Inquests Taken Into Suspicious Or Unexplained Deaths
For the County of Devon
Articles taken from the Sidmouth Journal and Directory
[printed in Plymouth.]
1862 - 1873
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.
[Numbers in brackets indicate the number of times that name occurs.]
Names Included: Ash; Bartlett; Basten; Bayley; Bowden; Carslake; Carter; Channon; Colborn; Cordy; Daniels; Gale; Goss; Hill; Kelland; Kirwan; Lathrope; Pepperell; Pike; Records; Salmon; Salter; Scotford; Sommerwill; Spencer; Teed; Tremlett; Wall; Wheaton
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Thursday 1 May 1862
Sidmouth - A Life Of Shame, Ended By A Miserable Death. - Rumour, with her thousand tongues, was busy during a part of the last month in Sidmouth, in giving various statements as to a woman in the town, who had died somewhat suddenly. But that useful institution, the Coroner's Court, cleared up all the mystery: and, we believe, arrived at a just conclusion as to the cause of death. - The deceased, AMELIA CARSLAKE, forty years of age, the mother of two illegitimate children, who lived with her, was well-known in the town, having led a dissolute life, and been dependent on charity and the parish for many years. She resided in a small cottage in Eastern Town, and had been under the care of Mr Pullin, the surgeon, for some months. The Inquest was held at the London Hotel, on Wednesday, April 23rd, by S. M. Cox, Esq., the Coroner, and a Jury of thirteen householders, of whom Mr Skinner was Foreman. According to the evidence of Prudence Southwood, her neighbour, and landlady, the deceased had gone to Newton Poppleford fair on the previous Wednesday, had returned home about ten o'clock at night, lain in bed the greater part of the following day, as was her habit, but had spent some time in witness's house in the evening, and been congratulated on her improved health and appearance. On the Friday morning (Good Friday) deceased sent her boy to Mr Pullin's surgery for some medicine, and that gentleman called and saw her in the afternoon, and then prepared a suitable medicine for her. Feeling sick and ill, with a burning pain in her frame, she sent for Prudence Southwood, who found her retching violently, and supposing it to be a bilious attack, administered a draught of mustard and water to ease the stomach. But pain, and weakness, and death were doing their work, and she wildly flung her arms about, exclaiming "I shall die! I shall die! you'll find my dead in the morning!" But she had often said the same thing, as well as threatened to make "a hole in the sea," so that her ravings were now unheeded. Her neighbour left her about eight o'clock in the evening, and heard no noise in the night, but between seven and eight in the morning (Saturday) was called by the boy, to find the wretched creature was no more, having apparently been dead some hours. - The boy, a shrewd, intelligent, and sturdy little fellow of ten years of age, told the Coroner very clearly how, on waking in the morning, he having slept with his mother, he found her cold and then fetched the neighbours. He also narrated his journey to Newton Poppleford, with his mother, her object being to get him employed at the silk factory there, and for which purpose he was to go again to Mr Wood, the proprietor, on the following Monday. All this served to show that the rumour of poison having been taken was unfounded. - Mr E. Cornwall, the relieving officer for the district, being in Sidmouth, was sent for by the Coroner, and gave evidence that the attention of the Board of Guardians had been called to the deceased, who had been informed that with such a character as she possessed she could not be allowed out-door relief for two illegitimate children. This disproved the rumour that harshness had been used, the deceased having expressed her objection to go into the Union House. No doubt the discipline of that place would be very irksome to such as her. - The next witness was the Rev. B. Mardon, who thinking the deceased had been much affected by a cruel flogging which she stated to him had been inflicted by a third party on the boy, sought, with unflinching perseverance, to elicit some information on the subject. But it appeared to be the general opinion that the rev. gentleman having a few days before bestowed a gratuity on the boy, nothing was more probable than that after a beating administered by herself, the mother had called Mr Mardon in, to excite his sympathy by the appearance of the boy's back. She was known to be in the habit of flogging severely when the children would not do her bidding as to begging, &c. - Mr Pullin was next examined, and gave some particulars as to the general state of health of the deceased during the three or four months she had been under his care. By a post-mortem examination he had made on the previous day, as well as from an analysis of the contents of the stomach, he was enabled to assert that there were no traces whatever of any poisonous ingredient, but that there were indications of previous disease; the small intestines were empty, as the result of the violent retching, and death had occurred through collapse and exhaustion consequent on neglected choleraic diarrhoea. This was conclusive as to the cause of death, and a verdict in accordance therewith was immediately given by the Jury. - But what a frightful death was that, and what a thrill of horror runs through the frame, as we seem to hear the wild shriek on the dying woman, "I shall die! I shall die!" as we see her bid farewell to her children at the solemn midnight hour, and then witness, in the grey cold light of a chilly April morning the stiffened corpse of the mother sitting upright by the side of her sleeping boy! A more ghastly picture can scarcely be conceived. The boy may probably be saved from evil through his parent's death; and we are glad to learn that exertions are being made by some of Sidmouth's worthy gentlemen to procure his admission into a Reformatory, or refuge of some sort. The girl, about six years of age, will probably be consigned to the Union Workhouse, and thus for years swell the number of those who suffer through the misdeeds of their parents.
Sidmouth Journal And Directory, Friday 1 August 1862
Sidmouth - Self Destruction. - Suicide is comparatively rare in Sidmouth, and when committed, the notoriety and comment thereon becomes more general than in those places where either the greater number, the greater activity, or the greater profligacy of the inhabitants, or other causes, frequently produce such results. A few weeks since a gentleman - MR BLUNDELL STRONG, formerly a solicitor, - who had been lodging in the town, off and on, for three or four months, but who was much noted for his eccentricities, left by the evening mail, and the same night destroyed himself by poison at the New London Inn, Exeter; and Sidmouth was therefore spared the Inquiry and the discredit attaching to his death.
Now, however, we have to narrate a suicidal act which has occurred in the town during the past month, and in its consequences has caused much notice and discussion. An Inquest was held at the York Hotel, on Monday, July 14th, before S. M. Cox, Esq., and a Jury, of whom Mr F. Hooke, was Foreman, upon the body of MARY ANN BOWDEN, a woman of about 54 years of age, who had been in the service of a lady of the place, as cook, about six weeks; but who had committed suicide on the previous Saturday. From the evidence of a lady, the niece of the lady of the house, it appeared that deceased had been left in charge of the premises during the absence of all the other inmates for about a couple of hours on the Friday evening. After the return of the lady she noticed that the lock of the sideboard had been forced, and was hanging merely by a nail or screw. The sideboard contained wine, spirits, tea, sugar, &c. Calling up the housemaid, and then the cook, and not obtaining any information from the latter the lady directed them to search the house, that they might ascertain if any stranger was secreted. As that was fruitless, she then observed that on the following day she must make enquiry through the police, so as to discover the culprit. And then all retired to rest. On the following morning, soon after nine o'clock, the lady directed the housemaid to call the cook for prayers. As the latter did not reply, the housemaid sought her in the bedrooms; and in the room of an absent servant found her suspended from the bed post, with so much blood upon her face as to lead to the conjecture that deceased had also cut her throat. - Ann Morgan, the housemaid, deposed that she heard deceased, who did not sleep with her, descend the stairs about four o'clock in the morning; and that when she went down, about seven o'clock, the deceased was helping a man in clearing out the rubbish from the wood house. Subsequently, deceased prepared the kitchen breakfast, taking only a cup of tea herself, and saying that she had the headache. While taking it, the remark was made by one to the other that no doubt there would be a bother about the lock. Deceased then laid out and prepared the lady's breakfast, and the housemaid saw her go upstairs, about a quarter of an hour before the time she was sent to call her down, and when she found her hanging by the neck. Both the lady and the housemaid deposed to an occasional strangeness in the deceased's manner, which they attributed to drink; and this had been noticed by Morgan on the Friday evening after her return with her mistress. - The next witness was Mr John Mitchell, the carrier, who had been unloading goods at the adjoining house, and was called in by the lady immediately the alarm was given by the housemaid. His evidence was satisfactory, as disproving the rumours that life was not extinct, and that greater promptitude would have recovered the misguided woman. She was quite dead when he loosened the rope from her neck, for so determined had been the act that she had wound that article twice around the throat, and was holding the end of it in her hand. Her height and weight had caused her to descend nearly upon her knees, but the death grip of the rope and its double turn over the tester of the bed, as well as around her neck, had proved sufficiently powerful, and the evil deed was complete. - T. H. S. Pullin, Esq., who had been immediately sent for, and was on the spot in a few minutes, stated that he believed life was extinct when he arrived, but that he for some time sought by artificial means to restore animation. As to the blood on the face, he supposed death to have ensued rather from apoplexy than from strangulation. The rope had slipped, not being tied, and ruptures of the veins of the head had therefore produced suffocation, or apoplexy. - Mrs Bennett, wife of Mr Bennett, saddler, New-Street, deposed to having known deceased nearly twenty years; that she was in good health and spirits on the Friday evening, and had taken a walk on the esplanade with her; and that she had lived in the service of Sir S. H. Northcote, the Earl of Devon, &c. - The Coroner summed up the evidence, and but one opinion appeared to be held by the Jury, that it was none other than a case of Felo de se, and to that effect they returned their verdict, or rather, in the words of that verdict itself, they agreed that "the said MARY ANN BOWDEN, not having the fear of God before her eyes, did on the 12th of July, in the parish of Sidmouth, feloniously, wilfully, and of her malice aforethought, with a rope hang, suffocate, and strangle herself, of which said hanging, suffocation, and strangling she did then and there die; and so the Jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the said MARY ANN BOWDEN , in manner, and by the means aforesaid, feloniously, wilfully, and of her malice aforethought, did kill and murder herself, against the peace of our lady the Queen, her crown and dignity." - The Coroner stated his full concurrence in the verdict of the Jury, saying that he did not see how any other could consistently be returned, as the deceased had given no sign of mental infirmity, but was engaged as usual about her duties up to her last moments. - As a consequence of the verdict, the Coroner directed Policeman Pearce that the body should be interred in the churchyard the same night, between the hours of nine and twelve, without the use of the bell or burial service; and for that purpose he issued the requisite warrant to Messrs. Searle and Mortimer, the churchwardens. By the appointed time of burial some hundreds of the inhabitants had assembled in the neighbourhood of the house and in the churchyard; and a more solemn, or as many called it, "awful" scene has been rarely witnessed in Sidmouth. A dull and cloudy moonlit night, with haze enough to obscure but not hide the lofty hills on every side; the low murmur of the ever-moving sea in the evening quiet, as its waves reached the shore; the suppressed and whispered tones of the bystanders; and the noiseless and almost stealthy descent of the coffin to its final resting place, without either bell or prayer, gave an indescribable sensation to those who were present, hushing all revelry, and probably doing more towards checking any tendency to suicide than a score of the ordinary verdicts of "Temporary Insanity" would have done. The spectators left the ground with the greatest decorum and order. We are informed that the last verdict of a similar character was given nearly fifty years ago, on the body of a woman named JENNY PINE, who was buried in the cross road leading to Muttersmoor, - a spot still known as JENNY PINE'S corner.
Sidmouth - A poor man named TREMLETT, of this place, while attending Honiton fair, on Thursday week, was attacked by an ox, and thrown several feet from the ground. He was taken at once to the Union, where it was thought his injuries were but slight; he died, however, on Sunday night. An Inquest was held on Monday, and a verdict of Accidental Death returned.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Thursday 1 January 1863
Sidmouth - Sudden Death. - An Inquest was held at the London Hotel, on Tuesday, Dec. 9th, before S. M. Cox, Esq., Coroner, and a Jury of which Mr Cowd was foreman, on the body of MRS JOANNA HILL, who had died suddenly on the previous day. - From the evidence of the husband, JAMES HILL, one of the coastguard service, it appeared that deceased was 52 years of age, and that in a friendly way, and not for remuneration, she had been in the habit of going to the help of the sick or the dying. She had been called for that purpose on the previous night, about 11 o'clock, but had returned again, and was in bed before her husband came from his night duty at 7 o'clock in the morning. During her absence she had, in consequence of the absence of Mr Pullin, who was from home, assisted at the birth of a neighbour's child; and as she had never so officiated before, she was much excited by so doing. She rose about 8 o'clock to prepare the children's breakfast, and two hours afterwards called her husband downstairs in such a tone that he left his bed, and found her lying almost helpless on the floor. He carried her to bed, and covered her up, as she complained of cold, and afterwards went again to his duty at the Guard house. He returned to give the children their dinner, when the son went up to see his mother, and thought from her appearance that she had had a fit; on examination, however, she was found to be dead. - Mrs Macdonald, wife of the chief boatman, who had been immediately called, corroborated some portion on the evidence. - B. T. Hodge, Esq., deposed to his having, as a Surgeon, known the deceased for some years, and that he was fetched by the husband, and was at the house within five minutes of the call. He had made a post-mortem examination, which confirmed the opinion he had previously formed. There was disorder or degeneration of the heart, which was attenuated, and surrounded by fat and fluid; the other organs were healthy. The cold of which she complained was the natural result of the excitement she had undergone and was likely to produce a fatal syncope. - The Coroner remarked to the Jury that there could be no doubt as to the circumstances, and the Jury assenting, they returned a verdict, that Death ensued from "Fatal Syncope, arising from excitement, acting on disease of the heart."
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Sunday 1 February 1863
Sidmouth - Death By Suffocation. - An Inquest was held at the York Hotel, on Friday, Jan 9th, before S. M. Cox, Esq., and a Jury of which Mr Gosling was foreman, to Enquire as to the death of a male infant, seven weeks old, who had died at Middle Woolbrook. The mother's name was MARY ANN KELLAND, but now is CARTER, she having been married since the child's death. From the evidence given by the mother and grandmother, and also that by Dr Pullin, as the result of a post-mortem examination, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Suffocation."
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Friday 1 January 1864
Sidmouth - Accidental Death. - An Inquest was held at the London Hotel, on Monday, December 7th, before S. M. Cox, Esq., Coroner, on the body of a young man, about 18 years of age. FRANCIS SALMON, the deceased, was in the employ of Mr A. Beer, of Bickwell. On Saturday afternoon, November 21st, while riding at a rapid rate, and turning sharply round the corner of All Saints' Church road, he was thrown from the horse, his left leg being much crushed by the animal falling upon him. The evidence as to the occurrence was very simple, and was given by William Perry and James Wench, who helped the sufferer homewards. Dr Pullin, who had been immediately called in, stated that a piece of flesh, near the knee, had been torn out, and that until the 1st of December the symptoms were favourable. On that day a change took place, and lock jaw ensued, with death as the issue. A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, accompanied by a recommendation to the Local Board that an alteration should be made in the method of paving the crossing at the place of accident, its present form having caused the horse to slip down.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Tuesday 1 March 1864
Sidmouth - Coroner's Inquest. - One of these needful investigations was held at Witt's London Hotel, on Friday, February 12th, before S. M. Cox, Esq., the Coroner, and a Jury of which Mr Webber was the Foreman, on the body of JAMES MARTIN ASH, an infant of five months old, who was found dead in the bed from which his parents had just risen, on the morning of the 10th. The evidence of the parents and that of Dr Pullin, who had made a post-mortem examination, showed very plainly that the child had been suffocated by the pressure of the bedclothes upon him, his head being under the level of the pillow, and his hair damp and matted by the extreme heat and perspiration. The death was clearly accidental, and a verdict to that effect was at once returned. The parents have two other children.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Thursday 1 June 1865
Sidmouth - A Miserable Death. - An Inquest was held by S. M. Cox, Esq., Coroner, and a Jury, of whom Mr John Webber was Foreman, at the Royal York Hotel, on Friday, May 26th, on the body of HEZEKIAH CORDY, who was found dead in the street on the previous Wednesday night. Deceased was an old and noticeable character in Sidmouth, between 60 and 70 years of age, and a chimney-sweeper by occupation. The body lay in the dead-house, in the churchyard, and thither the Jury went to view it. Various rumours as to neglect or cruelty were afloat in the town, but the investigation, as will be seen, entirely disproved any such cause of the old man's death. - The first witness was Mr G. Pottinger, landlord of the Ship inn, who stated that CORDY was in the habit of visiting that house frequently, and that he usually had a pint of cider when he came. He saw him there in the forenoon of Wednesday, and again about 9 o'clock in the evening, and understood he had been there during his (Mr P's) absence in the afternoon. In the evening Mr Pottinger saw him in the kitchen, and understood that he had fallen down. CORDY was advised to sit still, but he stated that he "felt like something come over him;" so the landlord promised a young man a pint of cider if he would take the old man to Mrs Salter's, where he was thought to lodge. - That young man, Thomas Smith, a fly-man, was next examined, and his answers were so unsatisfactory and contradictory that the Coroner seemed much inclined to punish him for his perversity. He at first stated that he took the deceased to Mrs Salter's house, at the back of the Market house, that she refused to take him in, and that he then drove parties to Sidford, and left them in the centre of the village. Subsequently he asserted that he did not see Mrs Salter, or hear anybody make a reply; while he either could not or would not tell anything further as to the Sidford journey. The only valid piece of evidence given by him, was the fact that he had left CORDY leaning against the door of Mrs Salter's house. - P.C. Richards deposed to finding deceased outside the house about half-past nine o'clock, when he thought he was drunk, and advised him to go in for the night. Returning to the same place about eleven, and finding him lying on the ground, with his head resting on his breast, he tried to rouse him, but without success; and then went off for Dr Pullin, who was speedily in attendance. - The next witness, John Spencer, who had gone with a lantern to the man during the policeman's absence, stated that his mouth was covered with frothy mucous, and that he gave only one gurgling kind of sound, and then died. - Dr Pullin, who had seen the deceased immediately on his being discovered, and had also made a post-mortem examination, lucidly explained CORDY'S bodily condition. He stated that the brain was healthy, and the muscles of the system strong and vigorous; but there was not a particle of fat on any part of the body, and there was entire absence of food in the stomach. The lungs and the ventricles of the heart were thoroughly congested, and to that cause he attributed death. As the bronchial tubes and air vessels were filled with frothy mucus, he thought it probable that in his state of bodily weakness, deceased had so rested his head on his breast, as to produce suffocation, and the consequent congestion of the lungs. - Mrs Salter deposed that deceased was a brother-in-law of hers, but his wife died many years ago. He had worked for her, and lodged in her house until about six weeks ago; but as he brought her no money for the use of the tools, and was also frequently drunk, she then discharged him, and had not seen him since. On the night in question her son and herself saw him outside the door, but supposing him to be drunk, and not knowing that he felt ill, they left him leaning against the house and went to bed. "But," said the old woman with much warmth, "if I had knowed he was so bad, I'd have took him in." It should be stated that deceased had on previous occasions received help from the parish, and also from the feoffees, but had not recently applied. He also left part of a loaf at the Ship Inn, where he said he was not hungry. For weeks past he had, however, been sleeping about in any hovel or shed, while he lived principally by drinking cider and eating bread. No wonder he was without fat on his body. - The Coroner summed up the evidence, and the Jury returned a verdict of Death by Suffocation, resulting from partial Intoxication and an absence of suitable food. - To mark the Coroner's opinion of the manner in which Smith had given his evidence, the usual fee to a witness was withheld from him, and he received a reprimand instead.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Saturday 1 July 1865
Sidmouth - Mysterious Death. - An Inquest of an important character was held by S. M. Cox, Esq., at the London Hotel, on Tuesday, June 6th, on the body of SAMUEL RECORDS, a youth in his 15th year, who was found hanging to the bedpost in his bedroom, on the previous Sunday evening. A highly respectable Jury was empanelled, who unanimously chose Mr Harris as their Foreman. The body lay at the house of the deceased's brother-in-law, MR HORN, a baker, near the turnpike gate on the Exeter road; and thither the Jury proceeded to view the corpse, which was in size and length more like that of a lad two or three years older than the deceased was said to be. - Returned to the Inquest room, the first witness examined was Mary Furneaux, who resides next door to MR HORN'S, and was the last person who saw deceased alive. She saw him about half-past two o'clock, when she was about to go to All Saints' Sunday school, the deceased being also in the habit of going there. He complained that the key of the door had been taken away, but in other respects appeared in his usual health and spirits. Deceased's sister and brother-in-law had gone to Sidbury in the forenoon, leaving him to attend to the bakings; but that was not an unusual circumstance, and she had not heard any complaint. Deceased was a strange sort of boy, and had a peculiar look about him. - ALBERT JAMES HORN, a youth, the master's brother, had called on his way to Sidmouth, about half-past six o'clock, and found the premises open, with a cake in the oven, which deceased had made for his tea, but which was much burnt. Proceeded to fasten up the house, and at the suggestion of Mr Furneaux, the next-door neighbour, went upstairs to see that all was right, and was horrified to find deceased hanging by the neck in his bedroom. - John Furneaux, father of the first witness, had seen deceased attending to the customers about dinner time; but soon after four o'clock some children said they could not make anybody hear, and that they wanted their bakings. Mr F. went with them into the bakehouse, delivered what they required, and called loudly for the boy, without receiving any reply; he therefore concluded that he had gone out. Being called in by last witness, he found deceased hanging to the bedpost, and supposed he might have been dead two or three hours. The deed had been committed with a leather strap, which deceased usually wore around his body; and underneath it, as if to prevent pain or pressure, was a linen wrapper, passed two or three times over the neck. He always thought the boy had something strange or silly about him. - Dr Pullin described the condition of the body when he saw it, shortly after the discovery, and stated that the strap had acted as with a slip knot, the buckle bearing exactly on the spot where by pressure on the windpipe and arteries, asphyxia, or suffocation, would be instantaneous. Deceased had only his shirt and stockings on. Dr Pullin had known the boy, through having attended his father, and did not think him insane; but he was of deficient mind, and very passionate and obstinate. - JOHN URIAH HORN, the master, said that there had not been any unpleasantness prior to leaving deceased in the forenoon, and that provisions were left for his use. - The Coroner summed up very carefully, saying there could be no doubt that deceased had died by his own hands. That being so, there was a choice of three verdicts: - That of felo-de-se, which he did not suppose the Jury would entertain; that of a pre-meditated act, under the influence of insanity; and that of accidental death, while playing or experimenting. To the latter verdict he inclined, thinking it very probable, as such events had occurred elsewhere. The room was cleared, and the subject discussed by the Jury; when, although there was at first a diversity of opinion, and some would have preferred a verdict of insanity, the verdict suggested by the Coroner was ultimately adopted.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Tuesday 1 August 1865
Sidmouth - Coroner's Inquest. - These needful enquires have been unusually frequent of late in Sidmouth, as well as very noticeable in the variety they have presented. In June we told of the sad and miserable death of an old worthless man, who in a partially muddled state, from want and drink, died at a doorstep in the street. Last month gave the narration of the mysterious death of a youth by his own hands, either through accident or design. Now we write of the sudden death of another elderly man, 73 years of age, a worthy deacon of the Independent Church, who had maintained a good and consistent character through life, and had assisted at the sacramental service in the day, but died suddenly and alone soon after midnight. - The latter Inquest was held by S. M. Cox, Esq., at the York Hotel, on Tuesday, July 4th, Mr Bray being Foreman of the Jury. The deceased was HENRY LATHROPE, a shoemaker, who had been found dead about one o'clock in the morning of Monday. From the evidence of Mr James Hooke, and his wife, with whom MR LATHROPE had lodged several years, it appeared that he complained at dinner time on Sunday of a slight tingling pain in the left arm. He went to chapel as usual in the evening; and afterwards said the pain seemed to pass upwards towards his head. At his request Mrs Hooke took him a glass of spirits and water on his going to bed; and on her enquiry, about eleven o'clock, he stated that he felt much better, and would be all right by the morning. But, just as the clock struck one, Mr and Mrs Hooke were aroused by their son, who exclaimed that MR LATHROPE had fallen out of bed. They were speedily in the room, as was also Mr Cornish, a resident in the house, when they found deceased lying on his back on the floor, with his great coat on, and quite dead. Dr Pullin was immediately sent for, and was there in less than ten minutes, but it was too late. A post-mortem examination had been made, of which Dr Pullin now gave the results. The heart was surrounded by fat, and there was evidence of very considerable long-standing disease of the left lung, but nothing in those organs to account for death. In the head, however, the case was different, a large quantity of serum being found on the brain, quite sufficient to produce what is known as "serous apoplexy." To that cause, therefore, Dr Pullin attributed death, all the previous symptoms being indicative, and just twelve hours having elapsed from the time of deceased's first complaining to the hour of his decease. - The Coroner briefly expressed his assent to Dr Pullin's opinion, and so did the Jury unanimously by their verdict in the words referred to.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Friday 1 September 1865
Sidmouth - Death. - On Saturday morning, Aug. 26, an old man, LEWIS SOMMERWILL, aged 70 years, who had for a long period kept a small shop adjoining the Anchor Inn, destroyed himself by tying a rope to the bedpost and around his neck, and then throwing himself out of the window. He had been for some time in a dotage state of mind, and a verdict to that effect was returned at the Inquest held on the following Monday.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Saturday 1 September 1866
Sidmouth - Coroner's Inquest. - A painful interest was excited in the town on Thursday, August 2nd, by the news that a respectable servant woman had been instantaneously killed at Belmont. The facts were elicited at the Inquest which was held at the Bedford Hotel, on the following Saturday, before Dr Brent, the Deputy Coroner, and a Jury, of whom Mr John Blackmore was the Foreman. - The deceased, LUCY SCOTFORD, was cook and housekeeper to E. Lowrie, Esq., at the above house, was about fifty years of age, and had been in Mr L's service thirty years. Her fellow-servant, Elizabeth Patten, having missed her about 12 o'clock, and searched the house in vain, subsequently went into the yard at the back, and there found her crushed beneath a large wooden platform. The platform, which was broad and heavy, was that on which the guns in the Fortfield used to stand; and being placed on its end nails had been driven in it for fastening clothes lines. The wind on the above day being unusually strong, and the lines loaded with clothes, the weight of the deceased helped to pull the platform over, so that her death must have been instantaneous. Captain Charles Ayre, R.N., resident in the house, was on the spot immediately, and helped to remove the burden, but the body was then partially cold. Of course, medical help was in vain, although Dr Hodge and Dr Pullin were speedily in attendance. No other verdict than that of "Accidental Death" could be returned, and so the Jury decided. The deceased had but recently visited her relatives in London, after an interval of many years, and had often expressed a wish that her death might be sudden.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Friday 1 March 1867
Sidmouth - A Sad Case. - Nearly seven months had elapsed since an Inquest was held in Sidmouth, until Wednesday, February 20th, when another of these useful enquiries took place at the London Hotel, before W. Every, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of whom Mr Dawe was the Foreman. - The Inquest was on the body of a male child, born on the previous Monday, and of whom CAROLINE SPENCER was the mother. Only three witnesses were examined, but some of the details gave a wretched picture of doings and dwellings. The first witness, William Dean, a smith, residing in the Marsh, had lived with the mother for three or four years past, although, as he stated, not sleeping with her, or in the same room. However, he acknowledged himself to be the father of the deceased child, and also of another living with them, and now about three years old. On Monday morning, when he went to his work, between five and six o'clock, SPENCER complained of being ill, but no notice was taken by him, and he repeatedly asserted that he did not know of her condition. He was fetched home between nine and ten o'clock, with the information that a child had been born, and was dead. Caroline Woolley, wife of Robert Woolley, fisherman, and occasionally acting as a nurse, deposed to being sent for about eight o'clock. On her arrival at the house she found the mother alone in the room, sitting up in the bed, with scarcely any clothing upon her, and the child dead, having been unattended to. She did what was needful, the mother being in a very weak and exhausted state, and then fetched the father and Dr Pullin. The mother had told her that she had called Dean at two o'clock, telling him she was ill, but he had gone away, and as she only had the little child there, she could not send her out when it was early and d]dark. Dr Pullin described the condition of the mother and child, and had no doubt that what the mother told him was correct, that the child had lived and cried. The death was attributable to suffocation, caused by the want of proper attention at the time of birth. A verdict to that effect was accordingly returned. The Jury warmly commended Mrs Woolley for the kindness she had displayed, but a very different opinion as to Dean was expressed by many of them.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Saturday 1 June 1867
Sidmouth - Fatal Accident. - A sad disaster befel an industrious and well-known fisherman of Sidmouth, JOHN BARTLETT, on Tuesday morning, May 28th. About 7 o'clock, in company with his son JOHN, a fine lad of 15 years of age, he was returning in his boat from examining his lobster pots of High Peak, when the sea struck the boat on the side and capsized her. Both were thrown into the water and there maintained for many minutes a desperate struggle for life. The father held up the boy as well as he could by his arms, by placing an oar under him, and by all other means he could devise. But the strength of each failed, and although the boy was conscious enough to be able to tell his father that his uncle was coming to the rescue, yet ere the latter could reach them, the poor fellow had gone down, and it was only with great effort that the exhausted father was saved. His brother's son, WILLIAM BARTLETT, in a boat with James Ash, being but a short distance behind, had missed JOHN BARTLETT'S boat, but with all their exertions, in a short and choppy sea, they could not reach the sinking boy in time to save his life. Nor was his body recovered until the following morning, when his uncle, HENRY BARTLETT, and many others, dragged the ground, and were successful in their search. An Inquest was held on Thursday, May 30th, at the Bedford Hotel, before W. Every, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a Jury of whom Dr Atkins was Foreman. The above facts were deposed to, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" returned. Much sympathy is felt for the bereaved father, who is a widower; the deceased boy being a well-conducted lad, and the eldest of a family of seven. It is a case deserving the help of those possessed of "this world's goods."
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Monday 1 July 1867
Sidmouth - Inquests. - The first was held at the Bedford Hotel, on Wednesday, June 12th, before S. M. Cox, Esq., Coroner, on GEORGE FRANK COLBORN, four months old, whose death at Bulverton, according to the evidence of the mother and Dr Pullin, resulted from whooping cough and chicken pox. the death having been somewhat sudden, and the child being illegitimate, the Coroner stated that he would always hold an Enquiry under such circumstances.
The second Inquest was held at the London Hotel, on Monday, June 24th, before the same Coroner, on HENRY PEPPERELL, aged 15 years, son of MR PEPPERELL, Upper High Street. The evidence of Miss Jacomb, William Tyrrell, and Dr Pullin proved that death resulted from the lad being accidentally thrown down while guiding a horse and cartload of lime on Peak hill, near Willoughby Cottage. A verdict to that effect was returned.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Saturday 1 August 1868
Sidmouth - A Painful Death. - An Inquest was held on Thursday, July 2nd, at the Commercial Inn, on the body of a young man, HENRY SALTER, in his 18th year. He was in the employ of Messrs. Whitton and Wheaton, butchers, Fore Street; was generally known and respected in the town; and was a fine and intelligent youth. W. Every, Esq., Deputy Coroner, presided; Mr Dawe being Foreman of the Jury. According to the evidence of Mr Macleod and Mr Carter, there was a discussion in the slaughter-house on Monday afternoon, as to killing a calf; and the deceased, in striking at a rope, missed his aim, and plunged the knife he had in his hand into his right groin, inflicting a wound an inch in breadth, and two inches in depth. Dr Hodge's assistant and Dr Pullin were in immediate attendance. The latter gentleman, after describing the nature of the accident, stated that as the poor youth was in all but a lifeless and pulseless state, requiring the constant use of the most powerful stimulants, he determined to take steps to prevent further loss of blood, and to postpone any operation until the patient had rallied; a course in which, Dr P. said, those present concurred, mentioning Dr Mackenzie as being present. All efforts were unavailing, and SALTER expired on Tuesday evening. When Dr Pullin had resumed his seat, Dr Mackenzie rose, and said that although not there as a medical witness, his name having been mentioned he begged to say he could not endorse what Dr Pullin had stated; for not only did he not acquiesce in what was done, but had the case been his he would have acted otherwise. This flat contradiction took all by surprise and Coroner, medical witness and Jury looked perplexed. Dr Pullin again rose, and asserted that what he had already stated on oath he felt to be strictly true; but as Dr Mackenzie had formed a wrong diagnosis of the case, he put that gentleman's opinion on one side altogether, and again repeated that "in his opinion had the operation been attempted at the time of the accident, the deceased would have died 24 hours earlier." Dr Pullin then left the room, and the subject dropped. A verdict of "Accidental Death" was unanimously recorded. Much sympathy is felt for the young man's parents, who have long resided at Beacon Place.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Thursday 1 April 1869
Sidmouth - Death By Fire. - A sad accident of this sort occurred on Monday night, March 22nd, to MRS SUSANNAH TEED, widow of MR TEED, formerly proprietor of the Anchor Inn, and who had for years resided in a cottage in the yard of that inn. The old lady, who was 79 years of age, and much respected for her kindly, motherly manner, was eating her supper when her grand-daughter, who slept with her, went to bed, about nine o'clock. The little girl was awakened by smoke soon afterwards, and immediately rushed into the Anchor, without shoes or stockings. Mr Stoyle and the ostler found MRS TEED on fire, her cap and dress on the left side being entirely destroyed. They took her to the inn, and medical assistance was promptly rendered; but although there was consciousness to the last, no skill could avail to save life, and she died in four or five hours. W. Every, Esq., Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest on the Wednesday; Mr Pitwood being Foreman of the Jury. It was thought probable that the candle had accidentally sent MRS TEED'S muslin widow's cap on fire, and that the smoke and fright prevented her giving an alarm. Verdict, "Accidental Death."
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Tuesday 1 November 1870
LONDON - MR A. W. BAYLEY - The reference to this young gentleman's death at the Agricultural meeting, as well as the painful circumstances of the event, demand a further notice. MR BAYLEY was the youngest son of W. R. BAYLEY, Esq., of Cotford, Sidbury, and was very generally known in Sidmouth, not merely as a member of his father's family, but as being especially interested in the Cricket and other athletic amusements of the place; in all which, by his vivacity and good temper, he was a general favourite. He had only left Sidbury for London two or three days before the fatal occurrence. The following statement is condensed from the London newspaper which gave particulars of the Inquest. - On Monday, October 18th, Dr Lankester held an Inquiry at the Blue Posts, Newman Street, touching the death of MR ALFRED WALTER BAYLEY, aged 21. Deceased resided with Dr Rogers, Berners Street, Oxford Street, and was a member of the Richmond Football Club. On Saturday he went to Richmond to play in the opening match of the season, between two fifteens of the club. In the midst of the contest, MR BAYLEY and Mr Strachan, who was on the other side, made for the ball at the same moment, both running at full pace; Strachan's elbow caught BAYLEY in the stomach, and he fell. He was led to the inn, it being thought that he was simply "winded;" in which opinion deceased seemed to join, as he refused to see a doctor and asked to be let remain quiet. At length he was sent home. Dr Rogers said deceased was one of the finest young men he ever knew. He treated him during the night, and next morning called in two eminent surgeons, but he died between six and seven in the evening. The post-mortem examination showed that the whole of the abdomen and stomach beneath the navel, and the membranes and lining, were glued together, with the intense inflammation which had set in. Besides these indications, there was a rupture of the small intestines, two inches long. The Jury found "That ALFRED WALTER BAYLEY died from a rupture of the small intestines, through coming into contact with the elbow of Mr George Strachan, while playing at football."
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Wednesday 1 February 1871
Sidmouth - Suspicious Death. - An Inquest was held by S. M. Cox, Esq., at the London Hotel, on Thursday, January 5th, on the body of the male child of MARY JANE CHANNON, a young woman who has recently come to Sidmouth from Yeovil, where she had been resident nearly two years. The child was accidentally found, between the bed and mattress, at the woman's lodgings, at the back of the gas works; the mother having gone out on the day of the birth, nobody suspecting the event. Dr Pullin gave evidence as to the child having been born alive, and the Jury returned as a verdict - "Died by Suffocation, in consequence of inefficient attention." On the following day the mother was brought before the magistrates, J. B. Lousada, Esq., and C. J. Cornish, Esq., and committed for trial at the next Assizes, for concealment of the birth.
Sidmouth - Alone In Death. - A second Inquest was held by the same Coroner, at the London Hotel, on Monday, January 30th, on the body of ELIZA DANIELS, an unmarried woman, 44 years of age, who had resided alone for about two months, in one of the cottages in the lane leading from the wooden bridge at Sid to the Salcombe turnpike road. She was found lying on the floor, near the fender, on the previous Friday, and had probably been dead about 18 hours. Deceased had been subject to fits, and in the opinion of Dr Pullin, who had made a post-mortem examination, she had fallen on the fender, thereby stunning herself, so as to be unable to call for help. Verdict, "Died from Natural Causes."
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Tuesday 1 August 1871
Sidmouth - Death By Misadventure. - Much painful interest was excited in the town on Sunday, July 23rd, by the news that W. E. WALL, Esq., a gentleman of large property, who with his family has resided at Salcombe Hill House upwards of three years, had died that morning, under very distressing circumstances. As usual, many-tongued rumour was busy, and throughout that day and Monday the subject was an uppermost one with everybody. Owing to the Assizes at Exeter, the Coroner was absent from his home at Honiton, and the Inquest could not therefore be held until Tuesday, the 26th, when W. Every, Esq., the Deputy Coroner, conducted an important and anxious investigation, which lasted nearly six hours. - The Jury assembled at the farmhouse of Mr T. Laskey, nearly adjoining the deceased gentleman's residence; but having been sworn in it was decided, as affording greater accommodation, to adjourn to the London Hotel; which they did, after viewing the body at Salcombe Hill House. The Jury consisted of Mr Lethaby, who was chosen as foreman; Mr E. Barratt, Mr Beard, Mr Blackmore, Mr Bray, Mr M. Brown, Mr Carter, Mr Chamberlain, Mr Cummings, Mr Dawe, Mr Godfrey, Mr Laskey and Mr W. J. Rogers. Mr Tweed, of Honiton, appeared on behalf of Mr R. Webber; and many of the inhabitants were present during the Enquiry. - MRS WALL, the widow of the deceased, was the first witness, and was, as may be supposed, much affected by the evidence she had to give. She stated that MR WALL was 33 years of age this month, had been for a long time in ill health, had not taken any solid food on the Friday or Saturday, but a large quantity of wine, as he had been in the habit of doing. Besides that he had only had two or three small portions of turtle soup and Liebig's essence of beef. Having a slight knowledge of medicine, he had been accustomed to send prescriptions to be compounded for his own use; and that he might allay excitability, to take powerful opiates, so much as 100 drops of laudanum, in continuous succession. On Saturday afternoon MR WALL wrote out and sent a prescription for making up, to the shop of Mr C. Webber, who unfortunately was then lying in what was feared to be a dying condition at Taunton. The business was in temporary charge of Mr R. Webber, who was no doubt considerably affected by his brother's sudden and alarming illness. The mixture not having been forwarded, and MR WALL being exceedingly impatient to receive it, the servant was sent again for it, about 9 o'clock in the evening, waited while it was prepared, called at Mr Trump's for goods on her way home, and then gave the medicine to her fellow-servant. She handed the bottle to MRS WALL, who immediately complied with the written instructions on it, and gave half its contents to her husband. In less than five minutes she perceived the startling effect produced, and sent off the servants for Dr Mackenzie, the usual medical attendant of the family. They met that gentleman and Dr Atkins, a short distance from the house, on their way thither. - The next witness, Jane Shepherd, the kitchen-maid, deposed as to fetching the mixture, and giving it to the housemaid. She afterwards saw a boy, Walter Pinn, who had been sent by Mr R. Webber with another bottle, requesting that the mixture previously sent might not be drunk, but returned to him. The boy received the half-emptied bottle, the draught having been that moment taken. Susan Osler, the housemaid, and Walter Pinn corroborated the statement as to what occurred, and the promptitude with which all had acted. - Dr Mackenzie was next examined, and his evidence brought out very clearly all the circumstances. About half-past 9 on Saturday evening he received an urgent message from Mr R. Webber, went there immediately, and was told by him that he had made a mistake in the composition of a draught he had forwarded to MR WALL; that he had sent for it, but a portion had been taken. Dr Atkins was in the shop, and both agreeing as to the seriousness of the error, the two gentlemen at once proceeded to MR WALL'S; Dr Mackenzie taking with him, from the shop, certain remedies, including sulphate of zinc, for an emetic. They met the servants on their way, they having been sent by MRS WALL for Dr Mackenzie, as previously stated. On their arrival the Doctors found MR WALL in a comatose state, with all the symptoms of approaching death; but the emetic and stimulants were administered, and the stomach-pump and galvanism used. Soon after midnight Dr Hodge was fetched by Mr R. Webber, and every probable remedy adopted, but without avail, and about 3 o'clock on Sunday morning the unfortunate gentleman expired. A post-mortem examination was made by Dr Mackenzie, who described the body as thoroughly emaciated, the heart bloodless, and the kidneys diseased, so that in all probability life would have been but brief had the mishap not arisen; while the weak and diseased condition, with the total absence of all solid food, materially prevented any salutary result from the use of the remedies offered. - The prescription, as written by MR WALL, the half-emptied bottle, and the full one sent for exchange, were produced. The nature of the prescription was explained by Dr Mackenzie, who thought from its character that it had been copied from a Scottish authority. It was shown that the mixture should have contained one half-grain of a solution of morphia, instead of which it contained a scruple, or twenty grains; the one-half dose of which would be much more than enough to destroy any man. - Mr R. Webber was called, and offered himself for examination; but on the Coroner cautioning him that aught he said might be used against him, he, on the advice of Mr Tweed, declined to be sworn. - It being the wish of many of the Jury that Dr Hodge and Dr Atkins, who had been present at the death, and at the post-mortem, should be examined, those gentlemen were sent for, and they fully corroborated the evidence and opinion of Dr Mackenzie. Dr Hodge gave ample details of the appearance of the body, before and after death; and also pointed out that through the careless style of the writing it was possible that it might be misunderstood. - Mr Tweed pleaded on behalf of Mr R. Webber that the mistake was not one which should subject him to punishment, and that he had used every possible exertion to rectify the error he had made. - The Coroner summed up the evidence, and clearly explained the law as to what constituted manslaughter; leaving it to the Jury to form their own opinion, but, most properly, not giving any indication of his own. He then, with the public, left the room, and the Jury deliberated for about ten minutes, when they returned as their verdict, "that the said WILLIAM ELLIS WALL died through taking an overdose of morphia, prepared in error by Robert Webber; but such error did not amount to gross negligence and does not constitute manslaughter." - As suggested by the Jury, the Coroner addressed Mr R. Webber on the circumstances, and expressed his hope that the accident would serve as a caution to him in after life. - The verdict has apparently given satisfaction to the public, though the sympathy with the family of the deceased gentleman is great; as it is also towards Mr Webber, Sen., who was fetched without delay from Taunton, where he was attending his son, Mr C. Webber, the proprietor of the business, at the time of the sad occurrence. - [It should be stated, that to prevent the Coroner unnecessarily calling medical gentlemen as witnesses, he is bound to have a request in writing, signed by a majority of the Jury, asking for further evidence. This was done in the present instance, as to Dr Hodge and Dr Atkins.]
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Friday 1 September 1871
Sidmouth - Coroner's Inquest. - A fatal accident occurred on Friday, August 11th, to JOSEPH BASTEN, 37 years of age, a well-conducted farm labourer, in the employ of Mrs Pyle, Woolbrook. On the afternoon of that day he was driving a pair-horse empty waggon from his mistress's house, along the road to Sidford, called High Street, when by some mishap he fell under the wheels. Dr Atkins was soon after in attendance, but life was extinct. W. Every, Esq., Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at Mr H. Gigg's, Woolbrook, on the following Monday, when a verdict was returned that death was caused by the Accidental fracture of the base of the skull.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Thursday 1 February 1872
Sidmouth - Preventable Accident. - A sad accident of a nature often predicted, but without any successful effort to avoid it, occurred in the river on Monday, January 8th, about two o'clock in the afternoon. A decent, well-conducted, elderly woman, MARY GALE, who has for many years lived with her husband, at Buscombe, Sidbury, was accidentally drowned on the Salcombe side of the river, about midway between the bridge opposite the mill, and the Salcombe bridge. An Inquest on the body was held on Wednesday, January 10th, at the Dolphin Inn, by S. M. Cox, Esq., the Coroner; Mr Dawe being the Foreman of the Jury. - Mrs Dare, the first witness, stated that while speaking to a person on Salcombe Bridge, and looking towards the mill bridge, she saw a woman approaching, but presently missed her, and hearing a scream she called to Mr Guppy, who was passing. He ran immediately to the river's side, saw the woman eddying along, with her face downwards, and at once jumped into the water, which was there several feet deep. Mr Hooke, of the mill, and others, were speedily helping, and but a few minutes elapsed before the drowned one was lying before a large fire at the Dolphin Inn, not three minutes' walk from the place of the accident. - Dr Pullin was in attendance as quickly as it was possible, found the rescued woman alive, and did all he could. He had known her for many years as a sufferer from asthma and from heart disease; she was also nearly blind, from cataract in her eyes. The shock to the system was too great at her age, 72, and she died in about ten minutes after she had been taken from the water. Discussion took place on the unprotected state of the river in the locality, and particulars were given of the loss and damage of life and property which had again and again occurred. A verdict, in accordance with Dr Pullin's evidence, that death resulted from the shock, not from suffocation, was returned; together with the request that the attention of the County Surveyor should be called to the subject by the Coroner.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Tuesday 1 October 1872
Sidmouth - Accidental Drowning. - Rarely had there been so general and painful excitement in Sidmouth as was shown on Monday, September 2nd; when, about two o'clock, the news spread through the town, with telegraphic-like rapidity, that the REV. R. KIRWAN, Rector of Gittisham, had been accidentally drowned, whilst bathing. - An inquest was held at the London Hotel, where the body had been taken, on Wednesday, September 4th, before S. M. Cox, Esq., and the following Jury, with Major Hicks as Foreman; P. O. Hutchinson, Esq., Captain Jolliffe, W. Till, Esq., C. Bagshaw, Esq., Mr E. Hooke, Mr Lethaby, Mr E. Barratt, Mr Potbury, Mr Venman, Mr Bray, Mr F. Mitchell and Mr Rogers. As showing sympathy and interest there were many other persons present, including W. R. Bayley, Esq., W. Hine-Haycock, Esq., R. N. Thornton, Esq., J. G. G. Radford, Esq., Rev. W. Jenkins, St. Leger Lousada, Esq., Dr Mackenzie, Dr Atkins, W. Martin, Esq., W. Strahan, Esq., &c. - The evidence was very plain and simple ,and showed that MR KIRWAN had driven in alone from Gittisham in his pony carriage, had then called at the post-office, and walked directly to the bathing-place, speaking to Mr Haycock's nurse, opposite that gentleman's gate on the Esplanade, and saying he would call on Mr H. on his return. He was also seen by a fisherman who knew him, and a visitor saw him undress, and enter the water. Another witness, being on the top of the cliff, saw him apparently splashing himself, but not as though in distress. A gentleman named Edwardes, a visitor, walking with his sons near where the clothes were lying, thought the tide might reach them, and looked about for the owner, until feeling alarmed he called a fisherman, the clothes were examined, and given over to P. C. Molland, and the sad truth as to who was missing was soon discovered by a towel and memorandums, and a sermon he had preached the previous day. This was all the available evidence; and the verdict could but be that which was returned - "Accidentally Drowned whilst Bathing." - Deep and cordial sympathy was expressed, by the Jury and others, towards MRS KIRWAN, and the family. That lady's health had been for some time so precarious as to have caused the affectionate husband and father much anxiety; but he had, with a tear of joy, told Mr Bayley of her improved condition that morning; and was purposing to arrange with Mr Haycock, to become sponsor for his recently-born son. The heart bleeds at thought of the terrible stroke which has fallen upon MRS KIRWAN, and her five fatherless children. God help her! MR KIRWAN was 41 years of age, and scarcely anyone was better known or respected in East Devon, for kindliness of manner, scientific knowledge and lecturing ability. In the latter capacity he has often been heard in Sidmouth. His last lecture here, and by many thought to be his best, was entitled "An Evening with my Bees," and was delivered on Thursday, April 4th. As occupying a prominent position in the Church of England, being Rural Dean for Honiton, and a Proctor of Convocation, MR KIRWAN was also actively and usefully known and esteemed. - We hope not to be misunderstood in appending one or two reflections upon this painful event. The first is, the great probability that as MR KIRWAN was an excellent swimmer, as testified by Mr Haycock and others, it was rather from exhaustion than any other cause that he lost his life. MR KIRWAN had taken but a very slight breakfast before leaving home; he had driven, by an indirect route, to Sidmouth, a journey of a dozen miles or more, in a low pony carriage, on a chilly morning; had not taken any refreshment, but had walked a good distance across the bathing bay - a walk comparatively hot and oppressive, because of the refracted heat from the cliffs. What more probable than that walking into the sea, not plunging, there was a dizziness in the head, and a consequent inability to recover the lost balance? Moral from that - not to bathe after much exercise and lengthened abstinence from food; for, although to bathe with a full stomach or soon after a hearty meal, is bad, to bathe with an empty stomach is but little better. - In the next place, at a quiet period of the day, when but few persons are about, it would seem unwise to go far onwards to the Lade rocks, as the chances are, as in the present instance, that a struggling man may not be seen; or that if seen, the distance would be too great to admit of speedy and successful rescue.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Wednesday 1 October 1873
Sidmouth - Fatal Accident. - The first, in connexion with the railway, occurred on Wednesday, September 3rd, at Bulverton, close to the brickfield and the site of the terminus; the unfortunate man being THOMAS WHEATON, of Sidmouth, aged 30 years. Engaged with others in a cutting of about ten feet deep, and in a stooping position, the upper part fell upon him, crushing and mangling him fearfully. Dr Pullin and Dr Mackenzie were speedily in attendance, but the injuries were too severe for any skill, and death released from suffering in a few hours. The Inquest was held at Woolbrook, on the following Saturday, before S. M. Cox, Esq., Coroner; the Jury unanimously agreeing to a verdict of "Accidental Death." The Jurors and principal railway witnesses gave their fees to the poor widow, who is left with a twin child, the other having died about six weeks before her father.
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Saturday 1 November 1873
Sidmouth - Coroner's Inquest. - One of these needful Inquiries was held at the Bedford Hotel, on Saturday, October 4th, before S. M. Cox, Esq. The deceased was STEPHEN GOSS, aged 78 years, an old mason, long known in Sidmouth, who on the previous Tuesday fell from a roof he was repairing in Fore Street, and died on Thursday. The evidence proved that he was well acquainted with his work; but it was supposed that in shifting the ladders, no person being near him, they slipped aside, and he and they fell to the ground. Verdict, "Accidental Death."
Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Monday 1 December 1873
Sidmouth - Infanticide. - A painful case of this character, such as has been rare in Sidmouth, occurred during the past month, thus giving an unenviable notoriety to the town. The accused, ELIZABETH JANE PIKE, in her 22nd year, is a native of Honiton, from which place she came to act as principal domestic servant at Mr J. R. Webber's, on the 18th of May last, six months less a few days. In consequence of what transpired on Friday, November 14th, an Inquest was held at the London Hotel, on Monday, November 17th, before S. M. Cox, Esq., Coroner, and an intelligent Jury of fifteen householders, who elected Mr Bunce as their Foreman. Mr Tweed, of Honiton, watched the case on behalf of the accused; who was not brought before the Jury. The evidence was plain and simple, though most sad and harrowing. - Mrs Webber, the first witness, deposed to having questioned PIKE as to her being pregnant, only a fortnight ago, when it was positively denied, and reasons alleged why she could not be so. On the above day, when removing the dinner things, seeing her hair was disordered, her collar loose, and her face pale, Mrs Webber asked what was the matter, and PIKE replied that she had had a child, and that she had cut it. Mrs Chamberlain, Mrs Webber's sister, was immediately called in, and to her PIKE confessed that she had cut the throat of the child. Mrs Taylor, a nurse in Mrs Chamberlain's family, at once helped in undressing, and to her also PIKE told what she had done, and pointed to a bundle under the bed, as containing the infant; adding that it cried, and that she was fearful Mrs Webber would hear it. Being asked by Mrs Taylor what she had used for the cutting, she replied, a knife, and that it was in her pocket; from whence Mrs Taylor took it, smeared with blood. Dr Mackenzie, who was very quickly in attendance, gave evidence as to the condition of the accused, the appearance of the infant when first seen, and also the result of the post-mortem examination. The throat was cut quite across, the jugular and all other veins and arteries being severed; whilst the crepitation of the lungs under pressure, and their readily floating in water, showed that respiration had taken place, and the child been born alive. It was a fine, full-grown, mature female child, both as to length and weight. The police officers, Molland and Watts, produced the clothes, saturated with blood, which had been taken off the mother; also the knife, a small dessert one, worn very thin, and exceedingly sharp; and a piece of cord and ticking, used for wrapping up the body. Of course the corpse was produced for the inspection of the Jury, a shocking sight, the cutting being immediately under the chin, and the head nearly separated from the body. - After a few remarks from Mr Tweed, urging in extenuation what the accused had said to Mrs Webber, as to her being mad when she did it, the Coroner read through the depositions, making such observations as appeared desirable. The room was cleared of all but the Jury, who immediately and unanimously returned the only verdict which seemed possible, one of "Wilful Murder," by the mother, ELIZABETH JANE PIKE. The Inquisition was next formally filled up, and then signed by the Coroner and all the Jury; the Coroner's warrant given to the police, for the accused's commitment to the county gaol, at Exeter, when fit to be removed; and P.C. Molland, as prosecutor, and the various witnesses severally entered into recognizances to appear at the trial, at the Spring Assizes, in March next. - The magisterial examination was held at Mr Radford's office, on Friday, November 21st, Mr Stamp taking the depositions. The magistrates present were - J. B. Lousada, Esq. (Chairman), W. R. Bayley, Esq., and Captain Lousada. - The witnesses were the same as at the Inquest, and their evidence but a repetition of what they then stated; nothing additional being elicited. Mr Tweed again watched the case for the prisoner, who was present, and replied firmly in the negative to the Enquiry if she had anything to say. Her commitment for trial followed and in about an hour she was removed in a fly to the county prison.