to prevent persons falling over and a similar barrier should be provided, for use after vessels were discharged.  A Juryman considered this point even more dangerous than the actual Quay, because it was darker at night.  The property was said to belong to the Hon. Mark Rolle, and the Coroner promised to make inquiries in regard to the matter.

BARNSTAPLE - Young Woman Commits Suicide At Barnstaple. A Victim Of Influenza. - Two cases of suicide by hanging have occurred at Barnstaple during the past week, and, curiously enough, influenza was considered to have led eventually to temporary insanity in each.  The latest victim was MISS ELIZABETH ROBINS, aged twenty-three years, daughter of MR FRANCIS ROBINS, of Pilton.  Mr Coroner Bencraft and a Jury, of which Mr E. S. Arnold was foreman, investigated the case at the Chichester Arms, Pilton, yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.

JANE ROBINS stated that her daughter (the deceased) had always resided at home. On Tuesday, after having breakfast, she went into her brother's (next door) and remained there until tea time, in accordance with custom.  Shortly after 6 p.m. her daughter washed, and then went upstairs for the purpose of "doing up" her hair.  As she was leaving the kitchen witness remarked "Don't stay, LIZZIE, because I want to send you up the street."  As she did not return, witness called her ten minutes later, but received no answer.  When going upstairs in search of her, witness noticed there was a lamp in her daughter's bedroom at the top of the house, and on proceeding a little further she saw her daughter hanging by a rope to the bedpost nearest the door, her feet being off the ground.  She called her son, who ran in and cut down the body.  [The Coroner mentioned that the bedpost was 5ft. 2in. in height, and deceased being a short person her feet would not touch the ground when hanging.]  Proceeding MRS ROBINS said her daughter had influenza four years ago, and had been under the care of Dr Jackson ever since.  She was apprenticed to the millinery business for twelve months, but since, in accordance with the advice of Dr Jackson, they had kept her home.  Deceased had never threatened to take her life, and she had no reason to suspect that she would do so.  Her daughter was very steady and well-behaved and attended the Cross-street Congregational Sunday School.

Dr Mark Jackson informed the Jury that, called at 6.30 on Tuesday evening, he found deceased's brother ably endeavouring to bring about recovery by means of artificial respiration, but life was quite extinct.  The body bore all the evidence of death by strangulation. Deceased had certainly not been right in her mind and judgment for some time.  She had done strange things, whilst she entertained peculiar delusions, for which there was no foundation.  She had also fits of melancholia, and was also reserved at times.  Witness was consulted by MR ROBINS in regard to her on one occasion.  He advised him not to send her away, but to keep her at home and to watch her.  Latterly deceased had had an affection of the throat, and this had seemed to worry her.  He had no doubt deceased was temporarily insane. 

P.C. W. H. Tucker produced the rope with which deceased hanged herself, and also a piece of smaller cord found in her pocket.  In connection with both the rope and the cord there was a running noose.  Dr Jackson explained that there was a nail at the top of the bedpost, with which the rope was connected.  It was thought that deceased first got on the bed, and having affixed the rope, swung off.  The Coroner said it was a distressing case, and that deceased's mind must have been deranged at the time.  He advised a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."  The Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

Thursday 17 February 1898

TORRINGTON - Suicide At Torrington. - On Thursday evening last JOHN BENNETT, a currier, in the employ of Messrs. Adams Bros., committed suicide by hanging himself in a loft.  The unfortunate fellow was found hanging by a cord by James Johns.  He was immediately cut down, and medical assistance sent for, but life was found extinct.  Deceased, who was a very quiet man, leaves a widow and grown-up family, for whom great sympathy is felt.

The Inquest on the deceased was held on Saturday, at the Railway Hotel, by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.  Mr Joseph J. Slee was foreman of the Jury.  Mr A. J. Lawman was present on behalf of the family.  - MR W. BENNETT, managing clerk for Messrs. Doe and Lawman (solicitors) identified the body of his late father, JOHN TANTON BENNETT, a currier, in the employ of Messrs. Adams Bros., of Torrington.  He was 49 years of age.  During the past fortnight he seemed very depressed.  On Thursday evening, about 7.30, he heard of his father's death.  - Maud Lucas, domestic servant, in the employ of Messrs. Adams Bros., said she knew the deceased very well.  He was in the habit of coming into the kitchen every afternoon, between 5 and 6, to get some tea, which he took into the workshop. On Thursday afternoon he came in at the usual time, and had his tea.  On receiving it he went back into the workshop with it.  She had noticed that lately deceased had been in low spirits.  - Mr George Adams said he was a member of the firm of Adams Bros., curriers.  Deceased had worked for the firm over 30 years.  At the back of the premises was the shop in which deceased worked.  It was approached by a flight of steps.  Over the shop was a drying loft.  On Thursday afternoon he saw deceased in the drying loft about 5 o'clock.  He usually worked from 5 to 7.  Not seeing any light in the shop about 10 minutes past 7, as there usually was, he went up to the first flight of stairs and saw deceased's coat hanging in the usual place.  Witness then went to see his brother and with a man called Johns they went up the steps to the workshop, where he stopped.  The two others went up to the drying loft and found deceased hanging there.  Witness told them to cut him down while he ran for the doctor.  The doctor came back with him.  Witness had noticed that deceased was much depressed off and on for a long time, more especially so during the last fortnight.  He was a very steady and trustworthy man.  - By Mr Lawman:  Witness was the only man employed in the drying loft, but very often witness was there with him.  - Jams Johns gave evidence as to finding the deceased hanging by a cord from a beam.  - Police Sergeant Edwards stated that he was called by Mr G. Adam, on Thursday night, about 7.30, to the drying loft, when he saw the deceased being attended to by Dr Sutcliff.  Deceased was pronounced dead, and he sent for a stretcher, and had him removed to his house.  - Mr Silas Judd said he saw deceased on Wednesday evening last on his way to the doctor.  He had a conversation with him, from which he gathered he was in a very low and depressed state.  - Dr E. H. Sutcliff said he knew deceased slightly.  In consequence of a message received from the deceased's wife he went to see her on Wednesday last.  She told witness her husband was suffering from headache, sleeplessness, and depression, and that she would send him up to the surgery in the evening.  Deceased came up about 8 o'clock the same evening.  He seemed very depressed, and was troubling about his mother who was ill and in the Cottage Hospital.  Witness prescribed for him.  On Thursday night witness was called to go and see deceased, at Messrs. Adams Bro.'s tannery.  He found him lying in the drying loft, apparently dead.  He tried artificial respiration for some time, but without effect.  He had no doubt deceased's mind was unhinged when he committed the act, as he was suffering from melancholia.  The Coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict, "That deceased committed Suicide whilst suffering from Temporary Insanity."

Thursday 24 February 1898

HARPFORD - Frozen To Death In South Devon. - On Tuesday morning a man named THOMAS ROSSCALLAN, a watercress vendor, was found by Mr Dyer, a farmer, in a lane near the top of Four Elms Hill, in the parish of Harpford, South Devon.  The body was quite stiff when found and was removed to the Bowd Inn to await an Inquest.

At the Inquest relative to the death of the girl CHOPE, aged 15, found drowned in the River Dart, it was shown that she had been spoken to for wearing the dress of the daughter of her mistress.  She had on a piece of paper found in her jacket pricked with a pin, a message stating that she should drown herself.

EXETER - Mr F. Burrows, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at St John's Cross, near Exeter, on Friday, relative to the death of MR HENRY CANN, 48 years of age, market gardener, who was found in a cistern of water at the back of his house on Thursday morning.  the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide by Poisoning, while Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 3 March 1898

BIDEFORD - A Sailor Killed At Bideford. - At Bideford on Saturday WILLIAM COX, sailor, of Appledore, fell from a plank while unloading a smack and was killed.  Deceased leaves a widow and three children. Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest at the Royal Hotel, on Saturday.  The Inquiry was watched by Mr T. A. Goaman on behalf of the Western Counties Agricultural Association, Limited, for whom the vessel was being unloaded.  P.C. Carpenter identified the body as that of WILLIAM COX, seaman, of Appledore, aged 47.  Herbert Taylor, labourer, stated that he was assisting to unload the Rosamund Jane on Friday with five others, among whom was the deceased.  COX was running the bags of manure from the vessel across planks to the Quay, whence witness and another carried them away.  About 4 o'clock deceased ran up the plank pushing the bag, and just as he deposited it on the Quay he slipped and fell over.  He struck his back against the bulwarks and fell to the beach, the tide at the time being out.  Seeing that others had gone to take deceased up witness went for a doctor.  The planks - 20ft. long, by 22in. wide - were quite safe and firm, and in order to keep them quite steady four cwt. (two bags) of manure were placed on that end which rested on the Quay.  Deceased was quite sober at the time.  He fell a distance of 10ft. or 12 ft. to the bulwarks, and the distance from there to the beach was nearly the same.  Alfred Woolf, labourer, stated that he was working at the winch on board the Rosamund Jane.  Deceased had just landed a bag of manure and was turning round on the planks to go back, when he apparently stepped over and fell.  He attempted to catch hold of something, but could not do so. Deceased struck the bulwarks, and he ran forward to try and catch him, but before reaching the side witness saw deceased fall down between the vessel and the Quay.  Immediately they ran down to pick him up.  The found him with his head embedded in the mud.  He was quite dead.  Dr Duncan stated the cause of death to be a fractured skull.  Death must have been instantaneous.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, and the Jury added a rider expressing sympathy with the widow and family of deceased, and also exonerating all the employees and the employers from any blame.  Mr Goaman expressed the sympathy of his clients with the widow and family.  Mr J. Swain asked why the body had been placed in the railway van in which it was viewed by the Jury.  Mr Dalby (stationmaster at Bideford) said he was requested to place the body in the van on account of the great number of rats in the stores.  The Jury expressed the opinion that a mortuary was needed, and Mr Lugg stated that he understood that the Town Council had a probable site in view.

Thursday 17 March 1898

DEVONPORT - A Coroner's Jury at Devonport on Thursday found that THOMAS JEFFREY, a youth, Accidentally fell down a 65-feet trench at Keyham Extension Works, and died from a fractured skull.

Thursday 31 March 1898

ASHFORD - Suicide At Ashford. - Mr Coroner Bromham, held an Inquest at Ashford, near Barnstaple, on Saturday, on the body of MARY EDWARDS, who was found dead and hanging by a rope in an outhouse on Friday morning.  Evidence was given that deceased was aged 55 years; she was the wife of GEORGE EDWARDS, groom to Sir William Williams, Bart.  Her husband, is, however, engaged at Sir William's Exmoor residence in connection with the Exmoor Foxhounds.  Deceased resided at Ashford with her son, who is Sir William's coachman.  For some time she had been in a low spirited condition.  On Thursday morning she got up early, and left her son's house.  It was thought that she had gone to her own home, as was her custom, to see that everything was safe.  As she did not return as usual her daughter-in-law went to deceased's own house, but, finding the door locked, she supposed that she had returned.  Subsequently she found that that was not the case, and she became alarmed.  Search was made, and on Friday morning deceased was found hanging by a rope in an outhouse at the back of her house.  She had been dead for some time.  A verdict of "Suicide while Insane" was returned.

YARNSCOMBE - Death From Burns in North Devon. - A daughter, 3 ½ years of age, of MR W. H. JEFFERY, miller, of Yarnscombe, North Devon, died n Sunday evening as the result of burns.  The father and mother went to Barnstaple Market on Friday, leaving their two children in the care of a servant.  During the day she left the house to fill the mill, being absent about five minutes.  On returning she met one of the children in the doorway with her clothes on fire.  She tried to beat out the flames, but could not succeed, and she then fetched a bucketful of water from the mill-stream and put out the fire.  The child must have fallen into the fire.  She4 was taken to Barnstaple, where the wounds were dressed by Mr A. W. Lemarchand.  The mother then went with her to Blakewell Mills, the home of the grandfather of the child, where it died on Sunday evening.  An Inquest was held on Tuesday by Mr Coroner Bromham, and a verdict of "Accidental Death by Injuries sustained by Falling Into the Fire" was returned.

BRAUNTON - Seaman Drowned At Appledore. - On Friday morning, during the heavy gale, the ketch Bessie Clarke, Braunton, was lying at the entrance of the Taw and Torridge (Crow) when two of her crew, GEORGE COOPER (of Braunton) and Charles Stribling, got into their boat to put out another anchor for security.  The heavy sea running sank the boat and threw the men into the water.  Stribling managed to catch hold of the stern chain of the vessel and scrambled on board, but COOPER was swept away.  A man on board threw him a lifebuoy and rope, but although close to him he failed to grasp it, being probably numbed with cold.  He sank, and was drowned before help came.  The accident was witnessed by Mr Pethrick, of the hospital ship Nymphen, and he, with the plucky assistance of his wife and a nurse (who had patients on board) succeeded in launching the ship's boat, into which Mr Petherick jumped to try and save the drowning man.  The gale being so high he was unable to reach him, and Mr Pethrick's boat was blown across to Appledore, where he reported the accident.  A number of sailors immediately launched the pilot gig Siren and pulled across vainly searching for the missing man.  They found the boat on the beach full of water.  After searching for some time they returned to Appledore, a large crowd waiting on the quay to witness the arrival of the gig.  Great sympathy was expressed for COOPER (who is an elderly man) and was well-known by the sailors of the port.  The body was picked up on Friday afternoon near Braunton Lighthouse. 

The facts were elicited at an Inquest held at the Police Station, Braunton, on Saturday, by Dr E. J. Slade-King, Deputy Coroner.  A verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" was returned. 

The funeral of MR GEORGE COOPER, who was drowned on Broadsands, took place on Tuesday afternoon, the Rev. D. R. Davies conducting the service in the Congregational Chapel and in the Churchyard.  The wide esteem in which the deceased was held and the pathos of his sudden death, drew together a large concourse of friends, to testify by this last token of respect to the affection in which they would hold his memory.

Thursday 7 April 1898

EXETER - At an Inquest held on Tuesday, at the Exeter Police-court, on the body of the man ALLAN THOMAS SAVIN, who was found mutilated on the G.W.R. line near Hele, on Saturday morning, the Jury brought in a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

HARTLAND - Dead Child Found At Hartland.  A Serious Case. - Excitement prevailed at Hartland on Friday night by reason of the fact that MR WILLIAM CURTIS, carpenter, found the dead body of a female child at the rear of his premises.  Immediately following the discovery, Dr Hobling was sent for, and after an examination of the body he in turn communicated with P.C. Patt.  The Inquest conducted by Mr Coroner Bromham, was held at the King's Arms Hotel on Monday, Mr Braund being foreman of the Jury.

WILLIAM CURTIS stated that his household consisted of himself, his wife, and his daughter, MARY FREEMAN CURTIS.  The latter was 28 years of age, and lived home, assisting in the housework.  On Friday at 8 p.m. he went into the convenience at the end of his garden, and there saw a child's body floating in the bucket used for sanitary purposes.  His wife was ill in bed, and he called his son's mother-in-law, Mrs Westlake.  She remained in the house whilst he fetched Dr Hobling, who returned with him.   In his presence witness took the body from the bucket and Dr Hobling, after examining it, took it away.  Witness had not enquired as to whether his daughter had been confined.  She had been very ill since Friday evening, but was up when he made the discovery.  - By P.S. Hard:  He saw blood marks in the kitchen near the fireplace on Friday night, but could not say whether this was before or after the discovery of the body.  He also noticed a little blood at the bottom of the stairs.

Dr John H. Hobling spoke to being called by MR CURTIS, the last witness, who took the body of the child out of the bucket.  The child, which was a well developed female, was quite dead.  In accordance with the Coroner's instructions he had made a careful post-mortem examination.  The body weighed 7 ¾ lbs., and measured 19 ½ inches in length.  He applied the usual tests to ascertain whether the child was born alive, and found that the lungs floated in water.  He could not affirm positively that the child was born alive - i.e., had a separate existence from its mother.  It certainly breathed, but whether during or after birth it was impossible to say.  There were no marks of external evidence on the child.  He saw CURTIS'S daughter on Friday night, and she said the child was born in the water closet.  She was too ill to attend, and he thought she would be unable to for three weeks.  - By P.S. Hard:  He thought that the fluid which he found in the lungs must have been taken in after birth.  Elizabeth Westlake related her knowledge of the affair, and in answer to P.S. Hard, said that on Friday night she observed blood on the matting in front of the fire and at the foot of the stairs.  At this stage the Coroner adjourned the Inquest until May 2nd.  At that time CURTIS'S daughter will probably be able to attend.  Meanwhile the case is under police supervision.

LANDKEY - Suicide By Taking Poison At Landkey. - A large number of fatalities in North Devon of late include numerous suicides, and the act of self-destruction of ISAAC H. SMALLRIDGE at Landkey yesterday was one of the most determined of the cases.  SMALLRIDGE was a single man, aged twenty-six years, and had been for some time in the employ of Mr Darch, of Whitemoor Mills, Bishopstawton.  He appears to have left some time during Monday, presenting  himself at his parents' house at Harford, Landkey, about eleven p.m.  On his mother coming downstairs and asking him why he had come home so late, ISAAC replied, "I have had a row with master and packed up."  He subsequently went to bed.  When MRS SMALLRIDGE passed through her son's bedroom at 6.15 yesterday morning she called him.  He was then all right, but said he did not think he should dress for a bit.  A few minutes later MRS SMALLRIDGE heard a gurgling noise, and on again reaching her son's room, he said to her "I have done it; it is too late."  Holding his stomach, SMALLRIDGE was in great pain, and he expired in a few minutes.  The4 sad and tragic end of her son naturally came as a great shock to MRS SMALLRIDGE.  Dr Lemarchand, of Barnstaple, and P.S. Jeffery subsequently arrived, the latter finding in the young man's clothes a packet labelled "oxalic acid," and a bottle containing beer.  There can be no doubt that SMALLRIDGE had taken a substantial dose of the acid.  An Inquest on the body will be held today by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, to whom the case was reported by P.S. Jeffery.  In the meantime Dr Lemarchand, of Barnstaple, will, in accordance with instructions from the Coroner, make a post mortem examination.

Thursday 14 April 1898

LANDKEY - Young Man's Suicide At Landkey.  A Sad Case. - The deplorable suicide - reported in our last issue - of ISAAC A. SMALLRIDGE, aged 26 years, at Landkey on Wednesday in last week was the subject of an Inquest by Mr Coroner Bromham on the following day. It appeared from the mother's evidence that at 11 p.m. on Tuesday deceased (who worked as carter for Mr Darch, of Whitemoor Mills, Bishopstawton) came home depressed, and on her asking the reason, he said he had a few words with his master.  Early the following morning she heard a strange noise in her son's bedroom, and when she ran upstairs saw that he appeared to be in great pain.  When asked what was the matter he made no reply, but after he had drank half a cup of tea made by his mother he exclaimed, "My God, my God, I have done it, I shall want no more, give me your hand."  His only response to further inquiries was "Don't bother me," and soon afterwards he expired in great agony.  - Dr A. W. Lemarchand, of Barnstaple (who was fetched by deceased's father) deposed that when he arrived deceased was lying in bed with his legs drawn up, showing that he had evidently died in pain.  Deceased's mother gave him a pint bottle which she said she had taken out of a pocket in deceased's clothes.  The bottle contained about an ounce of beer.  Deceased had vomited.  On searching deceased's clothes, witness found a piece of paper bearing a red label marked "Oxalic acid - Poison."  He had made a post-mortem examination of the body, and he had no hesitation in saying that death was due to poisoning, in all probability from oxalic acid.  A chemical analysis of the vomit and of the beer showed that there was a very large quantity of oxalic acid in both.  Death must have been painful, but quick.  - William H. Darch said deceased had worked for him for four years.  On Tuesday morning he told deceased that he wanted the accounts settled up better than they had been lately.  Witness said this because on the previous Friday, when at Barnstaple, a customer told him that he had paid his bill to deceased, who had not accounted for it.  Witness informed him he would have to make it right, the bill in question being for £1 9s.  Deceased then went to Barnstaple after a load of corn, and on returning, he said, "Master, have you thought anything more about that affair?"  Witness again told him that he would have to make it right, and that he (witness) would have to make inquiries.  After having his dinner deceased went to Barnstaple for another load of corn, and witness did not see him again.  On the following day he heard of his death.  He had since made inquiries, and had found that there were several accounts which deceased had received, but which he had not accounted for.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide While Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 21 April 1898

TORRINGTON - Suicide At Torrington. - Some time again ELIZA NORMAN, wife of the sexton of the Parish Church, residing at the house at the entrance to the cemetery, broke her leg.  Since that time she has been in a very nervous and depressed state of mind.  On Saturday morning she was missed from her house, and after some time her shawl was found near a well in the cemetery.  It was conjectured that she must be in the well, but owing to the depth of it nothing was able to be seen.  Grappling irons were used, and although unable to bring the body to the surface, it was considered that it was there.  A long ladder was fetched and a man went down and tied a rope around the body, and it was brought up and removed close by under the supervision of P.S. Edwards.

An Inquest was held at the Union Workhouse on Monday afternoon by Mr J. F. Bromham, on the body of the late ELIZA NORMAN, which was found in a well in the garden adjoining the Cemetery on Saturday morning last.  Mr G. Gunn was foreman of the Jury.  WILLIAM NORMAN, sexton, said the body just viewed was that of his wife, ELIZA NORMAN.  He left home on Saturday morning about 10 o'clock to go into the town on business.  On returning about 11 o'clock he found his wife missing.  In company with his grandson he went about the Cemetery and looked for her; he also went to Mr Venner's house and told him, whilst he went to his sister's house, where he thought she might have gone.  On returning, James Venner told him he had found a shawl, and he believed his wife was down in the well; eventually the body was taken out and removed to his house.  His wife had been depressed for some time.  James Venner, Robert Bidgway, and P.S. Edwards gave corroborative evidence.

Dr Sutcliffe said he attended deceased some time ago for a fractured leg.  She got well, but about six weeks ago he attended her and found she was in a very depressed condition.  The Jury returned a verdict of Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane, and recommended that the well should be securely covered over.

Thursday 28 April 1898

TAWSTOCK - Dead Child Found In A Well At Tawstock. - The body of a newly-born child, found in a well 550 yards from Radscott Farmhouse, Tawstock, under sensational circumstances on Sunday morning, formed the subject of an Inquiry by Mr Coroner Bromham at Radscott on Tuesday.  Mr T. Copp was the foreman of the Jury.  - John Berry, farmer, residing with his married brother, William, at Radstock, deposed that a domestic servant named EVELYN HOBBS, aged twenty years, of Barnstaple, had been in their employ since last June.  The girl did not seem strange on Saturday evening, but about 7.30 on the following morning he observed her coming into the house by the back door only partially dressed, dripping wet, and carrying some articles of clothing.  Asked where she had been, HOBBS replied "I have done wrong."  Called by him, Mrs Wm. Berry came downstairs, and he had not seen the girl since.  - By Supt. Hobbs:  Witness knew the girl was enciente, but had no idea what she meant when she said she had done wrong.  - Wm. Berry spoke to his wife coming upstairs with the girl.  HOBBS was put into bed.  Witness observed marks of blood on her attire, and Dr Ware and the police were sent for.  the girl informed Dr Ware that a child was in the well.  This contained 5ft. of water, and on P.C. Cousins dipping it out, the dead body of a child was found at the bottom.  There were marks of blood all round the well.  - Mary Ann Berry, wife of the last witness, stated that she did not hear HOBBS get up on Sunday morning.  On being called to her later witness asked her where she had been, HOBBS replied "Down in the cow field," adding that she had "had a baby, and it was down in the water."  Witness discovered two months ago that the girl was enciente.  The child was not expected until June, and it was arranged that she should leave for the Barnstaple Union in May.  - P.C. Cousins spoke to the discovery of the body.  When charged with concealing the birth of the child, HOBBS made no reply.  - Dr G. S/ Ware, who found the girl in bed on arrival at Radscott, said that HOBBS had been recently delivered of a child.  Answering questions by him, she said "I went to the well to drown myself.  I jumped in.  I found I could not drown, so I shouted out, and the child was born.  I then got out of the well, and came home."  She added that the child was in the well.  Witness had made a post mortem examination of the child.  It was a fully-developed child (18 inches in length and 6 ¾ lbs. in weight) and in his opinion was born alive.  He did not think the girl's statement that it was born in the well could be true.  In his opinion it was born outside the well, or whilst the mother was sitting outside, the child then falling into the water, and drowning.  There were no marks of violence on the body.  - At this stage the Inquest was adjourned until May 16th, for the attendance of HOBBS.  Meanwhile she is under police supervision.

Thursday 5 May 1898

HARTLAND - The Alleged Concealment of Birth At Hartland. - On Monday Mr J. F. Bromham, Coroner, resumed the Inquest at Hartland on the body of a child of ANNIE MARY FREEMAN CURTIS, single woman, daughter of MR WM. CURTIS, carpenter, of Hartland.  The Inquiry was adjourned to allow of the mother attending and giving evidence.  Since then she had been brought before the County Magistrates at Bideford on a charge of concealment of birth, on which charge she was committed to take her trial at the Assizes.  Interest, therefore, in the Inquest was considerably lessened.  Mr J. Bosson, of Barnstaple, was present and watched the case on her behalf.  She volunteered a statement that she was delivered of a child on the 1st of April. She could not say whether the child was born alive but she believed that it was not.  She was too ill and faint to give it attention.  The Jury returned a verdict that there was no evidence to show that the child was born alive.

HORWOOD - Sad Fatal Accident At Horwood. - On Friday at Newton Tracey, JOHN SKINNER, aged 37, left home in good health for work ( being employed as carpenter and machinist by Mr John Downing, of Horwood) but later in the day was brought back seriously injured as the result of an accident.  He was attended by Dr Cooke, of Barnstaple, but expired two days later.  Whilst dying deceased told his wife that a piece of wood which was being cut re-bounded and struck him.  - At the Inquest on Tuesday (conducted by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner) this was borne out by Henry Petharick, a fellow-workman.  He explained that with a circular saw worked by means of a steam engine in Mr Downing's yard they were cutting a piece of larch in two.  Deceased was directing the timber, and when it was partly cut it flew up, and dropping on the saw, it flew back with great force against the deceased, striking him in the abdomen.  SKINNER staggered and fell, and was in great pain.  Deceased was taken into the house, whiskey and water being given to him.  He was subsequently driven home.  - Dr C. M. Cooke stated that he found deceased suffering from severe internal injuries.  Witness and his brother gave him every attention, but were quite prepared to hear of his death.  In all probability SKINNER was ruptured internally, but he could not be positive this was so without a post mortem.  As the injuries were so serious no operation would have been of any avail.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, the fees being given to the widow.  Deceased leaves three young children.

Thursday 12 May 1898

ILFRACOMBE - Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, on Tuesday opened an Inquest on the body of the illegitimate child (aged ten days) of ADA GRASS, single woman, living in Ivy Cottages.  - Mary Priddle, midwife, said the child had been weakly from its birth.  - Dr McKeith could give no authoritative opinion as the cause of death.  The child had not sufficient warm clothing, and was ill-nourished.  The mother was too weak herself to give the child attention.  It transpired that the mother had been receiving relief, which had been stopped, and the Inquest was adjourned to hear the evidence of the Relieving Officer.  - Yesterday Mr R. Vicary stated that he stopped the relief because he received information that the woman was cohabiting with a married man.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from defective nourishment and want of attention", but they did not consider the mother was to blame owing to her inexperience and weak condition.

Thursday 19 May 1898

TAWSTOCK - The Finding Of A Dead Child At Tawstock.  A Sad Case. - Following dismissal by the County Bench on a charge of concealment of birth, the domestic servant, EVELYN HOBBS, attended the resumed Inquiry on the body of the child before Mr Coroner Bromham and a Jury at Tawstock on Tuesday.  It will be remembered that HOBBS (who is twenty years of age and a native of Barnstaple) was in the employ of Mr and Mrs Wm. Berry at Radscott Farm, Tawstock.  She now informed the Court that on Sunday, April 24th, she got up early and ran from the house down to a well by the roadside, where she took off part of her clothes and went into a well. She could not tell whether she went in with her feet first or not.  She sank down into the water, and when she again reached the surface she caught hold of (as she believed) a piece of wood, and called out for her father and mother to help her out.  Eventually she got out, but she could not tell how.  The child was born before she got out, and fell into the water.  The worry was caused through Jack Berry (her master's brother), who told her on the previous night that he was going to America.  - By the Jury:  No one advised her to go into the well.  She went there being so worried with no intention of drowning the child, as she did not expect it until June.  A verdict was returned of "Found Drowned in a Well, but put there through Misadventure.

Thursday 23 June 1898

CHUDLEIGH - An Inquest was opened on Saturday at Chudleigh on the body of ROBERT LEAR, butcher, who was found dead or dying in the coach-house of his brother, who is a baker and occupies adjoining premises.  It is suggested that deceased fell upon a hay fork which his brother was carrying, and that the instrument pierced his right eye and lacerated the brain.  The brothers had not been on speaking terms since Christmas.  The Inquiry was adjourned for a week.

CLOVELLY - A Clovelly Woman's Suicide.  Dealings With Money-Lenders. - About five o'clock on Friday morning James Harris, a sailor out boating, found the body of a woman lying on the beach about a quarter of a mile to the left of Clovelly pier.  The body proved to be that of MRS MARY ANN MILLS, aged fifty, wife of a master mariner, who had been missing from Clovelly since the 16th of last month.  MR MILLS was on a voyage to Glasgow with his vessel; and Mr Charles Marshall, deceased's brother, informed Mr Coroner Bromham and a Jury on Friday that he last saw her alive at his mother's house, High-street, Clovelly, on May 16th.  She was then worried and upset about financial matters, as she had been for some time past.  On taking her a cup of tea to his mother's house on the following day she was nowhere to be found.  On the sitting-room table, however, was a letter in her handwriting, the envelope being addressed, "To my three darling ones, good bye." which witness presumed, referred to deceased's husband and her two sons.  The letter ran as follows:-

My best and kindest of husbands, - I must say good-bye for ever to you and my darling boys.  I have always been a faithful wife to you, but I have got so deep in debt and you know nothing about it that I cannot endure it any longer.  I am writing this four o'clock in the morning.  I shall go in the Park, and I hope my body will not be found to cause any expense.  God bless you, my darling JIM.  I know nothing will ever make you hate me, but I have been a thoughtless wife, and I know you can never pay my debts; they are too many.  I have prayed that God will receive me until Himself, and I know I am better out of the world than in it.  My two darling boys, God bless you, and always think kindly of your poor, unhappy mother, and stick to your kindest and best of fathers.  He knows nothing of all my being in debt as I am.  It is this that will make me do this act, for I cannot bear it any longer, and your dear father does not know I owe half as much as I do. and I cannot bear it.  Good-bye my three darling ones, my precious JIM.  I have left in my purse £1 14s. 4d.

There was, added witness, no signature to the letter, but there was no doubt as to the handwriting being deceased's.  The Park and all the surrounding neighbourhood were searched for several days, but without avail.  As many as forty persons took part in the search, the only articles found being deceased's shawl, hat, and a stick, on the top of a high rock on Clovelly beach on May 20th.  Since his sister left home it had been discovered that she had had dealings with professional money-lenders, and had been cruelly wronged.  Evidence was also given by James Harris and P.C. F. G. Roughton.  The verdict returned was "Suicide during Temporary Insanity."  Mr J. H. Seldon, schoolmaster, was foreman of the Jury.

Thursday 30 June 1898

CHUDLEIGH - A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned on Saturday in the case of the extraordinary fatality in Chudleigh, by which ROBERT LEARE, 50, butcher, died as the result of falling on a fork or prong held by his brother, JOHN, a baker.

Thursday 14 July 1898

BARNSTAPLE - Young Man's Death At Barnstaple. - "I am feeling better today than ever I have felt since being in Barnstaple."  Having uttered these words at his lodgings, 3, Alexandra-road, Barnstaple, on Monday, ERNEST MALTBY, aged twenty-five, collapsed in an armchair and died before medical assistance could be procured.  As Mr coroner Bencraft said, at the Inquest at the Rolle Arms on Tuesday, it furnished another instance of the uncertainty and the frailty of human life.  It transpired that about six weeks ago deceased came from Lincoln as assistant and packer for Mr C. H. Godden, glass and china merchant, of High-street.  Mr Godden noticed that MALTBY had a cough, but thought his health was generally good.  He went to dinner at one o'clock, and uttered the remark about feeling better after the meal, which consiste4d of mashed potatoes and roast mutton, which he preferred cold.  It was a gurgling noise in deceased's throat which attracted the attention of Mr Hill, his landlord, as the poor fellow had just taken possession of an armchair.  MALTBY then gasped heavily, and Mrs Hill fetched water whilst her husband ran for Dr Jackson, but on the doctor's arrival at 1.40 life was extinct.  The doctor tried artificial respiration for ten minutes, but there was no sign of life.  Dr Jackson had no doubt that death was due to syncope, brought on, perhaps, by MALTBY walking home and eating his dinner rather hurriedly, on a weak heart.  Charles J. Piper, errand boy at Mr Godden's, mentioned that on the preceding Friday deceased had a kind of fainting fit, which lasted two or three minutes.  He purchased some glycerine for his cough at Mr Tremeer's on Monday morning, whilst deceased had also some spirits of camphor in his pocket.  Dr Jackson said these were perfectly safe to use.  A verdict of death from syncope was returned by the Jury, of which Mr Arthur Symons was foreman.

TORRINGTON - Sad Fatal Accident At Torrington. - An Accident, which unhappily was followed by fatal results, happened to MR W. P. ASHTON, manure and ale merchant, of Castle-street, on Friday evening.  It appears he was returning home riding on a cob, and when near Little Torrington, he was thrown off.  He was removed to his home, but died about one o'clock on Saturday morning.  Deceased was a widower and leaves two grown-up sons.  He took a keen interest in bowling.  Curiously enough, other members of MR ASHTON'S family have met their deaths through accidents of a similar nature.  The affair caused a painful sensation through the town and great sympathy is expressed for the members of the family.  An Inquest was held on Saturday afternoon at the Town Hall, by Mr J. F. Bromham.  Mr T. B. Fairchild was chosen foreman of the Jury.  Mr B. T. James appeared on behalf of the deceased.  CHARLES ASHTON, son of the deceased, deposed that his father was 60 years of age.  On the previous evening, witness heard that he had met with an accident, and he came from his home at Bideford to Torrington, and found his father on a bed and unconscious.  He did about quarter to one that day, at 20, Castle-street, Torrington.

James Coulridge, wine merchant, living at Bideford stated that on Friday, the 8th July, he was out with the otter hounds, and was returning in a break to Bideford.  He saw the accident which happened to the deceased.  It was about half-past six in the evening.  He noticed the deceased was riding on a cob behind the break for about ten minutes before the accident happened.  He was about 300 yards behind, when witness saw him fall off.  Could not say what caused him to fall off.  The break was stopped, and witness and several others went back to his assistance.  He was on the ground and appeared to be unconscious.  Witness assisted to carry him into the nearest cottage, and someone rode to Taddiport to give information that an accident had happened.  William Chubb, son of the late huntsman of the Stevenstone hounds, being at Rakeham, informed the Jury that he was passing through the parish of Little Torrington about half-past six, and was in front of the break referred to by the last witness.  He heard some of the party call out, and he went back and saw them carry deceased into the cottage.  Witness fetched a carriage from the town and with assistance brought MR ASHTON back to his house in Castle-street.  He was unconscious all the way.  Dr Edward Morse, of Torrington, said he knew the deceased very well, and had for years.  On the previous evening a little after nine, he was called, and went immediately to the house of the deceased in Castle-street.  He was lying on the bed fully dressed.  He was living but quite unconscious.  Witness examined him, and came to the conclusion that he had sustained a fracture of the skull, causing compression of the brain and complete paralysis of all the limbs.  He saw at once that there was no hope of his recovery.  For the satisfaction of the family, a second opinion was obtained, and Dr Sutcliff met him in consultation.  He at once came to witness's opinion.  He was called again about half-past twelve, and MR ASHTON died just before he arrived.  The cause of death was compression of the brain caused by a fracture of the skull.  A verdict of Accidental Death was returned.

Thursday 21 July 1898

APPLEDORE - On Monday evening an Inquest was held on the body of MRS JANE HINKS, widow of the late MR HENRY HINKS, boat-builder, of Appledore, who fell last month and broke her leg.  The Inquest was held at the Rising Sun; Mr H. R. Moody being chosen foreman of the Jury.  - JOSEPH HINKS, son of deceased, said his mother, who was 83 years of age, had lived by herself.  Deceased met with an accident on the 14th day of June last.  Since the accident Dr Pratt had been in regular attendance.  She died on Saturday evening about 10 o'clock.  During her illness she told him she was taken with giddiness and fell in the kitchen, where she was found.  - HELEN HINKS, wife of the last witness, on the 14th of June, be3tween 10 and 11 p.m. went to the house of deceased, as was her custom, to see4 if she was all right.  She found her lying on the floor near the fireplace with her head under the table.  Witness asked how she came there, and deceased said she fell.  Witness sent for her husband and a neighbour, and they put her on a sofa, and she stayed with deceased all night.  Medical assistance was obtained the following day.  - Catherine Williams, nurse, gave evidence to attending deceased from the time of the accident until death.  - Dr Pratt deposed to being called on June 15th last, and to finding deceased lying on the sofa.  He found that the right leg was fractured in two places.  Witness also noticed that the limb was dropsical.  After the bone was set, he found she was suffering from Bright's disease.  The bone had united and knit splendidly, and death would not have occurred if it had not been for the disease from which deceased was suffering.  The actual cause of death was exhaustion.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 28 July 1898

BARNSTAPLE - Another Bathing Fatality At Barnstaple. - Still No Bathing Place.  EDWIN HUGH CLARKE, aged 16 ½ years, heroically saved a child named Stribling who fell into the River Taw last week, but, alas! when CLARKE himself was in difficulty whilst bathing in the same river on Monday, no help was forthcoming for him, and the poor fellow was drowned.  CLARKE (who was in the employ of Mr B. Webster, hairdresser, of the Strand) was a respectable, well conducted young man, and he was generally lied by those with whom he came into contact.  It is a very sad case, and whilst the Town Council are considering schemes for developing and popularising Barnstaple they should not lose sight of the absolute necessity for a bathing place and the riders of juries in regard to the matter.  Schemes are a long time practically maturing, and meanwhile valuable lives are being lost in the treacherous Taw.  Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, and a Jury, of which Mr John Westacott was foreman, inquired into the death of CLARKE at the Rolle Quay Inn on Tuesday.  Rolle Quay (where CLARKE'S parents reside, and where the body was taken) is outside the Borough; hence the reason of the County Coroner holding the Inquest.

Deceased's father, MR THOMAS CLARKE, shoemaker, deposed that his son came home to dinner shortly after half-past one on Monday.  He did not remain long, and left, as witness thought, for the purpose of returning to work.  He had not been gone twenty minutes before witness heard that he was drowned.  Last week his son saved a boy from drowning.  On Sunday evening deceased read a letter in the local Press as to the danger of bathing in the Taw, and witness had cautioned him about going there.  There was a touching incident at this stage.  The Jury presented the whole of their fees to MR CLARKE, and the Coroner expressed their sincere regret at his loss.  MR CLARKE, who is an elderly man, was labouring under great emotion.  With his eyes filled with tears, he seemed to have barely sufficient strength to thank the Jury.  His son was a most promising lad, and it was a very great trial.  Alfred Drew, shoemaker, deposed that whilst about two o'clock on the previous day he was eel-fishing on Castle Quay, he saw deceased enter the river from the Barnstaple side and swim to the Anchor Wood side.  Having stood up to his waist in the water for about half-a-minute, he attempted to return.  Suddenly he cried out, "Bring out a boat, I am drowning," but there was no boat near, and witness was unable to swim. There were 12 or 13 feet of water at the spot, and after struggling for about half-a-minute CLARKE sank, rose again still struggling, and finally disappeared.  There were scores of people at the Railway Station close by, but no one appeared to be able to swim, and there was no chance of getting a boat in sufficient time.  Some railway men brought a boat from the Dolphins some distance below, but it was Reginald Nott, a fisherman, who rowed down the river and recovered the body.

Wm. Harris, stonebreaker in the yard situated on the Quay, also witnessed the fatality, and stated that there was no one near at the time who could render assistance.  CLARKE sank in the middle of the river.  Reginald Nott stated that he saw numerous people proceeding towards the spot, and this caused him to row thither from a point near Rock Park.  He recovered the body about half-past two.  CLARKE was quite dead.  The body had been in the water too long for artificial respiration to be attended with success. P.C. Avant, who is a member of the St. John's Ambulance Association, also expressed the opinion that artificial respiration would have been of no avail.  Remarking on the sad event, the Coroner repeated that the family of deceased had their utmost sympathy - sympathy which the Jury had shown in a practical way.  The deceased and others had been cautioned as to the danger of bathing in the Taw, but the love of bathing seemed to be dominant in all boys.  It may have been that in this hot weather, bathing quickly after dinner, deceased was seized with giddiness.  He thought the only verdict could be "Accidentally Drowned whilst bating in the River Taw."

This verdict was returned by the Jury; but they also added the important rider "That in our opinion it is most desirable that a safe bathing place should be constructed adjacent to the River Taw, as by so doing cases of drowning would be less frequent."

Thursday 11 August 1898

KINGSBRIDGE - A verdict of Suicide while Temporarily Insane was returned at the Inquest of MRS E. WHITE, of Whitley Farm, near Thurlestone, Kingsbridge, on Saturday, deceased having been found with her head in a trough of water.

Thursday 18 August 1898

PLYMOUTH - At the Inquest held on Monday on the body of MR GEORGE T. DERRY, of Mutley, who was knocked down by a cyclist, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  The Jury, in a rider, expressed the opinion that cyclists should be compelled to use brakes.

MORTHOE - Bathing Fatality At Morthoe.  M.P.'s Daughter Drowned. - A distressing bathing fatality occurred at Morthoe on Saturday, the victim being MISS WINNIFRED FOSTER, aged 20, the youngest daughter of SIR WALTER FOSTER, M.P., for the Ilkeston Division of Yorkshire.  LADY FOSTER and her daughters had been staying at the Morthoe Hotel for a fortnight, and two of the daughters, very fond of swimming, went to Coombe's Cove on Saturday morning to bathe, some other young ladies going into the water at the same time.  There was a rather heavy surf, and a larger wave than usual carried MISS WINNIFRED FOSTER unexpectedly off her feet.  She was rapidly washed out a distance of about 25 yards, and then she sank.  An alarm was at once raised, and deceased's brother-in-law made a gallant attempt to effect a rescue.  He once nearly succeeded in reaching her, but he himself narrowly escaped being washed out to sea.  MISS FOSTER was not seen afterwards, and although coastguards came quickly with a boat and appliances, all efforts then made to recover the body were fruitless.  The sad event cast quite a gloom over the district, and messages of sympathy have been received  by LADY FOSTER from far and near.  The deceased was very fond of athletics, being a clever cricketer and an expert swimmer.  Prior to going to Morthoe she had been studying at St. Andrew's and Dublin for her B.A. examination. 

The body of MISS FOSTER was found at 11.30 a.m. yesterday by Wm. Smith.  It was discovered in Grunta Pool, near Morthoe Hotel, only about fifty yards from the place where the deceased lady was swept out to sea.  The body was lying in about four feet of water, and was partly covered with sea-weed.  The body was conveyed to the Hotel by Mr Smith and P.S. Luckraft.  The Inquest will be held today, and it is expected that the funeral will take place at Morthoe on Saturday.

Thursday 25 August 1898

LAUNCESTON - At Launceston on Friday MR RICHARD HURDON, retired farmer, a resident of Crediton, was knocked down by a L. and S.W. Railway train and killed.  He was crossing the line at the station, and failed to hear the approach of the train.  The Coroner's Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 1 September 1898

ILFRACOMBE - Sad Death At Ilfracombe.  The Inquest. - An Inquest was held on Thursday evening at the Temperance Hall, Fore-street, before Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, touching the death of WILLIAM DOWN, who was found dead at Mr T. Copp's stables in the morning.  Mr W. Pile was elected foreman of the Jury.  The first witness called was John Williams, a gardener, of Berkeley-place, who stated that deceased lodged with him, and he was a dealer or trainer of dogs.  He last saw him alive on Tuesday morning about 7 o'clock.  He had lodged with witness about six or seven years.  On Tuesday he was in his usual health, but he was a man of drinking habits.  He should think his age was about 50.  He did not usually stay away so long.  William Mock, driver, working for Mr T. Copp, said he was acquainted with deceased.  He last saw him alive on Wednesday morning about 7.50 in the stable-yard at Northfields.  He was then much as usual.  On Thursday morning witness went to the yard at five o'clock, and heard a dog howling.  Witness went to open the door to let the dog out when he saw deceased lying on his back dead.  Witness sent for the doctor.  There was a pool of blood under his head, which was cut.  The yard was an open one.  Witness was in the yard the previous night at 10.30.  A brick floor was under deceased's head.  There were no signs of any struggle, and the hands were open.  Witness then sent for the police.  Deceased was a man of drinking habits.  Witness did not know where deceased passed the last few nights.  He generally saw deceased two or three times a day.  He was much under the influence of drink during the past week.  The Coroner said it was within his knowledge that deceased was in a chronic state of alcoholism, and had a diseased heart and liver.  - William Curtiss, ironmonger, said that on Wednesday night about 10.50 he saw deceased enter the Northfield yard.  he was then very drunk and rambling about.  At the request of the Jury, the Coroner examined deceased, and stated that the skull had been fractured.  The Jury returned a verdict that deceased was Found Dead with a fractured skull, but how the injuries were received there was no evidence to show.

TIVERTON - An Inquest was held at Tiverton on Friday, relative to the death of ROBERT SPARKES, farm labourer.  THOMAS SPARKES, son of deceased, said he saw his father on Tuesday evening in the infirmary said, "It was no one's fault."  William M. Snell said deceased was itching a load of oats and deceased was loading them on the waggon.  The load had reached up to the top of the lades, and witness shouted out "Hold fast, ROBERT."  The horse moved up about five yards, and deceased called out to stop the horse.  Witness did so, and ran round and saw deceased on the ground.  He helped him up and he was taken to the Tiverton Infirmary.  Mr England, house surgeon, said deceased fractured his spine, and died on Thursday.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 8 September 1898

PLYMOUTH - At the adjourned Inquest on Friday on AARON PARKES, killed by an explosion in connection with the water gas apparatus at Plymouth Gas Works on July 19th, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 22 September 1898

BARNSTAPLE - Death of A Barnstaple Painter At Ilfracombe. - At the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital, Ilfracombe, on Friday, the Deputy Coroner, Dr Slade-King, held an Inquest on the body of JOHN HAM, painter, of Barnstaple, but who has been lately residing at Ilfracombe, and who died under somewhat peculiar circumstances on Friday morning.  - Mr S. Day was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  - ARTHUR JAMES HAM, accountant, of Somerset Place, Barnstaple, son of the deceased, gave evidence of identification; and said his father was 49 years of age.  He had been living at Greenclose-road, Ilfracombe, for the last two months.  Witness saw him about two months ago at Bideford, and he then appeared to be in good health.  He was a man of general good health, but had met with several accident during his life, the last being bout two years ago.  Witness last saw his father alive between ten and eleven on the morning of September 15th.  He was then insensible.  He (witness) had never seen his father in a fit, but had been told that he suffered from them by his mother, who, however, could not give evidence as to his state of health for the last two years.  - Samuel Westaway, labourer, said he was employed on the new Wesleyan Chapel in Wilder-road, working on the ground level shifting sand. On the afternoon of the 14th he saw deceased on a heap of stones rubbing his leg.  Witness asked him if he was feeling ill, and he said he had been kneeling on the scaffold plank and his leg had got dead, and he thought he had rheumatics.  He came down and stopped by the side of witness for a few minutes still rubbing his leg and side, and witness held him until he recovered somewhat, when he walked to a stand-pipe about twenty feet away and had a drink.  He was proceeding back to his work, but when he got to the heap of stones he turned round and came back again and caught hold of the handle of witness's shovel, and asked him to catch hold of him for a few minutes.  He caught hold of witness very tightly for about a quarter of an hour, until he could no longer stand, when he sat down on a barrow.  Witness said to deceased he thought it was something more than rheumatics, it was more like seizure.  Deceased made no answer to this, and Mr Pickett coming on the scene, deceased was carried into the Chapel and a doctor was sent for.  He made no communication to witness as to having met with any accident. - By the Coroner:  If he had fallen on the ground his clothes must have been marked by the lime and sand, but there were no marks on the clothes (produced).  There was an open space of 24 feet between witness and where deceased was working.  - By Mr A. Bencraft (representing deceased's friends):  There was an area under the plank about 16 feet high and 4 feet wide.  He had to cross the heap of stones as he came off the plank.  There were two loose planks across the heap, and if deceased fell there he would have no marks on his clothes.  - The Deputy Coroner pointed out that this was merely hypothetical, since no evidence had been produced to show that deceased did fall.  - Mr Bencraft said he put the question because it had been suggested that if he had fallen, there would have been marks on his clothes.  - Dr W. A. Payne said he was called at about five o'clock on the day in question, and found the deceased in a state of convulsion, but he had not lost consciousness.  He complained of abdominal pains, and witness examined him, but could find nothing to account for it.  Deceased was removed to the Hospital, where his convulsions continued, and then began to be intermittent and then one-sided (the left side).  He seemed to be getting so much worse that witness called in Dr Gardner to see him.  These convulsions continued at intervals, accompanied by a bloody discharge from the mouth, until about midnight, when they left him, and his left side became paralysed, while he lost consciousness and died at two o'clock that morning.  - By the Coroner:  The symptoms were not inconsistent with the presence of lead in the system, but witness could not say what was the immediate cause of death.  Deceased made no statement to him about an accident, but when he was called to the chapel he heard several bystanders remark that he had met with an accident and had fallen across a plank.  The Coroner said this was not evidence.  After a short consultation, the Jury decided that a post mortem was necessary and the Inquest was accordingly adjourned until Tuesday.

Dr Slade-King resumed the Inquiry into the death of JOHN HAM at the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital on Tuesday. Mr Payne, who had made a post mortem examination, deposed that there were no traces of any accident, but the liver was abnormally small and unable to perform its proper function.  Witness was of opinion that deceased died from the effects of toxic poisoning.  There was not sufficient evidence of lead poisoning, but he thought it must be ptomaine poisoning in consequence of an inadequate liver.  The Coroner, in summing up, said there was no doubt that, owing to the excessive use of alcohol, the liver was in such a state as to be unable to act, and this had caused death.  The Jury returned the following verdict:  "That deceased died from the effects of ptomaine poisoning in consequence of an inadequate liver."

Thursday 29 September 1898

FENITON - The Jury returned an Open Verdict at the Inquest on the body of W. HORSFORD, a farmer, of Feniton, near Honiton, who was found dead with a gunshot wound in his throat and the weapon by his side.  Deceased had been depressed since an attack of influenza, but had been more cheerful lately.  The gun was an unsafe one.

Thursday 13 October 1898

BARNSTAPLE - Death of MRS JOSEPH HARPER. - It is with profound regret that we have to record the death of MRS AUGUSTA MARY HARPER, wife of DR JOSEPH HARPER, J.P., of Barnstaple, who passed away on Friday morning last at the age of 51.  On the 21st of September, DR HARPER drove his wife, with MISS GERTRUDE HARPER and Miss Cotton, to Santon, and just as the return journey commenced the horse shied at some ducks which were crossing the roadway, with the result that DR HARPER, was thrown out of the vehicle.  The horse bolted, and when ear the Mission Church the carriage overturned, the three ladies being thrown violently into the roadway.  MISS HARPER and Miss Cotton escaped with slight injuries, but MRS HARPER was picked up insensible.  MRS HARPER was conveyed to her residence in Bear-street, Barnstaple, where she remained unconscious several days.  After regaining consciousness and showing signs of progress, she had a relapse, and at the beginning of last week little hope of her recovery was held out.  The news of the critical condition of MRS HARPER was learnt with the deepest sorrow, and the bulletins posted daily were eagerly scanned.  MRS HARPER, who was a sister of Miss Robinson, whose philanthropic work is so gracefully remembered at Braunton, was a lady whose charming disposition endeared her to all who knew her; and in the terrible bereavement which has come upon them DR HARPER and his family have the heartfelt sympathy of all classes of the community. 

The Inquest was held at the residence, Bear-street, on Saturday morning.  Mr W. Allen was foreman of the Jury.  Speaking under great emotion, the Borough Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft) said this was one of the saddest, if not the very saddest case, that had ever come before him during the long period of nearly fifty years in which he had been borough coroner.  It was sad for many reasons - sad because of the valuable life which had been sacrificed under untimely circumstances, sad because there was a sorrowing husband and loving children to mourn the loss of one who had been both a devoted wife and mother.  He need not enlarge further upon the matter than to say that MRS HARPER'S lamentable death had caused universal sympathy throughout North Devon and far beyond, where she was so well-known and highly respected and esteemed.  The circumstances of the case were brief, and there was nothing to which he need direct the attention of the Jury.  He believed the Jury would come to the conclusion that MRS HARPER'S death was the result of an unavoidable accident.

DR WALTER JOSEPH HARPER, of Braunton, deceased's son, stated that on the afternoon of September 21st he was driving back from Santon, where he had visited a patient, his father's carriage being about fifty yards in front.  Some little distance on the road, his father's horse shied (as far as he could see) at some ducks, the carriage on being drawn up over an incline at the side of the road nearly going over, and his father (who was driving) being thrown out.  This startled the mare, and she bolted out of witness's sight.  Going up to his father, the latter told him to go to his mother's assistance, and about 200 yards further on he found the carriage upside down, and his mother lying at the side of the road.  She was unconscious, and they sent for a carriage and took her home as soon as possible. Witness and Dr Jackson had since been in attendance upon her until Friday, when, at 9.30 a.m. she expired.  Everything possible was done for her.

Dr Mark Jackson deposed that on being brought home MRS HARPER was insensible.  She was put into bed and remained in the same condition for two or three days, after which she regained consciousness for a couple of days.  This was followed by a relapse, deceased becoming unconscious again.  After this MRS HARPER again became conscious for a day or two.  She relapsed into unconsciousness, and then she gradually sank.  There were no external evidences of injuries, but the internal injuries were very severe, and were followed by compression and inflammation, the actual cause of death.  The Coroner did not think it necessary to call further evidence, and at his suggestion a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  Mr T. Lee, one of the Jurymen, pointed out that persons were liable to be prosecuted for allowing animals to stray on the highway.  In this sad case a valuable life had been lost, and it could not be replaced.  The Coroner said DR WALTER HARPER did not exactly know what caused the animal to swerve.  DR WALTER HARPER further observed that it looked as if the animal shied at something, and the ducks were in the middle of the road.  He did not know exactly how the accident happened - he only went by what some children told him - and he did not think his father exactly knew.  Mr Lee pressed the point.  He, personally, had had very narrow escapes through ducks being on the same road.

Dr Jackson supported the remark, and said that pigs were often on the Santon road.  There was a long dyke at the side of the road, and two carriages could not pass without risk of one going into it.  Mr Allen thought the attention of the Parish Council ought to be drawn to the matter.  He thought the occurrence was purely accidental, and it was most deplorable.  He moved a vote of condolence with DR HARPER and his family in the irreparable loss which they had sustained.  The Jury was sympathetically unanimous in the matter, and the Coroner said he should be pleased to convey their sympathy, in which he concurred most sincerely, to DR HARPER and his family.  At the instance of Mr Lee, it was decided to call the attention of the Superintendent of Police to the danger attending traffic on the Santon-road by reason of animals straying there.  The Jury (at the suggestion of the Foreman) gave their fees to Barnstaple Dispensary.

BARNSTAPLE - A Barnstaple Tragedy.  A Volunteer Shoots Himself. - Barnstaple, the centre of so many sensations of late, was again startled on Monday morning - this time by a shocking tragedy.  In the early morning, MR GEORGE HARPER, smith, of North Walk, was seen taking a walk apparently in good health.  On his way home MR HARPER, who was a private in the Barnstaple Volunteers, called for his Martini-Henri rifle (his private property) at the Armoury in Castle-street.  He had barely entered his smithy when the report of firearms was heard, and on an entry being effected he was found prostrate on the floor, with the rifle lying close beside him.  The rifle had been discharged into the mouth, the bullet traversing the brain, passing out at the top of the head, and then going clean through the tiled roof of the workshop.  The terrible affair created a painful sensation, and came as a great shock to deceased's relations and personal friends.  MR HARPER was the eldest son of the late MR ROBERT HARPER, smith, and a brother of MR SYDNEY HARPER, the well-known vocalist, and of the late MR R. HARPER, stationer, who died in the early part of the year.  He was associated with his father in the smithing business, being a remarkably clever workman and on the death of MR HARPER he succeeded to the business.  For his aged mother, and for the remainder of the family, general public sympathy is expressed.  Had he lived, MR GEORGE HARPER would twelve months hence have qualified for the Volunteer long service medal - for he has been a member of the force for nearly 20 years.  He was an efficient shot, and in addition to numerous prizes in local competitions, he won two St. George's badges at Wimbledon with the old Snider rifle.  He was always willing to impart information to shooting recruits, and for his geniality and kindly disposition was generally liked.  For many years MR GEORGE HARPER was a valued member of the Barnstaple Easter Musical Festival Society, being a member of the Committee and acting for a long time as librarian. He possessed a rich and powerful tenor voice, which won for him a reputation only second to that of his talented brother, MR SYDNEY HARPER.  The deceased was 49 years of age.  He was unmarried.  A melancholy interest attaches to the cartridge which was responsible for the tragedy, it having been in a bandolier or cartridge belt presented to MR HARPER by one of Dr Jameson's troopers in the famous Transvaal raid. 

Addressing a Jury, of which Mr T. R. Seldon was chosen Foreman, at the Mermaid Inn on Monday afternoon, Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, said they were met to Inquire into a sad and shocking occurrence - the violent death of MR GEORGE HARPER, smith, and a man well known to them all.  From information which had reached him there was only too much ground for fear that he had committed an act of self-destruction, but the state of his mind at the time was an element which they might very properly inquire into.  Miss Sarah Clifford, who acts as housekeeper for deceased's mother, stated that on Sunday MR HARPER did not seem quite so well as he had been, and remained home most of the day.  She went out at six p.m., and when she returned just before ten o'clock he was in bed.  She rose at seven o'clock that morning to find that he had then left the house in accordance with custom.  Mr A. F. Seldon (representing the family) elicited that witness had been housekeeper for MRS HARPER for three years.  Deceased had a bad attack of influenza last Christmas, and had not been well since.  He had been very forgetful, and had occasionally complained of pains in his head.  On Sunday morning, for example, not getting out of bed until about eleven o'clock (which was later than usual), he did not eat any breakfast, and putting his hand to his head, said he did not feel at all well.

Sergeant Major H. Hellings, in charge of the Volunteer Armoury, deposed that, meeting him in Castle-street at 7.45 p.m. on the previous day, deceased asked him whether he could go to the Armoury and take out his rifle (a Martini Henri belonging to MR HARPER), so that he could call for it.  Witness observed he did not think it was worth while to light up the Armoury on Sunday night, and deceased then agreed that Monday morning would do for him.  Whilst witness was upstairs about a quarter to eight that morning he heard MR HARPER ask his wife for the rifle; and deceased, having fetched it from the Armoury, took it away.  MR HARPER was a good shot, and the gun had to witness's knowledge been at the Armoury for over eighteen months.

A young man named George Henry Thorne (in the employ of Mr John Sampson, merchant, North Walk) informed the Court that at about 7.50 that morning he was at work in the yard, when he heard the report of firearms from the direction of the smithy, the window of which overlooked the yard.  Going to the window and looking in, he saw MR HARPER lying on his back apparently dead, and he went to the police-station and gave information.  P.C. Holland visited the spot in a few moments, the door being opened with a key with which deceased had asked him to enter the premises and to let people have goods in his absence.  The rifle produced was lying on MR HARPER'S left leg, the piece of bent iron wire (also produced) being in his right hand.  There was a considerable quantity of blood at the spot.  When the rifle was discharged witness heard the tiles of the workshop rattle, and now looking up he saw a hole in the roof, though which the bullet had apparently passed.  The body was removed to the house of deceased's mother by P.C. Holland and Messrs. Brand, Thorne and witness.  Questioned by Mr Seldon, witness said that on the previous Wednesday deceased complained to him of having a severe pain in the head, and had not been able to sleep after two a.m.  - By the Coroner:  Had never seen MR HARPER the worse for liquor.  - P.C. Holland corroborated the last witness's evidence.  The barrel of the gun pointed towards deceased's head, the piece of wire being in his right hand.

Dr Mark Jackson, who was called to the smithy at 7.55 a.m., said the deceased, fully dressed, was lying on his back, with his head and limbs inclining to the left side.  There was blood around the nostrils, and a pool of blood near.  There was a strong smell, as of an explosion of powder, and he found the lips were lacerated and covered with powder, whilst all the teeth were loose and the jaws fractured.  A large hole in the roof of the mouth, and a large jagged wound at the back of the head indicated that a bullet had traversed the brain.  Near by there was fallen mortar and a piece of tile, and in the roof of the shop was a hole three inches square, in an oblique line with the body.  Judging by the evidence the injuries were self-inflicted, the muzzle of the gun being directed into the mouth.  - Mr Seldon asked, was it a fact that severe pains in the head not infrequently followed influenza.  - Witness replied that it was a common occurrence, being also accompanied by some sort of mental depression.  There were many cases of suicide as the result.

The Coroner summed up.  There could be no doubt that MR HARPER had committed suicide.  It was perfectly competent for the Jury, if they thought proper, to append to the verdict their opinion as to the state of deceased's mind at the time, of which they had some evidence before them.  Most of them knew MR HARPER.  He was well-known and respected, and apparently a strong-minded man.  But influenza had often the effect of unhinging one's mind, causing one to commit terrible acts.  The Jury consulted in private; and the coroner afterwards mentioned that P.C. Holland, re-called, had deposed that he took the discharged cartridge out of the gun. It was a Martini-Henri cartridge, and not one of the sort kept at the Armoury.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane, following an attack of influenza."  They also passed a vote of condolence with the family, and also decided that the fees should go towards a funeral wreath.

SIDMOUTH - At Sidmouth on Saturday the death by hanging of WILLIAM MEDHURST, a boy of fourteen, was Inquired into by a Coroner's Jury, who found a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 20 October 1898

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death At Barnstaple. - A remarkable example of the uncertainty of human life was furnished at Barnstaple last Friday afternoon.  At an Inquest on the body of SARAH ANN WOLLACOTT, a married woman, aged 39, at the North Devon Infirmary on Saturday, Mr George Bale, painter, stated that, coming to his house on the previous afternoon, deceased approached him with reference to changing from one of his houses at Congram's Row to another, and, on promising to again see him on the following morning, was about to leave.  She said "Good after ----," but could not finish the sentence and reeling and falling, she suddenly expired.  The body was eventually removed to the mortuary at the North Devon Infirmary.  - In answer to a question on Saturday, Mr Bale said that MRS WOLLACOTT did not appear unduly excited, neither was there anything unpleasant in their conversation.  - Dr A. W. Lemarchand said deceased was thin through suckling a child, but he attributed death to the rupture of a large artery either in the lungs or the chest, the result of natural causes.  A verdict to this effect was returned by the Jury.  - Deceased leaves a husband and seven children, to whom eight of the members of the Jury presented their fees, the Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft) and the Foreman (Mr G. Lacy) also giving donations.

PLYMOUTH - At the Inquest respecting the death of HENRY AUSTIN, a packer, killed through the falling of a crane on the railway at Laira, Mr J. Wotton, inspector of the permanent way, admitted an error of judgment in estimating the weight to be raised.  The Jury found  verdict of "Accidental Death," and recommended that the G.W.R. Company should stamp the weight on heavy pieces of metal sent out.

Thursday 27 October 1898

BARNSTAPLE - Remarkable Case Of Sudden Death At Barnstaple. - The second sudden death at Barnstaple within a little over a week occurred on Monday, under extraordinary circumstances.  The victim was ELIZA JANE ESSERY, aged 45 years, of Garden-court, and at the Inquest conducted by Mr R. I. Bencraft, the Borough Coroner, at the Horse and Groom yesterday, deceased's husband, a labourer, deposed that his wife (who was enciente) had been subject to epileptic fits for eighteen years.  She ate her dinner as usual on Monday, but at 5.50 he was called home to find her dead. - MARIA ESSERY, aged eleven, deceased's daughter, stated that at five o'clock her mother sent her on an errand, telling her not to stay long, as she did not feel very well.  When she returned ten minutes later, she found her mother upstairs lying dead with her head in an open clothes box.  Margaret Marland described the position of the body when found, and mentioned that deceased complained of pain in her stomach during the dinner-hour.  Dr Charles Cooke attributed death to an epileptic fit.  She must have fallen forwards into the box and, being helpless, was suffocated.  The verdict of the Jury, of which Mr J. Haynes was foreman, was "Accidentally Suffocated, whilst suffering from an Epileptic Fit."  - Deceased leaves a husband and six children, four of whom are unable to earn anything.

MONKLEIGH - Drowned at Monkleigh. - Mr Coroner Bromham held an Inquest at Monkleigh on Thursday, on the body of JAMES HEARN, aged four years and eight months, son of MR J. HEARN, of Monkleigh Mills.  It appeared from the evidence that the mill stream runs a few yards from the house.  On Tuesday Eveline Lee, servant, saw the lad at about 3 o'clock standing on some steps giving access to the stream.  Presently she glanced out again and he was gone.  She immediately looked and called for him, and not finding him gave the alarm.  Several neighbours and friends joined in the search, and MR JOHN HEARN, Frithelstock, and Mr Wm. Grigg, of Parkham found the body in the stream half a mile from the mill.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidentally Drowned, and added a rider, expressing condolence with the family, and a recommendation that as far as possible dangerous parts of the mill stream near the house should be fenced off.

Thursday 3 November 1898

SIDMOUTH - An Inquest was held at Sidmouth on Monday relative to the death of ALFRED SANDY, thirty-two, gardener on the Peak Estate.  The evidence showed that deceased, who was in pecuniary difficulties, had taken strychnine, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst in a state of Temporary Insanity."

Thursday 10 November 1898

DEVONPORT - FRANK BENNETT, six years of age, residing with his parents at 10 Cornwall-street, Devonport, died on Wednesday at the Royal Albert Hospital from burns received on the previous night.  An Inquest was held on Thursday, when the Jury returned a verdict of Death from Shock, the result of injuries due to severe burning.  The Coroner pointed to the necessity of having a fire-guard to prevent further accidents.

EXETER - MR JOHN STABBACH, aged 46, publican and brewer, of Exeter, on Thursday last scalded himself whilst brewing, and judging from what he said, his wife concluded that he had fallen into the cooler, which contained very hot beer.  He died on Wednesday, death being due primarily to the scalds which were very severe about the legs.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned at the Inquest on Thursday.

WINKLEIGH - Death Of A Child From Opium Poisoning. - Mr Prickman held an Inquest last week as to the death of MARY CORDELIA HALL, the infant child of MR ARTHUR JAMES HALL.  MR HALL (lay reader) said on the 28th ult. the child was suffering from flatulence, and he gave it three drops of "Bateman's Pectoral Drops," mixed with water and sugar.  In the evening the child had a difficulty in breathing.  The next morning, as they could not wake it, she was put in a warm bath, and as that had no effect, Dr Norman was fetched.  The child died about noon.  He had been in the habit of administering the drops to his elder children, with beneficial results.  Dr Norman said the child was in comatose state, and its face was pallid, the symptoms pointing to opium poisoning.  The child had been strong and healthy from birth, and was well nourished.  He had no doubt death was due to opium poisoning.  He sent the bottle of "drops" to Dr Slade King, who reported opium present in a well-defined quantity.  Witness considered it was wrong to give such a preparation to a young child.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Opium Poisoning," the opium being inadvertently administered.

MONKLEIGH - Extraordinary Occurrence At Monkleigh.  Two Little Brothers Drowned Within A Fortnight. - Not much more than a fortnight ago the five year old son of MR JOHN HEARN, miller, of Monkleigh Mills, was accidentally drowned in the river Duntz (which runs in near proximity to the mills), and a similar fate befel his brother FREDERICK, three years of age, at the same place last Thursday.  It is a doubly-sad occurrence, and has caused a great sensation at Monkleigh, and a feeling of profound sympathy for the parents.

The evidence of MRS HELENA HEARN, at the Inquest conducted by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Saturday, went to show that whilst she was dressing her baby in the kitchen at mid-day on Thursday deceased came into the house and said, "Mamma, I brought in a stick for you."  He then went outside the front door again, and was missed just afterwards.  The garden gate was shut, but not secured.  Footprints were seen leading down to the river Duntz, being traced as far as the stile.  A general search was instituted, the lifeless body of the child being recovered from the river about three o'clock.  It transpired that there was a policy of insurance in respect of the child, but the money would only become payable in the event of his living fourteen years.  The domestic servant, Eveline Lee, mentioned that deceased was outside the front door cutting a piece of stick when she left the house to fetch a pitcher of water.  She told him to go in to his mother.  Five minutes later she returned to find MRS HEARN calling and looking for her boy.  The stile referred to by the last witness was about three to five landyards from the river.  - Robert Nicholls, labourer, stated that nearly half a mile from Monkleigh Mills he at 3 o'clock recovered the body lying on some stones in the middle of the river.  MR J. HEARN, deceased's father, stated that he was away drawing stones all the morning.  Was informed of what had occurred by his stepson on coming home shortly after twelve o'clock, and was near the last witness when he recovered  the body.  He had not had time to carry out the suggestion made by the Jury at the last Inquest as to fencing in parts of the mill-stream, but he intended now to confer with his landlord and relatives in the matter.  A verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" was returned by the Jury, of which Mr R. Steer was foreman.

Thursday 17 November 1898

PLYMOUTH - A verdict of "Accidental Death, due to coal gas poisoning", was returned at the Inquest held at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel, Plymouth, on Thursday concerning the decease of GEORGE LEE, a page boy, who was suffocated on Tuesday night through an escape of gas in his bedroom.

HIGHWEEK - At an Inquest held on Friday at Highweek, Dr Stephens attributed the death of a one-day-old child to suffocation, but could not say how caused.  The father, JOHN IRELAND, of Lawn-cottage, said the child died at 5.45 a.m.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

PETROCKSTOWE - A Schoolboy's Strange Suicide At Petrockstowe.  -  While suffering from temporary insanity, LEWIS HUTCHINGS, the eleven year old son of a tanner, committed suicide by hanging himself to an apple tree at Petrockstowe on Wednesday in last week. At the Inquest held by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Saturday, RACHAEL HUTCHINGS said deceased was her step-son, a schoolboy, eleven years of age on the 4th instant.  When she married, her husband had seven children, but the only one recently living at home was LEWIS, the youngest, and the subject of that Inquest.  She had three children of her own, and STEPHEN, the eldest, attended the Petrockstowe National School with LEWIS, taking their dinner with them, and returning about five o'clock.  On Wednesday, deceased came home as usual, and came into the house and changed coats, going out again, saying he was going into the garden.  Witness thought he had gone to pick up acorns for the pigs.  Her husband went to look for him, and hearing him calling in the orchard, she ran down and found he had cut down LEWIS from a tree.  When he was brought into the house he was quite dead. Had no idea what induced deceased to destroy himself, and could truthfully say he had not been ill-treated by herself or her husband, but, on the contrary, had been well cared for since her marriage.  Deceased was always a bright, merry lad, and did not complain of being unhappy.  -  SAMUEL HUTCHINGS, the father, said on coming home from work about six o'clock he was told LEWIS was out, and going to look for him met John Willis, a neighbour, who told him he had seen the boy who was "looking rather funny," and was gone downwards.  Witness thereupon went to the orchard and saw deceased up against a tree, hanging by a rope.  With his pocket knife witness cut him down immediately, but he was quite dead.  Carried him indoors and sent for the police and a doctor.  His son had always been treated kindly and had never complained to anyone, nor was there any cause for it; he had not been driven to it by anything at home.  Witness had another son who had been in an asylum, and another relative similarly affected.  - By the Jury:  Had not heard his wife threaten the boy.  - John Willis, a neighbour, said so far as he knew the boy had never been ill-treated.  -Dr Drummond, Dolton, examined the body, and found the usual bruises caused by strangulation.  There was no evidence or mark of ill-treatment.  The Jury, of whom Mr Thomas Brooks was the Foreman, returned as verdict "That deceased, while suffering from Temporary Insanity, committed Suicide by Hanging Himself."

Thursday 1 December 1898

FILLEIGH - Fatal Accident At Filleigh. - About a fortnight ago, RICHARD FERRIER, aged eighty two, residing with his son and daughter-in-law, at Home Farm, Filleigh, was returning to bed, when he slipped, and, falling downstairs, broke the ninth rib on his left side.  Dr Smith, of Southmolton, was called in, but MR FERRIER died from shock a week later.  At an Inquest held by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Saturday, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  Mr W. H. Reeve was foreman of the Jury.

Thursday 22 December 1898

OTTERY ST. MARY - At the Hare and Hounds Inn, near Ottery St. Mary, on Friday, Mr Coroner Cox, of Honiton, held an Inquest on the body of a cattle drover named SPILLER, and commonly known by the name of "Punch". Deceased had been missing since Ottery Cattle Fair considerably over a week ago.  His body was discovered in a goyle in a copse between Ottery St. Mary and the Hare and Hounds Inn, whilst a pack of hounds were in the neighbourhood on Wednesday.  "Accidental Death" was the verdict returned.

Thursday 29 December 1898

DEVONPORT - A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned at Devonport on Monday in the case of a hawker, named ROBERTS, who while under the influence of drink, slipped from a cart and broke his neck.

COMBE MARTIN - An Inquest was held here last week by Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner for the district of Barnstaple, touching the death of MRS SARAH CHALLACOMBE, who died suddenly on :Saturday evening, aged 82.  Jane Hussell deposed that she had been in the habit of seeing deceased every day lately, and last saw her alive on Saturday last at her house, at about four in the afternoon.  The deponent was sent for by deceased - the latter feeling ill.  The witness noticed that she had a black eye, which, the deceased had told her, occurred through her falling against the corner of the writing desk.  Witness then gave her some tea, and offered to send for the doctor, but she replied that she would be better soon, and she put deceased to bed.  Death occur5red at about half-past six in the evening.  Witness also stated that when she first saw deceased on Saturday, she noticed that her breathing was very rapid and short.  She sent for Dr Manning, but he was absent from home.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 12 January 1899

BARNSTAPLE - A Workhouse Inmate's Death At Barnstaple. - The death of MARY LOCK, aged about 88 years, formed the subject on Tuesday of an Inquiry by Mr Coroner Bencraft at Barnstaple Workhouse, of which deceased was an inmate.  - Bessie Jones, another inmate, deposed that eight days previously deceased, who was bedridden, got out of bed and fell down.  After being put back to bed she complained of her arm, which the nurse bandaged up, but death took place on Saturday.  Nurse Richards gave evidence, and mentioned that deceased was rather troublesome and that they could not keep her in bed.  Dr C. Cooke stated that examining the deceased on the previous Tuesday, he discovered that her forearm was broken, and he treated her.  LOCK, who was of weak mind, had been failing for some time, but he had no doubt death was accelerated by the accident.  The other inmates appeared kind to her.  - A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned by the Jury, of which Mr C. Knill was foreman.

Thursday 9 February 1899

The body of a tailor named SAMUEL BUTLAND was found in the river Dart on Thursday.  At an inquest on Friday it was stated that he had asked if it would kill anyone to fall from a spot on the river known as the Lover's Leap.  A verdict of Suicide, while Temporary Insane was returned.

Thursday 16 February 1899

BARNSTAPLE - Aged Woman's Death At Barnstaple. - ANN PARKIN, aged seventy-nine, who met with an accident at Queen-street, Barnstaple, nearly two months ago, died as the result last week, the case being Inquired into by Mr Coroner Bencraft and a Jury at the Globe Hotel, on Thursday.  Deceased's husband (CHARLES PARKIN, a shoemaker) deposed that during November his wife fell out of bed in the middle of the night.  He assisted her into bed, and they did not think the accident was serious until a day or two later, when his wife complained of being in pain.  Dr J. W. Cooke was then called in, and had treated his wife until her death the previous day, also sending the district nurse to attend on her.  - Dr Cooke stated that MRS PARKIN fractured the neck of the thighbone, an accident common with old people when they fell  She had been in bed since November, but there was not much chance of her recovery, and she gradually got weaker until death, which resulted from the fracture.  The Jury (of which Mr Carter was foreman) returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

CORNWOOD - Mr R. R. Rodd, Coroner, held an Inquiry at Cornwood on Thursday relative to the death of SAMUEL SKIDMORE, 75 years of age, who was killed at Headon China Clay Works, Cornwall, on the previous day, through about 15cwt. of earth falling on him.  the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 2 March 1899

SOUTHMOLTON - An Inquest was held at the Town Hall, Southmolton, on Saturday night by Mr T. Sanders, F.R.C.S., Borough Coroner, on the body of JOHANNA HOLMES, who recently fell down several steps in her house and broke her thigh, death subsequently resulting.  Mr S. Widgery was the foreman.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

SWYMBRIDGE - Suicide At Swymbridge. - J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, held an Inquest at Swymbridge Newland on Saturday on the body of HENRY HOLLAND, retired farm labourer, whose body had been found in the stream there.  Mr E. Slack was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The first witness was MARY HOLLAND, wife of JOHN HOLLAND, tanner, of Swymbridge Newland.  She said the deceased was her father-in-law.  He was originally a farm labourer, but in consequence of ill-health had done no work for some months.  He was 73 years of age.  For six weeks he had been living with herself and her husband.  About three o'clock on Friday she saw deceased in the garden picking up weed, her little son (aged four) being there with him. She spoke to him in passing and saw nothing peculiar in his manner. Two or three minutes afterwards, when she was in the house, the little boy ran in and said, "Mother, grandfather is in Aunt Ellen's stream." She said "What, in the water?" and he replied, "Yes, mother, he jumped right in."  She immediately ran down to the stream, where she saw the deceased lying in the water, which was covering him, although she could see the top of his head.  A daughter of deceased's (Mrs Lock), who lived near, ran down with her to the stream.  She said to Mrs Lock, "How shall we get him out?" and they called to George Barrow, who was working in his garden.  With her assistance Mr Barrow pulled the deceased out of the water.  He was quite dead.  With further assistance the body was removed to Mrs Lock's house.  Dr John Harper, who happened to be passing, was called in.  The deceased had been out of health and depressed in spirits for some time, and had been under the care of Dr John Harper, who saw him twice in the preceding week. The deceased was strange in his manner at times, but Dr Harper did not consider him bad enough to send away.  George Barrow, thatcher, gave corroborative evidence.  He had known deceased ten or twelve years, and had known him to be peculiar and depressed in spirits sometimes.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased committed Suicide by Drowning while Temporarily Insane.

Thursday 9 March 1899

NEWTON TRACEY - Suicide at Newton Tracey. - Cutting his throat with a razor, THOMAS SAMPSON, jobbing labourer, aged sixty-four, died within three-quarters of an hour at Newton Tracey, near Barnstaple, on Friday morning.  Deceased resided alone, and at the Inquest on Friday (held by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner), Robert Shambrooke, his next-door neighbour, stated that he seemed all right on Thursday night, when they walked through the village together.  Just before five a.m. on Friday witness was awoke by hearing SAMPSON shouting, and on opening his bedroom window he saw deceased leaning forward just outside his own door.  Witness asked what SAMPSON had done, his reply being "Done for myself."  On going downstairs witness found that SAMPSON had cut his throat, from which blood was flowing freely, and he at once went for Dr Parkhouse, who lived near.  Dr Parkhouse soon arrived, and deceased was taken indoors.  Some handkerchiefs were tied around SAMPSON'S neck, in order to stop the blood, but he soon expired.  In the garden outside the razor produced, and covered with blood, was found.  SAMPSON had been out of sorts for some time, and had complained of pains in his head and stomach.  Wm. Parkhouse, groom, who was aroused by the last witness, mentioned that deceased only had his shirt and a pair of stockings on at the time.  SAMPSON had been out of sorts, although telling him on Thursday night that he was a little better.  P.C. Cousins, of Tawstock, also gave confirmatory evidence, and stated that deceased had often complained to him of pains in the head.  A verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was returned.

Thursday 16 March 1899

EASTDOWN - A Man Hangs Himself At Eastdown. - There have been several cases of suicide in North Devon of late.  Last Saturday morning PHILIP ROOK, farm labourer, aged 56 years, hanged himself in a shippen at Indacott, Westdown.

GRACE ROOK, deceased's wife, informed Mr Coroner Bromham and a Jury on Monday afternoon that her husband was in the employ of Mr Tucker, of Bowden Farm.  After breakfast about 8.30 on Saturday he left home.  As deceased did not return as usual about 10.30 to let the cattle out of the shippen she went there for the purpose of doing so, when she saw him hanging by a rope just inside the door.  She ran to the nearest cottage for assistance, and when she returned she found that Mr Lerwill and others had arrived, and that her husband was cut down.  For the last month or so ROOK had been in low spirits, but this had not been sufficient to call in medical assistance or to cause any alarm.  On Saturday morning he seemed more depressed than usual, and when she inquired the reason, he replied that he'd got trouble enough.  -By the foreman:  Her husband saw Mr Cooke, surgeon, of Barnstaple, about a gathering in his hand two or three weeks ago.  Mr Cooke said it was blood poisoning.

Robert Conibear, shoemaker, of Eastdown, stated that he went to Indacott on business between 10 and 11 o'clock on Saturday morning.  Finding no one in the house, he looked in the shippen, and saw ROOK hanging there.  He hurried off to Mr Lerwill, and informed him of this.

William Lerwill, farmer, of Holwell, deposed that he found ROOK hanging as described.  When witness, assisted by his men, cut him down, he should think he had been dead about an hour.  - By the foreman:  Did not know that ROOK had anything to trouble about, except that he was leaving his house and employ at Lady-day.  P.C. J. Stevens, of Sherwill, also gave formal evidence, and a verdict of "Suicide by Hanging whilst Temporarily Insane" was returned.

Thursday 23 March 1899

DOLTON - Suicide At Dolton. - On Saturday the inhabitants of Dolton were shocked to learn that a tragedy had taken place in the village.  About eleven o'clock on Friday evening HENRY TRIGGER (son of MR RICHARD TRIGGER, confectioner, &c) committed suicide by cutting his throat with a butcher's knife.  His brother, JAMES, who was near, saw blood flowing, and at once called his parents and rushed off for the doctor, but death took place while the wounds were being sewn up.  Two gashes had been inflicted, one on each side of the throat.  Deceased was a native of Dolton, but left the neighbourhood many years ago, and nothing was heard of him until recently, when he suddenly re-appeared and has since lived with his parents.  - Mr Bromham held an Inquest at the Union Hotel on Monday.  RICHARD TRIGGER (father of deceased) identified  the body, and said the deceased was a general labourer, aged 30 years.  He had lived with him (witness) rather more than twelve months  He and the deceased slept together, and when he went to bed on Friday night his son was asleep in bed.  Deceased got up once and went downstairs and stopped about ten minutes, and then came up again and got into bed.  About five minutes after, they heard the horse neigh, and deceased got up again and put on his clothes and went downstairs.  Almost immediately he (witness) heard his other son, JAMES, who slept in the next room, go down and he asked, "What's the matter?"  Very shortly afterwards JAMES shouted up for his father to come down at once, and he rushed down as he was, and met JAMES at the bottom of the stairs.  He said, "Father, HARRY'S cut his throat; say nothing to mother."  He rushed into the garden, and saw HARRY sitting on a stick of timber a few feet from the door.  He said to him, "HARRY, what have you done?"  He got no reply from deceased, but he continued groaning.  Witness told JAMES to fetch the doctor at once.  His other son then came, and witness told him to stand by HARRY while he went and dressed.  When witness came down again he found deceased lying on his back on the ground.  Dr Tronsom came within ten minutes, and deceased was removed indoors.  Witness said his son had not been quite right since he came home.  he was away nine or ten years, and he could never find out where he had been.  - By the Foreman: (Mr J. S. Friend):  He has been in a lunatic asylum, and came from there just before he came home.  - JAMES TRIGGER, brother of deceased, said last Friday night he was in bed and heard the horse neigh.  He got up to go and see what was the matter.  When he got downstairs he met his brother HARRY at the bottom of the stairs, who said, "JIMMY, there's someone out in the yard."  HARRY left first, but witness stopped to put on his boots, and then went out in the yard and looked into the trap-house and stable, but saw nobody.  He went in again and then went out the second time and lighted a candle and then heard HARRY shout "JIM."  Witness said "Where are you?" and HARRY said, "Good-bye, JIM."  Witness went into the garden and found HARRY in a stooping position, and heard the blood flowing.  He went in and called his father, and then went for the doctor.  When he came back with the doctor his brother was taken into the house and in about ten minutes he died.  His brother was somewhat weak minded and had been in a lunatic asylum. - Dr Tronsom, general medical practitioner, acting for Dr Drummond, said on Friday night he was called about 11.30 by JAMES TRIGGER to come and see his brother who, he said, had cut his throat.  He went back with him, and on his arrival found deceased lying on his back on the pathway in the garden, just outside the house.  He examined him, and found two incisive wounds extending together two-thirds round the neck, butting through the superficial vessels at both sides.  Witness ordered deceased to be carried indoors.  He then proceeded to tie the artery, and while doing so noticed that the patient had died.  Death was due to loss of blood and shock.  He should say the knife produced was such as would cause the wounds, and that they were self-inflicted.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

The funeral took place at six o'clock the same evening.

SIMONSBATH - Fatal Accident At Simonsbath. - An accident, which unfortunately proved fatal, occurred on Friday last to MR W. BLACKMORE, who has for many years been coachman to Mr W. E. Arthur, of King's Nympton Park.  Deceased went to Barnstaple on the above mentioned day, to fetch a horse, to take to Honey Mead House, Exmoor, for his master, who has taken the place for a hunting box, and on his way home the animal threw him off.  Deceased called at the Poltimore Arms, Yard Down, in the evening, and had a glass of lemonade.  He mentioned to the landlady that the horse had thrown him, and she noticed that blood had been running from a wound at the back of his head, but he spoke of the mishap as being trifling.  He reached home safely and got up the next morning, and attended to his horses.  At about 8 a.m., he complained of being unwell, and went to get a cup of tea, but while doing so, fell down and expired.  Dr Jackson, of Northmolton, was at once telegraphed for, but on his arrival produced life extinct.  Mr Foster Barham, Coroner for West Somerset, held an Inquest on Tuesday.  Deceased was 44 years of age and has always borne an excellent character.  Much sympathy is felt for his wife and daughter in their sad bereavement.

KINGSTEIGNTON - At an Inquest held on Thursday concerning the death of DR QUINTON, at Kingsteignton, the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily of Unsound Mind."

Thursday 30 March 1899

OKEHAMPTON - Sad Fatality At Okehampton. - On Friday an Inquest was concluded at Okehampton on the body of MR THOMAS SLEEMAN, a local preacher, who had been killed by being ridden over by a horse in the highway on Tuesday.  After being absent about five and a half hours, the Jury returned with the following verdict:  "That the cause of death was injury received from a collision with a pony of Samuel Southcombe, jun., which was ridden by him on March 21st, 1899; that the pony of the said S. Southcombe, jun., was then being ridden in the highway in the borough of Okehampton, in a race with a horse belonging to Mr John Powlesland, and which was ridden by Friend for a stake of 10s. on either side; that Joseph Trenouth did hold the stakes, and Powlesland assisted in bringing about the race; that the said S. Southcombe, jun., by riding with Friend, did accidentally and without intent, and by misadventure, cause the death of the late MR THOMAS SLEEMAN."  The Coroner said that in his opinion the verdict was incomplete, as it did not give the conclusions which should have been drawn from the facts upon which they found.  However, as that was the only verdict they could make, it was his duty to record and receive it, and to consider what course to adopt.  he thought the verdict erred more on the side of the heart than on the side of the head.  There was a strong inclination on the part of the Jury to shift the responsibility upon himself (the Coroner) rather than to judge upon the facts they had before them. 

At Okehampton on Monday, Samuel Southcombe and Thomas Friend were charged with having caused the death of MR THOMAS SLEEMAN, and John Powlesland with being an accessory.  Formal Evidence was taken, and the three prisoners were remanded until Wednesday, bail being granted in £50 each.

Thursday 6 April 1899

BISHOPSNYMPTON - The Fatal Accident At Bishopsnympton. - An Inquest was held on Wednesday last on the body of MR J. DYMOND, of Gardiford Farm, Bishopsnympton, by J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner.  Mr A. Passmore was chosen foreman.  After the Jury had viewed the body the first witness called was MR N. DYMOND, who said the deceased was his father.  Witness last saw him alive on the previous Saturday, when the deceased came to his farm to assist in threshing.  After having dinner the deceased left the house for the purpose of taking his horses home.  Witness went to the stable about ten or fifteen minutes afterwards, and there found his father lying on the ground bleeding from a wound in his head; he obtained assistance and carried his father to the house and went for a doctor.  - George Berry, farm labourer, said on returning to work after dinner he heard MRS DYMOND calling him to come and assist her husband in carrying the deceased to the house.  He went and helped, and held deceased on a chair until the doctor arrived.  - DR H. J. Smyth, of Southmolton, stated he was driving near Bridge Farm on Saturday last, when he was overtaken by MR N. DYMOND, who told him his father had been kicked by a horse.  He immediately went to deceased, and found him bleeding from the nose, ear and mouth, and was lying quite unconscious.  He saw from the first that the case was hopeless, as the base of the skull was fractured. After the Coroner had summed up the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  - The funeral of the late MR J. DYMOND took place last Saturday at Bishopsnympton, and was largely attended.  Among those present were - Messrs. N. DYMOND, S. DYMOND, T. DYMOND, E. DYMOND (sons), Miss E. Dymond (daughter), Mr R. Dymond (brother), Mrs N. Dymond and Messrs. J. Mogridge, R. Way, J. Way, W. Way, and Misses Mogridge (s), Way, Shaddick, Webber, Warren, Mr and Mrs Venner, Mr and Mrs Mildon, Rev. W. Ball (Wesleyan), Rev. R. Hawkey (Bible Christian), Messrs. Jutsum, Chanter, Berry, Holmes, Lyddon, Verney, Hayes, Dyer, Boundy, Ayre, Hobbs, Shaddick, &c.

PAIGNTON - MRS SARAH HURMAN, of Eblana Villa, Paignton, committed suicide on Thursday evening.  At the Inquest on Friday a note which she had addressed to her husband was read.  In it she said she had been bewitched.

EXETER - At an Inquest held at Exeter on Saturday, on the body of MISS SUSAN MARY HEAD, a verdict that deceased was poisoned was returned.  Deceased left an extraordinary letter, and a doctor complained that though he had certified her as of unsound mind, a magistrate had subsequently visited her and refused to confirm that opinion.

TAWSTOCK - Found In the River Taw.  Tawstock Lad's Sad End.  Contradictory Statements. - The mystery surround the disappearance of GEORGE MORRISH, aged 17, of Tawstock, was solved on Friday morning, when the body was found in the river Taw, near Newbridge.  The body was conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary, and the Inquest was held by the Borough Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft) on Saturday morning.

WILLIAM MORRISH, labourer, of Tawstock village, deposed that deceased (his son) went into service at Mr Joce's, Charlacott, Tawstock, a fortnight ago.  He returned home on the Thursday, and, while having supper, said he should not go back again, as Mr Joce had assaulted him, and told him to go home.  Witness remarked "Be a little man, and go back to Mr Joce's."  The lad replied that he would sooner go into the Union, or drown himself. Deceased had made similar threats before, but witness did not think he intended to take his life.  Further questioned, MORRISH admitted telling his son he would not have him there, in order to induce him to return to his work.  If witness had thought he contemplated drowning himself he certainly should have allowed him to remain at home.  He had never ill-treated deceased, who did not like leaving home.

Francis Penny, house surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, stated that there were no marks of violence about the body, but a ligament of the neck was fractured, this practically causing a broken neck.  This was probably caused by deceased striking his head when going into the water.  The body must have been in the water some days.  - Some of the Jury had complained of the body being in a nude condition in the mortuary.  - Dr Penny said it was customary, in a case of this kind, to leave the body in the condition in which it was brought.  - A Juryman observed that at the many Inquests he had attended bodies had always been partly covered.  - In answer to a further question, witness said the ligament of the neck might possibly have been broken in removing the body to the mortuary.  Had not made any internal examination.

Walter Joce, farmer, Tawstock, was next called, and was asked why deceased left his employ on the evening in question after being there only three days.  Witness stated that he put MORRISH drawing wood, but deceased said he did not like the job, and would rather go home. He subsequently left, but witness positively denied having struck him.  - By a Juryman:  From the little he saw of MORRISH, he thought he was of rather weak intellect. 

About eight o'clock on the night of the disappearance of the deceased, Samuel Parkhouse, labourer, saw him come away from a gate near Newbridge.  This witness informed the Jury that he remarked to MORRISH that he thought he was over to Mr Joce's.  Deceased replied, "Yes," adding, however, that whilst they were unloading wood that evening Mr Joce assaulted him and sent him home.  He added that his mother would have allowed him to remain home, but his father pushed him outside the gate, and that he was then going on to his uncle's at Chapelton.  A Juryman here asked whether it was true that an uncle of deceased drowned himself at the same spot some few years ago.  Deceased's father replied that a man of the same name did so drown himself, but he was not related to them.  The witness Parkhouse further stated that he had once worked with deceased for nine months at one farm in the same parish, and he did not know that there was anything the matter with him mentally.  MORRISH was a very good boy to work, and he had never heard him threaten to commit suicide.  Mr Joce, re-called, declared that there was no truth whatever in the statement that he pulled deceased off the horse.  - Richard Stanbury, fisherman, spoke to going in company with three other fishermen in search of the body on Thursday night at the request of MR MORRISH.  On shooting "Kittle Pit," Newbridge, with a net, they brought the body to the surface.  They carefully lifted it into the boat and conveyed it to the North Devon Infirmary.  It was low water at the time, and the pit was about 10ft. deep. Near by there was a heap of stones.  - P.S. Edwards, Barnstaple, produced deceased's watch and chain, pocket-knife and handkerchief, which he found upon the clothing.  The watch had stopped at 8.17.

The Coroner, in summing up, remarked that it was a somewhat difficult case to deal with, having regard to the contradictory statements.  But he did not think it had been proved in a  very conclusive way that the statements of the deceased were true; and he left the matter to the Jury with confidence.  Members of the Jury requiring some further evidence as to the intellectual state of deceased, P.C. Cousins was called.  Knowing deceased quite well, he did not think his mental condition was all that could be desired; and judging from a complaint, was subjected to rather harsh treatment by his father.  On his making inquiries in the matter, MRS MORRISH informed him that on the evening when the lad came home her husband opened the gate and said, "Out you go; you shall get no shelter here."  Deceased was badly clad, and slovenly in appearance.  The foreman of the Jury (Mr E. Lewis) expressed the opinion that MORRISH was not to blame for sending deceased back to work.  He thought he should have done the same thing under similar circumstances.  It was not as though deceased was only eleven or twelve years of age.  Another Juryman thought that MORRISH might have allowed deceased to remain home the night.  The Coroner:  But no doubt MR MORRISH did not think he was going to commit suicide.  Eventually, a verdict was returned that deceased Committed Suicide by Drowning, but that there was no evidence to show the state of his mind at the time.

Thursday 13 April 1899

BRAUNTON - The Foundering Of A Ketch at Santon.  Inquest On One Of The Victims.  -  On the body of FREDERICK DAVIS, aged 21, drowned, as reported in page 6, in connection with the wreck of the ketch "Joseph and Thomas," of Bude, at Santon on Friday, Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest, at Braunton on Monday.  Amongst those present were Mr A. L. Christie, lord of the manor of Saunton, and Mr W. W. Petherick, Bude, brother-in-law of Captain Shazell, who also perished on the occasion.  John Couch, survivor, stated that after their sails were carried away they endeavoured to make for Ilfracombe, but finding they could not weather Morte Point, they tried to make the Bar.  The seas were too heavy, and off Down End they were struck by a terrific sea, which carried away the only sail they had, and deceased was washed overboard.  About twenty minutes afterwards two very heavy seas struck the vessel, and she capsized on the sands, the captain being in the rigging.  Witness did not remember anything after the captain bade him good-bye until he recovered consciousness at the hotel.  Thomas Ley, labourer, deposed to finding the body on the sands near to the spot where the wreck took place.  At the request of the Foreman (Mr W. H. Howard), Capt. Heddon, Lloyd's Agent at Croyde, was called.  The Coroner said there was a general idea that the men might have been saved if the lifeboats had been communicated with.  Was there anything, as a practical man, that Captain Heddon could find fault with?

Captain Heddon:  Certainly.  The lifeboats all round to the south-west, likely to be of any assistance, should have been wired for by the coastguard.  I remarked to my son, before starting with the coastguard, that the captain knew what he was doing in making for the lifeboat-house - that if the lifeboat men were out they would save the crew.  When I came to the boathouse I did not see a soul, and was surprised.  With clothing and refreshments in the lifeboat-house, we had to send to the Hotel.  During my thirty years' experience I have never known such a thing happen.  The lifeboat men should have been there, whether they could have been of use or not.  Couch was washed in right in front of the lifeboat-house.  Replying to other questions, Mr Heddon expressed the opinion that the coastguard system at Croyde was defective, as the house was situated too far away.  By Mr Christie:  The key of the lifeboat-house should be in the possession of the coastguard in case of a casualty.  Asked if the Clovelly lifeboat could not have reached the wreck if called when the vessel was first seen at Croyde, Captain Heddon said he could not say.  The Corner said he had called sufficient evidence to ventilate the matter and no doubt they would find it would be taken up.  It was open to the Jury to add any rider they pleased.

To a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," the Jury added the following rider:-  "That if, when the vessel was in distress off Baggy and the adjoining coast, communication had been instantly made with the neighbouring lifeboats, the lives of the crew might possibly have been saved."

TORQUAY - Mr Coroner Hacker on Thursday received information of the sudden death of a woman at Torquay the previous evening, when JANE POTTER, 65, laundress, residing at 2 St. Giles-terrace, Plainmoor, fell over the stairs and broke her neck.  Deceased, who was engaged in household work at the time, was alone in the house, but a neighbour hearing the fall went to her rescue.  She was, however, dead.

Thursday 27 April 1899

BISHOPSTAWTON - Sad End To A Children's Party At Bishopstawton.  Little Boy Dies From Burns. - Beara Farm, Bishopstawton, has during the past week been transformed from a house of festivity into a house of mourning, JOHN LEONARD TATHAM, the three-year-old son of the occupier (MR F. W. TATHAM, farmer), having expired as the result of burns sustained during a children's party held there on Wednesday evening.  The distressing affair caused a painful sensation in the district, and general sympathy is expressed for MR TATHAM at the untimely loss of his only son.  Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner and a Jury Inquired into the circumstances of the occurrence at Beara Farm on Saturday afternoon.

MR TATHAM deposed that on Wednesday they had a small children's party at the house.  Some of the children were dressed in different characters, his little son representing a cat, and his dress being made of cotton wool.  Just after seven o'clock a candle was brought into the room and placed on the ground, away from the platform on which the children were acting.  Suddenly he saw his child in flames, and rolling on the floor.  Witness threw himself on him in order to extinguish the fire, whilst his servant, William Warren, also threw a rug over deceased and carried him through the open French window into the garden.  They then took the child upstairs, and a doctor was sent for.  Dr Cooper came the same evening, and the child had since been under his treatment.  But death took place on Friday morning a little after one o'clock.  By the Jury:  The candle was brought into the room because some of the children who were acting wished to black their faces.  Neither of the lamps in the room was near the platform or stage.  Wm. Warren confirmed MR TATHAM'S evidence, and said he considered the fire was extinguished in ten seconds.

Dr Cooper, Barnstaple, stated that the child had extensive superficial burns on both thighs, the buttocks, the elbows and the face.  Witness dressed the burns and next morning the child seemed to be progressing favourably.  On Thursday, however, it was much worse and the cause of death was shock to the system, caused by the burns.  The verdict was "Death from Shock to the System, caused by Accidental Burns."  The Jury expressed their greatest sympathy with the family, and gave their fees to the North Devon Infirmary.

Thursday 4 May 1899

BARNSTAPLE -  Poor Child's Death At Barnstaple. - Death has relieved the last illegitimate child of LUCY LUSCOMBE, single woman, of Braunton, of its sufferings.  It will be remembered that a few weeks ago the woman (who has had four or five illegitimate children) was sent to prison for neglecting the infant.  Meanwhile the child (known as ALBERT WILLIAM LUSCOMBE) was removed to Barnstaple Workhouse, where it expired on Thursday night.  - Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, conducted an Inquest on Friday, when Ethel Richards, assistant nurse, stated that the child was brought to the House on the 22nd March, and had been under her care ever since.  It was eight months old, and very weakly and emaciated.  A cot was placed in her room, where the child slept, and she gave it a feeding bottle containing milk about twelve o'clock on Thursday night, but on waking up that morning she found the boy was lying on his side, dead.  Although the boy had taken food well he had not increased in weight, and had given her a great deal of trouble, except during the previous night.  - Dr Cooke said the deceased child had been under his care as an out-patient of the Infirmary before it came into the Workhouse.  It was a very small, delicate, unhealthy child, with large boils or sores all over it.  Saw it the day before, when it appeared a little better.  Probably the child had a convulsion during the night, and died suddenly without arousing the nurse.  - By the Foreman:  The condition of the child was due, he should say, to neglect prior to its admittance.  The boils had healed since the child had been properly nursed.   The Jury returned a verdict that the child died from "Natural Causes," adding that the child had received every care and attention whilst in the House.  Mr W. J. Copp was Foreman of the Jury.

APPLEDORE - Sudden Death At Appledore. - An Inquest was held at Appledore on Thursday evening relative to the death of MARY ANN LAMEY, aged 64, who left home on Tuesday morning for Northam.  Laura Palmer stated that deceased worked for her, and on Tuesday appeared in her usual health.  She left for home about 7.50 p.m.  - Arthur Smallridge said with Lionel Gates he was walking home from Bideford, and near Appledore saw deceased leaning against a gate, and deceased asked to be helped home.  they took her as far as the entrance of the town, and then two men carried her home.  - Dr F. Pratt stated that when called to the house, MRS LAMEY was quite dead.  Death was due to failure of the heart's action.  A Juryman stated that the lads, about 15 years old, who helped the woman to the town certainly deserved a word of praise, and this the Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) heartily endorsed.  The verdict was in accordance with the medical testimony.

Thursday 18 May 1899

MOLLAND - Killed By Lightning At Molland. - A farm servant lad, aged 15 years, named JAMES FLEW, was struck dead by lightning at Molland on Friday.  The next day an Inquest was held by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, at Bomerton Farm, Molland, when it was deposed that the deceased and Lewis Cole, a son of the tenant, were out on the farm at work, when a heavy thunderstorm came on, accompanied with vivid lightning.  They left their work to go back to the farm for shelter. On their way Lewis Cole fell.  He was able to get up, when he saw FLEW a few feet from him on the ground.  He called him by name, and, getting no answer, he went to him and put his hand on his face, which he found to be burning hot.  He then ran straight home and told his father what had happened.  Mr Cole and a workman named Cross immediately went to look for deceased, whom they found in Cross Close, lying down, and quite dead.  They brought him back to the house.  There was a heavy thunderstorm for about an hour or more.  No doctor was sent for, as Mr Cole considered it useless.  The Jury returned a verdict that deceased was killed by lightning.  The fees was given to the uncle of the deceased, who will bear the expense of the funeral, the deceased being an orphan.

Thursday 25 May 1899

CULLOMPTON - Mr A. Burrow held an Inquest at Collumpton on Wednesday on the body of LEONARD POTTS, of Lamphey, Pembrokeshire, who died as the result of a bullet wound received on Monday evening in a Great Western Railway Carriage near Collumpton.  The Jury returned a verdict that deceased died by his own hand, and that there was no evidence to show the state of his mind.

Thursday 1 June 1899

HARTLAND - Child Drowned At Hartland. - WALTER VANSTONE, a child eighteen months old, was drowned at Hartland yesterday morning in a stream near its parent's house.  The spot is about a mile from Hartland Town.  Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, will hold an Inquest tomorrow (Friday).

Thursday 8 June 1899

PLYMOUTH - At the New Town Inn on Monday the Coroner for Plymouth held an Inquest relative to the death of HENRY MOUNTJOY, a carpenter, who was discovered by his little son hanging from the ceiling of his kitchen that morning.  Dr Thompson said the depressed state of deceased's mind was the result of an attack of influenza five months ago, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

HARTLAND - Child Killed At Hartland. - On Friday an Inquest was held at Rosedown Mill, Hartland, before Mr Coroner Bromham, on the body of WALTER VANSTONE, a child, whose body had been found in a stream.  The Jury consisted of Messrs. John Allin, John Andrew, Thomas Beer, Thomas Braund, T. C. Burrow, John Cory, Thomas Cook (Holloford), F. G. Griffiths, J. K. Jeffery, T. Jeffery (Anchor), W. B. Littlejohn, J. Wicketts, and G. Williams.  -  JANE VANSTONE, mother of the deceased, deposed that about 8.20 p.m. on Tuesday she last saw the child outside the court gate.  A little later she missed him, and not being able to find she called her husband, and together they searched.  Her husband found him in a stream, just below were two planks are laid across from a foot bridge, about 18 inches wide.  She took the child from him and gave it to Mrs Allin (a neighbour) to carry into the house.  - CHARLES VANSTONE, father of the child, corroborated, and said that the stream was about three feet wide and had very little water.  He did not know (in answer to the foreman) whether the path over the bridge was public or private, but the planks had been put there by his father 18 years ago.  Nobody was ever denied the use of the path.  - Mary Anna Allin, widow, of Rosedown Mill, also gave evidence as to efforts to restore animation.  - Dr H. Miller said he happened to be on Rosedown Farm at the time the child was found.  He heard screaming, and went into the house and saw that the child was quite dead.  He carefully examined the body and found that death was caused by the child have fractured its neck in such a way as to cause instant death.  The verdict of the Jury was in accordance with the medical evidence, with the words "Accidental Death."  A rider was added recommending that the planks should be protected by a railing, and that the stream be fenced off.

Thursday 22 June 1899

WESTWARD HO - The Late CAPTAIN SHAZELL, of Bude.  The Body Washed Ashore At Westward Ho After Two Months.  -  It will be remembered that, in connection with the wreck of the Bude ketch "Joseph and Thomas," at Downend, Santon, on April 7th last, the captain (MR BARNABAS STENLAKE SHAZELL) and cook were drowned.  The remains f the cook were found soon afterwards, but nothing of the captain's body had been seen until Tuesday evening in last week.  Walking along the cliffs at Westward Ho at about 7.30, Mr J. H. Dean, baker, then saw a body lying on the beach, and reported the matter to the chief boatman of the coastguard and the police.  As, however, the tide was coming in, P.C. Carpenter found it impossible to reach the body until three o'clock next morning.  The body was taken to Northam Mortuary, and, believing it was that of CAPTAIN SHAZELL, the coastguard sent for the relatives at Bude.  Mr W. W. Petherick, merchant, and Captain R. W. Petherick soon arrived, and recognised the body as that of CAPT. SHAZELL their late brother-in-law). They recognised it by the clothes worn, and by a purse and a small knife found on or near the clothing.  Commanding the vessel during CAPTAIN SHAZELL'S illness on the voyage before the last ill-fated one, Mr R. W. Petherick wore some of the same clothes, so that there can be no doubt as to the identity of the body.  The body had thus been in the water two months. Evidence in accordance with the above facts having been given at the Inquest held by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, at the King's Arms Hotel, Northam, on Wednesday, a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" was returned.

ILFRACOMBE - Broken-Hearted Or Not?  Ilfracombe Woman's Sad End At Braunton.  Determined Suicide.  -  As reported in our last issue, the body of a married woman named ROTTENBURY, of Ilfracombe, was found near a hayrick at Wrafton, Braunton, on Wednesday evening in last week.  The surrounding circumstances pointed to poisoning, and this turned out to be the explanation of the affair at the Inquest held by Dr E. J. Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, at the Parish Room, Braunton, on Thursday.

JOHN ROTTENBURY, gardener, Ilfracombe, identified the body of his wife, who was about 55 years of age.  Witness last saw her alive on Tuesday at 1.30 p.m., at their house at Foxbeare.  She told witness that she was going out to Hillsborough to drown herself.  Witness said "I hope you'll do it."  She made no reply.  There had been a difference between witness and the deceased on money matters.  She had taken witness's money, and he had threatened to murder her.  As deceased did not return in the evening, he made enquiries at the police station, but they could give no information.  He had been married 14 years.  Witness could neither read nor write, and his wife had out-witted him. They had lodgers in the house for seven years, at £20 a year, and there was money out at interest, but it had gone.  The money was handed to his wife to put in the Savings Bank, but she had not done so.  Lately his wife had "run him in for" £20 or £30 debts, and he asked her why she wanted to do that if the money was in the bank.  He had not seen his Savings Bank nor Building Society's books; nor did he know where they were.  He placed full trust in his wife, and "had been so good as a king to her."  They lived happily together, and he had frequently forgiven his wife when she had contracted these debts.  For the last two years deceased had given way to drink.  He had taken her home drunk.  She had threatened scores of times to "make away with herself".

ERNEST TUCKER coach painter, Ilfracombe, a son of deceased, said he last saw his mother alive on Sunday afternoon at Foxbeare.  She was then in good health and spirits.  Witness had never heard her threaten to commit suicide.  He did not know that his mother and step father lived on bad terms.  He identified the letter produced, which was received by witness on Wednesday morning by the first post, and the postmark on the envelope was "Barnstaple."  The letter was not dated and read as follows:-  "Dear Ernest and Ann, - I dare not face JACK'S anger, so I shall take poison to-night.  I shall be found in a field between Barnstaple and Braunton where I can get out of anyone seeing me.  Do not think too hard of what you hear.  I shall try to get as near Braunton as I can.  I fell too broken-hearted to live, for he swore he would murder me tonight.  I fell sure he will.  - From your broken-hearted mother.  - I have wrote to May and wrote to Jack to save Ernie, tyranny."  He was surprised to receive the letter.  "May" was his sister in London. He knew nothing as to why his mother should have described herself as "a broken-hearted woman".  He had never borrowed any sums of money from his mother, nor received any presents of money from her.  He did not know that his mother was in the habit of drinking, nor did he know anything of her financial matters.  He was generally in the habit of visiting his mother on Sundays.

James Darracott Reed, farmer, of Wrafton, stated that on Wednesday some children came to him and informed him that a tramp was lying beside the straw rick in a field near his house.  Witness went up and found that what the children had mistaken for a tramp was the body of a woman fully dressed.  Two bottles  and a little cup were close beside her. [The bottles produced were identified.  One of the bottles was a fluted green one, twice labelled "Carbolic Acid - poison."  It was empty.  The other bottle contained a quantity of gin, and the cup contained carbolic acid.]  Witness at once went for the police-sergeant, who searched the body and found a note:-  "This is to let anyone know I am MRS ROTTENBURY, of 2, Foxbeare, Ilfracombe, going to die because I am broken-hearted."  The air around the woman was strong with carbolic acid.

P.S. Jeffery, stationed at Braunton, stated that at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday he received information that the dead body of a woman was lying beside a straw rick in a field belonging to the last witness.  Witness at once proceeded to the spot, and there saw the body of the deceased lying on the back, with a slight inclination to the right side.  The body had apparently been lifeless for some hours.  Near the right hand he found the bottles and cup produced, and an old handkerchief.  The latter was soaked with carbolic acid. She had still got her spectacles on, and in the pocket of her dress he found a purse and the note just read.  An umbrella was lying underneath the body.  The poison was oozing out of the mouth.  He conveyed the body to the mortuary.  From inquiries he had made he found that the deceased left Ilfracombe on Tuesday afternoon by the 4.40 train for Braunton.  He had ascertained that deceased bought the bottle of carbolic at Mr Wheeler's at mid-day on Tuesday, stating that she wanted it for disinfecting purposes. 

The Coroner in summing up, said it appeared that the case was one of the most carefully planned and deliberate suicides he had ever known.  The Jury (of which Capt. Gould Clarke was foreman) returned a verdict "That the deceased died from the effect of carbolic acid administered by herself."

ILFRACOMBE - Fall Over The Quay At Ilfracombe.  Inquest And Verdict. - At the Tyrrell Hospital on Tuesday, an Inquest was held before Dr E. J. Slade-Kind, Deputy Coroner, on the body of GEORGE HOPKINS, who met with his death in consequence of an accident.  Mr J. Kelly was chosen Foreman of the Jury, and the first witness was MARIA HOPKINS, widow, who said that the body was that of her late husband.  He was 74 years of age, and lived at Harcourt House, Fore-street.  She saw him at home on Friday morning, at 10; he was in his usual health, but rather crippled by rheumatism.  She saw her husband in the hospital on Monday, when he told her he had had a fit, and fallen over the Quay.  Thomas Davie, a town crier, of Fore-street, stated that on Friday, just before 6 p.m., he was returning from the Pier, and on passing a mooring post opposite the Atlanta boarding house, saw defendant sitting on the post.  Witness spoke to him, and walked on.  After going about 10 yards, witness turned back, and saw HOPKINS falling over the Quay head first.  There was no water within 100 yards of where defendant fell, and witness helped to pick him up. The height f the Quay from the beach at this point would be 14 to 20 ft.  HOPKINS was carried into the Atlanta, and a medical man fetched, Dr Toller arriving very soon.

Dr Toller said that he was called by telephone, and reached the Atlanta about a quarter to six p.m., on Friday.  When he arrived deceased was conscious, but evidently seriously hurt, and witness had him removed at once to the hospital.  On examination it was found that deceased had broken several ribs on his right side, also the collar bone.  He gradually became worse from the internal injuries resulting from the fractures.  The immediate cause of death, which took place on Tuesday morning at a quarter to four, was shock to the system, consequent upon the injuries received.  William Jones, of the Atlanta boarding house, said he saw HOPKINS falling over the Quay.  He ran out, and with the help of Davie and others, picked him up and took him into the Atlanta.  No one was near deceased when he fell over.  There was no protection on the Quay to prevent an accident.  He had lived on the Quay about six years, and had known one or two cases of children falling over near the same spot.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death, caused by a fall during a fit," and added a rider that the harbour authorities should place some protection along the Quay to prevent a repetition of such accidents.

Thursday 6 July 1899

ILFRACOMBE - At an Inquest held at Ilfracombe on Friday evening, relative to the death of a visitor, MR JOHN ORCHARD GOODMAN, aged 67, of Sheerfordville, Taunton, the wife stated that within three minutes of getting into bed on Thursday night, he gave a heavy sigh.  She gave him some brandy and sent for medical aid.  Dr Langridge, who had made a post mortem examination, said death was due to syncope, the result of fatty degeneration of the heart.  A verdict was returned of "Death from Natural Causes." Deceased was staying at Wildersmouth House.

NEWTON ABBOT - Mr S. Hacker, Coroner, held an Inquest at Newton on Saturday on the body of JOHN A. BURT, aged about sixty, who was killed at the station the previous day by the "Cornishman".  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 27 July 1899

CREDITON - CHARLOTTE HARRIS, of Crediton, was found drowned in the Creedy on Wednesday.  At the Inquest on Saturday a verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned.

ROCKBEARE - On Thursday night a shocking fatality occurred at a house adjoining the Crown and Sceptre Inn, Rockbeare, about six miles from Exeter.  MR ROBERT GIBBONS, butcher and dealer, and brother of the landlord of the inn, went into a shed to work, and it is supposed that he kicked against a loaded gun which had been placed against the wall. The weapon went off, and the charge entered GIBBONS'S hip, and penetrated some of the internal organs.  Death must have been almost instantaneous. Deceased was about 50 years of age, and leaves a widow and family.  At the Inquest on Friday a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 3 August 1899

BARNSTAPLE - Tragedy At Barnstaple.  Billiard Marker's Sad End. - A sad tragedy was enacted at the Golden Lion Hotel, Barnstaple, on Saturday.  About 11.30 a.m. a shot was heard upstairs, and just afterwards the lifeless body of RICHARD HARRIS, who has been billiard-marker at the Hotel for thirty years, was found lying on a seat in the billiard-room.  In deceased's right hand was a revolver, one chamber of which had been discharged into the mouth, five chambers being still loaded.  After life had been medically pronounced to be extinct, the body was removed to the North Devon Infirmary.  It was here that the various circumstances connected with the matter were elicited by Mr Coroner R. I. Bencraft and a Jury, of which Mr G. Songhurst was foreman, on Monday morning.

In opening the Inquiry, the Coroner remarked that HARRIS, well known to them, had for many years occupied a respectable position, being billiard-marker at the Golden Lion Hotel.  He believed that lately his health had failed him, and that he was under the apprehension that he would have to leave his situation, to which for many years he had been greatly attached.  P.S. Edwards here obtained permission to take the five remaining cartridges out of the weapon with which the sad deed was committed.  The first witness was John H. Millward, a gentleman visitor staying at the Golden Lion Hotel.  About 11.30 a.m. on Saturday (he stated) he was in the lavatory at the Hotel, when he heard a shot fired, but thought it was at the back of the premises.  Stepping into the billiard-room just afterwards, he, however, saw deceased lying on a seat, with blood coming from his nose and mouth.  There was a revolver in the right hand.  He immediately informed Mr Lindsley, proprietor of the Hotel, of what he had seen.  Did not know HARRIS.  George W. Lindsley, who took possession of the Lion Hotel in January, understood that deceased had been billiard-marker there for nearly thirty years.  HARRIS had been unwell and in a depressed state for some time; before witness came to the town, he believed.  Witness thought the reason was that business had decreased, as much in the billiard-room as anywhere.  HARRIS was in very low spirits about that, and remarked a short time ago that business had returned in connection with other parts of the house, and he could not understand why it had not in the billiard-room.  One night deceased remarked, "No billiards tonight; I do not know what things are coming to."  Witness's reply was that he did not complain, and HARRIS need not do so.  On a recent Saturday night deceased said he was almost ashamed to take his wages; and last week business in the billiard-room was particularly bad, there being no games for three days.  He thought this affected HARRIS.  Witness paid him 5s. a week, with board and lodgings; this was the same as he received when witness came to the hotel.  Had heard HARRIS say several times he had nothing but the Union staring him in the face.  He was a quiet, well-behaved man.  Last saw him about 7.30 on Saturday morning, when he appeared to be more cheerful than usual.  HARRIS had been under medical treatment during the last few weeks.  After accompanying Mr Millward to the billiard-room and seeing what had happened on Saturday morning, witness sent first for a doctor, and the for the police.  - By the Foreman:  Believed deceased was under the impression he would have to leave provided business did not improve.  Had told HARRIS he "would never turn him out unless he could get a home," and deceased had replied that he had not a friend in the world.  - Asked whether he had given HARRIS any extra work, Mr Lindsley said "No," adding that he had only the billiard-room work.  - By the Coroner:  Deceased had showed signs of failing health since witness came to the town.

Dr J. W. Cooke, who arrived at the Hotel about 11.40 on Saturday morning, deposed that HARRIS was then quite dead.  There was a wound in the roof f the mouth, and death must have been instantaneous.  The bullet lodged in the brain.  Prior to the last two or three weeks, deceased had consulted witness several times.  HARRIS was in a very depressed condition, and told him he would be out of his berth and could not see anything but the Workhouse before him, and that he felt miserable.  HARRIS did not appear to be particularly ill, but gave witness the impression of being in the early stage of chronic softening of the brain.  Deceased was advancing in years, being aged about 63.

Edward Gale, gunsmith, of Joy-street, stated that, calling at the shop three weeks ago, HARRIS inquired the price of cartridges, whilst he looked at some revolvers, and said he should probably require one later on.  On Saturday he called at about 10.30 and selected the one produced from the window, price one guinea.  Asked by witness if he was going to have some revolver practice, HARRIS said some cats were troubling him, and he was going to kill them or keep them off.  Advised deceased to be careful, as bullets travelled some distance.  HARRIS suggested that as he paid cash for the revolver, witness should put 25 cartridges in over, and this he did.  HARRIS seemed quiet and self-possessed.  The revolver was not a powerful one, but witness should have thought a bullet would have gone through deceased's head. - By the Jury:  On the first occasion HARRIS seemed rather depressed, but he was always very quiet in his manner.

P.C. Braund, who was called to the Hotel soon after the deed was committed, stated that P.S. Edwards and himself, with the assistance of men named Harris and Gilbert, took the body to the mortuary on a stretcher.  In his pockets, HARRIS had, among other things, £10 10s. in gold, two £5 notes, and 11s. 3d. in silver and a gold watch and chain.  The remainder of the unused cartridges were near the body in the billiard-room.  P.S. Edwards, who searched HARR4IS'S room, said deceased had not left any letter giving any reasons for committing the act. 

Deceased's brother, MR JOHN HARRIS (a railway inspector, of Liskeard), who had been communicated with by the Coroner, was present at the Inquest.  He stated that when agent to the contractor for Brecon Railway, forty years ago, deceased contracted sunstroke, and had complained more or less ever since.  After the death of Mrs Marsh - a former proprietor of the Lion Hotel - whom his brother regard more as a second mother than as an employer, deceased seemed more depressed than ever.  Last heard from his brother about four months ago.  A Juryman remembered that a few years ago HARRIS fell downstairs and injured his head.  - Witness said deceased attributed that to the effects of the sunstroke.  The Coroner having offered a few more remarks, the Jury, at his advice, returned a verdict of "Temporarily Insane" and expressed their condolence with the brother and the rest of the family.

Thursday 10 August 1899

BIDEFORD - WM. MOORE, 54, farm labourer, fell over some stairs at the rear of the Castle Inn and sustained injuries which resulted in his death.  At the Inquest on Saturday a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 17 August 1889

WOOLACOMBE - Sad Death Of A Bristol Gentleman At Wollacombe.  The Inquest. - Dr Slade-King, Deputy County Coroner, and a Jury, held an Inquest at Wollacombe Bay Hotel, on Friday, on the body of MR MAURICE REYNOLDS, a director of the Bristol Brewery Company, who lived at Bristol.  The deceased had been staying at No. 5, Hotel Gardens, Wollacombe.  He was accustomed to bathing.  On Thursday he was seen floating in the water near Wollacombe Sands, and on being rescued and brought to shore he expired.  MR FREDERICK WILLIAM REYNOLDS, brother of deceased, said deceased was a fairly healthy man, but had lately spoken of increasing shortness of breath.  During the last few years he had had two attacks of influenza and bronchitis.  Mr Thomas Rice, of Rosaline-terrace, deposed that on Thursday morning at about half-past twelve he saw deceased in the water about 100 yards from shore.  He was watching deceased, who was on his back floating and drifting outward.  It was rather more than half ebb tide.  He ran with a pole and a rope to go to the assistance of deceased, who was then in about ten feet of water  At his request another gentleman and deceased's son also assisted.  As soon as ever deceased was brought to shore two medical men took charge of him, and used the usual means of artificial respiration.  Dr MacMath, of Wollacombe, was also present.  Deceased died some few minutes after he was brought to shore.  He had seen deceased several times before in the water, and on this occasion his manner was different to what it usually was.  About 20 minutes elapsed between the time when witness commenced to help deceased and when he was brought ashore.  Arthur William MacMath, medical practitioner, of Wollacombe, deposed to his attending to deceased when he was brought ashore.  Deceased was dead as far as he could judge.   Artificial respiration (Sylvester method) was performed by the other medical men who were present to his (witness's) entire satisfaction.  Hot applications were also used.  From what he had seen and from the evidence he had heard, he considered that the immediate cause of death was failure of the heart's action, accelerated by the effort of swimming.  Victor Bayly, engineer, staying at the Wollacombe Bay Hotel, corroborated Mr Rice's evidence, but he placed the time in which deceased was brought to shore at ten minutes.  The verdict was to the effect that death was due to an attack of cardiac syncope, which occurred while bathing.

TAWSTOCK - Death In The Roadway At Tawstock. - For some time MARIA HILL, aged 73, of Tawstock, had suffered from an ulcer in one leg.  This burst whilst she was in the roadway on Sunday morning, the poor woman dying in a few minutes.  The case is rendered additionally sad by the fact that deceased's husband is a confirmed invalid.  At the Inquest held at Yelland, Tawstock, by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Monday, deceased's son, RICHARD HILL, a farm labourer, deposed that in her house about 11 o'clock on Sunday morning she complained of her leg.  His mother afterwards went out to fetch some water in a pitcher, and an hour-and-a-half later witness heard she was dead.  - John Parr, another farm labourer, stated that whilst in his house about mid-day he heard MRS HILL shout out that her leg had burst.  Deceased tried to reach her house, but dropped in the hedge as witness reached her for the purpose of rendering help.  Witness tied his handkerchief round deceased's leg just below the knee, where blood was blowing, and then went for assistance.  But almost immediately after his return MRS HILL died in the roadway.  -  Henry Symons, farmer, who rendered considerable help in connection with the case on Sunday, having given corroborative evidence,  Dr J. W. L. Ware, of Barnstaple, who had attended deceased, said the ulcer was an incurable one.  MRS HILL was dead on his arrival on Sunday afternoon.  he found that a vein in her leg had broken, and she had lost a quantity of blood.  Death was, in his opinion, due to syncope, caused by loss of blood from the bursting of the ulcer in the leg.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

ILFRACOMBE - A Body Found Off Ilfracombe. - On Saturday Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at Ilfracombe Police Station on the body of the man found floating in the Channel the previous day by Mr Buck while out boating.  Mr George Jones was chosen foreman of the Jury.  Mr Grattan Barnett represented Messrs. P. and A. Campbell.

HARRIET LITSON identified the body as that of her son by a former husband, WILLIAM PRING.  She now resided at Coomassie-street, Newport. Deceased was a sailor aged 26, and lived at 4 Baldwin-street, Newport.  She last saw him alive on July 26th, and he afterwards went to work at the docks for a Mr Dunn.  Frederick William Gingell, of Clifton Wood Villas, Bristol, seaman in the passenger steamer "Scotia," said on July 29th he saw deceased on board the "Scotia" on a trip from Weston to Newport.  About 11.7 p.m., when near the English and Welsh grounds lightship, deceased was sitting on the bulwarks on the starboard side.  He had been drinking and was noisy, and had previously been ordered out of the saloon.  Witness ordered him down, and then walked away.  He then went back and saw him falling overboard.  The rail was about 1ft. 6in. above the deck, and the place was a dangerous one to sit.  Witness ran to the bridge and sang out "Man overboard."  The steamer was at once stopped, and the starboard boat was lowered, and witness was in the boat.  Nothing was seen or heard of the man.  Everything that was possible was done to save the man.  Witness understood that deceased's wife was not far from him when he fell overboard.  - By the Jury:  He could not tell whether deceased fell or jumped over.  James Buck, landlord of the Rodney Inn, said on Friday he was off Lee fishing, when the captain of a tug told him there was a corpse floating near.  Witness went to the spot and made fast a rope to the body and brought it to the harbour and gave it in charge of the police.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and stated that no blame whatever was attached to the Steamboat Company.

Thursday 24 August 1899

ILFRACOMBE - Fatal Accident To A Child At Ilfracombe. - An Inquest was held at the Town Hall, Ilfracombe, on Monday last, before Dr E. J. Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, on the body of a little girl, who was run over on Saturday evening last.  Mr J. C. Millman was chosen foreman of the Jury.  After the body had been viewed, it was identified by Mrs Emma Bennett, Brookfield Place, who said deceased was her grand-child, FLORENCE EMMA BISHOP, aged five, daughter of GEORGE HENRY BISHOP, 25, Oxford Grove, Ilfracombe.  Witness last saw the child alive at 5.5 p.m. in Brookfield Place on Saturday.  She was then fetching milk for a neighbour, and was going to High-street.  Witness was not in the habit of sending the child on errands at the time the trains were arriving, and she saw her no more until Mrs Lovering brought the child into the house about five minutes after witness had last seen her alive.  The child had blood running from her mouth, and was then breathing, but unconscious.

Mr S. S. Bailey, ironmonger, High-street, said that on Saturday afternoon he was at his shop door, about 5 p.m., waiting to cross the road; he saw a cab coming along the street from the station.  The front bed of the carriage caught a child, and knocked it under the wheels.  It was a single-horse carriage, the horse moving at a slow trot; two persons were in the cab, which was open, and it was driven by a young man who was identified in court by witness.  The driver had perfect control over the horse, and after the collision brought the cab up in its own length.  A stranger picked up the child, and the driver got off the cab, and came back to the spot.  Witness was about ten yards away from the accident; the driver was on his proper side, and witness could not say how the child got in the way, and did not think any blame could be attached to the driver.  When the child was picked up she said who she was, and where she lived.

Alfred Reed, carpenter, said he was in High-street, a little to the west of the last witness's shop, just after 5 p.m.  He saw a child pass round by the head of the horse driven by George Davie.  The front wheel of the carriage struck the child, and knocked it down under the cab, which was pulled up at once, the horse being well in hand.  Witness could not attribute any blame to the driver.  - By the Jury:  There were two cabs crossing each other at the time, and the child was behind one and got in front of the other.

Dr G. Lestock Thornton, Ilfracombe, said he was called to 7 Brookfield Place, to see a little girl who had been run over.  Witness examined the child, who was lying on her back; there was a bruise on the forehead, and blood oozing from her mouth.  There was no consciousness, but heavy breathing, and the pulse was very feeble.  He judged the child to be suffering from internal haemorrhage, and possible brain injury.  Dr Langridge came very shortly, and witness left the deceased in his care.  She died at 6.50 the same evening.  He was of opinion that the immediate cause of death was heart failure due to haemorrhage, according to the injuries for which he attended deceased.  The Coroner having summed up the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and said that on the evidence given no blame was attributable to anyone.  The Jury gave their fees to the parents, with the expression of their sympathy.

HARTLAND - Fatal Fall At Hartland. - Returning from al harvest supper at Hartland Abbey, on Thursday night, WILLIAM ELLIOTT, mason, aged 59, fell over a bridge, sustaining injuries which resulted in his death early on Monday morning.  Deceased leaves a widow and five children.  John Littlejohns, general labourer, stated at the Inquest held by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Tuesday, that he was one of those who attended the party.  Between two and three a.m. he was going to the stable to attend to his horse, and when close to the bridge, which adjoins the Abbey, he heard a groan.  Witness asked what was the matter, but received no answer, and then went back to the Abbey and informed a man named Walters that someone had fallen over the bridge.  Walters, P.C. Patt, and others proceeded to the spot, and found it was ELLIOTT who had had the fall.  They got him up, and carried him to the Abbey.  Witness saw deceased about five minutes previous to the accident.  - P.C. Patt deposed that between fifty and sixty persons attended the supper.  A few minutes after two, ELLIOTT informed him he was going home, and it was shortly afterwards that the last witness reported the accident to him.  Deceased was lying in a little water, and after his head had been bound up by a parish nurse, ELLIOTT was removed to the Abbey.  The distance from the top of the bridge was about 10 ½ ft., the wall on each side of the bridge was about 2ft high.  Deceased was a big man (over 13 score, he believed) and must have fallen very heavily.  Col. Stucley engaged the nurse to look after ELLIOTT until his death.  When ELLIOTT left the Abbey, he was, to the best of witness's belief, quite sober.  - Dr J. H. Hobling, of Hartland, stated that ELLIOTT sustained a long cut, extending from the left side of the nose to the lower eyelid, and from there nearly to the ear. The face was also smashed in on the left side, and there was a cut on the top of the head measuring about six inches in length.  The injuries were so severe that witness had little hope of the man's recovery, and the injuries to the head and face were the cause of death.  -  Ellen Roethenbaugh, the professional nurse who attended deceased, stated that ELLIOTT was unable to account for having fallen over the bridge.  P.S. Hard, of Buck's Cross, also gave evidence, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 31 August 1899

PLYMOUTH - The Deputy Borough Coroner, Mr J. Graves, conducted an Inquiry at Plymouth on Thursday into the death of HENRY ADYE, son of the late DR BUCHAN, who was killed by gas poisoning at No. 7, Crescent-avenue, on the night of the 10th inst.  The Jury, of whom Mr W. Harder was foreman, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death", adding a rider to the effect that it was slightly necessary that heads of firms or responsible parties should inspect the work after it had been done by their employees.

MORTHOE - The sad Fatal Accident At Morthoe. - On Friday, at the Chichester Arms Inn, Morthoe, Dr Slade-King, Deputy County Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of HUGH LIONEL BROAD, 22 years of age, chartered accountant, of 26, Addiscombe-road, Croydon, who met his death under sad circumstances by falling from a cliff on the coast in the parish of Morthoe.  He had been a visitor to the place for three years, and this time was accompanied by his younger brother.  Deceased was missing from Monday up t Thursday.  He was a nephew of Mr H. Evans Broad, at one time M.P., for one of the Divisions of Derbyshire.  He was a single man, and his family were on terms of intimate friendship with Sir Walter Foster, M.P., whose daughter, it will be remembered, met with a tragic death by drowning last year at Morthoe.  Deceased was lodging at the Castle Rock (Mrs David Smith's)

David Smith Roberts, 16 years of age, living at Castle Rock House, identified the body.  Rose Bennett, a domestic servant, spoke to seeing the deceased leave the house on Monday between half past two and three, after partaking of a good meal, and ordering dinner at half-past seven.  Deceased's brother had been staying with him, but had left for home on Monday morning, and had since returned.  Samuel Miller, coastguardsman, proved finding the body about mid-day on Thursday just halfway between Rockham Beach and Bull Point Lighthouse.  Deceased was lying flat on his back at high water mark, his head  being underneath a big stone.  His feet were seawards.  The body was about ten feet from the cliff.  His cap was dry, lying close up to the cliff, which, at that point, was from 250 to 300 feet high.  To all appearances deceased had fallen from the top of the cliff.  It was possible to go to Bull Point by the cliff, but there was no pathway there.  P.S. Jeffery, stationed at Ilfracombe, deposed to finding on the body a watch, broken in two pieces.  Owing to the "shaley" nature of the side of the cliff it was impossible to trace whether deceased had fallen down.  He presumed that anyone walking along the top of the cliff would be a trespasser.  There were gashes of from one to two inches long on the back of the head, there was a lacerated gash over the right eye, and the back of his hands were almost skinned.  He found a large bruise over the chest, and others on the hip and back.  In fact, deceased was bruised all over his body.  With assistance witness had the body conveyed to the lifeboat apparatus house at Morthoe village.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased was killed by Accidentally Falling over the Cliff at Yantors.  They extended sympathy to the family.  The Coroner added that the Jury wished to observe that the deceased was killed as a trespasser.  He was not even following a supposed right of way.  He had made his way to one of the most dangerous cliffs in the neighbourhood.  As Coroner he thought it was his duty to observe that strangers in the district were in the habit of doing the most reckless things and going to places where they had no business.  It was desirable for the sake of the North Devon watering-places that this should be clearly stated. 

WINKLEIGH - Sad Death Of A Visitor To Winkleigh. - Mr J. D. Johnstone (Deputy Coroner) held an Inquest on Monday at the Schoolroom, Hollacombe, near Winkleigh, on the body of JAMES SIMMONS HONEYCHURCH, a dairyman of Royd Moor, Yorkshire, who died at Claypit Cottage, Hollacombe, on Friday, aged 54 years.  Elizabeth Harding said she was a sister of Deceased, and was the wife of Walter Harding, of Upton Murphy, in the North Riding of Yorkshire. Witness, her husband,  and deceased left Yorkshire on the 11th of August for a holiday and came to Hollacombe to stay with her sister, REBECCA HONEYCHURCH.  On the 12th inst. they went for a drive to Chittlehamholt to see a brother, and returned about 12 (midnight).  All of them except deceased went into the house, MR HONEYCHURCH remaining on a small plot outside, stating that he would follow presently.  After having waited for some time for the deceased to come in, her sister, Rebecca Honeychurch, went out with a lighted candle to look for him.  Directly afterwards they were all summoned outside.  They found deceased lying in the road, unconscious.  With their assistance he walked into the house, and was placed in a chair.  Mr Tucker, of Chulmleigh, was sent for at once.  Deceased did not speak.  He was conscious at short intervals from that time up to his death, and during one of his periods of consciousness said he fell over the hedge from the plot to the lane, but how it happened he did not know.  The drop would be about eight feet.  Deceased had been very cheerful all the day, and was so up to their return.  He had had a little to drink, but was not the worse for it.  Rebecca Honeychurch said on her going into the plot to look for deceased she thought she heard a groan.  On going over the stile into the lane she found deceased lying there insensible. Mr Tucker, of Chulmleigh, said on the morning of the 13th he attended deceased, and found he had fractured his right collar-bone and the base of his skull.  There was a discharge of blood from his right ear.  There were no other external marks of violence.  He attended deceased from that day up to the time of his death.  The injuries to deceased were such as might be caused by a fall of eight feet, as stated by deceased to the witness.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 14 September 1899

BARNSTAPLE - Bathing Fatality At Barnstaple.  A Plucky Boy.  -  With painful regularity, the river Taw at Barnstaple claims a victim just before the Fair comes round.  The latest victim is GEORGE HENRY SMITH, aged eleven years, who on Friday afternoon was drowned whilst bathing near the swing bridge which is connected with the Ilfracombe railway, after an heroic attempt had been made to save him by another boy named Porter.  Deceased was a remarkably fine boy for his age.  The necessity of a bathing-place for Barnstaple is thus once more emphasised; it is indeed sad to reflect on the number of bathing fatalities which have occurred in the treacherous Taw.  The Inquest on the drowned lad was held on Saturday by Mr Coroner Bencraft at the Poltimore Arms, Boutport-street, just opposite where deceased's parents live.

The Coroner said it was a remarkable coincidence that a case of drowning generally took place about Barnstaple Fair-time; never in his long experience as Borough Coroner had he known a Fair take place without a similar occurrence.  As they knew, the river Taw was very dangerous, and he thought they would find this to be a case of accidental drowning.

GEORGE SMITH, a chimney sweep, stated that he last saw the deceased (his son) at home during the dinner hour on the previous day.  Heard his son had been drowned about a quarter to six, and proceeded to a point near the Ilfracombe drawbridge, and twenty minutes later saw some fishermen take the body out of the water.  Had been told deceased was a good swimmer, but did not know.  Had tried everything he could to keep him away from the water. 

John Henry Porter, aged 13, spoke to deceased, himself, and another boy named Francis Lane entering the water almost together for the purpose of bathing.  SMITH proceeded first across the river, and then in the direction of Anchor Wood Bank, when he heard him crying and shouting, with his head sometimes under water. Swimming towards SMITH, witness caught hold of his wrist, and got him a some little distance.  But, catching hold of him, deceased pulled him under, and witness had to release his hold in order to save himself.  He (Porter) cried for help.  SMITH then went down for the third time, and did not rise again.  In a minute or so, two sailors arrived with a boat and net.  They recovered the body in about half an hour.  Had bathed once before with SMITH, who could not swim very well.  - By the Foreman:  (Mr E. Lewis)  SMITH was a bigger lad than witness.  Witness only learnt to swim last month. - The Foreman spoke admiringly of Porter's plucky conduct.  - Porter was advised to be careful about bathing in future, and he said he did not intend to bathe any more.

Frederick Mogridge, fisherman, deposed that he and Joseph Parminter, another fisherman, were walking up the railway when Parminter thought that SMITH was in difficulty while bathing.  They went into the Pill to get a boat, and as they came out a railway signalman stated that the lad had gone under.  They shot four draughts on the ebb tide, but did not succeed in landing the body until the young flood tide threequarters of an hour later.  For a quarter of an hour they tried to restore animation, but without avail.  Should not fancy death was due to drowning.  SMITH'S mouth was "chock full of apples," which they had difficulty in removing.  The witness Porter did not observe SMITH eating apples while in the water; and it was thought that, possibly, when deceased was drowning, the salt water caused him to vomit apples which he had been eating earlier in the day.  Porter, in answer to questions, said deceased was wearing bathing drawers when he entered the water; but Mogridge said there was none on the body when recovered  - A Juryman suggested that the drawers were possibly too large for SMITH, and that, slipping, they might have locked his legs, and accounted for his being drowned.  Other Jurymen agreed with this theory.  Mogridge referred to the danger of the spot for bathing, and said it abounded with large stones.  There was about 11ft. of water just where SMITH was drowned.

P.C. Drake spoke to removing the body, after it had been taken to Rolle Quay in a boat, to the lad's house in Boutport-street on a stretcher.  The Coroner, summing up, said it was quite clear it was a bathing fatality.  This was another addition to the victims which the dangerous Taw claimed, and ought to be a warning to other young men who went bathing in the river. Unless they were good swimmers it was very hazardous to go into the river, which was full of pits and at some places very deep.  The verdict was "Accidentally Drowned," and the Jury, through the Foreman (Mr E. Lewis), warmly praised the lad Porter for his heroic conduct in endeavouring to save a bigger lad than himself.  The Coroner agreed that Porter had acted in a gallant manner, and said that if he had not released his hold, he too would probably have been drowned.  The Foreman also said some of the Jury were of opinion that a bathing-place should be provided for Barnstaple.  Whether it would be done was rather doubtful.  The Coroner believed the Town Council were moving a little in the matter, but it was "very spare."

BARNSTAPLE - Found Drowned At Barnstaple. - The exact way in which MR JOHN BUSSELL, of Barnstaple, foreman moulder (whose dead body was discovered on the beach on Saturday), got in the river Taw will probably never be known, but from the evidence, although "Found Drowned" was the verdict, it seems almost certain that he accidentally fell into the water whilst strolling along South Walk bank on Friday evening.  Deceased was in the employ of Messrs. Young and Son, ironfounders, for the long period of thirty-three years.  He was a sidesman at Emmanuel (Reformed Episcopal) Church, and was held in high esteem.  MR BUSSELL leaves a widow and family, for whom much sympathy is felt.  The bereavement is additionally painful from the fact that one of deceased's sons died only about two months ago.  A touch of pathos was added by the finding of the body, after practically an all-night's search, by deceased's eldest son.

The body was conveyed to the mortuary at North Devon Infirmary, and Mr Coroner Bencraft had the unusual experience of holding the second Inquest for the day on persons drowned in the Taw (the other case being a bathing fatality reported in another column).  MR J. BUSSELL, deceased's eldest son, stated that on the previous afternoon they had tea together, and in the evening his father went out.  Coming out of Rock Park at the entrance opposite Union-terrace about 8.30 p.m., witness met his father going in.  Witness asked whether he was going for a stroll, his father replying, "Yes."  Deceased was in the habit of taking a stroll along the river bank of an evening.  His father had felt acutely the death of another son about two months ago, but it had not affected his mind in any way.  As deceased had not returned home at eleven o'clock (he as seldom much after ten p.m.) they feared that something was wrong, and witness went in search of him.  First he went into the town, and then, thinking he might have possibly fainted in the Park, examined all the seats there, but without avail.  Making enquiries at different houses, witness eventually proceeded to Newport, and then turned down Pill-lane and along the river bank.  About 5.15 a.m. he found the body of his father lying near to the boating station, and about two feet from the water's edge.  Deceased was lying on his face and hands, his head pointing towards Barnstaple Long Bridge, and the body being caught between the chains of two boats.  By the Foreman:  His father was not subject to fits.  On the South Walk, just above where the body lay, a large quantity of deads had been deposited, and all he (witness) could think was that his father fell over these into the river.  P.C. Smith, who, with P.C. McLeod, took the body to the Infirmary on a stretcher, mentioned that a small cork was clenched in deceased's right hand, that the right arm was underneath the body, whilst the left arm was curled under the chain of the boat.  The clothes were very wet, and the body presented the appearance of death by drowning.  There was a very large bruise on the right eye, whilst there was blood about the nose, mouth and right ear.  The Coroner mentioned that it was high water about 8 p.m. on Friday.  The Foreman observed that there were two distinct bruises on the face, and some of the Jury thought medical evidence should be tendered.  The Coroner said that falling on stones would account for the bruises.  The Foreman:  But the tide was up.  Mr F. Penny, House Surgeon, at the Infirmary, having examined the body, said the bruises were merely skin deep, and there were no fractures.  Judging from the appearance of the body, he had not the slightest doubt death was due to drowning.  When the body was brought in, in the morning he satisfied himself that life was extinct.  - By a Juryman:  The bruises were consistent with a fall in which deceased tried to save himself.  "Found Drowned" was the verdict of the Jury, who expressed their deep sympathy with the family in their sad bereavement.   The Coroner said they all very much sympathised with the family.  Deceased was  a respectable, well-conducted, hard working, thrifty man, and was esteemed by everyone who knew him.  This view was endorsed by the Foreman (Mr G. Lewis) who said he had known MR BUSSELL all his life.

HONITON - "Accidental Death" was the verdict returned at the Inquest held relative to RICHARD SMALL, buried beneath a fall of stones in a quarry on Honiton-hill, and the Jury added a rider that they did not consider the quarry had been worked in a proper manner, and recommended the sides should be sloped back so as to prevent future accidents.  The surveyor undertook to bring the matter before the Town Council.

TIVERTON - Fatal Fall At Tiverton. - At an Inquest at Tiverton on Friday touching the death of THOMAS ELLICOTT, painter, of Church-street, aged 39, leaving a widow and two children, J. Thomas said he was at work with deceased on Mr Cornish's shop, in Bampton-street, on August 31st.  Deceased was painting a window above the shop front, and his ladder was resting against the shop cornice.  Deceased was standing on the top rung of the ladder, and fell.  The ladder did not fall.  - Miss E. Passmore, who saw deceased from the next door window, said she did not think he was on the top rung.  - Mr Plears, in whose employ deceased had been for ten years, said he was a most steady man.  He did not think it possible for ELLICOTT to have been on the top rung, for so short a ladder would have at once tipped up.  He could have stood on the third rung down, and easily have reached his work.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

HARTLAND - Fatal Fall At Hartland. - Curiously enough, two deaths from falls over bridges have taken place at Hartland during the past three weeks.  MR SAMUEL DAYMAN, farmer, being the latest victim.  The fatality occurred on Tuesday night.  The case was reported to Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, at Barnstaple, yesterday, and an Inquest will be held today.

Thursday 21 September 1899

HARTLAND - Dangerous Bridge At Hartland.  Farmer's Fatal Fall. - Mr Coroner Bromham and a Jury at Hartland on Thursday investigated the death (reported by us last week) of MR SAMUEL DAYMAN, farmer, of Fallacott. 

MISS LOUISA DAYMAN stated that her father went to Hartland on business on Tuesday afternoon; and as he had not returned at 10.30 p.m. they sent Wm. Souch, an employee, to look for him.  The search being unsuccessful, witness then went out with Souch, and they eventually found her father lying in a stream about a quarter of a mile from the house, there being just enough water to cover his mouth and nose.  Her father was quite dead, and a cart having been fetched the body was placed in it and taken to Fallacott.  There was no regular bridge crossing the stream, but only a log of timber less than a foot in width and standing two or three feet above the water.  It was very unusual for her father to take this route.  - By the Foreman:  Had heard her father speak of the bridge as being dangerous.

Wm. Souch spoke to searching for the body, and to finding it while in company of MISS DAYMAN.  Considered it was rather dangerous to cross the stream even in the day-time.  The bridge led from Hartland town to Fallacott and another farm.  - By the Foreman:  The bar of rough fence on the hedge was accidently broken by witness in the previous week. P.C. Patt stated that MR DAYMAN passed him about 9.40 p.m. on Tuesday, and was then proceeding in the direction of his home.  This witness was also of opinion that the bridge was dangerous.  It was sloping, the lower end being on Fallacott Farm.  The path leading to the stream was public, and he understood that it was the duty of the Lord of the Manor (Rev. W. Martin, of Lifton) to keep the bridge in proper condition.  Dr J. H. Hobling informed the Jury there were slight bruises over the middle of the forehead.  In his opinion deceased, falling over the log of timber, was stunned by striking against a stone, and was drowned before being able to recover himself.  Dr Hobling described the bridge as very dangerous.  The verdict was "Accidental Death."  The Jury added a rider that the bridge was dangerous and quite unfit for use, and they desired that the immediate attention of the Lord of the Manor should be called to it, and that he should be requested to put a proper bridge at the spot.

TORRINGTON - A Sad Affair At Torrington.  Suicide Of A Well Known Resident. - The inhabitants of Torrington were considerably startled on Saturday afternoon last by the report that MR SILAS JACKSON, who lodged with Mrs Sing, in High-street, had been found dead in his bedroom with his throat cut.  On inquiries being made, the report proved only too true.  MR JACKSON, who had independent means, had been unwell for some weeks, requiring medical attendance.  He had, however, been about, going to Westward Ho on Friday.  He got up on Saturday and had his dinner with the rest of the family, and was advised not to go out but to take a rest.  For this purpose it was supposed he went to his bedroom.  Shortly after 4 p.m. Mr T. Heiler, who lives in the same house, had occasion to go to MR JACKSON'S bedroom, and was horrified to find him lying on the floor.  He called Dr Sutcliffe, who had just called to see him, and he found that his throat had been severely cut with a razor and that he had been dead some time.  Deceased was unmarried and was extremely well known in the town and district, being of a most pleasant and generous disposition.  He took a keen interest in fishing and was greatly made up in the keeping of grey-hounds, having been a very successful exhibitor.  All who came in contact with him grew to like him, and the news of his tragic death evoked a general expression of sympathy.

An Inquest on the body was held at the Town Hall on Monday by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.  - Frederick Horler, hatter and clothier, who lodged at the same house deposed that he knew deceased, who was of independent means, single, and between 48 and 49 years of age.  For some little time past deceased had seemed depressed in spirits.  On Tuesday last he became worse, and Dr Sutcliffe was called in to see him.  Deceased appeared to enjoy the drive out to Westward Ho on Friday with witness, but seemed depressed on the return journey.  On Saturday he again appeared unwell.  Dr Sutcliffe called about four p.m. on that day, and witness went upstairs to see if deceased (who was in his bedroom) was asleep, and on entering the room found him lying on the floor in a pool of blood.  He went downstairs for Dr Sutcliffe, who went up alone.  When he came down again he said deceased was dead.  Deceased had often, in conversation with witness, referred to having been in an asylum.  - Dr Edward Sutcliffe said he was called in to see deceased on Tuesday, and found him to be suffering from sleeplessness and indigestion.  He corroborated the last witness's statement with regard to the finding of the body, adding that there was a razor lying on the floor near, and that the bed had not been slept on.  When seen by him deceased had evidently been dead some time.  All the large arteries in the neck were severed, which was sufficient to cause death.  He knew for a fact that deceased had been an inmate of an asylum.  The Jury (of whom Mr W. J. Jones was foreman) returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane," and expressed sympathy with the relatives.

BARNSTAPLE - Another Case of Drowning At Barnstaple.  Pathetic Story. - After a life of great suffering, WM. LEWIS, shoemaker, aged 59, has come to an untimely end at Barnstaple.  At the age of 19, LEWIS, whilst employed on a merchant ship, fell from a masthead in the Bay of Biscay, breaking one leg and severely injuring his back.  He was unable to get medical aid for three months, and in the meantime the mate of the vessel undertook the necessary work of amputating the fractured limb. After that, remaining portions of the leg had to be cut away on two occasions.  The suffering did not end there, LEWIS having for many years past endured excruciating pain from a terrible affliction.  The unfortunate man left his house in Holland-street, on Monday evening, and nothing more was heard of him until his dead body was picked up in the river Yeo yesterday (Wednesday) morning.  MRS LEWIS declares that whilst waiting up for her husband at 4.30 a.m. on Tuesday, she heard a sound as of crutches in the street, whilst almost simultaneously the handle of the front door was distinctly turned.  A neighbour next door also heard the same noise.  But on MRS LEWIS rushing to the door, there was no one to be seen in the street, and she regards the incident as a presentiment and corresponding with the time of her husband's death.  The Inquest was at the North Devon Infirmary yesterday afternoon; and it is an extraordinary fact that it was the third case of drowning at Barnstaple which Mr Coroner Bencraft has investigated in less than a fortnight.

MRS JOHANNA M. LEWIS,  mentioned that when a young man at sea her husband (the deceased) met with an accident which necessitated the amputation of one leg.  Returning to England he became a shoemaker.  He was a very good workman, but could do little in consequence of his affliction - running wounds in the lower part of his body - and had latterly been in receipt of parochial relief.  For the past six months he had been under the care of Dr Ware.  When very ill two months ago they thought he would not get out of bed any more, but he, however, rallied.  Witness and a nurse had attended to him.  On Monday he did a little work, but eventually said he could not do any more, and stopped.  Her husband appeared to be in great pain, and in the afternoon he went to bed.  During the afternoon he remarked that if she wanted to see him she would be able to do so the following day at the Workhouse, but witness did not think he meant that.  Just after 9 p.m. on Monday, her husband left the house and went down Holland-street, and she had not seen him since.  During Tuesday morning a lad whom she had reared up brought home deceased's crutch and stick, stating that Mr Sanders, boatman, had picked them up in the river Taw.  Her husband had been very much depressed, but had never threatened to take his life.

Mr Wm. Sanders, of the boating station, South Walk, spoke to finding the crutch and stick in a gully just above "Black Rock" at 7.15 a.m. on Tuesday.  Asked subsequently whether he thought he could explain why the crutch and the body were found a couple of miles apart, Mr Sanders said that close to the Ilfracombe drawbridge, which was just below where he supposed the fatality occurred, there was a big pit with a whirlpool.  His idea was that the under-current there took the body and carried it up the river Yeo under the drawbridge, the floating crutch being taken up the river Taw by the tide.  - The Coroner and several of the Jurymen thought this quite feasible.  P.S. Edwards informed the Jury that about 7 p.m. on Monday, LEWIS came to the police-station, and several times asked for an order to the Workhouse.  Having elicited that LEWIS had money in his pocket, witness said he could not relieve him, and advised him to go home.  Did not see him afterwards.  His opinion was that LEWIS had been drinking.  - The Coroner:  To any extent?  - Witness:  Should not say he was drunk, but my impression was that he had been drinking.  Wm. Hill, lace twister, deposed that whilst taking a stroll that morning he observed the body lying face downwards in about five or six inches of water at a point just below the head weir in the river Yeo at Raleigh.  P.C. Carpenter spoke to afterwards accompanying P.S. Edwards to the spot with a stretcher, and conveying the body to the Infirmary.  Summing up, the Coroner remarked on the sadness of the case, and at his suggestion the Jury (of which Mr J. R. Ford was foreman) returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."  Deceased, it may be mentioned, leaves a widow and four grown-up children.

Thursday 28 September 1899

APPLEDORE - Fatal Lamp Accident At Appledore. - Late on Monday night, as a woman named JOHNSON, living in Meeting-street, was retiring to rest, she by some means fell, smashing the large paraffin lamp she had in her hand.  Her clothes were enveloped in flames, and the poor woman must have suffered fearful agonies.  A lodger (a young woman) who was in bed asleep at the time, was awoke by the smell of something burning, and was horrified to find MRS JOHNSON in flames. She screamed for help, and a neighbour ran to her assistance.  Two men, Messrs. W. Short (joiner) and G. Fisher (postman), hearing screams, ran in, and succeeded in putting out the flames.  They carried the injured woman upstairs, and Dr W. A. Valentine was immediately sent for.  The Doctor, from the first, said the woman could not live, it being only a matter of hours.  The poor woman was burnt beyond recognition, the flesh coming off in great strips as her clothing was removed.  It is not definitely known how the accident happened.  The poor woman lingered until Tuesday mid-day, when she succumbed to her injuries.  The husband of deceased is at sea, being on a voyage from London to Plymouth.  The affair has cast  quite a gloom over the town. The Inquest was held yesterday.

Thursday 5 October 1899

CHITTLEHAMHOLT - Fatal Accident At Chittlehamholt. - On Tuesday Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest at the Exeter Inn, Chittlehamholt, on the body of ANN CLARK SMITH, widow, who died on Sunday from the effects of a fall.  The deceased, who was 77 years of age, was the widow of a carpenter.  She resided with her son, JOHN SMITH, carpenter, who on the 22nd of September found his mother lying at the foot of the stairs, bleeding at the nose and mouth.  Deceased was then unconscious.  She had evidently fallen down the stairs, but as she never thoroughly regained consciousness the details of the accident were never ascertained.  Mary Down, a neighbour, and Dr Wigram (who attended the deceased), as well as deceased's son, gave evidence, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 26 October 1899

BARNSTAPLE - A Barumite's Sudden Death In London. - The painfully sudden death took place on Wednesday, 11th inst., of MR CHARLES HANCOCK, of Nicholas Street, St. Peter's Road, Stepney, E., at the age of 59 years.  It appears that he left home in the early morning, and was proceeding to business, and while walking along was seen by a woman to put his hands to his chest and sit down on a doorstep.  She immediately called a policeman, upon whose arrival the unfortunate man was found to be dead.  The body was removed to the local mortuary, and an Inquest held on Friday, when the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  MR CHARLES HANCOCK was the eldest son of the late MR JUSTINIAN HANCOCK, of 45, High Street, Barnstaple, and left his native town many years ago, after serving his time with the late Mr William Gammon, carpenter, of Derby.

ILFRACOMBE - Sad Death At Ilfracombe. - At the Ilfracombe Town Hall on Monday, Dr E. J. Slade-King, held an Inquest touching the death of CORNELIUS GRIFFITHS, formerly a journalist.  Mr J. C. Clarke was chosen foreman of the Jury.

Grace Hooper, wife of John Hooper, identified the body as that of CORNELIUS GRIFFITHS, whom she last saw alive at 9 p.m. on Thursday, outside his room in Highfield flats.  As far as witness knew, he lived alone.  Richard Vicary, relieving officer, stated that deceased was a pauper chargeable to the Barnstaple Union and had been so for many years.  Lately he had been in receipt of 3s. per week.  He was in a very weak state, through taking large quantities of chlorodyne, and had been an inmate of the County Asylum.  On Saturday evening at 6.30, in consequence of information, witness went to deceased's room, which he found locked.  Witness got in through the window and found him lying on his back, in the corner of the room and quite dead.  Witness called in Dr Thornton, and on searching the body found amongst other things a purse containing £3 13s. 5d.  There were no marks of violence on the body.  He told witness recently that his age was 65 years.  He was of somewhat dirty habits, and some correspondence had taken place with reference to receiving him into the Workhouse.  Deceased lived in four rooms, the rent being paid by Mr Wall, of Hall's Green.

Mr G. Lestock-Thornton stated that the body of deceased was much emaciated, and when witness went to the house the body had been dead for about twelve hours.  Witness had warned GRIFFITHS of the risk he was running in taking chlorodyne  Having heard the evidence and known deceased's habits, he thought death was most probably due to the effects of chlorodyne, which would produce loss of appetite, dyspepsia and derangement of the nervous system, and exhaustion.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

FRITHELSTOCK - Child's Fatal Burns At Frithelstock. - THOMAS HARDING VANSTONE, the two year old child of a farm labourer, lost its life through burns at Frithelstock on Monday.  At the Inquest yesterday, FRED PIPER VANSTONE, the father, deposed that whilst he was at work in a field, someone came with the information that the child was on fire.  He ran home and Mrs Tanton, a neighbour, informed him she found the child with its clothes on fire.  Dr Sutcliffe attended the child, but it died during the morning.  His wife was not in the house at the time, and she was now ill.  Theresa Tanton spoke to FREDDIE VANSTONE giving the alarm that deceased was on fire.  The house was full of smoke, and when it cleared she found the child under the table, with most of its clothes burnt.  The mother afterwards told her she had sent another child to fetch milk, and fearing it would be late for school, had left the house to meet it.  Had no idea how the fatality occurred.  Dr E. Sutcliffe said it was a hopeless case from the first, deceased having been burnt from the ankles to the neck.  The child died in an hour and a half.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was recorded.

Thursday 2 November 1899

HARTLAND - Man Hangs Himself At Hartland. - RICHARD SHUTE, farm labourer, aged 66, hanged himself to a tree with fatal results at Hartland on Monday morning, the case being inquired into the following day by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.  - MARY SHUTE said her husband (the deceased) had been out of health for some time and unable to work.  Between six and seven o'clock on Monday morning deceased dressed and went out of the house.  Subsequently, their fourteen-year old daughter, looking out of the front door, told her she saw something in the hedge; and a son, aged twelve, discovered it was deceased.  Witness communicated with Mr and Mrs Rowe, neighbours, and her husband was brought into the house dead.  - By the Foreman:  Did not think they had had parochial relief since harvest time.  Before leaving the house her husband kissed the child and said goodbye.  -  RICHARD SHUTE, aged 12, spoke to discovering his father hanging to a tree; whilst JOHN HENRY SHUTE, labourer, deposed that he was fetched by MRS SHUTE (whilst at work a quarter of a mile from his own house), who said her husband had hung himself.  Witness proceeded to the spot in company with young MR GEORGE SHUTE.  SHUTE was hanging to a tree in the hedge about 100 yards from his own house, his feet being about 18 inches from the ground.  Witness cut the rope; SHUTE was quite dead.  - P.C. Drew stated that he was called about 8 a.m.  Searched the body, but found nothing in connection with the case.  - Dr. H. Miller confirmed the statement that SHUTE had been out of health for some time, quite unable to do regular work.  Found a mark round deceased's neck, and in his opinion death was instantaneous.  He thought the poverty of the deceased and his very bad state of health must have unhinged his mind.  A verdict of Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane was returned.

Thursday 23 November 1899

EAST ANSTEY - Fatal Burns At East Anstey. - Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Monday held an Inquest at East Anstey on the body of HENRY JOHN HARRIS, aged 3, son of a railway ganger.  The child was left in the kitchen on the 10th of November, and on coming downstairs his mother found his clothes in flames.  How he caught his clothes on fire was never known.  The burns were very severe, and proved fatal.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - A Woman's Extraordinary Death At Barnstaple. - There can be no doubt that EMILY ALFORD, aged 57, the wife of a hawker, living in Silver-street, Barnstaple, came to her death as the result of an accident.  But, remarkably enough, the woman had been ill some days before it became known that she had met with an accident, and even then she only volunteered the information in answer to questions.

But for a scar in her forehead, said Mr Coroner Bencraft at the Inquest at the White Lion Inn, on Monday, the doctors would have concluded that she was suffering from apoplexy.  Having regard to the blow which deceased had received, he ordered a post mortem, and after hearing evidence, he thought the Jury would conclude that it was a case of accidental death.

Jane Dennis, deceased's neighbour, informed the Jury that ALFORD had lately complained of her head.  She appeared to be all right, however, on Saturday week, until between five and six o'clock, when witness heard groans proceeding from her kitchen.

Entering the house, witness found MRS ALFORD holding on to hr mangle with both hands.  In answer to a question, deceased said "Something has taken me in my head," whilst she asked witness to fetch MR ALFORD.  Deceased's face was scarlet, and she was perspiring greatly.  Witness fetched MR ALFORD from his brother's in Queen-street, and having lifted his wife on to a couch, he fetched her brandy and also gave her a seidlitz powder.  Deceased was sick.  Saw her two days later, when she said she felt a little easier.  Did not observe a mark in MRS ALFORD'S forehead until the doctors spoke about it in the bedroom on Tuesday Witness then asked her how she got "that blow," and she replied "Saturday."

Elizabeth Dunn, another neighbour, deposed that she was called to deceased by the last witness on the Monday.  Remembered asking MRS ALFORD how she received the blow in her forehead, and after a while she replied that she "did it in the mangle."  The blow was about the length of the iron she fell over at the mangle.  As deceased was "tight" in her speech, witness advised MR ALFORD to call in a medical man. 

SIMON ALFORD, deceased's husband, said they had dinner together on Saturday week.  He spoke to being fetched in the early part of the evening from his brother's by Mrs Dennis, to finding his wife (who said she felt very ill) on the floor, and to administering brandy and seidlitz powder.  The mark on her forehead was slight at first; it showed more afterwards.  his wife seemed to be better on the Sunday, and he did not fetch a doctor until the following day.  Neither himself or his wife thought that the case was so serious.  Dr Cooke attended her to the time of death, which took placed at 4 a.m. on Saturday. - By P.S. Edwards:  Witness left home on the day on which the accident occurred between twelve and one o'clock.  - By the Foreman:  (Mr G. Griffin)  They did not have any words on that day, and when he left home his wife was perfectly well.

Dr C. M. Cooke spoke to being fetched a week previously.  Was informed it was thought MRS ALFORD had had a seizure.  She was in a semi-conscious condition, and nothing was said about any accident.  Next morning he observed that deceased had a depressed scar over the right eye.  The symptoms were hardly consistent with those of apoplexy, and he thought a severe blow in the forehead had set up pressure on the brain.  Dr J. R. Harper, who kindly dropped in once at his request, also thought the symptoms were due to the blow.  Witness inquired how MRS ALFORD got the blow, but nobody seemed to know.  On Friday morning she became quite unconscious, and she expired as previously stated.  Dr J. R. Harper joined him in the post mortem.  Just where the blow was, there was an abrasion right through the skin, with contused blood.  There was no fracture of the skull, but the brain was extremely congested, and there was inflammation of the brain generally.  There was no sign of haemorrhage from apoplexy; and in his opinion death was undoubtedly due to the brain mischief set up by the blow.  A heavy fall on the iron in front of the mangle would, Dr Cooke added, produce just such a blow as MRS ALFORD had in her forehead.

The Coroner agreed:  and at his suggestion, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was recorded.

SHEBBEAR - Suicide At Shebbear. - The body of BESSIE WEEKS, aged 27, domestic servant, was found in the river Torridge on Sunday, and the usual Inquiry was conducted by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Tuesday.  -  HENRY WEEKS, farmer, of Little Torrington, gave evidence as to the age of deceased, and Dr A. B. Clarke, of Shebbear, in whose employ the young woman had been,  said that on Saturday it was agreed between his wife and himself that a month's notice should be given to WEEKS, who had been taxed with misconduct, which she did not deny.  The girl left the house the same evening without leave, and hearing from one of the servants that she had threatened violence to herself he became alarmed and gave information to the police.  Deceased had been in his employ about twelve months.

Beatrice Nethercott, domestic servant, in the employ of Dr and Mrs Clarke, said the deceased told her on Saturday morning that she had received notice to leave.  She told her the mistress had asked her whether she was in trouble, her reply being that she could not say whether she was or not.  The deceased had before then told her that if ever she got into trouble she would throw herself into the river.  She told her on Saturday she should not go home.  Witness was ill in bed on Saturday, and deceased came to her about 8.30 and said "If you don't see me again you will know where I am gone."  She had asked her to fetch a candle, but she went away and did not return.  - Mrs Mary Clarke gave corroborative evidence.  The principal reason for her giving the deceased notice was that she found out from her own confession that she was unsteady.  She seemed much upset when she told her she would have to leave.  - P.C. W. Flanders deposed to finding the body in the Torridge close to Dipper Mill.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while suffering from Temporary Insanity."

Thursday 30 November 1899

PLYMOUTH - At an Inquest held on Friday on the body of ANDREW WHELAN, a labourer, who was drowned at the Keyham Extension Works on Tuesday night, a verdict of "Accidental Death whilst in a state of Intoxication" was returned, no blame being attached to the police or any of the officials at the Extension Works.

PARKHAM - Sad Death Of a Parkham Girl.  Suffocated In A Bedroom. - MARY ANN DEAN, aged 22, daughter of WILLIAM DEAN, farm labourer, of Parkham, near Bideford, who was a domestic servant, at Bampfylde Lodge, Poltimore, was found dead in bed on Tuesday, whilst two other servants who slept in the same room were seriously ill.  From the evidence given before the Coroner it appears the servants lighted a fire for the first time in their bedroom, with sticks and coal, and by an accident the damper fell down with the result that the bedroom was filled with coal-gas fumes, which poisoned the deceased, from the effects of which she died.  Mr J. W. Sandoe, medical practitioner, of Broadclyst, deposed to being called to Bampfylde Lodge on Tuesday morning about nine o'clock.  He found deceased dead, life having been extinct about two hours.  He formed no conclusion as to what she died of.  He spent some time attending to the other two girls, and as they were unconscious he could not form an opinion as to what they were suffering from.  He made a post mortem examination of the deceased and found a large quantity of blood in the brain.  The lungs were gorged with blood, and solid.  The windpipe was full of blood and froth, and very inflamed.  The right side of the heart was also full of fluid blood and slightly fatty.  The left kidney seemed congested and more so than the right.  The other organs were healthy.  Where the gullet entered the stomach was slightly inflamed.  The stomach itself he examined and found nothing there visible to the eye which would cause death.

The Coroner:  Assuming there was a fire in the grate when these persons went to bed and the damper fell would it not be possible for the fumes from coal and sticks to cause the death of the deceased?  - Witness:  Yes, most decidedly.

And do you think that the facts as you know them are sufficient, with your post mortem examination, to give it as your opinion that death was due to poisoning by gas fumes?  -  A:  Yes, that is the opinion I formed.

And you'd be further strengthened in that opinion by the fact that two other servants were suffering from the same thing that poisoned her?  - Yes.

WILLIAM DEAN, farm labourer, of Parkham, identified the deceased as his daughter.  She was 22 years of age.  He last saw her alive when she was home for her holidays in June.  He had never known her have an illness.

The Coroner having summed up, the Jury deliberated a short time in private, and then returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 7 December 1899

TOTNES - The body of an elderly man named JOSIAH LAPPIDGE, a resident of Totnes, was picked up in the River Dart on Friday.  He was engaged as a night watchman in connection with the new sewerage works.  His box was fixed on Totnes Quay, but many yards from the river.  At the Inquest a verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned.

BRIXHAM - LESLIE THOMAS, aged four years, had died from injuries sustained in falling over the cliffs, about 100ft. high, at Fishcombe, Brixham, on SAturday.  At the Inquest, Arthur Elliott, aged 12, said deceased fell in attempting t reach some ferns, but he (Elliott) was too frightened to tell anybody of the accident.  An intelligent boy named Pine was praised by the Coroner for the matter in which he described how he found the deceased.  Dr Elliott said the base of the lad's skull was fractured.  - A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - Aged Man's Fatal Fall At Barnstaple. - CHARLES PERT, hawker, aged 82, died in Barnstaple Workhouse on Wednesday as the result of an accident which occurred nearly three months ago.  The circumstances were Inquired into by Mr R. I. Bencraft, (Borough Coroner) at the Workhouse, of which deceased had been an inmate since September 20th.  Mr F. W. Watts, Master of the Workhouse, proved this, and said that, not contemplating death, PERT had expected t leave the Workhouse in a few days.  It transpired that P.C. Paltridge found PERT lying in Bull Court (a passage leading from Boutport-street to Green-lane) about 7 p.m. on September 16th.  Deceased was under the influence of liquor, and was taken by George Smith, chimney sweep, of Boutport-street, to the Bear Inn, where he lodged.  From that time onwards, PERT was under the care of Dr J. W. Cooke, who said that on September 16th he found that deceased had fractured the neck of the thighbone.  Owing no doubt to lying in one position so long at the Workhouse PERT got congestion of the lungs, but the primary cause of death was the fracture referred to.  Deceased had had every attention.  The Coroner said accidents of the kind referred to were somewhat common among aged people, who seldom recovered from them.  -  "Accidental Death" was the verdict returned.

Thursday 14 December 1899

WEARE GIFFARD - Inquest at Weare Giffard.  Case of Overlaying. - An Inquest was held on Saturday last at Venton Farm, upon the body of SARAH MARY MOORE, an infant, who was found dead in bed on Wednesday morning.  The first witness called was the mother, HARRIETT MOORE, a domestic servant in the employ of Mrs Isaac, Venton Farm.  She deposed that the body, just viewed by the Jury, was that of her illegitimate child, aged fourteen weeks.  It had been perfectly healthy up to the time of its death.  The child slept with her as usual on Tuesday night.  She should think it was about 3 o'clock in the morning when she last fed the baby, after which she placed it high up upon a pillow, for being a heavy sleeper she was afraid of hurting it.  Upon getting out of bed on Wednesday morning, her first care was for her baby, whom she found dead upon the pillow.  She at once called her mistress.  The mother was moved to tears during her evidence.  Mrs Isaac corroborated the mother's evidence and stated that the mother had shown every possible care and affection for the baby.  P.C. Blackmore, stationed at Weare Giffard, stated that he found the body in the position described by the previous witnesses.  Dr Burt, of Torrington, deposed to having examined the body, which was well nourished, and said he was of opinion that the child had been accidentally suffocated.  An arm thrown across the baby's face would cause death.  In reply to the Jury, he did not consider that the recent vaccination of the child had anything to do with its death.  The Jury, of which Mr Ashton Jewell was foreman, found that the child had been Accidentally Suffocated by being Overlaid.  Mr Jewell eulogised the kind and motherly action of Mrs Isaac, the mistress, in befriending the unfortunate mother by taking her again into her service and allowing her to bring her child with her.  The Jury were unanimous that Mrs Isaac's kindness was in the highest degree commendable.

Thursday 21 December 1899

BARNSTAPLE - A Slight But Fatal Fall. - In North Devon Infirmary on Tuesday, JOHN ELLIS, labourer, aged 73, died as the result of an unusual accident sustained the previous day whilst working for Major Barrington, of Downrew, Bishopstawton.  ELLIS was a widower, and leaves two children.  Neither of these could attend the Inquest by Mr R. I. Bencraft, Barnstaple Borough Coroner, yesterday, and evidence of identification was given by deceased's brother, MR JAMES ELLIS, coachbuilder, of Ilfracombe.  Walter Eddicott, room to Major Barrington, stated that on Monday afternoon deceased was engaged removing hedge parings.  About four o'clock ELLIS was on a cart containing several bundles.  One of the bundles seemed to slide and deceased went with it, slipping about five feet.  In a low voice, ELLIS said "Lift me up," and as he seemed to be paralysed, Major Barrington ordered his removal to the Infirmary.  - Mr F. Penny, the House Surgeon, deposed that when admitted ELLIS could move his head fairly well, but was otherwise paralysed, and complained of pain high up between his shoulders.  Major Barrington called soon after deceased's arrival, and thought that possibly a fit caused ELLIS to fall, the man having had a previous fit about hay time.  A post mortem revealed that one of the bones in the spine was broken, and that a good deal of internal bleeding caused pressure on the cord and paralysis.  There could be no doubt that death was due to the fall, and he should think that deceased pitched partly on his head and shoulder.  There was not the slightest chance of recovery; the wonder was that ELLIS lived as long as he did.  -  Mr H. Hardwick was foreman of the Jury, whose verdict was "Accidental Death."

WEARE GIFFARD - Fatal Fall Downstairs At Weare Giffard. - The death of GRACE ANN SLEE, widow, aged 72, was Inquired into by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, at Weare Giffard on Monday.  According to Wm. Braddon, a farmer and his wife (deceased's daughter), deceased, who has resided with them at Huxhill Farm, for the past four years, left the kitchen about 8.30 p.m. on the previous Friday for the purpose of going to bed, carrying a lighted candle in one hand and a hot brick in the other.  She had apparently reached the first landing - where the brick was afterwards found - when she fell backwards, being precipitated right into the kitchen.  MRS SLEE was given a little brandy, and afterwards taken to bed.  "Oh my poor head" was the only remark which she made, expiring about an hour after the accident.  - Dr E. H. Sutcliff, of Torrington, who was fetched soon after the occurrence by Mr Braddon, said deceased had a severe contusion over the right eye, whilst blood was issuing from her mouth.  He expressed the opinion that death was due to fracture of the base of the skull.  - "Accidental Death" was the verdict.

Thursday 4 January 1900

DEVONPORT - At the Inquest held at Devonport on Thursday on the body of a labourer named VOSPER, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death.

EXETER - A commercial traveller named THOMAS JOHNS committed suicide by hanging himself in Wonford House Asylum, Exeter.  The Jury decided that the deed was committed while deceased was of Unsound Mind.

DODBROOKE - "Accidental Death, caused by an Escape of Gas," was the verdict passed at the Inquest on the body of a woman named WRIGHT, of Dodbrooke, who was found asphyxiated in a house in Summerland-place, Plymouth.

SHALDON - At the Inquest on the body of an old woman named CRINSPIN, at Shaldon, it was shown that her clothes were set alight while she was sitting before the fire, and being too infirm to get assistance, succumbed to the injuries so caused.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

PLYMOUTH - The Deputy Coroner held an Inquest at the Royal Albert Hospital, Plymouth on Thursday morning, touching the death of GEORGE ELSIP, thirty-three, labourer, who was employed at the Keyham Extension Works.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," exonerating the firm of Sir John Jackson (Limited) from all blame.

WOOLFARDISWORTHY  - Suicide At Bucks Mills. - Early on Thursday morning the body of JAMES BRAUND, fish hawker, aged 62, was found by his son (SYDNEY BRAUND) hanging in an outhouse at Bucks Mills, Woolfardisworthy.  - At the inquest before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Friday, the son (also a fish hawker) deposed that his father had been unwell, from influenza, he believed, during the past fortnight, which had left him somewhat depressed; but he refused to have a doctor.  They each occupied a bed in the same room, and about 4.30 on Wednesday morning witness called to him.  Finding deceased's bed empty, witness concluded he had gone downstairs to feed the pony in accordance with custom; but on dressing subsequently and instituting a search, witness found his  father hanging in an outhouse, his feet being about 2ft. from the ground.  Witness shouted for assistance, and in a few minutes three men came and cut the body down.  - P.S. Hard stated that about 5.30 a.m. on Thursday, JAMES SANDERS (deceased's son-in-law) and another man informed him that BRAUND had committed suicide.  Deceased was very much bruised round the neck, which appeared to be dislocated.  When BRAUND told him about a week previously that he suffered from soreness and pains in his head, witness advised him to see a doctor, but he replied that he did not get one and should get better after a bit.  A verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - Barnstaple Fisherman Drowned. - THOMAS NOTT, fisherman, of Belle Meadow, Barnstaple, left his home early on Tuesday morning for the purpose of fishing at Fremington; and as he had not returned as expected at daylight, a search was instituted, with the result that deceased's brother (ALFRED NOTT) eventually found the body on the sand about 1 ½ miles below Barnstaple.  A sad feature is that deceased, who was forty-five years of age, leaves a widow and seven children.  The body was removed to the North Devon Infirmary, where Mr Coroner Bencraft held an Inquest last evening.  Mr G. Griffin being foreman of the Jury.  -  RICHARD NOTT (who has been staying at the house of deceased, his son, for some little time ) stated that he called his son at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, and after they had had a cup of tea together, deceased left home for the purpose of fishing, stating that he should return in his boat with the tide about three hours later.  His son, who was in good health and cheerful, did not return, and some little time after daylight witness went as far as Fremington.  Here his son ALFRED informed him that he had found the boat on Bassset's Ridge; but witness could see no trace of deceased.  He afterwards leant from John Avery, another fisherman, that the body had been recovered.  His son left home carrying a lantern, and wearing an oilskin jacket, oilskin hat, and top boots.  - Mr G. Griffin (foreman of the Jury) here observed that there was a rumour that deceased had threatened to commit suicide, and to remove misapprehension he asked witness if he had heard him use any threat of the kind.  -  MR NOTT replied: "Oh no, sir."  - P.C. Tucker deposed that at eight p.m. on Monday THOMAS NOTT (who was a highly respectable man) informed him that he was going down the river fishing during the night.  He did not seem in any way depressed. -  ALFRED NOTT'S evidence was that deceased's wife having told him shortly before 8 a.m. on Tuesday that his brother had not returned home, he (witness) decided to go down the river.  At Fremington Point two men pointed out a boat on Basset's Ridge, which witness discovered to be his brother's.  Witness could see nothing of the lantern or the fish-bag.  In a small pool of water on a sand-ridge opposite Anchor Wood (two miles further up the middle of the river) witness and another man named Roulston subsequently discovered his brother's body, lying face downwards.  The oilskin jacket was missing.  Witness's idea was that during the night his brother (an expert swimmer) left the boat with the lantern in order to attend to his fish hooks some little distance away, that the lantern went out and that he fell into the water, being eventually (owing to the heavy clothing he was wearing) overwhelmed by the incoming tide.  - The Coroner observed that there was nothing to justify any idea that NOTT committed suicide.  It was a lamentable case, and he hoped the public would help the widow in her distress and trouble.  -  "Accidentally Drowned" was the verdict, and the Jury expressed their condolence with the widow, to whom they gave their fees.

Thursday 11 January 1900

EXETER - Mr W. H. Gould, the Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital on Friday, on the body of JOB GOODING, employed at Seldon Nurseries, Sowton, who was accidentally cut on the thumb with a garden tool on December 28th, and who died at the Hospital the previous night from lockjaw, caused by the accident.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 25 January 1900

SOUTHMOLTON - Death From Blood Poisoning At Southmolton. - A Coroner's Inquest was held at the Town Hall on Friday before the Borough Coroner (Mr T. Sanders, F.R.C.S.) and a Jury, of which Mr S. Widgery was foreman, to Inquire into the cause of the death of JAMES BRAILEY, of Mill-street, aged 16.  Evidence was given by Mr C. Norton for Mrs Mary Jane Brayley (aunt) and Dr H. J. Smyth, by which it appeared that death was caused by blood poisoning, caused by a wound, the result of a fall in Mr E. Cruwys' yard on December 26th last.  After hearing the medical evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death, resulting from Blood Poisoning."  This was the same lad who lost the whole of one hand and part of the other in an accident with a threshing machine at Town House Farm, and in whose welfare Mr R. S. Crosses greatly interested himself.  Mr Crosse, who was present through the Inquiry, informed the Coroner that he had still money enough in hand to defray the cost of the lad's funeral.

Thursday 8 February 1900

NEWTON ABBOT - At the Inquest held on Friday at Newton Abbot concerning the death of a man named GEORGE MORTIMORE, who hanged himself, the evidence showed that while deceased was engaged as porter at the workhouse he had attempted to cut his throat, and he also had a sister who committed suicide by hanging herself four years ago.  The Jury returned a verdict "That deceased committed Suicide whilst in an Unsound State of Mind."

Thursday 15 February 1900

EXETER - At Exeter on Friday an Inquest was held on the body of RICHARD COOMBES, who was found that morning with a severe gash in his throat, and a table knife by his side.  A verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane" was returned.

BURRINGTON - Death Through Excessive Drinking At Burrington.  An Allegation, And A Denial. -  The sad death of MARY ANN OLDE POTTER, wife of a well-known farmer and a native of Barnstaple, was investigated by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, at Burrington on Monday.

SAMUEL SIDNEY POTTER, of The Barton, deposed that for some time deceased, his wife (who was forty-one years of age) had been seriously addicted to drink.  He had endeavoured from time to time to keep her from it.  Deceased was in receipt of an annuity of £52 a year, and whenever she received the money, she would spend it in drink as far as she could.  Accompanied by their son (aged 13) she went to Barnstaple for a quarter's annuity on January 29th, and returned home in the afternoon so drunk that she could not walk without holding on to the wall or something for support.  Fearing that she would spend the rest of the money in drink, he asked her to let him have it, but she refused, and on his endeavouring to take it from her, she fell on to the kitchen floor.  He certainly did not knock her down; he had never struck her a blow in his life.  His wife afterwards passed the money to the servant girl, Phoebe Webber, who subsequently let him have a little of it.  His wife subsequently went out of the house, and had been drinking heavily since then.  She had not done any household work for a fortnight, owing to the effects of intoxication.  Witness called in Dr Hanson on Friday morning, and his wife died on Saturday.  The servant girl left on the previous Wednesday because his wife was drunk in bed.  - By the Foreman:  Could not say who supplied his wife with drink while she was in bed, although he believed Phoebe Webber did up to the time she left.  -  Witness only received four sovereigns out of the thirteen his wife had at Barnstaple on January 29th.  The money was all gone now.  - By P.C. Chamings:  Witness certainly did not knock his wife down in the causeway outside the house on her return from Barnstaple.

Mary Jane Woodman, wife of an employee of MR POTTER, said she had been doing household work at The Barton for the last fortnight, and MRS POTTER had been ill in bed ever since she came.  Deceased was intoxicated on one occasion and she admitted that at deceased's request she supplied her with drink once or twice.  Witness had never seen MR POTTER ill-treat his wife.  - By the Foreman:  Could not say whether the rumour was correct that deceased drank a pint of spirit before nine o'clock one morning.  - By P.S. Chamings:  Deceased was conscious up to a short time of her death, and she never complained of any ill-treatment from her husband.

SYDNEY J. L. POTTER, deceased's son, spoke to visiting Barnstaple with his mother on January 29th, and to her purchasing some quart bottles of spirit.  When they returned home, his mother was drunk and could only just walk.  About six o'clock in the evening his mother was so drunk that she had to be helped to bed.  He never saw his father ill-treat his mother.  His father had had a great deal of trouble with her in regard to the drink.  He had seen his mother in bed every night during the last fortnight, and, in his opinion, she had been drunk more or less each time.

Susan Down, wife of a labourer, spoke to staying with MRS POTTER on the night of her death.  Deceased was partly conscious, but did not make any complaint that her husband had ill-treated her.

Phoebe Webber stated that she had been in service at The Barton for the past seven months.  The reason why she left on February 6th was that she considered both MR and MRS POTTER were under the influence of drink.  On returning home from Barnstaple on January 29th MRS POTTER brought some spirit with her and she was not sober.  Her master asked deceased for the money, and she offered him £5.  He said he would take nothing less than £10.  MR POTTER pushed his wife down twice, after which she got up and sat in a chair.  He then pulled her from the chair into the passage, and out to the front door, where she fell against the wall.  Witness went out by the back door and picked her up.  MR POTTER in the meantime locked all the doors to prevent them entering the house.  About two hours later they returned to the house, and gained admission by breaking open the back door.  - By the Foreman:  MRS POTTER complained to witness that she was suffering in her head and shoulder from the fall every day up to the time she left.

Dr Edgar R. Hanson, of Chulmleigh, said that he had known deceased for some years.  It was quite true that she was addicted to drink, and was subject to illnesses arising from the effects of it.  Called on Friday morning, he found deceased in bed in a dazed condition.  He put some questions to her, but could get no answer.  He forwarded some medicine, believing MRS POTTER to be suffering from the effects of drink, but on arriving at The Barton on the following day found that she was dead.  There were no marks of violence on the body except a bruise on the left pin bone.  This might have been caused by a fall.  Considered addiction to drink often created a tendency to haemorrhage on the brain, and, having heard the evidence, he thought it probable that deceased died from haemorrhage of the brain, occasioned by constant drink.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from haemorrhage through excessive drinking."

Thursday 22 February 1900

COTLEIGH - Farmer Drowned In A Brook Near Honiton. - On Thursday afternoon, JOHN ARBERY, aged 64, a small farmer, residing at Tuck's Farm, Cotleigh, near Honiton, was drowned in a stream adjacent to his house.  About a quarter to three in the afternoon deceased and Frank Leigh, nine years old, were in the stable together.  Whilst the gale was at its height deceased went to the stream with a bucket to fetch some water for his horse, and it is supposed that when dipping up the water, the wind caught the deceased's overcoat and he was blown into the stream and washed about 100 yards below, where about an hour and a quarter afterwards, his body was discovered by the lad Leigh, and two men named John and Eli Harris.  At the time of the fatal occurrence the brook was swollen to an unprecedented height.  An Inquest was held on Friday at Wellhayes Farm, Cotleigh, before Mr Coroner Cox (Mr James Loosemore, foreman) and after hearing the evidence the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned."

SWYMBRIDGE - Sad Suicide Of A Farmer At Swymbridge. - A painful sensation was caused in this locality on Tuesday by the rumour which proved to be only too true, that MR JAMES WARREN, of South Cobbaton Farm, Swymbridge, had committed suicide.  The facts were ascertained at an Inquest held yesterday at South Cobbaton Farm, by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.  The first witness called was James Henry Warren, junr., who deposed:-  I am a farm servant in the employ of the late MR WARREN, and have been in his employ for three years.  Yesterday morning, about 10 o'clock, MR WARREN'S son told me to go and look for his father.  I found the deceased in a barn hanging to a rope.  I immediately ran into the house and told the son what I had seen.  I had been with the deceased early in the morning and chained up a bullock.  - By the Foreman:  I had not noticed in the morning that deceased seemed low-spirited.

The next witness called was JAMES WARREN, who said:  The body which has just been viewed by the Jury is that of my late father, JAMES WARREN.  He was a farmer, living at Lower Cobbaton Farm, Swymbridge, and aged 63 years.  I was in the habit of sleeping in the same room with him, and did so on Monday night last, the 19th February.  yesterday morning, about seven o'clock, my father went downstairs before me.  I understood he was going out about the cattle as usual.  He did not come in to breakfast.  About 10 o'clock, wondering where he was, I sent the last witness to look for him.  Soon after, the boy came in, and told me what he had seen in the barn.  I went to the barn and found the door open, and a short distance inside I saw my father hanging by a rope.  He was on the ground, kneeling I believe.  My sisters were with me, and I immediately cut him down.  He was quite dead, and getting cold.  With assistance I got the body indoors, and sent information to the Police.  I have noticed at times that my father has been depressed in spirits.  I have no idea what caused this.  I have asked him what troubled him, but he would never tell me.  The family at home now consists of my two sisters and myself.  - By the Foreman:  There was no letter or paper found disclosing any reason for his committing the act.

P.C. Mules, stationed at Swymbridge, said that in consequence of information received, he proceeded to Lower Cobbaton Farm on Tuesday about 1 p.m., and found deceased lying on a sofa, quite dead.  He examined the body, and found on deceased a watch, a purse with 1s. 6d. in it, and a key, but no letter or paper whatever.  He had known deceased for the last two years, and had at times noticed that he was lost in thought.  The Jury, who expressed their sincere sympathy with relatives of deceased, returned a verdict of "Suicide by Hanging whilst Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 1 March 1900

CARDIFF - Tragic Death Of A Devonian.  Shocking Tragedy At Cardiff.  Body Buried In A Back Yard. - On Tuesday evening the Cardiff police received information that an old man named HENRY BLATCHFORD had been missing from his home at 12, Westbury-terrace, Canton, Cardiff, since three o'clock in the afternoon.  On Wednesday morning inquiries were instituted by Detective Kellett, which led to the discovery in the afternoon of the body of BLATCHFORD, buried under six inches of soil, in the garden behind the Conybear road, the residence of Mr Sweetman, milkman.  A youth, named Thomas Sweetman, the son of the last named, said to be about eighteen or nineteen years of age, was found in the garden in the act of buying an overcoat and an undercoat belonging to the deceased.  In a shed close by blood stains were found on the floor and also on a box.  The deceased was found on his back with his clothes on, minus the coats referred to, and with about six inches of soil spread over him.

Detective Kellett and Mr Smith then proceeded to examine the sheds.  In one of these was found an old rifle, which, however, did not bear indications of having been recently used.  In another of the outbuildings several bloodstains were found, notably on a box and in the centre of the building.  BLATCHFORD was very well-known in Canton.  He was the owner of a pony and cart, and frequently perambulated Canton selling coke and doing light hauling work.  He was a most respectable old fellow, hailing from Devonshire, but had for the last twenty years resided in Canton.  Three years ago he buried his wife, and since then had lived with his daughters and a son-in-law at 12, Westbury-terrace.  It was quite impossible that the injuries could have been self-inflicted.  The back of the scalp was completely "bashed in," to use a common expression, and it would appear as though these injuries had been inflicted either by kicking with a heavy pair of boots or by striking with a hammer.  There are gunshot wounds in the side, but it is not clear whether these penetrated any vital organs.  It is stated that young Sweetman was at one time an inmate of a lunatic asylum.

At Cardiff Police Court on Thursday, T. H. Sweetman and J. H. Thompson were brought up in custody and charged with the murder of HENRY BLATCHFORD.  The first and only witness called was Detective Kellett.  He said:  I arrested the prisoner Sweetman on Wednesday afternoon.  I had previously dug up the garden and discovered the body of a man.  I pointed to the body, and said to the prisoner Sweetman, "I will arrest you for murdering him."  I cautioned him, and he replied "all right."  While taking the prisoner to the Canton Police Station, and in Romilly-road, prisoner said:  "I know most about it; but I did not do it.  If I am asked who had a hand in it, I can tell.  Thompson, in Daisy-street, hit him with a revolver."  Sweetman was detained at Canton police station, and in the evening I received the prisoner Thompson into custody at Canton police station from Inspector James.  Prisoner Thompson:  I came voluntarily to Canton station, didn't I?"

Detective Kellett, ignoring this question, went on to say:  I charged both prisoners together with the wilful murder of HENRY BLATCHFORD.  After the usual caution, Sweetman replied, "I have nothing to say against it, But I did not do it, though.  I went out with a cart and my mother, and got out by the reservoir.  I met Thompson there, and we went to his house.  Then we went over to the cows' stable in our yard.  Then I went up in the loft after a gun, and he put powder and shot into it, and fired at the old man in the cow shed on the left.  I went into the other shed, where the cows were, and then we went back and dragged him out and put him in the hole.  And then he told me to go up into the town and meet the cart, and I went.  Then I met the cart in Wyndham-crescent and came home.  That's all I've got to say."  Thompson's reply to the charge was, "I know nothing about it."

Mr Ward stated that he did not desire to cross-examine the witness at this stage.

The Stipendiary (to Thompson):  Do you wish to ask any questions, Thompson?

Thompson:  Yes, sir.

Prisoner Thompson (to witness):  When you arrested Sweetman, he told you I did it with a revolver?

Detective Kellett:  Yes; he said that when I was taking him through Romilly-road.

And last night he said I put the powder and shot in the gun and shot the man?  - Yes.

Have you any witnesses to prove that we were together at the time?  - No answer.

What time, then, was it in the afternoon that you say this murder was done?  -  From a quarter to half-past three o'clock.

Thompson:  Well, I was either home at half-past three or four.

The Stipendiary then checked prisoner, advising him that he could ask any questions he chose at present, but that he must reserve any speech in his defence until a later stage in the proceedings.  Prisoners were then formally remanded until Thursday morning.

An Inquest was held on Saturday at Cardiff on the body of HENRY BLATCHFORD, 63, of Canton, who was found buried in a garden, and in respect of whose death a youth, named Thomas Henry Sweetman, and John Henry Thompson are in custody.  The Jury returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against Sweetman.

It has transpired that MR BLATCHFORD formerly lived at Tide House, Blew Port, Totnes.

Thursday 8 March 1900

TORRINGTON - Fatal Accident At Torrington. -  A most regrettable and sad accident happened on Saturday morning to MR ERNEST LUXTON, a driver in the employ of Mr Hackwill, of the Globe Hotel.  It appears that he had been to the railway station with a gentleman in a horse and carriage, and was returning in company with Joseph Short, the "boots."  When near White's Lane, the horse bolted, and on getting to Potacre -street it ran against the railings in front of Mr Glubb's house, throwing both out, while the carriage fell over on LUXTON.  Assistance was procured, and Dr Burt was sent for, who found it advisable to have him removed to the Cottage Hospital, and other medical aid was sought.  On examination it was found that he had broken the base of his skull, and little hope was entertained for his recovery.  Everything possible was done for him by the doctors and nurse at the Cottage Hospital, but it was of no avail, and he succumbed to his injuries about three hours afterwards.  LUXTON was a remarkably steady man and greatly liked both as a driver and a man, and his sudden death spread quite a gloom over the town.  Great sympathy is felt for the widow and child.  Short the "boots" received a nasty shaking and a cut over the left eye.

On Monday afternoon, Mr J. F. Bromham, Coroner, held an Inquiry at the Town Hall touching the death of ERNEST ALBERT LUXTON, aged 33 years, who was killed in a carriage accident on Saturday.  Mr A. M. Werry was chosen Foreman of the Jury.

Mr G. H. Hackwill, proprietor of the Globe Hotel, identified the body as that of the late ERNEST ALBERT LUXTON, and said he was in his employ as foreman of the stable yard.  On Saturday deceased received orders to drive a commercial gentleman to the railway station for the 9.25 train.  He had seen deceased earlier in the morning, when he was in his usual health.  Little before 10 o'clock the boots came back and told him that an accident had happened.  He went to the spot indicated by the boots.  Deceased was lying on his back on the causeway, and was quite unconscious.  this was at the corner of Potacre-street.  He was removed to the Cottage Hospital on the police stretcher as soon as possible.  About two hours or more afterwards Dr Butt told him that LUXTON was dead.  Deceased was 33 years of age.  He was a steady and obliging man, and accustomed to driving all his life.  The horse he was driving was about five years old, and very quiet, and deceased was accustomed to drive this horse.

Joseph Edward Short said he was boots at the Globe Hotel.  On Saturday morning deceased asked him to go to the Station with him.  We started in a four-wheel dog cart about five minutes after nine.  They got to the Station all right, and got back as far as White's-lane.  Just there the horse began to buck-jump.  He did not know what made it do this.  After this the horse bolted, and when it got to Potacre-street the dog cart turned over.  Witness was thrown out and knocked about, but not seriously injured.  He had to go to the Hospital to have his eye attended to and head bandaged.

Dr W. C. Burt said he resided in New-street, and saw from his window what occurred.  He was called immediately, and went to the spot.  Deceased was lying on the pavement unconscious, bleeding from the ears and nose, and a wound from the back of the head.  There are some iron railings there, against which deceased was most probably thrown.  He had him at once removed to the Cottage Hospital, and he went at once to the Hospital.  I saw that the case was hopeless, as deceased was so severely injured.  Deceased sustained a fracture to the base of the skull.  Witness remained there about an hour and a half, and then left, and afterwards returned to the Hospital and found he was dead.  The actual cause of death was fracture to the base of the skull.  Dr H. Sutcliffe and Dr Macindoe also saw deceased, and both pronounced the case hopeless.

The Coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and the Foreman, on behalf of the Jury, expressed sympathy with the widow in her sad and unexpected bereavement.

Thursday 15 March 1900

LIFTON - ARCHIBALD DYER, aged five years, the son of JOHN DYER, platelayer, London and South Western Railway, Lifton Down, was on Sunday week playing with his elder brother, who was swinging a club stick, which hit him on the forehead.  On Thursday morning the little fellow complained of pain in his head, and gradually becoming unconscious, died the same evening.  Dr Gibson, of Launceston, said in his opinion death was due to inflammation of the brain, occasioned by the blow.  At the Inquest held on Saturday, before Mr J. D. Prickman, County Coroner, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 22 March 1900

EXETER - ANDREW G. JACOB, 26, commercial traveller, was on Thursday morning found dead in his bedroom at the Queen's Hotel, Exeter, where he was staying with his father.  He was lying in a pool of blood, and the main artery of his arm was severed.  A razor was lying by his side.  At the Inquest, a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporary Insane" was returned.

Thursday 29 March 1900

HIGH BICKINGTON - Death Of A Child Through Swallowing Maize. - Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, Inquired into the death of RICHARD FARLEY, aged 10 months, the child of a farm labourer at High Bickington, on Friday.  ALMA ELLEN FARLEY, the child's mother, stated that she was about to feed the poultry on the previous day, and whilst she was carrying the child and some Indian corn, the deceased snatched some of the corn out of the dish, and put it into its mouth.  Witness at once found that the child was choking.  She turned it on its face and tapped its back in order to make it vomit the maize, but was unsuccessful, and within three minutes, the child was dead.  There was no one else at home, and she took the child to where her husband was at work, and subsequently information was given to the police.  By the Jury:  The child began to cry immediately it put the maize into its mouth.  RICHARD FARLEY, deceased's father, said the child was quite dead when brought to him by its mother and had a little discoloration in its face.  Eliza Maine, wife of a farmer, also gave evidence.  The verdict was "Accidentally Choked," the Jury expressing their sympathy with the parents, whom they exonerated from all blame.

Thursday 5 April 1900

ILFRACOMBE - Inquest At Ilfracombe. - On Monday morning, at the St. James' Boarding House, an Inquest was held before Dr E. J. Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, on the body of SUSAN BROWN.  Mr Foster was chosen foreman of the Jury, and after the body had been viewed the first witness called was Capt. T. Birmingham, who said the body was that of MRS SUSAN BROWN, aged 65, a widow, living on the Quay.  He last saw deceased alive on Friday evening, March 30th, about 8 p.m., passing by Britannia slip, and walking towards her home; she then seemed all right, as she had been during the day, and witness had spoken to her in the afternoon.  Deceased, on that occasion, complained, as she often did, of indigestion and pain round the heart.

ELLEN BROWN, daughter of deceased, said that her mother had been out of health all the winter, suffering from influenza and weakness, and had been under medical care.  Witness was living in Runnacleave-road, and last saw her mother alive and conscious on the previous Wednesday evening, about nine, when she was in bed.  She was not at all well.  She was living alone, but occasionally another daughter went to give help in the house.  When witness saw deceased she said she was very unwell, and her head was very giddy.  Witness thought it might be three weeks since last the doctor called.  On the evening of Friday witness had leave to go home for a week to nurse her mother, and on arriving at the house at 8.30, she found something on the floor in the dark, lying near the fire-place in the sitting-room.  When witness got a light she found it was her mother lying with her feet out in the room, and her head on the fender.  The body was dressed, but without any out door clothes on, and everything was in order.  There were no marks on the body, and no fire in the grate.  Nothing in the house was disturbed.  Witness spoke to her mother but had no reply, and when she lifted up the body, she found a pool of blood under the head.  Witness called in two men, and after lifting up the body into a chair one of the men fetched Dr Langridge, who came about 9 p.m.  Witness went to Mr Crang's about 1 a.m, deceased being then still breathing, to call up Dr Ernest Gardner, deceased's own medical man, and when he arrived he said that deceased had been dead about five minutes.  Witness's sister, Bessie Rice, was with her at the time.

Dr F. W. Langridge said he was sent for on Friday night to see a woman who had fallen and cut her head.  He found deceased in a chair, in a state of coma, and with a severe wound on the back of her head down to the bone, but could not detect any fracture.  Witness dressed the wound, and was told by the previous witness that she had been found with her head on the corner of the iron fender.  A small pair of bellows and a little shawl were lying near, and there was a pool of blood by the fender.  - By the Jury:  The quantity of blood lost would not, in his opinion, be enough to cause death.  It was, however, possible that the fall caused concussion of the brain.  - By the Coroner:  He was quite satisfied that the death was caused either directly by the accident or indirectly by the previous weak health of deceased, or by both combined.  The Jury did not think there was any need of a post mortem examination, and returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  The fees were given to the family, with whom the Jury expressed great sympathy.

BARNSTAPLE - Child's Sad Death At Barnstaple. - GEORGE JEWELL, aged ten years, who was blind, paralysed, and speechless, died as the result of burns, at his mother's house, 37 Union-street, Barnstaple, on Saturday.  The matter was investigated by Mr A. Bencraft, Deputy Coroner at the Union Inn on Monday afternoon.  -  Deceased's sister, BEATRICE, who looked after him, deposed that she temporarily left the kitchen rather over a fortnight previously, and on her  return she found her brother had got out of bed and was lying by the fire with his face burnt.  Her aunt came in and attended to deceased until her mother returned from work.  Dr C. Cooke was called in on the following Sunday.  Her brother died on Saturday morning.  -  The mother, ELIZABETH ANN JEWELL, stated that she treated the burns with oil, &c., until Sunday, when she called in Dr Cooke.  She explained that the bed had been kept near the fire during the cold weather, and she had never known the deceased interfere with the fire before.  She had given him every attention both before and since the accident.  Both MRS JEWELL and her daughter were much affected in giving evidence.  - Dr C. Cooke deposed that he had seen the little boy at different times for years, and he had always suffered from fits.  He first lost his sight and then his speech, and was getting generally paralysed.  Deceased had been gradually declining for months.  The burns were rather bad, and he had no doubt that the shock accelerated his death.  He added that deceased had every attention from his relatives; no child could have been better looked after.  - The Foreman of the Jury (Mr T. Lee) was delighted to hear this remark, and thought it reflected great credit upon the mother.  (Hear, hear.)  - Mr Bencraft said he was sure all would sympathise with MRS JEWELL; it would be a source of great consolation to her to know that she did all she possibly could to alleviate her poor child's sufferings.  -  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned. 

Thursday 12 April 1900

BIDEFORD - Bideford Bargeman Drowned. - On the evening of April 4th, GEORGE COOK and Charles F. Hooper, bargemen, of Bideford, proceeded to Tinnacott Quarry for the purpose of loading the barge "Dasher" with stones.  Previous to this, the barge had been moored on the gravel bed on the opposite side, the intention being to load gravel.  They had only one boat, and COOKE took this and rowed off to the barge, leaving Hooper on the quarry quay.  Shortly after 7 o'clock Hooper happened to look across the river.  At that moment the tide was flowing, and COOKE was in the act of running aft when the barge swung round with her bow to the tide.  Hooper turned to pick up another stone, and again looking towards the barge saw that COOKE was in the water struggling.  The deceased did not call out.  Hooper was only able to swim a very little, and there being no boat at hand was unable to do anything to assist his fellow bargeman.  All he could do was to shout to COOKE to try to swim towards the shore.  It was very evident, though, that COOKE was also unable to swim, and was still more hampered by having all his clothes on,  and he sank about fifty yards from the barge.  The river was dredged on the ebb of the tide and during the next day, but the body was not recovered until the Friday morning, when Richard Cole and John Mitchell, two bargemen, found it with the aid of a boathook at about the spot where it sank.  An Inquest was held by Mr Bromham on Friday evening at the Town Hall, the body at that time being in the public mortuary.  Charles F. Hooper, Richard Cole and John Mitchell gave evidence.  The Jury unanimously returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and handed their fees to the widow, who is left with the care of seven children.  Much sympathy is felt in the town for the widow and family, and a subscription list has been started.

Thursday 19 April 1900

PLYMOUTH - A young man named DANIEL MICHAEL SULLIVAN committed suicide at Plymouth on Thursday by cutting his throat.  At the Inquest a verdict of Temporarily Insane was returned.

KINGSWEAR - At the Inquest held at Kingswear on Thursday on the body of ALBERT MORRISH, torpedo instructor of H.M.S. "Thrasher", who was killed on the railway near Kingswear the previous day, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Scalds At Barnstaple. - At North Devon Infirmary on Thursday afternoon, JOHN NATHANIEL JENKINS, aged three years, died as the results of terrible scalds sustained at the house of its grandparents, Mr and Mrs Southwood, who keep a dairy at Higher Maudlin-street, Barnstaple.   MRS JENKINS, whose husband is an Appledore pilot, was so much shocked by the occurrence, that she was unable to attend the Inquest held at the Infirmary on Saturday morning by Mr A. Bencraft, Deputy Coroner.  It transpired that on Thursday morning, shortly after seven o'clock, Margaret Berry, domestic servant, aged about fourteen, lifted a pan of boiling milk from a bodley at Mrs Southwood's for the purpose of taking it into the dairy.  It was, however, too heavy for her, and she temporarily put it on the floor near the dairy door.  The child, running backwards, fell into the pan, sustaining terrible scalds from the waist downwards.  MRS JENKINS, who, at the time was nursing her mother (Mrs Southwood), at once undressed the child and wrapped it in cotton wool.  Dr Anderson was sent for, and seeing the extent of the injuries, ordered the child's removal to the Infirmary, where, despite careful treatment, it expired about four o'clock.  In the opinion of Dr Anderson, death was due to the shock, which must have been very great.  The Coroner observed that it was a very fine child, and the occurrence was much to be deplored.  It seemed a pity that no one appeared to see the child so near the milk, but, after all, one would hardly expect that the little one would have walked backwards into the pan.  Under the circumstances he thought it might be regarded as an unavoidable accident.  - The Jury (of which Mr John Rice was foreman) returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," expressing the opinion that no one was to blame in the matter.

Thursday 26 April 1900

TAWSTOCK - Death Of A Child At Tawstock. - On Tuesday last an Inquest was held at Lake, Tawstock, before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on the body of ELSIE MAUD COURTNEY, aged three months and a half, who had died suddenly the same morning.  MRS COURTNEY, wife of JOHN COURTNEY, farm labourer, deposed that on Sunday evening she and her husband accompanied her sister (who is a servant at the Fortescue Hotel, Barnstaple) into town, arriving home at about 10.30.  Shortly afterwards the child was undressed and fed with barley and milk, which it took all right.  She took the child into bed with her, and the infant seemed as well as usual. About 2 o'clock the child woke, and her husband went downstairs and got it some milk, the child drinking nearly all of it.  About 6.30 on Monday morning, she saw the child looked strange, and she and her husband then found that it was dead.  Her husband at once went to Barnstaple to fetch the doctor.  The child had not been very healthy, and she saw Dr Ware several weeks before, and he recommended that the child should be weaned and fed on barley and milk. She fed the child afterwards as the doctor had suggested.  - JOHN COURTNEY, father, and EMILY COURTNEY, sister, gave corroborative evidence, and Dr G. S. Ware, of Barnstaple, said he had examined the body and found no indications of the child having been overlaid.  In his opinion, the child died from Natural Causes, probably convulsions.  The Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes, viz., convulsions.

CHITTLEHAMHOLT - Fatal Fall At Chittlehamholt. - Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, conducted an Inquest at the North Devon Infirmary, Barnstaple, last evening, on the body of FREDERICK TURNER, farm labourer, in the employ of Mr Thorne, of Snidles Farm, Chittlehamholt, who died from injuries received from falling from a cart on Friday, April 20th.  Dr W. H. Wigham, of Southmolton, gave evidence to the effect that he attended the deceased on the night of the accident, and on the following morning ordered his removal to the North Devon Infirmary, where he was brought.  Deceased had a large and lacerated wound on the right side of the stomach, and complained of severe pain in his right thigh.  He thought death might have resulted from blood poisoning and peritonitis, as he had extracted much foreign matter from the wound.

ELLEN TURNER, widow of deceased, identified the body as that of her late husband, and said that on the evening of the accident he was engaged in carting dung from Snidles farm to his own house, Kingsbridge Cottage.  About five o'clock he crawled into the house, and when she found the state he was in she put him to bed.  He told her the horse had bolted through the  snapping of a temporary breeching pin, which he had inserted because the proper pin was damaged.  The back chain also unhinged, frightening the horse and causing it to bolt.  He could not exactly tell how he fell, but he did, and was grazed by the cart wheels, inflicting the injuries spoken of by the doctor.  MRS TURNER said that she had wished for her father to come to the house, as she had the children to look after, but on her asking Mr Thorne to fetch him, he did not speak at all kindly to her and thought it unnecessary until the doctor's arrival. 

Ellen May, a nurse of the North Devon Infirmary, deposed to having attended deceased, and said that he died, unconscious, on Tuesday morning.  The Jury, of which Mr J. Cummings was foreman, returned a verdict of Accidental Death, and although not wishing to add a rider, mentioned that Mr Thorne might have shown more kindly feeling towards the widow.  The Jury and nurse gave their fees to MRS TURNER, who returned her thanks.

Thursday 3 May 1900

TORQUAY - At the Inquest held at Torquay on Friday evening on the body of the woman, named MARY GRACE CAMERON, aged twenty-eight years, found at Livermead Sands the previous morning, a verdict of "Found Drowned on the seashore, there being no evidence to show the cause of death," was returned.

Thursday 17 May 1900

BABBACOMBE - Coastguard Parkinson, of Babbacombe, found the body of a woman on the beach at Oddicombe early on Monday morning.  The corpse was identified as that of EMILY LINTERN, single, who mysteriously disappeared from St. Marychurch, where she was engaged as a domestic servant on April 30th.  At the inquest a verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned.

Thursday 31 May 1900

PLYMOUTH - ETHEL AGATHIA MARKS, aged four months, daughter of CHARLES THOMAS MARKS, sapper in the Royal Engineers, who resides at 10 St George's-terrace, Plymouth, was all right on Wednesday about midnight, when he went to bed.  On waking up the next morning about 6.30 the child was dead by his side.  At the Inquest on Friday the medical evidence showed that death was due to suffocation.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

LUNDY - Sad Fatality At Lundy. - We regret to record a fatal accident under extremely sad circumstances at Lundy Island.  Mr P. Napier Miles,  the well-known Bristol banker, recently leased the old Lighthouse at Lundy for the summer, and some days ago a party of ten, including three servants, crossed over by the S.S. "Devonia."  One of the servants was FRANK TAYLOR, aged 21, the son of a widow.  On Saturday evening TAYLOR was missed, and search parties were sent out without result until Sunday afternoon, when the body was discovered lying at the bottom of a cliff.  Deceased must have fallen about 150 feet and death was probably instantaneous.  Communications were received by Mr Manley Tucker, who ordered a coffin, which was taken to Lundy by the S.S. "Devonia" on Monday afternoon.  The body was brought to Bideford on Tuesday for the Inquest.  Mr Miles and his family are terribly upset by this tragical beginning of what promised to be an uncommon and pleasant holiday.

The Inquest.  -  Mr J. F. Bromham held an Inquest at Steam Wharf, East-the-Water, Bideford, on Tuesday, into the death of FRANK TAYLOR, 21, who fell over the cliff at Lundy Island on Saturday last and was killed.  -   Philip Napier Miles, an independent gentleman of Kings Weston, near Bristol, and J.P. for the County of Gloucester, stated that he, with his wife, his mother, and sister-in-law went to Lundy Island a fortnight before, to spend a holiday.  With them went several servants, amongst them, FRANK TAYLOR (the deceased) who acted as valet.  TAYLOR was rather venturesome in climbing the cliffs, and witness cautioned him, and understood TAYLOR to promise that he would not go into any place of danger unless someone was with him.  On Saturday witness saw deceased at 6.15 p.m., and an hour or two later heard that he was missing.  Surmising that something had happened, witness caused search parties to be formed.  The body was not found until the next day, Sunday.  TAYLOR'S mother was a widow, and a native of Herefordshire.  - George Thomas, fisherman of Lundy, stated that at about 1 p.m. on Sunday, whilst searching along the base of the cliffs a little to the north of Pilot's Quay, he found the body of deceased.  Life was extinct.  The body was slightly bent; the two legs were between two rocks (above high water), and his head was resting on a rock.  Deceased must have fallen at least 150 feet, and possibly 200 feet.  Witness placed the body in the coffin in which it had been brought to Bideford per the S.S. "Devonia" that day.  - The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death whilst searching for birds' eggs.  The Coroner expressed sympathy with Mr Miles.  Replying to Mr Pollard, the Coroner said the body need not have been brought to Bideford, but could have been taken immediately to Bristol and the Inquest held there.

Thursday 7 June 1900

PLYMOUTH - WILLIAM EDWIN POPE, aged six weeks, the son of a driver, who resides at No. 30 Well-street, Plymouth, was quite well about midnight on Thursday, but was found on Friday morning quite dead by its mother's side.  Dr Wagner, who had since had a post mortem examination, stated at the Inquest that death was due to asphyxia, caused by overlying, which was undoubtedly accidental.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

SOUTHMOLTON - Fatal Accident At Southmolton. - An Inquest was held on Wednesday evening at the Town Hall by Mr T. Sanders, F.R.C.S., Borough Coroner, on the death of THOMAS WILMETTS, labourer, of East-street, who died on Tuesday, May 29th, from the result of a fall which took place on the night of Saturday, May 19th - the day when the relief of Mafeking was announced.  Mr S. Widgery was foreman of the Jury, and evidence was given by Mr James Brewer and Mr John Mair, with Mr H. J. Smyth, surgeon, of Southmolton, who attended the deceased.  From the evidence it appeared that deceased was proceeding home late in the evening and fell over a high bank which separated the raised paved way from the roadway in East-street.  He never recovered consciousness.  After hearing the medical evidence the Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death resulting from percussion of the brain, the result of a fall.  The Jury, through their foreman, expressed their opinion that the unfenced bank was dangerous to pedestrians, and requested the Coroner to communicate to the Town Council their unanimous expression.

EASTDOWN - Child's Fatal Burns At Eastdown. - The peculiarly sad death of a little girl named EMMA BRADFORD, aged six years, at Eastdown, was Inquired into at the Schoolroom yesterday by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.

ELLEN BRADFORD, deceased's mother, stated that she resided with her husband in Australia, but in the latter part of April she landed in England with her three children for the purpose of paying a visit to her father, MR JOHN GAMMON, at Eastdown.  On Monday morning she was engaged in doing some washing, and was leaving the kitchen in order to hang up some clothes on a lawn on the opposite side of the road, when deceased came downstairs in her nightdress and commenced to put on her stockings.  She had only been on the lawn a short time when she heard someone shout, and running towards the house she was told by her oldest daughter that EMMA was on fire.  Witness found deceased on the bed upstairs, being attended to by Mr and Mrs Thorne, two neighbours.  Observed that deceased's nightdress had been on fire, and that she was very much burnt, and she applied oils.  On being sent for during the morning, Dr Manning said it was a hopeless case, and the child expired about a quarter to seven in the evening.  There was a wood fire in the kitchen in the morning, but witness did not consider when she went out that her daughter was in any danger.

Mrs Emily Thorne spoke to hearing screams proceeding from Mr Gammon's house and to finding deceased in flames on the top of the stairs.  Witness ran upstairs and rolled the child in a carpet, only succeeding in extinguishing the flames with some difficulty.  BESSIE BRADFORD, deceased's sister, aged 12 ,stated that she was in the bedroom when her sister caught fire and ran upstairs screaming.  Witness called for her mother, who followed Mrs Thorne into the house.  Dr Manning, of Combe Martin, informed the Jury that deceased sustained very extensive burns, the skin being destroyed on nearly all her body, and there being also some blisters on her face.  Witness did all he could for the child, but knew she could not live long.  Death was due to shock to the system, caused by the burns.  A verdict was returned accordingly, the Jury exonerating MRS BRADFORD from blame, and expressing sympathy with her in her great bereavement.

Thursday 14 June 1900

EXMINSTER - MRS DONNET, aged 30, drove away from Exminster in a trap on Tuesday afternoon with her four children and the servant, Georgina Irish.  On the way to Kenn, the horse shied, the trap struck a gate-post, and was upset.  MRS DONNET was killed instantaneously, her neck being broken.  At the Inquest on Thursday, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

NORTHMOLTON - Suicide At Northmolton. - As briefly reported in the Journal last week, HENRY CRANG, labourer, committed suicide at Northmolton on the 5th instant.  The Inquest was held at Bentwitchen, Northmolton, on Thursday last, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.

The first witness called was William Gardner, labourer, living at Bentwitchen, who deposed that deceased, who was 69 years of age, was his brother-in-law, having lived with him for many years.  CRANG had been out of health for a long time and had not been well all the winter.  For the last two months he had been unable to work, and was taking medicine three or four times a day.  He last saw the deceased alive on the Tuesday before, about 4 p.m.  He (Gardner) was sitting down reading, when CRANG went out of the house, but as he did not return as usual himself and others went out to look for him.  Among those searching was a Mrs Bolt, a neighbour, who went in another direction, but on meeting again, she beckoned to him to come to a machine house about 200 yards from the house.  There they found the deceased hanging by a rope, his feet touching the ground, and his body almost upright.  When they cut the rope and took him down he was quite dead.  Notice was then sent to the police, and the body was not removed until the arrival of P.C. Ireland.  The long illness of the deceased had caused a depression of his spirits.  -  The next witness was Jane Bolt, wife of a farmer living near to deceased.  On Wednesday, about 5 p.m., she heard that CRANG was missing, and helped in the search for him.  On passing the machine house she saw deceased hanging by a rope.  She beckoned to the last witness, who came, and, together, they managed to take deceased down.  Life was extinct.

William Roy Jackson, medical practitioner, residing at Northmolton, stated that he had attended deceased for two months during a very painful complaint.  He took medicine daily, being in a very poor state of health, suffering also from carbuncles.  His illness was calculated to depress his spirits very much.  In consequence of a message he (witness) went to Bentwitchen on Tuesday evening about seven o'clock.  Found deceased lying in a barn near the machine house.  He was quite dead, and had apparently been so for an hour or two.  He had the body removed to the house, and made a superficial examination, finding the mark of the rope round his neck.  Having heard the evidence, and seen the body of the deceased, he had no doubt that he came to his death from hanging.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased committed Suicide while Temporarily Insane.

CHITTLEHAMPTON - Chittlehampton Man Killed on the Line  -  On Saturday, June 2nd, MR THOMAS HOLLAND of Lower Cobbaton, was informed by telegraph that his son FREDERICK, who is in the employ of the London and South Western Railway Company at Milford, Surrey, had met with a serious accident.  This was quickly followed by a second message stating that he had passed away.  The deceased was in the act of crossing the line with a luggage barrow, when he was caught by an express train, which he had not noticed to be so near.  The deceased’s father and sister were present at the inquest on the following Thursday, when the station-master spoke very highly of the deceased, saying he had been most obliging and painstaking in his duties, and was far above the average of porters.  The Company sent his remains to Umberleigh, and they were interred at Chittlehampton.  Much sympathy is felt for MR and MRS HOLLAND and family in their great bereavement.

HUNTSHAW - Fatal Burns At Huntshaw. - Twice within a week have children met with fatal burns in the district of J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, the circumstances being remarkably similar in each case.  The first case (reported in our last issue) was at Eastdown, and the second Inquest was held at Huntshaw on Saturday, the deceased being LOUISA BRAUNTON, aged six years, and the child of a farm labourer.  -  MARY ANN BRAUNTON stated that on the previous Tuesday morning she came downstairs about seven o'clock, leaving her daughter, the deceased, in bed.  After witness had lit the fire she called to deceased to come downstairs and dress. Witness then went into the yard to get some wood for the fire, and had not been out two minutes when she heard screams.  On going back she saw deceased all on fire and running about the kitchen.  Witness poured some water over her, and then pulled off her night dress as quickly as she could, burning her hands in the attempt.  She wrapped deceased (who was in great agony) in a blanket and put her to bed.  Witness's eldest daughter, EMILY ANN, told her that deceased's night-dress ignited by her holding it in over the fire.  Mr Isaac, a neighbouring farmer, granted her husband the use of a horse to fetch Dr Sutcliffe, of Torrington, who arrived about an hour and a half later. The child died at 7 p.m. the same evening.  - Emily Ann Isaac said that she was called by MRS BRAUNTON, and she found the child in the kitchen quite naked, and running about screaming with pain.  Witness sent some linseed oil to be applied to the burns, but she was too much upset to return to the house.  - Dr E. H. Sutcliffe said that he found the child suffering from very severe and extensive burns on the chest, abdomen and limbs.  Witness applied dressings, but saw from the first that it was a hopeless case.  The child died from shock consequent on the character and extent of the burns.  The verdict was in accordance with the medical evidence, the Jury exonerating MRS BRAUNTON from blame, and expressing sympathy with her in her bereavement.

Thursday 21 June 1900

PARACOMBE - Gentleman Drowned At Woolhanger. - MR WM. WYATT, aged 85, of Bristol, a gentleman of independent means, has met with an untimely death at Woolhanger, North Devon, while on a visit to Sir Henry Palk Carew, Bart., having been accidentally drowned in a lake close to the Manor House, on Thursday.  At the Inquest held before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Saturday, Sir Henry Carew stated that deceased had been staying at Woolhanger Manor about a fortnight.  He was rather fond of painting as an amusement, and had undertaken to pain the summer-house, situated on an island in the lake close to the Manor House.  In order to reach the island a boat was kept, and this was moored to a landing-stage.  The last time witness saw MR WYATT alive was in the house just after lunch at two o'clock on Thursday and as he did not put in an appearance at tea at five o'clock, he sent the footman to look for him.  As MR WYATT could not be found, witness went down to the lake, but could only see deceased's walking-sticks, one of which was on the landing-stage, and the other in the boat, which had drifted some little distance from the landing-stage.  He noticed that the paint pot in the boat was upset, while the paint was over the boat.  Witness gave orders for the lake to be dragged.  This was done on Thursday evening, but they had not sufficient gear, and the next day witness sent to Lynton and obtained the services of a man with drags.  The police were informed of the matter the same day deceased was missing.  There was no evidence of MR WYATT having been on the island.  His (Sir Henry's) idea was that in attempting to get into the boat he missed his footing, and so got drowned.  Deceased was an excellent swimmer, and he thought in falling he must have been stunned, otherwise he would have saved himself.  - By the Jury:  MR WYATT was thoroughly acquainted with the surroundings, and was in the habit of boating on the lake.  Deceased's sight was very defective.  He had lost the sight of one eye, while the sight of the other was affected.  It was a wet afternoon on Tuesday, and consequently the landing-stage would be more slippery than usual.  There was a bruise on the temple, which gave witness the impression that in falling deceased knocked himself.

Frederick Gullick, footman in the service of Sir H. Care, deposed that about a quarter to three on Thursday, he took a paint pot from the house to the boat for MR WYATT, and he understood he was about to paint the summer-house.  Going back, he met deceased on his way to the boat, which was then moored.  When sent to call deceased to afternoon tea, he could see nothing of him, and did not afterwards see him alive.  Witness searched for MR WYATT without avail.  P.S. Adams, of Parracombe, said he assisted to drag the pond on Friday morning, and about 11.30 the body was recovered by means of a grappling iron.  The depth of the water where deceased was found was about eight feet.  Deceased's watch had stopped at seven minutes past three.

The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," expressing sympathy with Sir Henry and Lady Carew and with deceased's relatives in their bereavement.

Thursday 5 July 1900

BARNSTAPLE - Barnstaple Woman's Sudden Death.  A Curious Premonition That Came True. - MARY VANSTONE, aged 76, who lived alone at No. 4, Sanders's Court, Barnstaple, was not seen as usual by her neighbours on Monday morning, and on the house being entered she was found dead in her bedroom.  She was a woman of means, and laboured under curious delusions.

The Inquest was held by Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, in the afternoon.   Mrs Emma Hearn, of High-street, stated that deceased (her aunt) was the widow of JOSHUA VANSTONE, farmer, formerly of Stowford, Langtree, and she had lived at Barnstaple for nearly twenty years.  MRS VANSTONE was a woman of independent means, but laboured under the mistaken delusion that everybody was wronging her, and did not associate with her relations.  Deceased passed witness's house twice on Friday, and witness thought she was looking much better than when she last saw her.  - By the Foreman:  (Mr James Comer)  Having regard to deceased's delusions, witness had not visited her, but MRS VANSTONE had called upon her occasionally.

Elizabeth Sanders, wife of the owner of the house in which MRS VANSTONE resided, stated that as deceased had complained that friends did not come to see her, she had looked in sometimes.  Witness took her a book about six o'clock on the previous evening, when she complained of feeling unwell.  Witness was of opinion deceased overworked herself by house-cleaning on the previous day.  On Friday, however, MRS VANTSTONE said that she felt light-headed.  Deceased failed to rise at 6.30 (her usual time) that morning and eventually the police were called in.

P.C. McLeod stated that, accompanied by Mr Hearn and Miss Sanders, after forcing an entrance downstairs, he unbolted the bedroom door, and found deceased in a sitting position, with her head resting on one arm, MRS VANSTONE, who had vomited greatly, was quite dead.  In the bedroom was a purse containing a little gold and silver, whilst there was a deposit note for £150.  There were many hundreds of letters and papers.  It was remarked that there were scripts and shares besides.  Mrs Hearn said she had been informed by Mr Fairchild (who acted for deceased during the short time she resided at Torrington) that the late MR VANSTONE in his will left everything to his wife.  She (Mrs Hearn) did not think deceased had made any will.  The Coroner observed that deceased's money was in the hands of the Superintendent of Police, who would retain it until the legal arrangements were settled.  Dr Mark Jackson attributed death to cerebral apoplexy, or the rupture of a blood vessel on the brain.  A hearty meal had probably brought on apoplexy, and MRS VANSTONE had expired without being able to get into bed.  The Foreman of the Jury mentioned the curious fact that MRS VANSTONE had several times expressed the fear to him that she would die suddenly.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

HEANTON PUNCHARDON - Sad Suicide At Heanton. - A sensation was caused in Heanton Punchardon and district on Tuesday morning by WM. WATTS, under-kennelman in the employ of Sir William Williams, Bart., blowing out his brains with a gun.  Deceased, who was 42 years of age, leaves a widow and eight children, six of whom are very young.

At the Inquest held by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, at Springfield, Heanton, yesterday, EMMA WATTS stated that occasionally her husband (the deceased) dressed and left the house soon after daylight, and this he did for the last time on Tuesday morning.  Her husband did not come to breakfast at eight o'clock, and when Mr Lock, a lodger, in answer to a question, said deceased had not been at the kennels that morning, witness sent her little girl to look for him.  Returning frightened shortly afterwards, the girl said she had seen her father's legs behind the closet, and a few minutes later Mr Edwards informed her, her husband was dead.  Witness had heard the report of a gun, but as this was a usual occurrence she was not alarmed.  Was not aware her husband had anything to worry him.

NELLIE WATTS, deceased's little daughter, spoke to discovering her father's body behind the outhouse.  Did not hear any quarrelling between her father and mother the previous evening.

Wm. Lock, lodger at deceased's mentioned that he heard MR and MRS WATTS talking after retiring to bed on Monday night, but they were not quarrelling.  Informed by Mr Edwards on Tuesday morning that something had happened to MR WATTS he went to the point indicated and found deceased quite dead, part of his head being blown away.  A gun was lying near.  George Edwards said he accompanied the last witness to the spot where the deceased lay, and afterwards fetched Dr Manning, of Pilton.  Dr Manning, who knew deceased, said he always seemed a very quiet and reserved man, but beyond that he could see no peculiarity.  Called on Tuesday morning, he found deceased lying on his back, and practically the whole skull was blown away.  The muzzle of the gun must have been held tight to the head, so that deceased had the full force of the explosion as well as the shot.  The muzzle of the gun was lying right under WATT'S arms, and close by was a freshly cut sapling, which, no doubt, deceased had used for the purpose of discharging the gun.  P.C. Hedgeland, of Marwood, also described the position of the body.  In the right hand barrel of the gun was an empty cartridge, and the sapling just "matched" the trigger of the gun.  Among other articles on the clothing was a note, which witness produced.  The note was read to the Jury, but for family reasons it was thought not desirable to publish it.  A verdict was returned of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

LYNMOUTH - Strange Fatal Accident At Lynmouth. - There was an extraordinary fatality at the Lyndale Hotel, Lynmouth, on Saturday evening, when RICHARD BALE, labourer, of Countisbury, fell by some means while crossing a yard, a glass jug which he was carrying being smashed, one of the pieces severing his jugular vein.  The affair was investigated by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, at the Lyndale Hotel on Tuesday.

RICHARD BALE, tailor, of Countisbury, stated that his son was a general labourer, aged about 35, and he was a single man.  He last saw him alive last Saturday morning about 10 o'clock.  Deceased was in the habit of going to Lynmouth every morning t work.  Heard of his death the same night.  Wm. J. Hawkins, barman at the Lyndale Hotel, stated that deceased, whom he knew very well, was in the bar on Saturday evening, and went into the yard about 10.30 for the purpose of fetching some water in a glass jug.  Shortly afterwards he heard that deceased had met with an accident, and subsequently saw him lying dead in the skittle alley, where he had been removed.

By the Foreman:<  Deceased had on many occasions volunteered to fetch water for the bar when witness was busy.

Alfred Stiling, ostler at the Lyndale Hotel, deposed that about 10.35 on Saturday night, he was about to shut up the stabling, when, crossing the yard, he heard someone groaning, the sound coming from near the water tub.  On going there, he found deceased lying on his back, his face being covered with blood.  With the assistance of William Clifford, a Lynton butcher, he carried deceased to the skittle alley.  Did not at the time notice any broken glass about, and was quite certain there was no bottle there on which he could have fallen.  They were unable to stop the blood, which was flowing very freely.  The doctor was sent for, but before his arrival he believed BALE was dead.

By the Jury:  Close to the water tub, and in a direct line with it, there was a wheelbarrow, and he had no doubt that deceased hitched his foot in the wheel, and in some way fell over it.

Dr John Charles Mitchell informed the Jury that when called to the Hotel at 10.45 on Saturday night he found deceased lying dead in the skittle alley.  On examination he found a clean wound, about three inches long, which had divided the jugular vein, and that deceased had died from haemorrhage.  At the spot where the accident occurred there were no bottles, but there was a w3heelbarrow in front of the water tub, and between the barrow and the tub there were fragments of a broken glass jug.  There was a great quantity of blood on the ground.  He expressed the opinion that BALE had fallen over the barrow and broken the jug, one of the pieces severing the jugular vein.  His life could not have been saved if a medical man had been on the spot.  Robert Lynn gave corroborative evidence, and produced fragments of the jug for the inspection of the Jury.

The verdict was "Accidentally Killed by Severing the Jugular Vein with a piece of glass jug."  The Jury expressed their sympathy with deceased's parents, to whom they gave their fees.

Thursday 12 July 1900

BARNSTAPLE - Child's Fatal Burns At Barnstaple. - Playing with matches in the bedroom, GEORGE H. B. HEXT, the three-year-old child of a dairyman residing in Chester-terrace, Barnstaple, on Saturday caught its nightdress on fire, and died from the effects of the burns on Sunday morning.  At the Inquest on Monday, MARY HEXT, the mother, stated that she dressed about six a.m. on Saturday, leaving deceased in bed.  Heard nothing until eight o'clock, when the child screamed loudly.  Running upstairs, witness and her daughter found deceased on the floor, with one side of its nightdress on fire.  They extinguished the flames, and pulled off the nightdress.  Deceased was badly burned, and Dr Cooper was called in.  Whilst dressing, witness secreted a box of matches under the mirror on the dressing table, but deceased, getting out of bed, must have found them, as there were remains of matches on the floor.  - Dr Cooper, who was summoned to the house shortly after the occurrence, stated that the burns were not deep, but they were very extensive, only one-third of the body being uninjured.  The child was in a collapsed state, and witness applied dressings and gave it some stimulants.  He told the parents it was not at all likely to recover, and it expired on Sunday morning.  - The Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft) thought it perfectly clear it was a case of accidental death, and so far as he could see no blame could be attached to anyone.  He felt sure the Jury sympathised with MR and MRS HEXT in the unexpected and unpreventable loss they had sustained. Returning a verdict of "Accidental Death" the Jury, of which Mr E. Lewis was foreman, expressed sympathy with the parents, whom they entirely exonerated from blame.

Thursday 19 July 1900

EASTDOWN - Fatal Accident At Eastdown. - There was a very sad and unusual occurrence at Eastdown last week, when GEORGE PERRIN, farm labourer, aged 63, was thrown from a cart whilst loading hay, sustaining injuries from which he has died in the North Devon Infirmary at Barnstaple.

At the Inquest held at the Infirmary on Saturday by Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner,  ELIZA PERRIN, widow of the deceased, deposed that on Monday evening her husband was engaged in carrying hay for Mr Smith, of Ford, and the last time she saw him alive and well was about 8 o'clock the same evening.  At 10 o'clock he was brought home in Mr Smith's cart, and she was told an accident had occurred.  Mr Smith at once rode to Combe Martin for Dr Manning, who arrived promptly, and attended to his injuries.  Later, he advised his removal to the Infirmary, where he was brought on Thursday evening,  and died during the night.  Describing the accident, her husband said some hay caught him across the chest, and knocked him over the cart.

John Thorne, labourer, of Eastdown, deposed to deceased trading hay on the top of the cart on the evening in question.  When about half of the load was pitched, he heard a thud, and going round the cart, found PERRIN lying on the ground, having fallen from the hay cart, a distance of about six feet.  His body was doubled up, but he was conscious, and asked him to place some hay under his head, which he did.  Another cart having arrived, witness placed him in it, and had him taken home, a distance of about a mile.  - By the Coroner:  There was drink in the field, but no one was intoxicated.  -  Deceased was active for his age, and seemed in his usual health.

Dr Manning, of Combe Martin, stated that, called by Mr Smith, he at once came to Eastdown, where he found PERRIN had been put to bed.  He examined him, and found there were no broken bones or external injuries.  Deceased told him how the accident happened, and that he pitched between his shoulders, where he complained of much pain.  The next day Mr Smith sent to say he was worse, and he advised his removal to the Infirmary.  Death was caused by paralysis, brought on through the spinal injuries.  He had regarded the case as hopeless. Margory Mallowes, nurse at the North Devon Infirmary, deposed to attending on PERRIN, who died about 12.30 on Friday morning.  The Jury, of which Mr W. Comer was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," expressing their sympathy with deceased's relatives, and also their approval of the kindness shown by Mr W. Smith, of Ford, who did everything in his power for his workman.

DEVONPORT - At the Inquest on THOMAS GREET, the railway porter, who committed suicide at Devonport on Sunday, it was suggested that his wife's relations with a lodger had made him jealous.

Thursday 26 July 1900

DEVONPORT - At Devonport on Thursday an Inquest was held concerning the death of FREDERICK GEORGE WALKER, aged two years, in James-street, Devonport, on Wednesday. Evidence was given that the waggon was moving slowly, and that the driver could not see the child.  The Jury exonerated the driver from blame, and returned a verdict of Accidental Death.  The Coroner expressed surprise that there were not more deaths of the kind, considering how children were allowed in the streets.

Thursday 2 August 1900

SIDMOUTH - At an Inquest held at Sidmouth on the body of DRUSCILLA HARDING, aged 85, who slipped and fell on the pavement outside her house in Sidmouth on the 20th ult., the Jury on Tuesday returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

DEVONPORT - An Inquest was held at Devonport on Monday, on the body of MARY ELIZABETH WATTS, who died from injuries to her throat inflicted on July 6th with a razor by her husband, FRANK WATTS, who subsequently attempted suicide.  The evidence showed that prisoner has been strange in his manner.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder."

APPLEDORE - Fatal Fall At Appledore. - Yesterday, Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest at Bideford Infirmary on the body of RICHARD BAWDEN, a young sailor, who died at the Institution from the effects of a fall from the mast head while his ship was lying off Appledore in May.

RICHARD BAWDEN, waterman, of Appledore, father of deceased, said his late son, who was 17 years of age, was a sailor serving on board the ketch "Heather Bell."  He was removed by the Doctor's advice to Bideford Hospital.  His son had only on the day of the accident shipped on board the "Heather Bell," having previously been on board the ketch "Wolf."  He had constantly visited his son during his stay at the Hospital.  In consequence of a telegram received on July 31st, he proceeded to Bideford, and found his son was dead.

Charles Balsdon, mate of the "Heather Bell," deposed that the ketch was, at the time, lying in what sailors, called "the parlour," just outside Appledore Dry Dock.  Deceased volunteered to go aloft to reef the peak halyards.  He was busy at the time, and heard someone shout to him from another vessel.  Turning round, he saw deceased lying on the deck quite close to him.  Going to his assistance, deceased said "Don't touch me, it's my stomach."  Dr Valentine was fetched, and at deceased's request, he was removed on one of the ship's hatches to his home.  He helped to convey BAWDEN to the Hospital.

John Johnson, Captain of the "Ornate," of Bridgwater, spoke to seeing deceased fall from the mast head.  He went on board and saw that BAWDEN had, in his fall, struck one side of his face, causing a big bruise.  He was conscious, and asked to be taken home.  Witness helped to convey him to his home.

P.C. Rattenbury deposed to helping to take deceased to the Infirmary.  On the way, BAWDEN complained of pain in his stomach.  His arm was broken, but of this he did not complain.  Henrietta Arnold, matron of the Bideford Hospital, stated that she was present at the death of BAWDEN, which occurred at 9.30 a.m. on Tuesday morning.  She had nursed him since the 25th of May last.  J. S. Grose, medical practitioner, of Bideford, and Hon. Surgeon of the hospital, said that when BAWDEN was brought to the Infirmary it was found that he had a ruptured bladder, and a fractured pelvis, and that the left fore-arm was broken in two places.  After consultation, and getting the consent of the father and the deceased, an operation was performed the same evening.  This was the only chance of saving him.  It was always considered a critical case by the staff, and witness had, from the first, very grave doubts as to his ultimate recovery.  BAWDEN had varied from time to time, and the immediate cause of death was intestinal obstruction.  If the operation had not been performed he could not have lived for more than a few days.

A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.

Thursday 9 August 1900

DEVONPORT - An Inquest on the body of ALFRED HENRY CLOSE, aged twenty-nine years, a leading stoker in the Royal Navy, and of 33 Granby-street, Devonport, who was found at Newlyn early on Thursday morning with his head almost severed from the body, was held on Friday.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Dead, having killed himself with a knife, though there is no evidence to show whether he was of sound or unsound mind."

Thursday 16 August 1900

ILFRACOMBE - Fatal Fall At Ilfracombe. - Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at the Cottage Hospital on Friday on the body of JAMES LEY, a labourer, who met with a scaffold accident at the new Market on July 31st.  Joseph Reed, clerk f works at the new Market, said on July 31st he saw deceased at work.  He was kneeling on an iron girder about nine feet from the ground when he slipped and fell to the ground, striking his head against a piece of wood.  Nothing gave way, or was carried away with him.  He considered it was a pure accident.  Every attention was paid to deceased, and he was removed to his home in a donkey chair.  Dr Payne said on August 4th he saw deceased at the hospital, when he was suffering from paralysis of the lower extremities.  He had previously been treated by Dr E. Gardner.  The cause of death was injury to the spinal cord. -  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 23 August 1900

COMBE MARTIN - Sensation At Combe Martin. - A great sensation was caused at Combe Martin on Saturday by the news that the body of JOHN ALLEN, a highly-respected boatman, had been found on the rocks  The deceased was only about 23 years of age, and his genial good nature had secured him a  large circle of friends. 

At the Inquest which was held at the King's Arms Hotel on Saturday by Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, there were only three witnesses called.  - The first was John Lewis, carpenter, who stated that he saw the deceased at about 10.50 the previous evening.  He was then perfectly sober and appeared in his usual health and spirits.  - Tom Gould, a boatman and deceased's mate, was next called and he proved finding the body on the beach about 4.30 that morning.  Near the body was a very small punt bottom up.  ALLEN'S clothes were quite wet and undisturbed.  He called assistance and took deceased to his home.  - The father also stated that he last saw deceased alive on Friday evening about 6.30, when he was having his supper.  He then went out as usual to attend to his boat, &c.,  The verdict arrived at by the Jury was that the body was found on the beach at Combe Martin, but how deceased came by his death was unknown.  The Coroner said he quite agreed with the verdict.  The funeral, which took place on Monday last, was attended by a very large concourse of people.  Numerous wreaths were sent.  Many visitors were among those present at the graveside.

                 

WINKLEIGH - Fatal Fall At Winkleigh. - On Thursday Mr J. D. Prickman, Coroner, held an Inquiry at the Winkleigh Hotel respecting the death of a boy named CHARLIE HUXTABLE, of Lifton Cottage.  MRS SARAH ANNIE HUXTABLE, the mother, stated that her son was nine years of age, and died on Wednesday.  When deceased returned from school on January 26th last he told his mother he was watching the other boys in the schoolyard, and in playing they threw him down.  He had received an injury to the head, and had been home from school ever since.   John Mitchell (Collacott) and John Hill ( Ward Farm), school boys, both gave evidence as to playing near and around the deceased lad, when they saw him accidentally fall. They helped him up, and he complained of having knocked his head.  Dr J. H. Norman said he concluded the boy had concussion, and also a slight drawing on the leg - paralysis.  On 12th of February he was sent for, and found deceased was then suffering from inflammation of the brain.  He died on Wednesday.  The Jury (Mr G. S. Cruwys, foreman) returned the following verdict:<-  "The cause of death was Inflammation of the Brain, caused by injuries to the head, Accidentally Received."

Thursday 30 August 1900

DOLTON - At the Inquest held to Inquire into the death of JOHN MARTIN, whose strange death we reported last week, the evidence showed that MARTIN must have fallen off  a stile on Thursday evening and lain exposed until Saturday noon, when he died a few minutes after assistance arrived.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

BIDEFORD - A few minutes after seven o'clock on Monday morning, WILLIAM H. LANGDON, labourer, was with three other men, unloading a pole timber waggon at Messrs. Bartlett, Son and Boord's timber yard, when LANGDON was crushed beneath a huge piece of timber, death being almost instantaneous.  The usual method of work was to remove all chains, and afterwards take out the stanchions, and the timber would fall off.  LANGDON had been accustomed to this sort of work for the past two years.  On Monday morning, however, after the stanchions had been removed, LANGDON noticed a piece of chain lying on the ground where the tree would fall.  He stooped down to pick it up, when the huge piece of wood, nearly a ton and half in weight, fell upon the lower part of his back, breaking the spine and legs.  Deceased, who was a very steady workman, leaves a widow and large family, with whom the greatest sympathy is felt in their sudden bereavement.  - Mr J. F. Bromham held an Inquest at the Town Hall in the afternoon.  - Mr H. R. Bazeley represented the widow, and Mr E. W. Bartlett, senior partner of the firm of deceased's employers, was also present.  - Mr W. Kingdon was Foreman of the Jury.  - George Blackmore, who was working with deceased at the time of the accident, stated that LANGDON was 41 years of age.  The timber was secured to the waggon by chains and sticks.  Four men, including the deceased, were engaged in unloading the waggon.  They took off the sticks and stanchion.  The log fell off upon LANGDON.  With assistance they removed the log from across his legs, and lifted him up, but he expired instantly.  - By the Coroner:  There was no carelessness on the part of anyone.  Deceased had for the last two years been accustomed to unload timber waggons.  - By the Jury:  Deceased was in the act of picking up a chain when the log fell upon him.  - By Mr Bartlett:  LANGDON ought not to have been in the position in which he was when the log fell, but to have stood near the head of the waggon.  -  Edward Clement and William Ball corroborated the evidence given by George Blackmore.  - By Mr Bartlett:  Deceased ought to have taken up the chain before stanchions were taken out.  It was not absolutely necessary for deceased to have taken up the chain at the time he tried to do so.  - Mr E. P. Bartlett said the men were accustomed to unload timber waggons almost every morning.  There had never been an accident of the kind before.  The firm wished Mr Bazeley to convey to the widow their sympathy.  - Dr Thompson, who examined the deceased shortly after the accident, stated that the spine and legs were fractured.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," adding a rider to the effect that no blame was attached to anyone, and expressed sympathy with the widow, to whom they gave their fees.

Thursday 13 September 1900

PARRACOMBE - Sudden Death Of A Well-Known Farmer. - This quiet village was considerably startled on Monday by the announcement of the sudden death of MR JAMES TUCKER, familiarly known as FARMER JIM TUCKER, of Heale.  Born at Loxhore, he came here over 30 years ago, and has held the same farm ever since, but the holding has increased in size by the addition of an adjoining farm, making altogether about 350 acres.  healthy, strong and hardworking, it was his boast that he had never had a bottle of medicine in his life.  On Monday he rose as usual before 6 a.m., and after doing his ordinary work he killed three sheep.  While doing the last he felt a pain in his chest, and went indoors, had a cup of tea, and lay down for half an hour.  Then he went out again, but the pain returning he again went upstairs.  Ten minutes afterwards his wife found him lying dead by the bed side.  The doctor, hurriedly sent for, found death to have been due to heart disease, accelerated by over work, deceased having recently worked extra hard to get in his harvest.  he leaves a widow, three sons and three daughters, for whom the utmost sympathy is expressed.  The deceased was held in the highest esteem throughout the district.  At the Inquest held yesterday, a verdict of "Death from Heart Disease" was returned.

Thursday 27 September 1900

TORRINGTON - Fatal Accident At Marland Works.  - On Thursday an accident occurred at the North Devon Clay Works one man being fatally injured and another sustaining cuts and bruises through a locomotive running from the clay pits to the stores leaving the tram line.  A light engine was proceeding up the line in charge of the driver, W. Lethbridge, and there were also on it the fireman, RICHARD B. SANDERS, and Thomas Lawrence, a clay cutter.  From some unexplained cause the engine left the metals, throwing the men off.  The driver escaped with a severe shaking, but the fireman, SANDERS, was picked up unconscious, and Lawrence was bleeding from wounds on the head.  Mr Holwill (the manager) was on the spot in a few minutes, and despatched a cyclist to Torrington for medical aid to be at the station as soon as possible.  The injured men were placed in a truck and taken over the light railway to the station, where Dr Morse did what was possible.  A landau was ordered, and SANDERS was taken to the Cottage Hospital, where his wounds were dressed.  his condition was regarded as hopeless, and he died on Tuesday.  An Inquest was opened at the Railway Hotel on Tuesday afternoon by the Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham), and after evidence of identification had been taken, the Enquiry was adjourned for a week so that the Government Inspector (Mr Martin, of Bristol) may be communicated with.  Deceased was a single young man about 20 years of age, quiet and industrious.  Lawrence also went to the Cottage Hospital, where his hurts were attended to by Dr Sutcliff, but happily they were not serious, and he was discharged.

PETROCKSTOWE - Fatal Accident At Petrockstowe. - It is with deep regret we have to report the death of MR WILLIAM PIKE, farmer, of South Heal Farm, which took place on Monday evening under very sad circumstances.  MR PIKE had been to Dawlish for a few days, and was returning through Okehampton in a trap with Mr Brooks, of Sheepwash.  On reaching a hill near Presslands, MR PIKE said he would walk ,and got on the shaft to get out, when he suddenly tumbled off.  he was assisted with much difficulty into the trap again, and taken to his home.  Dr Drummond was summoned from Dolton, and it was found that a severe injury had been made to the spine.  MR PIKE was paralysed and lingered on up to Monday evening, when he expired.  Great sympathy is felt for the widow and family.  The Inquest will be held today (Thursday) at Petrockstow.

Thursday 4 October 1900

PETROCKSTOWE - The Fatal Accident At Petrockstowe. - The circumstances touching the death of MR W. PIKE, farmer, of Petrockstowe (reported in last week's Journal) were Inquired into at Southill Farm on Thursday before the County Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham).  After hearing the evidence, a verdict was returned of "Death from Fracture of the Spine and Paralysis of the respiratory muscles."  The Jury gave their fees towards a wreath to be placed on the grave of deceased.  The funeral on Friday was largely attended.

BARNSTAPLE - Mr Coroner Incledon Bencraft held an Inquest at Barnstaple last week in reference to the death of BETSY LETHABY, wife of RICHARD LETHABY, wood turner, of Richmond-street.  Deceased, who was 80 years of age, was, according to the evidence of Mrs Lewis, who lived in the same house, in the habit of coming downstairs backwards.  On Saturday she was carrying a bucket of water downstairs when she fell, the back of her head coming in contact with a door at the foot of the staircase.  Dr Cooper, surgeon, was summoned.  Deceased died on Monday.  Dr Cooper informed the Jury that deceased was unconscious until she died.  Death was due to apoplexy, caused by a rupture of a blood vessel on the brain, occasioned by the blow.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

TORRINGTON - At the adjourned Inquest on Tuesday on the body of HENRY BOLT SANDERS, 21, who was killed through being thrown off a locomotive at Marland Clay Works, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, sympathy being expressed with the relatives of the deceased.

Thursday 11 October 1900

BIDEFORD - MISS MARY WATTS, aged 80, a lady of independent means, slipped from a chair at Torrington-street, Bideford, on September 29th, fracturing her right thigh, and dying as the result three days later.  Following evidence by JANE WATTS (deceased's sister) and Dr Toye at the Inquest on Friday, a verdict of Accidental Death was returned.

Thursday 19 October 1900

BIDEFORD - Child Drowned At Bideford. - On Tuesday, the Coroner enquired into the sad case of the drowning of FRANCES LOCK BROWN, 15 months, the daughter of MR MATTHEW J. BROWN, of Torrington-lane, who was drowned in a bucket of water on Monday.  - MRS BROWN, the mother, stated that at 9 o'clock she was nursing the deceased.  An older child, suffering from the croup, began coughing, and witness went to attend her, placing the baby in the kitchen.  On returning about five minutes later, she found the deceased in the yard, head downwards in a bucket of soapy water.  her body was resting on the edge of the bucket and the hair at the front of the head was wet, that at the back being dry.  - Dr Thompson, M.B., stated that death must have taken place in from one to two minutes.  The deceased was 30 ½ inches in height, and the bucket 13, the water in it being 6 ½ inches high.  Evidently deceased had fallen across the top of the bucket, her groins resting on the rim, and as the body would be heavier than the legs, the unfortunate child was unable to regain its balance.  If the child attempted to cry out, the soapy water would get drawn into the lungs, and thus quicken suffocation.  Dr Thompson said in this case the bucket was in an outhouse in a proper place.  he took the opportunity of warning parents to be careful when their children were just able to toddle off, to keep anything like a pan of hot milk or water, or a teapot, well out of their reach, as a very little thing killed a child.  - Mrs Shortridge stated that she assisted in trying to restore animation to the deceased, but without success.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.  They exonerated the mother from any blame, and handed to her their fees.  Mr Lawman, on behalf of the parents of deceased, thanked the Jury.

BIDEFORD - Suicide At Bideford. - Mr Arthur J. Lawman, on behalf f the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, obtained a warrant from Bideford Borough Magistrates on Monday, for the arrest of CHARLES DAVEY, labourer, on a charge of assaulting a little girl under the age of 13, one Mary Jane Bond, 11, daughter of Richard Bond, labourer, of East-the-Water.  When P.C. Christophers went to Barnstaple-street for the purpose of arresting DAVEY, he found him in a back kitchen with his throat cut.

Mr J. F. Bromham, Coroner, held an Inquest at the Royal Hotel on Tuesday morning.  - Mr Lawman watched the case in the interests of the N.S.P.C.C.  -  William Pembroke, labourer, stated that he was chatting with the deceased outside his house on Monday morning about 9.30 o'clock.  They were talking about the summons against DAVEY for assaulting a little girl.  As the Church clock struck 10, DAVEY said "Well, I suppose in an hour I shall be hanged."  DAVEY went to the public-house near by, and on returning to his own house, before closing his door, said "They won't have it all their own way."  That was the last time he was seen alive.  - Dr Lane, M.D., F.R.C.S., stated that the windpipe, the large blood vessels, and the nerves of the neck were severed, and some of the muscles.  The cut must have been made very deliberately.  An ordinary clasp knife, with which evidently the crime had been committed, was lying near the body.  - Frederick Ebsworthy, stevedore, stated that he heard deceased at 10 o'clock say, "Well, I suppose I shall be hanged at 11 o'clock."  - By the Jury:  Nothing in his manner at the time suggested insanity, and as far as he could tell the man was sober.  P.C. Christophers stated that he found the deceased lying on his face, with his neck cut badly.  Inspector Manning, N.S.P.C.C., who was with witness, fetched a doctor, and meanwhile witness remained at the house.  Life was extinct.  The Jury returned a verdict of Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane.

Thursday 25 October 1900

EXETER - A verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned at the Inquest held on Friday evening on the body of HARRY MILLMAN, a labourer, aged fifty-three years, of Exeter, who was found drowned in the Exeter Canal, near Salmon Pool Bridge, on Thursday.

PLYMOUTH - A child named WILLIAM WEEKS aged two years and nine months, succumbed on Thursday to injuries which it sustained by setting fire to its night-dress whilst playing with matches.  At the Inquest at Plymouth on Friday a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 1 November 1900

BRAUNTON - Dr E. Slade-King (Deputy Coroner) held an Inquest on Wednesday evening on the body of MRS SKINNER, wife of MR WM. SKINNER, of Knowle.  Deceased was found on Tuesday evening hanging from the roof of a barn adjoining the cottages.  She had been an invalid for some time previous to Tuesday in consequence of a severe accident, by which she had broken one of her legs.  Only recently her son met with an accidental death near Barnstaple.  She was greatly respected in the parish.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane," and expressed sympathy with the husband and grown-up daughter.

Thursday 8 November 1900

PLYMOUTH - THOMAS KEMP, aged twelve, ate four or five glasses of ice cream at Plymouth on Saturday.  He was taken ill and died on Tuesday.  Medical investigation showed that death was due to ptomaine poisoning, the result of eating ice cream, and at the Inquest on Thursday the Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

TEIGNMOUTH - MR COE one of the leading tradesmen of Teignmouth, committed suicide on Friday.  At the Inquest held at Teignmouth on Saturday on the body of A. J. COE, aged sixty-one years, watchmaker and jeweller, of Bank-street, who committed suicide on Friday by hanging, the Jury returned a verdict "That deceased hanged himself whilst of Unsound Mind."

CANADA - Devonian Murdered in Canada. - A Manitoban paper to hand gives a long account of the murder by shooting of two farmers - CHARLES J. DAW and Jacob Smith - near Whitewater, Manitoba.  DAW, it is stated, was 24 years of age, and came from "Sandford Parish, Crediton, North Devonshire, England (where his parents still are living), in company with S. Graham and H. J. Ellis."  He purchased the farm.  DAW is stated to have been of amiable disposition, and fond of athletics.  Both the bodies of the murdered men was found in an unused well, covered with earth and garbage, and suspicion fell upon Walter Gordon, who had signed an agreement for the purchase of the farm, and against whom a verdict of wilful murder has been found by the Coroner's Jury.  DAW visited Devon in December last, and returned in the Spring.  It appears that the purchase money for the farm had not been paid by Gordon, who has disappeared.  DAW was a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters, representatives of which attended the funeral and conducted the service of Order.

Thursday 15 November 1900

SHEBBEAR - Fatal Accident At Shebbear. - An Inquest was held at Durpley Farm, Shebbear, on Tuesday by the County Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) touching the death of a farm labourer named RICHARD GORVEDD, aged 72.  The evidence of Arthur Ley, farmer, living with his father, Mr Henry Ley, at Durpley Farm, was that deceased had worked for his father for about 27 years.  On Wednesday deceased was at work with him on the threshing machine, he being outside the barn driving the horses, while witness was inside attending to the horses, while witness was inside attending to the machine.  About 11 o'clock the machine stopped working, and he (witness) heard deceased moaning.  On going inside he found GORVEDD on his knees between the arms of the machine.  Witness and his brother soon helped him indoors, and Dr Clarke was sent for.  Deceased told witness that he slipped his foot while driving the horses and the stay of the arm of the machine crushed him.  Witness heard Dr Clarke say that death was caused by bronchitis following on the accident.  Corroborative evidence was given by John Ley, brother of the last witness, and a verdict in accordance with Dr Clarke's opinion was returned.

Thursday 6 December 1900

PLYMOUTH - At an Inquiry on Friday concerning the death of ELLEN LEONORA ELLIS, widow, evidence went to show that deceased had been drinking heavily for about a fortnight, and on Wednesday evening returned home drunk.  She left 6 Bath-place, Plymouth, early on Thursday morning, and was found dead in the water at Tinside at 2.15 p.m.  A verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - On Saturday an Inquest was conducted by the Borough Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft) on the body of MARIA GARDNER at New Buildings, Derby, Barnstaple.  The evidence of Catherine Harris, who was lodging at the house, was that she had known deceased for many years.  MRS GARDNER was 78 years of age, and a widow, her husband having been a shoemaker.  On October 4th, deceased rose from her chair, and on attempting to sit down again, seemed to become giddy, and fell to the ground.  She was very frail.  Dr Ware was sent for, MRS GARDNER being carried to bed.  She died on Thursday afternoon.  - Dr G. S. Ware stated that deceased had badly strained the large muscles leading from the trunk to the thigh and was bruised, and in pain.  The cause of death was congestion of the lungs, resulting indirectly from the accident.  - The Jury (of which Mr McLeod was Foreman) returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," expressing sympathy with the friends of deceased.

Thursday 13 December 1900

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident At Barnstaple.  Romping In the Market. - On November 9th, MARY JANE RICHARDS, aged 73, wife of a Yarnscombe farmer, was knocked down in Barnstaple Market, being removed, with the neck of her thigh bone fractured, to the North Devon Infirmary, where she died last Wednesday.  At the Inquest, the Borough Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft) pointed out that deceased was knocked down, accidentally, he believed, but that would be a question for the Jury to determine.  Despite the fact that there was a handsome park provided, a lot of boys had been in the habit of playing in the Market, and this, he thought, should be put a stop to.  - HENRY RICHARDS, deceased's son, spoke to driving her in to market on November 9th.  He saw deceased soon after she was knocked down.  She was in great pain and could not speak.  - Miss Beer, Rumsam, stated that she saw MRS RICHARDS knocked down by two lads as the result of their turning round sharply.  The occurrence was, in her opinion, purely accidental, but the boys were careless.  - Dr John Harper deposed to being called to MRS RICHARDS in the Market.  He ordered her removal to the North Devon Infirmary, while Dr Penny, House Surgeon, described the injuries.  - Mr W. Mitchell was Foreman of the Jury, some of the members of which expressed the opinion that the lads who knocked MRS RICHARDS down should have been before them.  The Coroner said they had promised to attend, but pointed out that he could not compel them to give sworn evidence which might or might not criminate them.  Returning a verdict of "Accidental Death," the Jury thought the conduct of the boys was open to censure, while they expressed the opinion that better order should be preserved in the Market.

BARNSTAPLE - Barnstaple Man Drowns Himself.  "Temporarily Insane."  - Last Thursday morning, a pair of boots, coat and cap were found on the bank of the Cooney stream (a tributary of the river Taw) in Gloucester-road, Barnstaple, and the owner, THOMAS BRAMBLE, Newport, carman in the employ of the G.W.R. Co., was subsequently reported to be missing.  There was little doubt that BRAMBLE had come to an untimely end, and the stream was at once searched, while the river Taw was also dragged.  The operations were unavailing until Saturday, when a fisherman found the body in a pit underneath the outfall of the stream in the river.  The remains were taken to the North Devon Infirmary, where at five o'clock an Inquiry was held by Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner.

James Squire, a carman in the employ of the G.W.R. Co., deposed that on the Thursday morning BRAMBLE came to the stables about 7.15 and attended to his horse.  Witness inquired about deceased'[s daughter, who was ill, and he replied that she was no better, having had a very bad night.  Nothing further passed, and that was the last time he saw BRAMBLE alive, as he did not come back from breakfast.  About 9.30 witness went to his house to look for him, but he had not been home.  Proceeding back along Victoria-road, witness saw something on the bank of the stream, and on going over recognised deceased's clothes.  He noticed nothing unusual in his manner that morning, as BRAMBLE was always quiet.  He left a widow, a son and a daughter.  The fact that the latter was seriously ill was a great trouble to deceased.

Albert Nott, fisherman spoke to finding the body in the pit about one o'clock that day under the outfall of the stream.  With assistance, the body was brought to the mortuary.  Sergeant Edwards gave evidence as to the searching for the body by the police, and produced the articles of clothing found by Squire, and other articles discovered in deceased's pockets.

Mr A. Holland, deceased's son-in-law, stated that his wife was dangerously ill, an operation being contemplated.  The illness troubled BRAMBLE a great deal, but he observed nothing unusual in his manner on the morning in question.  His brain was slightly affected some time ago as the result of a painful accident to his foot, but he had recovered from that.  Mr Withey, stationmaster at the Barnstaple G.W.R. terminus, said he should like to say on behalf of the Company how much they regretted this unfortunate occurrence, and also to express not only his own, but the regret of deceased's fellow employees at the station.  He gave deceased a splendid character, mentioning that he was a member of the Bible Christian community and a teetotaller.  He was of a very quiet disposition - even morose at times.  The Jury, of which Mr J. Cummings was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

Mrs Holland, MR BRAMBLE'S daughter, whose hopeless illness so much affected the deceased, died on Sunday.  It was a pathetic incident that the two funerals took place at the same time on Tuesday afternoon, the interment being made at the Cemetery.  Among those who attended were Mr C. H. A. Withy (stationmaster) and Mr A. Lile (delivery agent.)

Thursday 20 December 1900

LYNTON - Child Accidentally Poisoned At Lynton. - At the Globe Hotel, Lynton, on Tuesday, the County Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) conducted an Inquest touching the death of AMY LYNN, aged 11 years and 11 months, daughter of ROBERT LYNN, police constable, of Lynton, whose evidence was that the child had always been delicate, but up to Thursday had been in her usual health.  She had been at school on that day, and attended an evening meeting at the Parish Rooms.  About ten o'clock the same night she was taken ill, and at 11 o'clock Dr Stephens was fetched, and he attended to her until Saturday when she died at about half-past five in the afternoon.  The child ate nothing unusual, to his knowledge, on the Thursday.  She had a little conger for dinner, but his wife and himself had also partaken of it without ill effects.  On Friday she was downstairs and seemed quite cheerful.  She said that it was two cherries that came from some cake which made her ill.  She had had the cherries in her pocket but she did not say for how long.  The cake had been bought about a week ago.  His wife and himself had also eaten some of the cake without ill effects.  On Saturday afternoon she was worse, and Dr Stephens was present when she died.

Dr S. Stephens spoke to seeing the child on the Thursday night about 11 o'clock.  She was vomiting and had pain in her stomach, but as far as he could tell the vomit contained nothing but food.  On the Friday she was downstairs and cheerful, and told him (witness) about the cherries.  The next day he saw her in bed at one o'clock, there being no alarming symptoms, the vomit again consisting of food only.  About 4 p.m. he called again, and she was then very ill with great heart embarrassment and congestion of the lungs, bringing up blood stained froth.  He gave her some brandy, and Dr Mitchell kindly came and saw the child also, both being present at her death at about 5.30.  The symptoms then pointing to poisoning by some organic heart poison, the immediate cause of death being paralysis of the heart.  That day (Tuesday) he made a post mortem examination by the Coroner's order.  He found very slight evidence of heart disease.  The lungs were congested but otherwise healthy.  The stomach was empty, and the mucous membrane slightly inflamed in places.  The juduodenum contained a little fluid with some small seeds which he now believed to be fig seeds.  The rest of the intestine was empty but for a few scattered seeds similar to the others.  The brain was not examined.  The kidneys and liver were healthy.  His opinion was that the deceased died of some poison unknown, accidentally taken.  A verdict of "Accidental Poisoning from some substance unknown" was returned by the Jury.

PLYMOUTH - "Accidentally Drowned by the capsizing of a boat" was the verdict of the Jury who on Friday sat on the body of JOHN MITCHELL, found floating in Hamoaze. on Wednesday evening.  The Coroner complained that no attempt to restore life was made when the body was landed.

Thursday 3 January 1901

WITHERIDGE - Suicide Near Witheridge. - On Monday Mr Alfred Burrow, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at the Angel Hotel, Witheridge, touching the death of a Thelbridge labourer named WILLIAM HENRY BURNETT, 44 years of age.  WILLIAM BURNETT, deceased's brother, said on Saturday night they slept together, and at 7.30 on Sunday morning he missed deceased from the bed.  On going down stairs he found the deceased on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood, with a razor by his side.  He had never heard the deceased complain and knew of no trouble.  Mary Gooding, widow, said she had known the deceased many years. Last saw him alive on Sunday week when he appeared as usual.  Had never complained to her of anything.  Dr Shelley said he had attended deceased for rupture.  On Sunday at 8 a.m. he was called and found deceased dead, his throat being cut from right to left.  Deceased was a left-handed man, and the wound was self-inflicted.  - The Coroner said there was no evidence as to the state of the deceased's mind at the time.  Several Jurymen informed the Coroner that the deceased had an illness in May, and that since then he had not been the same man.  - Verdict:- "Suicide, there being no evidence as to state of mind at the time.

Thursday 10 January 1901

BARNSTAPLE - Shocking Accident At Barnstaple Junction.  Platelayers Knocked Down By An Engine, One Man Being Fatally Injured. -  There had been nothing approaching serious accident on the London and South Western Railway at Barnstaple for some years until Monday, when the Junction Station was the scene of a most distressing occurrence.  Shortly after eight a.m. Driver John Dart moved his engine (which took the 8.25 down train to Torrington) out of the locomotive department on to the up loop line, and he was crossing the roads for the purpose of getting on the down line, when the engine knocked down WILLIAM BEER and John Wheaton, platelayers, who were engaged in cleaning the points in the middle of the road.  BEER sustained terrible injuries, both legs being cut off just below the knee, whilst he also lost three fingers of his right hand.  Wheaton received a severe scalp wound; he stood up and endeavoured to assist BEER immediately the engine had passed, but he afterwards became so ill that it was found necessary to drive him to the North Devon Infirmary.  Mr Somerfield, the Station-master, was on the scene within a minute or so of the occurrence, and everything possible was done for the unfortunate man BEER.  A porter named J. Partridge cleverly rendered first aid - the prompt application of tourniquets, which are kept in the signal boxes, prevented the loss of blood - and BEER was then carefully taken to the Infirmary on a stretcher by workmen named F. Newton, H. Webber, P. Butler, R. Parish, S. Hankin, and W. Foulker.  At the Infirmary BEER (who remained conscious throughout) underwent an operation and seemed to bear up well for several hours, but in the afternoon there was suddenly a change for the worse, the unfortunate man expiring shortly before four o'clock.  The case is a very sad one;  MRS BEER was, strangely enough, taken seriously ill on Saturday night.  BEER (who belonged to Bishopstawton and was 62 years of age ) had been in the service of the Company for many years, and he was held in the highest respect and esteem.  One of his sons is an engine driver, whilst another is a ticket collector at Barnstaple Town Station.  Wheaton is a married man, 38 years of age, and resides at Barnstaple.  Those who witnessed the accident agree that he had a miraculous escape from death.

The Inquest - Adjourned. - The Inquest on BEER was opened at the North Devon Infirmary yesterday, before Mr Archibald Bencraft, Deputy Coroner, who acted in the unavoidable absence through illness of the Borough Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft).  Mr Somerfield (Station-master at the Junction Station), Detective Inspector Percival, Mr Cook (District Inspector of the Permanent Way), and Superintendent Eddy (Barnstaple Borough Police) were present.  Mr J. Cummings was chosen Foreman of the Jury.

The Coroner said they were met for the purpose of Inquiring into a very sad case.  At the Junction Station on Monday morning an engine was crossing the road from the up loop line to the down line when it knocked down the deceased (WILLIAM BEER) and John Wheaton, platelayers, who appeared to have seen it go up the line, but failed to notice it coming back the second time.  BEER (having had both his legs cut off by the engine) died at the North Devon Infirmary in the afternoon, but, fortunately, Wheaton was progressing favourably.  He did not know whether Wheaton would be able to attend that day; if not, it would be for the Jury to say whether the Inquiry should be adjourned.  The chief point which the Jury would have to decide was whether it was purely an accident, whether it happened in consequence of the engine driver failing to signify his approach, or the men not being properly warned that the engine was coming, or whether the deceased, by his own negligence, contributed to the accident, and that no one else was to blame in the matter.  Evidence of identification having been given by JOHN BEER, deceased's on, a ticket collector at Barnstaple Town Station.

Mr F. Penny, House Surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, stated that BEER and Wheaton were admitted to the Institution soon after eight o'clock on Monday morning.  BEER'S legs - one just below the knee and the other just above the ankle - were only hanging by a few tendons, the thumb and two fingers of one hand were very severely crushed, and there was a large scalp wound and several minor cuts.  The legs had been very effectively fixed up by a tourniquet, which prevented the loss of blood.  The medical staff, on consultation, decided that the only thing to be done was to amputate the legs, this being done as soon as possible.  Deceased never properly rallied.  the shock of the accident and the operation were too much for him, and he died at about 3.30 the same afternoon.  Everything possible was done for him.  - By the Jury:  Witness gave the opinion that if BEER rallied from the shock of the operation he might recover.  One leg had to be taken off above the knee. 

John Dart, engine driver, deposed that he took his engine out of the locomotive shed on to the siding, and was crossing the road in order to get on his down train, when someone shouted to him.  Applying the brakes, he stopped immediately on the crossing of the two lines, and looking back he saw BEER lying in the four-foot way.  He felt a bit of a jar, as though the engine was going over stones.  Must have passed BEER and Wheaton on the way up just before - it was only a matter of a few yards - but did not see them coming backwards.  - By the Coroner:  Sounded his whistle on leaving the shed a minute before, but not when he re-started from the up siding, seeing nothing in his way.  The points and the signals were shifted all right, and witness proceeded to cross the road.  Saw men named Pedlar and Back working close by, but nothing of BEER and Wheaton.  The smoke-box of the engine would take away the view.  The cylinder-cocks were open in front, and he considered the fact of the steam escaping in considerable quantities should have been sufficient warning.  Was not travelling at more than five or six miles an hour at the very most.  Had been accustomed to cross the line in the same way every morning for the past three months, and this was within the deceased's and Wheaton's knowledge.  -By the Jury:  Did not know that it was his duty to sound the whistle every time on starting an engine.  he could not see BEER and Wheaton on account of the curve in the road.  Was 54 years of age, and had been driver 25 or 27 years. 

Recalled, JOHN BEER stated that his father (the deceased) was not in the least deaf.

Inspector Percival elicited that the points were worked from the signal box.

William Back, the fireman who was with Dart, stated that Dart sounded his whistle on leaving the shed, whilst the cylinder-cocks were making a considerable noise.  When the accident occurred witness was coming from the tender to the point where he usually stood.  - "As a matter of fact, you were not looking out," said the Coroner.  - Witness replied that there were various things to do on the engine, and he (Back) was attending to the coal.  It was not usual to whistle on returning from a loop-line; an order had been issued about unnecessary whistling at the depot. 

"One can understand an order with regard to unnecessary whistling," observed the Coroner.

The Foreman asked witness whether he thought that possibly deceased and Wheaton were under the impression that the engine was not going to cross the road.  - "But they knew we crossed the line every morning" replied witness.  The whistle was blown at the outset for the purpose of warning the signalman to shift the points.  - A Juryman asked whether if both Dart and witness had been in their proper position one of them would have seen the men.  Back could not say.

Samuel Back, signal linesman, stated that he got out of the engine's way on its proceeding to the up siding.  Many whistles were blowing, and he could not say whether the whistle of this particular engine was or not.  Just previous to the accident BEER mentioned that his fingers were very cold.  Witness was at work when he heard a shout, and saw that the men had been knocked down.  They had changed their position five yards in about half a minute.  In his opinion, they thought the engine was going to keep on the up line, and trying to step on one side to escape it, they were knocked down in the middle of the road.

Philip Pedler, platelayer, aged 72, said he had been in the employ of the Company 42 years.  He saw the engine go into the up loop line, stop, and return down the line.  Witness moved out of its way, and was 19 yards distant when BEER and Wheaton were knocked down.  Did not see them immediately before.  They ought from experience to have known that the engine was coming that way.  - By the Foreman:  Could not say whether it was possible for the driver to see them.

-  Foreman:  Has the engine driver to look out for you, or you to look out for yourself?  - Witness:  You have to look out for yourself.  If you did not you would be run over forty times a day.  The driver cannot be attending to his work and looking after you too.

John Perkins, signalman, spoke to just previously warning Pedler and Wheaton to get out of the way of the up branch train.  The signal box was forty yards from the scene of the accident, which he did not witness.  It would not be anyone's duty to warn the men that the engine was about to cross to the down line.  Some drivers blew their whistles on moving and some did not.  - Foreman:  Have the men to look out for their own lives, as the last witness said?  -  "No doubt," said Perkins.  - The Coroner observed that that certainly seemed to be the state of affairs.  - The Foreman expressed the opinion that if it was so someone ought to be placed at the spot to look after the men, but he could not fancy it was so.  Perkins further stated that if the men stepped right under the buffers of the engine the driver could not see them.  - The Coroner:  The curve seems to me to allow a better opportunity of seeing them  - In witness's opinion it would not be a dereliction of duty if the driver did not blow his whistle when he re-started.

J. Partridge, yardsman, spoke to coming out of the yard and seeing BEER in front of the engine, and Wheaton endeavouring to get out of the way, but the engine was too close to them, the tender running him over.  BEER lay on the rails injured in the manner described and witness procured a tourniquet from the signal box, and also used his handkerchief to stop the loss of blood.  He afterwards attended to Wheaton, who had a nasty wound in the head.  He expressed the opinion that if the signals were down the driver would take it that the line was clear for him to cross.

Mr Cock, District Superintendent of the Permanent Way, was asked whether it would be anyone's special duty to warn men of the approach of engines on such an occasion.  - Mr Cock replied that this would be impossible, as the men were always moving from place to place. - By the Foreman:  A ganger was in charge of the men, and if anything out of the ordinary was about to occur, he would advise them to be careful, but not otherwise.  The men must have seen the engine leave the shed, and they would know that it would be coming back, because it was the only way for it to go.  Instead of keeping on the right side, they must have stepped in front of the engine, and there was not sufficient time to get out of the way.  In his opinion, it was an unfortunate piece of absent-mindedness.  The men evidently did not think that the engine was so close.  He did not think they could make a rule as to the whistle sounding whenever engines re-started.  -  The Coroner:  There are occasions when a driver cannot see men on the line on account of the steam, or a curve in the line.  Would it not be advisable to blow the whistle in such cases?  -  Witness:  It certainly would be advisable, but the question is whether it would be policy to make a hard and fast rule in these cases.  They could imagine the noise that would sometimes be created at a station.  - The Foreman, after consultation with the Jury, said they were of opinion that Wheaton's evidence should be heard, and the Coroner agreed with this expression of opinion.

Dr Penny having stated that in his opinion Wheaton would be sufficiently recovered in a week, the Inquest was accordingly adjourned until next Wednesday at noon.  The Jury also decided to view the scene of the accident an hour before the Inquest.  Mr Cock observing that he thought they would come to the conclusion that there was no neglect on the part of anyone.  We may add that Mr Dart has the reputation of being a most careful driver.

Thursday 17 January 1901

BARNSTAPLE - The Fatality At Barnstaple Junction.  "Accidental Death," But An Important Rider. - The Inquest on WILLIAM BEER, platelayer, who died after being knocked down and having his legs cut off by an engine at Barnstaple Junction Station on the 7th of January, was resumed at the North Devon Infirmary yesterday, before Mr A. Bencraft, the Deputy Coroner.  During the morning the Coroner and the members of the Jury inspected the scene of the accident, the Coroner and the Foreman (Mr J. Cummings) mounting an engine in order to test the statement of the driver (Dart) that he was unable to see deceased by reason of the curve and the engine.

John Wheaton, platelayer, who was also knocked down and received a severe scalp wound, deposed that on the morning in question the engine - did not then know whether it was a passenger or a goods engine - whistled on leaving the locomotive shed, and passed deceased and himself on the way up to the loop line.  They were clearing the points in the cross road when witness looked round and saw a cloud of steam, and there was not time to think which engine it was or what line it was coming on before he was knocked down.  Witness heard no whistle blown when the engine restarted backwards from the loop line.  - Answering the Coroner and Jury Wheaton said an engine generally whistled when it was restarted, sounding twice, which the men regarded as "look up!"  Did not think of the engine coming back.  Is the whistle had been blown on restarting very probably it might have given BEER and himself time to "look up."  The drivers might have seen them if it had not been necessary to blow off steam.  Did not think it was anyone's duty to warn them that the engine was coming back; they had to look out for themselves.  Knew that the engine came back over the points, but did not think of it.

The Coroner stated that, from observation, the Foreman and himself were certain that it was perfectly impossible, on account of the engine obstructing the view, for Dart, in his proper place to have seen deceased and Wheaton.  He did not think they could blame Dart because it was not part of his duty to blow the whistle, and it was perfectly evident he could not see the men where he was; but it seemed to him there were not sufficient precautions to prevent the loss of life to men who were working in necessarily very dangerous positions.  He thought it would be wise if drivers were directed to always sound the whistle when men were about the line in this way.  It might be that in certain cases they could not whistle because of evident confusion with other engines, but he did not think that remark would apply in this case.  Then again he thought where men were working with their heads down in necessarily dangerous positions, someone should be specially told off to look after them and to warn them on the approach of engines, so that a little mental absorption in their work should not cost them their lives.

MR BEER, deceased's son (who is also an engine driver) spoke of the importance of having steam cocks closed on certain occasions.

"Accidental Death" was the verdict, but the Jury added the following rider:  "Whilst exonerating the driver and fireman from blame, the Jury regret that no precautions were taken by the Company to protect the lives of platelayers at this dangerous point.  They are of opinion that if a rule had been in force for sounding the whistle before crossing the road the accident might have been averted."

The Coroner said he perfectly concurred with the verdict and the rider, which he promised to forward to the General Manager of the Company.  He wished to say that the Company had given every assistance to the Inquiry, and he also thanked the Jury for attention to the very difficult and trying case, particularly the Foreman, who had given the Court very material assistance.  Inspector Percival also promised to bring the rider to the notice of the Company, with the assurance that the recommendation of the Jury should be considered and attended to at once.

The funeral of MR BEER took place on Saturday, the interment being made at Bishopstawton Churchyard.  The widow was unable to attend by reason of serious illness, the chief mourners being Messrs. W., H., and J. BEER (sons), Misses S. and E. BEER, (daughters), and Mrs J. BEER (daughter-in-law).  Over 200 were present as a mark of respect, including Mr Palmer (Permanent Way Inspector, L. and S.W.R.), Mr Somerfield (Stationmaster, Barnstaple Junction), and Mr Whitehorn (Locomotive Department).  Among the tokens sent was an everlasting wreath from the employees of the Company.  The impressive burial service was conducted by the Rev. P. N. Leakey, Vicar of Bishopstawton.

Thursday 24 January 1901

TORQUAY -  In Torbay Hospital on Friday, JOHN CLARK, a labourer, who resided at the Barracks, Tor, died as the result of internal injuries received during a scuffle with a man named Rendell at the Railway Inn, Tor, on Monday.  CLARK and Rendell fought at the inn, and CLARK was knocked down.  He was able to walk home, but subsequently was removed to the hospital, where it was at once seen that his condition was serious, owing to internal injuries.  A Coroner's Jury on Saturday returned a verdict of "Excusable Homicide" in connection with the death of JOHN CLARK, thirty-two, labourer, who succumbed to injuries received last week in a public house brawl in Torquay.

EXETER - Suicide At Exeter - WALTER BRADLEY RAVENHILL, cardboard box manufacturer, aged 37, and residing at 29, Bartholomew-street, East, Exeter, committed suicide by hanging on Friday.  MRS RAVENHILL went down to the cellar at noon, and found deceased in a sitting position, being suspended from a beam.  He had never threatened suicide, and the only reason she could give for the act was slackness of trade.  Deceased owed a few small debts, and had been troubled over a County Court summons for a sum of £2, on account of which he feared an execution.  At an Inquest held by Mr H. W. Gould, Deputy Coroner, Mr C. E. Bell, surgeon, stated that deceased must have tied the cord and thrown himself forward.  One could not stand up in the cellar.  A verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was returned.

MARTINHOE - Retired Farmer's Sudden Death At Martinhoe. - There was a distressing case of sudden death at Martinhoe on Friday, when MR JOHN RIDD, retired farmer, expired suddenly in the roadway. At the Inquest, before the County Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) at Town Farm on Tuesday, JOHN PHILIP RIDD, of Town Farm, stated that deceased (his father), was 73 years of age.  Hearing on Friday that he had been found dead in the roadway, witness at once went to his house at Kennacott, where he found his father dead.  At once sent for the doctor and police, and removed the body to Town Farm.  Had heard his father say that he could not go up hill as well as formerly on account of his breathing.  - Ann Latham, wife of a farm labourer, spoke to seeing deceased leave Kennacott about 4 o'clock in the afternoon to fetch some wood for the house.  - Wm. Latham, farm labourer, at Kennacott, deposed to looking for MR RIDD, as he had not returned at 9 o'clock.  He and another man found him in a sitting position in the middle of the road about a quarter of a mile from the house, with a bundle of faggots behind him.  MR RIDD was dead, and with assistance they brought him home to Kennacott.  Witness had noticed that MR RIDD had been recently failing somewhat in health.  - S. J. Adams, police-sergeant, of Parracombe, also gave evidence, whilst Dr Roper, of Lynton, expressed the opinion that death was due to natural causes, viz., old age and failure of the heart's action.  A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned, sympathy being expressed with the relatives of the deceased.

BARNSTAPLE - Suicide At Barnstaple.  Braunton Man Hangs Himself. - HARRY MOORE, stone mason, aged 51, committed suicide at his lodgings, 8 Gloucester-road, Barnstaple, early on Saturday morning.  In the afternoon William Pugsley, wood turner, informed the Deputy Coroner (Mr A. Bencraft) and a Jury that deceased, who was his first cousin, had lodged with him for the past seven months. During that time he had been suffering from nervous debility, while he was mentally weak on occasions.  MOORE had been in high spirits during the past two days, and on going to bed at 10 o'clock the previous night appeared to be better than for a long time.  MOORE, who awoke early as a rule, generally called him, but he failed to do so that morning, and witness noticed that he was not in his bedroom.  MOORE failed to answer to his calls, and on going into the w.c. in the yard, witness observed his sleeve just inside the door.  He again called him, and, receiving no answer, procured a candle (it was about 7 o'clock) and found deceased hanging by a rope to a rafter in the roof.  One leg was on the seat, and the other a couple of inches from the ground.  Witness called his son, who held the body while he put it down.  MOORE was dead, although the body was not quite cold.  Knew of no reason why he should have committed the act except the state of his health.  Deceased was a Forester, and allowed witness to take his full pay for six months.  Witness had said nothing about his coming into half-pay, as he did not want to trouble him.  - By the Foreman (Mr T. Lake):  Deceased had no means of his own. - P.C. Gooding spoke to being called, and produced the rope (believed by Mr Pugsley to be an old skipping-rope of the children's, which MOORE must have obtained from a cupboard).  There was a very deep mark round MOORE'S neck.  - Dr Anderson said he had attended MOORE for the last six months.  Last saw him about six weeks ago. He was suffering from melancholia and depression of spirits, which might induce suicide, but MOORE did not show any tendency to this.  Had ordered that MOORE was not to be let out alone, although he thought he would be safe indoors.  He had got better of late, but was undoubtedly insane when he committed the act.  - Mr Bale, a Juror:  "I have known MOORE a great number of years, and he was always a steady, nice sort of fellow."  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 31 January 1901

BRISTOL - Barnstaple And Appledore Sailors Drowned At Bristol. - On Thursday CAPT. JOHN STRIBLING, aged 60, of Barnstaple, and WILLIAM RICHARDS, aged 46, of Appledore, left Appledore with the ketch "Herbert" (of which they were respectively master and mate) with a load of gravel for Bristol.  On Sunday morning MRS STRIBLING received a letter from her husband to the effect that he had weathered the gale which had prevailed in the Channel and had reached Bristol safely, but on the following morning came the startling telegram that both CAPT. STRIBLING and RICHARDS had been drowned in the harbour.  MRS STRIBLING at once left for Bristol, the Inquest being held at the Elephant and Castle Hotel, Blackboy Hill, Bristol, on Tuesday morning.  From the evidence called it appeared that the "Herbert" was lying in Messrs. Dudley and Gibson's Wharf at the floating harbour.  The two men were last seen alive on the night of Saturday by a man named John Henry Layton, a Bideford seaman, of the ketch "Ouse."  The deceased got into their small boat, which was lying near the "Ouse," and started to row about 200 yards to their own vessel, but they were not seen alive again.  No notice was taken of their absence on the Sunday, but the alarm was raised on Monday morning, when a cap was found floating on the surface of the water and was identified as belonging to RICHARDS.  Search was at once made, with the result that the two bodies were found lying about six feet from each other near the stern of the "Herbert."  STRIBLING, who was said to be a good swimmer, was dressed only in his shirt and trousers, but RICHARDS was fully clothed, while from the appearance of the cabin the captain had apparently been lying down.  The Jury said it seemed as if STRIBLING had gone to the assistance of his mate and lost his life in doing so, but they could only surmise this, and accordingly they returned an open verdict of "Found Drowned in the floating harbour."  CAPT. STRIBLING was generally known and respected at Barnstaple.  He has been accustomed to trade between North Devon and Bristol and Wales for many years, and had never previous to Sunday experienced any mishap.  He was a fine mariner and a splendid swimmer, having saved at least a dozen persons from drowning in his time.  Having regard to the fact that he was only partially clothed, it seems conclusive that the captain had gone to the assistance of his mate and thus lost his life.  Both men leave families (the STRIBLING'S residence at Braunton-road, Barnstaple, and the RICHARDS'S at Factory Hope, Appledore) for whom the greatest sympathy is felt.  Sympathy especially goes out to MRS STRIBLING, who has lost her husband and two sons within the past two years.  CAPTAIN STRIBLING'S body was removed yesterday to Barnstaple, where the interment will take place.

Thursday 7 February 1901

BARNSTAPLE - The Terrible Accident At Barnstaple.  Death of MR T. LEE.  -  The townspeople of Barnstaple were deeply grieved on Monday to hear that MR THOMAS LEE, who was terribly injured through a premature explosion of one of the borough chamberlains on the King's proclamation day, had passed away in the North Devon Infirmary.  The news came as a surprise, because it had been understood that, although the eyesight had been hopelessly destroyed, MR LEE was making satisfactory progress towards recovery.  He was, indeed, doing remarkably well until Sunday, when a change for the worse was noticed.  In the evening, serious symptoms developed, and the patient grew rapidly worse in the night, dying about seven o'clock on Monday morning.  MRS LEE was with her husband in the closing hours.  MR LEE, who was fifty-two years of age, was not a native of Barnstaple, but he spent most of his life in the town.  Before taking the post of Foreman of Works in succession to Mr How about fifteen years ago he carried on business as a builder, being associated with the late Mr H. Sillifant in many enterprises - including the erection of the first villa residences erected  in the Fort Hill district.  As Foreman of Works, he served the borough faithfully and well, proving a popular as well as an able official.  He introduced many improvements, especially in the laying out of roads and the paving of streets, and he generally arranged his holiday with a view to picking up hints that might be useful to him in the discharge of his duties.  Prior to the appointment of Mr Arnold Thorne as Borough Surveyor, MR LEE for several years performed duties that belonged to the office of Surveyor.  He was a man of broad sympathies and generous disposition, being always ready to help a good cause.  A prominent member of the Bible Christian cause at Barnstaple, he was closely associated with all the movements that led to the Barnstaple society possessing one of the finest buildings in the denomination.  He was an ardent Liberal, and met with a bad accident while driving to Buckland Brewer at the time of the election in 1892 to help Mr Billson.  He was one of the half dozen Liberals who twenty years ago started the billiard department at the Liberal Club, becoming one of the guarantors for the initial outlay.  He was a Director of the Freehold Land Society.  At one time he contested the North Ward in the Liberal interest, making a good fight.  Only last month he was installed W.M. of the Barnstaple Lodge of Freemasons.  He was from the start one of the leading spirits in connection with the Barnstaple Cycling Club, and was at the time of his death Captain of the Club.  Cheery, open-hearted, TOM LEE will be missed in many departments of life at Barnstaple.  He leaves a widow and two sons - one a boy of twelve and the other being in the Rolle Estate office at Torrington.

The Inquest:  -  Held at the Infirmary on Monday afternoon, the Inquest was a solemn duty.  Mr A. Bencraft, the Deputy Coroner, conducted it, the Jury (most of the members of which were deceased's personal friends) being composed of Messrs. G. Sloman, J. Davey, S. Dening, C. Lock, A. W. Gaydon, W. Mitchell, A. Perrin, F. Elliott, J. Jordan, H. Burgess, W. Garland, and F. Lee.  Mr Sloman was chosen Foreman.  Among others present were Mr J. Bosson (the Town Clerk), and P.S. Edwards.

The Coroner, addressing the Jury, said they were called together that day to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of MR T. LEE, late Foreman of Works at Barnstaple.  He supposed that they all knew the circumstances of the case, as they had appeared in the papers, so that no description of them on his part would be necessary.  After the Jury had viewed the body, he should proceed to take the evidence.  He might point out that if anything came up in the course of the Inquiry proving negligence on the part of anyone it would be the duty of the Jury to return a verdict according to the evidence.

James Burnell, an employee of the Town Council, deposed:-  The body which the Jury have just seen is that of MR THOMAS LEE, who was about fifty-two years of age.  On the 28th of January I was in the shed behind the Prison loading the borough chamberlains, and MR LEE was firing them outside.  At this stage the chamberlain which caused the accident was passed round for the inspection of the Jury.  It was about nine inches in height, four inches in diameter, and tapered somewhat slightly towards the top.  At the bottom was a large touch-hole.  The Coroner (to Burnell):  What did you load the chamberlains with?  - Witness:  I first inserted a fuse in the touch-hole, and then put into the chamberlain about a ¼ lb. of powder, then a piece of bagging, and then earth on the top, and rammed it all down together.  The chamberlains had been discharged about 129 or 130 times before the accident, MR LEE firing them all.  He fired them by igniting with a fusee the fuse placed in the touch-hole, each piece of fuse being about seven inches in length.  I produce a similar piece.  Everything went right until about ten minutes or a quarter past one, when the accident occurred.  MR LEE was engaged in igniting the fuse, but I cannot exactly say how the accident happened.  I should say that a spark flew from the fusee, and this caught loose powder at the touch-hole, a premature explosion following.  Saw MR LEE stoop down for the purpose of lighting the fuse, subsequently heard a groan, and at the same time saw deceased's hat flying in the air, MR LEE rolling over on his face and hands.  [At this stage MR LEE'S bowler hat, which he was wearing at the time of the accident, was produced.  The crown was entirely gone, whilst the remainder of the hat was in ribbons - the result of the explosion.]  The witness, having observed that he did not know what became of the identical piece of fuse which MR LEE was using at the time, went on:  I ran to MR LEE'S assistance, and raising him, carried him into the shed.  Deceased said, "What have I done, Jim," several times, and I saw that his face was very much hurt.  Shouted for handkerchiefs and helped to bandage up the wounds, medical men being meanwhile sent for.  Dr George Ware came first, Mr Jackson next, and then Dr Roscrow.  I obtained a cab, in which MR LEE was taken to the Infirmary.  - The Coroner:  I understand you have been accustomed to load the chamberlains for a great many years?  - A:  Yes, I have loaded them and lighted them for the last fourteen or fifteen years, and I should have lighted them exactly the same as MR LEE did.  There was a high wind blowing at the time, and I should say the accident happened through a spark blowing from the fusee direct to the touch-hole.  - The Coroner:  I notice that the fuse does not fill up the touch hole.  - A.:  No, it does not.  - Coroner:  In the fifteen years you have had to do with the chamberlains has any previous accident happened?  -  A:  Not to my knowledge, and they have always been fired in the same way.  - Coroner:  Sometimes, I suppose, a red-hot iron has been used for firing?  -  A.:  I never knew of one.  - The Foreman:  I should like to ask the witness if it has been MR LEE'S custom always to light the chamberlains on public occasions.  - A.:  Yes, he has always done it.  Sometimes we might have relieved him, just for a few minutes.  -  The Town Clerk, on behalf of the Corporation, asked whether the Coroner would allow this question:  How many, on this particular morning, were successfully discharged before the accident occurred:  -  Burnell replied:  There were five twenty-ones.  - Town Clerk:  So that considerably over one hundred were successfully discharged, all being lighted by MR LEE in the same way as he attempted to light this one?  - Witness:  Yes.

Edwin Rottenbury, another Town Council employee stated:  Burnell loaded the chamberlains in the stores, and I carried them out for MR LEE to fire.  - "How many had been fired before the accident happened?" inquired the Coroner.  - Witness:   Five twenty-ones, and four or five of the last batch of twenty-one.  - Coroner:  Were they all fired by MR LEE.  - Witness:  Everyone, and he fired them all in the same manner as he attempted to fire this one, namely, with a fusee, with which to ignite the fuse.  - Coroner:  What did you see when this one went off?  - Witness:  I felt a few shots in my leg, and turning round saw MR LEE on his face and hands.  -  "How were you standing," asked the Foreman. -  Witness:  I was standing two yards away, with my back towards MR LEE.  The first thing I saw was MR LEE'S hat all to pieces, and then MR LEE on the ground.  Saw Burnell pick him up, and helped him into the shed.  Was too overcome to do much, and did not hear MR LEE say anything.  Saw that he was terribly injured.  - Coroner:  Can you account for the chamberlain going off?  - Witness:  I think the wind carried a spark from the fusee against the touch-hole.  Did not actually see MR LEE bending over the chamberlain, and could not exactly say how far off he was when the chamberlain went off.  MR LEE always fired the fuse and then walked away.  The fuse generally took two minutes to burn before the explosion.  Helped MR LEE into the cab after the doctors came.  I have known the chamberlains for four or five years, having helped to fire them with MR LEE, and they have always been fired in the same manner.  - The Coroner:  Did you ever see the late Mr George Harper fire them off?  - Witness:  No; I think he used to, but I never saw him.  - Mr Perrin:  Do the chamberlains remain upright after they explode, or topple over?  -  Witness:  As a rule they topple over.  - Mr Jordan:  They do not shift from the position.  - Witness:  No; they are not thrown any distance.  - Mr Perrin:  The question arose from the fact that the witness said he felt the shots in his leg.  - Coroner:  I expect the stone or gravel spread after the explosion.  - Witness:  The shots fly for a long distance.  - Mr Perrin:  If the chamberlain had not gone off sooner than it ought, you would have been further away?  - Witness:  Oh, yes; me and MR LEE would have been a long distance away.,  - Coroner:  At the time were you waiting for a signal to move?  - Witness:  No, I was picking up a chamberlain that had been fired.  - Mr Perrin:  How do you know when to clear off?  Do you have any warning?  - Witness:   When the light is put to the fuse we move away.  - The Coroner remarked that had the chamberlain gone off in the ordinary way Rottenbury would have had time to move away.  - Mr F. Lee:<  How far was MR LEE from the chamberlain after the explosion?  -  The witness Burnell replied:  About 6 or 8ft.

Dr Cecil Roscrow, locum tenens at the North Devon Infirmary, stated: I was called to the scene of the accident, but going to the Cattle Market, found that MR LEE had already been removed to the Infirmary.  Examined him in conjunction with Drs. Jackson, Cooper and Ware. Deceased's face and nose were very lacerated and torn, the wounds radiating from the bridge of the nose in all directions, and boy eye-balls being blow away.  The forehead was also lacerated in several parts, and I should imagine that the centre of the force was the top of the nose.  They were all flesh wounds; there was no great fracture as far as one was able to ascertain.  - Coroner:  Do you think the wounds were such as would have been caused by the explosion described?  - Witness:  Yes.  - Coroner:  What position do you think MR LEE would have been in at the time?  - Witness:  It depends upon circumstances.  I picked several pieces of gravel from the forehead up to nearly the last day.  Directly the charge left the chamberlain it would spread.  - Dr Roscrow proceeded:  Having consulted the other doctors, I put MR LEE under an anaesthetic, attended to the wounds, and put him to bed as soon as possible.  He was conscious, asked about his condition, rallied better than we expected, and did very well for the first three days.  MR LEE was much concerned about his eyesight, but I was not inclined to discuss it, thinking it would be injudicious.  Deceased made no statement.  I once remarked on the accident, but MR LEE did not say anything.  It was very painful for him to do any talking, and he would just say "Yes" and "No."  On Thursday his temperature went up, and the wounds, as a natural consequence, began to suppurate.  There was a certain amount of absorption of the matter, and this resulted in blood poisoning.  MR LEE went on very well until Saturday, when he failed to take nourishment, and on Sunday at mid-day he seemed to collapse and give way entirely.  With the temperature dropping, deceased commenced to get unconscious and delirious.  If he had lived for three more days until the wounds had suppurated, he might have got well; but he passed away at a quarter to seven this morning. - By the Coroner:  The wounds were the most common danger.  MR LEE'S strength was considerably diminished by the fearful shock.  He recovered the primary shock in forty-eight hours, but there was the question attending the suppuration.  Death was due to septic poisoning and exhaustion.  - By the Foreman:  MR LEE was able to take nourishment fairly well until Saturday.  - Mr Jordan:  You have heard the quantity of powder used.  Do you think MR LEE would have lived if he was immediately over the chamberlain when the explosion occurred?  -  Witness:  Oh no;, his head would have been blown away.  - By the Town Clerk:  The wounds were consistent with injury which might have been occasioned by an explosion of the chamberlain.

The Coroner said this was all the evidence he proposed to call, and all that he thought the Jury would require in order to arrive at their conclusion.  MR LEE was well known to most of them - he was a personal friend of his and much respected by him - and he was sure they all greatly deplored his death.  It appeared that on January 28th, MR LEE was discharging the chamberlains as he had been accustomed to do on previous occasions, and what seemed to be a reasonable explanation of the accident was that a spark from the fusee was carried by the wind to the loose powder on the touch-hole, causing the premature explosion, and injuring MR LEE before he had time to get out of the way.  As they had heard, about 130 rounds had been discharged, MR LEE firing the chamberlains in the same way as he usually did.  Whether that was the best way, he (the Coroner) had his doubts.  In his opinion it would have been better if a longer fuse were employed and a hot iron instead of a fusee, particularly when the wind was blowing, in order to fire the chamberlains.  MR LEE no doubt thought he was discharging the chamberlains in a safe manner, and it was clearly an accident.  If the Jury returned a verdict to that effect, he should prepare it in that form.  He asked them to consider their verdict.  "It s for you to consider," he added, "whether you will make a representation to the Town Council that these chamberlains should not be used again. Personally, I hope they never will, and I think the whole of the public of Barnstaple will agree with that opinion."

The Town Clerk, respectfully, " I don't think you will invite the Jury to make a representation to the Town Council.  I am quite sure they will take the whole matter into their careful consideration."

The Coroner:  "I think you misunderstand me.  I am not inviting them to do so, but it is part of their duty to consider the matter, and then they can please themselves."

The Jury having consulted, the Foreman said they were of opinion that death was Accidental and was caused by the premature explosion of one of the borough chamberlains.  They did not wish to add any rider in regard to the disposal of the chamberlains.  The Coroner:  Very well, sir, just as you please.  The Foreman added that the Jury wished to condole with the widow and family in their sad bereavement.  They decided to give their fees, supplemented by a further sum, towards a wreath to be placed on the grave.

The funeral of MR LEE today (Thursday) will partake of a public character.  The coffin will in the morning be taken from the house to the Thorne Memorial (Bible Christian) Chapel, where deceased was accustomed to worship.  AT half-past two a service will be held in the Chapel, the Rev. J. Luke(President of the Bible Christian Conference) conducting, the interment being made at the Cemetery at three o'clock.  The Mayor and Corporation will attend the funeral in state, and the Freemasons will also be present.  The Cycling Club will also be represented.  MR LEE was insured for £500 in the Ocean Accident Society.  The claim had not been sent in when the Society wrote MR W. LEE (deceased's son) that the claim would be admitted at once, and that a cheque for the amount would be paid on the production of the usual proof of title.  At the same time the Directors expressed their sincere sympathy with the family in their bereavement.  A similar letter was sent to Mr J. Jordan (the local agent), with a request that he would personally see the family and convey to them the sympathy of the Directors.

Thursday 14 February 1901

ILFRACOMBE - Fatal Fall At Ilfracombe.  Inquest and Verdict. - On Friday afternoon an Inquest was held at 17 St. Brannock's-road, by E. J. Slade-Kind, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on the body of JOHN SAMUEL LAWLEY, lately tenant of the house.  Before the Jury was sworn, the Deputy Coroner said it was most fitting that on the first occasion of being called to serve the Crown under the new King, they should express their profound regret and sorrow at the loss of the most revered and beloved Monarch that ever sat upon a throne, and affirm their loyalty to his Majesty King Edward with the fervent hope that he would walk in the steps of his most gracious and honoured mother.  - The vote was passed in silence, the Court standing.

Mr M. W. Tattam was chosen Foreman of the Jury, after which Mr G. H. Passmore was called, and said he lived near deceased at No. 13, St Brannock's-road.  The body viewed by the Jury was that of JOHN SAMUEL LAWLEY, whom he last saw alive on Thursday at 6.55 p.m., at the bottom of the basement stairs at No. 17.  He was lying on his back, quite unconscious.  No one was there.  Witness had been called in at 6.40 p.m. by MRS LAWLEY, who said "Come quick, MR LAWLEY has fallen down."  Witness saw a small cut at the back of deceased's head, but saw no blood; he did not know how deceased got in the position in which witness found him.  A medical man was called at once.  Deceased was a heavy drinker.  When witness found the body he raised it and loosened the collar.  - By the Jury:  The steps were inside the house leading up from the kitchen.  - By the Coroner:  Deceased was 72 years of age.

Mr F. W. Langridge, surgeon, said he was called in to see deceased on Thursday just after 7 p.m.  He found him on a sofa in the kitchen in a state of coma, and suffering from compression of the brain.  Witness found a contusion on the base of the skull, but no puncture and was informed that he had had a fall.  He did what was needful, and when he called next morning was told deceased had died at four a.m.  He had attended deceased for four years, off and on, for dyspepsia, arising from chronic alcoholism.  From the evidence of the previous witness, he should consider the injury was such as would have been produced by a fall.  There was no other injury on the body.  He should not think the injury in itself sufficient to cause death, but was of opinion deceased had a fit of apoplexy, which made him fall, and the two together were sufficient to produce insensibility.

MRS LAWLEY, wife of deceased, said her husband had been a salesman in Spitalfields Market.  On Thursday afternoon she went to the doctor about 6.30 for her husband, who said he was not feeling well; he seemed ill and drowsy, and had complained all day.  Witness was away about 25 minutes, and came in at the front door, of which she had the key in her pocket.  Witness went into the parlour and found it vacant.  She then called her husband by name, but got no answer.  She then went a few stairs up, when she heard a noise, like very heavy breathing.  Witness ran to the basement, and from the top of the lower stair, saw her husband laying on his back at the bottom, with his head against the wall, and his feet on the lowest step as if he had fallen backwards.  He was breathing hard, and witness ran oat once for Mr Passmore and Mr Marler, her neighbours.  Mr Passmore came, and when witness left for the doctor, her husband was sitting down to his tea in the parlour, but when she came back he had eaten nothing.  Deceased had been alone in the house, and no one came in to her knowledge.  Witness's opinion was that her husband had left the room to answer the bell.

The Rev. Prebendary Martin, Vicar of Holy Trinity, said that on Thursday he called at Deceased's house and rang twice, but had no answer and went away.  It was about 6.45 or 6.50 p.m.  When witness had gone part of the way down the path, he heard something, and looking back saw what he thought must have been deceased's shadow on the glass inner door.  Deceased apparently came to the door, looked through, and went away immediately.  Witness turned back to the door, and almost directly heard deceased stumble; witness then herd a heavier fall, as if he had slipped down several stairs.  Witness listened at the door for some time, but heard nothing, and supposing it was all right went home.  The Deputy Coroner, having summed up the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  The fees were given to the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital.

NORTH TAWTON - An Inquest was held at Northtawton on Monday concerning the death of a young man named W. R. SKINNER. According to the evidence, deceased fell while practising on the rings at the gymnasium, and injured his spine.  The Jury having returned a verdict  in accordance with the medical testimony, expressed the opinion that no blame was attached to anyone.

Thursday 28 February 1901

BIDEFORD - A Bideford Tragedy.  Suicide Of A Tradesman. - A painful sensation was caused in Bideford on Friday morning by the news that MR WILLIAM HODGE, a shoemaker in business at 4 High-street, Bideford, had committed suicide by shooting himself with a yeomanry carbine.  MR HODGE had got into financial difficulties, and the bailiffs were in possession.  A sale was advertised for Friday afternoon. During the early morning of that day MR HODGE appeared rather cheerful, but as the day advanced he became depressed, and in a fit of insanity went to the attic which overlooks the High-street, and deliberately shot himself in the right temple, the bullet coming out at the top of his head and going through the roof.  MR HODGE was only 33 years of age.  He was a Barumite by birth, his relatives living in Vicarage Lawn, but went to Bideford some sixteen years ago.  A good deal of sympathy is felt at Bideford for MRS HODGE and the five poor little children, and a subscription list started on their behalf has been well supported.

The Inquest:  Mr Bromham held an Inquest at the Council Chamber of the Town Hall on SAturday afternoon. Mr C. J. Perry was chosen Foreman of the Jury, which consisted of Messrs. C. Pearce, H. Vicary, P. Fulford, J. Prouse, A. F. Tasker, J. Adams, Dark, R. Day, W. L. Fulford, J. W£. Couldridge, G. H. Andrew, and W. B. Short.  there were several townspeople present at the Inquiry.

Thomas John Powe, shoemaker, identified the body as that of his late employer, MR WILLIAM HODGE.  Deceased was 33 years of age, and left a widow and five children.  About ten minutes to twelve, noon, on Friday, witness saw MR HODGE in his sitting-room.  He appeared in a very depressed state.  Shortly after, he heard the report of a gun, and as he was running upstairs someone called "get the police!"  Going outside the house, witness saw P.S. Pike and a constable, who went into the house.  The deceased had recently had a reversion of circumstances, and bailiffs were in possession of his goods.  A sale was advertised for Friday afternoon, and the house was in a regular uproar, and MR HODGE appeared greatly distressed.

John Nicholls, superannuated police-sergeant of Devon Constabulary, stated that he had been at the house of the deceased since Wednesday, under the instructions of the High Bailiff of Bideford, and with other men was in possession of the goods.  He saw the deceased several times since.  On Wednesday evening, MR HODGE seemed very depressed, but next morning appeared more cheerful.  Friday morning about 10 o'clock was the last time witness saw him alive.  Deceased was then in the front shop.  He did not appear depressed then.  Mr Braddick came into the shop some time after.  Later in the morning, witness heard a sound as if a boy had fired a marble at the window  MRS HODGE came to him in an excited state, and said "Do run upstairs, I am afraid MR HODGE has shot himself!"  Witness proceeded upstairs to the attic, where he found the deceased lying on his left shoulder, his body in an old bassinette, which had been turned over on its side.  Near the feet of deceased, witness found a service carbine.  He was not quite dead, but muttered to himself, when witness first saw him which was about ten minutes to twelve.  P.S. Pike and Dr Lane by that time came into the room.

The Foreman:  Did you not hear the report of a carbine?  Witness:  I simply heard a "snick" as if a boy had fired a marble at the window.  Those in the street would be able to hear the report of a gun better than I could because the attic was three storeys up, and sound would be heard better from the outside.  The Foreman:  Was the attic door locked?  Witness:  No, it was open, and I could see the feet of the deceased before I entered the room.  The Foreman:  The witness mentioned that a Mr Braddick was in the shop in the morning.  Was there any unpleasantness between him and MR HODGE?  Witness:  There was no unpleasantness I simply persuaded Mr Braddick to delay his proceedings.  Mr Braddick was taking away things and I took an inventory of them.  By the Coroner:  Was MR HODGE present?  Witness:  No; he did not speak to Mr Braddick for the morning.  If he had I should had heard.  The Foreman:  It is understood that Mr Braddick as bailiff was removing goods before the sale took place.  I suppose we have no right to ask whether that was legal or not?  Coroner:  I have nothing to do with that.  All I have to Inquire into is the cause of death.

P.S. Pike stated that at 11.45 a.m. on Friday he was on duty in High-street near the house of deceased.  About five minutes later witness heard the report of a gun.  At the same time a piece of slate fell just in front of him.  After a very brief interval, the first witness, Rowe, called him into the house.  Going upstairs in company with P.C. Cooper he saw the deceased in the condition stated by Ex. sergt. Nicholls.  Deceased, who had a gunshot wound in the head, was not dead, but was muttering to himself.  In the carbine was a blank cartridge.  On search being made a loaded cartridge was found in one of the pockets of deceased's clothes.  The Foreman:  Did you see any furniture being removed from the house?  Witness:  I saw a waggon outside the house, but did not see any furniture removed.  Nicholls:  Mr Braddick had one waggon load of furniture removed, and the house was in a general uproar.  About a dozen people were in the house carrying furniture.

Dr Lane, M.D., F.R.C.S., stated that he saw deceased lying in a bassinette, his legs and head protruding over.  There was a large pool of blood on the floor below the head of deceased.  He was not dead at the time, but comatose, and life expired in a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes.  Witness saw in the right temple a large hole and on the top of the head there was a gaping wound.  The frontal bones of the head were a mass of pulp, and it was very evident the shot was fired at very close quarters.

After summing up, the Coroner said there were some points which he was not at liberty to go into.  The question of whether there was any illegality in removing the goods was for some other Court to decide.  The Jury retired to the Town Hall to consider the verdict.  When they returned, Mr H. M. Bazeley, Registrar and High Bailiff of Bideford County Court, asked permission to state one fact.  The bailiff from the County Court had been examined at that Inquest.  It had also been stated that the deceased was in difficulties, and that there were executions being levied on his goods.  He simply wished the Jury to understand that with regard to the removal of goods or any question of waggons being outside the house for the removal of goods, it was not done by his order.  No goods whatever were ordered to be removed for the County Court, nor on behalf of Mr Barrett, who was acting for the Sheriff.  Mr W. T. Braddick also addressing the Jury, stated that Mr J. J. Braddick, a certified bailiff, removed goods under powers of an order of execution for six months' rent.  The Foreman:  Was there any necessity for removing the goods?  Mr Bazeley:  That is not a question for me to answer.

The Jury returned a verdict that deceased committed Suicide in a fit of Temporary Insanity, and they desired to express deepest sympathy with the widow, the children, and the relatives.  They added a rider to the effect that "it has arisen in the minds of the Jurymen that the removal of furniture tended temporarily to unhinge the mind of deceased".  The Jurors gave their fees to the widow.

IDE - The Inquest opened at Ide, Exeter, on Thursday last concerning the death of JAMES CHUDLEY, aged seventy, a sawyer, of Whitstone, Exeter, who was on Wednesday crushed by a traction engine after being thrown out of a donkey cart, was resumed on Monday.  The Jury returned a verdict of Manslaughter against the driver of the traction engine, who was arrested, bail being allowed.

NEWTON ABBOT - A well-known commission agent, named W. H. STRANGER, committed suicide at Newton on Friday evening by drowning himself in a tank at the rear of his premises.  At the Inquest held at Newton on Saturday on the body of WILLIAM HENRY STRANGER, aged sixty-three years, a manure agent, who drowned himself on Friday in a tank, a verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane" was returned.

APPLEDORE - A Child Burnt to Death At Appledore. - A little child belonging to MR STEPHENS, gunnery instructor at the Naval Reserve Battery, and living at Western Hill, while near the fireplace last week caught its clothes on fire, and was terribly burnt about the face and neck before the flames could be extinguished.  The child lingered on in great suffering until Friday, when it expired.  Great sympathy is felt for the parents in their trouble.

An Inquest was held by Mr Bromham on Monday at the Prince of Wales Hotel on the body of BLANCH STEPHENS aged 18 months.  Mr H.  R. Moody was chosen Foreman of the Jury.

BESSIE STEPHENS, wife of THOMAS STEPHENS, instructor at the Naval Reserve Battery, identified the body.  On Thursday afternoon witness went to a neighbour's house at 2.25 with clothes to be mangled, and left deceased playing with her brother, aged three years.  There was a small fire burning in the grate when witness left.  There was no one else left in the house.  Witness was not away many minutes.  As she returned she met deceased, whose clothes were smouldering with fire.  She saw the child was burnt.  Witness took off the clothes and wrapped her in a blanket, and then fetched a neighbour, who held deceased while she summoned a doctor.  Dr W. Valentine came immediately, and attended the child until death, which occurred on Friday evening at 8.20.

By the Foreman:  Witness saw no signs of the children having played with matches, but saw a small piece of paper partly burnt in the fender.  Deceased had a flannelette frock on.  Dr W. A. Valentine gave evidence to being called to deceased on Thursday afternoon.  On examination he found she had burns all over the arms, the front of the chest, throat and face.  He had no hope of recovery from the first.  The cause of death was nervous depression, following burns.  By the Foreman:  The excessive burns were due to the inflammable nature of the flannelette, which afterwards smouldered.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and expressed an opinion that flannelette was a dangerous article of clothing, owing to its very inflammable nature.

Thursday 7 March 1901

EXETER - ELLEN BAKER, 66, widow, of Hope-place, South Wonford, near Exeter, was on Saturday found dead on the floor of her kitchen by a friend from Ide.  P.C. Johns, who was called, discovered that a piece of string had been twisted about six times around the neck.  At an Inquest later in the day the medical evidence showed bruises on the wrists, on account of the cord having been fastened to them.  Death was evidently due to strangulation.  A verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was returned.

Thursday 14 March 1901

SOUTHMOLTON - Boy Drowned At Southmolton.  The Inquest. - The Borough Coroner (Dr Sanders) held an Inquest at the Town Hall, Southmolton, on Monday, on the body of WILLIAM SILAS SEARLE, son of GEORGE SEARLE, of South-street, Southmolton, whose body was found in the River Mole on Saturday.  Mr Samuel Widgery was appointed foreman.

GEORGE SEARLE, (father) stated that deceased had been a delicate child since he was 15 or 16 months' old; he was weak, and disable d in one arm through an abscess.  On Saturday he sent his son JOHN, and the deceased to see their grandfather's sheep in a field adjoining the Mole called Rock Close.  Deceased was aged four years and 11 months.  JOHN SEARLE stated that he accompanied the deceased to Rock Close.  The child was standing on the bank of the River Mole trying to reach a stick in the water with one that he had in his hand, and over-balancing himself fell into the water.  He floated down the river.  Witness tried to reach him, but could not do so.  He then ran home to his father, and told him what had occurred.  P.C. Brown gave evidence as to recovering the body, which had floated some distance down the river, and although for upwards of an hour he tried artificial respiration, it was without avail.  Dr Smyth gave evidence as to the examination of the body shortly after the occurrence, and was of opinion that death was due to drowning.  There were no marks of violence.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death by Drowning," and passed a vote of sympathy with the bereaved parents.

Thursday 21 March 1901

BARNSTAPLE - Barnstaple Child's Death.  "Suspicious Circumstances."  Inquest Adjourned. - The circumstances of the death on Saturday morning of the newly-born child of ANNIE HUXTABLE, single woman, lodging at No. 6, Zion Place, Barnstaple, were so suspicious that the Borough Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft) deemed it necessary to hold an Inquest on the body of the infant at the North Devon Infirmary on Monday.  Mr J. R. Ford was Foreman of the Jury.  Superintendent Eddy (Borough Police) was present.

The Coroner, in addressing the Jury, said the woman, ANNIE HUXTABLE, obtained her living as a charwoman.  There were circumstances attending the death of the child which he need not then enter into, but which he thought entailed upon him the necessity of holding an Inquiry, and he had no doubt the Jury, after hearing the evidence, would be of the same opinion.  Inasmuch as the child was born as recently as Saturday morning, the mother was unable to attend to give evidence if she wished, and he thought that as any other evidence which might be given might implicate her, it would be right, although she could not perhaps claim it of necessity, that the Inquiry should be adjourned until such time as she could be present.  He should, therefore, only call certain evidence, and he might tell them that from information which had reached him, it seemed a rather serious case and one which rendered it absolutely necessary for him to Inquire into.  Another fact which it was necessary to mention, although it might not be proved that day, was that HUXTABLE was a single woman and already the mother of two illegitimate children, this being an additional reason for making a little Inquiry into the matter.

Alice Blake, wife of a labourer, stated that HUXTABLE, her aunt, was a single woman and had had two children, one being 20 years of age and the other 12.  HUXTABLE, who belonged to Lake, Tawstock, had lodged at her house for eight weeks.  Witness was unaware that HUXTABLE was enciente, but heard rumours about a week ago and spoke to HUXTABLE  about the matter, but she denied the rumours in question.  HUXTABLE occurred an adjoining room, and about ten minutes to seven on Saturday morning, she called witness into her room saying "I have got a baby born, and it is dead."  Witness thought she must be dreaming, and passed a remark to this effect, but on HUXTABLE saying it was true, witness called her next-door neighbour (Mrs Spurway) and summoned Dr J. W. Cooke, who arrived within five minutes. The child was dead, and the body was afterwards removed to the Infirmary.

Dr J. W. Cooke spoke to being called to Zion-place.  He described the circumstances under which he found HUXTABLE, and said that from the post mortem examination and other circumstances he had no doubt that the child had breathed, and that if anyone had been at hand it would have lived.  He might say that he thought HUXTABLE had not all her wits about her.  - "Did she make any statement?" asked a Juror.  - "She would not say anything" replied Dr Cooke, "except that the child was born when she was asleep."  He never knew of such a case.  It was a perfectly developed child.  In answer to further questions, Dr Cooke said he had known the woman for years, and had frequently attended her.  She had been an in-patient at the Infirmary.  HUXTABLE was able to work and earn her living, but she was of weak intellect, certainly.  She was not, in his opinion, too weak to have called for assistance on Saturday morning.

The Coroner then said he should not ask the Jury for their verdict that day, and repeated that he thought it was right and proper that HUXTABLE should be present to hear what evidence was given in regard to the child, and be enabled to give her own version of the affair if she pleased.  The case was a very rare one, and might be very serious, being apparently full of suspicion.  He suggested an adjournment for a fortnight.  Superintendent Eddy asked Dr Cooke whether, having made a post mortem examination, he found any marks of violence to account for the child's death.  -  Dr Cooke:  "No.  There were no marks of injury.  Death was simply from suffocation or want of air."  Mrs Blake, re-called, said HUXTABLE called her just after witness's husband went to work on Saturday morning.  An adjournment for a fortnight was decided on.

Thursday 4 April 1901

BARNSTAPLE - A Barnstaple Child's Death.  Suffocated, But Jury Unable To Determine Whether Through Criminal Neglect.  -  At Barnstaple on Monday, Mr Coroner Bencraft resumed the Inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of the newly-born child of ANNIE HUXTABLE, charwoman, and a single woman, lodging at 6 Zion Place.  The Inquest was adjourned a fortnight previously for the attendance of HUXTABLE.  Dr J. W. Cooke (who, it may be said, considered HUXTABLE to be of weak-intellect) having expressed the opinion that if assistance had been at hand the child would have lived.  HUXTABLE was present at the Inquiry at the Infirmary on Monday, having been driven there from the Workhouse in a cab.  She seemed to be very weak, whilst she was very dejected.  Superintendent Eddy, borough police, was again present.

The evidence given a fortnight previously having been read over, the Coroner informed HUXTABLE that she was at liberty, although she was not bound, to give evidence.  Such evidence might be used against her, although he did not think it was likely it would be.  HUXTABLE volunteered to give evidence, and she then stated that on March 16th, she was lodging with a niece named Blake and her husband.  Going to bed, she went to sleep, and "whether in a faint of something" she woke at 6.30, and discovered that the child had been born.  - By the Coroner:  Did not go to bed before twelve; they were fond of staying up late.  Had not the strength to move, and was afraid to call her niece until Mr Blake had gone to work "because he was such a temper."  - Coroner:  Was the evidence of Dr Cooke correct?  A:  Yes, quite.  - HUXTABLE was further questioned by the Coroner and Jurymen at some little length. She adhered to her statement that the child was born whilst she was asleep, and declared that this was all she knew about the matter.  Admitted she had had two children previously.

The Coroner, in summing up, aid this was all the evidence available.  As the Jury saw, HUXTABLE was not over-intelligent, and the only question was whether they thought she had been guilty of any criminal neglect.  From the amount of intelligence she had shown that day, the Jury ought, he thought, to come to the conclusion that if HUXTABLE had shown criminal neglect, she was not aware at the time that she was guilty of such neglect.  He did not think they could make her answerable for any neglect, because, as he had said, she was to a certain extent wanting in intelligence.  However, he left the matter in the hands of the Jury.  He reminded them that Dr Cooke had expressed the opinion that the child would have lived if assistance had been at hand; and although one could not say positively it was not so, HUXTABLE'S story that the child was born whilst she was asleep seemed almost beyond belief.

The verdict of the Jury (of which Mr J. Ford was foreman) was:  "Death from Suffocation, but whether through criminal neglect the Jury are unable to determine from the evidence."  We understand that, having regard to HUXTABLE being of weak intellect, it is unlikely that any criminal proceedings will be instituted.

DOWLAND - Sudden Death At Dowland. - A painfully sudden death has occurred at Dowland, MR WILLIAM NORTHCOTT, farmer, of Higher Upcott Farm, being found dead in bed by his wife.  Dr Drummond was called, but, as he was unable to give a certificate of death, Coroner Bromham conducted an Inquest on Wednesday.  - SARAH NORTHCOTT, wife of the deceased, deposed that as her husband was out looking after the lambs, they did not retire to rest until about four o'clock on Monday morning.  About 6.30 - a couple of hours later - she called to deceased to get up, but he did not answer, and she afterwards saw that he was dead.  Deceased was 64 years of age.  Elizabeth Westcott and Samuel Piper, neighbours, spoke to hearing MRS NORTHCOTT screaming for help on the morning in question, both deposing that deceased looked quite peaceful, lying on his left side. The doctor was at once sent for.  - Dr Alexander O. Drummond, of Dolton, stated that in his opinion death was due to Natural Causes, probably syncope, but, as he had never attended deceased professionally, he did not feel justified in giving a certificate without an Inquest being held.  A verdict of "Natural Causes, viz., Failure of the Heart's Action," was returned by the Jury.

Thursday 11 April 1901

SUTCOMBE - Fatal Burns At Sutcombe. - On Saturday last LUCY GERRY, child of a farm labourer of Sutcombe, accidentally received burns which caused her death on the following morning.  Coroner Bromham held an Inquest yesterday at Hawkwill Farm, the evidence going to show that the mother of the child left it sitting by the fire, which was of coal, with one block of wood on the top.  She had only left the child a few minutes, but on her return from next door she heard the child screaming and found that its clothes were ablaze.  A portion of the wood on the fire had evidently fallen from the bodley and caught the child's clothes.  With the assistance of a neighbour, she extinguished the fire, and sent for Dr Emtage, of Bradworthy, who on arrival saw no hope for the child's recovery, death ensuing on the following morning.  In the doctor's opinion death was due to shock caused by the extensive burns.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," exonerating the mother from all blame.

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Burns At Barnstaple. - A little boy named SAMUEL JOSEPH LEWIS died at the North Devon Infirmary on Saturday morning from burns received through playing with matches.  Coroner R. I. Bencraft held an Inquest at the Infirmary on Saturday afternoon, when MARTHA JANE LEWIS, wife of JOHN LEWIS, labourer and pensioner of Belle Meadow, Barnstaple, deposed that deceased (her child) was five years old.  At about 9 o'clock on Wednesday morning she heard the boy, whom she had left in bed, scream. On going up, she found his shirt sleeve in a flame.  She put out the fire, and he did not appear to be very much burnt.  He was taken to the Infirmary, where he died that morning at six.  There was a box of matches in the bedroom, and some had been struck.  The lad was insured for a penny a week for over two years.  - Dr Malcolm Bell Hay, House Surgeon at the Infirmary, said that deceased was brought there suffering from a superficial burn on the left arm and two sores on the heel.  Death was not due to shock, but to septic pneumonia.  The burn was around the elbow joint and about two and a half inches in size.  The Jury, of which Mr George Guard was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 18 April 1901

PLYMOUTH - DIGORY WARNE CROWHURST, aged fifty-eight years, a journeyman plumber, of Florence-terrace, Embankment-road, Plymouth, was found dead on Tuesday afternoon, in a leat near Plympton.  At the Inquest on Thursday a verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned.

Thursday 25 April 1901

LANDKEY - The Late Vicar Of Landkey. - The sudden death (reported in last week's North Devon Journal) of the REV. HENRY FAWCETT, Vicar of Landkey, caused a profound sensation in North Devon, there being general expression of regret for the widow and family in their terrible bereavement.  Succeeding the Rev. H. C. Barton, the rev. gentleman had been for about 2 ½  years Vicar of Landkey, having been formerly engaged for 34 years in the East of London.  Of this period MR FAWCETT spent 14 years at St. Michael's and All Angel's Mission, Stepney, and 20 years at St. Thomas's, Bethnal Green, where his noble work is gratefully remembered.  The rev. gentleman was a great organiser, and a specially interesting fact is that he originated the immensely popular summer excursions for the poor of London to the seaside in the summer months.

The circumstances attending the death of the rev. gentleman rendered an Inquest absolutely necessary, this being held before Mr Coroner Bromham and a Jury of which Mr E. S. P. Jones (the Vicar's warden) was Foreman at the Vicarage on Thursday.

MISS EDITH FAWCETT, niece, who has resided with MR and MRS FAWCETT since they came to Landkey, stated that up to dinner-time on the previous day her uncle was in his usual good health.  Just before the meal concluded, however, MR FAWCETT said he did not feel quite himself, and his lips turned blue.  Her aunt wanted to send for a medical man, but MR FAWCETT would not permit this.  Her uncle went into the garden for a short time, then lay on a sofa for about ten minutes, and after going into the drawing room for a minute or so, proceeded upstairs into his study, her aunt following him.  MRS FAWCETT called the gardener (H. Alford), and witness followed him upstairs with a little brandy and water, which, however, MR FAWCETT was unable to take.  Witness then hurried away to telegraph for a doctor, and on the way back the gardener's little daughter informed her that her uncle was dead.

The Coroner said a rather curious coincidence, which, however, did not affect the case, was that exactly twelve months ago on Wednesday MR FAWCETT met with an accident.  But he understood that he got over that entirely.  Witness:  Yes, as far as we know.  MISS FAWCETT added that her uncle dislocated his shoulder at the time.  - In answer to a further question, witness said MR FAWCETT had recently had a bad cold, but he had quite recovered from this.  The Foreman:  He was quite cheerful on Wednesday morning.  Witness:  Yes, very cheerful. 

Henry Alford, the gardener at the Vicarage, spoke to being called into the house about 3.10 on the previous afternoon. MRS FAWCETT (on the landing) said "Alford, come quick, master has got off the chair, and I believe he is dying," and in accordance with his mistress's request he lifted MR FAWCETT up on the arm chair.  MR FAWCETT could not swallow the brandy and water, and expired almost immediately.  Dr Cooper arrived within twenty minutes.  The Coroner:  Up to yesterday the Vicar was in his usual health.  Witness:  Yes, sir.  He was in the garden with me in the morning, and he was quite jolly.  I did not see anything the matter with him.  Dr Cooper, of Barnstaple, said he was of opinion that death was due to cardiac syncope, the sudden failure of the heart's action being probably produced by acute indigestion, following a rather heavy meal.  A Juror asked the witness whether he had been attending MR FAWCETT.  Dr Cooper replied that about three months ago deceased wrote asking him for some medicine for lumbago, and witness did not therefore visit him.  MR FAWCETT was very chary of a doctor.  The Coroner, summing up, thought the general and medical evidence clearly showed that their respected Vicar came to his sudden and much lamented death from natural causes.  It was almost unnecessary to say that the widow and family of deceased would have their sincere sympathy in the very sad and unexpected calamity which had befallen them.  (Hear, hear). MR FAWCETT had been for over 2 ½ years Vicar of Landkey, and he believed he was right in saying that he had been generally respected and beloved in the parish.  (Hear, hear.)  As a preacher of considerable merit and eloquence he was known far beyond the limits of that parish, and as an author he had obtained, he believed, considerable distinction.  A remarkable fact was that the title of his latest book was "The great hereafter."  The Coroner again expressed deep sympathy with the family, and said he was sorry that he had not been able to avoid holding an Inquest.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," and Mr Jones (speaking with great emotion) said he was sure the Jury would allow him to fully endorse the remarks which had fallen from the Coroner.  He could assure them that the parish had sustained a great loss by MR FAWCETT'S death, the remark applying particularly to him (the speaker), who had been the Vicar's warden since he had been at Landkey. The warmest sympathy of the Jury went out to the widow and family in their great bereavement.

Thursday 2 May 1901

BIDEFORD - Inquest At Bideford. - Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest at the Royal Hotel, Bideford, yesterday, into the death of CAROLINE TAYLOR, wife of FRANK TAYLOR, steam crane driver, in the employ of the London and South Western Railway Company.  Mr John Cock was Foreman of the Jury.

FRANK TAYLOR stated that deceased and himself were married twenty years ago April 16th last.  They had had eleven children, of whom six were living.  The eldest alive was 17, and the youngest two.  Deceased was confined a fortnight ago, with a still-born male child.  Mrs Stephens, who had attended the deceased in eight previous confinements, attended her during the present confinement.  The child was born on April 17th, and up to the 25th MRS TAYLOR progressed very well, but that morning she complained of shivers.  Witness asked if he should get a doctor, but she would not hear of it.  She got worse, however, and on the next day, Friday, witness insisted on sending for a doctor.  Mrs Clynich, the sister of deceased, attended MRS TAYLOR from the Saturday after the child was born to the time of her death.

By the Foreman:  Deceased went downstairs on the Sunday, four days after confinement, and again the Monday and Wednesday following.  When he assisted her upstairs on Wednesday evening at about 8 o'clock, she said she was feeling capital.  Deceased had always had an aversion to doctors.  Mrs Helen Stephens stated that for the last thirty years she had acted as a midwife, and hundreds of cases had passed under her supervision.  Had attended the deceased on eight occasions prior to that of a fortnight since.  Her custom, after the child was born, was to look into the house to see the mother every day.  She saw MRS TAYLOR on the Thursday and Friday after the confinement.  In the evening of Thursday, April 25th, deceased sent for her and on going to the house, she advised MRS TAYLOR to get a doctor, but she refused.  Witness did not know the deceased was suffering from puerperal fever.  Had never had a case of puerperal fever under her notice.  Was present when deceased died.

By the Foreman:  Mrs Arnold, a neighbour looked after the deceased from the Wednesday until the Saturday, when Mrs Clynich came.  Did not expect MRS TAYLOR to get up so early as she did.  The Coroner asked Dr Gooding if he would like to ask the witness any questions.  Dr Gooding said Mrs Stephens had made a mistake when she said she had not experienced a case of puerperal fever before.  He remembered a case in which she was engaged as midwife.  Mrs Stephens (hesitatingly):  Yes, I remember the case, but I did not attend her afterwards.  Mrs Clynich, sister of the deceased, stated that she arrived at Bideford on the Saturday.  At that time her sister was going on very well.  On Wednesday deceased came downstairs, and after supper went to bed.  She was taken ill between two or three o'clock in the morning, and complained of shivers.  As she got worse, witness sent for the nurse and Mrs Stephens came to the house, and gave deceased a brandy and soda.  MR TAYLOR wanted to send for a doctor, but deceased wished him not to do so.  It was not the husband's fault that the doctor was not sent for earlier.  He was a very good husband to the deceased.  By the Jury:  Told Dr Gooding her sister was taken worse on the Thursday and not on the Tuesday.  Dr M. R. Gooding stated that on Friday he found deceased suffering from puerperal fever, and sent for the district nurse, although having no hope of recovery.  did not give a certificate because he thought there had been unwarrantable delay in sending for a doctor.  He was given to understand that deceased had a relapse on the Tuesday.

By the Jury:  It was quite possible MRS TAYLOR'S life might have been saved had witness been sent for earlier.  The verdict was that death was due to puerperal fever, the Jury adding a rider regretting that deceased was not prevented from going downstairs so early; and approving of Dr Gooding's action in the matter.

Thursday 9 May 1901

ILFRACOMBE - Sad Fatal Accident At Ilfracombe.  Inquest And Verdict. - On Saturday evening, at the Workmen's Club, Church Hill, an Inquest was held before J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner for the District, on the body of HARRY MILTON HAWKINS, son of MR S. HAWKINS, railway signalman.  Mr W. R. Foster was chosen Foreman of the Jury, and after the body had been viewed, the first witness called was SAMUEL HAWKINS, who said deceased was his son, aged 13.  Witness last saw him alive at 8.50 a.m. on Friday. At 9.50 p.m., just as he was leaving his signal box, he heard that the boy was missing, and joined the searching party.  After searching some time witness was recommended to go home, and did so.  The body of deceased was brought home just after midnight.  Deceased clothing was all wet, also his hair, evidently showing that the poor lad had been drowned.

George Stewart Best, a lad of 14, said he had known deceased for some years, and lived near him.  On Friday evening, about 6 o'clock, deceased called for him, and they arranged to go to a plantation on Lee Downs, about 1 ½ miles from Ilfracombe.  Deceased wanted to go down near the cliffs, as he saw crows flying about, and there might be some nests.  HAWKINS went down the cliffs, and witness stayed at the top.  Deceased came up, without a nest, and said he would go down some other place; witness stayed behind, but did not see at which point deceased went down.  That time he did not come, and witness waited about half-an-hour; he shouted out and deceased answered once.  He was on a rock on the beach, and asked witness which way he could get up.  Witness said he did not know, and then lost sight of his friend.  He waited some time, and began to get frightened, as deceased did not come up.  Witness ran home and told his mother, who told him to tell MRS HAWKINS.  A search party was formed, and he went with them to show where he had last seen HAWKINS.  He was on the top of the cliff, and saw deceased afterwards, when they brought the body in to the Pier.  It was the first time deceased and witness had ever been at the place.  - By the Jury:  It was steep to go down the path, but much worse to come up. The tide was right out.  When he saw deceased last, he jumped off the rock, but witness did not see where he alighted.

George Pine, pier porter, said he heard about 10.30 on Friday that the lad was missing, and with five others went in a boat from the Ilfracombe Pier round to Halsebushes.  Three of the party landed, including witness, and on the beach met Parkhouse, one of the Station porters, who had climbed down over the cliff.  This man said he had found footprints and tracked them to a rock.  Witness went with him, and they went over the rock, with the other two men.  They told the boat to go round to Brandy Cove.  After climbing the rock they went down the other side and got into the boat.  They went to a place called Brandy Cove Gut and Parkhouse and witness landed, going about 30 feet up from the water's edge, where they found deceased's body.  He was lying on his face and hands between two rocks; there was no water there then, as the tide was out, but water had been there.  Deceased's clothes were very wet, evidently showing he had been in the water; he was apparently dead.  They tried artificial respiration for 15 minutes, but without effect; a little froth came from the lips.  The night was light.  The body had all the appearance of death by drowning.  They saw no marks such as those caused by a fall.  They placed the body in the boat, and brought it round to the Pier.  - By the Jury:  The body was not jammed, but as if the water had settled it there.  - Captain Birmingham, one of the Jury, who was sworn to give evidence, said he was one of the search party, and where the body was found it would have been 14 feet deep at high water, which was just about 6 p.m.  There was every sign of death by drowning.

P.S. Jeffrey said that he went to Lee Downs, where he joined the coastguard, the father of the boy, and others.  At 11.30 p.m. those on the beach called up to say the body was found, and was in the boat.  Witness went to the Pier, where the body was landed, and it was taken home on a stretcher.  The clothes were thoroughly wet, and the boy had evidently been drowned.  There was no mark on the body, except a small bruise on the right shin.  The father, who was recalled, said that his boy was unable to swim.  The Crooner summed up the evidence, and the Jury having considered the case, returned a verdict "That Deceased met his death by Drowning, but how he got into the water there was no evidence to show."  The Jury expressed their great sympathy with the parents of the deceased.

Thursday 16 May 1901

CREACOMBE - Fatal Accident At Creacombe. - On the morning of Monday, the 6th inst., THOMAS W. SMITH, farm labourer, of Frankhill, Creacombe, was found dead in the roadway, having been run over by a horse and cart which he had been driving.  An Inquest was conducted by the Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) on Wednesday, when John Cox, of Heffers Farm, Witheridge, identified the body.  SMITH had worked for him nine years, and he had known deceased from a boy.  He was 33 years old.  - Robert Cole, of Frankhill, deposed that at about nine o'clock on Monday morning deceased left the field he was in with a horse and cart.  A few minutes later witness went out into the road, where, about 25 or 30 yards from the gate, he found MSITH lying dead, the horse and cart being out of sight.  Witness went for assistance and informed the police.  When he left the field SMITH was leading the horse.  - P.C. Tozer, stationed at Rackenford, stated that he saw by the marks in the road that SMITH had evidently been dragged along several yards, and a wheel had passed over his chest.  - DR G. F. Holt, of Witheridge, deposed to having examined the body externally.  There was a considerable amount of bruising on his right side, while one rib was broken and had evidently penetrated the lung. The Injury could have been sustained by a heavy cart going over the body, and would be sufficient to cause death.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BRATTON FLEMING - Fatal Burns At Bratton Fleming. - At the White Hart inn, Bratton Fleming, on Monday, the County Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) conducted an Inquest on the body of a little boy named JAMES EDWIN SQUIRES, who succumbed on Saturday morning to extensive burns received on the day previous.

MRS LILLIE SQUIRES, mother of the child, identified the body, and said she was the wife of a farm labourer living at the Valley of Succour, Bratton Fleming.  On Friday morning about 7.30 she left the child, who was five years old, and went upstairs for his clothes to dress him in order to go to Barnstaple.  She had not been upstairs a minute when she heard him screaming.  Rushing downstairs she found him at the foot of the stairs with his flannellette nightgown all on fire.  She wrapped his clothes round him and put out the fire.  Her mother-in-law, living close by, came and rendered assistance.  Dr Jackson being telegraphed for.  She has one younger child.

MRS SUSANNA SQUIRES (mother-in-law of the last witness) also gave evidence, mentioning that there was no guard or other protection in front of the fireplace.  Dr Mark Jackson deposed that he knew the deceased, having once attended him for a fit.  In consequence of a telegram, he went out to Bratton, and found the child lying in a cradle in the back kitchen, the mother and mother-in-law being also present.  The boy was extensively burnt all over the body and on the back of the thighs right down below the knees.  The skin was raised in blisters, and some parts of the body were charred.  The child was very cold and pulseless, suffering from collapse.  He dressed the wounds and put the child to bed, leaving some medicine to ease his pain, and ordered hot nourishment.  On Saturday he was going out, and met the father, who told him that the child had died in the morning.  The cause of death was, in his opinion, shock to the system caused by extensive burns.  He had no hopes from the first of recovery.  A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned, the Coroner, in summing up, remarking on the danger of flannelette garments, several deaths of late having been caused in his district and all over the country by the wearing of this inflammable article.

DARTMOUTH - JAMES SMITH, a seaman of H.M.S. "Britannia," who fell out of a swing-boat at Dartmouth, died on Saturday.  At the Inquest held on Monday the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and censured the proprietor of the swings for not taking more stringent measures to stop the boats when people disobeyed the orders.

Thursday 23 May 1901

BARNSTAPLE - Little Boy Drowned At Barnstaple.  -  GEORGE BOWDEN, the pretty little six-year old son of a mariner living in Holland-street, lost his life by drowning at Barnstaple on Thursday evening.  He was last seen playing alone on Castle Quay, but how he got into the water is unknown.  It is supposed he overbalanced himself whilst playing with a boat's rope at the edge of the Quay.  The body was observed in the water at the end of the Quay shortly after, and it was immediately taken out, but efforts to restore life were unsuccessful.

At the Inquest at the North Devon Infirmary on Friday, SARAH JANE BOWDEN, stated that she saw her son (the deceased) near the railway station gates just before five o'clock on the previous day.  He went off to play with another little boy named Ernest Squires, and about an hour and half later she learnt that he had been drowned.  - By Dr Jackson:  Deceased was not subject to fits, the only illness he had ever had being croup.

William Reed Dockings, cab proprietor, informed the Jury that he went on Castle Quay about 6.25 on the previous evening, when a lad named Brailey, who was about to let a dog swim in the water, noticed deceased's body at the lower end of the Quay, and called out to him. Proceeding to the spot witness at once took the body out of the water.  The tide was going out fast, and the boy's leg was entangled in the lower part of a boat's rope attached to the Quay.  BOWDEN (who was fully dressed, his cap falling into the water as he raised the body) appeared to be dead at first but witness afterwards saw his leg move, and Mr Watkins, stationmaster at the Town Station, and others tried artificial respiration, whilst Dr Jackson arrived within ten minutes.  All thought at one time there were signs of BOWDEN recovering, as the colour returned to his face, but the efforts (continued for about three quarters of an hour) were fruitless.

Dr Mark Jackson said he was called to Castle Quay about 6.30 and found Mr Watkins, Mr Dockings (the last witness) and others performing artificial respiration and using restoratives.  Examining the boy at once, witness was of opinion that he was dead, but as it was said some colour had returned to his face the efforts to restore life were continued twenty minutes longer without effect.  Death was from drowning.  He should like to say he thought everything possible was done by those present to restore life.  P.C. Drake (who assisted to take the body to the mortuary) was also called.

The Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft), addressing the Jury, thought it quite clear that the case was one of accidental drowning, although he had been quite unable to ascertain under what circumstances the child got into the water.  Mrs Stribling, who accompanied MRS BOWDEN to the Inquest, observed that the little boy Squires had said he left the deceased playing alone on Castle Quay.  She thought it possible that the boy leaned over the edge of the Quay catching olvers, and fell into the river.

"Accidentally Drowned" was the verdict of the Jury, of which Mr G. Guard was Foreman.  Mr Watkins, stationmaster at the Town Station, and Mr Charles organised a subscription for the burial of the deceased, and several of the Jurymen passed over their fees to MRS BOWDEN.  MR and MRS BOWDEN wish to thank all those who so generously helped them in their sad loss.

ILFRACOMBE - Injudicious Feeding Of Children.  Inquest At Ilfracombe. - On Tuesday Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at Ilfracombe on the body of ERNEST FORDHAM, the illegitimate child of ROSANNA FORDHAM, waitress, at 5, Quay.  The child was eight weeks old, and was in the care of MRS JANE FORDHAM, the mother of ROSANNA FORDHAM.  It was born at Barnstaple Workhouse, and when the girl left the House she received no directions as to the feeding of the infant.  Dr Payne deposed that the child was too young to take bread, and said that in his opinion the cause of death was improper feeding.  The two causes contributing to the death were insufficiency of milk and too much bread or starchy food.  The immediate cause of death was convulsions.  He believed that such improper feeding was quite common among the working-classes, and arose from ignorance and carelessness.  The Jury returned a verdict that the death of the child was caused by Injudicious and Improper Feeding, and added a rider to the effect that they considered that the authorities at the Barnstaple Workhouse ought to instruct every young mother leaving there as to the proper food for her child, and the frequency with which it should be fed.

Thursday 6 June 1901

MARWOOD - Little Girl Drowned At Marwood. - MR WALTER JOHN GEAR, farmer, of Huish, Marwood, lost his only child under most distressing circumstances on Friday afternoon.  The little one (FRANCES MARY GEAR, aged 2 ½ years) was last seen alive near a cattle drinking trough, which contained only ten inches of water, with which it had evidently been playing and in which it was drowned.  General sympathy is expressed for MR GEAR in his sad bereavement.

At the Inquest before Mr J. F. Bromham (County Coroner) on Saturday, MR GEAR gave evidence of identification.  He returned from Barnstaple Market at about 7 p.m. on the previous day, to be informed that his daughter had been drowned in a drinking trough.  The child was then in the arms of a servant, apparently dead.  - Charles Rook, farm servant, stated that just before 7 p.m. the previous evening he saw the child by the trough, playing with a little tin.  The trough was about ten inches high, and was full of water.  A few minutes later, Ellen Williams, another servant, having elicited from him that he had seen deceased by the side of the trough, went to look for her, and almost immediately afterwards came in with the child in her arms, seemingly dead.  Mary Ellen Williams spoke to finding the deceased in the trough.  She had evidently fallen in whilst at play, part of her body being under water and her legs on the edge of the trough.  She took the child out, and carried her to the house, meeting MRS GEAR on the way.  The doctor was immediately sent for.  The child had not been long missed before witness found her.  Dr C. M. Cooke, Barnstaple, spoke to MR GEAR calling at his surgery at 7.45 p.m. on Friday evening. Witness went to Huish and found the child was dead, and showed general signs of death from asphyxia, caused by drowning.  P.C. Hedgeland having spoken to finding the tin in the trough, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, great sympathy being expressed with MR GEAR in his loss.

EXMOUTH - At an Inquest held at Exmouth on Friday on the body of CHARLOTTE EMILY BRIDLE, aged twenty years, who committed suicide on Wednesday by taking poison, the Jury returned a verdict that death was due to taking oxalic acid, deceased being Temporarily Insane at the time.

Thursday 4 July 1901

BRIXHAM - JOHN FURNEAUX SPARKS, retired master mariner, aged seventy-three, cut his throat with a penknife at Brixham, on Saturday, and died soon after.  The verdict was "Suicide while Temporarily Insane."

SWYMBRIDGE - Swymbridge Man Killed At West Ealing. - MR WM. TRUTE employed at the tanneries, Swymbridge, near Barnstaple, has lost his son WILLIAM, a steady, promising young fellow, under distressing circumstances.  The deceased, who was in his twentieth year, was engaged on the Great Western Railway at Ealing.  He lived at West Ealing and was accustomed to go home by train to meals.  On Tuesday afternoon in last week he and a companion were running across the station yard in order to catch a train when TRUTE was knocked down by an express train and instantly killed.  Deceased was running so fast that he could not stop himself when he came to the place where the express was about to pass.  The engine knocked him off the metals 40 yards, the injuries inflicted being fearful.  At the Inquest the Coroner said it seemed very dangerous that men should be allowed to cross the metals in this way with trains passing by.  It was a pity the Company's regulations were not enforced.  The fact was that these young men got so inured to the dangers of their occupation that they got careless.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Injuries received by being Accidentally Knocked down by an Engine."  Deceased's father attended the Inquest and gave evidence of identification.  The body of the deceased was brought to Swymbridge on Saturday by the 3 p.m. train and interred in the Parish Churchyard on Sunday, the Vicar (Rev. H. Harrison) officiating.  The coffin was borne to the grave by six young men (friends of the deceased).  Beautiful wreaths were sent by many sympathising friends.  Much sympathy is felt for the parents throughout the village in their sad bereavement.

BRADWORTHY - Sudden Death Of A Child At Bradworthy. - The County Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham, Esq.) held an Inquest at Bradworthy on Tuesday, touching the death of a child named THOMAS BRIDGMAN WARD, aged nine months.  Evidence by LOUISA ANN WARD, mother of the child, was that, noticing the child was not quite so bright as usual, she took it, on Saturday morning, to Dr Emtage.  The doctor was not at home, but Mrs Emtage gave her advice and sent witness and child home in her carriage.  Shortly after arriving home, the child died in her arms.  Mary Elizabeth Coles, a neighbour, also gave evidence, while Dr Emtage deposed to visiting MRS WARD'S house on the Saturday evening, and to finding the child dead in her arms.  It was never very strong.  In his opinion, death was due to natural causes, viz.:-  summer diarrhoea and collapse. He believed the child was taken every care of, and not in any way neglected.  A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.

Thursday 11 July 1901

BIDEFORD - Boy Drowned Near Bideford. - At the Town Hall, Bideford, on Monday, the County Coroner (Mr Bromham) held an Enquiry touching the death of WILLIAM EDWARD PHILLIPS, aged 8, of Union-street, Bideford, who was drowned in the river Torridge on Sunday evening.  -  WILLIAM HENRY PHILLIPS identified the body as that of his son.  The last time witness saw deceased alive was about 2.30 p.m. on Sunday last, when the boy said he was going to Sunday School.  - Thomas Blackmore, general labourer, of East-the-Water, said he found the body in a pit in the river Torridge about four o'clock on Monday morning and removed it to the Bideford mortuary.  - Sydney Kelly, aged 10, of Union-street, Bideford, stated that he went to Westleigh on Sunday afternoon with several other boys and about six o'clock he, with deceased and two other boys, bathed in the river Torridge.  The tide was very swift, a boy named Archie Love being carried off his legs, and he (witness) pulled him into land. Afterwards PHILLIPS was washed down the river and drowned.  Witness was not able to save PHILLIPS, and neither of the boys could swim. Witness took up deceased's clothes and handed them over to Mrs Lane at Bideford, but he did not tell MR PHILLIPS what had happened.  On their way to Bideford Archie Lane told a man named Piper of the accident, and the latter went into the water in search of PHILLIPS.  - Alfred Darch, aged 10, who was with the other lads, but did not bathe, stated that he heard deceased call out for help, but no one could give assistance.  Witness went to Sunday School that afternoon and saw the boy PHILLIPS there.  - A verdict of "Accidentally Drowned whilst Bathing" was returned, and the Coroner cautioned the lads not to go bathing again unless accompanied by some older person.

Thursday 18 July 1901

NORTHAM - An accident causing the death of GEORGE SQUIRE, a native of this place, has happened on a truck line at Penycraig, Wales.  The unfortunate man was so terribly mangled that portions of his remains were picked up at a distance of a mile.  At the Inquest a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

NEWTON ABBOT - In the case of GEORGE NOYCE, the young Newton Abbot jockey, killed while riding in a steeplechase at Saltash, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

STONEHOUSE - An Inquest was held at Stonehouse on Friday afternoon relating to the death of ELIZABETH MAY SIMPSON, infant daughter of ROBINSON WARD SIMPSON, labourer, 16 St. Paul's-street.  The evidence showed that Abina Drew, of 7 Frederick-street, Plymouth, while drunk, let the child fall from her arms.  Accused who was deceased's aunt, was committed for trial at the Devon Assizes on a charge of Manslaughter.

CLOVELLY - Fatal Fall At Clovelly. - An Inquest was on Friday held at the Red Lion Hotel, Clovelly, by Mr J. F. Bromham (County Coroner) respecting the death of a little boy named FRANCIS HEADON, who met with his death through falling out of a window at Clovelly on June 6th.  FREDERICK HEADON, having given evidence of identification, said the child had been unconscious since the accident, and died on Wednesday.  The window from which he fell was from 12ft to 14ft above the main street.  FANNY HEADON, the mother, said the window was open at the time.  She was getting some writing paper, and the child was playing about.  She did not notice the child fall, but he must have got on a chair and leant against the cord of the window blind which snapped and he fell into the street.  Dr R. Walker, of Clovelly, who was immediately in attendance, said he found the child unconscious, and concluded he had fractured the base of his skull.  He had attended the child daily since, but had little hopes of recovery from the first.  Dr Grose, of Bideford, met him on Tuesday last in consultation, and everything possible had been done.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death caused by the child falling out of window," and expressed their sympathy with the parents in the loss of their only child.

Thursday 25 July 1901

TORQUAY - A verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was returned at the Inquest held on Monday evening on the body of SARAH ANN REED, aged sixty-five years, of Cavern-road, Ellacombe, and who on Sunday took oxalic acid.

SIDMOUTH - At the Inquest held at Sidmouth on Saturday touching the death, after a fall, of a grocer's assistant, named FREDERICK WILLIAM DAVIS, aged 20, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

TORQUAY - Suicide while Temporarily Insane was the verdict of the Jury that investigated the death of MR HENRY HUNT, a baker, of Torquay, whose nude body was found on Oddicombe beach on Friday.

Thursday 1 August 1901

BIDEFORD - The Drowning Case At Wollacombe.  The Body Recovered. - About ten o'clock on Tuesday morning Mr Charles Dark's trawler from Bideford was some six miles west-north-west of Bideford Bar, when a dead body was seen floating in the water.  The crew took it aboard, and subsequently it was landed at Bideford and conveyed on a stretcher to the mortuary.  The body had only a bathing-dress on.  From this it was conjectured to be that of MR WOOD, a tradesman of Newport, Mon., who was drowned at Wollacombe on the 18th inst., while bathing.  Communication was made with MR WOOD'S friends at Newport, to go to Bideford and view the body, which was identified as that of the gentleman who lost his life under such distressing circumstances at Wollacombe.

The Inquest:-  The County Coroner held an Inquest last evening at Bideford, touching the death of GEORGE WOOD, of Newport, who was drowned whilst bathing at Wollacombe on the 18th inst.  Charles Alger, of Newport, a friend of deceased, identified the body as that of GEORGE WOOD, age 31, outfitter and hosier, of Newport, Mon.  Charles Howell, iron merchant, of Newport, said about noon on the 18th inst., deceased and he bathed together at Wollacombe Bay.  Witness, whilst floating in the water, was carried out with the current some distance.  He called out for help.  Meanwhile a Mr Howell had joined MR WOOD, and they came towards him.  He reached them, and found WOOD was much more exhausted than witness.  Howell consequently helped WOOD, who urged him to let him go by himself.  Witness did so and swam on to the shore.  On looking around he saw WOOD being carried out by the tide and heard him calling for help.  A man named Spiers, of London, went to his rescue, but WOOD was drowned.  Afterwards a Mr Tucker, of Exeter, went to the rescue of Spiers.  Witness did not see Price, the bathing machine proprietor, coming to the rescue, being so dazed.  Thos. Price, Woolacombe, said he heard three men calling for help and asked Mr Tucker, who was undressing in a bathing machine, to go and assist.  Witness also went with a pole and rope, but by the time Tucker got to the men WOOD was drowned.  Witness went to Tucker with a pole, and eventually witness, Tucker and Spiers were pulled ashore by people by means of the rope.  He had never previously known of an accident at this place.  Charles Dark, of Bideford, deposed to finding the body in Bideford Bay.  Price was represented by Mr Cornish Bowden (for Mr A. F. Seldon, of Barnstaple), and Miss Chichester, proprietor of the foreshore, was represented by Mr W. H. Huxtable, of Ilfracombe.  Mr Alger, who had been staying with deceased at Wollacombe previous to the fatality, considered a notice board should be placed stating that bathing there was dangerous.  MR WOOD'S friends did not want a similar accident to occur.  The Jury did not add this to their verdict of "Accidentally Drowned whilst Bathing."  They considered no one to blame.

Thursday 8 August 1901

LYNTON - The Lynton Fatality.  Inquest. - Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest at Lynton Town Hall on Thursday into the death of MR ALEXANDER CHARLES BULL, who succumbed to injuries received in a carriage accident on Tuesday evening.  Elizabeth G. Chugg, lodging-house keeper, of Belle View, Wrafton-road, Braunton, deposed that the deceased, with MRS BULL and Mrs Foster, came to her house on July 18th.  She identified the body as that of MR BULL.  He was a clerk in Somerset House, and was 60 years of age.  His residence was at Lavernock, Hampton Hill, London.  Samuel Sloley stated that he was a driver in the employ of Mr G. Moon, of Lynton .  On Tuesday he drove the deceased and the two ladies from Lynton station to the Globe Hotel.  After tea he took them to the Valley of the Rocks and then to Lynmouth.  From there he drove them to the bottom of the Cliff Railway and arranged to meet them at the top and drive them to the station.  He met them near the Valley of the Rocks Hotel, and they got into the carriage and he turned the horse in the direction of Lynton station.  The vehicle was of basket work and drawn by one horse.  At the foot of Direction Hill witness got out to walk up.  The carriage was on the left hand side of the road.  Some way up the hill witness saw P.C. Lynn, who called out "Look out Sammy, he's coming."  Almost immediately afterwards a collision took place, another carriage dashing into his.  The carriage was knocked to pieces, and the gentleman and two ladies were thrown out.  - By the Foreman:  There was no time for the gentleman and ladies to get out of the vehicle.  - By a Juror:  If the driver of the other vehicle could have guided his horse there was room for the two vehicles to pass each other.  Witness's horse and carriage were on the footpath.

Frank Allen, a cab driver, employed by Mr Tom Jones, of Lynton, stated that on Tuesday evening he met the 5.57 o'clock train.  Two ladies got into his carriage, which was of basket work and drawn by one horse.  When they reached the Cottage Inn the horse seemed to take fright at something, and bolted.  He passed three vehicles safely.  When he reached the top of Direction Hill, at which time the horse was quite beyond his control, witness saw a carriage coming round the corner.  Witness tried to avoid a collision, and kept to the left all the way down.  His carriage smashed right into that which was coming up the hill, and witness was thrown over the head of the horse.  The two ladies who were in his carriage were thrown out.  By the Jury:  There was not sufficient room for him to pass the other carriage.  He held the reins while he took off the drag.  He retained his hold of the reins until the collision occurred.  Maud Jones, one of the ladies who rode in Allen's carriage, corroborated his evidence.  After the horse bolted the driver stuck to his seat, and so far as she could see did his best to guide the horse.  She did not know what frightened the horse.  P.C. Lynn stated it was impossible for Sloley to get out of the way.  As far as he could see no blame could be attached to either driver.  Dr Stephens, M.B., F.R.C.S., stated that deceased and two ladies were removed to the Cottage Hospital.  MR BULL did not regain consciousness, and died on Wednesday morning.  The actual cause of death was compression of the brain, occasioned by haemorrhage, due to the fracture of the skull.  He had no reason to think other than that the two ladies would recover.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and in a rider expressed sympathy with the relatives, and stated that no blame could be attached to anyone.  They handed their fees to the hospital authorities.  The two ladies who were injured in the accident are making satisfactory progress towards recovery.

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Fatal Accident At Barnstaple. - The Great Western Railway Station at Barnstaple, was the scene of a deplorable fatal accident on Friday afternoon.  MR WILLIAM HENRY REED, foreman of painters, was engaged on a ladder at a height of over 20 feet in painting the weather-board of the goods shed, when, by some means, he fell, drawing the ladder with him, sustaining serious injuries, and being rendered unconscious.  MR REED was promptly taken to the North Devon Infirmary, where he expired three hours later, never having regained consciousness.  Belonging to Lostwithiel, the deceased, who was formerly in the employ of the Old Cornwall Railway Company, and who accepted the post of foreman of painters under the G.W.R. Company at Taunton only two months ago, was a member of Lostwithiel Town Council, and Past Chief Ranger of the Ancient Order of Foresters, of which Society he was for some years Secretary.  He was also Secretary and Librarian of the Working Men's Institute, having resigned the office only about a week ago.  He was a local preacher and one of the principal church workers of the Free Methodists.  A large picnic, which was to have been held on Monday at Fowey of the Sunday School teachers was postponed.  Deceased  leaves a widow and two children.  The funeral at Lostwithiel on Monday was attended by the Mayor and Corporation, Foresters, railway employees and others.

The Inquest:-  The Borough Coroner (Mr R.I. Bencraft) opened the Inquiry on Saturday afternoon, remarking that they were called together to investigate the circumstances of a very sad case.  Deceased was about 40 years of age, and met with his death, no doubt accidentally, whilst engaged in painting sheds at the G.W.R. Station close by, on the day previous.  In consequence of the widow not being able to attend from Lostwithiel, and for other reasons, he purposed that day only to take evidence of identification in order to enable a certificate to be given that the deceased might be removed.  He should then adjourn the Inquiry until the following week.

After the body had been viewed, and identified by Henry Francis, who was also engaged in painting the sheds with REED, Francis stated that on the previous afternoon they were painting the outside of the gable end of the goods shed which faced up the line.  At about 5.30 witness heard a shout, and, looking round, saw REED and the ladder (a twenty foot one) falling together.  Deceased pitched on his back just off the metals, with the ladder on top of him.  He went to assist him - having been about 30 feet away from him when he fell - and found him on his back near the metals.  He never spoke after the fall.  - The Foreman:  (Mr E. Lewis)  You do not know anything about a barrow or truck coming into contact with the ladder?  -  Witness:  I do not know anything about that.  - The Foreman:  That has been rumoured, you know.  - A Juror:  Oh, there are always rumours.  - Witness:  I don't know what caused the ladder to fall.  I could not say whether the ladder was in the opening where the trucks go in and out.  - The Coroner said that he had been to the spot with the Stationmaster, and the ladder was in the opening where the trucks passed, but he thought he could call evidence to satisfy them with regard to a collision by a truck.  - Further questioned, Francis said that there was no one close to REED at the time of the accident.  He was the painting the highest point of the gable, being nearly at the top of his ladder.  Could not say what the base of the ladder was standing upon.  It must have slid down sideways, but whether something touched the ladder or whether REED lost his balance, witness could not say.  This was all the evidence taken on Saturday, an adjournment being decided on until Wednesday.

At the resumed Inquiry yesterday there were present, in addition to the Coroner, and Jury, Chief Inspector Shattock, Exeter Division; Mr Elms, Assistant Engineer, Plymouth; Mr Turpin, Permanent Way Inspector; Mr Withy, the Barnstaple Stationmaster; Mr Basset, deceased's brother-in-law;, and Mr W. H. Werry, deceased's cousin.  At the outset Mr Coroner Bencraft remarked that deceased had left a widow and two children and an aged mother, to whose maintenance he had contributed.  The family were entitled to the fullest sympathy, and he trusted the G.W.R. Company would deal generously with them.

Checker James Adams, whose duties are to load the trucks in the goods shed, stated that shortly before 5.30 p.m. on Friday, there was some wool to be loaded there.  Two full trucks were on the rails in front of an empty one, and in order to load the wool by the crane these trucks had to be pushed some little distance to the east end of the shed.  Witness and men named Harry and Pickard had pushed the trucks about 8ft., he supposed, when he heard a shout outside, and looking round he saw MR REED falling and carrying the ladder with him. Rushing out, he found deceased lying on his back, with the ladder partly across the outer rail and his chest.  He raised MR REED, who was taken in an unconscious condition to the Infirmary.  - By the Coroner:  Was not aware there was any painting proceeding in this, the gable end of the shed.  The horses used for shunting the trucks into the shed had left before this, and he took it that the line was clear.  There was a space of about 1ft between the trucks and the gable, but he did not observe the ladder there before moving the trucks.  The truck must have struck the ladder, which was across the rails, causing it to fall.  Had no intimation that the painters were going to work at this point.  - The Foreman (Mr E. Lewis) asked whether it was the custom to acquaint employees that workmen were engaged in painting or repairing outside.  - A.:  It is not customary.  - Inspector Shattock said it was the duty of foreman painters to advise those inside, or station a man at the bottom of the ladder, when they took up positions of this sort.  - Mr Basset asked whether it was not the duty of porters before moving vans to see that the line was clear.  - "Not necessarily so," replied Inspector Shattock.  - Witness, in answer to another question, said he did not observe the painters working at the side of the shed during the afternoon.  - Mr Basset pressed for a definite answer to his question.  - Witness's reply was that he did not know of any rule on the matter, and took it for granted the line was clear.

John Harry, porter, who assisted in moving the trucks, corroborated, except as to the space between the truck and the gable, which he thought was between 5ft and 6ft.  They did not expect a ladder was standing at the spot, and so did not look up.  Did not know of any rule providing for their looking outside before moving trucks, unless they were shunting with an engine.  - Inspector Shattock thought the last witness was correct as to the distance between the top of the truck and the archway.  Harry further stated that the painters were working at the right corner of the shed when he shunted the trucks in the shed somewhat earlier in the afternoon.  Recalled, Henry Francis, painter, stated that he did not assist MR REED to put the ladder at the point where it was knocked down.  The ladder had 25 rungs.  A Juror expressed the opinion that MR REED could not have raised the ladder by himself; but the theory was that deceased moved it into the position by turning it over and over against the side of the roof.  Robert Pickard, cartage foreman, stated that he uncoupled the two trucks from the empty one, and from the same position assisted in moving them, so that it was impossible for him to see the ladder.  He was not aware of any painting proceeding at the spot.  Inspector Shattock, who then gave evidence, was not aware of any rule requiring porters to see that the line was clear before shifting trucks in order to load.  The trucks in question had just previously been brought in by horses, this in itself proving that the line was left clear.  If the porters were shunting into different sidings, it would be their duty to look out, but moving only a few feet it would not be necessary.  Deceased was evidently under the impression that the trucks were not going to be moved, and did not intimate the position he had taken up.  It was the duty of every workman to protect himself when at work on the line. 

Dr Walter Cooper, honorary surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, stated that REED was brought to the institution in a state of collapse, and never recovered consciousness.  Death, in his opinion, was due to fractures of the base of the skull and of the spine.  The Coroner, summing up, said there was no criminal negligence to be ascribed to anyone.  It was a pure accident, and he suggested a verdict accordingly, but left the matter in the Jury's hands.  They had not to go into the question of compensation, and no doubt the G.W.R. Company would treat the case properly when it came before them.  "Accidental Death" was the verdict, the Jury, however, through the Foreman, expressing the opinion that it was a pity there was no rule providing that porters should see the line was clear before moving trucks out of sheds.  They did not wish to add any rider to their verdict.

Thursday 15 August 1901

ILFRACOMBE - Sudden Death At Ilfracombe. - On Saturday afternoon Mr J. F. Bromham held an Inquest at the Workman's Club, Church Hill, on the body of GEORGE TUCKER, gardener, who died the previous day in his greenhouse at the Brannocks.  Mr J. C. Clarke was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  ARTHUR EDWARD TUCKER, son of the deceased, identified the body as that of his father, GEORGE TUCKER, aged 68 years, nurseryman.  He resided at 16 Larkstone-terrace.  Deceased was in the habit of working in the garden.  Witness last saw him alive at 10 minutes past one in the garden-path.  His father proceeded to the potting house to partake of his dinner.  One of the witness's children, a little girl of four years of age, went out with a cup of tea, but quickly returned saying she had seen her grandfather on the floor. Witness went to the potting shed, and found his father lying beside the chair from which he had slipped.  The dinner was untouched.  He at once sent for Dr Langridge, who confirmed the belief that his father was dead.  Deceased had lately been unwell.  Dr Langridge said he attended deceased in 1893 when he was suffering from lumbago.  He was called to deceased  on Friday, and reached him at five minutes to two.  He found him quite dead, death being due to natural causes.  A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.

Thursday 22 August 1901

A Dartmoor Artillery Camp Tragedy.  Explosion Of A Lyddite Shell.  Loss of Three Lives.  -  An accident resulting in the loss of three lives occurred on Monday afternoon about half a mile from Okehampton Artillery Camp through the bursting of a 50lb. lyddite shell.  The victims were SERGT. FRANK BLEAKLEY, of the 96th Battery, R.F.A., CONSTABLE HALL, of the Devon County Constabulary, and JOHN LOCK VANSTONE, an ex-police sergeant.

VANSTONE last Bank-holiday found an unexploded shell, hid it in a clump of rushes, and told Sergeant BLEAKLEY of it.  BLEAKLEY endeavoured to find the shell, but failed to do so.  On hearing of his failure VANTSTONE offered to show him where he had placed it.  On Monday the two left the camp about 3.30 in the afternoon in company with P.C. HALL.  The latter had, of late, been on duty in the neighbourhood of the ranges to catch civilians who are in the habit of going there to pick up old metal.  But he had received no special instructions to go there on the afternoon in question, although it was understood that he might do so at any time.  The party, on leaving camp, proceeded in a westerly direction towards Yes Tor, near the summit of which the accident happened.  How it actually occurred will be for ever shrouded in mystery, for although several saw the men together and heard the explosion, no one was close enough to see it.  It is surmised that BLEAKLEY must have picked the shell up, and either tampered with it or dropped it, because his body was shattered beyond recognition, a portion of one of his feet being found as far away as 200 yards from the scene of the explosion.  HALL'S head was blown from the body, and his arms and legs broken in several places.  VANSTONE seems to have received the least injury.

The bursting of the shell was heard in the camp, but no importance was attached to it as such sounds are of every day occurrence.  The explosion was attributed to blasting operations that are being carried on in the town waterworks.  The men were not missed until Tuesday morning, when Sergt. BLEAKLEY was reported absent when the range party was paraded. It was his duty to go with them, as he was range sergeant.  Inquiries were at once instituted, and it was then found that he had not returned  into camp.  Search parties were sent out, but the bodies had been discovered by Kelly, employed as a range clearer.  VANSTONE, who is employed as caretaker at the Arcade, Okehampton, was the only one of the three who was married.  HALL was to have been married at Christmas.  The Inquest was opened on Tuesday and adjourned.

BIDEFORD - A Fatal Fall At Bideford. - At Bideford Workhouse on Friday evening Mr J. F. Bromham (County Coroner) held an Inquiry touching the death of PHILIP HONEYBALL, an inmate.  William Henry Andrews, Master of the Workhouse, said deceased was 78 years of age.  Before entering the House six years ago he was a farm labourer.  On Wednesday deceased, with others, went out to attend the regatta.  About 7.30 in the evening he saw HONEYBALL going towards the men's yard, where his quarters were.  Within five minutes a boy reported that HONEYBALL had met with an accident.  Witness found that the man had fallen down the boiler room steps.  He was unconscious.  Dr Grose was sent for, and HONEYBALL was removed to the hospital, where he died the following morning.  In reply to questions from the Jury, witness said deceased had no business near the boiler room.  He should say he had been drinking.  John Dark, an inmate, also stated that deceased appeared to be tipsy.  He went towards the boiler room, holding on to the iron rail, but when part way down he fell.  Dr Grose spoke to finding HONEYBALL unconscious.  He had him removed to the hospital, where he died the following morning from concussion of the brain caused from the fall.  In reply to the Foreman, witness stated that deceased was generally a healthy man.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

Thursday 29 August 1901

OKEHAMPTON - The Inquest respecting the death of the three men who found an unexploded shell on Yes Tor was concluded on Monday at Okehampton.  After hearing the evidence of Staff Captain Ruck Keene as to the precautions taken with regard to artillery practice on Dartmoor, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," adding that they considered the military authorities took all the precautions possible.  The Jury also expressed a hope that the War office and the police authorities would do something for the relatives of the deceased men who were dependent on them.

ILFRACOMBE - The Ilfracombe Drowning Case.  The Inquest. - On Monday morning the body of MR JONES, of Bristol, the gentleman who was drowned while bathing at the commencement of August, was found on the beach under Hillsbro' Hill.  It was removed to the mortuary.  The Inquest was held at the Police Station in the afternoon by Dr Slade-King.  Mr Tattam was elected Foreman of the Jury.  The first witness called was Frances Louisa Channing, who said she was a single woman residing at the Crown Inn.  On the morning of August 8th she was in the Britannia Garden, on Compass Hill, about 7.30 or 7.45.  She saw a man come over the steps of the Atlanta Boarding-house and go to a rock.  About 15 or 20 minutes after witness, who had meanwhile left the place and returned, saw a man in the water some distance from the shore.  He appeared to be struggling.  Witness then ran to tell her father, and upon reaching the street a Mrs Williams told her a man was drowned.  When she saw the man in the water he threw up both his arms. The colour of his bathing dress was blue.  By the Jury:  He was outside the rocks.  The tide was ebbing.  William Jones, proprietor of the Atlanta Boarding-house, said MR FRANK JONES came to his house on August 7th as a boarder from Bristol.  He arrived about 6.30, with his wife and nephew.  Apparently he was between 36 and 40 years of age.  Witness knew nothing of what had happened next morning until he heard deceased's wife screaming, about 7.45.  Witness went to her and she said, "My Husband has gone out to bathe, and they can't find him."  The sea was rather rough.  It was a usual thing for visitors to bathe on this beach.  Deceased had stayed at his house 12 months before and it was his custom to bathe.  Witness had seen the body, and to the best of his belief it was that of MR F. JONES.  He believed that a nephew of deceased told the wife of the disaster.  William Patt, employee of the District Council on Hillsboro' Hill, said on Monday morning, about 6.30 he saw something on the beach below the hill.  He went down, and found it to be the body of a man with a bathing costume on.  He communicated with the police, and Sergeant Jeffrey removed the body to Ilfracombe.  The witness, WILLIAM JONES, said the address of deceased was 12 Ridgway-road, Fishponds, Bristol, and he was in the employ of Gordon Warren, Fry and Co., of Radcliffe-street, Bristol.  After a brief summing up, the Jury returned a verdict "That the deceased was drowned while bathing on a beach at the rear of the Atlanta Boarding-house."

Thursday 12 September 1901

WEST BUCKLAND - The Recent Accident At West Buckland.  Death Of The Victim. - JOHN GOULD, the aged labourer who (as we reported on the following day) was found underneath an overturned cart at West Buckland on August 28th with severe injuries, passed away at the North Devon Infirmary, Barnstaple, on Monday.  The circumstances attending his death were enquired into by Mr R. I. Bencraft (Borough Coroner) on Tuesday, Mr Miller, deceased's employer, being present.

Aaron Vickery, labourer, deposed that on the day in question GOULD and he were drawing stones.  GOULD was in a cart in front, and on his (witness) reaching a certain point in the road he found that the cart had upset and that deceased was underneath, the horse remaining attached to the cart.  He went to GOULD'S assistance, but found that he was unconscious.  Sent a message to Mr Miller, in whose employ they were, and Mrs Miller and Samuel Matthews promptly arrived with a trap and drove deceased to the Infirmary at Barnstaple.  Had known GOULD for many years, and he was a sober man.  Could not say how the accident happened.  Samuel Matthews, of West Buckland, stated that he found GOULD with severe injuries to the head, while blood was exuding from his ears. He was unconscious.  Placed him carefully in the trap and proceeded to the North Devon Infirmary, accompanied by Mrs Miller.

Charles Lake, a boy of nine, said that he was in the cart with GOULD.  The accident occurred through the horse beginning to run and the cart going up the hedge.  The cart was upset and witness was thrown out into the road.  In overturning the cart pinned GOULD to the ground.  The witness Matthews soon arrived.  GOULD was riding on the shafts when the accident occurred.

Dr M. Hay, House Surgeon at the Infirmary, said that deceased arrived at the institution between 1 and 2 o'clock on August 28th.  There was a cut one-and-a-half inches long over the right eye, while there was a swelling and another cut on the right cheek.  He was bleeding from the left ear, this indicating internal injury.  He was unconscious and did not regain consciousness except when his relatives saw him on the previous Friday.  At first he was suffering from concussion of the brain, but after symptoms showed that death was due to compression of the brain.  A Juror asked whether the lane in which the accident occurred was a narrow one, the witness Matthews replying that it was a district road, Mr Miller adding that there was quite room enough for two carts to pass.  The verdict was "Accidental Death, the Jury, through the Coroner expressing their opinion that Mrs Miller was deserving of praise for her promptness and kindness in helping to remove deceased to the Infirmary.

Thursday 19 September 1901

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Drowning Case At Barnstaple. - Late on Friday night the attention of Mr W. Guillaume, who was walking along the Taw Vale Parade, was called to the body of a man in the river below.  A boat was put out from the slip nearest the town, the body being brought to land, and identified as that of MR JOHN ASHTON, aged 78, a retired shoeing smith, of Barnstaple.  When taken from the water life was to all appearance extinct.  Artificial respiration was, however, applied, by Dr C. Cooke, and others, but to no avail., and deceased was taken to the North Devon Infirmary.  He lived in Gloucester-road, Newport, and leaves a widow and a grown-up family. 

Opening the Inquest on Saturday, the Borough Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft) said they were called together to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of an old and respected householder and inhabitant of the borough - MR JOHN ASHTON, who for many years carried on the business of shoeing smith at Bear-street, Barnstaple.  Mr R. Gammon identified the body, having known deceased for forty years, and succeeded to his business in Bear-street nine years ago.  Deceased was 78 years of age.

Mr W. Guillaume, inlayer at the Raleigh Cabinet Works, said that on Friday night he was walking homewards along the Taw Vale Parade about 11.30 when he heard Mr J. Gaydon, who was nearer the Park, shout "There is a man in the water."  Witness immediately jumped into a boat and took a pole and got hold of deceased by his clothes, and, with the assistance of a young man named Wollen, got him into a boat and took him ashore just below the Parade, half-way to the Park entrance.  Sent for assistance, and Dr C. Cooke, P.C. Holland, and others were soon on the spot.  Although there were no signs of life whatever, artificial respiration and every means possible were applied, but with no effect.  - In answer to the Foreman (Mr J. R. Ford), witness could only suppose that deceased went down to the boat-house slip and stumbled into the water.

Mr C. A. Youings, of the Imperial Hotel, deposed that whilst shutting the lawn door of the Hotel at about eleven p.m., he saw MR ASHTON on the Parade talking to a policeman.   About half an hour later he heard an alarm that a man was in the water, and he went out and found that it was deceased.  Dr Charles Cooke spoke to being fetched from the Hotel by Mr Youings down to the slip.  He found P.C. Holland and Mr J. Jordan applying artificial respiration to MR ASHTON, this being continued for a considerable time.  Someone had told him that MRASHTON was alive when taken from the water, but he should say that this was not so.  When witness arrived there were no signs of life, but everything possible was done in the hope of bringing the man round.  His feet were placed in hot water, and witness applied hot clothes round his heart, but to no effect.  No time whatever was lost, witness being at the slip within a minute of being called by Mr Youings.  There were no bruises or marks of violence on the body, the only marks being those caused by the hot cloths.  P.C. Holland stated that MR ASHTON said "Good night," and passed some remarks with him on the Parade at the time in question.  About twenty minutes afterwards P.C. Hill and others gave the alarm of a man being in the water, and witness, who was then on the Square, went to the slip to which deceased had been brought from the water.  After everything had been done to try to bring him round, deceased was carried to the Infirmary.  Witness found on the body deceased's watch, which had stopped at 12.30 and was full of water, his glasses, a little money, some receipts, and a key.  - By a Juror:  MR ASHTON was not drunk when he spoke to witness.  He might have had a few glasses, but he was perfectly rational.  Summing up, the Coroner said his opinion was that MR ASHTON must have, for some purpose, gone down the boat-house slip - a very narrow and dangerous one - and on turning to come up again stumbled the wrong way, and so fell into the water.  He suggested that an open verdict of "Found Drowned in the River Taw" would meet the circumstances of the case.  A Juror remarked that he thought the coroner's idea was not far wrong, especially when they remembered that MR ASHTON was an elderly man and that his eyesight was defective.  A verdict in accordance with the Coroner's suggestion was returned.

Thursday 26 September 1901

LANGTREE - The little daughter of MR J. F. HELLINGS, postman, died suddenly last week. At the Inquest a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

SOUTHMOLTON - Case of Drowning at South Molton. - On Tuesday about mid-day, Mr S. Facey, of the Hare and Hounds, discovered in the water close by the Shirt and Collar Factory the body of JOHN SNELL, of Burwell, Bishopsnympton, who for many years was carrier between Southmolton and Barnstaple.  Deceased is believed to have been in the water since Saturday night.

An Inquest was held yesterday afternoon at the Board-room of the Workhouse by Mr Thos. Sanders, the Borough Coroner, and a Jury of whom Mr Robt. Cock was Foreman, touching the death of JOHN SNELL, a farm labourer, of Bishopsnympton, whose body was found in the river Mole on the previous day.  Mary Ann Lock, of Bishopsnympton, identified the deceased as her father, JOHN SNELL, who was 58 years of age and a widower.  He had been living lately at Burwell Farm, Bishopsnympton, with Mr Buckingham.  Witness last saw him about a month since, and he did not then complain of anything.  Witness had heard that deceased was at Southmolton on Saturday last.  P.S. Leyman deposed to removing the body to the mortuary.  He afterwards went to the river to ascertain where the deceased fell in, but could find no trace.  He saw SNELL in Southmolton on Saturday several times, the last time being about eight o'clock.  P.C. Brown said that on searching the clothes he found a purse containing 9s. 4 ½d. , a watch and chain (the watch having stopped at eight minutes past one), box of tobacco, knife, pipe, and a half-pint bottle of whiskey.  William Wills, lamp lighter, said he walked with the deceased to the bottom of Factory Hill.  SNELL had been drinking, but was far from drunk.  He walked away towards the bridge over the River Mole.  After he extinguished the lamp he walked back towards the town, and on his way met several people going home.  Samuel Facey deposed to seeing the body of the deceased in the river on Tuesday, and giving information to the police.  Mr H. J. Smyth, medical practitioner, Southmolton, said he examined the body of the deceased on Tuesday about three o'clock.  There was a slight superficial abrasion under the left eye, probably occasioned by a bramble.  The body was cold and stiff and showed signs of decomposition.  Witness was of opinion that the body had been in the water for more than two days.  The external appearances were those of death by drowning.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned," but there was no evidence to show how or by what means deceased got into the water.

Thursday 10 October 1901

CHITTLEHAMHOLT - Road Contractor Killed At Chittlehamholt.  - There was a fatal accident at Chittlehamholt on Monday, MR WILLIAM HENRY WESTACOTT, road contractor, being killed whilst at work in a small quarry named Hockin's Quarry.  MR WESTACOTT was engaged in digging under the surface, when a portion of the "roof" gave way, burying him.  A lad named Slee (who was also knocked down by the earth) promptly obtained the help of his father and MR WESTACOTT was speedily extricated, the depth of deads covering him being, it is stated, only about three inches.  But the unfortunate man had received fatal injuries, life being practically extinct when he was extricated.  The body was removed to the house of a relative, and on Tuesday P.C. Gilbert of the County Police, communicated with Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner at Barnstaple.  The Inquest has been deferred until today (Thursday) in order to give the Inspector of Mines (Mr Shuter, of Plymouth) an opportunity to attend.  Southmolton Rural District Council is interested in the quarry, and will be represented at the Inquest.

ILFRACOMBE - Sudden Death At Ilfracombe. - MISS MATILDA WEAVER DITCHETT, aged about 70, of Clifton, was found dead in bed at her lodgings in Wildermouth Villa, Ilfracombe, and at the Inquest on Wednesday a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes, viz., Failure of the Heart's Action," was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Death At Pilton. - The circumstances attending the death of MRS MARY JANE PACKER, a widow, residing at 115 Pilton-street, Barnstaple, were Inquired into on Monday by the Borough Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft), who, in his opening statement, said that MRS PACKER, who was 65 years of age, had lived at Pilton for 20 years, and was of somewhat eccentric habits, keeping no servant, but residing entirely by herself.  - Mr A. G. Ridler, of London, executor under deceased's will, identified the body as that of his late sister.  Her late husband was MR WILLIAM PACKER, retired farmer, deceased being a native of Bishopsnympton.  Witness received a letter and voucher on the previous Thursday saying that she was feeling better in health than she had for years, mentioning that she had just been for a four mile walk.  She was very deaf and would keep no servants.  Witness received a telegram at Brighton on Sunday, however, announcing her death.  He at once came to Barnstaple and found the premises in the possession of the police.  Deceased had always given him to understand that she had an overflow of blood from the heart, and her sudden death did not come as a great surprise to him.  - Mrs J. Frayne, a neighbour, deposed to MRS PACKER being a "very quiet, nice old lady" of steady habits.  Witness last saw her alive on Friday night, saying "good night" to her on the doorstep at about 9 o'clock.  MRS PACKER then went in and locked the door.  On the next day several people called at her door but could not get admittance, among these being the milkman, the oilman and others.  - Dr F. B. Manning then deposed to having known deceased for 12 years, but had not attended her for any serious illness for several years.  On Sunday morning, at about 11 o'clock, Mr Garnish telephoned to him to come to MRS PACKER'S.  Witness went immediately and went round to the back door.  Looking over the garden wall he saw deceased lying on the ground with her head against a little rockery, her cheek being on one of the large stones.  Her neck was "doubled up" and she was lying in a heap as if she had fallen forward.  She was quite dead, rigor mortis having set in.  He thought it probable that she had been dead since the Friday night.  Her watch was inside the w.c., having stopped at twenty to four o'clock.  In the back room, where apparently she was taken ill, was some sewing on the floor.  Several of the buttons round her neck were undone.  In his opinion death was due to apoplexy, deceased being a very likely subject for this, having been stout, with a short neck, and a florid complexion.  - Mr Geo. Garnish, residing opposite MRS PACKER'S, deposed to people mentioning that they could not gain admittance to MRS PACKER'S house.  So on the Sunday morning he got a ladder and went round to the back door, and on looking over the wall he found deceased as Dr Manning described.  She was drenched through, heavy rains having fallen on the Friday night and Saturday.  The Coroner offered a few remarks in summing up, mentioning that if the Jury were not satisfied as to the cause of death he could order a post mortem examination.  Personally, however, he did not think this necessary.  The Jury, of which Mr H. Lee was foreman, returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes, viz., Apoplexy."

Thursday 17 October 1901

WINKLEIGH - A Winkleigh Lad's Sad Death. - Mr J. D. Johnstone, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at Little Narracott, Winkleigh, on Friday, on WILLIAM JOHN TRIGGER GAINS, farm servant, aged 15.  -  Joseph Bragg said deceased on Tuesday last took a cart horse to be shod, and as he had asked permission to go home witness took no notice of the fact that he did not return that night.  Next morning, as he was still absent, he went in the direction of Hollacombe to ascertain the cause.  On the way he met a horse with its head collar on, and almost immediately afterwards found the body of deceased lying in the path.  He was quite cold.  The path was a rough one, and at the place where the body was lying steep and dangerous.  - William Brook stated that deceased brought a horse for him to shoe on Tuesday last and left with the animal.  The night was very dark.  - Dr Norman said there were no bones broken, but there was a slight fracture of the skull, and death must have been instantaneous.  - A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

CHITTLEHAMHOLT - The Chittlehamholt Fatality.  - Mr Coroner Bromham held an Inquest at Holt Gate Farm, Chittlehamholt, on Thursday, on the body of WILLIAM HENRY WESTACOTT, road contractor, aged 41, who was killed at Hawkins Quarry on Monday through the falling of a quantity of deads.  Mr F. B. Wyatt (Southmolton) watched the case on behalf of the Southmolton Rural District Council.  Mr J. S. Martin (Inspector of Mines for the Western District) was also present.

The evidence of Charles Slee, labourer, of Chittlehamholt, shewed that on Monday he was working with the deceased at Hawkins Quarry, when a quantity of deads fell on the deceased and himself.  Witness, however, managed to get out, and immediately went to the assistance of deceased.  He removed the deads from his head and face down as far as the lips, when he found that he was dead.  Witness went for assistance and met his father, with whose help deceased was extracted from his position and taken to Holt Gate Farm.  - By Mr J. S. Martin:  Deceased and himself had dug out the rock at the bottom of the face of the quarry to a depth of four or five feet, but had not removed any of the over-burden which was hanging.  It was that which fell on deceased and himself.  There had been rain the day before.  William Slee, father of the last witness, corroborated.

William Squire Gardner, one of the Surveyors to the Southmolton Rural District Council, stated that the quarry was worked under his direction.  The depth of the quarry where the accident occurred was 11 ½ feet.  The deceased made the excavation referred to contrary to his instructions.  the only excavation which he was required to undertake was for the purpose of making a road to get at the metalling.  When witness left the quarry his instructions to deceased were that he should remove the deads and deposit them at the east side of the quarry, which it was intended to fill up.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  Mr Wyatt, on behalf of the Rural District Council, expressed their regret at the occurrence, and further stated that after the evidence which had been adduced it was clear the Council could accept no responsibility.

TORRINGTON - Sad Suicide At Torrington.  - There was great excitement and grief on Monday when it was rumoured that MR WILLIAM BENNETT, managing clerk for Mr Doe (Town Clerk, &c.) had committed suicide by hanging himself.  Unhappily the news proved true, and the town was quite upset, as deceased was well-known and much respected.  It appears that MR BENNETT had been very busy preparing for the half-yearly audit, which seems to have worried him.  On Monday morning he got up about 5 o'clock with the intention of going to the office, which adjoins his house.  Apparently he did not do so, for he was seen on Castle Hill some little time after. As he did not return to his house, enquiries were made respecting him, but nothing could be learnt until about half-past twelve.  A woman named Craze was going down Dane's-lane gathering sticks, when, on looking into a field she saw a man hanging in a linhay.  She at once told some young men, who informed the police, and P.C. Evans was soon on the spot, and he cut deceased down. Life had been extinct some time. The body was removed to deceased's residence.  Deceased, who was about 32 years of age, had been in the Town Clerk's office for several years.  He was registrar of marriages, and also occupied two or three other offices.  He was T. W. in the local Lodge of Freemasons.  He leaves a widow and two children.  A melancholy part of the affair is that deceased's father also committed suicide in a similar manner.  Great sympathy is expressed on all sides for the family of the unfortunate man.

The Inquest:-  On Tuesday afternoon an Enquiry into the death of the late MR WILLIAM BENNETT was held in the Town Hall by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.  Mr W. Davies was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  After the body had been viewed, Mr George Mark Doe was called.  He stated that he was a solicitor and Town Clerk at Torrington.  WILLIAM BENNETT was  a clerk in his employ.  He was 32 years of age.  He was married, and left a widow and two children.  He was at his office until past six o'clock on Saturday evening as usual.  That was the last he saw of deceased.  On Monday when he got to the office MRS BENNETT came to him in a very distressed state and asked if he had seen anything of him.  She said he had a very restless night, and left home about 5 o'clock in the morning.  He told her probably BENNETT had gone for a walk and would be back again during the morning.  Witness met a policeman about one o'clock, and he told him that a body had been found.  He accompanied the constable to a barn in Deans-lane, which was close to his offices.  They found the body hanging in the barn, and it was cut down at once.  Dr Sutcliffe was fetched and after the doctor had arrived, the body was removed.  During the last three or four months he had noticed there was a difference in the deceased.  He appeared lost and absent-minded, but it was very trifling and not sufficient to call for a remark.  BENNETT'S father destroyed himself three years ago, which upset him very much.  Shortly after this an aunt died, and his mother's brother also committed suicide, and all this seemed to have unhinged his mind.  He thought, however, that deceased had got over all this, but his wife said he had been bringing the matter up again during the past two or three weeks.  In his opinion when deceased committed this rash act he was temporarily insane.  There was nothing wrong whatever with the books; everything was in apple pie order.  The auditor had gone through the ledger and found it perfectly right.  Deceased had been in his service for nearly twenty-one years.  Thomas Rowe said he was a watchmaker living at Torrington.  He knew the deceased very well.  He saw him on Monday morning a little before eight o'clock outside Castle House in Castle-street.  He said "good morning BILL," and he replied "Good morning; it is rather breezy."  He said he had just been on the hill for a walk.  His manner was about as usual.  Daniel Watkins, a lad of about ten years of age, said he was the son of a cattle dealer living at Torrington.  He was playing in Deans-lane about eight o'clock with another boy.  He knew the deceased by sight.  He came into the barn and said "Get out of the way, you boys."  He then went away, leaving him there.  He noticed deceased had a bit of cord in his hand.

Hannah Maria Craze said she was the wife of John Craze, a chimney sweep. On Monday morning she was going down the lane to pick some sticks.  As she passed the barn she looked in through a gap in the wall and saw a body hanging.  She was frightened and went away, and met two young men, telling them what she had seen.  They went to the barn and told her it was MR WILLIAM BENNETT.  P.C. Evans stated that he heard on Monday morning that deceased was missing.  About ten minutes to one he heard he had been found in a barn.  He went to the place accompanied by Mr Doe.  Inside the barn he found the deceased hanging.  He cut him down at once.  He was quite dead, and apparently had been so for some time. Mr Doe sent for Dr Sutcliffe, and the body was afterwards removed to his residence.  Dr Sutcliffe stated that he was a registered medical practitioner residing at Torrington.  He knew deceased very well.  On Monday just before one he was called to see deceased.  He found him in a linhay lying on a bundle covered by a sheet.  He was quite dead and presented the appearance of having been so three or four hours.  Part of a cord was around the neck.  His face was swollen, and deceased looked as people usually do who die from suffocation.  The Coroner having summed up the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane," and expressed their sympathy with the widow and relatives of the deceased in their sad bereavement.  They also gave their fees to the widow.  The funeral of the late MR WILLIAM BENNETT took place yesterday (Wednesday) and was largely attended.

Thursday 7 November 1901

TORRINGTON - Suicide Near Torrington.  The Inquest. - On Tuesday, at Beam House, near Torrington, Mr J. F. Bromham held an Inquest touching the death of PATRICK HOGAN, aged 50, a coachman in the employ of General Morris.  The body was found in the mill leat which runs within a few yards of the house, and everything pointed to suicide.  The deceased was a good workman, but in March had an attack of influenza, and since that time had been occasionally depressed.  He leaves a widow and seven children.  MRS SUSAN HOGAN, the widow, said the deceased was her husband.  He was a coachman in the employ of General Morris, with whom he had been for over five years.  She last saw him alive the previous morning a little after 7 o'clock, when he left the house to clip a horse.  He usually returned to breakfast, but on his not doing so her little son went out to look for him.  She heard later, some time after dinner, that the dead body of her husband had been found, and he was afterwards brought home to the cottage.  He seemed rather depressed, but not excited, when he left the house in the morning:  he had been so for the last few days.  She did not know he had anything to cause him trouble, but last March he was ill for three weeks with influenza.  Since that time he had suffered from noises in his head, and had spoken of it. This at times upset him a good bit.

John Braunton, labourer, Weare Giffard, said about 8.30 a.m., he was walking through the orchard just below the house and close to the mill leat, when he saw a cap.  Some time later he was asked if he had seen anything of PATRICK HOGAN, as he was missing.  His reply was that he had not seen the coachman, but had picked up a cap. He went with others to the spot where he found it, and after a 20 minutes' search the body was discovered.  Deceased was quite dead.  He did not think a person could have slipped into the least accidentally.  Previous to letting out the water it was about 5ft. deep.  Where the body was found was 50 yards from where the cap was picked up.  There were no signs on the bank of any struggle.  John Langmead, assistant-gardener to General Morris, proved going in search of HOGAN.  the body he said, was in mid-stream, face downwards. He knew nothing peculiar in deceased's manner.  The Jury, of whom Mr William Henry Perkins was foreman, returned a verdict of "Suicide while suffering from Temporary Insanity".  They were unanimous in handing their fees to the widow.

Thursday 14 November 1901

BARNSTAPLE - Death Caused By A Fish Bone At Barnstaple. - IDA J. S. BOWDEN, the two-year old child of ALBERT BOWDEN, baker, of Cyprus-terrace, Barnstaple, who as reported in our last issue swallowed a herring-bone on November 3rd, died at the North Devon Infirmary early on Monday morning.  At the Inquest by the Borough Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft) at the Infirmary on Tuesday, the father of deceased stated that on the date in question the family had breakfasted on herrings when his little boy asked if he should give a bone to IDA.  His wife replied "no" and turned round for a chair, when IDA began to scream, having swallowed one of the herring bones.  A portion of the bone was at once removed by his wife from the child's throat, but the child appeared to be choking and coughed as if in pain.  Witness ran for Dr Lemarchand, who having seen the child ordered its removal to the Infirmary.  - In answer to a Juryman, MR BOWDEN said that despite the mother's refusal, the little boy gave deceased the herring bone.  - Dr J. R. Harper, under whose treatment deceased had been at the Infirmary, stated that when admitted the child was breathing with difficulty, whilst it coughed a good deal.  Remedies were applied, and if anything the child improved, but towards evening it had all the symptoms of inflammation of the windpipe, and tracheotomy had to be resorted to.  But for this it would have died in a hour.  By means of the silver tube inserted the little one breathed comfortably, but its condition eventually became worse, and it expired early on Monday morning.  A post mortem revealed that as a matter of fact MRS BOWDEN removed the whole of the bone from the throat of the child, but the irritation caused by the bone set up inflammation in the windpipe, this spreading down into the lungs, and being the cause of death.  It was due to MRS BOWDEN to say that she most skilfully removed the bone, there being no wound or laceration, and but for the great presence of mind she displayed the child would have died almost immediately.  Dr Harper further explained that small irritants were more calculated to set up inflammation of the windpipe in a child of tender age than in the case of an older person.  The deceased was a healthy child.  In accordance with the Coroner's suggestion, the Jury (of which Mr J. Comer was Foreman) found that death was due to inflammation, brought on by having swallowed the fishbone.

Thursday 21 November 1901

PARKHAM - Infant's Death At Parkham. - ALBERT O. HILL, the infant child of a labourer at Parkham, was found dead in bed on Monday morning.  At the Inquest before the County Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) LUCY JANE HILL, deceased's mother, stated that the child (aged nearly four months) was born prematurely, and had not been very strong from birth.  Deceased slept in the same bed with her husband and herself, being on the outer side.  At 1 a.m. she fed deceased with bread, sugar and water, and it seemed all right.  She repeated the feeding at 3.30 a.m. and believed the child went to sleep.  Called her husband to go to work at a quarter to seven, and on looking round saw that the child was dead.  The child was not very close to her and she was sure she did not overlay it.  -  NATHAN HILL, father of the child, gave corroborative evidence.  - Dr E. J. Toye, of Bideford, stated that the child was weakly, and there was little prospect of its living from birth.  The deceased presented no appearance of having been overlaid, and death was probably due to convulsions.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 28 November 1901

BIDEFORD - Sudden Death At Bideford. - The County Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) held an Inquest in the Royal Hotel on Thursday touching the death of MELINA JOHNS, aged 40, who was found dead at 2 o'clock on Wednesday morning on the floor in her residence at Torrington-lane, Bideford.  CHAS. JOHNS, husband of the deceased, identified the body as that of his wife, whom he said he last saw alive at about 2 o'clock on Tuesday afternoon.  When witness returned home at about 10 o'clock on Tuesday evening, he found the door locked and consequently went to look for deceased.  As he could not find her, he went for the police, who informed him that they had not seen her.  Witness then went home, forced open the door, and found deceased lying on the floor in front of the fire, apparently dead.  He thereupon fetched his father, and subsequently Dr Gooding.  Deceased was sober when witness left her in the afternoon and had not been "out of the way" for some days.  Thirza Lee, mother of deceased, said she last saw deceased alive on Tuesday evening when she came to witness's house and conversed about sending a newspaper to her brother who is serving in South Africa.  Deceased had been intemperate at times, but had been much better lately.  William Lee, husband of the last witness, spoke to going to the house with deceased's husband, and there finding her dead.  Her husband had always been very kind to her.  Replying to the Foreman:  Deceased was in the habit of locking the door when in the house alone.  Dr Gooding said he had known deceased for a long time, and she had intemperate habits.  About twelve months ago, deceased was a patient of witness in the hospital, suffering from effects of intemperance and six months later he attended with her before a magistrate, with a view of persuading her to become an inmate of an Inebriates Home, but she refused to sign the consent.  Witness had heard nothing of her being intemperate lately.  On going to the house at the call of the first witness, he found deceased wearing a shawl and hat, lying on the floor dead.  He considered she expired about seven or eight hours previously.  There was no signs of violence, and he could find no trace of drink.  He was of opinion that death was due to syncope or heart disease, from which a person who becomes suddenly temperate was likely to suffer.  A verdict of "death from Natural Causes, namely Syncope" was returned.

ILFRACOMBE - Old Man's Death At Ilfracombe.  Alleged Furious Driving.  -  On Monday an Inquest was held by Dr Slade-King on the body of GEORGE HOLLOWAY, a gardener 82 years of age, living in Church-road, Ilfracombe.  Mr William Richards, joiner, said he last saw deceased alive on the evening of the 9th inst. outside Mr Dadd's shop in Church-street.  Deceased was then walking home.  About 7.45 witness saw HOLLOWAY knocked down by a horse driven by Mr Thorne, of Lincombe Farm.  The horse was attached to a cart.  Witness had seen HOLLOWAY before the accident in the Wellington Arms, and he then seemed quite well.  He was quite sober.  Thorne was driving towards the station.  There was another person in the cart, which was travelling at the rate of 14 or 15 miles an hour.  HOLLOWAY was crossing the road towards Church-path.  He did not hear the driver shout to deceased.  The occupants of the cart went straight ahead after the accident, notwithstanding that several persons called out.  Deceased was picked up by the bystanders, and did not appear able to stand alone.  he was helped into the shop of Mr Dadds, butcher.  Thorne was as near as possible in the middle of the road, and witness thought he ought to have seen deceased, as there was a light near.  Deceased was rather feeble, near-sighted, and a little deaf.  - By the Jury:  He had practical experience in judging speed.  Witness was standing on the right side of the street, opposite Mr Dadd's shop.  He believed the wheel went over deceased's leg.  The offside of the horse struck deceased. 

Dr Ernest Gardner said he was asked to see deceased on the 13th, as he had been run over by a cart four days previously.  Later on double pneumonia set in, and deceased died on the 24th.  He believed that death was caused as the result of a cold, following a shock.  The fact of deceased being kept in by the accident for four or five days and then going out into the cold would be sufficient to cause the pneumonia. From an examination of the body he did not think the vehicle had passed over his leg.  He was not called in when the accident happened.  What he meant to say was that the shock caused by the accident made deceased susceptible to pneumonia.  The Jury having consulted in private, it was decided to obtain additional evidence of Mr Thorne, the other occupant of the trap, and others.  The Inquiry was adjourned until Wednesday, at 5 p.m.

The first witness called at the adjournment was John Bale, who said that on the night of November 9th last he was in Church-street, about 7.30 when he saw HOLLOWAY knocked down by a cart containing two men, one of whom was named Thorn.  The cart was in the middle of the road, and HOLLOWAY was crossing the road.  The horse was going at a very fast trot, and so far as witness could see it was the horse that struck HOLLOWAY.  Witness heard no one cry out, and the driver did not stop; he himself helped to pick up deceased, and to take him to Mr Dadds' shop; he was able to walk with assistance.  Witness asked deceased if he would go to the Hospital, but he preferred to go home, and with another young man's help, he took him home, and gave him in to the care of his son.  Deceased said he felt the shake a little; they got him home within ten minutes.  It was a fine night and not cold.  Deceased walked home fairly well.  The horse was going nearly twice as fast as a cab-horse would usually go, and the driver seemed to be just letting the horse go.  - By the Jury:  Witness was standing in the road, near the Castle Coffee Tavern.  - By the Police:  He did not think the wheel went over deceased.

George Bowen, builder, said that between 7 and 8 p.m., on November 9th, he was going up Church-street, towards High-street, and when crossing to the pavement near the Gas Office, he saw a horse and trap coming down the slope.  Two men were in the cart, and he should think the horse was going at the rate of a mile within six minutes.  The pace he saw was dangerous to persons passing along the road at the spot.  There was a third man with the cart being dragged along at the tail-board.  - By the Police:  If he had not been very quick he should have been himself run over, and any infirm person could hardly have got out of the way.  - By the Jury:  He could not say whose trap it was, or if it had a light.  Mr Mason, representing Mr A. F. Seldon, attended with Mr Thorn, but was not allowed to question ay of the witnesses, except through Mr Thorn. 

WILLIAM HOLLOWAY, labourer, son of deceased, said that his father was brought home "blood all over" on the night of November 9th, about 8 o'clock.  He was rather short-sighted and rather hard of hearing.  He said to witness "I've been knocked down."  When the blood had been washed off his face, deceased said he did not feel much the worse.  The police came, but deceased said he would not take any steps to summons Mr Thorn.  Deceased went to bed in about half-an-hour; no doctor was called to see him.  One day during the following week he went to Tors Park about nine, came back to dinner, and went again in the afternoon, returning at four; he said he could not hold the tools, his hands being knocked about.  Witness saw a large bruise on one of deceased's legs  His death took place on Sunday morning last.  - By the Jury:  Blood had come from his father's nose and there was a scar on his left temple

John Abel Thorn, farmer, Whitestone, said that on November 9th he was driving a horse in Ilfracombe at 8.30 p.m., and going towards the station.  A man named James Cook was with him, and no one else.  He was going at the rate of eight miles an hour, but his horse could do ten miles, and he was holding it in. Nothing at all out of the common happened between the Lamb Inn and the Parish Church, and he came in contact with nothing; he was not aware that he knocked anybody down.  The trap carried two lights, it was a cart, light varnished.  He came into the town about 4 p.m., and left for home about 8.30.  - By the Jury:  He knew of no man hanging on the tail-board of the trap. He first heard of the accident on the Monday following.  He looked at the clock before leaving Ilfracombe.  - By the Police:  The road was well-lighted.

James Cook, labourer, Lincombe, said he was in Ilfracombe shopping on November 9th, and met Thorn at the Railway Hotel, just as he was going home.  Thorn offered witness a ride, and he accepted.  He said it was a little past eight when they started, the road being well lit.  Just where the road was level, he saw a man, but whether he crossed in front or behind, he could not say.  The horse was going about eight miles an hour, and Thorn was holding it in.  - By the Jury:  He was home by nine o'clock.

W. Richards, a previous witness, said he would not swear that either of the last witnesses were in the cart, and the Coroner read over his disposition to the effect that he saw HOLLOWAY knocked down by a cart in charge of Thorn.  John Bale, re-called, swore that Thorn was in the trap that knocked down HOLLOWAY.  Dr Ernest Gardner, re-called, said that the exposure, which brought on the bronchial pneumonia, was due to deceased trying to commence work again.  The influence of the shock would last some days, and owing to illness in the house, deceased could not get his meals properly, which would be serious for him.  - By the Jury: He did not consider deceased's death due primarily to the shock.  It was due to disease of the lungs, following on the cold.

LYNMOUTH - A painful sensation was caused on Thursday last by the announcement of the sudden death of MRS RICHARDS, wife of MR W. RICHARDS, tailor, of Lynmouth.  MRS RICHARDS retired to rest in her usual health on the previous evening, having been engaged in household duties up to a late hour.  During the night her husband was awakened by her heavy breathing,  and immediately called his sons and sent out for the doctor, but before help could arrive she had passed away. Deceased was only fifty-eight years of age, and was highly respected by all who knew her.  Much sympathy is felt for the bereaved husband and family.  The County Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) conducted the Inquest on Saturday at the Lyndale Hotel.  MRS RICHARDS had been attended by Dr Butler, and the Jury, Mr Pedder being Foreman, returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  The Jurors expressed their sympathy with the relatives of deceased and gave their fees for a wreath.

SALCOMBE - At Prawle, Salcombe, on Thursday, Mr Sidney Hacker held an Inquest on the body of the child of MARY ROWSE, housekeeper at Hill Farm, Prawle.  The Jury found that the child had died from Natural Causes, but added a rider that there had been great neglect on the part of the mother.

Thursday 5 December 1901

MERTON - MRS ELIZABETH CUDMORE, aged 73, was not seen out of doors on Sunday, and on her house being entered her dead body was found at the bottom of the stairs.  At the Inquest it transpired that deceased had been under medical treatment for sixteen years.  Dr Drummond (who said it was probable MRS CUDMORE was dead before she fell) thought death was due to heart disease, and a verdict accordingly was returned.

ILFRACOMBE - At the Inquest held on the body of GEORGE HOLLOWAY, gardener, on Wednesday evening, the Jury, after a long consultation, returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  A rider was moved, drawing the attention of the police to the many instances of furious driving in the streets of Ilfracombe.

BARNSTAPLE - Child's Death At Barnstaple.  -  JOHN HENRY DOCKINGS, the infant child of ALICE DOCKINGS, single woman, of Silver-street, Barnstaple, was found dead in bed on Thursday morning.  At the Inquest before the Borough Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft) in the afternoon, deceased's mother said the child, which was four months old, had been fretful from birth, and she called Dr Cooper to it two months ago.  She fed the child at midnight with a bottle of milk, and then went to sleep.  The child slept in the same bed between her and a girl named Maggie China, and on waking that morning at 7.30 she discovered it was dead.  It was lying on its side, the same position in which she had placed it in the night.  She called Mrs Pleece, with whom she lodged, and Dr Cooper was sent for.  - Mrs Pleece also spoke of the fretfulness of the child, which had cried a lot.  - Re-called MISS DOCKINGS said she insured the child three months ago at 2d. per week, but she did not know whether it was yet "Payable".  - Maggie China, aged eleven years, also gave evidence.  She heard nothing of the child during the night.  - Dr Cooper, who was called at 8 a.m. said the child had then been dead quite four hours.  There were no marks of injury or of overlying, and death was probably due to convulsions, caused by some digestive disturbance.  The child was well nourished; its fretfulness was probably due to indigestion.  - The Coroner, summing up, did not think a post mortem examination would help the Jury any further, it being evident that death was due to "Natural Causes."  This was the verdict of the Jury, of whom Mr J. Rice was Foreman.

Thursday 19 December 1901

HIGH BICKINGTON - Retired Farmer's Death. - MR THOMAS BEALEY, retired farmer, aged 77, was found dead in a field here on Friday morning.  At the Inquest before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Saturday, John Down, farmer, stated that as deceased (who lived with him) did not return home at his usual hour at 10 p.m. on Thursday he searched for him, but was unsuccessful.  - Another farmer, named Bernard Cole, deposed that about 8.30 on Friday morning he was on his way to feed some cattle, when he found BEALEY lying dead in a field called Moor.  His hat was lying some little distance away, but witness saw no evidence of a struggle.  Deceased, who was a very steady man, must, he thought, have lost his way in the dark.  - Walter Newton, innkeeper, said deceased was in his house for a short time on Thursday, being apparently quite sober when he left at six p.m.  He complained of feeling unwell.  - Dr Joseph Tucker, of Chulmleigh, expressed the opinion that death was due to natural causes, in all probability from apoplexy and exposure to the cold.  The verdict was in accordance with the medical testimony.

Thursday 26 December 1901

BISHOPSNYMPTON - Child's Fatal Scalds. - EDWARD J. SNELL, aged nearly seven, child of the licensed holder of the Red Lion Inn, Bishopsnympton, fell into a pan of hot milk on the 1st inst., its death being the subject of an Inquest before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Tuesday.  - MARTHA SNELL, the mother, stated that shortly before one o'clock on the 1st inst., she placed a pan of hot milk on the kitchen floor, and went into the pantry.  Deceased said he was going up the village to meet his uncle and went into the kitchen for his hat.  Just afterwards she heard a scream, and found that the child had fallen into the pan of milk, his sister having taken him out.  Deceased had since been under the care of Dr Sanders, expiring on the previous morning.  - FLORENCE E. SNELL, aged 16, stated that her brother, the deceased, was about to unhang his hat, when he slipped backwards into the pan of milk.  - Dr Sanders, of Southmolton, deposed that the injuries to the body were very extensive, and death was due from shock to the system.  The child had always been more or less an invalid.  A verdict of death from shock to the system was returned.

NEWTON POPPLEFORD - Gruesome Discovery In Devon. - At Newton Poppleford on Thursday an Inquest was held on WILLIAM PRICE, 72, a retired market gardener.  Deceased, it appeared, had enough means to keep him if he liked.  He had some property, and lived in a cottage at Harpford alone.  He had never married, and had lived alone since his mother left him some time ago.  On Monday, as nothing had been seen of him since Saturday, an entrance was forced, and he was found in bed with his face covered.  Several pieces of flesh were gone from the small parts of his legs and arms.  The rats, which swarmed the house, had been eating the body.  The house was in a most shocking state.  It had been condemned by the sanitary, and a constable described it as not fit for a pig to live in.  When the sanitary authorities condemned the house deceased was told to go out and he did; but he came back at a subsequent date on the sly.  The windows had been boarded, and he let them remain so.  Valvular disease of the heart was the cause of death, with Dr Burns believed, had been sudden.  Deceased probably died late on Saturday night.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

LANDKEY - Landkey Sensation.  Man Found Shot. - A painful sensation was caused at Landkey, near Barnstaple, on Tuesday, when it became known that MR JOSEPH ANDREW, of Whiddon Farm, had been found dead with a fearful gunshot wound in his head.  The deceased, who resided with his sister, whose husband is the occupier of the farm, was missed on Monday, and as no trace of him could be discovered, P.S. King was communicated with.  After a long search, the Sergeant (who was accompanied by Mr Owen Dunn, farmer) found the deceased lying in a ditch on Whiddon Farm.  A gun was lying near.  Death had been caused by a gunshot wound in the head.  The affair was at once reported to the County Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) who could not hold the Inquest on Tuesday, as he was conducting another Inquest elsewhere.  The Inquest will be held today (Thursday).  The deceased, who was 46 years of age, and was of a retiring disposition, had resided at Landkey three or four years.  He possessed independent means, and was unmarried.

HOLSWORTHY - At the Inquest held at Holsworthy Workhouse on an aged inmate named MARY CLIFTON, who was found dead at the bottom of some stairs, it was stated that deceased had probably missed her way in the dark.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

PLYMOUTH - At an Inquest on Friday on MISS GEORGINA J. RAE, who shot herself on the doorstep of 3 Carlisle-terrace, Plymouth, on Wednesday night, the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity" and added that no blame attached to anyone.

Thursday 2 January 1902

LANDKEY - The Landkey Sensation.  Farmer's Determined Suicide. - In our last issue we reported that the body of MR JOSEPH ANDREW, an unmarried farmer, aged 47, who has lived with his brother-in-law, Mr William Andrew, at Whiddon Farm, Landkey, had been found in a field on the farm, with gunshot injuries to the head.  The Inquest was held on Thursday before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, and a Jury of which Mr W. T. Buckingham was Foreman.

Mr Wm. Andrew stated that he last saw his brother-in-law in the kitchen on Sunday night, and he went to bed in his usual health.  Witness's wife heard her brother dressing whilst she was straining milk early on Monday morning, and he must have gone out shortly after.  As deceased did not come in to breakfast, witness's wife went to the foot of the stairs and called, but received no answer.  Witness went round the fields between 10 and 11, but saw nothing of ANDREW.  About mid-day Mrs Andrew discovered that witness's gun was missing.  After a further search and making inquiries, witness in the evening informed the police at Landkey that his brother-in-law was missing.  On Tuesday morning P.S. King and witness went round the farm, and in the ditch of a field called Coffer Close they found his brother-in-law's body, with the gun beside him.  Deceased was a very quiet and reserved man, and there was nothing to indicate that he required looking after.  - By the Foreman:  Deceased had a slight indisposition last summer, having, he thought, a bottle of medicine.  - By Mr Richards (a Juror):  Deceased was not accustomed to carry a gun.  There had been no family trouble, nor anything to disturb his mind.

P.S. King, having mentioned that P.C. Newcombe searched for ANDREW on Monday night, deposed that the field in which he (the sergeant) and Mr Wm. Andrew found the body was near the Great Western Railway.  Witness first saw a hat, whilst a little further up the field he saw the arm of deceased, who was lying on his left side in a ditch which was about 18 inches below the level of the field.  Deceased held the gun in his left hand, the butt being about 3ft away, and the muzzle pointing direct to his mouth at a distance of three inches.  In the right barrel was a spent cartridge.  The left hammer was also cocked, but the barrel was empty.  Witness found a loaded cartridge in deceased's left trouser pocket.  The left side of deceased's head and face were much shattered, and there was a quantity of blood underneath.  Having regard to the position of the gun and the injuries, witness should say that ANDREW stood in the ditch, placed the stock of the gun on the bank and the muzzle in his mouth, discharging the gun with his right hand.  - A Juror elicited that there was a gap in the hedge behind, and suggested that ANDREW might have slipped in coming though.  - The Foreman remarked that this was important, but P.S. King replied that although there had been heavy rains, there were no evidences of slipping to be seen.

Dr Lemarchand, of Barnstaple, who was fetched by Mr Wm. Andrew on Tuesday, expressed the opinion that when he saw the body life had been extinct at least twenty-four hours.  The left arm was bent at less than right angles about six inches from the mouth, whilst the thumb was approximated to the fingers, as though deceased had been holding something.  A little flap of skin was torn off the right side of the forefinger of the right hand.  There were some bruises on the left side of the face, but no skin wound; an extraordinary fact was that the shot did not come through the head, which one would have thought would have been blown to pieces.  There was a hole large enough to admit two fingers in the roof of the mouth, and the whole bony structure of the head seemed to be shattered.  Not even deceased's moustache was singed, and ANDREW must have carefully fixed the gun on the bank, and fired deliberately right into his mouth.  He thought the little flap of skin was torn off the forefinger by the gun recoiling after being fired.

The Coroner explained that he was unable to hold the Inquest before by reason of being engaged holding another Inquest at Bishopsnympton when this matter was reported on Tuesday.  From the evidence of P.S. King he had come to the conclusion that ANDREW died from a self-inflicted injury, and the detailed testimony of Dr Lemarchand had put the matter beyond all doubt.  The only question was as to the state of deceased's mind at the time; and his opinion was that anyone who deliberately took his own life could not be in a proper state of mind.  A person might not be suffering from absolute insanity, but at the time there must be something or other so unhinging his mind as to prevent him clearly understanding what he was doing.  He was sure Mr Wm. Andrew and his family had the sincere sympathy of the Jury at this sad occurrence during the festive season.

"Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was the Jury's verdict, the Foreman endorsing the Jury's deep sympathy with the family in their great bereavement.  Mr Richards thought something might be said about keeping firearms on premises. Occurrences of this kind might be avoided sometimes.  The Coroner did not understand that the gun in this case was kept loaded in the house.  They could not in his opinion make a hard and fast rule with regard to guns if they were unloaded.  Mr Wm. Andrew said he never brought the gun into the house loaded.  P.S. King pointed out that it was a breechloader, and unloaded should, of course, be perfectly safe.  "Besides" interposed the Foreman, "the deceased was not a child, but a responsible person."  A breechloader would not be kept loaded.  A Juror remarked that he did not see anyone was to blame in the matter - an observation with which the remainder of the Jury obviously agreed, as nothing was added to the verdict.

EXETER - An Inquest was held at Whipton, near Exeter, on Saturday, touching the death of WILLIAM JEFFORD, aged seventy, who met his death by his own hand.  On the previous day his wife went upstairs about 7.45 and found her husband in a sitting position in bed.  He was dead.  He had a rope around his neck, and the other end was attached to a nail in the wall.  The man had been left by his wife about two hours.  He had never been known to threaten his life, but had been given notice to quite the cottage, as Mr Rew, the owner, was leaving the district.  The deceased was in the employ of Mr Rew on the farm.

ARLINGTON - "Tired Of Life."  Combe Martin Girl's Tragic Death At Arlington. - Much excitement was caused at Arlington Rectory on Sunday evening by the terrible death of ETHEL ANNIE PILE, the parlour-maid, as the result of swallowing an exceptionally large dose of carbolic acid.  Deceased, who was twenty years of age, belonged to Combe Martin, and some sad facts were made known at the Inquest conducted by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, at Arlington Rectory on Tuesday.

Addressing the Jury (of which Mr Thomas Grant was foreman) the Coroner said they were met to Inquire into a very sad event.  He should reserve any remarks which he had to make until after the evidence had been taken.

THOMAS PILE, labourer, of Holdstone Farm, Combe Martin, who heard of his daughter's death on Monday morning, having given evidence of identification.

The Rev. T. de L. Sprye, Rector of Arlington, stated that deceased had been in service at the Rectory about three months.  PILE was not in church on Sunday evening, but very little notice was taken of this, as occasionally on Sundays she took a walk with her young man.  About nine o'clock, however, she was missed from the house, and as her hat and jacket were still there, witness, thinking that something was wrong, suggested a search.  His son went out, and in less than a minute returned with the stable boy with the information that PILE was in the stick-house groaning.  Witness immediately took the lantern to the outhouse and found PILE lying on the ground, alive, but breathing stertorously, her head resting on a bundle of sticks.  There was a strong smell of carbolic, and witness found an eight-ounce bottle of Calvert's  carbolic (two-thirds of which were gone) and a teacup (in which about a table spoonful was left) lying by her side.  with the assistance of his son, witness carried PILE into the house, and Dr Manning was summoned from Combe Martin.  The doctor arrived in a little more than an hour, but PILE expired about thirty minutes after being found.  The bottle of carbolic ac id (produced) did not belong to the household at the Rectory.  Had not noticed anything peculiar about PILE.  She brought in the tea and made up the fire on Sunday evening, and was then just as usual.  A scrap of paper found in deceased's dress pocket (intended presumably for her fellow servant) bore the following lines in ink:-  "You know Mary Ann, I am broken-hearted, all for Ned; he is gone.  Good-bye to you all, if I never see you alive.  I am tired of my life."  At the bottom of the note was added "Mary Ann Irwin knows why I did it."

Mary Ann Irwin, cook at the Rectory, deposed that about a fortnight ago PILE remarked to her that a certain man [whose name witness repeated] "would be the cause of her death some day."  Witness asked why, the reply being "I have some trouble, and I will tell you some day before you leave the Rectory."  Last saw her about 2.30 at the back door of the Rectory, PILE watching her as she went up the court.  Witness had not the slightest idea that she contemplated suicide.

P.S. Adams, of Parracombe, spoke to finding in a chest of drawers in deceased's bedroom letters produced, which were all dated from Combe Martin, and signed "Ned."  Witness read to the Jury the last letter, dated December 5th.  Commencing "Dear ANNIE," it among other things, invited PILE to walk to Combe Martin on the following Sunday, expressed doubts in a certain matter, and closed with love and "just a kiss."  Witness had made inquiries at Combe Martin, and found that carbolic acid had not been sold to PILE or anyone else there lately.

Dr N.S. Manning said death was caused by poisoning, from swallowing carbolic acid.  Deceased's lips, tongue and palate were very much burnt by the acid.  A post mortem further revealed that the burns extended from the mouth into the stomach, whilst deceased was about 4 ½ months pregnant.  The witness had also remarked that the inside of deceased's stomach was corroded with acid, and the Coroner suggested that she must have suffered great agony.  - Dr Manning replied "Yes sir, " adding that having regard to the amount of carbolic acid the deceased swallowed it was impossible for her to live long.  Mr Sprye tried to give her oil, the best antidote in such cases, but she was too far gone to swallow it - she was "dead to the world."

The young man alluded to as deceased's sweetheart (and who, it was stated, had received a Prayer-book from PILE on Monday morning) presented himself at the Inquest, but evidence by him was not asked for.

The Coroner, summing up, thought it terribly sad that a young woman should have committed such a fearful act.  Whatever trouble she had it would have been far better to wear it than to have rushed into the presence of the Almighty in this way.  He, however, suggested a verdict of suicide whilst temporarily insane; she would never, he thought, have committed such an act but for the fact that the balance of her mind was for the time gone.  Deceased's father and other relatives had, he felt sure, the sincere sympathy of the Jury in their bereavement, whilst they would also regret that the Rector and his family had had such a gloom cast over their household at this time of the year.  "Suicide whilst Temporary Insane" was the verdict.

BARNSTAPLE - Elderly Woman's Death At Barnstaple. - ELIZABETH ANN THORNE, aged 71, widow of JOHN THORNE, formerly "boots" at the Golden Lion Hotel, fell whilst descending the stairs at the Workhouse and broke the neck of the thighbone of her left leg.  On Christmas Day she had a fit of apoplexy and paralysis, and expired during the day.  At the Inquest conducted by Mr A. Bencraft (Deputy Coroner) on Saturday MR H. THORNE, deceased's son, said that his mother had spoken to him of the care and attention which had been bestowed on her by the Workhouse authorities.  Dr J. W. Cooke (Medical Officer) stated that although it was impossible to say for certain that death was due to the accident, no doubt that accelerated the end.  A verdict in accordance with the effect of the medical testimony was returned.

Thursday 16 January 1902

ILFRACOMBE - Death Of An Old Sailor.  Inquest And Verdict. - On Monday afternoon at the Police Station, an Inquest was held by Mr E. J. Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, on the body of WILLIAM E. WILLIAMS, an old sailor, belonging to Ilfracombe, who was found dead in his boat at sea in the early morning of the same day.  Mr I. Pearce was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  The Coroner said that the circumstances were pathetic, and deceased was well known in the port as an active and capable seaman. 

THOMAS WILLIAMS said he was a boatman living at Ilfracombe, and deceased was his father, aged 68, living at 7, Compass Hill. Witness last saw him alive at 4.30 that morning in a boat off the Pier, in the Range.  His father was looking out for a nobble, as they were expecting a vessel. Witness was on board the "Gorey Lass," inward bound.  It was about 3 a.m. when deceased first got into this boat, from which he went on witness's boat, staying about an hour, then going back to his own, the "Lizzie."  Deceased seemed in his usual health, but had had a pain in his side two days before.  He had some tea and bread and butter on board the "Gorey Lass."  - By the Jury:  When deceased last went on his boat he pulled off in the direction of Beacon Point.

Captain Samuel Buck, a Bristol pilot, said he was cruising about two miles from the Harbour at 7.45 a.m., when he saw a boat heading about N.N.E.; an unspritted sail in the boat attracted his attention.  Witness sailed towards it, and came up alongside in ten minutes; they saw a man in the boat, sitting in the bottom of it.  They hailed him, but got no reply, and then took the boat in tow.  there was no one in the boat but the dead man, whose face was towards the stern.  The paddles were both in the boat, and one of the blades was resting on the port gunwale.  The sheet was fast with a couple of turns on the thole, in the usual manner.  the way deceased was sitting would be the right way to sail the boat.  When the boat was first taken in tow, one of witness's men got on board, and found deceased quite cold, and apparently stiff.  The body was quite undisturbed in every way.  Alfred Price, one of the Jury, said that one day last week deceased said that he was feeling a weakness about the heart, and could not attempt to do much pulling; he must take things very quietly.  The Coroner having briefly summed up the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from natural Causes."  A vote of sympathy was accorded by the Jury and Coroner to the widow and family of deceased.

Thursday 23 January 1902

BARNSTAPLE - Barnstaple Child's Extraordinary Death. - FREDK. MARTIN GEEN, the 2-year-old child of an engine driver living in Union-street, Barnstaple, has died from the effects of swallowing a piece of hot potato.  MRS GEEN was not well enough to attend the Inquest conducted by Mr A. Bencraft (Deputy Coroner) at the North Devon Infirmary on Tuesday.  WM. M. GEEN, deceased's father, stated that on reaching home at dinner-time on the previous Wednesday he saw there was something the matter with the child, which ran towards him crying.  His wife informed him that deceased seemed to be hungry, and she had given it a piece of hot potato, but immediately after swallowing it the child appeared to be in pain.  She added that she at once gave it some milk.  Witness rocked the child to sleep, and his wife subsequently informed him that on awaking at 2.30 in the afternoon deceased ate his dinner, then appearing to be nothing the worse.  Coming home from work at 6.30 p.m., he found in the house the district nurse, who expressed the opinion that the child was choking.  Sent for, Dr Matthews prescribed for the child, but subsequently ordered its removal to the North Devon Infirmary, witness carrying it to the institution, where it died on Sunday.  By the Coroner:  The child had no cough or cold.

Mr Matthews said the condition of the child, when he was called to it, pointed to some obstruction in the windpipe, the breathing being very hard.  Witness prescribed remedies, but as the child became worse he advised its removal to the Infirmary, with a view to an operation being performed.  The child was well nourished and healthy.  Witness attended the post mortem, which tended to show that the hot potato had temporarily lodged in the upper part of the windpipe, causing extensive burns.  Laryngitis was produced, and there was also pneumonia in the lungs, this being the cause of death.  - By the Coroner:  The potato would probably not have done any harm if it had passed down the stomach in the ordinary way, but the larynx was a very tender part of the anatomy.  Dr Cooper stated that when admitted to the Infirmary the child was in great danger of suffocation.  Witness performed tracheotomy with the assistance of one of his colleagues, and the breathing was at once relieved.  The child was much better until the following day, when inflammation of the lungs supervened, death occurring on Sunday.  Dr Cooper minutely explained the post mortem which he made.  In his opinion death was due to a burn in the throat (caused by the hot potato) and subsequent complications.  He explained that the burn caused a swelling, and stopped the breathing.  The shock of the burn was considerable, and cases of the kind were nearly always fatal.  - In answer to the Coroner, Dr Cooper said that he thought that the potato must have been too hot, and too large, as a small piece would not have retained heat and caused burns.  The Coroner reviewed the evidence, and left it to the Jury to say whether any blame was due to the mother in the matter.  He pointed out that the potato first went the "wrong way" (causing the burns), having become lodged temporarily in the windpipe.  The Jury, of which Mr D. Moxham was Foreman, returned a verdict of Accidental Death.

NORTHAM - Sensation At Northam.  Suicide Of A Farmer. - HENRY GRIFFEY, aged 58, dockyard pensioner, ship builder, and small farmer  of Northam, committed suicide by hanging himself in his stables, at Northam, yesterday morning.  ANN GRIFFEY, deceased's wife, stated at the Inquest held by the County Coroner (Mr Bromham) yesterday afternoon, that deceased, who lost his leg about 20 years ago by an accident whilst at work in the Devonport dockyard, had been low spirited lately, apparently owing to lack of work, for she knew of nothing else which was likely to worry him.  He went to bed as usual on Tuesday evening.  ARTHUR GRIFFEY, son of deceased, stated that after being told by his sister, EDITH that his father was hanging in the stable, he called a neighbour named Wm. Passmore, who assisted witness to take deceased down.  Passmore now said life was then extinct.  There was a box by the side of deceased, which he had apparently used as assistance for the act.  - Dr Mahood, who was called, was of opinion - judging from the position of the marks on the neck - that death was instantaneous, and life could not have been saved by cutting deceased down immediately he was found.  - The Jury, in returning a verdict of "Death from Hanging during Temporary Insanity," expressed sympathy with the relatives of deceased, whom they knew as a hard working man.  The deceased farmed at Sherwill some time before removing to Northam.  He leaves a widow and large family.

Thursday 30 January 1902

TORRINGTON - Fatal Accident Near Torrington. - Torrington suffered another shock on Monday evening by the report that MR S. W. STEVENS, in the employ of Messrs. Stapleton and Sons, baker, &c., of High-street, Torrington, had been killed, and, unfortunately, the reports only proved too true.  MR STEVENS (who was 30 years of age on Sunday last) left Torrington on horseback about half-past two on Monday afternoon for the purpose of visiting customers at Huntshaw and Alverdiscott. He called at a windmill cottage in the parish of Alverdiscott and spoke to a lad named Harry Thorne, about eight years of age.  Whilst speaking to the boy, the horse turned its head away from home, and reared and fell back. The boy screamed, and his mother came out and caught MR STEVENS in her arms, but he soon died.  The lad ran for assistance, but it was of no avail, and then body was taken into the cottage, and eventually taken to the house in Mill-street.  the sad news was broken to the deceased's wife by the Rev. J. C. Pye (Bible Christian Minister) and Mrs Stapleton, and great sympathy is felt for her and her two children in the very sudden death.  Deceased was greatly liked, and was a very useful man in the town.  He possessed a very good tenor voice, and was much sought after for concerts, both in the town and country.  He was also a member of the Volunteer Band.  The evidence adduced at the Inquest yesterday showed that deceased, while soliciting orders for Mr Wm. Stapleton, coal and manure merchant, for whom he was confidential clerk, reached Alverdiscott at six o'clock on Monday.  He stopped outside the house of Augustus Thorne, labourer, and as his horse would not stand still he touched it with his heels.  The animal turned and reared, falling on deceased.  Henry Thorne, a boy of eight, witnessed the accident.  Mrs Thorne was at once called, and she went to the assistance of MR STEVENS, who was unconscious.  The injured man was removed into the cottage, and he died before Dr Macindoe could arrive.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and gave their fees to the widow, with whom they expressed sympathy.  The deceased, who was a member of the Volunteer Band, will be buried with military honours today.

DEVONPORT - An Inquest was on Friday held at the Military Hospital, Devonport, respecting the death of Quarter Master Sergeant MCCAFFERY, who died from laudanum poisoning.  The Jury at first returned a verdict of "Misadventure," but the Coroner asked them to reconsider it, and finally what was practically an open verdict was recorded.

Thursday 6 February 1902

LYNTON - Lynton Woman's Sad End.  The Drink Again. - A deplorable story was told at Lynton on Thursday, when Mr J. F. Bromham (County Coroner) conducted an Inquest on the body of MISS ANN MARSHALL, aged 73, who, as reported in last week's Journal, was found dead in bed two days previously.  Mr E. Hodge was Foreman of the Jury.

Mr William Hooper, gentleman, gave evidence of the identification and said that at one time deceased was a lady of good social position, but had run through a lot of money through intemperance, and for many years past had been in very reduced circumstances.  On Sunday week MISS MARSHALL came to his house for a shilling, a weekly allowance made her by Mr S. Baker, of the Royal Castle Hotel.  In addition deceased received 3s. a week from the parish.  MISS MARSHALL was an eccentric woman, and through drinking habits, neglected herself.  Just before Christmas she was left a legacy of £5, which he, as executor, had to give her.  There was no restriction as to the amount, and he had to let her have the money in a lump sum, otherwise, knowing her habits, he would not have done so.  On Monday night witness heard that she was ill and after seeing Mr Jones, one of the Guardians, accompanied two constables to Jubilee House, where deceased lived.  Afterwards he went to Mr Medway, another Guardian, from whom he received a shilling, which sum he laid out in necessaries for MISS MARSHALL and sent them to her by a neighbour.  The house was in a very dilapidated state.

John Blackmore, grocer's assistant, said that on Tuesday afternoon he heard that deceased was ill and was also reported to be starving.  He accordingly went to Mr Holman's shop and purchased a quarter pound of tea, a pound of sugar, and a couple of eggs.  A little girl showed him where MISS MARSHALL lived.  He knocked at the front door twice, and receiving no answer, went to her bedroom, where he found her lying across the bed dead.  Deceased was an eccentric person and addicted to drink.  Her house was in a very dilapidated state.

William Way, labourer, said he had known deceased for 15 years.  On Monday he took some provisions to her and she remarked that she should enjoy them.  She then appeared in her usual health.  She mistook witness for P.C. Lyn, and asked him for the loan of a small sum to get some drink.  Witness did not let her have anything.  On the previous Sunday MARSHALL requested his little girl to ask her mother to lend her tenpence to get some drink.  This was not acceded to.  On Tuesday witness went to the house to know how she was and knocking at the door, received the answer that she was all right.  P.C. Dibbings spoke to accompanying Mr Hooper to Jubilee House on Monday night and to finding MISS MARSHALL in the bedroom.  Witness asked her if she was ill or wanted medical assistance.  She replied "No."  Witness said that if she was ill he would see the Guardians for her.  She said she did not want any medical assistance whenever.  Witness further remarked that it appeared to him that she had been drinking.  She said "No I have not had any today, but I want a drop of gin."  Witness reported the case to Mr Medway.  Dr Langdon Butler stated that when called to deceased on Tuesday afternoon he found her lying upon the bed dead, the body being in a very emaciated and filthy condition. Death, in his opinion, was due to want of proper nourishment and self neglect.  Chronic alcoholism bred a positive distaste for food, so that if deceased has had food she might have neglected to take it.  Witness saw food on the table untouched.  Mr H. Medway, Guardian, speaking for himself and Mr Jones, another Guardian, stated that they had done their duty by deceased and had given her every attention.  A verdict was returned that death was due to Want of Nourishment and Self Neglect caused by Excessive Drinking.  The Jury added a rider strongly condemning "Jubilee House."

APPLEDORE - Child's Death At Appledore. - The County Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) conducted an Inquest at the Royal Hotel on Tuesday evening touching the death of the infant son of CAPTAIN JOHN STONEMAN, of Vernon's Lane, the child being found dead in bed at midday on Sunday.  KATE STONEMAN identified the child as that of her infant son, whom she left in bed on Sunday morning about 10.40 in company with the elder child.  About 12 o'clock the elder child came downstairs and witness asked if the baby was covered up all right.  About 2 o'clock witness herself went upstairs, and was shocked to find deceased lying on his side quite dead.  She called a neighbour and sent for a doctor.  She last fed the child the previous night at 11.25.  During the night he was sick once or twice.  Dr Valentine spoke to finding the child dead at about 3.30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.  The body was discoloured on the left side where it had been lying.  Death was probably due to suffocation, caused by vomit in the windpipe.  It was not an unusual thing for mothers to leave healthy children so long as MRS STONEMAN did.  The Jury, of which Mr H. R. Moody was Foreman, returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

ST. GILES-IN-THE-WOOD - Fatal Burns At St. Giles. - SUSAN FARLEY, aged 66, who had been a cripple all her life, has expired from accidental burns at St. Giles-in-the-Wood.  The accident occurred on January 2nd, when Charlotte Sussex, who attended to FARLEY, found that she had fallen into the fire, the left shoulder and arm and the side of her face being severely burned.  The injured woman has since been under the care of Dr Sutcliffe, of Torrington, expiring on Tuesday.  An Inquest will be held today.

Thursday 13 February 1902

APPLEDORE - Appledore Captain Drowned. - A painful sensation was caused at Appledore on Monday by the news that MR CHARLES BALSDON, captain of the schooner "Hawk" had been drowned at Fremington, where his vessel was lying.  On Saturday night CAPTAIN BALSDON went to Fremington station to return to his home by the last train, but on being told he was rather early, he remarked he would go back and see if the vessel was all safe.  He left his coat in the waiting room, and no anxiety was occasioned at his not returning as it was concluded that he was delayed, and having missed the train, had started to walk home.  Those at home were under no trouble, as they thought he had remained on board the night to guard the vessel.  On is not returning on Sunday, however, inquiries were made, and it was concluded that he had fallen into the river and had been drowned.  A party of Appledore men went searching for the body on Monday morning and found it near Fremington.  They took it on board the pilot gig and conveyed it to the home of deceased at Appledore.  Deceased was of a very quiet disposition, and his sad death has cast quite a gloom over the town.  Great sympathy is expressed for the wife and family (all grown up) in their terrible bereavement.

An Inquest was held on Tuesday afternoon at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Appledore, respecting the death of CAPTAIN CHARLES BALSDON, of Irsha-street.  Mr R. Moody was chosen Foreman.  CHARLES BALSDON, (son of deceased) sailor, residing at Bideford, identified the body as that of his father, CHARLES BALSDON, master mariner, aged 63, captain of the schooner "Hawk".  The first news he heard of his father being missing was on Monday morning, when he went by the 9.30 train to Fremington to assist in the search for his father.  He was near when his father was found, and saw him landed quite dead.  Deceased left a family all grown up.  John Rendall, pilot, of Appledore, said he was pilot of the "Hawk," and left Appledore Quay with her about 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.  After her arrival the vessel was put in berth close to the quay.  The crew consisted of two able seamen and the captain. After the ship was in berth the crew and witness left the vessel and went to Appledore, leaving the captain on board, as he intended returning to Appledore by the last train.  Witness went with the search party on Monday morning as pilot of a gig's crew, leaving Appledore at ten o'clock as the tide ebbed.  They saw the body about 400 yards from the ship on a place called Bassett's ridge.  They took it into the gig and conveyed it to Appledore.  Deceased was well-known and much respected in the district, and very steady.  William Pearce, station and harbour master at Fremington, said he knew deceased very well and saw him moor the vessel.  Shortly after six o'clock deceased came into the station and chatted in the waiting room, remaining there about half an hour.  Then he suddenly jumped up, saying, "I must have another look around."  Witness said, "Be careful, Captain; it's a very dark night."  He replied in a jocular manner "All right, sir; it's not the first time I have been on Fremington quay on a dark night."  It was very dark and boisterous night, blowing a heavy W.N.W. wind.  Deceased left the office, and that was the last time he saw BALSDON alive.  He had been up and down for the last forty years in ships.  In reply to the Foreman, the witness said there were three lights on Fremington quay and there was no ladder or steps between the berth and the quay.  The wind would keep the vessel close to the quay; the lamps on the quay were not lit unless there was work going on.  They were situated about 100 yards apart.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned, " suggesting that the Railway Company be approached with a view to keeping the lights burning on the quay for the protection and safety of the sailors.  Mr Pearce said he would recommend the suggestion to the Railway Company.

ST. GILES-IN-THE-WOOD - An Inquest was held at St. Giles on Thursday, touching the death of SUSAN FARLEY, of Kingscott.  In the early part of January, deceased, who was very infirm, slipped from her chair, which was near the fire, and ignited her apron, which set fire to other portions of her clothing, causing extensive superficial burns.  A verdict was returned that deceased died from senile decay, accelerated by burns she had received.  Deceased was 66 years of age, and had been almost a helpless cripple from her youth

Thursday 27 February 1902

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death At Barnstaple.  Sequel To An Accident. - Early on Monday morning, MRS AMELIA MANLEY, aged 44, wife of a Bishopstawton farmer, died suddenly at the North Devon Infirmary, where she had been for some weeks suffering from a broken thigh, sustained through a fall from a ladder.  The Deputy Coroner (Mr A. Bencraft) conducted an Inquest at the institution on Monday evening, Mr G. Guard being Foreman of the Jury.  - MR JOHN MANLEY, husband of deceased, stated that a month ago he went up a ladder to a hay loft in the evening.  His wife followed him up the ladder, although he asked her not to, holding a lighted candle, as it was dark.  When she was in the loft, just at the top of the ladder, the light went out.  She got on the ladder, but her right hand slipped, and she fell to the ground, a distance of about five feet.  Her thigh was broken, and by Dr John Harper's advice she was removed to the North Devon Infirmary.  She was progressing very well at the Infirmary up to Sunday, when he saw her, and she appeared quite cheerful. - Mr Charles Turnbull, house surgeon, said death was due to sudden heart failure.  She had a weak heart, and had been in bed for about five weeks.  The accident was remotely the cause of death.  - Nurse Oliver deposed that deceased seemed to be doing very well until about 2 a.m. on Monday morning, when she was talking to her.  A few minutes later she had a sort of fit, and died before witness could get the doctor up.  She died of heart failure.  She was a very stout woman.  Just before her death deceased complained of a pain in her left side and was dead in less than 10 minutes.  She had expressed herself as very pleased at the attention she received at the Infirmary.  The Jury returned a verdict of Death from Heart Failure, remotely due to the Accident.

Thursday 6 March 1902

SHEBBEAR - Fatal Fall At Shebbear. - JOHN BUSE, aged 70, a farm labourer, of North Furze Farm, Shebbear, was loading furze in a cart on Wednesday, when he overbalanced himself and fell out of the cart.  Two days later he died.  At the Inquest held on Tuesday by Mr Bromham, evidence was given to the effect that BUSE was standing in the cart holding a pitchfork, and a boy (Walter Collacott) was passing bundles of faggots up to him.  Suddenly the boy failed to see the old man, and looking around the cart found that he had fallen out.  Mr John White, farmer, was fetched.  MR BUSE was quite conscious, and told the people who assisted him that he had fallen, through the pick slipping when he was reaching for a faggot.  There were no injuries discovered, and Dr Clarke, who attended him, stated that BUSE died from failure of the heart, caused by the shock of the fall.  A younger man would have hardly noticed the fall.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

Thursday 10 April 1902

EXETER - At an Inquest on Thursday on MISS ALICE MORTIMER, an Exeter lady, the evidence showed that she made an attempt to take her life by strangulation, and the death resulted from heart failure.

SOUTHMOLTON - Sudden Death At Southmolton. - On Tuesday afternoon JOHN VILE, of 39, Cook's Cross, Southmolton, retired cabinet-maker, visited the house of Mrs Ann Handford, a neighbour, living at 23 Cook's Cross.  While there, Dr Sanders called and vaccinated a child.  Before leaving he expressed the hope that VILE was in the enjoyment of good health, and the latter, who earlier in the day was present at the meet of the Barnstaple Staghounds in the neighbourhood, replied that he had "never felt better in his life."  Shortly afterwards Mrs Handford went out to fetch something from the garden at the rear of the house.  On returning a few minutes later she found VILE was lying on the floor apparently dead.  Dr Wigham was summoned, and pronounced life to be extinct.  Deceased, who was 65 years of age, is said to have suffered from a weak heart.  The body was subsequently removed on a stretcher to deceased's house.  An Inquest was held at the Town Hall, Southmolton, yesterday, touching the death of JOHN VILE, 65, cabinet-0maker, of 39 Cook's Cross.  W. J. Sims was elected Foreman, and after hearing the evidence of several witnesses, Dr W. H. Wigham said that from the evidence given and his own examination, he was of an opinion that VILE died of syncope.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

BUCKS CROSS - The circumstances attending the death of HERBERT WALDY BUCKLEY, the seven-weeks-old child of a labourer, were investigated by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner on Tuesday.  The mother deposed that the child enjoyed good health until Sunday.  About 5.40 a.m. she took the child up from its position in the bed between her and the wall to nurse it, when she saw that it was unwell.  After curiously turning its eyes in various directions it fixed them and died immediately.  Ellen Cruwys, a neighbour, gave evidence, whilst Dr M. R. Gooding expressed the opinion that the child died from convulsions.  "Death from Natural Causes" was the verdict.

WOOLSERY - At Venn Cottages on Tuesday, the County Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) Inquired into the death of MABEL JOHNS, aged 16 months.  EMMA JANE JOHNS, charwoman, single, stated that up to the previous Friday, her deceased child was in fairly good health except for a slight cold.  Left deceased in charge of another daughter, who was twelve years old, whilst she went out to work on Friday.  She applied some camphorated oil to the deceased, but on Saturday the child became worse, and in the afternoon she sent for a doctor.  The child died in her arms at 7.30 p.m.  Had had five children, four of whom were still living.  Emma Hatch, a neighbour, gave corroborative evidence, and said deceased's mother fed and looked after her children very well.  Dr Emtage attributed death to bronchitis, probably associated with influenza, and a verdict of death from Natural Causes was returned.

Thursday 17 April 1902

BARNSTAPLE - Barnstaple Man's Shocking Death. - A distressing accident befel JOHN HOLMES, aged 32, who hails from Barnstaple, on Wednesday afternoon.  He was employed in walking in front of a fraction engine, which brings granite from Merrivale Bridge Quarries to the Tavistock South Western Station.  The engine was on its way back to Merrivale Bridge when by some means HOLMES' foot became entangled in a wheel, and he was drawn under the engine.  The latter was at once stopped, and the poor fellow extricated and conveyed to the Tavistock Cottage Hospital.  HOLMES was there seen by Drs. Snowden Smith, Richards and Brodrick, who found that both legs were broken, and that the right foot was badly crushed, while his ear and cheek were cut, and he had a wound on the head.  The poor fellow died about two hours after admission to the hospital.

At Tavistock Cottage Hospital on Friday, Mr Brian (Deputy Coroner) held an Inquest concerning the death of JOHN HOLMES, a single man, aged 32, who died from injuries received at Merrivale Quarries on Wednesday.  Deceased belonged to Barnstaple, and had only been working at the quarries for about two months.  HOLMES had been employed by Messrs. Pethick Bros. as a steersman. After uncoupling some wagons at the quarry, deceased got ahead of the engine, but was overtaken, and his foot being caught in the front wheel he was thrown down.  Deceased's foot was crushed, and the driving wheel passed over his foot.  the driver (Charles Parvin) did not see the accident, but on the alarm being given he at once pulled up, and accompanied deceased to the hospital.  George Mitchell, foreman for Messrs. Pethick, said deceased was a steady, efficient man.  He considered the fatality a pure accident. 

Dr Smith, who made an examination of deceased soon after his admission to the hospital, said there were very severe injuries all over the body.  The left leg and right foot were badly crushed.  There were also scalp wounds and internal injuries, which caused haemorrhage.  Deceased was conscious, but died about two hours after entering the hospital, the case being hopeless.  The Coroner said deceased had sustained fearful injuries, and it was a wonder that he had got to the hospital alive.  It was perfectly inexplicable to him how the wheel passed over him, but deceased must have been thinking, and forgot his proximity to the engine.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

CHITTLEHAMPTON - Chittlehampton Farmer Drowned.  -  Consternation was caused at Chittlehampton on Tuesday when it transpired that the body of MR WILLIAM JOHN FACEY, of Gambuston Farm, who had been missing since the previous day, had been found in Brightley Weir, about three miles from his home.  A well-known farmer, the deceased was of a most genial disposition, and he was held in the highest esteem by all who knew him.  MR FACEY, who was 60 years of age, leaves a widow and grown-up family, for whom deep sympathy is felt.

At the inquest conducted by Mr J F Bromham, County Coroner, yesterday, THOMAS FACEY informed the jury that deceased, his father, left home at noon on Monday, not saying where he was going.  As his father had not returned on Tuesday morning a search was instituted, the body being brought home about 11 a.m.  Deceased had not been in low spirits, and witness was aware of nothing calculated to upset his mind.  Frederick Congram, labourer on the farm, who had a conversation with deceased about sowing some seed son Monday morning, said he did not observe anything peculiar in MR FACEY'S manner.

Robert Trigger, railway packer, spoke to finding the body in Brightley Weir early on Tuesday morning, John Hooper, water bailiff, giving corroborative evidence.  P C Toms was also called.  He mentioned that the previous witness pointed out to him deceased’s hat and stick, found close to the weir.  The jury returned a verdict of “Found drowned.”

TAWSTOCK - The Accident At Tawstock Court.  Death Of The Victim. - RICHARD KEYTE, 34, of 90 St John's Road, Deptford, who, on April 5th, sustained severe injuries as the result of a fall whilst fixing the electric light at Tawstock Court (the residence of Sir Bourchier Wrey) died in the North Devon Infirmary early on Tuesday morning.  MRS KEYTE, who was unaware that her husband was seriously ill until telegraphed for on Monday, arrived at Barnstaple on Tuesday, and it was a great shock to her to hear that he had passed away.  The circumstances were Inquired into by Mr A. Bencraft, Deputy Coroner, at the Infirmary yesterday afternoon.

Frederick Brailey, groom, stated that whilst in the harness room at Tawstock Court about 10 a.m. on April 5th, he heard a shout from the stable, where deceased was alone at work. KEYTE opened the stable door, but then went and laid on some straw, saying he had fallen from a trestle. Witness communicated with Sir Bourchier Wrey, who sent for Dr Harper, of Barnstaple, deceased, who complained of pain in his side, being afterwards driven to the North Devon Infirmary.  The trestle had not fallen over.  - By the Foreman of the Jury (Mr W. E. Healey):  The trestle was about 8ft high.  Frederick Pether, the electric lighting foreman, deposed that he was at Barnstaple at the time, having left deceased to fix a pipe in the stable by means of the trestle.  In was an ordinary builders' trestle, 3 feet wide at the bottom and six or eight inches at the top, which was reached by means of rungs.  The trestle was not dangerous, and in his opinion KEYTE took a false step and fell.  - A Juryman thought the trestle dangerous, but witness said it was not really known whether KEYTE was on the top of the trestle when the accident occurred.  The stable was about 12ft. high.  there was a second trestle available, on which a plank might have been placed, if deceased had cared to use it.

Dr Cooper, who saw KEYTE after admission to the Infirmary, said he was then in a state of collapse.  He had a large swelling on his left side, a bruise on his head, and his right wrist was sprained, whilst he was passing large quantities of blood.  An operation had to be performed on Sunday afternoon.  KEYTE was much relieved, and went on well until the previous Monday afternoon, when he had an extensive haemorrhage, and died early on Tuesday morning.  A post mortem revealed that there was a rupture of a diseased kidney.  There was no broken rib, and no other injury; and in his opinion death was due to the rupture and the subsequent haemorrhage.  - By the Jury:  There was nothing in the diseased kidney to cause immediate death.  Dr Turnbull, House Surgeon at the Infirmary, gave supporting evidence.  KEYTE informed him that he fell on his side a distance of 10 or 15 ft., and he understood him to say he fell on to the trestle from a point above.  The Coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," expressing sympathy with the widow, and the opinion that no blame was attributable to anyone in the matter.

Thursday 24 April 1902

SOUTHMOLTON - Fatal Burns At Romansleigh.  Inquest At Southmolton. - On Friday evening the Borough Coroner, Thomas Sandes, Esq., and a Jury, of whom Mr Daniel Richards was Foreman, held an Inquiry at the Board Room of the Southmolton Workhouse, touching the death of JAMES BRAYLEY, a native of Southmolton, aged 70, who died from the result of burns.  Mr W. Kingdon said he was Master of the Workhouse.  He had known the deceased for many years past, and since he had been Master, BRAYLEY had been frequently an inmate.  He last discharged himself from the House on the 4th February.  On Wednesday last, the 16th April, witness saw the deceased just outside the entrance gates to the Workhouse, and deceased said he was going into the House.  He was then walking as if in great pain.  In answer to witness's enquiry, BRAYLEY told him he lay down by the fire on Monday night at Mr Thorne's, of Horridge Farm, Romansleigh, and fell asleep, and was awoke by his trousers being on fire, and that he was badly burnt about the legs and other parts of his body.  BRAYLEY also added that he lay down by the fire because he had attended to Mr Thorne's ewes.  Witness admitted him into the Workhouse, and placed him in the Infirmary, and at once sent for medical aid, Dr Smyth arriving quickly.  Deceased received every attention after his admission, but died at 1 o'clock on Friday morning.  John Thorne, junr., said he resided with his father at Horridge Farm, Romansleigh. Deceased had worked for his father for about two months.  On Sunday deceased was out drinking nearly the whole of the day.  On Monday he did not work, and was again away all day.  He returned about 7.30 rather tipsy, and declined to go to bed, adding that he would rather sit by the fire.  About 9.30 they all went to bed, after taking out the fire which was on the hearth.  BRAYLEY was left sitting by the hearth on a stool.  About 10.30 witness heard deceased shouting for assistance, and on witness going down stairs he found the place full of smoke, and deceased sitting on the floor with his trousers and other garments on fire.  Witness cut the trousers.  Witness considered that after they had all gone to bed deceased must have lain on the hearth.  Dr Smyth said he saw deceased shortly after his admission to the Workhouse on Wednesday afternoon.  He found that he was badly and deeply burnt about the legs and other parts of his body.  From the first witness did not consider that he would get over the injuries.  He died from burns and shock to the system.  The Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

Thursday 15 May 1902

ILFRACOMBE - Woman Commits Suicide Near Ilfracombe. - There was a deplorable occurrence at Mellacott Farm, about two miles from Ilfracombe, on Thursday, when MARY ANN SMITH, wife of a dairyman, committed suicide by hanging herself in the kitchen.  - At the Inquest before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Friday, THOMAS SMITH, deceased's husband, deposed that his late wife was 64 years of age.  Witness left home on Thursday morning about 7 o'clock, as usual, leaving his wife in the barn.  She had assisted him that morning loading up the milk to take into Ilfracombe.  She was then in her usual health, which for some time had not been very good. Witness returned home about 10 o'clock, and when he came to the house found both doors shut, being locked on the inside.  Witness became alarmed, and he drove off to Mr Blackmore's, about a quarter of a mile away.  Mr Blackmore came back with witness, and he broke open the front door and went into the house, witness following, and there found deceased hanging from a rope in the back kitchen.  Deceased had been in very low spirits lately, and had been worse since Christmas.  A doctor advised him about six weeks ago to give her a change, and they had arranged to take her to Southmolton, but the weather having been rough at the time she did not go.  Mr R. Blackmore, farmer of Twitchen, said that about 10.20 on Thursday morning last, the last witness came to his house, and said, "She's gone, and the doors are locked up, and I can't find her anywhere."  MR SMITH also said he had searched all through the outhouses, and he couldn't find her anywhere.  Witness then came back to the house with the last witness, and broke open the front door and went in, MR SMITH following.  In the back kitchen he found deceased hanging from a  rope, her feet being about six inches from the ground.  There was a box near to deceased, from which she had apparently sprang off.  Deceased was fully dressed, and was quite dead.  Witness took out his knife and cut her down; deceased was quite cold.  Witness had known her for some time, and she was often in low spirits.  The deceased had left one son.  By Sergt. Jeffrey:  He found a piece of paper (produced) on the kitchen table with the words, "Don't punish no one for me," written in pencil.  The Coroner, in summing up, said no doubt deceased lost her reason.  The husband and son had their sympathy.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane."

BIDEFORD - Fatal Accident At Bideford.  Man Killed At Geneva Schools. - On Tuesday afternoon a fatal accident occurred to WILLIAM HENRY LLOYD, one of the workmen employed in building the new Geneva Board School at the head of the town.  LLOYD was engaged in carrying a plank across one of the iron girders when he lost his balance and fell at distance of 16 feet to the ground beneath, alighting on his head and fracturing his skull.  LLOYD was first seen after the fall by Mr H. Glover, the contractor for the building, who ordered his immediate removal t his house, which was near.  This was speedily accomplished on a stretcher by P.C.'s Perrin and Lake and others.  Dr Grose was promptly in attendance, but could only confirm the fact that life was extinct.  LLOYD, who was 40 years of age, leaves a widow (a second wife) and a daughter, aged 16, by his first wife.  they reside in Marland-terrace, Clovelly-road, only a few yards from the school building.  The Inquest was held at the Workhouse yesterday by Mr Coroner Bromham.

FREDERICK LLOYD, brother, having identified the body, Charles Beer, deceased's fellow workman, said he was walking behind the deceased when he fell.  Deceased was walking across two planks, which made a width of 1ft. 7 inches, and when emerging from the corridor to the central hall - an open space - a gust of wind twisted the plank, and over-balanced the deceased, who fell to the ground, a distance of 16 feet.  Mr H. Glover, the contractor, who was on the buildings at the time, said he was at deceased's side immediately after the fall, but found him dead.  He was a very steady man, and was much respected.  Dr Grose stated that the man was dead when he saw him at the buildings.  There was a wound right across the back of his head behind the ears, and his scalp was reflected.

Thursday 22 May 1902

ILFRACOMBE - Two Fatal Falls At Ilfracombe. The Inquests.  -  On Thursday afternoon a young man, aged 28, named ROBERT TAYLOR, of Hele, Ilfracombe, was cleaning windows at Mr T. Davie's house on the Quay, and on reaching sideways the ladder slipped and precipitated TAYLOR to the ground, a distance of about 30 feet.  He was picked up unconscious, and Drs. Clayton Jones and H. R. Foquett were soon in attendance, and ordered his immediate removal to the Hospital, where he died about 6 p.m.  Deceased leaves a widow and one child. The Inquest was held at the Hospital on Saturday by Mr J. F. Bromham, the County Coroner.  Evidence was given by Mr T. Davie, Mr Robert Taylor, Mr J. R. Jewell, mason (who saw the fall and picked up deceased), P.S. Jeffery and Dr. Clayton Jones, who spoke to finding TAYLOR insensible with a large star-shaped wound on the top of the head, and bleeding profusely from the nose.  The cause of death was fracture of the skull.  A verdict of Accidental Death was returned, the Jury expressing sympathy with the widow, to whom they gave their fees.

The Coroner (who remarked on the sadness of having to conduct two Inquests in the same town on the same day)then proceeded to Inquire into the circumstances of the death of a lad named NORMAN (son of MR W. J. NORMAN, Railway Inspector at Ilfracombe), who fell over the cliffs at Hillsboro' on Tuesday in last week.  Frank Stretch, booking-clerk at the Railway Station, identified the body of deceased as that of WILLIAM HENRY NORMAN, aged 13, son of WILLIAM JOHN NORMAN, Inspector at the Railway Company's Ilfracombe office.  Witness said he was at the door of the office on Tuesday, when two boys came and informed MR NORMAN that his son had slipped down the cliff at Hillsboro'.  MR NORMAN and himself accompanied the boys to the scene of the accident.  Witness went down the cliff about 50 feet, and finding it impossible to get at the body, went away for a boat.  The tide was coming in.  Witness returned to the town to inform the police, and to get a boat.  Four boats went out, and witness in one of them.  He was close to the one whose crew found the body, which was brought to the Quay.  NORMAN was taken into the Pier Hotel, and Drs. Clayton Jones and E. Gardner were in attendance in a few minutes.  The boy was unconscious, and after doing all that could be done, he was removed to the Hospital.  He heard of the boy's death on Friday.  Witness said that deceased's father much regretted his inability to be present at the Inquest, as he had to go to Yeovil to make arrangements for the funeral, and desired him to inform the Coroner and the Jury to that effect. 

William Lancey, 13, said he knew deceased very well, and with another lad went to Hillsboro' on Tuesday evening about 7.30.  They had no special object in view, but saw some ferns down the cliff, and deceased climbed down to try and get them.  Witness and the other boy went down part of the way, and suddenly the other boy turned to witness and said "He's gone."  Witness did not see the fall, but saw that NORMAN was not in sight.  they climbed the cliff again, and went round to Hillsboro' Beach to find NORMAN.  They found him at the bottom of the cliff, quite unconscious.  The tide was rising, and in order to get back, they had to go through the water up to their knees.  They met a gentleman, and called out to him, telling him what had happened.  they all returned, but the tide was then too high to get at the body.  They then went to Ilfracombe as fast as they could, and told MR NORMAN and Stretch what had happened.  They went out with them to point out the spot where NORMAN fell.  Claude Phillips, another lad, gave evidence in corroboration of what the last witness said.  he followed NORMAN down a little way, and then a piece of rock gave way under NORMAN'S feet, so that he fell right down.  Witness called out to NORMAN who made no reply.  He afterwards found the body, as previously described, and confirmed Lancey's evidence as to what took place afterwards.  Dr Clayton-Jones said that he was called by telephone to the Pier Hotel, and went at once.  He found deceased insensible, and had several cuts on his head and face.  Dr Ernest Gardner assisted in the examination, and the body was then removed to the hospital.  Deceased had repeated convulsions, and died at mid-day on Friday last.  The cause of death was laceration of the brain, from the wounds in the head.  The Coroner said that he was sure the parents would have the sincere sympathies of the Jury in their loss of an only son. The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death", and the Foreman said he should like to convey their sympathy to the bereaved parents.  The police-sergeant said he should like to commend the promptitude of the boatmen, to whom the Jury and Mr Stretch gave their fees.  The Coroner thanked the members of the Jury for their kindness in both the cases.

APPLEDORE - Fatal Accident At Appledore. - Mr J.F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest at the Bell Inn, Appledore, on Tuesday evening, on the body of JAMES LEMON, 18, an apprentice at Messrs. Cock and Sons' dockyard, who died on Saturday from the results of an accident while engaged at the dockyard.  Evidence was given showing that on May 9th deceased, while working at a sawing machine, was struck on the head by a piece of wood.  He went home, and Dr Pratt was called in, and attended deceased up to last Wednesday. On that day he ordered MRS LEMON to put a strong mustard plaster at the back of deceased's neck, which was done.  During the day deceased was worse, and hearing Dr Lane was in the town LEMON'S father called him in, and deceased remained under his treatment until he died. 

Dr Alexander Lane, of Bideford, said he found deceased suffering from fracture of the skull and inflammation of the brain.  He ordered the ordinary treatment.  He could not say anything whether the other doctor was right in ordering a mustard plaster.  He never heard of such a treatment before.  At the request of the Coroner, he made a post mortem, which revealed an extensive fracture leading down from where the bruise was to the floor of the skull.  The actual cause of death was from fracture of the skull and subsequent inflammation of the brain.  The boy had been out of doors.  In summing up, Mr Bromham said he only ordered the post mortem examination in order that the specific cause of death might be ascertained.  He was induced to do it in this case, as Dr Pratt, who seemed annoyed that he had not been called, wrote and said it was necessary in order that the cause of death might be ascertained.  It was impossible for him to call Dr Pratt, as Dr Lane had given the certificate and was in attendance on deceased at the time of his death.  Replying to a Juryman, Dr Lane said in a god many worse cases than this life had been saved.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and added a rider to the effect that the saw was properly guarded.  They expressed their sympathy with the parents.

Thursday 29 May 1902

MARWOOD - Marwood Man's Sudden Death At Barnstaple. - With painful suddenness, MR HARRY QUICK, upholsterer, aged 25, of Muddiford, expired at Barnstaple on Friday.  THOMAS QUICK, deceased's father, stated at the Inquest at the North Devon Infirmary on Saturday that his son had been suffering from consumption for five or six years.  He broke a blood vessel about two years ago, and had been gradually getting weaker and worse, being unable to do much work.  Deceased left home for Barnstaple about ten o'clock on Friday, driving into the town.  Henry J. Kingdon, French polisher, of Pulchrass-street, deposed that deceased and he did little jobs for each other.  QUICK called at his house at 11.30 on Friday, and remained talking about an hour.  Just as deceased was leaving he was seized with a fit of coughing.  QUICK asked for a glass of water, and shortly afterwards collapsed.  Witness left deceased in charge of someone and ran for a doctor, but found QUICK dead on his return a short time after with Dr Turnbull, the only medical man he could find near.  Dr  C. C. Turnbull, House Surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, informed the Jury that he found QUICK lying on his back, having been dead some minutes.  The fit of coughing had brought on haemorrhage from the lungs, this being the cause of death.  Nothing could possibly save QUICK after the flow of blood took place.  Witness found by the records of the Infirmary that deceased was an out-patient of the institution some time ago.  P.C. Gooding, who with assistance carried the deceased to the Infirmary, was also called.  Both MR and MRS QUICK were present at the Inquest, and were much affected.  Mr A. Bencraft, Deputy Coroner (who conducted the Inquest) briefly summed up.  It was very sad that MR and MRS QUICK should have lost their son away from home, and he was sure they had the sincere sympathy of the Jury in their great bereavement.  The Jury (of which Mr William Symons was Foreman) returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

EXETER - The Inquest at Exeter on THOMAS ANNEAR, postal clerk, Plymouth, resulted in a verdict of "Found Dead on the Great Western Railway".  There was no evidence to show how he got on the line.

DEVONPORT - At an Inquest on Thursday on NELLIE BERTHA PODGERS and WILLIAM EDWARD SYMONS, the victims of the Devonport tragedy, the Jury found that the woman was murdered by SYMONS, in whose verdict of Felo De Se was returned.

ST BUDEAUX - Instow Lad Killed At St. Budeaux. Level Crossing Fatality. - The Borough Coroner (Mr J.A. Pearce) held an Inquest at the Royal Albert Hospital, Devonport on Wednesday evening, touching the death of HERBERT JAMES ENGLAND, aged sixteen years, of 18 Edith-terrace, St. Budeaux, porter on the London and South Western Railway.

JONATHAN PEZEY ENGLAND, Instow, North Devon, assistant overseer and bootmaker, gave evidence of identification.  Deceased entered the service of the railway company on the 2nd July, 1900.  He had been stationed at St. Budeaux thirteen months.  Edmund Tolley, stationmaster at St. Budeaux, said about 10.30 on Monday night deceased came into the booking-office, and went, as usual, to the ticket box.  This was immediately before the arrival of the 8.38 special from Yeoford, which was due at St. Budeaux at 10.38.  Deceased then went down on the platform.  All the lamps on the platform were lit, and deceased's duty was to assist in loading and unloading the trains, and to collect tickets on the up side.  An up train was due at 10.33, but it did not arrive until 10.46.  He (witness) was shortly after informed that someone had been knocked down.  Witness went to the platform, and found deceased lying in the 6ft. way, about forty feet from the crossing.  His cap and lamp were about 22ft. away.  Deceased was quite unconscious.  Seeing that he was severely injured, witness sent for Dr. Smith, and deceased was removed to the waiting-room, and subsequently taken to the Royal Albert Hospital.  He was conveyed to Devonport by the same train which knocked him down. Deceased was a very steady lad, and a teetotaller.  Witness had every confidence in him.  His theory was that deceased was crossing from one side to the other when he was knocked down.  As the down train passed out of the station the up train was coming in.  In attempting to cross deceased emerged from behind the down train, and was knocked down by the engine of the incoming train.  John James Woolway, signalman, deposed to finding the deceased lying in the 6ft. way, about 10.47. About ten minutes previous to this he came to witness's signal box to know if the up train was running.  Witness told him it was, but that it was a bit late.  Alfred Cann, engine driver, said on Monday night he was driving the 10.35 train from Friary to St. Budeaux. He arrived at S. Budeaux at 10.45.  On approaching the station the signal box was at "danger," and about 500 yards out he blew the whistle.  The signal was then taken off, and witness proceeded into the station.  He saw no one crossing the line when he entered the station.  It was a good moonlight night, but they could not see anything except the lights.  On examining the engine witness found a alight mark on the front bottom of the step of the engine.  Richard Harris, 2 Tresulyan-road, St Budeaux, said he was near the booking office on Monday night watching the train going out of the station, when he saw someone run over the crossing behind the train going out.  At the same time he thought he saw something knocked up the road as the up train steamed into the station.  He could not hear the up train coming in.  Cyril Arthur Bennett Horsford, house surgeon, Royal Albert Hospital, said he saw the deceased a few minutes after being admitted to that institution. There was a large scalp wound in the front of the head and the skull was fractured.  Death took place at 4.30 the next morning.  The cause was concussion of the brain.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and the Coroner expressed to the father their sympathy in his bereavement.

The funeral took place at Instow Parish Churchyard on Sunday, in the presence of a large concourse of people. Wreaths were sent by many friends including Mr Jury (formerly of Instow, with whom deceased lodged) and family, St Budeaux, and the staff at St. Budeaux station, which forwarded an artificial wreath enclosed in a glass dome.  The Rector (Rev. W. T. L. Jenkins) officiated, the mourners present being MR and MRS ENGLAND (father and mother), Messrs, CHARLES T., FREDERICK E., and PERCIVAL A. ENGLAND (Brothers), MISS MARY E. ENGLAND (sister), Mr and Mrs Ridge, Messrs. T. Ridge, W. Ridge and W. Ridge, junr., (Yeovil) and Mr W. England, (Appledore). the funeral arrangements were made by Mr H. Yeo.  A memorial service was conducted by the Rev. B. C. Barker at the Wesleyan Church in the evening, a good number being in attendance.  Miss Anstey was the organist. 

Thursday 5 June 1902

SOUTHMOLTON - Sad Fatal Accident  At Southmolton.  Killed At The Rifle Range. -  A fatal accident took place on Saturday evening at the Grilstone Range of the Southmolton Volunteers (G. Co. 4th V.B.D.R.) when a number of the Volunteers were engaged in their usual weekly practice, under Sergt. Instructor Ford.  There was firing at two targets under separate markers.  One of them, JOHN METTERS, who had some 16 years' practice at the work, seeing some cattle approaching, showed his red danger flag, and acting on impulse did not, as is customary, wait for the bugle sound before issuing from the shelter.  He had scarcely issued from the mantlet when he was struck by a rifle bullet at the upper part of the chest, the bullet coming out at the back of the neck, penetrating the upper part of the spine.  Surgeon-Lieut. Kendle was speedily fetched, although some time naturally elapsed, as the range is some mile and three-quarters from the town.  METTERS was carefully removed to his home in West-street, but from the first no hope was entertained of his recovery.  METTERS is an old Volunteer, having some time since earned and received the long service medal. He was well known in the Battalion, being a constant attendant at the annual camp.  Notwithstanding every effort METTERS died the same evening shortly before eleven.  He leaves a widow and a family, all the latter, however, being grown up.

The Inquest:-  An Inquest was held at the Town Hall on Monday by Mr T. Sanders, F.R.C.S., Borough Coroner, on the body of JOHN METTERS, who met with his death on Saturday whilst engaged in marking at the butts on the Grilstone Range of the G. Co. 4th V.B.D.R.  The Jury was composed of Mr R. Cock (Foreman), Messrs. J. Blake, L. Tanner, E. Hill, E. Ayres, H. Couch, S. Western, J. A. K. Gebbett, H. Kingdon, S. P. Kelland, J. C. Huxtable, A. W. C. Martin, and W. Knill.  Amongst those present in Court were the Adjutant (Capt. Campbell), Lieut. Day (Mayor of Southmolton), Surgeon-Lieut. Kendle, Color-Sergt. Palfreyman, Capt. Pelly (Supt. of Police), Messrs. R. S. Bryan, J.P., J. Sanders, J.P., C.C., and a large number of the general public.

JOHN HENRY METTERS said he identified the body of his father, the deceased, JOHN METTERS. 

Lieut. F. Day, the officer commanding G. Co. 4th V.B.D.R., was at the Grilstone Range with the deceased on Saturday last.  The accident happened about 5.30 p.m.  He was at the firing point at 500 yards distant from the target.  Witness was keeping the register.  One of the Company had fired, and he was marking the register, after which Pte. Peagam fired.  When he looked up he saw deceased coming from behind the target holding a red flag.  He should say not more than a second elapsed between the two shots.  When the first was fired no one was visible.  His opinion was that METTERS must have come out at the instant that Peagam fired.  METTERS had been a marker for 16 years, and the musketry orders are most stringent that no marker is to leave the butt until "cease fire" had sounded.  This he could not have done.  When he saw what had occurred, he drove quickly to Southmolton, and caused Surgeon-Lieut. Kendle to be driven to the Range in his dog cart.  MR JAMES METTERS, a brother of the deceased, asked if the flat was long enough to be shewn without the marker exposing his body.  The witness replying that it was.

Mr H. Kingdon, a Juryman, asked if there was a recognised bugler at the firing point, and was answered there were three.  The targets had recently been examined by the Inspector of Musketry.  No further shot was fired while he was present. 

By Mr Blake:  It was not necessary by the orders to have a bugler, but the signal might be given by a whistle.  There was no red flag exhibited when the last shot was fired.  There were some sheep in the line of fire.  He did not think the deceased exercised sufficient caution.  The whistle was not used, as they had a bugler.  The marker should not have come out before he heard the "cease fire."  The bugle had been sounded on several occasions during the firing. Sergt. Instructor Ford was on the Grilstone Range on Saturday, when the men were firing at 500 yards in the discharge of his duty.  Whilst turning to speak to a man, Lieut. Day said:  "Did you see that, Sergt?"  He asked what, and was told the instant this man fired a man came out in front of the target.  He looked up and said the man is nit.  He ran to the butts, and found the marker, JOHN METTERS shot through the breast.

The Adjutant (Capt. A. Campbell) said Lieut Day had correctly stated the precautions laid down in the regulations.  He thought, from his long experience, familiarity had made the marker careless.  In reply to Mr Blake, he said as a matter of sentiment the firing might have been stopped, but it was not necessary under the regulations.  The Sergt. Instr. being recalled, said the firing was continued at the request of the men, some of whom came from a distance.  George John Northcott, who was marking at the adjoining butt, said he was present at the time of the accident.  They saw some sheep from the field behind coming over the firing point, and he said to Nunn and METTERS that after the next shot he would put out his flag to cease fire, which he did. Nunn said "Have you got out your flat."  He said, "Yes."  Whilst holding his flat waiting for the bugle, he heard another shot fired. Nunn said METTERS was hit.  He saw blood on the front of his shirt.  He undid it and saw a wound, but as it did not bleed he became alarmed, and waved his hat to the firing point.  he was himself exposed, but he thought they would not fire again.  The shelter was 19 feet long.

James Nunn, a private in the G. Co., was also present at the targets at the time of the accident.  He corroborated the evidence of previous witness.  After hearing the report of the gun he saw METTERS fall, and went to his assistance.  It all happened in half a minute.  There was no time between the signal and the shot for a bugle to be sounded.  P:rivate John Henry Peagam said he was class-firing at 500 yards on the Grilstone Range on SAturday evening, and it was he who fired the fatal shot.  He did not see the deceased or any red flat after he had fired the shot.  He heard Lieut. Day speak.  He threw down the rifle and went to the butts, where he saw the man had been shot in the breast.  He was very sorry for the occurrence.  there were only two left to fire before they had refreshments.  He was lying down.  Surgeon-Lieut. Kendle, G. Company, was called to the deceased shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday, by Lieut. Day.  He went at once to the range.  Three-quarters of a mile from the town he met a trap in which METTERS was sitting, held up by Nunn . He at once examined him.  He found a wound on the right side of the neck, and another at the back on the left side, showing the bullet had passed diagonally. He was paralysed from the chest downward. The spinal cord had been injured.  They got him to bed, and he saw him an hour later with Mr H. J. Smyth, his usual medical attendant.  They agreed that the wound would be likely to prove fatal.  Mr H. J. Smyth, surgeon, also gave corroborative evidence.  The case was hopeless from the first. He died about 10.45 p.m. The cause of death was shock, resulting from a bullet wound.  The Sergt. Instructor, in reply to a question from Lieut. Day, said from the time the shot left the rifle to the time it struck the target, a man might walk five feet.  In reply to a question from Mr Blake, he said the distance walked by METTERS was four feet.  The Coroner said it was clearly a case of accidental death, to which the deceased unfortunately contributed by his own carelessness.

The Jury having retired for about half-an-hour, on their return the Foreman said they were unanimously of opinion that the deceased, JOHN METTERS, met his death by a shot Accidentally fired on the range, and they added, as a rider, that sufficient time be given, between shots fired, for the danger flag to be seen at the firing point, and that the markers' regulations be stuck up in the mantlets.  They exonerated Private Peagam from any blame, and gave their fees to the widow.

Thursday 12 June 1902

HEANTON PUNCHARDON - Suicide At Heanton. - An Inquest was held by Mr J. F. Bromham (County Coroner) at Mainstone Farm, Heanton Punchardon, near Barnstaple, on Monday evening, on the body of SUSAN CLARKE, aged 23, and unmarried, whose dead body was on the previous Saturday found lying in the farm orchard.  Mr L. H. Alford was foreman of the Jury. 

Emily Hernaman, wife of William Hernaman, the occupier of the farm, said deceased, who was her sister, had lived at the farm for the past nine months, assisting in the house work.  Her general health had been fairly good, but for some time past she had been depressed in spirits.  About half-past 9 o'clock on Saturday morning she left the house, and after an hour had passed without deceased returning, witness wondered where she had gone.  Her husband went to look for her.  Shortly afterwards he returned, saying, "Don't be frightened:  SUSIE'S in the orchard, and I believe she's dead."  He then went for the doctor, and the body was left in the orchard until he arrived.  The police constable also saw it before it was brought to the house.  William Hernaman corroborated, and stated that he found the body of his sister-in-law in the orchard, about 100 yards from the house.  She was lying in the corner against a fence.  She looked very queer, her face being greatly discoloured.  P.C. Westlake deposed to finding a cup (which he produced) containing "something like salts," about 70 yards from where deceased was lying.  There were only a few grains in the cup. 

Dr F. T. Anderson, of Braunton, said he was summoned to the orchard by Mr Hernaman.  Deceased's face was rather congested.  The same evening P.S. Rowse showed him a cup (the one produced), in which there were just a few grains of what he and Mr W. J. Harper had, after testing, found to be oxalic acid.  At the request of the Coroner, he had, with the assistance of Mr Harper, made a post mortem examination of deceased's body. They found all the organs healthy, except that the gullet and the stomach showed that corrosive poison had been taken, the appearance indicating the use of oxalic acid.  The acid must have been taken dissolved in water, or otherwise grains would have been found in the stomach.  He had no doubt that deceased died from the results of taking the poison mentioned.  The examination had shown her to be pregnant.  In summing up, the Coroner pointed out the importance of medical advice being sought when persons got into a depressed state.  A verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane" was returned.

Thursday 19 June 1902

BARNSTAPLE - The Barnstaple Drowning Fatality. - The body of SYDNEY GEORGE FARMER, the six year old boy who was drowned in the River Taw on May 19th, was recovered on Saturday at Pottington drawbridge , about a quarter of a mile below the scene of the fatality.  At the Inquest conducted at the North Devon Infirmary by Mr Archibald Bencraft, Deputy Coroner, Frank Gaydon, watchmaker, deposed that on the afternoon of May 19th, he was fishing in the river Taw from the back of the Fish Market.  Deceased stood close to him  at one stage, but just afterwards another little boy called out that FARMER had fallen into the river from the steps at the other end.  Witness ran to the steps, and saw deceased being carried up the river by the incoming tide.  He (Gaydon) was unable to swim, but threw FARMER a poke, and shouted for help.  Deceased did not catch hold of the pole.  In response to his shouts, William List Gaydon, an old man, came along, and merely taking off his coat and waistcoat, jumped into the river for the purpose of rescuing the child.  Gaydon swam to almost within reaching distance of FARMER, who then disappeared, the water being very choppy.  Gaydon himself had a narrow escape from drowning, sinking once.  Ropes (procured by Mr Hewish and others) were thrown to him, and he was eventually lifted into a boat in an exhausted condition.  The old man could not have held out much longer.  MRS PORTER, who has been twice married, deceased being a son by her first husband, gave evidence of identification.  She spoke to being called out of her house opposite the Fish Market, and to the child drowning in her presence.  She bore testimony to the fact that Mr List Gaydon did everything in his power to save her child, who, in her opinion, was practically drowned before she heard of the occurrence.  William Henry Barrow, fisherman, who found the body at 5.40 a.m., expressed the opinion that it had been "sanded" in one of the deep Bridge pools, and that it had been washed up that morning by the heavy fresh running down the river.  The fact that the body had been "sanded" explained the ineffectual dragging operations.  The Coroner said it was a distressing case, it being doubly unfortunate that the deceased child should have lost is life after the gallant attempt of Mr List Gaydon to rescue him.  The Jury, of which Mr John Rice was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," expressing their sincere sympathy with MRS PORTER and her family in their bereavement.

Thursday 3 July 1902

APPLEDORE - The Sad Death At Appledore.  Inquest on Lieut. Colonel BINGHAM.  -  The circumstances attending the sudden death of Lieutenant-Colonel RICHARD B. W. BINGHAM, of Cliff Cottage, Appledore, were Inquired into on Wednesday by Mr J. F. Bromham.  Deceased was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the 3rd Dorset Militia.  He had been labouring for the past week under great anxiety owing to the position in which his wife was placed by a committal to the County Quarter Sessions on a charge of stealing a diamond ring and a diamond bangle bracelet from a friend's house, at which she had lunched.  The first witness called was Mrs Mary Alice Lowther, sister of the deceased, who gave evidence of identification.  In answer to the Coroner, witness stated that she had never heard of deceased having been subject to an affection of the heart.  He had had a great deal of trouble lately.  Deceased had a place in Dorset, and had also lived at Weymouth.

Thomas Cole, ferryman, of Appledore, said on Monday he met deceased at the station gate at Instow.  He complained of feeling very ill.  Opposite the hotel he sat down for a minute on the kerb, refusing a drop of brandy, and saying he would try to get home as soon as he could.  They then proceeded together over the sands towards witness's boat.  On the way deceased sat down on the sands, saying he felt very ill.  They afterwards reached and got into the boat, and witness rowed him to Badsteps, directly opposite Cliff Cottage.  On reaching the Cottage steps deceased fell down.  A doctor was summoned.  Robert Woodcock, coxswain of the Santon lifeboat, said almost immediately on the last witness (Cole) leaving to fetch the doctor deceased gave a sigh or two and died.  Dr W. A. Valentine said the result of the post mortem examination showed that deceased died of angina pectoris.  In answer to the Coroner, witness added that any great anxiety to a man suffering from that kind of thing would very likely kill him.  The Coroner:  I should like to ask if there was any sign of poison having been taken.  Witness:  None whatever.  There was not the slightest cause of suspicion.

The Jury returned a verdict that "Deceased died from Natural Causes," and they expressed sincere sympathy with the relatives and the children.  They also expressed their opinion that they considered it necessary for the Inquest to have been held in order to satisfy the public  as to the cause of death.  The funeral took place about an hour after the conclusion of the Inquest.

Thursday 10 July 1902

Suicides At Warkleigh and Chittlehampton.  Farmer and Labourer Drown Themselves.

There have been two suicides in the adjoining parishes of Warkleigh and Chittlehampton, North Devon, during the past week, the victims curiously enough drowning themselves in each case.  Following closely upon each other, the cases caused a sensation in the neighbourhood.  Inquests on the bodies were held by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Monday.

WARKLEIGH - The death of WILLIAM SQUIRE, farmer, of Park Farm, Warkleigh, was first inquired into.

WILLIAM JAMES SQUIRE, son of deceased, and living at Park Farm, said his father was 62 years of age.  He had been in an indifferent state of health for six or seven weeks, and his mind consequently had been rather affected.  He had been subject to depression of spirits, although he had not been entirely prevented from superintending the work on the farm.  He seemed better recently.  On Thursday at 7.30 a.m. he went out to look at the hay mound, and then came home for breakfast.  But it was not quite ready, and he then went to see the sheep.  He did not return, and ten minutes later witness went out to call him.  Deceased, however, could not be found.  Witness became alarmed and gave information to the police.  A search party, consisting of about twenty persons, was formed.  On Saturday morning deceased was found in the river, and the body was brought home to the house.  His family had looked after deceased as well as they could, but they did not think it was necessary to watch his every movement.  He had had influenza early in the spring, and he had never, apparently, recovered from it.

George Stevens, platelayer, on the London and South Western Railway, stated that he was one of the occupants of a boat on SAturday morning when the river Taw was dragged.  The body was taken out of Crocker's Pool, about half-a-mile from Park Farm.  He had noticed that lately deceased had been in very low spirits.  Mr W. S. Gardner, highway surveyor, of Chittlehampton, said one of the Jurymen had seen a heel print near the pool, and that had  induced them to look for the body there.  It w2as the deepest pool in the neighbourhood.  Deceased did not seem to require constant attention.  P.C. Toms spoke to the pool being searched as well as it could be without any grappling irons on the Friday, and the body could not be recovered; but on Saturday some grappling irons were procured, and the body found.  The Coroner in remarking on the evidence, said it seemed to show that deceased had not required constant watching on the part of the family, for whom he was sure the deepest sympathy would be felt.  A verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane" was returned by the Jury, on whose behalf the Foreman (Mr S. Mortimer) expressed deep and sincere sympathy with the family.  He remarked that deceased was a highly respected parishioner and neighbour.

CHITTLEHAMPTON - Suicide

The inquest was on the body of SAMUEL WARE an incapacitated labourer, aged 72, at Hoe Cottages, Chittlehampton  The foreman of the jury was Mr A W Eyre.  ELIZABETH WARE, the widow, stated that two years ago deceased had a seizure, since which he being unable to do any work, and had had to sleep in a chair.  At 1.30 that morning witness left him in order to go to bed, and he remained in the chair, as usual.  At about 4 o’clock Mr Murch, a neighbour, called her downstairs, he having found the door ajar.  Her husband was then missing from the chair.  Mr Murch went to look for him, and about five minutes later he returned, saying he had found him.  An hour or two afterwards the body was brought home.  Deceased had not been quite right in his mind for some time past, and had been under medical care.  But she had never thought he would have committed suicide.

Thomas Murch, farmer, said he was going to get the horses early that morning in order to plough, when he noticed that WARE'S door was not closed.  He saw that deceased was not sitting in his usual place in the chair.  He afterwards made a search, and found deceased’s stick and cap in the higher marsh, a short distance from the cottage.  He then saw deceased’s body in the river Taw, which was only about three feet deep at that part.  The body was not more than six feet from the bank, and deceased had all his clothes on.  Witness removed the body from the water.

The jury returned a verdict of “Suicide while temporarily insane”, and expressed sympathy with the widow, to whom they gave their fees.

MERTON - The death of RICHARD SMALE, retired labourer, aged 80, was Inquired into by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, yesterday.  Deceased, a widower, resided at Merton Mills with his son-in-law and daughter, who went away for the day on Sunday.  On returning in the evening SMALE'S daughter found her father sitting in a chair in his bedroom, and at his request took him some egg and milk mixed.  Returning only five minutes later, she was startled to find her father lying across the bed dead.  In the opinion of Dr McDonald, death was due to Natural Causes, a verdict being returned accordingly.

Thursday 17 July 1902

MONKOKEHAMPTON - Death from Lockjaw Near Hatherleigh. - Mr J. D. Prickman (Coroner) held an Inquest at Beer Farm, Monkokehampton, on Wednesday, to Inquire into the death of HENRY TANCOCK, 58 years of age, which took place on the 8th inst., following an accident.  Thomas Ellacott, jun., stated that on the 27th ult. the deceased fell off the machine through the horses bolting.  His leg caught in the wheel, and he was dragged several yards.  - Dr S. E. Atkins, of Hatherleigh, said there were several contusions on the body and a lacerated wound on the left leg.  Witness had attended him ever since the accident, and on Monday afternoon lockjaw set in, death occurring early on Tuesday morning  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

PLYMOUTH  - A Frithelstock Incident. - In the South Devon and Cornwall Hospital, Plymouth, on Thursday, an Inquest was held on WILLIAM RICE AXWORTHY, 35, farm labourer, who died on Tuesday.  Mary Maria Beare, 35, wife of George Beare, miller, 3, Washington-place, Plymouth, said three months ago deceased was struck in the stomach by a bull in Frithelstock parish.  She understood the bull intended to toss a dog, but AXWORTHY received the attack.  Mr E. G. Smith, assistant house surgeon, said deceased was admitted on 2nd inst. suffering from injuries to the stomach.  A post mortem examination revealed cancer, to which death was due.  The blow undoubtedly accelerated death.  A verdict in accordance with the medial testimony was returned.

Thursday 24 July 1902

BISHOPSTAWTON - Child Drowned At Bishopstawton. - Whilst endeavouring to reach an apple out of the mill-stream at Bishopstawton on Thursday, JAS. SCOINS, boot repairer's son, aged five, fell in and was drowned.  At the Inquest on Friday before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, RICHARD SCOINS, father of deceased, deposed that the child was playing in the road outside the house shortly after dinner-time.  About half-an-hour later he heard another little boy named Scott call out that SCOINS was drowning in the mill stream, a short distance away.  As quickly as possible witness went down to the bridge, and thence to the spot (pointed out by Scott) where the child had fallen in, whilst he also ran to the point where the water was turned off.  This was meanwhile done, other persons having arrived, and within five minutes of the alarm the body of his son was taken out of the water.  Dr Lemarchand, who happened to be passing, pronounced life extinct.

Cecil J. Scott, aged about seven, stated that deceased was close to the water on Thursday afternoon, whilst witness stood back on the bank.  On seeing an apple coming down stream, SCOINS said he would get it, but in endeavouring to do so fell into the river, witness raising an alarm.  Herbert Smoldon, butcher, who heard that SCOINS was in the stream, spoke to going in up to his waist in mud and water, and after a little time felt something which he discovered to be the child SCOINS.  There was no sign of life.  The Coroner:  there is no fence to the stream?  "Only the banks," replied witness.  The Coroner:  You have lived here some years, and never heard of any accident before?  Witness assented.

The Coroner reviewed the evidence, which he thought all that it was necessary to call in this very sad case.  He felt sure the parents of deceased would have the sincere sympathy of the Jury in the very sad loss which they had sustained.  Dr Lemarchand, in a letter, mentioned that he attempted artificial respiration, but the child was quite dead when he arrived.  He remarked on the fact that all open streams were dangerous.  A Juryman pointed out that both sides of the stream in question were private property.   The Coroner:  "But even if it was not, it is difficult to fence a stream all the way."  Indeed, it was impossible, and it was satisfactory to hear that it was the only accident that had been known to occur at the spot.  A Juror said there had never been an accident of any kind there before.  The Coroner added it was very satisfactory to hear that, and he hoped there would never be any more accidents at the spot.  The Jury, of which Mr H. Hookway was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," expressing sincere sympathy with SCOINS'S parents in their bereavement.

BOVEY TRACEY - Mr Coroner S. Hacker, held an Inquest at the Town Hall, Bovey Tracey, yesterday morning, concerning the death of GEORGE HALL, who was killed by a down train on the Moretonhampstead line just before arriving at Bovey Tracey station on Monday afternoon last. The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

CULLOMPTON - An Inquiry was held at the Schoolroom, Collumpton, on Monday, relative to the death of MRS EMMA JORDAN, aged 56, of Exeter-hill, in that town.  It appeared that on Saturday morning she was discovered by Mrs White and Mrs Perkins at the bottom of the stairs in her house with a severe wound in her forehead and other injuries.  Dr Alleyne was sent for.  In the meantime Mr Peters rendered first aid.  The woman did not rally from her injuries, and succumbed on Sunday. It is supposed that MRS JORDAN, who was partially paralysed, and rarely went downstairs without assistance, fell in attempting to descend the stairs.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 31 July 1902

HARTLAND - Hartland Child's Death. - The death of ARCHIE SANDERS, the two-year old child of WILLIAM SANDERS, an insurance agent, formed the subject of an Inquest by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, at Hartland yesterday. 

ELIZABETH SANDERS stated that whilst at play on July 22nd, her deceased child fell down two or three stairs, cutting his head.  It appeared to be all right afterwards, and played with the other children. On the following Sunday morning deceased could not open its mouth, and Dr Hobling was sent for, the child expiring on Tuesday.  Did not fetch a medical man before because the child did not complain.  The father deposed that the child was insured, the utmost which he could get from the Company being £5.  He had six other children, all being insured.  Dr Hobling stated that the cut left the bone of the head exposed, and when he saw the child it was paralysed down one side of its face and slightly convulsed.  He did not think the mother was to blame.  The child died from convulsions, following the injuries.  A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.

Thursday 7 August 1902

DOLTON - Fatal Scalds At Dolton. - FREDERICK JOHN WARE, a Dolton labourer's child, aged 2 ½ years, died in the North Devon Infirmary, Barnstaple, on Monday, as the result of scalds received on July 28th.  At the Inquest before Mr A. Bencraft, Deputy Coroner for Barnstaple, at the Infirmary on Tuesday, ELIZABETH ANN WARE, deceased's mother, who was much affected, stated that she was at Parsonage Farm, Dolton, on the afternoon in question, with a smaller child, and deceased, who was playing in the kitchen.  Witness removed a pan of hot milk from the fire and placed it on the floor.  About a quarter of an hour later, deceased screamed, and on turning round she found him in a sitting position in the pan of milk.  She supposed that in playing he must have walked backwards into the milk.  The Foreman of the Jury (Mr J. Hobbs) remarked that it was a rather dangerous practice to place pans of hot milk on the floor.  MRS WARE replied that it was a custom, and it did not occur to her that there was any danger.  A Juror asked whether there were not slabs provided for the pans of milk.  MRS WARE did not think so.  Dr Reginald Cooke, House Surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, stated that deceased was admitted  to the institution suffering from very extensive scalds, which he described, and death was due to shock to the system.  The Coroner agreed that it appeared to be a somewhat dangerous practice to put pans of hot milk on the floor.  But he pointed out that in this case deceased's mother was present, and said no doubt she did not anticipate the chid would walk backwards into the milk.  "Accidental Death" was the verdict.

BARNSTAPLE - Accidentally Suffocated At Barnstaple. - The death of JOHN HODGES, an infant, was Inquired into at Newport, Barnstaple, on Saturday, by the Deputy Coroner, Mr Archibald Bencraft.  MRS HODGES gave birth to the child at the house of her mother (Mrs Gent) on Thursday morning, and the evidence of her sister-in-law, and Elizabeth Corney (a certificated nurse) went to show that it was all right at ten p.m., when it was placed in its mother's arms in bed.  On awaking at midnight, however, MRS HODGES thought the little one seemed cold, and examination proved it to be dead.  Dr Lemarchand, who was called in, thought appearances pointed to its having by some means rolled slightly over, death being due to suffocation.  He spoke of the great danger arising from infants being placed in bed with their parents, and was strongly of opinion that separate cots should be provided.  The Coroner also enforced the same point, and hoped the Press would give as much publicity as possible to the matter, with a view to Dr Lemarchand's suggestion being generally adopted.  - "Accidentally Suffocated" was the verdict of the Jury, of which Mr J. J. Shaddick was Foreman.

Thursday 14 August 1902

BEAFORD - The inhabitants of Beaford were startled when it became known that MR S. EVANS, the colporteur in charge of the Church of England Protestant Association van, which arrived here on Tuesday, the 5th inst., had died suddenly on Thursday last.  In moving about among the parishioners selling his literature the deceased gentleman had made many friends by his pleasant manner and kindly ways.  At the Inquest held at the Globe Inn, at which relatives, who had arrived from London, and the assistant colporteur were present, a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was given. 

Thursday 21 August 1902

ILFRACOMBE - Fatal Accident  Near Ilfracombe. - On Saturday a farm labourer named JOHN PHILPOTT, aged 52, of Hele, was working on Frayne Farm, assisting in the hayfield, when he fell from a cart.  He got up and seemed all right, resuming his place. He then had another fall, this time alighting on his head and injuring the spinal cord.  He was removed to the Hospital at Ilfracombe, where he died early on Sunday morning.  At the Inquest on Tuesday a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 28 August 1902

COMBE MARTIN - Distressing Case At Combe Martin. The Danger Of Flannelette. - At the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital, Ilfracombe, on Saturday evening, Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest touching the death of SUSAN IRWIN, aged 6, who met her death through burns.  JOHN IRWIN, a labourer, of Buzzacott-lane, Combe Martin, said his daughter was six years of age.  Last Wednesday, on his arrival home, he saw the child sitting in a chair.  His wife was an inmate of the hospital.  There was no neighbour or grown-up person near.  His other daughter and a girl named Cornish were there.  SUSAN, who had been burnt, had hardly any clothes on, but had a shawl around her.  The child said to witness, "I've burnt my pretty pinny and my pretty frock."  Witness sent for Dr Manning, but he being away Mr Baker, the dispenser, on seeing the child recommended her removal to the hospital.  Witness saw the child at one o'clock, and she was sent to Ilfracombe Hospital at 4.30.  He could not obtain a conveyance before.  No one was left to look after the children, as his boy went with him.

MARTHA IRWIN, daughter of the last witness, whose both hands were bandaged, stated that on Wednesday last, about one o'clock SUSAN was in the kitchen putting coal on the fire.  She had on a print frock, print pinafore, and flannelette under garments.  Witness was outside the door, and SUSAN  came out to her with her apron and frock on fire.  Witness tried to put the flames out, but could not do it.  A boy named Cornish, who was near, however, did so by means of water.  SUSAN, who was very much hurt, and did not cry, sat on a chair by herself.  Cornish went for her father, who, on arrival, put SUSAN to bed.  her mother had been in the hospital about a fortnight. Witness told her sister to fetch the coal and put it on the fire.  She had often done so before.  Witness went for a doctor.  Her hands were tied up, and she was much burnt in trying to put out the fire.  John Cornish corroborated, and said although there were five houses near no grown-up people were there, they having gone to Ilfracombe market.  Mrs Emma Jane Ewens, wife of the Baptist minister, said she heard of the accident soon after it occurred, and went at once to the house.  The child was frightfully burnt from the knees to the forehead.  Witness applied linseed oil and wadding.  the children were making tea.  Dr E. Gardner stated that he was on the staff of the Ilfracombe Cottage Hospital.  He saw the child about eight o'clock on Wednesday evening.  She was in a state of severe shock, and almost pulseless.  The burns had already been dressed.  He saw the child again the same night and the following morning.  She had extensive burns on the neck, face, lower part of the body, and both thighs.  She never recovered from the shock, and die dearly on Friday morning. 

The Coroner remarked that it was a very unfortunate case, and commented upon the dangerous character of flannelette.  In the present case there did not seem that blame could be attached to anyone.  He commended the action of the children who endeavoured to put out the flames and expressed sorrow that MARTHA, the deceased's sister, had so seriously injured herself.  The Foreman (Mr J. Marler) believed that cotton underclothing was much more dangerous than flannelette.  It was really cotton flannelette that was so dangerous.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and gave their fees to Mrs Ewens for distribution amongst the children.

EXETER - ROBERT HEAL, 35, butcher's assistant, was drowned in the Countess Weir leat, Exeter, on Friday.  At the Inquest a verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned.

Thursday 4 September 1902

BRISTOL - A dead body bound in one of the parks at Bristol on Monday is believed to be that of a Barnstaple woman named RIDD, who left the town about a fortnight ago.  She was supposed to have died while sitting in the park.  The Inquest was held at Bristol yesterday afternoon, a brother of RIDD being present from Barnstaple.

Thursday 11 September 1902

APPLEDORE - Boy Drowned At Appledore. - A lad named PERCY EASTMAN, son of CAPTAIN GEORGE EASTMAN, lost his life under very sad circumstances at Appledore on Saturday.  At the Inquest held before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Monday, it transpired that the lad accompanied his father to Bideford on Saturday morning, when the vessel was brought to Appledore, and at 1.30 the Captain and part of the crew went on shore, the Captain intending to send a stranger, who was on board, some breakfast.  He left his son PERCY in charge of the boat, as he had done on many occasions, and on reaching home sent his other son down with the breakfast.  During his absence Captain Hobbs, who was in another boat, saw the deceased in a boat which was caught in a cope, and fearing the lad would fall overboard, he cleared the rope.  The lad told him he was going on board the "Hematope," and seeing a man on the vessel drawing up water Captain Hobbs took it for granted that matters were alright and went home.  When deceased's brother arrived with the breakfast he found the boat empty, but could not see PERCY anywhere, and it is thought he must have fallen between the vessel and the boat.  When the lad was missed an alarm was given and a search made for the body, which was subsequently found under the ketch "Humility" about noon.  The Jury, of which Mr T. H. Kelly was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," expressing their sincere sympathy with the relatives in their bereavement.

BRISTOL - Death of A Barnstaple Woman At Bristol. - The Deputy Coroner for Bristol held an Inquest on Wednesday on the body of EMILY RIDD, aged forty-three of Barnstaple, who died on Monday.  Samuel Hill, a cabinet-maker of Fore-street, Barnstaple, deposed that the deceased was his sister.  She was the wife of a machinist, but had not lived with her husband for some years.  A matron of the Salvation Army Home, Ashley-road, Bristol, said deceased came from Barnstaple in August, but after she had been admitted to the home it was found that she was too ill to remain there, and she refused to go back to Barnstaple, remarking that she would go into one of the hospitals.  On Monday evening deceased was seen in the  Red Cross Park-street open space, and as she appeared to be very ill she was taken to the Infirmary, but died before reaching the institute.  Medical evidence showed death was due to the clotting of blood in the vessels of the lungs, and a verdict was given accordingly.

HOCKWORTHY - At an Inquest on Tuesday at Hockworthy on RICHARD STANLEY, a gipsy, the widow gave evidence that he cut his throat while she was speaking to William Bradford, a would-be purchaser of a horse.  Bradford at once ran away, and at two neighbouring farms she was refused assistance, one man saying he had to milk the cows and go to church.  She walked two miles for help, and when she returned found her husband had blown his brains out.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane," and strongly censured the men who refused assistance.

INSTOW - The Instow Drowning Case.  Inquest. - The sad drowning fatality at Instow on Wednesday, the victim of which was WILLIAM GEORGE HENRY MITCHELL, 17, tailor's apprentice, of Bideford, formed the subject of a Coroner's Inquiry at the Marine Hotel, Instow, on Thursday afternoon.  The father, THOS. MITCHELL, a labourer, said his son intimated on Wednesday morning that he intended going to Instow Regatta if it was not too rough.  The next he heard was news of the death of deceased.  In answer to a question by a Juryman, witness said the boat his son used was quite large enough for two, and would hold four.

James Seldon, a carpenter of Bideford, who accompanied deceased in the boat, said they were both members of the Bideford Amateur Rowing Club to which organisation the boat belonged.  They rowed down to Appledore, pulling a pair of sculls each, and just about six, after having witnessed the Regatta, they commenced to pull home.  Going up on the Instow side the boat began to ship water abreast of the cottages.  The sea was very rough, and the wind high, so they decided to make for the shore. Before they had pulled many strokes the boat was swamped.  Deceased shouted "Keep in the boat, Jim," and then plunged into the water to get to shore.  With deceased's weight on the side of the boat, the craft turned turtle.  They both swam, and were together for yards, when witness began to lose sight of deceased.  Witness swam along and heard MITCHELL call out "Jim! Jim."

He replied, "Hallo!" but heard no more.  He was unable to assist deceased himself.  When he reached land a man remarked to him that his chum was gone.  Deceased was a good swimmer -better than witness.  John Molland, mason, Instow, who witnessed the accident from a house-top where he was at work, spoke to seeing deceased throw up his hands and go down.  Seldon, who came ashore with the rudder, could do nothing to help his companion.  Alexander Pedler, water bailiff, deposed to grappling for the body, with P.C. Craigo, but without success.  At low tide, however, he found the body on the mud off the station wall.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," the Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) expressing sympathy with the parents.

Thursday 18 September 1902

BARNSTAPLE - Boy Drowned At Barnstaple. - PERCIVAL A. HILL, aged seven, of Lock's Court, Barnstaple, was drowned in the river Yeo near Pilton Park, Barnstaple, on Tuesday, under circumstances somewhat similar to those under which the lad Sydney Farmer lost his life in the Taw on Whit Monday.  About six o'clock HILL and another boy named Robert Lock were throwing stones into the tide from the little Quay which, owned by the Lynton Railway Co., is located just opposite Pilton Park near the Bridge, when HILL slipped and fell into the river, and though he and his companion cried out for help, the unfortunate boy seems to have sunk before assistance arrived.  It is stated that some men were fishing on the opposite bank not far off, and that they appeared not to have noticed the occurrence.  Mr J. Hill, a bargeman, was in his boat near the drawbridge about 100 yards lower down the stream when he heard the alarm given.  At once pulling to the spot, he carefully brought a prong into requisition, succeeding in securing the body and raising it to the surface, this being within a few minutes of HILL having fallen into the water.  Other help was quickly forthcoming.  Dr Ware being one of the first to arrive, and being quickly followed by P.C. Gooding.  Artificial respiration was tried, and brandy which the constable fetched was also administered, whilst the lad was also at one stage placed in a tub of hot water which was procured.  At first there were apparently signs of returning life, a faint colour returning to the lad's cheeks; but although careful efforts were continued by Dr Ware and helpers for nearly an hour, they were unfortunately unavailing, and the body was ultimately removed to the lad's home by P.C. Gooding and Mr H. Jones.  Others who lent assistance included Inspector Edwards and Mr H. Holwill.  The lad's step-father, Mr Charles Carter, a mason, happened to be working on the Yeo Vale Estate close by, but was not aware that the lad was in the neighbourhood.  He was one of the many present when the body was taken out of the water.  In order to promote the saving of life in the Taw, several lifebuoys have been placed along the banks at different points during the past three months.  Close to the scene of Tuesday evening's fatality two children had narrow escapes about a month since, and at the instance of Councillor Hopper the Town Council at their last meeting decided to place an additional lifebuoy at Pilton Park. There are no doubt reasons for its not having been fixed in position up to last evening.  The Inquest will be held at the Guildhall at three o'clock today by the Borough Coroner, (Mr A. Bencraft.)

MARWOOD - Marwood Blacksmith's Sudden Death. - MR JOHN GAMMON, blacksmith, of Muddiford, was walking along the road at Littabourne, Pilton, on Tuesday afternoon, when he suddenly fell forward on his face and hands and expired immediately.  At the Inquest conducted by the Barnstaple Borough Coroner (Mr A. Bencraft) at Pilton Schoolroom yesterday, Ernest Harding, who was employed at deceased's forge, identified the body as that of his late master, who was 71 years of age and left a widow.  Deceased had suffered from heart disease for two years, but had complained more than usual during the past six months.  He left Muddiford at 9.15 in the morning and rode with the carrier to Barnstaple.  - Mr Archibald Northcote, cab proprietor, spoke to seeing deceased walking along the road to join the carrier's 'bus at Maer Top, when he fell down suddenly.  Witness stopped his horse and went to GAMMON'S assistance, but deceased merely breathed twice and expired.  He fetched brandy, but it was of no avail.  Dr Manning was sent for and testified to GAMMON being dead, and P.C's Carpenter and Braund subsequently removed him in the ambulance stretcher.  Questioned by the Coroner, witness did not think deceased was hurrying, and he had not quite got to the rising ground.  It also transpired that deceased had been to see Dr Matthews, a bottle of medicine being found in his pocket.  Dr Matthews thought death due to heart disease, and the Jury (of which Mr W. Symons was Foreman) returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

MARWOOD - Fatal Harvesting Accident At Marwood. -  ROBERT DUMMETT, an elderly farm labourer, died at the North Devon Infirmary, Barnstaple, on Thursday, from the effects of a fall from a cart while harvesting at Milltown Farm, Marwood, on the previous Friday.  At the Inquest conducted at the Infirmary on Saturday morning by the Borough Coroner (Mr A. Bencraft,) Mr Walter Tyler, a farm pupil, residing with Mr J. M. Carder, at Milltown Farm, deposed that on the 5th inst. deceased and himself were loading a cart with oats.  Deceased was on the top of the load and he was below pitching up the sheaves to him.  When they came to move on, witness before starting asked if DUMMETT was ready, and, receiving the reply "All right," he lead the horse on.  - Looking back just after, witness saw DUMMETT lying on the ground doubled up, two or three sheaves having fallen with him.  Witness went to his assistance and fetched some water to bathe a wound on deceased's head, also sending boys for Mr Carder.  Witness thought DUMMETT must have slipped over the back of the cart, the sheaves sliding with him. - By the Foreman (Mr G. Guard):  Did not think deceased too old or feeble for the work, as he appeared strong for his age. 

Mr J. M. Carder, farmer, of Milltown, spoke of being called to the field, which he had only a few minutes previously left.  On seeing what was the matter, he sent for Dr Manning, who came and ordered DUMMETT'S removal to the Infirmary.  This was done carefully under Dr Manning's supervision.  Deceased was about 70 years of age, and was an active man, having been several years in his service.  It was the last move they would have to make with the cart, which was going down an incline of the field.  Dr Reginald Cooke, House Surgeon of the Infirmary, described deceased's injuries.  A post mortem examination shewed that the cause of death was a fractured spine.  The injuries were such as would be likely to result from a fall described in the evidence.  Deceased was a healthy looking man.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 25 September 1902

BARNSTAPLE - The Barnstaple Drowning Fatality. - The Borough Coroner (Mr Archibald Bencraft) held an Inquest at the Guildhall, Barnstaple, on Thursday, touching the death of the little boy PERCIVAL A. HILL, of Lock's Court, who was drowned in the River Yeo on the previous Tuesday.  Robert Nutt, a little boy, spoke to being on Pilton Quay adjoining the Lynton Railway, with deceased, who was throwing stones into the water.  He over-balanced and fell into the high tide, which was only about a yard from the top of the Quay at the time (65 o'clock in the evening).  Witness alarmed a fisherman, who was standing on the bridge, but by the time he could get to the spot HILL had sunk. The fisherman went out in his boat, and soon recovered the body.  CHARLES H. CARTER, deceased's step-father, identified the body.  John Hill, fisherman, said that at 6 o'clock he was on the draw-bridge when he heard that a boy was in the water.  He at once got a boat and found the body in 10 feet of water.  Deceased sunk before he could get to the spot.  Dr Ware spoke to seeing the body recovered and to unavailingly applying artificial respiration for about 40 minutes.  The lungs were full of water.  Questioned by the Coroner, Dr Ware said that a person under ordinary conditions would drown in about three minutes, but if anyone fainted and fell into the water no effort would be made to breathe, the lungs would not fill with water, and the person might be in the water fifteen minutes before drowning.  P.C. Gooding also gave evidence, and said that everything possible was done by Dr Ware for the lad.  The Coroner said these unfortunate cases were the penalty they paid for being on the banks of a tidal river, for boys would go to the water, and it was a wonder to him that more did not fall in.  The Jury (Mr W. Symons being Foreman) returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," while, it being elicited that deceased and his companion got on to the Quay through a broken bar in the entrance gate, the Coroner was requested to write the owners (the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Company) asking them to repair the gate and to endeavour to prevent children playing on the Quay.

SOUTHMOLTON - Fatal Fall At Southmolton.  Young Farmer Killed.  Publicans & Their Responsibilities.  -  An Inquest was held at the Tinto Hotel, Southmolton, on Monday, before Mr T. Sanders, F.R.C.S., (Borough Coroner) and a Jury, of which Mr John Blake was Foreman, to Inquire into the death of FREDERICK HENRY WESTCOTT.  The body was identified by deceased's sister (MISS FANNY MARIA WESTCOTT), who said that her brother had been thrown from his horse on a previous occasion.  Miss Hettie Webber, daughter of Mr R. Webber, of the Town Arms Hotel, said the deceased came to their house shortly before nine on Saturday evening.  He asked for a glass of beer.  She suggested his having a soda, as he had to ride home.  He had apparently been drinking, but was sober.  She did not see him come into the house or leave it, she being very busy.  Richard Gough, ostler at the Town Arms, knew the deceased.  He put his horse at the Town Arms on Saturday.  He was sober.  He came for the horse shortly after 8.30 p.m., and seemed all right then, and rode away in his usual manner.  The horse was very restive.  Deceased gave him half a sovereign first, which he returned to him, and then he gave him three pennies, asking if that was all right.  By P. S. Gerry:  He told P.C. Sanders that he had had a drop, but was able to ride home. 

William Amy (15) painter, was sitting on the seat at the top of the Station-road.  MR WESTCOTT was riding the horse down the hill at a walking pace.  After he had passed the lamp he started trotting, and then he leaned over towards the left side and caught the horse by the neck and slid off.  The horse ran off and the man got up.  When the horse was caught, he again mounted and trotted off, when he stood up in the stirrups, fell back over the horse, and fell on the back of his head.  This was near Parkhouse Gate.  After he had fallen, witness saw blood on his head.  He did not speak.  Witness called Mr Cant (who was coming down the road) to his assistance.  A considerable difference of opinion arose at this point as to the advisability of allowing the Foreman of the Jury to continue interrupting the evidence of the witnesses, Mr W. Sanders expressing his opinion that the evidence should be taken first, and questions asked afterwards.

Mr J. Cant, accountant of the National Provincial Bank, said he was walking down the Station-road, when his attention was called to the deceased, who was lying in the road.  By the aid of another man, he removed him to the adjoining iron seat, where he rendered him first aid.  The deceased was quite insensible.  He sent for the police and a medical man.  He remained with him for an hour, during which time he only moved his arm twice.  Dr F. W. Kendle, of Southmolton, deposed to being called to the deceased on Saturday night shortly after nine o'clock.  Found deceased lying on the iron seat opposite Parkhouse Gate.  First aid had been rendered him very intelligently.  He made a cursory examination, but it was very dark.  The man was fatally injured.  He sent for a stretcher, and had deceased removed to the Tinto Hotel.  He had received a bad fracture at the base of the skull.  He was bleeding from the nostrils and both ears.  He could find no other injury.  He remained with him until one a.m., when he found his pulse was failing, and that he could render no further assistance, when he left him in the care of his relatives.  He examined him again after death, and confirmed his diagnosis, the skull being very badly fractured.  Thanks were due to Messrs. George Webber, and W. Lethbridge for services rendered.  P.C. Sanders said, from inquiries made on Sunday, he found the deceased visited Mrs Harris in Broad-street in the afternoon, and about 7 p.m. he visited the George Hotel and subsequently the Town Arms, at each of which places he had beer.  He saw Gough, the ostler at the Town Arms and he admitted that he had been drinking, but thought he was fit to ride home.  Robert Gould said he saw MR WESTCOTT at the Town Arms Hotel about 8 p.m.  He subsequently saw him trotting down east-street shortly before nine, and witness saw nothing amiss with him.  The Jury, having taken upwards of an hour to consider their verdict, which was "That on the 20th of September, 1902, the said FREDERICK HENRY WESTCOTT did fall from his horse opposite the gates entering to Parkhouse, on the Northmolton Road, whereby he sustained a fracture of the base of the skull from which he died," a rider was added "That the Jury desire to render their thanks to Messrs J. Cant for first aid, and G. Webber and W. Lethbridge for their assistance to deceased, and also to request the Superintendent of Police to warn the publicans of Southmolton to be more cautious in allowing people to take away their horses when under the influence of drink."  The Jury also expressed deep sympathy with the family.

SUTCOMBE - Sad Burning Fatality At Sutcombe.  Victim Leaves Fourteen Children. - A terrible accident to MRS EMMA FISHLEY, wife of a well-known farmer and cattle dealer, of East Paddon Farm, Sutcombe, has been attended by fatal results.  On the evening of September 3rd, MRS FISHLEY was going upstairs carrying a petroleum lamp, when she fell, a ten-year-old son finding her at the bottom of the stairs with the lamp smashed, and her clothes on fire.  MR FISHLEY was not at home, and the boy ran for an elder brother, who, with a man named Johns, hurried to the farm to find MRS FISHLEY lying insensible, with her clothes still on fire.  The flames were extinguished with difficulty, and Dr Kingdom, of Holsworthy, who was promptly called in, found that the poor woman had sustained terrible injuries.  He did all he could for MRS FISHLEY, who never regained thorough consciousness, and passed away a mid-day on Thursday.  MRS FISHLEY, who was 48 years of age, leaves behind her fourteen children, and great sympathy is felt for the family.  At the Inquest by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on Saturday, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 2 October 1902

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death At Barnstaple. - There was a distressing case of sudden death at Sticklepath, Barnstaple, on Thursday, when JAS. TANCOCK, foreman carpenter, aged 45, expired whilst engaged in the workshop of his employers, Messrs. Woolway and Son.  The case is rendered additionally sad by the fact that deceased (who belonged to Bow) leaves a wife afflicted with paralysis, at present in Exeter Hospital and two children.  The body was removed to the North Devon Infirmary, where the circumstances of the case were on Saturday investigated by Mr A. Bencraft (Borough Coroner) and a Jury of which Mr Jas. Comer was Foreman.  The Coroner, in briefly stating the facts as recorded to him, said he had elicited that on the previous Sunday MR TANCOCK obtained a bottle of medicine for gastric catarrh at the surgery of Dr Ware, who was now in the Isle of Wight.  Suddenly at his bench on Thursday he dropped dead.  There was nothing in gastric catarrh or diarrhoea to account for this, and it would be the Jury's duty to Inquire what was the cause of death.  - Mrs Elizabeth Seal, of Potter's Lane, with whom MR TANCOCK had lodged for the past year, said during the past fortnight he had complained of pains in his chest.  On Sunday he obtained a bottle of medicine at Dr Ware's, and after taking a dose he said he seemed a little better.  In answer to a question by witness on Thursday morning, MR TANCOCK again said he felt a little better, though witness thought he looked very ill.  For dinner he had soup and a little boiled mutton.  He left home about 1.40 and witness did not see him afterwards.

Mr Fred Woolway, to whom deceased was an uncle, stated that TANCOCK had told him he had been felling very queer of late.  About five minutes before he died on Thursday, witness asked him an ordinary question, and did not notice anything the matter with him. He left him engaged at light work, making window frames.  A few minutes afterwards, he was called back to find that deceased had fallen down. He sent for Dr Cooke, but he expired shortly afterwards.  Deceased was a sober man, and his general health had been fairly good up to a fortnight ago.  Harry Harding, a carpenter, said deceased was a steady, strong man, but during the past few days he had complained of diarrhoea and pains in his chest and head.  He noticed nothing the matter with him on Thursday, but while at work at his bench about 3 o'clock, he fell backwards and died within a few minutes.  He breathed very heavily, but did not speak.  Earlier in the day he informed witness that he felt a good deal better.  P.C. Pugsley, who helped to convey the body to the mortuary, having given evidence.  Dr Charles Cooke stated that as far as he could judge, syncope was the cause of death.  He understood that deceased had a weak heart, and any affection of the stomach of flatulence would bring on syncope.  The Coroner in summing up, remarked that he understood there was quite an epidemic of gastric catarrh in Barnstaple at the present time, although the cause was unknown.  The verdict was in accordance with the medical testimony.

Thursday 9 October 1902

BARNSTAPLE - In July last MRS AMELIA DELBRIDGE, widow of a Bishopstawton labourer, fell while walking across the kitchen at Barnstaple Workhouse, where she was an inmate, and, being eighty-one years of age and somewhat feeble, the fracture which she sustained to her thigh resulted fatally on Friday.  The Borough Coroner (Mr A. Bencraft) conducted an Inquest on Saturday, when it transpired that deceased had had every attention from Dr Cooke, the medical officer, who said that deceased suffered from softening of the brain.  The Jury (of which Mr G. Guard was foreman) returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 16 October 1902

WINKLEIGH - Sad Death At Winkleigh.  A Reservist Shoots Himself. - Mr J. D. Prickman (County Coroner) held an Inquest on Monday at Winkleigh concerning the death of RICHARD PALMER, who shot himself early on Sunday morning.  From the evidence it appeared the deceased was a reservist of the 2nd Devons, and held the Indian medal with two claps (Tirah, 1897-8 and Punjaub frontier, 1897-8) and also the South African medal, with five clasps (Laing's Nek, Transvaal, relief of Ladysmith, Orange Free State, and Tugela heights).  He was placed on the Reserve list about four years ago, and then married, but was called up on the breaking out of the late war, and left England in October, 1899, and served in South Africa two years and eleven months, and only returned to Winkleigh about a month ago.  His wife lived with him only one day on his return, and had no communication with him since.  The deceased went to Exeter on Saturday, and returned at 11 p.m., had supper with his father, and shortly after asked for a piece of paper, on which he wrote a few words of farewell, put it in his pocket, and went out, saying he was going for his child.  Immediately after the report f a pistol was heard, and on going out deceased was found lying dead.  Dr Norman, of Winkleigh, stated that death was instantaneous, the bullet having splintered the upper edge of the sixth rib and penetrated the heart and lungs.  P.C. Wyatt, of Winkleigh, produced the pistol and the letter found on the deceased and also a box of cartridges and three loose ones. 

MRS PALMER (the wife of deceased) said she should like to make a statement in respect of the letter and in connection with leaving her husband.  On the day of his return and afterwards he was in liquor, and in consequence of what someone had said about her, had threatened to kill her.  There was no truth whatever in the allegation made against her.  The Coroner said the duty of the Jury was to ascertain the cause of death, and then, if they were of opinion the evidence pointed to the fact that deceased had killed himself, to say what was the state of his mind at the time.  From the evidence it would appear that the whole cause of the trouble was the mischievous "tittle tattle" of some people, which seemed to have inflamed the deceased's mind against his wife. It was a mischievous thing to do, even if there was any truth in the statements made; but if there was no truth in them it was infamous.  A happy home-coming might have been anticipated for a man returning from doing good service abroad, to his wife and to his child.  But everything was upset by the miserable talking of people, who, if what they said contained any truth or not, were entirely unjustified in making remarks.  It was not within the scope of the Coroner's Jury to inquire into the statements, all they had to do was to satisfy themselves as to the cause of death and as to the state of the deceased's mind.  In directing the Jury, the Coroner was of opinion the facts showed that he was not of sound mind; the best definition of insanity was not being able to judge matters in their right proportions.  After a short deliberation, the Jury returned a verdict "That the deceased died by his own act, and whilst in an Unsound State of Mind."

Thursday 23 October 1902

LYNTON - A Lynton Mystery.  Found Drowned. - An Inquest relative to the drowning of MR JAMES DAVIDSON GAMMON, aged 32, was held in the Council Room of the Town Hall on Saturday by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.  Mr Chas. Sheppard being chosen Foreman.  Mr Reuben Elliott said he was a coach builder at Lynton, and deceased was a partner.  He last saw him alive on Friday morning soon after 7 o'clock, and as usual they bade each other good morning.  Soon after deceased left the office apparently to go for a walk, which witness frequently advised him to do, as he had been unwell for some time and under the doctor.  James Scott stated that he saw deceased near Rock Lodge at half-past seven, and chatted with him till nearly 8 o'clock, when he said he was going for a good walk before breakfast.  He then proceeded towards the Valley of Rocks.  About 10 o'clock he heard he was missing, and went out with his son and brother-in-law to Ring Cliff Beach, thinking that he had been bathing, and found the body on the beach about fifty yards from the cliff.  The clothes of deceased were wet , but he had no jacket or hat on.  P.C. Bibbins deposed to being sent for, and taking charge of the body.  MR GAMMON'S watch had stopped at 6.30.  He found on deceased a will (which was not signed), a letter from Mr Brown, of Berrynarbor, with instructions how to make the will, and 18s. 4 ½d. in cash.  The clothes were wet, and the pockets full of sand.  Witness saw foot-prints leading from the rock, where deceased appeared to have walked about on the sand.  he could not say if deceased had fallen from the rock.  Dr Hay said he had attended deceased last March and April for pleurisy.  He saw him a week ago, when he told him he was going to Ventnor for the winter.  Deceased appeared just as usual.  Witness saw him as he was being brought to the hospital. He was quite dead.  There was no marks of violence except a small cut on the head and some scratches on the face.  He made a post mortem examination, and found the cause of death to be drowning.  The Coroner did not think there was anything to justify the consideration of suicide, and recommended an open verdict to the effect that deceased had been found drowned.  The Foreman and Jury concurred, and gave their fees for the Lynton Cottage Hospital.  Mr Sheppard referred to the want of a mortuary at Lynton. Mr Bromham said there ought to be a mortuary at Lynton and Lynmouth, and he should communicate with the proper authorities.

ILFRACOMBE - Child Burnt To Death At Ilfracombe. - At the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital, Ilfracombe, on Tuesday afternoon, Dr Slade King, Deputy Coroner held an Inquest touching the death of BEATRICE CHARLOTTE FISHER.  Mr G. Mogridge was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  EMILY SCHILLERS said the deceased was her daughter by her first husband.  Her present husband was a sailor, and they resided at No. 19, Broad-street.  Her daughter was nine years of age, and went to school.  Witness last saw her alive the previous night at her own house. She was lifting a kettle on the bodley, when she caught her apron on fire in front.  Witness was in the shop at the time attending to a customer.  She heard her daughter call out "Oh, mother."  Witness at once went to her, and she ran to the front door.  Witness followed and called for help, as her daughter was on fire, and witness tried to pull her clothes off, the outside part of her clothes being on fire.  A young man on board the vessel "Kate" came with some water in a bucket and threw it over the child.  Her daughter screamed frightfully, and witness fainted, not knowing what took place afterwards.  Her daughter was most careful in her doings, and she had not warned her about the bodley.  Only her pinafore was on fire at first, but the fire spread very rapidly.

Daniel Fowler a sailor on board the ketch "Kate" lying in the harbour, stated that on the previous evening about a quarter past seven o'clock he was coming from the Strand to Broad-street when he saw a little girl run out of a house all on fire and her mother shortly afterwards.  Witness asked her mother for some water, and she gave him a bucket about three parts full.  He threw the water over the child, and it put the flames out.  A constable came and placed his cape around the child, took her up in his arms and carried her away.  As soon as the water was thrown over the child the policeman picked her up.

Dr Clayton Jones said at 7.45 the previous evening he was called by Mr Crang, chemist, by telephone, to proceed to Broad-street.  He arrived as soon as possible by bicycle, and found the child with very little clothes on.  The girl was conscious, and said she could not tell how the accident happened.  She was removed to the Hospital, where she was pulseless, but complained of no pain.  She was severely burnt on the front part of her body, face, and chest.  She died at 9.30 that morning.  When he arrived in Broad-street he found that the child's injuries had been skilfully dressed by a policeman.  The cause of death was shock to the system, brought about by severe burns.  P.C. Labdon stated that at 7.15 the previous evening he was on duty in Broad-street when he saw a child run out of a house, her clothes being in flames.  Witness immediately rushed to the child, and was about to thrown his cape over her, when a previous witness threw some water out of the bucket over the girl, and extinguished most of the flames.  Witness then wrapped her in his cape and carried her into her mother's house.  He then asked some one to go to Mr Crang's and telephone for a doctor.  Witness next got away the rest of the clothing, and asked for some cotton wool and sweet oil, which were brought.  He dressed the worst of the wounds and wrapped the child in a couple of blankets.  Dr Layton Jones then arrived and had the child removed to the Hospital.  The Coroner remarked that it was a very painful case. No doubt, the flames from the bodley puffed out and caught her on fire.  Unfortunately the child rushed out into the street, which fanned the flames.  The constable's action was highly praiseworthy.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and highly commended P.C. Labdon for his promptness , humanity, and skill.

Thursday 30 October 1902

SOUTHMOLTON - Fatal Burns At Southmolton. - An Inquest was held on Tuesday evening at the George Hotel, Southmolton, by Mr T. Sanders, Borough Coroner, on the body of CHARLOTTE BELLAMY (cook in the Hotel), who accidentally caught herself on fire whilst pursuing her ordinary duties on Tuesday in last week.  Mr Robert Cock was Foreman of the Jury.  After hearing the evidence of Mr Kelland and others, a verdict was returned of "Accidental Death" was returned.  The Jury complimented Mr Kelland on the prompt way in which he rendered first aid to the deceased.  The Jury gave their fees to the sister of the deceased, who resides at Exeter.

Thursday 6 November 1902

SOUTHMOLTON - Sudden Death. - An Inquest was held at the Town Hall on the death of WILLIAM CUMMINGS, a Crimean veteran, of 3 Albert Place, Parsonage-lane, before Mr T. Sanders, F.R.C.S., Borough Coroner, and a Jury, of which Mr S. Widgery was Foreman.  Mr W. H. Smyth, surgeon, of Southmolton, said he was called to see deceased shortly before five on Monday afternoon.  The deceased was quite dead on his arrival, and there were no signs of violence.  He considered that he died from syncope or heart failure.  There was every sign that death arose from perfectly natural causes.  There was no other evidence.  The Coroner concurred with the medical evidence.  Deceased was an old gentleman about 78 years of age.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 13 November 1902

PLYMOUTH - An Inquest was held on Friday at 5 Brunswick-terrace, Plymouth, on JOHN PILE, steward, aged 80.  Mary Jane Chubb stated that whilst going upstairs on October 25th, deceased tripped and fell.  Dr Eccles said the deceased was severely bruised about the head and body and suffered considerably from shock.  He died that morning.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 4 December 1902

EGG BUCKLAND - At the Inquest on MR SAMUEL BATTERSHILL, contractor, Egg Buckland, whose body was discovered in the leat at Chelson Meadow on Thursday, a verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned on Friday.

Thursday 18 December 1902

BARNSTAPLE - Mr A. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, held an Inquest at the North Devon Infirmary, Barnstaple, on Monday evening, relative to the death of FLORENCE LOUISA LEWIS, aged about three months, daughter of MRS LEWIS, of Piage's-lane, Barnstaple.  The child, which had not been strong from birth, recently had a slight cold, and died on Sunday morning.  It was not thought necessary to call in a doctor till the Sunday morning, when its appearance was such as to cause anxiety.  Dr Lemarchand, who had made a post mortem examination, deposed that death was due to acute pneumonia, and a verdict of "Natural Causes" was returned.

Tuesday 23 December 1902

BURRINGTON - Sudden Death Of A Farmer. - On Saturday Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest at Week Farm, Burrington, on the body of MR WM. PINCOMBE, sen., who died suddenly on Thursday.  MR WM. PINCOMBE, farmer, of Week Farm, said the deceased was his father, and was 64 years of age. On Thursday he saw his father about mid-day, when deceased called him to the shippen to help clear a bullock which had got choked with a turnip.  They cleared the animal, and he left his father in the shippen.  He was then all right.  As his father did not come in to dinner he went to the shippen, where he found him lying doubled up.  His father had been complaining of shortness of breath, and had said he feared he should die suddenly.  _ MR WM. PINCOMBE, of Halscott, Burrington, said he last saw the deceased, who was his brother, in Barnstaple on Friday week.  He complained much of shortness of breath.  An elder brother died of heart disease three years ago.  - Dr J. Tucker, of Chulmleigh, gave evidence to the effect that death was due to heart disease, and a verdict was returned accordingly.

Thursday 15 January 1903

LITTLEHAM - Sudden Death At Littleham. - The County Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) conducted an Inquest at Littleham, near Bideford, yesterday, touching the death of MISS ELIZABETH HUGO, a lady of independent means, of Langdon Cottage, aged 80 years.  It transpired that deceased had her housekeeper to sit up with her on Sunday night, as she was not very well.  On Monday she insisted on coming down and expired during the day whilst being helped to her couch.  On the testimony of Dr Kingsley Acland that deceased was subject to heart trouble, a verdict of Death from Heart Failure was returned.  During the Inquiry it was stated that deceased had an idea that her death would be of this description and that she kept in her clothing her written address in case of anything untoward happening when she was away from home.

Thursday 29 January 1903

BRISTOL - Appledore Captain Drowned. -  CAPTAIN THOMAS HAMMET, of the ketch "Caroline" was drowned at Bristol on Thursday night.  It appeared that in going on board his vessel, and being alone, he slipped over the steps and fell into about 4 feet of water, but there being about two feet of mud he was unable to extricate himself, and was drowned.  The news reached here on Friday morning.  Deceased leaves a widow and three children.  The body was brought to Appledore on Sunday morning on board the S.S. "Devonia," and flags were hung at half-mast as a token of sympathy.

At the Central Coroner's Court, Bristol, on Friday, Mr A. E. Barker, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest touching the said death of THOMAS HAMMETT, aged about 52 years.  Thomas Keen, mate of the ketch "Caroline," of Appledore, said deceased was master of the ketch, and lived at New-street, Appledore.  The vessel was lying near the New bridge at the mouth of the cut.  He went on shore about 2.30 in the afternoon, saying he would come back about midnight, but by that time witness heard that he had been drowned.  Alfred Lacey, an engineer's fitter, living at 4 Rownham-place, Bristol, said that on the previous evening at 10.30, when in bed he was awakened by someone calling, partially dressing, he ran to the dock with another man, and seeing some bubbles on the water, went to the ferry.  Asking the ferryman to lend him his boat, he pulled to the spot.  He put the oar down and stirred something, which on rising, proved to be the body of deceased.  He shouted for help, and the body was landed at the slip, where it was handed over to the police.  The Coroner and Jury expressed their approval of the manner in which witness had acted.  Dr E. G. Bunbury, of Dowry-square, Hotwells, Bristol, who was called to the deceased, said that when he arrived, artificial respiration had already been tried for about a quarter of an hour.  He continued the effort until he saw the case was hopeless.  Death was due to asphyxia from drowning.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  It was pointed out that the footway over the locks was very narrow, and that there was only a chain on one side.

At St. Mary's churchyard on Tuesday afternoon, the funeral of CAPTAIN THOMAS HAMMETT took place.  A large number attended.  The deceased was for 10 years a member of the Naval Reserve, and many of the Reserve men attended, some of them carrying the coffin, which was covered with wreaths.

Thursday 12 February 1903

AXMINSTER - At an Inquest at Heathstock, near Axminster, on Saturday on TOM STRAWBRIDGE, a carpenter, who had his brains blown out by a gun during a midnight party the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," but severely censured James Veryard, a blacksmith, who is charged with the Wilful Murder of deceased, and Charles Darke, a thatcher, in whose house the tragedy took place, for negligence.

Thursday 5 March 1903

ILFRACOMBE - Brauntonian's Sudden Death At Ilfracombe.  the Inquest. - On Monday afternoon an Inquest was held in the Workmen's Club, Ilfracombe, before Dr E. J. Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, on the body of MRS BETSY COUSINS, of Braunton, who died suddenly in the street early in the afternoon on Saturday.  Mr G. C. Jones was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  After the body had been viewed at 52 High street - The first witness was George Dyer, cab driver, who said that deceased was BETSY COUSINS, wife of THOMAS COUSINS, of Braunton.  Her age was 68.  Witness last saw her alive at 1.40 p.m. on Saturday last, February 28th.  He was in the yard at the rear of 52 High-street, and deceased came down the yard.  Witness asked her if she wanted her pony, and she said, "I don't know, George.  They've been telling me it has been thundering; have you heard it?"  Witness replied, "No," and deceased said, "I'll wait a few minutes, George."  Witness left deceased packing her baskets, and in a few minutes she said she thought she would make a start, and began to put the cart right.  When witness put the pony in he suggested she should get up, lest the seat should get wet.  Before deceased got into the cart, she said, "George, I've got a dreadful pain in my stomach."  Witness went up to her, but before he could reach her she fell back in the yard, and never spoke again.  Deceased never moved, but her mouth slightly twitched, and a little froth came from it, which witness wiped away.  With the help of another man, deceased was carried into the house, and a doctor was at once sent for.  Dr C. J. Jones being soon in the room.  Deceased told witness that she had had dinner with her brother, just opposite.  Deceased was in her usual health on Saturday, and witness had known her for many years.  THOMAS COUSINS, Towmead Farm, Braunton, said deceased was his wife.  She left home as usual on Saturday at 7.50 a.m. for Ilfracombe Market.  She was quite well as far as witness knew.  About a year since she had required a doctor for influenza and a weak heart.  As to the latter, the doctor had advised great care, but deceased made no difference in her manner of life. Witness never saw his wife alive again after she left on Saturday morning.   Mr C. T. Jones, surgeon, Ilfracombe, said that he was called in to see deceased about 2 p.m. on Saturday at 52 High Street.  He there saw a woman lying on a couch quite dead, and she had evidently been dead some minutes.  All the appearances pointed to sudden death from heart failure.  The Coroner having briefly summed up the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased died of heart failure.  The Jury expressed their sympathy with the husband, to whom they gave their fees.

Funeral At Croyde. - The funeral of the late MRS COUSINS, who expired suddenly at Ilfracombe, on Saturday last, took place at Georgeham on Tuesday.  The service was held in the Baptist Chapel at 3 o'clock, and was conducted by the Rev. J. Winsor (Pastor).  Deceased will be greatly missed there.  For a number of years she was a member, and took an active interest in the affairs of the Baptist Chapel.  A large number of sympathising friends walked to the graveyard at Croyde, where she was committed to the earth in hope of the resurrection to eternal life.    A memorial funeral service will be held in the Georgeham Chapel next Sunday afternoon at three o'clock.

NORTHMOLTON - Suicide At Northmolton.  - On Monday morning a painful sensation was caused in Northmolton and district, when it became known that MR JOHN AYRE, of South Radworthy Farm, Northmolton, had been found shot in his stables.  It appears that MRS AYRES was going to call him to come to breakfast just before seven o'clock, and when outside the stable door she heard the report of a gun.  On entering she found her husband with the gun lying beside him, the charge from the gun having passed from under the jaw right upward through the head.  Dr Holcroft was immediately sent for, but on arrival he pronounced life extinct.  The deceased, who was 55 years of age, leaves a wife and seven children, four daughters and three boys - three of whom are still at school - for whom much sympathy is  felt, as the deceased was highly respected.  The deceased man had for some time been depressed and suffering from low spirits.

Inquest:  -  At the Inquest yesterday, conducted by Coroner J. F. Bromham, MRS AYRE said her husband was 55 years of age.  On Monday morning at about 5 o'clock he got up and went out, as she thought, to see to the sheep.  At breakfast time she went out in the yard to call him, and heard the report of a gun. Witness went towards the stable door, which was open, and saw something lying on the ground, which she thought was her husband.  She called to some of her children near, and one of the boys ran for one of the labourers, witness being subsequently told that her husband was dead. They had been at South Radworthy since last May, having previously lived at Ball Farm, Twitchen.  Her husband had no particular  trouble, but had never seemed happy since they had been at this farm.  There was nothing to induce her to think he would do anything rash.  There were seven children, the eldest being 21 and the youngest eight years of age.

Robert Loosemoore, labourer, spoke to fetching the police and Dr Holcroft.  the horses in the stable were much distressed.  He knew deceased worried a little because he did not like the farm.  - John Squires also spoke to seeing deceased lying dead in the stable.  P.C. Ireland deposed that about 8.15 on Monday morning he went to South Radworthy, and there saw deceased lying on his back in the stable.  The top of his head was blown off.  There was a hole under his chin and portions of his brain were some distance from the body.  Thirty-six inches from the body was a double barrelled gun with one of the cartridges used.  Dr Holcroft stated that the wound under the chin was an inch and a quarter long by threequarters of an inch broad.  There was considerable charring.  On the top of the head there was a large lacerated wound extending round to the left corner of the mouth.  The bones were shattered, and a short distance off was a portion of the brain, with the left eye.  There was also brain on the ceiling.  Death must have been due to gunshot wounding.  The fore finger of the left hand was charred.  A verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was returned, the Jury expressing sympathy with the relatives and friends of deceased.

Thursday 12 March 1903

BUCKLAND BREWER - Miller's Sad Death At Buckland Brewer.  Gored By A Cow. -  MR RICHARD SANDERS, of Orleigh Mill, Buckland Brewer, was gored by a cow on Friday, sustaining terrible injuries, which caused his death on Tuesday.  The animal had calved at an off-farm belonging to MR SANDERS called Littleham Mill, and MR SANDERS, with his son and a labourer named Beer, went there for the purpose of taking the cow and calf back to Orleigh Mill.  MR SANDERS was in the act of picking up the calf to put it into his trap, when the cow rushed at and tossed him a considerable distance.  She attacked him again, in spite of the efforts of his son and a labourer to beat her off.  MR SANDERS fortunately managed to creep under the conveyance, which was near by, and thus probably saved his life.  The animal made desperate efforts to get at him, but was at last beaten off.  MR SANDERS was removed to his home, and Dr Gooding was fetched to attend to his injuries.  These included a wound in the groin eight inches long and three inches deep and considerable laceration of the lower portion of the abdomen.  Blood poisoning set in, and MR SANDERS passed away at mid-day on Tuesday.  The deceased, whose wife died twelve months ago, leaves three sons, and three daughters, for whom the profoundest sympathy is felt in the district.  MR SANDERS was well-known throughout the West-country, doing a large business as a miller and farming extensively.  He was held in the highest esteem.  He was 56 years of age.  At the Inquest held yesterday a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 19 March 1903

HAWKSCHURCH - ANNA WHITE, 60, widow, of Hawkschurch, near Axminster, died on Wednesday, and at the Inquest on Friday the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Starvation whilst of Unsound Mind," and were of opinion that deceased deliberately starved herself.

Thursday 2 April 1903

EAST ANSTEY - Child Dies From Drinking Gin.  Sad Affair At East Anstey. - BESSIE SKINNER, the five-year-old child of a farm labourer, has expired at East Anstey under extremely sad circumstances.  MR SKINNER, who has resided for some time at Rackenford, changed houses last week, and during the trap journey to East Anstey, the child (who was seated at the rear of the vehicle with another child), unnoticed by its mother in front, drank the contents of al bottle containing gin, and was subsequently discovered lying ill in the cart.  The little one was at once put to bed, and a medical man fetched, but his services were of no avail, the child dying from alcoholic poisoning on Friday.

At the Inquest on Monday, before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, deceased's father, JAMES HENRY SKINNER, stated that on the previous Wednesday, he left Rackenford (where he had been living for some time) for East Anstey.  His wife first left in a trap with four children, witness following with the furniture.  When he reached East Anstey, his wife informed him that the child BESSIE was unwell, having apparently drunk some gin from a bottle which contained about one-third of a pint.  The bottle had been placed in an open basket which contained some provisions for the family to eat on arrival.  He found the child asleep, and it remained so for some hours.  On the following morning he fetched Dr Down from Bampton, the doctor coming promptly.  Dr Down again came on Friday, but the child died about half-an-hour previously.  The child had never drank spirit before, except when he had given her a sip out of his glass, and this was only once or twice.

MRS SKINNER explained that in the journey from Rackenford deceased and another child were at the back of the cart, and she did not notice anything wrong until she got to East Anstey.  Then she found BESSIE was giddy and could not stand.  After placing the child on some bedding in the cottage, witness discovered that the bottle which had contained the gin was uncorked and empty.  The deceased, who smelt strongly of gin, slept for some hours.  After that the child kept waking and sleeping, and passed away about one o'clock on Friday.  The eldest child, EVELINE, had told her that BESSIE drank some of the gin, and that she had some herself.  This the girl EVELINE (who is six years old) now confirmed.  Dr A. R. Down deposed that on Thursday he found deceased in a state of coma.  the child smelt distinctly of spirit, and had great difficulty in swallowing medicine. Death was due to alcoholic poisoning.  A verdict was returned in accordance with the medical testimony.

Thursday 9 April 1903

LYNMOUTH - Suicide At Lynmouth.  Cut His Throat With A Razor. - WILLIAM BALE, of Glendower-cottage, the Tors, Lynmouth, committed suicide on Wednesday afternoon by cutting his throat with a razor.  Deceased was about thirty-two years of age, married, and had one child.  He was a painter by trade, and used to occupy his slack time by waiting at the Cottage and other hotels during the season.  BALE'S little child told her mother that "daddy" would not speak to her, and MRS BALE on going upstairs was shocked to find her husband lying face downward with the razor by his side.  Drs. Michell and Hay were summoned as well as P.C. Bibbings, but BALE died about an hour later.  He was much respected, a total abstainer, and a member of the Lynmouth Church choir.  No cause can be assigned for the deed.

The Inquest:-  The Inquest was held on Thursday before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner.  MRS MARY JANE BALE, who was much affected, said they had dinner as usual on Wednesday, after which her husband went upstairs to prepare "to wait dinner" at the College Hotel, Lynton.  He took with him his razor for shaving.  He had not been gone five minutes, when their little child (two years old) began to shout and call out "Daddy."  She went upstairs, and found him lying on the floor in the bedroom.  She called her neighbours, and medical aid was summoned.  Her husband had been considerably depressed lately, and she believed his depression was greatly the result of a bad attack of influenza, which he had at Christmas, a second attack.  In the morning he offered a very fervent prayer in the kitchen, asking the Lord to give him strength.  She asked him what troubled him, and he replied that "There was nothing."

Dr Hay said he found deceased lying on the floor in an upstair bedroom in a pool of blood.  The razor was beneath him.  The throat was badly cut, the windpipe being severed.  Deceased's right wrist was also badly cut, apparently by falling.  BALE lived about two hours after.  Mr Coroner Bromham said deceased was a highly respected man, and expressed deep sympathy with the widow in her sad bereavement.  The Rev. A. Lewis (Foreman of the Jury) commented on the good life deceased had lived.  He was a member of the Lynmouth Choir, a total abstainer, a member of the I.O.G.T., a good Church worker and much beloved by all.  A verdict of "Death by Cutting with a razor while Temporarily Insane" was returned, the fees being given to the widow.

The funeral of MR W. H. BALE took place on Saturday and was very largely attended.  Deceased was very highly esteemed by all who knew him, and great sympathy is felt by everyone for his sorrowing family.  The Rev. A. Lewis conducted a brief but very impressive service at St. John's Church, Lynmouth (where deceased had been a member of the choir).  Amongst others who attended the funeral were members of the Volunteer Artillery, under captain E. B. Jeune, and a small following of members of the Good Templar lodge, to both of which deceased had belonged.  The interment took place at Countisbury.

Thursday 23 April 1903

SOUTHMOLTON - An Inquest was held on Saturday morning at the Town Hall, by the Borough Coroner (Mr T. Sanders, F.R.C.S.) on the body of FREDERICK GEORGE HANDFORD, who died on 15th April.  The deceased, who was a native of Northmolton, met with an accident in January last at a colliery in Glamorganshire, and he returned to Southmolton to recuperate.  The Jury was of opinion that the death was the result of the accident, and that no blame be attached to anyone.

Thursday 14 May 1903

HARTLAND - Tragedy At Hartland.  Farmer's Sad Death. - The body of MR JAMES HAYNES, of Blagdon, Hartland, a well-known agriculturist, and a member of Bideford Board of Guardians and Rural District Council, was picked up on Monday evening under the cliffs at Hartland Point.  Deceased had for a long time been in ill-health, and at the last meeting of Bideford Rural Council a vote of sympathy was passed with him, and the hope expressed that he would be soon restored to health.  Deceased was forty-two years of age, and unmarried.  He belonged to a very old Hartland family, and was greatly respected throughout North Devon.  Blagdon is in a very lonely position, close to the Lighthouse, and the cliffs here are very high and dangerous. 

Another correspondent writes:  Great gloom has been cast over Hartland parish through the shocking news of the alleged suicide of MR JAMES HAYNES of Blagdon Farm, Hartland.  It appears that MR HAYNES had been failing in health lately.  On Monday afternoon, about three o'clock, his father left him in a room where he had been giving information to different farmers about the sale of grass on Thursday, and appeared to his father quite cheerful.  Between five and six o'clock he was found dead at the bottom of the cliffs between the Lighthouse and Sand Paths.  The unfortunate man must have had a fall of over 200 feet, which broke both legs and one arm.  Great sympathy is felt for the aged father.

Bideford Guardians on Tuesday, the Rev. Prebendary Dimond Churchward presiding, unanimously passed a vote of condolence with the family of the late MR J. HAYNES.  - Mr J. S. Wickett, who moved the vote, said MR HAYNES died under painful circumstances.  He had not attended a meeting of the Board since October 28th of last year, but they all knew the reason of his absence was serious illness.  No one had their heart in the work more than MR HAYNES, and nothing but illness would have kept him away so long.  It had been a long illness, and he had passed away under distressing circumstances.  His father, who is between 80 and 90, must very much feel it, and if anything would mitigate the sorrow it would be an expression of sympathy sent to him by those who worked with his son.  The vote was seconded by Mr J. Metherell, and supported by the Chairman, who said they were all much grieved to hear of the sad termination of MR HAYNES'S life.

At the Inquest yesterday, before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, MR HENRY HAYNES, stated that his brother (the deceased) who was 42 years of age, left the farm by the front gate at 3 o'clock on Monday afternoon, and as he had not returned two hours later, witness went to look for him.  On reaching the top of the cliff witness saw deceased's hat and dressing gown - which he was accustomed to wear during his last illness - whilst on the beach, 300 feet blow, he found the lifeless body of his brother.  Witness removed the body further up the beach out of the reach of the tide, and signalled (by means of waving his handkerchief) to the coastguard for assistance, the body being subsequently removed to the house.  Deceased had been in a very bad state of health for the last twelve months, and at times depressed; but he had never been watched, and they saw no necessity for his being so.

Dr J. H. Hobling, of Hartland, deposed that deceased, whom he had attended professionally since October last, was somewhat depressed, but there was nothing in his manner to necessitate his being watched, or to induce his family to believe he would commit suicide.  He examined the body of deceased soon after it was found on Monday.  Both legs and right arm were badly shattered, whilst there were other injuries, and death must have been instantaneous.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane," and added a rider expressing sincere sympathy with the family in the loss they had sustained.

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident At Barnstaple. - The death of MARIA PALMER, aged 90 years, whose late husband was at one time sexton at Parracombe, was Inquired into at the North Devon Infirmary, Barnstaple, yesterday, by Mr Archibald Bencraft, Borough Coroner.  MRS PALMER lived at Pilton, and on April 19th relatives heard her groaning upstairs, discovering on proceeding to her bedroom, that she had broken one of her legs.  Dr Manning and the district nurse were soon in attendance, the former, after the patient had been temporarily treated, ordered removal to the North Devon Infirmary.  MRS PALMER appeared to be progressing fairly well until about a week ago, when congestion of the lungs supervened, death occurring on Tuesday.  Miss Beer (deceased's grand-daughter), Miss Summerfield (who was employed in the house at the time of the accident) and Dr Reginald Cooke (House Surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary) having given evidence, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 28 May 1903

SWYMBRIDGE - Terrible Fatality At Swymbridge.  Barnstaple Man Killed.  -  There was a shocking occurrence at Swymbridge Newland on Tuesday afternoon, when CHARLES SMITH, labourer, lost his life as the result of being run over by a steam thresher.  The unfortunate man who lived at Hardaway Head, Barnstaple, was employed by Mr  Irwin, steam threshing machine proprietor, of Barnstaple, as third hand, his duty being to walk in front of the engine to warn persons of its approach.  The thresher was at work at Swimbridge on Tuesday, and the three men in charge of it left for Landkey at about five o'clock.  Whether SMITH essayed to mount the thresher or whether walking close by he became involved in it will never be known, but at the top of Swymbridge Newland the driver (George Merrifield) heard a shout, and on his stopping the engine it was found that the thresher had passed over SMITH, only his head being visible.  Shocking injuries were inflicted, and death must have been instantaneous, SMITH not speaking after the accident.  SMITH, who was about forty years of age, leaves a widow, for whom much sympathy is felt. 

The Inquest was held yesterday, before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, and a Jury of which Mr Rew was Foreman.  Mr Barnes (representing Mr A. F. Seldon, solicitor) watched the interests of deceased's widow. 

George Merrifield deposed that three men were employed in connection with the engine - himself as driver, Frederick Scoins, and the deceased.  On the previous day they did some threshing at Mr Smith's at Swymbridge, leaving for Mr Buckingham's at Landkey about five o'clock.  They had proceeded along the road to the top of Swymbridge Newland, when someone shouted to him to stop, and on his bringing the engine to a standstill he found the deceased had been run over.  Just previously witness saw SMITH walking by the side of the threshing machine.  SMITH'S duty was to hold any restive horses which the machine might pass on the road, and no seat was provided for him on the engine.  When witness stopped the engine, deceased was lying behind the near wheel of the thresher, about three feet from it, life being quite extinct.  P.S. King was at once sent for, and after his arrival the body was removed into the cottage near.  Deceased had had fair experience in connection with the traction engine, having accompanied witness for a year or two.  The witness mentioned that SMITH left a crippled wife, but no children.

By Mr Barnes:  Witness heard no call except the one to stop the engine.  SMITH had not had a hard day's work.  Possibly he might have fallen down from the effects of the hot weather, but witness could not say.  He had not examined the road for any loose stone SMITH might have fallen over.  Frederick Scoins, also employed on the engine, stated that on looking round after the call to stop he could only see deceased's head, SMITH'S body being under the thresher.  Shortly before the accident, deceased took off the shoe of the thresher, hung it up, and called out "All right."  After this witness saw him walking beside the machine.

P.S. King suggested that SMITH was riding on the bar between the engine and the machine but witness adhered to the statement that he was walking by the side previous to the accident.  By a Juror:  One man was riding in the position referred to.  Another Juryman suggested that SMITH may have attempted to get on the bar in question and slipped.  P.S. King observed that deceased must have been very close to the machine, or he could not have got under it.  Merrifield, recalled, stated that a man employed by a Mr Smith was riding on the bar alluded to, and he assured the witness that he did not see the accident.  Thomas Buzzacott, labourer, of Swymbridge, who was walking behind the thresher at the time of the accident, stated that he noticed the machine lurch twice, whilst immediately afterwards he saw deceased lying on the ground.  Witness had previously seen him take off the shoe when the engine was stopped, but from that time he did not again observe him until the accident.  In his opinion deceased must have been between the engine and the thresher, or witness would have seen him.  The thresher had gone over deceased's body, and his head was lying towards the hedge. 

Dr J. R. Harper, of Barnstaple, who was called after the accident, was unable t attend the Inquest, but wrote that SMITH was dead on his arrival.  His right upper arm was broken in two places, whilst several f his ribs were fractured and a portion of his lungs were ruptured, with other internal injuries.  Death must have resulted immediately from shock as the result of the injuries.  The Coroner, summing up, said he was quite sure deceased's widow would have the sincere sympathy of the Jury and the general public in the loss she had sustained.  He pointed out that the engine was not proceeding fast, and he did not think blame was attributable to anyone.  It was a pure accident, and, he might add, a very regrettable one.  How the accident occurred the Jury did not exactly know.  Possibly SMITH, tired with the day's work, got upon one of the bars connecting the thresher with the engine, and slipped off, with the distressing result that they had heard.  The Jury, at the suggestion of the Coroner, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BRISTOL - Death Of A Braunton Girl At Bristol.  Serious Allegations. - At the Coroner's Court, Merchant-street, on Saturday morning, the Bristol Coroner (Mr G. Doggett) opened an Inquiry relative to the death of MARY LUSCOMBE, aged about 22 years, daughter of MR THOMAS LUSCOMBE, of Chapel-street, Braunton.  Supt. Turner was present on behalf of the police.  The Coroner said he proposed that day only to take evidence of identification, as the case reported to him would involve questions of a very grave nature, and the medical evidence would be too long to go into that day.

Emily Kennedy, wife of a stoker in the Royal Navy, living at 2, the Barton, Bromwell-street, Bedminster, gave evidence of identification, and said the deceased had lived with her for about eight months.  She arrived about the beginning of November, witness having met her at work, deceased being a "tailor's presser," in the employ of Messrs. Taylor, Tucker and Co.    As far as witness knew, the deceased was unmarried, and she had previously lodged at Hillgrove-road, but left there as she had to sleep on the floor, and never had sufficient or proper food.  For that she had to pay 8s. a week, but she did not earn as much.  Witness let her have the lodgings at her house for 5s. a week, and the girl did her own washing.  During the whole time she was with her she had been in poor health, and had frequently to stay away from work, but never more than two days at a time.  On Sunday week last the girl got up in the morning, when she seemed all right, and she was about the house till four o'clock, when witness went out.  On her return at 5 o'clock, witness had found the deceased had gone to bed.  Witness asked her what was the matter, and she replied that she felt giddy.   Later she got up again, and the following day went to work as usual, but left the factory between 10 and 11 in the morning.  When witness arrived home she found deceased in bed, and she said she had been in bed all day. After that she never went to work again.  On the Thursday and Friday she got up to do her washing, but complained of a pain in her side.  A friend of deceased had frequently visited her, a Mrs Nares, and this person often saw her during the dinner hour at the factory.  Witness was at work all day, but she heard from neighbours that this woman visited her during her illness, and on Tuesday deceased told witness that she had given her some eggs and brandy.  On the following Saturday deceased said she thought she was getting better.  Witness understood that Mrs Nares was visiting deceased as a friend only.  On Sunday, the 17th inst., she did not seem so well as on the previous day, and remained in bed.  The following day she seemed worse, and was coughing badly most of the time.  She, however, said she had no pain.  Witness heard that Mrs Nares had called during the day. On the Tuesday, at about 5.30 a.m., witness noticed that deceased was not looking so well.  Shortly afterwards witness heard a singular rattling noise, and on going to the deceased, found she was purple n the face and unable to speak.  Witness called two neighbours, and on their return to the house they found the girl was dead.  On the previous night witness went to Dr Kerfoot's surgery, and asked what he would charge to visit deceased.  He said 2s. after surgery hours and 1s. 6d. before.  He called on deceased while witness was out.  While he was with deceased Mrs Nares was also present.  After the death of the girl witness went to Dr Kerfoot's surgery, but he was out, so she and a friend waited, and when there they saw Mrs Nares in a tram going towards the deceased's house.  At that time she was unaware that deceased had expired.  Mrs Nares said she would get the burial certificate, and went off to Dr Cawley's house for the purpose, but returned without it.  She said the doctor would send it by post that night.  On Wednesday Mrs Nares called again, and said the deceased ought to be buried by the parish, as there would then be no bother; but witness objected, and communicated with deceased's brother.  Witness told Mrs Nares that there was to be an Inquest on the deceased, as there was "something funny about it."  Witness did not know for a long time that the deceased had any relations, but one night, she returned home with someone, who she said was her brother, and Mrs Nares.  Witness had heard recently that deceased's brother had gone to Ireland, but he saw deceased when she was ill on Tuesday week and the two following days.

In reply to Supt. Turner, witness said that Mrs Nares had never asked her to leave the room whilst she was there.  She was pleased to see a police-constable on Friday, when he called about the case, because she had heard sinister rumours from neighbours in the street as to the circumstances of the girl's death, some saying there had been an illegal operation, when she was collecting money for the burial.  On the Thursday after the deceased's death witness heard from the father and sister-in-law of deceased.  the father's letter came from Braunton, North Devon, and expressed regret that witness had not let him know of his daughter's condition.  He should have liked to have seen her before she died.  He also made inquiries concerning the deceased's clothes and boxes.  The letter from the sister-in-law asked what witness meant by saying that the girl's death was "a funny circumstance."  When the Coroner's officer called, witness asked him to examine the fireplace in the deceased's bedroom, as she had noticed that the curtains in front of it appeared to have been disturbed.  When witness and Mr Bishop (the manager of the factory in which deceased worked) together saw Mrs Nares, she said , in reply to a remark by him, "that she did not know there was anything the matter with deceased."

At this stage the Coroner said he thought it best to adjourn the case till eleven o'clock on Wednesday, and he hoped that during that day they would be able to complete the Inquiry.  The deceased young woman left Braunton in September last, having just previously filled a situation at the North Devon In