Open a form to report problems or contribute information

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

Help and advice for Inquests 1885-1894 - from the North Devon Journal

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

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

Inquests Taken Into Suspicious Or Unexplained Deaths

For the County of Devon

1885-1894

Articles taken from North Devon Journal

Inquests

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

Provided by Lindsey Withers

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

Names Included: Ackland; Acland; Algar; Allen(2); Allin; Andrew; Arnold; Arscott(2); Ashelford; Ashton; Aston; Avery; Ayre; Back; Bagster; Baker(3); Balcom; Bale; Banks; Barbeary; Barrett; Bater; Bawdon; Beer(2); Belt; Bennett(5); Berrey; Berry(3); Berwick; Bevan; Blake; Body; Bolt(2); Bond; Bossence; Boundy(2); Braund; Braunton; Brayley; Brealey; Broad(2); Brock; Brookes; Brooks; Brown; Browse; Buckingham; Budd; Buse; Butler(2); Cann(4); Carter; Cary; Cater; Cawsey; Challacombe(3); Chamberlain; Channon; Chanter; Chapman; Chapple; Charley(2); Cheriton; Chilcott; China; Chugg(2); Clark; Clarke; Clatworthy; Clemow; Clifford; Cloutte; Cockram; Cole(3); Coles; Comer(2); Connop; Cooke; Coombes(2); Cooper; Copp(2); Corney; Coulthard; Cox; Crabb; Crang; Crick; Cridge; Critchett; Crocker(2); Crook; Crouse; Cruwys; Curtis(2); Davey; Davie(3); Davies; Davis(2); Dawe; Day; Deane; Delay; Dendle(3); Denman; Derritt; Domville; Dovell; Downing; Drew; Duckworth; Dunsford; Dyer(2); Dymond; Easterbrook; Eastman; Eastmond(2); Easton; Edwards(5); Edworthy; Elliott; Ellis(2); Elmslie; Elston; Evans(2); Everest; Fairchild(2); Farleigh; Fewings; Field; Finnamore; Fishwick; Flew; Fogt; Follett; Foot; Ford(4); Forester; Found; Foxford;Fry(3); Fuke; Fulford; Gabriel; Galliford; Gammin; Gammon(2); Gardner(2); Gear; Geffry; Gent; George; Gibbs; Giddy; Gilbert(2); Gill; Gist; Glover(3); Goddard; Goodenough(2); Goss; Greenslade; Gregory(2); Grennoff; Gubb(3); Gunn; Hamlyn; Hancock; Hannaford; Harding; Harris(10); Harvey(2); Hatch; Haydon; Hayward; Heaman; Heard; Hearn(3); Heathman; Heffer; Henderson; Herbert; Hervis; Hewish; Heywood(2); Higgs; Hill(7); Hinchliff; Hobbs; Hodge(2); Holland; Hooper(3); Hopper; Houldfield; Houle; Howard; Hunt; Hutchings(4); Huxtable(4); Isaac; Jackson(2); Jeffery; Jenkins(2); Jervis; Jewell(3); Joce(2); Johns; Johnson; Joice; Jones(3); Joslin(2); Jury; Kearney; Keen; Kelly; Kennedy; Kevan; Kift; Kine; King; Kingdon; Kingsland; Knill; Lancey(2); Lane; Langdon; Lawrence; Leach(2); Lee; Lemon(2); Lethbridge(2); Letheren; Lever; Lewis(2); Leworthy; Ley(2); Limebeer; List; Littlejohns; Loarridge; Lobbett; Lock(3); Long; Lovering(2); Luke; Macey; Maddison; Madge; Mallett; Manning(2); March; Marlow; Marsh; Marshall; Martin; Mason; Matthews(2); Menhennit; Metcalf; Milford;  Mills; Milton; Mingo; Minter; Minto; Mitchell; Mock; Mogridge; Moor; Morris; Muirhead; Mullins; Murch; Mutten; Muxworthy(3); Nethercott; Nike; Norman; Nott; Odam; Olliver; Orchard; Ord; Owen; Oxenham; Paddon; Palmer; Pardie; Parkhouse; Parkin(2); Parkyn; Parsons; Partridge; Passmore(4); Patt; Pavey; Payne(2); Pearce; Pedlar; Penny; Perry; Petherick; Pettle; Phillips(5); Pickard; Pile; Piper; Poole; Potter(3); Powell; Pratt; Primmer; Pring; Priscott; Purchase; Pyne; Radford; Ralph; Reed; Rew; Richards(4); Ridd; Riddell; Robins(3); Rodd; Rook; Roper; Roue; Russell; Rutcliffe; Saltern; Sanders(4); Sanglier; Sansom; Saundercock;, Sayer; Scamp; Scobling; Scott; Seldon; Shaddick; Shapland; Short(3); Shortridge(2); Shute; Slader(2); Smith(4); Smyth; Snell; Snook; Snooks; Snow; Souch; Sparkes; Spurway; Squire(2); Stacey; Stapleton(2); Steer; Stenner; Stentiford; Stone; Stoyle; Stribling; Summers; Sweetland; Symons(2); Tatham; Taylor(2); Thomas(2); Thorne(4); Tomking; Treble; Tucker(5); Turner(4); Venn; Vicary(2); Wale; Ward; Warring; Watkins; Watson; Watts; Webber(5); Webster; Westcott; Wheaton; Wheeler; White(2); Whitfield; Whitlock; Widger; Widlake; Wilcocks; Wilkey; Williams(5); Wills; Witton; Woolacott; Woollacott; Woollett; Wright; Yeo

Thursday 1 January 1885

ILFRACOMBE - Fatal Accident From A Benzoline Lamp. - On Wednesday (in last week) an Inquest was held at the Coffee Tavern, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner for the district, touching the death of an infant named MARY A. HANCOCK, whose death had resulted from burns received from the upsetting of a benzoline lamp.  Mr Tattam was appointed foreman of the Jury.  - MARY HANCOCK, mother of the deceased stated that the child was seven months old.  Last Friday week, she had occasion to go out about 5 o'clock in the evening, when she left deceased asleep in the cradle in charge of her little boy 9 years of age, and his sister ALICE, 5 years old.  She remained absent about half an hour, and on her return she was met by a neighbour, Mrs Abbott, who told her that her baby was dreadfully burnt, and that she had better make haste home.  She did so, and found the child in the house of her mother-in-law.  It was dreadfully burnt in the face, but beyond the pinafore the clothes were not much burnt.  On making enquiries she found that the boy had gone out with another little child about 2 ½ years old and had left the little girl ALICE to mind the infant.  ALICE told her that she was writing on a slate, when her arm knocked down the lamp, and it fell into the cradle on to the baby.  Deceased died on Monday about noon.  - Mrs Eliza Pickett, who occupied part f the same house as last witness, said that about 5.30 on Friday week she heard screams downstairs, and upon going down saw the baby in the cradle on fire and the little girl running out of the house screaming.  Witness's daughter took up the lamp and she caught hold of the child and covered it with her apron to extinguish the flame.  She then handed it to the old MRS HANCOCK who took it to her home.  - By the Jury:  Witness was sure the flame was extinguished before the child was taken out.  The little girl ALICE was questioned by the Coroner, and she said that she was writing on the slate and knocked the lamp over.  - Mr H. R. Foquett, surgeon, gave evidence to the effect that on the date in question he was called to see the child and found it much burnt about the face, neck, lips, ear and even the gums.  He dressed the wounds, and attended the child daily since.  It was a serious case, but he thought at first it might get over it.  However, a few days ago tetanus set in and on Monday diarrhoea, and the infant died about 12 o'clock on Tuesday.  Death was due to the effect of burns and shocks to the system.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and gave their fees to the mother of the deceased child.

TIVERTON - Sudden Death. - On Saturday evening an Inquest was held at the Town Hall, before Mr L. Mackenzie, on the body of THOMAS VICARY, shoemaker, who died suddenly on the previous day.  On Christmas Day the deceased complained of being unwell, and about 4 o'clock in the morning went to his mother's bedroom and asked for a drop of brandy, saying he had been very ill for half an hour.  About 7 o'clock it was found that he was dead.  Mr John Reddrop, surgeon, made a post mortem examination of the body, and found the cause of death to be acute inflammation of the stomach and bowels.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 8 January 1885

OKEHAMPTON - Death of the "Witch of Okehampton."  -  The "Witch of Okehampton" has died in a wretched hovel in the town from cold and exposure at the age of 75.  Her correct name was Hatch, and the title given her seems to have been due to her somewhat wild appearance and the condition in which she lived.  Her bed was a paillasse, which rested on the floor; her bedclothes this winter consisted of a single sheet, and the one room which formed her home was almost destitute of furniture, and described at the Inquest as a wretched hovel.  The body was greatly emaciated.  For the place in which she lived she paid 1s. a week, so that only 2s. were left for her maintenance out of the 3s. a week which the Guardians allowed her.  The weather being cold, it was suggested on the day before her death that she should have a fire, but the old woman remarked that if she lighted one there would be none for the morrow  When the morrow came she was dead.  A verdict of "Death from cold and exposure" was returned.

TAWSTOCK - Sudden Death. - Yesterday the Coroner for the Barnstaple District, J. F. Bromham, Esq., held an Inquest at the almshouses, Tawstock, on the body of ANN MOGRIDGE, a widow, aged 72 years.  It appeared from the evidence that deceased who had been failing in health for some time, was last seen alive on Sunday evening.  On Monday morning it was found that deceased did not answer the door as usual, and the door was broken in.  Deceased was found sitting in a chair in her night dress, with her head over the back of another chair.  She was quite dead.  The medical officer of health, Mr J. W. L. Ware, was sent for, and at the Inquest, he stated that the cause of death was syncope.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was accordingly returned.

Thursday 15 January 1885

INSTOW - Sad Death Of MR G. E. LOCK. - Very great sympathy is felt in this neighbourhood and throughout North Devon with MR and MRS GEORGE LOCK, of Instow, at the death of their youngest son, MR G. E. LOCK, who was practising as a solicitor in Newport, South Wales.  He was a member of the firm of Gibbs, Llewellyn and Lock, he having joined it in 1883.  Lately, however, there have been negotiations for a change in the firm whereby the middle partner would leave, and a more promising career be opened up to MR LOCK in Newport, where he was so highly respected.  It seems, however, that these negotiations have occasioned him some anxiety and worry, which, coupled with the fact that the deceased has lately been in indifferent health, caused his mind to be completely unstrung, and he was found dead in his bedroom on Friday morning last.  On the previous day he appeared brighter than usual, and attended to his business, making appointments for the following day. but later on he complained of feeling unwell, and while dining with a fellow-lodger at Yewberry Cottage he repeated his complaint, and said that indigestion was troubling him much.  He therefore retired early to bed.  The next morning he was found on the floor dead.  He was engaged to a young lady in Newport, and with her he was on the most affectionate terms.  His business and private affairs were also in a satisfactory state, and no reason except that above stated could be given at the Inquest on Friday why the deceased had, as it appeared, committed suicide.  The verdict of the Jury was that the deceased was not responsible for his actions, and that he died while in a  state of Temporary Insanity.  The deceased was formerly articled to Messrs. Hole and Peard, of Bideford, in which locality he made many friends.  At Newport he was a lieutenant in the Volunteer Corps, and had there been time his body would have been accompanied to the station by the band of the Corps.  As a proof of the respect felt for the deceased, there was found at the foot of the shell, in which the body was placed at the time of the Inquest, a wreath of white camellias, upon which were the words, "With Mrs Prust's deepest regret."  Mrs Prust was the deceased's landlady.  The body has been brought to Instow, and was interred there on Tuesday.  The sad death has created the greatest sympathy for the deceased's family, who are well known in North Devon.

Thursday 12 February 1885

BARNSTAPLE - Death From Drowning. - On Tuesday evening last an Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary before the Borough Coroner (R. I. Bencraft, Esq.), on the body of the late CAPTAIN OWEN, of the Welsh ship Hedessa.  Evidence as to the finding of the body in Ashford Weir the same morning was given by several fishermen, and the Enquiry was adjourned until the following evening to admit of the attendance of relatives of the deceased.  Upon the Inquest being resumed on Wednesday, at five p.m., Jane Burgess, landlady of the Farmers' Inn, Holland street, deposed that she knew the deceased very well from the fact that he had frequently visited her house since his arrival in Barnstaple.  the last time she saw him was on the evening of Tuesday, the 13th ult., when he called at the side door of the house and asked her little girl for a piece of paper with which to light his pipe.  Witness was serving someone in the bar at the time, and when the deceased came in she asked him if he knew it was nearly shutting-up time, whereupon he replied that he thought it was now 8 o'clock.  He then asked for a glass of ale, and she declined to give it him, because she "thought he had had enough."  Deceased then said that he would have anything which she (witness) thought would do him good, whereupon she tendered him a small bottle of soda water, and he then left.  She watched him go down Holland-street in the direction of Castle Quay.  She would not like to say deceased was perfectly sober nor would she say he was drunk, but she saw him "rambling down the street."  Witness saw him the same evening at between five and six o'clock, when he called at the bar for a glass of warm ale, as he felt poorly.  He had also previously called in the forenoon, when he called for and had two drops of spirit.  - By the Superintendent of Police:  Deceased said he did not think he had enough money to pay her for the drink he had had.  She asked him what he had done with the sovereign he changed in the morning, when he replied that he had given the mate his half sovereign dinner time.  Deceased subsequently added, "It is convenient sometimes not to have money before other people."  -  Mary Jane Adams was then called, and deposed that she was a single woman residing with a Mrs Marden in Green-lane.  Though she did not know the deceased by name she knew him well as the captain of the Hedessa.  On Tuesday, the 13th ult., she went in company with the cook of the Hilda to the Red Cow Inn for the purpose of having a glass of ale.  It was between the hours of one and two o'clock, and she saw the deceased (who was in company with the mate of the Hedessa) sat down at the bar drinking a glass of brandy and water; the mate was drinking a glass of ale.  She stayed there a quarter of an hour, and during that time she saw OWEN give the mate half a sovereign. The last time she saw him was on the evening of the same day at about half-past eleven; he was crossing the railway, near the signal-box in the direction of the Quay, when he suddenly halted, turned, and proceeded towards the North Walk.  He was then perfectly intoxicated, and could hardly walk.  - By the Superintendent of Police:  The mate came at my house in Green-lane at about half-past twelve the same evening in search of deceased.  She saw the deceased hand the mate half a sovereign in gold when at the Red Cow.  - Mr W. Livermore, house surgeon at the Infirmary, deposed that the body of the deceased was brought to the infirmary on Tuesday last at about 2 o'clock, and deposited in the mortuary.  He had examined the corpse, and could discover no traces of violence.  The body presented the appearance of having been in the water a considerable time, and was much discoloured.  As far as he could tell death resulted from drowning.  He should say deceased was between 46 and 48 years of age.  The Coroner asked Mr Williams (brother-in-law of the deceased) who had come from Wales to attend the Inquest, whether he wished to ask the witnesses any further questions, whereupon he expressed himself as being satisfied with the examination.  A verdict of "Death from Drowning" was immediately returned, but where or when it occurred the Coroner said remained a mystery.

Thursday 19 February 1885

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Case Of Sudden Death. - An Inquest was held at the Exeter Inn on Saturday, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of BETSY HARVEY, wife of a mason residing at Sunny-bank.  On Friday evening MRS HARVEY was found lying in the road leading to Sunny-bank, life being extinct.  The first witness called was William Henry Brailey, who deposed that he had been lodging with the husband of the deceased for two years, at Sunny-bank.  Deceased was 47 years of age, and her husband was a mason.  Ever since he went to lodge with MR HARVEY, the deceased had complained of pains in her heart.  The last time he saw her alive was about a quarter to eight on Friday evening, when she left the house, saying she should be back again in half-an-hour.  She appeared then just as usual, and he had not heard her complain for the day.  Deceased's husband was not at home, but only witness and deceased's son.  Shortly after nine, witness's mother, who was in service at Newport, called and asked him to come as quickly as possible, as she believed MRS HARVEY had fainted away.  He put on his hat and ran down the lane as fast as possible.  He had nearly got down to the entrance to Ashleigh House, when he saw MRS HARVEY lying on the ground.  He tried to lift her, and he thought she was faint. She did not speak and made no noise.  A man named Harding then came up and they lifted her up, but they did not think she was dead, and witness went for a doctor - Mr Laing - who came away with him.  Mr Pronger, however, was there before witness returned and the deceased had been in the meanwhile taken to her house.  She was lying on the floor in the kitchen, and witness was then told she was dead.  He did not think she had been medically attended for the past nine months, when she had a recommend for the Dispensary.  Deceased had one son, aged about 13 years.  Deceased and her husband were always on good terms.  - Jane Brailey, mother of the last witness, said that just after nine last evening, she was going up to MRS HARVEY'S house to see her, and, in the lane leading thereto, she saw something lying across the road.  Witness moved it and then saw it was MRS HARVEY, and that she was lying on her face and hands.  She said,  "MRS HARVEY have you fainted?"  Deceased made no answer, and witness then ran to the house - which was only a short distance off - to get MR HARVEY.  Witness saw her son there, and he went at once to where she was lying.  Deceased had complained of pains in her heart, and of an enlarged throat.  Mr C. E. Pronger, surgeon, said he was called to attend the deceased shortly after nine o'clock and went immediately.  When he arrived the body was being carried to the house.  On the body being taken in, he examined the deceased and found she was dead.  The body was quite warm, and she appeared to have died just previously.  There were no external marks of violence, except a slight bruise, which might have been caused by a fall.  Dr Laing, having arrived shortly after witness, examined the body with him, and said he had attended deceased for heart disease, and, from the evidence now given and the appearance of the body, there was nothing to lead the witness to suppose that death was from other than natural causes.  The Foreman remarked that deceased was altogether unaccounted for, for about a hour-and-a-half - between leaving her house before eight o'clock and being found in the lane by Mrs Brailey.  - MR HARVEY (deceased's husband) said when she went out she simply said she was going out for half-an-hour.  In answer to a question he added that about two years ago deceased dropped down in the street, and when brought home, they thought she was dead.  Only last week she fell off a chair on which she had gone to hang up some clothes.

Thursday 26 February 1885

COMBMARTIN - Accidental Death. - On Wednesday in last week an Inquest was held at the King's Arms Hotel, Combmartin, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., on the body of MARIA LEY, aged 77.  - Betsy Berry, sister of deceased, deposed that she saw her sister at her house on Sunday between twelve and one o'clock.  Deceased had been failing for some time past, and had been subject to attacks of giddiness.  When she saw her sister on Sunday she was in her usual state of health.  In the evening of the same day, about nine o'clock, Mr Rd. Down, who resided next door to deceased, called at her house and said something had happened to her sister.  At her request, Mr Down broke in the door of deceased's residence and on entering they found deceased lying on her back at the bottom of the stairs.  She was bleeding very much, and did not seem conscious.  She died on the following day.  Dr Kingdon and P.C. Gribble entered the house shortly after deceased was removed to her room on being discovered at the bottom of the stairs.  Witness fancied that as her sister was weak and failing she fell down over the stairs.  Deceased was not quite right in her mind, and she resided alone.  After hearing the evidence of Richard Down and P.C. Gribble, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BURRINGTON - Accidental Death. - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at Heale Cottage, in the parish of Burrington, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner for this division of the county, on the body of a child named FLORENCE ANNIE WEBBER. -  MRS AGNES WEBBER said the deceased (her child) was one year and nine months old.  On Saturday afternoon she left the child standing by the fire in the kitchen, there being a kettle of hot water hanging over the fire.  She had only been away for a minute or two when she heard screams.  She ran back into the kitchen, and she found the child sitting almost under the kettle, from the spout of which hot water was flowing over the deceased.  The child must have accidentally upset the kettle.  She took up the child, sent for a neighbour and a doctor, and did all she could to relieve the pain of the sufferer.  The child died on Tuesday.  When she left the deceased standing by the fire she did not apprehend any danger, as she was only going outside to fetch some water, and she had left her child in the same manner before.  Her husband's father was in the kitchen at the time, but he was an old man, and was very deaf.  She understood from him that he neither heard the child scream or saw what occurred; in fact, when she came in he was sitting in a chair on the opposite side of the fire-place, and was not aware that anything had happened.  After hearing the evidence of Sarah Ann Butler (a neighbour) and Dr Tucker, of Chulmleigh, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 5 March 1885

TORRINGTON - Inquest. - On Tuesday last Mr Bromham held an Inquest at the Globe Hotel on the body of MARY ANN HILL, infant child of FRANK HILL, of Calf-street, who was found dead in bed on Sunday morning last.  - SALOME HILL stated that she was a married woman; her husband had been in Wales for some months as under-keeper.  She had two other children.  The deceased had been to the best of her belief a healthy child, and, as far as she knew, it had been all right up to Sunday morning last.  On Saturday night she went to bed between eleven and twelve o'clock, taking the child with her.  The other two children were in the same bed, the eldest slept at the foot of the bed and she slept between the other two.  About daybreak on Sunday morning she suckled the child as it was crying.  She (witness) then went to sleep again and did not get out of bed till nine o'clock.  She then fancied the child was asleep, and after dressing herself, she took the other two children out of bed and carried them downstairs.  The face of the deceased child was uncovered when she (the mother) went downstairs.  About half-past eleven she went upstairs and found the child still in bed; but, thinking that she saw something the matter, she took up the child and ran downstairs and put it in the cradle.  She then ran for Mrs Gilbert, a neighbour, and asked her to come and look at the child, and also went to the Salvation Army Barracks to call her husband's parents, but they were not there.  On returning to the house, Mrs Ward, another neighbour, had the child in her arms, and told her (the witness) that it was dead, but she could scarcely believe it.  She then sent for Doctor Norman, and he soon came and found that the child was dead.  She did not think she could have overlaid the child, and was sure that when she awoke the child was a little distance from her. She was not sure whether or not she went off to sleep when the child was being suckled.  She did not know what caused its death.  - By the Foreman:  I am not sure whether the child was living or dead when I got up and dressed.  - Sarah Gilbert stated that on Sunday last about 11.30 a.m. she was called by the last witness and ran across to her house.  She found the child in the cradle, and on putting her hand to it found that it was cold.  She called Mrs Ward, who lived near. She came in and took up the child out of the cradle, and they both saw that it was dead.  - W. A. Norman, medical practitioner, stated the fact of having been called to the case, and on going to the house found the child in the arms of a nurse named Hammett.  He had the child stripped, but did not see any marks of violence.  The whole of the right side was livid; the child was thin but not emaciated.  Having heard the evidence and having carefully examined the child, he was able to say there was nothing to raise any suspicion of any unfair play.  He could not say how long the child had been dead, but was of opinion that it had not been dead more than two hours.  If the child had been dead when the mother left it at 9.30 it would have been colder when he saw it.  There was nothing in the evidence in the case which made him doubt that it died from natural causes, but he was not prepared to state any specific cause of death.  The Coroner having summed up the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 12 March 1885

Found Dead In The Roadway. - On Monday afternoon J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner for this division of the county, held an Inquest at the Ashford Inn to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of AUGUSTUS COOMBES, aged 29, whose body was found on the Braunton road early on Sunday morning.  Deceased was employed at the Rawleigh Factory, resided in Higher Maudlin-street and leaves a wife and two children.  The particulars of the case will be found below.

The first witness called was THOMAS COOMBES, father of deceased, of Torrington, who gave evidence of identification.  His son was 29 years of age, was married, and had two children.  He had the gastric fever three years ago, when he was living in London, and he was recommended to return to North Devon.  Since that time he had been living in Higher Maudlin-street, and had been employed as a cabinet-maker at the Rawleigh Factory.  He had often heard his son complain of pains in his chest.  He was not a strong man and, as witness thought, had a weak heart.  - George Kelley, cabinet maker, employed at the Rawleigh Factory, deposed that on Saturday a party numbering eight persons all working at Rawleigh, went by train to Morthoe, leaving Barnstaple by 1.30.  Amongst the party was deceased, James Blight and witness.  On arriving at Morthoe they walked to Bull Point Light House, and after that they went to the village.  It was then between five and six o'clock.  They intended to return to Barnstaple by the last train which leaves by 7.30.  Whilst they were in the village they were at Mr Chugg's Chichester Arms.  They proceeded to the station on foot, but on going a short distance they found they must run if they wished to catch the train.  They all ran as fast as they could, and all caught the train, but four of the party, including deceased, and himself.  They found they should have to pay rather much for a conveyance, and so they decided to walk home.  They went into the Fortescue Hotel near the station, and stayed about an hour.  One of the four a person named Thorne remained at Morthoe, and the others started to walk to Barnstaple.  When they reached Braunton it was about eleven o'clock, when the public-houses were shut.  They remained there a little while, walking about trying to get a bed, as they were pretty well done up.  They could not get a bed and they proceeded towards Barnstaple.  At Braunton deceased complained of being very tired, but said nothing to give them to understand that he could not reach Barnstaple.  They left Braunton together, and for a considerable distance deceased kept up with the others.  Just before they reached the Ashford Inn deceased said something about their going on without him and that he would follow.  He had not much recollection of what occurred.  He did not remember asking deceased what was the matter or why he could not keep up with them.  Blight and witness went on, but not exactly together, sometimes one being ahead of the other.  He got home (in Derby) about two o'clock, as he was told the next morning.  He had no recollection of the time himself.  He could not say whether Blight or himself reached the Drawbridge at Barnstaple first.  He was quite sure that COOMBES did not ask him or his companion for assistance before they parted with him.  On the way from Braunton deceased sat down in the hedge more than once and witness and Blight did the same.  He was afraid that he had had too much to drink, and had not a clear remembrance of what took place.  He heard nothing more about COOMBES until 10 o'clock on Sunday morning, when he was informed that deceased had been picked up in the road-way.  Deceased did not complain of being ill on Saturday.  If anyone said that deceased asked Blight and himself to help him on and that they refused to do so and left him to shift for himself it was incorrect.  - In answer to the Foreman, witness said there was no truth in the statement that he and his companions were singing in a public house at Braunton on Saturday night.  He did not know how it was that they were so long in the road between Morthoe and Braunton.  The reason they were sometimes separated in the road was that each of them was endeavouring to reach Barnstaple first.

James Blight, cabinet maker, also employed at Rawleigh, who also said he was the worse for liquor on Saturday evening, gave corroborative evidence.  He had no recollection of deceased asking for any assistance; if deceased had done so he would have rendered all the help he could.  It was about as much as he could do to get home himself.  He got home some time early on Sunday morning, but he had very little recollection of the matter.  He thought they were all a bit "screwed" when they left the Chichester Arms at Morthoe, and staying at the Fortescue Hotel made matters worse with his companions and himself.  In answer to the father of deceased, Blight said it was not true that he told the widow that deceased asked him and his companion for assistance.  They helped each other along.  It was not natural to suppose that fellow-workmen would desert each other if they were in their right senses.  - In reply to the Foreman (Mr W. Horne), witness said COOMBES had a bottle of spirit with him, as he remembered drinking out of it as they were walking, but where deceased got it filled he did not know.

John Basssett, labourer, of Braunton, deposed that on Sunday morning he went to Barnstaple by half-past five to see a veterinary surgeon.  On returning, about half-past six, and on reaching Ashford-lane, he saw a man in a sitting posture in the hedge.  He spoke but receiving no answer he called Mr Cutcliff, who lived close by.  He and Mr Cutcliff found that the man was dead, and they gave information to Mr Clarke, of the Ashford Inn, who communicated with the police.

George Cutcliffe, shoemaker, of Ashford, corroborated Bassett's statement, and P.C. Tippett deposed to taking charge of the body, which he found in the position described by the last two witnesses.  He could see there had been no foul play.  A bottle, containing spirit, and a stick, which had been found at the road some distance from the spot where the body was discovered, were handed to him.

P.C. William Rippin, of Braunton, stated that about half-past twelve on Sunday morning he saw the deceased and two other persons at Heanton.  The two persons were helping deceased along, one being each side of him.  Deceased was evidently very tired and exhausted.  When he got a little further on he lay down and asked his companions if they could not get a conveyance, and they answered that they had not much further to go.  They then started again, and afterwards passed him at Ashford Weir, and he saw nothing more of them.  Deceased was still being assisted by his companions. Deceased appeared to be very bad, and unable to walk without assistance, but the other two were not so bad, as they could walk.  Deceased's companions were encouraging him.  They spoke to witness, and told him how it was they were walking home.  If he had not thought the men were capable of taking deceased to Barnstaple he should have interfered.  In answer to the Foreman, Kelly said he remembered meeting someone on the road, but he did not know who it was.  MR COOMBES remarked that if all the men were drunk it was the duty of the P.C. to look after them.

Mr Hy. Jackson, surgeon, of Barnstaple, stated that when he reached Ashford at about nine o'clock COOMBES was quite dead.  He examined the body and found no marks of violence, and nothing to justify any suspicion of foul play, and no evidence of any accident, so that in his opinion death was from natural causes.  Gastric fever frequently leaves very great weakness of the heart.  Having heard the evidence as to what deceased did on Saturday, and considering all the circumstances, he should say that the actual cause of COOMBES'S death was failure of the heart's action.  There were no signs of apoplexy or alcoholic poisoning.  The night was very cold, and this would have affected a weak heart.  In answer to the Foreman, Mr Jackson said that if deceased had been kept moving instead of having been left in the roadway he would in all probability have survived.

The Coroner then summed up, remarking that deceased's fellow-workmen were not criminally responsible for the death of COOMBES, but whether they were morally responsible or not was a question for the Jury to decide, and, if they wished, express an opinion upon.  If the young men were not drunk it was a shameful thing for them to leave a fellow-workman in the roadway in such a state and on such a fearfully cold night.  The young men, however, said they were so thoroughly drunk that they had no recollection of what occurred beyond this, that deceased told them to go on and that he would follow; accordingly, they left him, little thinking that anything so frightfully serious as what took place would occur.  It was hardly likely that young men would leave a fellow-workman to perish in the roadway if they were in a position to render him any assistance.

After a consultation in private, the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," and expressed an opinion that although the state of the young men, as gathered from their evidence, was some excuse for them, yet they were greatly in fault in leaving deceased in the roadway in the condition he was in.

PARRACOMBE - Sudden Death. - J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, held an Inquest at Highley Farm, Parracombe, on Thursday last, to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of WM. RALPH, aged 19, a farm servant in the employ of Mr John Crocombe.  -  ROBERT RALPH stated that he had never heard his deceased son complain of any illness.  John Bray, farm servant of Mr J. Crocombe, said that about 7.30 he and the deceased were in the stable together, when deceased who had just cleaned out the stable went up to a horse and rested his head on its neck.  He remained in that position about half a minute, and then fell down.  He did not say anything either just before or at the actual time he fell.  Witness went to see what was the matter, and he found deceased making a noise similar to that made by a man in a fit.  He pulled deceased out from under the manger, set him against the wall, and spoke to him, but he made no answer.  He went outside, saw Miss Bessie Crocombe, and told her what had occurred, and she told him to go back and not leave deceased.  On going back he found deceased in the same position in which he had left him, but quite dead.  He called to Miss Crocombe and she came.  He removed the body to the kitchen, and Mr Crocombe was communicated with.  Nothing had occurred to excite the deceased.  They had been in the stable three-quarters of an hour and had been talking to each other.  Miss Crocombe and her brother, Mr John Crocombe, also gave evidence.  The latter said that until a month ago he never heard of deceased having any particular illness.  He and deceased were then going to Barnstaple driving a heifer, and deceased then fell down in the road, but soon got up again.  He had evidently had an attack of some kind, and he said nothing of the kind had occurred to him before.  Deceased did not complain at any time since.  Since RALPH had died Bray had told witness that deceased had lately complained of shortness of breath.  Dr Berry, of Lynton, said he examined deceased for a club eight or nine months ago and he was all right then, as he passed him.  Deceased died of natural causes, and he believed the specific cause of death was apoplexy.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.  Deceased was a member of the Foresters' Club, and a number of the brethren, wearing their badges, attended the funeral on Monday.

Thursday 26 March 1885

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death - Alleged Neglect. -  On Monday evening an Inquest was held at the Union Inn, Derby, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of ROBERT TURNER, aged 65, labourer, of Prince's-street.  The first witness called was SAMUEL TURNER, son of deceased, employed at the Derby Lace Factory, who said that up to Tuesday his father was in his usual health and did his work.  On that day he said he had strained himself by lifting some posts.  He remained in bed until Sunday, but did not have any medical assistance.  He got out of bed at about half-past six, and witness heard him call for his wife.  Witness was afterwards called upstairs by his mother, who was endeavouring to raise deceased from the floor.  Witness assisted deceased into bed, and he did not speak afterwards.  About half an hour after putting deceased into bed witness went for Mr Cooke who was at church.  Mr Cooke was afterwards fetched by witness's brother.  He did not believe his father was dead when he lifted him into bed.  He did not know that his father ever asked for a doctor.  -  MARY ANN TURNER, wife of deceased, said her husband first complained of being ill on Tuesday morning.  He remained in bed during the rest of the week.  She asked him if he would have a doctor, and he said he would not as he should be able to go to work on Monday.  Between six and seven o'clock on Sunday evening deceased called, and on going upstairs to him she found that he was trying to put on his boots.  In doing so he fell down and with the assistance of her son she lifted him into bed.  On getting him upon the bed he fell back and witness got some water and bathed his head, when he opened his eyes.  He shortly afterwards closed his eyes and fell back.  In answer to the Jury witness said it was not true that her husband was downstairs on Sunday and that she administered brandy to him; nor was it true that she said to a neighbour who called that "the old ---- is not dead yet," he was not ill but lazy.  - WM. TURNER, another son, said he saw deceased alive on Sunday about twelve o'clock.  He sent his father down some brandy on Saturday,  but he did not know whether he ever had it.  He did not think that deceased wanted for food.  - Mr J. W. Cooke said that on Sunday evening on coming out of church one of deceased's sons met him and asked him to come to his father.  He went immediately, and found him in bed.  Deceased was dead, but the body was warm, and did not appear to have been dead long.  There was no marks about the body, or any appearance to show that he died from other than natural causes.  He could not say what was the actual cause of death, as he could not obtain any reliable information from deceased's life.  Deceased's body was not more emaciated  than witness had ever known deceased to be.  Mr Cooke remarked that the body and the surroundings were in a most filthy condition.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes;" adding a rider to the effect that it was their opinion that the widow of deceased had been guilty of great negligence towards her husband during his illness, particularly in not obtaining medical attendance for him and in keeping him in such filthy condition.  Mr Cooke said he thought some notice should be taken of the house, as it was not habitable.  The Jury requested the Coroner to make a representation to the sanitary Authority with regard to the filthy condition of the house; and Mr Bencraft said he would report the matter without delay.

BARNSTAPLE - Burnt To Death - A Terrible End. - Yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon an Inquest was held before the Borough Coroner, (R. I. Bencraft, Esq.), at the Poltimore Arms, Boutport-street, on the body of ANN HILL, an old woman residing in Bull Court, who was burnt to death in a most horrible manner in the kitchen of her residence.  Deceased was an old inhabitant of the town and had for years regularly attended the Barnstaple Market as a greengrocer.  The first witness called was Mary Hutchings, 13, grand-daughter of deceased, who deposed that she last saw her grandmother alive at about half-past six on the evening in question, when she was removing her stall from the market, after which deceased went to the Butcher's Row.  It was her custom to carry her grandmother a cup of tea every morning about half-past eight, and, as usual she did the same that (Wednesday) morning.  the door was unlocked; and on opening it she saw a foot near the entrance, and smelt a bad smell and saw something burning on the floor.  The house was full of smoke and she observed a lamp burning on the table.  Witness immediately called in two neighbours.  Mary Taylor said he was a labourer residing next door to deceased.  On the morning in question he was called by the last witness who told him that her grandmother's house was on fire.  The first time he entered the house he could see nothing but smoke.  He immediately told a man named Handcock to go and fetch the police and shortly afterwards P.C. Pugsley arrived, when they threw water over the remains of the deceased.  He then recognised the form of a human being on the floor.  About one o'clock the same morning he heard a sound at his shutters, like someone knocking, whereupon he looked out of the window, but could see nobody.  P.C. Pugsley was next called, and said he was fetched by Hancock about 9.20 that morning to go to the house of the deceased in Bull Court.  He saw smoke issuing from the door and windows.  On going into the kitchen he observed a lamp burning on the table and something smouldering on the floor.  Upon examining the mass more closely he saw a foot, head and some part of the shoulder of a human being burnt to a cinder.  He poured water over the remains and could then more distinctly see the face which before seemed as if in the same condition as the other parts of the body.  He saw a small benzoline lamp, upturned and charred, lying on the floor about three or four feet from deceased.  There was also a can of benzoline on the table, which had not been touched by the fire.  He sent for Dr Jackson who immediately came and viewed the remains, after which he shut and locked the door. There was no fire in the grate, the coals being perfectly cool.  Wm. Phillips, Bear-street, said he had known deceased for 30 or 40 years.  She had a "right" in the Bratton Club, concerning which he had had a little business to transact with her.  He saw deceased in the Vegetable Market on Tuesday about the matter and she told him Mrs Thorne at the Nag's Head would settle that with him.  Shortly afterwards (about six o'clock) he went to the Nag's Head, where he again saw deceased; she then had a pennyworth of beer before her.  In answer to a question from the Coroner, witness said MRS HILL was not then intoxicated, but probably she had had a glass or two.  Phoebe Ackland, wife of Philip Ackland, a next door neighbour, deposed that between nine and ten o'clock on the evening of Tuesday she was drawing water from the tap opposite her front door when the deceased came home, apparently in a sober condition.  A little conversation took place between them, after which MRS HILL went into her house and locked the door.  Her room was divided from deceased's by a wood partition, and when it was nearly ten o'clock she saw smoke issuing through the partition.  She went out and knocked at deceased's door several times, but could get no reply; but she saw a light in the window.  She then called Mr Lapthorne, the landlord of the adjoining public-house, who came in and examined witness's house and told her she need not be afraid as it was probably only a little burning straw or something of the kind in deceased's kitchen.  The next witness called was J. J. Lapthorne, landlord of the Poltimore Arms.  He said that about ten minutes after ten o'clock on Tuesday evening he was called by the last witness to go to her home as she said she smelt and saw smoke issuing from the partition between the two rooms.  He examined the coal house where the smoke appeared to come from and looked into every corner of the room, and at last came to the conclusion that the smoke came - At this junction P.C. Pugsley was recalled and asked by the foreman of the Jury if the front door of deceased's house opened easily.  Witness replied in the negative, adding that it seemed to catch.  This the Jury thought explained away the assertion of Mrs Ackland that the deceased locked the door when she last entered the house - from deceased's fire.  He had been called by Mrs Ackland on the same errand on many occasions.  Mr Henry Jackson, surgeon, of this town said he was called to the house of the deceased by P.C. Pugsley about quarter past nine on the morning in question.  Lying on the floor in the kitchen he found portions of a human body, just in the same condition as they then were.  The remains were so burnt that he could not recognise the features.  He saw two lamps, one on the floor, but both were extinguished.  Upon examination of the remains he found them to consist of head, shoulders, right arm, and right leg, the left arm being very much charred.  The remaining portions of the body were completely charred and destroyed by fire.  He could just discern the bones of the pelvis.  He was of opinion that death had been caused by fire, and suggested that deceased might have been filling the small benzoline lamp, and while doing so have spilled some of the spirit over her clothes which became ignited by contact with the fire; and probably the fumes of the consuming benzoline had stupefied her so that she was not cognisant of what was going on about her.  A verdict of "Death by Burning" was returned, the Coroner remarking that how the body became ignited there was no evidence to prove.

TORRINGTON - Shocking Accident at Bideford to a Torrington Man. - What Came of a Sunday's Lark.  A fearfully sudden and exceptionally distressed accident occurred at Bideford on Sunday night.  A party of young men, about four o'clock in the afternoon, drove into the town from Torrington.  They were evidently out for a "spree," and judging from their behaviour even at first there is no doubt that a subsequent description of their condition - "fresh" - was fairly applicable.  Having put up their horses at Tanton's Hotel, they separated for an hour or two, amusing themselves in various ways until about seven o'clock in the evening, when most of them got together on the Quay.  Having in the meantime availed themselves of the "Traveller's Privilege" and imbibed freely, most if not all of them were now drunk.  They became noisy, and created a disturbance on the Quay.  About 8 o'clock two of them entered Tanton's Hotel and demanded drink, but their condition being observed, the request was refused.  Then there was a row, and the police had to be sent for to turn them out.  A few minutes previous to this also, at another part of the Quay, two others of the party were taken into custody.  While this was transpiring the horses were being put into the break, for a start to be made homewards.  Most of the party took their seats, but whilst the first-named couple were still disputing with the police the break started off.  The young men thereupon ran off to catch it.  One named Baker tried to get up over the steps by the side of the driver, and as he was thus engaged another, WM. BROAD (a joiner of New-street, Torrington) ran forward and tried to catch hold of the reins.  In doing this he fell, and either from the fall or from the wheel passing over him, his neck was broken and other injuries received, so that death was not only inevitable but almost instantaneous.  Scarcely a minute after the break started and not more than thirty yards from the Hotel, Mr C. Williams (ironmonger) who was walking along the road, almost stumbled upon the body prostrate in the road.  Mr Williams at once felt underneath the coat and found BROAD'S heart was beating, but faintly.  A stretcher was sent for, and deceased was at once conveyed to the Infirmary, but the doctor, who was in waiting, declared life to be already extinct.  It is a sad and  significant commentary upon the condition of the whole party that with the exception of Baker, none of them knew anything of the occurrence, and they would have driven away if some one had not succeeded in overtaking and stopping them. When brought back and questioned by the police they said they had seen nothing and did not know but what BROAD was in the break.  When they discovered that their companion was actually dead the shock, somewhat sobered them, and it is sincerely to be hoped that their subsequent reflections were of a serious character and that the dreadful occurrence will act as a salutary warning to all the survivors.  It is reported that the party were those who formed the majority of the Torrington Skeleton Army, and that for some weeks past they have been in the habit of visiting Bideford on Sunday afternoons and evenings and conducting themselves in a similar fashion that that of Sunday last.

The Inquest:  -  Was held at the Infirmary on Monday night, before Dr J. Thompson, Borough Coroner.  Mr T. Oatway was chosen foreman.  The Jury first viewed the body.  The side of the face, the neck and breast were badly bruised, and it appeared as if the wheel had grazed the face, passed over the neck and across a part of the breast.  The first witness was Frederick Baker, of Torrington, who said deceased was a joiner, and a single man.  He was generally steady and industrious, but "would take a glass or two now and again."  Witness came away with a party from Torrington, on Sunday afternoon, deceased accompanying them, to visit Bideford .  There were 13 in all.  On arriving at Bideford they separated.  At 8 o'clock when they were about to return home witness and deceased called at Tanton's Hotel and asked for drink, but Mrs Tanton would not draw them any, as she said they were intoxicated.  He did not know the name of the house where they had been drinking during the afternoon.  The break had started and witness and deceased ran to catch it.  On reaching the break deceased tried to stop the horses by the reins while the break was in motion.  Deceased fell on the left side of the horses, but witness could not say if near the wheel. He did not hear him scream, or cry out.  After the break had passed on some considerable distances, witness said to those in the break that they had better go back and see what was the matter with BROAD.  On going back they found him on a stretcher with men standing round him.  Witness went to the dispensary, and there found Dr Cox, who waited until deceased was brought to the dispensary.  Witness could not say how far the break went on before they stopped and came back.  Mr Charles Williams, ironmonger, Bideford, said he was passing Tanton's Hotel about 8 o'clock, and saw a man whom he took to be the deceased talking with P.C. Blackmore, and complaining that he had been roughly ejected.  During that time the break moved on, after which three or four went running after it, deceased being amongst them. Witness soon after saw the deceased lying with his feet in the water-table, with his right cheek on the road.  Deceased did not speak but his heart was beating, and also his pulse.  The break was at Mr Baker's when it stopped, and it was fully ten minutes before anyone came back to the deceased.  Mr E. Cox, surgeon, Bideford, was of opinion that deceased fell and broke his neck.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BISHOPSTAWTON - Sudden Death. - Before the County Coroner, Jas. Fraser Bromham, Esq., an Inquest was held at the Three Pigeons, Bishopstawton, on Monday last, on the body of JOHN BANKS, a labourer, who was found dead in his bed on Sunday last.  According to the evidence of ANN BANKS, his wife, deceased had been ailing for some time, but on Saturday last showed symptoms of getting worse, and in the course of an hour or so died.  Deceased had been under medical advice, but his wife said she did not think the case so serious as to be personally attended to by her medical adviser, and thought the medicine would do.  Upon the evidence of Mr Henry Jackson, medical practitioner, it was adduced that deceased was a sufferer from heart disease, and he gave it as his opinion that it was the actual cause of death.  A verdict was returned in accordance with the medical evidence.

Thursday 2 April 1885

BIDEFORD - MR SHORTRIDGE, labourer, living in Torridge Street, East-the-Water, had a child two years and a half old.  On Wednesday afternoon last the boy was in the kitchen whilst his mother was making tea, and when she was engaged at the table he went to the fireplace and took hold of the kettle.  By some means he put his mouth over the spout and drew the kettle towards him.  As the boiling water went down his throat he uttered a piercing shriek, which of course immediately attracted the mother's attention.  She did what she could to relieve the child's agony, and then sent for Mr Sinclair Thompson.  The doctor, upon arriving ordered leeches to be applied to the top of the wind-pipe to be followed by cold bandages.  This was done and the child was considerably relieved.  With the exception of a mouthful or so soon after the accident, he refused food, however, and would not drink milk or anything.   It was evident that the scald of the water had inflicted serious injury, and on Thursday night the boy died.  An Inquest was held on Friday, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 9 April 1885

ILFRACOMBE - Inquest. - The unfortunate lime-burner of Combmartin, who some ten days ago met with such fearful injuries by falling into the burning kiln died on Sunday morning at the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital after lingering in great pain.  An Inquest was held at the Hospital on Monday afternoon by Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner.  Mr Tattam was elected foreman of the Jury.  The first witness called was FREDERICK NORMAN, brother of deceased, who identified deceased as JOHN NORMAN, limeburner, of Combmartin, aged 42.  William Smith, labourer, of Combmartin, deposed that he was a fellow workman of deceased.  On the 27th March witness was at work in his garden about a quarter to twelve (noon), when he heard cries coming from the direction of Berry's kiln, which was about 100 yards distant.  Witness jumped over the hedge and ran to the spot, when he saw deceased in the kiln, which was burning.  NORMAN was standing in the kiln, and was buried up to his thighs.  Witness tried to get him out, but could not do so.  Deceased was quite sensible, and said, "Bill, I am glad you have come, take me out as quick as you can."  Witness then raised an alarm, and shortly about 30 persons had gathered round the kiln.  They tried various plans to extricate deceased with ropes, but it was quite half-an-hour before they succeeded.  Dr Manning was sent for, and deceased was removed to the Ilfracombe Cottage Hospital.  In reply to the foreman, witness said the practice of jumping into a kiln to crack the stones was a common one, and he did not think it was dangerous.  Deceased had told him that he jumped in.  All was done to rescue deceased that could possibly be done.  Thomas Chugg, labourer, employed in a quarry near the kiln, corroborated.  While employed in the quarry he heard that NORMAN had fallen into the kiln; he ran to the spot and saw and saw the last witness trying to get him out, but it was quite 20 minutes before they succeeded.  During that time deceased spoke several times and was quite conscious.  Deceased told him he jumped in to break the stones.  William Comer, lime-merchant, and tenant of the kiln, said NORMAN was a lime-burner at the kiln and worked by job work.  He was responsible for all the details of the work.  It was a usual practice t6o jump into the kiln to break the stones.  The danger of so doing would depend on the quantity of lime drawn out at the bottom and the regularity with which it was drawn.  He was of opinion that deceased being a practical lime burner of many years standing ought to have been well aware where the danger lay.  Mr F. Gardner, surgeon, said deceased was brought to the Cottage Hospital on the 27th ult., when he was called to see him.  He found extensive burns on both legs and the feet, especially the right one, were completely charred.  When admitted he was in a state of collapse, but after using stimulants he rallied.  Deceased seemed to progress tolerably favourably until blood poisoning set in a day or two previous to death, when he rapidly sank and died on Sunday.  The injuries he received were sufficient to cause death, and he could not have lived had not the blood poisoning set in.  The Coroner having briefly summed up, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  The fees were given to the widow of the deceased.

Thursday 23 April 1885

LITTLEHEMPSTON - A Child Killed By A Fowl. - On Monday evening Mr Hacker, the Coroner for the district, held an Inquiry at the Bolton Arms, Littlehempston, touching the death of a child named FRANK KING, aged about 20 months, who died the previous night from injuries sustained through being attacked by a game stag.  From the evidence of the mother, it appears she was doing some ironing on Friday last and a little girl named Westaway, living near, offered to take the deceased out for awhile.  Within a minute or two or leaving the cottage she heard the child cry out, and on going to see what was the matter, found her boy lying on his face and hands in the road with a large stag, belonging to Westaway's parents, on the head of the child.  She took up the child and found it was bleeding profusely from a wound behind the ear.  She bathed the place and conveyed the child to Mr Hains, surgeon, at Totnes.  The child was attended by him up to Sunday, when it died, being conscious up to the time of death.  Emily Westaway, the girl who was with the deceased, deposed that when they got outside the cottage the deceased ran to the fowl and pulled its tail, whereupon the bird turned and flew at him, knocking him down with its wings.  Whilst on the ground it spurred the child twice behind the left ear.  - Mr L. Hains, surgeon, gave evidence of attending the child, and had made a post mortem examination.  He found there was a hole right through the skull, from which a watery fluid was oozing.  The bird had been killed and the spur of the foot produced was nearly two inches long and fitted into the hole exactly.  About half-an-inch of the spur had entered the brain.  He attributed death to an abscess caused by a fracture of the skull.  He observed that the case was a most remarkable one, and unless he had seen it he should hardly have credited it.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 30 April 1885

SOUTHMOLTON - Inquest. - The first Inquest which has been held in this Borough since Thomas Sanders, Esq., F.R.C.S., was elected Coroner, in September last, took place in the Board-room of the Union Workhouse on Friday evening last, on the body of GEORGE KINGSLAND, of Molland.  Mr William Kingdon (Broad street) was chosen foreman, the other Jurymen being Messrs. C. Clarke, E. Shave, J. Mills, W. Huxtable (East-street), W. Huxtable (South-street), W. Nutt, C. Blackmore, T. Davey, W. Hawkes, I. Lethbridge and G. Gibbett.  The Jury having viewed the body, the first witness called was Charles Williams, of Molland, who stated that at the deceased's request he drove him yesterday (the 23rd inst.) in a cart from Lower Hill, Molland, to Withygate, in the parish of Northmolton.  The deceased told witness he had been invited by his nephew, Mr Vickery, of Withygate, to stay with him.  On their arrival at Withygate, however, deceased was refused admittance as a visitor, and witness having fed his horse left on the return journey, the deceased having preceded him by walking, and witness overtook him leaning against the hedge about a mile from Withygate, when he stopped and took deceased into the cart, the latter remarking "Now Charles, you see how I have been served," and suggested that he should be driven to Northmolton Village, where he proposed staying the night, but subsequently consented to be taken to the Southmolton Union Workhouse.  This was about 3 p.m.  All went well until they were near the milestone from Southmolton, when deceased complained of feeling very weak, and expressed a wish to take some refreshment.  For this purpose the cart was stopped, and deceased stepped to the back part of it and took from a wicker basket some bread, which he tried to cut, but could not, being crippled.  At this juncture a carriage appeared in sight, and witness got out of the cart and held the horse by the head while it passed, and immediately after, as witness was proceeding to the back of the cart, the horse moved off, causing the deceased to fall out of the cart into the road, and witness found him lying on his side.  He was quite unconscious, and remained so for about five minutes.  This was about half past five p.m.  Mr John Southcombe who was driving the carriage which had just passed, having seen the accident, came to witness's aid, who, together with Mr W. Kingdon, of East-street, Southmolton, and Mr John Smith, of South-street, Southmolton, assisted to replace deceased in the cart.  On the way to the Workhouse after the accident, deceased spoke several times, and complained of suffering considerable pain.  They arrived at the Workhouse about half past six, and deceased was given in charge of Mr Baker the Governor.  Witness on leaving shook hands with the deceased, but the latter did not speak.  Witness stated that after the accident he saw froth about deceased's mouth, but no blood.  In answer to a Juror witness said deceased was perfectly sober at the time of the accident.  Mr John Southcombe stated that he was coachman to Mrs Melhuish of Southmolton and was driving his mistress from Filleigh on the previous day, when about a mile from Southmolton, he passed the last witness who was standing at the head of his horse and the deceased was standing in the back part of the cart.  After he had passed about four or five landyards, he heard someone shout to the horse to stop and on at once looking round saw deceased fall from the cart.  He immediately told his mistress what had happened, and she requested him to go back, which he did and found deceased in a sitting posture supported by the previous witness, being quite insensible, and from his appearance thought he was dead.  After a few minutes, however, he opened his eyes and with the assistance of the parties already named placed him in the cart, when deceased remarked "I must lie down or I shall die," there was some froth about his mouth, and witness thought him a dying man.  This was about half past five p.m.  Mr Joseph Baker, Governor of the Southmolton Union said, about 6.33 p.m. on the previous evening, the deceased was brought to the House by the first witness in a very weak condition and having been informed that deceased had fallen out of a cart, he immediately sent for Dr Furse, the medical officer of the Workhouse.  Deceased was breathing very short, and with much difficulty, and on asking him how he felt, he replied, "Very bad," and asked to be allowed to have as much fresh air as possible.  He was then sitting on the form in the waiting hall, and he arose and with assistance walked to the entrance door to obtain more air.  It was about five minutes after his arrival that the medical officer was sent for, and Dr Sanders (Mr Furse's partner) arrived shortly after 7 o'clock, by which time the deceased had been removed to the sick ward (with the assistance of the porter and gardener) when he complained of being in pain.  Witness accompanied Dr Sanders on his departure as far as the entrance gates, and on his return to the house found the deceased dead.  This was about a ¼ to 8.  Jane Rowe, nurse at the Union, said the deceased was given into her charge on the previous evening, between the hours of 7 and 8, and she was with the deceased when he died, having given him some beef tea and brandy prescribed by the doctor.  He partook of the full quantity ordered to be given him, and died almost immediately.  There was no bruise of mark f any kind about deceased that she could see when she undressed him.  He had every care after his admission, but she thought him a dying man.  The Coroner then stated that he had just returned from a country journey on the previous evening when he was informed that his partner had been fetched to go to the workhouse, and as Mr Furse was from home, he went there and found the deceased in a very weak and exhausted condition, and ordered the nurse to give him some brandy and beef tea, shortly after partaking of which it appeared he expired.  There could be no question but that the deceased died from severe shock to the system, as the result of his fall from the cart, he being at the time in a very weak and depressed state, and over 70 years of age.  The Jury after a short consultation, gave their verdict in accordance with the Coroner's testimony, namely that the deceased died as the result of Accidentally Falling from a Cart.

Thursday 7 May 1885

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - On Thursday morning an Inquest was held at the Rose and Crown Inn, Newport, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq. (Borough Coroner) on the body of JOHN WILCOCKS, labourer, aged 62.  Mr Gent was selected foreman of the Jury.  - MRS ANN WILCOCKS deposed that her late husband had been failing for some time, but she did not send for a doctor until the preceding day (Wednesday).  He attended a funeral at Fremington on Sunday, and on Monday complained of pains in his chest and remained in bed all day  As he still complained on Tuesday she applied flannels to his chest, and on Wednesday she sent for Mr Cooke, surgeon.  About half-past ten in the morning she heard deceased get out of bed and then heard a noise.  On going upstairs she found him on his knees and speechless.  she called Mr Hoskins, a neighbour, who assisted her to put deceased into bed, where he died about ten minutes afterwards without a struggle.  Wm. Hoskins corroborated the latter part of the evidence, and Mr J. W. Cooke, surgeon, stated that when he reached the residence of deceased the poor fellow was dead.  There was no doubt deceased died from Natural causes, probably heart disease.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

ASHREIGNEY - Fatal Accident. - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at Cleave Cottage, in the parish of Ashreigney, before J. F. Bromham, Esq. (County Coroner) to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of WILLIAM BAKER, farm labourer, whose death was occasioned by a fall from a waggon, on Tuesday (last week.)  John Harris, a fellow servant of deceased, deposed that on the day the accident occurred he and BAKER had been to Torrington in charge of two waggons, and on their way back as they were crossing Hollacombe Moor (BAKER'S waggon in front) the horses started off at a trot, and the deceased got out over under the shafts to reach the  reins and in the act was precipitated into the roadway.  Witness immediately pulled up and procured assistance.  Deceased was then insensible.  They lifted him into the waggon and drove home to deceased's residence where he was soon after attended by Dr Pollard, of Chulmleigh.  Dr Pollard said when he came to see deceased he was quite insensible and convulsed, and he was of opinion at the time that it was a bad case.  He should say death was occasioned by laceration of the brain, followed by haemorrhage, and a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.  The Jury gave their fees to the widow.

Thursday 14 May 1885

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death In A Railway Carriage. - A painful case of sudden death was investigated at Barnstaple on Thursday.  The Borough Coroner, (R. I. Bencraft, Esq.), held an Inquest at the Infirmary on the body of MATTHEW REYNOLDS, aged about 55, horse dealer, of Devonport, who died suddenly in a railway carriage the same morning.  the first witness called was John Slap Caseley, guard on the London and South Western Railway, who deposed that he was in charge of the 9.20 train from Exeter that morning.  When he got to the Yeoford Junction he noticed deceased walking up and down the platform and he got into the train there, into a third-class compartment.  At Eggesford Station deceased called witness, and told him that he felt unwell, and asked to be put into a compartment by himself, which was done.  Deceased did not complain of serious illness, and did not appear very ill, but was able to walk.  At Portsmouth Arms witness looked into the carriage and saw deceased lying on the seat.  Deceased looked up at witness who thought he was all right.  On arriving at Chapeltown, where a stop was made to collect tickets, witness went again to the carriage and found deceased lying on his back on the floor.  Witness unfastened his collar and deceased appeared to be quite unconscious.  Witness thought he was in a fit and called the Stationmaster and advised him to telegraph to Barnstaple in order to get a medical man to be present on the arrival of the train.  this was done, and two cushions were taken from a first-class carriage and placed under deceased's head.  Mr Stone and Mr Sweet then got into the carriage with deceased, and the train came on to Barnstaple.  He was sure the man had every assistance that could be rendered.  William Stone, landlord of the Red Cow, Barnstaple, and a cattle dealer, deposed to travelling from Exeter by the 9.20 train.  Deceased got into the train at Yeoford, and they entered into conversation. Deceased frequently struck his chest with his open hand and complained of indigestion.  At Eggesford deceased got into a separate carriage, but on arriving at Chapeltown witness went into the carriage with deceased, who expired when the train had got about a mile from that station.  John Sweet corroborated, saying that every attention was paid deceased; they opened the windows and fanned him, and did everything they could for him.  In the carriage deceased remarked that he "was a martyr to indigestion," and that he suffered from attacks for twenty-four hours together.  Mr Stout, Stationmaster at Chapeltown, deposed to telegraphing to Barnstaple for medical assistance, and remarked that every attention was paid to deceased.  Mr C. Heather, Chief Clerk at Barnstaple Station, gave evidence as to the arrival at Barnstaple of deceased's body.  The body was searched by a policeman, and he telegraphed to deceased's relatives, and had received a reply to the effect that the family knew deceased suffered from disease of the heart.  P.C. Tomes, stationed at Barnstaple, deposed to searching the body, among other things he found two Bank of England £5 notes, four sovereigns, three shillings, together with a handsome gold watch, gold pin, and ring, &c.  Mr J. W. Cooke, Surgeon, gave it as his opinion that the cause of death was heart disease; and a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

Thursday 21 May 1885

LITTLE TORRINGTON - On Tuesday last J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, held an Inquest at the Buckingham Arms, in this parish, on the body of ALFRED DAVEY, aged two.  - LUCY DAVEY, single woman of Bideford, said deceased was her child.  He had been in the care of her sister, Mrs Sarah Jane Stacey since its birth.  She last saw him about two months ago, when he seemed to be all right.  Mrs Stacey said the child appeared to enjoy good health up to Saturday, when he had two fits, the second of which proved fatal.  After hearing the medical evidence of Mr Edward Sutcliff, M.D., the Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.

NORTHAM - A Fatal Drink. - On Monday J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner for the Barnstaple District, held an Inquest at the Golden Lion Inn, Northam, to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of FRANK CHARLES LITTLEJOHNS, aged four.  - CHARLES LITTLEJOHNS, deceased's father, said that on Saturday morning, about nine o'clock he was having his breakfast, when he sent up his little daughter MAUD, to bring down the deceased, who they supposed was in bed.  She brought down a bottle with brandy, and in consequence of what she said, witness and his wife went upstairs.  Deceased was at the head of the stairs near the chest where the brandy bottle was kept.  The chest was not open.  Witness looked about to see if the child had spilled it, and deceased then said "Me drinked it, dada."  He took the child downstairs.  He noticed it smelt of brandy, and as the deceased appeared drowsy, witness took him upstairs again and went to work in the docks.  Witness received a message about four o'clock in the afternoon, and when he went home found the child in a cradle downstairs, and apparently fast asleep.  On his way home he met Dr Pratt, who he was told had been sent for to see his son in the morning, and the doctor told him he couldn't do anything for the child - he was to lay as he was.  The boy died on Saturday evening about seven o'clock; it appeared to sleep right off.  CHARLOTTE LITTLEJOHNS, mother of the deceased, said that after her husband went to work she brought the child downstairs and put it in the cradle.  Dr Pratt came between eleven and twelve o'clock.  He asked if she had given the child anything to make it sick, and she said she had not.  He then told her to let the child lay on and keep it very quiet, for he could not do anything for it.  The doctor did not recommend her to do anything.  Finding the boy still slept on she sent for her husband in the afternoon.  About ten minutes before deceased died he brought up some dark fluid.  That was the only time he was sick.  The child slept all day up to the time of his death.  The little girl, MAUD LITTLEJOHNS, said when she went up to fetch the deceased he was out of bed with the brandy bottle and was just putting in the cork.  MARY LITTLEJOHNS, grandmother of the deceased, said when Dr Pratt came to her son's house on Saturday morning he said if they had given the deceased warm water it might have made him sick, but now he must lie as he was - he (the doctor) could not do anything for him.  He felt the child's pulse, and there was nothing out of the way.  Me E Rouse, surgeon, of Bideford, said he was not surprised the child died after drinking the brandy on an empty stomach.  If he had been called to see the child with two-and-a-half hours of its drinking the brandy he should have given the child an emetic, provided there was no tenderness over the stomach.  Mustard and water immediately after drinking the brandy might have saved the child's life.  He thought some relief might have been given by application of the stomach pump.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death" by alcoholic poisoning, but added a rider that "they considered Dr Pratt was entitled to censure for not having used remedies when called in."

BRATTON FLEMING - Found Dead. - Yesterday (Wednesday) an Inquest was held at Down Farm, Bratton Fleming, before Jas. F. Bromham, Esq., (County Coroner), concerning the death of ELIZABETH VICARY, 30 years of age, who was found dead in the roadway in this parish on Monday last.  Evidence pointed conclusively to death from heart disease, and Dr Gordon Laing, of Barnstaple, gave it as his opinion that death resulted from that cause, and a verdict to that effect was accordingly returned.

CHARLES - Death From Excessive Drinking. - Yesterday (Wednesday) an Inquest was held at the Schoolroom, Charles, by Jas. Fraser Bromham, Esq. (County Coroner) on the body of ANN CRIDGE, widow, 64 years of age.  It appears from the evidence of P.C. Budden, Ann Mairs, and other witnesses that deceased had been addicted to intemperate habits for some years past; but on Monday last a neighbour (Mrs Mairs), having a suspicion that something was wrong as she had not seen MRS CRIDGE (who lived by herself) for two or three days, sent for P.C. Budde4n, who in consequence went to deceased's residence.  He went into the bedroom and there found ANN CRIDGE dead upon the floor in an almost nude condition.  By her side was a three-pint jar which contained about half a pint of gin, the cork being drawn.  He also found three bottles of brandy in a box, but these were corked, and also several empty bottles on the floor which had contained gin and other spirits and a broken glass and bottle.  Deceased would sometimes shut herself up, and would not be seen for days together.  About twelve months ago witness had to force an entrance into her residence in consequence of a similar suspicion to the one which now had proved too true, and then she was found in a helpless state of intoxication.  Deceased's husband, who was a respectable farmer, died seven years ago, and left his wife in comfortable circumstances.  The wife of witness said she had seen deceased helplessly intoxicated on several occasions, but had brought her round by the use of cold water.  W. Alexander Gordon Laing, M.B. of Barnstaple, said that his opinion was greatly strengthened by the evidence of the witnesses, and he had no hesitation in saying that death was caused by "coma, the result of excessive use of alcoholic stimulants."  A verdict was returned in accordance with the medical evidence.

Thursday 28 May 1885

The once well-known gymnast,  "Marquis De Gonza" (GEORGE ALGAR, late of Bideford), died suddenly at Luton on Friday.  At the Inquest held on Saturday evidence was given that the cause of death was syncope.

Thursday 4 June 1885

WESTLEIGH - Fatal Accident. - Yesterday an Inquest was held at the New Inn, Westleigh, before Jas. F. Bromham, Esq., one of the Coroners for the county, on the body of a child named LILIAN FRANCIS WILLS.  From evidence adduced it appears that two horses and carts were standing outside the New Inn, one tied to the other, and by their side stood a man named Champion with deceased in his arms.  Suddenly one of the horses started off, the two carts becoming locked one in the other, and Champion dropped the child to look after the horses; the child followed him and just as she came up to the scene of the accident one of the horses fell on its side and overturned the cart upon the deceased, causing instantaneous death.  A verdict of Accidental Death by Bring Crushed under a Horse and Cart was passed in accordance with the medical testimony.

SOUTHMOLTON - Inquest. - On Tuesday evening an Inquest was held at the Guildhall by Thomas Sanders, Esq., F.R.C.S., Borough Coroner, touching the death of MR JOHN PARSONS, boot and shoe maker, of Barnstaple-street, Southmolton.  Mr John Mills having been chosen foreman, the Jury adjourned to the house of the deceased and viewed the body.  SUSANNAH PARSONS, wife of the deceased, deposed that her late husband, JOHN PARSONS, was 66 years of age, and during the past six months had complained of a pain in his stomach and shoulders, and inability to walk fast or up hill.  On April 27th he consulted his medical man (Dr Hind).  She last saw her husband alive between three and four o'clock that morning, when he complained of very severe pains between his shoulders, saying he "never felt like it before."  He afterwards went downstairs and lighted the fire and made himself a cup of tea, and about four o'clock he came upstairs again and said that he felt better, and took off his coat and boots and lay down on the bed.  Deceased did not move or speak after.  About six o'clock she called her grandchild (Edward Ernest Handford), when she heard her husband making a gurgling noise.  She shook him and asked him to speak, but he did not do so.  She put some whisky in his mouth and sent her grandson for Dr Hind, who came immediately.  She did not discover that he was dead until she sent for Dr Hind.  He was at work as usual on Monday, but had been in failing health for some time.  - Edward Hind, Esq., M.R.C.S., said the deceased was in his sick club, and on or about the 27th April last deceased called at his house and complained of pains in his stomach and indigestion, for which he prescribed.  He consulted him a second time, complaining as before, but he (the doctor) did not think him seriously ill.  He consulted him at his (the doctor's) own residence.  He did not see him again until after his death that morning.  He was then in bed with all his clothes on except his coat and boots.  He examined the body, and from the appearance of deceased considered he had been dead about twenty minutes.  He could not state the specific cause of death, but as there was no external marks of violence nor evidence of poisoning he believed he died from natural causes.  He did not feel justified in giving a certificate of the cause of death, but he thought a post mortem unnecessary except for scientific purposes.  The Coroner having addressed the Jury on the evidence laid before them considered a post mortem unnecessary, and the Jury thereupon returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased died from Natural Causes.

Thursday 18 June 1885

CHITTLEHAMPTON - Fatal Accident  -  J F Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, held an inquest at Wey Farm, Chittlehampton, on Saturday last on the body of LUCY PHILLIPS, a girl just over 13 years of age, who had lived with her grandfather MR THOMAS PHILLIPS at Wey.  On Friday deceased’s grandfather and his daughter went to the Barnstaple market leaving a servant, named Eliza Bawden, and his grandchild in the house.  MR PHILLIPS had left his gun in the kitchen, and one barrel had contained a cartridge loaded with small shot for two or three weeks past.  A little after three o’clock, Robert Buckingham a labourer, was in the barn, when the female servant came out in a very excited state and said “LUCY is dead”.  He ran into the kitchen, and found deceased lying on the ground in a pool of blood, struggling violently, as if in great agony, and gasping for breath.  She asked for some water, and he went for assistance.  When he came back deceased was sitting in a chair and a few minutes afterwards she died.  He had previously said to Eliza Bawden, “Oh, what have you done?” and she replied, “I took up the gun and put it to my shoulder, and it went off.”  On examining the body, Dr Jackson found a large lacerated, contused an charred wound two inches below the left collar-bone.  It was three inches long, two inches deep, and two inches in the widest part.  The wound led upwards, fracturing the second rib, and causing a hole the size of a shilling in the upper lobe of the left lung.  At the bottom of this cavity Dr Jackson found three wads and a piece of deceased’s dress, and around the wound there were thirty-six shots.  He was of opinion that death resulted from haemorrhage in the lung, and from the intercostals arteries.  Eliza Bawden’s statement was to the effect that the gun went off, but whether it did so when it was at her shoulder or when it fell to the ground she could not say.  The evidence shewed that deceased and the servant girl had been on the best of terms, and a verdict of Accidental
Death, and a rider exonerating the girl from any blame, was returned.  The Jury gave their fees to the North Devon Infirmary.

Thursday 25 June 1885

WESTWARD HO. - Alleged Concealment Of Birth. - J. F. Bromham, Esq., held an Inquest at the Golden Lion Hotel, Northam, on Monday, on the body of the illegitimate child of MARY ELSTON, domestic in the employ of Mr Roberts, of Westward Ho.  The evidence was as follows:-  Grace Parr, a cook in the employ of Mr Roberts, the manager of the Junior College, stated that MARY ELSTON was her fellow servant, and had been in the employ of Mr Roberts about four months.  She heard a week ago that ELSTON was enciente, and she told her of it, but she denied it.  On Friday, however, she was taken very ill, but refused to say what was the matter.  After breakfast ELSTON went upstairs to bed, and her mistress went up to her, but she refused to have a doctor.  The next day she got up and walked about the room.  Witness went upstairs to her again in the morning and found her very ill.  Witness went down to Mrs Roberts and told her she thought ELSTON ought to have a doctor.  Mrs Roberts asked her if she would have a doctor, but she refused, saying she should be all right again in the morning, as she was only suffering from biliousness.  Witness visited her several times during the day, and offered her assistance, but she would not accept it.  On the following day (Saturday), about twelve o'clock, she came downstairs, but previous to that witness had heard her walking about the room.  Whilst ELSTON was downstairs witness went up to her room and saw certain signs which led her to speak to Mrs Roberts, who had an interview with ELSTON and urged her to have a doctor, which she refused, but on the following morning a doctor was sent for.  Dr Cox came. Witness went up after into the room, and on looking into an open drawer saw the body of a dead baby.  ELSTON was still at the College ill in bed, and under the care of Dr Cox.  MARY ELSTON came from the same parish as witness, namely, Buckland Brewer, and witness believed her to be about 22 years of age.  Mr Arthur Owen Roberts, Manager  the Junior School connected with the United Service College at Westward Ho, said that after hearing what had taken place he thought it right to send for Dr Cox.  Mr Edgar Cox, medical practitioner, said that after a slight examination he came to the conclusion that ELSTON had recently been confined, and told her so, but she made no reply.  He had her drawers unlocked in the presence of Mrs Roberts, and in one drawer was found the body of a baby.  It had been dead, he should think, two days.  He communicated with the police.  Since that time had had made a careful post mortem examination of the child, and found it a fully developed male child.  He thought from the lungs that the child had breathed, but only imperfectly.  The appearance of the child was not inconsistent with death from natural causes.  He was not prepared to swear that ELSTON'S statement that the child was born dead was untrue.  P.C. Champion having given his evidence, the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that MARY ELSTON was recently delivered of a male child now dead, and that, in their opinion, death resulted from Natural Causes.

GEORGEHAM - Inquest. - On Friday morning last an Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary before the Borough Coroner (R. I. Bencraft, Esq.) and a Jury of which Mr W. Ford, sen., Litchdon-street, was foreman, on the body of NANCY BAGSTER, widow, aged 86 years, a native of Cross, Georgeham.  It appears from the evidence of the witnesses that on Whit Sunday last deceased, who was a very healthy person considering her advanced age, was carrying a little pan of water  towards her back court with the intention of throwing it away,  Just outside the door the ground slopes rather suddenly, and in stepping down over that portion deceased slipped and fell heavily.  Some neighbours hearing her cries came to her assistance and carried her into the house and afterwards made a bed for her upon the floor as they could not move her upstairs she was in such intense pain.  Dr Lane, of Braunton, was sent for, but in consequence of having to attend to urgent business, he did not arrive until the next day, but when he came he saw deceased had broken her thigh, and advised her being immediately conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary, she was taken there and admitted and attended to the same evening; but the house surgeon gave it as his opinion at the time of her admission that she was too old to over come such a violent shock to the system.  She had been under the care and attendance of Dr Jackson since her admission to the Infirmary.  Her death resulted from exhaustion, the consequence of a fractured thigh and shocked system and insufficient vitality to overcome it. One or two of the Jurymen seemed to think there had been culpable neglect on the part of Dr Lane in not attending deceased until twenty-four hours from the time he was called, but Mr Livermore (house surgeon)  said that if the doctor had attended immediately deceased could not have been benefited thereby, so long as she was kept still and comfortable that was all that was required.  A verdict was given in accordance with the medical testimony.

APPLEDORE - Fearful Accident On The Torridge - Five Appledore Men Drowned. - Appledore and Bideford have been shocked by an accident of an exceptionally painful character.  On Saturday night, or early on Sunday morning, five young men, were drowned in the Torridge, whilst returning home to Appledore, from a visit to Bideford.  The circumstances under which the sad event occurred are as follows:-   Two young men left Appledore in a sailing boat about eight o'clock on Saturday evening, and came up the river to Bideford.  Here they met two or three friends, and later on two more, until the party reached the number of seven, one more, making the eighth, joining them at the last minute before the return journey.  Before leaving, however, it appears that the young men loitered about the locality of the quay, visiting first one public house and then another.  By eleven o'clock most of them were more or less under the influence of the liquor they had imbibed, and two at least were admitted by their companions to have been awfully drunk.  By the confessions of the survivors they did not leave Bideford Quay  till midnight - though report in the town says it was half an hour after this time.  After starting they got on all right until they were close home, just off Appledore.  Here one of them lost his hat, and there was a talk of turning round for it.  This was not done, however, but the man in charge of the helm "wore" the boat, so as to tack direct into Appledore Quay, and finish the journey.  He neglected to unfasten the sheet before the wind, which was blowing half a gale, caught the boat, and the sudden lifting strain upon the windward side caused the boat to dip, the water rushed in, she filled, the young men were thrown into the water, and he boat partially sank. Two of the poor fellows instantly sank out of sight.  Two clung to the mast, one of whom shortly left go, and after swimming a little distance sank, and one swam direct to a smack, lying at anchor hard by, another took one of his brothers on his shoulders and swam in the same direction.  This gallant fellow eventually saved himself, but his brother was drowned.  The two who succeeded in getting on board the vessel were saved by a man who, awakened by their screams came to their assistance with a boat.  The lad who remained clinging to the mast of the boat was also rescued - five out of eight thus meeting with an untimely death.  The names of the party were JOHN SCOBLING, JOHN BERRY, J. GIDDY (Appledore), W. GREGORY, (Bideford), W. BALCOM, (Jersey), all drowned;  William Berry, Thomas Berry and Edwin Richards, (saved).  The fullest particulars were elicited at the Inquest on Monday.  Up to the time of writing all the bodies with the exception of that of WILLIAM GREGORY had been recovered.

The Inquest:-  Was held at the "Royal George," Appledore, at twelve o'clock on Monday before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.  The Jury were Messrs. Wm. Nicolls (foreman), G. Baker, W. Tucker, A. Goodwin, Jas. Dymond, W. J. Land, Lewis Boundy, L. Lawday, J. Fishwick, T. Fishwick, E. Lemon, W. Hill, J. Hinks.  The Jury having viewed the three bodies, the first witness called was:-

P.C. Parker, who identified the bodies as JNO. BERRY, fisherman, aged 20 years;  JNO. GIDDY, fisherman and labourer, aged 21 years; and JNO. SCOBLING, aged 22 years.  They were all unmarried and living at Appledore.  BERRY and SCOBLING lived with their father and mother, and GIDDY with his widowed mother.  There were others drowned at the same time, but these bodies had not been found.  Witness reported the accident to the Coroner directly he heard of it.  The bodies not found were WM. GREGORY, of Bideford, aged 23 years; and THOS. BALCOM, of Jersey, about 20 years of age (since picked up.)

Edwin Richards said:  I am a sailor, 20 years old.  About nine o'clock on Saturday evening THOS. BALCOM asked me to go to Bideford with him.  We engaged a boat from Jno. Fishwick.  We two got to Bideford all right before ten o'clock, sailing up.  BALCOM and I went and bought some things and then we met some of the party who afterwards came back with us.  We all walked about going into different public-houses till after eleven o'clock.  The rest of the party joined us just before we left.  I saw SCOBLING fall on the Quay and hit his head.  I picked him up and took him to the boat.  WM. BERRY joined us at the last minute.  It was twenty-five minutes to twelve when we left Bideford, being then a party of eight - WM. BERRY, THOS. BERRY, J. BERRY, J. SCOBLING, W. GREGORY, J. GIDDY, THOMAS BALCOM and myself.  It was about high water when we got down off Appledore.  I had charge of the helm at the time.  Everything was all right on the way down and there was no skylarking.  This was about one o'clock.  When we were abreast of Appledore, SCOBLING'S cap blew overboard and he asked me to pick it up.  There was a heavy wind blowing from W.N.W.  I "wore" the boat, and the wind caught the sail by the "lee," and as they were all sitting to the leeward, she dipped and filled and began to sink, and we were all turned out.  We were sitting to windward before but did not change as the boat came round and therefore were on what was then the leeward side.  I swam to the smack called the Prima I saw near at hand.  When I got there WM. BERRY was holding on to a chain.  We climbed up and got on board.  During this time the others were struggling in the water, and one, THOS. BERRY, was clinging to the mast of the boat.  The boat had sunk some distance, but was not at the bottom.  WM. BERRY and I began to shout for help.  I saw nothing of the other men after the accident except JNO. GIDDY, who, as I was passing him, I heard say, "Lord, have mercy upon me."  After some time - I cannot say how long - Isaac Smith, a lumper, came off in a boat with his son, and took me off; and we then went to the sinking boat and picked up THOS. BERRY.  We next returned for WM. BERRY.  A Juror here remarked that Short ran some risk in rescuing the men.  He was only partly dressed, and deserved to be thanked.

Witness continuing, said:  We landed at Instow first, as that was nearest.  THOS. BERRY was taken into Mr Jones's and then we fetched the doctor from Appledore for BERRY.

In reply to the Coroner, witness said: When we left Bideford we had all had something to drink.  I had two pints only at Bideford, but I cannot say but what most f us were the worse for liquor.  JOHN SCOBLING and JOHN GIDDY were awfully drunk.  I heard before BALCOM and myself got to Bideford that JOHN BERRY and WM. SCOBLING (brother of the deceased man), who had walked to Bideford, had got into trouble over breaking a window.

By the Foreman:  We fetched Blackmore's Point without making a tack, in fact we did not do so until the accident occurred.  I thought it would be best to "wore" the boat, but it did not occur to me to be prudent or necessary to let go the sheet.  If the sheet had been let go I do not believe the accident would have occurred.  I was steering, but when I put up the helm I did not tell anyone to let go the sheet, though I thought someone would do it.  - Further pressed, witness said:  I did not depute anyone to let go the sheet.  I did not think of it, because I have "jibed" a boat lots of times without letting go the sheet.  I now see and admit I was wrong.

Several Jurors remarked that the course adopted by the witness was very dangerous and injudicious. In reply to further questions, witness said he did not know drink was brought aboard the boat when they left, though he knew one of the young men had bought some rum.  By the Foreman:  After I got on board the Prima I went down over the chain with a rope to assist WILLIAM BERRY up. 

By Mr Baker: GREGORY started with us, and I wanted him to go ashore at Cleave Houses, but he would not go.  At 11 o'clock, they left a public house in Mill-street.  Just before they had been in a public house in Bridge-street.  Witness saw nothing of a bottle of spirits after they left Bideford.  When they were all struggling in the water some of them caught hold of him and somehow his fingers got out.  Mr Fishwick here remarked that as Richards was attending to the helm, BERRY and others who knew all about sailing boats were equally responsible for the sheet not being looked after.  It was not fair to censure witness only; all were equally to blame.  No doubt someone would have seen to the sheet if they had not had too much to drink.

WILLIAM BERRY said:  On Saturday night last I think about twelve, I joined the party and went on board the boat.  I was going to walk home, but my brother called me.  Everything went right until we got off Appledore.  I did not see any drinking on the way down.  I believe everybody had had a little too much to drink.  I was quite sober; I am sure.  I had nothing but three glasses of beer the whole night.  SCOBLING appeared to be most drunk.  Witness then described the accident in the same terms as the previous witness, adding:  The first thing I saw when I was in the water was my poor brother JOHN.  I put his hand on my shoulder, and swam with him to the smack.  When I got to the chain I tried to get up, but fell.  Three times I tried and fell and the third time in falling into the water my heel struck my brother, who then went down.  Richards threw me a rope, but I got up without it.  I looked down directly to see if I could help my brother, but he was gone.  From the vessel I saw two clinging to the mast of the boat, but one was washed away before help could arrive.  The remainder of witness's evidence was the same as given by Richards.

By the Foreman:  I joined the boat at the last moment.  Richards had charge of the boat.  I was not asked to take charge of the sheet.  I was sitting in the middle of the boat, and I thought everything would go all right.  GIDDY was next to Richards.  I did not think anyone but SCOBLING was very drunk.  It was not this SCOBLING but his brother that broke the glass.  - By Mr Baker:  There was a fuss on Bideford Quay and somebody broke a window.  My watch stopped at three minutes to one.

THOMAS BERY said:  I joined the party at 11.30.  It was twelve when we started from the corner of the Quay.  I heard the clock strike.  Nobody was very drunk.  I had only two glasses of beer.  It is my opinion even SCOBLING was not very bad; he knew what he was about.  When SCOBLING'S hat blew off, SCOBLING said, "Never mind, I've got another home."  The boat was not put about to get the hat, but was "wore" for the purpose of getting home.  The boat was under water in a minute.  I caught hold of the mast, and GIDDY was along with me clinging to the mast for about five minutes.  The mast slipped and GIDDY then swam towards the smack, and sank about half-way there.  I was holding to the mast about half-an-hour before Short came.

Isaac Short said:  Early Sunday morning, just after one o'clock, I was in bed asleep when my wife called me and told me someone was drowning.,  I then heard screams, and put on my drawers and stockings only, and called my son.  We ran down to the beach, and I found a boat, and we put off at once.  We pulled out towards the middle f the river, and made towards the vessel.  Witness then described the manner in which he picked up the three men, two from the vessel and one from the mast of the sunken boat.  Richards got into the boat first, and he noticed he was drunk and could not pull.  After he had taken up the men, witness looked to see if he could see anyone else, but could not.  It was blowing hard all the time.

John Stanbury deposed to finding the body of JOHN BERRY between six and half-past six on Sunday morning.  Clarke Swift, a fisherman said that about a quarter-past seven on Sunday morning he and his companions shot a net and hauled in the body of JOHN GIDDY.  John Jenkins, a fisherman, deposed to finding the body of JOHN SCOBLING at Graysand on Sunday afternoon.

The Coroner, in summing up, said there was n doubt that the verdict must be that the three poor men whose bodies had been found came to their death accidentally by the capsizing of a boat.  It was a sad thing to know that five young men had been hurried into Eternity in the way they had.  Nearly all the men had been drinking freely during the evening, and there could be no doubt that the accident occurred through the attempt of Richards to "wore" the boat without letting go the sheet.  It was a mercy that three were saved.  The man Short was entitled to great commendation for his manly conduct.  It was much to be deplored that the young men had been drinking, and if it had been a boat load of sober, sensible men the accident would never have happened.  He hoped it would be a life-long lesson to those who were saved.

The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" and the Coroner was asked to bring the conduct of Short and his son before the Royal Humane Society.  On Monday evening a report obtained currency that a fourth body had been recovered but this proved to be fallacious.  The general belief now is that the remaining two bodies have been washed out over the bar and no hope is entertained of recovering them.

ILFRACOMBE - Shocking Death From Burning. - On Thursday afternoon last, a little girl about 7 years of age, named EVA SOUCH, while engaged it is supposed in filling the tea kettle on the fire, ignited her clothes.  She ran into the house enveloped in flames and went into the Admiral Rodney Inn.  Eventually the fire was extinguished by the neighbours, and the poor child who was dreadfully burnt was conveyed to the Hospital, where she succumbed a few hours later to the injuries.  An Inquest on the body was held on Saturday at the Hospital by J. F. Bromham, Esq.  Mr Coates was appointed foreman of the Jury.  RICHARD SOUCH, father of the deceased child identified the body as that of his daughter EVA, aged 7 years.  Mrs Martha Turner, wife of the landlord of the Admiral Rodney Inn, deposed that on Thursday last, about 3.30, while standing at her kitchen table she was startled by a blaze, and on looking round saw the deceased in flames.  The child rushed into her house, and cried out, "Mrs Turner save me."  Witness endeavoured to put out the fire by throwing a harp cloth which happened to be near round the child, but she struggled violently, and got away out in the passage.  Other people then came up including her husband, and P.C. Stentiford, and by means of water and wrappers they succeeded in putting out the flames.  The mother of the child was in bed at the time unwell, but soon came downstairs.  Deceased's father and the doctor were sent for, and P.C. Stentiford went for Mr Crang, chemist, and brought some oil and lint, and everything possible was done to alleviate the child's sufferings.  Witness then went into MR SOUCH'S kitchen, when she saw a pitcher of water standing by the fire, as if deceased had been filling the kettle.  After the doctor had dressed the burns, the little girl said to witness, "Kiss me before I die Mrs Turner."  Witness believed at the time of the accident there was no one in the room but the child.  - Mrs Eliza Bryant a neighbour of MR SOUCH, corroborated the last witness.  P.C. Stentiford deposed that on Thursday between three and four, he was on duty in Fore-street, when he heard women screaming in Rodney Lane.  Proceeding to the locality, he found a girl at the door of the Admiral Rodney in flames and a number of people were round her trying to extinguish them.  He saw Mr Turner throw some water over her, and wrap garments round her, and shortly afterwards the fire was put out.  Witness sent a message to Dr Gardner and Dr Foquett, and went himself to Mr Crang, chemist, the latter of whom quickly came and applied the usual remedies.  When witness went into the kitchen, he saw a tea kettle on the fire with the lid off, which was on an open grate.  After the doctor had dressed the wounds, witness procured a cab and saw deceased removed to the Hospital.  - Dr J. Gardner said on Thursday, about 4 o'clock, he was called to MR SOUCH'S house in Rodney Lane.  He found deceased on a woman's lap wrapped in a blanket in the kitchen.  He examined the child and found that she was extensively and severely burnt all over the body and limbs. In fact all except the feet and the lower part of the legs were burnt.  Mr Crang was in the act of dressing the wounds.  When this had been finished, with the aid of Dr Jackson, witness advised the removal of the child to the Hospital.  He saw deceased again  about 9 o'clock, when although still sensible, she was worse and inclined to be delirious.  He then saw no hope of saving her life.  Next morning witness was informed by the child's father that deceased had died during the night.  There was no doubt that death was caused from the shock produced by the burns.  In reply to one of the Jury, Dr Gardner said he did not think the pain had been so great as might have been anticipated.  After a brief summing up by the Coroner, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and the fees were given to the father.

Thursday 2 July 1885

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - On Saturday last an Inquest was held on the body of JOHN HEARN, 74 years of age, who was found dead in bed at the Nag's Head Inn, Barnstaple, the same morning.  It appears that HEARN came to Barnstaple on the previous day (Friday) as was often his wont to do, and he called at the Nag's Head for refreshment.  According to the witness, Sarah Isaac (who lived in the house), deceased sat in the settle all day, and appeared to be in good health.  During the day he had had two two-pennyworths of whiskey, and about 6 o'clock in the evening she gave him a cup of tea and some bread and butter.  He went to bed about nine o'clock, and was perfectly sober, but complained of feeling unwell, and remarked that he thought it would soon pass.  About seven o'clock the next morning she3 took him up a cup of tea, but he said he had been sick during the night and did not care to drink it; she prevailed upon him, however, to take a little, and about one o'clock took him up a cup of arrowroot, of which he ate the greater portion.  She did not see him alive after that time.  The landlady, Mrs Thorne, went to him soon after and he was still very poorly, and she sent for Mr Elliott, who went to his bedroom and found him lying across the bed in a half-dressed condition, seemingly dead.  He called him, but received no answer, and he then felt if his heart was beating, but could feel no action.  Elliott sent for Dr Harper, who attended immediately, but to find that HEARN was dead.  Dr Harper gave it as his opinion that death resulted from syncope, and the Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

Thursday 9 July 1885

ILFRACOMBE - Fatal Accident. - On Monday night last a man named JOHN GARDNER, in the employ of the Ilfracombe Local Board, met with his death under very distressing circumstances, and an Inquest was held on his body at the Coffee Tavern yesterday (Wednesday) before the Deputy Coroner, Edwyn Slade-King, Esq.  From evidence it appears deceased was in the employ of the Ilfracombe Local Board, but on the occasion in question he was engaged by the Harbour Master on behalf of the "Gael" Steamship Company, to assist in filling the water tanks of the S.S. Gael at the time lying alongside the "Velindra" and by the Pier.  There were shifting planks 2ft in width from the Pier to the Velindra, and from the Velindra to the Gael.  GARDNER left the Gael, on which he had been employed and crossed the plank into the Velindra and had stepped upon the second plank reaching from that vessel to the Pier.  Before deceased had reached the Pier the plank slipped (owing to the rocking of the vessel) from the wall and fell with GARDNER into the water.  Frederick Richards, foreman on board the Gael raised the alarm of "Man overboard" and called for lights.  In company with a man named Lovering (Combmartin) he went down over the after side of the paddle-box unto the quarter-deck and then saw deceased floating.  Rd. Lovering jumped overboard and caught hold of the man, and with Richards's assistance he was conveyed to the Pier, where they endeavoured by the usual means to restore animation.  Dr Richard Foquett was sent for and attended immediately, and by the time he had arrived respiration had been restored, but deceased was very cold and he was thereupon removed to his house.  Dr Foquett remained with him until about 12 o'clock by which time GARDNER had become sufficiently sensible to resist the rubbing and to recognise those around him.  About 2 o'clock in the morning, however, he died, according to the medical testimony, from collapse caused by exposure to the cold when in the water.  A verdict of Accidental Death was returned.

Thursday 16 July 1885

BIDEFORD - Bitten By a Dog. - A Strange Death.  On Thursday last, WILLIAM HUXTABLE, of Bideford, a mason, died from the effects of a bite of a dog, the circumstances of the sad incident being very peculiar.  Full particulars were elicited at the Inquest held the following evening before the Borough Coroner, Dr Thompson.  - Mrs Elizabeth Cooke said:  I have known the deceased WILLIAM HUXTABLE for many years, and lived in the same street as he did.  During the last thirteen months he lived in the house with my husband and myself as a boarder.  We kept a little pet dog, which was a great favourite with WILLIAM HUXABLE, and frequently followed him in his walks.  The dog was very docile and I never knew it bite anyone, young or old.  On Sunday last, in the afternoon, WILLIAM HUXTABLE walked up the garden of our house with the little dog.  Next our garden is Mr Pound's garden and no fence between.  In Mr Pound's garden a gin was set, and the dog strayed to where the gin was and got caught by the leg.  WILLIAM HUXTABLE at once went to liberate the dog from the trap, and the dog bit him in the hand.  He succeeded in liberating the dog, which ran into my kitchen before him.  I did not know the dog had bitten him until he told me in my kitchen.  His hand was bleeding drop and drop.  We tied it up with a handkerchief and he went to Mr C. S. Thompson's surgery about half-an-hour afterwards and put himself under the doctor's care.  On Tuesday he bathed his hand in hot water of his own accord and some bleeding took place, and then he went again to the doctor, and returned with the hand dressed and bound up.  From Sunday to Thursday he seemed in good general health, took his regular meals and walked about.  He drank rather freely on Tuesday.  On Wednesday he seemed pretty well, and so on Thursday morning.  About ten on Thursday morning, while he was sitting by the fire, after breakfast, his hand began to bleed.  We bound up the wound with an additional handkerchief and the bleeding seemed to be stopped.  I advised him to go down to his doctor, which he did, and I observed that as he walked on it bled again.  William Pound gave evidence of the gin being set in his garden, and to seeing HUXTABLE after he had been bitten.  Miss Henrietta Louisa Arnold said:  I am the nurse in charge at the Bideford Infirmary.  On Thursday, between ten and eleven, the deceased WILLIAM HUXTABLE came to the Infirmary in the 'bus.  His hand was bound up and he informed me he had been bitten by a dog which he was lifting out of a trap.  He appeared faint and cold, but was able to walk fairly.  He was in charge of a medical gentleman who came with him.  I gave HUXTABLE a little brandy according to order after this gentleman left, and put him at once to bed.  His hand appeared to be bound securely with a bandage and a pad, and did not bleed a drop from the time he came to the Infirmary till he died four or five hours after, just after three o'clock.  Mr C. S. Thompson came to see him about three and ordered him some brandy, but he died very soon afterwards.  He seemed cold and faint all the time he was in the Infirmary, though I gave him brandy and milk, and Brand's essence of meat.  Mr C. S. Thompson said:  On Sunday afternoon last, the deceased, WILLIAM HUXTABLE, came to my surgery for tr4eatment for the bite of a dog in his hand.  He had several punctures in the skin of his arm, and one lacerated wound just where the thumb joins the wrist.  The wounds were not bleeding.  I applied lunar caustic to each wound, with an over-dressing of lint and bandage.  On Thursday morning he came to me with his hand bleeding profusely  I stopped the bleeding and sent him to the Infirmary under medical charge.  He was very faint in my surgery.  I visited him at three o'clock.  He had not rallied, and soon after I saw him I was informed he died.  I attribute his death to bleeding from the wound ulcerating over the artery in his wrist.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

Thursday 23 July 1885

TORRINGTON -  Suicide. - On Monday last an Inquest was held at the Old Inn, Well-street, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of ELIZABETH GUNN, widow, who committed suicide on the same morning.  The Jury, of which Mr W. Smale was chosen foreman, having, after being sworn, viewed the body, the following evidence was taken:-  John Youatt, of Monkleigh, brother of the deceased, stated that the deceased had been a widow about 6 years and she was 43 years old.  She had been in a bad state of health and under the doctor's  care for some months past, and recently she had at times been in a very depressed state of mind.  In consequence of this, he had frequently come in and stayed up with her.  He did so on Friday night last and again that (Monday) morning about 7 o'clock he took her up a cup of teas, after which he went down and had a cup of tea, and then went upstairs to wish her good bye before going home, but she made no reply and appeared to be in a drowsy state.  He left his mother and the deceased's two youngest children in the house.  About 10 o'clock that morning CHARLES GUNN, his nephew, came to Monkleigh and informed him of what had happened and he at once came.  - CHARLES GUNN said he was fifteen years old and was the son of deceased.  He lived with his grandfather and grandmother in New-street, but often went home to see his mother.  He went there that (Monday) morning about 8 o'clock and went up into his mother's bedroom.  She was then picking her nails and asked witness for a knife saying that the scissors were not sharp enough.  He thought she wanted the knife to cut her nails with and let her have his pocket knife, first opening the small blade.  She then appeared to be using it about her nails, but did so in a listless way.  She then asked him to go down for a glass of water, and he did so, with a glass which was on the table.  In less than a minute, as he was returning upstairs with the water, he heard a gurgling noise, and on entering the room he saw his mother lying back in the bed and in the act of putting down the knife.  Blood was flowing freely from her mouth and throat.  He then went down and told his grandmother what he had seen, and his little sister went to call Mrs Stacey and Mr Bower, and he afterwards went for the doctor.  Mr Sutcliff, M.D., stated that the deceased had been under his care for four or five months suffering from heart disease and dropsy.  For some time past she had been confined to her bed, and in the natural course of things she could not have lasted many days.  There was no chance whatever of her recovery.  During her illness she must have suffered great discomfort, which must have had a very depressing effect upon her spirits.  She generally had someone with her on account of her helpless state.  He last saw her alive on Saturday when she complained that her legs were got so heavy with dropsy, and she was very weak.  She also complained of sleeplessness, which naturally tends to affect the mind.  On that morning about 9 o'clock, as he was at a patient's house, he was fetched by CHARLES GUNN, who told him that his mother was dying, and on coming towards the house he was told of what had happened.  On entering the bedroom he learned that the deceased had just died.  He found blood flowing from the mouth  There were two small punctured wounds on the left side of the neck such as could be made by the knife produced.  The deceased had bled to death from the wounds inflicted, and died from exhaustion consequent on haemorrhage.  The Coroner summed up the evidence exonerating the boy, CHARLES GUNN, from any blame in allowing his mother the use of the knife.  The Jury fully coincided with this view and returned a verdict of Suicide during Temporary Insanity.  Great sympathy is felt for the aged mother and three young orphan children in connection with this sad news.

Thursday 6 August 1885

ATHERINGTON - Sad Occurrence. - On Friday last an Inquest was held at the Carpenter's Arms, Atherington, before Jas. F. Bromham, Esq., (County Coroner), on the body of MARY BEER, aged 42 years.  From evidence it appears that deceased was prematurely confined on the previous Tuesday evening, her case being attended to by an experienced midwife, but without the aid of a medical man.  MRS BEER had previously had eleven children and had always been in a weak state of health.  The nurse apprehended danger and immediately told deceased's husband that he had better send for a doctor.  He called a neighbour and instructed him to fetch Dr Cooke, but before he could get away she had succumbed.  Dr Loftus Wilkins gave evidence to the effect that deceased had died of syncope the result of premature confinement (but he deprecated the system practised in villages of not calling in medical practitioners to attend childbirth) and a verdict was returned in accordance therewith.

BISHOPSNYMPTON - Sudden Death. - On Saturday last J. F. Bromham, Esq., held an Inquest at the Mason's Arms, Bishopsnympton, touching the death of ROBERT SANDERS, farrier, aged 64.  - WM. SANDERS, son of deceased, deposed that for the past two years his father had been in failing health and had been occasionally confined to his bed.  He had not been under medical treatment.  On Tuesday and Wednesday he was ill in bed and complained of shortness of breath and of a pain in his side, but on Thursday he was out of bed again.  Witness last saw his father alive between two and three o'clock.  He then went out to do an errand for his father, but before he left deceased told him he felt better.  While he was away a boy came and told him his father was dying.  Deceased took medicine which he prepared himself; he declined to see a doctor.  Mr Sanders, of Southmolton, came to the house on Friday in order to make a post mortem examination of the body, but as witness begged him not to do so he allowed the matter to stand over until today.  Mary Jane Lee, a neighbour, stated that on Thursday afternoon deceased's daughter came into her house and asked her to go and see MR SANDERS, as he was dying.  She went in and found MR SANDERS unconscious.  Mr Wm. Bawden was passing the house and she called him in.  He entered the house and supported MR SANDERS, who almost immediately expired.  - Wm. Bawden corroborated.  Dr Thomas Sanders, of Southmolton, said deceased's son had handed to him bottles containing the medicine which deceased used to take. One of the bottles contained Epsom salts, another tincture of rhubarb, and another extract of dandelion  All of which were handed to him were perfectly innocent drugs and not sufficient in themselves to cause death.  Without a post mortem examination he could not give the specific cause of death; but he had no reason to suppose that death resulted from other than natural causes.  A verdict of death from Natural Causes was returned.

APPLEDORE - The Recent Boat Accident. - On Saturday evening when the tide was flowing in rapidly, a dark object was observed floating up the river.  On closer examination it proved to be the body of ALFRED SHUTE, who was drowned on the previous Monday.  The body was conveyed to Bideford.  The Inquest was held before Dr Thompson on Monday, Mr Geo. Pollard being chosen foreman of the Jury.  After hearing the evidence of ALFRED SHUTE (16), Richard Bowden, and THOMAS SHUTE, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned."  The funeral took place at Bideford yesterday and was largely attended.

Thursday 13 August 1885

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Case of Drowning At Saunton. - On Monday last a very sad case of drowning occurred at Saunton Sands, in the parish of Braunton, the victim being MRS CLARA TATHAM, wife of MR HENRY HEATHCOAT TATHAM, overseer at Mr Brady's works, who was on a pic-nic excursion in company with her two sisters, Miss Alice and Miss Eliz. Emma. Longhurst, who were on a visit to deceased from London.  It appears that the party, after getting to the sands, proceeded some distance out on the rocks where they had tea.  The tide was rising at the time, a strong westerly wind was blowing, and a heavy sea running.  After tea they proceeded to return, but on getting a short distance discovered that a narrow gut which on the outward journey they had passed dry, was now swamped with water ankle deep, and when the large waves would roll in it would become considerably deeper.  All three took off their boots and stockings with the intention of crossing; MRS TATHAM stepped in first and just as she was in the centre a breaker rolled in, took deceased off her feet, and in receding bore her out to sea, and before assistance could be procured she was drowned.  The Misses Longhurst clambered up over the rocks and some persons came to them among them being the lad Wescott who about half an hour afterwards found the body.  They saw deceased's body at times on the crest of the wave, but they never heard her speak, not even when she was first swept away.  These facts were given in the evidence of Miss Alice Longhurst at the Coroner's Inquest held on the body, at deceased's residence, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq. (Borough Coroner), yesterday (Wednesday).  Miss Elizabeth Emma Longhurst corroborated her sister's statements, and Peter Bryant Westcott, gardener, residing at Braunton, was then called.  He said he was one of those who came to the assistance of the young ladies.  Upon learning that one of their number had been drowned he started off to watch for the body of deceased, and ultimately he saw it being washed ashore, and soon after it stranded on a rock twenty or thirty yards out in the sea; it was impossible to get at it until the tide had receded, as there were no boats near.  When he considered the body was safe from being again washed from the rock he went to Mr James Tucker's, Saunton Court, and procured a spring conveyance, by means of which, and in accordance with the expressed desire of the ladies, he conveyed the body of deceased to their residence, Newport Row, Barnstaple, where he arrived about 10 p.m. the same evening.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death, through Drowning," and desired the Coroner to convey to the bereaved friends and relatives their sympathy and condolence.

SOURTON - Strange Death Of A Schoolboy. - Mr Fulford, District Coroner, on Thursday held an Inquest at Sourton, near Bridestowe, touching the death of JOHN HEATHMAN, aged 7.  The boy, it was alleged, died from injuries inflicted by the master of Bridestowe Elementary School (Mr Arbory).  At the Enquiry on Monday evidence was adduced to the effect that the boy went to school on the 16th July in good health, but on returning home complained of his head aching, which he said was the result of a blow from his schoolmaster.  Despite medical attention, the boy died on the 3rd Aug., and as Mr Burd, the medical attendant, could not certify that the boy died from natural causes a post mortem examination was ordered.  Mr Northey, surgeon, of Okehampton, who conducted this examination, now described the result of his investigation.  He stated that at the back of the head there was contusion, while the skull was fractured, though there was no displacement.  There was inflammation of the brain membranes, and other appearances showed inflammation to be due to concussion.  A short stick would cause the injury, but the blow, however, given, must have been a severe one.  The child was very delicate, and had a strong tendency to tubercular affection.  Is peculiar constitution made it especially liable to inflammation, and the same blow would probably not have produced so serious a result on a strong child.  Some children attending the school were called, and stated that Mr Arbory administered a blow on the deceased's head whilst the boy was sitting at the desk.  - Mr Arbory (who at the advice of the Coroner consulted his solicitor before giving evidence) denied emphatically having struck the boy during the week ending July 18th.  He might, he added, have done so before that week, but then with no degree of severity.  - Louisa Pope, a pupil teacher, who was in the same room as Mr Arbory on the 16th stated that she did not see the latter strike the deceased on the head.  The Coroner, in summing up, said the evidence showed clearly that HEATHMAN'S death was caused by a blow on the head, but whether Mr Arbory inflicted that blow was not clear, as the evidence depended entirely upon the statement of a boy of 10.  The Jury found that death was due to compression of the brain, the result of concussion brought on by a blow on the head.  There was not sufficient evidence, however, for them to say how, and by whom, the fatal blow was administered.  The Coroner quite endorsed the verdict.  He hoped the Inquiry might be a warning to schoolmasters as to the mode in which they exercised the power given them to administer corporal punishment.

Thursday 20 August 1885

BARNSTAPLE - The Case Of Drowning:  Inquest On The Body. - On Friday evening the Borough Coroner (Mr R. I. Bencraft), held an Inquest at the North Devon Infirmary on the body of RICHARD THORNE, aged 12 (who was drowned while bathing in the river Taw on the preceding Sunday afternoon).  Mr S. Ford was elected foreman of the Jury.  Before the Jury viewed the body the Coroner explained that the body was picked up near Bishopstawton and brought into Barnstaple.  Finding the body in the town it was his duty to hold an Inquest upon it.  The first witness called was JOHN THORNE, carpenter and joiner, residing in Bear-street, and father of deceased.  He stated that he last saw his son alive at dinner-time on Sunday.  After dinner he went out in order to go to the Church Sunday School, and the next that witness heard about him was that he was drowned.  Deceased, who could not swim, had been warned against going into the water.  - Frank Vile, aged 14, deposed that he knew the deceased.  On Sunday afternoon he was on the Ilfracombe Railway near Pottington point, when he saw the deceased go into the water.  The water was then very low, and deceased crossed the stream.  When he began to return he seemed to be playing in the water and the tide then came and washed him up the river.  He saw him sink.  The deceased rose to the surface when near the drawbridge, but before anyone could go to his assistance he sank again and was not seen afterwards.  There were several lads bathing there at the time, and they gave the alarm.  Witness was not bathing - he was having a walk.  He did not hear the deceased call out.  - John Elias Stribling, fisherman, of Barnstaple, deposed that between ten and eleven o'clock that morning he with several others, was fishing in the river between Tawton and New Bridge.  He saw a body floating on the surface, and on lifting it into the boat found that it was the body of the deceased.  The body was brought to the Quay, and afterwards conveyed to the mortuary of the Infirmary.  The body was very much bruised, by being knocked against the rocks by the spring-tides, which were running up the river with great force.  This was all the evidence adduced.  - A Juror remarked that it was high time Barnstaple was provided with a proper bathing place.  There was no doubt that a bathing place would be the means of saving many lives.  He thought the Jury might make a recommendation with reference to the matter.  The Coroner said there seemed to be some difficulty about the matter.  The question had frequently been discussed at the Council board.  Another Juror remarked that if there was a proper bathing place the boys would bathe elsewhere, while another observed that the inhabitants of the town seemed to take no interest in the matter, as scarcely anyone had attended the meetings which had been convened for the purpose of considering the question.  A verdict of "Accidental Death by Drowning" was returned, and the Jury ultimately decided that it would be of no use to add a rider with reference to a bathing place. The funeral took place on Saturday, the remains being interred in Bishopstawton churchyard.  A large number of persons attended the funeral.

Thursday 27 August 1885

BARNSTAPLE - Another Bathing Fatality. - A painful sensation was caused in the town on Tuesday evening by the rumour, proved only too true, that another young man had lost his life while bathing in the "treacherous Taw."  The victim was MR PERCY METCALF, aged 19, of Haverfield, Suffolk, who for the past three months has been acting as assistant to Mr J. J. Tremeer, Chemist, of the Square.  The unfortunate young man had obtained a half-holiday on the occasion of a visit of his sisters, who have the sympathy of all in the bereavement they have suffered under such melancholy circumstances.  Particulars of the distressing event will be found in the following account of the Inquest, which was held the same evening at the North Devon Infirmary before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner.  Mr C. Fisher was chosen foreman of the Jury.  In opening the proceedings the Coroner remarked that it appeared that the deceased went to bathe after a hearty meal, which was a dangerous practice.  It was supposed that deceased was seized with cramp, as he quickly sank and did not rise again.  The first witness called was Harry Dalling, hair-dresser, of High-street, who deposed that about half-past three on Tuesday afternoon he, together with a young man named Morgan and the deceased, bathed in the river just above Black Rock.  He swam to a place where the water was shallow and happening to look round saw METCALF struggling.  He could just see the top of his head and his hands above the water.  When he saw deceased's position he cried out to Mr Sanders (boatman) and called his attention to it, and then swam up himself.  When witness was almost close to deceased he sank, and he did not rise again.  Deceased did not call out or make any sound whatever.  He believed deceased could swim a little, but he could not be sure about it.  Witness afterwards fetched some fishermen who were some distance down the river, and they brought their net to the spot where deceased had sunk.  At the first "shoot" the body was recovered.  It was low water in the river at the time, but at the spot where the accident happened there was a pit in which the water was seven feet deep.  The foreman asked if it would not have been possible to dive for the body.  - Witness:  I might have done so, but I did not feel justified in doing so.  - The Foreman:  I should have thought you would have done so.  - Witness:  I did not feel sufficiently expert, and two might then have been drowned.  - In answer to the Coroner, witness said it might have been three quarters of an hour after the accident occurred before the body was recovered.  - Leigh Morgan gave corroborative evidence as to the recovery of the body.  - P.S. Thorne stated that when the body was taken to the Infirmary the House Surgeon (Mr Livermore) pronounced life to be quite extinct.  - Mr J. J. Tremeer stated that deceased had been in his employ about three months, and was a most promising, steady, and industrious young man.  In the course of his summing up the Coroner said he did not think anyone was to blame in the matter.  The spot at which the sad event happened was a very dangerous one, and several fatal accidents had occurred in the vicinity of Black Rock.  Mr E. Lewis (a Juror) suggested that a notice should be placed near Black Rock informing intending bathers that the spot was dangerous.  He thought this might prevent similar fatalities in the future.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," and added a rider recommending that a notice warning people of the dangerous nature of the spot be placed near Black Rock.  The Jury also expressed their sympathy with the relations of the deceased in their sad bereavement.

WOOLFARDISWORTHY - Fatal Accident. - J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, held an Inquest in this parish on Saturday on the body of a child named THOMAS HOPPER, about two years of age.  SARAH HOPPER, grandmother of the child, said that on Tuesday evening between five and six o'clock the deceased was sitting on the bedroom stairs, there being a pan of milk near him on the kitchen floor.  She went to the next room with a pan of water, and, before leaving, cautioned the child to sit still.  Just as she reached the other room, however, she heard a scream and saw the child had fallen into the milk.  She rushed over and pulled the child out, and immediately sent for his mother.  She also undressed the child, and, when the mother came, they used linseed oil and wrapped the child in wadding.  No doctor was sent for that night, but as the child appeared to be getting worse the father went to Bradworthy for a medical man the following afternoon.  Dr May came, and the child was under his care until the same evening, when he died.  The accident occurred in witness's house, where the child was in the habit of coming.  - JOHN TRICK HOPPER, the father, said he did not fetch the doctor on Tuesday because he did not know the child was so seriously injured.  On Wednesday afternoon, however, on noticing a change for the worse, he went immediately for a doctor.  Mr Lewis James May, surgeon of London, at present on a visit to Dr Rouse, Bradworthy, said he went to Woolsery to see the child, as Dr Rouse was unwell.  He found the child had been properly attended to by the application of linseed oil and lime-water, and the wounds were protected from the air with wadding.  The child was nearly pulseless.  He was about to examine the wounds more thoroughly, but the child went into convulsions and he desisted.  He then gave the child brandy, which somewhat revived it, but the convulsions returned and he saw the case was hopeless.  He gave directions as to more brandy being administered and left some medicine.  The next day he heard of the child's death, which he quite expected.  Persons might be deceived as to the serious nature of accidents of this kind.  The shock to the nervous system may cause death without any apparent deep or serious wound.  The deceased died from shock to the system, the result of the scald.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 3 September 1885

DAWLISH - Fall Of A Cliff At Dawlish.  Three Persons Killed. - A shocking accident happened on Saturday at Dawlish, South Devon, resulting in the death of three persons, and occasioning very serious injuries to three or four others.  A few days ago the family of COLONEL and MRS WATSON - who are now in India - and the grandchildren of LADY SAUL, of Honiton, arrived at Dawlish, and took lodgings there.  On Saturday morning the family, consisting of MISS VIOLET WATSON, aged 9 years, her brother aged between 10 and 11 years, and a younger brother, a baby, accompanied by their aunt, Miss Watts, a ladies' maid named ELIZABETH RADFORD, a nursemaid, ELIZABETH KEEN, and a Miss Matthews, visited the gentlemen's bathing cove, which is directly at the foot of Lea Mount pleasure grounds.  The cliffs here are from 50 to 60 feet above the level of the beach, and halfway down they project very abruptly, receding in an equally abrupt manner towards the base, where there are a series of nooks  It was in one of these nooks that the parties above mentioned were resting themselves when, without the slightest warning, about 150 tons of the projecting portion of the cliff gave way, and fell upon the party beneath, completely burying MISS VIOLET MARY WATSON, ELIZABETH RADFORD and ELIZABETH KEEN.  The rest of the party were further away from the foot of the cliff, although not sufficiently far to escape the falling mass of sand and rock.  Miss Watts, the aunt, who is about 25 years of age, was partially buried, as was also the elder boy, Johnny Watson, and Miss Matthews, who had charge of the baby.  They were, however, soon extricated, but were so seriously injured that they were removed to their lodgings in a semi-conscious state. News of the accident soon reached the town, and very quickly a number of men with picks and shovels arrived and set to work to recover the bodies of those buried in the debris.  Some hesitation to go near the cliff, which seemed to threaten a further fall, was at first evinced, but the workmen were encouraged by Police-constable Frood, who, pick in hand, led the way in removing the fallen rock.  The constable soon came across the boots of a child, and then a book, and after working for about an hour he recovered the body of ELIZABETH KEEN.  Her head was terribly fractured, and her body was in a stooping position.  Life was of course extinct.  A little to the left of the deceased he also discovered the body of MISS VIOLET MARY WATSON with her face downwards, and blood oozing from her mouth and nose.  Death in her case also must have been instantaneous, the injuries about her head being most severe.  In the course of another half-hour the body of ELIZABETH RADFORD was recovered.  It was lying near the foot of the cliff, and was scarcely recognisable.  The tons of debris that had fallen on her had completely flattened the back of her head, and her body was also crushed in a frightful manner.  An impression prevailing that a boy named White had also been buried beneath the debris, the search was continued for another hour, when intelligence was received that the boy had returned to his home in safety.  Doctors Cann, Webb, Baker and Cockburn were in attendance, and rendered the injured every possible assistance.  Miss Watts had her leg broken and the back of her head injured, and sustained other internal injuries.  Johnny Watson had a thigh, leg and arm broken, and was also injured about the head.  The young woman Matthews was more fortunate, escaping with some injuries to the head, whilst the baby of which she had charge had only a slight abrasion of the face.

On Sunday Dr Cann reported the sufferers to be progressing favourably, with the single exception of Miss Watts, who lay in a very critical state.  During the day large numbers of persons from Exeter, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Torquay and the neighbourhood visited the scene of the fatality.  It would seem that the cliffs in the vicinity of the cove had been regarded as dangerous for some time past, notice boards cautioning the public not to go too near having been affixed to them.  Of late, however, these notices have been destroyed.  A fall has been expected for a long time, and so well understood was the dangerous condition of the cliff that lodging-house keepers have almost invariably warned their customers from remaining too near it.  The Local Board were distinctly aware that something required to be done for the public, and correspondence has passed between them and the Great Western Railway Company on the subject, but nothing has been done, both parties declining the responsibility, and refusing to undertake the cost.  As recently as the last monthly meeting of the Local Board attention was called to the matter by a letter from the Rev. R. H. D. Barham.  Now that lives have been lost, it is to be presumed that something will be done to prevent further accident; but, as may be expected, a great deal of indignation prevails among visitors and residents at the culpable neglect which has led to so melancholy a catastrophe.

The Inquest:-  The Inquest on the bodies of MISS VIOLET MARY WATSON, aged 9 years; ELIZABETH KEEN, nurse, aged 34; and ELIZABETH RADFORD, lady's maid, 41 years, who met with their deaths on Saturday last by the fall of a portion of a cliff in the gentlemen's bathing cove, was held by Mr Sidney Hacker, Coroner, at the Assembly Rooms of Mr Ball's Royal Hotel, Dawlish, on Monday afternoon.  A very large number of persons, besides the relatives of the deceased, were present to watch the proceedings.  Most of the members, including the chairman, Mr F. Lee, of the Dawlish Local Board, were present.  Mr Warwick C. Tapper acted as foreman of the Jury.

The Coroner, in charging the Jury, said he had no doubt they were all acquainted more or less with the painful facts attending the natu5re of the Inquiry that was about to be made.  They were summoned there to hold an Inquiry into the circumstances under which three persons had been killed by a sad calamity.  They would have to ascertain, if possible, if anyone was the cause of those deaths, or whether there would be occasion to add a rider to their verdict censuring anyone or any public body who by their negligence had contributed to the sad calamity in any way.  He had no doubt the Jury were acquainted with the spot where the accident occurred, and if so, he did not see there would be any necessity for their visiting it again.  The Jury replied that they had no wish to again visit the place.  They then viewed the bodies of the deceased, who were lying in an unoccupied house at Portland-place.

After hearing the evidence the Coroner in summing up, said they had now heard all the evidence that it was intended to be produced relating to the sad death of these three persons, and which was calculated to affect the prosperity of Dawlish as a watering place very much.  He thought, however, that they would not have much difficulty in coming to a conclusion as to what manner these persons met with their deaths.  But it was their duty as Jurymen to inquire collaterally as to whether there had been any negligence directly or indirectly by any party which had brought about the accident in question.  No one seemed to know exactly to whom the property belonged.  Under these circumstances he strongly recommended to the Jury that in returning a verdict of Accidental Deaths they should add a rider requesting the Local Board, in the interest of the town, to ascertain who were the parties responsible, and then to call on them to make the cliffs more secure than at the present time.  Meanwhile, he would also suggest, that noticed should be fixed against the cliffs cautioning the public not to go too near them.

The Jury then retired to consider their verdict, and after an absence of three-quarters of an hour they returned a verdict of Accidental Death, accompanied with a recommendation to the Local Board to make inquiries with a view of ascertaining the owners of the cliff in question and to compel them to do what was necessary to prevent future accidents occurring, and pending such inquiry to erect notice boards warning people of the danger of the locality.

Thursday 17 September 1885

TIVERTON - The Suicide In The Workhouse. - On Thursday the Tiverton Borough Coroner (Lewis Mackenzie, Esq.) held an Inquest at the Workhouse on the body of WILLIAM CLARKE, aged 78, who was found dead on the previous day in a stable.  Between three and four o'clock deceased was directed by the porter to re-pot some plants, and set about doing it.  Some time afterwards William Parkhouse saw deceased in a  leaning position against the wall, and called the porter, who discovered that deceased had wound some tar-cord round a staple in the wall, placed his head in the noose, and thus strangled himself.  The master was called, and subsequently a doctor attended, but the latter's services were of no avail.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst of Unsound Mind."  Nothing unusual had been noticed in deceased's demeanour, and no reason can be assigned for the rash act, as deceased, who resided in the married quarter, with his wife, had often declared himself comfortable.  CLARKE was a native of Halberton, but had been in the Workhouse since 1879.

TORRINGTON - Inquest. - On Friday last an Inquest was held at the Railway Hotel on the body of an illegitimate child named WALTER MADGE, aged 16 months, who died the previous day.  The Jury, of which Mr W. Davies was foreman, having been sworn and the body viewed, the following evidence was taken:-  Elizabeth Verncombe stated that the deceased was the child of MARTHA MADGE, of Plymouth.  The child was born at her (witness's)  house, and was left in her charge and had been with her ever since.  It had always been a delicate child, and for some weeks past had been suffering from a severe cold, but she did not think it necessary to call in a doctor.  (It afterwards transpired, however, that Dr Sutcliff was called in to see the child about six weeks ago).  Between 4 and 5 o'clock on Thursday morning the child appeared to be worse and witness called in Mrs Norman, a neighbour.  When Mrs Norman came in she took the child from witness, and she went for Mr J. D. Jones, surgeon.  In about half an hour when she came back the child was dead.  The child was always very hearty in feeding.  She did not know that the child was so ill or she should have sent for a doctor before.  The mother of the child was her niece, and she was now in a situation at Plymouth; witness was paid 3s. per week for the keep of the child.  - Mary Ann Beer stated that she had lodged with Mrs Verncombe for the last 6 months.  During that time the child had been taken proper care of by Mrs Verncombe, who had always been very kind to it.  The witness the corroborated the evidence given by the last witness as to the illness and death of the child.  Elizabeth Norman stated the fact of her being called in to see the child, which she found in the arms of Mrs Verncombe wrapped up in a blanket.  She saw that the child was dying, and at once took it from her, and sent Mrs Verncombe for a doctor.  The child died in witness's arms about a quarter of an hour afterwards.  She had seen a good deal of the child for weeks, but did not think it was ill enough to send for a doctor.  The child had always been properly cared for and kindly treated by Mrs Verncombe.  - Mr J. D. Jones (surgeon) stated the fact of his being called to see the child; he went as soon as possible and found it dead.  It had the appearance of a well-nourished child, there were no marks of violence, and, having heard the evidence, he had no hesitation in saying that the child died from Natural causes, namely convulsions from teething.  The Coroner remarked that but for the fact of the child being illegitimate it would not have been necessary to hold an Inquest in the case.  The Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.

Thursday 24 September 1885

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident. - On Saturday afternoon an Inquest was held at the Stag's Head Inn, Bear-street, before Mr R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, on the body of MARY SHADDICK, aged 71 (who was killed by falling down stairs on the previous evening).  -  PHILIP SHADDICK, ropemaker, of Gaydon-street, and husband of deceased, was first called, and he deposed that about half-past eight on the previous evening he went to bed.  His wife was not at home then, as she had gone out to visit a friend.  Some time after he had gone to bed he heard his wife ascend the stairs and go to an adjoining room, where she slept, and a few minutes afterwards he heard a great noise.  On going to the landing to see what was the matter he saw his wife stretched at the bottom of the stairs, while the lamp was on the top of the stairs.  He touched his wife, but she did not speak or move.  He called Mr Gill, a neighbour, who placed deceased on a sofa.  Dr Harper was soon in attendance, and he said life was extinct.  Mr Gill gave corroborative evidence, adding that he noticed a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs.  - Mr J. Harper, surgeon, deposed that about ten o'clock on Friday evening he was requested to go to MR SHADDICK'S house to see the deceased.  On examining the body he found a wound over the bridge of the nose, the bone being fractured.  Deceased's night dress was saturated with blood, and there was a large pool of blood at the foot of the stairs.  There were bruises on her shoulder and head, and he found that her neck was fractured.  When he saw her she appeared to have been dead half-an-hour.  He should think that MRS SHADDICK must have wanted to go downstairs, and that on reaching the end of the landing she slipped and fell.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 1 October 1885

EXETER - Tossed By A Bull. - The Exeter Coroner held an Inquest on Thursday on the body of JOHN HOOPER, an elderly man, a labourer, engaged on a farm at Sidbury, near Sidmouth, who, whilst at work in a shed on his master's farm on Monday last, was gored by a bull which suddenly turned upon him.  The born of the animal penetrated the unfortunate man's thigh to a considerable depth, inflicting serious injuries.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 8 October 1885

EXETER - An Inquest was on Friday held at Exeter upon the body of ROBERT JACKSON, who was found dead in the gaol on Wednesday, and a verdict of "Committed Suicide whilst in an Unsound Mind" was returned.

Thursday 29 October 1885

BARNSTAPLE - The Fatal Accident At Barnstaple Junction. - On Thursday morning the Borough Coroner, Mr R. I. Bencraft, held an Inquest at the North Devon Infirmary on the body of WM. HENRY CATER, whose death under very distressing circumstances we reported last week.  Mr B. Cook was selected foreman of the Jury.  - JOHN CATER, gateman in the employ of the London and South Western Railway Company, deposed that he was the grandfather of deceased.  His grandson was 14 years old, and had resided with him in North Walk about sixteen months.  He was also in the employ of the Company and worked as "number-taker" at the Junction Station.  He last saw deceased alive at dinner on the preceding day.  - Henry Martin, engine driver on the London and South Western Railway, stated that on Monday afternoon, about twenty minutes after four, he was shunting his engine (having just come down from Exeter with a goods train) when he saw the deceased near the right hand rail in the centre of the goods yard taking the number of some trucks.  He sounded the whistle sharply once or twice, but just as the engine came up deceased stepped backwards and was then right in front of the engine, which knocked him down and passed over him.  Deceased cried as the engine struck him.  He afterwards examined the engine, but he only found a few spots of blood upon it.  the distance between the track on which the engine was running and the trucks deceased was examining was six feet, so that there was no necessity for deceased to go so near to the spot where the accident occurred.  Frederick Collett, carriage examiner in the employ of the London and South Western Railway Company, deposed that on the previous afternoon he saw deceased taking the numbers of some trucks which stood in the goods yard.  When he saw the engine approaching he called out to him to take care, but he continued taking numbers, apparently taking no notice of what witness said.  The engine was travelling at the rate of about four or five miles an hour, and just as it came to where deceased was standing he slipped back in front of the engine.  The driver sounded the whistle, and deceased then turned round in front of the engine and ran across the track in order to get out of the way; he was caught, however, by the buffer of the engine, and after being carried the distance of a few paces he was knocked down.  Deceased fell across the rails, and the wheels of the engine went over his body.  He did not consider that any blame was attached to anyone, as the sad event happened through deceased stepping back suddenly in front of the engine.  Frederick Hutchings stated that he was yard foreman at the Junction Station.  He was on the engine when the accident occurred, and he could corroborate what the preceding witnesses had said.  He picked up the body of deceased, and found it to be frightfully mutilated.  The deceased moved after he was picked up, and he also moaned.  Deceased was placed on a stretcher and conveyed in a van to the Infirmary.  Before the Infirmary was reached, however, life was extinct.  - P.C. Howard said that on the previous day he saw the van containing the deceased just outside the station, and he proceeded to the Infirmary with it.  The Coroner said he understood that at the time the accident occurred deceased was wearing an oil-skin hat with heavy ear-flaps and that it was considered this might have prevented his hearing properly.  Mr Heather, jun., chief clerk at the station, said the hat was supplied to deceased at his own request, as his work necessitated his being out in all kinds of weather.  The Coroner then summed up, remarking that no blame attached to anyone.  The Jury quite agreed with this remark, and returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 5 November 1885

TIVERTON - Concealment of Birth. - At the Assizes on Monday, MARY SANDERS, 16, was indicted for concealing the birth of her newly-born child at Tiverton, on October 12th, 1885.  She pleaded guilty; and Mr Clark, counsel for the defence, said the child was a weakly one, only weighing 4lb 3oz., and the Coroner's Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," and there was nothing to induce his lordship to take anything but a most merciful view of the case.  His lordship said prisoner had certainly done well in pleading guilty.  On the other hand there was no evidence of her having been cruel or unkind to the child.  There might be circumstances which might very well explain, if they did not extenuate or excuse her conduct.  The sentence would be one week without hard labour.

Thursday 12 November 1885

HARTLAND - Inquest. - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at the New Inn, Hartland, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of ALFRED JEWELL, aged five months.  Emma Bailey, residing in Natcott Lane, deposed that deceased was the illegitimate child of HARRIET JEWELL, servant at the Manor House, and was left in her care.  She took the child to bed with her on Tuesday night, when it appeared to be in its usual condition, and when she awoke at seven o'clock on the following morning she found that the child was dead.  She did not know what the child died of, but she was sure she did not over-lie it.  After the mother and P.C. Mortimer had given evidence, Dr Henry Miller, of Hartland, was called.  He said he was of opinion that the child was not overlaid, but that it died of Natural Causes.  He thought death was caused by convulsions, which might arise either from teething or from some organic disease.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

Thursday 19 November 1885

EXETER - Mysterious Disappearance. - An Inquest was held at Exeter on Friday on the body of a man named HENRY ALLEN, who was found drowned in the Exe on Thursday.  The evidence went to show that deceased was fifty-eight years of age and was employed on one of the Exeter journals as night foreman.  On Friday, October 23rd, he left his home unnoticed, and nothing further was heard  or seen of him until his body was found floating in the river.  The deceased at the time of his disappearance was suffering from an internal complaint which it was feared could not be cured.  He was much respected by those who knew him.  The body was in a bad state of decomposition, it having been in the water nearly three weeks.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."

WEAR GIFFORD - Inquest. - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at Wear Gifford before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of MARY MULLINS, aged 80, wife of a labourer.  EMMANUEL MULLINS, labourer, deposed that his late wife, the deceased, fell down dead while in her kitchen on Tuesday.  Mrs Ann Gist and Mr Wm. Lait, M.R.C.S., residing at Torrington, having also given evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of death from Natural Causes - Syncopy of the Heart.

Thursday 26 November 1885

TIVERTON - The Late MR W. COOPER. - The Inquest touching the death of MR WILLIAM COOPER, aged 69, father of the REV. T. COOPER, of this town, was held at Wolverhampton last week, when the Jury found that deceased came to his death though the consequences of immersion in the Canal, but that there was insufficient evidence to show how he came there.

EXETER - Accident On The Tavistock Railway.  The Engine Driver Killed.  Narrow Escape of the Passengers. - Considerable excitement prevailed on the railway between Tavistock and Plymouth owing to the South-Western train which left Waterloo at 11 o'clock on Wednesday morning, and due at Devonport at 6.19 p.m. having run off the line about a mile and a half from Yelverton Station.  The engine, tender, and all the passenger-carriages went off the rails, and much inconvenience and delay was caused to the local and through traffic both of the Great Western and South Western lines, the South Western running over a branch of the Great Western between Lidford and Plymouth.  The driver of the engine, JOHN MILFORD, who resided in Exeter, was killed, and great damage was do0ne to rolling stock.  It appears that at the time of the accident the train was running from 20 to 25 miles an hour.  After leaving the metals the train proceeded about 150 yards, when all but the engine and front guard's van came to a standstill.  The passengers, who escaped with a severe shaking, on alighting found that the engine and guard's van were lying half-way down the embankment.  Both were completely wrecked, and as the engine went over the embankment it turned completely over, and the weight of the tender and van behind it caused it to swerve sharply around and to come to a standstill about half-way down the embankment with its wheels in the air.  At the spot where it came to a standstill, the steam rushed out of the dome at the top with so much force that it burrowed a pit, nearly three feet deep in the earth.

As soon as assistance had arrived search was made for the engine-driver and stoker, both of whom it was feared as well as the guard, who was known to be in the van had been killed.  It was speedily ascertained, however, that the only fatality had occurred to the engine driver, and that the other two men had escaped in a very remarkable manner.  MILFORD, the engine driver, was found after some difficulty underneath the tender of the engine, and he was so completely hemmed in that more than half-an-hour elapsed before he could be extricated.  One of his arms were entwined round the handle of the brake, and one of the bars of the engine was pressing so tightly upon his neck that his body was pressed close to the ground.  He had a large scalp wound on the top of his head, his skull was smashed, and his body was dreadfully mangled.   Wills, the stoker, when the engine rolled down the embankment, was thrown with great violence over a fence into the leat beyond, and he probably owed his life to the fact that he fell into the water instead of on the bank.  As it was, he sustained several severe cuts about the head and face.  Edwards, the guard, also had a marvellous escape.  The van in which he was riding was broken and smashed in almost all its parts as it tumbled down the embankment, and there was every reason to fear that he had been killed, but he was presently seen to crawl out from underneath the broken carriage, and he relieved the anxiety of those who went to his assistance by assuring them that beyond a few slight cuts and bruises he had escaped without injury.

The breaking of the coupling chains was the means of preventing the passenger carriages from being precipitated over the embankment.  The Great Western officials state that the permanent way and the line generally were in good order.

The Inquest: -  The Inquest on the body of JOHN MILFORD, the engine driver who was killed in the accident which took place on Wednesday on the railway between Yelverton and Bickleigh, on the Lidford and Plymouth line, was on Friday opened by Mr R. R. Rodd, the District Coroner.  The Coroner, in opening the proceedings, said that he had summoned the Jury to enquire as to how JOHN MILFORD came by his death.  From the facts reported JOHN MILFORD was the driver of an engine which left Yelverton somewhere about five o'clock on Wednesday, and between Bickleigh and Yelverton it appeared that in some way, which it would be their duty to inquire into, the train ran off the rails, went some yards, then turned over and went down the embankment, and the driver was killed.  It sometimes happened that trains went off the line in an unaccountable manner, and sometimes they went off in an accountable manner.  He simply proposed that day to take such evidence as would enable him to give an order for burial, and then adjourn the Inquest and ask the Board of Trade to send down an Inspector to inquire into the cause of the accident. He understood that the accident happened to a London and South Western Company's train, but that the keeping of the road in order rested with the Great Western Company.

Mr George Sumerville, draper, residing at Ilfracombe identified the body of the deceased as that of his brother-in-law, JOHN MILFORD, about 35 years of age, and the Inquiry was then by mutual agreement adjourned until the 8th December, at 11 o'clock.

Thursday 10 December 1885

EXETER - The adjourned Inquest relative to the death of JOHN MILFORD, engine driver in the employ of the London and South Western Railway Company, who lost his life in the recent railway accident near Yelverton Junction, was held at Bickleigh on Friday morning before Mr R. R. Rodd, County Coroner, who was assisted by General Hutchinson, one of the railway inspectors of the Board of Trade, as assessor.  Several hours were occupied in the examination of a number of railway officials, but the cause of the engine leaving the rails was not ascertained.  The Coroner pointed out in his address to the Jury that no blame could possibly be attributed to anyone, and in accordance with his directions a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 17 December 1885

BARNSTAPLE - A Barnstaple Captain Drowned At Swansea. - The sad intelligence that CAPT. JOHN LEMON, residing in Belle Meadow, had been drowned in Swansea Dock reached Barnstaple on Friday morning.  Deceased  left Barnstaple a short time previously in charge of the Lark, owned by Mr Symons, merchant, of this town, and on Wednesday night he left his vessel in Swansea Dock and went into the town.  He was missed soon afterwards, and on Friday morning his body was found in the Dock.  An Inquest was held on the body at the Vivian Arms, Swansea, on Friday.  George Bowden, of Barnstaple, mate of the smack Lark, of which deceased was master, identified the body.  Witness stated that the deceased had been for thirteen years serving in the vessel, and for three years as master.  The smack hailed from Plymouth and arrived in Swansea that day week, and was stationed in the North Dock.  The deceased slept on board, and was a steady and sober man.  He was married, and resided in Barnstaple.  The last time witness saw him alive was at half-past three last Wednesday afternoon.  He was then on board the Olivet, which was lying alongside, and a cargo of oats was being discharged from one vessel to the other.  Witness was on the deck of his own vessel, and stated that the deceased then appeared all right and sober.  Did not see deceased go on shore that afternoon, but he intended doing so.  He did not return that night, and enquiries were made respecting him.  Witness was informed that he had been seen going up the Strand.  That was on Thursday night.  Witness tried to find some tidings of him, but failed to do so, and he heard that morning that his body had been discovered in the North Dock, near the barque which they were lying alongside of.  The deceased had a cut on each cheek and on his nose.  The crew of the Lark consisted only of three, the deceased, witness and a boy. 

David Rees said he had known the deceased for five or six years, and he saw him on Wednesday night, between 8 and 9 o'clock.  He was in the Chain and Anchor, in the Strand.  Witness was about half-an-hour in his company.  He said to him, "Davy, will you have a blue of beer along with me."  Witness had a blue of beer, but deceased had none, and left the house before witness, and was sober at the time.  Deceased was in the house barely half-an-hour, and witness did not see him afterwards.  Asked when he was going away, he replied, "Tomorrow morning," and witness heard no more of him until his body had been recovered.

George Owens, dock labourer, was the next witness, and proved that, that morning he saw the mate of the Lark grappling for the body of a man, who, he was informed, had been drowned.  Witness went away again, and returned.  The mate then gave up the grapple to witness.  Witness took the grapple, and after some time caught hold of the body, and succeeded in bringing it up. There were two bruises on the cheeks, the skin was off the bridge of the nose, but there was nothing to show that the deceased had sustained any serious injury.  P.C. Roderick Charles Rees deposed that he took charge of the body, and made an examination, but discovered no marks of violence, with the exception of the marks on the cheeks and the nose.  The skin was rubbed off, but the wounds were merely superficial.  Deceased had in his possession £2 5s. in money, some tobacco, and various documents, belonging to the ship  His clothes were in order, and witness believed that he must have slipped into the quay, and fallen into the dock and struck his head in falling.  The Jury took a similar view and returned a verdict to the effect that they believed that the deceased accidentally fell into the water and was drowned.  Deceased leaves a widow and eight children.  The body was taken to Barnstaple on Sunday, being brought across the channel in the Lark, of which deceased was the master.

TORRINGTON - We regret to announce the death at the early age of 28 years of MR HERBERT SYDNEY JOHNSON, late of this town (grandson of the late Mr Durke); which took place on the 28th October last on board the S.S. "Glenfruin," in Hong Kong harbour, on which vessel he held the position of second officer.  He was accidentally shot by a brother officer during rifle practice on board the ship, and at the Coroner's Inquest held at Hong Kong a verdict of "Death by Misadventure" was returned.  This young and promising officer was a general favourite on board his ship, and his sad and untimely death will be deplored by all his old schoolmates, friends, and acquaintances.

BERRYNARBOR - Fatal Accident To A Farmer. - A fatal accident occurred to MR PHILIP GOSS, of Barton Farm, Berrynarbor, on Friday evening last.  It appears that MR GOSS was riding home from market in a cart belonging to another farmer.  On reaching Whitefield Hill, which is very steep, one of the party got out to walk and on the horse again starting MR GOSS fell back from the seat and into the road, with the result that he fractured his spine.  The deceased, who was much respected in his parish, leaves nine children and a widow.  The Inquest was held on Monday evening at Berrynarbor by the Deputy Coroner (Dr Slade-King).  -  William Chugg, a farmer, of Berrynarbor, stated that the deceased was 49 years of age.  On Friday last he was returning from Barnstaple when he met MR GOSS at Muddiford.  They drank together and deceased afterwards got up into witness's cart.  The horse had suddenly stopped whilst going up over Whitefield hill, and witness was getting out over the cart, to lead the horse by its head, when the seat turned back, and MR GOSS fell out of the back of the cart into the road.  Witness picked him up and turned his head upwards against the hedge, and then ran after witness's brother and a friend whom on being called upon turned their horses' heads and drove back to where MR GOSS was lying.  They then placed him in Mr Huxtable's cart and brought him home.  Thos. Chugg, brother of last witness, stated that he was returning home last Friday night from Barnstaple, and near Whitefield-hill heard his brother call to him.  Witness went back, and found MR GOSS lying by the side of the road.  Witness spoke to MR GOSS, and he muttered, but witness could not understand what he said.  Witness assisted to place him in a cart, and came home with him.  Witness had no idea how the accident happened.  He had heard what the last witness said, and considering the steep gradient of the road there was nothing improbable in what he had said as to the cause of the accident.  - Ernest Huxtable deposed to driving the deceased from Barnstaple to Muddiford on Friday last.  At Muddiford they met Mr Chugg, with whom the deceased then went.  Dr Manning, of Combmartin, stated that the deceased died of fracture of the spine at the junction of the neck and shoulders. The injuries which the deceased had sustained were such as would most likely result from such an accident as had been described.  The immediate cause of death was paralysis of the lungs, the result of the fracture of the  spine. The Coroner having summed up, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 31 December 1885

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at the Reform Inn, Pilton, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of MARTHA REW, whose death occurred under the circumstances detailed in the evidence.  Mr W. Gilbert was selected as foreman of the Jury.  The first witness called was WILLIAM REW, of Laramy's Court, Pilton, who deposed that his late wife, the deceased, was 29 years of age.  She had been in a delicate state of health ever since they were married.  She used to complain of lightness of the chest and pain in the heart.  On Xmas Day she was in her usual state of health, and cooked a goose for the family dinner.  Deceased had a hearty dinner, partaking of goose and plum pudding, followed by some nuts and broad-figs.  She drank about half a glass of ale.  He went out for a walk, and on his return he went to the house of Mr R. Wheeler, where his wife was.  They returned home about twelve o'clock, and a quarter of an hour later they went to bed.  Deceased complained of pains soon afterwards, and asked him to get some brandy and water for her.  She appeared to be gasping for breath, and he noticed that she was getting black in the face.  He at once went to Mrs Sutton for assistance.  When he returned he found the deceased lying on her back, with froth coming from her mouth and nose.  She was insensible, but kissed him twice.  He immediately went for medical assistance, and Mr Ware was soon on the spot.  When he returned with Mr Ware, Mrs Sutton informed him that his wife had passed away.  - Mary Sutton, wife of a cabdriver, said she knew deceased very well, as she was her neighbour.  Deceased had lately been in delicate health and had complained of pains in her heart.  Four months ago deceased was brought home ill in a cab.  On Christmas Day she appeared in her usual state of health.  Soon after MR REW called her into his house that morning, MRS REW, who was lying on the bed labouring for breath when she arrived, died without a struggle.  The deceased and her husband lived on very affectionate terms.  - Mr J. W. L. ware, M.R.C.S., said he knew the deceased, having attended her as a Dispensary patient.  She was then suffering from weakness of the heart and indigestion.  When he arrived at REW'S house about one o'clock that morning he found the deceased lying dead in bed.  He examined the body and found no marks of violence.  From the evidence he had heard and from the appearance of the body he was of opinion that MRS REW died of failure of the heart's action (syncope) caused by over-distention of the stomach.  A verdict of "Death from Syncope" was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Case Of Suicide At Barnstaple. - On Wednesday in last week a painful sensation was caused in Barnstaple and the neighbourhood by a rumour, which proved to be only too well founded, that MR MICHAEL DOWNS HEWISH, manager of Mrs Williams's large ironmongery business, had committed suicide.  The deceased resided with his mother and sister in Fort-street, and it was here that in a moment of aberration the fatal step was taken.  On the servant entering the back kitchen about eight o'clock on Wednesday morning she was started to find her master hanging by the neck; and an inspection revealed the fact that he had been dead for some hours.  The deceased was to have been married on Saturday, and he was in the company of his intended wife until twenty minutes after eleven on Tuesday night.  The evidence adduced at the Inquest showed that the deceased had been subject to low spirits for some time past, and that he considered that his business responsibilities were too heavy for him; it is said, moreover, that cases of insanity have arisen in the deceased's family, and there is no doubt that at the time the deed was committed deceased was not responsible for his actions, and a verdict of "Suicide While in a State of Temporary Insanity" expressed this opinion.  Deceased was 31 years of age, and was a widower; he was a thoroughly good business man, and was generally respected.  The greatest sympathy is felt for the relatives in their sad bereavement.

An Inquest on the body of the deceased was held at the Rolle Arms, Bear-street, on Wednesday evening, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner.  Mr T. Wadham was foreman of the Jury.  In opening the proceedings the Coroner detailed the painful circumstances of the case and gave an explanation of the law bearing on the matter.  He said that if the Jury considered it necessary he would adjourn the Inquest in order that they might make further inquiry into the state of deceased's mind.  The first witness called was - Miss Mary Perryman, who deposed:-  I am a single woman, and am in the service of MRS HEWISH, mother of deceased, who resides at No. 15, Fort-street.  Deceased resided with his mother.  I last saw him alive about half-past one yesterday afternoon, when he was at dinner.  He was then in good spirits.  When I went to bed about 10 o'clock on Tuesday night he was not in the house.  I got up about eight o'clock this morning, and on going into the back kitchen I found deceased hanging by the neck.  The rope by which he was hanging was fastened to a crook in the ceiling.  I immediately called MISS HEWISH, who at once came downstairs and spoke to and touched her brother.  He made no answer.  I went with MISS HEWISH to her room and then went to Mr Hill, a neighbour, for assistance.  He soon came, and he went for a medical man.  Mr Pronger afterwards came, and he cut down the deceased.  I have not noticed anything unusual with the deceased  lately; he has never said anything to me about being in bad spirits.  He was engaged to be married on Saturday.  MRS HEWISH never said anything to me against the marriage.  Deceased and his mother and sister always lived comfortably together.  I was quite unprepared for such a sad occurrence; he never hinted at anything of the kind, and was of a cheerful disposition.

Mrs Helen Ryder of High Street, was next called, and she deposed:-  I am the widow of Mr Henry Thomas Ryder, of Chelsea.  I have known the deceased ever since I came to Barnstaple, just over two years ago.  There was an engagement between us, and we were to be married on Saturday, all the necessary arrangements having been made.  We had been engaged 14 or 15 months.  About five o'clock on the preceding evening he came to my house and had tea, and then returned to business, saying that he would return as soon as possible in order to take me out to see the shops dressed for the Christmas market.  He added that as he was doing the books he should not be very early.  Between nine and ten o'clock he came again, and we went out together.  While out we met Mrs Vicary, and we accompanied her to her house in the Square, and we remained there until five or ten minutes to eleven.  He saw me home, and when at the door I asked him if he would come in, and he said, "Yes, I will come in for a few minutes, as I feel cold."  He came in, took a flask of brandy out of his pocket, and asked me to "make" a drink for him.  He drank the brandy and water in exceedingly good spirits, and having smoked a cigar he left.  This was about twenty minutes after eleven.  He wished me good night in the ordinary way  He said "good night" twice, and added "God bless you; I will come over about half-past ten tomorrow if you will give me a cup of tea."  He left me just as usual, and I did not suspect anything wrong.  I think he was worried a good deal about business; he said sometimes that it was almost too much for him, and I advised him to give it up.  He seemed to feel his responsibility particularly when he was making up the books quarterly.  In answer to questions put by the Foreman and others, Mrs Ryder said the deceased had said "God bless you" on former occasions when he was leaving her, so there was nothing unusual in this to attract her attention.  He neither said nor did anything to cause her any apprehension that he would commit an act of violence against himself.  He asked her to be married on Thursday instead of on Saturday, but she said that as the arrangements had been made for Saturday they must adhere to them.  They parted on

Tuesday evening on the best of terms.  The deceased seldom spoke of home, save that he was anxious to make one for himself.

Mr C. E. Pronger, M.R.C.S., stated:-  At half-past eight this morning I was called to the residence of the deceased in Fort-street.  I went to the house immediately and found deceased [unreadable portion] by a rope which was fixed to a hook in the ceiling.  His back was towards the door. As deceased was hanging his feet touched the ground, his legs being crossed and doubled.  He was quite dead, cold and stiff when I arrived; he had been dead several hours.  I cut him down and sent for the police.  In my opinion deceased must have jumped from a chair which was standing close at hand, thereby breaking his neck.  Death did not result from strangulation but from dislocation.  There were no signs of a struggle having taken place, there was no discolouration and death was instantaneous.

P.C. McLeod deposed that just before nine o'clock that morning a message was brought to the Police Station, and in consequence of this he proceeded to No. 15, Fort Street, where he found Dr Pronger and Mr WM. HEWISH.  The body of deceased was on the back kitchen floor.  He now produced the rope, an ordinary "line" one, with which deceased was hung.  He assisted MR HEWISH to search the body.  Deceased was dressed, but the boots were unlaced.  Witness also produced some window lead which had been found in the passage, adding that the inmates of the house were sure the lead was not in the house on the preceding evening.  It was thought that deceased took the lead home.  The body was removed to an upstair room, and the Jury had seen the body just as it was when it was found.

MR WM. HEWISH, brother of deceased, stated that about six weeks ago deceased was taken ill.  he then suffered from low  spirits and appeared depressed.  His mother had often fancied whether the business and other things were not too much for him - whether it was not too much of an undertaking for him.  Deceased was never strong, and he had had several attacks of illness.  The last time he saw his brother he asked him to attend the wedding, but he answered in the negative, remarking that it was not a thing he cared about attending.  They were always on good terms.

Mr John Pow, until recently in the employ of Mrs Williams, deposed that within the last six months the deceased had been a great deal more despondent than was formerly the case.  In the last few months deceased had not been so lively, and he had frequently complained to witness of pains in the head.  The business (which was a heavy one) of which he had the management seemed to worry him.  Deceased felt the death of Mr Williams very much.  When deceased complained of head-ache sometimes he said the business was too much for him.

This was all the evidence, and the Coroner having briefly summed up the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased committed Suicide while in a State of Temporary Insanity.  The Foreman, on behalf of the Jury, expressed sincere sympathy with MRS HEWISH and the other members of the family in their sad bereavement.

PARACOMBE - Inquest. - On Wednesday in last week J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, held an Inquest at Vention, in the parish of Parracombe, on the body of THOMAS BERRY, aged three months, son of MR WM. BERRY, farmer.  MRS MARY BERRY, mother of deceased, deposed that to all appearance deceased was a healthy child.  About one o'clock on Sunday morning, as the child was awake, she gave it some food, consisting of boiled bread mixed with sugar.  When she awoke later in the morning she found that the child was dead.  The child had always slept between her husband and herself; it never occurred to her that that was a dangerous practice.  MR WM. BERRY gave corroborative evidence.  Dr A. S. Kingdon, of Combmartin, said that having heard the evidence and having carefully examined the body he was inclined to think that the child died from suffocation either by being overlaid by the mother or the father.  He thought the food which the child had late at night might have contributed to its death.  Boiled bread was rather a heavy food for a child of that age, especially when taken late at night.  The child died either from being overlaid or from taking a heavy meal so late. It was rather imprudent to place a child between two persons when in bed.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes - Suffocation consequent on taking a heavy meal late at night" was returned.

Thursday 7 January 1886

TIVERTON - Sudden Death Of An Infant. - F. S. Drayman, Esq., (Deputy Coroner), on Monday held an Inquest at the Workhouse, touching the death of the male infant child of MARY EDWORTHY, an inmate.  The evidence showed that the mother on awaking on Saturday morning noticed something the matter with the child and after drawing the attention of the inmates to it, she waited upon the hospital nurse, who found the infant to be dead.  It was mentioned that the child had previously suffered from convulsions, and after the evidence of the medical officer had been taken a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 21 January 1886

BURRINGTON - Fatal Fall. - On Wednesday in last week an Inquest was held at Baggaford Cottage, in the parish of Burrington, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, to inquire into the circumstances attending the death of WM. EASTMOND, aged 85.  Elizabeth Hayman, wife of Geo. Hayman, labourer, deposed that the deceased, who was a butcher, was 85 years of age.  He had lodged at her house for four years.  On Thursday, the 10th Dec., he was brought to her house by Mr Cole and Mr Harris, who said he had slipped on the ice.  Deceased was put to bed, and on Saturday a doctor was sent for.  He died on Monday morning last.  - Albert Vicary, farmer, deposed that in the afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 10th, as he was passing Buckham Hill he saw the deceased sitting in the hedge.  He asked what was the matter, and deceased said he had slipped on the ice.  Under witness's instructions John Harris took the deceased home in a cart.  - John Cole, farmer, and John Harris, labourer, deposed to taking deceased to his home in a cart on the day named.  - Joseph Tucker, general medical practitioner, residing at Chulmleigh, stated that he knew deceased,  whom he had attended professionally.  He saw the deceased on the 13th of December, and he said he had met with an accident through slipping on the ice.  There was no fracture and no apparent injuries, although there was considerable soreness on the right hip.  He attended him up to the time of his death; he had little hope of his recovery from the first, as deceased's advanced age was against him.  He had no hesitation in saying that the cause of death was shock to the system, the result of an accident.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

BIDEFORD - The Fatal Fight At Bideford. - We reported last week that a fight had taken place the previous Friday evening between two men, CORNELIUS ROOK and Thomas Bissett, during which ROOK sustained serious injuries, and we added, in a later account that he had since died.  An Inquest was held at the Town Hall on Thursday evening last, before Dr J. Thompson, the Borough Coroner.  Mr Smale watched the proceedings on behalf of the police, and Mr Bazeley for Bisset, who, it was thought, might be charged with manslaughter.

A servant girl named Lucy Smale was the first witness.  She said she was in the employ of Mrs Colwill, of the Ship on Launch Inn.  On the Friday night previous she saw CORNELIUS ROOK and others drinking in the house.  About nine o'clock ROOK and a man named Ball quarrelled, and had a "scuffle".  ROOK left rather before eleven o'clock, and witness just after heard a noise outside, and on going to the door saw ROOK and Bissett quarrelling.  Bissett said "Now then, 'Nelly,' life for life for ten minutes."  ROOK replied "All right; for twenty if you like."  They then struggled and fell to the ground.  They got up and fell against a window and broke it, and fell again.  Some men interfered and said that Bissett should not strike an old man.  Witness did not see a single blow struck the whole of the time.  Both men were drunk, though not "helplessly" so.  The girl was cross-examined at length, but appeared to be reluctant in speaking out, and no further facts of consequence were elicited.

Mrs Elizabeth Comer, a woman living in Barnstaple-street, spoke to hearing a noise in the streets and going to see what it was.  It was about five minutes past eleven, and both men were very drunk.  They were outside the 'Ship on Launch,' and had hold of each other.  Bissett took off his hat and coat and gave to witness to hold.  She saw them fall once, get up again, fall against and break a window, and then fall to the ground a second time.  She thought ROOK was under, but could not be sure.  She did not see any blows struck or kicks given by either of the men.  Two Exeter men then came up and separated them.  She did not hear ROOK complain of any pain at all.  MRS ELIZABETH ROOK (sister-in-law of the deceased) stated that she was attracted by the noise.  She found two men on the ground, ROOK being the one underneath.  She heard some talk about fighting, but there was none, because other men parted them.  "NELLY" ROOK did not appear to be hurt, and walked towards his home for some time. Witness did not regard it as a fight, but only a sort of scrimmage, both men being the worse for liquor.  Did not think Bissett was so drunk but what he knew what he was about.

Henry Conibeare, mason, of Exeter, said he was in the Ship on Launch on Friday night and saw ROOK come in, and heard him disputing with Ball about the School Board Election.  They began pulling each other about and fell down, but afterwards got friendly and drank together.  As I was going to leave the house about eleven o'clock the servant said there was a row outside.  Witness saw the two men on the ground, and afterwards saw the head of one of the men go through a pane of glass.  It was after this that Bissett challenged ROOK to fight. Witness then went forward and stopped it, and told Bissett he should have known better than talk of fighting an old man.  A friend of mine took ROOK home.  Witness did not see any blows pass.

Jas. Blackmore, mason, corroborated, and added that when he took deceased home, ROOK did not complain of being hurt.  Deceased sat in a chair when he got home.  Mrs Colwill, landlady of the Ship on Launch, deposed that ROOK was in her house twice during the evening in question.  She heard him disputing with Ball, but they did not fight.  Bissett did not come in till just before eleven o'clock.  She did not hear any words pass between them, and did not know of anything until the scuffle outside.  Mr Braund, clerk to Mr Hole, read over the depositions which he had taken when ROOK was dying.  They were to the effect that Bissett and himself had quarrelled on different occasions, and that on the Friday night they had a scuffle outside the public house, and he (ROOK) thought he was kicked by Bissett.  He thought he fell underneath, but could remember no more.

Mr E. Rouse, surgeon, stated that he was called to attend ROOK on the Saturday, his assistant having previously seen him.  He found ROOK breathing with great difficulty, and was told it was all through the fight the night before.  ROOK confessed to having fought with Bissett and Ball, but said he soon doubled up Ball.  Deceased said he fancied Bissett kicked, but he did not speak with any degree of positiveness.  Deceased then told witness that when he woke next morning he felt a great pain in the side.  Witness examined him, and though he could not feel that any of the ribs were broken yet he judged the case was serious, as deceased was evidently suffering great pain in the region of the liver.  ROOK died on the Tuesday night, and on Wednesday he made a post-mortem examination, when he found that the fifth and sixth ribs were fractured and that there was a fissure, about an inch long on the liver and effusion of blood, which, he had no doubt, was the direct cause of death.  Witness could not speak positively as to how the injury was caused.  He did not think one fall on the pavement could have done it, but it was possible one fall to the ground and the falling against the window might have, or a kick might have done it.  In compliance with the wishes of the Jury, a man named Souch was called as a witness, and MRS ROOK was recalled, but neither added anything to the evidence already taken.  The Coroner, in summing up, explained that it was for the Jury to say - first what caused death, and secondly whether there was evidence to connect anyone with it.  The Jury, after deliberation, found that the deceased came by his death from injuries received during an affray on Friday night, the 8th inst., but that there was no sufficient evidence adduced to criminate anybody.

Thursday 28 January 1886

CLOVELLY - Fatal Accident. - On Monday last an Inquest was held at the New Inn, Clovelly, before James Fraser Bromham, Esq., one of the Coroners for the county, on the body of WILLIAM GLOVER, who met his death under circumstances detailed in the evidence given below.  The first witness called was John Beer, labourer, who deposed that the deceased was the confidential servant of Mr James Berryman, of the New Inn, Clovelly.  Deceased was 36 years of age, and left a widow and four children.  The last time he saw him alive was on Friday afternoon, at three o'clock, when witness and his two brothers, together with deceased, were engaged in taking down a linhay at Highford Farm, in the parish of Hartland, and the property of Mr Berryman.  Deceased was killed by the falling of the wall.  At the time of the accident deceased was picking up stones and loading a cart, and witness was close by his side.  Witness's brother Charles, who was digging out the stones, shouted "Run," and he and his brothers ran and escaped, although Nicholas was knocked down.  As witness was running off he turned round and saw that the deceased was still standing near the wall and he shouted "Run BILL."  Deceased turned round, but did not run off.  The wall then fell and crushed the deceased, who was almost covered by the debris.  He and his brothers at once dug out the deceased, who was lying face downwards.  He fancied deceased drew a slight breath afterwards, but he was not quite sure.  Deceased was removed to the farm house, and Dr Newcombe sent for.  He could not account for the wall falling, but to the best of his belief there was no blame to be attached to anyone.  It was a pure accident.  The deceased was very much respected in the neighbourhood, and was a staunch teetotaller.  By the Foreman of the Jury:  Deceased was only under the wall about a minute, the wall was about ten feet high and twelve feet long.  To the best of his belief deceased was standing about six feet from the wall.  There were no props to the wall; they were rarely used for such a small wall.  - Charles Beer, labourer, brother of the last witness corroborated, adding that he called out to the others to "run" because when he was under-mining the wall he fancied he felt it giving towards him.  He had had some experience in taking down walls, and he could say that for walls of that height props were not generally used.  He could not account for the wall falling in the manner described.  - Nicholas Beer, brother of the preceding witnesses, gave corroborative evidence.  In answer to the foreman, he said he had a very narrow escape himself.  He could not tell why the deceased did not run off as he did, as they were standing close together.  Deceased must have heard the shout, witness had only gone two paces when the wall struck him.  His brother Charles was the one who had charge of the work.  There were props on the off side of the wall to prevent its falling in that direction.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

ILFRACOMBE - An Inquest was held at the Railway Hotel, Ilfracombe, on Friday evening, by the District Coroner, (J. F. Bromham, Esq.), on the body of JOHN SNOW, who recently met with an accident whilst going upstairs.  The first witness called was Maria Balsdon, who identified the body.  She said deceased was a retired ostler, and was about 82 years of age.  On going in to see him and his wife on Friday, the 8th January, she heard a moan, and on going upstairs found he had fallen.  She tried to lift him up, but failed, and she called her brother (D. Lewis) to help him.  - D. Lewis also gave evidence to the same effect.  Dr Foquett stated that he was sent for on the 9th Jan., and he went to see the deceased.  On examining him he found that he had broken his thighbone.  He wished him to be taken to the hospital, but owing to the pain he could not be removed.  He stated that he believed that deceased had had every possible attention, and that the actual cause of death was failure of the heart, caused by the shock to the system.  The Jury returned a verdict to that effect.

Thursday 4 February 1886

SOUTHMOLTON - Coroner's Inquest. - Thomas Sanders, Esq., F.R.C.S., Borough Coroner, held an Inquest on Friday last on the body of a child ten months old which died in its mother's arms the previous day.  The father (JESSIE HILL), who is an agricultural labourer, and the mother of the deceased child, who live in a cottage in Nadder Lane, were the only witnesses who gave evidence before the Jury who returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

EXETER - Suicide Of A Girl At Exeter. - The Exeter Coroner (Mr H. W. Hooper) held an Inquiry at the Devonport Inn, Fore-street, on Thursday, relative to the death of ALICE MATILDA GILL, aged 16, who died from poisoning on Wednesday morning.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased was indolent, and had been sent away from several situations for that reason.  On the 19th inst. she returned home to her father's house, and in consequence of a pot of phosphorous paste being found she was questioned and admitted that she had taken a quantity of the poison, from the effects of which she died on Wednesday morning.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst in a state of Temporary Insanity."

Thursday 11 February 1886

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident At Barnstaple. - Yesterday (Wednesday) morning an accident of a most distressing nature occurred in Green-lane, whereby a man named JOHN PARKIN, aged 47, an army pensioner in the employ of Mr T. Horn, of the Barnstaple Horse Repository, received such terrible injuries that he died almost immediately.  It appears that the poor fellow had been to a field in the Braunton Road with a load of dung, and was returning with the empty butt when the animal of which he had charge - it could not be said he was driving it, as he had no reins - took fright at the bottom of Green-lane.  The deceased, who it is supposed, was sitting on the edge of the butt, was thrown violently into the roadway and being caught between the vehicle and the wall (the street being very narrow at the spot where the accident occurred) sustained frightful injuries which at once proved fatal.  An Inquest on the body of the deceased was held last evening at the Bear Inn, Green lane, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner.  Mr William Horne was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The first witness called was James Alford, labourer, residing in Bear Street, and in the employ of Mr T. Horn, of the Bear Inn.  He deposed that he knew deceased very well, as they both were engaged on the work of the Town Council.  He last saw deceased alive about seven o'clock that morning, when he met him on the Braunton road, where he was carting dung.  Deceased was walking by the side of his cart; he stopped and spoke to witness, remarking "The mare is fidgetty"; but this was only a saying of his - the mare was only a little fresh.  Deceased had not any reins with him, as witness saw them in the stable when he got back.  Deceased held the animal by the head while he spoke to witness.  It was deceased's practice to rid on the empty butt on the return journey.  The mare deceased drove was very much cut up when she was brought back to the stable.  In answer to the foreman, witness said he did not know that the mare deceased drove was given to running away.  It would be dangerous to drive her without reins - he should not like to drive her without reins himself.  He never knew deceased go out without reins before.  The fact was, he thought, that deceased considered that as it was a cold morning he would not want to ride, and would be able to lead the mare.  Mary Jane Manning, single woman, residing with her mother in Green-lane deposed that about half-past seven that morning she heard a horse and butt going up the lane towards the Bear Inn at a great rate.  She ran out into the street and saw a man lying on the ground beyond the Bee-hive Inn.  He was lying on his back.  He was breathing, but he gave no answer when she spoke to him.  His face was fearfully cut, and as she was frightened she ran off for assistance.  When she returned with a man named Thorne the poor fellow was quite dead.  She assisted to remove the body to the Bear Inn.  Mr Joseph Harper, M.R.C.S., deposed that that morning about half past seven he was called to see the deceased.  He went with the messenger, a man named Thorne, and found the body in the Bear Inn.  Life was quite extinct.  He examined the body, and he found a large scalp wound on the back of the head, another (an inch and a half long) over the left eye, a fracture of the bones of the nose, while the lower jaw was fractured.  He should think the base of the skull was fractured, four of his ribs on the right side were broken, and the chest-bone was driven in.  Death must have been almost instantaneous.  He thought the terrible injuries he had described were caused by deceased being caught between the butt and the wall.  - Jane Hill, wife of a fisherman residing in Green Lane, deposed to seeing the horse and butt pass her house at a great speed that morning.  She could not say where deceased was seated in the butt.  P.C. Molland gave evidence as to searching the body.  The Coroner briefly summed up, remarking that if the deceased had had reins with which to guide the animal of which he had charge, the accident would, in all probability, never have happened.  It was purely deceased's fault, however, that he did not take the reins, as they were in the stable ready to his hand.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BRAUNTON - Fatal Fall. - On Monday last an Inquest was held at the Commercial Hotel, Braunton, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner, on the body of JAMES MOCK, aged 75, who met with his death under circumstances detailed blow.  John Barnes, labourer, deposed that deceased, who was a mason, was his brother-in-law.  On Thursday last he and deceased were engaged in effecting repairs to the old Barnstaple Inn, Braunton, and about four o'clock deceased was pointing the new chimney.  Witness, who was behind the chimney, heard a noise, and on looking up saw that deceased was not standing by the chimney.  He descended as quickly as possible, and found that deceased was doubled up on the jib which had been erected.  Deceased was unconscious.  Mrs Hartnoll was there when he came down over the ladder.  They got assistance, and carried deceased into the house.  Dr Lane came shortly afterwards, and deceased was removed to his own house.  Witness knew it was rather a dangerous place where deceased was standing, and he begged him to be careful, but he replied, "Oh, I've been in worse places than this."  Deceased seemed to be quite satisfied and not at all alarmed.  He had since visited the spot, and found that the accident had happened in consequence of some loose stones giving way.  He did not consider that any blame was attached to anyone.  Mrs Hartnoll, wife of Mr G. P. Hartnoll, farmer, corroborated.  - Mr S. O. Lane, surgeon, deposed that when he saw deceased he was lying on a sofa at the Barnstaple Inn.  There were no fractured limbs, but there was a severe cut on the head which he at once dressed.  Deceased did not regain consciousness; he saw from the first it was a hopeless case and that the poor fellow was suffering from concussion of the brain.  He died early on Sunday morning.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

EASTDOWN - Death By Drowning. - On Tuesday last an Inquest was held at Bugford Farm, in the parish of Eastdown, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner, on the body of ANN FRY, wife of a farmer.  RICHARD FRY, farmer, deposed that the deceased, who was his wife, was about 55 years of age.  On Saturday afternoon his wife came to the Farm Ford, and when he left about six o'clock she was milking cows in the shippen.  This was the last time he saw her alive.  Before he left he asked her if he should leave Charles (one of nephews) to help her home with the milk, but she said that as it was not very much she could take it home herself.  When he got home, after looking after some sheep, he found his wife was not there, and after waiting a quarter of an hour, he set off to meet her, his daughter, son and nephew accompanying him.  As there were two ways she could go home by, he took one (the lower) and the children the higher.  He first went to the farm, and not finding  her there they all went back towards home together, having previously obtained a lantern from Mr Smith's.  His nephew called out "There she is - I see her bucket," and on going forward he found his wife in the stream which ran through the meadow.  He immediately pulled her out, but he saw that she was dead.  The boys went off for assistance.  When deceased was in the stream the water covered her almost completely - he could just see a little of her dress.  William Punchard, nephew of the last witness, gave corroborative evidence, and Robert Coats, labourer, deposed to having, with Mr Lerwill and Mr Watts, removed the body to the farm.  Dr A. S. Kingdon, of Combmartin, said there was no doubt deceased came to her death by drowning.  A verdict of "Accidentally Drowned by falling into a stream of water" was returned.

EXETER - A case of alleged gross cruelty to a little girl, four years of age, was investigated at Exeter on Thursday by a Coroner's Jury, and resulted in a verdict of Wilful Murder against the step-mother, and against the father as accessory before the fact.  The husband is a shoemaker, named DAY, and it appeared that four years ago he lost his first wife in child-birth.  Some little time afterwards he married his present wife, and her conduct to the children generally has been unkind.  Some months ago she was summoned for the ill treatment of one of the eldest.  The deceased was the youngest child, and other children at the Inquest stated that their stepmother was in the habit of striking the deceased with her clenched fist.  Medical evidence proved that death was due to wasting and weakness, attributable to want of proper nourishment.  The Exeter shoemaker DAY and his wife, who alleged cruelty to their little girl led the Coroner's Jury to return a verdict of Wilful Murder against them, were on Friday brought before the Magistrates and formally remanded for a week.  The Court was crowded.  The case has excited much feeling.

Thursday 18 February 1886

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest. - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at the Bear Inn, before R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, on the body of EMMA CHINA, aged three months.  WM. CHINA, father of deceased, residing in Green-lane, deposed that about twenty minutes after five that morning he started for the Derby factory, where he was employed.  As the infant was crying when he got up he spoke to his wife about giving it food.  He went home to breakfast about eight o'clock, and his wife then informed him that the child was dead.  He at once fetched a doctor.  MRS CHINA said she did not hear her husband go to work, and when she woke up she found that the child was dead.  Mr H. Jackson, surgeon, gave it as his opinion that the child died from convulsions, and the Jury at once returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 4 March 1886

EXETER - An Inquest was held at Exeter on Monday on the body of JAMES PASSMORE, aged about 40, a widower, and described as a horse-clipper, who was found dead in bed at the Oat Sheaf Inn, Fore-street, on Sunday morning.  After hearing the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

HIGH BICKINGTON - Fatal Accident. - An Inquest was held at the Golden Lion Hotel, Highbickington, on Tuesday last, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., one of the Coroners for the county, on the body of THOMAS MILTON, carpenter, aged 68, who met with his death under circumstances detailed below.  LILIAN MILTON, daughter of deceased, deposed that on the eighth January last, deceased left home in the morning to go to Kingford Farm, where he intended to work.  About one o'clock he was brought home in Mr Manning's trap, suffering from an injury sustained, as she was informed, by his falling from the roof of the barn.  Dr Cooper, of Barnstaple, who happened to be in the village at the time, was called in to see the deceased.  After that deceased was attended by Mr Jones, the medical officer of a club of which deceased was a member.  Dr Tucker was also called in afterwards.  Her father died on Saturday.  She never heard deceased say that any blame attached to anyone with regard to the accident.  Grace Clements deposed to being present with MILTON died on Saturday night.  John Butler, carpenter, residing at Little Northcote, in the parish of Burrington, deposed that he knew the deceased very well.  They were working together at Kingford Farm when the accident which proved fatal to deceased occurred.  Witness was preparing a piece commonly called the "Keage piece", and he requested deceased to prepare a place on which he might stand in order to lift it.  Deceased ascended the ladder, and witness followed shortly after, carrying the piece of wood on his back.  Deceased stepped on the temporary scaffolding, which gave way, causing him to fall to the floor of the barn - a depth of 15 or 16 feet.  As soon as witness could get the wood off his back he went to the assistance of deceased.  Neither he or deceased thought any bone had been broken by the fall.  Deceased did not say any blame attached to anyone - on the contrary he said he was himself responsible for it.  In answer to the foreman witness said deceased fell on his hip, and before he reached the ground he struck a buttress.  Joseph Tucker, M.R.C.S., of Chulmleigh, deposed that towards the end of last month he was called to attend deceased, who was suffering from acute inflammation to the thigh.  He had no hesitation in saying that deceased died from injuries caused by the fall which had been spoken of by previous witnesses, the actual cause of death being exhaustion owing  to the continued discharge from the abscess which had formed in the thigh.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

NEWTON ST. PETROCK - Sudden Death. - On Monday last an Inquest was held at Holwill Farm, in the parish of Newton St. Petrock, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner, on the body of PHILIP HEARN, farmer, aged 74.  - JOHN HEARN, residing at Holwill Farm deposed that his deceased father resided with him.  Up to last week his father enjoyed very good health, but in the early part of the week he complained of pains in his chest.  He remained indoors for a few days.  On Friday, however, he went outdoors again.  Deceased was in the habit of going to Torrington Market by himself in a trap, and on Saturday morning he left as usual about nine o'clock.  Within a few minutes afterwards, John Osborne, one of his servants, came to him and told him that something was the matter with his father.  He immediately ran out and found deceased sitting in the cart, leaning against the back.  He managed with assistance to get his father into the house, and he sent to Black Torrington for Dr Parsloe.  Later in the day as Dr Parsloe did not come he sent a message to the school, asking Dr Sutcliffe, who was expected on a visit to the school, to come and he reached the house between one and two o'clock.  He believed his father was dead when he found him in the cart; he gave no signs whatever of life.  John Osborne, labourer, deposed that on Saturday he was in a field near the cross when he saw deceased driving a horse and cart.  He heard deceased speak to the horse, which then stopped.  He noticed that deceased first fell forward a little and afterwards fell back against the seat.  He saw that something was wrong, and he at once ran to the house and gave an alarm.  Isaac Buse, labourer, and son-in-law of the deceased, deposed that on Saturday morning, at about 10 o'clock, he went to Black Torrington to fetch Dr Parsloe.  He told the doctor that MR HEARN had dropped down and that he did not know whether he was dead or alive, adding that he appeared to him to be dead.  the doctor said he had never attended MR HEARN, and witness replied that he was in the Shebbear Club of which he was the doctor.  Mr Parsloe then said that if MR HEARN was dead it was of no use for him to go to Newton. Witness told him the family wished him to see deceased, but he again said his going would be of no use.  Witness then went away, and after he had gone a short distance the doctor passed him on the road.  On his return he saw Mr Nash, who promised to send on Dr Cutcliffe as soon as he arrived.  By the foreman:  He did not tell Dr Parsloe that he was sure MR HEARN was dead; he said he believed he was dead, but could not be sure about it.  He told the doctor that the family desired him to attend.  Dr Cutcliffe said that when he saw deceased between one and two o'clock he presented the appearance of having been dead for some hours.  In his opinion MR HEARN died from heart disease.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

Thursday 11 March 1886

BAMPTON - MR JOHN GODDARD, of Ford Farm, Bampton, died suddenly at Bristol on Friday.  The deceased, while on a visit to a friend, was taken suddenly ill, and died before medical assistance could be obtained.  "Death from Syncope" was the verdict returned by the Coroner's Jury.

TIVERTON - Death In A Barn. - Mr L. Mackenzie, Borough Coroner, and a Jury were engaged for nearly three hours on Friday evening in investigating the circumstances attending the death of the infant child of a woman named ELLEN MADDISON.  The child, three weeks old, died in a barn near the town on Thursday morning, and it transpired that on the previous night the woman, who is on tramp with a scissor grinder named Glass, was drunk and very abusive.  She could get no lodgings, and permission given her to sleep in a covered van in an out-house was withdrawn owing to her insolence.  P.C. Raymond seeing her condition, urged her and Glass to accompany him to the workhouse, but this she refused to do, and subsequently was seen lying in the road with the babe in her arms.  She was picked up by Glass and a passer-by and helped to a seat, and later on she and Glass entered a barn, where they passed the night.  The weather at the time was intensely cold and a sharp frost prevailed.  The evidence given by MADDISON was contradicted by other witnesses on most points, and medical testimony attributed the child's death to cold and exposure.  The Coroner pointed out to the Jury that death arose from the culpable negligence of MADDISON or from Natural Causes; and after a prolonged deliberation the Jury returned a verdict of "Natural Causes accelerated by Exposure."

Thursday 18 March 1886

TORRINGTON - Inquest. - On Thursday last Mr Bromham held an Inquest at the New Market Inn on the body of ELIZABETH THORNE, who died suddenly on the morning of the previous day.  Mr H. H. Pidgeon was chosen foreman of the Jury.  Harriet Piper, a neighbour of deceased, deposed that on Wednesday morning about 9 o'clock she heard MRS THORNE (the aged mother of the deceased) calling for assistance.  On going to the back door of the house she saw the old woman in her nightdress at the foot of the stairs.  After getting her upstairs she saw that the deceased was lying on the floor, apparently dead.  She called to a Mrs Gilbert to run for a doctor.  Wm. Crees, a milk boy, said that he fetched the milk for the deceased and she took it from him at her door just before nine o'clock.  She was then partly dressed and had a shawl thrown over her shoulders.  It was very cold at the time, and she complained of being bad in her head.  Dr C. R. Jones stated that the mother of deceased was too aged and feeble to attend.  He then repeated what the mother had told him, and stated that on examining the body he found a severe bruise over the left eye.  He was of opinion, after hearing the evidence, that the deceased died from Natural Causes; probably the specific cause of death was apoplexy.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was at once given.  The Jury gave their fees to the mother of deceased, who is over 90 years of age.

Thursday 25 March 1886

SHALDON - At an Inquest held at Shaldon on Friday into the death of RICHARD ROPER and WILLIAM and GEORGE STAPLETON, three of the four men who were drowned by the capsizing of a pilot gig in the harbour on Wednesday morning, the Jury, after long hearing, returned a verdict of "Drowned through the capsizing of the boat," adding a rider to the effect that a six-oared boat should be kept at Shaldon for purpose of rendering assistance when needed.

COMBMARTIN - Inquest. - An Inquest was held at Burgess's Tenement, in the parish of Combmartin, on Friday, the 19th inst., on the body of ROSANNAH D. WINIFORD DAWE.  The Inquest was conducted by Edward Slade-King, Esq., Deputy Coroner.  From the evidence of SELINA DAWE, the mother of deceased, who described herself as the wife of JOSEPH DAWE, engine fitter, of 103, North Oxford-street, Swansea, it appears that she left Swansea per steamboat for Ilfracombe at 1.30 p.m. on the 17th March with her child, who was then as far as she knew in good health.  She reached Ilfracombe at 5 p.m. the same day, and she at once took the child to a house in Fortescue-road, and gave her some warm food.  The child still continued well and comfortable, and at 6.40 she started with it in a cart for Combmartin.  She fed it on the journey and the child kept quiet all the way.  She reached Combmartin about 8.5 p.m.; the child was all right then, and it laughed when she spoke to it.  MRS DAWE then gave her child over to her cousin, Elizabeth Willis, and upon her returning it to her she passed it to Mr James Passmore, a tailor, of Combmartin.  He noticed a change in the child and gave it to his wife, in whose lap in the course of a few minutes it died.  As far as she could judge the child was convulsed at the moment of death.  Eliza Jane Passmore stated that on the day in question and under the circumstances above mentioned the child was in her husband's lap in a room in Burgess' Tenement, Combmartin, and he remarked "How bright she looks."  He almost immediately afterwards cried out, "Whatever is the matter with the child."  She was then handed over to witness, who commenced to undress her, and while she was doing so the child breathed hard three times, and then died.  At the time she remarked that she thought the child was in a fit.  She sent for medical aid, and Dr Kingdon attended immediately, but the child was dead before his arrival.  Alfred Kingdon, M.D., said that on the day in question he was called to see a child which was either dead or dying at Burgess's Tenement.  He attended at once, and found that the child had been dead about 10 minutes.  The body was very pale, and after hearing the evidence he was of opinion that the child died of collapse, consequent on long exposure to the cold and severe east wind on its journey from Ilfracombe to Combmartin.  He was of opinion that the child had been well clothed, nourished and taken care of by its mother on the journey.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes - collapse produced by long exposure to cold" was returned.

EXETER - Inquest. - The Exeter Coroner on Friday held an Inquest on the body of IRENE MAUDE GEFFRY, aged 1 year and 8 months, who died from the effects of measles, also that when she became serious ill her grandmother sent for a medical man, but the messenger went to no less than seven before one would come.  Then the child was dead.  A Juryman inquired whether medical men were obliged to visit a person when urgently called.  He supposed they did not like turning out except for a "good case".  The Coroner said they were not bound to visit patients unless they cared to do so.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

BIDEFORD - An Inquest was held on Thursday evening last at Ellis's Rooms, Bideford, before the Borough Coroner, Dr Thompson, to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of WILLIAM SHORTRIDGE, a labourer, aged about 60, who died suddenly on Wednesday morning.  Mr Henry Ellis was elected foreman.  From the evidence of JANE SHORTRIDGE, the deceased's wife, it appeared that deceased had been infirm for some time, being weak on his chest.  He had, however, continued to work up to Saturday, when he went home and complained of "being shivered."  After having partaken of a little brandy he went to bed, and remained there until Monday.  He then got up and cleaned himself, but shortly afterwards returned to bed, where he remained until the time of his death.  FLORENCE SHORTRIDGE said that she attended the deceased up to the time of his death.  On Wednesday she saw him about twenty minutes to one.  He was then asleep.  At 1 p.m. she again went to see him, and found that he was dead.  A doctor was sent for and pronounced life to be extinct.  The Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.

WOOLFARDISWORTHY WEST - Inquest. - On Tuesday last an Inquest was held on the body of the illegitimate child of ELIZABETH ANN GOODENOUGH, of this place, in the Hotel, Woolfardisworthy West, before James F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.  It appears from the evidence of Thomasin Hooper, a nurse who attended the mother of deceased at her confinement, that she was asked to assist at the childbirth about a month ago, and on Friday last, by reason of a message she received, she went immediately to the house of ELIZABETH GOODENOUGH, sen.  In answer to inquiries as to whether the child was born she received no reply; but after she had been there about half an hour she found that the birth had taken place.  The umbilical cord was not then severed, she did that herself afterwards; but the child was dead.  The woman was very weak at the time and appeared to be suffering very much.  Every preparation had been made for the birth, and there was nothing in the manner of the woman to arouse her suspicions, but she was greatly surprised that the child was born without her mentioning it to witness and without her assistance.  It might be accounted for from the fact that the woman was so weak and ill and suffering so acutely that she hardly knew the child was born.  GOODENOUGH had previously had two illegitimate children, both of whom were living.  - Ann Brent, a neighbour who was called in at the same time corroborated and said that when the nurse placed the child in her arms it was dead.  She saw nothing in the manner of the woman to arouse her suspicion that the child had been injured.  Edwin Walter Emtage, medical practitioner, said that he had made a post mortem examination of the child, and by the hydrostatic test had ascertained that it was born alive.  The lungs floated in water even after being squeezed and there was evidence of the lungs being inflated by natural inspiration.  That might have been done by one or two breaths only and the child might have died immediately.  He found no marks of violence or anything to indicate that the child had been "got rid of."  He had no moral doubt that death took place from Natural Causes.  A verdict in accordance with medical testimony was returned.

Thursday 1 April 1886

BARNSTAPLE - A Infant Burnt To Death. - On Wednesday in last week a child named BLANCHE MAUDE FORD, daughter of WM. HENRY FORD, insurance agent, of No. 7 Sunnybank, met with her death under very distressing circumstances.  On the following day (Thursday) an Inquest was held on the body at the Infirmary, before the Borough Coroner (R. I. Bencraft, Esq.), and from the evidence of the mother, MARY ANN FORD, it appears that as she was busily engaged washing in her back kitchen she placed her child on a chair in front of the fire in the kitchen adjoining.  About 12 o'clock she took a counterpane and sheet to hang to dry in her mother-in-law's garden at 26 Sunnybank, and when she passed out through her kitchen she saw the deceased was seated all right in the chair in front of the fire, the door of the bodley being shut, and the other child was in the cradle, also near the fire.  She was not absent from the house more than five minutes.  When she returned, the deceased was lying on the floor, its nightdress, shawl and all its clothes being on fire - which was then nearly extinct.  She noticed that the door of the bodley was then open.  Witness heard no screaming before her return to the kitchen.  She immediately caught up the child and carried it into a neighbour's house, when another neighbour, Mrs Priscott, took it out of witness's arms and conveyed it to the Infirmary.  The child was insured in the Prudential Office when about two months old (she was at the time of death two years and nine months of age), and witness would consequently receive £3.  Amelia Priscott corroborated as to the child being immediately conveyed to the Infirmary.  Mr Charles H. Hale, acting house surgeon at the Infirmary, said the child was brought there the previous day at about 12.30 p.m.  It had sustained very severe injuries from burns on both legs and the left arm.  It had the remains of a chemise on, all but the collar and neck of which was completely burnt.  He dressed the wounds.  The child was conscious and did not appear to be in much pain.  It died there about half-past three in the afternoon.  Death resulted from a "shock to the system, caused by burns on the body."  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

WINKLEIGH - Sudden Death Of A Farmer. - Mr R. Fulford (County Coroner) held an Inquest at West Heywood Farm, Bondleigh, on Friday afternoon, on the body of MR RICHARD SELDON, who died somewhat suddenly on Wednesday.  It appeared from the evidence that on Tuesday, deceased, who had been at Northtawton in the morning, left his home in the afternoon with a horse to fetch a trap from Winkleigh, and on his way home called at Broadwoodkelly, where his daughter (who keeps the Union Inn there) resides.  He had tea with her and stayed some little time afterwards.  Shortly before leaving he complained of being unwell, and asked his daughter to allow her little boy to accompany him home.  His daughter consented, and also asked him to permit a young man named Saunders to ride with him part of the way, which he agreed to do.  They left the inn together about 9 p.m., but had not proceeded far beyond Clarkstown when Saunders noticed a great change in deceased's voice, and suddenly saw him fall backwards.  He loosened his collar, and sent the boy back to the inn for assistance.  The deceased was removed to the inn, where he lay in an unconscious state until his death.  A messenger was despatched for Mr J. H. Norman, surgeon, Winkleigh, who arrived shortly after 11 p.m., and remained until death took place.  Mr J. H. Norman stated that death resulted from natural causes - in his opinion from paralysis.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.  The deceased , who was 74 years of age, leaves a widow and six children.

Thursday 8 April 1886

BRAUNTON - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at Vellator, in the parish of Braunton, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner for this division of the county, to inquire into the circumstances attending the death of WALTER JAMES BUTLER, the infant son of JOHN BUTLER, sailor.  - LYDIA BUTLER, mother of deceased, deposed that the child was thirteen weeks old.  It was always rather delicate, but suffered from no particular disease.  The child had always slept with her and a little girl.  At about 10 o'clock on Friday evening she put the deceased and the other child to bed, following herself soon after.  About twenty minutes to two she noticed that the infant was all right, but when she awoke about five o'clock she found it was dead.  She at once called a neighbour, Mrs Parkhouse, and Dr Lane was sent for.  When she awoke at five o'clock the child was not quite close to her.  This was the first child she had lost.  Her husband was now at sea.  Mrs Parkhouse deposed that when MRS BUTLER called her early on Saturday morning she at once went into her house, when she found that the child was dead.  She had known MRS BUTLER for three years and was able to say that she was a kind and careful mother.  Mr S. O. Lane, surgeon, deposed that when he arrived at MRS BUTLER'S house early that morning he found that the child was quite dead.  It had apparently been dead for a few hours.  There were no marks of violence on the body, and there were no peculiar appearances.  Having heard the evidence which had been adduced and having examined the body of deceased, he was of opinion that death arose either from the child being overlaid or from its getting too near its mother during the night and thereby becoming suffocated.  Accidents of this kind frequently occurred where children slept in the same bed with their mother.  Notwithstanding this the practice was a very general one and no one seemed to think it wrong or dangerous until an accident happened. He did not think that in this instance death arose from convulsions or any other infantile disease.  A verdict of "Accidental Death owing to deceased getting too near its mother and therefore being Suffocated" was returned.

Thursday 22 April 1886

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at the Barnstaple Inn, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, for the purpose of investigating the circumstances attending the death of BETSY HEARN, aged 73 (who died suddenly on the preceding day).  Mr W. Fisher was selected as foreman of the Jury.  The first witness called was Mary Ann Parris, who deposed that she resided in Belle Meadow with her father and sisters.  She had known the deceased, who resided in Church street, about four months.  Deceased's husband died about four months ago in the Union, deceased having paid for his maintenance while he was in the House.  The deceased owned a number of houses and lived upon the rents.  About three weeks ago deceased came to her house in Belle Meadow and said she had fallen down and hurt herself.  She asked her to come in, and she afterwards gave her some tea, whereupon deceased said, "I shall not go home - I shall sleep with you."  Deceased remained at witness's house up to the time of her death.  The house witness occupied belonged to deceased, her father paying rent for it.  MRS HEARN, who had had a bad cough, remained in bed for three days prior to her death, but no medical man attended her.  Deceased did not make any complaints as to feeling any worse; she was a person of intemperate habits, and drank a good deal of gin.  About eleven o'clock on Wednesday morning she took deceased a cup of tea, and after drinking it she said she should go to sleep.  Shortly afterwards she found that deceased was sleeping.  About one o'clock she went upstairs to see how deceased was getting on, and she then found that MRS HEARN was dying - she was nearly out over the bed and was unable to speak.  Dr Cooper was sent for, and although he came within a few minutes MRS HEARN was dead before his arrival.  In answer to Mr Fisher and other members of the Jury, witness said deceased was in bed most of the time she had stayed at her house.  Deceased used to send out after the spirit she required.  About nine o'clock on Wednesday morning, she drank about sixpennyworths of gin.  Deceased had never told witness that she would leave her some property, but had promised that she should be paid for looking after her.  Mr Walter Cooper, M.R.C.S., deposed that when he reached Parris's house shortly after one o'clock on the preceding day, he found that MRS HEARN was quite dead.  He should say that she had been dead about half-an-hour when he saw her.  Two years ago he attended deceased in his professional capacity, and at that time she was suffering from bronchitis.  She was a person of intemperate habits, and about a year ago she fell and broke some of her ribs.  He last saw her on the 18th of March, when she was suffering from shortness of breath and chronic bronchitis.  He was of opinion, judging from the evidence he had heard that day and from his own knowledge of deceased's habits, that death was caused by the sudden failure of the heart's action, due to chronic bronchitis and the effects of drink.  The Jury at once returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

BISHOPSNYMPTON - Death Through Running To Catch A Train. - On Thursday evening last an Inquiry was instituted into the circumstances attending the death of HUMPHREY BOUNDY, 48, a shoemaker, residing at Knowstone, who was found dead in a railway carriage at Molland Station.  The Inquest was held at the Black Cock Inn, Bishopsnympton, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., District Coroner.  Deceased's brother, JOHN BOUNDY, gave evidence to the effect that he had never heard his brother complain of shortness of breath or heart disease, and when he last saw him he was in his usual state of health.  F. W. French, booking-clerk at the Southmolton station, said that he distinctly remembered issuing a ticket to deceased for Molland on the day in question (April 15th).  BOUNDY was a stranger to him, but he noticed at the time that he was very exhausted and had evidently been running to catch the train.  After giving him his ticket he saw no more of him, but shortly after the train left they received the telegram which he then produced, and which ran as follows:-  "Send doctor here all speed.  Man taken out of 5.50 p.m. supposed dead."  -  Albert Pine, railway porter of Molland, deposed that on the day in question as the 5.50 p.m. train from Barnstaple arrived, a gentleman looking into the carriage he saw this gentleman, who gave the name of George Tanner, Barton Hill, Bristol, supporting another person, who was apparently dead.  Mr Tanner said he got into the train at Filleigh, and that deceased entered the carriage at Southmolton.  He had been reading his paper for a short time, and when he looked up he saw that the man was dead.  Witness, with the assistance of the station-master and another removed the body to the Black Cock Hotel.  Other evidence of a formal character having been given, Dr Sanders, of Southmolton, said that he knew deceased personally, and had attended him for what to the best of his recollection was indigestion.  In consequence of having received a message he went up to Molland by the goods train which leaves Barnstaple at seven o'clock, and immediately viewed the body.  Having heard the evidence and having examined the body, he believed that death resulted from natural causes - heart disease.  It was a very common thing for a person with a weak heart to die suddenly from excessive exertion, such as running to catch a train.  The following verdict was returned: - "Natural Causes:  heart disease; after running to catch a train."

Thursday 29 April 1886

APPLEDORE - Sudden Death of MR GEORGE BAKER, of Appledore. - A painful sensation was caused in Appledore on Monday by the unexpected death of MR GEORGE BAKER, who was one of the most prominent men in the place.  The deceased seemed to be in his usual health on Saturday, and took an active part in the decorations of the Church.  Not feeling very well on Sunday he did not attend church as was his custom, and retired early to bed.  About twelve o'clock he was found dead.  An Inquest was held on deceased at the Royal Hotel, Appledore, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., one of the Coroners for the county, on Tuesday last.  From the evidence of deceased's widow it appears that up to about 6.30 a.m. on Sunday last MR BAKER enjoyed his usual health.  He got up about that time, but soon after returned to his bedroom and told his wife that he had fallen and felt unwell - he thought it was biliousness.  He did not send for the doctor but made himself up a little medicine, and thought he should be well enough to attend church in the morning.  However, he went to bed and laid there all day.  Towards the evening he got so much better that he proposed his wife might leave him and go to Church.  Before she was prepared he called her upstairs and said he felt worse, and desired a doctor to be sent for.  Dr Pratt came soon after and prescribed some medicine for him to soothe the pain.  In accordance with medical advice MRS BAKER went out about nine o'clock to get him some arrowroot, and on her return was informed that deceased was making inquiries for her, saying that he was dying.  She went up to him, and after a short conversation gave him another dose of medicine, after which deceased said he should turn over and have a nap.  She had supper and made arrangements to stay up all night with her husband.  At about 11.30 she noticed that the breathing was faint, she immediately drew near to him, but only to find that he had just breathed his last.  When the doctor first saw him he made a light matter of it, and said he thought it was a slight failure of the heart's action.  -  Wm. John Lane said that MRS BAKER called him about 12.30 on Sunday night, and asked him to come up, as her husband was worse.  On arriving at the house he found that MR BAKER was dead.  He immediately went and fetched Dr Pratt, and as that gentleman did not come up as soon as he expected he went to him again and told him what had happened.  On his arrival Dr Pratt pronounced him dead, and did not express any surprise at the occurrence nor did he say how long deceased had been dead.  Dr Pratt deposed to attending deceased for an attack of syncope.  Upon examination he found that MR BAKER had a feeble intermittent pulse.  He informed MRS BAKER of the nature of the case and prescribed accordingly, but did not think it necessary to call until the next morning.  Between twelve and one o'clock the same night and after he had retired he was again called.  He dressed as fast as he could, and on his arrival found MR BAKER had expired.  He should think he had been dead for an hour.  His opinion was that the deceased had a diseased heart, as he had previously attended him for a long attack of syncope.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes - failure of the heart's action."  - MR BAKER had been a resident in Appledore for fifty years, and took a great interest in local matters, more especially those relating to fishery and shipping.  He was Vice-Consul for Sweden and Norway, agent for Lloyd's, Conservator of the Salmon Fisheries, Warden for the Northam School Board, and for forty-one years had been Superintendent of the Church of England Sunday School.  The deceased was a Conservative in politics, and was agent and registrar of voters for the party in Appledore. MR BAKER who was about 74 years of age was recently married, and much sympathy is felt for his young widow.  The funeral took place yesterday (Wednesday) and was largely attended.

Thursday 13 May 1886

BRADWORTHY - Inquest. - On Friday last an Inquest was held before Jas. F. Bromham, Esq., one of the Coroners for the county, at West Ash Farm, Bradworthy, to inquire into the circumstances attending the death of GEORGE HERBERT BENNETT, an infant of about 6 weeks.  From the evidence of the mother , it appears that the child was healthy and well when put to bed, on the previous evening.  About one o'clock the following morning she nursed it, and afterwards fell asleep, not waking until seven o'clock.  She immediately turned to suckle the child, and noticing that the top part of its head was looking white, took it up to examine it, and found that it was dead; the arms were still warm.  The child was wrapped up in a little blanket, because the mother sometimes found the clothes off it, when she woke.  She had had eight children all of whom, in their infancy, had slept in the same bed with witness and her husband, and no harm had arisen therefrom until now.  She sent for the doctor immediately, who arrived in the course of the morning.  Edwin W. Emtage, medical practitioner of Cleverdon, Bradworthy, deposed that when he arrived at the house the child was cold and stiff and had evidently been dead some hours.  Upon examination he found patches of livid discoloration upon the body, and, especially about the face; the eyes were prominent, and the tongue injected.  All these were indications of suffocation.  Death had certainly not resulted from natural causes; he should say that the child had been suffocated, either by being overlaid, or by being too much enveloped in the bed clothes.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death; suffocation, the result of being overlaid."

Thursday 3 June 1886

BARNSTAPLE - An Inquest was held at the residence of Capt. Wm. Lemon, Newport, on Saturday morning last, before  Mr Archibald Bencraft, Deputy Coroner, on the body of CATHERINE KINE, aged 33, who had expired suddenly on the preceding day.  Mr Radford was elected foreman of the Jury.  Capt. Wm. Lemon said the deceased was his wife's sister, and she had resided at his house for a number of years.  The deceased had been in a weak condition for some years -  it had been an affection of the mind more than anything else.  She had a great disposition to lie in bed, and for several years spent two-thirds of her time in bed.  For some months she had had a bad cough and he believed she suffered from heart disease.  No doctor had seen her for some years.  On Thursday she had an attack of diarrhoea, and she was given a couple of doses of Goss's mixture.  On Friday morning he felt her pulse - it was scarcely perceptible and deceased was very weak, so he told Mrs Lemon she had better send for a doctor.  As the doctor did not arrive very quickly he went after him himself. Before the doctor arrived, however, she was dead.  Mrs Sarah Elizabeth Lemon, wife of the last witness, said her deceased sister had been in bad health for some years - it was general weakness and breaking up of the system, she thought.  The deceased never complained, and had a good appetite.  On going upstairs on Thursday night her sister fainted.  Witness gave her some brandy and water, and left some with deceased so that she might drink it in the night if she required it.  The deceased drank the brandy and water during the night, and in the morning she thought she was better.  Early in the morning she took some tea, and just before she died she drank some more brandy and water.  She died about half-past nine.  In answer to the foreman, witness said she did not think her sister saw a doctor for twelve years.  If she had thought that a doctor was wanted she would have sent for one immediately, but deceased ate well and made no complaint.  Mr Walter Cooper, M.R.C.S., said that when he arrived at Mr Lemon's house about 10 o'clock the deceased had been dead about 20 minutes.  The boy who was sent for a doctor earlier in the morning, simply asked Mr Pronger to call at Mr Lemon's some time in the morning, and nothing was said as to urgency.  Directly Mr Lemon brought the message he set out.  He examined the body of deceased; he found it to be rather thin - otherwise it was perfectly natural.  Death was due, so far as he could judge, to consumption of the lungs, which probably resulted in syncope of the heart.  A Juror asked if the life of deceased would have been prolonged if medical advice had been sought before, but Dr Cooper said that was a question he could not answer.  Mrs Mary Jane Squire, wife of John Squire, mason, said she knew deceased for a number of years.  She had a good appetite, but was not very right in her head and was fond of lying in bed.  She had latterly had a bad cough, and witness thought she was in consumption.  Deceased passed quietly away in her presence.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony, the foreman remarking that he was sorry a doctor was not called in to see the deceased before, as she had been ailing for a long time.  Captain Lemon said the deceased was afflicted with an affection of the mind which was beyond medical skill, and they attributed her bodily weakness to her practice of lying in bed so continually.  She had appeared to be going on the same as usual - had a good appetite, and made no complaint, and they did not think she needed a doctor until they saw the change on Friday morning.

TORRINGTON - Sudden Death. - On Monday an Inquest was held before J. F. Bromham, Esq., on the body of GEORGE HARRIS HOULDFIELD, retired tailor, who died suddenly on Friday.  Mrs Lydia Dennis, of Bideford, said the deceased who was her brother, was 69 years of age.  He resided by himself in a cottage.  His health had been failing for some time - he suffered from shortness of breath and an affection of the heart.  She had offered to take him to Bideford and look after him, but he said he preferred to live at Torrington.  Mrs Elizabeth Popham, a neighbour, said she was at home on Friday when the deceased was brought in dead.  She was not surprised, as she always expected deceased would die suddenly.  Mr Horwood Squire, carpenter, residing in the parish of St. Giles, deposed that on Friday evening, he was walking down Well-street, when he saw the deceased in the road close to the kerb.  Deceased made a halt and looked round as if bewildered, and then tried to get on to the footway.  He fell across the kerb, and witness then ran to his assistance.  He gasped two or three times, but this was the only sign of life he gave.  With assistance he conveyed deceased to his home, but before the house was reached life was extinct.  The Supt. of Police arrived before he left the cottage.  Dr William Lait, of Torrington, gave it as his opinion that death resulted from failure of the heart's action.  He saw deceased professionally about three weeks since and his pulse was then very weak, which indicated weakness of the heart.  He told deceased that he was liable to die suddenly at any time.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

Thursday 10 June 1886

BARNSTAPLE - Painful Case Of Suicide. -  The intelligence of the terrible death of a former tradesman of the town by suicide on the railway line created a profoundly painful sensation throughout Barnstaple yesterday morning.  JOHN STOYLE, who had lately resided at Pilton, and who had formerly carried on a fairly extensive business in the Barnstaple district, as a travelling draper, with, it would appear, most deliberate intention, laid himself on the rail near Anchor Wood, in front of the early morning train from Torrington to Exeter, on the London and South Western Railway, and was fearfully mutilated, death being, to all appearance, instantaneous.  STOYLE, a year since, having got greatly in arrears with his payments to the firm of Messrs. Rundle, Rogers and Brook, wholesale drapers, Plymouth, with whom he principally dealt, became a bankrupt, and from that time to the occurrence had been in a most depressed state of mind, his sanity having latterly been evidently seriously affected.  The rash act by which he brought about his own death was plainly the outcome of temporary insanity.  The body was removed to the mortuary of the North Devon Infirmary, and in the afternoon R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, held an Inquiry into the sad circumstances of the death.  Mr John Cummings was chosen foreman of the Jury, who then proceeded to view the body.  It presented a ghastly spectacle.  The head was almost severed from the body, and the right foot was terribly lacerated, hanging only by the muscles to the leg.  It was evident from the nature of the injuries that deceased was lying on his face when the wheel or wheel-guard of the railway engine struck him.  In all probability the first blow was given at the back of the neck, and that the body, rebounding again, was crushed above the right foot.  As the evidence of the witnesses called at the Inquest very fully describes the suicide it is unnecessary to traverse the particulars.  The Coroner, in opening the Inquiry, alluded to the position deceased had held, his difficulties, and the probable explanation of his death by his own hand.  The following depositions were then taken:-

WILLIAM STOYLE, postmaster, of Crediton, brother of the deceased, the first witness, stated - Deceased was my brother.  He was 47 years of age.  He had carried on business as a traveller in drapery in Barnstaple and neighbourhood, having set rounds.  He had carried on this business for many years.  Latterly he had dealt with one firm, Messrs, Rundle, Rogers and Brook, wholesale drapers, of Plymouth.  He got into considerable arrears with his accounts, and twelve months since the firm gave him six months to retrieve his position.  But he failed to do so in that time, and they then took possession of his horse and trap, furniture, and book debts, their legal advisers collecting the latter.  He had not done anything since.  We have not been able to rouse him.  He appeared to be incapable of doing anything.  He seemed to be in a state of mental incapacity altogether.  He has left a widow and eight children.  Two of the children are from home.  He has been intemperate, which has accounted for his losses to some extent; but not so much lately.  He has been at home or about the town of late.  He has not drunk to excess recently, not having the means.  I saw him last on Tuesday week.  He was in a very depressed state then.  I asked what he was going to do for the future to maintain his wife and family.  He said, "Work when I can get it."  He appeared to think, however, that it was impossible for him to obtain employment.  By the firm having taken all his goods and effects and annoyed his customers by writing to them about their accounts, he was off the ground entirely.  He told me only yesterday week that he should not be long for this world.  The circumstances in which he was placed seemed to have a very depressing effect upon him.  He had no views about work then.  He got a situation under Mr Harvey, of Bideford, but when he came to call on his old customers they had been so insulted by the firm for which he had previously worked peremptorily demanding their accounts, that they would not deal with him.  He told me he was out all one week and only took one order.  He owed very little outside his debt to the firm.  We blamed the firm much for allowing the account to go on for such a length of time.  In my opinion the difficulties deceased has been in lately have rendered him in a state incapable of work.  He has not acted like the same man.  He got on very comfortably with his wife and family.  I told my wife when I got home on Tuesday week that I should not be surprised to get a telegram saying something had happened to him.  I did not think he was sane.

Henry Pope was the next witness.  He deposed:  I am an engine driver in the employ of the London and South Western Railway Company.  I reside at Torrington, and have driven the engine from thence to Exeter.  I was driving the first train from Torrington to Exeter due at Fremington at 7.49.  Before leaving Fremington, when we were nearing a particular spot I saw something dark on the line, towards the rifle targets.  I thought first it was one of the goats, which frequently get on the line.  When I found it did not move and we were getting nearer, until we were within twenty yards of it, I looked over the side of the engine, and saw what appeared to be the head of a man with the face towards Barnstaple.  This was on top of what we call the cattle arch, one part of which is depressed, and the body was lying in the arch, the collar of the coat being turned up over the neck, which was resting on the right hand rail, nearest the wood, the rest of the body being in the hollow of the cattle arch ridge.  It was too late then to stop the train, which went over the body.  I saw the hat fall out between the tender of the first carriage.  I never saw the body, but caught sight of the hat falling off.  I heard no noise or anything.  I pulled up at the Barnstaple ticket office and informed the authorities of the occurrence.  I called the guard up at the ticket platform and told him about what I had seen, then looked round the engine and subsequently drove on to Barnstaple Station, and told Mr Whitehorn.  It would not have been possible to pull up when I saw that it was a body, with the vacuum break.  We cannot pull up within 20 yards.  - Foreman:  Have you ever killed a goat before on the line?  - Witness:  Yes.  They are not so frequently on the line now.  - The Foreman said he wished to obtain this information, as it might be thought that if goats were in the habit of getting on the line the engine might have been pulled up.

Henry Jones, fireman on the engine, was not sworn, but, in reply to the Coroner, stated that he also saw an object on the line.  He had cause to go to the other side to put on the injector.  He saw that it was a man when they got within 20 or 25 yards.  It was impossible for them to have pulled up then.  There was plenty of chance for anyone to have got out of the way.  He knew nothing more about it than Mr Pope had said.  They could not have stopped in time to save the man's life.   Mr Pope, recalled, said they were running 35 miles an hour.  They were timed rather short between Fremington and Barnstaple, and it was a good bit of road.

Charles Wm. Heather was then called and deposed:  I am a son of the stationmaster at the Barnstaple Junction Station of the London and South Western Railway, and am also in the employ of the Company.  I was sent down to the body with a party of men and a stretcher.  Two men followed with a trolley.  They caught us up before we reached the body.  The body was then lying in the four-foot, about 60 yards below the distance signal.  It was between the flood arch and the distance signal.  The face was towards Fremington, and the legs towards the river.  It had evidently been struck, carried along, and then brought back again.  The body was much mutilated.  I knew deceased well, but could not recognise him.  He was quite dead.  I had the remains put on the trolley and immediately removed to the Infirmary, going on the Ilfracombe line and coming off at the road crossing to the drapery stores and yard. I saw him on Monday morning, when he was going towards Sticklepath.  There was not much blood to be seen about the spot on the flood arch.

Gordon Jones said:<  I am an ex-policeman and have known deceased from childhood.  I last saw him alive this morning in the Square.  I met him and spoke to him.  He had his head down.  I said "Good morning," and he replied "Good morning, George," and we then passed the usual remarks about the weather.  I must say he was strange.  He was in the habit of walking out in the morning.  I had some talk with him on Monday; he seemed lost.

Mr Harry Haynes Lovell, house surgeon, North Devon Infirmary, then deposed:  About nine o'clock I was called to the mortuary.  I found there a body, in which to all appearance there was no sign of life.  I examined the body; there was no pulsation.  It was not cold.  The most important injury was that done to the neck, which was almost severed, the lower jaw being entirely shattered, the vertebral column (skin and muscles) was perfectly severed, and the right foot hanging, also nearly severed.  Those injuries were sufficient to cause instant death; the injury to the neck severed the spinal cord.  I should say the wheel did not go over it.  There was no definable fracture to the head.  It would require a post mortem to establish whether there was any such fracture or not.

The Coroner, in briefly summing up the evidence, said he thought it was plainly evident to the Jury that death must have been caused in the way stated by the witnesses, and that STOYLE had committed suicide whilst temporarily insane.  They should return a verdict accordingly.  The Jury formally returned a verdict to this effect:  That the deceased, JOHN STOYLE, placed himself on the metals of the London and South Western Railway, whereby he was run over by a locomotive engine and probably received injuries causing his death; and that at the time he so placed himself on the metals he was in a state of Temporary Insanity. The Foreman said the widow would have the sympathy of the Jury in her terrible trial, and he moved that it be conveyed to her.  The Coroner endorsed the Foreman's kindly references to MRS STOYLE, and instructed the officer to convey the sympathy of the Jury to her.  The miscellaneous articles - letters, knife, pocket-book, pencils &c. found upon deceased were produced, but there was no written statement having reference to the suicide.

WESTWARD HO - Depressing Suicide At Westward Ho!  - A suicide of a very painful character has occurred at Westward Ho!  At the Bideford Police Court on Monday, a girl named MARY JANE PETHERICK was fined for stealing a pair of boots.  The father of the girl took the matter so much to heart that he left his home the same day, and on Tuesday afternoon was found drowned at Westward Ho!  The PETHERICKS live at Silford, Northam, and the father has long been known as a thoroughly respectable, quiet, hardworking man.  He was hired for Mr John Turner, of Abbotsham.  It is said that he had been worried over one or two other things lately, and that the conviction of his daughter for theft - though not what may be called a very serious affair - affected him deeply.  The girl was charged with the offence on Sunday evening, and on the Monday morning the father said he "could not stand it" and left home, saying he wouldn't come back, or making some remark to that effect.  It is reported, however, that he was in Bideford during the morning, when the case was being heard.  He did not return home, and a search was instituted.  Towards the end of the afternoon PETHERICK'S dead body was picked up on the rocks at Westward Ho! not far from Mr Nixon's residence.  The body was first lodged in a house adjoining and subsequently taken to the home at Silford to await the Inquest.  The sad affair has produced quite a sensation at Northam and in the neighbourhood, PETHERICK being well known.  Much sympathy is felt for the widow.  We have heard that brothers of the deceased have acted rashly under trouble, which seems to prove a family weakness of the intellect when subjected to strain.  An Inquest on the body of the deceased was held at the King's Head Inn, Northam, yesterday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.  P.C. Champion, George Andrews (coastguardsman), John Hoare (coastguard pensioner) and ANN PETHERICK (widow of deceased) gave evidence, and a verdict to the effect that the deceased drowned himself while in a state of Unsound Mind was returned.

Thursday 24 June 1886

APPLEDORE - The Fatal Accident At Appledore. - The Inquest in connection with this case, which we reported last week, was held on Thursday morning at Mr Boundy's Royal Hotel, Appledore, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Nicol was chosen foreman.  The first witness called was ALFRED GEORGE HARRIS, who said, I am a lighterman; the body the Jury have viewed is that of my brother, JOHN HARRIS.  He was 25 years of age.  yesterday afternoon, between five and six o'clock, we were both engaged loading a vessel called the "Eppney Lass;"  I was in the barge; my brother was on the deck of the ship, and was tipping the baskets.  Witness described the gear that was being used, and added:  Whilst at work I heard a rattle and saw the gear coming down.  I then saw my brother fall.  I jumped on to the deck of the vessel as quickly as I could.  I found my brother lying unconscious and bleeding freely.  He died whilst I was holding him in my arms.  He never spoke, but just shivered and gasped once or twice, but beyond that gave no sign of life.  This was the second day we had been loading the vessel.  The same gear was used the day previous, and we had made use of the same when it was loaded with ballast about three months ago.  I never heard any remark made as to the gear being unsafe.  In reply to the foreman, witness said members of the vessel's crew had also assisted in tipping the baskets.  The captain had also helped tip the same day.  He could not say positively whether the gear was rigged in exactly the same way this voyage as last; it looked the same.

Felix Silvey, captain of the "Eppney Lass," said:  The vessel is owned by my mother.  At the time of the accident I was below.  I heard the gear fall, and got up on the deck.  I then saw that it had struck down JOHN HARRIS.  The spar or derrick had come down, bringing the 'gin' and chain, &c., with it.  On examining it I found that a long link, connecting the chain with the 'gin' had parted.  My mate superintended the fixing of the gear on Tuesday last, and that day we put in 40 tones of gravel.  The same gear has been frequently used before, and always been found to answer.  The weight of the basket when filled with gravel was about two cwt.  We have before loaded copper slags and railroad iron with the same gear, when about 5 cwt. would be loaded every turn.    I had not the slightest idea there was anything defective, and I myself was working immediately under, and also had the same afternoon been tipping some of the baskets.  In reply to the foreman, witness said the gear was not finally fixed until he came back with the 'gin,' so that he saw it as well.  At this point the constable produced the hat worn by deceased at the time, from which it was evident that the deceased was struck by the 'gin' itself and not by the spar.  The hat was cut right through as by a sharp instrument.  Chas. Halt, mate of the vessel, stated that he superintended the fixing of the lowering gear.  He had been 23 years in the coasting trade, and 30 years at sea.  He had had considerable experience in fixing such gear.  He saw it securely fixed on Tuesday.  Had used the same gear before and discharged much heavier weights with it.  He had no idea anything was defective.  Witness himself was tipping earlier in the day, but deceased's brother came and asked him to go to the winch so that the work might be forwarded.  He did so, and deceased took on the tipping.  Had it not been for this he should have been where deceased was when the gear fell.  The accident was caused by the long link in the sling chain parting.  the link had been looked for, but it could not be found.  P.C. Parker deposed to fetching the doctor and to taking charge of the body, and Dr Pratt gave formal evidence of death, which was doubtless caused by deceased being violently struck by a heavy sharp body like the 'gin' or wheel which was said to have struck him.  During the Inquest a number of questions were asked by the Jury as to the way in which the lifting gear was fixed and as to the men who fixed it.   It was evident, however, that proper care had been taken and that no one could have had any suspicion of danger.  The Jury consequently returned a verdict of "Accidentally Killed," and exonerated everybody from blame.

Thursday 8 July 1886

BARNSTAPLE - A Child Drowned. - An Inquest was held at the Plough Inn, Fremington, on Saturday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of HARTY PASSMORE, aged six, son of a dairyman residing in Trinity-street, Barnstaple, who had been drowned in a cistern on the preceding day.  RICHARD PASSMORE, father of the deceased, deposed that about a quarter past seven on Friday morning he took the lad with him to Anchor Wood, where he rented some fields.  He left the lad at the commencement of the road leading to the Wood, telling him to remain there until James Joslin, labourer, came to work.  The boy had been there several times previously, and knew the fields which he rented very well.  The boy liked to stop there, and he (witness) had no idea that there was any danger in his doing so.  About half-past ten he was going up Sticklepath Hill on his way to the fields when he met James Joslin and P.C. Courtney, who informed him that the child was drowned.  James Joslin, labourer, residing at Bickington, deposed that as he was going to one of MR PASSMORE'S fields about a quarter past seven on the previous morning, he met the deceased in the lane leading to Anchor Wood.  He took the boy with him.  When he proceeded to work he left the boy sitting on his coat; he told him to sit still, as his father would be there soon.  He could see the boy as he was working.  A little after ten o'clock he looked and found that the boy was missing.  Shortly before this he had spoken to the boy, who said he wanted to drink.  He said he should have a drink when his father arrived.  When he found the boy was not in the field he went to look for him.  He found the gate of another field open, and he made his way to a cistern there, thinking that the lad had gone there to drink.  He saw deceased's hat floating on the water, which was very thick and muddy.  He put his hand into the cistern and found the body of deceased.  He called for assistance, and two men (Tucker and Newcombe) were soon on the spot, and they carried the body to a shed adjoining the road.  He informed P.C. Courtney of what had occurred, and he afterwards broke the news to MR PASSMORE.  He should think 20 minutes elapsed from the time he missed deceased to the time he found the body.  He had no idea the boy would go to the cistern to drink; he did not know the boy was aware of the existence of the tank.  The boy had never been with him before.  Formal evidence was given by P.C. Toms, of Barnstaple, and a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" was returned.

Thursday 22 July 1886

MORTHOE - Suicide of MR T. CHALLACOMBE. - Some consternation was caused in this parish on Saturday by the rumour, which proved only too true, that MR THOMAS CHALLACOMBE, of Eastacombe Farm, had committed suicide.  An Inquest on the body of the deceased was held on Saturday afternoon, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.  The first witness called was ELIZA CHALLACOMBE, who said the deceased was her father.  He was a farmer and was 73 years of age.  She was a widow, and had resided with her father for fourteen years.  For the past two or three years her father had been in a bad state of health - the principal thing from which he suffered was depression of the nerves, for which complaint three medical men attended him.  No doctor had seen him for six months.  During the past two or three months, her late father varied in health; she had looked upon him as an invalid, and had treated him as such.  On Friday evening he had supper with witness as usual about 9 o'clock, and he went to bed shortly afterwards.  He seemed to be in his usual state - if there was any difference, he was rather less depressed.  About seven o'clock that (Saturday) morning she noticed that the door of her father's bedroom was open, and as she found that the deceased was not in his room she asked her brother to go and look for him.  Shortly afterwards her brother told her that her father was dead.  - THOMAS CHALLACOMBE, eldest surviving son of deceased, said that during the past two or three years, his father suffered from severe nervous depression.  About seven o'clock that morning his sister informed him that his father was missing, and in company with Thomas Parker, a workman, he went to look for him.  He found the deceased hanging by a rope in the granary, the rope being fastened to a span.  Thomas Parker cut the rope.  His father was quite dead.  There was no doubt that his father had been in a low and depressed state for a long time.  About two years ago deceased said he wished someone would kill him, but no one imagined that he would commit any rash act.  He was never left very much by himself, however, as some member of the family was generally at hand.  Thomas Parker, labourer, gave corroborative evidence, and a verdict of "Suicide whilst suffering from Temporary Insanity" was returned.

TAVISTOCK - Fatal Carriage Accident Near Tavistock. - An Inquest was held at the Royal Hotel, Horrbridge (near Tavistock), on Monday afternoon, by Mr R. R. Rodd, respecting the death of MRS MARY LOUISA PARKYN, wife of the REV. J. C. PARKYN, rector of South Sydenham, who died on Sunday afternoon.  The deceased lady left the rectory on Tuesday last, in company with Miss Margaret Weekes, with a pony and a carriage for a drive.  On reaching Tuell Down, the animal started and upset the carriage, precipitating both occupants into the road.  MRS PARKYN sustained serious spinal injuries, and Miss Weekes also received a severe shock to the system and was much hurt in the left arm.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  Much sympathy is felt by a wide circle of friends for the rev. gentleman in his bereavement.

ALVERDISCOTT - Suicide of MAJOR DEANE. - A painful sensation was created throughout the North of Devon on Tuesday by the rumour, which was, unhappily, only too well founded, that MAJOR W. A. DEANE, of Webbery House, Alverdiscott, near Bideford, had committed suicide by cutting his throat.  The deceased gentleman, who was the eldest son of the late AS. W. J. DEANE, Esq., was a Justice of the Peace and a Deputy Lieutenant for Devon, and lord of the manors of Monksohan, Bentley, Woodcroft, Copdock, and Stratford St. Mary, in Suffolk and Essex.  As an old officer of the Royal North Devon Hussars he was highly respected, and as a landlord and a country gentleman he was esteemed by all.  He was an ardent Conservative, and took an active part in the electoral contests which have taken place of late years.  An Inquest was held on the body of the deceased gentleman on Tuesday evening, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.  The first witness called was James Trott, butler, who deposed that he was  in the employ of MAJOR DEANE for over twelve years.  The deceased, who was sixty-five years of age, had from time to time during the past year or so suffered from indigestion, Mr Gamble, of Barnstaple, being his medical attendant.  The attacks were usually accompanied by low spirits.  The major was pretty well on Saturday, and he took lunch at Instow with Captain Neville.  On Sunday he went to church, and he seemed all right then.  On Monday he was not so well, and seemed drowsy and sleepy during the greater part of the day - indeed, witness recommended him to send for Mr Gamble, but he said he should get better without that.  He retired to rest about eleven o'clock.  About half-past three on Tuesday morning he called witness and asked for some soda and milk, and at eight o'clock he gave him a cup of tea.  Shortly afterwards he asked the deceased if he should put together his things, as he intended to go abroad for a change, but he said he did not think he was well enough to go.  He afterwards, however, said he thought he would go, and told witness to put the things out.  Witness went downstairs to have his breakfast, and after a short time had elapsed he heard a kind of stamping in deceased's room.  He went upstairs to see what was the matter, and he found MAJOR DEANE sitting on a chair in his dressing room with his throat cut, blood flowing freely from the wound.  He rang for assistance, and Mrs Kennedy, the coachman's wife, was soon on the spot.  He sent her for her husband, and directed that a doctor should be sent for immediately.  He removed the deceased to his bed.  After he was in bed he said a few words, which sounded to him like "Let me go."  Before Dr Rouse arrived his master was dead.  MAJOR DEANE died about half an hour after he found him with his throat cut.   Thomas Kennedy, coachman, gave corroborative evidence.  Dr Ezekiel Rouse, of Bideford, said he knew the deceased very well, but was not his regular medical attendant.  A message reached him from Webbery about a quarter to nine that morning, and he at once drove to the deceased's residence.  The MAJOR was dead when he arrived, and had been so for five or ten minutes.  He found an extensive wound in the Major's neck, all the large vessels on each side being severed.  Mr C. H. Gamble, of Barnstaple, said he had been the medical attendant of the deceased for several years.  The ailments for which he principally attended him were indigestion and biliary disarrangement.  During the past year or so these attacks had been rather severe, and had been accompanied with great depression of spirits and nervousness.  The last occasion on which he attended him was about two months ago, and then the depression of spirits was so great as to amount to absolute despondency.  He was very ill for some days but ultimately recovered, and seemed to be in very good health again.  Every time these attacks came on they seemed to increase in severity.  Judging from the evidence he had heard he was of opinion that another of those attacks had come on, and that it was accompanied with such depression as to amount to temporary insanity.  From his experience as a medical man he was able to say that this did happen in cases of this kind.  He had no hesitation in saying that the deceased committed this sad act whilst suffering from temporary mental derangement, the result of a fresh attack of biliary disarrangement.  The Coroner, in summing up, referred to MR DEANE as one of the most popular gentlemen in North Devon, and one who would be greatly missed and mourned on every hand.  He was sure their deepest sympathies were with the family and friends of the deceased.  The Jury at once returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."  The Rev. James Warren, who was foreman of the Jury, spoke feelingly of the loss they had all suffered, and bore testimony to the exemplary life led by the deceased.  We are requested to state that the funeral will take place on Saturday afternoon next, when the remains of the deceased gentleman will be interred in Alverdiscott churchyard.  The funeral cortege will leave Webbery at half-past three.

EXMOUTH - An Inquest was on Monday held upon the body of EDEWARD HOWARD JACKSON, who committed suicide at his father's residence near Exmouth.  The Jury found that deceased shot himself while Temporarily Insane.

Thursday 5 August 1886

ILFRACOMBE - The body of the young man MORRIS, who was washed off the Gael at Watermouth last Thursday week, was picked up under the Ilfracombe pier on Tuesday morning, about 7 o'clock.  The body was in an advanced stage of decomposition.  It was removed to a shed in the Cove yard.  The Inquest on the body was held in the evening at the Coffee Tavern, before Dr Slade-Kind, Deputy Coroner, when a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 12 August 1886

CHITTLEHAMPTON - Sudden Death. - An Inquest was held at the Rolle Arms, Chittlehampton, on Monday last, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, touching the death of WM. SUMMERS, a labourer, in his eighty-third year.  From the evidence of the person with whom he lodged, it appeared that he left home on Saturday morning last in his usual health, and was engaged in hoeing turnips in a field, near the village, in which there is a path leading to Stowford.  Some people passing through the fields, shortly before six o'clock, observed deceased lying against the hedge, and, on going up to him, discovered that he was dead.  He had, apparently sat against the hedge to eat his dinner, and had died almost immediately after.  A. Hind, Esq., surgeon, stated that the deceased had probably died from apoplexy, and a verdict of Death from Natural Causes was arrived at by the Jury.

BARNSTAPLE - The Distressing Fatality On The Taw. - The efforts to recover the body of the unfortunate victim of the boating accident in the river Taw on the Bank Holiday were continued throughout last week, but without success, until very early on Sunday morning, when a man named John Avery, in the employ of the Barnstaple Town Council, discovered it at Pill "Shillies" (shallows) on the Tawstock side of the new railway bridge, which is to effect the junction between the Great Western and London and South Western lines of railway.  The body lay in but three feet six inches of water, and was partially embedded in the mud at the bed of the river.  The lower limbs were floating, and one side of the upper portion of the body was also visible.  That portion of the features which was visible from above the water presented a most distressing appearance, having been partially eaten away.  The brothers Woodman, who had been actively engaged in the search, were a little in the rear of Avery, who arrived at the spot about six in the morning.  The place where the body lay is particularly shallow, and hence its name "Shillies."  That the likelihood of the remains being discovered there  did not previously occur to the searchers seems somewhat strange under the circumstances, but opinions generally attached themselves to the view that the pits near Black Rock formed the most likely locality.  The body was removed from the river immediately on its recovery, and a stretcher having been procured, it was conveyed to the mortuary of the North Devon Infirmary, there to await an Inquest.  The brother of deceased, who had been staying in the town since the calamity, was apprised of the recovery of his sister's body, and accompanied the corpse to the Infirmary.  There were but few people astir at the early hour and the mournful procession passed through the town with little remark.  Avery obtained the £1 reward, but the brothers Woodman also received a substantial recognition of their energetic efforts to find the body.  The news of it s recovery renewed the sad interest, locally, in the fatality.

The Inquest:-  The Inquest on the unfortunate young woman, POLLY COPP, who was drowned in the river on Bank Holiday, was held on Monday, before the Borough Coroner, R. I. Bencraft, Esq., at the Infirmary, where the body was lying.  Mr Samuel Ford was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The Coroner, in opening the proceedings, said he thought the painful circumstances of the accident, and its lamentable result, were very distressing.  He thought there was but one verdict which they could return, and that was that deceased was accidentally drowned, but they would hear the circumstances in the evidence which he was about to call.  There was one point to which he would call their attention, and that was the question as to whether the boat in which the party embarked was overcrowded.  They would, however, form their own opinion from the evidence.

The Jury then proceeded to view the body, which was frightfully disfigured.  The first witness called was:

WILLIAM COPP, who said:-  I am an invalid of the Army, having belonged to the Royal Artillery.  The deceased was my sister.  She was a glover by trade, and lived with my widowed mother at Well-street, Torrington.  She was 25 years of age.  I knew nothing of the occurrence which took place on Monday week.  I saw my sister alive last at Torrington station on the Monday morning.  She was coming to Barnstaple for the day.  She was a member of the Salvation Army.  She was not subject to fits, but I think she had been troubled with heart disease.  Otherwise she was strong and healthy, and she seemed quite well when I last saw her.

Thomas Piper, painter, of Torrington deposed:-  I have known the deceased for some time.  I came from Torrington in the same train with the deceased, which left that place about 10.20 a.m.  There were about 20 persons in the party.  We came for the purpose of attending services of the Salvation Army.  We attended those services in the morning, and went on the river in the afternoon just after two.  We then went up as far as the new iron bridge, now in course of construction, and were on the water about an hour.  We came back and attended the open-air service at the Albert Clock.  We enjoyed our first trip so much that we wished to go again before we went home.  We accordingly visited the South Walk about six o'clock.  I enquired for a boat which would be capable of conveying eleven persons, selecting one that lay near the embankment.  The proprietor of the boats said we could not have that, as it was already engaged, but said we could go in two parties.  We then waited by his directions about twenty minutes, and then went down and six of us entered the boat, the other five to follow in another.  We got into the boat at the steps all right, but when about 50 yards from the shore, our boat came into collision with a boat that was moored.  There were four young women in the boat.  As soon as the boats collided the girls stood up and caught hold of the empty boat, and the current carried our boat from under us; and we were all six thrown into the water.  

By a Juror:  It was owing to the girls moving that the accident occurred.  Deceased and myself had got hold of an empty boat, and we both held on for a second or two, but suddenly the deceased threw up her hands, and I did not see her afterwards.  It was not the boat we came into collision with.  The tide drifted the deceased up to where she got hold of the boat. 

By the Foreman:  I consider the boat had quite enough in her, but do not think she was overcrowded.

By a Juror:  I have never had very much experience in the use of a boat, neither had my friend, but I had been up this river several times.  I am able to swim.  In answer to another Juryman, the witness said the boat's head was pointing across the river.

John Ratcliffe deposed:  I am the proprietor of about 50 boats, which I keep at the South Walk, and let out on hire.  On Monday last, the 2nd inst., the deceased, with three other young women and two young men, the last witness being one, came to me about twenty minutes to seven.  They waited by my direction about three-quarters of an hour, when they got into a boat which is capable of containing eight.  When they had all taken their seats I pushed the boat off the slip.  Mr Piper was pulling the bow oar, and the other gentleman the stroke oar, which was the one further from the shore.  They had proceeded about 50 yards when their boat fouled in the bow of another that was moored further up.  The young women in the boat stood up and got hold of the empty boat.  The man pulling the bow oar then ran aft, which caused the boat they were in to be half filled with water, and the whole party were thrown out, whilst the boat drifted up the river. 

By a Juror:  I did not see the girl go down.  The name of the boat was the Queen.

John Avery said:  I am a mariner, working at the present time for the Town Council as a labourer.  Yesterday (Sunday) morning I found the body which lies in the mortuary.  It was the fifth or sixth time I had been up the river to look for the body, which I knew was in the river and must be found.  I found the girl lying in the middle of the river just outside the Pill Shillies, in about 3ft 6in. of water.  Hobbs, a fellow-workman of mine, was with me at the time.  In walking up the bank I saw something in the water, and knowing that the girl was drowned, I waded in up to my middle, and having found out what it was, I called out to him that I had found the body.  She was lying partly on her back and partly on her side.  She was not sanded, the beach being very hard at that spot.  I called to a young man who was coming up the bank (Frederick Coles), and sent him to the police-station, Hobbs in the meantime having gone for a boat.  The body was conveyed on a stretcher to the mortuary at the North Devon Infirmary.  The face was very much disfigured.  The deceased's clothes were not disarranged, neither was her hair in any way out of order.

P.C. Edwards deposed:  Yesterday (Sunday) about eleven o'clock I was sent for, and went to the North Devon Infirmary.  I saw the body of the deceased, and assisted in searching the body with one of the nurses of that Institution.  I found a silver watch and chain and a silver brooch.  On the Tuesday morning previous a bag and hat were brought to the police station by two persons.  The bag contained a pair of gloves and two handkerchiefs, with 10s. 2d. in money, and two return railway tickets for Torrington.  The articles were identified by the brother of deceased.  The watch had stopped at 6 minutes to 7.

The Coroner, in summing up, said the evidence went to show that the boat was not in any way overcrowded, and he thought there was but one course for the Jury to take, and that was to return a verdict of "Accidental Death."  He should like, however, to warn those who were in the habit of letting boats out on hire against the risk they ran if they overcrowded any boat on the river, as they were liable to be indicted for manslaughter.

The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death by Drowning," and it was suggested by a Juror that a rider should be added to the effect that the Commissioners of Wherries, or some other body, should be communicated with, as it seemed nobody had really examined the boat to see how many she ought to carry, and it would be a sad thing if an accident of this kind did occur through overcrowding.  It would be more satisfactory to the public generally if someone were appointed to overlook the boats on the river, and it was thought that they might be so registered and numbered that it would be illegal to put more than a specified number in them.  The Coroner said he thought that was a very wise suggestion, and he would see to it that the proper authority were communicated with on the matter.  Mr A. Bencraft remarked that he knew the boat in which the party embarked quite well, and he was sure it was not in any way overcrowded.  One of the witnesses also said that the boat was not really intended for river trips, it having been built and used at Ilfracombe for sea purposes.  The witness, Avery said he would forego the £1 offered by the parents of the deceased as a reward for the finding of the body but would take the other £1 offered by the Salvation Army, which act the Coroner said he was sure would be appreciated by the relatives of the deceased.

BARNSTAPLE - The Alleged Attempted Suicide. Death of POTTER - Coroner's Inquest.  -  The man, CHARLES POTTER, who, as reported in our last issue, was rescued from drowning in the River Taw on the previous Friday evening, under circumstances which had led to the belief that he had attempted suicide, died at the North Devon Infirmary (whither he had been removed after the occurrence) on Thursday morning.  He was about 65 years of age, and left a widow but no children.  He had been employed on one of the railways, but recently was out of work for a fortnight or more.  At the North Devon Infirmary on Thursday afternoon, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., an Enquiry was held into the circumstances attending the death of the unfortunate man, before a Jury of whom Mr Samuel Ford was chosen foreman.  The Coroner, in opening the Inquiry, said that from the information which he had gathered it appeared that on the previous Friday deceased had jumped into the water by the slip near Taw Vale Parade.  He did not know, at present, in what state deceased was at the time, whether he was intoxicated or not, but it would, he thought, be shewn by the evidence that he voluntarily jumped into the water.  After sketching the facts of the case which afterwards came out in evidence, the Coroner said there was no doubt that deceased's death was caused by immersion, and he believed the medical witness would tell them that immersion for such a time was calculated, in the case of such an aged man, was especially likely, to cause inflammation of the lungs, from which the deceased had died that morning.  If he had been a younger and stronger man, there was a great likelihood that he would have recovered, after being brought to that institution.  They would view the body, and then such evidence would be given as, he believed, would enable them to come to a verdict.  The Jury then proceeded to view the body of deceased in the mortuary, after which the following depositions were taken:-

Frederick Gabriel, an intelligent lad of 13 years, was the first witness.  He said:  I live on the Strand.  Last Friday evening, between seven and eight o'clock, I was going an errand for my father.  I was going on to Newport, there by the Albert Clock slip, at the end of Mr Ley's garden, in the Taw Vale Parade.  I saw the deceased going down the slip towards the water.  He smacked Percy Lavers, another boy, in the face and drove him away.  At that moment he was sitting on the block of timber.  After he hit the lad he went just on the first step of the slip and jumped into the river.  He held his hands out together in front of him, as is done in the case of diving, and jumped out into the water.  He came up to the surface on his back, face upwards, and held out his hands trying to sink himself.  He then floated towards the river.  He did not cry out or make any noise whatever.  I touched Mr Mock on the shoulder to draw his attention to what deceased had done, and called to two or three men that were by the Albert Clock.  Mr Mock's boat was by the slip and he pulled the boat in.  He is a fisherman.  He stepped into it and pulled off after POTTER.  Another man pulled down the river, and Mr Hodge was also out in a boat after the man.  He had not got to the bridge when Mock's boat came up to him.  They were holding him up by his coat until the other boat came.  That was just before he got to the Bridge.  There were three boats that went after him.  They went out under the Bridge.  They could not get him into the boat, but towed him into the slip. I ran round to the other bridge.  They took him in at the slip by the timber yard.  Mr Vicary and others then took him into the yard.  I saw two doctors come.  He was tipsy when he jumped in.  He smelt strong of drink.  He smelt as if he had been drinking beer.  - By the Foreman:  Did you see him before he came to the slip?  -  Witness:  Do, I saw him first when he slapped the boy's face, and the boy ran away from him.  - By a Juryman:  Did he walk straight or was he staggering?  - Witness:  He was staggering from side to side.

William Sanders, boatman, deposed:  Last Friday evening about six o'clock, I was up where my boats are on the water, close to the South Walk, outside the mooring place where my boats are kept.  I heard people shouting and calling, and, knowing something must be wrong, I with the assistance of the young man who was with me, pulled down as fast as we could.  The cries came from the Albert Clock slip.  When we got down there was a boat in the river, from which deceased's head was being held above water.  The tide was running fast, that was how I got down so quickly.  The boat was then this side, in the centre of the bridge.  The tide took them through the two bridges to the lower side.  It had ebbed 15 or 18 inches, just past high water.  The Coroner, at this juncture, said he happened to see the occurrence, and the witness had correctly described it.

Witness (continuing):  The tide took us beyond the slip, where we wanted to land, and where we eventually did, I being assisted by my young man, he holding on to the other boat, whilst I pulled to the slip close by the iron bridge, and between the timber yard and the old bridge.  Mr Vicary came right out into the water and hoisted deceased's leg upwards and his face downwards, the water was running out of his mouth then.  The Coroner (to the House Surgeon):  Do you think that a wise thing to do?

Mr Lovell:  Under the circumstances, yes.

Witness:  He was groaning very much, and stuff was coming out of his mouth.

The Foreman:  Do you think he was suffering from drinking?

Witness:  I can't say.  He was too far gone.  He was quite exhausted, nearly dead, I thought.  I did not see him removed.  He was groaning, but could say nothing intelligible.  Sanders further said that he had seen deceased standing there by the slip day after day for a fortnight past, a hour and two hours together.  His business called him past there.  He had noticed him a good deal and thought he was out of work.  There were a great many persons on the Bridge and slip.  All was done that could be done to rescue him and to recover animation.  His head was kept out of the water by the men in the first boat.  They were strangers. Mr Hodge was pulling and the other men were holding the head of the deceased above water.  There was no possibility of getting him into the boat.

P.C. John Edwards stated:  Between seven and eight on Friday evening last, I went to the slip at the end of the long bridge in Shapland and Petter's yard, at the Tawstock end of the bridge.  I saw the deceased lying on a plank on the slip.  From the appearance of the man he had been recently taken from the water.  He was very wet.  He was quite unable to speak.  There was a large crowd present.  Drs. Pronger and Cook arrived two or three minutes after I got on the spot, and I endeavoured to keep back the great crowd.  Mr Vicary and Mr Porter were using every effort to restore animation before the arrival of the doctors, using exactly the same measures as the doctors subsequently did.  When he was sufficiently recovered he was taken into the yard, where further restoratives were applied.  I then went to the police-station for the stretcher and some blankets.  I returned to the yard, and with the permission of the doctors, and with other assistance, removed him to the Infirmary.  I heard him moan several times as we were going.  I saw the House Surgeon shortly after reaching the Infirmary, which was shortly after 8.  I searched deceased's trousers pockets and found 4d. and a knife upon him.  He had had his coat and waistcoat on.  These were taken off when he was brought ashore.  There was 4 ½d. in one of the pockets of his coat.  I produce the money and the knife.  I saw his wife on the evening of the occurrence.

By the Foreman:  Do you think he had been drinking?

Witness:  I cannot say; he was too far gone.  It was impossible for anyone but a skilled witness to say.

Mr Harry H. Lovell, house surgeon at the Infirmary, said:-  Deceased was brought here between twenty and half-past eight on Friday night.  P.C. Edwards was amongst those who brought him in.  He was in a moribund condition, hardly alive or dead.  He was just breathing and his heart was slightly beating.  He showed no signs of consciousness.  He appeared as if he had been immersed in water.  He was extremely cold.  He distinctly smelt of alcohol.  He was breathing with difficulty; there was probably water in the lungs.  I have gathered, from what he told me, that he was about 65 years of age. Between ten or eleven he came round, could make himself understood, and was able to take liquid food.  His condition generally improved until I left him at one o'clock.  Until Tuesday morning he appeared to be going on very favourably.  The temperature was then raised, and there was difficulty of breathing; symptoms of inflammation, in fact, appeared.  He got gradually worse until he died, this morning, about eleven o'clock.  Death might have been caused by anything else besides his immersion, but probably it was the result of his immersion.  He appeared to be very comfortable in his mind.  He explained to me that it was quite an accident, his tumbling into the water.  This he said on Monday morning.  He never hinted that it was of his own causing.  He did not express any wish to get better.  I heard nothing from him with reference to that.  Such an immersion as deceased experienced, was, to a man of his age, calculated to cause inflammation of the lungs from which deceased died.

The Coroner, in summing up, said there was no doubt that deceased died from the effects of the immersion.  Whether he intentionally jumped into the water or whether it was a case of accidental immersion they had no evidence to show, nor did he think it would be possible to show which was the case.  The boy, Gabriel, seemed to think that deceased had jumped into the water, but there was a possibility that he might have been mistaken.  But, in point of fact, it was not important to them.  If they held with him that death had resulted from inflammation of the lungs caused by immersion - of which they could have no reasonable doubt - then it did not matter whether the immersion was accidental or otherwise.  Formerly it was a matter of great moment as to whether it was suicide or not, because of the matter of burial of the poor unfortunate.  But he was happy to say, by the Act passed by Parliament last session, he could now give the order for the decent burial of the body.  If they so desired, however, he could adjourn the Inquest in order to obtain further evidence on this point.

The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that "Deceased died from Inflammation of the lungs, caused by Immersion in the Taw; whether accidentally or not there was no evidence to show."

Thursday 2 September 1886

MORTHOE - Fatal Fall From The Cliffs. - An Inquest was held at Eastwell Farm, near Morthoe, on Thursday evening last on the body of ALLRON BALL HARRIS, a lad of 12 years, son of MR J. HARRIS, bailiff to Mr Porter, of Henbury Fort, near Honiton.  The lad, who was on a visit to Mr Reed, of Slade Farm, Ilfracombe, went on Wednesday with his two cousins, girls, to a booth on the highway between Ilfracombe and Morthoe, where milk and light refreshments were sold to tourists.  During the afternoon the little fellow left his cousins and went across the field towards the cliffs, saying he was going to the beach, where he had been before some time back.  At six o'clock the cart came to take the girls and the lad to Slade.  Search was made for the lad, but he could not be found, and it was at last thought that he was gone to Ilfracombe to buy a drawing slate.  He not returning, however, search was made for him by Mr Reed until late at night, and early on Thursday morning the search was resumed, when the body was found lying on the beach below Halls Bushes.  It is supposed that he was endeavouring to get to the beach from the cliffs when he fell.  He might have lost the pathway, or been endeavouring to get down apart from it.  His head was mutilated, and his body and face much lacerated.  The Coroner said there could be but one verdict, and all must be very sorry that such a fine little boy as the deceased should have been hurried into eternity.  He was sure all would sympathise with the relatives and friends.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  The body was taken by boat to Lee, and thence in a cart to Eastwell Farm.

BIDEFORD - Sudden Death Of A Bideford Man. - An Inquest was held on Saturday on the body of ARTHUR GRENNOFF, (22), a joiner living at No. 5, Silver-street, Cardiff, (son of the late MR GRENNOFF, Bideford).  Deceased had been looking ill, and on Thursday night fell down and died in Harold-street, whilst in conversation with another man.  It was stated by Dr Evans that death was probably due to an affection of the heart.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

CREDITON - A lad named MOOR was found dead on the railway at Crediton on Monday evening, his body having been dreadfully mutilated by the train which passed over him.  An Inquest was held on Tuesday, when a verdict of "Found Dead" was returned.

ILFRACOMBE - The Distressing Case Of Suicide. - J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of MRS SNELL, whose fatal leap from Rapparee Field to the Cove we reported last week, at the Pier Hotel, where the body had been removed after the distressing occurrence, on Thursday.  Captain J. C. Dennis was chosen foreman of the Jury, who then proceeded to view the body.  It was not so much disfigured as might have been anticipated from the nature of the circumstances causing death.  On the return of the Jury, the following depositions were taken:-  WILLIAM SNELL, who was the first witness called, stated that he was a gentleman farmer residing at Sidbury.  The body that the Jury had viewed was that of his deceased wife, who was 41 years of age.  For some little time past she has been in a delicate state of health and in low spirits.  She was recommended by her medical man a change of air, and consequently he brought her to Ilfracombe on Monday afternoon.  His cousin, MISS ANNIE SNELL, accompanied them, and having to return the next morning he left his wife under her charge.  He was telegraphed for on Wednesday, and accordingly came.  Although his wife had been in low spirits for some time, they considered there was no occasion of her being watched.  There was no cause to suppose that she would have committed suicide.  He had consulted Sir William Jenner, and he recommended her a change of air.  In answer to a Juror, witness said he had never heard her give any intention of committing suicide.  There was no particular domestic trouble which would have been likely to affect her mind.

ANNIE SNELL, cousin of the last witness, deposed that deceased was left to her charge by her cousin.  Before visiting Ilfracombe witness had not seen deceased for six weeks, but had heard that she was in a bad state of health.  On Wednesday morning, directly after breakfast, the deceased and herself went for a walk.  About 9.30 witness suggested that they should return and have some refreshments, but deceased proposed a walk across the fields.  They, however, kept on the roads and walked about for a long time.  Eventually they came to a gate leading into a field, which gate deceased sprang over, and witness followed her.  They walked together quietly, and then witness suggested that there was no way out of the field and that they had better turn back, but she said there was and would not go back.  Deceased then made a run to a hedge which was there, and got over it.  When she had got over she took off her hat and mantle, and began to run towards the sea.  Witness saw this as she stood on the hedge, and it was then that she thought deceased was going to commit suicide, and she ran after her.  As she ran she called for help, and a woman, who was hanging out clothes some distance off, came to her assistance.  They got hold of deceased and walked her back and put on her clothes.  The woman then left.  She again broke away from witness, who again called for help, but with no avail.  Witness got in front of her once, but deceased managed to doge her, and then sprang over the cliff.  In answer to questions, witness said that after being with deceased for a short time she found out that it would not be safe for her to be left alone.

Ellen Burbery was then called and deposed that she was the woman who came to the assistance of the last witness.  She corroborated a portion of MISS SNELL'S evidence, and said that the second time deceased broke away from the last witness she (witness) was too far away to hear the cries of help, but she happened to turn back, and saw deceased running to the cliff.  She shouted to a gentleman who was nearer to her than witness, but he took no notice, and then she lost sight of deceased.  She went to the beach, and there saw her.

Thomas Gibbs, one of the lessees of the cove, stated that on the morning in question he was on the beach when his girl whistled to him, and, on turning round, he saw something fall over the cliff, strike against some projection and then pitch on a rock.  He ran up and found it to be a lady.  She gave a gasp and was then dead.  He helped her up, and his partner, Mr Price, ran for a doctor, and the police constable.  Witness, with the help of others, took the body up to the field.  The place from whence deceased jumped was about 70 or 80 feet high.  Mr John T. Gardner, surgeon, deposed that he went to the field above Rapparee Cove, and there found a female on the grass.  He examined her and found that she was quite dead.  She had several lacerated and infused wounds on the head, and an extensive fracture of the skull which was quite sufficient to cause her death.

The Coroner, in summing up, said it did not appear to him that any blame could be attached to any one.  There was no doubt that deceased had suffered from despondency.  He did not see that the Jury could do any other than bring in a verdict of "Suicide whilst in a state of Temporary Insanity."  The Jury, without hesitation brought in a verdict to that effect.  On the mention of Mr Brede, the fees of the Jury were given to the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital.

Thursday 9 September 1886

RACKENFORD - Suicide - On Saturday, Mr Henry W. Gould, Deputy Coroner, opened an Inquiry at Rackenford, relative to the death of HUMPHREY SLADER, who was found dead in bed on the 2nd inst.  JOHN SLADER, of Rackenford, farmer, identified the body as that of his son, who was 31 years of age, and had assisted him in his business.  He last saw him alive at Southmolton on Wednesday, where he had been with some stock.  On Thursday morning, between 8 and 9, the witness went to the deceased's bedroom, and found him dead on his back on one of the beds there.  There was a pistol and a box of cartridges on the bed.   The deceased was a married man with two children, and his wife had slept with him on Wednesday night, and his children had slept in the same room.  The witness could not account for the death, but he thought the deceased had been rather strange lately.  MARY ANN SLADER deposed that the deceased was her husband.  She left the deceased alive in bed at ten minutes to six on Thursday morning.  The next she heard of him when his father, the last witness, called to her. On going to the bedroom she found the deceased in the position described.  He was not, to her knowledge, awake when she left the bedroom.  She had not spoken to him.  He was in the same bed in which they had slept.  She never heard him threaten to commit suicide.  The pistol on the bed belonged to the deceased, and he kept it and cartridges in a box beside the bed.  The box was not locked.  There had been no quarrel between them, or with any member of the family.  He had not, so far as she knew, had any troubles.  She left the two children in bed in the same room when she came downstairs, and they came down a quarter of an hour after.

Mr Julius Hermann Alfred Schade, of Witheridge, surgeon, deposed that on arriving at the house about 10.30 on Thursday morning he found the deceased dead, and in his opinion he had been dead between 3 and 4 hours.  He was lying on the bed on his back; there was blood on the bed near his head and shoulders.  He had not made a post mortem examination, but he could just discern what appeared to be a wound inside the mouth.  A pistol was lying near.  He examined the pistol, of six chambers, one of which contained an empty cartridge.  There was also a box of cartridges on the washstand by the side of the bed.  The butt-end of the pistol was lying towards the right hand of the deceased.  The witness did not believe it possible for a third person to inflict the wound.  The lips were blackened by the powder.  -  WILLIAM SLADER, a brother of the deceased, deposed that he lived in the same house and returned with the deceased from Southmolton on Wednesday.  He had lately noticed a strangeness in the manner of the deceased, and had observed it on his return from Southmolton.  On Monday last he complained of pains in his head, and he laid down on his bed for an hour in consequence.  The Coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict that the deceased committed suicide while of Unsound Mind.

TORRINGTON - Inquest. - An Inquest was held on Thursday last, at the Royal Exchange, Torrington, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of MR RICHARD PETTLE, who, it will be remembered, met his death in a most distressing manner on Monday, the 30th ult., by a carriage accident, of which full particulars will be found below.  The first witness called was ELLEN PETTLE, wife of the deceased, who deposed that the body which had just been viewed by the Jury was that of her late husband.  He was manager of a glove manufactory at Torrington, and was about 40 years of age.  On Monday, the 30th August, she, with her husband, her mother, and her children, went to Peppercombe to spend the day with her brother-in-law, Dr Thomas Jackson.  They went in a waggonette, which was hired from the Globe Inn.  Her husband drove, and they arrived at Peppercombe about 12 o'clock.   They left for home again at 7 o'clock precisely, her husband still having charge of the horse.  Everything went well until they were going down a hill leading into Woodtown Village.  Witness was seated on the box seat with her husband, and one of the children between them.  Her mother and the rest of the children were behind. About half-way down the hill the horse went rather fast, and, in turning a sharp corner, the waggonette upset, throwing the occupants into the road.  When this happened they were almost in the village, and some persons who were near, rendered assistance, and conveyed the deceased into a cottage.  They were all shaken and bruised, especially her mother, whose collar-bone was broken.  A messenger was despatched to Peppercombe for Dr Jackson, who at once came, and stayed with her husband all night; deceased had been attended by Dr Jackson until his death.  Deceased remained at the cottage until Wednesday, when he was removed to his own house, with the consent, and under the superintendence of Dr Jackson.  He died on Thursday night about 12 o'clock.  In answer to a question, witness said she thought the horse bolted down the hill, but she did not know what caused it to do so.  It went quietly on the way down to Peppercombe, and also on the way home until they came to the hill.  The brake was on in going down the hill.  - Emily Headon, domestic servant, in the employ of the last witness, said she accompanied her mistress to Peppercombe on Monday, the 30th ult.  She rode inside the waggonette both ways.  As far as she could see, the horse was a quiet one, and went along steadily.  She noticed before the carriage upset that the horse was going faster than it had been, and that her master was pulling the reins, but it had only gone a short distance at this pace before the carriage overturned.  It was at a turning in the road that the carriage went over.  It was not dark.  They all managed to get on their feet, except her master, who, when the people came to their assistance, was found lying on the ground under the carriage.  He did not move or speak, but was taken into a cottage near, and Dr Jackson was sent for.  Witness stayed with her mistress and the children until the doctor came.  - Thomas Jackson, medical practitioner, of Croydon, said he had been staying for some little time past with his wife and family at Peppercombe.  The deceased was his brother-in-law.  On Monday, by arrangement, the deceased, with his wife and family, and also his wife's mother, came to Peppercombe to spend the day with him and his family.  They arrived about twelve o'clock in a waggonette.  He heard no complaints about the horse, as to its being vicious or unmanageable; on the contrary, Mrs Handford (deceased's mother-in-law) praised the horse, saying how very well it had come along.  After spending the day with him, the party left about 7 o'clock in the evening.  About 8.30 p.m. a man on horseback came to Peppercombe and told him that an accident had happened.  He took the same horse, which was the one that had been in the waggonette, and rode towards Woodtown.  On his way he met a cart, which had been sent for by the deceased's wife, and he went on in this.  The horse he rod happened to be a quiet one.  When he arrived at Woodtown, he found the deceased lying on a bed in an upstair room of a cottage.  He was unconscious, and was evidently suffering from severe concussion of the brain.  He did what he could for the deceased, and remained with him that night.  MRS PETTLE remained with him, but the rest of the party were sent home.  He was also with deceased on the Tuesday and Wednesday.  He found there were not the conveniences which would be obtainable in deceased's own house, and he advised that deceased should be removed, which was done under his own superintendence in the afternoon of Wednesday, witness and another gentleman accompanying deceased.  He (witness) did not think the moving of deceased had any prejudicial effect.  Deceased never really recovered consciousness from the time of the accident; at times he would appear to know persons, but it was only momentarily.  Witness thought seriously of the case from the first, but did not regard it as hopeless.  He had known cases where consciousness had returned after weeks, and the patient got all right.  Witness saw deceased on Thursday morning, and then left him under the care of his (witness's) brother, who is also a medical man, with instructions that he should be sent for if necessary.  On Thursday night he was sent for, and arrived about 12 o'clock.  Deceased was then dead.  Everything had been done to relieve deceased, but without avail.  He had no hesitation in saying that the cause of death was concussion of the brain.  The road near Woodford was a very dangerous one, and the corner at which the accident occurred very sharp.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that "The deceased was Accidentally Killed by the upsetting of a trap, causing Concussion of the Brain."

Thursday 16 September 1886

BAMPTON - Fatal Gun Accident. - An Inquest was held at Bampton, on Friday, on the body of WILLIAM ALFRED SANGLIER, of King's-road, Chelsea.  The deceased, who was the guest of a local farmer, named Slocombe, on Wednesday went out shooting with his host. In getting over a hedge he placed his gun on top of it and afterwards drew the weapon towards him.  The trigger caught in a bramble and the gun was discharged, and the deceased, who had the muzzle towards him, received the charge in his thigh.  He died a few hours afterwards.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death At Pilton. - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at the New Inn, Pilton, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of BRUCE WM. HENRY KINGDON, of Ladywell, who had been found dead by the side of his bed the same morning.  Mr Jn. Kingdon was chosen foreman of the Jury.  -  MATILDA KINGDON, mother of deceased, said her son, who was a shipwright, had been in a bad state of health for some time.  He had had a bad chest, and he had suffered in his head ever since he was discharged from the lunatic asylum two years ago.  He was a man of temperate habits.  He had been unable to work regularly for about twelve months.  He retired to his room about 9 o'clock on Friday evening, having previously wished his parents (with whom he resided) "good night."  She heard him praying and talking very loudly to himself, which he usually did after he reached his room.  Just before seven o'clock that morning she went to his room in order to give him a cup of tea.  She found him kneeling by the side of the bed, and on touching him she discovered that he was dead.  The body was cold and stiff, and her son had evidently been dead for several hours.  She called for assistance, and her son JOHN went for Dr Laing, who arrived in about half an hour.  -  JOHN KINGDON, brother of deceased, gave corroborative evidence.  The deceased often complained of pains in his head, and for twelve months he had done scarcely any work.  Dr W. A. Gordon Laing, deposed to going to Ladywell, in accordance with the request of the last witness, shortly after eight o'clock that morning.  From the appearance of the body he should say that KINGDON had been dead about five or six hours.  The pupils of deceased's eyes were widely dilated, and from that and other appearances, together with what he had heard of deceased, he should say that death was the result of apoplexy, which might have been brought on by mental excitement.  He had treated the deceased at intervals during the past twelve months for pains in the head.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was at once returned.

ATHERINGTON - Sudden Death. - An Inquest was held at Bremridge Farm, Atherington, on Tuesday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of JOHN HARRIS, a farmer of that parish.  - MARY ANN HARRIS, wife of the deceased, deposed that her husband, who was about 68 years of age, had up about a fortnight ago apparently enjoyed very good health.  Not feeling exactly well about that time, she advised him to consult a doctor, which he did, and he had been taking medicine ever since.  On Monday morning he got up as usual, ate his meals with good appetite, and went to his work.  After he had had his dinner he ordered his trap to be got ready, as he wanted to go and see Mr Brownscombe.  The horse and trap was brought to the door, and witness accompanied him to the door.  Deceased went to arrange the seat of the trap, when he suddenly fell back to the ground. Witness lifted him up and called for assistance and John Quick and others came, and deceased was carried to his room.  He never spoke after he fell down, and the only sound witness heard was a sort of gurgling in the throat.  Witness sent for a doctor immediately, and Dr Laing came late in the evening.  John Quick, a labourer in the employ of MR HARRIS, said that between two and three o'clock on the day in question he was in the orchard near the house, when he heard MRS HARRIS calling for assistance.  He ran to her, and found her outside the front door supporting her husband's head.  Deceased did not speak or move, but when assistance arrived witness helped to convey deceased to his room.  He then went for Dr Laing, but finding that he was not home, he left a message.  W. A. Gordon Laing, M.B., medical practitioner, of Barnstaple, said he knew the deceased, and remembered prescribing for him about a fortnight ago.  He was then suffering from heart disease.  On the day in question, on witness returning from Instow, he received a message to go to Bremridge Farm.  On his arrival there he found the deceased upstairs quite dead.  He examined the body, but found no marks of violence, or anything inconsistent with death from natural causes.  Having heard from MRS HARRIS the circumstances of the deceased's death, he had no hesitation in saying that deceased died from heart disease.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

Thursday 23 September 1886

CHARLES - A Child Burnt To Death. - On Monday last, J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, held an Inquest at Sandy Park Farm, in the parish of Charles, on the body of FLORENCE JANE WOOLLACOTT, who had died on Friday evening, from the effects of burns sustained under circumstances detailed below: -  MARY ANN WOOLLACOTT, wife of ROBERT WOOLLACOTT, of Sandy Park Farm, said he deceased daughter was 2 ½ years old.  About 1 o'clock on Friday afternoon she had occasion to go to a field; and she left her three daughters (aged respectively 3 ½ years, 2 ½ years, and ten months) in the kitchen.  The servant had gone to Barnstaple Fair, and her husband had gone to the village.  She was only away from the kitchen about five minutes, and when she returned she found the deceased in the doorway, enveloped in flames. She undressed the child and put her to bed, and then went for assistance.  Dr Kendle was sent for, and he arrived during the afternoon.  There was very little fire on the hearth when she left the children alone in the room.  She had no idea how the child got on fire; she could elicit no information from the elder sister, as she only cried when questioned.  The child died about six o'clock on Friday evening, only a few minutes after the doctor left.  ROBERT WOOLLACOTT, farmer, deposed that he left home about ten o'clock on Friday morning in order to go to the village.  When he returned about three o'clock he found that one of his daughters was suffering from extensive burns.  He asked her how it happened, but she was not able to tell him anything about it.  Unfortunately, this was the second child he had lost, his son (about 2 ½ years old) having fallen into a pond two years ago and met his death by drowning.  He did not give information to the police, as he did not think it necessary, for he had had a doctor and therefore thought he could get a certificate in the usual way.  He kept a servant to help in the house and to look after the children, but on the day in question she was at Barnstaple Fair.  - Dr Frederick Wellesby Kendle, of Southmolton, said that on arriving at Sandy Park Farm about half-past three on Friday, he found the deceased child suffering from extensive burns.  With the exception of the hands, feet and top of the head, the whole of the body was affected, and the child was suffering intensely.  He did what he could to alleviate the suffering but he saw there was no hope of the child's recovery.  When he left he said he would call again later in the evening.  Death arose from shock to the system caused by burns.  When the father came to him on Friday night for a certificate he told him that there would have to be an Inquest.  In answer to a Juryman, Dr Kendle said that on arriving at the house he found that the parents had done all they could by means of outward application to alleviate the child's suffering.  When he left, the child was still conscious, and for that reason he did not think death would ensue so soon as was the case.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, the Coroner exculpating the parents from blame for the harrowing occurrence.

Thursday 30 September 1886

NORTHTAWTON - Death of MR FULFORD. - Quite a gloom was cast over Northtawton on Sunday morning by the sad news which was early spread aboard that MR R. FULFORD had died during the night.  The deceased gentleman had been in ill-health for some time past, and had been under the care of Dr Budd, but this did not prevent his attending to his duties.  On Friday he held an Inquest at Sourton, but was taken worse on Saturday, and could not, as had been his custom for many years, go to Okehampton.  Dr Budd visited the deceased gentleman several times during Saturday, and found he was in a critical condition, and on being called in on Sunday morning he found his efforts were unavailing , as the deceased passed away shortly after five o'clock.  MR ROBERT FULFORD was admitted as a solicitor at the Michaelmas term, 1840, and had thus been in practice nearly half a century; he was also clerk to the Hatherleigh Bench of Magistrates and the Okehampton Board of Guardians, which posts he held for more than a quarter of a century.  For 13 or 14 years prior to 1878, he acted as Deputy Coroner, and in that year was appointed full Coroner.  Locally he had been on the directorate of the Gas, Water and Market Companies since their commencement.  For forty years MR FULFORD was clerk to the Tax Commissioners, and for more than half a century he was a Freemason.  He was a thorough Churchman, and for more than 20 years he had been Churchwarden.  In addition to the above, the deceased gentleman was Clerk to the Okehampton and Sampford Courtenay School Boards.  At the Inquest held on the body, a verdict of "Suicide whilst in a state of Temporary Insanity" was returned, it having transpired that deceased had occasioned his death by his own hand.

Thursday 7 October 1886

BLACK TORRINGTON - An Inquest was held at Burrow Farm, in the parish of Black Torrington, on Saturday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of MARY MASON, wife of EDWIN MASON, farmer and flour dealer, who died suddenly while in bed on the previous Thursday morning.  After hearing the evidence of Dr Parsloe (who said the cause of death was heart disease) the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

WINKLEIGH - MR W. HEYWOOD, of Pleaces Farm, met with fatal accident while returning from Mr R. Fulford's funeral on Thursday.  At the Inquest a verdict of Accidental Death was returned.  General sympathy is felt for the relatives.

Thursday 14 October 1886

BARNSTAPLE - Distressing Case Of Suicide At Barnstaple. - A sad case of suicide took place at Salem-street, Barnstaple, on Tuesday morning last, MR THOMAS ACKLAND, shoemaker, cutting his throat in such a deliberate manner, that death resulted in a few minutes.  The distressing details were made public at an Inquest held in the evening at the Barnstaple Inn before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner.  The foreman of the Jury was Mr G. Stewart.  The first witness was:-

ROSE ACKLAND, daughter of deceased, who deposed:-  The body which has just been viewed is that of my father.  He was 74 years of age.  We have lived together all our lives, and have been lately living in Salem street.  We formerly lived in Zion's Place, at which place we resided about 30 years.  We moved from Zion's Place in July.  Deceased lost his wife last November, and he was much affected by his loss.  He had not done any work for years, his eyesight not being good.  My mother was a milliner.  The family consisted of two brothers and two sisters; the two sisters living with deceased, and worked at their trade as milliners.  Deceased came downstairs about a quarter to nine this morning, that being his usual time.  He had breakfast with my sister and me, eating with his usual heartiness.  He was fully dressed.  He went out at the back of the house, and remarked on the state of the weather, after which he returned and went into the front room and sat down for a short time; he then said he would go and try to sleep a little, as he had had a bad night.  He went, and neither my sister nor I heard any sounds of an unusual character.  I went upstairs about an hour after my father had gone, casually, and went into my father's room.  I did not find him there, and I went into the small room adjoining, the door of which was almost closed, although not latched.  I saw my father lying prostrate on the floor, with his head towards the window, his left arm being under him.  I saw a large quantity of blood about, and I immediately called my sister, BESSIE, who was downstairs.  She came up directly and we spoke to deceased, but go no answer.  I touched my father's shoulder, but I did not see the knife nor the wound in deceased's throat.  My sister did not come into the small room, but stayed outside the door.  I thought my father must be dead, and went for Dr Cooke, without moving the body.  I left my sister upstairs.  Mrs Toms arrived while I was away.  Mr Cooke was at home, and came directly; he went upstairs and saw the deceased, who was then in the same position.  Deceased had never said a word about committing an act of this kind.  I did not hear him fall.  The doors of both rooms were nearly closed, but not latched.  He has for some time suffered from great difficulty of breathing, and his rest was a great deal broken in consequence.  He was in the habit of walking a good deal, and when he returned from his walks he would often seem very depressed and low in spirits.

Mr J. W. Cooke, medical practitioner, deposed:-  I have known the deceased for several years, and I attended him about six months ago for fractured ribs, caused by a fall.  As soon as he got better, he became a patient at the Dispensary.  This morning about twelve o'clock the last witness called at my house and asked me to come and see her father:  she thought he was dead.  I went at once, and on going upstairs, found the deceased in an inner room, leading out of his bedroom.  He was lying on his face and hands with his head towards the window, a large quantity of blood being all round him on the floor.  A knife was lying close to his right hand; the knife produced (an instrument used by the deceased in his trade) is the same. I turned him over, and found a large wound on the left side of the neck, extending from ear to the chin, dividing the principal blood vessels.  Death must have taken place within a few minutes.  I have no doubt death resulted from loss of blood proceeding from the wound inflicted by deceased's own hand.  The Coroner, briefly summed up, and the Jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict "That the deceased committed Suicide by cutting his throat with a knife, and that at the time he did so we believe he was Temporarily Insane."

ILFRACOMBE - An Inquest was held at Harcourt House on Tuesday by the Deputy Coroner (Dr E. J. Slade-King) on the body of HENRIETTA DAVIS, a middle aged lady, of Newent, who was on a visit to Ilfracombe.  - Eliza Wilkins, a nurse, stated that she came with the deceased lady from Newent, Gloucestershire.  She last saw her alive on Saturday afternoon.  She was then very ill, and in bed, and asked witness to send for her brother to take her home.  Eventually she went downstairs to ask about the trains, and also to get someone to go for a doctor, and on her return to the deceased's room she found her out of bed, sitting on a chair, and leaning against the bed post.  She thought she was dead.  Mr Toller, surgeon, soon arrived; but MRS DAVIS was then quite dead.  Deceased had been under a doctor's care before she came to Ilfracombe, and she brought medicine from him with her.  Maria Hopkins, lodging house keeper, deposed to the illness of the deceased, who was, she said, so feeble that she could hardly walk from one room to the other, and Mr Chas Toller stated that, in his opinion, the cause of death was exhaustion from diarrhoea and consumption.  There were no marks of violence, and death was no doubt the result of natural causes.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence, and gave their fees to the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital.

Thursday 28 October 1886

MORETONHAMPSTEAD - An Inquest upon the body of a woman named DUNSFORD, who died at Coombe Farm, Moreton, revealed some shocking disclosures, the Jury returning a verdict to the effect that deceased died from the results of an Accidental Fall while intoxicated, and strongly censuring the husband and stepson for their inhuman conduct.

PLYMOUTH - A somewhat curious case was investigated at Plymouth on Monday by a Coroner's Jury under Mr T. C. Brian.  JANE NIKE, 60, was found drowned in Sutton Pool on Sunday evening by her son EBENEZER, who was sent for to come to her to the Ring of Bells Inn, Woolster-street.  When he arrived there she had gone, and he discovered her floating by the quay, dead. She had previously had a glass of beer at the Ring of Bells, and had left her umbrella there, saying it should be taken care of until claimed.  From where she was found to the top of the quay was about 20 feet, and there were only 18 inches of water.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned," adding that there was no satisfactory evidence to shew how she got into the water.

Thursday 18 November 1886

DEVONPORT - An Inquest was held at Devonport on Saturday on the body of a man named GEORGE PRIMMER who accidentally fell into a copper of hot water at Butcher's Anchor Brewery, Stonehouse, where he was employed.  PRIMMER was fearfully burnt, and died at the Albert Hospital.

BARNSTAPLE - A Distressing Case. - On Tuesday afternoon an Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary on the body of REBECCA HILL, aged 52, a milliner who had for several years resided by herself in Vicarage street.  The deceased was of very intemperate habits, and in consequence of this her husband (who now resides at Plymouth) left her some years ago, making her a weekly allowance.  She was found dead in bed on Monday morning, both deceased and the house being in a most filthy condition.  In opening the Inquiry, the Coroner (R. I. Bencraft, Esq.), said that as bottles containing poison were found in the deceased's house he thought it advisable to order a post mortem examination, but he thought that after hearing the evidence the Jury would find that death was undoubtedly caused by the intemperate habits of the deceased.  Mr S. Ford was elected foreman of the Jury.  The first witness called was:

Mabel Fewings, aged 13, residing in Vicarage Street, who said she knew the deceased, who resided two doors off, very well.  She last saw deceased alive on Sunday evening, about a quarter to eight; she was then in bed, dressed; she was not drunk, and asked her to fetch a pennyworth of beer.  She (witness) said she could not, as her mother told her not to do so.  She went in to see how deceased was, as she was ill in the afternoon.  In the afternoon deceased was sitting on a box in the kitchen and asked her to help her upstairs, but she said she was not strong enough.  Mrs Fewings afterwards helped her upstairs.  At nine o'clock on Monday morning she went into MRS HILL'S house.  She called MRS HILL, and on receiving no answer she went upstairs.  She found MRS HILL who was dressed, lying dead in bed.  She at once ran and told her mother that MRS HILL was dead.  MRS HILL was in the habit of getting drunk.  The last time she saw her intoxicated was on Thursday morning.  She had often fetched spirits for the deceased, who drunk the liquor "neat".  On Sunday afternoon MRS HILL gave Mrs Fewings an empty gin bottle in the room of one which she had broken and which had been lent her.  Witness took the bottle, at MRS HILL'S request, from under deceased's bed.

Stephen Tucker, residing in Vicarage-street, deposed that at half-past two on Sunday afternoon he heard MRS HILL crying for help.  He found her lying on the floor close to the door.  She appeared to have been drinking, but she was not so intoxicated as he had sometimes seen her.  MRS HILL asked him to put her to bed, and he said he would get assistance.  He put her on a chair, and went for Mrs Fewings.  On his return he found that deceased had again fallen off the chair, and she said, "I was taken like it on Saturday."  Mrs Fewings was not in, but her daughter went in to MRS HILL'S assistance.  He had known MRS HILL intoxicated for seven weeks at a time.  She received 5s. a week from her husband, who resided at Plymouth.

Henry Morris, in the employ of Mr King and residing at Derby, deposed that about four o'clock on Sunday afternoon he was walking along Vicarage Street, when Mrs Fewings called to him to assist MRS HILL.  On entering the house he found MRS HILL lying on the floor at the bottom of the stairs.  She was unable to move.  He assisted to carry her upstairs.  She appeared to him to be under the influence of drink.

Sarah Fewings, wife of a shoemaker residing two doors from deceased's house, said she and deceased (who was a milliner) were on very friendly terms.  MRS HILL was very much given to intemperance at times; she generally drank raw spirits.  Deceased came into her house on Thursday, when she was intoxicated.  She had then been drinking for a fortnight.  She did not see her again until Sunday afternoon, when Mr Tucker fetched her.  She found MRS HILL lying on the floor, and she said "For God's sake help me."  She called the last witness, who was passing, and he helped to take the deceased upstairs.  She did not complain of any pain, but said she was cold and poorly. Witness afterwards took deceased a cup of tea, which she appeared to enjoy very much.  This was the last time she saw her alive.  Her daughter told her on Monday morning that MRS HILL was dead, and on going into the house she found that this was quite true.  She appeared to have been dead for some hours.  The gin bottle referred to in her daughter's evidence she subsequently handed to Sergeant Thorne.  Witness's children used to fetch beer and spirits for the deceased.  The front door of the deceased's house remained unlocked on Sunday night - indeed MRS HILL frequently allowed the door to go unlocked when she was drunk.

Lucy Seldon, wife of the landlord of the Globe Inn, Trinity Street, said the bottle produced was similar to the one which she missed from her house on Friday evening. The bottle she lost contained a quart of Irish whiskey.  She had not seen deceased in her house for the last ten years.  She would not swear that the bottle produced was the one she had missed.   A person could have access to the bar from a side door in Aze's Lane without her knowing it.

P.S. Thorne produced the whiskey bottle which had been handed to the police by Mrs Fewings.  He found a bottle of lotion labelled "poison" in the kitchen, and this he took possession of.

Dr Mark Jackson deposed that he was sent for on Monday morning to go to the house of the deceased.  On his arrival he found that MRS HILL was dead, and she must have been dead ten or twelve hours.  The place was in a filthy state, and so was the deceased.  There was no bedding save a part of a blanket, and there was no furniture.  There were no marks of violence about the body.  He had since made a post mortem examination.  The body was well nourished.  The membranes of the brain and the brain were very congested and in places thickened.  The lungs were also very congested, and the heart was larger than usual and all the cavities contained black blood clots.  In the right ventricle was a large mass of fatty nature filling up nearly the whole cavity. This was probably an old clot formed previous to death, and which had undergone fatty degeneration.  The liver was enlarged and tougher than usual, as were also the kidneys.  The stomach was empty.  The cause of death was syncope caused by failure of the heart's action, probably accelerated by congestion of the lungs.  The conditions he had enumerated were brought about by intemperance.  The body was saturated with spirits, and the house literally stank of them.  In summing up, the Coroner remarked that the particulars of a drunkard's death were shocking to contemplate; he could imagine nothing more horrible than the state into which the poor creature into whose death they had been inquiring had fallen.  It was singular that a bottle similar to the one lost by Mrs Seldon should be found in deceased's room, and this might account for the terrible state in which the deceased was found.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased was found dead in her bed, and that death was, according to medical evidence, the result of her intemperate habits.

Thursday 25 November 1886

CLOVELLY - Fatal Accident. - An Inquest was held at the New Inn, Clovelly, on Saturday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of JAMES DOWNING, labourer, 36 years of age, who resided at the Turnpike Gate House, in this parish, and who met with his death in a most distressing manner the previous afternoon.  The first witness called was Wm. Jennings, labourer, who deposed that on the day named he, with the deceased and another labourer, named Henry Jenkins, were engaged in felling a large oak tree in Syacksland Wood.  They had sawn through the tree as far as they thought necessary, and had inserted a wedge into the cut in order to split the tree off.  The deceased went round the tree and struck the wedge, which fell backwards, quite in a different direction to what they had expected.  Witness was some little distance off at the time, but deceased and the other workman were close to the tree.  Witness saw Jenkins run away, but lost sight of the deceased.  When the tree had fallen, he asked Jenkins where DOWNING was, and he replied that he did not know, he thought he was out of danger.  Witness said he did not think he was, and they both went to the tree, and found the deceased under one of the limbs of the tree.  Jenkins spoke to deceased, calling him by his name, but there was no reply.  He then ran for assistance, and in two or three minutes returned with two other men.  In order to extricate the deceased they had to cut away the branch with their axes, and when he was released he was quite dead.  Someone went for a doctor, and Dr Cooke soon came.  Witness remained by the body, and afterwards assisted to remove it to the New Inn.  The deceased leaves a widow and five young children.  Witness had had some experience in tree felling and had assisted in cutting down trees many times without ropes being attached to them.  It was  pure accident, no blame attaching to anyone, and the tree fell in quite a contrary direction to what was expected.  Henry Jenkins said he was one of the party who were engaged in felling the tree.  He was close to the tree, hollowing out the "dip," when deceased stepped forward and struck the wedge at the back of the tree.  Witness ran to get out of danger, and thought DOWNING did the same, but in this he was mistaken, as they found him under one of the branches.  In falling, the tree lurched round on the stock, in the opposite direction to that in which it was intended to fall.  Witness called deceased by his name, but he did not answer.  He then sent Jennings for assistance, and when he returned with two men, they managed, by cutting off the branch, to extricate the deceased, who must have been killed instantaneously.  Witness had had a good deal of experience in felling trees, and never used ropes except when near houses or buildings.  Mr George Richards Cook, medical practitioner, of Clovelly, said he knew the deceased.  On Friday afternoon, in consequence of information received, he went to Syacksland Wood, where he found the deceased lying on the ground near a fallen tree.  He examined him, and found that life was extinct.  He had a mark in the back of his neck, and the forehead was a good deal bulged, while a little blood oozed from the nostrils.  His opinion was that death was caused by concussion of the brain, and, having heard the evidence, he was satisfied that death was caused by the falling of the tree.  A verdict of "Accidental Death, caused by the fall of a tree," was returned.

KNOWSTONE - Fatal Gun Accident. -  An Inquest was held yesterday (Wednesday) at the Mason's Arms, in the parish of Knowstone, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of a man named GEORGE COLE, who met with his death under extraordinary circumstances detailed in the evidence which follows:  John Maunder, sawyer, of Knowstone, deposed that deceased, who was also a sawyer of the same parish, and 32 years of age, was working with him at Pownsees Farm, about 2 ½ miles from Knowstone, on Saturday last.  They left work together about 5 o'clock, and on the way home went into the Fox and Hounds Inn, where they stayed for an hour or two.  When they left, the deceased had a gun in his pocket, the barrel in the left hand pocket and the stock in the other.  Witness had seen the gun in the morning before they let Luckett Mill Cottage, where he had lived with deceased.  They had walked on together towards home about 20 yards from the Mason's Arms, when the barrel of the gun fell from deceased's pocket and exploded.  Witness knew the gun was loaded, as he had himself charged it in the morning, and they had not fired it off.  Immediately the gun exploded, deceased called out, "I am a dying man."   Witness tried to lift him, but not succeeding, he ran to the Mason's Arms for a lantern.  Numbers of persons appeared, among them Mr Buckingham, and deceased was removed at once to the house of his brother-in-law (Mr A. Cockram), and a doctor was sent for.  The deceased was not the worse for liquor at the time, and witness could not account for the gun falling, but fancied it must have overbalanced itself in his pocket.  Witness saw him the next morning, and asked him how it happened, and he said, "The gun fell out of my pocket as we were walking along."

William Buckingham deposed that on Saturday evening, between 10 and 11 o'clock, he was standing outside the Mason's Arms, when he heard the report of a gun, and a few minutes later the last witness came running into the house and asked for a lantern.  Witness accompanied Maunder a short distance down the roadway, where deceased was lying, unconscious.  He noticed the barrel of a gun under deceased's coat.  He lifted him up, and deceased began to groan.  A short time afterwards COLE was put on a handcart, and taken to his brother-in-law's house.  Witness rode to Witheridge for a doctor, and Mr Schade, assistant to Dr Llewellyn, came in a very short time.  When he returned deceased was able to speak, and witness heard him talking to Mr Schade, but did not hear how the accident happened.  -  J. H. A. Schade, M.R.C.S., said, in consequence of a message given to his principal, Dr Llewellyn, by the last witness, he went to Knowstone about 2.30 on Sunday morning, and found the deceased lying on a temporary mattress on the floor of the cottage.  He was conscious, and witness took off his clothes, revealing a large wound on the inside and top of the left thigh.  It was a wound evidently caused by a gunshot at close quarters, and there were several shot marks on the lower part of the abdomen.  The deceased did not appear to be suffering much.  Witness dressed the wounds, and had him put to bed.  He saw him later in the day, and on the following day Mr Llewellyn saw him, when symptoms of gangrene were apparent.  Early on Tuesday morning he received a message that deceased was dead.  The actual cause of death was gangrene, and the appearance of the wound would bear out the theory of the witness Maunder, that the gun fell out of deceased's pocket whilst he was in an upright position.  John Blackmore, carpenter, of Knowstone, said he helped the deceased from the scene of the occurrence to the cottage, where deceased told him, in answer to a question, that the gun fell out of his pocket, and struck on a stone.  It hung fire for a time, but before he could get away it exploded.  He did not say there was any blame attached to anyone.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 9 December 1886

DUNSFORD - The Suicide Of A Medical Officer Near Exeter. - Mr Gould, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at Dunsford on Monday morning with respect to the death of MR ROBERT RIDDELL, late medical officer to the St. Thomas Board of Guardians who committed suicide by taking poison on the previous Friday morning.  It appears that deceased, who was forty-two years of age, had received a letter from the Local Government Board asking him to resign his office as medical officer on account of his differences with the St. Thomas Board of Guardians.  On receipt of the letter the deceased took a teaspoonful of hydrocyanic acid (deadly poison) and died within a few minutes.  He left the following letter to his wife:-   My dear loved wife,  - Good-by.  You will see by the letter from the Local Government Board that we are ruined.  Kiss my loved children for me.  God bless you.  - BOB.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect "That the deceased committed Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 16 December 1886

APPLEDORE - A Child Burned To Death. -  An Inquest was held at the Royal George Hotel, Appledore, on Thursday, before, J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of a girl, named ELLEN SALTERN, who met her death in a most distressing manner by burning on the previous day.  ELIZABETH SALTERN, of West Appledore, mother of the deceased, said that on Wednesday, the 10th day of November last, she left her home about 8 o'clock in the morning, as usual, leaving the deceased, who was 11 years of age, in charge of the other two children.  She had been accustomed to be left with them, for the last twelve months, and she (witness) had always found her capable of taking care of them.  About 5 o'clock in the evening someone came to where she was working and told her what had happened.  She immediately went home, and found the deceased with a neighbour named Mrs Jewell.  She was terribly burnt, and witness found, on enquiry, that Dr Pratt had been there and seen her.  The child was put to bed as soon as possible, and Dr Pratt had attended her ever since.  She died on Wednesday morning about 6.30.  She had been conscious all through her illness, and had suffered considerably, especially towards the end.  Witness feared from the first that she would not get over it.  -  Sarah Ann Jewell, a neighbour of last witness, said she knew the deceased, who had been in the habit of taking care of the other children when their mother was at work.  Witness thought the child was well able to do this.  About 4.30 on Wednesday, the 10th of November, she heard three loud screams of "murder".  She ran out of her house into the court, where she found the deceased in a mass of flames.  She took up her dress and wrapped it right round her, and by this means she extinguished the fire around her head and face, after which she put out the fire about the arms.  It was only the upper part of the body which was on fire.  Witness took the child into her house, and, seeing she was severely injured, sent after the doctor, at the same time despatching a messenger for the mother.  She stayed with the child until the mother came, but before she arrived the doctor had been and gone again.  Before the doctor came, witness used some linseed oil over the burns, and the doctor told her that she had done quite right.  After the mother came, she rendered her what help she needed, but by the time she arrived, the child had told witness that she had had some potatoes in the oven roasting, and that she lighted the lamp to see if they were done, but before she got to the oven the lamp burst.  She also said the lamp had been, before she took it up, on the bodley, and witness thought it contained paraffin or petroleum.  - Dr F. Pratt, of Appledore, said he was called on the 10th of November, to see the child, whom he found in the care of Mrs Jewell.  He examined her, and found severe burns about the face and neck, and also on the right arm. The previous witness told him she had used linseed oil, which was the best thing she could have done under the circumstances.  He at once gave the child some medicine which he had with him to relieve the pain, and afterwards supplied oil for the burns.  He saw her almost daily, and on the day before her death, he noticed a great change in her, and ordered stimulants to be given her.  When he heard that she was dead, he was not surprised.  The child died from shock to the system, the result of the burns.  He knew the deceased very well; she was a clever little girl, and for her age quite competent to look after the younger children.  The mother, so far as he could judge, looked after the children as well as she could, and since the accident, had been very attentive to the deceased.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

ILFRACOMBE - An Inquest on the body of MARIA FORD, who met with her death on Wednesday of last week, was held on Friday afternoon at the Queen's Hotel, Ilfracombe, by Dr E. J. Slade-King (Deputy Coroner) .  The foreman of the Jury was Mr E. Hussell.  After the Jury had viewed the body, Beatrice Ann Curtis was called, and deposed that on Wednesday at about quarter to eight o'clock she saw the deceased going round the corner to enter Northfield Cottages.  Witness was then looking out of the window of No. 7 Northfield Road.  There was a heavy gust of wind, when deceased turned the corner.  David McCalpin, residing at 7 Northfield Cottages, deposed that on Wednesday evening at a few minutes before 8 o'clock, he was rounding the corner at 7 Northfield Road, when he observed something white on the road.  He found it to be the body of a woman who was lying on her face.  He endeavoured to raise her up, and on doing so, he was opinion that she was dead.  He called assistance and lifted her on a chair.  Blood was flowing from her nose.  Witness summoned Dr Gardner, who soon arrived.  Deceased's hand were inside the cape which she wore, and witness was of opinion that she had not time to loosen them.  Dr F. Gardner deposed to being called by the last witness, and the body which he examined was the one which the Jury had viewed.  Deceased had received a very severe blow on the right temple.  She had been bleeding from the nose, but there were no other marks of violence.  The concussion of the fall was sufficient to cause death, but he thought it probable that there might have been present a fracture of the base of the skull.  Witness was of opinion that death was due to concussion of the brain, but could not state with certainty without a post mortem examination.  The Jury did not think this necessary, and the Coroner having summed up, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  The fees of the Jury were given to the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital.  A letter was read from Mrs Wall, of Hall's Green, in whose employ the deceased was, stating that she asked deceased to sleep at Hall's Green, but subsequently she said she must go or else her son and sister would think that something had happened to her.

Thursday 23 December 1886

SOUTHMOLTON - Coroner's Inquest. - On Tuesday, Thos. Sanders, Esq., F.R.C.S, Borough Coroner, held an Inquest on the remains of MRS MARY WHITFIELD, wife of MR WHITFIELD, gardener, of this town, who died suddenly the previous evening.  Mr Joseph Kingdon was chosen foreman of the Jury.  From the evidence of the husband and daughter of deceased, it appeared that she was in her usual health up to the time of her death.  Deceased went into the back yard of the house about nine o'clock, and the husband, hearing a noise, went thither and found his wife in an unconscious state, and, after drawing a deep inspiration, she died in his arms.  Dr Hind stated that heart disease was the cause of death, and the Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.  Deceased was 66 years of age.  She was widely known as a fruitseller and much respected.

Thursday 30 December 1886

BUDLEIGH SALTERTON - Found Shot Dead. - The body of a well dressed man, with a bullet wound in his head and a recently discharged revolver in his right hand, was found on Friday, on Woodbury common, near Budleigh Salterton, Devon.  The body has been identified as that of a gentleman who has been staying for two or three weeks at the Beacon Hotel, Exmouth.  On the body was a piece of paper, on which was written, "I am ARTHUR ASTON, of Lancaster Mansions, Savoy, London."  From the inscription on a gold watch found on him he is believed to be the son of a clergyman.  A Coroner's Jury at Budleigh Salterton on Friday returned a verdict of Suicide while Temporarily Insane in the case of a gentleman named ASTON, who was found shot in a plantation at Knowle Hill.

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death.  Alleged "Unfeeling Conduct. - An Inquest was held in the North Devon Infirmary on Tuesday afternoon, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., on the body of DANIEL SMITH, hawker, aged 61, who died under circumstances detailed below.  Mr S. Ford was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The first witness called was John Dowdle, labourer, residing at Bull Court, who deposed that on Monday, between three and four o'clock, he saw the deceased sitting upon a chair, with several children around him, outside Mrs Emery's door, in Queen Street; he was black in the face, and seemed ill.  There was no one at home at Mrs Emery's, consequently he went to her mother's house, at Derby, and, at her request, witness procured a spring cart and took deceased to his lodgings at Mrs Guard's. Belle Meadow.  Witness took off his coat and wrapped it up as a pillow, and placed it under deceased's head.  Having arrived at the house, Mr Guard refused to admit deceased, saying he was not in a fit condition to enter his house.  Several women were around, and expressed the opinion that he was dying; he was offered tea, but could not drink it.  One of the women went to fetch Dr Cooke, but he was not at home.  the police were sent for, and, upon the arrival of Inspector Eddy, deceased was conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary, where Dr Cooper, in the absence of the house surgeon, examined him, and pronounced life to be extinct.  Charles Bradshaw, Belle Alley, corroborated.  He saw deceased outside Guard's house, with several women and children around him; he was in a very bad state, and, upon learning that Guard had refused to take him in, witness remarked that it was very unkind, and he might get himself into a "row" about it.  He stood beside the man outside the door for twenty minutes, part of which time he was having an altercation with Guard, who said it was not a fit case to bring into his house; he was a stranger, and if he died there the law would compel him to provide his burial.  When witness first saw deceased he was foaming at the mouth, and a dark liquid was flowing from between his lips.  However, after they had sent for the doctor and the police, Guard came out of the house and said they might bring SMITH in if they pleased, he had prepared a sofa for him; but witness remarked that the police had been sent for, and he thought they had better wait their arrival now.  When Inspector Eddy came the deceased was conveyed to the Infirmary, witness assisting.  The house surgeon was not in, but Dr Cooper was sent for, and arrived in the course of a few minutes. Police Inspector Eddy said about ten minutes after four on Monday afternoon he was called to Guard's house to see a man who was supposed to be in a dying condition. On arriving there he found SMITH upon a hand cart, covered over with a rug, and his head was propped up with a couple of coats wrapped up as pillows.  As soon as witness looked into his face he considered he was dying; his eyes were closed, and his face was turning dark.  Guard was standing in his doorway, and witness told him that he considered he was doing very improperly in refusing to take the man inside.  Upon pressing him for an explanation, Guard said he did not think it a proper case to bring into his house; he assigned no other reason.  Witness brought deceased to the Infirmary as quickly as possible upon the cart, which was a very easy one.  On going through Trinity-street he noticed that deceased c convulsively stretched out his legs, and, on arriving at the back of the Infirmary, he was yet alive, and his lips slightly moved.  The house surgeon was not in, but the matron sent for Dr Cooper, who soon arrived, and pronounced life extinct, and according to his direction the body was removed to the mortuary.  Witness noticed that some dark liquid was flowing from his mouth.  Guard told him at the time of the conversation before related that deceased had lodged in his house for nearly three months.  Walter Cooper, surgeon, said that about 4 o'clock on the day previous Dr Pronger was sent for to attend a case at the Infirmary, but, he not being at home, witness ( who is his partner) came.  He found the deceased upon the hand-cart, on his back; his mouth was almost closed, and from it a dark fluid was flowing.  the body bore no external signs of violence which would account for death.  From appearance he should say death resulted from apoplexy, brought on by the rupture of a blood vessel on the brain.  In reply to a Juror, Mr Cooper said he did not think deceased's life could have been saved even if Guard had admitted him in the first place, and he had been medically attended to.  - Thomas Emery, glass and china repairer, Queen street, son-in-law of the deceased, gave evidence as to SMITH'S means and other matters of a personal nature, after which the Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony, adding a rider to the effect that they were of opinion that John Guard had acted in a very unfeeling manner in refusing to take the deceased into his house when brought there, especially considering the helpless condition he was in.

TORRINGTON - Found Dead. - On Tuesday morning a little child of JAMES PENNY, jun., of New-street, was found dead by the side of its mother in bed.  An Inquest was held by Mr Bromham yesterday (Wednesday), when a verdict was returned in accordance with the evidence.

Thursday 6 January 1887

MARIANSLEIGH - Accidental Death. - Yesterday an Inquest was held at the King's Arms Inn, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of JOHN EASTMOND, aged 32.  Samuel Tucker, landlord of the King's Arms, said the deceased, who was his brother-in-law, was the assistant overseer of the parish.  Since the death of his wife three years ago the deceased had resided with him.  A little after 10 o'clock on Thursday night he was standing outside his house when he heard his housekeeper, Mrs Jones, calling him.  On entering the house he saw his brother-in-law lying at the bottom of the stairs.  He saw he was bad and sent for a doctor.  The deceased passed away on Tuesday morning.  - Mary Jones, widow, deposed to seeing the deceased go up over the stairs on Thursday evening.  He was carrying a candle in one hand and a cup in the other.  She opened the staircase door for him and noticed that when he had nearly reached the landing he missed his footing and fell backwards.  She tried to raise him and called for assistance.  Dr Sanders, of Southmolton, said that when he was called to see the deceased he found that two ribs were broken just below the left shoulder blade, while the lung was injured by penetration.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

LANDKEY - Sudden Death. - On Friday last an Inquest was held in the Wesleyan Schoolroom, Landkey, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of THOMAS YEO, labourer, aged 79.  Thomas Beer, labourer, deposed that he and the deceased had resided in the same house for some time.  On Monday evening the deceased entered the house about five o'clock; he sat down for awhile, smoking his pipe, and afterwards lighted a candle and went upstairs.  Witness heard a noise as of some one falling, and he found deceased lying on his back at the bottom of the stairs.  He spoke to him but he did not answer.  John Woollacott and his wife came to his assistance, and sat the deceased by the fire-place.  He could not say whether the deceased was quite sober or not; he could talk and smoke his pipe.  He made no complaint of being ill when he went upstairs.  - By the Foreman:  He met the deceased outside the Castle Inn during the afternoon.  Deceased went into the inn, but witness went home.  He did not notice that the deceased was "anything out of the way" then.  This was not long before he came home.  John Woollacott deposed to going to the assistance of the last witness and to helping, with his wife, to put the deceased t bed after the fall.  The deceased did not speak for a considerable time after the fall took place.  He did not think that the deceased was drunk, but thought he was stunned by the fall.  By the Foreman:  There was not a smell of drink about the deceased, but he smelt of tobacco smoke.  He could not say for certain that he had stated that deceased had been drinking; deceased might have had a little drink, but he did not think he was drunk.  Mary Woollacott, wife of the last witness, gave corroborative evidence.  - Elizabeth Davis, widow, said she occasionally acted as a nurse.  On Tuesday morning she was fetched to go and see the deceased.  She found him sitting up in bed but unconscious.  As he was very bad she sent for a doctor.  She attended to him up to the time of his death, which took place early that (Friday) morning.  She saw the deceased about 4 o'clock on Monday afternoon; he spoke to her as he passed her house.  He was walking straight then.  He might have had a little to drink, but "not much out of the way".  He was going down the village when she saw him.  The deceased was, unfortunately, addicted to drinking habits.  By the Foreman:  When she saw him on Monday afternoon she judged from his walk that he was not quite sober.  She might have told the sergeant that he was drunk, but she did not remember.  Dr Mark Jackson, medical officer of health, said the cause of death was apoplexy.  He should say that the deceased fell down over the stairs after having an apoplectic attack.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," and added the following rider:-  "The Jury in this case are led to believe, although there is no strict evidence before them as to this, that the deceased was supplied with liquor at one of the public-houses in Landkey on Monday last, when he had already had too much to drink, and they therefore wish to express their very strong condemnation of such conduct on the part of any innkeeper.

Thursday 20 January 1887

BISHOPSTAWTON - Shocking Gun Accident. - A shocking gun accident occurred on Thursday last at Hill Farm, in the parish of Bishopstawton, by which a young man, named JAMES CHALLACOMBE, 19 years of age, lost his life.  The circumstances of the case, which were of a very distressing nature, were fully revealed at an Inquest held on the following day, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, a full account of which appears below.  Mr Geo. Snow was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The first witness called was:-

JAMES CHALLACOMBE, father of the deceased, a farmer of the parish.  He deposed that the deceased, who was 19 years of age, lived with him, and had, up to the time of the melancholy occurrence, enjoyed very good health.  On Thursday afternoon, witness, with the deceased and an elder brother, went out rabbiting.  Witness and his eldest son each carried a gun, but deceased did not.  A little after three o'clock they met Mr Hamblyn Chichester, who was in the company of a gamekeeper named John Facey.  Witness expressed a wish to Mr Chichester that he should like to see him kill a rabbit, and they accordingly remained together for that purpose.  At the time the accident happened witness was in the roadway with young Mr Chichester, while his two sons and the gamekeeper were inside the hedge.  He heard a shot, and said, "Have you killed it?" but before he received an answer he heard his son say, "Shot poor Jim!"  Witness got over the hedge at once, and found his youngest son, JAMES, on the ground, quite dead.  He had him removed as soon as possible, and the doctor and police sent for.

WM. CHALLACOMBE deposed that he was an elder brother of the deceased, and was with him at the time the accident occurred.  His father was in the roadway with Mr Chichester, and he was in the field with his brother and John Facey, the gamekeeper.  Facey and himself each had a gun, but his brother had none.  At the time the accident happened, Facey was standing about a landyard from the hedge on the lower side of the field, the deceased being about twelve or fifteen feet off from him, while witness was further down and nearer to the hedge.  Deceased was stooping down to take some turnips from a rabbit hole, so as to admit of the rabbits coming out, as the ferrets were "working."  Just at that moment a rabbit started out of the hedge on the other side of deceased, and Facey levelled his gun and fired.  At the same moment witness's brother rose up a little, and the charge struck him in the head.  He fell at once, and witness ran to him, and noticed that he breathed twice and then seemed to be quite dead.  Immediately the accident happened Facey said, "Oh! I have shot poor JIM!"  and he seemed much distressed about it.  the way the accident happened was this - Facey, seeing the rabbit going down by the side of the hedge, intended to fire over the deceased, but he unfortunately rose up a little at the time, and so intercepted the charge which was intended for the rabbit.  Facey and deceased were very good friends indeed, and they had all been laughing and talking together.

John Facey, gamekeeper to Mr Chichester, of Hall, said he knew the deceased and his brother very well.  On Thursday afternoon witness had been out shooting with Mr H. Chichester and about three o'clock they came across MR CHALLACOMBE and his two sons, who were rabbiting.  It was then arranged that they should try for a rabbit in the field, so as to give young Mr Chichester the chance of a shot.  Witness with the brothers CHALLACOMBE were in the field at the time of the accident, while the other two were in the roadway.  Witness was on the look-out for a rabbit, and, on seeing one start from the lower side of the hedge, raised his gun to fire.  MR WM. CHALLACOMBE said, "Look out!" and then deceased rose and moved forward a bit just at the same time as witness fired.  At the time he fired he did not think there was the least danger of shooting the deceased; it was owing to his rising up suddenly and moving forward a bit that the charge struck him.  Witness had had considerable experience as a gamekeeper, and had never had any accident before.  In answer to the Foreman, witness said he did not kill the rabbit, and he was not quite sure whether the gun went off before he had got it to his shoulder or not.

Dr Mark Jackson, of Barnstaple, said he went to Hill Farm on Thursday evening about 5 o'clock.  He found the deceased upstairs in a bedroom, fully dressed, on a stretcher.  He was quite dead, and the body getting cold.  There was a large opening in the skull, large enough to admit three fingers.  The skull bones were all shattered, and the brain substance and blood were issuing from the wound.  He thought death must have been instantaneous.  The injuries were such as would have been sustained by a gunshot at a short distance.  He found one or two shots in the tissue of the scalp and face.  He had no doubt that death was caused by a nervous shock and haemorrhage, the result of a gunshot at close quarters.

A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  Great sympathy is felt for the friends of deceased in their sad bereavement.  The funeral took place on Monday, when a cloud seemed to rest over the parish, and many were the expressions of regret that so young and promising a life should thus prematurely be ended.  The funeral was very largely attended, the family of the deceased having for many years been highly respected and esteemed throughout the district.  The remains were interred in Bishopstawton churchyard, the Rev. H. F. Baker (Vicar) officiating.  At the house of the deceased an impressive address was delivered by Mr George Norman.

Thursday 3 February 1887

STOKE GABRIEL - Strange Occurrence In The Totnes Division. - Considerable excitement prevails in the Totnes division of Devonshire in consequence of the County Coroner having ordered the disinterment of the body of MRS LEVER, a married lady, who acted as housekeeper to the Rev. H. J. Neville, vicar of Stoke Gabriel, near Paignton.  The lady had been ill for some weeks, but no doctor attended her, and she died on 18th inst.  Four days after the death, Mr Neville went to the Registrar at Paignton for a certificate of burial, which was refused on the ground that a doctor's certificate was also necessary.  Mr Neville thereupon said he would bury the body without a certificate, and he did so.  Half an hour after the burial a message arrived from the Coroner stating an Inquest would be held.  On Thursday the Coroner, armed with the order for disinterment, arrived at Stoke Gabriel, and found an excited crowd assembled.  The Vicar refused to give up the keys of the churchyard, and defied anyone to break open the gates.  Ultimately the Coroner climbed over the wall and undid the gates from inside, and a number of men, acting under his instructions, disinterred the body.  The Inquest was formally opened and adjourned, to allow a post mortem examination.  The Vicar has threatened legal proceedings.  The burial scandal at Stoke Gabriel was on Saturday the subject of an adjourned Inquiry before Mr Hacker, District Coroner.  The evidence showed that deceased had been ill for three months, and was treated for disease of the liver.  The medicine used was prepared by the Vicar, the Rev. J. D. Neville, who was a pupil under a medical scientist in London, from whom he obtained advice.  It was stated by trained nurses who attended on the deceased that they did not think it necessary to call in a doctor as they were working under the Vicar.  Dr Haynes, of Totnes, who made a post mortem examination, stated that he could find no trace of liver disease, although the internal organs were much congested.  He had thought it advisable to send portions of the stomach to London for analysis.  He refrained from giving his opinion as to the cause of death.  The Inquiry was further adjourned to the 7th of February.

CHULMLEIGH - Accidental Death. - On Wednesday in last week an Inquest was held at West Wick Farm, in the parish of Chulmleigh, before James Fraser Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of MARY ANN CROOK, aged 5.  JOHN CROOK, labourer, deposed that the deceased was his daughter.  When he went to work about seven o'clock on Monday morning the child was in her usual health.  Between ten and eleven o'clock a girl came to him saying that his child was on fire.  He found her in the court.  He tried to put out the fire with his hands, but as he was not successful he ran to the pump at the farmhouse, and thus quenched the flames.  He left the child with Mrs Fewings and ran for his wife.  He afterwards fetched Dr Pollard.  The child died on Tuesday night.  There were two older children at home, the eldest being nine years old; this one generally looked after deceased while witness and his wife were away.  Mrs Fewings, wife of a farmer, deposed that on Monday morning she heard screams.  On looking into the yard she saw the deceased in flames.  She ran down, but before she got to the child the father, who had been working in a barn close at hand, had arrived.  After hearing the evidence of Dr Pollard, of Chulmleigh, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 24 February 1887

INSTOW - Fatal Accident. - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at the Marine Hotel, Instow, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of WM. TUCKER, aged 64, late gardener in the employ of Mrs P. Edwards Palmer.  We reported last week that the body of the deceased had been found on the beach, and the facts of the case will be found in the evidence subjoined.  - P.C. WM. HENRY TUCKER, of Barnstaple, identified the body as that of his father, and CHARLES TUCKER, groom, deposed that he last saw deceased alive at about a quarter to ten on Tuesday night.  He was then leaving the Marine Hotel. They said "Good night" to each other.  To the best of his belief the deceased was in no way intoxicated; there was nothing in his manner to indicate that such was the case.  It was a very dark night.  Witness came out of the Hotel five minutes afterwards, but then saw nothing of the deceased.  Charles Molland, mason, said he knew the deceased very well.  Between seven and eight o'clock on Wednesday morning he was walking along the Quay when he met a railway porter named Anstey.  He told him that MR TUCKER had just been missed, and said "I believe that's him outside the Quay wall."  As a train was running in Anstey went on to the Station.  In company with a lad named Ernest Cornish he went to the beach, where he found the deceased lying on his back.  He sent for a policeman.  The body was lying four or five feet from the base of the Quay.  It was a very hard beach and there were stones about.  He noticed a large quantity of blood on the beach.  The deceased was well known, and so far as he knew, on good terms with everyone.  In his opinion the deceased accidentally fell over the Quay.  At the time the accident was supposed to have happened, namely, just after deceased left the Hotel, there would have been no water at the spot where he was found.  The tide would have reached the spot about eleven o'clock, but the water would not have been more than a foot deep there  He noticed that the clothes of the deceased were wet.  Corroborative evidence was given by Ernest Cornish, Thomas Anstey and P.C. John Smith.  The last named witness said he was on duty on and near the Quay up to half-past eleven on Tuesday night.  he did not see any strangers about.  He believed deceased fell over the Quay in the darkness and was killed by the fall.  The deceased was steady and inoffensive, and was not at all likely to have been assaulted by anyone.  A verdict to the effect that death was the result of an Accidental Fall over the Quay at Instow was returned.

Thursday 3 March 1887

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - On Monday afternoon an Inquest was held at the Union Inn, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of ELIZABETH CANN (wife of FRANCIS CANN), who died suddenly in Princess-street on Saturday evening.  Mr George Baker was chosen foreman of the Jury.  - Selina Bratcher, a young woman, said that since the death of MISS CANN at the beginning of the year she had resided with the deceased in Princess Street.  The deceased, who was sixty-six years of age, kept a mangle, and earned her living by working it.  She had constantly complained of pains in her heart ever since witness had resided with her, but no medical man had been called in.  About half-past nine on Saturday evening she was helping MRS CANN take a basket of clothes up Princess-street, when the deceased fell against the wall of Mr Clarke's house, exclaiming "Oh my head."  Witness called for assistance and Mr Clarke at once came to her.  She then fetched Mr Perkin, who was a friend of the deceased.  When she returned with Mr Perkin some persons were carrying the deceased to her house; she was quite dead.  Two or three days prior to her death the deceased "lost her breath" for several minutes.  John Perkin, mason, gave corroborative evidence.  He had often heard deceased complain of her heart; she on one occasion said it seemed as if it would jump out of its socket.  She told him that she thought she would die suddenly.  J. W. L. Ware, surgeon, gave it as his opinion that heart disease was the cause of death, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

BIDEFORD - Fatal Accident. - Between ten and eleven o'clock on Saturday morning a young man named LEWIS BEER fell from the first floor of a new building in the Abbotsham Road to the hard ground beneath.  He was picked up unconscious, but it was not thought the accident was very serious.  When he was taken to the Infirmary, however, the doctor found that he had fractured his skull very badly.  Convulsions set in during the afternoon, and BEER died on Sunday, never having spoken after he fell.  An Inquest was held on Monday, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  It appears that BEER was of a very weak and nervous temperament, and had not been strong in his head for some time.  The occurrence was undoubtedly of a purely accidental character, and no one could be blamed for it.

BRENDON - Suicide. - A distressing case of suicide occurred in this parish on Sunday last, when MARY LOCK, a widow, aged ninety, and much respected in this neighbourhood, put an end to her life by hanging herself.  Deceased had been living for some years with her son, MR THOS. LOCK, at Cranscombe Farm.  It appears that on Sunday morning MR LOCK went to church, as usual, leaving his mother and some younger members of the family at home.  About half-past eleven deceased put on her things and said she would take a walk.  As there was nothing unusual in this no notice was taken of it.  When, however, she failed to put in an appearance at dinner-time her son went in search of her.  Knowing she was in the habit of sometimes sitting in the sunshine on the step of the barn door, he first directed his steps thither.  Not finding her there, he tried to open the barn door, which, to his surprise, he found bolted on the inside.  His suspicions thus aroused, MR LOCK tried another entrance to the barn, and, upon entering, saw the unfortunate woman suspended by a rope some distance from the ground.  With the aid of a man, who happened to be near, the body was taken down, but life was quite extinct.  On the previous day, deceased persisted in helping to pile some corn which was being carted into the barn, and so arranged it under a cross beam as to make her dreadful purpose easy of accomplishment.  J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, held an Inquest on the body on Tuesday afternoon.  Mr Richard French, of Tippacott Farm, was chosen foreman of the Jury.  Evidence was given by MR T. LOCK, MARY LOCK, grand daughter of the deceased, and Mr A. Bale, to the effect already narrated.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst in a state of Temporary Insanity.

Thursday 10 March 1887

EXETER - A verdict of Suicide whilst in a state of Temporary Insanity was returned on Monday at the Inquest held on the body of MR A. F. LUKE, solicitor, of Exeter, who on Thursday took his life by drinking chloroform.

Thursday 17 March 1887

BARNSTAPLE - An Inquest was held at the Union Workhouse yesterday on the body of a navvy named RICHARD BELT, aged 45 (said to be a native of Torrington) who was found dead in bed in the House in the morning.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 31 March 1887

BRAUNTON - Sad Fatal Accident At Braunton. - A melancholy fatal accident occurred at Braunton on Tuesday afternoon, JOHN BOSSESNCE, aged 37, a carter resident at Barnstaple, being crushed to death by the wheels of a waggon on which he had been riding.  The details of the case will be found in the report of the Inquest which appears below.

The Inquest on the body of the deceased was held yesterday (Wednesday) at the Black Horse Inn, Braunton, before Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner.  Mr Jno. May was elected foreman of the Jury. The first witness called was:-

Robert Pickard, foreman of the carters at the Barnstaple station of the Great Western Railway, who gave evidence of identification.  On Tuesday the deceased assisted him to pack some furniture at Mr Alford's farm, the intention being to remove the furniture to Thorverton in a van.  They left Mr Alford's farm with the van containing the furniture.  He last saw the deceased alive about half-past three, when they were near the Wesleyan Chapel at Braunton.  The van was standing still at the time, and he heard the deceased, who was then in the roadway, ask a man who was passing for a match.  He then saw the deceased walk towards the head of the van.  Just afterwards witness (who was sitting in the rear of the vehicle) felt a jerk, and on looking into the road saw the deceased lying on the ground.  the van was stopped immediately.  He saw the deceased turn over, and on reaching him he asked what was the matter.  The poor fellow said, "Oh, I am finished for," and did not speak afterwards.  He breathed his last in about a quarter of an hour.  Witness sent for a doctor immediately, and Dr Lane was soon in attendance.  The van, which was loaded, weighed over three tons, and was drawn by three horses, which were under the charge of James Huxtable.  When the accident occurred the van was going down hill, but the skid was not used as it was not needed.

James Huxtable, labourer, living in the parish of Heanton Punchardon, deposed that on the previous day he was engaged in driving a furniture van from Braunton to Barnstaple.  The deceased and the last witness were riding on the van.  He last saw the deceased alive when near the Wesleyan Chapel, Braunton.  He saw him get on the near shaft of the van, where he sat for five or ten minutes.  As the horses were proceeding at a gentle trot he felt a sudden jerk, and on looking round he saw that deceased was no longer sitting on the shaft.  He at once pulled up, and he saw BOSSENCE lying in the road.  Witness was standing on the other shaft of the van in order to drive.  He did not know that there was a place provided for the driver and the men in charge of the van to sit.   This was the first time he had ever driven a furniture van.  It was not necessary to use the skid in going down the hill on which the accident occurred.  He could give no account of how the deceased got under the van - he did not see him fall.  The deceased was quite sober.

Mr Pickard explained that a proper place was provided at the rear of the van for the accommodation of the men.  Witness was sitting there at the time of the accident, and deceased could have ridden there if he had so chosen.

Dr Lane, of Braunton, deposed that when he arrived on the scene of the accident about four o'clock BOSSENCE was quite dead.  The body was by his order removed to the mortuary, where he examined it.  He found a large lacerated wound in the lower part of the bowels; all the principal blood vessels were torn through, and the top of the hip bone on the left side completely smashed.  The injuries were such as would be caused by the wheels of a heavy waggon.  P.S. Rich (stationed at Braunton) having given some formal evidence, the Deputy Coroner summed up, and the Jury at once returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 7 April 1887

HARTLAND - On Tuesday an Inquest was held at St. Leonard's, in the parish of Hartland, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of ELIZABETH WILLIAMS, aged 17, domestic servant in the employ of Mr William Fulford, of Trellick Farm.  John Bragg, farm servant, deposed that on Tuesday, the 22nd of March, he was riding (with one of his master's children) on the arm of a threshing machine, which the deceased was putting in motion.  He threw a little stick which he had in his hand away from him, it fell among the cogs and stopped the machine.  The deceased fell across the arm of the machine, but did not complain of being injured, laughing about the matter.  Evidence was given that on the following day the deceased was taken ill and was subsequently taken to her father's house.  She was there seen by Dr Henry Miller, who deposed that the young woman died on Thursday from inflammation of the membranes of the brain, which probably resulted from the accident referred to.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

BISHOPSNYMPTON - Sad Accident. - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at Bishopsnympton, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of HENRY FORD, aged eight.  ANN FORD, wife of JAMES FORD, labourer, deposed that the deceased was her son, had attended the National School at Southmolton.  On returning from school on the afternoon of the 24th of March, the deceased said his leg was bad, as if he had sprained it.  During the evening he still complained, and her daughter said, "Yes, mother, Samuel Sanger jumped on his back."  On the following day he remained in bed until dinner time. As she thought he was suffering from a sprain she rubbed oil into his leg and wrapped the thigh in flannel soaked in turpentine.  On Friday he seemed to get a little worse, and in the night appeared to be wandering in his mind.  On Saturday morning she took him to Dr Furse; he managed to walk with the aid of a stick.  Up to the time of his death, which occurred on Thursday, he was under the care of Drs. Furse and Sanders.  -  JESSIE FORD said that when she was going home from school on Thursday, the 24th of March, she saw some boys playing with her brother in East-street.  As deceased was stooping Samuel Sanger jumped on his back in play.  Deceased told Sanger to be quiet but did not say he was hurt.  He did not make any complaint as they walked home together.  - JOHN FORD deposed that he was playing with the deceased in East-street, Southmolton, when the accident happened.  Deceased was picking up a ball when Sanger jumped or fell on him, both of them going to the ground.  Deceased (who was his cousin) did not make any complaint, but played for some time before going home.  It was all done in play, the boys being very good friends.  - Dr E. Furse stated that when the deceased was brought to his surgery at Southmolton on Saturday, March 26, he found he was suffering from injury to the spine.  He ordered that he should be taken home immediately and put to bed.  He continued to attend him, with his partner, Mr Sanders, until Thursday, when he died from asphyxia, produced by inflammation of the spinal cord, which he believed to be the result of the accident referred to by the witnesses.  It must have been the jar or concussion which inflicted the injury, which was such that the parents were not aware of its serious nature before they consulted him.  When the boy was brought to him he saw immediately how serious the matter was and thought the chances were against the lad's recovery.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 14 April 1887

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident. -  On Saturday morning an Inquest was held at the Mason's Inn, Hardaway Head, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of CHARLES SMITH, aged 72, who died under circumstances detailed below.  The deceased lodged at a house at Hardaway Head, but some years since he was a farmer in a large way of business.  Mr George Baker was chosen foreman of the Jury.  -  Fanny Hunt, living at Hardaway Head, said she had known the deceased for 12 years.  He was a retired farmer, and had lodged at her house for the past two years.  He had received 10s. per week, but she understood that since his brother's death he had been entitled to 12s. per week.  His brother died six weeks ago, but as the will had not yet been proved he had not up to the time of his death received any benefit from it.  Deceased's late brother used to pay her 5s. per week and deceased paid the remainder of the amount (8s.) which she charged weekly.  The 3s. which she received from his personally deceased paid quarterly, as he was entitled to some money, she understood, four times a year.  Deceased enjoyed very good health, being very hearty in his eating, but he was at times not exactly right in his head.  On Thursday SMITH came downstairs about 9 o'clock and remained in the house all the day.  About 6 o'clock, after he had had his tea, he started to go upstairs, carrying a cup of cocoa in his hand.  Just as he reached the top he cried out and she heard him fall down over the stairs.  She saw that he had sustained a very severe cut in the head, and she immediately sent for a doctor, who was soon in attendance.  Two hours after the accident deceased "came to himself" and addressed witness by name.  He did not make any remark about the fall and did not seem to feel any pain.  On the following morning (Friday) he said his head was bad, and he spoke several times in addition to this.  She thought he looked much better, and she went downstairs to make some gruel for him.  MR SMITH soon afterwards called her upstairs, and on going to the deceased she saw that he was dying.  She at once sent for Dr Cooper, who came immediately.  For two or three days prior to Thursday SMITH complained of a pain in his head.  In answer to a Juror, the witness said the deceased was perfectly sober at the time the accident happened.  He did not leave the house during the whole of the day, and he never drank intoxicants in the house.  Mr Walter Cooper, surgeon, deposed that about six o'clock on Thursday evening he was sent for to attend the deceased, who he found lying on the floor at the bottom of the stairs in the last witness's house. His head was supported by a woman.  He found a lacerated wound, four inches in length, on the vertex of the skull, there being a large bruise in front.  Deceased was perfectly unconscious.  He dressed the wound and gave directions that the injured man should be put to bed.  He requested Mrs Hunt to send a message at nine o'clock informing him how his patient was progressing.  At nine o'clock a messenger told him that SMITH was better.  At ten o'clock on Friday morning he was again sent for, and on arriving at the house he found that SMITH had died a few minutes previously.  The cause of death was concussion of the brain, the result of the fall described by the preceding witness.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 5 May 1887

MARWOOD - Yesterday (Wednesday) an inquest was held at the North Devon Inn, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., on the body of WILLIAM GAMMON, labourer, aged 69, who was taken ill on Monday evening and who died on the following morning.  Having heard the evidence of John Yeo (with whom the deceased lodged), Ann Yeo, Geo. Worth, and Dr J. W. Cooke (Barnstaple), the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that death was caused by Apoplexy.

WEST BUCKLAND - A man named THOMAS HUXTABLE dropped down in a field at West Buckland on Tuesday and died before medical assistance could be obtained.  An Inquest will be held this (Thursday) afternoon before the County Coroner, J. F. Bromham, Esq.

Thursday 12 May 1887

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest. - On Thursday afternoon last an Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of MARGARET PHILLIPS, aged 70, of Clement's Row.  The deceased as was reported in last week's Journal, was seriously burnt on Saturday evening, a benzoline lamp bursting as she was cooking supper and catching her clothes on fire.  She was removed to the Infirmary, where she died on Wednesday evening.  - Mr Thomas Pine was chosen foreman of the Jury.  - James Scoins, labourer, deposed that for two years he had occupied a portion of a cottage in Clement's Row, the deceased having occupied the remainder, (two rooms on the first floor).  The deceased, who was paralysed on one side of her body, received relief from the parish.  About eight o'clock on Saturday night he heard her calling loudly for a neighbour, Mrs Griffiths.  He ran upstairs, where he found her sitting in a chair and enveloped in flames.  He heard her say, "I was frying my supper and the benzoline lamp bursted."  Witness took off his coat and wrapped it round her face and shoulders, and in a short time he succeeded in extinguishing the flames.  Under the deceased he saw a small brass lamp burning, and he pulled her away from it.  He sent for a doctor immediately, and Mr Cooke was soon in attendance.  The doctor ordered her to be removed to the Infirmary.  She appeared to him to be perfectly sober.   - Mr H. H. Lovell, house surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, said the deceased was taken to the Infirmary at half-past eight on Saturday night.  On examination he found that she was suffering from extensive superficial wounds on the lower parts of her body, while the clothes were very much burnt.  She was very excitable but perfectly sensible.  She died on Wednesday evening, from the effects of the burns.  He did everything he could to alleviate her sufferings.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

WEST BUCKLAND - An Inquest was held on Thursday last, at Highdown, West Buckland, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of THOMAS HUXTABLE, labourer, 63 years of age, who, from the evidence adduced, died suddenly on the previous Tuesday.  Evidence was given by WM. HUXTABLE, Edwin Holloway, John Re, Mary Gaydon and Thomas Sanders (medical practitioner), and the Jury returned a verdict of 'Death from Natural Causes.'

Thursday 19 May 1887

ST GILES IN THE WOOD - Sudden Death. - An Inquest was held at Dodscott Lane Cottage, in the above parish, on Thursday last, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of a child named SIDNEY JOSLIN, about three years old, who died somewhat suddenly on the previous Tuesday morning.  - MARY JOSLIN, mother of the child, gave evidence to the effect that the deceased was taken with vomiting on Friday, the 6th instant, the effects of which necessitated his keeping his bed the next day, but on the Sunday he was better.  She sent for a doctor on Monday, having previously nursed him with the hope of restoring him to health.  The doctor did not come, but sent some medicine and a powder, which was given to the child.  During the night the child was very ill, and about eight o'clock on Tuesday morning he called for a drink, which was given him.  Witness then went downstairs, and in rather less than five minutes went upstairs again, when the child was dead.  The reason why she did not send for the doctor before Monday was that the child seemed to be better on the Sunday, but on Monday he was much worse.  - SILAS JOSLIN, father of the deceased, and RHODA MARY JOSLIN, daughter of the latter, corroborated.  - William Lait, medical practitioner, living at Torrington, gave evidence that the deceased died from Natural Causes, consequent upon exhaustion from diarrhoea.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

Thursday 26 May 1887

IILFRACOMBE - An Inquest was held at Mrs Popham's Boarding House on Friday morning by Dr E. J. Slade-King, (Deputy Coroner for the district) touching the death of JOHN EDWARD PARKIN, a little boy 5 years old, who fell into the mill stream and was drowned the previous Wednesday.  Mr W. Crang was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The Jury having viewed the body, HENRY PARKIN, carpenter, residing at Gilbert Grove, identified the body as that of his brother, who was a schoolboy (five years old) living with his father, THOS. PARKIN, builder.  Witness last saw him alive on the previous Wednesday evening about 5.30 o'clock, near his father's house.  A little boy named Benoke, who happened to be playing with the deceased at the time of the sad occurrence, was called, but on being questioned by the Coroner, it was found he did not know the nature of an oath, and his evidence was ruled inadmissible.  -  Ivy Ackland, a little girl seven years of age, and who answered the questions put to her in a very straightforward manner, said that about six o'clock on Wednesday evening she saw a little boy in the mill stream near Somer's Crescent.  He was floating, and she could see it was JOHNNY PARKIN.  She ran and told Mrs Dendle (a neighbour), who came out, and endeavoured to get the little boy out, but could not do so.  She called to a man who was passing, and he got the boy out, PARKIN was not crying in the water.  Mrs Mary Dendle, of 7, Somer's Crescent, deposed to being called on the Wednesday evening by the last witness, who told her a little boy was in the stream.  She could only get at the child with difficulty, by climbing round some rails.  When witness found she could not get him out she called loudly for help and Mr Ackland ran to give assistance.  The body was taken into witness's house, and several medical gentlemen were in attendance, but, notwithstanding that every was made, the child died before the medical men arrived.  She did not see the child move either in or out of the water.  Mr James Ackland, joiner, said he was passing along the bottom of Somer's Crescent on the evening in question, when the mother-in-law of the last witness, shouted to him, and he ran to the spot as fast as possible, and saw the body of a boy (whom witness did not know) in the water.  He had to climb round some wood railings which were about 5 feet high.  In his opinion anyone passing over those railings would be trespassing into an enclosed ground.  When witness saw the body he caught hold of it, took it out, and carried it to the last witness's house, where every means of restoration were used, but with no avail.  The depth of the water where the child was, was 4ft. 3in.  Witness did not know how the child could have got into the water, but he could have got to it by passing through Messrs. Gammon and Tallyn's yard.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death by Drowning."  The Coroner was requested to write to the Local Board, asking them to erect a fence the whole length of the Mill-stream.

LYNTON - Fatal Accident. - A serious accident, which has since terminated fatally, occurred on Monday of last week to MR RICHARD CARTER, of Coombe Farm, Countisbury.  On the day in question deceased left home with a waggon and pair of horses for the purpose of fetching from Lynmouth a load of manure.  Having finished his business at Lynmouth, the poor fellow started for home late in the afternoon, accompanied by a lad named William Howell.  As they were descending a hill not far from Coombe Farm the front horse suddenly bolted.  CARTER who was riding on the shaft jumped off, in order to stop the animal.  In doing so the unfortunate man, somehow, got thrown down and the wheel of the waggon passed over his body, completely smashing the right leg and so injuring his face that the features were disfigured almost beyond recognition.  The boy, in the meantime, had jumped out of the waggon and, seeing what had happened, ran off to the nearest house - that of Mr George Geen - for help.  It so happened that Miss Pope, of the Lynton Cottage Hospital, was staying there, and while she rendered what help she could, Mr Geen rode off for Dr Berry.  On the doctor's arrival, deceased was placed in a conveyance and taken to the Lynton Hospital, where his injuries received careful attention.  He was doing as well as could be expected until Wednesday, when, owing to the injuries received in the head, the poor man expired.  An Inquest was held on the body by J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on Friday afternoon, when evidence to the effect already stated was given by Mr S. Baker, William Howell, Mr G. Geen, Miss Pope and Mr William Reed.  The Jury, of which Mr Tom Jones was chosen foreman, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  The deceased was only thirty-seven years of age, and leaves a widow and eight children, for whom much sympathy is felt.

Thursday 2 June 1887

CHITTLEHAMHOLT - Suicide. - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at Head Farm, in the parish of Chittlehamholt before J. F. Bromham, Esq., on the body of JOHN HOWARD, who came to his death under circumstances detailed below.  - MELINA HOWARD, aged 15, and in the service of Mr John Manning, of Head Farm, deposed that her deceased father, who was 58 years of age, had resided at Chulmleigh.  About half-past eight o'clock on Thursday evening her father called to see her.  He gave her a parcel and told her not to open it until the next morning.  She opened it, however, the same evening, and found that it contained a purse in which were three sovereigns and four half sovereigns.  The next morning she heard that her father had been drowned in the mill leat.  When she saw her father four weeks ago he seemed in very low spirits.  He also seemed in low spirits on Thursday evening.  She asked him where he was going, and he in reply said he was not going very far.  William Adams, shopkeeper, residing at Chittlehamholt, deposed to finding the body of the deceased in the mill-leat on Friday morning.  On the bank was an overcoat, a hat, and a walking stick, a stone being placed on the top of the coat.  Sydney Greenslade, miller, of Kingsnympton, and a son-in-law of the deceased, deposed to assisting to take the body of his father-in-law from the stream.  Deceased had stayed with him for some time, but left a fortnight previously.  Deceased had no particular home of his own and got work where he could.  Deceased had not lived with his wife for some years.  Evidence was also given by P.S. Mitchell and Dr J. Tucker, and the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased committed suicide while in a state of Temporary Insanity.

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Case Of Suicide At Barnstaple. - A sad case of suicide occurred at the County Police Station, Barnstaple, on Friday evening last, the victim being a man named WILLIAM HENRY JOSLIN, of Tawstock, who, in a most determined manner, hanged himself, while confined in a police cell, by means of a leather belt which he wore round his waist.  The circumstances of the case were enquired into on Saturday, by the Borough Coroner, R. I. Bencraft, Esq., and a Jury of which Mr John Parminter, of the Castle Hotel, was elected foreman.  The first witness called was:-

Police Constable William Howard, stationed at Tawstock, who deposed that he had known the deceased about twelve years.  He was a farm labourer, and resided at Upcott, in the parish of Tawstock.  Witness apprehended the deceased on Friday at Harracott, Tawstock, on a charge of attempting to seriously assault a young woman named Elizabeth Delve.  He was brought before W. P. Hiern, J.P., in the afternoon, and the case investigated, the result being that he was committed for trial at the next County Quarter Sessions.  Witness then left him in charge of P.C. Robert Blackmore, stationed at Barnstaple, and the deceased was in Blackmore's custody the last time witness saw him alive.  He always appeared to have been in his right mind, but was somewhat given to intemperance.  He had a wife and three children.  Witness searched him when he apprehended him, and found a knife, a boot-crook, a tobacco-box, a pipe, and a watch.  He had no braces on, but wore a leather belt round his waist.  In answer to a question by the Foreman, witness said the charge against the prisoner did not seem to affect him.

P.C. Robert Blackmore (Barnstaple) said he received the deceased from the last witness about 12 o'clock on the previous day.  He was subsequently taken by witness to the Bridge Hall, where the charge against him was investigated, and he was committed.  Witness took charge of him, and brought him back to the station, and locked him up.  About 7.20 p.m. witness took him his supper, consisting of bread and butter and tea, when prisoner asked if he could have more tea if he wanted it, and witness replied, "Yes, you may have as much as you like."  Some short time after, witness went to the cell again, and, at the request of the prisoner, carried him some more food.  Witness fetched the tea things about a quarter of an hour afterwards, and prisoner then said he should like to see his cousin, who is a postman of this town, and witness promised to see him and ask him to come and see him.  He also asked if he should see witness again that night, and witness told him he would see him again later in the evening.  About al quarter to nine P.C. Setter came to the station, and they went together to the cell, when they found deceased hanging by a leather belt (produced) to the ventilator.  His face was towards the wall, and his feet were touching the ground.  P.C. Setter took hold of him and lifted him, while witness broke the cord which fastened the belt to the ventilator, letting the body to the ground.  Witness thought he was dead, but Setter said, "I do not think he is dead; I will go for a doctor," which he did, while witness remained and rubbed the body of deceased.  The doctor arrived in about ten minutes, and pronounced him dead, and the body was placed on the bench.  Witness was present at the investigation of the case against the deceased, and the justice consented to take bail, if prisoner could procure it, in £25.  Witness did not know he had the buckle round his waist.

P.C. Samuel Setter, stationed at Marwood, corroborated the last witness's evidence, and Dr Walter Cooper, medical practitioner, of Barnstaple, deposed that he was sent for to go to the police station, about nine o'clock on Friday.  He went to the cell, where he saw the body of deceased, and pronounced life extinct.  He examined it; the neck was not broken, but a livid mark was to be seen on the upper part of the neck.  From the appearance of the body he should say that the cause of death was asphyxia, caused by strangulation.  The Coroner having briefly summed up, the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased committed suicide whilst in a state of Temporary Insanity; the Foreman added that they wished to express their opinion that no blame whatever was to be attached to the police constable.

Thursday 9 June 1887

BIDEFORD - Sad Death At Bideford. - On Tuesday evening it was rumoured that J. COOKE, Esq., of the Grange Estate, had died very suddenly.  On inquiry it was found that MR COOKE had been discovered lying dead, shortly after mid-day.  Examination disclosed the presence  in the room of a bottle which is supposed to have contained chlorodyne.  It was empty, and it is supposed that the deceased gentleman must have taken an overdose, but there are no circumstances which point to premeditation.  MR COOKE has been living alone for some time, and has not been in good health.  MR COOKE was of middle age, and the son of O. COOKE, Esq., of High Park.  Deceased was, it is said, only accompanied by his man servant, having sent his female domestics away a few days since, his wife having been confined to an asylum for some time past.  MR COOKE, who had no family, was reputed to be exceedingly well to do.  His aged father resides in a genteel residence about two miles out of Bideford, and a brother occupies a seat a few miles from town.  The Inquest which was to have taken place last night, it adjourned until this morning at 11 o'clock.

BARNSTAPLE - Alleged Concealment Of Birth At Barnstaple. - Some excitement was caused in the town on Saturday by the announcement that the body of a child had been found under very suspicious circumstances in a room occupied by a servant in the employ of Mrs Seldon, of 108 Boutport-street.  The facts were brought out at the Inquest which was held, and a report of which appears below.  The mother of the child, ELIZABETH CROCKER, a widow, aged 39, was on Saturday removed to the Union Workhouse by order of the police, who had been communicated with.

An Inquest was held at Mrs Seldon's on the body of the infant on Saturday afternoon before R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner.  Mr G. H. Gould was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The body, which had been placed in a small box, having been viewed, Sarah May was called.  She said she was a widow, residing in Aze's-lane.  She was a charwoman, and for the past twelve months had acted in that capacity for Mrs Seldon.  ELIZABETH CROCKER entered Mrs Seldon's service late in December, and witness had been acquainted with her from that time.  CROCKER told her she was a widow and had a daughter residing in Exeter.  Witness believed that CROCKER had an illegitimate child in the Union Workhouse.  About half past seven that morning she arrived at Mrs Seldon's house as usual, but found that the door was locked.  She waited until half past eight, when the door was opened by Mrs Seldon, who afterwards called MRS CROCKER.  The latter came downstairs about ten minutes afterwards. Mrs Seldon asked her how it was she was so late, and CROCKER said, "I can't think how it was I over-slept myself; I didn't hear the clock strike."  CROCKER was generally downstairs when witness arrived at the house.  As CROCKER was lacing up her boots when in the kitchen Mrs Seldon asked her what was the matter, and she then fainted.  Witness picked her up and attended to her.  She went into another room with Mrs Seldon, and in consequence of what her mistress said she proceeded to CROCKER'S bedroom.  On looking under the bed she found a pail, and on taking off the cover she saw the head  of a child floating in water.  She told Mrs Seldon what she had seen, and Dr Pronger was then sent for.  She accompanied the doctor to the room, and called his attention to what she had found. The body she discovered was that of a fully-developed child.  The pail was generally kept in the yard.  CROCKER received notice to leave last week. She had heard out of doors of CROCKER'S condition.  The Inquest was then adjourned in order that a medical examination of the body might be made.  The Inquest was resumed in the Council-chamber on Monday afternoon, when Mr C. E. Pronger, surgeon, was called.  He deposed that on the morning of Saturday he was called to Mrs Seldon's, 108 Boutport-street.  He reached the house about nine o'clock.  He was informed that the servant woman had given birth to a child.  He went into the kitchen, where he saw ELIZABETH CROCKER, she was dressed and sitting on a chair, looking pale and faint.  She admitted that she had been confined about five o'clock that morning.  He had a temporary bed made up for her accommodation in a room near the kitchen.  He proceeded to her bedroom, which was at the top of the house, being accompanied by Mrs May.  By the side of the bed was a large pail, containing blood and water, and just on the surface of the water was the top of a child's head.  He had the child taken out.  It was quite dead.  In the afternoon of the same day, he made, by the order of the Coroner, a post mortem examination.  It was a female child, having no marks of violence on the surface, or any abnormal appearance.  It weighed 7lbs, less 1oz., and measured 20 inches in length.  That was fully the average length and weight.  He then examined the lungs.  He found them of a bluish red colour, non crepitant throughout, and they sank immediately on being put in water.  He then cut up the lungs into small pieces and each piece sank immediately.  The other organs  of the body were apparently perfectly healthy.  From the appearances he concluded that the child was fully developed, but that it never breathed, and therefore, had no separate existence.  It was what was generally known as a "still-born" child.  The Foreman asked Dr Pronger if the child would have lived if proper attention had been given to it.  Mr Pronger said it was impossible for him to say.  The Coroner briefly summed up, pointing out that in the face of the medical evidence the Jury could come to only one conclusion.  The Jury had nothing to do with any charge which might be made hereafter, for he would remind them that it was an offence now to conceal the birth of a child. The Jury at once returned a verdict to the effect that the child was still-born, and divided their fees between the witness Mrs May, and the North Devon Dispensary.  The mother of the child is to be proceeded against for concealment of birth.

HARTLAND - Fatal Accident. - An Inquest was held at the Bear Inn, in the above parish, on Monday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of a man named CHARLES GILBERT, who met his death on the previous Friday evening.  John B. Ashton, farrier, deposed that the deceased was in his employ, was about 21 years of age, and a very steady man.  On Friday evening witness had occasion to go to Hartland Town to a meeting, and he took the deceased with him, in a pony trap.  The pony belonged to witness's father, and he knew the pony well, although he had not driven it before.  On the way to Hartland the pony jibbed, and witness got out from the trap and led it a short distance, after which it went all right. At Townsend witness alighted and told deceased to drive the pony home.  Witness went to the meeting, but within a short time was called out, and he heard that an accident had happened.  He went to the bottom of the hill and there found deceased by the side of the road with some people around him, including a doctor.  The trap was lying in the roadway, but the pony had been taken away.  Witness had no idea that there was any risk or danger in letting deceased drive the pony home.  The deceased was removed to witness's house, and died on Sunday morning, never having recovered consciousness.  Henry Childs, coastguardsman, deposed that as he and two others were going up the hill to Hartland Town, Mr Ashton passed them.  Shortly after they saw the pony coming down the hill at a terrific pace.  The deceased was in the trap and had a rein in each hand.  Witness saw that an accident must occur, and he and another man followed the pony.  A short distance down the hill the trap upset and witness sent the man who was with him for a doctor.  He then went to deceased, who was quite unconscious, and remained with him until the doctor came.  John Rowe, labourer, deposed to finding the deceased in the roadway, and Henry Miller, medical practitioner, deposed to examining the deceased and finding a wound above the right eye from which the brain was protruding besides which there was a compound fracture of the skull.  He saw at once that the case was hopeless and had deceased removed.  He had no hesitation in saying that deceased died from compression of the brain, the result of the accident.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 16 June 1887

BIDEFORD - Sad Death At Bideford. - The sad death of J. COOKE, Esq., of the Grange Estate, which occurred on Tuesday in last week, and a notice of which we have already given, was the subject of an Enquiry before the Borough Coroner, Dr Thompson, on Thursday morning last.  The first witness called was:-  Edward Ellis Pedler, who stated that he knew the deceased well. He had been in his employ about two years, working one day each week.  He had seen the deceased daily for the last few days of his life, and had been in constant attendance on him during the night.  Deceased went to bed between ten and eleven o'clock on Monday night.  About one a.m., whisky and milk was given him.  Witness was called several times, but paid no heed to the call until five a.m., when at the deceased's request some beer was given him.  From the morning of Monday till Tuesday he drank a pint of whisky.  There was nothing unusual in the deceased.  He stated once that he wanted to sleep.  Witness knew that he took some drops from a bottle, having been told of the fact by the maid servant.

Charles Williams, a boy, deposed that he knew MR COOKE and had been in his service about two years.  On Friday last he came to live in the house.  His master was often poorly and at times kept his bed during the day.  Witness saw the deceased take whisky and water several times each day from Saturday till Monday.  He knew that his master took drops from a bottle, as he used to fetch it for him.  He believed that the deceased took some on Saturday.  By the Coroner: He used to go to the chemist and ask for chlorodyne.  He had not been so often of late.  Witness saw the deceased about eight o'clock on Tuesday morning when he took up a glass of whisky and water to him.  Subsequently, at his master's request, he went and fetched another pint of whisky and between eleven and twelve o'clock some more whisky and water was given him.  There were two bottles of chlorodyne on the tables near his bed.  One of the bottles was nearly empty and the deceased took this.  MR COOKE, a little before twelve o'clock, said he wanted to sleep.  Witness came down and went up again, and he again repeated that he wanted to sleep.  About a quarter past twelve witness again went up and asked the deceased whether he wanted anything.  Not receiving an answer he put his hand on MR COOKE'S arm, and found that he was dead.  Pedler was sent at once for a doctor.

Mathew Richard Gooding, Esq., surgeon, said he was called, about quarter past 1 p.m. on Tuesday, to see the late MR COOKE.  He examined him and found that he had been dead more than an hour.  There was a strong smell of spirit, but he could detect no smell of chlorodyne.  Witness produced two chlorodyne bottles which were near the bed.  One of the bottles was empty and the other nearly full.  He attributed death to an overdose of chlorodyne, together with an excessive drinking of alcohol.  Forty drops of chlorodyne were strong enough to kill a person.

Charlotte Swann, a domestic servant in the employ of the deceased, stated that she had been in his employ about two years.  He had always been an invalid and she did not notice that he was worse of late.  He complained of his stomach and was sick at times.  He frequently suffered from neuralgia in his head.  His appetite was very poor.  He took spirits daily and chlorodyne when he could not sleep.  He never, to her knowledge, took more than 40 drops at a time.  When witness left him on Friday morning the deceased was in his usual health.  She would not have left him but that the deceased said he was going away in a few days, and therefore she went for her holiday.  MR COOKE was often shaky and could not do anything.  Witness had been in the habit of attending deceased at night.  By the Coroner:  She had known MR COOKE to take forty drops of chlorodyne in the morning, afternoon, and when he went to rest.

Mr John Alonzo Griffiths deposed that he had known the deceased.  He had not been to witness's shop for the past six months.  He was aware that he was in ill-health and had been in the habit of putting up prescriptions for him.  Deceased occasionally had chlorodyne.  He formerly had a two ounce bottle of this mixture once a week, but latterly he had not had so much.  The last bottle that witness supplied him with was on the 3rd of June.  The general dose of chlorodyne was from 10 to 30 drops  There was a dram and a half of chlorodyne gone from the bottle produced.

The boy recalled, was asked whether he told Mr Gooding the deceased had taken two doses, of forty drops each, within an hour.  Williams said he could not recollect, and Mr Gooding informed the Jury that the boy did say so, but that he was very much excited at the time.  Dr Ackland being sworn, said:  I knew the deceased well and was his ordinary medical attendant.  His general health was indifferent.  Deceased told me that his health had been impaired from his services whilst in the Royal Navy.  He suffered much from neuralgia, and this accounted for his taking chlorodyne.  The last time I attended him was April twelve months, when he was suffering from the abuse of chlorodyne, which deceased told me he had been in the habit of taking in large doses.  I told him he was in great peril in following the habit and succeeded in getting him to abandon it.  Some time afterwards I saw him, and his health was much improved in consequence.  From the evidence I have heard, I am of opinion that the cause of death was from narcotic poisoning.  Death is generally brought about in such cases by congestion of the brain, heart and lungs.  The Jury returned the following verdict:  "That deceased died from taking, accidentally, an over dose of narcotics."  The funeral took place on Friday, and was attended only relatives of the deceased.  The coffin was covered with beautiful wreaths, and the Rector, the Rev. R. Granville conducted the burial service.

ILFRACOMBE - A Sad And Fatal Accident occurred to an orphan girl, LOUISA WIDLAKE, aged 6 years, at Ilfracombe on Thursday evening.  Whilst picking flowers on the Capstone about 7.30 she fell over on to the Parade beneath.  She was conveyed to the Cottage Hospital, but her injuries were so great that she died shortly afterwards.  The Inquest was held on Saturday morning at the Hospital before Mr J. F. Bromham, Coroner.  Mr H. T. Hooper was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The body having been viewed by the Jury, SUSAN WIDLAKE identified the body as that of deceased sister, who was 6 years of age, and an orphan, living with witness and another sister.  Witness last saw her alive on Thursday evening about 5.30, when deceased left the house, but witness had no idea she was going to the Capstone, as she had been forbidden to go there several times.  About 7.30 witness heard of the accident, and went at once to the Hospital where she saw her sister who was unconscious.  A visitor, Mr W. R. Phillips, said that between 7 and 8 on the evening in question he was sitting on the Parade when he noticed some children playing on the top of a cliff on the Capstone.  They were in a dangerous position, so much so that witness remarked to his niece that one of them would be over in a minute.  He had scarcely spoken when one of them fell over.  In her descent she struck against the projections, three or four times at the least, and then fell on the Parade.  He ran to pick the child up, but before he arrived at the spot - which was about 100 yards from where he was sitting - another gentleman had picked her up and was carrying her down the roadway.  A little girl, named Alice Vellacott, said she was playing with WIDLAKE on the Capstone and was close to her when she fell over.  The reason witness did not fall over instead of LUCY WIDLAKE was because the latter was in a slippery place.  Mr A. L. Copner, surgeon, was the gentleman referred to by the witness Phillips as having picked the child up.  He, in company with Mr T. C. Webb, had the child conveyed to the Hospital, where he found that she had received a compound depressed fracture of the skull, and some of the brain substance had escaped.  She had also a compound fracture of the right thigh besides other bruises.  Witness from the first had no hope f the child's recovery, but he had the opinion of Mr J. T. Gardiner - who also saw the child - that opinion being the same as his own.  He had a message later in the evening that the child was dead.  The actual cause of death was a shock to the system consequent on the injuries above mentioned.  The Coroner having summed up, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  The Jury recommended that the Local Board place a notice cautioning persons not to approach too near the edge of the cliff.  The fees of the Jury were given to the sisters of the deceased.  A saddening feature of the accident, was that the child was at the time gathering flowers for the funeral of Miss Wade, her late schoolmistress.

Thursday 23 June 1887

LITTLEHAM - An Inquest was held at Littleham on Saturday on the body of HENRY JAMES EASTON, labourer, who had succumbed to injuries sustained while working in a quarry.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - A sad case of sudden death took place at Pilton on Friday morning, MR W. GILBERT, painter, aged 67, expiring while engaged in painting a house at Lake, Pilton.  An Inquest was held at the Chichester Arms in the evening before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner.  Mr Arnold was chosen foreman of the Jury.  WM. RICHARD GILBERT, son of the deceased, said he was a painter residing at Pilton.  The deceased had been unwell, but had not had medical advice since January.  That morning he breakfasted as usual with the family, and he seemed to be in better health than usual.  He went to work about ten o'clock.  About an hour later he hard that there was something the matter with his father, and on going to Lake, where the deceased had been working, he found that he was dead.  His father was occasionally seized with a fainting fit.  John Thomas, residing at Pilton, deposed that about ten o'clock that morning he saw the deceased enter a cottage at Lake belonging to Mr J. D. Thomas.  He appeared to be in his usual health.  Between half-past ten and a quarter to eleven he went into the house, when he saw MR GILBERT lying at the foot of the stairs.  His face was on the floor, while his feet were on the stairs.  He called Mrs Thorne, a neighbour, and, with the assistance of a young man named Harry Stevens, he lifted MR GILBERT, when he found that life was quite extinct.  They removed the body to an adjoining room.  Dr Mark Jackson deposed that he saw the body of the deceased about a quarter to eleven that morning.  Life had been extinct for a very short time only, the body being quite warm.  There was a slight bruise over the centre of the forehead and over the left eyebrow.  There were no other marks of violence.  There was no doubt that GILBERT fell over the stairs in a fit of syncope which seized him while he was at work.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 7 July 1887

EXETER - A Fatal Mistake At Exeter. - At the Topsham Inn, Exeter, on Friday, before Mr Coroner Hooper, an Inquest was held on the body of ANN PATIENCE COLES, who died in the Devon and Exeter Hospital, after taking disinfectant fluid in mistake for port wine.  The deceased was 42 years of age, and the wife of the landlord of the New Inn, Alphington.  For some time she had suffered from indifferent health, and on Tuesday last she called to her husband to bring some port wine to her in her bedroom.  Before he had time to comply - some customers having in the meantime entered the house - she appears to have gone to a cupboard where some bottles of port wine were kept, and taken a glass of disinfectant instead of wine.  Her vomiting brought her husband and others to the room and Dr Vlieland was sent for, the latter ordering her removal to the hospital, where she died.  The evidence of the house surgeon (Mr Bloomfield) went to show that deceased suffered from a diseased heart, and in his opinion death resulted from failure of the heart's action, which might have been accelerated by the taking o the fluid, which he believed contained a small quantity of poison.  Under any circumstances the deceased could not have lived many weeks.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Misadventure."

Thursday 14 July 1887

GEORGEHAM - Fatal Accident. - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at the Crowberry Farm, in the parish of Georgeham, on the body of WM. HERBERT SMITH, aged 7.  GEORGE BALE SMITH, farmer, said the deceased was his son.  On Friday he was carrying hay from a field near the farm house; he was leading a horse which was drawing a load of hay, and the child was walking by his side.  The deceased said, "Father, go back after the sheep, and I will lead on the horse."  He commenced to go back in order to fetch the sheep, and as he was passing the cart James Nott (a man in his employ), who was seated on the top of the load of hay, said "Go on, WILLIE, or else the sheep will go on in front," at the same time striking the horse on the back with a hand-rake.  There were no reins attached to the horse, which bolted immediately it was struck.  Nott was precipitated into the road, and the cart went over the child.  On running forward he found that the child was dead.  He carried the body to the house and a neighbour went for Dr Lane.  Nott stayed behind in order to look after the house.  The child was strong and healthy and was accustomed to go about with witness when he was driving.  In answer to the Foreman, MR SMITH said the blow which Nott gave the horse was not a violent one.  He was certain that Nott did not think there would be any danger in striking the horse.  He understood that Nott was severely shaken by the fall which he had, and that he was under the doctor's care and was now in bed.  P.C. Lynn stated that he had been to Nott's house in order to summon Nott as a witness.  He was in bed and said he was unable to attend, as he was suffering from the effects of the accident.  Dr S. O. Lane, of Braunton, gave evidence as to the nature of the injuries.  His opinion was that by the cart going over the deceased, his skull was fractured and the upper part of the spine broken.  He should say that death was instantaneous.  Twelve months ago he attended the deceased, who was then suffering from a broken arm caused by a fall from a cart.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 21 July 1887

BIDEFORD - A Boy Drowned At Bideford. - On Thursday afternoon last a little boy was drowned in the river Torridge, this being the first, and, we hope, the last bathing fatality at Bideford for the season.  When the accident first became known it was stated that the boy had struck himself whilst jumping from a rock, and so received injuries which stunned him and prevented him rising.  This, however, was not correct.  It appears that, on the afternoon named, a party of boys went to Ford Rock to bathe.  Amongst the number was a little lad named ARTHUR PALMER, aged ten years.  Though young, PALMER could swim.  He entered the water and swam towards the rocks where the water was deep.  whether he was seized with cramp, or whether he simply lost strength and confidence, cannot be known.  He was heard to cry for help, and was seen to be sinking.  His cousin, a brave little fellow about the same age, got as near as he could to him and held out his hand.  He could not reach PALMER, however, who then sank and was drowned.  Full particulars were elicited at the Inquest which was held at the father's house at the top of High-street on Friday evening, before the Borough Coroner, Dr Thompson.

PHILIP PALMER was the first witness and he identified the boy lying dead as his son.  He last saw him alive at dinner-time on Thursday.  He had spoken to his son about being careful when bathing, but had not forbidden it or felt nervous about it since he heard the boy could swim a bit.  At half past three the previous afternoon he (witness) was called from his work and told his son, ARTHUR, had been drowned.  Witness hurried to Ford Rock, and was present when the body was found.

John Husband, aged eleven, said:  ARTHUR PALMER was my cousin.  We went to 'Ford Rock together about half-past two o'clock yesterday afternoon, and there were some other boys there.  I went into the water first, and my cousin followed.  The tide was going out, but the water was still high and covered the rocks.  I did not go close to the rock.  PALMER swam a little way against the tide.  After he had landed, he went in again, and just afterwards he sang out to me to help him.  I cried for assistance and then walked into the water as deep as I could and tried to give him my hand.  I could not quite reach him, however, and he sank.  He rose three times altogether, each time farther off.  The last time he tried to swim, and we shouted to him to keep up, as some men were coming, but he went down, and I did not see him again.  Richd. Bartlett gave evidence of finding the body, about five o'clock in the afternoon.  He saw the body near the water's edge as the tide was receding.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidentally Drowned whilst Bathing, and gave their fees to the parents of the boy.

HARTLAND - Suicide At Hartland. - A case of suicide occurred at Hartland last week, the man who died by his own hand being THOMAS CURTIS, an elderly man who had been in the service of Colonel Stucley of Hartland Abbey, for over 30 years and who was, of course, very well known.  There can be no doubt that CURTIS was affected in his mind at the time he committed the act, as will be seen from the particulars elicited at the Inquest held on Saturday by Mr J. F Bromham, County Coroner.

The first witness called was JOHN CURTIS, son of the deceased man.  He said that his father had been in the employ of Col. Stucley for over thirty years as under gardener. Some years ago his father went out of his mind, and was away at an asylum for about a month.  He had been better since, but a week or so ago it was evident that he was getting a little queer again.  Witness lived at Hole Hill, about 2 ½ miles from his father, who used to come up to his place two or three times a week.  He was up on Sunday and seemed low-spirited.  He came again on Tuesday whilst witness was at dinner.  They went out together, and his father turned towards the cliff.  Witness asked him what he was up to, and he replied that he was going to jump over the cliff.  Witness told him to go into the house and go to bed.  Witness watched him till he got close to the house, and then went on to his work.  When he returned in the evening he found that his father had not entered the house.  He afterwards discovered him in the water closet.  When he got him indoors, his father behaved so strangely that witness went to get someone to come and stay with him; but when he returned his father was gone and witness could not find him, so he gave information to the police.  Mr Thomas Heard, of East Tichbury Farm, spoke to having seen THOMAS CURTIS, on Wednesday evening between 7 and 8 coming up the sandpath from the beach.  Witness later on saw him stooping down in the path, but was too far off to speak to him or notice him particularly.

Mr Wm. Heard, son of the last witness, said that on Wednesday evening his brother told him a man had gone up the path without any waistcoat on and with blood about him.  Witness went in the direction indicated, and came up to a man with a wound in his throat and blood about his neck and shirt.  The man could not speak, and as he made attempts to write on a stone, witness sent his brother for a slate.  The man wrote "I intended to have done it," and also put down his name.  Witness helped CURTIS into the house and sent for a doctor and the police.  P.C. Mortimore gave evidence to the effect that immediately he was informed CURTIS was missing he went in search, but could not find him.  About eight on Wednesday evening he was fetched to go to Tichbury Farm.  He found CURTIS with his throat cut, and bound it up till the doctor came.  CURTIS wrote on the slate that he had not eaten much for some time, and was in bad spirits, and then something about "last Saturday," followed by the words "In the morning I did intend to finish it, but not hurt enough."  He also told him where the knife and his hat and coat were.  Dr Newcombe, who was called to attend the deceased, stated that he found CURTIS with a very deep cut in the centre of the throat, cutting through the larynx and exposing the front of the spinal column, but not severing the larger vessels.  The wound must have been inflicted at least twelve hours before.  After the wound was dressed the poor fellow recovered his speech and also his reason.  He said he committed the act unthinkingly.  Witness saw it was a hopeless case from the first, and told CURTIS he was a dying man.  He died on Friday about half-past one a.m.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 28 July 1887

ILFRACOMBE - Fatal Carriage Accident.  Singular Conduct. -  An Accident of a very serious nature, and one which resulted in the death of a woman, and in injuries to two others, occurred at Ilfracombe on Saturday.  A party of five ladies were being driven, in a carriage belonging to Mr W. Lovering, to the Quay, from the station, when the horse bolted in the Wilder Road.  The driver, a young man named Chugg, was thrown from his seat, and two of the ladies jumped out and escaped uninjured.  Another of the ladies named Fanny Phillips, aged 42, in attempting to get out, was dragged some few yards, and ultimately fell to the ground outside the Britannia Hotel.  Mrs Phillips was attended to be Drs. F. and J. Gardner, and in addition to receiving several injuries, she was found to be suffering from concussion of the brain.  Eleanor Clements, aged 64, the mother of Mrs Phillips, also jumped out, and received several bruises and other injuries.  She, together with her daughter, was taken to the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital.  Outside the White Hart Inn the other members of the party, a woman named BOND, aged 43, and residing at Swansea, endeavoured to get out of the carriage.  While doing so, she fell heavily on her head, and received  a severe fracture of the neck.   She was taken into the Inn, and medical assistance obtained, but she died on Sunday afternoon, having been unconscious from the first.  She had been on a visit to her friends at Torrington, and intended to return to Swansea by the Velindra, as indeed was the intention of the whole party.  The names of the two ladies who escaped without receiving any injuries have not transpired, but they are reported to have come from Landkey, and it is supposed they went to Swansea by the steamer.  The horse, which was ultimately stopped on the Pier, did not receive any injuries at all, and the driver was not severely hurt.

The Inquest on the body of the deceased was held at the White Hart Inn, on Monday evening, before J. F. Bromham,. Esq., County Coroner.  Mr Burgess was foreman of the Jury.  MR GEORGE BOND stated that he was a wheelwright, residing at 26 Trafalgar Terrace, Swansea.  The deceased, who was his wife, came over from Swansea on Saturday week, and had since been staying with her friends at Torrington.  It was her intention to return to Swansea on Saturday night, by the Velindra.  He first heard of the accident on Sunday morning, the news being brought to him by two Ilfracombe men, who came to Swansea in a skiff and brought him to Ilfracombe half an hour after his wife had died.

George Chugg stated that he was a cab driver, and on Saturday night about 5.30 he took up the deceased and others at the railway station.  There were four women inside the cab, and one on the box with him. He had driven for six seasons, and had driven the horse he was driving on Saturday evening every day except one since the first of June.  He had always found her quiet and controllable.  When in Beaconsfield Terrace the horse bolted, but he knew of no reason why she bolted.  He did not whip her, nor did he do anything to frighten her.  He was getting the animal under control again, when it bolted at the bottom of Northfields.  A man was sticking bills at this place, but he did not know whether the bills frightened her or not.  At the Wesleyan Chapel the carriage "slewed", and he was thrown off the box, and dragged a few yards by the reins.  All remained in the carriage till then.  He got up from the ground and ran on, and found the carriage on the Pier empty.  He passed one of the women as he was going to the Pier, and she told him she was not hurt.  In answer to a question, Chugg said he did not jump off the carriage; he was thrown off.

James Dendle, cab proprietor, stated that he was on the stand opposite the Lower Church about six o'clock on Saturday night.  He saw the carriage coming, with one door open, and a woman's leg out, as though she was trying to get out.  The horse was not going at a furious rate, and he should not have known anything was the matter if he had not seen the woman trying to get out.  He saw the driver go off the box, after which the cab swayed to the left, and one of the women, who was trying to get out, was thrown out, and the wheel went over her.  Outside the church he saw another of the women fall out.  He was then called to look after the cabs, and as he had an order, he went back.  The first woman got up, and said she was not hurt, and a crowd of people collected around the second woman.  He afterwards examined the ground where the driver fell, and found a mark showing that he had been dragged a distance about the length of the horse and cab.

Thomas John Coats, plumber, deposed that he was outside the White Hart Inn, on Saturday night, and heard a carriage coming behind very fast.  On looking round he saw a cab near the Britannia, and he saw a woman either fall or jump out of the cab near Gant's refreshment rooms.  She came from inside.  He then saw some one strike at the horse with a whip with the object of stopping it.  The horse and carriage then swerved towards the Quay, and he thought the whole would have gone over the Quay.  When opposite him, he saw the only occupant of the cab jump out, notwithstanding the shouts of some men to her to keep her seat.  When the woman reached the ground she rolled several times, and he caught her before she had finished rolling.  She seemed insensible, and blood was flowing from her nose and mouth.  He, with others, carried her to the inn and fetched a doctor.  Francis Poole, cab driver, said he took the whip and shook it at the horse in order to try to stop her.  He also holloaed to her for the same object, but it was all of no avail.  He saw two women leave the cab before the horse reached him.

Mr J. F. Gardner, surgeon, deposed to being called to see the woman now deceased.  He stopped at the Crown Inn where one of the other women were taken, and then went to the White Hart.  There he found the deceased quite unconscious, and he saw she had received grave injuries to her head, and on examination he found her neck was broken but not high enough to cause sudden death.  She also had concussion of the brain caused probably from a severe fracture of the base of the skull.  Witness saw her several times during the evening and also the next morning.  Two of the other women were taken to the Cottage Hospital, and were found to be seriously injured.  One of these had no knowledge of anything that had occurred owing to the accident, and the other one would not be able to be moved for some time.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 4 August 1887

BIDEFORD - Distressing Case of Suicide At Bideford.  A Courageous Daughter. - Shortly after six o'clock on Friday evening, it was rumoured at Bideford that MR JOHN BROCK, painter, of Bridgeland-street, had taken his life.  It was at first thought the report was erroneous, so improbable did it seem.  It was a fact, however, and inquiry revealed that the circumstances under which the occurrence took place were of a strange and painful character.  During Friday, MR BROCK was engaged in his usual occupation, and no one appears to have noticed anything strange in his demeanour.  At twenty minutes past five in the afternoon, his daughter was engaged in ordinary conversation with him in the workshop at the rear of the premises.  At half-past five, an apprentice, on entering, saw his master hanging by a rope in the middle of the room. Not being able to lift him from his position, the lad ran for a doctor.  MISS BROCK - a girl of thirteen - hearing there was something wrong, entered the shop the moment after, and with the utmost presence of mind and bravery, with her own hand cut her father down, and, alone, poured brandy into his mouth and supported him in her arms until assistance arrived.  Unfortunately, MR BROCK had just expired, and could not be revived.  One of the most remarkable features in connection with the case is that the rope by which the deceased was found to be hanging, was not fastened round his neck.  It was simply a rope with both ends fastened to a block which was hooked on to a cross-piece above.  Practically it was a long loop.  Not only so, but it was less than 5 ft. from the floor; so that the deceased must have placed his neck over the rope and then allowed his weight to sink on it - for at no time were his feet off the ground - in fact, when found, his legs were bent owing to the weight of the body upon them whilst the feet were resting on the floor.  Such an entire absence of "preparation" and lack of provision for "securing" the accomplishment of the act meditated have very seldom been met with.  The deceased was forty years of age, and leaves a wife and four children.  It is not known that there were any business or other trouble of any kind whatever.

The Inquest was held on Saturday evening, at the house of the deceased, before the Borough Coroner, Dr J. Thompson.  The Jury having viewed the body, the first witness called was E. Rouse, Esq., who said:  I knew the late JOHN BROCK, and attended him professionally.  I have attended him four or five times during the last fortnight.  He had been very depressed, and was morbidly anxious about his wife, who was poorly.  He was altogether of a highly nervous temperament.  He did not complain to me of any general outside trouble; but he was always of an excitable nature.  I have no doubt that his death was occasioned by hanging.

In reply to the Coroner, Dr Rouse said:  I have just a doubt whether the deceased hung himself.  The mark in the neck suggests that the rope was not placed in such a position as it would have been placed by a man intending to hang himself.  In consequence of these observations, the Jury at once proceeded to view the place where the occurrence happened.  The Jury went and viewed the workroom where the death took place.  The rope in question was an ordinary one, had always been in position for weighing purposes, and was in the centre of the room.  The rope must certainly have been, comparatively, but a very little distance from the floor.

Montague Bray said:  I was apprentice with the deceased.  I last saw him alive at half past four in the afternoon, in the workshop.  I left him there at that time to go to Fox's Bank.  I was away an hour, and, having finished, I returned to the workshop.  I found MR BROCK hanging by his neck to a rope in the middle of the room.  His feet were touching the ground, and his hands were hanging by his side.  I looked at him for a second or two, astounded, and then called to his son to send for a doctor.  I tried to lift him out of the rope, but found he was too heavy.  The rope was simply tied round a balance block, and there was no "noose" at all in the rope.  At this point, Superintendent Morgan produced the rope and block, and explained that the rope, as it was around the neck, was only four feet eight inches from the ground, not the height of a man's shoulder.

Witness continuing, said:  As I could not lift him out I ran for Dr Ackland, and the young doctor came at once.  When we returned the body was on the floor, the rope having been cut by MR BROCK'S daughter.  The doctor, in my presence, examined the body, and saw MR BROCK was quite dead.  The rope and the block had always been kept exactly where it was when the body was in it.  It was kept there for weighing purposes.

ANNIE BROCK said:  MR JOHN BROCK was my father.  I saw him several times on Friday. He had breakfast and dinner with all of us, and he ate as usual, and he seemed in his general health.  He did not seem silent or depressed, and he talked with us as usual.  In the afternoon at 20 past five, I went up into the workshop to fetch a pail.  Father was there and had a brush in his hand.  He asked me if mother was asleep, and I said yes.  I took the bucket I wanted, and went away.  About ten minutes after my brother told me something had happened, and he ran off for a doctor.  I ran up into the loft alone and saw father hanging.  I took hold of him and shook him and said "Father."  He then gasped.  I ran down and got the carving knife and some brandy.  I took hold of his arm and cut the rope, and then poured some brandy into his mouth.  The brandy went down his throat.  I was holding him in my arms all the time.  When Mrs Freeman's servant came in we sat him on the floor and held his head up till the doctor came.  The doctor did all he could, but found he was dead.  I did not call my mother at all, as I thought it would frighten her.  The Coroner remarked that the witness was the bravest little girl he ever examined, and the Jury expressed their warm admiration of her conduct.  The Coroner having briefly summed up, the Jury returned the following verdict, after private consultation for some minutes:-  "That the deceased came to his death by hanging, while in a state of Temporary Insanity."

ILFRACOMBE - The Late Carriage Accident. - MRS DYER, one of the women who was injured by the carriage accident at Ilfracombe on the 23rd inst., died at the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital on Friday afternoon.  An Inquest was held on Saturday morning at the Hospital before J. F. Bromham, Esq., with Mr Tattam as foreman of the Jury.  PHILIP DYER, of Rhydypandy, near Swansea, identified the body as that of his mother ELLEN DYER, who was 63 years of age.  George Chugg, the driver of the cab, and James Dendle, repeated the evidence given at the inquest on the body of Mrs Bond.  Mr F. Barbeary, boatman, stated that on the 23rd inst. he saw a horse and carriage come round the corner by the Wesleyan Chapel at a full gallop.  There were people in the cab, and as he knew there were a lot of excursionists around the next corner, he ran to clear the way, but the carriage overtook him.  He saw a woman hanging out of the carriage and he saw her fall out.  She was an elderly person, and he believed it was the one whose body they had seen that day.  Witness saw the other two women jump out.  Charles Hooper, cab driver and ostler, said he saw a horse and carriage with no driver come round the Britannia corner on the day in question.  There were ladies in the carriage, and he attempted to stop the horse, but the shaft of the cab struck him on the breast.  One of the women then fell out of the carriage, and he caught her in his right arm.  Her head struck violently against the corner of the wall.  He helped her into the Crown Inn, and also to the hospital.  When picked up the woman, who was an elderly one and very stout, was insensible, and could not speak.  Mr J. T. Gardner, surgeon, deposed that when he first saw the deceased, at the Crown Inn, she was conscious, but very much shaken, and feeling faint.  She had a long bruised cut on the left leg below the knee, and also several bruises about the body and face.  With his father and brother, both of whom were medical men, he dressed the wound, and had her removed to the hospital, where witness and his brother had attended her every day.  Other medical gentlemen, including Mr Harper, of Barnstaple, had seen deceased.  The cause of death was gangrene collapse which on Monday set in, in the right leg, which was bruised, and it rapidly spread to the body. Mrs Phillips, who was taken to the hospital, was discharged on Wednesday.  The deceased told him that she intended to have sat on in the cab, but that one of those who had previously got out dragged her over the side, and she lost her balance.  The Foreman thought the witness Hooper deserved much credit for attempting to stop the horse, and the Coroner concurred.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

TIVERTON - Murder At Tiverton. - A brutal murder was committed at Tiverton early on Saturday morning.  For some time past ARCHIBALD REED, keeper for a Fishing Association, had been troubled by poachers lining and netting the water.  He left home at 11 o'clock on Friday night to watch the water, having received information that four poachers would be at work.  About a quarter to 6 on Saturday morning a gamekeeper named G. Davey was returning from night duty when he noticed a body in the shallow water of the river Exe, and having called assistance the body was got out, and found to be that of REED.  The river side bore evidence of a struggle, showing that REED has been first murdered and then thrown into the water.  The throat of the murdered man was cut, and a large clasp knife was found lying near a pool of blood.  It is believed deceased had an affray with poachers, but no arrest had been made up to last night.  REED leaves a widow, but no family. 

The Inquest touching the death of ARCHIBALD REED, keeper to the Tiverton Fishing Association, who was murdered while on his beat close to Tiverton, early on Saturday morning, was opened on Monday by Mr Lewis Mackenzie, Borough Coroner.  The evidence of seven witnesses, including the widow, having been taken, the Inquiry was adjourned for a week.

Thursday 11 August 1887

TORRINGTON - Suicide. - On Wednesday evening last some little excitement prevailed in the town, when it became known that WILLIAM KELLY, a labourer of Castle-street, was missing.  It appears that he left his home in the morning to go harvesting for Mr H. Gent, in a field near Torrington Wood.  About nine o'clock the same day Mr Gent went to the field, where he saw a jacket and a pick, but KELLY could not be seen anywhere.  After searching for some time, Mr Gent sent a message to his wife, who, in company with some other persons, went in search, but up to seven o'clock there were no tidings of his whereabouts.  P.C. Howe, with several men, then started off on the search.  At length a dog, kept at the Shallowford Lodge near, was let loose by Abraham Isaac, who took it to the wood, and in a short time the missing man was found by means of the dog, hung by a rope and suspended over a small quarry in the wood.  The deceased had for some time suffered more or less from rheumatism, which, with the want of work, seems to have preyed upon his mind.  An Inquest was held, at the New Market Hotel on Thursday afternoon, before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, and a Jury, of whom Mr J. Short was foreman.  After hearing the whole of the evidence, they returned a verdict of Suicide while in a state of Temporary Insanity.  The Jury gave their fees to the widow of the deceased, who was a very quiet, sober and industrious man, and between 50 and 60 years of age.

GEORGEHAM - Sudden Death. - Yesterday an Inquest was held at the Manor House Inn, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of WM. BUTLER, labourer, aged 72.  It appeared that BUTLER was harvesting for Mr T. J. Dennis, when he fell down while in a field and expired almost immediately.  Thomas Staddon and Escott Zeal, who were working with BUTLER at the time he fell, were called, and after hearing the evidence of Mr S. O. Lane, of Braunton, the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that death resulted from Natural Causes.  Mr Lane gave it as his opinion that the cause of death was failure of the heart's action.

BARNSTAPLE - A Fatal Kick. - On Thursday afternoon last an Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of JESSE BRAUNTON, aged 22, who died under circumstances detailed below.  Mr S. Ford was elected foreman of the Jury.  G. White, of Natson, in the parish of Tawstock, said that BRAUNTON entered his employ a fortnight prior to Tuesday, on which day he met with an accident which resulted fatally.  On Tuesday evening the deceased, who had been cutting wheat, went to the farm-house and got a fresh team of horses.  On returning to the field he told the deceased to tie the horses up and have something to drink.  BRAUNTON, however, proceeded to harness the horses to a mowing machine of which he had been in charge during the day.  The leading horse, without any apparent cause, threw up both its hind legs and kicked deceased (who was standing immediately behind it) in the stomach.  The kick was a very severe one, knocking the man down.  Witness lifted the deceased, but he asked to be allowed to remain quiet for a few minutes, adding that he should be all right soon.  He conveyed the deceased to the Infirmary.  He had never known the horse of which deceased was in charge to be a kicker.  H. Haynes Lovell, house surgeon at the Infirmary, deposed that BRAUNTON was admitted to the institution about eight o'clock on Tuesday evening.  He was then in a state of collapse, and appeared to have sustained severe internal injuries.  He examined him, but could not find any wound or bruise in that part of the body where deceased indicated that he had been kicked.  It was evident that there was internal haemorrhage.  Deceased never rallied and died late on Wednesday evening. He saw when the deceased was admitted that the case was a hopeless one. Everything possible was done for deceased, who must have suffered intensely.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 18 August 1887

SHEEPWASH - Sudden Death. - On Saturday a gloom was cast over this village when it became known that MISS JANE FINNAMORE had died suddenly.  It appears that she retired to her bed on Friday night in her usual good health, but on Saturday, no one seeing or hearing anything of her, the door was broken open, and on someone going up stairs the deceased was found dead by her bed.  An Inquest was held on Monday by Mr Coroner Bird, and, the medical evidence of Dr Parsloe going to prove that death was caused by heart disease, a verdict to that effect was returned.  Much sympathy is felt for the bereaved friends.  The deceased was buried on Tuesday, when a large concourse of people followed her remains to the grave.

NORTHAM - Another Drowning Case near Bideford.  Plucky Conduct Of A Lady. - A sad case of drowning occurred towards the end of Tuesday afternoon in the River Torridge, by Boat Hyde, between Appledore and Bideford.  There is a beach at this spot, where boys from Northam (about a mile or so over the hill)  are in the habit of bathing.  On Tuesday afternoon a boy named WILLIAM TURNER, aged 13, the son of CAPTAIN TURNER, of Bay View, Northam, went to Boat Hyde Beach, and entered the water in the usual way.  TURNER could not swim, and there were no boys with him who could.  It is supposed that the boy must have been seized with cramp, for presently a lad in the employ of Mr Garvice (whose residence is close by), saw him struggling in the water.  The boy immediately ran into the house and gave the alarm.  Mrs Garvice instantly rushed down to the beach, and, jumping into a canoe, paddled to the spot where she was told the boy must have sunk.  She could not succeed in recovering the body whilst in the canoe, but as another boat came up, she waded into the water and got into it, and in a very short time, succeeded in securing the body with the boat hook.  Upon its being taken to the shore medical assistance was sent for, and in the meantime every means was taken to restore animation.  Unfortunately, however, they were of no avail, and on the arrival of Dr Cox, life was pronounced to be extinct.  The greatest sympathy is felt for MR TURNER, who is much respected at Northam, ad for all the members of his family.  The deceased was a big boy for his age, and very bright and promising.

An Inquest on the body of the unfortunate boy was held at the King's Head Inn, Northam, yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.  The Jury having viewed the body, the first witness called was JOHN TURNER, father of the deceased, who deposed that he was a retired shipowner.  The body which had just been viewed by the Jury was that of his son, who was 13 years of age last January.  The last time witness saw him alive was on Tuesday afternoon shortly before three o'clock.  He was then at home in his usual health and spirits.  Witness had occasion to go to Appledore, and left his house a few minutes after three o'clock.  About five o'clock he met Mr James Hookway (Mr Cock's clerk) who told him there was a lad from Sunny-side in the river.  He went up at once by the riverside, and on his way met Mr Short, who told him it was his own son. When he arrived at the spot where deceased lay, he found him lying on the sward, with several people standing round, amongst them being Dr Cox, who told witness that life was quite extinct.  Witness then sent a man for Mr Tucker's cart and had the body removed to his home.  The boy was in the habit of bathing, but usually with a young fellow who could swim.  Witness's wife understood when deceased left his home that he was going to meet a young man named Main, who was able to swim.  He did not appear to have done so, however, but had probably gone alone. 

Campbell Hammett was next called, and deposed that he was a servant in the employ of Mr Garvice.  On Tuesday afternoon between three and four o'clock he was going to Bideford, and as he was going along the beach he saw a boy struggling in the water.  He called to him and asked him if he could swim, but he did not answer.  Witness at once ran back to the house and told the cook there was a boy drowning.  The cook at once told Mrs Garvice, and they both ran out.  The boy had disappeared by this time, but Mrs Garvice got into the canoe and tried to fish him up with a boat-hook.  Mr Short's boat came up at this moment and Mrs Garvice got into it, and, with the boat-hook, succeeded in getting the lad out of the water.  Witness had previously pointed out the spot where he saw the lad struggling.

Elizabeth Garvice deposed that about half-past three o'clock on Tuesday afternoon she was told that a boy was struggling in the water.  She, in company with the cook, at once ran to the riverside, and whilst going she saw the boy's head disappear.  A canoe belonging to her husband was lying on the beach, and she got into it and pushed off to the spot, but was unable to see the poor fellow.  She then saw Mr Fisher coming up in his boat, and she paddled towards him and told him that the boy was gone.  Mr Fisher at once landed his little girls (whom he had in the boat), and witness getting into the boat, they pushed off again. When over the spot where the deceased had gone down, she saw the body at the bottom, and, with the boat hook which she had, she caught hold of him.  She drew his head above water, and held it there while the boat was being rowed ashore.  She saw no signs of life, but she sent for blankets and had the body well rubbed and moved.  They tried to restore animation for the space of two hours.  Witness sent to Appledore for a doctor, but it appeared that he was not at home, and a telegram was sent from Appledore to Dr Cox, who came shortly after five o'clock, and after making several attempts to restore animation, he pronounced life to be extinct.  The mother of the deceased came to the spot shortly after the doctor arrived, and his father came later on.  Witness met MRS TURNER as she was going to the beach, and prevailed on her to go to her (witness's) house, in order to prevent her seeing the body just then.  Some time after the father arrived the body was removed in a cart to the family residence.  The spot where the boy went down was not a very great distance from the shore, and witness thought the water there might be a little over her own depth.

The Rev. Edward Roberts Fisher, who is a visitor staying at Dock Cottage, Appledore, deposed that as he was rowing a boat (which contained himself and his children)down the river, he saw Mrs Garvice in her canoe.  She called to witness, and having told him what had happened, he immediately put his younger children ashore, and taking Mrs Garvice into the boat, they rowed off the spot indicated.  After a few moments they found the body in about six feet of water.  Mrs Garvice grasped the boy's head and held it above the surface, while witness and his son (who was in the boat) rowed ashore.  After the body was landed, witness hailed a man who was going up the river in a boat and he came to the beach.  Together they set to work to restore animation, the person who had come ashore appearing to understand the treatment to be adopted.  In a short time several other people came to the spot, and some of them assisted to rub the deceased's legs and chest.  They saw no signs of life, but they persevered until the arrival of Dr Cox.  Witness remained until preparations had been made for removing the body and then retired.  He should judge the distance where the boy was found to be abut thirty or forty yards from the shore.

Edgar Cox, medical practitioner, residing at Bideford, said that on receiving the telegram referred to by a previous witness, he at once went to Boat Hyde, where he found the body of a lad.  Efforts were being made to resuscitate the poor fellow, and he persisted in those efforts, until he found it was no use going further, and the body was removed.  The body presented the appearance of death from drowning , and under the circumstances he had no hesitation in saying that the boy had been drowned.  The Coroner having summed up the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  In returning their verdict, the Jury spoke in high praise of the conduct of Mrs Garvice and the Rev. E. R. Fisher in recovering the body and endeavouring to resuscitate life.

Thursday 25 August 1887

BIDEFORD - Found Drowned At Bideford. - We have to report the third drowning case for the season, which we hope will be the last.  The case is in some respects a strange one.  ANDREW JEWELL had worked at Bideford and in the neighbourhood all his life as a driver.  He was middle aged, and, up t two years ago, had a wife.  Until that date he was a quiet, steady man.  After his wife's death he became careless, and, much too frequently, gave way to heavy drinking.  Of late his work has been irregular; but three weeks since he was in the employ of Mr Curtis, of Mill-street.  One day he came home from a journey,   attended to his horse for the night, and went home to bed.  He rose in the morning and left, but from that time nothing was  seen of him until early Friday morning last, when his dead body was discovered floating in the river Torridge about a mile and a half above the town.  It was at once secured and placed in Mr Hutchings' coal stores for the day.

The Inquest was held on Friday evening at the Town Hall, before Dr J. Thompson, J.P., and a respectable Jury, of which Mr Samuel Shephard was chosen foreman.  The first witness called was ANN JEWELL, sister, who deposed:  I am sister to the deceased.  I reside in Meddon Street (Bideford), and deceased lived with me.  I last saw him alive about three weeks ago, when he left home at six o'clock in the morning with the intention of going to his work.  He was a post boy.  At the time, he was working for Mr Curtis, in Mill Street.  Mr Curtis came and told me during the day that the deceased had left his work.  I did not institute a search, thinking he would come back again.  I made enquiries from day to day, but without any effect.  The body I have seen today is that of my brother.  He was always a quiet man, and did not seem in any way affected in his mind.  There was no ill-feeling between deceased and myself.

Alfred Harris, residing in Bridge Street, deposed:  I am a bargeman.  This morning I was doing my usual work on the river with my barge, when I saw the body floating up the river.  I was on deck at the time, mooring; we were lying opposite Sumicott Quarry.  As soon as I saw the body, I said to the others on board, "There is a dead body going up along," and immediately took the small boat and pulled after it.  I took it back along side the barge, and made it fast, and afterwards towed it to Bideford slip, opposite Mr H. Lee Hutchings's coal stores.

P.C. Jeffery deposed:  I know the deceased, ANDREW JEWELL.  I took his body from the river this morning at 6.30, and with the aid of the Sergeant, took it on the stretcher to Mr Hutchings's coal stores.  I took the body from A. Harris, but did not at the time recognise it.  I made a search of the pockets, and found a knife and a key; also some business cards of Mr Curtis's, which were almost washed to pieces.  There was nothing else in the pockets.  [The key, upon comparison, was found to be a fac simile of the key kept by the deceased's sister, and belonged to the front door.]  The above was the only evidence to come before the Jury, and they at once returned an open verdict of "Found Drowned, but how or by what means deceased met with his death there was no evidence to show."

Thursday 1 September 1887

CLOVELLY - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at the New Inn, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of FREDERICK PADDON, aged 12, who had died from lock jaw, which had resulted from injuries received in a carriage accident.  Henry Steer, carpenter, said that he had known the deceased, who was in the habit of driving a horse and carriage very well.  On the 15th of August he was standing near the bottom of the Hobby Drive when he saw two gentlemen leading a horse, coming down the hill.  He saw the horse was MR PADDON'S.  They told him that an accident had happened.  He rode to the spot indicated, and just above the church gates he saw the deceased lying on the bank.  Deceased said "Oh, Harry, I shall die," and then told him that as he was driving down the hill the undersweep of the carriage gave way, that he fell between the horse and the carriage, and that he was dragged several yards.  He noticed that the lad had sustained an injury to his head and that his face was covered with blood.  He was conveyed to his home in Mr Bragg's carriage.  The deceased was a good driver.  Thomas Bragg deposed to driving the deceased to his house after the accident had happened.  Dr George Cook deposed that he was called in to see the deceased, who was suffering from a wound in the forehead and a large lacerated wound over the knee.  He dressed the wounds and attended the injured lad up to the time of death.  On Monday he noticed symptoms of tetanus, and on the following day the lad was seen by Dr Rouse.  Early on Wednesday morning the lad died from traumatic tetanus, the result of the accident.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 8 September 1887

MORCHARD BISHOP - Mr H. W. Gould, (Deputy County Coroner) held an Inquest on Wednesday at Morchard Bishop on the body of JOHN LEACH, son of WILLIAM LEACH, who identified the body.  It appeared that the deceased, who was 12 years old, was at work harvesting at Oxenpark Farm on the 8th of August, and, according to the evidence of a witness named Vodden, who was driving a load of corn, the deceased accompanied him for the purpose of opening a gate.  Vodden was leading the horses and the deceased was walking behind the waggon.  Before they reached the gage he heard the deceased cry out, and on turning round saw him between the wheels.  The deceased told him there was not much the matter, and with witness's assistance he walked home.  Dr Bell, who attended deceased, deposed that on examining him he found a large scalp wound, and the patient went on well until the eighth day, when symptoms of tetanus set in, which gradually developed, and he died on the 29th August from exhaustion in consequence.  The deceased told him and the other witnesses that he had jumped on to the waggon and had fallen under the wheel.  He also said that it was all his own fault, and that his master had told him not to ride on the waggon.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, and the Jury gave their fees to the father.

Thursday 15 September 1887

FRITHELSTOCK - Fatal Accident. - On Monday last, RICHARD GIST, a labourer, of Wear Gifford, aged 72 years, was employed by Mr Bond, of Buckland Farm, Frithelstock, taking down an old hedge in one of his fields near Rakeham.  An old "moot," or root, of a tree had become loosened and the deceased was engaged cutting away the fibres which were holding it, when the "moot" fell suddenly forward on the old man and killed him.  An Inquest was held on the body at Wear Gifford on Tuesday morning, when a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

EXETER - Inquest report on the Theatre Fire at Exeter.  Full Page report where some names of the unfortunate victims are named.

Thursday 6 October 1887

COMBMARTIN - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at the George and Dragon Inn, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of ANNA ROBINS, aged 18, who died on the previous day from the effects of burns sustained through the explosion of a lamp.  SAMUEL ROBINS, relieving-officer, said the deceased was his daughter.  On the 10th inst. he went to bed about 10 o'clock, and about 25 minutes afterwards he was startled by a tremendous cry.  He ran downstairs and saw his daughter ANNA standing outside the back door in flames.  He snatched up his waterproof coat, which was hanging in the kitchen, and wrapped it round her, and in this way extinguished the flames.  He carried her upstairs, and his wife went for a doctor.  Dr Kingdon arrived first and Dr Manning came soon afterwards.  The latter had had charge of the case.  His daughter died on Wednesday.  She was conscious the greater part of her illness.  She explained to him how the accident happened.  She stated that she turned down the lamp, and as the light did not go out she blew down the chimney.  Finding it was still burning, she turned the wick still lower and blew again, with the same result.  She was repeating the operation when the lamp, which she was then holding in her hand, exploded.  Paraffin oil was used in the lamp, which had been in the house for some years.  Dr Manning also gave evidence. When called in to see the deceased on the night of the 10th instant he found her suffering from extensive burns.  The whole surface of the hands and arms was burnt and the front of the body from the waist upwards was covered with burns, and the patient was suffering intensely.  He attended her up to the time of her death.  Until Tuesday evening she was going on very well, but on effusion on the brain setting in there was no hope for her.  She gave him the same explanation of the accident as MR ROBINS had narrated.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death" and gave their fees to the parents, for whom the deepest sympathy is felt throughout the district.

FREMINGTON - Fatal Accident At Fremington Station. - WILLIAM WHITE (16) a lad employed at the Fremington Station of the London and South Western Railway, died at the North Devon Infirmary on Tuesday afternoon from injuries received in an accident at the station that morning, under circumstances which were detailed at the Inquest held on the body by the Borough Coroner (R. I. Bencraft, Esq.) at the Infirmary yesterday afternoon.  Mr Samuel Ford was chosen foreman of the Jury, who proceeded to view the body.  Mr Blackmore, the stationmaster at Fremington, was present at the Inquiry.  THOMAS WHITE, coal heaver, father of the deceased, said the lad was employed in assisting the horsemen in moving the trucks at Fremington Station.  He saw him at this work in the morning about ten, and afterwards heard that he had been run over by a truck.  He went to the spot and found that his boy's left arm and left leg had been cut off.  He was taken to the platform by the porters, and there the lad said, "Father, kiss me."  He kissed him.  These were the last words that deceased uttered.  He was afterwards taken to the Infirmary by the 10.48 train.  Witness went with him to the Infirmary and remained there until he died, which occurred about half-past two.  He did not believe there was neglect on the part of anybody, or that blame could be attached to any person on account of the accident.  - Joseph Hoare, employed by the Company in managing a steam crane, said he saw the boy coming along with a single horse and one truck.  He next observed him on the metals and then heard him cry out.  He ran to him and saw that the truck had gone over him and that his left arm and leg were crushed.  His belief was that the lad slipped down between the rails at a crossing.  -  By a Juryman:  The boy was in sole charge of the horse.  - John Mock, weigh-bridge man at Fremington Station, said that about quarter-past ten he heard the deceased cry out.  He ran to him and found him lying just inside the line leading to the weigh-bridge.  He was lying with his face downwards, leaning a little on his right side.  His left leg was jammed in between two rails.  His left arm and leg were crushed.  Witness first prevented the truck from returning and going over the lad again.  They had to get the key and knock out the rails before they could release his foot.  Deceased did not say how the accident happened.  WHITE had been employed at the Station some time.  He was a very steady, quiet and nice boy.  The occurrence was quite an accident.  By the Foreman:  Deceased first said, "I have only one arm now."  He was conscious and very cheerful at the Station.  - Harry Haynes Lovell, house surgeon, said the injuries which the lad had received were a compound fracture of the left arm close to the shoulder, and the left leg was crushed just above the knee.  When admitted into the infirmary he was in a very collapsed state.  He was taken to the operating theatre and the limbs were removed by Dr Pronger.  He recovered slightly under the anaesthetic - ether, but eventually sank and died about half-past two.  He never wholly recovered the shock his system had sustained.  The Coroner said that the occurrence was evidently unavoidable, so far as anyone beside the lad was concerned, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  A curious feature of the case is that a brother of the deceased lost his life in a violent manner some twelve months since.

Thursday 13 October 1887

COPPLESTONE - The Fatal Railway Accident At Coleford. - At the Inquest held at the New Inn, Copplestone, on Thursday afternoon, before Mr Deputy Coroner Gould as to the death of GEORGE DREW, a packer on the London and South Western Railway, who was killed by a passing train whilst at work between Coleford and Copplestone on Tuesday afternoon, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  The deceased was 60 years of age, and evidence was given by his son, GEORGE DREW, of Northtawton and Philip Hammett, John Dunn and John Bird, fellow workmen, Dr Body, and the driver of the train.  George Bishop stated that the train was going from 30 to 35 miles an hour.  He saw three packers on the down line standing clear of the metals.  Did not see deceased knocked down, but his "mate" did.  Did not pull up because he saw the other packers going to him.

BIDEFORD - Sudden Death. - JAMES BENNETT, who for several years had been well-known as a packer on the railway, died suddenly during Saturday night.  The few particulars that there were connected with the case, were elicited at an Inquest held before Dr Thompson, the Borough Coroner, in the Town Hall on Monday evening.  Frederick James Friendship said he lived next door to BENNETT. BENNETT was at work all day Saturday, and witness heard him say that he was going to do some digging in the evening.  During the night witness heard a woman screaming, "My JIM is dead."  He went in next door, and found that BENNETT was dead.  Mr E. Rouse, surgeon, said he was the ordinary medical attendant of the deceased, but there had been nothing the matter with him for some time past, beyond a shortness of breath.  Witness was called on Saturday night, but he found BENNETT quite dead.  The Coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict of death from Natural Causes.

MORTHOE - An Inquest was held at the Chichester Arms yesterday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., on the body of WM. LEY, labourer, aged 31, who was drowned off Putsborough on the 26th of September.  It appeared that deceased, who was in the employ of Mr R. G. Prole, was fishing with a net in company with Wm. Shapland, when he stepped into a pit and was taken off his feet by the waves and carried out to sea.  Shapland was dragged out of his depth and would have shared his comrade's fate if he had not been gallantly rescued by Mr Prole.  A verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" was returned.

Thursday 20 October 1887

TORRINGTON - Sudden Death. - On Monday last Mr J. F. Bromham, District Coroner, held an Inquest at the Hunter's Inn, Well-street, on the body of MR ALBERT WESTCOTT, who on that morning dropped down and died suddenly in Rosemary Lane.  It appears that about 7.30 a.m. the deceased (who is about 55 years old) went to a field in Calf-street for a bundle of hay.  He had not been well for some time, and before going out complained of feeling bad in his stomach, and his wife gave him a drop of whiskey.  Just before 8 a.m. when returning with a bundle of hay (weighing 42lbs), he was seen by James Ward to drop suddenly in the lane, and Ward, on going to him, in company with Robert Simmons, found him dead.  Dr Sutcliff gave it as his opinion that the cause of death was heart disease, and a verdict to that effect was returned.

Thursday 3 November 1887

BIDEFORD - Sudden Death. - A child eight months of age only, named MABEL HILL, was found dead in bed on Friday morning last.  Dr Thompson held an Inquest the same evening; but as it appeared the child had always been sick and weakly, and there were no circumstances to point to anything else, the Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.

Thursday 10 November 1887

BIDEFORD - The Fatal Accident At Bideford. - The Inquest touching the death of the railway shunter, WALE (reported by us last week), was held on Thursday at the Infirmary.  Henry Shaxton, packer, stated that on Wednesday morning whilst he was at work in the Station goods yard he heard a scream, and on looking round saw WALE under the trucks.  With the assistance of others, witness extricated WALE, and found that his right leg was nearly severed from his body.  He was taken to the Infirmary as quickly as possible.  Mr Lodder, chief clerk at the passenger station, gave evidence of being called and of applying a tourniquet to the leg of the injured man, with a view of stopping the bleeding.  WALE did not speak after the accident, beyond asking faintly what they were doing.  Dr Hanson deposed that from the time WALE was brought to the Infirmary until he died, he was in attendance upon him.  During the remainder of the morning WALE was just conscious and answered questions, but that was all:  his pulse was very faint.  the medical officers arranged for an amputation at half-past two, and the operation was performed.  The patient had an anaesthetic, but he gradually sank, and was dead before the conclusion of the operation.  In reply to the Jury, the witness said that nothing exceptional happened during the operation.  In his opinion the shock to the system was so great that deceased must have died under any circumstances.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 17 November 1887

BIDEFORD - Sudden Death At Bideford. - The inhabitants of Bideford were much engaged on Saturday in discussing the news of the death of MRS ELLIS, of Honestone-street, which took place during the previous night.  All sorts of things were said, but the particulars elicited at the Inquest are the only reliable facts connected with the case.

The Inquest was held on Saturday evening, before Dr J. Thompson, Borough Coroner, and a Jury.  The first witness was Mrs Eliza Chapple, who said:  I am accustomed to go out as a helper, but only worked for MRS ELLIS two days.  I was here last Tuesday and the Tuesday before.  On Tuesday last I was helping MRS ELLIS until nearly eight o'clock in the evening.  MRS ELLIS did not complain of anything except her legs, and sat in the chair most of the day.  The deceased took her meals all right, and seemed better than usual; but I have thought her a failing woman for many months.  In reply to a Juryman, witness said that she had never fetched anything from the chemist's for MRS ELLIS, and that on Tuesday her reasons and powers appeared all right.

MARY ELLIS, daughter of the deceased, stated that she had done most of the work in the house for some time as her mother was bad in her legs.  Her mother took her food all right and appeared well in body.  A week ago she had some lotion from a herbalist, and it appeared to do good.  Her mother was in her usual health, so far as witness knew.  She went to bed about nine o'clock on Friday night, without assistance.  At nine o'clock (Saturday) morning, witness went into the bedroom and found her mother was dead.  She was dressed in her usual clothes and was lying against the bedpost.  When witness left her mother the night before she was lying on the bed with her clothes on.

MR HENRY ELLIS, husband of the deceased, said:  My wife's health had been failing of late.  I consider she was getting weaker inwardly, and she was often in very low spirits.  In reply to the Coroner, witness continued:  My wife was in the habit of taking spirits, and also chlorodyne at times.  I do not think she took chlorodyne lately, but I think she took spirits yesterday.  I was away from home yesterday.  My little girl told me her mother had had too much to drink during the day.  When I passed her room later on I heard her breathing heavily, as if asleep.  About nine o'clock I went into the room and found her lying on her back on the floor.  I did not think her dead, but asleep, so I sent my daughter up to see her.  The girl called me up again, and then I found she was dead, and I went for a doctor. 

Mr Swain (a Juror):  MR ELLIS, did you think it your duty when you came back from Barnstaple, knowing what had taken place there, to leave your wife alone and not see her till next morning?  - Mr Lugg:  And then, when you saw her lying on the floor, did you think it manly to go down and send up your daughter.  - No answer was returned to these questions, but, in reply to further queries, witness admitted that his wife was often the worse for drink, and that was the reason why he was not at first alarmed at seeing her lying on the floor.

The daughter, recalled, said she did not know the bottle produced (a small spirit flask).  It was true she had not seen her mother drinking during the day, but it was also true that she appeared to get the worse for liquor as the day went on.  In reply to a Juror, witness also said that when her father came down in the morning, and told her to go upstairs, he went to feed the pigs.  Witness did not know who could have fetched any drink for her mother on Friday. 

ALLEN ELLIS, a little boy, was called, and said he fetched nothing, but a boy named Hookway did.  This boy was called and proved fetching six pennyworth of brandy for MRS ELLIS.

John Duncan, Esq., medical practitioner, said he was called about a quarter to ten that morning.  He found MRS ELLIS on the bedroom floor, propped up between the bed and wall.  She was completely dressed.  She was quite dead, and from her appearance he should say she had been dead from eight t twelve hours.  There was no sign of vomit or external violence beyond a few bruises on the back of the right arm. Her position was as if she had been standing by the side of the bed, and had fallen back into the corner.  The bed clothes were coiled up at the bottom of the bed, and the pillows were disordered.  There was nothing on the outside of the body to indicate the cause of death.  He (witness) found a bottle under the blankets, but he could not say at all what had been in it.  Taking into consideration what he had heard, he could say that the deceased might have died from alcohol, but he preferred not to give any opinion, as there were no appearances to lead to this or any other conclusion.

The Jury informed the doctor that it had been freely rumoured in the town that MRS ELLIS had been poisoned.  The witness replied that there was no external evidence of this or any kind whatever.  The Coroner having summed up, the Jury held a lengthy consultation as to whether a post mortem examination should be held.  Eventually, however, they returned a verdict of "Found Dead."

Thursday 1 December 1887

ILFRACOMBE - Fatal Fishing Accident. - On Friday afternoon last the Jane, a fishing boat, with its owner, Mr Richard Lovering, and a boatman named WM. THOS. LOCK, put to see with nine nets, with the object of herring fishing.  They were passed on going up Channel and hailed other boats.  They were last seen turning the Rillage Point between Hele and Watermouth, a very dangerous part and the sea at the time was rough.  About 4.30 cries of distress were heard by several on land and by a couple of fishermen who had cast their nets near Ilfracombe.  They at once pulled in their nets and rowed in the direction of the cries, and at last they espied a man in the middle of a lot of nets floating. They shouted to him to "keep his heart up" but before they could reach him he went under water.  They turned him up, however, with a paddle and having secured him by the collar found his arms and legs were entangled in the nets.  By this time a second boat had reached the spot and ultimately they got the body clear of the nets by taking off the poor fellow's coat.  He was then put in the second boat and identified as LOCK who had gone out about 3.30 p.m. with Lovering  Nothing could then be seen of Lovering or the Jane, and it is supposed that the boat, which was in everyway seaworthy, and in experienced hands, must have been sunk at Rillage Point.  the body of LOCK was brought ashore but life was extinct, and all efforts at restoration proved useless.

LOCK was 26 years of age and leaves a widow and one child.  Lovering, who was about 70 years of age, was strong and able, an old sailor, a powerful swimmer, and had received several rewards for saving life from the sea.  It is presumed that he was drowned because it was his habit to wear a lot of clothes when fishing, with waterproofs buckled on, and when in the water he was unable to get clear of any of it.  He leaves a widow and several grown up and married children.

The Inquest on the body of LOCK was held at Mrs Popham's Coffee Tavern on Saturday evening, before Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner; Captain Dennis was elected foreman of the Jury.  The body was identified by WM. LOCK, father of the deceased.  Nicholas Lovering, boatman, stated that whilst he was fishing at the Buggy Pits between four and five o'clock on Friday, his mate heard cries and they pulled in the net and rowed eastward.  Soon they saw a man floating in some nets about 30 fathoms off.  they shouted to him to keep his heart up, but when about 10 fathoms from him he went down.  They pulled to the spot and putting the paddle down they turned up the body in the nets.  He then detailed how they freed him from the nets and put him into the boat of Mr Comer who came up and sent him ashore.  He believed he was dead when they put him in the boat.  Jno. Comer, boatman, stated that he was told by another boatman off Hilsborough that a boat had gone down eastward, and he pulled in the direction and found the last witness there with a man in the water.  He helped to free him from the nets and bring him ashore.  He had last witness's mate to help row the boat and he did all he could to restore animation to the body whilst they were pulling ashore.  He believed the man was dead when they took him out of the water.  Mr Copner, surgeon, stated that he heard a cry of distress whilst on Hilsborough.  He ran towards the sea and saw a dark spot and what he believed to be a man in the middle of it.  He shouted to some boatmen, but they did not seem to understand.  He then saw other boats go to the spot, and he next ran to the Pier to render any service he could.  He was there before they body and did all he could when it arrived to restore animation, but without effect.  the man died of drowning.  This was all the evidence, no one having seen the boat go down, or how the man got into the water.  The Jury after a short consultation, returned a verdict to the effect that LOCK died of drowning, but how he got into the water there was no evidence to show. They gave their fees to the widow who, it was declared, had nothing to eat in the house when the body was brought home.  The case is a very sad one, and it is believed by many that LOCK would have saved himself, by the aid of the nets, if he had not been physically reduced by the hard times he had experienced during the Winter.  No doubt a subscription list will be opened for the benefit of the widow.

APPLEDORE - Fatal Accident At Appledore. - A distressing accident occurred at Mr Cox's shipbuilding yard, Appledore, on Monday, a young man named JOHN EDWARD PUNCHER BALE being killed while at work.  The circumstances under which the accident occurred will be found below.  An Inquest on the body of the deceased was held at the King's Head Hotel, Northam, on Tuesday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.  -  WM. BALE, father of the deceased, deposed that he was a ship's carpenter, and was in the habit of going to sea.  He had now been home about four weeks.  The deceased was nineteen years of age; he was an apprentice to Mr R. Cocks, shipbuilder, and had been with him between five and six years.  He last saw him alive about six o'clock on Monday morning, when he was getting ready to go to work. On going to the yard between ten and eleven he found that his son had been killed.  Charles Cowler, an apprentice to Mr Cocks, deposed that between ten and eleven o'clock on Monday morning five workmen (including the deceased) were carrying a ship's iron knee from the yard into the smith's shop.  they were carrying it on their shoulders, deceased being in the middle.  Just as they arrived at the smith's shop the corner of the knee caught in the wall, and the sudden jar knocked the knee off their shoulders.  It fell on the deceased.  They managed to raise the knee and get out the deceased.  He did not hear BALE call out when the knee fell upon him, and when they picked him up he was quite dead.  He was carried into the smith's shop and a doctor sent for.  The weight of the knee was 3 ¼ cwt.  At the time of the accident they were carrying the knee in the ordinary way and were moving steadily.  In answer to the Jury, witness said he did not think the approach to the smith's shop was particularly dangerous, but the way they were going there was a slope which was rather abrupt.  Henry Cutland, also an apprentice to Mr Cocks, and John Smith, foreman of the smiths' department, gave corroborative evidence, the latter stating that where the accident occurred the ground was quite level.  They had passed the slope when the accident occurred.  He did not think that any blame was attached to anyone with regard to the matter.  Dr Pratt deposed that when he arrived on the scene BALE was quite dead.  On examination he found a fracture of the base of the skull.  This fracture would be quite sufficient to account for the death of the young man; the bone was driven a considerable distance into the substance of the brain.  Death was instantaneous.  There was a good deal of indentation about the forehead where it had touched the ground, such as would have been occasioned by a heavy weight pressing on the head.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 15 December 1887

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest. - On Monday afternoon an Inquest was held at the Carpenter's Arms, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, touching the death of HENRY HARVEY, plasterer, of New Buildings, who on Sunday night succumbed to injuries sustained two weeks previously in consequence of a fall from the roof of a house.  Mr L. Chapple was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The Coroner in opening the proceedings, informed the Jury that it was for them to say whether the accident which had proved fatal to the deceased was contributed to by the negligence of anyone.  The first witness called was William Ley, labourer, of Aze's-lane.  He said he was in the employ of Messrs. Burgess and Kerslake, builders, for whom the deceased worked as a plasterer.  On the 27th of November the deceased was engaged in battening the roof of a house in course of erection on the Vicarage Lawn Estate.  Witness was standing below, for the purpose of handing battens to the deceased.  He called out to MR HARVEY that he was going to hand him a batten ; the deceased turned round, appeared to over-balance himself, and fell to the ground, a distance of 20 ft.  Witness at once ran to his assistance and called for help.  The deceased was at his own request removed to his residence in New Buildings.  Dr Laing being in attendance in the course of a few minutes.  He could not say whether or not the deceased was accustomed to the work of battening.  George Joce, labourer, residing in Aze's-lane, also in the employ of Messrs. Burgess and Kerslake, deposed that at the call of the last witness he went to the assistance of the deceased after the fall, helping to remove him to his house.  The deceased was a very steady and industrious man.  He had had experience in battening, and on this occasion was doing the work in the usual way.  Dr W. A. Gordon Laing deposed to attending the deceased.  He saw him within a few minutes of the accident, and he was then in a state of collapse.  He found that three ribs on the left side were fractured, while the two bones of the left wrist were broken, in addition to which the joint wrist was dislocated.  Two or three days later there was profuse spitting of blood, showing that there was some internal injury of a very extensive nature - from the symptoms he should say it was injury to the heart.  On Sunday evening he found the deceased struggling for breath, while the heart was beating at lightning speed.  The left foot was very cold, while the right one was at its normal heat.  He at once went to his surgery and prepared some medicine, which was taken to New Buildings by a messenger.  He went to New Buildings a little over an hour later and MR HARVEY was then dead.  The cause of death was undoubtedly some injury to the heart - embolism, the result of a blow.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," the Coroner remarking that there was no suggestion of any neglect on the part of anyone with regard to the accident. 

Thursday 22 December 1887

ILFRACOMBE - The Recent Boating Accident. - Recovery of LOVERING'S Body.  Inquest. - The body of RICHARD LOVERING, who was drowned in the late boat accident near Ilfracombe, was found jammed between the rocks on West Hagginton beach by a labourer named Watts on Friday morning.  The body, which was hardly recognisable except by marks deceased was known to have, was removed to the Britannia Stables, Ilfracombe, and an Inquest held at Mrs Popham's Coffee Palace the same evening, by Dr E. J. Slade-King (Deputy Coroner for the District.)  Mr J. Fry was chosen foreman of the Jury.

DANIEL LOVERING, boatman, identified the body viewed by the Jury as that of his father who was 70 years of age.  He last saw him alive on Nov. 24th.

Thomas Rudd, boatman, deposed that he was in his boat just by Beacon Point on November 25th, at 4 p.m., when he heard men shouting from the shore.  From what they could understand they came to the conclusion that a boat had capsized, and informed John Comer who was passing in his boat, to this effect.  Witness looked up and saw some nets floating about a quarter of a mile from them and pulled in the direction.  They brought the nets, which they believed to be RICHARD LOVERING'S, into the harbour.  The tide was running down at the time, and the sea was choppy.  Before pulling in the direction of the floating nets witness hauled in his own, which took him five to seven minutes.

NICHOLAS LOVERING, boatman, was in Hele Bay about 4.15 p.m. on November 25th, and had about 15 fathoms of nets overboard.  They heard shouting from the shore, and his mate (Richard Benokes) said to him "What is all that black coming down?"  He said "That's nets," and they pulled to meet them, shouting out, "I'm coming."  They picked up the body of Mr Lock which was in the nets.  In reply to the Jury, witness said he heard shouting from the shore, but he was not clear whether he heard any from the water or not. He saw RICHARD LOVERING on the Quay two hours previously, and did not see him or his boat afterwards.

Thomas Bedrick, innkeeper, of Hele, deposed that on the afternoon of November 25th he was in his garden when he was attracted by some sounds which seemed to him to proceed from under the cliffs at "Hockey."  Witness walked along the Turnpike Road for a distance of about 200 yards, when he saw something in the water which seemed to him to be a boat upturned, from which he heard a sound.  He then walked as far as the Beacon Point and shouted to some men in boats, but although one of them waved in reply, he did not see any of them pull to the object, and he believed that the first boat which reached it, was one from the harbour.  Twenty minutes elapsed from the time that he first heard the sounds till the boat reached the object.  The distance from his house to the floating object when he first saw it was about a mile.

Richard Tucker deposed to seeing RICHARD LOVERING running up in his boat behind him with lug and mizen sail set.  He again saw the boat off Rillage Point, and never after.  He remarked to his mate "What's the old fool (meaning LOVERING) doing off there in the sea" or words to that effect.  Richard Benoke, waiter, who was with Nicholas Lovering at the time, corroborated in main the evidence of that witness.  James Sergeant, seaman, who was in the boat with Richard Tucker, confirmed what the witness stated adding that whilst looking at RICHARD LOVERING'S boat, he saw her sails suddenly disappear.  They then went round Rillage Point, he remarking to Tucker "DICK LOVERING has lowered his sails all at once."  -  In reply to the Jury, witness said it did not occur to him when he saw the sails disappear that any accident had happened.  LOVERING's boat was about 100 yards off Rillage Point and in a position to shoot her nets.  Thomas Watts, of Hele, deposed to finding the body as stated above, and the Coroner briefly summed up the evidence.  After a brief deliberation in private, the Jury returned a verdict of "Death by Drowning."  The fees of the Jury were given to the widow of LOVERING.  The funeral took place at the Parish Churchyard on Sunday afternoon.  The funeral was attended by a large number of men and women of the Quay, and the deceased's personal friends.

Thursday 5 January 1888

NORTH TAWTON - Inquest. - Mr W. Burd (County Coroner) held an Inquest at the Gostwyck Arms on Saturday on the body of a child called BOLT.  - HENRY BOLT, the father of the deceased, said the child had been suffering from a severe cold, but nothing serious was anticipated, and the doctor was not called in.  The deceased died somewhat suddenly.  From the evidence it appeared that the child died from acute bronchitis, and a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.  Mr T. Stoneman was chosen foreman of the Jury.

DAWLISH - The REV. ROBERT DUCKWORTH, head master of St. Peter's School, Weston-super-Mare, fell dead at Dawlish on Saturday morning.  At the Inquest the Coroner's Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.

Thursday 12 January 1888

PARACOMBE - Sudden Death. - On Monday last an Inquest was held at the Fox and Goose Inn, Parracombe, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., on the body of MR WM. CHARLEY, aged 40, of Week Farm, in the parish of Kentisbury, who was found dead in the roadside a few days previously.  It appeared from the evidence that he left home in the morning and walked to Lynton in order to receive some rent.  He dined with his uncle, of Barbrook Mill, and complained of tightness in his chest.  He left Lynton, after transacting his business, about 20 minutes to eight in the evening, intending to walk home.  He was perfectly sober.  The following morning his body was discovered by Mr Barrow, of Brendon, lying by the side of a hedge near Martinhoe Common.  Mr Barrow gave information to the police.  When found the deceased was lying on his face and hands.  Deceased's watch stopped about seven minutes before four o'clock. Dr Berry, of Lynton, had no hesitation in saying that death resulted from Natural Causes, namely, syncope, or failure of the heart's action.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

MORTHOE - Inquest at Morthoe.  A False Report. - An Inquest was held at the Chichester Arms, Morthoe, on Tuesday afternoon, on the body of MRS BETSY SCAMP, who was found dead in her bed on Sunday last.  Much interest was shewn in the Inquiry on account of certain rumours which prevailed in the village.

MR GEORGE SCAMP, husband of the deceased, stated that he was a farmer, of Town Farm, Morthoe.  His wife was named BETSY and was about 55 years of age.  They had been married about 35 years, and had lived at Town Farm for 20 years.  He had no family.  On Sunday his nephews, niece, self and wife were staying at the house.  His wife had fairly good health, but for the past six years she had complained of a pain in her side when walking, and of a morning.  She was not under medical treatment.  On Sunday last all but his wife went to chapel.  She was not well and sat by the fire shivering as she had for several previous mornings.  On returning from chapel witness asked his niece where her "aunty" was and just afterwards his nephew, about seven years old, said his aunt was upstairs ill and could not speak, he thought she was dead.  He at once went upstairs and found her on the bed with her clothes on.  He spoke to her, but could get no answer from her.  His elder nephew then came up and he sent him for Mrs Tucker, but his wife died before Mrs Tucker came.  He then sent for the doctor.  He did not know that she had been depressed in spirits of late.  There was nothing in her manner to induce him to think she was suicidal.  He did not know there was any family trouble to affect her mind.  Questions were invited but none were put.

James Cowler, the nephew, corroborated the above evidence respecting the finding of MRS SCAMP on the bed unconscious, the fetching of Mrs Tucker and Mr Foquett.  In answer to the Coroner, witness said he saw his aunt was looking rather bad in the morning, and he remarked it to her, but she said cheerfully that she was all right.  He had not heard her complain of being unhappy.

Mr M. Karslake, railway porter, stated that he called and saw MRS SCAMP on Sunday morning last, and had some conversation with her about a public tea they were getting up.  He stayed in the house a few minutes.  She then seemed in her usual health, and in good spirits.  Mrs Tucker deposed to going to the farm when fetched and finding MRS SCAMP dead.  She did not think she had been well of late.  She had never complained to her about any family unpleasantness.

Mr H. R. Foquett, surgeon, said he attended the deceased woman some years ago, but he had not done so recently.  He saw the body on Sunday soon after she was dead.  Not having seen the deceased recently he could not say with confidence the cause of death from external observation.  He had an idea, however, that she died from heart disease, and she expressed to him some time ago her belief that her heart was not right.  He had made a post mortem examination, assisted by Mr Charles Toller, and he was now of opinion that death was from Natural Causes, and the specific cause of death was the incompetence  of the aorta, which was one of the forms of heart disease.  He found nothing that would indicate suicide, and he had no hesitation in saying that death was from Natural Causes.  The Coroner, in summing up, said there had been reports in the town which, with other circumstances, compelled him to hold an Inquest.  After the evidence of that day they might disregard all rumours and be quite satisfied that death was from Natural Causes.  The Jury unanimously returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

CHITTLEHAMPTON - On Tuesday last an inquest was held at Furze, before J F Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, to inquire into the circumstances attending the death of the infant child of ROBERT CLARK, labourer.  It appeared from the evidence of the mother that the child died on Thursday night after being seized with what appeared to be a choking fit.  Dr Hind deposed that he had made a post mortem examination of the body and was of opinion that death was the result of natural causes.  There was nothing in his opinion suspicious about the case.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

Thursday 19 January 1888

DARTMOUTH - Suicide of Police Sergeant ALLIN. - Police Sergeant THOMAS ALLIN, of the Devon Constabulary, who was for several years stationed in the Braunton Division, on Sunday committed suicide at Dartmouth by poisoning himself with strychnine.  An Inquest on the body of the deceased was held on Monday.

Mrs Dorothea Annie Fogwell, who said the deceased was a native of Holsworthy, and was forty-four years of age.  He had been lodging with her for two years since last October.  On Saturday afternoon, between three and four o'clock, the superintendent of the division (Captain Yardley) called, and after he left witness went to the deceased's room.  She found him in a very despondent mood, with his head resting on his arms.  On asking him what was the matter, he said, "Oh, I'm degraded."  She subsequently saw Captain Yardley, who told her that the sergeant was reduced for neglect of duty.  Shortly before seven o'clock a telegram came for the deceased, which read "ALLIN will remove to Ilfracombe, 16th inst., Hamilton."  When she let him have this telegram, he said, "I'm sold like a bullock in Smithfield, and how can I go back where I came from with the stripes taken off my arm?"  Shortly afterwards the deceased went out on duty, and returned with a friend.  Witness then detailed conversations which she and her husband had with him until he went to bed at one o'clock.  Witness thought his manner very strange, and went up to see if he was all right at three o'clock, when he was apparently sound asleep.  On the Sunday morning, just before seven o'clock, she was awakened by hearing a noise, apparently a knocking, proceeding from ALLIN'S bedroom.  As she and her husband were going up the stairs to see what it was they heard a fearful shriek and on reaching the room found him throwing his arms about wildly and exclaiming "It's not my fault."  Dr Crossfield was at once sent for, but he could do deceased no good, and he expired shortly afterwards.  Mr Hockin (on behalf of the relatives):  When deceased said he was sold like a bullock at Smithfield did he mention any name to you?  - Witness:  No, but he said to my husband it was somebody named Jennings - Major Jennings - who had sold him - (loud and prolonged hissing in court).

The Coroner observed that Major Jennings - (groans) was in the court, and in all fairness he should ask him if he would like to be called as a witness.

The husband of the last witness - John James Fogwell, gave evidence similar to hers, and added in reply to Mr Hockin that the deceased said to him on Saturday evening "It's that __ Jennings, who has sold me.  He has worked the 'super' into it."

A Juryman:  Did the deceased tell you why he was reduced?  Witness said he informed him that it was because of a fire at Dr Dawson's.  He was censured for not making an arrest in connection with it.  Another Juryman said there was another case which Sergeant ALLIN had in hand at the time the fire was on, and he could not be in two places at the same time - (applause in court).  Witness, further examined by Mr Hockin, said deceased told him that Mr Dawson, the owner of the house where the fire occurred, did not wish, and in fact would not prosecute the man whom he suspected.  The deceased, after inquiry, said he could not see that he had sufficient proof to justify him in making any arrest.

At the request of Mr Hockin, a borough magistrate (Mr E. Tew) who was present then stated that on the day the fire occurred SERGEANT ALLIN was engaged at the Guildhall on another long case, and was sent for by the justices, while he was at the fire.  The magistrates all thought the late Sergeant had been most efficient and assiduous in the discharge of his duties - (loud applause). 

Henry M. Hadfield, chemist, Parade House, Dartmouth, deposed to selling deceased a little strychnine, which he wrapped in white paper, labelling it "strychnine, poison."  Deceased said he wanted it to kill cats at the station. 

Dr Arthur Kyffin Crossfield, a surgeon, practising at Dartmouth, gave evidence as to the cause of death.  By permission of the Coroner, Mr Hockin then called P.C. Nancekivell, who said he was first at the fire at Dr Dawson's on the 26th of December.  SERGEANT ALLIN came afterwards, but was called away to the Guildhall on another case.  Witness, by the direction of the sergeant made out a report of the fire and gave it to him, which was the usual manner of procedure.  Superintendent Yardley had made no inquiries of him as to the fire, although he was the first constable there.  A second constable (P.C. Bradford) who was at the fire gave similar evidence.  He saw the deceased at nine o'clock on Saturday evening, when he told witness he was going to be sent to Ilfracombe and reduced to the rank of a first class constable.  He added that it was all through one man, viz., Major Jennings - (prolonged hissing).  Superintendent Yardley, of the G Division, was the sworn, and said in reply to one of the Jury it was usual in cases of this kind for him to write out the charge against a police-constable or sergeant, and send it on to the chief constable with whom it then lay.  Mr Veale (a Juryman):  Do you take up cases where the owner of the property refuses to prosecute?  - Superintendent Yardley:  Certainly.  If it was a serious one, such as this fire; I considered it very serious.

Another Juryman (Mr Atkins):  Did you receive any communication from Major Jennings dealing with the matter?  - Captain Yardley:  I had a letter from him telling me of the fire on the morning after it occurred.  It was received by me on the same day as Constable Nancekivell's report.  Still, Major Jennings had nothing to do with the charge which I preferred against SERGEANT ALLIN.  In reply to another Juryman, he said there had been no previous complaints against the Sergeant.  In answer to Mr Hockin, Captain Yardley said the letter written him by Major Jennings - (hisses) - merely said there was a fire at Dr Davison's, and if he was coming to Dartmouth, would he look into it.  He went next day but the suspected man had then left, and he did not at present know where he was.

Mr Hockin:  That was on the 26th December.  Have you since applied for a warrant against him?  - Captain Yardley:  Not yet.  -Mr Hockin:  Why did you blame SERGEANT ALLIN for not doing so then?  - (applause in court). - Captain Yardley:  Because he was the senior officer of the police in Dartmouth.  - Mr Hockin:   But you were his senior officer, were you not?  - Captain Yardley:  Yes.  - Mr Hockin:  Then don't you consider it a great neglect of duty not to take steps to apprehend the man on the day after?  - Captain Yardley:  I was several days collecting evidence.  - Mr Punchard (a Juryman):  You said there had been no previous charge made against the Sergeant, and yet on this first occasion he is reduced and sent away without the magistrates or anybody else being consulted in the matter.  - Captain Yardley:  It's nothing to do with me.  I don't know what the chief does in matters of this kind.  Mr Hockin:  But it was entirely on account of the report that the Sergeant was disrated?  - Captain Yardley:  It was - (groans and hisses).

Mr Hockin further pointed out that it was necessary in the case of a dismissal of a policeman that notice should be given to the Mayor of the borough of the cause of the dismissal.  (To Captain Yardley):<  Has it been done in this case?  - Captain Yardley:  I can't say.  I have nothing to do with it.

Major Jennings, who was in court, then desired to make a statement on oath, which the Coroner permitted him to do.  The sole and only communication he sent to Captain Yardley was after he had seen Dr Davison, who told him on the evening of the 20th December (the day of the fire) that he did not know what to do about it as it was the work of an incendiary.  He (the speaker) then said he would write to Captain Yardley about it, which he did the same evening.  With regard to the charge of neglect against the late SERGEANT ALLIN, he continued, he had nothing whatever to do.

The Jury returned the following verdict:-  "Death by Suicide, whilst in a state of Temporary Insanity.  The Jury attribute the deceased's state of mind to the unjust treatment received at the hands of his superior officers relative to his conduct on the occasion of the fire at Dr Davison's house, and particularly in sending deceased back to Ilfracombe, where he was formerly in charge, which they consider to be arbitrary, cruel and unjust, and they endorse the sentiments of the Coroner and the magistrates as to his exemplary character and efficiency." 

The rider attached to the verdict was received in court with the greatest applause.  Dartmouth magistrates on Tuesday made feeling reference to the tragic death of POLICE-SERGEANT ALLIN, the general opinion being that such a despotic action could not be equalled even in Russia.  A vote of sympathy with the bereaved relatives and friends was passed, and a memorial to the chief constable was signed.

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - A painful case of sudden death took place on Monday morning, when an elderly man named ROBERT WHEELER, residing at Pilton, fell down while proceeding to his work and immediately expired.  The deceased was formerly a member of the Metropolitan police, and was in receipt of a pension.  An Inquest was held at the Chichester Arms, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Mr Geo. Baker being the foreman of the Jury.  Wm. Hill, in the employ of Mr Croot, house decorator, deposed that he had known WHEELER several years.  Deceased was a painter's labourer, and he worked occasionally for Mr Croot.  WHEELER had not worked for Mr Croot for some months, but he was going to resume work that morning.  As he was proceeding to work he overtook the deceased on Pilton Bridge, and they walked together until they reached the Custom House on the Strand, which was close to the back entrance to Mr Croot's premises.  They did not walk fast.  They stood outside the Custom House several minutes, and then the deceased, without any warning, fell down.  He fell on his side and groaned.  Mr Gooding, who was there at the time, assisted to raise him and to place him in a chair.  They sent for a doctor.  When they got the deceased on the chair they saw he was dead, and a messenger was sent to the police station.  It was just eight o'clock when the deceased fell down.  As soon as the doctor had seen it the body was removed to the deceased's residence at Pilton.  He saw him on Saturday, and he then appeared to be in his usual state of health - indeed, he seemed all right when he met him that morning.  The deceased did not make any complaint before  he fell down, but as they were going through High Street he remarked that it was very cold.  Henry Gooding, also in the employ of Mr Croot, deposed that he arrived at the back entrance to his master's yard just before eight that morning.  He found the deceased there, and just after his arrival WHEELER fell in the manner described by the last witness.  WHEELER died almost immediately.  When he first saw the deceased that morning he appeared to be in his usual state of health.  Mr J. W. Cooke, surgeon, stated that when he saw the deceased that morning at about 25 minutes past eight he was quite dead.  He found him seated outside the Custom House.  There was a bruise over his left eye, but there was nothing else to be observed.  The bruise was such as would be occasioned by a fall.  From his general appearance and the evidence he had heard he was of opinion that death was due to syncope.  In all probability, the deceased was suffering from heart disease and the intense cold of the morning accelerated his death.  There was no reason to suppose he died from other than Natural Causes.  It should be known that in such cases the sufferer should be laid flat on the ground, not placed in a sitting position.  He had no doubt that WHEELER died almost immediately he fell.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 26 January 1888

COLEFORD - At the Inquest on the body of MR HERMON CHERITON, at Coleford, near Crediton, on Monday, the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while of Unsound Mind."

Thursday 9 February 1888

EXETER - Sad Suicide In Exeter. - A sad impression was created in business circles in Exeter on Friday morning when it was rumoured that a determined suicide had taken place in the centre of the city, and that MR OLLIVER, the manager of Mr A. Stedall's mantle establishment, in Queen street, had by the aid of a double-barrelled rifle shot himself dead through the heart.  About two years since Mr Stedall opened an establishment in High-street, but more commodious premises being afterwards available in Queen-street, the business was removed there to an establishment handsomely fitted up for the purpose.  Throughout the hole of the time MR OLLIVER has had the control of the business, and as shewn in the evidence given at the Inquest had performed his duties satisfactorily.  Although some months since an irregularity which, had, however, been looked over, had occurred, he still continued to have the confidence of the firm, but further irregularities occurred which no doubt led to the unhappy termination of the unfortunate man's life, and which was fully explained during the Enquiry.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased committed suicide while in a state of Temporary Insanity.

Thursday 16 February 1888

SOUTHMOLTON - Coroner's Inquest. - On Friday evening an Inquest was held at Trenstone Farm, in this parish, by Thomas Sanders, Esq., F.R.C.S., Borough Coroner, on the body of JOHN COCKRAM, of Meshaw, a mason.  Mr John C. Snell, of Alsweir, was chosen foreman of the Jury.  It appeared from the evidence that on the previous Wednesday a christening had been celebrated at Trenstone farm, the residence of deceased's daughter, which was attended by the deceased and his wife.  Deceased left the farm to return to his home about 7 o'clock, leaving his wife to return home on the following day.  When she got home on Thursday evening, her husband had not arrived.  P.C. Martin, of Meshaw, immediately set off for Alsweir, where he instituted a search party and proceeded to the river, and by the aid of lanterns continued to search the river for some hours without result.  On the following morning, Mr Jesse Kerslake, of Alsweir, in going to attend to his cows saw the body of deceased laying in the river, about 30 yards below Alsweir old bridge.  He at once dragged the body on to the bank of the river, and Constable Martin, with others, arriving on the scene, a horse and cart was obtained and the body was taken to Trenstone farm.  Evidence was given by Mr Jesse Kerslake, P.C. Martin, and Mr Shapland, and his son, of Trenstone farm.  In the evidence of the Police constable, he said he searched deceased's clothes and found 13s. 9d. in each and sundry other articles, proving thereby that deceased had not been the victim of violence for the purpose of robbing him.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" adding a "rider" to the effect that the authorities of the borough of Southmolton should at once repair the fence near Alsweir old bridge, where it is presumed deceased fell into the river.

Thursday 1 March 1888

NEWTON ST. CYRES - Supposed Murder Of A Girl Near Crediton. - The body of a girl named SARAH ANN SANSOM, aged 16, and who had been missing from her home at Newton St. Cyres, near Crediton, has been found in a disused mine shaft in the neighbourhood.  Her head was embedded in the mud, and she had evidently been suffocated.  On Thursday at Newton St. Cyres, it was shown that the deceased was the illegitimate daughter of SARAH ANN SANSOM, and that she had been missing since the 26th January, on which day she left to search for a favourite cat, and she was not seen alive again.  The Inquiry was adjourned.

At the adjourned Inquest at Newton St. Cyres on Tuesday, on the body of a girl named SANSOM, who was found dead n a shaft of a disused mine, the Jury returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder" against some person or persons unknown.  Immediately afterwards the police arrested the girl's mother on suspicion of being concerned in the crime.

Thursday 8 March 1888

BURRINGTON - As MR POTTER, of Hansford Farm, was returning from Chulmleigh Market on Friday in company with Mr Miller, of Hansford Mill, he was thrown from his horse.  When picked up he was insensible, and he expired at four o'clock on Saturday afternoon.  At the Inquest a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

COLYTON - At an Inquest held on Friday on the body of an old man named CRITCHETT, who expired at Colyton on Wednesday night, shortly after being found in a ditch, the Jury found that death resulted from Natural Causes.  The rumour that deceased died from want was disproved by the statement of the medical gentleman who made a post mortem examination, and found the body well nourished.

FRITHELSTOCK - Suicide. - An Inquest touching the death of DANIEL SQUIRE, of Horwood Barton, in the parish of Frithelstock, was held on Friday last before the Coroner (James Fraser Bromham, Esq.).  SARAH JANE SQUIRE, wife of deceased, said her husband was a labourer and worked for Mr Norman.  On Wednesday night he came home between six and seven o'clock and had his supper.  After he had his supper he went out and was away for some little time.  On his returning home he said "Now I am into it," meaning that a constable called Carpenter had caught him with a stick.  He seemed very excited and retired to rest about 10 o'clock.  A little after six he got up and dressed, lighted the fire, and left the house.  About 6.30 she went out to look for him and found him hanging in the linhay.  He had worked for Mr Norman for nine years.  The deceased was 38 years of age and leaves eight children, the eldest of whom is 16 years of age.  James Hearn, labourer, said that he passed the house of the deceased on Friday morning between six and seven and heard MRS SQUIRE calling for help.  He went to her assistance and found deceased hanging in the linhay.  He cut the rope and took him down.  The rope was fastened to a beam in the middle of the linhay.  Deceased's feet were touching the ground.  He took the rope off deceased's neck, and he appeared to be quite dead.  He had known deceased for years, and he appeared to be a reserved kind of man.  - William Carpenter, a second-class constable, stationed at Buckland Brewer, said he knew the deceased very well.  On Wednesday he was on duty in the parish and saw deceased come down the road from the direction of his house.  He was standing by the hedge and deceased did not see him.  He went a short distance down, and soon returned with two oak poles eight or ten feet long.  He stopped him, took possession of the poles, and told him he should report the matter to Mr Passmore, the owner.  Deceased said he hoped that he (witness) would look it over this time, but he told him he could not.  About seven or eight o'clock the next morning he heard that deceased had hung himself.  He went over to the residence of deceased as soon as possible and sent for a doctor.  - William Lait, medical practitioner of Torrington, deposed to being called to see the deceased.  On arriving at the house he found deceased lying dead in the outhouse.  He examined the body and found a contusion at the back of the neck, such as might have been made by the knot of a rope.  The features were not distorted, and the body was cold.  Deceased died from strangulation, the result of hanging.  The Jury found that deceased committed Suicide whilst in a state of Temporary Insanity.  Captain Saunders, the foreman of the Jury, suggested that as the widow of deceased was in poor circumstances, the fees of the Jury should be given to her  This the Jury unanimously consented to do.

Thursday 15 March 1888

BEAFORD - Inquest. - An Inquest was held at the Globe Inn, Beaford, on Wednesday last, before J. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, and a Jury (Mr Puddicombe, foreman), on the body of a new born infant, found buried in a garden at Beaford, on the 5th instant. -  The first witness, MRS ROSA MARY HARRIS mother of the child, said:  I am the wife of JAMES HARRIS.  I was confined of the child found on Sunday, the 26th February, at my grandfather's house, Thomas Isaacs, where I lived before my marriage.  I was taken ill on the 26th February.  My grandfather went for the nurse, Ann Kelly, at my request.  She came at once and assisted in my confinement.  She took the child from me.  I did not know what was the matter.  She said it is a little one, but it is dead.  I was not looking for my confinement so soon.  My mother, Elizabeth Sussex, took the body of the child away next morning between 8 and 9.  I did not see the body again.  I have been married a month.  I heard afterwards that the body was buried in the garden.  I did not prepare any baby linen as I did not expect my confinement so soon.  -  Thomas Isaacs, shoemaker, said he was grandfather of MRS HARRIS.  She had been married about a month.  She was taken ill and he fetched Ann Kelly, the nurse, who after her arrival told him the child was dead.  -  Mrs Mary Ann Kelly deposed to coming to ROSA HARRIS on the 26th of February, and helped her in her confinement.  In her opinion there was no life in the child.  -  Mrs Elizabeth Sussex, mother of ROSA HARRIS, said she saw the body of the baby.  She never saw one so small, and she put it in a paper box and buried it in the garden.  She did not think it was necessary to take it to the sexton. -  Sergeant Blackmore and Constable John Stevens having given evidence with respect to finding the body, the next witness was Mr James Waghorn, surgeon, of Dolton, who said in the absence of Dr Drummond, on Monday last Constable Stevens brought me a box containing an embryo of a child.  This morning I made a post mortem examination.  I examined the lungs; it gave no indications of having breathed.  I consider it under seven months.  It was remarkably small, and from its general appearance it might have been mistaken for a miscarriage.  It was very different from an ordinary child, and had not reached maturity.  The Coroner, in summing up, said that it was evidently done in ignorance, and if Mrs Sussex had only taken the body to the sexton it would have saved a great deal of trouble, and there would have been no occasion to have had an Inquest.  She was to blame for this.  The police hearing a rumour had very properly reported the case, and on that report he felt it his duty to attend, to prevent any scandal hereafter.  Under these circumstances he would ask the Jury to return their verdict.  The Jury consulted a few minutes and returned the following verdict:-  "That MRS ROSA MARY HARRIS was on the 26th of February last delivered of a male child, which at the time of its birth was still-born and dead."

Thursday 22 March 1888

TORRINGTON - Inquest. - On Tuesday last an Inquest was held at the Globe Hotel before Mr Bromham,. Coroner, touching the death of THOMAS LIMEBEER, which occurred on that morning.  William Henry Fear stated that the deceased was his fellow workman.  About half past seven that morning he (witness) was in the workshop getting his tools to go into the country; the deceased was to have gone with him.  The deceased came into the shop after witness was there, and went up over the steps in a hurry.  He then came down for his tool bag.  His back was then turned towards deceased, but he heard a noise as if a lump of something had fallen.  On turning round he found deceased lying on the floor on his right side, still holding the tool bag in his hand.  The steps were open ones without any railing.  He heard deceased groan several times, but he gave no other signs of consciousness.  He called deceased by name several times but got no reply.  Mr Eastmond came into the shop almost immediately, and a medical man was sent for.  Dr Morse came and on his arrival he pronounced him to be dead.  He (Doctor Morse) had no doubt but heart disease was the cause of death, especially as the bruise of itself was not sufficient to account for death.  A brother of the deceased, who is a doctor at Liverpool, then spoke of the deceased suffering from heart disease.  The Jury gave a verdict in accordance with the evidence, namely that Heart Disease was the primary cause of death.

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - On Saturday morning last an Inquest was held at the Guildhall, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of SAMUEL ROUE, aged 82.  Mr E. Draper was chosen foreman of the Jury.  It transpired that the deceased, who worked for many years as a cabinet maker at Rawleigh Factory, was a French refugee.  Wm. Heddon deposed that the deceased, together with witness, occupied an alms-house in Church-lane.  During the time they had lived together ( 2 ½ years) the deceased had been very feeble.  On Thursday night, as deceased appeared to be very unwell, he sat up with him until midnight.  Deceased slept before the fire in an easy chair.  Between five and six o'clock on Friday morning, he gave the deceased a cup of tea.  Later in the morning the deceased got worse, and witness went out to get the address of his daughter in London in order that he might send her a telegram.  He returned in three-quarters of an hour, and he then found the deceased in the W.C.  He called, but received no answer; and when the door was forced some time afterwards he found that the old man was dead.  The deceased had suffered a long time from dropsy.  Mary Dowdle said she saw the deceased on Thursday morning, when he appeared worse than usual.  She asked him if he would have some beef broth, but he refused.  Dr Mark Jackson deposed that in his opinion death was due to syncope, or failure of the heart's action.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.  The foreman of the Jury remarked upon the kind attention which Heddon had bestowed upon the deceased.

BRADWORTHY - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at Waterlands, in the parish of Bradworthy, on the body of BEATRICE MARY SHORT, the infant child of EDWARD SHORT, farmer.  The Coroner was Mr J. F. Bromham, of Barnstaple.  After hearing the evidence of MR and MRS SHORT, P.C. Patt, and Dr E. M. Emtage, the Jury returned a verdict to the effect of "Accidental Death," finding that the child had been suffocated at night in nestling too close to its mother.

Thursday 5 April 1888

BARNSTAPLE - A Child Drowned At Bradiford.  - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at the Windsor Hotel, Bradiford, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of WALTER THOMAS THORNE, aged three years, who had been drowned on the previous day in the mill-leat in the yard adjoining Messrs. Mountjoy and Hancock's factory.  Mr G. L. Lewis was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The members of the Jury, after viewing the body, proceeded to the yard in which the accident occurred.  A child named Jeffery, who was with the deceased on Friday afternoon, pointed out the spot where THORNE fell into the water.  This spot is situated near a shed which is enclosed with fencing, and is about thirty yards from the terminal grating, where the body was found.  The children were trespassing at the time the accident occurred.  The first witness called was SAMUEL THORNE, smith, residing at Bradiford, who said the deceased was his son, and was three years of age.  He last saw him alive at half-past three on the afternoon of Good Friday.  He then left the house for the purpose of playing with some companions.  About half-an-hour afterwards Mr W. Mountjoy brought the child home, and it then appeared to be dead.  - Wm. Norman, carpenter, of Bradiford, deposed that between half-past three and a quarter to four on the previous day he saw the deceased, together with a child named Jeffery, alive by the mill-leat in Messrs. Mountjoy and Hancock's yard.  The children were playing with a piece of stick and string, and said they were "boating".  He told them to go out-side the fence, and he saw them leave.  Twenty minutes afterwards Mrs Hancock told him that little THORNE had been drowned.  The children must have returned to the leat immediately he went away.  Wm. Henry Mountjoy said that about four o'clock on Friday he was passing the grating at the end of the mill-leat by Messrs. Mountjoy and Hancock's turning factory where his dog appeared to notice something unusual in the water.  On Looking into the leat he saw the body of a child lying against the grating.  The body was under the water.  He believed the child was dead when he found it.  However, he and some other men did what they could to restore animation.  On finding that these efforts were unavailing he carried the body to MR THORNE'S house.  Dr Cooke was immediately sent for.  - Dr J. W. Cooke deposed that at half-past four on Friday he received information that a child had been drowned at Bradiford.  When he arrived at THORNE'S house he found that the child was quite dead. Life had been extinct about an hour.  There were no external injuries.  The Coroner briefly addressed the Jury, and said there could be no doubt that the death was an accidental one.  The child Jeffery had pointed out where his companion fell into the leat, and the children had no right to go inside the fence which had been erected.  Mr W. Horne (one of the Jurors) said there was no blame whatever attaching to Messrs. Mountjoy and Hancock, and the Coroner remarked that there was no pretence that any blame attached to them or to anyone else.  Mr W. Hancock said large numbers of children came to the yard and were a great nuisance there.  They were frequently turned away, but they as frequently returned.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," and expressed their sympathy for MR THORNE in the loss he had sustained.

BUCKLAND BREWER - On Monday last an Inquest was held at Orleigh Mills before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of GEORGE SANDERS, aged 9, son of RICH. SANDERS.  It appeared from the evidence that the boy was on the 11th of March kicked by a pony, a bad wound being inflicted in the forehead.  No danger was at first apprehended, but subsequently tetanus set in, and the lad succumbed on Saturday.  Evidence was given by RICHARD SANDERS, Emily Squire, CLARA SANDERS, and Dr C. S. Thompson, and the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that death was caused by tetanus, the result of an accident.

Thursday 19 April 1888

WESTDOWN - Sad Death Of A Farmer. - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at Aylescott, in the parish of Westdown, by J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of GEORGE PHILLIPS, a well-known farmer.  The first witness called was ALFRED PHILLIPS, who said his deceased father was a farmer and resided at Aylescott.  He was 67 years of age.  He last saw him alive about nine o'clock  on Thursday morning, when he said he was going to his brother's at Westdown.  Between six and seven p.m. on the same day witness went to one of the fields situated about a quarter of a mile from the house to look after the sheep, and something lying in the watering place attracted his attention.  On going to the place he found that it was his father, who was lying with his face in the water as if he was in the attitude of drinking.  The water partly covered his face.  On lifting him out he found that he was dead.  A short distance off he found a stick propped up against the hedge, with a bottle labelled "best brandy" lying by the side of it.   The cork was in the bottle, which was empty.  He went home and told his sister what had occurred, and he then rode to his brother, afterwards telling Mr Coates what he had discovered.  Mr Coates went with him to the field where his father lay, and they conveyed the deceased to the house in a cart.  His father had been in a good deal of trouble lately owing to cattle dying and he had taken the matter very much to heart.  When they were at breakfast on Thursday morning his father told him that his heart was broken.  The same morning the deceased had on going out early found that one of his heifers had hung itself.  He sent for Dr Foquett who was soon on the spot.  He did not for a moment believe that his father would 'make away with himself' for he had often heard him express his wonder at persons committing suicide.  - Fredk. Coates, of Westdown, deposed that he knew deceased very well.  He last saw him alive about 10 o'clock on Thursday when he was near Westdown village, and where deceased said he was going to Westdown.  He noticed the deceased was very low spirited, and he asked him if had had bad luck, whereupon the deceased said [?] have farmer; my heart is nearly come through.  These were the last words he heard him say, and Ann Collins landlady of the Crown Inn, Westdown, said the deceased was her brother.  About half-past [?] on Thursday morning he called at her house and said he was very bad.  He afterwards said he wanted some of the best brandy she had got, and she let him have some in a bottle.  He told her he had lost another heifer that morning, and seeing he was very low spirited, she offered him a drop of hot brandy and water, but he preferred to have a small drop "neat."  He then left her house.  The deceased was not at all addicted to drink, but was a sober, steady man.  Henry Richard Foquett, general medical practitioner residing at Ilfracombe, deposed that when he examined the body of the deceased he found no marks of violence.  He noticed that the face had not its usual appearance, but was very much congested.  Although, as he had been told, the deceased was found with his face under the water, the deceased did not in any way present the appearance of [?] person who had been drowned.  Assuming that during the day he drank the whole quart of brandy, that would be likely to bring on congestion off the brain, and in that case death would be from alcohol poisoning.  It did not follow that because a [?]resulted from alcoholic poisoning it was a case of [?]  It might arise from imprudence on the part of the person drinking the spirit.  He should mention that the deceased had a weak heart, and that he had been informed that on Thursday morning, after finding the heifer was dead, he fainted.  This would be [?] mental depression.  From his knowledge of the deceased he should say that he was not at all a likely [?] willingly to cause his own death.  In his opinion the actual cause of death was asphyxia and cerebral congestion commonly known as congestive apoplexy, and could be brought on by excessive does of alcohol.  He had seen the place where the deceased was found, and did not for a moment think that death resulted from drowning.  Possibly the deceased was going to the [?] to drink and fell on the stone in the position in which he was found.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased died from Asphyxia and cerebral congestion, commonly called Congestive Apoplexy.

Thursday 26 April 1888

HARTLAND - Yesterday an Inquest was held at the Bear Inn, in the parish of Hartland, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of ANNA SAUNDERCOCK, wife of RICHARD SAUNDERCOCK, a navy pensioner, of Hartland, but lately of Bradworthy.  Ann Neals, Richard Saunderson, Adam Edwards, and Noah Mortimer gave evidence, and Mr J. K. Newcome, general medical practitioner, deposed that he did not know the deceased.  When he arrived at the house after being fetched on Monday the woman was dead but warm. Having heard the evidenced and having examined the body, he had no hesitation in saying that death was the result of natural causes.  The specific cause of death was, in his opinion, pleuro-pneumonia, or inflammation of the lungs with pleurisy.  A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.

Thursday 3 May 1888

TORRINGTON - An Important Inquest At Torrington.  A Medical Officer Censured. - On Thursday last J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, opened an Inquest at the Town Hall, Torrington, on the body of WILLIAM HUTCHINGS, labourer, who had been in receipt of relief from the parish.  A great deal of interest was taken in the proceedings, and the Mayor (W. Ashplant, Esq); the ex-Mayor (W. Vaughan, Esq.) and several other prominent townsmen were present during the Inquiry.  Mr W. Smale was chosen foreman of the Jury.  Mr W. P. Bencraft, solicitor, attended on behalf of the relatives of the deceased.

ELIZABETH HUTCHINGS said the body which had just been viewed by the Jury was that of her deceased husband.  He was formerly a labourer, but had not been able to work for some years.  He was in receipt of parish pay, and was seventy years of age.  Previous to the 8th of March last he had been ill for several weeks and had been confined to his bed for a fortnight.  On Thursday, the 8th of March, she asked him to get up as she wished to air his room.  she helped him to get downstairs about half-past two.  He stayed downstairs about an hour.  Whilst downstairs he fainted.  When ascending the stairs with her assistance, he fell forward on his right arm.  He lay in the stairs for over twenty minutes and complained of having injured his arm. There was no one in the house at the time but her husband and herself.  Ultimately he managed with her assistance to get upstairs.  After he got into bed he threw his arm outside the clothes and said "Oh my arm! get the doctor."  Almost immediately she went for Mr Lait, surgeon, and he arrived at her house about an hour after the accident happened.  She waited there until the doctor came in.  She asked him to come and see her husband as he complained of his arm.  She told the doctor he had fallen in the stairs, but did not say the arm was broken, as at the time she was not aware that such was the case.  The doctor said, "Oh nonsense; I saw him pass her the other day looking jolly;" and she then said "So you might have but my husband is ill; please to come in."  Mr Lait replied "All right, and she went home with the idea that the doctor was coming to see her husband.  The doctor did not, however, come at all that day.  No further message was sent to Mr Lait that day; she told a little boy to go.  She had since ascertained that he did not obey her.  During the night the deceased suffered a great deal, and continually complained of his arm.  He kept his arm outside the bedclothes from the time he got into bed until the doctor came.  He could not move the arm.  On the following day her daughter, MARTHA BRAUNTON, told her she had been for the doctor, for whom she left a message.  About two o'clock on that day her son WILLIAM, who lived with her, finding that the doctor had not come, sent off for Mr Lait.  Shortly after this Mr Lait arrived.  Three messages were sent to Mr Lait before he came.  The doctor attempted to raise the deceased's arm and her husband "screeched".  The arm was not then swollen very much.  The doctor examined the arm and said it was broken above the elbow.  Mr Lait at once went home after the bandages, and he soon returned with them.  The doctor bandaged the arm.  On the day following Mr Lait visited the deceased again, and on the succeeding Wednesday or Thursday he repeated the visit.  The bandages remained on the arm for two weeks and five days.  During that time Mr Lait saw the deceased occasionally.  At the end of this time, as her husband was distracted with pain and the injured arm dreadfully swollen, she went to Mr Lait and asked him to visit the deceased.  This was between ten and eleven o'clock in the morning and the doctor paid the visit between two and three in the afternoon.  When he first saw the deceased Mr Lait did not say anything about the advisability of amputating the arm.  She was perfectly certain of this.  When Mr Lait came on the occasion last referred to he removed the bandages and said the arm was not set, adding that he must be taken to the Union Infirmary and have the limb taken off.  Her husband said he would go to the Infirmary.  She obtained from Mr Lait the necessary order for admission to the Union, and she informed her husband she had got it.  The deceased said "I am very glad I am going to the Barnstaple Infirmary, for I have been there before and shall be well treated."  She explained to him that he was to go to the Torrington Union, and he then said he did not care to go there.  The next day Mr Lait saw her husband again.  After this there was a talk of sending the deceased to Barnstaple if he was strong enough to bear the journey, and the necessary recommend was procured.  She went to Mr Lait, who told her the deceased was not strong enough to be sent to Barnstaple.  Next day (Wednesday), Dr Jones was sent for, and he stated that the deceased was not strong enough to leave his bed.  Mr Lait subsequently visited the house, and she told him that Dr Jones had been called, in, and he seemed annoyed that this course had been taken without his knowledge.  Mr Lait told her that as she had called in a doctor he would bring one, and he called with Dr Morse on Friday.  Before Mr Morse left he said to deceased, "I think with care and kindness you could be taken out from here and have your arm off."  Mr Lait continued to attend her husband up to the time of his death, which occurred on Tuesday, the 24th of April.  Mr Lait told her, after Mr Morse's visit, that if her husband did not have the arm taken off he would die.  No offer was made to take off the arm in the cottage.  Mr Lait said it could not be done in a cottage.  Her husband received an extra allowance from the parish during his illness.  - By the Foreman:  Dr Lait had been in the habit of attending the deceased before the accident, and she had no complaint whatever to make with regard to this.  - By Mr Bencraft:  Prior to the accident she and her husband received 3s. a week from the parish.  Three weeks after the accident she obtained an order for food and other things from the relieving officer.  The order was for 2lb of beef, some flour, some butter and groceries.  The order was repeated each week.  Mr Jones visited her house twice on the day when he was called in.  In answer to Mr Lait, MRS HUTCHINGS denied that she informed the doctor that her husband "threw himself on the bed."  - Mr Lait:  You told me your husband threw himself on the bed.  I did not hear anything about the stairs until three weeks after, and then I heard it from a neighbour.  - Witness:  I told you he had fallen in the stairs, but I did not say the arm was broken because I did not know it was.  - In answer to a Juror, the witness said that when she first went to Dr Lait's house she had to wait something like a quarter of an hour before she saw him.  The last time Dr Lait attended her husband was when he resided at Frithelstock, and this was three years ago.  She asked the doctor for some wine, and he said that if the deceased went to the Union Infirmary he could have all he wanted. 

MARTHA BRAUNTON, daughter of the last witness, deposed that as she heard that Mr Lait had not been to see her father on the day of the accident, she called at the doctor's house about nine o'clock on the following morning.  She did not see the doctor, but she left a message for him.  She stopped with her father until dinner time, and by half-past one the doctor had not arrived.  A messenger (John Mitchell) was then sent after Mr Lait.  Shortly after the return of the messenger the doctor arrived.  The witness gave further corroborative evidence, adding that her father said he would sooner die than go into the Union Infirmary.  She heard Mr Lait say twice that the deceased would have been saved if he had had his arm off and that he was foolish not to go to the Union to have it done.  - By a Juror:  When he first bandaged the arm Mr Lait did not say the fracture was a very bad one.  She heard her mother tell Mr Lait that her father had fallen in the stairs.  This was when the doctor was in the house.  -  WM. HUTCHINGS, labourer, son of the deceased, deposed that on the day following the accident, finding when he went home to dinner that the doctor had not arrived, he sent a messenger to Mr Lait to say that if he did not come he should get another doctor and charge him with the expense.  Mr Lait arrived soon afterwards.  -  William Lait, general medical practitioner, residing at Torrington, said he was the medical officer for the Torrington District.  He knew the deceased when he resided at Frithelstock, and deceased had called at his surgery since his residence in Torrington.  He did not remember seeing MRS HUTCHINGS on Thursday, the 8th of March.  The following day he received a message, but he could not say what time it was.  The message was that MR HUTCHINGS was ill.  He remembered a lad called Mitchell calling at his place on the same day and saying that unless he went to MR HUTCHINGS his uncle would get another doctor.  Shortly after this he went to see the deceased.  He did not know at the time that HUTCHINGS had met with an accident.  He thought it was a bilious attack, as deceased had been subject to this.  He caught hold of the man's arm to discover his state; he moved it and discovered it was broken.  HUTCHINGS did not scream when he touched the arm, or indicate that he suffered any pain from his touching the arm.  Finding that the arm was broken between the elbow and the shoulder he went to his house for appliances for bandaging the limb.  He set the arm and bandaged it. He saw deceased on the following day, and when he visited him a few days subsequently he found that the arm was swollen a good deal.   He loosened the bandages, but did not remove them.  He did not consider it necessary to remove them.  A little more than a fortnight after the accident the wife came to him and told him the deceased was suffering a good deal.  He then removed the bandages, and on examination he found that the broken bone had not united.  He said the arm should be amputated and suggested that the deceased should be removed to the Union Workhouse.  The necessary order was obtained, but deceased objected to go to the Union.  The journey to Barnstaple would have been too much for the deceased.  He was not aware at the time that the deceased wanted to go to the North Devon Infirmary.  To the best of his belief he said when he first bandaged the arm that the limb would have to come off.  He thought so because it  was a bad fracture and the man's constitution was bad.  The object of putting the arm into splints was to save the deceased pain.  After the arm was bandaged, he told the deceased and the family that the limb would have to be taken off, and it was safe to leave the splints on until mortification set in.  When he found that the deceased would not go to the Union he removed the splints and put the arm in a cradle, and gave all the relief he could.  Mr Morse thought the deceased could have been removed to the House when he visited HUTCHINGS in company with witness.  Mr Morse agreed with him that it was a proper case for amputation, and that deceased was not in a fit state to be removed to Barnstaple.  There was no convenience at a cottage such as that in which the deceased resided for the conduct of amputation.  About a week before the death of HUTCHINGS he discovered that mortification was setting in, and he informed the family of the fact.  It was then too late to amputate, and he told the wife that death must result.  He did not admit that in this case there had been any neglect on his part - certainly not, but too much attention.  MRS HUTCHINGS told him her husband "threw himself upon the bed," and said nothing about a fall on the stairs.  He learnt from a neighbour that the fall took place.  He did not receive three messages before visiting the deceased.  In all probability if the arm had been amputated the man's life would have been saved, but it was an operation, however, which could not be performed in such a small cottage.  The arm could have been taken off, but the man could not have had proper nursing.  The actual cause of death was mortification, which set in six weeks after the accident. 

At this stage of the proceedings it was decided to adjourn the Inquest until the following day, and at the request of the Jury the Coroner said he would call in another medical man.

The Inquest was resumed on Friday, when Dr Lait, in answer to the Coroner, said that after the death of the deceased he filled up a certificate of death and gave it to the Registrar.  To the best of his belief the certificate was to the effect that death resulted from mortification, the result of a broken arm.  At the time he was not aware that a death could not be registered after an accident before an Inquest had been held.  - By the Foreman:  He had not been in the habit of giving certificates after accidents.  In this case he gave the certificate before it was applied for by the relatives.  He did this because he was going out of town, and he thought it would be to the convenience of the friends.  He also did it because he did not want his certificate to be hawked about.  The Registrar refused to take the certificate, and said the facts had better be stated to the Coroner.  He had never, to the best of his belief, given a certificate after an accident before.  He had no special reason beyond what he had said for giving it in this case.  The Registrar knew all about the case before the death.  When he first visited the deceased the day after the accident he did the best he could to set the bone, and he felt certain he did set it.  The deceased did not cry out when he took up his arm, but he did when the splints were attached.  He believed he tied the man's arm to the chair to keep it steady.  This was done after the setting of the arm - the same day.  During the process the man suffered a good deal of pain.  After the bandages were removed the arm was not again tied to the chair but was placed on a pillow.  - By Mr Bencraft:  He considered from the first that the arm ought to be taken off, and he told the wife so.  The widow made a mistake in saying that he never said anything about the arm coming off until the splints were first removed.  When he saw the deceased the first time he saw the arm would have to be amputated and that deceased would have to go into the hospital to have it done.  The deceased would not submit to the operation of amputation.  He was satisfied that during the illness the man had all that was necessary in the way of food from the authorities.  It was in his power to give recommendations for this.  It was necessary that the patient should be well fed.  He understood from the wife that the deceased had all that was necessary.  He was aware that if the certificate had been accepted by the Registrar no Inquest would have been held.  - By the Foreman:  It was perfectly right to set the arm even if it was to come off.  He did not remember the wife asking him specially for wine, and he had no recollection of refusing it.

Dr Edward Sutcliff was then called as an independent witness. He said he regretted that he had been called, as it was hardly fair to Mr Lait, especially as there were two other medical men who had seen the deceased before death, whereas he had not.  -  The Coroner said he was sure Dr Sutcliff would conscientiously answer the few questions to be put.  In answer to the Coroner, Dr Sutcliff said that in the case of an arm being broken the sooner it was attended to by a surgeon the better.  If there was a delay of a day in putting the arm in splints the patient would suffer more than he would if it was attended to at once.  The delay might make it more difficult to set the arm, but not necessarily so.  The delay would not be a source of danger to a man of good constitution.  He did not think the delay would keep the bone from reuniting if the arm had been kept quiet in the meantime.  It was quite correct to put the arm in splints, although Dr Lait considered when he first saw it that it would be amputated.  If the limb was going on well it was quite right to allow it to remain in splints for over a fortnight.  If the arm was swollen so much that the bandages were constricting it they should be removed in order that the limb might be examined.  There was no particular time at which a decision should be arrived at as to whether amputation was necessary or not.  When it was found that there was no chance of saving the limb and mortification set in, of course an operation should be performed.  It was often difficult to decide whether an operation should be performed.  As a rule they made every effort to preserve the limb.  An operation of this kid could be better performed in a public institution such as the Union Hospital than it could be in a small cottage.  It could have been done in the cottage, but it would not be so convenient as the hospital.  In the event of a patient declining he should not strongly press it unless he thought it was the only chance of saving life.  Keeping on the bandages so long would not be likely to bring on mortification unless they were too constricted.  He had examined the body of the deceased.  The right arm was not black, and in his opinion mortification had not set in.  So far as he could see the deceased died from deep superration of the arm and from exhaustion.  He thought the deceased was a man of bad constitution, and this would account for the deep superration.  It was impossible for him to say that under any treatment the man would have got well.  - By Mr Bencraft:  Excessive swelling of the arm would show that it was not going on well.  He could not say that Mr Lait was bound to suggest amputation of the arm in the house after the deceased refusing to go to the Union Hospital.  - Dr Lait asked Dr Sutcliffe whether he considered he had been guilty of any improper treatment or neglect  - Dr Sutcliffe replied that it was not a proper question to put to him.  He had no right to sit in judgment on that matter.  This was the whole of the evidence, and the Coroner summed up, dealing with the evidence, and remarking that the question really was whether there had been any neglect on the part of Mr Lait, as there was no doubt as to the cause of death, namely, accidental as the result of a broken arm.  They must not, for the gratification of the poor woman, who might fancy she was injured in the matter, unnecessarily censure Dr Lait; and, on the other hand, if they thought that by going earlier to the patient or by any other course he could have prolonged his life or relieved his sufferings, it was their duty to say so.  The Jury, after retiring for a quarter of an hour, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," but added the following rider:-  "The Jury are unanimously of opinion that the deceased did not receive proper medical attendance from Dr Lait, and that his conduct in attempting to supply the Registrar with a certificate as to the cause of death, as well as the manner in which he has evaded giving proper answers to questions put to him during this Inquest, is deserving of the highest censure."

PLYMOUTH - MR SETH BEVAN, a well known building contractor of Plymouth, on Saturday committed suicide by shooting himself.  Business matters had given the deceased anxiety, and the Coroner's Jury found that he was of Unsound Mind.

SWIMBRIDGE - On Monday an Inquest was held at Swymbridge Newland, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of EMMA CAROLINE GABRIEL.  -  JOHN GABRIEL deposed that he was a butcher residing at Landkey.  The body which had just been viewed by the  Jury was that of his late sister, who resided at Barnstaple and was 44 years of age.  She frequently visited him at Landkey.  On Saturday he was not aware that his sister was in Landkey until Sarah Hammett told him he had better come to the house as his sister had fallen down in a fit.  He went to the house at once, and found that his sister was dead and he sent at once for a doctor.  From inquiries he had since made he had found that his sister left Barnstaple about 5 o'clock on Saturday evening.  -  Sarah Ann Hammett, who said she knew the deceased very well, deposed that she came to her house at about seven o'clock on Saturday evening.  While she was drinking some tea she fell to the ground.  She lifted her up, but the deceased showed no sign of life.  She did not complain of being ill, except that in conversation she mentioned that she had been to a doctor, who told her that she was suffering from inflammation of the kidneys and ought to be in bed.  If the deceased had not mentioned it she should not have known she was ill.  -  Eliza Holland gave corroborative evidence.  - Mr Walter Cooper, general medical practitioner, deposed that he knew the deceased, as he had seen her two or three times at the Dispensary.  He saw her on Tuesday or Friday.  She was being treated at the Dispensary for a small varicose vein and pain in the leg.  She did not complain of anything else.  The deceased passed him on the Landkey road at about ten minutes to six on Saturday evening.  He had made a post mortem examination of the body.  The heart was fatty and diseased.  The kidneys were perfectly healthy.  He found that a blood vessel had ruptured at the base of the brain, and he considered this was the cause of death.  He thought it probable that as the heart was affected the deceased fainted whilst at the table, and that the sudden fall ruptured the blood vessel.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

BERRYNARBOR - A sad discovery was made in the farmyard at Higher Leigh on Monday night, the body of SAMUEL J. COMER, aged 21, labourer, being found in a terribly mutilated condition.  It was supposed that death was caused by the explosion of the feeder to an air gun, which was found close at hand.  Last evening an Inquest was held on the body by Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner.

FRITHELSTOCK - A Child Killed. - On Monday last a child named ADA SQUIRE, six years of age, daughter of SARAH JANE SQUIRE, widow of the man DANIEL SQUIRE, whose death under distressing circumstances we recently recorded, was killed on the roadway at Oakborough Gate in the parish of Frithelstock.  Deceased, together with several other children, was walking along the road, returning from school, when they were overtaken by a horse and cart.  A dog accompanied the horse and cart, running in front of the horse.  When it got near the children, the dog turned back to the horse and in so doing appears to have started it, as it ran forward.  Some of the children succeeded in getting out of the way, but deceased and another girl got immediately in front of the horse.  The former fell, and the horse passed over her, the wheel subsequently passing over her head.  The driver of the horse jumped from the cart and picked up the child, but it was dead.  An Inquest was held yesterday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner, when evidence to the foregoing effect was given by P.C. Wm. Carpenter, Wm. Netherway, labourer, Thos. Ball, labourer, and Thos. Watkins, the driver of the cart.  - Dr Sutcliff, of Torrington, said that the child had sustained a very bad fracture of the skull; this was sufficient to cause death, which he believed to have been instantaneous.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  What makes this case the more sad is that the poor child was the daughter of the man SQUIRE who recently committed suicide under peculiarly painful circumstances, and for whose widow a public subscription was raised.

SATTERLEIGH - Death Of A Schoolboy From Meningitis.  - James F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, held an Inquiry at West Satterleigh, on Tuesday, into the circumstances attending the death of JAMES MATTHEWS, about ten years of age, son of JAMES MATTHEWS, labourer, who had died somewhat suddenly on the previous Sunday morning.  According to the evidence of the boy's father, deceased had had an attack of measles in March last, but had recovered and gone to school again.  On Saturday morning his father noticed that he dropped his head over the breakfast table.  The lad said he had a pain in his head.  He did some work and then went to bed, complaining of pains in his head and stomach.  On Sunday morning, about eight, he asked for a drink and his parents noticed a change in his countenance.  They then sent for a neighbour, and the father went for a doctor, but the boy died shortly after he left the house.  - Jane Sanders, a neighbour, gave corroborative evidence.  Mr Albert Huid, medical practitioner, Southmolton, said that, as the result of a post mortem examination, he was of opinion that the boy died from Natural Causes - tubercular meningitis, or disease of the brain.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

CHULMLEIGH - Fatal Gun Accident near Chulmleigh. - Yesterday an Inquest was held at Collaton, in the parish of Chulmleigh, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., on the body of WILLIAM BURGESS CONNOP, son of MR NEWELL CONNOP, of Collaton Barton.  Mr J. R. Budgett, of Bridge Farm, Burrington, said the deceased occasionally stayed with him.  He fished with the deceased last Monday, and deceased was in very good spirits.  On Tuesday he called at MR CONNOP'S house, and MR CONNOP said his son had gone out shooting and had not yet returned.  He and MR CONNOP went out together and found the body of the deceased in the wood.  He took MR CONNOP home, and found Dr Pollard in the house.  Dr Pollard and he then went to the wood where the body of the deceased lay.  The body was lying face upwards, and there was a severe wound in the head.  There was a gun lying a little distance off, as was also deceased's cap.  He had seen a good deal of the deceased lately, and he said he was not at all a likely person to commit suicide.  There was nothing whatever he knew of to cause him to do so.  He was intimately acquainted with the CONNOPS and knew them to be a most united family.  MR CONNOP was so shaken by the terrible accident that he was quite unable to undergo an examination at that Inquest.  - Dinah Rottenbury, cook, and Wm. Taylor, gamekeeper, also gave evidence.  - Dr Pollard deposed that he should consider, from the nature of the injuries, that death must have been instantaneous.  There was nothing in the nature of the wound inconsistent with its being the result of an accident; it was not necessarily such as must have been self-inflicted.  From his general knowledge of the deceased he should say he was a very unlikely person to commit suicide.  There did not appear to be the least motive for his doing anything of the sort, as he was in good health and always in good spirits.  - Captain W. E. Pinkett deposed that he knew the deceased very well.  In his opinion the deceased was one of the last men in the world to commit suicide.  He produced a letter, addressed to deceased, which had that morning been received from Captain Crosse.  It referred to a proposed fishing expedition in Aberdeenshire, evidently showing that there was nothing on the mind of the deceased, but that he was looking forward to this expedition.  He also produced deceased's diary, which was  written up to the 28th ult.  Deceased wrote in his diary weekly, and there was nothing in the entries to indicate in any way that he was in low spirits.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that death was caused by a gunshot wound, the result of an Accident.

Thursday 10 May 1888

BERRYNARBOR - The Fatal Gun Accident. - An Enquiry was opened by Dr Slade King, Deputy Coroner of Ilfracombe, on Wednesday in last week, at the London Inn, Combmartin, as to the death of Samuel John Comer, on the previous Monday (as reported in our last issue).  The names of the Jury were as follows:-  Mr R. Clogg (foreman), Rev. W. Evens, Messrs. Weedon, Day, Cooke, Connibear, Crang, F., W. and J. Willis, Squire, Creek and Stanger.  After viewing the body, GEORGE COMER, gardener, of Loxhore, deposed that the body of the deceased was that of his son, who was engaged as a gardener at Lee House, Upper Lee, Berrynarbor; and that he saw him alive and well three weeks since.  Mary Ann Parsons, widow, engaged as nurse to Miss Snell, of Upper Lee, gave the following evidence.  She stated that she saw the deceased on Monday, 30th April.  They had tea together, after which he left to shoot birds in the garden, as he had done previously.  Upon hearing a loud report, she went out to see for him, but could not see or hear anyone, and at 10 o'clock p.m. she went to rejoin Miss Snell.  The next morning after coming downstairs she went again to look for him, saw pieces of his coat flying about and found him near the coach-house door, and saw that he was quite dead.  She also saw the ball of an air gun, which had burst, lying about twelve inches from the body.  She immediately sent to Combmartin for medical assistance, and gave information to the police.  - Nathaniel Manning, F.R.M.S., registered medical man of Combmartin, gave the following evidence.  On Tuesday, 1st of May, about 7.30 a.m., he was called to see the deceased, and found the body lying at the back of the coach-house door.  The front of his vest and shirt were blown away, the skin of the chest was blackened and there were two wounds, one at the junction of the collar bone and the chest, about two inches deep, reaching to the bottom of the neck; the other a more superficial laceration of the skin.  He had examined the wounds again, and believed the cause of death to have been the nervous shock, and the injuries received.  - P.C. Henry Gribble, of Combmartin, deposed that from information received he went on Tuesday 1st May at eight o'clock a.m. to Lee House, and saw the body of SAMUEL JOHN COMER, lying near the coach-house door.  He produced some of the clothes of deceased.  The upper part of the vest and shirt were shattered and torn, and on the right side of the shirt he found a concave piece of the ball of the air gun receiver, near where the larger wound was, there was also another receiver lying on the chair inside the house.  Upon searching the pockets he found about 30 bullets, which fitted the barrel of the gun produced.  He removed the body and reported the accident.  The Coroner asked for the opinion of any Juryman who felt qualified to give a judgment as to the state of the receiver.  Samuel Creek pointed out that the upper part of the ball, where it had exploded, was very thin; and that the whole thing was old-fashioned.  The Jury found that the deceased came by his death in consequence of the receiver of the air-gun bursting accidentally, and the Coroner returned a verdict accordingly.  The Jury also expressed their opinion that the gun ought to be destroyed, and the Coroner undertook to forward their recommendation (in which he concurred) to the owner, the gun in the meantime to be retained in the custody of the police.  The Jury expressed their sympathy with the relatives of the deceased.  - With reference to the above unfortunate affair the following letter has been addressed to the Press:  - Dear Sir, - On Sunday night I met SAMUEL COMER, and he told me he had an air gun which Mr Snell had given him to clean, and had cautioned him not to overcharge the receivers.  Mr Snell had also requested him to return the gun, as he was afraid some accident might occur if he used it.  COMER told me he had a few bullets, and would keep the gun until he had used them.  I then asked him what the receivers were made of, and he told them they were of iron.  I then said "For God's sake by careful what you are at; if those receivers are of iron they will be liable to burst on the least over-pressure, and in all probability blow your arm off."  I just mention this to show that the gun was not given to the deceased without caution.  Yours truly, W. Procter, Lonsdale House, Combmartin, Mary 3rd, 1888.

Thursday 17 May 1888

LITTLE TORRINGTON - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at Huntshaw Farm, in the parish of Little Torrington, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner, on the body of JAMES FAIRCHILD, farmer, aged 45.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased met with an accident on the 23rd of February last.  He was driving home from Bideford when his horse shied at a wheelbarrow and he was precipitated into the roadway.  He was picked up and conveyed to the Bideford Hospital, wand at his own urgent request was removed to his own residence on the 9th of March.  The deceased was very badly injuries in the face by the accident, and he succumbed to blood poisoning on Wednesday.  Evidence was given by GEORGE FAIRCHILD (of Bulworthy, Alverdiscott), brother of the deceased, James Parr, potter, of Annery, and Dr J. D. Jones, of Torrington.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that death was caused by blood poisoning, the result of an accident.

PLYMOUTH - The Very Rev. Canon WOOLLETT, D.D., Vicar-General of Plymouth Cathedral, was found dead on Thursday in the Bishop's house.  At the Inquest the Jury found that death arose from Natural Causes.  Canon WOOLLETT'S age was 70.

Thursday 24 May 1888

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident. - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of GEORGE PATT, farm labourer, of High Bickington; Mr Thomas Wadham was chosen foreman of the Jury.  -  MARY PATT, widow of the deceased, said PATT was 49 years of age.  On the morning of Thursday, the 10th of May, he went to the quarry near the Portsmouth Arms Inn, where he worked during the day.  When he returned home in the evening she found he had sustained an injury to his right arm near the wrist.  He told her that whilst he was at work in the quarry a large stone fell upon his arm, and added that he had been to the North Devon Infirmary to have it attended to.  On Friday, Saturday and Monday he visited the Infirmary, and on the latter day he was detained in the institution, where he expired that morning.  The deceased was of very temperate habits; he left eight children.  - Ernest C. Anderson said he had for three weeks been acting house surgeon for the North Devon Infirmary during the temporary absence of Mr H. Lovell, the house surgeon.  He dressed the deceased's injured hand on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in last week, and when PATT came on Monday he detained him, as the hand was swollen and the temperature very high.  On Tuesday the patient's condition became serious and PATT continued to get worse until that morning, when he succumbed to blood poisoning.  - William Turner, of High Bickington, deposed to witnessing the accident which befell PATT in the Kingford Quarry.  The stone which fell upon the deceased's arm had been undermined.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

EXETER - On Wednesday an Inquest was held at Exeter respecting the death of a married woman named DYER.  After hearing the evidence the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  The majority of the Jury were in favour of censuring the deceased's husband for not procuring the assistance of a medical man for his wife before she died.  The Coroner considered that DYER'S conduct was highly censurable.

Thursday 7 June 1888

MORCHARD BISHOP - At an Inquest held on Saturday at Brownstone Farm, Morchard Bishop, on the body of WILLIAM PERRY, farm labourer, the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while in an Unsound State of Mind."  The deceased cut his throat and died in ten minutes.

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident To A Barnstaple Man at Westdown. - A distressing accident occurred in the parish of Westdown on Saturday afternoon, one man losing his life on the spot and another miraculously escaping a similar fate.  GEORGE WILKEY, a married man residing at Derby, and in the employ of Messrs. J. D. Young and Son, ironfounders, of Barnstaple, started from Barnstaple on Saturday morning in order to deliver a quantity of heavy goods in the parishes of Georgeham, Westdown, and Morthoe.  He drove a waggon, to which two horses were attached tandem fashion.  WILKEY was accompanied by a young man named Hill, residing in Princess-street and employed at the Derby Lace Factory.  After visiting Georgeham and Westdown, WILKEY was about to proceed to Morthoe, when a terrible accident happened at a dangerous part of the road known as Crook's Corner.  The waggon contained several bars of iron, which, it appears, were loaded on one side of the vehicle only (the material which occupied the remainder of the waggon at the commencement of the journey having been duly delivered to customers), and as the corner named was being turned there was a lurch which led to the terrible accident here recorded.  The waggon was overturned, the vehicle and its contents falling upon the driver and Hill.  Assistance did not arrive for over an hour, and it was then discovered that WILKEY was quite dead, while it was feared that Hill's legs were broken.  On the removal of Hill to the North Devon Infirmary, however, it was found that the injuries he had sustained were not so serious as had been anticipated.  Further particulars with regard t the lamentable event will be found in the subjoined report of the proceedings before the Coroner.  The Inquest on the body of the deceased was held at the New Inn, Westdown, on Monday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., Coroner.  Mr Robert Phillips was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The first witness called was JAMES WILKEY, who said he was a labourer in the employ of Messrs. Hutchings, wool and corn merchants, of Barnstaple.  He was a brother of the deceased, who was a waggoner in the employ of Messrs. J. D. Young, and Son, ironfounders, of Barnstaple.  Deceased was about 36 years of age.  He last saw him alive about half-past seven on Saturday morning, when he was in his usual health.  He heard of the accident between four and five o'clock on the same day.  The deceased left a wife and five children, the youngest of whom was five weeks old.  - Thomas Ley, deposed that he worked for Mr Tucker, farmer, of Westdown.  About a quarter past two o'clock on Saturday afternoon he saw a waggon on the road in Westdown parish, two horses, harnessed tandem fashion, drawing it.  There were two men in the waggon; one was sitting on the fore-board and the other in the waggon.  The vehicle contained some iron.  When the waggon passed him the leading horse was cantering and the other horse was trotting; they were then going down a decline.  He saw no more of them.  - John Menhinnit, baker, residing at Westdown village, deposed that a little before one o'clock on Saturday, he saw Mr Young's waggon, with two horses harnessed to it, outside Mr Taylor's smithy.  He saw Hill there.  Shortly after three o'clock he was driving to Wellingcott when, as he turned Crook's Corner, he saw a waggon overturned in the road; the waggon was on end, the hinder part being in the air.  He saw a quantity of iron bars, casks and other things strewed about the roadway.  The leading horse was standing free, except that there was a chain on its back.  The shaft horse was on the ground on its side, with its head towards the waggon - in fact, it had turned right round.  Witness was accompanied by a boy.  He saw the legs and part of the body of one man, who, as he afterwards found, was the deceased.  He was about to move the iron which rested upon him when he heard a groan coming from a point a little to the left.  He moved some iron, and discovered the man Hill.  He freed him as well as he could, and lifted the waggon, but Hill was unable to get up himself.  By moving the horse's head he was better able to see the other man, and he then found he was dead.  As he was unable by himself to extricate Hill he sent the boy for assistance while he remained on the spot and kept the horse which was still on the ground quiet.  He managed to free the front horse from the chain.  In about five minutes the boy returned with some men, and the deceased and Hill were then extricated.  WILKEY was quite dead.  Hill was faint at times but not altogether unconscious.  There happened to be a cart at hand, and Hill and the deceased were put into it, and conveyed to the New Inn.  Just where the accident occurred there were two sharp and dangerous turnings in the road, which was on an incline.  Several accidents had happened at the same spot.  In his opinion it was a very dangerous place indeed and certainly ought to be altered.  Everyone in the neighbourhood knew that it was a dangerous corner and that accidents were constantly occurring there.  A stranger driving there in the evening would almost of a certainty meet with an accident.  - Henry Gammon, carpenter, residing at Dean, Westdown, said that about half-past three his wife told him that an accident had happened at Crook's Corner.  He went to the spot, where he found Mr Menhinnit.  He found the waggon and the men as described by the preceding witness.  Hill, who appeared to be very much injured, told him that he thought he had been lying there for about an hour and a quarter.  He borrowed a horse and cart from Mr Pile and conveyed the men to the New Inn.  After Hill had been attended to and had had some refreshment, he conveyed him to the North Devon Infirmary.  He was there told that none of Hill's bones were broken.  Previous to that he had sent his man with the horses to Barnstaple.  He saw Mr Wm. Young when he was at Barnstaple and told him what had happened.  - P.C. Joseph Sanders, who arrived on the scene of the accident shortly after Gammon, also gave evidence, and said he considered Crook's Corner a very dangerous place.  Several accidents had happened there.  He saw the waggon when it was in the village previous to the accident, and noticed that there were some heavy iron bars loaded on the near side, while there was nothing on the other side to counter-balance it.  Part of the load had been left at Westdown.  The iron bars were projecting over the front of the waggon; they were 16 ½ ft. long.  This would, no doubt, account for the accident.  -  Henry Gammon, re-called, said he had a conversation with Hill while on the way to Barnstaple.  He asked him how the accident occurred, and Hill said, "The iron was loaded the near side, and this made the waggon lurch over as it turned the corner."  Hill further said that after the accident occurred he called to the deceased three times, but got no answer.

The Coroner proposed that the Inquest should be adjourned to the 25th inst. in order that the attendance of Hill (who was then unable to leave the Infirmary) might be secured; but the Foreman (Mr Phillips) said the Jury were perfectly satisfied that death was the result of an accident and did not think it necessary that the Inquest should be adjourned.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was then returned, the following rider being added - "The Jury are unanimously of opinion that the place where the accident occurred is very dangerous, and that unless the roadway is altered future accidents will be sure to occur; and the Jury desire the Coroner immediately to communicate with the Highway Authorities on the subject."

Thursday 14 June 1888

WEAR GIFFORD - A Child Drowned. - On Friday last an Inquest was held at Wear Gifford, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of WILLIAM HENRY WHITE, aged two, who had been drowned on the preceding day.  -  ELIZABETH WHITE, wife of a labourer, said the deceased was her child.  About five o'clock on the preceding day she visited her mother-in-law, taking the deceased with her.  She left the child on the doorstep, and when she went outside the house a minute or two after she found that he had gone off.  She noticed that the gate of an adjoining garden was open, and she and her mother-in-law went into the garden (at the bottom of which ran a stream which supplied a mill just below the house).  As they could not see the child they became alarmed and communicated with Mr Perkins, who resided next door.  The water was then turned off from the mill leat.  About an hour or so afterwards she was informed that the child had been found in the mill leat.  - MARY ANN WHITE, mother-in-law of the last witness, (who said her son was away serving in the Militia), and Robert Perkins gave corroborative evidence, Perkins stating that he found the body under a bridge near the mill.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned."

ILFRACOMBE - On Saturday last the body of FRANK DENDLE, aged five years, son of MR DENDLE, of Larkstone Terrace, was found in a pond near Larkstone Cottages.  It was supposed that the lad had gone to the pond to sail his boat, or pick flowers, and accidentally fell in and was drowned.  An Inquest was held at Larkstone Terrace on Monday by Mr E. J. Slade King, Deputy Coroner, with Mr Western as foreman of the Jury.  The mother of the deceased stated that the lad went out to play during the morning and that he did not return at dinner time as usual.  WM. HENRY DENDLE, brother of the deceased, stated that he went to look for his brother after dinner.  He frequently went to the pond to play.  He went there and found his brother's hat floating on the water and his bag by the side of the pond.  He told his mother what he had seen.  Mr P. Price stated that he and Mr Gibbs went to the pond to search for the body which they soon found.  It had no marks of violence and there were no marks of a struggle on the banks  The pond was on private property and when the Board, who used the water there for watering the streets, last cleared out the pond, brambles were put round it to keep trespassers out.  Boys, however, frequently went there to play.  The Jury visited the spot and were of opinion that no other precautions could be taken to prevent danger and on returning gave a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned."  They gave their fees to MRS DENDLE as a mark of their sympathy.

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Case Of Drowning At Barnstaple. - During the past week another name has been added to the painfully long list of those who have lost their lives while bathing in the river Taw.  On Sunday morning CHARLES HENRY HIGGS, aged 18, baker, and son of MR HIGGS, builder, was bathing in the river just above Black Rock when he fell into a pit (as is supposed) and was drowned before assistance arrived.  The deceased was accompanied by a young man named Seldon, who, however, was unable to swim.  The melancholy particulars will be found in the report of the Inquest, which appears below.

The Inquest on the body of the deceased was held at the North Devon Infirmary on Monday afternoon, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner.  Mr Ford was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The Coroner said it had been his painful duty to hold many Inquests on the bodies of persons who had been drowned while bathing in the river Taw.  There was nothing in this case, so far as he could see, which took it out of the category of other accidents of a similar nature.  It was well known that the river was dangerous at the point where this fatality occurred.  It was a pity there was not a proper bathing-place in the borough so that young men might be enabled to engage in a healthful recreation without danger to their lives.  There had been difficulties in the way of making such provision, and consequently the town was without a proper bathing-place.  This was a matter which the present investigation would doubtless bring before the attention of the authorities, and he was sure they would all be glad if some steps were taken with a view to enabling young men to bathe without the great risk which now attended that recreation here.

Frederick Seldon, painter, in the employ of Mr Copp, of Bear-street, was then called.  He said he had known the deceased for nine or ten months.  Between half-past seven and eight o'clock he went in company with the deceased to the Seven Brethren's Bank for the purpose of bathing.  They undressed on the bank near the new railway bridge.  The tide was rather high at the time, but they were able to walk on the sand before reaching the water.  The deceased walked into the water immediately after he (witness) had entered the water.  Just afterwards he looked round and could not see the deceased.  He then saw the deceased's hand appear above the water.  Witness went into the water as far as he could without going out of his depth, and called to the deceased.  He did not see anything of the deceased afterwards.  He shouted to someone who was on the bank, and to some persons who were on the other side of the river.  About half an hour afterwards a boat arrived with a net, with which the river was dragged.  The body was soon discovered five or six yards from the place where the deceased entered the water.  He saw no sign of life when the body was recovered.  By this time a large number of persons had assembled on the South Walk side of the river.  The body was conveyed to the Infirmary.  He had never bathed with the deceased before.  He was unable to swim.  The deceased, who was not able to swim, told him that he bathed on the previous Sunday morning.  He believed the deceased walked out of his depth.  When the deceased went under the water he did not make any noise.  The men who were on the bank were a long way off when he called out to them.  There were no persons nearer at the time.  The boat used was fetched from the South Walk.  - Thomas Nott, fisherman of Summerland-street, said that while he was at breakfast at half-past eight on Sunday morning, he heard that a young man had been drowned.  He and his sons at once went to the river, and proceeded to the spot where the accident occurred with their boat and net.  They shot a draught with the net, when his son felt the body with his foot.  Witness then removed the body from the water, life being quite extinct.  At the spot where the body was discovered the water was no more than three or four feet deep. Close to this place there was some deeper water.  The body was lying about ten feet from the river bank.  No other witnesses were called.

The Coroner said it was quite clear that the affair was an accident, although it was a very melancholy case.  The foreman of the Jury said he thought something might be done to put a stop to accidents of this kind.  They might call the attention of the authorities to the matter.  The Coroner remarked that this course had been adopted on many occasions.  When the last accident of this kind occurred many suggestions were made, but nothing was done, and the town was still without a bathing place.  Even if no such provision were made, persons should be warned that certain parts of the river were particularly dangerous.  Mr George Lacy (one of the Jurors) said the attention of the Town Council should again be drawn to the matter.  A  few years ago a public meeting was called, a committee was formed, and instructions were given (as he had been informed) to the Borough Surveyor to prepare plans.  But nothing whatever had been done, and these sad occurrences continued to take place.  He considered that it was a disgrace to the town of Barnstaple that in the face of so many fatal accidents of this kind no proper facilities for bathing were given.  It amounted to almost culpable negligence on the part of the authorities of the town.  He hoped the Press would take notice of the matter.  He supposed nothing would be done by the authorities until the son of some "big pot" lost his life; they appeared to take no notice of the drowning of poor people's sons.  He understood that some years ago Mr Rock offered to bear the expense of providing a bathing place if a convenient site was secured.  He would suggest that a rider be added to the verdict to the effect that the Jury strongly protested against the inaction of the authorities with regard to the provision of bathing accommodation.  The Coroner said he had on former occasions written to the Council calling attention to the want of bathing accommodation.  He would adopt the same course now if the Jury wished him to do so.  Mr J. Bater (a Juror) said it was the wish of the Jury that some such step should be taken.  If the Town Council took no notice of such a communication the responsibility rested with them.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death while Bathing," and the Coroner was requested to call the attention of the Town Council to the case and to the danger which attended bathing in the River Taw in consequence of the lack of proper accommodation.

Thursday 21 June 1888

CHARLES - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at Highlands, in the parish of Charles, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of JAMES ORCHARD, labourer, aged about 70.  George Stanbury, miller, of East Buckland, said the body which he had last seen lying in a linhay was that of JAMES ORCHARD, who he had known for about two years.  The deceased had no fixed place of abode, and a short time ago resided in the Union.  The last time he saw the deceased alive was several days previously.  - Thomas Ridd, farmer, of Highlands, Charles, said he had known the deceased for many years.  The deceased had no fixed place of abode, and worked for no one in particular.  He had been in bad health for some time.  The deceased had been on the farm for two or three days, doing what little work he could, and had slept every night in a barn adjoining the house.  On Thursday the deceased appeared to be worse than usual, and complained of griping pains during the day.  Witness gave him something to eat, and in the evening the deceased went to sleep in the barn as usual.  At nine o'clock he went into the barn, and the deceased then said he was easier.  He did not know that the deceased was seriously ill or in any danger.  About six o'clock on Friday morning he went into the barn and found ORCHARD lying dead on the floor.  Seeing that the deceased was worse on Thursday, he recommended him to go into the Workhouse again and offered to drive him to the House in the evening.  The deceased, however, said that if he went to the House after six o'clock he would have to sleep with the tramps, and that he would rather go to the House the next morning.  Witness said he would take him to the House the next morning, and he got up earlier on Friday for the purpose of driving him to Southmolton. - Thomas Sanders, general medical practitioner, residing at Southmolton, said his firm were medical officers to the Southmolton Union Workhouse.  He had known the deceased several months, as he had been in and out of the Union.  His health had been failing for some time.  In the early part of the present year he was in the Union Hospital for five or six weeks suffering from a violent chill and bronchitis, and on his admittance was suffering from strangulated hernia, which had to be reduced at his surgery.  The chill left him in a very weak condition, with an affected heart.  The deceased left the Union on the 3rd of May, although he (witness) advised him to stay.  He had, at the request of the Coroner, made a post mortem examination of the body, and he had no hesitation in saying that death was the result of Natural Causes.  The specific cause of death was general breaking up of the constitution - and particularly the condition of the rupture of the hernia.  On leaving the Union the deceased was supplied with a double truss, which he found on the body when he examined it that day.  He should say that the deceased was about seventy years of age.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

MERTON - A fatal accident happened at Merton on Friday, the victim being SAMUEL BOLT, labourer, in the employ of Mr Snell.  The deceased was driving when the cart of which he was in charge over-turned.  BOLT received injuries which resulted in almost instantaneous death.  At the Inquest, Mr H. Wright being foreman, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  The Jury presented their fees to the father of the deceased.

TIVERTON - MR J. S. SAYER, auctioneer, of Tiverton, was accidentally killed on Friday through the explosion of a gun which he had been engaged in cleaning.  The Coroner's Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.

BARNSTAPLE - Accidental Death. - On Friday afternoon an Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of ELIZABETH CRABB, aged 65, who died on the previous day from injuries received under circumstances which are detailed below.  Mr George Baker was chosen as foreman of the Jury  In opening the proceedings the Coroner said the deceased formerly carried on business as a boot and shoe dealer in High Street, but had for some time past resided in an almshouse in Church-lane.  She sometimes earned some money by selling tea in country parishes and it was while going one of her usual journeys that she met with the accident which resulted in her death.  The first witness was William Yeo, aged 12 of Newton Tracey, who said he was the son of Mr Yeo, butcher.  On Monday morning about a quarter to nine he was driving his father's pony and spring-cart, his sister (Lillie Mary) being with him.  They were on their way to school, at Barnstaple.  At the top of Roundeswell Hill the wipple-tree of the cart gave way and the pony took fright. The pony galloped down the hill, and he was unable to stop it.  When near the foot of the hill the cart struck a post placed over the water-course and was completely turned over.  He and his sister were thrown to the round and much bruised.  When he got up he saw the deceased, who was being assisted by some men.  He heard her say, "How shall I get home?"  He did not see the woman before the cart was turned over.  The pony was a quiet one, and he had frequently driven it.  In answer to a Juror, the lad said he was not aware until after the accident that the wipple-tree had given way.  William Taylor, mason, of Stoneyland, Tawstock, deposed that on Monday morning he was at work on Roundswell Hill.  He saw the last witness and his sister driving down the hill in a spring cart.  When he first saw them they were driving slowly, and just afterwards he saw that some part of the harness had broken.  The pony started off at a gallop, and the boy tried in vain to stop it.  He ran after the pony, and when he had proceeded some distance he saw the two children lying in the road, the trap being over-turned and the pony in the hedge trough.  The children were able to get up without assistance.  With the help of two men named Mogridge and Parkin, who had been working with him, he liberated the pony.  The two men saw the deceased who was lying in the hedge-row, and assisted her to rise.  She was taken to Mr Gribble's house, and she was subsequently conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary.  She was unconscious when first discovered.  MRS CRABB was lying some distance above the point where the trap was overturned.  H. Haynes Lovell, house surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, said the deceased was admitted to the House about ten o'clock on Monday morning.  She was at the time semi-conscious and appeared to have sustained a considerable shock. After she had been placed in bed she became quite conscious.  There were three lacerated wounds on the left side of the face, and the left arm was badly bruised.  There was an injury to the breast bone.  When the patient was admitted there were serious symptoms which led him to apprehend fatal results.  He believed from the symptoms that there was a fracture of the base f the skull.  He could not say definitely without making a post mortem examination, but he should say that death resulted from fracture of the base of the skull, which was complicated by the state of the deceased's lungs (which were considerably diseased).  MRS CRABB did not ever tell him how she received the injuries from which she was suffering when she was admitted to the House.  She died on Thursday.  Maria Jane Dobson, nurse, deposed that while the deceased was in the House she told her that she was knocked down by a runaway horse at Roundswell.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 28 June 1888

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest. - An Inquest was held at the King's Arms Hotel on Thursday morning, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of CHARLES WATTS, tailor, of Anchor Lane, whose  painfully sudden death was recorded in last week's North Devon Journal.  Mr Sellick was chosen foreman of the Jury.  Mr Joseph Harper, surgeon, deposed that on the preceding day, about half past four he was called to the shop of the deceased in Anchor Lane.  He examined the body, which was lying on the counter in the shop, and found life to be extinct.  There were no marks of external violence; and from what he knew of deceased, and from the information he had obtained, he had no doubt that the cause of death was syncope.  He attended the deceased professionally about two years ago.  - CHARLES MARSHALL WATTS, tailor, said he was a son of deceased, who was 51 years of age last March.  His father had lived in the town about four years.  He was not of a robust constitution, and fainted at times.  Witness fancied his father had a weak heart.  He resided with his father in Vicarage-street, and on Wednesday he went home to tea at a quarter to four; when he returned to the shop soon after four o'clock he found his father lying on the floor of the shop.  He raised him and spoke to him, and as he received no reply he laid down his father and went for assistance.  Mr Wm. Horne, who was in the street, at once entered the shop and assisted to place the deceased on the counter.  Mr Harper was at once sent for.  When he left the shop at a quarter to four his father was cutting out a suit of clothes.  The deceased was a temperate man.  Corroborative evidence was given by Mr Wm. Horne; and the Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.  The deceased was a member of the parish church choir, and was much respected.

Thursday 5 July 1888

SOUTHMOLTON - Coroner's Inquest. - On Saturday evening last the Borough Coroner (Thomas Sanders, Esq., F.R.C.S.) held an Inquest on the remains of MR E. C. HERBERT, clerk at the Branch of the National Provincial Bank in this town, who died suddenly on Friday last at his lodgings in East-street.  Mr S. Widgery sen., was chosen foreman of the Jury.  Mr Tucker, accountant at the Bank, said the deceased came to the bank to perform his duties as usual on Friday morning, but complained of feeling unwell, and he (witness) obtained for him some brandy, of which he gave him half a wine glassful, filling the glass with water, which he drank and performed his duties at the desk up to ten minutes past twelve, when he left for lunch. Witness was sent for by Mrs Howard at about ten minutes to one, and on arriving at deceased's lodgings he found Dr Sanders in attendance on him.  Dr Sanders said "Your friend is dead."  - Mrs Howard said deceased came home to lunch as usual about 20 minutes past twelve on the previous day, and about five minutes after she had taken him his lunch, she re-entered the room, and found him lying on the couch, when she asked him why he had not tasted his lunch; and he replied that he had not tried to eat it, and seeing he was looking unwell she asked him if anything was the matter with him, when he replied, "Yes, the old complaint, biliousness."  She then left the room and presently she heard him run upstairs, shortly after which she heard him fall, and running upstairs she found him laying on the landing unconscious.  She called her servant and sent immediately for a medical man. Dr Sanders arrived in about ten minutes and found MR HERBERT was dead.  She had frequently heard him complain of suffering from biliousness.  -  MISS ARABELLA HERBERT, sister of the deceased, said her brother had been in a delicate state of health for some months past, and that last year, in consequence thereof, he had a six months' leave of absence from the Bank. He had also been compelled to abandon outdoor games, such as cricket football, &c., of which he was very fond.  On witness being asked whether deceased was of a desponding disposition, she replied in the negative.  Dr Furse, after examining the body and hearing the evidence of the foregoing witnesses, said he was of opinion that deceased died of natural causes, namely heart disease.  At the conclusion of the evidence, and in addressing the Jury, the learned Coroner said that on his arrival on the previous day he found deceased dead, and smelt his breath, and enquired of Mrs Howard whether she had seen any bottles about, to which she replied "No."  He also searched, but could find nothing, and he was of the opinion expressed by his partner (Dr Furse) that the deceased died from Natural Causes, viz., heart disease, abut if the Jury were not satisfied he would adjourn the Enquiry and a post mortem examination of the body should take place.  The Jury, however, unanimously agreed with the decision expressed in the medical evidence and accordingly returned a verdict to the effect that deceased died from Natural Causes.

Thursday 12 July 1888

BIDEFORD - "Natural Causes" was the verdict returned, by the Jury at the Inquest held on Monday night on the body of WM. JEWELL, a workman, who resided in Higher Gunstone.  JEWELL was taken ill early on Monday morning, and died before the doctor could arrive.

Thursday 19 July 1888

CLOVELLY - On Tuesday an Inquest was held at the Hobby Lodge, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of MARY ELLIOTT, aged 62.  The deceased was the wife of MICHAEL ELLIOTT, the lodge keeper, and had resided at the lodge about twelve years.  She was in her usual health on Sunday, and was very cheerful.  Soon after she retired to bed, however, she was taken ill, and died in a few minutes.  The husband stated that the deceased had for some years complained of a pain in her chest and of shortness of breath, but had not seemed unwell enough to require medical attendance.  Evidence was given by MICHAEL ELLIOTT, W. ELLIOTT, and Mr G. R. Cook, general medical practitioner, and a verdict to the effect that the cause of death was heart disease was returned.

HIGH BICKINGTON - On Monday last an Inquest was held at the Black Horse Inn, in the parish of High Bickington, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., on the body of WM. BENNETT, aged nine.  It appeared from the evidence, that the lad, on Monday, the 9th inst., was thrown from a horse belonging to Mr N. Tucker, of the Black Horse.  On the day named some boys, the deceased amongst them, asked Mr Tucker if they might take a mare belonging to him to a field, as they had done on former occasions.  He told them not to do so then, as it was too warm, adding that he would subsequently take the mare to the field himself.  Within half an hour he heard that BENNETT (who was an orphan) had been thrown from the back of the mare.  Evidence was given by Elizabeth Parker, Fred Rawle, N. Tucker, Robert Eastmond, and Dr Morse, and a verdict of Accidental Death was returned.

Thursday 2 August 1888

EXETER - CAPT DE BURGHO HODGE, of Madford Lodge, Exeter, committed suicide by shooting himself with a revolver while on a fishing tour on Dartmoor on Saturday.  The deceased, who was 48 years of age, was a brother of MR CHAPPELL HODGE, of Devonport, and was at one time connected with the banking concern of Messrs. Hodge and Co., of Devonport and Plymouth.  At the Inquest on Monday a verdict to the effect that the deceased committed Suicide while in a state of Temporary Insanity was returned.

Thursday 9 August 1888

NORTHMOLTON - Sad Death Of A Child. - A girl named EMILY THOMAS, aged 4, was laying with some matches while in bed on Monday when she caught the clothes on fire.  She was very severely burnt, and notwithstanding the skilful treatment of Dr Spicer she succumbed yesterday (Wednesday) morning.  An Inquest will be held today.

Thursday 16 August 1888

NORTHMOLTON - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at the Poltimore Arms, in the parish of Northmolton, on the body of EMILY THOMAS, aged 3, whose death was recorded in last week's Journal.  EMILY THOMAS, widow of the late WM. SHAPLAND THOMAS, compositor, said that for some years she had resided at Northmolton with her mother, Mrs Holloway.  The deceased was her daughter.  About five o'clock on Monday morning she dressed and left the child in bed asleep.  Her boy was sleeping in the same room.  Between seven and eight o'clock she looked into the room and saw that both children were then asleep.  About a quarter to eight she heard screams, and on going upstairs saw her daughter on the landing in flames.  She stripped off the child's night dress, which was in flames, and at once sent for a doctor.  On going into the bedroom she saw a box of matches on the floor, and the little boy, who was only five years of age, said "The matches did it."  - Bessie Crang, a charwoman in the habit of working for Mrs Holloway, gave corroborative evidence.  - Dr Robert Henry Scanes Spicer deposed to attending the deceased child.  There were extensive burns on the body of the child, and from the first he had no hope of the deceased's recovery.  The child succumbed to the injuries on Wednesday morning.  The cause of death was shock to the system caused by the extensive burns.  He did not find any burns below the waist, and he was of opinion that a lighted match fell into the lap of the deceased and caught her nightdress on fire.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

CHARLES - Important Inquest. - On Saturday last, Mr J. F. Bromham, one of the Coroners of the County, held an Inquest at Charles, inquiring into the death of the illegitimate son of MARY MUXWORTHY, niece of Mr T. Ridd, farmer of Higher Lands, Charles, which was born on Tuesday week last.  Mr Barwick was foreman of the Jury.  The first witness called was Thomas Ridd, who stated that he was a farmer residing at Higher Lands.  For the past six or seven years his niece, MARY MUXWORTHY, had lived with him as  a kind of housekeeper.  About two or three years ago she had an illegitimate child, a boy, which was still living with its grandmother.  On Tuesday last she was assisting witness in haymaking when she complained of a headache.  About six o'clock in the evening she said she felt unwell and should go in a bit.  After she had been in some time, witness came in and asked her if she could come out again.  She replied that she was not any better, and could not come out.  She was upstairs at the time.  About a couple of hours after this he came in again and called up the stairs to know how she was, when she asked him to come up.  Upon going to her room he found her in bed, and she informed him that she had given birth to a child, but that it was still-born.  He did not see the child, but she said it was in the bed.  He procured medical aid and other assistance, and acting upon the advice of Dr Sanders, of Southmolton, informed P.C. Budden of the affair.  Maria Sanders, a neighbour, also gave evidence.  Dr Furse, of Southmolton, said he was of opinion that the child was born alive and that it died from suffocation or want of proper care and attention very soon after birth.  He could not say that death was occasioned by violence, as there were no finger marks to indicate this.  It often happened that when proper assistance was not at hand at child birth the child died, and this without its necessarily being a criminal act on the part of the mother.  In this particular case the child would have died from haemorrhage if it had not suffered suffocation.  At the conclusion of the evidence the Coroner summed up at considerable length to the Jury.  In the course of his remarks he explained to them that with regard to mere concealment of birth a Coroner's Jury had no right or power of enquiry, but that that was a matter for the Magistrates alone.  All that the Coroner's Jury had to do was to enquire as to whether the child was subject of this Inquest was actually born alive and if so whether its death arose from any criminal act on the part of the mother or merely from natural causes or accidentally.  In most cases of infanticide the medical man was able to swear on investigation he found finger marks or other marks of violence either on the throat or head clearly indicating that a murder had been committed.  In this case, however, the doctor said there was nothing of the kind, nor anything to indicate that the child died from violence.  In the principal text book on the subject, "Jervis on Coroners," this very fact is referred to, for it is there laid down that a child though safely delivered may still die without any criminal act on the part of the mother, either from suffocation or other causes and particularly where the mother is delivered in secret by herself.  Of course it would have been better if at her confinement in this case the woman had had medical attendance or assistance of this kind, and it is possible that if she had the life of the child might have been saved.  Still, under all the circumstances of the case, it appeared to him that the evidence was not sufficient to warrant them in coming to the conclusion that the child had died from any criminal act, and therefore he recommended them not to record a verdict to that effect.  The Jury, after a long consultation, returned the following verdict:- "That the deceased died in consequence of the mother delivering herself without any medical or other assistance, thereby preventing the child having proper attention immediately after its birth."

BISHOPSTAWTON - Residents in this parish and neighbourhood heard on Friday last, with sincere regret, of the sudden death of MR GEORGE HOULE, of Wellesley Barton, which took place on the previous evening, as the deceased was riding on the highway.  The deceased was a well-known agriculturist, and was universally esteemed.  For some years he had officiated as sub-steward for Mr Chichester, of Hall.  On Thursday William Darnell (in the employ of Messrs. Dornat and Co., of Barnstaple) and C. H. Entwhistle, managing clerk to Mr Villar, discovered the body of the deceased, lying in the roadway, near the village.  Further particulars will be found in the sub-joined report.  On Saturday an Inquest was held on the body before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.  -  MR THOMAS HOULE, son of the deceased, stated that his father was about seventy years of age, and was a widower with nine children.  For some years past he had suffered from heart disease, and had been under the treatment of Mr Harper, of Barnstaple.  On Thursday he left the farm between 5 and 6 o'clock, to go to Bishopstawton village.  He left on his pony - the one he had been accustomed to ride for years.  About 7 o'clock, from information conveyed to him (witness), he went to the stables of the Rev. H. F. Baker (the Vicar), and there saw the dead body of his father.  James Pile deposed to seeing deceased riding on his pony, when he appeared to be in his usual state of health.  Charles H. Entwhistle, managing clerk to Mr Villar, auctioneer and estate agent, said he resided at Pill.  On the evening in question he was driving towards New Bridge in company with his mother and sisters.  Just as he came within about 100 yards of Mr Baker's stables he saw a body lying across the roadway.  He stopped his horse and got out, and saw that it was the deceased.  He was lying on his back, with one leg drawn up.  He felt his pulse, and came to the conclusion that he was dead.  His stick was lying close to his hand, and a pony was grazing quietly a little distance off.  As far as he could see the saddle and everything was right.  There was nothing to indicate that deceased had been thrown, and his impression was that he got off his horse and suddenly fell.  In a short time the Rev. H. F. Baker and the Rev. W. W. Arthur came up, and the body was taken to Mr Baker's stables.  The Rev. H. F. Baker said he knew the deceased, and was aware that he suffered from heart disease.  Witness did not reside at the Vicarage, and while walking to his residence at King's Cottage he saw deceased in the road, with some people around the body.  He unbuttoned his necktie and felt his pulse, etc., but found no sign of animation.  He ran to his house for brandy, and returned and moistened his lips with it and sprinkled water on him.  He had then been put into a sitting posture, and blood was running from his face.  The Rev. Mr Arthur was also present.  He did not at first recognise the deceased, but when he saw his pony he knew who it was, and he sent a messenger to the farm.  He was of opinion that deceased died on his pony and fell off, as one of the stirrups was drawn over the saddle.  The body was then removed to his stables, as the most easy to get the body in and out.  Mr Cooper, surgeon, deposed to being sent for.  He found no marks of violence.  He, however, found a plaster on the region of the heart, such as those used for heart disease.  He was of opinion that death was due to natural causes, viz., heart disease.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.  The funeral of the deceased, who had been a churchwarden of the parish for thirty years, took place on Monday last, and was attended by nearly two hundred persons. 

YARNSCOMBE - On Saturday last an Inquest was held, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of MR JAMES JOCE, of Delworthy Farm, Yarnscombe, who expired suddenly on Friday.  Elizabeth Symons stated that she was housekeeper to the deceased, who was a widower, with no family.  His age was 68.  He had suffered a good deal in his head, and used often to complain.  On Friday he went out with a rake in his hand, and in his usual health, and in the evening he was brought in dead by the policeman.  P.C. Norrish deposed to finding deceased sitting in the hedge dead about half past 4 on Friday evening, near his house.  He first thought he was asleep, and he caught hold of his hand, but finding it was cold he soon discovered he was dead.  The deceased had suffered a good deal in his head, and he heard that some years ago he met with an injury to his head.  He had a rake by his side.  Witness got assistance and had him removed to the farm.  Dr Sutcliffe said he arrived and found the body cold.  There were no marks of violence.  He had attended deceased for pains in the head, the result, he believed, of an injury.  His opinion was that death was due to Natural Causes, the probable cause being the rupture of a blood vessel at the base of the brain.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 13 September 1888

MORTHOE - Fatal Accident At Morthoe. - GEORGE MITCHELL, road contractor, residing at Westdown, was on Saturday morning engaged, together with a younger man, in constructing a trench in Black Pit Field, for the purpose of furnishing new houses at Morthoe with a supply of water.  The earth at the sides of the trench had been loosened by the rain, and when MITCHELL was about to enter the pit his fellow-labourer, observing the condition of the earth, advised him not to do so.  MITCHELL, however, persisted in going, and had scarcely commenced work when the earth gave way and he was buried beneath the debris.  When extricated he was dead.  There were a few bruises about the body, which was removed to the Chichester Hotel at Morthoe to await an Inquest.  During the day a subscription list was opened by a tourist at Barricane Beach for the wife and children of deceased and several shillings were subscribed.

The Inquest:  Dr Slade King held an Inquest at the Chichester Arms Hotel, Morthoe, on Monday on the body of GEORGE MITCHELL, who met with his death under circumstances reported above.  Dr G. B. Longstaff was foreman of the Jury.  Arthur Brooks, workman in the employ of the deceased, stated that MR MITCHELL was a contractor of Westdown and 43 years of age.  On Saturday last, about 10 a.m., deceased was engaged in Black Pit Field, Morthoe, making a trench to convey water from the field to certain houses in the village, and when he jumped into the cutting the soil fell in and buried him.  Witness ran for assistance, and when he returned he saw some men digging deceased out.  When taken out, MITCHELL was quite dead.  Charles Scanes, schoolmaster, deposed to assisting in extricating the body.  The Jury returned their verdict "That the deceased, GEORGE MITCHELL died of suffocation caused by an accidental fall of earth whilst engaged in digging a trench in Black Pit Field, in the parish of Morthoe." 

Thursday 20 September 1888

SHEBBEAR - A Boy Drowned In A Well. - A sad fatality occurred at Shebbear on Monday; a boy named GEORGE BROAD, aged 10, son of MR SAMUEL BROAD, blacksmith, losing his life under very distressing circumstances.  About noon the deceased was playing with a brother (THOMAS) and another boy by the side of an open well, when, while standing at the side of the wall, the lad said "Now I am going to drown myself."  Almost as the deceased was speaking the stones upon which he was standing slipped, and he fell into the well.  THOMAS BROAD immediately ran to his home (about fifty yards distant) and informed his father of what had occurred.  MR BROAD and Thomas Widlake at once ran to the well and saw the deceased's head in the water.  They threw a rope into the well and tried to rescue the deceased, who, however, sank and did not rise again.  The well is 12 feet deep.  The body was recovered in about half an hour, a large quantity of water having previously been dipped out of the well.  Information with regard to the occurrence was given to the County Coroner (Mr J. F. Bromham) on Tuesday and an Inquest was held yesterday.

PLYMOUTH - Mr Rodd, County Coroner, and a Jury inquired at Bovisand Fort on Monday afternoon, into the death of LIEUTENANT EDWARDS, Royal Artillery, who was found shot through the heart in his room at the fort on Sunday evening.  A revolver was discovered close to the deceased, and it transpired that he was fond of revolver practice.  After the accident it was found that the revolver was slightly defective, and Major Rowley and Surgeon Morgan, who were called at the Inquest, gave it as their opinion that the injuries were accidental, a view which the Jury adopted.

Thursday 27 September 1888

BIDEFORD - Alleged Concealment Of Birth Near Bideford. - An alleged case of concealment of birth at Cleave-houses -half-way between Bideford and Appledore, by the riverside - formed the subject of an Inquest held yesterday before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.  Mr William Dake was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The circumstances of the case, which are somewhat peculiar, transpired from the evidence, which is reported below.

The first witness called was Mary Jane Potter, factory employee.  She said a young unmarried woman named LILY NETHERCOTT had lodged with her about seven months.  NETHERCOTT also worked at the Collar Factory.  For some time she had had suspicions as to NETHERCOTT'S condition; she had "taxed" her, but always met with a denial. She last spoke to NETHERCOTT on the subject a month since.  From information which her sister gave her about 9.30 on Monday morning, she went to the closet, and in consequence of what she saw she said she should fetch the police.  NETHERCOTT said "I will give you anything if you won't say anything about it."  She then went to Bideford and fetched nurse Gayton, who asked NETHERCOTT where the baby was.  She pointed to the bed clothes, and they found the child at the foot of the bed, wrapped in a piece of black cloth.  In answer to the nurse, NETHERCOTT said the child had not cried.  The nurse afterwards gave information to the police.  - By Supt. Rousham:  NETHERCOTT did not, to her knowledge, provide any baby linen.

Emily Potter, sister of the last witness, gave corroborative evidence.  She deposed to finding something suspicious in the w.c., and to taxing NETHERCOTT with placing it there.  This she denied.  About a quarter past eight (before witness had found anything) NETHERCOTT left the house, but returned in ten minutes, saying she was too late.  NETHERCOTT seemed the same as usual on Sunday, but did not go out in the evening.  At no time did she hear the cry of a baby or anything to attract notice.

Betsy Gayton, midwife, also gave corroborative evidence.  The child appeared fully developed, and when she saw it, it seemed to have been dead several hours.  NETHERCOTT told her the child was born "just as daylight came in."

P.C. Champion said he went to Potter's house on Monday, when Mrs Gayton produced the body of a recently-born male child, which she said she had been asked by NEWTHERCOTT to dispose of.  Dr E. Rouse, of Bideford, said he had made a post mortem examination of the body, which was that of a fully developed, well nourished male child.  There was a decided mark on the anterior and lower part of the neck, which was white, extending half way round; there was also a scratch on the neck.  With this exception, there was no mark of violence on the body.  He found that the lungs when placed in the water floated freely.  The result of the examination led him to say distinctly that the child was born alive.  In his opinion, from all he had seen, the cause of death was suffocation, but whether from any criminal act on the part of the mother he was quite unable to say.  He could not account for the mark.  It might have been caused after death, the child being tied up or by other means.  He would not commit himself upon this point beyond what he had said.

The Coroner having summed up, the Jury considered their verdict, and, acting upon the suggestion which had been thrown out by the Coroner, returned an open verdict, "That a male child was born of LILY NETHERCOTT, that it was born alive, but afterwards died, the cause of death being suffocation, but that there was not sufficient evidence to show whether suffocation was a criminal act on the part of the mother, or was an accident."

TORRINGTON - Fatal Accident At Langtree Creek Viaduct. - A ganger of navvies employed on the Marland Railway, named JAMES HEFFER, who lived at Well-street, Torrington, was killed, and another man, named James Parr, injured by a shocking accident which occurred on the Petersmarland Light Railway line on Thursday.  HEFFER and a party of men who had been carrying poles set out on the return journey, the ganger, despite the remonstrances of the others, persisting in the belief that Langtree Creek Viaduct could be crossed before the usual train passed.  The engine ran into the trolley on which HEFFER and the other men were riding.  All but the ganger and Parr jumped off the trolley ere the collision occurred.  HEFFER was precipitated down the side of the viaduct and killed almost instantaneously, and Parr was slightly injured.  The other men had a narrow escape.  The news of the accident caused much consternation in Torrington.  The details of the occurrence appear in our report of-

The Inquest.  Mr James F. Bromham, (District Coroner) held an Inquest on Friday at the Globe Inn, Torrington.  Mr H. Slee was selected as foreman of the Jury.  Mr Frederick Halwill, the manager of the Petersmarland or North Devon Clay Works, near Great Torrington, stated that the deceased was a packer in the employ of the Company, and was 52 years of age.  He had been employed on the Petersmarland Light Railway ever since it had been made.  On the previous day (Thursday), about 11 o'clock, a train, consisting of an engine, two trucks of coal, and two trucks of sundries, left the Torrington Station.  He was on the train, and on reaching Langtree Week viaduct he felt the engine suddenly stop.  He was sitting with his back to the engine, and on looking round he saw a man falling over the viaduct.  He had heard no alarm previously.  There was a sharp curve there.  The man turned out to be the deceased, who had fallen about 20 ft.  (A photograph of the viaduct was here put in.)  Witness got off the train immediately, and went down to the deceased's assistance, but he believed he was then dead.  He immediately, however, sent off for a doctor, and the deceased was removed to his residence at Torrington.  There were no stated time for the trains to run over the line as they were not passenger trains.  It was a mineral line connected with the Petersmarland Works.  The workmen went down mornings at 6.15 and as a rule, the first train for goods went down to the works about half past 10.  The deceased and others had been loading poles for a Mr Sanders at Speccott, and having finished the job they took a trolley, and were proceeding back to join the rest of the gang, when the accident, which another witness would describe, happened.  The deceased and those with him should have known that the train would be coming towards them about that time.  In answer to a Juryman, the witness said that the accident happened about 30 yards from the curve on the viaduct.  The engine was going uphill, and he believed that the driver pulled up the train, but the men on the trolley coming down hill, hadn't time to pull up.

James Parr, who had his arm in a sling, said he was a fellow workman of the deceased.  He was with him at the time of the accident, on the trolley.  There were also there James John, George Stapleton, Henry Bale, and Thomas Sanders, the owner of the poles which they had been loading.  Everything went all right until they came to Langtree Week Viaduct, when they saw the engine and train coming.  the deceased, who was the ganger of the party, was working the trolley.  Almost as soon as they saw the train the trolley had run into it, but the engine had pulled up.  By the collision the trolley was turned over.  Deceased was thrown over the viaduct on one side of it, and the witness was thrown off on the other side, which was the same height.  Witness was much shaken, and bruised the muscles of his arm, but beyond that he sustained no serious injury.  The rest of the men who were on the trolley jumped off before the collision and escaped unhurt.  In answer to the foreman, the witness said that before starting with the trolley they knew a train was due.  When they met a train they generally lifted the trolley off the line, but this time they met on a viaduct.  The deceased was persuaded not to go on until the train had passed, but he said he believed they would get to where they wanted to go before the train got there.  He could not say whether the train was earlier or later than usual.

William Pethebridge, the driver of the train in question, stated that the train left Torrington Station at about 11 o'clock.  They started on this occasion a little later than usual.  As the train got on the curve just at the beginning of the Langtree Week viaduct he saw a trolley coming in front towards him at the other end.  He had just turned off the steam as was the custom on the viaduct.  He then put n the brake and stopped the engine, but the trolley could not be stopped and it ran into the engine.  There was no time table and no signals, but most of the workmen generally knew when the trains were coming, and in this case the men knew the engine was coming.  The trolley ran against the engine and fell over the viaduct on the same side that Parr fell.  The deceased fell on the other side. In answer to a Juryman, the witness said although he generally started the train about half-past 10 yet there was no fixed time.  A Juryman stated that the deceased was somewhat short-sighted.

Mr J. D. Jones, medical practitioner, of Torrington, stated that he was called about half-past 11.  He went by train to the viaduct and saw the deceased lying dead.  His skull was fractured in two places and his spine broken.  In his opinion death was instantaneous.  He had him put into a railway truck and taken to Torrington and subsequently removed to his home.

James Johns, a packer, deposed to the conversation which took place between him and deceased before the trolley started, the deceased thinking they could get to where they desired without meeting the train.  When they did meet it witness jumped off.  He witnessed the accident, and he saw the two men and the trolley pitched over the viaduct.  He immediately ran to the deceased.  He was not quite dead then, but he died in a moment or two.  The deceased knew the time when they started.  He supposed the two men who remained on the trolley were too frightened to jump off, as they might have done before the trolley got on the viaduct. 

The Coroner, in summing up to the Jury, said it seemed to him, it was a pure accident.  The men, knowing the time the train generally passed, ran the risk of meeting it, and unhappily they did so, and the collision occurred.  The engine was pulled up but the trolley could not be stopped.  If anybody was to blame it would be really the poor man who was gone.  He did not think any blame was attributable to anybody else, not even to the managers, under the circumstances, as the workmen were aware of the times of the trains.  It was a providential thing that they were not also holding an Inquest on the body of Mr Parr as well as on the deceased.  The Jury after very little deliberation returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  The manager (Mr Holwill) said, after what had happened, he would, in future, order that when at rain was below a trolley a man with a red flat on the trolley should go in front of it at a sharp curve.  The Jury said this would be a satisfactory precaution.  The deceased leaves a widow only.

COMBMARTIN  -  Death From Suffocation. - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at Combmartin, before Dr E. Slade King, Deputy Coroner, to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of the male child of ANNIE GUBB.  - THOMAS GUBB, aged 18, said he was a working man residing at Combmartin.  On Friday morning, about six o'clock, he was sleeping in his brother's house, when he was called by his sister, ANNIE, who said, "make haste and got for aunt Fanny Witheridge."  His sister was in bed and she asked him to get some tea for her.  At the foot of the bedstead he saw a heap of clothes which was not there when he went to bed.  He went to bed before twelve on Thursday night under the influence of liquor.  His sister and brother helped him upstairs.  He did not know anything of what occurred in the night.  His sister was a single woman.  - Maria Conibear, widow, aged 54, residing at Combmartin, said THOMAS GUBB was her servant.  At half past six on Friday morning he told her servant Elizabeth Blackmore, that his sister ANNIE had had a child.  She went to the young woman, who told her she tried to secure assistance in the night but failed to make anyone hear.  Witness rendered what assistance she could.  - Fanny Witheridge, a married woman, aged 57, residing at Combmartin, gave corroborative evidence, and said that when she was called in she at once sent for Dr Manning.  - Dr G. H. Manning deposed that when he was called in to see ANNIE GUBB she told him she had been prematurely confined and that she could not get assistance in time in consequence of her brother being drunk.  She added that the child was still born.  There were no signs of violence on the body of the child.  By direction of the Coroner he had made a post mortem examination of the body, which was that of a mature, well-developed child.  The lungs floated when put in water; and he had no doubt the child breathed.  Probably the child had a separate existence for a short time, but he could not swear that it had.  The immediate cause of death was suffocation, and this might arise through due assistance not being obtained by the mother.  The mother replied to all his questions readily and without hesitation.  The account the mother gave was not incompatible with the appearance and surrounds of the case.  The following verdict was returned:  "Death from Suffocation, after a very short period of existence, through want of proper attention at the time of birth."

Thursday 11 October 1888

ROSEASH - Accidental Death. - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at Ditlchett Farm, in the parish of Roseash, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of WILLIAM HENRY GARDNER, farm servant, whose untimely decease was recorded in last week's Journal.  George Gunn, farmer, residing at Bishopsnympton, said the deceased, who was 29 years of age and unmarried, had been in his employ about six weeks.  About eight o'clock on the morning of Tuesday, the 2nd inst., he left Bishopsnympton in charge of a horse and cart.  He left in order to go to Bradford Mills, in the parish of Witheridge.  Between three and four o'clock in the afternoon Mr Bulleid brought him the horse and cart and told him an accident had befallen GARDNER.  The deceased was a very steady young man.  Sarah Geen, a domestic servant in the employ of Mr Shapland, of Ditlchett Farm, deposed to seeing the deceased drive past the farm very steadily.  Three quarters of an hour afterwards the body of GARDNER was carried into the house.  William Reed, jun., of Bickwell Farm, Roseash, stated that about half-past one on the 2nd inst. he was working in a field at Bickwell, when he saw a horse, harnessed to the cart, galloping down a hill.  He went into the roadway, and when the horse saw him it swerved and went into a waste spot, where he secured it.  He noticed that the breeching was broken.  He walked along the road in order to look for the driver, and found the deceased lying in the middle of the roadway.  Life was extinct.  He went to Creacombe Barton for assistance, and Mr Bulleid at once proceeded with him to the deceased, who was removed to Ditchett Farm.  P.S. Bastin also gave evidence, and Dr Francis Haydon, of Witheridge, who stated that the neck of the deceased was broken.  There was also a severe wound in the back of the head, while the ribs on the left side were completely crushed in.  The injuries to the ribs were such as would be caused by a heavily-loaded cart passing over the body.  The neck was probably broken by the fall from the cart.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 1 November 1888

NORTHAM - Inquest. - Yesterday (Wednesday) an Inquest was held at Watertown Farm, Northam, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of GEORGE TUCKER, aged 66, farmer.  It appeared from the evidence that on Tuesday night the deceased was found head downwards in a tank ( 2ft 10 inches deep and 3ft 10 inches across) used for drinking purposes for cattle.  It was said to be evident that while sitting on the edge of the tank the deceased had fallen backwards into the water, which was 18 in. deep.  Dr Pratt, of Appledore, deposed that twelve months ago he attended the deceased for excessive haemorrhage from the nose; in his opinion this was one of the symptoms of heart disease.  On examining the body of the deceased he found that there had been haemorrhage from the right nostril.  In his opinion the deceased while sitting on the edge of the tank had an attack of syncope and fell back into the water.  The other witnesses called were William Day Hanson, Philip Tucker, Elizabeth Ann Curtis, Lucy Cork and Richard Willisford Perry.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes, namely, syncope."

Thursday 8 November 1888

BIDEFORD - Shocking Accident At Bideford.  A Guard Killed At The Station.  -  At the Bideford Goods Station, early on Tuesday morning, a guard, named George Lovering, met with his death in a painfully sudden manner.  The circumstances are fully reported below.  LOVERING had been in the employ of the Company for many years, and was largely respected and quite a favourite amongst his companions.  He was a married man living at Torrington, and leaves, in addition to the widow, a family of three or four young children.

The Inquest was held at the Passenger Station on Tuesday afternoon, before Dr Thompson, Borough Coroner, Mr R. Barrow being chosen foreman of the Jury.

The first witness called was Mr D. Martin, of Allhalland Street, Bideford, who said:  I came down by the early mail train this morning.  GEORGE LOVERING was the guard of the train from Instow.  As we approached Bideford, the train was stopped outside the goods station for the purpose of taking off the wagons to be left here.  The first thing I heard connected with the accident was one of the railway officials say:  "For God's sake, bring back a light; the guard is gammed between the buffers."  He also called out for the train to be "eased."  I got out to enquire what was the matter, and was told the guard was certainly dead.  I just looked at LOVERING, and then went off for a doctor.  Dr Duncan returned with me.

J. Duncan, Esq., Surgeon, said that about six o'clock that morning he was called up by the last witness, and went with him to the Bideford Goods Station.  On arriving there he found the body of the deceased, GEORGE LOVERING.  It was laid by the side of the rails.  He examined the body, and found that he was quite dead.  The body was moved to Bideford Passenger Station, where witness made an examination from which he found that the lower ribs on both sides from the fifth downwards were all broken, and judging from the state of the body he should judge that the internal organs were completely crushed.  Witness had not the slightest doubt but that death was due to these injuries.

John Wale said:  I am a porter employed at the Goods Station, and was on duty this morning when the mail came in.  I did the shunting of the train and then walked back to where the vans were.  I wondered how it was the train did not start, so I went back to about where I knew the guard GEORGE LOVERING should be for the purpose of coupling on the wagons, and I then as I got close, saw that he was ins between the buffers.  I ran and shouted to the driver, who ordered the fireman to move the front of the train forward a bit.  As this was done, LOVERING being released from the pressure of the buffers, dropped to the ground.  The driver said he was dead, but we sent for a doctor, and I ran and called Mr Dalby.

The foreman:  Is it the practice for the guards to do the coupling and un-coupling.  - Yes, certainly, nobody but the guard does it.  Nothing was done except what is quite usual.  The cause f the jamming was that he did not get in past the buffers quite quick enough.  John Greenslade, engine driver, in charge of the train, said that they entered the yard, and the guard divided the train, and witness went down the yard and threw off the Bideford wagons, and then returned towards the part of the train with which the guard had remained.  Witness had the signal from the guard to stop, and did so.  Finding that the guard was an unusual time coupling up, witness asked the porter to go and see what the guard was about.  Wale went back, and then shouted to witness to come.  He did so and the porter then told him the guard was between the buffers.  Witness told his fireman to move ahead a bit, and then, on going back, witness found LOVERING on the ground, quite dead.  Mr Frederick Dalby, Stationmaster at Bideford, said he had known the deceased, GEORGE LOVERING for many years. Witness was called that morning a little before six o'clock and on going to the goods yard he found LOVERING lying quite dead.  He had him removed to the Passenger Station.

The Coroner having summed up, the Jury at once returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," it being remarked that there could possibly be no blame attached to anyone, as the deceased was simply engaged in the execution of his duty as a guard.  The Jury also expressed their sympathy with the widow and gave her their fees.

13 December 1888

COMBMARTIN - Accidental Death. - On Tuesday last an Inquest was held at the King's Arms Hotel, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of JANE SWEETLAND, who died on the preceding day under circumstances detailed below.  John Boyle said the deceased, who was his sister was the wife of JOHN SWEETLAND, a retired railway guard residing at Exeter.  She had been living apart from her husband for twelve months.  She was formerly the wife of a MR AVERY, and was generally known at Combmartin as MRS AVERY.  She was about 70 years of age  She did not enjoy very good health, suffering from heart complaint.  About 8 o'clock on Saturday night he went to bed, leaving his sister downstairs.  Just after he got into bed he heard a noise as though someone had fallen.  On leaving his room he found that his sister was lying at the foot of the stairs.  His son carried the deceased to her bed.  He asked how the accident happened, but she did not give any explanation.  She subsequently said she had not fallen, but seemed as though she did not remember anything about the matter.  She remained in bed on Sunday; as she had been accustomed, owing to her state of health, to remain in bed occasionally for two or three days, he did not think very much of her doing so on this occasion.  He last saw her alive about half-past nine on Sunday night.  Between eight and nine o'clock on the following morning Mrs Huxtable informed him that his sister was dead.  - Joseph Webb Boyle, private gentleman residing at Lonsdale Cottage, Combmartin, and a nephew of the deceased, gave corroborative evidence, adding that after the accident the deceased made no complaint of being injured, and did not appear to be suffering any pain.  About seven o'clock on Monday morning he saw her, and she was then looking just the same as usual.  At eight o'clock he again went into her room, and seeing that there was a change went for a doctor.  On his way back he called on Mrs Huxtable, a neighbour, and she accompanied him to his aunt's room.  Mrs Huxtable then said his aunt was dead.  - Mrs Elizabeth Huxtable also gave evidence.  She said she was able to state, being a neighbour of the deceased, and knowing the family very well, that the deceased was always treated kindly and received every care from the family.  Dr A. S. Kingdon said he had attended the deceased professionally during the past twelve months.  She suffered from a weak heart.  He had examined the body, but found that no limbs were fractured, although there were some bruises.  He had no doubt whatever that the actual cause of death was shock to the system consequent on the deceased falling downstairs.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

Thursday 20 December 1888

BRATTON FLEMING - A Distressing fatal accident happened here on Friday  MRS PARKHOUSE left her house for awhile, her child (aged three) being left alone.  Some time afterwards a neighbour named Cox observed smoke issuing from the house, and he called MRS PARKHOUSE, who was in an adjoining house.  On entering her home MRS PARKHOUSE found her child in flames.  Dr Jackson was sent for, but before he arrived the child (who had evidently fallen into the fire) was dead.  An Inquest was held on Monday before J. F. Bromham, Esq., and a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

EASTDOWN - Drowned In A Water-Course. - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at Eastdown, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., on the body of JAMES FRY, labourer, aged 65.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased, who was subject to epileptic fits, was on Thursday found in a water-table, face downwards, having evidently fallen into this position while in an epileptic fit.  The poor fellow was quite dead when picked up.  Agnes Barrow (sister of the deceased), Mary Jane Burnell, Elizabeth Ann Mayne (who discovered the deceased lying in the water-course as she was driving along the road), Charles Howard, labourer, and Dr G. H. Manning gave evidence; and the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased was Accidentally Drowned through falling into a water-table whilst suffering from an epileptic fit.

Thursday 27 December 1888

LANDKEY - Fatal Accident At Landkey. - A sad fatal accident occurred in the parish of Landkey yesterday (Wednesday).  MR VENN, a retired farmer, was walking by the side of a cart containing a number of barrels and driven by a spirited horse.  A noise caused the animal to start, and as a result one of the barrels fell from the cart and struck MR VENN on the head.  MR VENN was knocked to the ground, and one of the wheels of the cart went over him, causing injuries which in a few minutes terminated fatally.  The Police communicated with J. F. Bromham, Esq., the Coroner for the District.

BIDEFORD - A Remarkable Case At Bideford. - Killed By A Nail Prick.  What appears to be a somewhat remarkable case has just occurred at Bideford.  A young man named JOHN POTTER, a mason, whilst engaged at his work in Allhalland Street some short time since, ran a nail into his foot.  The wound, we understand, was but slight, and POTTER regarded it as merely a prick. Not many days afterwards however, he began to experience sensations of stiffness over his body and then in his face and jaws.  He consulted a doctor for the symptoms, but said nothing at first of having stepped on a nail.  Directly the doctor heard of this, however, his suspicions were at once aroused, and he immediately made further inquiry and examination and then found that POTTER was suffering from blood-poisoning and that lockjaw was setting in.  He was removed to the Bideford Infirmary and treated with all skill and care, but died on Sunday, and was buried yesterday.

An Inquest was held by Dr Thompson, Borough Coroner.  The first witness was ALFRED POTTER, who said that he was working with his brother on Tuesday week at a house in High Street.  His brother, JOHN POTTER, had on an old pair of boots, and trod on a projecting nail, and it pierced the foot.  Witness did not think he was hurt.  Witness continued his work, however, for the rest of the day and part of Wednesday.  MRS POTTER, mother of the deceased, said that her son told her he had run a nail into his foot, but took no further notice of it until Wednesday, when it pained him, and witness bathed his foot in hot water.  On Thursday he laid in bed and the foot was poulticed.  On Friday he seemed better, and her son went to work.  He continued at work until the following Wednesday, when at breakfast he complained of great pain about his neck and shoulders.  He then went to see Dr Ackland, who recommended him to stay in bed for a day or two.  As he was still in pain, witness sent later on for Dr Kingsley Ackland, who came at once and attended him subsequently.  Dr Kingsley Ackland stated that he was called to see the deceased on Wednesday last.  He found him complaining of stiffness in his jaws and back of his neck.  He also had sharp pains at intervals in his back; all the symptoms were those of commencing lock-jaw.  The next day witness advised POTTER'S removal to the Infirmary, where he died from lock-jaw on Sunday, all efforts that were made to check the disease being in vain.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

NORTHMOLTON - The Fatal Fire At Northmolton. - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at the Poltimore Arms, Northmolton, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of WALTER CHANTER, who (as briefly reported in last week's Journal) was burnt to death during a fire which occurred at the Somerset Inn on Tuesday night.  - Alfred Grimshire, landlord of the Somerset Inn, Northmolton, deposed that he knew the deceased very well; he was a joiner by trade, but had no fixed residence.  On Tuesday night about ten minutes to ten, he saw him in the kitchen of the Inn, and then it was that CHANTER asked him if he had any place where he could sleep.  Witness replied that he could sleep in the "tallett," where there was plenty of straw.  Deceased consented, and witness proceeded to show him the spot.  As they were walking out witness asked deceased whether he had any matches about him, and he replied "No; you know Alf I wouldn't do you any harm."  Before going into the loft deceased put a short pipe he was smoking into his pocket, and as witness saw neither smoke or sparks he thought it was extinguished.  To the best of his belief deceased was sober when he entered the loft.  It was about 10.15 when witness got to bed, and only about two or three minutes afterwards he heard kicks at the front door, and someone crying "Fire."  Witness jumped out of bed and looked out of window.  He saw smoke coming round the corner of the house, and immediately ran down in his night-shirt and let the mare out of the stable.  He also turned the pigs from the stye into a neighbouring field.  The pigs were right under the loft where CHANTER had been allowed to sleep.  Before he took out the pigs he told someone there was a man in the loft, but the reply came that a man had been seen to run away.  After that he went in and put on his trousers, but was at that time doubtful that the man who had been seen to run away was CHANTER.  Among those who came early to his assistance was the Rev. George Ellis (curate).  Several attempts were made to enter the loft but they were ineffectual, inasmuch as the fire had such a firm hold of the building, which adjoined the dwelling house.  He sent Roger Lethaby for the fire-engine, but none came.  The charred remains of the body were found between twelve and one o'clock.  The premises belonged to Lord Poltimore and the furniture and stock-in-trade was insured in £150.  - By the Foreman:  When he fetched out the pigs the thatch had fallen in and flames were blazing through the floor.  Witness had not entered the place himself smoking at the time nor had he taken a lamp in. To the best of his knowledge there were no other persons sleeping on the premises.  There were between 50 and 60 bundles of straw in the loft.  - By Capt. Baker:  He never gave thought of the man CHANTER after he had taken out the mare; but nevertheless he was certain if he had gone to see about him instead of the horse he could not have entered the loft as the fire had made such headway.  If CHANTER had so desired he could have left the premises.  - Roger Lethaby, labourer, stated that on Tuesday night between 10 and 11 o'clock someone kicked at his door and cried "Fire."  He was up at the time and went to the door and saw that the premises at the back of the Somerset Inn were on fire.  He immediately ran across and kicked at the door of the inn and gave the alarm of "fire."  By this time a few people had assembled.  Mr Grimshire was quickly down and witness directed him to let the mare out of the stable.  The loft was on fire when Grimshire came down, and the roof was beginning to fall in.  Grimshire did not tell him there was a man in the loft when he had taken out the mare, and then it was impossible to enter the building.  Witness wanted to protect his own house, so he gave the mare to a young man named Huxtable and told him to go as fast as he could to Southmolton for the fire-engine.  About a hour and a half afterwards he came back again saying the mare had thrown him and he was afraid to mount her again so he returned.  By the Foreman:  There were pieces of fire on the mare when she was taken out.  - Nicholas Ley gave evidence to the effect that he was early on the spot and ran out of the gateway with a bucket, so probably he was the man who was seen "running away," as another witness had spoken of.  - Thomas Crang, baker, also gave evidence as to alarming the previous witness Lethaby, and Wm. Summerville, miner and John Loosemoor, gave evidence of the discovery of the remains of CHANTER.  P.C. Samuel Heale said when he arrived at the scene of the fire, the whole and the back part of the premises were consumed.  He asked the landlord how it occurred, and he replied "It's that WALTER CHANTER, the -----, I expect."  He also asked Grimshire whether CHANTER was in the loft and he replied "Oh, no; someone saw a man running away from the gate."  Witness found every piece of bone and flesh and the pipe now produced.  He understood deceased was about 40 years of age.  Frederick Dobbs, local agent of the General Insurance Company, stated that Grimshire only insured his furniture a few weeks ago; but he did it at witness's own suggestion.  It was insured in £150.  The Jury after a lengthy summing up by the Coroner, returned a verdict of "Accidentally Burned to Death," and added a rider to the effect that they considered it desirable in all cases where tramps applied for a night's sleep in an outhouse they should be searched to see whether they had any matches about them.

Thursday 3 January 1889

BARNSTAPLE - Painfully Sudden Death of MR W. COULTHARD. - It is with very great regret that we have to record the death of MR WALTER COULTHARD, auctioneer and valuer, of Barnstaple, which took place under singularly sad circumstances late on Thursday night.  The deceased was a Freemason, and was a senior deacon of the local Loge.  He attended a Masonic banquet held at the Golden Lion Hotel on Thursday evening, and shortly after ten o'clock responded to a toast.  He left the Hotel about eleven, and walked to his residence in High-street, in company with Mr O. J. Sloley.  On arriving at his doorstep he complained of feeling unwell; he was assisted to his sitting-room, where he expired about midnight.  The deceased was very much respected in the town and neighbourhood.  He was an acceptable local preacher, and was the Superintendent of the Bickington Congregational Sunday School.  He took great interest in Sunday-school work, and was the honorary secretary of the North Devon Sunday School Union.  He was an enthusiastic Liberal and an energetic, ready, and effective platform speaker.  Although the deceased (who was 38 years of age) was by no means a robust man, the announcement of his sudden and untimely death caused a profound sensation.  As he expired before the arrival of a medical man it was necessary that there should be a public inquiry into the circumstances attending the sad event.

The Inquest was held at the Guildhall on Friday afternoon, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner.  Mr R. P Morrison was the foreman of the Jury.  Bro. J. Bosson, the W.M. of the local Lodge, and several other Freemasons were present during the Inquiry.

The first witness called was Mr O. J. Sloley, draper and outfitter, who stated that he had known the deceased very well indeed for several years.  On Thursday evening he saw the deceased at a Masonic banquet held at the Golden Lion Hotel.  There were three persons between witness and the deceased at the dinner table.  During the evening he did not notice that there was anything the matter with the deceased.  About half-past ten MR COULTHARD responded to a toast; he made a neat speech, and appeared to be in his usual state of health.  He noticed just afterwards that MR COULTHARD was leaving, and he told him that if he would wait a few minutes longer he would go too.  MR COULTHARD went downstairs; a few minutes afterwards the banquet terminated, the time being about five minutes to eleven.  Witness went downstairs, where he found MR COULTHARD waiting  He heard a gentleman (Mr Roberts) suggest that the deceased should have some brandy, from which he (witness) gathered that he had been complaining of feeling unwell.  The deceased did not, however, take anything to drink.  They then left the Hotel together.  It rained very heavy as they walked through High-street towards the deceased's residence.  Outside Mr Chanter's shop the deceased moved on one side and spat in the gutter; and about twenty yards further on MR COULTHARD went to the gutter and tried to be sick.  He asked him what was the matter, and the deceased said that he felt rather sick.  Witness observed "It is something you have been eating which does not agree with you; it will pass in a minute."  They then walked to the door of MR COULTHARD'S house.  They stood there for a second or two, and MR COULTHARD seemed desirous of continuing the conversation which was taking place.  It was raining very fast, and witness wanted to get away; so he rang the bell.  He then observed that MR COULTHARD was gradually sinking upon his knees, and he at once caught hold of him.  He asked what was the matter, but the deceased made no reply.  Deceased was breathing very heavily.  MRS COULTHARD then opened the door, and he told her, her husband was unwell.  He carried the deceased into the house, and MRS COULTHARD fetched Mr Bartlett, with whose assistance witness carried the deceased upstairs to his drawing-room, and placed him on a sofa.  Mr Bartlett left the house in order to fetch Mr Pronger (the deceased's medical attendant).  Witness unfastened the deceased's coat and collar and took off his gloves, and MRS COULTHARD gave her husband a glass of water.  He drank this, and appeared to be greatly revived.  He opened his eyes, and in answer to witness said he had had a very sharp attack of indigestion.  MR COULTHARD thanked him for the assistance he had rendered, and as deceased seemed to have got over the attack he then left, MRS COULTHARD escorting him to the door.  He was in the deceased's house from twenty minutes past eleven to a quarter to twelve.  Mr Bartlett had not returned to the house before he left.  He was under the impression that the deceased was a teetotaller; he had never seen him drink any intoxicants.  At the banquet on Thursday evening the deceased drank water.  The Foreman of the Jury here stated that he sat next the deceased at the Masonic banquet.  All the deceased had was one help of soup, a small bit of game, and a small piece of mutton.  He drank water only.  A glass of champagne was put in front of him, but he did not touch it.

Mr John Bartlett, coal merchant, &c., of High-street, said the deceased occupied a portion of his house.  At MRS COULTHARD'S request he went for Mr Pronger, who was, however, away from home.  He called on Mr Cooper, who was also out; he left a message that as soon as he returned Mr Cooper should go to MR COULTHARD  When he returned MR COULTHARD seemed to be better  He had got into bed, but had not been there long before his wife, who had stayed with MRS COULTHARD, fetched him, saying that MR COULTHARD was much worse.  He went into MR COULTHARD'S room and on making an examination he came to the conclusion that life was extinct.  He said nothing, however, but went at once for Dr Jackson, who arrived shortly afterwards.  The deceased was sick just before witness reached the room, and after vomiting he must have died immediately.  When he was called a second time it was about ten minutes past twelve.

Dr Mark Jackson deposed that when he saw MR COULTHARD just after half-past twelve life was quite extinct.  He considered that death took place a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes previously.  By the side of the deceased was a hand basin full of vomit; there was no smell of spirit or wine about it.  He came to the conclusion that death was due to syncope, produced by vomiting.  The Foreman asked if a stimulant would not have done MR COULTHARD good; and Dr Jackson said that the administration of one would have been advisable under the circumstances.  The deceased was not a robust man, and had complained of feeling unwell for some days, his wife wanting him to see a doctor.  The deceased had, he understood, complained of acute indigestion.  From what he had heard, he considered the deceased had a fair average meal at the banquet.  The dinner would tend to embarrass a weak heart and to produce fainting and sickness.  The Coroner remarked that it was evident that death was not occasioned or accelerated by excess of eating or drinking; and the Jury at once returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  The Jury expressed sincere sympathy with the widow in her sad bereavement.

DOWLAND - Fatal Accident. - An Inquest was held at Dowland Barton, Dowland, North Devon, by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on the body of JOHN WHEATON, who met with his death on Christmas Eve.  Lewis Turner, a farmer, deposed to seeing the deceased lying under a tree, or what was called a "ranger."  He was lying on his face and hands, and the tree was on his back.  He removed the tree, and he found that WHEATON was dead.  There was a saw lying near him, which he had evidently been using.  That was on Monday last.  Mr John S. Turner, of Dowland Barton, stated that the deceased was in his employ, and was very much respected.  On Monday deceased was in a field pulling turnips with other men.  He told the men they might cut a few sticks for Christmas, as usual, and they would all sit down and enjoy themselves.  It was a custom of his to give his men a supper at the farm on Christmas Eve.  The men replied "All right, sir," and witness walked away  There was a small coppice at the bottom of the field, and it was there that the deceased was found.  He did not expect the deceased would have gone by himself to cut sticks although he did so.  He thought three or four of the men would have gone together, as usual, but the deceased told one of the men that he would go and do it by himself.  Witness was of opinion that while WHEATON was sawing the tree it suddenly split up before he had time to get out of the way, and the tree fell on him.  Mr A. P. Drummond, surgeon, of Dolton, stated that he examined WHEATON after the accident and found a bruise on the back of his neck and one in the middle of his back.  He also found a dislocation of the neck, which was quite sufficient to account for death.  He was of opinion that death was instantaneous.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

SWYMBRIDGE - Fatal Accident. - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at the Mission Hall, Swymbridge, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., on the body of JOHN VENN, who (as briefly reported in last week's Journal) was accidentally killed on Wednesday.  The first witness called was WM. VENN, who said he was a retired farmer residing at Swimbridge.  The deceased, who was his brother, was a retired farmer, and was 71 years of age.  He resided at Highdown Farm, Filleigh, but he had recently purchased a house at Swymbridge, where he intended to live.  He was removing his goods to his new residence by degrees.  About one o'clock on Wednesday witness received a message which caused him to go to Mr Davey's house, where he found his brother (who had met with an accident) lying dead.  The deceased was a widower, and left one child. - Ellen Dyer, wife of Richard Dyer, gardener, living at Swymbridge Newland, deposed that about half past twelve on the previous day, while she was in her bedroom, she heard a man shouting "Whoa" to a horse.  On looking out of the window she saw the deceased trying to stop a horse which was harnessed to a cart. She subsequently saw him fall under the horse.  She ran out, and found that Mr Davey had placed the deceased in a chair.  The cart was loaded with casks, and she noticed that one cask had fallen into the roadway.  She heard the cask fall, but this was after the man had fallen down.  Mr Davey removed the deceased into his house.  She did not hear MR VENN speak or see him give any sign of life.  - James Davey, carpenter, residing at Swymbridge Newland, stated that as he was in his kitchen just before dinner on the previous day he heard a cart approaching his house.  He looked out, and saw the cart give a lurch, a cask then falling into the roadway.  He found MR VENN lying in the gutter a little below his house.  The horse ran on with the cart.  The cask which had fallen off the cart was a little further from his house than the deceased.  He placed the deceased on a chair.  He spoke to MR VENN, but received no answer.  With assistance he carried him to his house.  The deceased was breathing at this time, but was apparently unconscious. - P.C. Charles Bastin and P.S. Charley gave corroborative evidence.  - Mr C. H. Gamble, surgeon, of Barnstaple, deposed that about one o'clock he received a message asking him to go to Swymbridge Newland.  When he arrived there he found that MR VENN was dead, and had probably been so about half an hour.  He found a severe scalp wound on the side of the head.  There was no fracture of the skull.  The wheel of the cart had evidently passed over the left arm and the chest.  The breast bone was crushed in, and this had caused death.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BARNSTAPLE - Death From Lockjaw. - On Friday evening an Inquest was held at the New Inn, Pilton, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of THOMAS W. ASHTON, aged 12, who died on Thursday from lockjaw.  Eliza Gear deposed that on Wednesday, the 12th of December, the deceased, who lived with his parents in a house adjoining witness's residence, asked her to lend him a hammer, stating that he was locked out and wanted to break a pane of glass in order that he might open a window and thus obtain access to the house.  She lent him the hammer and saw him break the glass.  He subsequently slipped and cut one of his fingers in the broken glass.  She saw a slight scratch on the finger.  A neighbour, Miss Courtenay, tied up the finger.  The deceased, who was twelve years of age, was a delicate boy.  Mr J. W. L. Ware, surgeon, stated that he was called in to see the deceased on Wednesday, the 26th December.  He found him in bed; he was very ill, suffering from the first symptoms of lockjaw.  The deceased grew much worse, and in the night the spasms were very severe and more general.  He saw him again early on Thursday morning, the poor lad expiring about nine o'clock.  Death was caused by suffocation, the result of lockjaw. There was a small wound on the fore finger of the right hand of the deceased.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 10 January 1889

BARNSTAPLE - Accidental Death. - On Monday evening an Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of WM. ISAAC, aged 25, of Chittlehampton, who succumbed on Saturday to injuries received (as reported in last week's Journal), while working on Wednesday at Nethercleave Quarry, in the parish of Chittlehampton.  Mr Charles Fisher was chosen foreman of the Jury.    The evidence showed that on Wednesday morning the deceased (who was employed by Mr Wm. Palmer, clerk of works on the Rolle Estate) was working in Nethercleave Quarry in company with another labourer named George Parkin.  Whilst the deceased was engaged in digging, a quantity of "deads" slipped and fell upon ISAAC, partially burying him.  The "deads" were removed, but ISAAC was unable to rise, and said his right leg was broken.  The deceased was promptly conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary, his father accompanying him.  The house surgeon (Mr H. H. Lovell) found that the right thigh was fractured, and he set the bone.  In the night ISAAC complained of pains in his back.  The next day he was feverish and inflammation of the lungs setting in, the poor fellow died on Saturday night.  Mr Lovell gave it as his opinion that inflammation of the lungs, evidently the result of internal injuries, was the cause of death.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and expressed their sympathy with the relatives of the deceased in their sad bereavement.

APPLEDORE - An Inquest was held at Liverpool on Saturday on the body of ALBERT WILLIAM HAMLYN, aged 23, a native of Appledore.  The deceased was chief officer of the steamer Baron Belhaven.  He was expected on board his vessel on Wednesday night, but the following morning was found dead at the bottom of one of the graving docks, having, it is supposed, fallen, owing to the density of the fog.  Death had resulted from dislocation of the top of the spine, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  The deceased has had a most promising career, having been captain of a ship and at the time of his death, though but 23 years of age, he was chief officer of the screw S. S. Baron Belhaven, 11,000 tons, which was lying at Liverpool.  MR HAMLYN who left Appledore only on the preceding Tuesday to join his ship and is a relative of MR E. J. HAMLYN, of Ilfracombe, leaves a widowed mother who will deeply mourn his loss.  The body was brought home on Monday, and the funeral took place on Tuesday; the service was conducted by the Rev. E. Reynolds; there was a large attendance.

NORTHTAWTON - Tragedy Near Northtawton - Wife Murder and Attempted Suicide. - The neighbourhood of North and South Tawton was shocked on Saturday morning by the report of the murder of a wife by an old farm labourer, which unhappily proved too true, the circumstances being of a very distressing and determined character.

THOMAS ARSCOTT, his wife MARIA, and three of their young children, lived at a place called Tarr Mill Farm, which is situated in the outskirts of the large parish of Southtawton, but only a mile from the Northtawton Railway Station.  After passing under what is called the Northtawton Viaduct of the South Western Railway, Tarr Mill is reached by the Southtawton-road, which lies on the left of the main road between Newlands and Sampford Courtenay Station.  The place, although close to the railway line, is in other respects a rather secluded spot, and the habitation in which the ARSCOTTS lived is approached by a rough road, and has not an inviting appearance.  The old farm was many years ago tenanted by Mr Hill, who lived there, but for some years past it has been in the possession of Mr Wm. Hern, a farmer of Jacobstowe, who has used it as an off-farm, allowing the house to be occupied by THOMAS ARSCOTT and his family, ARSCOTT, although known as a farm labourer, having the general looking after the place for his employer, whose farm at North Piend, at Jacobstowe, is four or five miles away.  ARSCOTT, who is 65 years of age, has lived here with his wife MARIA, who was 54 years of age, for fourteen years; they have been married for over 30 years, and have had fourteen children, three of whom are dead.  Of the remaining eleven, four daughters and a son are married, and working mostly for farmers in the neighbourhood, four of the others are in situations of the same description, and three young children - a boy aged seven and two little girls aged about nine and ten respectively - were at home with their parents.  That the family is a large one may be gathered from the fact that as New Year's Day is kept as a holiday in this part of Devonshire by the agricultural labourers, the family met at the old people's house as usual at Tarr Mill and spent the day there, the party, with the grand-children, numbering, it was said, between 30 and 40.  An agreeable day appeared to have been spent, although it was noticeable that the old man was morose, wanted to give away his potatoes and to divide the other not very valuable property amongst his children, and spoke of that being "the last time we shall meet together."  No particular attention appeared to be paid to these remarks and although he continually mumbled out something showing that he entertained jealous feelings about his wife, as he had been in the habit of doing for many years, and had even in times past threatened her life, yet nothing was thought of it, and all went on as usual through Wednesday and Thursday.  During Thursday the wife went as usual into Northtawton market and took one of the young children with her.  When she returned in the evening she found her husband in bed, and she soon prepared to follow him and commenced to undress, having taken her boots off.  That she was in fear of him may be gathered from the fact that the poor soul told one of her daughters that "something possessed her to see where the razor was," and on looking for it she found it had been removed from its proper place.  She thought then that her husband had it concealed about him, and she immediately put on her things again, and taking the same child with her, went away to her daughter's at Trecott, a mile or so off, and stayed with her the night.  MRS ARSCOTT returned again on Friday morning and attended to the pig and poultry which she kept herself, and remained in the house throughout the day, because, as she said, she was not afraid of him in the daylight, but throughout Friday he continued his "nagging" conduct, which had been "on and off" with him from the previous Saturday.  In the evening MRS ARSCOTT resolved to again leave her husband for the night, and so she took away all provisions - which were a rather scanty lot - that were left in the old dwelling house, and also the three young children, and that night she went away again to another of her married daughters - Mrs Powlesland, the wife of a farm labourer living in the parish of Southtawton- and stayed there until Saturday morning.  This daughter with the mother and the three children returned to Tarr Mill again on Saturday - MRS ARSCOTT'S intention being again to attend to the pig and the poultry, and to see how her husband was getting on.  It was about quarter past seven when they returned, and he was then in the field pulling turnips.  He saw them go in the house and later on he came in where they were.  He then went upstairs and immediately came down and said to his wife, "Now MARIA your time has come," and with the same he took the razor from the dresser where it had been concealed and caught his wife around the neck.  She screamed and they fell in the passage leading to the court-yard, and the daughter, who is 28 years of age, caught hold of her father and freed her mother.  In doing this the daughter had three of her fingers cut very much, but her mother was able to get away and run across the yard, a distance of nearly eighty yards.  Here close to the dung heap she fell and the husband caught hold of her in a most deliberate manner, and before she could make any further resistance or the daughter prevent him, he in the presence of the daughter and little children cut his wife's throat in such a manner as to nearly sever the head from the body  He immediately rushed back to the house and fastened himself inside.  Screams of murder were raised by the daughter and children, who were almost in a frantic condition as to what would next occur, and ultimately the attention of some platelayers at work on the line near the viaduct was attracted, and they arrived on the spot; and Miss Anstey, the daughter of a farmer living near, also came over and then went away to Northtawton to fetch Dr Hawkins and Sergt. Kemble.

A youth named Ernest Call, whose sister had married on the of the young ARSCOTTS, also was called before the police arrived, and when he came on the scene he saw Mr Anstey, the adjoining farmer, there, and also Mr Vicary, of the Tarr Mills.  The miller and farmer did not, however, care about venturing in the dwelling-house, although young Call said he wished to do so, and nothing was done until Sergt. Kemble, the representative of the police at Northtawton, arrived at twenty minutes past eleven.  The Sergeant saw that MRS ARSCOTT was quite dead, and then went into the house, and going through the kitchen into the room behind it, which the family described as the "parlour", he saw the man ARSCOTT lying on the floor on his face and hands, and two pools of blood on either side - the razor lying close to his right hand.  The officer said to him, "What's the matter?" and he replied, "It don't bleed fast enough."  The Sergeant then turned him over on his back and places some pillows under him, and Mr Penwarden, one of the railway employees at Northtawton Station, put a cloth round his neck to stop the bleeding, but ARSCOTT continually tried to remove it.  Sergt. Kemble told them to go for the doctor again, but the old man, who appeared perfectly sensible, and hearing this order, said "I don't want a doctor.  It's a bad job ain't it?  I'm miserable,' and he continued repeating these sayings throughout the day.  When Mr Hawkins came he found the old man in a very precarious condition; the throat was cut across, and the wind-pipe severed.  He telegraphed for Mr Haycroft, surgeon, of Bow, to come, but he was unable to do so, and then for Mr Burd (of Okehampton) to assist him in sewing up the wound; but he also was unable to come then, and at seven o'clock on Saturday evening Mr Hawkins, not being able to obtain any assistance, performed the surgical operation himself.  Mr Hawkins had remained with the patient, with the exception of a short interval, throughout the day and had given him injections of brandy and eggs.

A representative of the Press arrived at Tarr Mill on Saturday evening and went to the house in which the ARSCOTTS lived.  On opening the door the scene was not easily imagined - a blazing wooden fire was burning on the floor of the chimney, and immediately in front of it was lying the old man, all the scanty bedclothes of the poorly furnished dwelling having been brought down to lay him on.  His head was propped up, and in a half conscious state kept groaning and mumbling, sometimes his remarks being quite distinct.  On the benches around the room sat eighteen members of the family - children from 7 years of age to daughters, son and sons-in-law, up to between 30 and 40 - whilst near the old man sat P.C. Mogridge, of Sampford Courtenay, whom Sergeant Kemble had left in charge during his absence.  The "parlour" which is connected with the kitchen by a low archway in the wall, must hardly ever have deserved such a title, and its appearance on Saturday by the dim light of a candle was most sickening.  There was scarcely any furniture in the room besides a dresser, on which was a loaf of bread in a basket with some eggs and a bottle of brandy, the latter having been sent for by the doctor.  On the table lay the dead body of the murdered woman, where it had been removed by Sergeant Kemble with the assistance of Messrs. Penwarden, Anstey, and Vicary, and on the floor several pools of blood, partially covered over with pieces of newspaper, but blood stains were all over the place, where they were carried by the feet of the younger children who had been allowed to enter the room; in fact, they had not up to this time been taken away from their wretched home, and there was no other place for them to go unless they stayed in the room where their miserable father lay hovering between life and death.  The elder sons and daughters, who did not mean to stop in the house that night, subsequently arranged to take them away.

Amidst the heartrending sobs which ever and anon broke from the elder daughters were bitter denunciations of the murderer's conduct prior to the committal of the foul crime.  One of them speaking to him as he lay uneasily tossing about on his improvised bed, said:  "You old brute, you killed my mother," and the little boy, aged seven, subsequently said, "The old devil tried to kill me."  From all the children, as well as from the neighbours, it was learnt that the poor woman was held in affection by the children as a very good mother and a hardworking woman, whilst the father had made the home unhappy for the last fourteen years by his unwarrantable fits of jealousy.  He had, indeed, attacked young Mr Hern, who is only 23 years of age, and who was one of the objects of his dislike, on the previous Thursday.  That the murder was premeditated was shewn by the message he sent to Mr Hern,, sen., saying "Hern must come and feed the stock himself, as I mean to jack up everything."

All the family appear to have noticed, so one of them told a representative of the Press, a jealous fit all the week.  He says:  "We noticed that he was queer on New Year's Day."  Continuing his conversation, he added, "They had kept two pigs; one was called 'father's' and the other 'mother's'.  Father's pig had been sold and he wanted on New Year's Day to give the other to his eldest son ROBERT, a farm labourer, living at Barton-lane, Northtawton.  He wanted also to part the things, and told this to ROBERT, and said if he did not take away the potatoes he would chop them all up.  To ROBERT also he had communicated his jealous feelings, and he (ROBERT) had endeavoured to persuade him that they were unfounded.  On Friday night ROBERT saw him, having come to the house to offer to sleep with him, but the old man would not let him.  He said "he was all right."  So the son left the house, but in company with other members of the family remained outside watching his father through the window.  On Saturday morning, before seven o'clock, ROBERT again saw him, and thought he seemed all right, until he said, "It will end in a bad job;, mother has carried away all the meat."  It was true there was nothing in the house to eat, and as one of the daughters said in the evening, there was not a bit in the house until she brought in a loaf.  The conversation was here interrupted by the arrival of Dr Hawkins.

When ARSCOTT heard them say the doctor had come, he remarked "I don't want the doctor!" and when he heard one of the children say "He tried to kill mother in the passage," he said , "It's false; they have been swearing false, and I will have them punished.  It wasn't in the passage, it was on the dung heap."  Sergt. Kemble's statement confirms this, he believing that the fatal wound was given on the dung heap and that MRS ARSCOTT rolled off and died, there being three distinct pools of blood by the slanting side of the heap.  It was stated that ARSCOTT was not a 'drinking' man, and it is not known that he drank anything during the past week.  Throughout the day he expressed no sorrow for the deed he had committed, with the exception of the remarks "It's a bad job!"  "It's an awful job!" and "I'm miserable!"

On Monday an Inquest was held at Northtawton on the body of MARIA ARSCOTT, who was killed by her husband, THOMAS ARSCOTT, a hind of Torr Mills Farm, Southtawton, on Saturday.  The evidence was similar to the facts of the tragedy, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder" against ARSCOTT.  The wound which he inflicted in his own throat still endangers his life.

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Case of Suicide At Barnstaple. - A painful case of suicide occurred at Barnstaple early on Tuesday morning, RICHARD FARLEIGH, aged 60, residing in Alma Terrace, taking his own life in a very determined manner.  The deceased (who was for a long series of years head "boots" at the Golden Lion Hotel - a position which he relinquished, in consequence of ill health, some months since, lost his wife six months ago, and he never overcame the depression which was the outcome of the bereavement.

On Monday evening MR FARLEIGH retired to rest with his youngest son, who on waking about eight o'clock on the following morning found that his father had left the bed.  The lad went downstairs, and in the kitchen found his father suspended from the ceiling by means of a rope.  He at once gave an alarm, and Superintendent Songhurst, who resides close at hand, was fetched.  Mr Songhurst soon arrived on the scene - to discover that life had been extinct for several hours.  The feet of the deceased were resting on the ground, and in order to hang himself FARLEIGH had evidently jumped from a chair.  The left arm was rendered useless through being fastened by the end of the rope with which the unfortunate man was suspended.

The Inquest on the body was held at the Exeter Inn, Litchdon Street, on Tuesday evening, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner.  Mr Burnett was chosen foreman of the Jury  The first witness called was George Songhurst, the superintendent of the borough police, who said he resided at Fairfield Cottage, near Alma Terrace.  the deceased relinquished the post of head "boots" at the Lion Hotel on account of ill health.  About ten minutes past eight that morning, three of the deceased's children (two sons and a daughter) went to his house and asked him to go to their house.  He found the deceased hanging in the washhouse, being suspended by means of a rope which was fastened to an iron staple in the roof.  There was a noose round the neck of the deceased.  A portion of the rope was fastened round his left arm, which was thus kept n a level with his head.  The feet of the deceased rested on the ground.  There was a chair behind the deceased, whose legs touched it.  It appeared as though the deceased had jumped from the chair.  Witness cut the rope and laid the body, which was quite cold and stiff, on the ground.  Life had, he should say, been extinct for three or four hours.  In the back kitchen a small benzoline lamp was burning, the lamp had been placed on the highest shelf in the room.  Witness at once fetched Mr Cooper, who afterwards went to Alma Terrace and examined the body with him.  He had known the deceased many years.  The last time he saw him he complained very much of feeling unwell.  When he found the deceased FARLEIGH was partially dressed; he had on his boots, but they were not laced. 

ARCHIBALD FARLEIGH, aged 16, the youngest son of the deceased, said he and a brother and sister had resided with their father at No. 3, Alma Terrace.  He had been in the habit of sleeping with his father for some time.  Shortly after six on Monday evening his father, who complained of a pain in his back, went to bed.  When witness went to bed about half-past ten his father again complained of the pain, and he rubbed some oil into his back.  When he awoke about a quarter to eight on Tuesday morning he found that his father had left the bed.  He went downstairs to light the fire and to look for his father, when he found him hanging in the back-kitchen in the manner described by the Superintendent.  He told his sister and brother what he had seen, and they at once fetched Superintendent Songhurst.  he had never heard his father say anything which would lead anyone to suppose that he would do any violence to himself.  His father remained in bed during the greater part of Monday, complaining of pains in his back.  Since the death of his wife the deceased had seemed strange and had had some queer fancies.

Mr Walter Cooper, surgeon, said that when he saw the body there was a weal quite a quarter of an inch in depth round the neck of the deceased; this was caused by the rope.  The neck was not broken.  Death was due to strangulation.  Life had been extinct several hours when he saw the body.  Dr. W. A. Gordon Laing, deposed that he had attended the deceased professionally for five years.  The wife of the deceased died suddenly some months ago, and this was a great shock to his system.  He saw him a few days ago and he then appeared to be suffering from melancholia.  He prescribed for him, but when he called the next day the deceased would not see him and refused to take the medicine.  One of the sons had told him the deceased latterly thought that everything was poison and that people wanted to get rid of him.  The deceased suffered from a painful internal complaint.  A verdict to the effect that the deceased committed suicide while suffering from Temporary Insanity was returned.

NORTH TAWTON - "Suicide whilst of Unsound Mind," was the verdict returned at an Inquest held on Saturday at Lower Cadham Farm, North Tawton, before Mr Fulford, Deputy Coroner, to investigate the cause of death of a farmer named GEORGE CROCKER.  His body was found in the river on the previous morning, and the evidence of Mr H. H. Parsloe, surgeon, of Hatherleigh, shewed that the deceased had for some time suffered from melancholia, and on one occasion told him that he was perfectly miserable.

Thursday 17 January 1889

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - On Friday morning last an Inquest was held at the Lamb Hotel, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of MARIA MURCH (the wife of MR THOMAS MURCH, of Bear Street), who died suddenly on the preceding evening.  Mr John Ashton was chosen foreman of the Jury  - MR THOMAS MURCH deposed that the deceased was 72 years of age.  His deceased wife had not been attended by a medical man for ten years.  About a week ago she caught a cold, as a result of which she had great difficulty in breathing.  She refused to see a doctor or take any medicine.  Just before five o'clock on Thursday she was in the kitchen when he noticed a change in her.  He asked if he should send for her niece, Amelia Knight, but she made no reply.  His wife expired in his presence at five o'clock.  He sent for Mr Cooke, who was soon in attendance.  Mr J. W. Cooke, stated that he had known the deceased for many years.  He attended her professionally about ten years ago.  He was called in to see her just after five on Thursday evening, and when he arrived he found that life was extinct.  In his opinion death was due to syncope.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

SOUTH TAWTON - The South Tawton Tragedy.  Inquest on the Murderer. - Mr G. F. Fulford, Deputy Coroner, and a Jury, of whom the Rev. H. Rattenbury was foreman, held an Inquest at the Gostwych Arms, North Tawton, on Thursday, on the body of THOMAS ARSCOTT, who cut his throat after murdering his wife.  The Jury, accompanied by ROBERT ARSCOTT, son of the deceased, were driven in two breaks to Tor Mill, South Tawton, to view the body.  Upon their return, ROBERT ARSCOTT said his father, a farm labourer, aged 65, died on Wednesday morning.  On Monday week deceased sent for him.  He went the same evening and wished him a happy New Year.  He replied "It's a bad job."  Asked what for, he complained of his wife's conduct with Thomas Hearn.  His wife was present, and denied the allegation.  Deceased said it would end bad, he intended to give up work, and he (witness) was to come for the pig.  Deceased was a little different in his manner; he appeared to be wicked.  On Tuesday morning he (witness) went for the pig.  His mother said he should not have it.  On Friday, however, he took the pig, his mother consenting.  Next day he saw deceased, who complained that his wife had carried away the meat.  Witness offered to bring him some, but he said he only wanted bread.  He was very low and quiet, and said it was all mother's fault.  In answer to a Juror, he said he never saw anything improper between his mother and Hearn.  - Elizabeth Powlesland, wife of James Powlesland and daughter of deceased, repeated the evidence she gave at the Inquest on the body of her mother on Monday, she having witnessed the murder and vainly tried to prevent her father cutting her mother's throat.  Police Sergeant W. Kemble deposed that after the murder he found ARSCOTT in the parlour lying on his face and hands with his throat cut, and lying in a pool of blood.  Near him was a razor. One of his fingers was in the wound, and he said he could not get it to bleed fast enough.  They had to hold his hands all the time to prevent him tearing the wound.  Saw deceased several times afterwards, but he made no remark concerning the murder.  - Ernest Call also gave evidence.  Frank Penwarden said when they turned deceased over and propped him up some one remarked that he could not have done it more than ten minutes.  Deceased replied, "It's false.  I did it immediately I came in." Witness asked him what made him do such a thing, and he replied "I was drove to it.  I have had 40 years of it."  Considered he was sensible the whole time.  Dr Hawkins described the injuries deceased had inflicted upon himself, and gave it as his opinion that he was of perfectly sound mind.  Dr Burd, of Okehampton, also gave evidence.  William Hearn, deceased's employer, said he did not believe ARSCOTT had been in his right mind for years.  He was very excitable when he had had anything to drink. MRS ARSCOTT told him her husband was jealous of him and Tom.  - Thomas Hearn, nephew of the last witness said on Saturday before the murder deceased wished him a merry Christmas and a happy new year.  On January 3rd he heard loud talking in the yard at Tor Mill, and deceased challenged him to say whether his wife had not behaved indecently with him.  He said she had not.  Deceased called him a liar, and he, feeling irritated, hit him by the side of the ear.  Deceased ran away, and MRS ARSCOTT said, "Run away; he has gone to get a fork to run you through."  Soon after deceased came with a fork, but on his taking up a stick he dropped it.  Mrs Peach, who attended deceased after he cut his throat, said she asked him twice if he was not sorry for what he had done.  He said he was not; only sorry he was there like that.  His mind seemed clear.  The Jury returned a verdict that deceased committed Suicide whilst of Unsound Mind.

WEST ANSTEY - Suicide. - On Monday an Inquest was held at the New Inn, West Anstey, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of MARY LETHBRIDGE, who committed suicide on the preceding Saturday under circumstances detailed below.  The first witness called was Jas. Elworthy, labourer, residing at Church Bridge Cottage, West Anstey.  The deceased was his sister.  She was the widow of GEORGE LETHBRIDGE, who died at Bedminster, Bristol.  After her husband's death the deceased had a severe illness, and as a result of this - together with the shock caused by her husband's death - she got into a low state. About ten weeks ago, while living at Bedminster, she tried to commit suicide by hanging herself.  She was charged before the magistrates with the offence, and the case was dismissed on his (witness's) wife becoming surety and undertaking to take care of the deceased.  Since then MRS LETHBRIDGE had been living with them at West Anstey.  She had six children, four of whom resided with witness.  While she had resided at West Anstey the deceased had received parish pay from the Bedminster Guardians.  This pay reached her through the Southmolton Guardians.  On Friday the relieving-officer called at his house and told the deceased that the pay was stopped and that she and her family would have to go into the workhouse.  The deceased had feared that this would happen, and it affected her considerably.  When he returned to his house at half-past five on Friday evening he heard that his sister was missing.  Bearing in mind what the relieving-officer had said he was afraid that something had gone wrong.  He instituted a search, and ultimately found her under a bridge close by the cottage.  She was in the water, and was lying face downwards.  The water was nine or ten inches deep.  She was quite dead.  While she had resided at West Anstey the deceased had continually been in a low state, but they had hoped that she was improving.  He and his wife had scarcely ever let her out of their sight.  He had no doubt in his own mind that the shock which was caused by the announcement that she and her children would have to go into the Workhouse further upset her mind and caused her to do this act.  She was forty-six years of age.  -  Sarah Elworthy, wife of the preceding witness, gave corroborative evidence.  She added that she was at home when Mr Jutsum, the relieving-officer, called.  She heard him tell the deceased that the pay was stopped and that she would have to go into the House.  Mr Jutsum asked her to make the communication, but she could not make up her mind to do so.  The deceased had always dreaded the thought of entering the House.  Mr Jutsum called at her house about four o'clock.  About five o'clock the deceased went out at the front door - for the purpose, as she said, of telling the children to cut up some wood  Before she had been gone five minutes witness went out to look for her, but could not find her.  Lavinia Norman, wife of Walter Norman, labourer, said she was a neighbour of the last witness.  About five o'clock on Friday evening she saw the deceased in the garden in front of her brother's house.  She spoke to one of the children, and then walked to the stream.  She went to the spot where they generally obtained water for domestic use.  She afterwards returned to the garden, and witness went into her house.  She had no suspicions that the deceased was going to do anything wrong.  She was present when the body was found.  Medical evidence was given by Mr George Sydenham, of Dulverton, and the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased committed Suicide while in a state of Temporary Insanity.

Thursday 31 January 1889

NORTHMOLTON - Sudden Death Of A Farmer. - An Inquest was held at Little Rapscott Farm, Northmolton, by Mr J. F. Bromham, (County Coroner) on Saturday, on the body of THOMAS FOLLETT.  From the evidence of the widow, it appears that the deceased, who was a farmer, and 69 years of age, had not been in good health lately, and that she and her husband slept in separate rooms.  On Thursday the deceased went to bed about 9 o'clock.  When MRS FOLLETT went in to call him the next morning at 8 o'clock, she noticed something was wrong, and ran at once to a neighbour and called assistance.  James Newton, a farmer, came in and found that FOLLETT was dead.  He had been suffering from dropsy, and had been medically attended.  Dr Kendall said he had attended the deceased for some time.  He had examined the body of deceased, and had no hesitation in saying that he died from syncope consequent on heart disease.  He was not at all surprised to hear of the sudden death of FOLLETT.  A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

Thursday 7 February 1889

CHULMLEIGH - On Monday night MR ROBERT CANN, aged 60, was missed by his friends, and on Tuesday the police dragged the River dart, where the body of the deceased was found. The deceased, who was a miller, had been of unsound mind for some years, and on two occasions had been sent to an Asylum.  He resided with his brother-in-law, Mr Ellerton, of Stone Farm, Chulmleigh.  An Inquest on the body will be held today (Thursday), before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.

ILFRACOMBE - The Recent Boat Accident.  A Body Recovered. - On Monday evening a body was washed into the harbour at Ilfracombe.  It was in a state of decomposition and unrecognisable.  It was eventually identified by the father as that of JAS. TUCKER, a young man who was drowned about a month ago, with a man named Davie, on returning from a ship they had assisted.  The Inquest was held by Dr. E. J. Slade-King, at Popham's Coffee Tavern, on Tuesday.  Mr H. Braund was foreman of the Jury.  WILLIAM TUCKER, boatman, stated that the body found was that of his son, JAMES TUCKER.  He last saw him alive about a month ago, on the 8th of January.  He then changed and went out saying he should not be in for a time, it being understood that he had some work on a vessel.  George Rudd, boatman, stated that he and the deceased TUCKER and Davie, manned a boat on Tuesday the 8th of January and went out to a vessel that wanted to come into the harbour, but could not because of the tugs lying in the way.  The ship was named the "Ealing."  They tried for an hour and a half to get her into the harbour but could not without doing a lot of damage as there were five or six tugboats anchored right in the fair way of the harbour.  About 9.30 p.m. they came ashore.  He felt quite sure that had the tugs not been across the mouth of the harbour the vessel could have been got in.  He did not know the limits of the harbour or whether the tugs were within or without the limits of the harbour.  About eleven o'clock they boarded her again and anchored her under Lantern Hill and remained on board all night.  About 7 the next morning the wind veered up from the west and they got the ship under weigh and left her about half a mile north of Hillsborough and then pulled for the shore towards Hill beach and along the shore towards the harbour.  Coming round Beacon Point the ground swell took the boat and sent her broadside over one of the rocks and about 50 yards towards the shore.  She then capsized and threw all into the water.  TUCKER caught witness round the neck and said "I can't swim George, take me to the boat."  He took him to the boat and he caught hold of the stern.  Witness went to the fore end of the boat but in about 1 ½ minutes TUCKER went down.  He saw no more of him.  John Wilson, coast guard, stated that he saw the "Ealing" on the 8th.  For about an hour he saw her trying to get into the harbour but the tug boats at the mouth prevented her getting in.  A discussion then took place as to whether information should be sought of the limits of the harbour.  Three of the Jurymen were anxious to have full information, but the majority thought they would be able to take the same steps without further evidence on this point as with it.  Frederick Souch, a young man who assists his father about the harbour, stated that whilst on Lantern Hill on the 4th of February about 5.30 he saw a body floating close to Larkstone Beach.  He went in a boat and towed the body ashore.  The body proved to be that of JAMES TUCKER.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  The Jury added a rider to the effect that they considered the primary cause of the accident was due to the tugs and other vessels lying on the fair way of the harbour and thus preventing the vessel the deceased was assisting to pilot entering the harbour and they earnestly request the Board of Trade to take steps to prevent this in future.

Thursday 14 February 1889

CHULMLEIGH - Suicide While In A State Of Temporary Insanity. - As reported in last week's Journal the body of MR ROBERT CANN, a retired miller, was on Tuesday found in the River Dart.  The Inquest on the body was held at Stone Farm on Thursday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.  From the evidence given it appeared that the deceased had resided for three years with his son-in-law, Mr Elson, of Stone Farm.  The deceased had on two occasions been sent to a lunatic asylum, the last time being about six years ago.  Although he was peculiar and eccentric in his manner it was not thought necessary to watch him.  About half past six on Monday morning his niece saw him leave the house.  When it was found that he did not return alarm was occasioned and search was made, and the next morning the body was found in the river Dart by Thomas Routcliffe, an ex-policeman.  Deceased's purse was found at home with a deposit note in it for £200 with an Exeter Bank.  Dr Tucker deposed to the eccentricity of the deceased, and his discovering about a week before that he was ruptured.  He ordered a double truss for deceased, who was a man who would be likely to be affected by any trouble of that kind.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased committed suicide while in a state of Temporary Insanity.

Thursday 21 February 1889

SIDBURY - On Monday an Inquest was held at Hunter's Lodge, near Sidbury, into the circumstances attending the death of a youth, named BERRY, who died suddenly from the effects of drinking raw spirits at an agricultural sale. Another lad, named Lockyer, from the same cause, was thrown into convulsions, while a third, named Richards, became helplessly drunk.  The Coroner censured the person responsible for the supply of the liquors, but the Jury, in returning a verdict of "Death from Excessive drinking of Raw Spirits, surreptitiously obtained," exonerated the publican from all blame.

ILFRACOMBE - An Inquest was held at Hele yesterday, on the body of a child (16 months old) named ARCHIBALD NORMAN GIBBS.  It appeared from the statement of the mother that the child was nursed for a few minutes, when the mother went to a neighbour's expecting to find it there.  A search was at once made, and the child was seen rolling over in the water of the stream, which had swollen much with the heavy rains.  A lad (Nathaniel Lewis) ran and took the child out, but it was gone past restoration.  Mr Gardner, surgeon, was at once sent for, but he found the child dead.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and added a rider requesting the Local Board, if they have the power, to put the pathway by the stream in repair, and to fence it.

Thursday 28 February 1889

CLOVELLY - Inquest. - Mr J. F. Bromham, District Coroner, held an Inquest on Monday at Clovelly on the body of JOHN DAVIE, who was drowned on the 9th January with a companion by the upsetting of a boat off Ilfracombe.  The body was identified by the widow of the deceased.  The Coroner having read over the depositions given at the Inquest on the body of the other man; Samuel Harris, a fisherman, deposed to finding the body lying among the rocks on the shore at Clovelly on the previous Saturday.  P.C. Broughton deposed to searching the body, and finding on it a silver watch and chain, a purse containing £10 10s. in gold, and 6s. in silver in another pocket, also a pipe and knife.  The brother, THOMAS DAVIE, stated that the deceased was one of the crew that went out to pilot in the ship Elm.  He identified the pipe as belonging to deceased.  The Jury returned a verdict that deceased was Accidentally Drowned through the upsetting of a boat.

Thursday 14 March 1889

EXETER - Suicide By Shooting At Exeter. - On Friday Mr Deputy Coroner Gould held an Inquest on the body of JEFFRY GOODRIDGE COLE, aged 28, a commercial traveller, who committed suicide by shooting himself at his residence,  Ebrington Road, St. Thomas, on Wednesday afternoon.  The evidence showed that the deceased had got into difficulties, and this weighed considerably on his mind.  On Tuesday night he was left alone in his house, and on Wednesday afternoon P.S. Egan went to the house with a warrant for deceased's arrest for forging and uttering three promissory notes of £50 each on the Tiverton Branch of the Devon and Cornwall Bank.  He was unable to obtain an answer to his knocks, and thinking the deceased was inside as the door was unlocked, but bolted on the inside, the procured a ladder and entered the house by one of the windows.  In deceased's bedroom he found his clothes, boots, socks &c., and the bed was quite warm.  Deceased was not, however, in the room, and the officer proceeded to search other parts of the house.  On arriving at one of the rooms he found the door to be locked on the inside, and getting no answer to his knocks, he looked in through a chink in the door and saw the deceased lying on the floor in a pool of blood  He then called another constable, whom he requested to enter the room by the window with the aid of a ladder, and on this being done it was found that deceased was dead, and that there was a revolver lying near with a discharged cartridge in it.  Dr Vlieland was sent for, and on examining the body he found a small wound in the mouth leading towards the skull, and this would be caused with a bullet.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 21 March 1889

TAVISTOCK - At an Inquest at Whitchurch, near Tavistock, on Monday, it was shewn that a pensioner from the Royal Artillery, named MINTO, a man of eccentric habits, starved himself to death.

Thursday 28 March 1889

TORQUAY - At a protracted Inquest on the body of THOMAS CARTER TOMKING, fifty-six, retired auctioneer, at Torquay, on Friday, some curious disclosures were made on the production of some writing, in which he expressed his determination to die "a classic death."  A verdict of "Suicide by Chloral during Temporary Insanity" was returned, a rider being added as to the sale of poisons.

Thursday 4 April 1889

PARRACOMBE - The Suicide of MR RICHARD GAMMIN, of Parracombe.  Recovery Of the Body.  - On the 13th of March MR RICHARD GAMMIN, of Rowley Barton, Parracombe, disappeared under circumstances which led to the general belief that he had committed suicide by drowning himself in Pinkerry Pond.  As for a fortnight the body remained undiscovered, it was hoped by MR GAMMIN'S friends that the missing gentleman was still alive.  The discovery of the body on Thursday last, however, showed that the worst suspicions had been only too well founded.  The affair caused quite a sensation throughout the district, and as several stories concerning it are in circulation we append a recapitulation of the facts.

MR RICHARD GAMMIN was one of the largest farmers in North Devon and was well known and respected.  He was of a very excitable temperament, and on Wednesday, March 13th, an event which irritated him considerably, occurred.  Early in the afternoon he went to the village to seek an explanation.  This was not satisfactory to him and he became greatly excited, expressing his determination to drown himself in Pinkerry Pond.  Soon afterwards he rode away towards Rowley  Instead of going home, however, he rode direct to Pinkerry Pond, where, about an hour afterwards, Mr Little (a shepherd) discovered the pony.  Lying in various places was his coat, vest, hat and collar, evidently thrown off as the deceased walked from the pony to the water.  The family were at once communicated with, and search was at once made.  The search was resumed on the following morning.  A boat was procured from Lynmouth and under the guidance of Captain J. Crocombe, of the Life Boat, the pond was dragged.  This was continued on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  On Monday, Mr Binding, a professional driver of Cardiff, commenced operations and on Tuesday and Wednesday, bottles of dynamite were exploded under the water in the hope of raising the body.  Efforts were also made to draw out the plug in the bottom of the pond, but as the ring at the top was dislodged this work was given up in despair.  On Saturday 23rd Mr Bob Jones, of the firm of Jones Bros., of Lynton, visited the spot.  Mr Jones's operations resulted in the forcing of the plug and the emptying of the pond, and early on Thursday morning the body of the deceased was discovered in the mud at the bottom of the pond by Mr Kingdon, of Driver's Farm.  Appended are some particulars of Messrs. Jones' successful work:-

Pinkerry Pond, on the border of Somerset, lies in a dreary and lonesome locality surrounded by boggy land.  when nearly empty it was a black dismal gorge some 900 feet in length, 150 feet in width and 40 feet in its deepest part.  At the time the pond was constructed it was intended that it should be emptied by the removal of two 12 inch wooden plugs, which were inserted into iron pipes, one above the other, set in the masonry of a short culvert.  This culvert is about 25 feet long, 3 feet 6 inches high and 2 feet 4 inches wide, and is continued by means of a tunnel 170 feet in length, 4 feet 6 inches in height and 2 feet 6 inches in width, cut through the solid rock.  The crookedness of this tunnel added greatly to the difficulty of forcing the plugs.  After the pond was completed and filled, the late Squire Knight attempted to draw one of the plugs by means of chains which had been attached to it for that purpose, but evidently he had not calculated on the enormous pressure of water against the plug, for the strong iron chain broke in the attempt to withdraw it.  Money was then offered, it is said, to the amount of £100 to any who would remove the plug and empty the pond, which up to last week was thought to be practically impossible.  After the trial and failure of a variety of schemes even to the employment of a professional diver, Messrs. Jones Bros., of Lynton, were consulted.  Mr B. Jones on Saturday went for the first time to the pond and gave directions to have the tunnel cleared of the mud and slush which had accumulated since the construction of the pond.  Later in the day he managed to get up the tunnel as far as the brick culvert and by means of pointed rods probed for and found the plugs.  He then undertook to force the plug out found it quite as difficult as he had expected, as it was necessary to get a strong spar at least 23 feet up against the plug and nothing could be got up longer than 9 feet owing to the crookedness of the tunnel.  This difficulty was got over by joining together three six inch case iron pipes in the tunnel; one end of these was placed against the plug and the head of a 10 ton hydraulic jack and other machinery fixed at the other end.  The foot of the jack was placed against a short baulk of timber notched in the rock at each side of the tunnel.  The machinery was worked by means of lines, chains and wire ropes from the mouth of the tunnel 200 feet away from the plug.  On Wednesday about 3 o'clock the machinery was set in motion and after about ten minutes work, during which some eight tons of pressure was applied, the plug was forced out when 2000 gallons of water per minute flowed in a muddy stream down the tunnel.  By Thursday morning the pond was sufficiently emptied to expose to view the body of MR GAMMIN, which lay in a part of the pond about 6 feet in depth.  By Friday afternoon the pond was practically empty, and then Messrs. Jones removed their machinery from the tunnel, the pond beginning again to refill.

The body was removed to Simonsbath, where an Inquest was held on Saturday before Dr Monckton, Coroner for West Somerset.  Evidence was given by Dr Berry (the deceased's medical attendant), Mr A. Kingdon, of Driver Farm, P.C. Blacker, of Exford and Mr George Court, junr. (who last saw the deceased alive), and the Jury (of which Mr Bryant was foreman) returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased committed suicide while in a state of Temporary Insanity.  The funeral took place on Tuesday, the mortal remains being interred in the family vault at Parracombe, in presence of a large concourse of relatives and friends.  The breast plate on the coffin bore the inscription - "RICHARD GAMMIN; died March 13th, 1889 aged 48 years."  The greatest sympathy is felt for the family in their sad bereavement.  In the pocket of the deceased was found the sum of £12 15s., together with a number of keys.  MR GAMMIN was (says a correspondent) of slight build, but very strong, and in years gone by he excelled in all manly exercises.  Lithe and active, he was conspicuous in the cricket field, while in the barn amongst the sheep shearing he had few equals.  In his turn he held most of the parish offices; of late years, however, owing to deafness, he devoted himself more to his own business as a farmer.  He held land under various owners amounting to about 1,000 acres, and although he did not go in for prize or pedigree animals, he had a splendid lot of stock of the "rent-paying" description.

SOUTHMOLTON - Coroner's Inquest. - On Monday evening last, Thomas Sanders, Esq., F.R.C.S., Borough Coroner, held an Inquest touching the death of ELIZA HARRIS.  Mr John Mills was chosen foreman of the Jury.  After viewing the body the first witness called was WILLIAM HARRIS, labourer, son of the deceased, who said his mother was 76 years of age.  He last saw her alive on Saturday evening, when she was apparently in her usual health, and was washing Mr Poole's doorstep.  She had complained to him about pains in her left side but she had been in her usual spirits.  He did not see her again alive.  Henry Vanstone came to his house in North-street on Sunday afternoon, about four o'clock and said his mother was dead, and he at once went to her residence in Bidder's Court, in Barnstaple-street.  Henry Vanstone, carpenter, living two doors from deceased, said he saw her about 8 o'clock on Sunday morning fetch a pitcher of water from the tap in the court, when she appeared to be in her usual health.  He did not see her again until the afternoon, when Mrs Vernon, a neighbour, came to his house and said she was afraid there was something amiss with "granny" (the deceased), to which he replied that he saw her that morning.  He thereupon obtained a ladder and looked in at her bedroom window and saw her lying on her left side with her face towards the window, her left hand was very dark and he could see that she was dead.  He then went for her son the last witness, and sent Mr Vernon for P.S. Leyman and Dr Furse.  He broke open the back door of the house in which deceased lived, in the presence of the sergeant and the deceased's son.  The deceased was in the habit of locking her door when she was in her house, and was otherwise somewhat eccentric in her habits.  P.S. Leyman said that about 4 o'clock on Sunday afternoon he received information of deceased's death from Mr William Vernon, and immediately proceeded to her residence, and found both the front and back doors locked.  The back door was broken open by the last witness in his presence, and on going upstairs he found deceased in bed lying on her left side dead, as described by the previous witness.  He carefully examined the room but could discover nothing that would lead to the suspicion that anything like foul play had taken place.  He remained there until the arrival of the doctor.  Edwin Furse, Esq., M.R.C.S., said he had known the deceased for many years, but had not attended her professionally for some months past.  He was informed yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, about 4 o'clock, that she had been found dead in her bed, and on proceeding to her house he found her dead, as described by the previous witnesses.  Her upper limbs were much discoloured and rigor mortis had commenced; he considered she had then been dead 5 or 6 hours.  There were no marks of violence on her body, and from her general appearance he was of opinion that death resulted from natural causes, most probably from heart disease, but without a post mortem he could not of course say definitely.  This concluded the evidence, and the Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony, that deceased died from "Natural Causes."

Thursday 18 April 1889

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Fatal Accident. - On Friday morning an Inquest was held at the Mermaid Inn, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of WM. BRAUND, aged 46, who was accidentally killed on the previous day while at work in Messrs. Smyth Bros. extensive tanner, Rackfield.  Mr J. Cummings was chosen foreman of the Jury.  In addition to viewing the body, the Jury visited the portion of the works where the accident occurred.  The first witness called was John Joce, who said he was the foreman of Messrs. Smyths' tan-yard.  The deceased had worked for Messrs. Smyth for many years.  On Thursday morning the deceased was engaged in working a "striker" machine, located in one of the lofts.  About a quarter to one witness passed through the loft, and he then saw that BRAUND was sweeping the floor, having finished for awhile the machine he had been using.  He spoke to him with reference to the work he had been doing.  At this time the deceased's machine was not in motion.  He went downstairs, and as he passed underneath where the deceased was he heard the sound of sweeping.  Before he got to the end of the loft, however, he heard something unusual - a loud knocking.  He immediately rushed upstairs, and he saw that the deceased was being carried round by the driving shaft.  He was lying on the shaft, his head being about three feet from the pulley.  Witness at once saw that an arm and a leg was smashed.  The belt was wound tightly round BRAUND.  The engine was stopped at once.  The belt was untwined, but the deceased's clothes were so tightly wound round the shaft that they had to be cut before BRAUND could be released.  BRAUND, who was terribly injured and quite unconscious, was removed to his house (situated close by), where he expired within an hour. Mr Ware, surgeon, was soon in attendance.  The deceased had worked the same machine ever since witness came to Barnstaple about eight years ago.  Robert Popham deposed that he worked in the loft underneath the one in which the deceased was engaged when the accident happened.  He saw the deceased three or four minutes before the accident happened.  BRAUND then called out that he had finished, thereby indicating that the engine should be slackened a little.  The engine drove several machines.  Soon afterwards he heard some knocking, but he did not think it was anything unusual.  Then someone called out to him to stop the engine.  He accordingly stopped it and ran upstairs, arriving on the scene just after the last witness.  There was no one else working in the loft in which the deceased was engaged.  He helped the release BRAUND from the shaft.  One of the legs of the deceased was between the spokes of the pulley.  While he was downstairs he did not hear any one cry out or scream.  Henry Shaddick said that at the time the accident occurred he was working in a loft about 14 yards from the deceased's machine.  He heard something bumping, followed by a sound which he subsequently found was caused by falling plaster.  He at once ran into the loft and saw the deceased on the shaft.  He called out to Popham, telling him to stop the engine.  He was so frightened that he was unable to assist in releasing the deceased.  Mr Wm. Smyth, of the firm of Messrs. Smyth Bros., said the deceased had been in his employ for 13 or 14 years.  During the whole of that time had had charge of the machine which he worked on the preceding day. The deceased was a very steady man; he had been a teetotaller for years.  Just before one o'clock on Thursday witness was at the bank when he was informed by one of his clerks that there had been a frightful accident at the works.  He at once ran to the Tannery.  He found that the deceased had been removed to his house.  The shaft upon which the deceased was found was six feet from the ground.  It was supposed that while the deceased was hanging up a belt which he had removed from the pulley after completing his work he slipped and was caught in the pulley.  There was no necessity for the belt being hung up in this way; indeed, witness did not know until after the accident the existence of the nail (situated a couple of feet above the shaft) to which the deceased had hung the belt when it was not required.  The deceased stood on a trestle, as it was supposed, in order to reach the nail.  Mr J. W. L. Ware, surgeon, stated that he was called to see the deceased just before one o'clock.  He found BRAUND in a state of extreme collapse and quite unconscious.  ~There was a compound fracture of the left arm near the shoulder; the left knee was dislocated, and there was a compound fracture of the right leg just above the right ankle.  there was a bruise over the left hip joint.  These were all the injuries apparent.  There might have been some internal injuries.  BRAUND died within an hour after witness's arrival; he (Mr Ware) was present at the time.  The poor fellow never recovered consciousness.  The Coroner briefly summed up the evidence, and the Jury at once returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," expressing their opinion that no blame whatever attached to anyone in connection with the matter.  The Jurymen decided to give their fees to the widow.  The deceased, who was a prominent member of the local corps of the Salvation Army and was much respected, leaves twelve children. 

The funeral of the deceased took place on Sunday, the mortal remains being interred in the Cemetery in the presence of some thousands of persons.  The deceased was for several years a member of the salvation Army, while he was the "standard bearer" of the local Corps.  The funeral procession was headed by the Salvation Army banner, carried by Mr Hill, the brass band of the local Corps immediately following.  Several hundred persons, connected with the Salvation Army and the Mission conducted by Mr Lear, joined in the procession, as did also the fellow employees of the deceased and the men engaged at Messrs. Smyth's tanner at Swymbridge.  The members of the Army present wore on their right arm a white band bearing the letter "S."  The coffin was covered with wreaths and many of those who took part in the procession carried floral tributes.  The streets through which the cortege passed were lined with spectators, while some time prior to the arrival of the procession at the Cemetery many hundreds of persons had assembled there.  Mr W. Smyth was present at the Cemetery.  The funeral service was conducted by Major Roberts (Exeter) and Capt. Etherington, who, together with Mr Luxton (a fellow workman of deceased) and Mr Lear, delivered short addresses.  "Rock of Ages" and other hymns were sung.  The poor widow was quite overcome at the grave, and she was conveyed to her home in a carriage kindly lent by Mr T. Mullins  On Sunday evening a funeral service was held at the Salvation Army Barracks.  The undertaker was Mr J. D. Thomas, of Pilton.  A subscription list has been opened with a view to rendering the widow and family pecuniary assistance.

HARTLAND - Fatal Accident At Hartland. - On Tuesday an Inquest was held at Hartland, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., one of the Coroners for the County, on the body of MRS EMILY SHAPLAND, wife of MR HENRY SHAPLAND, one of the senior partners in the firm of Messrs. Shapland and Petter, of the bridge Wharf Cabinet Works, Barnstaple.  The circumstances attending the death of MRS SHAPLAND appear in the following report of the evidence given at the Inquest.

The first witness called was MR WM. HENRY SHAPLAND, who deposed that the deceased was the second wife of his father, MR HENRY SHAPLAND.  ~ She was about 56 years of age.  She had been staying at Hartland for a month for the benefit of her health.  Mr Wm. Sellick, of Hartland, deposed that the deceased, who was his niece, arrived at Hartland at the end of March on a visit to her mother.  On Tuesday afternoon in last week MRS SHAPLAND proposed a drive, and accordingly a waggonette was hired of Mr Colwill.  In addition to MRS SHAPLAND, there were in the vehicle witness, his wife, his youngest son (aged 11), and he driver.  Witness sat by the side of the driver.  They drove to Hartland Point, the horse going very steadily.  When near Down House on the return journey, and when the horse was walking on level ground, witness heard a snap, and immediately afterwards the horse began to kick.  Before it had gone many feet the horse fell.  The vehicle was turned over, and witness was precipitated into the roadway.  When he recovered consciousness he found he was holding the head of the horse as it lay on its side on the ground.  He saw MRS SHAPLAND lying on the ground with her feet between the wheels.  He left the horse and endeavoured to release her, but was unable to do so.  He sent the driver to Down House for assistance.  On returning to the horse, which was struggling, he was thrown violently into the hedge.  When he recovered he found that someone had removed MRS SHAPLAND from the perilous position she occupied and was supporting her.  The ladies were conveyed to Down House, where the whole party remained for some time.  They ultimately returned to Hartland.  Dr Newcombe, who was at Bideford, was telegraphed for.  MRS SHAPLAND refused to see a doctor that evening, saying that she should be better in the morning.  Witness was much shaken in the accident and had been in bed several days since.  His wife was still very ill.  Dr Newcombe attended MRS SHAPLAND, who died on Sunday night just before 8 o'clock.  John Baglow said he entered Mr Colwill's service the day before the accident.  He was driving the waggonette at the time the accident occurred.  Near Down House he heard something snap, the shaft immediately falling.  The horse ran a short distance and then the waggonette turned over.  As stated by the last witness, he went to Down House for assistance.  When he returned he found Mr Jefferies, jun., on the spot.  With the assistance of this gentleman he raised the vehicle and released MRS SHAPLAND.  Shortly afterwards Mr and Miss Jefferies arrived on the scene.  He did not know at the time what caused the accident, but he had since learnt that the breaking of a bolt led to the occurrence.  Mr Thomas Colwill, of Hartland, said he was a carriage proprietor.  He believed the waggonette used on the day in question to be sound and in good condition.  Mr Sellick and his party had used it several times.  He had had the horse for several years, and knew that it was a quiet animal.  He assisted to take the party from Down House to Hartland.  On examining the waggonette he found that the shaft was not broken.  The cause of the accident was evidently the breaking of the bolt which connected the shaft with the carriage.  The portion of the bolt now produced was picked up in the roadway near the scene of the accident.  Dr J. K. Newcombe, of Hartland, deposed that while at Bideford on Tuesday he received a telegram, in consequence of which he at once returned to Hartland, which he reached about nine o'clock.  He did not see the deceased that evening, as she had gone to bed, but he saw Mrs Sellick and attended to her injuries.  On the following morning, before he was dressed, he was sent for to attend MRS SHAPLAND. He found MRS SHAPLAND in bed and perfectly insensible, in which condition she remained up to the time of her death.  On Wednesday morning she had convulsions.  At the request of the family, Mr J. Harper, surgeon, saw the deceased once during her illness. Witness saw her on Sunday afternoon, and then felt that there was no chance of her recovery.  The actual cause of death was concussion with compression of the brain, the result of the accident.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

Thursday 25 April 1889

HOLSWORTHY - Fatal Accident At Holsworthy. - A shocking accident occurred on the London and South-Western Railway at Holsworthy on Saturday afternoon.  It appears that a girl named BESSIE COOMBES, aged 12, and the daughter of a signalman engaged on the railway, was sent to the coal stores adjoining the station to order some coal.  She was seen leaning against the outside of the stores, but shortly afterwards was missed.  Some shunting was going on at the time, and one of the porters engaged in the work, noticing that one of the trucks bumped, ran to see what was the matter.  He found the body of the girl on the line, with the head crushed and completely severed from the trunk.  It is conjectured that the deceased attempted to cross the line and was knocked down.  At the Inquest a verdict of Accidental Death was returned.

Thursday 9 May 1889

EXETER - A Woman Burnt to Death At Exeter. - A shocking discovery was made at Exeter on Sunday evening shortly after six o'clock. No. 11, Kings-street is in one of the least reputable parts of the city, is let out in flats, and a stuffy room in the house was rented by SUSAN BACK, aged about 70 years, who got her living by hawking, and on Saturdays sold cheese in the market.  She retired to her room late on Saturday night.  A smell of fire was noticed by a person living on the same flat (third storey) on Sunday evening, and upon the door being opened a shocking sight presented itself.  The old woman was lying dead on the floor with her legs under the bed and her head under a chair, which stood beneath a small window, the only means of lighting and ventilating the room.  The lower half of her body was burnt to a cinder.  Straw was smouldering on a small bed-frame, and the walls, ceiling and floor were blackened and the window glass made tawny by the heat and smoke.  A few coppers, beer and spirit bottles, the remains of an old-fashioned cloak, a tawdry picture, a piece of mirror, a small glass spirit lamp and kettle made up the "furniture" of the room.  The police theory is that, in attempting to boil a little water by the aid of the spirit lamp, the bed was set on fire and that the woman was quickly suffocated.  One flat occupier thinks she heard the old woman scream about three o'clock in the morning, but another says she called her at nine o'clock and fancied she got an answer.  The room is about six feet wide, by eight feet long, and seven feet high.  It is an extra-ordinary thing that the fire, which must have been smouldering many hours, was not smelt in the house before Police Sergeant Sullock ran down the fire escape and the body was carried down the narrow rickety stairs in the jumping sheet and taken to the mortuary, where it awaits an Inquest.  Chief Constable Le Messieur, Superintendent Pett and the municipal fire brigade were in attendance, but the smouldering heap of fragments was quenched by means of buckets of water.

Thursday 16 May 1889

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest - The Insurance Of Children. -  On Tuesday evening an Inquest was held at the Globe Inn, Queen-street, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., the Borough Coroner, on the body of a girl, aged one year and ten months, daughter of WILLIAM HENRY SPURWAY, basket maker, of Aze's-lane.  Mr E. Gurnsey was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The father of the child said the deceased was always delicate and suffered a good deal from bronchitis.  On Sunday night the child was seized on the chest, and his wife applied poultices and oil, as she had done on previous occasions.  They did not send for a medical man.  The child was much better on Monday.  On Tuesday morning, however, between five and six o'clock, when he got up to go to work, the girl appeared to be worse, and when he returned for breakfast he found that the child was dead.  The child had been insured in the Prudential Office for 18 months.  The premium was a penny per week, and on the child's death he (witness) became entitled to £3.  His other child was also insured.  Mary Jane Chapple, a neighbour, said he child had been delicate from its birth. About eight o'clock that morning she called at MR SPURWAY'S house to ask how the child was, and MRS SPURWAY asked her to fetch a doctor.  She went for Mr J. W. Cooke, and when she returned in five minutes the child was dead.  She frequently visited the house, and could say that the child was always very kindly treated and well attended to.  Mr J. W. Cooke, surgeon, said he arrived at the house just after the death of the child.  the girl was thin and delicate, and frequently suffered from bronchitis.  He attended her for that complaint about three months ago.  There were no indications of the child having died from other than natural causes, and he thought it very probable that bronchitis was the cause of death.  The Coroner, in summing up, commented on what he termed the pernicious system of insuring the lives of children, adding, however, that there was no imputation of motive in this case.  Still, he felt sure that in many it was a great peril to children that their lives should be insured, and he hoped that ere long the Legislature would pass a law dealing with the matter.  The remarks of the coroner were endorsed by one of the Jurors.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 23 May 1889

BARNSTAPLE - Alleged Child Murder at Barnstaple. Drowned In A Bath.  The Mother Committed For Trial.  -  A sad and most distressing occurrence took place at Barnstaple on Thursday morning last.  The infant child of the daughter of a well-known and highly respected tradesman was found dead in a bath under circumstances which led to the belief that it had been drowned by its mother.  About ten years since ADA, the eldest daughter of MR JOHN PULSFORD, statuary and monumental mason, left England for the Cape, where she was subsequently married to MR FREDERICK SMYTH, coachbuilder, the eldest son of Mr Zachariah Smyth, of Barnstaple.  On Sunday, the 5th instant, she arrived in England, being accompanied by her only child - FREDK. PULSFORD SMYTH, aged six months.  She was met at Southampton by her father, and journeyed the same day to Barnstaple.  She took up her residence at her father's house in Ebberly Terrace, Bear Street.  MRS SMYTH was in an unsatisfactory state of health, and on the Friday following her arrival she was visited in a professional capacity by Mr J. W. Cooke, surgeon.  She complained of sleeplessness and was low-spirited and despondent.  Mr Cooke recommended that she should be relived of the care of the child at night in order that she might secure rest, and accordingly Mrs Zachariah Smyth and a nurse named Mrs Norman took charge of the infant on alternate nights.  Owing to some misunderstanding, neither was in attendance on Wednesday night.  Another of Mr Pulsford's daughters asked that she might assume the duty, but MRS SMYTH, who appeared much brighter, wished to take charge of the child herself, and it was accordingly let with her.  Just before six o'clock on Thursday morning, MRS SMYTH knocked at the door of her father's bedroom, and on entering the room she told Mr Pulsford that FREDDIE was sleeping and was "so quiet."  she was fully dressed at this time.  Asked how it was she was not in bed she said she could not sleep.  In answer to a question as to where the child was MRS SMYTH replied "He is asleep and at rest; he is in Heaven."  Another hurried query elicited the fact that the child was in the bath and had been there about an hour.  Mr Pulsford rushed to the bathroom, and was horrified to find that his grandson was lying quite dead in fifteen inches of water.  Mr Harper, surgeon, was on the spot in a quarter of an hour, and soon afterwards the circumstances were reported to the police.  When seen during the morning by Inspector Eddy, MRS SMYTH did not realise what she had done; she seemed to think that the child was asleep, as she asked her sister and nurse to wake it as it now required food.  She was charged by the Inspector with murdering her baby, and she replied "If I have I hope god will forgive me.  I know God is merciful, and I do not think he would allow me to do such a thing."  The medical testimony given before the Coroner and the Magistrates left no doubt whatever as to the state of mind of the unfortunate mother, for whose relatives the keenest sympathy is felt throughout the town and neighbourhood.

The Inquest on the body of the child was held on Thursday afternoon, when (as will be seen from the appended report) the melancholy facts were given in evidence by several witnesses.  The Jury, which was composed of tradesmen, were closeted together for three hours, but were unable to agree to a verdict.  Under these circumstances the Coroner was unable to discharge them, and was obliged to adjourn the court to the next Assizes, when the presiding Judge will deal with the matter.  The Jurymen will have to journey to Exeter at their own expense.  It has transpired that six of the Jurors were in favour of returning a verdict of "Misadventure," and that the remaining six desired a verdict of "Found Dead in a Bath."

MRS SMYTH was brought before the Borough Magistrates on Friday, on a charge of murdering the child.  The prisoner, who, it was stated, was passionately fond of the infant, was painfully distressed, and appeared at times to feel her position acutely.  When formally charged she said in a low voice, broken with sobs, "It's a horrible dream, I am not guilty."  She was committed for trial at the next Assizes.  Bail to any amount was offered, but - to the great surprise of many persons present - the Bench declined to grant the application made by Mr Roberts.  MRS SMYTH was conveyed to Exeter by the three p.m. train.  The funeral of the child took place on Saturday, the mortal remains of the deceased being interred in the Cemetery.  The ceremony was performed by the Rev. W. A. Badger, curate of St. Mary's.

The Inquest. - An Inquest on the body of the deceased was held in the Council Chamber adjoining the Guildhall at four o'clock on Thursday afternoon, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner.  The following gentlemen formed the Jury:  Messrs. W. Allen, Jno. Smyth, H. Goad, S. Channon, G. Pearse, E. Waites, R. Harper, J. Goodacre, C. Hoge, James Smith, H. J. Littleworth, and R. Clarke.  Mr Allen was chosen foreman of the Jury.  Mr W. A. Roberts, solicitor appeared on behalf of Mr Pulsford and family.

In opening the proceedings the Coroner said the Jury had been called together for the purpose of Inquiring into a case the details of which were of a distressing and dreadful nature.  The deceased was a young child, who seemed to have lost its life through the action of its mother.  He would not further enter into the matter, as he should have to address them with regard to their duty at a later stage.  The first duty of the Jury would be to view the body.  The Jury then proceeded to Mr Pulsford's residence in Bear-street, where they saw the body of the deceased and inspected the bath in which the child was found.  On their return Mr John Pulsford, who was very much affected while giving his evidence, was called.  He said:  The deceased was the son of my daughter ADA, who is the wife of MR FREDERICK SMYTH, coachbuilder, of Cape Town.  My daughter had been married eight or nine years, and during the whole of the time she had resided at the Cape - at least, up to a few weeks ago.  She returned to England on Sunday, the 5th of May.  I met her at Southampton, and she accompanied me to Barnstaple the same day.  Since that time she has resided with me.  The deceased was a little over six months old, and was her only child.  This morning, a few minutes before six o'clock, I heard a knock at my bedroom door.  I asked who was there, but received no answer.  There was another knock, and I said "Come in."  My daughter ADA then walked in very quietly.  I said, "Oh, ADA, how is it you are out?"  She replied, "FREDDIE is at rest; he is asleep and so quiet."  I asked her how it was she was not in bed, and she replied that she could not sleep. I asked where the child was, and she said, "He is asleep; he is at rest; he is in heaven."  I jumped out of bed and asked where the child was.  She said, "In the bath."  While I was hurriedly putting on some clothing I asked how long the child had been there, and she answered, "About an hour."  I rushed to the bathroom; there were fifteen inches of water in the bath, and the deceased was lying at the bottom.  The child was in its night dress, and was quite dead.  The water was quite cold.  I at once took out the child, and told one of my other daughters to take off the night dress while I ran for a doctor.  I first called at Dr Jackson's house.  Mr Jackson was not at home, however, and I then ran to Mr Harper's house.  Within twenty minutes of the time I found the child Mr Harper was in attendance.  MRS SMYTH returned to her bedroom, and evidently seemed to think the child was asleep.  Her mind was wandering, and she frequently said it was time she should go and feed the child.  It was fed by means of a bottle.  My daughter had told me some days previously that when at the Cape she was in the habit of giving the child a warm bath early every morning, after which she fed it and put it to bed again.  She said she had been unable to do this during the voyage home, and added that when the child recovered from the cold from which it was suffering she should resume the practice.  Before my daughter came to my room I did not hear any noise this morning.  She had passed many sleepless nights, and there was not the slightest doubt that her mind was wandering and that she did not know at all what she was doing.  When she came to my room she was fully dressed; her night dress was wet, showing that what she did was done while she was wearing it.  She evidently thought she had put the child to sleep, and she then dressed and came to tell me of it.  - By a Juror:  The bath was quite empty on Wednesday night.  She said she turned on the water for the purpose of giving him a bath, and added that she could not get warm water from either of the taps.

By Mr Roberts:  My daughter was dotingly fond of her child.  She was engaged on Wednesday night in making articles of clothing for the child.  She could not bear him out of her sight.  She came home for the benefit of her health.  I have reason to believe she suffered severely in confinement.  this was her first and only child.

Mr Joseph Harper, surgeon, was next called.  He said:  Shortly after six o'clock this morning Mr Pulsford called me. I arrived at his house at a quarter past six.  I did not wait to properly dress before proceeding to Mr Pulsford's house.  I found the body of a child lying on a bed in a room near the bath-room.  The body was perfectly cold; the eyelids were closed and froth was coming from the nostrils.  Underneath the eyelids the pupils were dilated.  The child had been dead quite an hour.  There were no marks of external violence at all.  I tried artificial respiration, but it was of no avail.  The appearances were those presented by death by drowning.  I gave directions that the mother should be watched, and sent for Mr Cooke, who had been attending her.  I had never attended the mother, and had never before seen the child.

Mr Roberts then said he desired that the evidence of Mr J. W. Cooke, surgeon, might be taken.  Mr Cooke had attended MRS SMYTH, and he thought he should be called.  He thought it was usual that the medical attendant should be heard.  The Coroner said that if Mr Cooke's evidence dealt simply with the state of MRS SMYTH'S mind it did not properly come within the province of this Court.  It was laid down by an undeniable authority - Jervis's "law upon Coroners" - that the question whether compos mentis or not was for the Jury upon the trial to decide; it was not within the province of the Coroner's Jury, except in case of suicide.  He was, therefore, prepared to rule that if Mr Cooke's evidence simply dealt with the state of MRS SMYTH'S mind it was not admissible.  Of course, such evidence would be very material in another place.

Mr Roberts then formally applied, on behalf of the family, that Mr Cooke's evidence might be taken.  Several Jurors said they wished to hear the evidence.  The Coroner said he had told them the law; he always, however, desired to concede to the wishes of the Jury, and he therefore would allow the evidence to be taken.  The Foreman remarked that he did not see how the Jury could arrive at a conclusion without hearing Mr Cooke's evidence.

Mr James Wood Cooke, surgeon, deposed:  I have seen MRS SMYTH on three occasions during the last six days, when I have attended her professionally.  I saw her yesterday, and on alternate days previously.  She has not been well for a considerable time - I should think not for two or three months before she left the Cape.  To a great extent she came to England for the benefit of her health.  She was in very low spirits.  I was sent for because she was unable to sleep at night and was restless and peculiar in many ways.  She was suffering from melancholia.  I requested that the child should be taken away at night and placed in the hands of a nurse, so that she might not be disturbed.  I did not ask that this might be done from any fear that anything serious would happen to the child.  This plan was carried out until last night, when, unfortunately, owing to some mistake, the nurse did not attend.  Miss Pulsford wanted to take the child, but MRS SMYTH did not want to give her trouble and took it herself.  MRS SMYTH was, when I last saw her, perfectly rational so far as conversation was concerned, but appeared to be in a low, despondent condition.  She remarked to me that she should never go back to Africa again because she suffered so much on the way home.  She said she would rather die than go back.  This was the only remark of this description she made to me.  I saw her this morning, and she was then quite insane.  She did not at that time realise what she had done; she seemed to think she had done her duty for the benefit of the child.  she could not bear to be separated from the child.  She had got the idea into her head that she was going to be sent to an asylum and she seemed to think the child would be better and spared a great deal of trouble if it was out of the world.  I heard her say, "He is gone to Jesus and happy.,  I have not done anything wrong, have I?"  MRS SMYTH is a well-educated and accomplished woman.  Before her child was born she was out of doors a lot, and she told me that staying indoors had affected her health.

Inspector Eddy deposed: About eight o'clock Mr Pulsford came to my house, and I accompanied him to his residence. He took me to the bathroom.  I found there was a foot or a little more of water in the bath.  In the water I saw some child's clothing.  I then went into an adjoining bedroom, where I saw the body of the child.  I was subsequently taken to MRS SMYTH'S bedroom by Miss Lily Pulsford.  Mary Norman, the nurse, was with MRS SMYTH.  MRS SMYTH said, "I haven't killed my baby, have I?"  I made no answer and she said, "No, I know I haven't," adding "Go and wake him, Lily."  She appeared very much distressed and disturbed, and I did not say anything, but sat down.  When she appeared more reconciled her sister left the room.  I was in uniform.  MRS SMYTH then asked me what I was waiting for, and I replied, "I am very sorry to say I have a very serious charge to make against you.  Before charging you I caution you to be careful what answer you make, as it may be given against you at your trial."  I then said, "You are charged with the wilful murder of your child, FREDERICK SMYTH."  She replied, "If I have, I hope God will forgive me.  I know God is merciful, and I cannot think He allowed me to do such a thing."  She kept on repeating, "It's all a dream."  I remained with her until about twelve o'clock.  I heard her say that the child had a bad cough and could not sleep for several nights, and that she had put it to sleep with Jesus.  - By a Juror:  The actions of MRS SMYTH while I was present were those of a lunatic.

The Coroner remarked that the Jury were going a little astray.  Their Inquiry was not into the state of MRS SMYTH'S mind - there could not be much doubt about that.  If they were the persons to decide this matter he should advise them at once to say that she was not responsible for her actions.  But they  were not there to decide or consider the question, and any expression of their opinion on that subject would be utterly useless.  Mr Jno. Smyth asked what the Jury were there for; and the Coroner said they were there to say what was the cause of death.  If they found that the child came to its death by its mother's hand that was in the eyes of the law murder.

There was a warm passage of arms between Mr Roberts and the Coroner, and then Mr Roberts (who was informed by the Coroner that he must confine his remarks to the cause of death) addressed the Jury.  He said the verdict of the Jury might take various forms; it might be murder, manslaughter, or misadventure.  It was not at all necessary that he should dilate on the extreme sadness of the case.  here was a highly respectable, well-educated woman, who came home from the Cape of Good Hope with a child to whom she was passionately attached.  She was suffering from a species of melancholia of such a character as to necessitate her medical adviser ordering that her child should not be left with her at night, so that she might get rest.  For the first time for nearly a week the child was left with her on Wednesday night.  Her habit of her own home was to give the child a bath in the early morning; and what more natural that when she had her child again that she should resume the practice?  In pursuance of this idea she attempted to give the child a bath.  She was now under the impression that the child was sleeping, and he would earnestly put it to the Jury whether the case was not one of misadventure.

The Coroner, in summing up, reviewed the evidence, and said it was purely for the Jury to decide whether the death arose from misadventure or otherwise.  He was bound to advise them, however, that they had no right to inquire into the state of mind of MRS SMYTH; that was entirely a matter for another tribunal.  He pointed out to the Jury the absence from the evidence of any suggestion of misadventure.  There was no suggestion in the evidence that the mother let the child fall out of her hands or inadvertently allowed it to remain in the bath too long.  No one could feel more profound sympathy with the relatives than he did.  If the Jury found that this was a case of death by misadventure he should be surprised, but pleased as surprised, to record such a verdict.  The matter was entirely in the hands of the Jury, although, as he had said, it was not for them to decide what was the state of mind of MRS SMYTH. 

The Court was then cleared in order that the Jury might consider their verdict.  The Coroner remained with the Jury.  It was at this time about ten minutes past six, and it was not until three hours later that the public were again admitted to the Court.

The Coroner then said that the Jury had been deliberating the matter for three hours, but they were unable, he regretted to say, to come to any verdict on the subject.  He therefore adjourned the Inquiry to the next Assizes for the County of Devon, when he should report to the Judge what had taken place.  It would then be for the Judge to deal with the matter.  He (the Coroner) had no power to discharge the Jury, but the Judge possessed the power to do so or to take any other steps.  The Jury would therefore consider the Inquiry adjourned until the next Assizes, of which they would all receive due notice.

The Foreman moved a vote of sympathy and condolence with the bereaved family; and this was unanimously agreed to by the Jury.  It is understood that the Jury were equally divided with regard to the form the verdict should take.  One section desired to return a verdict of "Misadventure," and the other was in favour of a verdict of "Found Drowned in a Bath."  One Juryman voted at the outset for "Murder," but subsequently consented to support the latter verdict.  There was, it is said, a heated discussion between the Coroner and the Jury, the latter questioning the right of Mr Bencraft to remain in the room while they were considering their verdict.  The Coroner contended that he had a perfect right to remain in his own Court.

EXETER - Inquest at Exeter. - Mr Coroner Hooper held an Enquiry at the Exeter Guildhall on Friday, relative to the death of ALBERT EDWARD WEBBER, aged four months, and who died on Monday evening.  The evidence of the mother went to show that she fed it on bread and milk previous to her having a doctor, after which she fed it on milk only.  The child had been ill for some time and it died on Monday evening.  The child was insured in 30s. and she had received the money.  Dr Harris said he attended the child, and death was, in his opinion, due to internal bronchitis, brought on by improper feeding.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  Some discussion took place after the verdict had been returned with regard to the insurance of children.

KINGSNYMPTON - Accidental Death. - J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, yesterday held an Inquest at Lightley Farm, Kingsnympton, on the body of DANIEL PAVEY, aged 57, who died on Monday from injuries received on the 9th instant.  MRS PAVEY deposed that her deceased husband had resided at Lightley Farm for twenty years.  On Thursday she and her husband drove to Mariansleigh in order to see their daughter, who had been recently married.  They returned to their home at ten o'clock, and as the deceased was unharnessing the pony which they had driven, it bolted.  She ran after the pony, and just before she got to Beara Farm she found the cart overturned.  She noticed when she ran after the pony that her husband had fallen down, but she did not stop to look after him, as she knew her daughter was close at hand.  On returning in company with Mr Milton, of Beara, she found her husband in the kitchen insensible.  Dr Tucker was sent for.  Her husband died on Monday evening.  -  CLARA PAVEY, daughter of the deceased, deposed to finding her father lying on the ground in front of the house and to seeing her mother running after the pony.  With the assistance of Robert Harris she carried her father into the house.  She did not believe her father ever recovered full consciousness after the accident.  The pony was rather a spirited animal, but it had never been the cause of an accident before.  Robert Harris, employed on the deceased's farm, gave corroborative evidence.  Dr Tucker, of Chulmleigh, deposed that when he was called in to see the deceased he found him suffering from compression of the brain caused by a fracture of the base of the skull.  The deceased never thoroughly recovered consciousness, but at times he was sufficiently conscious to recognise witness.  There was a wound over the right temple, and the base of the skull was fractured as well.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 30 May 1889

NORTHAM - Drowned In A Well At Northam. - On Tuesday last an Inquest was held at the King's Head, Northam, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of JOHN BRITTON HUTCHINGS, carpenter, aged 47, who had been found drowned in a well.  - WM. HUTCHINGS, mason, son of the deceased, identified the body.  The deceased had for many years worked for Mr Adderly Wren, of Lenwood.  For a considerable time he had been at home ill and unable to work, and had been attended by Dr Pratt.  The last time he saw him alive was about half-past six on the previous evening.  His father was then going out, and in answer to witness said he was going to Bone Hill for a few minutes.  About twenty minutes past seven he was informed that his father had been found drowned in Holy Well.  His mother died about eighteen months ago, and his father had never been the same since.  He also considered that his recent illness affected his father's mind.  - Hannah Braunton, widow, residing at Holy Well cottages, said she knew the deceased very well.  About a quarter to seven on the previous evening he called at her house.  He sat in the passage and talked for a quarter of an hour to a Mr Wilkey.  When he got up to leave he said, "I have to measure the well door, so that the children shall not go in."  About a quarter of an hour afterwards deceased's daughter asked where her father was, and on seeing a hat and a stick by the well Mr Wilkey descended the steps and found MR HUTCHINGS in the well.  She quite thought that when the deceased left he was going to measure the well door.  She heard the deceased ask two little boys if there was a door to the well or not.  Thomas Wilkey, gardener, gave corroborative evidence.  In order to get into the well to look on the deceased he had to creep along on his hands and knees through a passage.  He found the deceased lying face downwards in the well.  Alfred Wm. Champion and Dr Pratt also gave evidence.  The latter said that at the end of January the deceased had an attack of cerebral paralysis.  Deceased's mind was weakened by his illness.  He had noticed that recently HUTCHINGS had been incoherent and disconnected in his speech.  After consultation in private the Jury returned a verdict of "Death by Accidental Drowning."

EXETER - Inquest At Exeter. - Mr W. Gould held an Inquest at Exeter on Friday upon the body of CHARLES BERREY, aged sixty-six, who committed suicide in the Exeter Canal on Wednesday.  After hearing the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst in a state of Temporary Insanity."

EXETER - Death Of An Exeter Butcher. - The adjourned Inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of the late MR WILLIAM CHANNON, butcher, of Bridge-street, Exeter, who died on Friday week from injuries sustained by a blow received at an income tax sale in St Thomas, Exeter, on the 13th inst., was held on Monday morning at the Guildhall, Exeter, by Mr Coroner H. W. Hooper.  Evidence was called showing that flour was thrown by several persons, and that the deceased was struck with some hard substance, but there was no evidence to show who threw the latter.  The Jury, after retiring, returned a verdict that death was Accidental, that the missile which struck the deceased was meant for the auctioneer, and that it accidentally struck the deceased.

NEWTON ABBOT - A Lady named MARION MUIRHEAD, of Bath, aged 77, whilst travelling on Monday afternoon between Teignmouth and Newton Abbot, in company with her niece, died suddenly in the train before medical assistance could be obtained.  On the arrival of the train at Newton the body was removed to await a Coroner's Inquest.

OKEHAMPTON - Singular Case At Okehampton. - On Monday an Inquest was held by Mr W. Burd, Coroner, concerning the death of MRS LEACH, of Germansweek, who died on Saturday night, having become unconscious after the extraction of a tooth by Dr G. Burd on Saturday afternoon.  Mr James Palmer was fore3man of the Jury.  - JOHN LEACH identified the deceased as his wife.  He stated that she had for some time past been subject to violent pains in the head, which caused giddiness and prostration during the attack.  Mr G. V. Burd, surgeon, stated that the deceased came to him on Saturday suffering from neuralgia and desired to have a tooth extracted.  He told her the tooth she pointed out had nothing to do with neuralgia, but she still wished to have it out.  After the operation she washed out her mouth and then swooned away.  Every endeavour was made to bring her round, but at 11.30 p.m. she expired.  Dr E. H. Young, M.D., stated that he was called to see the deceased, whom he found in an unconscious condition.  His opinion was that death did not ensue from anything connected with the extraction of the tooth, but was most probably due to the breaking of a blood vessel at the base of the brain.  The Coroner summed up, and the Jury in their verdict found that the death of the deceased was due to apoplexy.

EXETER - Death Of A Major From Burns At Exeter. - At the new Police-court, Exeter, on Saturday, Mr Coroner Hooper held an Inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of a retired major of the 21st Scotch Fusiliers, named WILLIAM DOMVILLE, aged seventy, who was on a visit to Exeter and who died at the Clarence Hotel on Friday from shock to the system, the result of burns received.  It appeared from the evidence that on the morning of the 10th instant, the deceased was in his bedroom at the Clarence Hotel, standing with his back to the fire, his shirt became ignited; with the result that he was very badly burnt about the back of the thighs, the whole of the back of the trunk, slightly on his chest, and extensively on both hands.  Dr Domville, surgeon, was called in, and under his care the deceased progressed favourably for the first ten or twelve days, but he then lost consciousness and died on Friday from shock to the system, the result of the burns.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 6 June 1889

EXETER - An Inquest was held at Countess Weir, Exeter, on Saturday, on the body of a pedlar, named FRANCIS LETHBRIDGE, who was found dead in a linhay near Countess Weir on Friday.  The deceased was 59 years of age.  The evidence showed that death was undoubtedly due to starvation, and the Jury returned a verdict to that effect.  Deceased was very respectably connected and had friends at Plymouth.

EAST ANSTEY - Sudden Death. - On Monday last an Inquest was held at the Froude Arms, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of KEZIA FLEW, housekeeper to the Rev. J. Owen, of East Anstey Rectory.  The first witness called was the Rev. J. Owen, the rector, who deposed that the deceased who was 46 years of age, had been his housekeeper for 19 years.  About twelve years ago she had a very severe attack of rheumatic fever, accompanied by the gout, for which she was attended by Mr Robertson, of Dulverton.  It was the doctor's opinion that it would probably leave the heart affected.  The first symptoms of heart affection were exhibited last year, when deceased had an attack in the roadway, and was obliged to lie in the hedge until she recovered.  Last Tuesday night she had another attack, and she told witness on the following morning that the spasms were so severe that she had to get out of bed and go down on her hands and knees.  On Friday evening whilst witness was in bed he heard a scream from the direction of deceased's bedroom.  He rushed into the room and he found deceased on her hands and knees, writhing in pain.  She said she was sure she was dying.  Witness tried to pour some raw spirit down her throat, but her teeth were clenched.  He ran off for Miss Hessey, the schoolmistress, who came, but deceased was then almost dead.  Witness at once sent off to Dulverton for a doctor, and Mr Sydenham arrived in about an hour-and-a-half.  Two of the deceased's relatives had died in a similar way.  By the Jury:  The deceased's husband was not at present living in witness's house.  He originally lived with him, but witness was obliged to dismiss him for drunkenness.  Although he did not sleep in the house, he worked about the garden during the day.  The deceased had never complained of the separation, but in fact refused to have her husband in the same room.  Rosalie Hessey, schoolmistress, bore out a portion of the last witness's statement.  GEORGE FLEW, husband of the deceased, said he had worked as gardener for the Rev. J. Owen for many years.  The deceased within the last few weeks had complained of illness.  He was sent for about half-past eleven on Friday night, and on going to the Rectory, Miss Hessey told him his wife was dead.  Mr G. F. Sydenham, surgeon, of Dulverton, gave evidence to the effect that death was due from heart disease.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

Thursday 13 June 1889

PETROCKSTOWE - Sudden Death. - Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest at Petrockstowe on Thursday, on the body of SARAH JANE HUTCHINGS, a married woman aged 34.  From the evidence of the husband, who is a tanner, and a son, it transpired that the deceased was not a strong woman, and on one or two occasions had been under medical treatment.  On Tuesday she walked to Torrington and back.  It was a hot day, and on her way back she became sick, and when ear her house dropped down in the hedge.  Her son, who had been a part way to meet her, was with her at this time, and he ran into the house for his father.  She was then taken indoors and she sat in a chair, but in a few moments became unconscious and died.  After hearing the evidence of Dr Morse, who considered that heart disease was the cause of death, the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 20 June 1889

HOLSWORTHY - Suicide. - An Inquest was held at Holsworthy on Saturday by Mr Burd, on the body of ELIZABETH ALLEN, aged 70, and the widow of the late JOHN ALLEN.  From the evidence of the son and others it appeared that the deceased was last seen alive about 2.30 p.m. on Friday.  For some months she had complained of pains in the head, but had never threatened to take her life.  It was usual for someone to be always with her, but on the day in question she was alone, and during the afternoon she went upstairs and strangled herself with a staylace, which she tied to the foot of the bed and then knelt down.  When found she was cold.  Dr Linnington Ash deposed that he was sent for and found the deceased cold.  She had since her husband's death, 18 months ago, been suffering from nervous depression.  He had strongly urged her removal to the Workhouse.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 27 June 1889

TORRINGTON - Sudden Death. - On Monday an Inquest was held at the Old Inn, Torrington, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of WILLIAM PASSMORE, aged 82.  CHARLOTTE PASSMORE, wife of WILLIAM PASSMORE, farmer, of Well Street, said the deceased was the father of her husband.  He had been a labourer, but he retired some years ago.  He had resided with witness and her husband for six years.  About three o'clock on Saturday he left the house in order to go to the barber's to be shaved.  He was then in his usual health.  Shortly afterwards she received a message which caused her to go to Mr Elworthy's shop, where she saw her father-in-law lying dead on the floor.  He had suffered from heart disease for some years.  Thomas Elworthy, hair dresser and barber, residing in Fore Street, said that between three and four o'clock on Saturday afternoon the deceased entered his shop and took a seat, awaiting his turn to be shaved.  After the deceased had been sitting in the shop a little time he noticed that he changed colour.  He asked him if he should send for his son or MRS PASSMORE, but the deceased said he should be better presently.  Witness offered him some brandy, but he declined to have it.  Just afterwards, the deceased walked to the back door and put his back against it; he then fell upon the floor.  Witness went to his assistance, and deceased spoke to him.  He told the old man he would catch a cold if he lay on the ground, and he replied that he should not.  At deceased's request he put a coat under his head.  Seeing that he was ill he sent for a doctor, the police, and MRS PASSMORE.  He tried to get some brandy down the deceased's throat.  Dr Morse soon arrived, and he then declared that life was extinct.  Richard Short, tailor, who was in the shop at the time, gave corroborative evidence.  Dr Edward Morse stated that when he arrived at the shop life was extinct.  Dr Jones entered the shop just after witness had found that PASSMORE was dead and stated that the deceased, who was an old patient of his, had long suffered from heart disease.  A verdict to the effect that death was due to heart disease was returned.

SOUTH MOLTON - Suicide Of A Young Woman. - Considerable consternation was created in this town on Friday night, when it became known that in a lime pit at South Aller Farm about 1 ½ miles from here Mr John Hill, the occupier of the farm had seen the body of a young woman floating and which was subsequently identified as that of ELIZABETH STENNER, about 20 years of age.  She had been living for a month on trial at Mr Webber's Castle Hotel, Barnstaple, but left there more than a week since.  After she had left, Mrs Webber missed a pair of boots and they were found in deceased's box, which had been removed to the "Angel Inn" where she had obtained a place.  She had been missing about a week.  STENNER was acquainted with South Aller having lived there some time since as a servant.  Superintendent Baker, together with Constables Keeley and Madge, and some scores of the inhabitants, proceeded to the spot, where they found the report was correct.  With the assistance of ropes P.C. Keeley was lowered into the pit, and succeeded in getting the body out.  It was at once conveyed to the mortuary of the Union Workhouse, and an Inquest was held on Saturday evening before the Borough Coroner, (Mr Thomas Sanders) and a Jury, of which Mr Joseph Kingdon was foreman.  The Jury having viewed the body, the first witness called was Elizabeth May, who deposed that she was the wife of William May, and lived in East-street.  She had viewed the body of ELIZABETH STENNER lying in the dead-house of the Workhouse.  Deceased was a domestic servant and has been living at Mr Webber's Castle Inn, Barnstaple.  She left there on the 8th June.  She had lived there only a month.  Deceased told witness she left because she did not like a public house.  From the 8th to the 15th she resided with witness, who was a distant relative.  Deceased was in no way depressed in spirits.  She slept with witness's children.  On Saturday, 15th June, Sergeant Leyman, of Southmolton, with Mr Webber, her late master, called on deceased at witness's residence, and accused her of having stolen a pair of shoes belonging to Mrs Webber.  She denied it, and said she had never seen them.  She had left her box at the Angel Hotel, Barnstaple, where she was going to live on the following Wednesday.  This was between 10 and 11 o'clock in the morning.  She was excited at the charge, and cried about it.  About 10 minutes afterwards she left.  The sergeant and Mr Webber had gone.  Witness offered to go with her to Barnstaple, and advised her to let Mr Webber have the key to open her box.  She replied that she would not give up her key to allow anyone to "rummage" her box.  She said she would go to the Angel herself if she had the money  Witness let her have 1s. to pay her fare to Barnstaple.  She then left the house and said, "I am going straight to my place."  She said she would send to witness and let her know how she had managed.  Witness went to Barnstaple on the previous day and saw Mrs Lock, of the Angel, who said she had not seen the deceased.  Witness went to Mr Webber's and accompanied him to the Police station at Barnstaple, and there saw the box opened in the presence of the police.  In it were a pair of shoes which Mr Webber identified as his.  Witness took the box and its contents, which she gave a receipt for, but the shoes were retained.  The sergeant asked deceased's age and description, which witness gave him.  Deceased told witness she was 18 years old last May.  Witness identified the body by the clothing, the features, and the hair of her head, and also by her right hand, which was covered in warts.  Mr Edwin Furse, surgeon, Southmolton, deposed that he saw deceased's body in the mortuary of the Workhouse about 10 o'clock on Friday evening.  It was very decomposed, and there was a depression over the right side of the frontal bone, but no other mark of violence.  He made a post mortem examination the next day by the Coroner's orders, and found no injury to the bone - it was perfectly sound. He believed the depression was made by the head resting on some hard substance.  From the general condition he was of opinion that death resulted from drowning.  Deceased was not pregnant, and the report to that effect was not true.  He knew the deceased before death.  Mr John Hill, of South Aller Farm, Southmolton, said deceased was a domestic servant in his house in April last.  She lived with him 14 days.  She was rather excitable and passionate.  Passing one of the old disused lime pits on his farm on the previous evening between 7 and 8 p.m. he saw something floating in the water.  He believed it to be the body of a female, and at once went to Southmolton and gave information to P.C. Keeley, who, with Supt. Baker and others, went to the spot.  Before witness got there the body had been got out.  The lime pit was about 100 land yards from his house.  P.C. James Keeley deposed that on the previous evening, about 8.30, the last witness reported to him what he had seen. Witness went to the spot with Supt. Baker and constable Madge.  Witness went to the brink of the pond with a rope, and got out the body.  He did not know the deceased.  He searched the body and found a jubilee 4s. brooch which she wore.  She had a white linen handkerchief, marked with a "W", in her pocket, and a purse containing 2 ½d. fell from her bosom, and also a stud.  He subsequently removed the body in a cart to the Workhouse mortuary.  That morning about 4 o'clock he went to the pit, and found a glove and the skin of a hand on the edge of the pit.  These he produced.  He could see no signs of a scuffle.  Sarah Jane Peters, living at Newtown Gate, and keeping house for deceased's father, said deceased called there on the 13th inst.  She looked depressed in spirits.  Witness had seen the body, and recognised it as that of the deceased.  She told witness she was going to America.  The Coroner summed up the evidence, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."  The remains were interred in the Cemetery on Sunday afternoon - the funeral being largely attended.

NORTHAM - Sad Case Of Suicide. - At the King's Head Inn, Northam, on Friday last, an Inquest was held before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of RICHARD HUTCHINGS, aged 77, whose body had been found under circumstances which led to the belief that the deceased had committed suicide.  ELIZA HUTCHINGS, laundress and charwoman residing in North-street, said she had dinner with her deceased husband between one and two o'clock on Thursday, and then went off to her work. She left the Independent Chapel, which adjoined her house, in about an hour, and found her husband in the closet at the back of the house.  She saw there was something wrong, and thought her husband had had a fit.  She called for assistance, and Mr Robert Downing came.  Shortly afterwards she was informed by Mrs Ward that her husband was dead.  She and her husband did not have any unpleasantness on Thursday.  She considered that for a long time past he had been weak in his mind.  Dr Pratt had told her, however, that he was unable to give a certificate for the sending of her husband to a lunatic asylum.  The deceased was formerly a sailor in the Royal Navy, but he had not been to sea for 15 or 16 years.  Robert Downing, smith, residing at Northam, deposed that he was working at the Independent Chapel on Thursday afternoon when he heard a scream coming from the adjoining back yard.  He went into MRS HUTCHING'S house, and met the last witness, who said, "My poor DICK; I don't know what is the matter with him, but I think he is dying."  He went into the closet, and as he considered HUTCHINGS was dead he went for assistance  He returned with Nurse Heard and her husband.  On making an inspection they found that the deceased had hung himself  Mr Heard ran into the house for a knife and cut the cord.  The cord was short; one end was round the deceased's neck and the other round the rafter.  In his opinion the deceased was in a low state of mind and rather of weak or failing intellect.  P.C. Walter Champion, stationed at Northam, said he had known the deceased for some years.  He had before now expected to have found him dead.  The deceased would occasionally wander about without returning to his home for a day and a night.  MRS HUTCHINGS had more than once spoken to him about the state of the deceased; he told her he could not take charge of her husband, as if he were a lunatic he must be sent to an asylum.  The last time she spoke to him she told him that Dr Pratt had said he considered her husband was suffering from softening of the brain.  Dr Fredk. Pratt, of Appledore, said that when he arrived at Northam in response to a summons he found HUTCHINGS quite dead.  He had known the deceased for many years.  He had long suffered from disease of the heart, and other complications had set in.  MRS HUTCHINGS had consulted him with regard to the state of the deceased's mind.  He explained to her that her husband was not quite what would be called a lunatic; and he should not have been justified in giving a certificate for his removal to an asylum.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased committed Suicide while suffering from Temporary Insanity.

Thursday 4 July 1889

ILFRACOMBE - Dr Slade King, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at No. 8, Adelaide Terrace, on the body of MR JOHN WARD GOODENOUGH, a gentleman of independent means, who died suddenly on Sunday morning at the age of 65.  After hearing the evidence of Dr C. H. Fox, the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 11 July 1889

BIDEFORD - Fatal Accident At Bideford.  The Coroner And His Jurisdiction  - Mr J. F. Bromham on Tuesday held an Inquest as to the cause of the death of MR THOMAS BOUNDY, miller, of Littleham, which occurred at the Infirmary the previous day.  Before opening the Inquiry, Mr Bromham explained that he was attending to hold the Inquest in consequence of Dr Thompson (Borough Coroner) having declined to do so.  As he (Mr Bromham) understood the law, Dr Thompson did not cease to be Coroner by the operation of the County Government Act, but instead of being Borough Coroner under the Town Council he became County Coroner under the County Council with his jurisdiction limited to the Borough.  He (Mr Bromham) was simply acting instead of a brother County Coroner, and was therefore within his legal right as Dr Thompson did not desire to act. 

The first witness was MRS BOUNDY, wife of the deceased, who said that her husband left home all right on Tuesday morning, the 2nd inst., to attend Bideford Market.  She saw no more of him until she was called to the Infirmary the next morning.  Miss Elizabeth Stacey, of Hallsannery, stated that as she was walking home from Bideford on Tuesday evening last, about ten o'clock, she passed MR BOUNDY, who was sitting on the wall at Northam Ridge. She said good night and he replied; he appeared to be in his usual health.  William Glover, shoemaker, of Littleham, said that as he was passing the hedge at Northam Ridge about three o'clock on Wednesday morning as he was going fishing, he heard someone inside, and he thought it was a man he had seen just before.  About five o'clock as he was returning, he heard the noise again, and then got over the wall and looked.  He found a man there lying on his back close to the river wall.  He spoke to the man, but could get no reply.  Finding that he could not do him any good, witness sent off for the police by a waggoner who was passing.  Witness could not discern the least smell of drink about him.  - By the Jury:  I did not go in the first time because, though I thought it was my friend taken rather ill, it was an awkward place for me to get at.

P.C. Hamlyn deposed that on Wednesday morning last, at 6.40, he went to Northam Ridge, and after getting over the beach wall, he heard a "wisht" noise, and upon getting over another wall he saw a man lying there, who proved to be MR BOUNDY.  He was lying in a "twisted" position among some very big stones.  He was insensible.  Witness got assistance from a boat, and removed MR BOUNDY to the Bideford Infirmary.

Mr E. Rouse stated that last Wednesday morning he came to the Infirmary and saw MR BOUNDY in the accident ward.  He was quite insensible. Witness examined him carefully, and found no evidence whatever of external injury.  He never expected MR BOUNDY would recover, but from his condition he judged that death was caused by pressure upon one side of the top of the spinal cord.  This might have been the result of a fall or of lying in the position in which he was found by Glover.  The balance of evidence in his opinion, pointed to deceased having had a fall; but there was not any evidence of violence.  At this point an adjournment was made for the doctor to make a post mortem examination.

Upon the Jury re-assembling, the doctor stated that he had found evidence of considerable extravagation of blood on the left side of the top of the spine, from which he came to the conclusion that deceased had either had a heavy fall or a severe blow.  In accordance with this evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  Several of the Jury commented somewhat strongly upon the conduct of Glover and Branton, who, after the former had found MR BOUNDY, went away and left him alone until the police-constable came.

Thursday 18 July 1889

BRAUNTON - MRS ANN TUCKER, widow of the late MR GEORGE TUCKER, farmer, formerly of East Saunton, fell down a flight of steps at the residence of Miss Prout, Seaview terrace, Braunton, on the 10th inst., her neck catching the edge of a galvanised iron bucket.  She died from the effects on Monday, at the house of her son-in-law, Mr J. Sanders, tailor, Wrafton.  Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest on Tuesday when a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest. - On Monday last an Inquest was held at No. 15, Braunton-road, before R. I. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, on the body of LAURA LOUISA BROWN, aged seventeen months, the daughter of MR JOHN BROWN, dairyman.  Mr Wm. Lemon was chosen foreman of the Jury.  - MRS A. L. BROWN, wife of MR JOHN BROWN, deposed that on Tuesday, the 25th of June, the deceased was in the kitchen with her.  Witness was engaged in folding some clothes.  The child left the room unnoticed by her, and on hearing a scream witness rushed into the dairy, when she found her daughter in a pan of hot milk which she had a few minutes previously taken off the fire.  She found that the child was very severely burnt.  Mrs Hill and Mrs Trace, neighbours, came to her assistance, and Mr Ware, surgeon, was soon in attendance.  The child never recovered from the effects of the burns, which did not seem to heal.  She expired at four o'clock on Sunday afternoon.  Mr J. W. L. Ware, surgeon, was the only other witness.  He described the nature of the injuries, and said he attended the child daily up to the time of her death.  The deceased never really rallied from the shock caused by the accident.  In his opinion death was caused by the shock she sustained to her nervous system and from exhaustion.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

MERTON - At an Inquest held yesterday on the body of JAMES ANDREW, who died on Monday from injuries received on the 3rd of June, when the deceased fell from a hayrick, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 25 June 1889

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident. - On Tuesday afternoon an Inquest was held at the Carpenter's Arms, Derby, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, to Enquire into the circumstances attending the death of GEORGE HENRY FORD, the infant son of MR HENRY FORD, cabinet maker, of Union Street.  Mr J. Fry was chosen foreman of the Jury.  HENRY FORD, who was the first witness, said the age of the deceased was ten months and a half.  On Saturday evening a can of benzoline was upset in his back kitchen, the oil falling on the limeash floor.  There did not seem to be much oil spilt.  MRS FORD, who was in the back kitchen at the time with her children, told FRANK, aged 13, to put a light to the benzoline on the floor.  The boy then threw a lighted match on the oil, which burnt slowly until a small hole in the floor, which MRS FORD had not noticed, was reached.  The hole was, it appeared, full of benzoline, and when the flame reached it there was an explosion.  Prior to the match being lighted the deceased was sitting on the floor, and it seemed that some of the oil got about his clothes.  Before the oil was ignited MRS FORD took the child in her arms.  When the explosion to which he had referred took place the child's clothes were ignited.  Witness, who was in the kitchen at the time, heard a scream and at once rushed into the back kitchen, having previously seen through the open door that the child was in flames.  MRS FORD ran into the yard with the child, and he immediately followed.  The mother tried to extinguish the flames and was seriously burnt.  She did not succeed in her attempt, and placed the child on the floor.  Witness picked it up, and as a last resort placed it in the trough and turned on the tap.  This at once extinguished the flames.  He at once applied linseed oil to the burns and sent for Dr Jackson, who was soon in attendance.  The child died on Sunday evening.  He examined on Sunday the clothes which the child had been wearing and found that they were barely scorched.  There was no doubt that if there had not been oil about the clothes the accident would not have happened.  Had MRS FORD been aware of the fact that there was a hole in the floor into which the benzoline had run she would not have told the boy to put a light to it.  She told the boy to do this partly to amuse the children.  The child was not insured.  Dr Mark Jackson deposed to attending the deceased about eight o'clock on Saturday evening.  The child was very severely burnt about the lower part of the body, and was suffering from shock.  He saw the child at half-past two on Sunday, and found that it was beginning to be convulsed.  He gave it some medicine.  In about an hour he again visited the child, who was then in convulsions.  The child died on Sunday evening from convulsions, the result of the severe burns.  The deceased who was in healthy condition, was teething, and this no doubt helped to bring on the convulsions.  the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death" and added a rider to the effect that in their opinion no blame whatever attached to the parents.

TORQUAY - At an Inquest held at Torquay on Saturday the Jury censured the husband and daughter of a woman named EMMA MARTIN, fifty, for not bestowing proper attention to the deceased after having received medical directions concerning her.  MRS MARTIN fell over some steps on Whit-Monday and sustained a flesh wound in the forehead, which was dressed at the Torbay Hospital, but though told to attend again the next day, she did not revisit the institution for eight days, at the expiration of which the wound was in a foul state.  Inflammation of the brain afterwards set in, and the woman died, but had she been properly attended her life might have been spared.

Thursday 8 August 1889

INSTOW - Suicide Of A Lad Near Instow. - An Inquest was held at the Marine Hotel, Instow, yesterday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of WM. LEWIS, a lad, whose body was found in the Torridge on Tuesday.  Mrs Harriet May, of Horwood Cottage, said that although the body was much disfigured she had not the least doubt that it was that of WM. LEWIS, who entered her employ as groom and stable boy just before Lady-day.  On Tuesday week the lad left her employ without giving any notice.  On the evening of that day Ada Prouse, a servant in her employ, said the deceased had not come in.  She seemed in trouble about him and went into the village to make inquiries.  The deceased never returned.  Last Friday she heard that the deceased had been seen at Bideford.  She did not dismiss the lad, and knew of no reason for doing so.  On the morning after the boy left Ada Prouse showed her a letter she had received from him, and in consequence of this she communicated with the police.  She produced the letter, which was as follows:-  "Miss Prouse - you will find me lower side of Bideford Bridge were you go in across to Southkett.  I going to drown my self all through the mains of you and it your fault and nobody else good bye I shall never see you again."  (A number of crosses followed).  - Ada Celia Prouse said the deceased had been "keeping company" with her.  On Tuesday night she found he had not come into the house by half-past ten and she told the mistress.  They had had no unpleasantness during the day; indeed, they never had any quarrel all the time they went together.  She read the letter which had been produced on the following morning,  The Bideford post mark was on the envelope.  She had told the deceased about a week before that she could not "keep company" with him.  He was very anxious that she should dos o, but she did not care for him.    GEORGE LEWIS, of Newton St. Petrock, father of the deceased, said that on Thursday he received a letter from his son, who said he meant to destroy himself.  He made inquiries, and found that the lad had been seen on the Quay at Bideford.  P.C. O. Hamlyn deposed to seeing the deceased at Bideford on Wednesday; and Wm. Sharley, foreman of platelayers, and P.C. John Smyth gave evidence as to the finding of the body in the river Torridge off Tapely.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased committed suicide whilst of Unsound Mind.

BARNSTAPLE - Drowned In The Yeo. - Late on Thursday night the body of CHARLES CROUSE, barge-man, was found in the river Yeo, near Messrs. Rawle, Gammon, and baker's saw-mills.  The deceased was missed about half-past nine, and a quarter of an hour previously he was seen forcing a barge down the river by means of a long pole.  It is supposed that the pole slipped and that he fell into the water, having previously been stunned in consequence of his head coming into contact with the woodwork.  He was unable to swim.  The body was recovered at half-past eleven, and was conveyed to the deceased's residence, which is situated just outside the borough boundary.  The Inquest was held on Friday evening at the Rolle Quay Inn, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.  Mr H. Baker was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The first witness called was MRS HELEN CROUSE, who said her deceased husband was 45 years of age.  He was a barge man residing at Western Terrace, Rolle's Quay.  She last saw him alive at ten minutes past four on Thursday.  He then went to his house and washed, afterwards going to Pilton to discharge.  At half past five she sent him some tea by a girl named Sedgmoor, who on returning said her father would be home in an hour.  At half past ten she heard, while she was in bed, that her husband had been drowned.  She dressed, and at her request the body, when recovered, was taken to her residence inste4ad of to the Infirmary.  Mrs Ann Ridd, wife of John Ridd, ship carpenter, said she knew the deceased very well.  She saw him at a quarter past nine on Thursday evening, when he was in a barge near Mr Gammon's yard.  He was then pushing the barge towards the Braunton-road drawbridge with a pole.  She was on the bank at the time, and watched him until he went round a corner.  John Hill, bargeman, residing in Green-lane, said he knew the deceased very well.  About half past nine on Thursday night he was at the Mill-end (Mr Baker's) Quay discharging gravel from a barge, when he noticed a barge coming towards him.  He shouted, but got no answer.  He saw it was Mr Sanders's barge, and he went to Mr Sanders and told him it was adrift.  He subsequently ascertained from Mr Lock that CHARLES CROUSE had gone to take the barge down the river.  He got a small boat and a pole, and went on board the barge, which was adrift.  Mr Sanders then arrived.  They found that there was no one on board the barge and that the poles were gone, and they then went up the river to see if they could find CROUSE.  Mid way between Messrs. Rawle and Gammon's saw-mills and Pilton Quay they found a lighter pole.  They returned to the bridge, and subsequently went home to supper.  After supper, about half-past ten, he and his father made further search.  The tide had gone back a great deal by this time.  About half-past eleven they found the body of the deceased in the water near the spot where the pole was discovered.  CROUSE was quite dead.  At the request of the wife the body was taken to the deceased's house.  A Juror (Mr Harding) asked whether it was not usual for medical evidence to be called in such a case; and the Coroner replied in the negative  Several of the Jurors spoke of the deceased as a very steady man, and one of them (Mr Williams) said he knew that CROUSE was unable to swim.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," and decided to give their fees to the widow.

Thursday 15 August 1889

BARNSTAPLE - Suicide Of DR FORESTER, of Barnstaple.  -  A painful sensation was caused in Barnstaple on Monday morning by the rumour that the body of DR HENRY FORESTER, of High-street, had been found under circumstances which, unhappily, could leave no room for doubting that the deceased gentleman, in a moment of temporary aberration, had taken his life.  It subsequently transpired that the rumour was only too well founded.  The deceased had, it appears, been in a very depressed state for some time, imaginary troubles worrying him.  About four months ago he fell over some steps while paying a professional visit an injured his head, and after that time he made frequent complaints with regard to his health.  He complained of weakness, his appetite failed, and he was unable to sleep.  He was seen once or twice by Dr Skerritt, of Bristol - an old friend - and only on Sunday last he was visited in a professional capacity by Mr Joseph Harper, who prescribed for him, and recommended a change, and said he would see him again on the following day.  Mr James Bosson, the deceased's solicitor, who had been at the Volunteer Camp at Lansdowne for the preceding week, spent an hour with DR FORESTER on Sunday night, leaving him just before ten.  DR FORESTER was then "more than usually depressed."  He retired to rest at half-past ten.  He occupied a room by himself on the first floor.  At midnight MRS FORESTER entered the room and saw that her husband was sleeping soundly.  At ten o'clock on Monday morning, MRS FORESTER'S maid went to the doctor's room, as usual, with a cup of coffee.  She saw the doctor on the floor, and, being alarmed, immediately ran for her mistress.  MRS FORESTER found that her husband was in a sitting posture at the lower end of the bed.  Two handkerchiefs (large coloured ones) which had been tied together, were fastened around his neck and placed over the top of one of the posts of the bedstead (an iron half-tester).  The posts are about four feet in height.  The back of the deceased was towards the bed, the legs being on the floor.  MRS FORESTER, who did not observe whether or not the doctor was sitting on the floor, untied the handkerchiefs, and adopted the usual means to restore animation.  Mr Bosson and Mr Harper, who had been sent for, were on the spot in a few minutes.  Mr Harper tried artificial respiration, &c., but gave it as his opinion that life had been extinct two hours.

DR HENRY FORESTER was well-known as a physician, and he was highly esteemed by a large circle of friends.  As a young man he studied under the late Dr C. Smith, of Bideford, and he commenced his professional career as house surgeon of the North Devon Infirmary.  He retired from this post in 1856, and on his leaving was presented by the past and present patients with a handsome silver salver, which always afterwards occupied a place of honour in the deceased's dining room.  On leaving the Infirmary he went into a private practice, soon afterwards obtaining his M.D. degree.  He married Miss Harding, daughter of the late Mr Robert Harding, surgeon, of Barnstaple.  His daughter was married a little over a month ago, and his son, MR ROBERT FORESTER, was away from home at the time the sad occurrence of Monday took place. Several of the deceased's friends had noticed for some time that the doctor "was not himself," that he was nervous and depressed.  He told Mr Harper that on Friday two patients called upon him; that he talked to them in a friendly way and gave them all sorts of advice; and that he lay awake all the next night wondering whether or not he had done right.  Imaginary troubles seem to have preyed upon the mind of the deceased and at last to have bereft him of his reason.  It was authoritatively stated at the Inquest that no real cause for anxiety existed.  The news of the death of the respected doctor came as a surprise upon the townspeople, and the sincerest sympathy is felt for the widow and the family in their terrible bereavement.

The Inquest:  -  The Inquest was held at the residence of the deceased on Monday afternoon, before R. Incledon Bencraft, Esq., Bor9ough Coroner.  Mr James Partridge (chemist) was chosen foreman of the Jury (which numbered fifteen).  In opening the proceedings the Coroner said the deceased gentleman was well-known to them all and had been known to him (the speaker) nearly all his life.  It would be for the Jury to say how the doctor came by his death, and if they were of opinion he died by his own hand it would be for them to consider what was the state of his mind at the time the act was committed.  The Jury then proceeded to view the body, which remained in the room where it was found in the morning.  The first witness called before the Court was:-

Miriam Smith, who said she was lady's maid to MRS FORESTER, and had resided at the High-street house in that capacity for two years.  At ten minutes past ten that morning she went to DR FORESTER'S bedroom (which he occupied by himself) with some coffee as was usual.  He slept on the first floor.  She knocked at the door and received no answer.  She subsequently opened the door and entered the room; she placed the coffee on a piano which stood just inside the door, and then noticed that the deceased was not in bed.  She saw he was on the floor, and she at once went for MRS FORESTER, who was in the room above.  MRS FORESTER at once went to her husband.  She did not notice whether the deceased was attached to the bedpost in any way.  The deceased had been strange in his manner for two months.  The deceased had occupied a bedroom by himself for some considerable time.  Young MR FORESTER was at present away from home, and the residents at the house, in addition to the doctor, were MRS FORESTER, the witness, a housemaid and a cook.  The deceased went to bed about half-past ten on Sunday night; she saw him as he was going upstairs.  Nothing had occurred, so far as she was aware, to excite him in any way during the day.  A Juror:  Had he been drinking lately?  - Witness:  Not to my knowledge.  - The Coroner:  Last night he was perfectly sober.  - Witness:  Yes.  - In answer to other questions, the witness said the appetite of the deceased had not of late been good.  The deceased did not go out doors on Saturday or Sunday.

MRS SUSANNAH MARSHALL FORESTER, widow of the deceased, said her late husband was 61 years of age.  He had been very depressed lately and weak, and his general health had not been good.  He made some rather unfortunate speculations, and that rather depressed him.  MISS FORESTER was married on the 4th of July, and the deceased felt the departure of his daughter very much.  The deceased occupied a room on the first floor, as his heart was rather weak, and he considered the stairs pretty much for him.  The doctor was attending a patient about five months ago when he fell over some stairs and knocked his head; he had been complaining more or less ever since.  The appetite of the deceased had been bad, but he took his food better on Sunday.  In the evening, about seven or eight o'clock, he had some cold mutton and cream-cheese.  Mr Bosson saw him in the evening and Mr Harper in the morning.  He went to bed just before half past ten.  There had been nothing to excite or upset him during the week.  About five minutes to twelve on Sunday night she looked into the bedroom and saw that her husband was sleeping comfortably.  Just before ten o'clock that (Monday) morning the last witness came to her while she was in her room and said, "Please go to the doctor; I am afraid there is something amiss."  She at once went to her husband's room.  She saw the deceased on the ground at the foot of the bed.  Two handkerchiefs had been tied together, put round his neck, and placed over the top of one of the posts at the bottom of the bed.  Her husband was in a sitting posture, with his back towards the bed and his legs on the ground.  She immediately untied the handkerchiefs - she had not a knife with her, and so could not cut them - and she thus freed him.  She thought at first that life was hardly extinct, and she commenced rubbing him in order to restore animation.  The body was not quite cold.  There was a strain on the handkerchiefs when she untied them; they were not fastened very tightly together.  She at once sent for Mr Harper and Mr Bosson, and both were soon in attendance.  Mr Harper saw the deceased about mid-day on Sunday, and she subsequently heard him remark that Mr Harper took too good a view of his case.  In answer to the Jury, MRS FORESTER said that the back of the deceased was towards the bed and his legs on the floor when she entered the room, but she could not say whether he was sitting on the floor or not.  He was in a sitting position.  She was so much frightened that she did not notice exactly.  She first released him and then kept on rubbing him incessantly until the arrival of Mr Bosson and Mr Harper.  MR FORESTER took two does of Mr Harper's medicine and a composing draught before he went to bed on Sunday night.  He had not known what a good night's rest was for a long time.  He had complained of his head for a long time.  He had not been himself for some time, but there was nothing to lead them to suppose he would do anything to himself - and she was sure he would not have done anything now had he known what he was about.

Mr James Bosson, solicitor to the deceased, said he was intimately acquainted with DR FORESTER.  He had seen him constantly for years and during the last twelve months very frequently.  For several months the deceased had been in a very depressed state, and Dr Skerrit of Bristol had seen him on one or two occasions.  DR FORESTER had been in a state of nervous depression for several months.  He had made some speculations, but he had no real troubles - only imaginary troubles which he conjured up, and which he constantly worried himself about.  Witness knew the deceased's pecuniary position, and knew that there was nothing of any sort really to trouble him.  He was with the deceased for an hour on the preceding night; he left him at five minutes to ten.  The deceased was more than usually depressed.  Witness had not previously seen him for a week, as he had been away.  He made an appointment to meet him at lunch that day (Monday).  On Sunday  night the deceased did not complain of anything in particular.  He said he had not been out for a week, and after remarking that Mr Harper had been to visit him that morning said he was worse than Mr Harper thought.  Witness told him he was all right and tried to cheer him up, advising him to go outdoors.  DR FORESTER said he was weak in his legs.  He told him he could drive, and then the deceased said, "I don't want to go out."  He left the deceased at five minutes after ten, the first witness came to his house and in consequence of what she said he ran to DR FORESTER'S house as fast as he could.  On reaching the bedroom he found the deceased lying on his back at the foot of his bed, MRS FORESTER rubbing his chest.  He also rubbed the doctor, and put some brandy in his mouth; he did not believe the brandy was swallowed.  There was warmth about the region of the heart, but whether or not this was due to MRS FORESTER'S rubbing he did not know.  Various means were tried to restore the deceased, and when Mr Harper arrived hot water bottles were applied.  All the efforts were, however, without avail.  The deceased was not excited on Sunday night; he was depressed. In answer to a Juror, Mr Bosson said the deceased was perfectly sober.  Nothing had occurred to upset him.  The Doctor had been unable to sleep well for a long time.

Mr Joseph Harper, surgeon, deposed that he was well acquainted with DR FORSETER and knew him for thirty years.  He had professionally attended the doctor occasionally, but prior to Sunday not for several months - Dr Skerritt of Bristol, had been attending him.  In consequence of a message which he received on Saturday he visited the deceased in a professional capacity about one o'clock on Sunday.  DR FORESTER complained that he was suffering a from a great deal of depression, that he was feeling very weak and feeble, and that he had lost his appetite.  He examined the doctor, talked to him, prescribed for him, and recommended a change - which he thought would benefit him more than anything else.  The deceased said he had had a good deal of worry lately.  He told him that there was nothing to worry about.  DR FORESTER said he did not feel well enough to go away, and witness told him he would see him again on the following day.  Just after ten o'clock that (Monday) morning he received a message which caused him to go to DR FORESTER'S residence immediately.  He found the deceased lying on the floor in his bedroom, MRS FORESTER and Mr Bosson were rubbing his hands and limbs.  He examined the body.  The face was very purple; the tongue was pressed against the teeth; and round the neck was a dark mark such as would be caused by the handkerchief which MRS FORESTER showed him and which she said she had unloosened from the neck.  He tried artificial respiration and applied hot jars to the chest and feet, but the doctor must have been dead two hours.  Death was caused by suffocation.  The deceased had a weak heart, and in such a case smaller pressure would suffice to kill.  In this instance, however, the pressure was evidently enough to kill anyone.  There was no doubt whatever that the deceased was not in his right mind when he committed the act.  The concluded the evidence.

The Coroner briefly summed up, and the Jury at once returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased committed Suicide while in a state of Temporary Insanity.  The Foreman (Mr Partridge) said the Jury desired to express their deep sympathy with the widow and the family in their sad bereavement; and the Coroner said he would duly record this expression on the part of the Jury.  The funeral of the deceased will take place at eleven o'clock this (Thursday) morning.

Thursday 22 August 1889

PETROCKSTOWE - Suicide. - On Friday last an Inquest was held at Hall, Petrockstowe, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of CHARLES MARSHALL, a labourer, aged 47.  Mary Ann May, wife of Jno. May, labourer, of Merton, deposed that the deceased was her brother.  She last saw him alive on Sunday week, when he was at her house.  He was then in very low spirits and had been so for some time.  He was in trouble about money matters; he talked to her a good deal about it, and told her how it distressed and upset him.  He also said that at times he almost felt inclined to destroy himself.  She begged him not to think of such a thing, and told him to give up his home rather than do that.  John Whitlock, of Hall, deposed that on Thursday morning, as he was passing along the road by the orchard, he saw the deceased suspended to a tree.  He ran home at once and told his mother what he had seen and then went for Mr Mills, a neighbour  When he returned to the orchard the deceased was on the ground, his mother and Mrs Bird being there.  Sarah Whitlock, wife of John Whitlock, labourer, deposed to cutting down the deceased, who was suspended to the branch of a tree in the orchard by means of a rope.  She had to climb the tree in order to do this.  Mrs Bird was with her at the time, and took the rope from the neck of the deceased.  Information was given to the p9olice, and when P.C. Jervis arrived the body was removed to the house.  She had noticed that for some time the deceased had been depressed in spirits.  Elizabeth Bird, widow, also gave evidence.  The deceased and his daughter occupied one part of the house in which the Inquest was held, and she the other. It was a double house.  The deceased had been in very low spirits for some time.  she heard the deceased leave the house between five and six o'clock on Thursday morning.  When she got up she found he had left the kitchen and front door open, which she thought very strange, as he generally closed both.  MARSHALL was quite dead when cut down just after nine o'clock.  P.C. Thos. Jervis gave evidence, and said he did not find any letter on the deceased which threw any light on the affair.  When he reached the orchard just after nine life had been extinct an hour or two.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased committed Suicide while suffering from Temporary Insanity.

EXETER - A Fatal Fight At Newton Races. - The death of CHARLES POWELL, a labourer, aged eighteen, who resided with his parents in Coombe-street, Exeter, was the subject of an Inquest held on Friday at the Devon and Exeter Hospital by Mr Coroner Hooper.  Evidence was given to the effect that the deceased went to Newton Abbot races with some companions on Bank Holiday.  While there they adjourned to a refreshment booth, where an altercation arose between the deceased and some strangers stated to have come from Plymouth.  One of the latter said "Have a turn with me," and with the same struck him a blow in the side.  The deceased thereupon divested himself of his coat and prepared for a fight upon scientific principles.  Several rounds were fought in a rough and tumble way, the crowd leaving but little space for the combatants.  Eventually they fell to the ground together, and the deceased was picked up by one of his mates named Tootel, otherwise known as "Badger".  Deceased then intimated that he had had enough, and proceeded to a pump to wash the blood from his nose.  While doing so he said that "Badger" had done for him, having kicked him in the head accidentally in coming to his assistance.  A few days after his return to Exeter he was admitted to the Devon and Exeter Hospital, suffering from injuries to his head, and died on the 13th inst.  Before his death he said he was kicked while on the ground by Tootel, but that it was purely an accident.  One of the witnesses stated that the man with whom deceased fought was a native of Plymouth, that he was 5ft. 8in., and measured about 37in. round the chest.  Inspector Shipcott said inquiries had been made as to the identity of the man, but without result.  The Coroner expressed the opinion, in which the Jury coincided, that the occurrence was purely accidental, and the Jury returned a verdict to that effect.

HARTLAND - Fatal Burns. - On Monday last an Inquest was held at Hartland, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of ETHEL MARY BAKER, aged 11, who died on Sunday morning from the effects of burns sustained on Friday.  EMMA BAKER, wife of HENRY BAKER, blacksmith, was the first witness called.  She said she was the mother of the deceased.  On Friday morning, about 11 o'clock, she was in an upstair room when she heard an explosion and a scream.  She at once ran downstairs, and in the doorway of the kitchen she saw the deceased, who was in flames.  She took her in her arms, and endeavoured to extinguish the fire.  While she was doing this her own clothes were ignited. She rushed to the pump, which was close at hand, and by sending the water over herself and the child she extinguished the fire.  Her husband was out at the time.  Mr Fulford, of the Post-office, hearing an alarm of fire, entered the house, and seeing what had occurred went for Dr Newcombe, who came immediately.  The child died on Sunday morning about half-past eight.  The deceased told her that she had let out the fire and that in order to "get it up" she poured some oil (meaning petroleum) into the fire-place.  The can caught on fire, and on her throwing it on the floor the can exploded. She found the can now produced in the kitchen; both the bottom and top were gone.  The can was the one in which the petroleum was kept; it was kept in a cupboard in the kitchen. She was very sorry to say that some other persons in the house had before now used petroleum for getting up the fire when it got low; she never used it herself, and did not allow her children to do so.  She had cautioned persons against using petroleum in this way.  LENA BAKER,  a little girl, who witnessed the accident, made a statement as to what she saw.  Dr J. K. Newcombe, of Hartland, said that when he was called in he found the deceased in great agony, suffering from extensive burns, particularly in the extremities and the lower part of the body.  A great number of deaths occurred annually from burns caused in this way - through persons endeavouring to revive a fire by using mineral oil.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 29 August 1889

BARNSTAPLE - Accidental Death. - On Thursday morning an Inquest was held at the Golden anchor Inn, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of ELIZABETH GLOVER, aged 69, who (as reported in last week's Journal) died on Tuesday evening from the effects of injuries sustained on the 10th inst., when she fell down a flight of stairs.  In opening the proceedings the Coroner explained that when death occurred within twelve months of an accident it was necessary that an Inquest should be held.  ELIZABETH GLOVER, daughter of the deceased, said that for some time prior to her decease MRS GLOVER was blind and infirm.  About twelve o'clock on the 10th inst. witness walked upstairs in order to go to bed, her mother immediately following her.  They both reached the top of the stairs, and witness proceeded to her bedroom.  She at once heard a scream and the sound of someone falling, and on leaving her room she saw her mother lying at the foot of the stairs.  The deceased rose and then sat on the stairs.  She complained of pains in her side and wrist.  Witness carried her to bed, and attended to her all night.  In the morning she sent for Mr Cooke.  Mrs Bater deposed that she saw the deceased a day or two after the accident, and MRS GLOVER then told her that she fell over the stairs.  Mr J. Wood Cooke, surgeon, stated that when he was called in on the morning of the 11th inst. to see the deceased he found that a fracture of the hip-bone had taken place.  The left wrist was very much bruised.  He attended her until her death, which was the result of the accident, congestion of the lungs having set in.  The deceased had been well attended to by the daughter.  The Jury (of whom Mr J. Sellick was foreman) returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

NORTH TAWTON - On Monday some excitement was caused here by a report that MR WILLIAM BREALEY, wheelwright, had committed suicide.  At six o'clock P.S. Kemble was sent for to the man's house, when he was found lying in his bedroom with his throat cut.  Mr Hutchings, surgeon, was immediately fetched, but by that time life was extinct.  The deceased was an unmarried man of about the age of 48.  At the Inquest on Tuesday a verdict of "Suicide while in a state of Unsound Mind" was returned.

Thursday 12 September 1889

APPLEDORE - Singular Fatal Accident. - On Monday last an Inquest was held at the Dock Inn, Appledore, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of JOHN EDWARDS, gardener and labourer, aged 51.  The first witness called was the widow, JANE EDWARDS, who deposed that on Sunday, the 18th of August, the deceased sent out for some beer and fetched two glasses from the front room.  He poured the beer into the smaller glass, and then drank it while eating a potato.  He then went to the fire-place.  She asked what was the matter, and he then took a needle from the glass, saying that he had swallowed another.  She then remembered that there had been two needles in the glass, which was one which was not generally used.  The deceased tried to vomit, and then she told him to go to Dr Pratt.  He went to the doctor in the evening, and Mr Pratt also saw him on the following Monday.  The deceased did not do any work until the following Saturday, but after that he went to work and continued to do so the second week and part of the third week, stopping on Wednesday afternoon.  On that afternoon he came home about five o'clock and said he had been vomiting blood.  He went to bed and as more blood came she sent for Dr Pratt.  He died on Saturday about 2 o'clock.  Wm. Mair, police constable stationed at Appledore, gave confirmatory testimony, stating that the deceased had told him that he felt a soreness in his throat and could not swallow very well, but he fancied the needle was gone and that he was better.  Thos. Labbett, sailor, said that about 2 o'clock on the previous Saturday he was in a friend's house adjoining the residence of the deceased, when he heard MRS EDWARDS calling out for Mrs Hookway, and, on the latter going in, he followed her.  Passing Mrs Hookway on the stairs, eh went into the bedroom and there saw the deceased on the floor.  He lifted him up and put him into bed.  A few minutes afterwards EDWARDS died.  He never spoke while witness was there.  There was a great quantity of blood on the floor, and the deceased was covered with it.  The doctor came after witness, and was there before the man died.  Mr Frederick Pratt, M.D., and general practitioner, said he had known the deceased for several years  He was a gardener and general labourer  On Sunday, the 18th ult., deceased came to his surgery and said he had swallowed a needle.  He examined his throat and used the ordinary remedies, but was unable to discover the needle or to determine where it was.  Witness prescribed cooling drinks, gave him medicine, but after the first week did not see3 him professionally until the previous Wednesday  On the latter day he saw deceased in bed.  EDWARDS complained of being very ill.  He visited him again on the Thursday and Friday, and, on the latter day, sent him something to endeavour to stop vomiting, as he had been informed that deceased had been very sick.  On arriving at the bedroom on Saturday, he saw at once that deceased had broken a blood-vessel and shortly after his coming EDWARDS expired.  The actual cause of death was rupture of a blood-vessel, brought on by excessive vomiting, which must have been caused by the irritation set up by the needle.  He tried on one or two occasions after the deceased came to him to find the needle and passed an instrument so as to clear the passage if possible, and it was apparently clear.  In his opinion, no operation could have got the needle out.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

CREDITON - Fatal Kick At Crediton. - An Inquest was held at the Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter, last week, relative to the death of a lad named FRANK EDWARDS, aged five, and son of a mason, of Langdon-place, Crediton.  The evidence showed that on the 4th of July the deceased was chasing a pony, when he received a kick in the forehead.  He was medically attended, but although all went well for a time, an abscess formed upon the brain, and despite two operations, he died on Tuesday evening  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned by the Jury.

ILFRACOMBE - Shocking Death Of A Member Of The Fire Brigade.  The Inquest.  -  On Monday evening last, between 8 and 9, a young man, named HERBERT DENDLE, who was being lowered from the Town Hall in the cradle knot of the Fire Escape, fell to the ground, through the breaking of the rope.  He was at once picked up, and then taken to the Tyrell Hospital, where he died the same night.  The Inquest was held at the Railway Hotel, before Dr E. J. Slade-King, Deputy Coroner.  Captain H. W. Vickery was elected foreman of the Jury.  The body having been viewed, THOMAS DENDLE, mason builder, one of the Firemen, identified it as that of his son HERBERT, 19 years of age; he had been a member of the Brigade for four years and was a healthy active young man.  Witness then stated that they were both on duty at the Town Hall on Monday night, and described his son's fatal fall from the rope, upon the pavement.  - Dr Foquett (who wished to leave early) then stated that he was called to see the young man, after his terrible accident, and at once had him removed to the Hospital.  He found him suffering from a compound fracture of the frontal bone, and there were also symptoms of a fracture at the base of the skull.  He dressed the wound, and as the young man was perfectly paralysed and unconscious, he could do no more.  He went to see him again later, and at 11.30 p.m. he died.  The cause of death was injuries to the brain by the fall as detailed by the previous witness.

Mr R. Jewell, Captain of the Fire Brigade, said that on Monday night he ordered an Escape Drill.  They were expecting a new escape, and wished to see if 40ft. was high enough for any building in the High-street.  Having proved this, they went to the Town Hall to "lower a man."  One came down safely, then DENDLE, who was a lighter man, and usually ran up when a man was ordered aloft, was fixed in the cradle knot, but before he was half-way down, the rope broke, and he fell on his head on the pavement.  Witness explained that this cradle apparatus was generally used above a second floor, and further said that DENDLE had come down much oftener than any other member of the Brigade.  The rope used was manilla, of 5/8 inch diameter, and had been among the stores as long as he had been connected with the Brigade.  Its breaking strain, when new, would be a ton.  It had not been specially tested, except that it had been used many times before for the same purpose.  After each time of using it was looked to by an old man of war's man who was in the Brigade, and who said it was good enough to lower 100 men more.  He could not account for the accident, unless in the following way:  Some time back, one of the members of the Brigade fixed an iron plate round the side of the longer ladder used, to stop chafing when the cradle rope ran round it.  He told the man to put a similar plate round the short ladder, which was the one used on Monday night, and after the accident, he found that the plate was only partially round, and the edge of it might have worn the rope.  He did not know but that the last job was done exactly as the first, until the morning after the accident, as the man reported that he had done the work. There were no directions or regulations in Captain Shaw's Manual relative to deterioration of ropes b y use or otherwise.  It was not usual to use a jumping sheet when men were brought down in this way.  Mr Jewell having shown the Jury how the rope was used, round the ladder, they were left to consider their verdict, which after a brief interval was delivered in the following terms:  "We find that the deceased, HERBERT DENDLE, was Accidentally Killed while on Fire Brigade Drill, on Monday evening last, September 9th, by falling from the top of the Town Hall."  The following rider was added:  "The Jury are of the opinion that the plates at the top of the ladders are such as should not be used, and they also recommend that all the appliances of the Brigade, especially the ropes, should be periodically and carefully examined and tested."  The Jury requested their foreman to hand the fees to Mr Jewell, to form the nucleus of a fund for providing a memorial stone for a brave young fireman who died doing his duty.

Thursday 19 September 1889

COMBMARTIN - An Inquest was held at the King's Arms Hotel yesterday (Wednesday), before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of ALFRED JOHN GUBB, aged six months.  MARY ANN GUBB, wife of THOMAS GUBB, labourer, deposed that the deceased was the illegitimate child of her daughter, GRACE, an unmarried woman now living in service at Lynmouth.  The child was born at Ilfracombe, and a week afterwards she fetched her daughter, who remained at home at Combmartin for two months.  She then went into service at Combmartin, leaving the child in witness's charge.  As she was only in service next door the mother could see the child every day. About three weeks ago her daughter went to Lynton, leaving the child with her.  The child was then apparently in good health, and continued so until last Saturday.  In the afternoon the child was out doors in a perambulator, and at five o'clock it went to sleep in its cradle.  At half-past eleven, when she took the child out of the cradle, the deceased urged violently, and threw up some bread and milk which it had had during the afternoon.  Seeing that the child was ill she called in Mrs Grace Squires, a neighbour, who advised her to go to the doctor early in the morning.  Between eight and nine on the following morning Mrs Ellen Squires applied a poultice to the child.  About ten o'clock she went to Dr Manning's house, but as the doctor was not up she left a message asking that Mr Manning would come as soon as he could as the child was very ill.  As the doctor had not arrived by two o'clock, she sent a messenger to him and he sent word that he would be there in a few minutes.  The doctor had not arrived by four o'clock, and she went again to the house; she did not see him, but he called out from the sitting room that he would be at the house in a few minutes.  The doctor reached her house about half-past five.  The child seemed to be suffering during the day and at different times poultices were applied, this appearing to give relief.  After his visit the doctor fetched some powders, which he told her to administer during the night.  The child suffered a great deal, and died just after five o'clock on the following (Monday) morning.  The usual food which the child had was composed of bread, milk,  water, and sugar. Ellen Squires, wife of John Squires, butcher, gave corroborative evidence, and said that when Dr Manning arrived he did not give any explanation of his delay in coming.  He said he did not believe he could do it any good.  The child had always been kept clean and had been well fed and looked after.  She was certain that the child had never been neglected.  Dr G. H. Manning said that as he was not very well on the day on which he received the message to go to MRS GUBB'S he did not get up until the afternoon.  He went to the deceased about five o'clock.  He found the child in a dying state.  He was struck with the emaciated appearance of the child and its extreme bloodlessness, and he formed the opinion at the time that it was not sufficiently well nourished, but from what reason he could not say.  Being aware that the child was illegitimate, and having noticed its emaciated state, he did not feel at liberty to give the usual certificate, the more so as he could not fix the cause of death.  He thought that under the circumstances a further inquiry should be made.  In pursuance of instructions received from the Coroner he had made a post mortem examination of the body.  Its length was 2ft 1 ½ in; the weight was 11 pounds.  It was very much emaciated and very badly nourished.  The lungs, heart, liver and spleen were healthy, but very pale and bloodless.  In the small intestine he found an extensive intussusception - one portion of the bowel falling into the canal of the other, which set up irritation and strangulation and generally resulted in death.  This was the cause of death in this case. As the result of the post mortem he was satisfied that this was the cause of death - disease of the bowels.  He could not now say that neglect was the cause.  In fact, he never did go so far as this, but under all the circumstances he thought it was a case for a post mortem and an Inquest.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

PLYMPTON - The adjourned Inquest on the body of MR ARTHUR CLOUTTE, head master of Plympton Grammar School, was held last evening, when the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane."

LYNMOUTH - A Gentleman Drowned At Lynmouth.  The Inquest. - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at the Reading Room, Lynmouth, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of HERBERT WILLIAM ORD, which had been found in the sea on Tuesday.  Mr William Bevan was the foreman of the Jury.  The first witness called was Mrs Jane Valentine, wife of Dr Valentine, of Somerton.  The deceased, who was her uncle, was a brewer, and resided at Somerton.  He was 59 years of age, and was a widower without family.  They were in the habit of going about to watering-places together.  They arrived at Lynmouth a week previously, and took lodgings at Sea Breeze Cottage.  Up to last Tuesday her uncle was in his usual health and spirits, which were ordinarily good.  The last time she saw him was a little after noon on Tuesday.  They were then on the beach.  He left her, saying that he intended to bathe, and adding that he expected to be back for lunch about half-past one.  As he did not return at the time stated she waited for a little while and then went to look for him.  She got some people to assist her in the search, but she could not learn anything about him.  In the evening, between six and seven, the body was conveyed to the lodgings, and she was informed it had been found floating in the water.  The deceased was in the enjoyment of good spirits, and there was nothing in his private affairs to worry or distress him.  She had no doubt whatever that his death was accidental. For some time past his heart had been rather weak.  His breathing was short in going up hill.  With this exception he was in the enjoyment of good health.  They went to Lynmouth for pleasure and not on account of her uncle's health.  David Crocombe, boatman, deposed that on Tuesday he was in his boat alongside the steamboat Waverley, which was lying outside the harbour.  Someone on board the steamer called his attention to the fact that people standing on the Castle Rock were waving their handkerchiefs, and asked him to go and see if there was anything the matter.  He accordingly landed the people who were in his boat.  When he reached the shore he asked a young man if he would go with him to search under Castle Rock.  The young man was then going off with a party, who wanted to fish.  He said the ladies in his boat did not like his leaving, and so he did not go.  Witness then went off in his own boat by himself.  This was about three-quarters of an hour from the time when he was first told of the matter.  He had waited all this time to land his passengers and to try to get someone to go with him.  He rowed to the Castle Rock, a mile distant; he picked up a hat which he saw floating in the water, and just afterwards he found the body of the deceased floating face downwards.  There was "a lot of sea" running, and he was unable to get the body into the boat, as he found he was drifting towards the rocks.  He towed the body to the beach, where he found P.C. Tome.  The body was conveyed to Sea Breeze Cottage.  The young man on board the Waverley who told him what he had seen was one of the crew.  - By the Jury:  He picked up the body between Yellowstone and the iron railings.  The body was fully dressed, and there was a towel round the neck.  There was a man named Drummond in the boat with him when he was lying by the steamer; Drummond could not go with him as he had to take passengers off another steamer.  The man who said he could not leave on account of the ladies was George Richards.  Dr F. C. Berry deposed to examining the body.  He found no marks of violence.  The appearances were those of death from drowning.  There were no marks to indicate that the deceased had fallen off the cliffs.  P.C. Toms also gave evidence.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased was Accidentally Drowned while returning from bathing.

NORTHMOLTON - Fatal Accident At Molland Mines. - On Friday last an Inquest was held at the Poltimore Arms, Northmolton, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of JOHN KNILL, labourer, aged 65, who had succumbed to injuries sustained while working at Molland Mines, situated about six miles from Northmolton.  Mr Pinching, inspector of mines for Devonshire, was present at the Inquest.  The first witness called was P.C. Samuel Heale, stationed at Northmolton, who deposed that on Wednesday evening, in consequence of a message which he received, he went to the residence of the deceased in Old Ridge Lane.  The deceased was in bed, and Dr Spicer was in attendance.  KNILL was conscious, but died about twenty minutes after the arrival of witness.  John Brayley, manager of the Molland mines, stated that the deceased had been employed as a labourer at the mines for 11 or 12 months.  For the first few months he worked on the surface, and he then went underground tramming.  For the past four or five months he had been employed on the work above ground on which he was engaged when the accident occurred.  The deceased always had one assistant and sometimes two with him.  His duties were to attend to the calcined ore and break it up after it had been burnt.  The ore was burnt in this way:-  In the first place a layer of wood was placed at the bottom; a layer of coal, four or five inches thick, came next, and as the ore came up the shaft it was tripped upon the two layers in quantities of 400 or 500 tons, a quantity of small coal being mixed with the ore.  The wood was then ignited and the whole mass burnt.  The height of the mass before ignition was 12 feet, and after 9 feet.  The particular duty of the man in charge would be to prepare the calcined ore, after it had cooled, for carting to the station.  He was not at Molland when the accident occurred.  He saw the deceased at the mines at a quarter to two, when he left for Southmolton.  He had not been in the town long when he heard that an accident had occurred to the deceased and that Dr Spicer had been sent for.  Thinking that Mr Spicer might be away from home he proceeded to the mines with another medical man.  He found, however, that the deceased had been removed to his residence.  He went to Northmolton, and learnt from Dr Spicer that the man was dead.  In answer to Inspector Pinching, the witness said that at the time of the accident the deceased had one assistant.  When he left the mines he considered the heap was safe.  There was nothing overhanging.  The two sides were bevelled back to almost a thin edge at the top.  He was not aware of any particular danger attaching to this work, and knew of no accident having occurred before.  The outside of the mass was cold when the deceased was at work, but the interior was still on fire.  The men worked back gradually towards the middle.  There was nothing unusual in the work the deceased was doing, and KNILL had prepared thousands of tons of ore for removal in the same way.  - By the Jury:  Where the deceased was working the ore was cold.  - Frank Baker, miner, stated that he was present when the accident happened.  The deceased was working at some iron from the heap that was being burnt, and was using a pick for the purpose.  He was not working with the deceased, but was standing by watching.  He suddenly heard a noise and then saw a lot of dust rise.  He heard the deceased cry out, and he ran towards him, calling other workmen.  The deceased's legs and the lower part of his body were covered with hot ore.  He could not say what happened afterwards, as he felt faint and had to go away.  After the accident the deceased was lying 9 ft. from the spot where he first saw him working.  - By Mr Pinching:  The accident occurred at twenty minutes after four. He came up from the mine at four o'clock, which was relief time.  It did not occur to him that the deceased was in any danger while doing the work in which he saw him engaged.  - By the Jury:  The deceased was working at the side of the mass, and had not undermined it at all so far as he could see.  He was about two landyards from the deceased when the accident happened.  If the deceased had not moved none of the ore would have touched him.  - Wm. Priest, labourer, said that just before the accident occurred he saw deceased striking something in the heap with a hammer.  Witness remarked that this was rather a hard piece, and he said "Yes."  He walked away a little distance, and five minutes afterward he heard a noise and the deceased shouting "Run, quick, quick."  He shouted to some other men, and then helped to extricate the deceased.  They were occupied about ten minutes in releasing the deceased.  "Black hot" ore covered him from the hips downwards.  None of the pieces of ore on him was larger than one's head.  They threw a bucket of water over the deceased, but he asked them not to throw any more as it would suffocate him.  Witness, with others, stood on the ore in order to dig out the deceased.  The deceased asked to be removed to his house as soon as possible.  - By Mr Pinching:  They had not to break any of the ore in order to extricate the deceased.  He should say it was a big piece that broke his leg and threw him down.  - George Rumson, smith, employed at the mines, stated that at the time of the accident he was in the smithy, which was close to the heap of ore on which the deceased was working.  He assisted to extricate the deceased.  The ore which was on the deceased's legs was too hot to be handled.  It never occurred to him that there was anything particularly dangerous about this kind of work.  - By Mr Pinching:  He had never heard anyone express an opinion as to the work being dangerous or work which anyone would fear to undertake.  - Wm. Lyddon, miner, also gave evidence as to the extrication of the deceased, stating that great difficulty was experienced in releasing him.  A plank which was put under the deceased in order to save his hands caught fire.  The water which was thrown over the deceased prevented the clothes from igniting.  - By Inspector Pinching:  So far as he could see the heap was not hotter than usual.  Such a mass of iron would take two months to get cold.  The men commenced work as soon as the outside of the mass was cold.  - Dr Robert Henry Scanes Spicer, of Northmolton, deposed that a little before seven o'clock on Wednesday evening, he was asked to proceed to Molland Mines, but as he was about to start he was informed that the person who had met with the accident was conveyed to Northmolton.  He went to the deceased's house and waited until KNILL'S arrival.  He superintended the removal of the deceased from the cart to the house.  The deceased was conscious.  He first noticed that one of the legs was broken.  The flesh was stripped from a point two inches below the knee to the ankle and the bone was protruding.  The leg was so crushed that there was no feeling or pulsation below the injury.  There was a strong smell of burnt flesh.  He had the clothes carefully cut off and removed from the front part of the body.  One half of the left side of the abdomen was quite charred, and there were burns reaching as high as the breast.  He also found that there were burns on the back.  He requested the attendants to put every thing smooth under the deceased, and he went away to get bandages and dressing. Whilst he was away he was informed that KNILL was dead.  He died at 25 minutes past seven.  The actual cause of death was shock to the system, the result of the hot ore falling upon the deceased.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," adding the following rider:  "The Jury are strongly of opinion that younger and more intelligent men should be employed for the discharge of the duties on which the deceased was engaged at the time of the accident."

Thursday 3 October 1889

ILFRACOMBE - Recovery Of The Body of JOHN TUCKER. - The body of JOHN TCKER, who was drowned during the progress of the Ilfracombe Regatta on August 21st., was picked up about 1 ½ miles below Ilfracombe on Thursday afternoon by Captain Griffiths of the Favourite.  It was towed into Ilfracombe and placed in the lifeboat house.

An Inquest was opened in the evening at the Pier Hotel by the Deputy Coroner (Dr E. J. Slade-King).  The body was identified by the brother of the deceased, WILLIAM TUCKER, who stated that the deceased, in company with himself went on board the mark boat Thetis on August 21st.  In the pilot boat race the Polly touched the Thetis with her sail, and the pilot boat No. 9 which followed, ran down the mark boat.  Witness jumped to the pilot boat; but his brother did not do so; and before they could get back to him he was drowned.  Captain Griffiths gave evidence as to the recovery of the body, and the Inquest was adjourned until Monday, October 7th, in order that Captain Sanders of the pilot boat might be present.

Thursday 10 October 1889

ST. GILES - On Monday last an Inquest was held at the Rolle Inn, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., on the body of HERBERT MINTER, aged 44.  It appeared from the evidence that on the day named the deceased, who was the landlord of the Rolle Arms, drove to Torrington.  In the evening he was found in the roadway near Stevenstone by Mr New, butler, to whom he was not able to give any explanation of how he got in that position.  Mr New assisted the deceased into his (MINTER'S) cart and drove him to the Rolle Arms.  MR MINTER was able to walk into his house.  He lay down on a sofa and was supposed to go to sleep.  About two hours afterwards it was found that he was dead.  It was shown that the deceased did not "look himself" when at Torrington.  Dr Sutcliff deposed that death was due to apoplexy, and a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

ILFRACOMBE - The Inquest on the body of RICHARD KIFT, who met with a fatal accident at Francis Quarry, as briefly reported last week, was held at the Railway Hotel, Ilfracombe, on Thursday, before Dr E. J. Slade King, with Mr J. C. Clarke as foreman of the Jury.  One of the summoned Jurymen (James Palmer) was fined 5s. for non attendance.  GEORGE RICHARD KIFT, labourer, and son of the deceased, identified the body of his father, who was 42 years of age.  He was working at Francis Quarry on the previous day, and was standing on the face of the rock, when a large stone above him fell and knocked his father from where he was standing.  Deceased was knocked down about 10 feet, the stone falling on him.  Witness went to his assistance and found his father lying on his back, with his left leg doubled under him.  Medical aid was sent for.  Philip Creek corroborated.  Mr J. T. Gardner, surgeon, stated that he, in company with Dr Jones, went to the quarry and found KIFT sitting there in a state of partial collapse.  They applied splints and had him removed to the hospital, where, after a surgical consultation, witness amputated one of his legs which was extensively injured and fractured.  The man died within an hour or so.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, and the Jury gave their fees to the widow of the deceased.

ILFRACOMBE - Inquest On The Body Of JOHN TUCKER.  The adjourned Inquest on the body of JOHN TUCKER, who was drowned on the occasion of the Ilfracombe Regatta on August 21st, was held at the Pier Hotel, Ilfracombe, on Monday afternoon, before Dr E. J. Slade King (Deputy Coroner).  The Coroner, having read the evidence given at the Inquest, WM. TUCKER was re-called, and stated that when he was hauled on board the pilot boat, there were six persons on board.  They were nearly stripped, as though about to swim.  He had no conversation with them.  They acted, as far as he could see, in a sober manner.  Wm. Sanders stated that he was a Cardiff pilot, and master of the "Fanny S." No. 9 (17 tons).  On the 21st August last he took a part in the Ilfracombe Regatta, and was started from the Committee boat between 12 and 1 o'clock.  She carried a crew of four, all able seamen.  They went round the eastern mark first, there being a strong breeze blowing from the west and a heavy sea at the time.  They then proceeded down to the western mark.  When well away to the north they saw the mark boat at a distance of about two miles, and then put about on the starboard tack thinking they could go round her.  During the time they were standing in, the wind headed them and they could not fetch her.  They then stood a little inside to the southward of her, and then bowed ship to go around as they had to leave the mark boat on the port hand.  They proceeded on the port tack at the rate of 6 or 7 knots an hour for two minutes, and as they got three or four lengths from the mark boat, witness discovered she was drifting.  He exclaimed "Oh the mark boat is driving.  Let go the peak hallyards and mainsheet."  As they were going off, so the sea was sending the Thetis with them.  The bowsprit of No. 9 got underneath the topping lift of the Thetis, taking the mast out of her and dragging her right under their bow, striking her with their stem about 3ft. from the taffrail.  Seeing it was a severe collision the crew of No. 9 did all they could to rescue the crew of the Thetis.  They succeeded in rescuing WM. TUCKER.  A rope was thrown to JOHN TUCKER, which he caught hold of, but when they hauled away at the rope his hands slipped and the rope came up without him.  they put about on the starboard tack and cruised over the ground where the Thetis sank.  During the3 time they were tacking one of the crew stripped and took the lifebuoy in his hands.  However, they saw nothing floating but the cork fender and a couple of oars.  Witness steered the pilot boat the whole of the time, and all the crew were on the deck looking out.  He could not help shaving the mark boat.  When witness noticed the Thetis was driving he put his helm up to go under her stern.  The wind was very puffy, and he attributed the collision to the drifting of the Thetis.  Had she been stationary witness's boat would never have touched her.  Witness said to TUCKER "Why did'n you give me some intimation that your boat was driving," and he said "We have not been driving; we have been abreast of that white house all the day."  Witness thought the Thetis was driving because of the behaviour of his own boat.  Witness had been a pilot for 16 years and had been in the Channel all his lifetime.  By the Jury:  Do you think that if you had put your helm starboard you would have gone round the bow of the Thetis?  -  No; I should have struck the boat amidships.  It was about 20 minutes ebb tide.  There were 7 boats in the race.

By P.S. Jeffery:  He did not know that all the boats passed the mark boat on the same tack as he did.  The boats that preceded him did not, as far as he knew, touch the mark boat.

Lewis Jones, Cardiff pilot, No. 12, stated that he took part in the Ilfracombe regatta on August 21st.  They were about the third boat going round the western mark and the two TUCKERS, who were in the Thetis, were clapping their hands and encouraging them.  She was riding about W.S.W.  The tide was slack and the wind puffy.  The No. 12 might have been 10 minutes ahead of No. 9.  When witness's boat was going round the mark boat, the Thetis was not drifting, but in his opinion a boat with 40 fathoms of rope out would be likely to drift.  It would be very much more difficult to pass round an object that was drifting than a fixed object.  Witness considered it was a dangerous day for mark boats to be out.

William Williams, harbour pilot, Ilfracombe, stated that he had had about 45 years experience of this Channel.  On the 21st of August he boarded a Guernsey dandy, which was towing witness's boat astern, when the bobstay of No. 9 touched the latter.  John Henry Davis, baker, &c., of Cardiff, a passenger on board the Fanny S., on the occasion of the regatta, stated that Captain Sanders was at the helm the whole of the time and the crew were all on the look out.  Witness was in the cockpit and the sail prevented him from seeing much but, just before the collision, he heard Mr Sanders say that the mark boat was drifting.  After the collision, everything was done by the crew of No. 9 to save the crew of the Thetis.  There was a small bottle of whiskey on board the No. 9 but witness thought it was scarcely touched.  By the Jury:  Witness did not hear any warning shouts from either of the TUCKERS.  John Kennedy, boatman, stated that in a conversation with WM. TUCKER regarding the collision, the latter told witness that he believed the Thetis was driving at the time.  The Coroner having briefly directed the Jury, the room was cleared.  After a consultation of about 15 minutes the Jury returned a verdict of "Death by Misadventure," and gave their fees to the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital.

Thursday 17 October 1889

BARNSTAPLE - Accidental Death. - An Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary on Saturday, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of FRANCIS SNOOKS, aged 67, well-known as a sign painter, of Bedford Row, who on Thursday succumbed to injuries sustained some weeks previously.  Mr W. F. Gardiner was chosen foreman of the Jury.  Chas. Parkin, cordwainer, of Queen-street, deposed that on Wednesday, the 18th of September, he was at the Queen's Hotel, Boutport-street, where he was then engaged as a waiter.  The deceased had done some work in the house, and he was invited to take dinner in the kitchen.  He seemed to have a good appetite, and said he enjoyed his dinner.  When SNOOKS rose he leaned on his stick; the stick slipped, and the deceased fell heavily on his left side.  Witness and the ostler lifted him to a chair, and on being asked if he was hurt, he said there was something wrong, as he could not stand.  The deceased was then removed to a sofa in the sitting room.  SNOOKS declined to allow himself to be removed to the Infirmary when his wife arrived.  MRS SNOOKS went away to get a cab, but before she arrived again the deceased was removed in a chair to his house.  Mr J. Wood Cooke, surgeon, deposed that on the 19th of September he was called in to see the deceased.  He found him at his own house; he was in bed.  On examination he found that there was a fracture of the neck of the thigh bone.  He advised his removal to the Infirmary, as he thought he could not be properly attended to at his own house.  A few years ago the other thigh of the deceased was broken.  SNOOKS had suffered a good deal from gout.   The deceased raised no objection to going into the Infirmary when he made the suggestion.  The accident was a very serious one for a man of the age of the deceased.  Mr Parkin, re-called, said the deceased drank half a glass of beer with his dinner.  SNOOKS was not the worse for liquor when the accident occurred.  SNOOKS had been very "shaky" and infirm for some years.  Mr H. Haynes Lovell, house surgeon of the Infirmary, said the deceased was admitted to the institution on the 19th of September.  SNOOKS was suffering from a fractured thigh. He (witness) was away at the time, and Mr C. Cooke was acting as locum tenens for him.  He saw SNOOKS on the following Thursday, and the deceased was then very frail.  He sank gradually, and died on Thursday, the 10th inst., from exhaustion due to the injury sustained.  The injury would not have proved fatal had not SNOOKS been otherwise in a very low condition.  The Coroner briefly summed up, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 24 October 1889

WOOLACOMBE - An Inquest on the body of JOSEPH MARIE HERVIS, able seaman on board the Aurore, wrecked on Woolacombe Sands on Saturday morning, was held at the Chichester Arms, Morthoe, on Monday afternoon, before Dr E. J. Slade King, Deputy Coroner.  Mr H. Western was foreman of the Jury.  The agent to the French Consul at Cardiff (Mr Groves Cooper) was represented by Mr Johns.  Theophile Stephany, captain of the Aurore, of Vannes, said deceased was 22 years, and a native of Labert, in Brittany.  They were wrecked on Woolacombe Sands on Saturday, on their voyage from Vannes to Newport.  The vessel anchored in the bay, but at five o'clock the anchor broke.  They let go the other anchor, but the wind was strong, and the vessel drove on to the sands.  Witness put four men in the large boat and two in the little boat, and gave them orders  what to do.  The large boat was making for the shore, when it capsized, and the occupants were thrown out.  Witness and his mate were about to get into the small boat, when it capsized, and they were obliged to remain on board, and were afterwards brought ashore by means of the rocket apparatus.  Joseph Marie Metra said he was with deceased in the large boat which capsized, but he knew nothing of what became of deceased.  Witness got ashore.  Richard Miles, labourer, deposed to seeing a flaring light at sea about five o'clock on Saturday morning.  He went to the shore and saw a man there, also a boat washing in, and two men in the water.  Witness went into the water, and pulled the two men ashore.  He heard a fourth man holloa, but saw nothing of him.  Evidence as to the finding of the body on Sunday morning was given by Joseph Taw, lodging house keeper, Woolacombe.  A verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" was returned.

APPLEDORE - LOUISA CAROLINE SHORT, aged ten years, daughter of WM. SHORT, was engaged in lighting a fire on the 2nd inst., when her clothes became ignited.  She was severely burned in the lower part of the body.  She was attended by Dr Pratt.  She succumbed to the injuries yesterday (Wednesday).  An Inquest will be held today.

Thursday 31 October 1889

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Fatal Accident At Barnstaple. - A distressing fatal accident happened at the Bridge Wharf Cabinet Works of Messrs Shapland and Petter on Monday morning last. A lad named ARTHUR ERNEST HAYWARD, aged 15, was engaged in superintending a steam lift when his head was so terribly crushed that death was instantaneous.  The deceased entered the employ of Messrs. Shapland and Petter only a week previous.  It was his duty to attend to a lift located in the block of buildings containing the machine rooms.  The block is three storeys in height.  The lift is worked by steam, and its management is an exceedingly easy matter - the lift can be stopped in an instant, and the upward and downward motion reversed with equal ease by means of a single rope.  Three of the sides are boarded to a height of about six feet; the remaining side is quite open to facilitate the admission of large packages and pieces of timber, &c.  Shortly after nine o'clock on Monday HAYWARD conveyed the foreman of the machine rooms to the top storey, and a couple of minutes later, while the lift was again proceeding upwards he met with the accident.  He was on the lift by himself at the time, and no one saw the accident.  It is supposed, however, that the unfortunate lad was looking into one of the machine rooms, and that as his head extended beyond the limit of the lift it was caught between the lift and the floor of the work-room on the second storey.  A lad named Lawday immediately saw that something was wrong, and running forward managed to stop the lift before it had proceeded many feet.  Mr Massey, who was at work in the adjoining machine-room, rushed to the spot and jumped into the lift.  The deceased was then hanging over the side.  Mr Massey laid him on the lift, which was then allowed to return to the ground floor.  A medical man was at once sent for.  The head of the deceased was fearfully mangled.  There was a terrible wound in the face and in the back of the head.  The body was subsequently conveyed to the mortuary at the North Devon Infirmary.  On hearing of the sad occurrence the firm ordered that work should be suspended until two o'clock.  The mother of the deceased is employed at Watermouth Castle:  she is a widow, her husband having died at Bristol some time ago.  The Inquest on the body was opened at the Infirmary on Monday afternoon, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner.  Mr L. Ford was chosen foreman of the Jury.  In opening the proceedings the Coroner said he proposed to communicate with Mr Bignell, Inspector of Factories, and after having called some of the witnesses adjourn the Inquiry to afford the Inspector an opportunity of attending.  He should also ask the Jurymen to visit the Factory and to inspect the lift.  - The first witness called was William Robertson, of 5, Victoria Road, foreman of the machine rooms at Messrs. Shapland and Petter's Factory, who deposed that the deceased was employed at the Factory to work the lift.  He entered Messrs. Shapland and Petter's employ on Monday in last week.  He was 14 years of age.  His duty was to stand on the lift and to work it up and down.  the lift was worked by steam, the boy in charge moving it either upwards or downwards by pulling a rope.  A few minutes after nine that morning witness went, by means of the lift, from the second floor of the factory to the top floor in order to speak to a workman.  The deceased was then on the lift and working it properly.  Not two minutes afterwards, while he was still on the top floor, he heard that the boy had been killed in the lift.  He immediately went downstairs and on the ground floor saw the deceased lying in the lift.  He was quite dead.  Having taken witness to the top storey the deceased worked the lift to the bottom and was supposed to have been working upwards again when the accident occurred.  Dr McConnell was in attendance within ten minutes. The body was subsequently removed to the mortuary of the North Devon Infirmary.  - By a Juror:  The deceased was instructed how to work the lift and was cautioned that he must be careful.  - Henry Wilson McConnell, surgeon, deposed that at a quarter past nine he received a message, in consequence of which he immediately went to Messrs. Shapland and Petter's Factory.  He found the deceased lying on the bottom of the lift and covered with a sheet.  The lad was quite dead.  There was a large wound just below the left eye.  The bones of the face were broken, the base of the skull was fractured, and there was also a fracture of the skull at the back of the head.  Death must have been instantaneous.  The Inquest was then adjourned until this (Thursday) morning, in order to afford the Inspector of Factories an opportunity of attending.  The Coroner and the Jury subsequently visited the Factory and inspected the lift.

SOUTHMOLTON - Suicide Of A Tradesman. - Considerable excitement was created in Southmolton on Thursday by a report that MR WILLIAM HUXTABLE, master tailor, of South-street, had made away with his life by hanging himself.  The deceased, who was about 68 years old, recently married a second wife who had left him, and he was alone in his house on Wednesday night.  On finding the doors locked on Thursday morning an entrance was effected through a window, and the unhappy man was found hanging by the neck to the bannisters of the stairs.  Deceased has a mother living in the town, and he himself has grand-daughters married.  The Inquiry was held on Friday afternoon at deceased's residence, before Mr Thomas Sanders (Borough Coroner) and the following Jury:-  Mr William Kingdon (foreman), Messrs J. Bullworthy, C. Manning, John Mills, T. Pady, G. Hodge, CD. Shave, John Cruwys, G. Gibbett, W. Brayley, W. Cotty, and W. Hawkes.  MR J. C. HUXTABLE, deceased's son, deposed that he last saw his father alive on Tuesday evening between 6 and 7 o'clock.  Deceased called at his (witness's) house, and stayed a few minutes only.  He saw him also on Monday evening, and he then seemed depressed at the contents of a letter which had been received by Mrs Harris as to his son in Australia, and said his children in Australia and his late wife were always in his mind, and he could not rest about them.  On Tuesday evening he appeared excited and worried.  On Thursday Miss Hill, who lodged at his father's house, came to him and said she could not get into the house, she had tried the door several times, but could get no answer.  She asked witness to come down with her, which he did.  On entering the house by a ladder through one of the windows he found his father hanging in the staircase by a rope, which he produced.  The body was quite cold, and on looking around the house he found the following letter, which was in his father's handwriting:-  "Please give this letter to my son JOHN.  Good-bye.  May God bless you all, and may God forgive me for this rash deed."  -  MARY ANN HUXTABLE, widow of the deceased, said she resided with her husband up to Tuesday evening last, when she left him on account of a family difference.  He seemed depressed at her leaving, but did not say anything that would lead her to believe that he would take his life.  They did not leave on the best of terms.  He had been drinking a little more than usual lately.  She intended to return home again the same evening, but did not do so in consequence of a message he had sent her.  -  Mrs Martha Bowden said that on Wednesday last, between 2 and 3 in the afternoon, she passed deceased's house.  He called to her, as he knew her well.  She stopped and went to the door and saw him smoking his pipe.  He took that pipe from his mouth, and putting it on the table, began to cry.  She said, "I can't stand this, tailor." and immediately left.  She saw he was greatly depressed in spirits and seemed strange in manner.  - Mary Louisa Hill deposed to lodging at the deceased's house.  Witness got deceased's breakfast on Wednesday morning and went to her duties at the Infant School.  She returned at 12 o'clock and found the door locked, and again at 4 with the like result.  Witness went to the station, where deceased's wife was staying, and slept there the night.  On Thursday, between 12 and 1, she again went to deceased's house, and finding all the doors still locked suspected there was something wrong and called his son's attention to the circumstances.    Mr A. Hind, surgeon, said he was called to deceased's residence on Thursday at 12.30 p.m., and found the deceased suspended by the rope produced from the railing of the staircase.  The face of the deceased was perfectly cold, and he had evidently been dead some hours.  There was a very slight feeling of warmth about the heart and waist, which was not unusual in these cases several hours after death.  From the position in which the body was found witness was convinced that the deceased committed suicide by hanging himself while in an Unsound State of Mind.

Thursday 7 November 1889

WINKLEIGH - The Disappearance Of A Girl At Winkleigh.  Found Drowned.  -  Considerable interest has been manifested in North Devon by the disappearance of MAUD MARY PARKER, aged nine years, daughter of a labourer living at Taw Bridge Cottage, Winkleigh.  She was missed on Wednesday in last week, and, after several days' search by the police, the body was recovered on Tuesday from the River Taw, about 500 yards from the cottage.  An Inquest was held at Taw Bridge Farm on Wednesday by Mr H. W. Gould, the Deputy Coroner for the district.

JESSE WARD, labourer, identified the body as that of his daughter by a former wife.  Four years ago he again married, and the deceased had lived with them for the past two years.  On Wednesday morning about six o'clock he went to work, leaving her in bed with another child.  On his return to dinner at one o'clock his wife informed him that the deceased had gone out and could not be found anywhere.  Witness instituted a search on the roads, but failed to find any trace of her.  She had been in the habit of his leaving in the morning of coming downstairs and barring the door.  On leaving on the morning in question he heard the door of the stairs, which was against the front door, rattle.  After her disappearance it was found that she had left her boots behind.  He could not account for her going away, as there had been no disagreement.  He saw her on the previous night, but she made no complaint.  The family lived together on happy terms.  In the evening after leaving work, he again instituted a search in the roads in the neighbourhood, but without avail.  She had gone away several times previously; on one occasion she walked to North Tawton, 3 ½ miles distant, leaving in the morning and not returning till the evening.  She refused to explain the cause of her absence.  Five weeks ago witness went to pay her school fees to the school-master, who said he did not know what he was going to do with her as he could not make her learn anything.  He told witness that on one occasion he ordered her home, but the deceased told him that rather than go home she would drown herself.  Fearing that she might carry out her threat, the master took her back to the school. 

Charles Sampson, labourer, New House, Coleridge, said that between 7.30 and 8 o'clock on the morning of the 16th October he passed the house of the last witness, whose wife asked him if he had seen the deceased.  He replied that he had not.

P.C. Waldron, of Winkleigh, said the first witness called at his house about eleven o'clock on the 17th October and left a message to the effect that deceased was missing.  Witness went to Taw Bridge about 1.30 and saw WARD'S wife, who informed him that on the previous morning the deceased went downstairs to bar the door, and as she did not return to bed and did not respond to calls, she dressed, and found that the girl was gone.  MRS WARD added that she went so far as Taw Mill lane, but saw nothing of her.  When the deceased went downstairs she was not dressed but she took clothes with her.  She, however, left the house without either boots or hat.  Witness inquired whether MRS WARD thought the deceased had gone to any of her friends?  She said she did not know, but added that the girl went to North Tawton about a month ago.  MRS WARD also said that although she had never heard the deceased threaten to commit suicide, other people had, and therefore should not be surprised if she had taken her life.  She had, said MRS WARD, seemed strange, as if she had been hurt in her head, for the last month or six weeks.  Asked by witness who had hurt her, MRS WARD said, "I don't know; but there are those who can witch anyone."  An uncle of the deceased, who was present at this interview said that the girl had also spoken to him of her intention to commit suicide - on one occasion when he took her home from school.  Witness said he had been engaged in searching for the deceased until her body was recovered from the Taw by P.S. Mitchell and P.C. Cox who had assisted him.  It was recovered about 500 yards down the river, and from the house in which the deceased lived.

P.S. Mitchell, Chulmleigh, said the deceased when recovered from the water had on a linen garment, and a red serge petticoat, a grey frock, and one brown stocking.

James Tippers, master of the Winkleigh Board School, said the deceased had been in the habit of attending the school, the last time was on Monday, the 23rd September last.  The evidence of JESSE WARD as to witness's statement to him when he came to pay the school fees, contained not a word of truth.  "I have never, " added Mr Tippers, "heard the deceased speak of suicide."  Her intellect was quite up to the average.  Deceased had complained of ill treatment by her mother, and on one occasion of having received a thrashing from her father, but I have never seen any evidence of it.  I have found the deceased very untruthful.

Mr J. Tucker, surgeon, Chulmleigh, said the body of the deceased when taken from the water was covered with mud.  It had evidently been in the water some time.  There was no mark of violence.  Owing to the length of time the deceased had been in the water he was unable to form an opinion as to the cause of death.  He had, however, no reason to think that it was not the result of drowning.  The girl was apparently well nourished.  JESSE WARD (re-called) adhered to his statement that the schoolmaster made the statement to him which he had given in evidence.  Witness explained that his wife was unable to attend the Inquest owing to confinement that morning.  The Coroner having summed up in the usual way, the Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."

BARNSTAPLE - The Fatal Accident At the Bridge Wharf Works, Barnstaple. - The Inquest on the body of ARTHUR ERNEST HAYWARD, aged 15, who was killed on Monday in last week while employed in managing a lift at the Bridge Wharf Cabinet Works of Messrs. Shapland and Petter, was resumed at the North Devon Infirmary on Thursday morning last, before R. Incledon Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner.  The Inquiry was opened on Monday afternoon, and was the adjourned in order that the Coroner might communicate with Mr Bignold, H.M. Inspector of Factories.  Mr Bignold attended the Inquest on Thursday, and Mr W. H. Shapland (of the firm of Messrs. Shapland and Petter) was also present.  The evidence given by Mr Robertson, the foreman of the machine rooms, on Monday - and reported in last week's Journal - was read over.  Mr William Lewis, uncle of the deceased, said he should like to ask the witness a question.  When he took the boy to the Factory a week previous to the accident he did not think he would be given such work as the management of a lift.  He understood that Mr Robertson wanted the boy to take wood up and down the stairs.  He should like to ask whether three or four days did not elapse before the boy was entrusted with the management of the lift.  Mr Robertson said that within half an hour of the arrival of the lad he was put upon the lift.  When he was engaged nothing whatever was said as to the particular work he should do.  In answer to the Inspector, the witness said he gave the lad full instructions with regard to the working of the lift.  He went up and down in the lift several times in order to show HAYWARD what to do.  It was remarked by the men that HAYWARD was one of the quietest boys there had ever been employed on the lift.  He did the work all right.  So far as witness observed, the lad was cool and collected when doing the work.  The evidence given by Mr McConnell, surgeon, on Monday, having been read over, William Lawday, aged 16, was called.  He said he worked a "jig" saw, which was located on the first floor of the block in which the accident occurred.  The lift passed within seventeen feet of the spot where he worked.  About twelve minutes after nine on Monday morning he was at work when he saw HAYWARD lying flat on the bottom of the lift, with his head and arms hanging over the side.  Mr Massey, who was working in the same room, called out to the deceased, and told him to "take in his head."  HAYWARD did not move, and seeing there was something wrong, witness ran forward and stopped the lift by pulling the rope.  He did this before the lift reached the second floor.  He noticed some blood about.  Mr Massey jumped into the lift and called out for some one to go for a doctor.  The accident had happened before witness noticed there was anything wrong or heard Mr Massey call out.  - By the Inspector:  He heard a slight noise before he saw there was something wrong, but it was not sufficient to lead him to suspect that an accident had happened.  He could not say whether or not there were any persons on the ground floor when the lift started.  Mr Shapland here remarked that he had not been able to ascertain that anyone spoke to the deceased when the lift started on the upward journey.  William Burd Massey deposed that he worked a morticing machine which was fixed on the second floor.  While he stood at his machine he could see the lift on which the accident occurred as it moved up and down.  About ten minutes after nine he noticed that HAYWARD'S head extended beyond the side of the ascending lift.  He thought that the lad was looking at something on the ground floor.  He considered that the deceased must have been lying on the bottom of the lift when the accident occurred.  He shouted to him, not knowing that the accident had already occurred, in order that he might draw in his head before the second floor was reached.  The boy made no response and did not move.  On hearing witness shout Lawday ran to the lift and stopped it.  He (witness) went into the lift and found that HAYWARD'S head was terribly injured and that life was extinct.  A messenger was at once sent for a doctor.  He had heard that the deceased had just previously told one of the boys to take a message for him with regard to the belt, as he could not leave his work.  The Inspector said he inclined to the opinion that the deceased must have been talking to someone or looking at something on the ground floor when the accident occurred.  In reply to the Inspector, Mr Massey said the lift was going up and down continuously.  It went up every three minutes.  He considered it a very simple duty; a child of six could work the lift.  - The Inspector:  As well as a man of 50?  Witness:  No, I don't say that.  I say that a small boy could do it.  It is a work that requires no strength.  The Inspector remarked that the very ease with which the lift could be set in motion increased its danger.  He asked the witness whether he did not consider that it was important that the person employed to work the hoist should be cool and experienced.  - Mr Massey:  Yes, that is so with regard to all machinery.  - Mr Shapland:  You consider a boy is capable of working the lift?  -  Witness:  Yes.  - The Inspector:  As regards strength or knowledge of danger?  - Witness:  Knowledge of danger.  The deceased knew very well what the danger was.  he was a very quiet boy  I never knew him leave his post.  - The Inspector:  It is not quietness you want; it is experience and coolness.  - In answer to the Foreman of the Jury (Mr Samuel Ford), the witness said he believed a boy named Dymond descended in the lift with the deceased just before the accide3nt occurred.  Dymond was the boy who worked the lift before the deceased was employed.  Mr Robertson said that Dymond was on his way to another block of the buildings and probably left the machine department before the lift commenced its upward journey.

The coroner produced and read the rules which are attached to all the lifts at the Bridge Wharf Works.  One of the rules states that no boy is to use the lift unless he is engaged in conveying articles.

At the invitation of the Coroner, the Inspector addressed a few words to the Jury.  He had had considerable experience of factories, and he could not remember a single case in which a hoist was worked by a boy.  It was a man's work.  He thought it right to say that he believed Messrs. Shapland and Petter had had no experience in the working of hoists.  Six months ago he mentioned to them the dangerous nature of hoists, and they then declared their intention of doing everything they could to protect the lifts.  The firm had been in communication with him as to the best means of protecting various other machinery which, it seemed to him, might cause accidents if people were careless.  Messrs. Shapland and Petter had shown great anxiety to comply with suggestions he made under the Factory Act and also with other suggestions he made beyond the Act.  If when he visited the Factory he had noticed a boy working the lift he should have advised the firm to employ a man to do the work.  He found that it was generally an old pensioner who was engaged to work a hoist.  The Coroner:  There has been no infringement of the Factory Act?  Mr Bignold replied in the negative.  There was nothing in the Act as to the kind of person to be employed.  It was the duty of employers to fence machinery and hoists.  If a person put his head outside a lift an accident would happen, even if a fencing were put up.  But there must be an aperture on one side of the lift.

In summing up, the Coroner said the matter had been gone into very thoroughly.  It was clear that there had been no culpable negligence on the part of Messrs. Shapland and Petter and their employees.  The deceased had lost his life by disobeying the instructions he received and the regulations attached to the lift.  Messrs Shapland and Petter had shown great anxiety in the matter.  They appeared to have done what they could to make the lift safe; but after every precaution had been taken the work must be a work of danger unless the rules were complied with, and unless the person in charge was at all times cool and collected and could appreciate the risk he ran if he infringed the rules.

Mr W. H. Shapland said it had been the greatest anxiety of the firm to attend to and carry out all the suggestions made by the Inspector with a view to meeting the requirements of the Factory Act.  They had not, however, thought sufficiently of this side of the question - of the boy who worked the lift.  The lifts had up to this time always been satisfactorily worked by boys.  The reason boys were prohibited from using the lifts unless engaged in conveying parcels was that they might not distract the attention of the lads in charge.  They had always considered boys quite capable of doing the work, but had now decided that in future men should be employed in each of the lifts.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  They said they were glad to hear that men were in the future to be employed to work the lift, and they recommended that gates, which would open when the lift reached a landing, should be fixed to the lift.  They considered that if this were done it would be impossible for an accident to occur.  Mr Shapland said the firm were also giving this matter their attention.  The Inquiry was then closed.

Thursday 21 November 1889

WEST PUTFORD - Suicide. - On Tuesday last Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest at the Parsonage Cross in the parish of West Putford on the body of JOHN HARRIS, labourer, aged 49, who committed suicide on Friday.  - HARRIET HARRIS, the mother of the deceased, said JOHN HARRIS had resided with her at Parsonage Cross Cottage.  he had twice been sent to a lunatic asylum; about eight years ago he was in an asylum for four months, and in May last he was again sent away.  He left the Asylum in the 5th of November in order to live with her as usual.  He seemed to be better in his mind.  On Friday he appeared to be in his usual state. After dinner he remained in the house for awhile and then went across the road into an outhouse.  She immediately followed; she found him in a sitting posture and at once saw that something had happened.  She was too much frightened to do anything, so she told MRS HARRIS (an aunt of the deceased) who at once left the house and proceeded to the assistance of the deceased.  -  ANN HARRIS deposed that on Friday she was at Parsonage Cross with her sister.  The deceased dined with them.  After dinner she saw her sister leave the house, and just afterwards she heard her call out "I think something has happened to JOHN."  She ran out at once.  She found the deceased sitting in a corner of the outhouse, with his head resting against the wall.  She found that he had cut his throat.  She said, "My dear JOHN, what have you done?"  He made no reply.  By this time Mrs Allen, a neighbour had come in.  The deceased was moved into the house and a doctor sent for.  Maria Allen stated that when she entered the outhouse and saw what had happened she ran for MR HARRIS, a first cousin of the deceased, who was at work not far off.  MR HARRIS assisted in the removal of the deceased to the house.  When the deceased was in bed witness washed his face; the deceased said, "Lift me up" several times.  He did not say anything else.  He died about twenty minutes after he was removed into the house.  An ordinary kitchen knife, which was covered with blood, was subsequently found in the outhouse.  Dr E. Walter Emtage, of Bradworthy, said he had known the deceased very well.  In May HARRIS was sent to an Asylum on his certificate.  Before the certificate was given he saw the deceased on two occasions, and he then expressed a wish that he should be sent to the asylum or he should "find some other way out of it."  Witness asked what he meant, and HARRIS replied that he should kill himself.  HARRIS was suffering from melancholia.  He was not aware that the deceased was out of the Asylum until he was called in to see him on Friday.  He was driving past the cottage about nine o'clock in the evening, when he was called in to see the deceased.  Life had been extinct for some hours.  He found a large gaping wound extending from beneath the left ear to the angle of the jaw on the right side.  The wound divided all the superficial tissues, and was quite enough to account for death.  The Jury returned a verdict that the deceased committed Suicide while in a state of Unsound Mind.

Thursday 19 December 1889

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest. -  On Tuesday afternoon an Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of JNO. TAYLOR, aged 86, who was an inmate of the Union Workhouse.  Mr S. Ford was the foreman of the Jury.  Jas. Boaden, an inmate of the Union Workhouse, said the deceased was admitted to the House about three weeks before the 29th of Nov.  About three o'clock in the afternoon of the day named, while in the house, he heard a noise, as though someone was falling.  He then found that the deceased had fallen down three stairs.  The deceased said he had "nearly knocked his brains out."  He carried the old man to a bed, and the doctor was then sent for.  Mr Cooke arrived in about an hour.  The deceased was in the ward by himself when the accident occurred.  Mr J. W. Cooke, surgeon, the medical officer of the Barnstaple Workhouse, said he knew the deceased was an inmate of the House.  He was a very feeble old man.  He had only been in the Workhouse a few weeks.  On the 29th Nov. he was called in to see the deceased.  He found him in bed, and was told he had fallen downstairs.  he found that the old man had sustained a bad fracture of the upper third of the right thigh.  there was a good deal of displacement.  Under his direction the deceased was at once taken to the Infirmary on a stretcher.  The deceased remained under his care up to the time of his death, which occurred on Sunday evening.  He did from congestion of the lungs and exhaustion, consequent on the fracture of the thigh.  Mr Francis Penny, house surgeon of the Infirmary, gave formal evidence as to the death of the patient.  When he entered upon his duties as house surgeon, he found the deceased in the Infirmary, and he was then in a dying state.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

NOTE:  The newspapers for the year 1890 are not available

Thursday 8 January 1891

BARNSTAPLE -  On Friday evening an Inquest was held at the New Inn, Pilton, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of the infant child of MR WILLIAM PEDLAR, locksmith, of Anchor-lane.  MRS PEDLAR stated that when she awoke about four o'clock that morning she thought there was something wrong with the infant, which was six weeks old.  She sent for a doctor, who found that the child was dead.  Dr Mark Jackson said he considered that death was due to convulsions.  In answer to the Coroner, it was stated that the child was not insured.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 22 January 1891

WESTWARD HO!  -  Fatal Accident. - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at the Hotel, Westward Ho! before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of WILLIAM HENRY KEARNEY, late staff-sergeant of the 10th Foot, who died from the effects of injuries sustained on Tuesday under circumstances detailed below.  MRS MATILDA KEARNEY, widow, said that some time ago her deceased husband injured his hip, the result being that he used two sticks to assist him in walking of late.  At half-past six on Tuesday evening he was brought home in the 'bus, and complained of having been knocked down and of having sustained injuries.  She at once sent for a doctor.  -  George Found, of Northam, son of a shoemaker, deposed that on Tuesday evening he passed the deceased in the roadway, and just afterwards the 'bus passed at a steady trot.  He turned round just afterwards, and saw the deceased lying in the roadway.  He ran to the deceased, and when he found that he was hurt he went to the Hotel and told Mr Poole what had happened.  He could not say whether the 'bus had knocked the man down, but he thought so.  Mr Poole accompanied him to the spot, and the deceased then said he had been driven over.  The deceased was conveyed to his house in a 'bus.  The 'bus which passed him in the roadway was Mr Giddie's, of the Tanton Hotel, and was driven by Mr Hookway. -  George Poole, barman at the Royal Hotel, also gave evidence.  When Hookway, the driver, came back with the 'bus he did not appear to know anything about the matter or to know that anyone had been knocked down.  He was sober at the time.  Hookway had for several years driven the 'bus between Bideford and Westward Ho! and had the reputation of being a careful and steady driver.  At the time he picked up the deceased it was getting dark.  In answer to the Foreman, the witness said it was a very dark place where the man was picked up.  Mr John Duncan, general medical practitioner, of Bideford, said the deceased told him he had been knocked down by the 'bus.  The deceased had sustained severe internal injuries, but there were no marks to indicate that any object had gone over him.  It was possible that the injuries from which KEARNEY died on Friday were caused by the tread of a horse's hoof.  James Hookway, 'bus driver, said that until he was informed by Poole of the fact he was unaware that an accident had occurred.  He had not seen the deceased on the roadway.  He was quite sober.  There were no lights on the 'bus.  -  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death" and exonerated the driver of the 'bus from blame.  Deceased had served under Lord Napier of Magdala and General Havelock in the Indian mutiny, and possessed medals.  He was for several years drill inspector at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and later occupied a similar post at the United Services College, Westward Ho!

BIDEFORD - Sudden Death.  -  MR JOSHUA ARNOLD, of Providence Row, Bideford, fell down suddenly in the Market-Place on Thursday and expired.  Deceased was well known through letting boats on hire from the River Bank.  He had been ill for some time, but so tragic an end was unexpected.  At the Inquest held at the "Horse and Jockey" Inn, by Mr J. F. Bromham, on Friday, evidence was given by JANE ARNOLD, the wife of the deceased, who stated that her husband was about 56 years of age.  He suffered from heart disease, and he had found it rather difficult to walk a great deal.  His occupation was a shipwright, and he worked for Messrs. How.  He went away in the morning to go to Mr How's about some timber, and some time afterwards someone came and said he had dropped down, and was dead.  John Palmer, shipwright, but at present working in Mr How's yard, stated that he had worked with the deceased at Mr How's, and saw him at the yard on Thursday morning at eleven o'clock.  He complained of being unwell, and of having a pain in his chest.  He left the yard at about twenty minutes past eleven, and said he should go home and go to bed.  Alfred Bowden, cooper, living at Bideford, said he saw deceased coming up Honestone Street on Thursday morning, and his attention had been called to him by seeing him stagger.  Deceased fell and witness went to his assistance.  He took him by the left arm and raised him up.  Deceased breathed three times, and witness having called for assistance, he was taken into Mr Friendship's refreshment house and the doctor sent for.  By the Foreman:  Deceased did not speak or groan.  Mr C. S. Thompson, medical practitioner, said he was called to see the deceased a little after twelve o'clock in the morning.  He was quite dead when he saw him, and he was lying on the bench inside the shop.  He had no doubt death was due to natural causes, and that it was brought about by heart disease.  The Coroner having summed up, the Jury, Mr H. Ascott being their foreman, returned a verdict that deceased died from Natural Causes.

Thursday 29 January 1891

INSTOW - Tragic Suicide At Instow. - An Inquest was held, at the Marine Hotel, Instow, yesterday, touching the death of HERBERT WM. DELAY, who was found shot dead at Raddy Bridge on Tuesday evening.  The deceased had been an agricultural pupil with Mr Berry Torr, of Westleigh House.  He originally intended to be an engineer, but owing to bad health he came to Devon.  His illness, however, increased, and he became very low spirited.  He was taciturn and desponding; and on more than one occasion told the domestic servant she would not see him again.  There are rumours that he had large sums of money on him when at Barnstaple on Monday.  But nothing of this was found upon him nor in his room at Westleigh.  The fact that he was found with no money in his pocket is accounted for by the circumstance that when he returned from Barnstaple he changed his clothes and he was in his working farm attire when found.  The evidence pointed very clearly to suicide and to unsound mind.

The Jury were - Messrs. Richard Balsdon (foreman), Walter Humes, John Jones, Walter Turner, Thomas Molland, Charles Lock, William Easterbrook, William Bear, Joseph Hiching, John Pidlar, William Parkhouse, William Oliver, and Emmanuel Smale.

The first witness called was Mr Edward Ralph Berry Torr, living at Westleigh House, who identified the body as that of HERBERT WILLIAM DELAY, son of MR W. DELAY, of Upper Tooting, Surrey.    Deceased was a pupil of his, learning agriculture; his age was 23, and he had been at Westleigh with witness about two years.  Before coming to Westleigh he had been learning engineering, but in consequence of failing health he had to give up that profession.  He suffered from the loss of an eye and from deafness, which deafness considerably increased since he had been at Westleigh.  He appeared at times to be very much distressed about his state of health and to regret that he could not return to engineering.  At the end of last year, as he complained that he was gradually getting worse, witness recommended him to consult Dr Thompson, of Bideford, and he did so.  After he had been two or three times he asked him how he was getting on, and he said it was all up with him and burst into tears.  Witness asked what he meant, and deceased said "The doctor says he can do nothing for my deafness, but as I'm going home soon he advises me to see a specialist in London."  He went home in the early part of December and did not return again until the 20th of January, when he looked very ill, and seemed very depressed in spirits.  Last Sunday he seemed in better spirits, but towards evening got very dejected again.  The last time witness saw him alive was on Monday at about ten minutes past ten, when he asked him to give some messages, and see to some work on the farm.  He said he would deliver the messages, and see to the work in the afternoon when he returned from Barnstaple.  He went to Barnstaple, but did not return, sending a telegram to say he would not be able to get back that night.  The telegram also said he had seen Copp and told him to wire.  That referred to a message he gave to Copp the cattle dealer.  Deceased came back by the twelve train.  He did not see him, being away at Bideford Market.  When he returned from Market he found deceased had not been to tea as usual.  Shortly after he heard a man had been found shot; and then within a quarter hour two lads came to Westleigh and asked if MR DELAY was at home.  He answered "No," and asked why.  They asked if he was clean shaved and had a glass eye.  He said "Yes," and they said MR DELAY had shot himself.  He knew deceased had a revolver, which he purchased two years ago.  Witness objected to the use of such a thing on the premises and he understood he took it home and left it there in May last.  The revolver (produced) was the one deceased carried.  He used to take it to pieces and clean the pieces and carry them separately in his pocket.  He telegraphed to deceased's relatives and expected the brother that evening.

Bessie Bowden, domestic servant in the employ of Mr Berry Torr, said she knew deceased very well; she was at home when deceased returned from Barnstaple on Tuesday morning.  She saw him at a quarter past one.  She was in the pantry and he came for a glass of beer.  She saw him again at dinner, and again at ten minutes to three, sitting in the breakfast-room reading.  As he was reading she heard him say "I'm done for."  Then he looked up and whistled.  He seemed surprised to see her.  She then went out and assisted Mrs Torr, sen., into her carriage and as she came back he passed out.  He looked very strange and walked quickly.  - By the Jury:  He wished her "Good-bye" before he left the house, and said "he should never see her again."  It didn't frighten her as he had said that before.  She only became alarmed when he didn't return in the evening.  If she had thought there was anything serious in the remark she would have told some one.  He had been in exceedingly low spirits since he had been back from London the last time.  Witness was much affected towards the close of her evidence.

Richard Huxtable, labourer living at Huish Cottage, Instow, said he left work at six o'clock on Tuesday evening, and as he was returning home he passed over Raddy Bridge at half-past six.  He saw deceased leaning up against the wall, and went up and spoke, but getting no reply he examined deceased and saw blood on his cheek.  He saw something glistening in his hand.  He passed on, and meeting other men and getting alight returned with Mr Joslin.  Two men, Blatchford and Ridge, had gone on before.  He had met them on the road and told them what he had seen.  Witness saw a pistol lying in deceased's lap.  He appeared quite dead.  Ridge went for the police constable and he stayed there till P.C. Smith came.  The body was afterwards moved, under the instructions of the constable, to the shed of the Sailors' Inn.

Henry Blatchford, carpenter, living at Instow, met the last witness at Higher Huish.  He was in company with a man named Ridge.  Huxtable told him there was a man lying by the side of the bridge and that he was going for a light.  They went on and found deceased.  They struck lights and saw the revolver, and that DELAY was dead.  Witness went off to the nearest farm for a lantern and then returning to the bridge waited till Huxtable came.  He afterwards assisted to remove the body.

P.C. Smith deposed that he carefully searched deceased and found nothing of value, only a Waterbury watch, a couple of cigars, and pocket-book, &c.  In the pocket-book there were visiting cards and a small ivorine card almanac, on which was written "God have mercy on me."  The clothes were not disarranged.  It did not appear that he had been robbed or meddled with, nor were there any signs of a struggle.

Dr C. S. Thompson, of Bideford, had attended deceased for disease of the internal ear.  This brought on deafness which was increasing.  The effect of disease of the internal ear is to implicate the covering of the brain, often leading to death from inflammation of the brain, accompanied by symptoms of insanity or delirium. In a lesser degree, it would lead to less marked insanity; which might be expressed as temporary insanity.  He saw deceased last in November, and as he was going up to town he (witness) advised him to go to see a specialist.  In consequence of a message on Tuesday he came to Instow and saw deceased where he now lay quite dead.  There was a bullet wound in the centre of the forehead, which was quite sufficient to account for death.  The wound might have been self-inflicted.  By the Jury:  He noticed on the right hand a very small abrasion, which might have been caused by the recoil of a pistol.

The Coroner, in summing up, said the Jury had nothing to do with what took place at Barnstaple, or about the money he was said to have had.  If there was anything in that it would all come out in due time.  Coming to the subject of the Inquest he said it appeared from the evidence clear that deceased committed suicide.  Mr Berry-Torr appeared to have done everything possible for the unfortunate young man. The Jury returned a verdict that deceased committed Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane.

EXETER - A Verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned at the Inquest on Friday on the body of SERGEANT-MAJOR ELMSLIE, 1st Forfarshire Volunteers, found in Exeter Canal, after being missing since New Year's day.

BISHOPSNYMPTON - An Inquest was held on Thursday at Bishopsnympton, by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, upon the body of JOHN HARRIS, farm labourer, aged 70 years.  William Crang, son of Mr R. Crang, of Drewstone Farm, stated that the deceased had been in the employ of his father and grandfather for forty or fifty years.  Last Tuesday evening, about 5 o'clock, the deceased was standing on a cartload of corn in the rickyard of the farm.  The cart was heavily loaded and had a horse attached to it.  The horse moved and caused the deceased to fall off.  A woodman named James Ford immediately went to his assistance, as did also witness.  The deceased did not speak or move, and witness considered he was dead.  Dr T. Sanders, of Southmolton, stated that death resulted from dislocation of the neck.  A verdict was returned of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 19 February 1891

WESTDOWN - An Inquest was held at Fair View, Westdown, on Friday, before Dr Slade-King, Deputy Coroner, on the body of GEORGE CHUGG, farmer, aged 65, who died suddenly on the previous day.  MISS LOUISA CHUGG, daughter of the deceased, said she last saw her father alive about seven o'clock on Thursday evening, walking along the road at the Vicarage corner towards home.  She did not think he saw her.  She had seen him during the day, and he was then in his usual good health.  He had often said that the hill from Westdown was too much for him.  He was short breathed, but had not been under medical care.  He walked about the farm fairly well.  She went home about 7.20 on Thursday evening, and, ten minutes later, her father was brought in quite dead.  She had thought that one day the hill would prove too much for him.  The deceased had left home at half-past five to meet the newsman, from whom he was accustomed to get a paper.  She left home at 6.45 to call at Mr Coate's, and she was in the village when John Robbins said her father was very ill.  She made for home, and found her father lying on the ground near Creglinch Cross.  Six months ago her father told her he had been taken ill and had been obliged to sit by the side of the road as he could go no further.  He was better when he came in.  Miss Emma King, daughter of a shopkeeper at Westdown, said the deceased called at the shop for his paper about six o'clock.  He remained there three quarters of an hour.  He seemed quite well.  Mr Arthur Robbins, mason, said he was walking towards Westdown from the Cross with his son-in-law and two others on Thursday evening when he found the deceased lying in the roadway.  P.C.  Wm. Eastmond also gave evidence; and the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 5 March 1891

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest. - The sad death of a widowed woman, named MARY ANN TURNER, 62 years of age, formed the subject of a judicial Enquiry by the Borough Coroner (R. I. Bencraft, Esq.) at the Curriers' Arms, Derby, on Monday afternoon last.  It appears that on the previous Saturday evening the old woman (who resided with a widow named Jane Pavey, in Boden's Row) was retiring to bed, and, scarcely a minute after leaving the kitchen, fell from the top to the bottom of the stairs.  Medical and other assistance was soon at hand, but life was pronounced extinct.  Considerable interest was manifested in the proceedings, as a rumour had gained currency that the deceased had met a violent death.  The evidence of the various witnesses, however, failed in any way to substantiate this.  Mr Thos. Chapple was chosen foreman of the Jury, and the body having been viewed, the evidence of Mrs Jane Pavey was first taken.  The witness stated that the deceased had resided with her between five and six months.  MRS TURNER went into town about 8 o'clock on Saturday, apparently in her usual health.  Deceased was not given to drink, but had had some beer in the afternoon.  She returned about 9.30 or 10 o'clock, when witness was at home.  MRS TURNER went out after that for some beer, and witness was scrubbing her kitchen when she came back.  Witness offered MRS TURNER assistance on going to bed, but deceased declined, saying she did not require it.  She heard MRS TURNER talking to her daughter (who was ill in bed) after going upstairs, and almost immediately afterwards heard a noise which caused her to go to the stairs, when she found that MRS TURNER had fallen from the top.  Deceased did not speak, and witness did not notice that she breathed.  She went to her son-in-law and gave an alarm, but there were several persons in her house when she returned.  A doctor was immediately sent for.  Deceased had never had a fit while living with witness.  - In answer to the Foreman, witness stated that she did not notice that MRS TURNER had a black eye when she came from town, and would not be quite certain about the time she returned.  - John Chapple deposed to hearing Mrs Pavey screaming, after the accident, on Saturday night.  He went into the house, and helped to carry the deceased into the kitchen, where she was laid on two chairs.  In company with MRS TURNER'S son, he went for Dr Cooke, who returned some little time afterwards.  - Dr Charles M. Cooke said he was called to go to Boden's Row about five minutes after twelve o'clock on Sunday morning.  The deceased was on two chairs in Mrs Pavey's kitchen; she was quite dead, and had been so, he should think, about three-quarters of an hour.  He examined the deceased; there was a contusion over the right temple.  The black eye might have been caused by the fall.  The temple was about the thinnest part of the skull, so that the blow would affect the brain.  Deceased's neck was not broken.  He should say that death was due to concussion of the brain.  The fall from the top of the stairs would be quite sufficient to cause death.  He saw no trace of any seizure.  Mrs Jane Garland said she saw nothing amiss with MRS TURNER when she supplied her with beer just before eleven o'clock on Saturday night - she did not appear to be drunk.  Mary Ann Gregory, living in close proximity to Mrs Pavey, deposed to hearing Mrs Pavey and her daughter and MRS TURNER having words on Saturday evening, but could not say of what nature they were.  MRS TURNER had complained to witness in the afternoon of being unwell.  P.C. Edwards was sworn, and stated that he was called to Mrs Pavey's house on Saturday evening.  Nothing was said about a row between the deceased and Mrs Pavey and her daughter at that time.  This was the whole of the evidence, and the Coroner summed up.  It was (he said) for the Jury to consider whether the unfortunate woman had come to her death in the way suggested, viz., as the result of a fall.  They might, in his opinion, discard all idea as to the deceased having been drunk. Any person would find it very difficult, from the formation of the stairs, to get to either of the bedrooms, and it would not be unlikely that they would topple back if not careful.  With regard to the rumour that the deceased had been pushed downstairs, there was nothing, in his opinion, to lead them to that conclusion, as it had been shown that Mrs Pavey's daughter was ill in bed at the time. The Jury were unanimous, and returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

ILFRACOMBE - Inquest. - On Saturday an Inquest was held at the Britannia Hotel, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., District Coroner, on the body of RICHARD BROOKES, A.B., who died at sea, on the previous evening.  Mr W. Crang was elected foreman of the Jury.  After the body had been viewed in the mortuary, the first witness called was Ole Mouer Falck.  He said he was captain of the steamship "Marlborough," 1.164 tons, belonging to Galbraith and Co., of London.  They left Cardiff on the previous day, for Port Said, with a cargo of coal. The crew were himself, the mate, and 20 others.  The body the Jury had seen was that of RICHARD BROOKES.  Witness had no knowledge of him previous to sailing, at which time he appeared quite well.  His age was given as 40.  At 8.30 the same evening,  the chief mate reported that one of the men had fallen down in a fit.  He went to see him, and found the man lying down and unconscious.  Witness tried to give him brandy, but he could not swallow it.  A short time after, he saw him again, and was not quite sure he was dead, but thought he was.  He came to Ilfracombe for medical help, and arrived shortly after 12 at night.  Dr Gardner was fetched, and on examination, he found the man was dead.  When he shipped, the deceased had given his address at 28 or 29 Norfolk street, Liverpool.  James Murray, second mate, and James Cain, A.B., gave similar evidence.  Dr E. F. Gardner, surgeon, said he went at 12.50 in the morning to see deceased.  He went on board the S.S. "Marlborough" with the captain, and found the body on a bed.  Life had been extinct, he thought, about 1 ½ hours.  He had carefully examined the body at the mortuary, and found no marks of violence.  He had made no post mortem examination, but judging from the evidence, he thought cerebral apoplexy was the cause of the death.  Joseph Sheridan, A.B., who had been fetched from the vessel during Dr Gardner's evidence, said he was with deceased in the forecastle about 8 p.m. on the Friday evening; deceased suddenly screamed two or three times, and then fell.  They put him into his bank, and informed the ship's officers.  Deceased had made no complaint of illness, nor had he been ill-treated in any way.  In summing up, the Coroner commended the captain for obtaining medical advice so promptly.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 19 March 1891

WESTLEIGH - Mr J. F. Bromham, Coroner, held an Inquest at the Infirmary, Bideford, on Thursday, touching the death of CHARLES WILLIAM BUSE, aged three years, whose parents live at Westleigh.  It was shewn that the deceased had fallen downstairs, a small bootnail entering his head, leading to abscess on the brain, which caused death.  Verdict accordingly.

SOUTHMOLTON - Fatal Accident. - On Wednesday a man named SPARKES, living with Mrs Buckingham, North Aller Farm, was engaged milking a cow, when the animal suddenly pushed against him with such force that the poor fellow's back was broken, and he died shortly after.  An Inquest was held on Thursday evening by Mr T. Sanders, Borough Coroner, and a Jury, of which Mr W. Avery was foreman.  Mr John Buckingham said that he resided at North Aller Farm, Southmolton.  The deceased, ROBERT SPARKES, was 50 years of age, and had been in the employ of his (witness's) mother for 17 years.  On Tuesday week the deceased went to the shippen for the purpose of milking the cows as usual.  Shortly afterwards witness heard the deceased call out.  Witness went to the shippen and found the deceased jammed against the palings of the cow house and unable to move.  Witness with assistance got him into the house, and at once sent for Dr Kendle.  - Mr F. W. Kendle, surgeon, Southmolton, said he was fetched on Tuesday to see the deceased.  He went to North Aller, and found him sitting in a chair.  Witness ordered him to be put to bed, after which he examined the nature of his injuries.  Witness found that these consisted of severe injuries to the spinal column, from the effects of which he died on Wednesday.  Deceased told the witnesses that whilst milking the cow the animal suddenly swerved round and knocked him against the palings of the cow house.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death" and gave their fees to the deceased's widow.  The deceased was a quiet and steady man and much sympathy is expressed in the locality for the widow in her sad bereavement.

Thursday 26 March 1891

NORTHMOLTON - A Fatal Kick. - An Inquest was held at Rapscott Farm, on Saturday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of CHARLES SCOTT, farm labourer, who had died from the effects of a kick.  Mr Thomas Newton, farmer, said the deceased, who was 22 years of age, had been in his employ three years.  On Tuesday morning, when in the stable, he gave him instructions to draw a load of turnips.  He then left; a quarter of an hour afterwards he saw the deceased putting the horse into the butt.  He did not then say that anything had happened.  An hour and a quarter later, after he had drawn some turnips, the deceased entered the house, complained of feeling bad, and said he was "just dead."  Asked what was the matter, he said the horse had kicked him while in the stable.  He sat down for awhile, and afterwards went to bed.  Witness himself went into Southmolton for the doctor.  The man died on Friday morning. Dr Kendle told witness on the previous day that he had little hope that the deceased would recover.  The deceased told him the horse kicked him in the stomach, but did not know exactly how the accident happened - he believed the horse rambled against the shaft and that this made him kick.  The deceased said that at first he did not feel the kick much.  Dr F. W. Kendle, of Southmolton, deposed to attending the deceased.  The actual cause of death was mortification of the small intestines, resulting from the kick.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

HARTLAND - Accident. - A sad and fatal accident occurred at Hartland on Friday afternoon.  About 4.30 Mr W. Pillman, of Porkwell Farm, was riding a young horse to be shod, when, within a short distance of the town, it bolted at N a furious rate, and the rider lost all control, but he shouted loudly for people to clear the way.  Notwithstanding this, an old woman MISS A. HEARD, was knocked down and struck on the head by the animal's hoofs.  She was picked up unconscious, blood flowing freely from her mouth and ears, and taken to a cottage close by, where she lingered about an hour, and then expired.  She was subsequently removed to her own cottage.  The rider had a narrow escape, as the horse ran on to the pavement and threw him.  He, however, only received a severe shaking, but the sad accident had affected him very much.  On Monday last an Inquest was held at the King's Arms, Hartland, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of ANN HEARD, aged 75.  Fanny Colwill, widow, and dressmaker, said the deceased was a spinster in receipt of parish pay.  She lived at Hartland Town.  On Friday she heard that the deceased had been knocked down by a horse in the street.  William Pillman, son of a farmer living at Porkwell Farm, said that on Friday he had to take a colt into the town to be shod.  He rode the colt; he had a bridle and bit but no saddle.  The colt was coming four years old.  He had ridden her many times, and the animal had been driven in harness a good bit.  The colt was always considered a quiet animal.  When he arrived at ford Bridge the animal bolted with him.  The colt had been a little fidgety coming down the road, but he did not know what caused her to fidget and to bolt, except that there was a pony coming behind.  The colt had never bolted with him before.  He tried to hold the colt, but he could not, and the animal galloped into Hartland Town.  He saw the deceased crossing the street, and he called out to her to get out of the way.  He could not stop the animal, and the deceased was knocked down.  He pulled the right rein in order to avoid an accident, but the colt did not answer to it.  He thought the animal struck the old woman in the back.  The colt just afterwards slipped on the pavement, and threw him.  He held tightly to the reins and the animal stopped.  He went back at once to see after the old lady, who had been picked up and carried into a house.  Thomas Jeffries, landlord of the Anchor Inn, deposed to seeing the accident.  He could see that the horse had bolted, and that the rider had no control over the animal.  The rider did his best to avoid an accident.  Dr Newcombe said he arrived on the spot just after the accident.  The deceased was insensible, and apparently dead.  She died shortly afterwards from shock and the rupture of a blood vessel on the brain.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 2 April 1891

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death. - On Saturday last an Inquest was held at the Barley Mow Inn, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Coroner, on the body of JAS. LOARRIDGE, aged 39, painter, of Shore'sCourt, Boutport-street, who expired suddenly on Wednesday evening.  Mr James Kingdon was chosen foreman of the Jury.  The first witness called was WM. LOARRIDGE, father of the deceased, who said that for three years his son (who had worked in London as a painter) had resided with him.  The deceased had been unable to work since Christmas, owing to a weakness of the wrists, caused by lead-poisoning. Prior to this date he had worked for Mr Brady.  He was steady and temperate.  He was not a delicate man, but he fretted a good deal on account of his inability to work.  He was an out-patient of the Infirmary.  The deceased had his supper as usual on Wednesday night.  He wished to wash his feet, and a kettle of water was made hot for the purpose.  Witness and his wife went to bed, leaving the deceased to wash.  A quarter of an hour afterwards he heard a sound as of a person falling.  MRS LOARRIDGE called, and getting no answer ran downstairs.  Witness followed, and found his son lying on the ground, his head being close to the fender.  The deceased had finished washing.  He lifted his head, and placed a cushion under it.  He heard a slight gurgling in the deceased's throat, but there was no other sign of life.  He dressed and fetched a doctor immediately.  In reply to the Foreman, the witness said that when he went to bed his son appeared to be in his usual state of health.  Mr W. J. L. Ware, surgeon, deposed that when he reached LOARRIDGE'S house on Wednesday night he found the deceased lying on the floor on his back.  He was quite dead.  The deceased had evidently just washed.  There was a slight graze on the forehead, caused, as he understood, by the deceased falling against the fender.  From the examination he made, and the statement of the last witness, he was of opinion that the cause of death was failure of the action of the heart (syncope).  The lead poisoning from which the deceased suffered weakened the whole system.  Putting the feet into hot water might, by causing a shock, have accelerated death.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

CHITTLEHAMPTON - Death Of A Boy From Lockjaw. - On Saturday Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, held an Inquest at Eldridge cottage, Chittlehampton, on the body of a lad aged ten years, named JAMES CLATWORTHY.  From the evidence it transpired that the deceased, who was the son of a farm labourer, a few weeks ago went on trial at Mr Webber's farm, in the parish of Chittlehampton.  On Monday, the 16th March, Mr Webber told deceased to grind some oilcake with the hand machine, instructing him how to use it.  It was work which lads about a farm often did.  On the evening of that day he heard that the boy had met with an accident to his hand, but on seeing him he did not complain.  The lad's hand had been bound up by his brother, who was on the farm, and the housekeeper.  It was not much of a bruise to look at, and he did not appear to be in much pain.  On the following Wednesday the lad was sent home, as his hand was still bound up, although he was not complaining.  He continued, apparently, to be going on very well until Monday last, when , in the early morning, his mother found that he could not open his mouth.  The father immediately went to Dr Hind, of Southmolton, who gave him some medicine to take back.  He soon afterwards visited the lad and found him in a serious state.  He was suffering from tetanus, commonly called lockjaw, and he was quite drawn up with cramp.  He did what he could for him, and the mother got assistance to help nurse him. The wound on the hand was not extensive.  On Tuesday Dr Hind had a conference with another medical man.  On Wednesday morning, however, the lad died from tetanus.  The doctor remarked that it was very seldom that anyone recovered from tetanus.  There had been cases of recovery, but they had been very few and exceptional.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death".  Great sympathy is felt in the neighbourhood for the parents of the deceased.

BARNSTAPLE - An Inquest was held at Pilton yesterday, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of WALTER ERNEST NOTT, aged nine months, the illegitimate child of MARY NOTT, of Laramy's Court.  Mr T. Chapple was the foreman of the Jury.  The evidence of the mother showed that the child had always been subject to fits, and Dr Manning deposed that death was due to convulsions.  The child was well nourished.  In answer to the Coroner the mother said the child was insured, but she explained that there would be in this case no money payable, as the insurance had not been effected thirteen weeks.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

BRAUNTON - An Inquest was held at Braunton on Tuesday afternoon, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of WILLIAM CHUGG, farm labourer, aged 72.  George Clarke, carrier, deposed that the deceased, who had not been able to do any work for years, had lodged with him for six years.  He last saw him alive at half-past two on Sunday, when he was in his usual health.  He returned an hour and a half later and found CHUGG dead in the mangold house - he was in a sitting posture, with his back against a box.  Arthur Clarke (son of the last witness), Robert Lamprey, carpenter, and Dr Lane also gave evidence.  The doctor said death was due to failure of the heart's action.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 9 April 1891

WESTWARD HO - Child Drowned. - A little girl, just over two years old, named AGNES ELLEN POOLE, was drowned at the Nassau Baths, on Thursday, under distressing circumstances.  Particulars of the accident were related at an Inquest held by Mr Coroner Bromham, on Saturday.  The mother, MRS ELIZABETH POOLE, stated that on Thursday morning the child was about with the other children as usual.  Witness was getting the dinner, and presently the other children came in without the "baby".  She asked where the child was, but they didn't know, thinking she had been with their mother.  Witness sent her eldest boy to look for the little one, and as he could not find her she became alarmed, and went in search herself.  She found her in the large swimming bath, under the water and lying on her face.  She thought the child must either have fallen or been blown into the bath.  Witness took her out, having to enter the water to do so, and then sent for her husband and the doctor.  GEORGE POOLE, son of the first witness, said that he was in the engine-room chopping wood, and his little sister AGNES (the baby) was with him, and was carrying the sticks he had chopped from the engine-room into the house.  She made two journeys, but did not return the next time, and he concluded she was staying with her mother.  He did not trouble about her, therefore, until he went in and his mother asked for her.  Witness was sent in search, but his mother found the little one in the bath.  Dr Gooding having given medical evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned."

WITHERIDGE - A Child Burnt To Death. - Mr F. Burrow held an Inquest at Witheridge concerning the death of HERBERT CRUWYS, aged 5 years.  Deceased's parents - the mother is confined to her bed - lived in a two roomed cottage.  Adjoining it was a cottage, unoccupied except by CRUWYS' children, who slept in the bedroom.  The downstairs room was filled with straw.  Deceased got some matches last Monday, and while playing among the straw in the unoccupied cottage set the straw on fire.  As soon as he saw this burning he seems to have run upstairs and hid himself under the bed.  The two cottages, which were covered with thatch, were soon in a blaze.  Plenty of assistance was at hand, but no one had any knowledge of the boy being in the house.  Consequently every effort was devoted to carrying the sick mother to a place of safety, rescuing the furniture and preventing the fire spreading to neighbouring houses.  After the roof and the floor of the bedroom had fallen in it was rumoured that deceased must be in the house, and Mr Gunn and Mr Butt got buckets of water, and, standing in them, raked about the burning debris.  Underneath an iron bedstead they found the charred trunk of the child.  The head, arms and legs had been burnt entirely away, and there was nothing by which the body could be recognised.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

IVYBRIDGE - At Ivybridge, on Friday, the Inquest concerning the circumstances attending the death of JOHN STENTIFORD, whilst engaged clearing the line during the recent storm near the above village, was resumed.  There were twenty witnesses, and the Jury found that deceased met his death through the collision, but that the necessary precautions were not taken to make the exact position of the block known.  They also thought that signalmen should have been engaged to warn the up relief or other trains.  At the same time they wished to make allowance for the severity of the weather and the increased strain on heads of various departments.  The company acknowledged their liability and promised to compensate the widow.

Thursday 16 April 1891

TAVISTOCK - Alleged Shameful Neglect By A Mother At Tavistock.  -  A Bideford Woman In Trouble.  - The County Coroner (Mr R. R. Rodd) held an Inquiry at the Tavistock Workhouse last week respecting the death of JOHN HOLLAND, aged seven months, the son of WILLIAM HOLLAND, of Bideford.  The Master (William Treverton) stated that the mother and deceased were admitted into the house on Friday evening.  The porter came to him on Thursday and informed him that there was at the gates a woman who said that her child was dying.  He went to the spot, took the child in his arms, and pointed out to the mother that she had neglected it.  This, however, she denied.  He urged her to take the deceased to the Infirmary, but she persisted in being admitted.  On Saturday the doctor was sent for, but he could do nothing for it, and on Monday afternoon the child expired.  -  EVA HOLLAND, mother of deceased, stated that her husband was a navvy, and had been working in Bristol.  She saw her husband last week at Stratton, and he was then going to join the Militia.  She had been in Bideford Workhouse four months.  About a week ago she was in Holsworthy Workhouse, and after stopping there a few days she left and tramped to Plymouth.  Mr Johnson, on behalf of the Guardians, asked her what workhouse she had left last.  Witness said Launceston, on Thursday last at noon.  The child was ill then, but she did not get any medical advice.  The Master, in answer to a Juror's question as to whether he thought the child had been neglected, said that when he took the child it was in a very dirty condition, and actually stank.  Mr J. T. Hislop, surgeon, on being sworn, deposed that on making a post mortem examination, he found that the deceased was a male child of seven months of age, its weight being only seven pounds.  A child of that age ought to have weighed twenty-five to thirty pounds.  He could not say the child was delicate from birth.  There was scarcely a trace of fat all over the body; the muscles were exceedingly small, but the organs were healthy and free from disease.  He found in the stomach a small quantity of partially digested food.  The cause of death was exhaustion, due in his opinion to prolonged neglect, but he would not say that death was due to actual starvation.  The Coroner said the facts which the doctor had laid before them were of a serious nature, and it was for the Jury to consider the verdict.  The Jury, of whom Mr W. E. Baker was foreman, after a few minutes' consideration, returned a verdict of Manslaughter against the mother.  Sergeant Cole, of the county police force, watched the case on behalf of the police.

In the afternoon EVA HOLLAND was brought before Messrs. D. Radford and W. S. Rosevere at the Tavistock Police-court, charged under the Coroner's warrant with causing the death of her child by neglect.  The Bench dismissed the case against the prisoner, but she was afterwards taken to Exeter gaol under the Coroner's warrant.

Thursday 23 April 1891

PARRACOMBE - Inquest. - J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, held an Inquest here on Saturday, on the body of MRS MARY CRICK, who expired on the preceding Thursday, from the result of burns, attributed to sparks coming from the fireplace.  MR JOHN CRICK (a retired farmer) was the first witness called, and he deposed that the deceased was his wife.  She was 64 years of age.  For several years past the deceased had been suffering from mental depression, and had been under the care of a niece.  His niece went to Brendon on Friday evening in last week, with the intention of staying for the night with her parents, and as witness went out to do a little gardening on the following day there was no one in the house but the deceased.  His wife was sitting in the dining-room by the side of the fire (a habit she had been accustomed to) when he left the house.  He left the garden, which was close by, and came and spoke to the deceased several times through the window during the morning.  About 12.30 deceased emerged from the house with her clothes on fire.  A bucket of water was close by, and he immediately threw it over her.  Having no neighbours near he himself undid deceased's clothes and put her to bed, and then went for Mrs Gibbs, who lived about two fields off.  He left his wife in the charge of Mrs Gibbs and went into the village and telegraphed to Lynton for Dr Berry.  His wife had been under medical treatment up to her death on Thursday morning.  She did not speak after the occurrence.  Martha Jane Pile deposed that she was absent from her uncle's house at the time of the accident.  Her aunt was always very weak, and required everything to be done for her.  She never remembered the deceased moving from a position in which she was placed, and should not have considered it dangerous to leave her alone. After returning from Brendon, witness was with her aunt.  Mr R. St. John Allison, excise officer, having given evidence, Frederick Charles Berry, medical practitioner, deposed to having known the deceased for four years.  He was consulted some time ago as to deceased's mental state, and he found that she was suffering from brain softening.  On his arrival after the accident he found the deceased suffering from extensive burns.  From the first he held out no hopes of her recovery.  He dressed the wounds and visited her daily.  It was his belief that deceased was intelligently nursed, and received every attention.  The actual cause of death was shock to the system - the result of burns.  The Corner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 30 April 1891

BRAUNTON - Sad Death By Drowning.  - On Wednesday evening in last week much excitement was caused by the strange disappearance of MR T. BROOKS, tailor, of North Street.  MR BROOKS, although apparently in a good position (having only recently built several houses) has been in a depressed state since Christmas, the sudden death of his mother and other family troubles appearing to have worried him.  deceased left home shortly after dinner-time on Wednesday, informing his wife that he was going for a short walk, and promising to return in half an hour.  When evening set in and MR BROOKS had failed to return his wife became alarmed.  A reward having been offered for information leading to the discovery of deceased a search party was instituted, but although the county was scoured in every direction, for five successive days, the efforts of those engaged were without avail.  An assistant at the Saunton Sands Hotel, however, discovered a body (left by the receding tide), on the beach on Tuesday evening, which was subsequently identified as that of MR BROOKS.  An Inquest was held yesterday (Wednesday) before J. F. Bromham, Esq, County Coroner.  The body having been viewed, the first witness called was MARY ELIZABETH BROOKS, who deposed that the deceased was her husband.  He was 42 years of age, and was a tailor by trade.  The last time she saw him alive was on Wednesday, the 22nd instant.  He left the house at 1.30 p.m., saying he was going for half-an-hour's walk up over beacon Hill.  As deceased did not return within the time named, she became alarmed, and at 5.30 went and saw a neighbour (Mr Parkin), who said he would go and search for her husband.  Mr Parkin's search proved futile.  she heard nothing of the whereabouts of her husband until Tuesday evening, when the body was brought to her house at about 8 o'clock by the police.  For some time past her husband had been in a low state of mind, and had also been under medical treatment.  There was nothing in his business affairs to in any way upset or worry him.  Mr G. L. Fitzmorris stated that he knew the deceased very well.  Witness was walking in the direction of Saunton Sands on Wednesday, the 22nd.  MR BROOKS had his coat off, and was carrying it on his arm.  He (Mr Fitzmorris) said "Good afternoon," but received no answer. Sergeant Thomas Brownson, stationed at Braunton, stated that he received information as to deceased being missing on Wednesday evening, the 22nd inst.  He searched for MR BROOKS for several days without avail; and was at Morthoe on Tuesday making further enquiries.  He returned to Braunton about 9 o'clock, and was then informed that the body had been found.  Edward Thurlow deposed that he resided at the Saunton Sands Hotel.  Witness was exercising a horse on the Sands on Tuesday afternoon, and came across a body half buried in the sand.  He rode back to the Hotel (which was a mile distant), and informed Mr Gaydon of what he had seen.  Mr Gaydon returned to the spot, and saw the body - which was lying face downwards, and witness rode into Braunton, and gave information.  The body was subsequently conveyed to deceased's residence, and identified.  Richard Bowden, police constable, having given evidence; Dr S.A. Lane, medical practitioner, said that for some time the deceased had been under his treatment.  MR BROOKS had been very depressed of late, and had suffered from some mental ailment - very probably softening of the brain.  There had been nothing, however, to indicate that deceased should be watched.  He had no doubt that the deceased had met his death by drowning.  There were no marks about the body which appeared to be self-inflicted.  The Coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest. - On Thursday afternoon an Inquest was held at the Carpenter's Arms, Derby, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of FREDK. HUXTABLE, aged 9, the son of JAS. HUXTABLE, stone-mason, of Reform-street.  Mr W. J. Horn was chosen foreman of the Jury.  Wm. Thomas Holmes, of Pilton, in the employ of Messrs. Baylis and Co., said he knew the deceased very well, the boy having until 18 months ago resided at Pilton.  On Tuesday, the 7th of April, witness was at the head of Pilton when he saw the deceased, who was walking down the street.  His brother, who was with him, spoke to the deceased with reference to a stick which he had in his hand and which he alleged belonged to "Charley."  His brother (who was aged 15) stamped his foot, and the boy ran away.  He crossed the road, and striking the kerb with his foot fell on his side, his head coming into contact with the flagging.  the lad lay insensible, and witness ran to him and took him in his arms.  He was about to take the lad to his aunt (Mrs Norman), but on meeting Mr Norman he handed over the deceased to him.  Mr Norman carried the boy to his residence, in White's-lane, which was close by.  He saw the boy a little later the same evening in Mr Norman's house, and he then appeared to be very ill.  Witness's mother was then nursing him.  There was no one near the deceased at the time the accident occurred.  He saw the boy again on Monday last, and he then appeared to be very ill; he was in bed.  Ann Holmes, wife of Thomas Holmes, lace-twister, residing at Pilton, said the deceased was a very active and intelligent boy.  A few minutes after the accident occurred she went to Mr Norman's house, where she saw the boy lying unconscious.  She bathed the head, and after a time the lad spoke, and said in answer to a question that he was suffering from a pain in the head.  Dr Manning was sent for, and saw the lad an hour after the accident.  The doctor prescribed for him, and said the boy would be all right in a few days.  She did not believe Dr Manning saw the boy afterwards.  The deceased was very sick before the doctor arrived.  Three hours after the accident the boy, who then said he was better, was conveyed to his father's house.  She found a small bruise on the lad's temple.  She saw the boy at six o'clock on Wednesday evening, and he expired while she was in the house.  Dr W. A. G. Laing deposed that he was called in to see the deceased on Sunday, the 19th of April.  He found the boy in a state of high fever, and on examining the chest he discovered that he was suffering from inflammation of the lungs.  The boy also showed symptoms of affection of the brain.  He attended the boy up to the time of his death.  There were very marked symptoms of brain fever on Tuesday, and this was the cause of death, which took place on Wednesday.  Another medical man attended the boy after the removal from Pilton to Reform-street.  Death was caused by inflammation of the brain the result of the blow which had been described.  It often followed that inflammation of the lungs ensued after an injury of this kind.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 7 May 1891

ALWINGTON - Playing At Hanging.  A Remarkable Accident. - On Friday an Inquest was held at Rollstone Cottage, Alwington, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., on the body of CHARLES MATTHEWS, aged 14, who had been found hanging in a linhay on the previous day. Mr Wm. Wakeley was chosen foreman of the Jury.  Joseph Veal Serjeant, farmer, residing at Rollstone Farm, said the deceased was a servant in his employ.  He lived in the house, and went home occasionally to see his parents, who lived in the same parish about half-a-mile distant.  He last saw the deceased alive a little after noon on Thursday.  He was then in the back yard, and was leaving the cart-house with a basket.  He told the boy he had better take a barrow and fetch a couple of lots of mangolds while it was day.  Witness then left him in order to see a cow.  About half-an-hour or so after this, as he was returning to the house, Wm. Daniell, one of his servants, ran up to him and said, "CHARLIE has hung himself."  On going into the root-house he saw the deceased on the ground quite dead.  A piece of rope was hanging to the beam, and another piece, which, he was told, was cut from the boy's neck, lay on a  turnip-form.  He understood that his son John had cut the deceased down.  He knew of no reason why the deceased should commit suicide.  The boy always seemed contented and happy.  He had found no fault with the deceased during the morning - or, indeed, at any other time during the week.  He had never treated the boy badly, and he had never heard him complain of anybody else.  In answer to a Juryman, the witness said the deceased had never, to his knowledge, shown any kind of despondency.  He had never complained or shown any dislike for his work.  - John Serjeant, son of the last witness, deposed that he did not see anything unusual about the deceased on Thursday morning.  About one o'clock he went into the root-house in order to get some mangolds for the horses when he saw the deceased standing up, with a piece of rope round his neck.  The rope was fastened to a beam in the roof.  He at first thought the boy was playing with the rope, as he could not believe he had hung himself; but, on looking into the boy's face he saw that something was wrong and that the deceased was really hung.  He happened to have a knife in his pocket, and he at once cut the boy down.  He tried to get the rope from the deceased's neck, but had to cut it to do so.  He had lived on the farm all the time the deceased had been there, and he had never heard him complain of being unhappy.  So far as he knew, the boy liked farming, and was contented.  He had had no unpleasantness or quarrel with the deceased at any time during the week.  If the deceased hung himself intentionally, he had no idea what could have induced him to do it.  By the Jury:  He could not say whether the rope was fastened to the beam by anyone before Thursday or whether the deceased fastened it himself.  The rope was round the boy's neck in a slip-knot.  There was a form in the root-house on which the deceased could have stood in order to place the rope round the beam.  He was not sure whether the deceased's feet were touching the ground or not; if they were not touching, they were very near the ground.  He was always in the habit of going into the root-house at dinner-time, and the deceased was aware of this.  The deceased had not carried out the order Mr Serjeant had given him, as the empty barrow was outside.  The door was open.  The deceased was hanging with his back to the door, and the form was in front of him.  - P.C. Thomas Wonnacott and WM. MATTHEWS, sawyer, also gave evidence.  The latter said that ever since his son had resided with Mr Serjeant he had been comfortable and happy.  He had never complained with reference to anything.  The boy was at home on Sunday, and was in the best of health and spirits.  He knew of no reason why the boy should have put an end to his existence.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

COMBMARTIN - Fatal Accident. - On Thursday an Inquest was held at the Town Hall, Combmartin, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of WILLIAM GUBB, aged 5, who was run over in the roadway and killed on the preceding day.  - MARY ANN GUBB, wife of THOMAS GUBB, labourer, said the deceased was her son.  At half-past five on Wednesday evening she was leaving the house of a neighbour when she saw the wheel of a cart go over her boy, who was on the ground.  The cart was going slowly, and she believed the driver was leading the horses.  Mr Rumsum picked up the child, who was dead.  So far as she could see, there was no blame due to the driver.  - Ellen Vound, a neighbour, said she saw the deceased run out of his doorway and fall under a passing cart, the wheel of which went over him.  She called out, and the driver stopped and came back to see what had happened.  The child appeared to be dead when picked up.  The driver was leading the horses, which were walking.  The accident happened immediately opposite the steps of MR GUBB'S house.  - George Rumsum, retired farmer, deposed to witnessing the accident and to picking up the child.  There was no blame attaching to the driver of the cart.  - George Dinnacombe, in the employ of his brother, who is a carrier between Barnstaple and Combmartin, said that on the preceding evening he was driving a cart, laden with 25 cwt. of freestone and drawn by two horses, when he heard some one call out.  He immediately stopped, and found that the wheel of the cart had gone over a child.  He was leading the horses at the time, and had to draw in close to MR GUBB'S house to admit of another cart passing.  Dr G. H. Manning said the injuries to the child were so extensive that death must have been instantaneous.  Injury to the spinal cord was the cause of death.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and exonerated the driver from blame.

Thursday 21 May 1891

SHEBBEAR - A College Student Drowned. - A painful sensation was caused in this district on Wednesday last when it became known that WM. J. P. LEMON, who was a student at the Bible Christian College, had been drowned while bathing in the Torridge.  The Inquest on the deceased was held at the College on Friday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.  The first witness called was MR WILLIAM LEMON, general merchant, of Rolle's Quay, Barnstaple, who said the deceased was his eldest son.  He was seventeen years of age and was studying at the College in preparation for a Civil Service examination.  He had been at the College nearly twelve months.  He last saw his son alive during the Easter Holidays.  He heard of the accident by means of a special messenger from the College on Wednesday evening, and he caught the last train in order to proceed t Shebbear.  The Rev. Jehu Martin, Governor of the College, said he last saw the deceased student alive on Wednesday about 12.30 when he was dining with the other students.  At a quarter to five he was informed by two of the students that two of the masters were waiting for him at the farm connected with the College.  He went at once, and one of the masters told him of the reported accident.  He at once got the masters together and having obtained a trap went in search of the deceased.  About 7 o'clock the body of the lad was brought to the College, and he was informed that it had been found in one of the pits in the river.  It was a standing rule in the College, and one he had always observed, that no boys were to bathe unless accompanied by two masters, and having previously obtained his permission.  He had not the slightest idea that the deceased or any of the students were bathing on Wednesday.  Some of them had applied to him for leave, but he had declined to give it until he accompanied them himself with two of the masters; he thought of doing so after tea.  As soon as he heard of the accident he sent for the Doctor, who resided at Black Torrington, and who was at the College when the body was brought in.

William Pollard said he was a student at the College, but resided in the village at Shebbear.  He was the only day pupil.  He was at the College as usual on Wednesday morning, and he sat by the side of the deceased in the schoolroom.  He told the deceased that he had an idea to go bathing in the afternoon, and LEMON said he had already made arrangements to go with a student named Bradley.  The deceased arranged to call for him in the afternoon, and called about one.  He was then accompanied by Bradley.  They went to the river together to bathe.  The deceased went into the river a little distance from witness.  He did not see him undress or enter the water - there was a bend in the river between them.  He and Bradley, and four others who were there when they arrived, bathed together.  After they had bathed and dressed they went up the river to look for the deceased.  They found the clothes on the bank, but could not see the deceased anywhere.  They thought at first that he might be hiding, in joke, but on looking up and down the bank without seeing him they got alarmed.  He and another boy went off for assistance.  Some young men from Mr Ingram's brought a rope.  He was not present when the body was first seen in the water, but he was there when the body was taken out by Mr Harte, the second master at the College.  In answer to a Juror, the witness said the reason why the deceased went to a different part of the river was that he could swim, while the others could not.  He therefore selected a deep pit in which to bathe.  - Alfred Moxey, a resident student at the College, deposed that on Wednesday afternoon he and three others went down to the river to bathe.  They had all omitted before going to obtain the permission of the Governor, but they had mentioned to one master that they wanted to go, and he raised no objection.  He bathed with the other students at some distance from deceased.  He was the first to leave the water and just before he began to dress he saw from the bank where he was standing the deceased in the water.  He appeared to be splashing the water with his hands.  He did not hear him call for assistance, and had no idea what the deceased was in danger.    After they had all dressed they went to look for the deceased, but not with the least idea that anything had gone wrong.  He was present when the body was first seen in the water, and he went back to the College and gave information of it.  Lucy Johns, of Milton Damarell, and residing near the spot where the accident occurred, said that when she heard of the occurrence she went to the spot, and she was the first to see the body in the water.  - Mr David Baker Harte, B.A., of Dublin University, said he was the second master at Shebbear College.  On Wednesday he heard that the deceased had been drowned in the river.  He immediately went to the spot, which he reached at half past five.  Someone saw the body at the bed of the river and he undressed and dived for it.  At the second attempt he secured the body and brought it to the bank.  The pit in which the body was found was about 8 feet in depth. The body was at once moved to the College.  The deceased had not his permission to bathe, nor did he know that any of his pupils were bathing.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," and added a rider exonerating the authorities from any blame. They also expressed their sympathy with the parents in their bereavement.

SOUTHMOLTON - Fatal Accident On The Railway. - A fatal accident occurred on Thursday evening on the Devon and Somerset Branch of the Great Western Railway.  As a goods train from Taunton to Barnstaple was proceeding at the usual rate near Southmolton the engine-driver perceived that the engine had passed over something.  He pulled the train up as quickly as possible, and found that a man had been cut almost in two.  The body was lying with head and shoulders and one arm over the metals. 

The man who was killed on Thursday evening on the railway at Southmolton has turned out to be JAS. RODD, an old postman, residing at Bishopsnympton, and who for some years carried letters between that place and Molland.  At the time of his accident he had been on the sick list, and his name had been sent in for a pension.  He had been at Southmolton all day on Thursday, and had taken up his pay.  At 5 o'clock in the evening he was seen at the Southmolton Railway station of the Great Western Railway, and he is supposed to have soon afterwards walked up the line with the intention of taking a short cut to Northmolton to visit his daughter.  He was very deaf, and the probability is that he was knocked down by the goods train, which he did not hear, or that he fell and could not rise.  He was lying on the points several hundred yards from the station when the train approached, and after the train had passed over him it was found that his head had been jammed down between the points, and was terribly mutilated.

The Inquest was held at the Tinto Hotel, on Saturday, before J. F. Bromham,. Esq., County Coroner.  The first witness called was P.C. Keeley, stationed at Southmolton, who said the deceased was 69 years of age.  From information he received on Thursday evening he went to the railway line, and when he got about half a mile from the Southmolton Station, just where the points were, he saw a body lying between the metals.  The head was gone, and he found it lying between the metals some 15 yards further on.  Between where the head and the body were lying he picked up an arm.  The brains were all scattered about, and he gathered them up.  He had the body removed to a store at the station, where it was now lying.  He searched the body but found nothing particular upon it.  He at once communicated with the Coroner and the relatives of the deceased.  Thos. Thomas, a fireman on the G.W.R., said that on Thursday last he left Taunton with a goods train.  He was on the engine with James Green, the driver.  On approaching the siding about half a mile above Southmolton Station he saw a man lying on the right-hand rail.  When he first saw the man they were only about thirty yards from him.  There was a curve in the line there which prevented his being seen before.  He immediately told the driver, and the driver put on the steam brake, and witness put on the hand brake and stopped the train as soon as possible, but by this time they must have gone over the man.  The train consisted of the engine, 17 waggons, and the guard's van, which was at the rear.  As soon as the train was stopped the driver went back and informed the guard of what had happened.  Witness was quite sure that when he saw the man he was lying on the rails, and that he was not knocked down by the train.  - James Green, the driver, said they reached the siding about eight minutes past six.  His attention was taken up in looking at the signals, so that he did not observe anything on the line.  The fireman looked over the side of the engine and called out that there was a man on the line with his head and arm over the rails.  They at once put on the brakes, and when the train stopped he got off and told the guard.  He knew they had run over something, as he felt the bumping of the engine.  He did not himself see the body, as he went on with the train.  He left the brakesman there in charge of the body.  At the time of the accident the sun was very glaring, which prevented their seeing anything far in front, and there was also a curve in the line just at the spot.  Just before the occurrence they had slackened speed a little, and were going about 15 miles an hour.  - Wm. Sutton, a porter, of Taunton, who acted as brakesman on the train, said when the train stopped, he got out to see the reason, and he met the driver, who told him of the occurrence.  Witness went back about 300 yards, and found the body of a man lying between the rails.  The head was severed from the body, as also an arm.  He stayed with the body until a porter came up from Southmolton Station, and he left him in charge of it, and witness went on with the train.  - George Henry Huxtable, the Postmaster at Southmolton, said he knew the deceased, who was rural postman acting between Bishopsnympton and Molland.  For some time past he had been on the sick list and in receipt of sick pay.  Witness saw him on Thursday about 1.30 p.m. in his private room at the Post Office, when he paid him one week's sick pay, about 7s. 6d.  Before leaving he said he should not be home tomorrow to sign his receipt for sick pay, as he was going to Northmolton to see his daughter.  When he left he was perfectly sober and in good spirits.  - John Hayle, painter, living at Northmolton, said he knew the deceased by sight.  On Thursday afternoon a little before six o'clock he saw him going towards the Southmolton Railway Station.  He was alone, and witness noticed by his walk that he had had too much to drink.  He was rambling a little.  In answer to the Jury, the witness said that a good many people walking to Northmolton went by way of the railway line, so as to walk over the tramway, which was the nearer way.  A Juryman said it was, however, the farthest way to go to the deceased's daughter.  Another Juryman said that as far as he was acquainted with the deceased, it was always difficult to discern whether he was in liquor or not, as his manner was always the same.  Another member f the Jury observed that during the day the deceased asked his (the speaker's) father to give him a lift to Northmolton, which, however, he could not do.  Inspector Shattock, who watched the proceedings on behalf of the Railway Company, said the deceased was a trespasser on the line at the time.  The Coroner said there could be no doubt that the death was Accidental; and the Jury returned a verdict accordingly and exonerated the railway officials from all blame.

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Fatal Accident At Barnstaple. - MR WILLIAM RICHARDS, draper, of Joy Street, lost his eldest child, an interesting and intelligent little girl aged three-and-a-half years, under very painful circumstances on Friday.  She was left alone in the nursery a few minutes, about half-past eleven, and it is supposed that while playing with a box of matches she caught her clothes on fire.  Mr J. Chapple, while in his shop, observed an unusual light in the room in which the child was, and he at once called MR C. RICHARDS'S attention to it. MR RICHARDS immediately ran to the nursery, where he found his niece enveloped in flames.  He wrapped the child in a rug and smothered the fire.  But the burns which had been sustained were of such a terrible character that Mr J. Harper, who was soon in attendance, gave no hope of the ultimate recovery of the little sufferer, who expired about eight o'clock in the evening.  The deepest sympathy is felt for MR and MRS RICHARDS in their sad and sudden bereavement.  -  The Inquest on the body of the deceased, who was named MARY ELIZABETH, was held at Victoria House at ten o'clock on Saturday morning, before R. I. Bencraft, Esq., the Borough Coroner.  Mr Benjamin Hill was chosen foreman of the Jury.  In opening the Inquiry, the Coroner made a feeling reference to the sad event which had called the Jury together and expressed sympathy with the bereaved parents.  - The first witness called was Maud Lainchbury, housemaid at Victoria House, who said that on Friday morning, about half-past eleven, she saw the deceased in the nursery.  She was lacing her boots.  There was no fire in the room at the time.  Witness left the child at 25 minutes to twelve, and ten minutes later she heard of the accident.  When she came downstairs she found the child in her father's arms in the dining-room.  The little girl was fearfully burnt.  Dr Harper was in attendance a few minutes afterwards.  Witness had not seen any matches in the nursery since she entered MR RICHARDS'S employ on Monday.  When she lit the gas in the nursery she used a taper.  The child did not take any matches into the nursery on Friday morning.  - MR CHARLES RICHARDS, uncle of the deceased, said that about a quarter to twelve on Friday morning Mr J. Chapple called his attention to smoke, which was rising from the nursery.  He ran upstairs, and he found the child enveloped in flames.  She was standing by a box, by the side of which some paper was burning, there was also a box of matches on the ground.  He wrapped the child in the table cloth and extinguished the fire.  He called for assistance, and MR W. RICHARDS at once came. The child's clothes were much burnt.  She said the fire arose from matches, which she obtained from the mantelpiece.  She must have used a chair in order to reach the matches, which had stood in a small vase.  Ten minutes or so previously he saw the deceased in the shop. Dr Harper saw the deceased before 12 o'clock.  Mr Chapple was standing at the entrance to his shop when he observed the smoke.  - Mr Joseph Harper, surgeon, said that when he reached Victoria House most of the child's clothing had been removed and oil and wadding applied.  He examined the child, and found there was a very extensive superficial burn over the abdomen, the front of the legs, the whole of the arms, and the whole of the face.  He dressed the wounds in the usual way.  He saw the child again in the evening about seven.  She was then in a state of great collapse and died while he was present just before eight.  She died from the effects of the shock produced to her system by the burns.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death" and expressed their sincere sympathy with the parents in their distressing bereavement.

Thursday 28 May 1891

LONDON - Heroic Death Of A Plymouth Sailor. - Mr S. Langham, Coroner, held an Inquest on Saturday at the London City Coroner's Court, into the circumstances attending the death of WILLIAM HUNT, lately residing in George-street, Plymouth, whose body was found in the River Thames off the London Custom's-house Pier, on the 21st inst.  Thomas Maxwell stated that on the morning of the 21st inst., when a short distance from the Customs' House Pier in his boat, he noticed the body of a man floating past, and immediately seized it and rowed back to the landing stage.  The deceased was afterwards recognised as WILLIAM HUNT, aged about 40 years, of Plymouth, who lost his life in endeavouring to save a comrade who had fallen off the rigging into the river.  P.S.  G. Spurgeon stated that deceased jumped over-board from a ship laying off Fresh Wharf, about three weeks ago to save a comrade.  James Roberts and William Allen, able seamen, of Plymouth, identified the body and gave evidence as to how the deceased lost his life.  The Coroner remarked that no doubt the body was that of the poor fellow who lost his life to save a comrade.  He was a credit to the town and port which gave him birth, and he was glad to think that such instances of gallantry and self-sacrifice were not rare in the British merchant service.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death through Misadventure" and added a rider expressing their admiration of the bravery and heroism shewn by the deceased in rescuing a comrade, whilst he himself was drowned.

BRISTOL - Suicide Of A Barumite At Bristol. - On Monday afternoon, the Deputy Coroner for the City of Bristol (Mr H. J. Dodgett) conducted an Inquiry at the Beaumont Hotel, Goodhind-street, Stapleton-road, into the death of HENRY SYMONS, formerly of Barnstaple, who had hanged himself in his bedroom on Friday.  WILLIAM SYMONS, brother of the deceased, said that his brother was 43 years of age, and had been an excise officer.  He lived at 24, Beaumont-street, Stapleton-road.  Witness had never known the deceased act strangely, but his father and another member of the family had committed suicide.  Henry Vernon said he resided at 24, Beaumont-street, and the deceased had also lodged there since October last.  Lately the deceased had seemed very low spirited.  Witness last saw him alive on Thursday morning, but noticed nothing unusual in his manner.  About seven o'clock on Friday evening the landlady of the house told witness she had better call SYMONS.  She did so, but could get no answer.  Afterwards she came down and told witness the deceased had hanged himself.  Witness immediately went upstairs and found the unfortunate man suspended to the bed rail by means of an handkerchief.  Witness sent for a policeman, who afterwards cut him down.  A doctor was then sent for, but the deceased was quite dead.  Mary Ann Hazard stated that the deceased had lodged with her at 24 Beaumont-street, on and off for the past 22 years.  During the last three weeks he seemed exceedingly low spirited.  He had recently lost a brother, and witness thought the trouble had preyed upon his mind.  On Friday morning he got up early and went out, but returned about 10 o'clock and went to bed.  About 1.30 witness took him up his dinner, and he then seemed all right.  Witness went up and called him about seven o'clock, but she received no answer.  She went downstairs, and the last witness advised her to go up again.  She did so, and receiving no answer opened the door, and saw the deceased hanging to the bedstead, as described by H. Vernon.  John Wiltshire, superintendent supervisor of Inland Revenue, said the deceased had been employed under him.  To his knowledge there was nothing connected with his business that would lead him to commit suicide.  He was a most efficient officer, and there had never been a complaint against him.  A verdict to the effect that the deceased committed Suicide whilst in a fit of Temporary Insanity was returned.

Thursday 23 July 1891

SAUNTON - Sudden Death At Saunton. - On Friday last an Inquest was held at Saunton, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of WILLIAM WARRING, labourer, of Barnstaple, who died suddenly on Thursday morning.  JOHN HERBERT PASSMORE WARRING, apprenticed to Mr Slee, builder, of Barnstaple, said the deceased, who was his father, was 62 years of age.  He had been lodging for ten days at Mr Ley's, Saunton. Witness went to Saunton on Monday, and had since lodged with his father.  The deceased was in his usual health up to Wednesday night.  Witness went into Braunton that morning, and when he came back about 10 o'clock he found that his father had gone to bed.  At his father's request he had purchased some pills at Braunton, and he gave the deceased a pill before he got into bed.  He purchased the pills (Beecham's), which his father had been in the habit of taking, at the shop of Mrs Homes, chemist.  His father was in the habit of taking these pills.  He woke at half past three, and found that his father was sitting up in bed.  The deceased was in a cold sweat, and evidently ill; and he asked him to boil some water and give it to him with some pepper.  He did as requested.  After taking the drink, the deceased lay down, while witness went downstairs to get some more hot water ready.  His father came downstairs, and after drinking a cup of tea went to bed again.  Just about five, at his father's request, he got into bed, and was dozing off when he felt the deceased fall against him.  He then saw that his father was dying.  He called to two young men who were sleeping in the same room.  Three minutes afterwards his father died in his arms.  The deceased had not been a strong man for some years; he often complained of pains in the chest and head.  John Mearles, mason's labourer, residing in the same house as the last witness, gave corroborative evidence.  Dr S. O. Lane, of Braunton, said he had known the deceased for some years.  He was called to attend the deceased at six o'clock on Thursday morning.  He found the man in bed, quite dead.  Death was due to heart disease.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  The Inquiry was opened at Saunton, and was concluded at the Railway Hotel, Braunton.

WEAR GIFFORD - Accidental Death. - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at Rose Cottage, Wear Gifford, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of EDWARD WATKINS, aged thirteen.  Thomas Fry, proprietor of Wear Gifford Mills, said the deceased, who was in his employ as an apprentice, was the son of MR EDWARD WATKINS, of Sheepwash.  The lad lodged with the foreman (Mr Thomas Slee) at Rose Cottage.  He was not at home when the lad met with the accident on Monday, but he saw him in bed at Rose Cottage on Tuesday evening.  He was not then apparently very ill; he was conscious, and able to carry on a conversation.  He said he felt a little pain in the neck.  He heard of the accident from his wife, who saw the deceased on Monday evening.  From what she told him he did not think seriously of the matter, nor did he when he had seen the deceased.  He thought the lad had had a shaking, and that a rest in bed would make him right again.  He had no idea at the time that there was any necessity for medical attendance.  On Wednesday afternoon the foreman told him that the lad was not so well, and he then told him to fetch Dr Sutcliffe.  He saw the boy several times during the illness; he saw him just before he died.  He had no idea until Wednesday, when the foreman told him that the lad was getting worse, that he was dangerously ill or that there was any necessity for calling in a medical man.  Edward Dunn, miller in the employ of the last witness, said he was with the deceased on Monday when the accident happened.  They were in the garden together picking strawberries.  The hedge of the garden abutted on the roadway, and was about 9ft. in height.  They had been picking strawberries for the house for half-an-hour, when the deceased ran down the slope of the garden to get into another bed.  He somehow fell over the hedge into the roadway.  As his back was towards the lad, he did not see him fall, but he heard the crash of the bushes.  On looking into the roadway he saw him in the road on his hands and knees.  He jumped into the roadway and picked up the lad, who was unconscious.  He carried him to the nearest house (Mr Huxtable's), and left him there while he fetched a vehicle.  He subsequently conveyed the lad to Rose Cottage in a trap.  Mr Slee assisted him.  The deceased appeared to be still unconscious when he drove him home, and he did not speak.  In answer to a Juryman, the witness said that when the lad was at Mr Huxtable's house he saw a small quantity of blood coming from his mouth.  - Maria Huxtable, to whose house the deceased was first carried, also gave evidence.  She said that before the last witness returned with the vehicle the boy recovered consciousness, and stated in answer to a question, that he was running and felt lightheaded.  - Thomas Slee, Mr Fry's foreman, said that when he carried the boy to bed on Monday evening he seemed to be better.  The lad told him that he did not think any bones were broken.  He thought that as no bones were broken a rest in bed would make the boy all right.  Seeing that the boy was getting worse instead of better on Wednesday afternoon, he spoke to Mr Fry, who sent for the doctor.  - By the Jury:  He remarked to Mrs Fry on Monday evening that he thought a doctor should be called in, but she said that as no bones were broken he had better leave him until the morning and watch him well.  - Dr Edward Sutcliffe, of Torrington, said that on Wednesday week his assistant visited the boy.  He also saw him on Thursday, and then Mr Fry sent a message asking him (Dr Sutcliffe) to visit the deceased.  His assistant told him that the lad was suffering from concussion of the brain, but had been able to talk sufficiently to give his name.  When he reached Wear Gifford on Thursday evening, he found the lad partly conscious only.  He attended the lad to the time of his death.  Inflammation set in, and then there was little hope of the lad's recovery.  The parents of the lad were with him during the illness, and the deceased had every care and attention.  As the deceased was put to bed and kept quiet, he did not think the delay in sending for a medical man was of great consequence.  If he had been called in earlier he could only have prescribed the lad's being kept quiet.  His assistant told him that Mr Fry desired that no trouble or expense should be spared on the boy's behalf.  The actual cause of death was inflammation of the brain, consequent on the fall.  There were hardly any external marks of violence, or anything to indicate to a casual observer that the lad was so seriously injured.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 13 August 1891

CLOVELLY - Sad Case Of Suicide. - A case of suicide was reported at Clovelly on Tuesday.  CHARLES ROBINS, eldest son of MR HENRY ROBINS, of Wrinkleberry and Clifford Farms, had suffered from influenza for some time past, which left him in a melancholy state of mind, but not such as to cause the least apprehension that he would commit suicide.  The deceased did not come in to dinner as expected when called by a younger brother, and was found hanging in a loft adjoining the home at Wrinkleberry.  Aid was soon at hand, and he was at once cut down, but life was extinct.  Deceased was 25 years of age, a Rechabite, thoroughly steady, and much respected.  An Inquest was held at Wrinkleberry yesterday, before J. F. Bromham, Esq., County Coroner.  Evidence was given by HENRY ROBINS, father of the deceased, and FREDERICK ROBINS, uncle, who said that since the deceased had the influenza he had been in very low spirits:  James Nott, carpenter, P.C. Broughton, and Dr E. B. Hazelton.  The latter said he attended the deceased about six weeks ago for influenza.  At the end of a week he appeared to be all right again.  He had not seen him to speak to since then.  Very often an attack of influenza left a patient in low spirits.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased hung himself while suffering from Temporary Insanity, and expressed their sympathy with the bereaved parents.

Thursday 27 August 1891

BIDEFORD - The Case of Drowning. - The circumstances attending the death of a lad named HENRY COLE, 10 years of age, who was drowned in the river Torridge last week, formed the subject of an Inquest before the County Coroner (J. F. Bromham, Esq.), at the Newfoundland Hotel, on Thursday evening.  The first witness called was HENRY COLE, father of the lad.  He last saw deceased alive about eight o'clock on Thursday evening, when he was on board his barge at Watch-house, Appledore, where they had been discharging gravel.  His son helped to start the barge on its return journey for Bideford.  Shortly after leaving Appledore he inquired for deceased.  He was informed by Bowden, one of the crew, that his son was asleep below.  As his son was accustomed to go into the lower part of the barge witness was not uneasy, and thought nothing more of the matter till Bideford was reached.  He, with the rest of the crew, were then alarmed to