Inquests Taken Into Suspicious Or Unexplained Deaths
For the County of Devon
Articles taken from the Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette)
Printed at Tiverton, Devon
1862 and 1863
Transcribed by Lindsey Withers
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: Names Included:- Belworthy; Bray; Brooks; Bray; Chase; Chilcott; Corber; Day; Dening; Denner; Foot; Gaydon; Gibbons; Gillard; Hales; Hartnoll; Hews; Hitchcock; Holman; Hoskings; Hunt; Hutchings; Jarvis; Johnson; Lake; Lamprey; Longman; Manley; Manning; Meers; Milton; Mitchell; Needs; Nolan; Norman(2); Piper; Prout; Ringdon; Rodgeman; Sherman; Stephens; Strong; Taylor; Thorne; Tidbury; Tozer; Trawin; Turner; Venn; Webber; Wyatt.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 7 January 1862
EXETER - Suicide By A Girl To Escape The Cruelty Of Her Father. - An Inquest was held on Friday, at Exeter, on the body of a young woman, named PIPER, who drowned herself on the 19 December, through the brutal conduct of her father. The evidence showed that her father had always behaved with great cruelty, had turned her out of doors for no reason, and had threatened her life. The deceased's mother corroborated this. My husband, she said, had always treated her very cruelly. When I told him what had happened to my daughter, and that I had seen her mantle and bonnet, he said "I am d..d glad of it; and if it is she who is drowned, I'd stay up all night to make her coffin. Now I shall be happy." (Sensation). It appeared that the deceased had subscribed to an insurance company, by which her representatives became entitled to receive £8 11s. on her death. It was thought, however, that there was no evidence to show that the father had deliberately driven his daughter to commit suicide with the view of getting this money. - A Policeman said that when the body was found, the father was present and he did not seem the least concerned. In witness's absence he tried to take the earrings out of his daughter's ears. - A Juryman said that he heard the father a second time propose to take the earrings out of his daughter's ears; in fact, it was almost the first word he uttered when the body was discovered. He (the Juror) replied, that if he attempted to do so, he would kick him into the canal. - Another Juror asked whether they could not record such a verdict as would mark the feeling the judge entertained of the case, so that some further steps should be taken against the father? - The Coroner replied that he thought the best thing they could do was to leave it to the press to report the case fully, so that the facts might come before the proper authorities, who would, or ought to, take the necessary steps to prevent this man from acting in a similar manner towards other persons. - The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned," which met with the approval of the Coroner. - The public officer then made an application for the policy of insurance, so that the parish, which had been put to the expense of providing the coffin, might be able to draw the money from the Company. - The Coroner at present refused to sign any certificate. - Several of the Jurors expressed their opinion that the mother of the deceased had not stated all the truth, and they thought it looked very strange that she had been in the habit of paying the 1d. per week to the Company for her daughter. One Juror said he believed something more would arise out of this Inquest, and the Coroner replied that he was therefore very glad they had returned the verdict recorded by them.
LOXBEARE - Fatal Accident. - A fatal and melancholy accident occurred on Thursday week, at Loxbeare, to a boy ten years of age, named WILLIAM HUNT. It appeared that on that day a cart of which the deceased's father was the driver, was outside the Acton Mills and contained a gun which was loaded. It is supposed the deceased caught hold of the gun, when it exploded, the contents entering his right breast and he died almost immediately. An Inquest was held on the following Monday morning, at the Acton Mills, before S. M. Cox, Esq., Coroner for the district, when a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.
PLYMOUTH - Death In A Railway Carriage. - In one of the second-class carriages of the night mail from London, which arrives in Plymouth about 5.36 a.m., was found, on Monday morning, the dead body of a seaman, supposed to be JOHN NOLAN. In the carriage with the deceased were found two bags of seaman's luggage. In one of these was a jacket of a petty officer of the navy. The deceased wore a Sebastopol medal, a Baltic medal and a Turkish Crimean medal. From a clue obtained by some papers found on the deceased, Mr Cockshoot, the traffic superintendent of the line, set the telegraph to work and from Haslar Hospital a reply was received - "JAMES NOLAN, yeoman of signals, late of narcissus, appears to have been discharged from Hospital on the 13th December, to Victory cured. Nothing is known at Haslar of his friends except that he belonged to Plymouth." - An Inquest was held on Monday by the Borough Coroner and the evidence of Mr Cockshoot, the porters and a medical gentleman having been taken, the Jury returned a verdict that the deceased was Found Dead in a Railway Carriage, that he had been drinking and whilst asleep, in some movement of the carriage, accidentally fell off his seat and the side of his head came in contact with the edge of the wheel-box, probably causing concussion or compression of the brain.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 14 January 1862
TIVERTON - Another Death By Burning. - An Inquest was held at the Guildhall on Saturday evening last, before F. Mackenzie, Esq., Coroner, on the body of JOHN CHILCOTT, aged two years, whose parents reside in Little Silver. It appeared that on Wednesday last, deceased was left by his mother in the care of his brother, WILLIAM HENRY CHILCOTT, a lad about seven years of age, whilst she went out to obtain some bread. She especially cautioned the elder brother not to leave the younger one, but it appears that he unheeded this instruction, for he went into the garden to play, leaving the deceased alone in a room where there was a fire. During the temporary absence of WM. HENRY CHILCOTT, deceased set fire to his clothes, and whilst he was in flames his elder brother came in, but instead of raising an alarm, he fanned the flames with his hands, thinking, his mother said, that by so doing he should extinguish them. Finding, however, that he did not succeed in doing so, he returned to play in the garden and left his little brother burning. Singular to relate, he did not acquaint the neighbours with the fact that his brother was in flames. A little girl, named Ann Chubb, afterwards saw deceased in flames and she immediately gave information to his grandmother, ANN DAWNEY, who lived a short distance off. MRS DAWNEY proceeded to the house and discovered that the apparel of the deceased was in a smouldering state. She immediately cut the clothes off the poor little fellow, applied remedies to the burns and sent for Mr Lamotte, Surgeon, who attended with great promptitude and did all he could to assuage the child's sufferings. The burns, however, were of such a fearful character, that deceased died on Friday. - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death by Burning," but did not censure the mother (which in our opinion, they ought to have done) for not leaving her child in the care of some person who was competent to take charge of it. - The Coroner remarked that it was incomprehensible to him how mothers could leave children of tender years in a room where there was a fire, and where there was a great risk of their suffering the most horrible death it was possible to conceive. He really hoped that the two cases of burning they had recently investigated would be a caution to mothers in future.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 25 February 1862
AXMINSTER - Inquest On The Death Of A Child. - An Inquest was held on Friday last, at Middle Westwater Farm, before S. M. Cox, Esq., Coroner and a respectable Jury, Mr J. Pearse, Foreman, touching the death of a newborn male child of MARY GAGE DENING, aged 19. MRS MARY DENING, wife of MR JOHN DENING, farmer, deposed that she did not now that her daughter was in the family way until Tuesday morning last, when, between 8 and 9 o'clock she sent for witness to come to her room. Her daughter then told her that she had been delivered of a still born child about 4 o'clock that morning and stated, as her reason for not before making known her condition, her wish that her father should not be aware of it before that day, on which he expected to take a dairy, and his knowledge of the circumstance might prevent him so doing; but that she intended telling them of it on that day. Mr Gillett, Surgeon, Axminster, deposed that he was sent for on Tuesday last. He found it a remarkably fine child. The mother said the delivery was very violent and that when she looked at the child it was dead. He made a post mortem examination of the body of the infant. It had been born alive, but had not breathed more than twice. He believed it died from loss of blood. He did not think it ever cried. A slight loss of blood immediately after birth might prove fatal. The child might have been a fortnight or three weeks under age. If so the probability of its dying would be greater. There were no marks of violence about the body. The Jury thought that death resulted from loss of blood and returned an open verdict.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 1 April 1862
TIVERTON - On Tuesday evening last, an Inquest was held, at the temporary Court-house, Angel yard, on the body of CHARLOTTE GILLARD, aged 12 years, whose death was caused from fire, as reported in our last. - The following gentlemen composed the Jury, viz., Messrs. Edward Pratt (Foreman), Walter Frost, Wm. Nash, John Smale, David Moore, Geo. Rossiter, Wm. Mudford, Wm. Jones, James Ward, Richard Ward, George Goss Davey, William Bartlett, and John Thomas, who having been sworn, the Coroner said this was not a case likely to occupy much of their time, or one calling for special remark from him. There was no one accessory to the death from carelessness, but it appeared to have been caused, unfortunately, by fire, under ordinary circumstances. - The Jury then proceeded to the residence of the deceased's parents, in Phoenix lane, to view the body, which presented a shocking appearance, and bore evidence of the acute agonies which the unfortunate child must have borne during the four days preceding her death; a few hours previous to which, it is said, her shrieks were heard in Fore street. - The following evidence was then taken:- Eliza Moon stated that she was a servant to Mr Humby, of Fore street, as also was the deceased. On Friday morning, the 21st inst., at a quarter past seven o'clock, witness was cleaning a room upstairs, when she heard the deceased call out "Mary, Mary," the name she went by in the house. She opened the door and saw CHARLOTTE GILLARD near the top of the kitchen stairs; she was enveloped in flames, her clothes were on fire all over, and her hair burning; witness took up the mat to extinguish the flames, but it was so stiff that she could not bend it and threw it down. Mr Humby then came down and assisted in putting them out. No one was with the deceased when it happened, nor was there any fire in the house, except in the kitchen. She told witness that it occurred from her pinafore taking light whilst putting the kettle on the fire, and that she tried to untie it, but was not able to do so. She insisted on going home after it happened and witness assisted her there, where she died that morning (Tuesday) about one o'clock. - In answer to questions by the Jury, the witness replied that the flames were at last extinguished by her getting a pail of water and throwing it over the poor girl; and that deceased had been servant there for twelve months, and it was her place to put the kettle on the fire. - The Coroner said Mr Humby was present and if the Jury thought it necessary he could be examined. It was evident that the cause of death was purely accidental. - Several of the Jury remarked that the evidence given was quite sufficient and a verdict of "Accidental Death" was then recorded.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 22 April 1862
SOUTH MOLTON - An Inquest was held at the Guildhall on Monday last, before James Flexman, Esq., on the body of MARY TRAWIN, widow of JOHN TRAWIN, woolcomber of this town, who was found drowned in the river Mole, near Parkhouse Bridge, the previous morning. It appeared from the evidence that deceased had been ill and in a low state of mind for the last two years, and had attempted to drown herself on one or two occasions previously: and had told her children and neighbours that if they found her wanting at any time, they would find her under Parkhouse Bridge, for she was determined to drown herself, as she could not bear her pain. Verdict that deceased Drowned Herself, being at the time of an Unsound Mind.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 6 May 1862
CULLOMPTON - Death Of A Woman Under Suspicious Circumstances. - On Thursday afternoon R. R. Crosse, Esq., County Coroner, held an Inquest at the King's Arms, Cullompton, on the body of a middle aged woman, the wife of JAMES LAKE, a tanner, in the employ of Mr Selwood. Deceased was the mother of two children. It appeared from the evidence adduced at the Enquiry that a few days ago she was confined, when she died. From his conduct towards her and expressions made use by him, suspicions were directed towards the husband, as having been guilty of ill-usage towards her prior to confinement, and enquiries were consequently instituted as to the real cause of death. The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes".
BICKLEIGH (NEAR TIVERTON) - On Tuesday evening an Inquest was held at the New Inn, Bickleigh, before F. Mackenzie, Esq., the Borough Coroner, on the body of a man which was found in the river on the previous day. No evidence as to identity was brought before the Jury, although there was little doubt but that the remains were those of an unfortunate man named PROUT, formerly a baker of Bampton, but more recently keeping a public house at Sandford. At the latter place he was unfortunate in business and has been missing from there during the last month. - The Jury was composed of the following gentlemen, viz., Messrs. John How (Foreman), John Trickey, Thos. Collins, Wm. Baker, Thos. Hobbs, John Prickman, John Norman, Henry Bater, John Chubb, Wm. Radford, James Reeves, Richard Strong and Henry Dunsford, who, after being sworn, were addressed by the Coroner and then proceeded to view the body, which was in a shockingly decomposed state. - The first witness was John Parsons, a keeper of the Tiverton water, who stated that on Monday, about half past two o'clock, his attention was called by Mr Strong, to the body floating in the river; he went down to the bridge and got into the water until it floated near him, when he took hold of one of the legs, and brought it to the bank. He then called to Mr Strong, and with his assistance got the body out. It was then dressed as at present, and he saw no hat or cap. He did not know the deceased. Witness left the body in charge of Strong and went to Tiverton, and gave notice to the Police. - Mr Richard Strong deposed that he was standing at his door on Monday afternoon, when he saw something floating down the stream and told Parsons to go to the bridge and see what it was. Shortly after Parsons called to him and he went and assisted in bringing the body on shore. He did not search the clothes. - Mr Superintendent Harford said on receiving the information he immediately drove down to Bickleigh, with Police Constable Bartlett, who searched the body. - Theophilus Bartlett stated that he came to Bickleigh with Mr Harford, and searched the body. He then produced the articles described in our last; with the alteration that the name in the bill from a shoemaker found in the pocket was from "John Hard" to "MR PROUT"; it was dated 1861 and of the three items charged for, one was for "Mending Mr John's boots." Bartlett stated that a MR PROUT left Sandford a month ago and that he had a son named John. Saw no appearance of bruises on the body except those which would be caused by beating about in the water. - Mr Harford stated no doubt he could be identified. - The Coroner said no object could be served by adjournment, and there was no further evidence of identification. They were without any facts as to the drowning, but might return a more open verdict, namely that of "found dead." Immediately after death, if a body were put into the water, medical men could state the cause of death, but in a case like the present, where decomposition had so far advanced, it was impossible to tell. The Jury, however, would consider the evidence and return their verdict accordingly; which they did as follows:- "That the dead body of a male person unknown was found in the river Exe, but from what cause death had ensued, no evidence appeared. - The body was identified by the relatives of MR PROUT on Wednesday morning, and removed from the dead house at St George's church to Bampton, for burial.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 13 May 1862
BARNSTAPLE - HENRY LIST GAYDON and THOMAS HARTNOLL, aged ten and eleven years, of Pilton, were lately drowned at Pottington. Accompanied by another lad (Frederick Tanner) the two unfortunate boys went to bathe in the river Taw at Pottington. GAYDON went into the river and got out of his depth; HARTNOLL went to his assistance, but both were drowned. The body of GAYDON was discovered the same night and the other the next morning. Mr Bremridge, County Coroner, held an Inquest upon the bodies and the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 10 June 1862
EXETER - Extraordinary Suicide Of MR STRONG. - On Thursday evening, the Deputy Coroner, Mr H. D. Barton, held an Inquiry at the New London Inn, Exeter, touching the death of MR CHARLES BLUNDEN STRONG, formerly a solicitor practising in Tiverton. - The Jury having been empanelled, the following evidence was adduced:- Robert Sutton Manning, waiter, said he resided at the New London Inn. Had known MR STRONG many years, from the circumstances of his frequenting the Inn. He saw him about eight o'clock on Tuesday evening, when he travelled by the Sidmouth mail cart, and brought with him a carpet bag to the Inn, remarking to the waiter, "I shall want a bed." Witness saw nothing of him afterwards. Should say he was about sixty years of age. MR STRONG was habituated to drink. He generally went out in the evening, and came in after drinking freely and then had some brandy, after which he fell asleep. A fortnight since witness had some conversation with him when put to bed intoxicated, about his getting drunk on one occasion, when he replied "Well, it's all very well, but it would have been well if I'd died then." He was in his usual spirits. - Robert Hansford, another waiter at the Inn, said he generally succeeded the last witness on duty. Had known MR STRONG frequent the Inn for several years. At a quarter past ten on Tuesday evening, he (witness) saw him in the coffee room alone, with a letter and two cards before him; he was reading the direction of the former. He appeared as usual. Shortly afterwards he went to sleep and about eleven the chamber maid conducted him to his bed room. He was perfectly sober at the time and had not partaken of any refreshments. Witness did not observe anything unusual in his manner. Cross-examined by a Juror - It was an unusual thing for MR STRONG to go to bed sober; and he (witness) generally knocked at his bedroom door, to see if the candle were out. He did so on Tuesday night and found that the room was dark. - Susan Southcott, chambermaid, deposed that on Tuesday evening, the waiter desired her to take MR STRONG to a bedroom, which she did; he was perfectly sober in her opinion, and she did not observe anything unusual in his appearance. She placed the candlestick on the table, and on the following morning she saw that it had not been removed. - John Darby, the boots, said he knew MR STRONG; did not see him on Tuesday. About two o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, he knocked at his bedroom door, which was a little opened, but receiving no reply, he entered the room. MR STRONG was lying in bed apparently dead. Witness put his hand on his body and found it quite cold. - A Juror remarked to witness that in his opinion MR STRONG'S room should have been visited before two o'clock, to ascertain what had become of its inmate. Witness replied that he was not aware until informed by the chambermaid, but that MR STRONG had left his room. He took MR STRONG'S boots upstairs about seven o'clock. By a Juror: I had not gone any errand for him. - By the Coroner: I did not observe anything particular about his clothes. - Mr Thomas Wilson Caird, Surgeon, of Exeter, said he was requested on Wednesday afternoon to visit the New London Inn. On his arrival there he went to a bedroom, being accompanied by the clerk, Mr Thomas Hambly, who had previously locked the door. MR STRONG was in bed quite dead; he appeared to have been dead about eight or nine hours. Witness's impression was that he had taken poison about the commencement of daylight; the bed clothes were not removed and MR STRONG'S arm was lying outside. There were no marks of personal violence and he (witness) suspected that poison had been taken; he therefore searched the room. Beside the bedstead on the steps there was a blue coloured phial, labelled in English and Latin, indicating that it contained Prussic acid. It was not labelled as it would be if sold to the public, as it had not the word "poison" thereon; the tumbler which contained the bottle was wet. In the latter were remaining about 40 drops of prussic acid, but there was none in the tumbler. It appeared that some water had been taken from the water bottle. On the dressing case was a skin and a piece of leather, which had been used to carry the bottle in. The bottle would hold about one ounce. By a Juror: - About a teaspoonful of the acid mixed with water of the same strength as that produced would prove fatal. He had no doubt, from the post-mortem examination he had made, but that a considerable quantity had been taken. He had made a post-mortem examination that (Thursday) evening. He found the organs of the chest and abdomen generally healthy. The liver was enlarged, but not diseased, and on examining the stomach he found that it evidently contained a considerable quantity of prussic acid, sufficient to cause death; the coasts of the stomach were corroded therefrom. From the quantity taken death would ensue within two minutes. - By Mr Radford (Juror): - Examined the heart which was remarkably healthy. Could not discover any traces of deceased having taken spirits. - Mr Thomas Hambly, bar clerk, corroborated a portion of the previous evidence. He had examined the clothes of deceased, and found in his pocket three letters - one addressed to R. Wreford, Esq., Solicitor, Exeter and the other to "C. B. STRONG, Esq., 2 Marine Place, Sidmouth, Devon." The latter, the writer of whom was Mr Howe, was read by the Coroner, and from their contents it appeared that deceased had lately been in very embarrassed circumstances. Witness continued:- The sum of £1 5s. 9d. was found in the pockets of deceased. - It was elicited that deceased had two sons located in New Zealand, where he had been himself and one in England; but deceased had latterly lived isolated from his family and they had not been traced, although Mrs Pratt had made every effort to do so. - Mr Wreford, Solicitor, of Exeter, said the deceased, who had been a schoolfellow of his, had from time to time confidentially communicated to him the state of his circumstances. He had lived a very gay life and had for some years past been in very straightened circumstances. Recently a cousin of his died, from whom he had expected considerable property, but his expectation had not been realised, and he had consequently been greatly disappointed. When abroad, deceased had been confined in a lunatic asylum, as admitted by himself when alive. - By Mr Radford:- Had not seen deceased for the past six weeks. His mind appeared affected by the disappointment; he was a very eccentric man. He had often said, prior to his disappointment, that he should destroy himself only he had not pluck enough to do so. - The following letter was then read:- Sidmouth, June 3rd, 1862. - My dear Wreford, - If you will call at the New London Inn tomorrow morning you will find all that is left of me, and should I be dead bury me directly and let the funds come out of the money in the hands of the late W. P. Blundell's trustees. [The remainder of the letter alluded to the deceased's private affairs and his disappointments. He owed between £500 and £600] The letter concluded - I shall wish you goodbye, by and bye, but you will not know nothing of it, I am perfectly used up. Yours here, hereafter dare not say. - C. B. STRONG. In the margin were these words:- "Earthly law is the confusion of tongues. See distribution books, all to aunts nothing to cousin." - Mr Wreford said that this alluded to the distribution of very large property, some 200 or £300,000. It was a very mixed up affair, which he did not thoroughly understand, as he only knew anything from what deceased had told him at different times. Mr Wreford, at the request of the coroner, read the annexed remarkable postscript to the letter, which was written on the envelope:- "Everything" in the present day is under the influence of adulteration and artifice - Be it "Government" gruel or "Grease," I mean one of Palm's All All. The Greek Grease under Gladstone or the "pooh, pooh," alike humbug which can sell bread from bone dust, etc. - The Jury, after half an hour's deliberation, returned a verdict that "Deceased died whilst in a State of Insanity."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 24 June 1862
TIVERTON - On Thursday last an Inquest was held at the Town Hall, before F. Mackenzie, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of ANN MANNING, of West Exe, who died suddenly on the previous evening. The Coroner in opening the case, said he had seen the deceased about two hours after death, and there were no circumstances to account for it; he thought it therefore necessary that a Jury should be summoned, and after hearing the evidence determine what steps should be taken, or whether a post mortem examination of the body be made. - The Jury then proceeded to view the corpse, which, considering the short time that had elapsed since death, was wonderfully changed; one side of the face being black, and decomposition rapidly taking place. On their return, the first witness was SAMUEL MANNING, the husband of deceased, who appeared much affected by the awful occurrence. He deposed that he was a lace-worker, and the age of the deceased was 47 last May; they had been married 28 years, and she had no illness during that time. She was as well as usual the previous day, and made no complaint; in the morning she baked the bread and in the afternoon did some washing. They went upstairs to bed together about a quarter past nine o'clock and she had no difficulty in getting up. Witness commenced undressing and had got his coat and waistcoat off when she said, "SAMUEL I feel queer, throw up the window." He did so, when she cried, "Come round, I'm dying." He went round the bed and held her in his arms, when she threw her head on his should and was dead in a moment. She had eaten nothing for supper and the last thing she took was about half a wine glass of ale a few minutes before going up to bed. There was nothing that he could account for her sudden death; had never heard her complain of indigestion, but she had been getting stouter since the birth of her last child seven years ago. There had been no circumstance occur to agitate her, nor had they had any disagreement; in fact, they were that evening as comfortable as ever they had ever been in life, and she appeared perfectly happy and in good spirits. He never knew her to have a fit. - Fanny Hancock deposed to laying out the body, which she examined and found no marks of violence, or anything to account for death. - The Coroner said it was impossible to say what was the cause of death, but he did not believe it arose from the heart; there were many internal diseases which would destroy life suddenly, and if it was the wish of the Jury to have a post mortem examination, he would adjourn the Enquiry for that purpose. At present they had no evidence before them, but from which they must return a verdict of death from natural causes. - MR MANNING was then recalled, and said, immediately after he had put the deceased on the bed, his daughter was in attendance and that he sent for some brandy, which he attempted to give his wife, but she was unable to swallow any. - The Jury expressed themselves satisfied with the evidence and returned a verdict of "Died by the Visitation of God," the Coroner remarking that this was an old-fashioned legal expression, yet all must die by the visitation of the same power some time or the other.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 1 July 1862
MILTON ABBOT - Suicide of CORBER, the Alleged Murderer of Mrs White. - Sometime ago a woman, living in a little cottage, in the village of Milton, near Tavistock, fell victim to some ruffian by keeping her store of savings in her own house, known to her neighbours, instead of depositing them in a savings bank. Two men were suspected of the crime - Robins and CORBER, the latter of whom lived within a few paces of Mary White. He was committed for trial by the Magistrates, but the Grand Jury threw out the bill and he returned home to be suspected and avoided by his neighbours. Robins went abroad; CORBER remained in his old house to pursue his occupation as a farmer, and latterly started a beer shop, to which he was the chief customer. Intelligence reached England last autumn that Robins had hung himself at Rio Janeiro, confessing before he had done so that he was a participator in the murder of Mrs White. This stirred up old recollections; CORBER took to drinking deeply, saying that he had on his mind something which haunted him and made it impossible for him to be left alone. He intimated that he should soon be dead, and on Friday hung himself in his own residence. Thus have perished by hanging both of the men who were suspected of the murder. A Coroner's Jury on Saturday returned a verdict of "Felo de Se", and CORBER was buried the same night, without a prayer or a chapter being read.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 22 July 1862
SOUTH MOLTON - Fatal Accident. - An Inquest was held at the Guildhall by our Borough coroner, on the body of WILLIAM HOSKINS, aged 56, a horse trainer, who was lately thrown from his horse and itched on his head, fracturing his skull, in the road from Chittlehampton to this town. Verdict - Accidental Death.
BRADNINCH - Sudden Death. - A poor labouring man, named JOHN HALES, was proceeding down Hele road to his work, as usual, on Friday afternoon last, when he suddenly dropped; on assistance arriving life was found to be extinct. From the position in which he was laying he had apparently died without a struggle. He was conveyed to his home at Bradninch, and a Coroner's Inquest held the following day, when the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that "Deceased died from Natural Causes, suspension of the action of the heart."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 29 July 1862
EXMOUTH - The body of MR JOHNSON, whose sudden absence from home has caused so much excitement, was recovered by some fishermen at sea on Wednesday night or Thursday morning off Beer. On being searched a £5 Bank of England note, 2 half-sovereigns, 3 shillings and 3 sixpences were found on him. S. M. Cox, Esq., Coroner, issued his warrant for a post-mortem to be made at once. The news created a good deal of excitement at Exmouth.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 5 August 1862
WESTLEIGH (NEAR BIDEFORD) - A Gentleman Drowned While Bathing. - On Saturday week MR JOHN CARTER HOLMAN, a gentleman about 30 years of age, residing at Eastleigh Barton in the parish of Westleigh, was accidentally drowned while bathing outside the celebrated Pebble Ridge on Northam Burrows. It appeared from the evidence given at the Inquest which was held on Monday at Mr Cork's Farm, on the Burrows, that the deceased gentleman went into the water with MR THOMAS CHAMMINGS to bathe. There was a great swell at the time, and they were constantly thrown back upon the pebbles by the waves. In the opinion of his companion he was stunned by a blow against some of the boulders which lie about there so thickly, and though he made every effort he was unable to get him on shore, and had great difficulty in saving himself. Some persons came and rendered assistance and applied the means used for recovering the apparently drowned, but without effect, though Mr C. C. Turner was quickly there to render aid. The verdict at the Inquest was "Accidentally Drowned while Bathing."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 12 August 1862
CREDITON - Distressing Suicide. - On Sunday week, about six o'clock in the evening, a report was spread through the town that a man had hung himself on Bowden Hill. On inquiry, it was found that JOHN STEPHENS a man about 59 years of age, hung himself to the bedroom-door by his neckcloth. He was a pensioner from the army and had worked as a mason's labourer, but for several weeks past had not been able to work in consequence of a bad finger. On Saturday night his son was apprehended on a charge of leaving his master's work. The deceased was last seen alive by a neighbour about two o'clock, whom he asked to get him some tea. At five o'clock the neighbour went into the house and on going upstairs discovered the body of STEPHENS hanging to the bedroom door. He was immediately cut down, but life was extinct. The Inquest was held on the 6th instant, at the Plymouth Inn, before R. R. Crosse, Esq., Coroner. The Jury returned a verdict that the deceased Committed Suicide by Hanging Himself, being of Unsound Mind.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 2 September 1862
CULLOMPTON - Unwatched Infancy. - An Inquest was held on Wednesday last week, in this town, before R. R. Cross, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of WILLIAM HENRY WYATT, a child 17 months old, who had on the Monday previous, while at play, fallen into a drain issuing from a tan yard, which had in it some seven or eight inches of limy slush. A woman named Ann Prigg, who was passing, hearing a gurgling noise went to the drain and took the child out, but so much had it been injured by the nauseous puddle that it died the following morning. Verdict, "Accidental Death."
EXETER - Drowned. - The body of a workman at Trews Weir Mills, named CHASE, was picked up in the Exe on Friday. It is supposed that he was drowned by falling into the river between the Mills and the Quay. A Coroner's Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 23 September 1862
PLYMOUTH - Supposed Murder Of An Artist In Plymouth. - On Sunday morning week the body of an artist named W. T. NORMAN, was discovered in Deadlake-lane, near Pennycomequick, Plymouth, under the following suspicious circumstances:- A man named Waycott, a dairyman, was returning from milking his cows, about half-past six o'clock in the morning, and found the body of the deceased lying across the footpath, about 16 feet from the railway arch which passes over the road. His trousers were opened and pulled up, as if he had been dragged by his legs and his overcoat was drawn up to his armpits and partly over his head, as if from the same cause. He was lying on his back with his right arm extended and with his left hand by his side, with both hands tightly clenched. His hat, which was small, round, and stiff, was lying in the centre of the arch, some 20 feet or more from the place where the body was found. The hat was full of blood and had a bulge on one side, as if caused by a heavy blow. About the centre and a foot from the ground, there was blood upon one of the stones of the wall of the arch, apparently as if someone had fallen heavily against it. About a yard on the right and left side there was a pool of blood, and on the wall about four or five feet off more blood was found, traces of which were also perceptible in the road, about eight feet from where the first blow was apparently struck. The body appeared to have been dragged on the right side by the bank, for when first discovered there seemed to be traces of the clothes on the ground, in addition to which the body was much dirtier on the right side than on the left. Close by the spot is a gate, without a lock, and the object may have been to remove the body there, in order to afford greater facilities for escape. A man living in the immediate neighbourhood states that he heard two screams on Saturday night, between 11.30 and 12 o'clock, and that a cab passed about the same time, but whether shortly before or after he cannot remember. It is probable that the murderer or murderers might have been disturbed by its approach and have hastily left the body in the position in which it was found. No attention was paid to the screams, as they were not repeated and are very common in the neighbourhood, especially upon Saturday nights. The deceased had been drinking at the Globe Hotel, which he left at eleven o'clock, so that, that hour would probably be about the time of its occurrence. A little money was found on him, but it is not known whether he was in possession of any valuables. - There is some controversy as to whether the deceased had been murdered or not, and a Plymouth contemporary remarks that "the belief" in the more serious version of the disaster is greatly strengthened by the fact that on a Saturday night, three weeks ago, Captain Clifton was passing along another part of the same road, when he was attacked from behind by two men dressed as soldiers, who struck him on the head with a stick, but he was not stunned, and, after striking his assailant with an umbrella, made his escape. Within a short distance of the same spot, there have been two other fatal occurrences within three months, in one case a man having been found with his head in a pool of water, and in the other a young man having poisoned himself under the influence of a romantic attachment. - The deceased, who was 49 years of age, was an artist of considerably ability and as such was well known to connoisseurs of painting in the district. He on Saturday week last sold two of his most recent works and in his studio is found another just completed. He was a son of the late MR NORMAN, banker, of Devonport; he had one brother an architect and another a Captain in the Royal Navy - The Inquest on MR NORMAN has terminated in a verdict of "Found Dead." The "Western Daily Mercury" remarks: - "Evidence more extraordinary in some of its features was never given in court. The Inquiry is specially conspicuous from its omissions. There was an unmistakeable desire that an impression should gain ground that the occurrence was a pure accident. Let each intelligent man endeavour to form an independent judgment for himself upon this point."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 25 November 1862
ASHBURTON - Riflemen At A Bonfire. - We regret to state that the accident in the bonfire field on the 5th of November, to which reference was made in a paragraph under this head last week, has resulted in death. The name of the unfortunate victim was WILLIAM FOOT. He was a young labourer of excellent character. The name of the rifleman who was charged with having caused his death is Daniel Skewes, a member of the Ashburton Rifle Corps. The Coroner (F. B. Cuming, Esq) held a Court of Inquiry into the circumstances attending the accident, at the London Inn. The officers of the Rifle Corps were present, and Mr Francis watched the case on behalf of the members implicated. The evidence was of the most extraordinary character, and the Jury returned the following verdict:- "The deceased died from the effect of a rifle shot, but from whose rifle it was fired there is no evidence to show. At the same time the Jury strongly deprecate the presence of riflemen with their rifles on such occasions." The Enquiry before the Ashburton Divisional Magistrates on Saturday was most exhaustive. It occupied five hours. A great number of witnesses were called and their evidence was thoroughly sifted by the Magistrates and the legal gentlemen engaged in the case. The result was the discharge of the prisoner Skewes. The Magistrates thought the position in which the prisoner was standing to the deceased such as completely exonerated him from the charge. They expressed a hope that the volunteers would not again be allowed to appear upon public occasions such as this with fire arms.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 23 December 1862
BIDEFORD - Found Drowned. - An Inquest was held before the Borough Coroner, T. L. Pridham, Esq., on Saturday on the body of JOHN RODGEMAN, who was found drowned in the river that morning. The unfortunate fellow was endeavouring to sell a lot of oats for his master, Capt. Pyke, as late as eight o'clock on Friday night. He was very sober. This was the last seen of him alive, and he was then in good spirits, though he went in a direction in which he might not be supposed to have any particular business to go. Shortly after it was reported that someone had fallen into the river, but this was soon subject to doubt. The night was very dark, and it was concluded that he had made a mistake and walked over the quay. There was no suspicion of foul play, though the Coroner inclined to a post-mortem examination. The Jury were satisfied without it and returned the open verdict of "Found Drowned."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 6 January 1863
TIVERTON - On Monday evening an Inquest was held at the Town Hall, before F. Mackenzie, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of PETER TURNER, who had expired suddenly in the morning at Mrs Beck's lodging house, Elmore. - After some delay, caused by the absence of a Juryman, twelve were sworn and selected as their Foreman, Mr Dinnicombe, of Gold-street. - The Coroner said the Inquiry referred to a person, who was of middle age, in the prime of life, and who had died suddenly in a lodging house, but there was no cause for suspicion in this case that the man had not died a natural death. Several sudden deaths had occurred in the Borough during the last six months, but after making strict inquiry, he was of opinion that it was not necessary to summon juries to enquire into them. This had exude comments, and it had been said that he was taking upon himself the duties of a Jury. There was a certain amount of discretion always left to a Coroner, and when a Jury was not called, it was from his conscientious opinion that such a step was unnecessary. - The Jury then went to view the body. It was lying as at death, in a small room, with two beds. The deceased was in a perfectly natural position; but his features were much distorted. - On returning to the Hall, the first witness called was Frances Beck, the keeper of the lodging house, who deposed that the deceased had slept at her house for some time, and had no other home in Tiverton. He used to obtain a living by going about the town on errands, and was generally healthy. Last week he had a cough and complained of shortness of breath; the day before he died being an hour coming from St Andrew-street. Witness asked him why he did not take medicine, when he told her that Mr Rossiter had given him a dose on Saturday. He was in very poor circumstances and had little or nothing to eat for the last week or two. Witness gave him a dinner on Christmas day, which he seemed to enjoy very much. Mr Gath, the Relieving Officer, had offered deceased an order to admit him into the Union, but he refused it, saying he preferred a crust outside to going there. He would drink when he could get it and was always smoking. On Sunday he had a dinner sent him and left part for his supper. Witness heard him wish the servant good night about ten o'clock, when he was going to bed; and he was then laughing and joking. She was called next morning about half past three by Bennett, who asked her to get up, as PETER was dying. She did so immediately and went to his room, where she found deceased crunching his teeth, foaming at the mouth, and with his eyes fixed. She at once saw he was dying and sent for the doctor, but he was dead before Mr Beedell arrived. Saw no bottle in the room. Deceased never complained of being short of food. - In reply to a Juryman the witness said deceased was away from her house for a night or two, a short time since, but she understood he had been to Exeter. - George Bennett, an old man, was then called; he said that he was now in receipt of parochial relief, but had been the largest butcher and the principal man in the parish. He lodged at Mrs Beck's and slept in the same room as the deceased. Saw him come to bed the previous night and he was quite sober. He said "I would give £40 if I was as well as you. I am cruel bad." Witness advised him to go to sleep and after a bit he heard him praying and saying "God save my soul." Witness did not sleep much, but did not think deceased so bad. About half-past three, he said he was dying and witness asked if he should call Mrs Beck; deceased wished him to do so. He did, and when she came he went for the doctor. Never heard the deceased complain of anything or anybody. - The coroner said that was all the evidence, except the doctor, and as he saw the deceased after death, he could not state the cause, which could only be arrived at by a post-mortem examination. If the Jury thought that desirable, he would adjourn the Inquiry. - After some conversation, it appeared the general feeling of the Jury such a proceeding was not necessary; and they consequently returned a verdict of "Died by the Visitation of God."
KINGSBRIDGE - A Pauper's Child Burnt To Death. - On Sunday, December 20th, ELIZABETH JARVIS, a girl eight years of age, was burnt to death in the Union House. Well, and what of that? say some, she was but a pauper; it will be saving to the ratepayers, and if she had lived she might have been a burden to the parish. However, the law of the land does recognise paupers and the same amount of justice is meted out to them (at any rate when they are dead) as to the more wealthy. Consequently an Inquest was held by W. B. Cuming, Esq., and a respectable Jury, to Inquire into the cause of the death of this said pauper child, ELIZABETH JARVIS. - Miss Beck, the schoolmistress, said that on Sunday, the 20th, about half-past two o'clock, she left the school room for the purpose of putting on her clothes to attend the Church and within a few minutes she heard screams, and on coming into the room saw the deceased on fire. She immediately clasped her round and succeeded in extinguishing the flames. The Master, Matron, Nurse and Surgeon were soon in attendance, and did all they could for the poor sufferer; but it availed nothing, and on Monday she died. The question the Jury had more particularly to consider was, how her clothes came on fire? there being a guard before the fire place, which was made fast to the wall, with a door in the centre supposed to be kept locked. The school-mistress said that she believed she locked the door and left the bunch of keys in the window and the supposition was that one of the children had opened the door and the deceased had gone inside and caught fire. Several of the elder girls who were present came before the Jury, and after a great deal of trouble it was elicited that they often lighted the fires, put on coals and frequently got inside the guard to warm themselves, but neither of them would tell how the door came open. That it was purely accidental, there was no doubt, and that no particular blame attached to the school-mistress; in fact Miss Beck's hands were very much burnt in her endeavours to extinguish the flames in which the deceased was enveloped. The Jury, however, recommended that for the future the children should not be allowed to light the fire or put on coals unless the mistress were present. The day on which this accident occurred was a very cold one, and there is little doubt but that the children went inside the guard for the express and only purpose of warming themselves. The school room is large, with a stone floor and open roof, and the Master admitted to the Jury that on that cold day they were allowed fifteen pounds of coals, which is not one cwt. per week. There may be a being or a thing found whose tender mercies are cruel, and who is past feeling; but it cannot be believed that there is a single Guardian in the Kingsbridge Union who would wish to have 23 poor little innocent unoffending children kept in a large school room on a stone floor with only 15 lbs of coals for a whole day to keep them warm. The question is likely to be brought before the Board next meeting and it is to be hoped for the sake of those little ones that they will be allowed a larger supply of fuel during the winter months.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 27 January 1863
EXMINSTER - The Death of MR JOHN HUTCHINGS. - This respectable inhabitant of our parish is now added to the number of victims annually claimed by the railway. He was caught between the train and the platform on Friday last, when he stepped out of the 6.32 train at the Exminster Station, was drawn under the carriages, by which one of his legs was so smashed that amputation became necessary, the shock to his system being so great as to cause his death on Sunday. An Inquest was held on Monday, at Townsing Farm, before R. R. Crosse, Esq., County Coroner, to Inquire into the circumstances of the fatal accident, when Mr Fryer watched the proceedings on behalf of the friends of the deceased, and Mr Cockshott, traffic superintendent on the South Devon line, attended on behalf of the Company. The Inquiry was a lengthened one and was ultimately adjourned. From the evidence given, it appeared that MR HUTCHINGS was returning from Exeter market in a third class carriage by the train due at Exminster at 6.45. On arriving there the train overshot its mark, and on being brought up the engine was reversed to place her alongside the platform. Unfortunately on the first halt of the train, as the deceased was sitting near the door, he stepped out of the carriage on to the platform, and as he was holding by the door, the train commenced to move back, MR HUTCHINGS was turned round by his holding the door and fell between the platform and the carriage. Mr J. T. Frost, of Powderham, who was in the same compartment with the deceased, on hearing the porter call out "Hold hard, there's a man under the train," got out and ran toward where the porter was, and saw his unfortunate neighbour under the wheels. He assisted in extricating him, when defendant said to him in a low voice, "If the train had not backed, John, this would not have happened." Mr Burrington, of Exminster, who was also in the same compartment, did not see him get out, but each of these gentlemen would either of them been likely to have got out when the train stopped first had they been sitting near the door, without for a moment thinking it had to be put back. Several persons got out during the momentary halt. The witnesses concurred in stating that the platform was badly lighted, that there was no call of "Exminster" by the guards, nor any whistle of the engine when the train was put back. Every attention was paid to the unfortunate sufferer, and Mr G. Pycroft, Surgeon, Kenton, was in attendance with all celerity. That gentleman called in for consultation Mr Edye, of Exeter, and amputation being adjudged necessary, the operation was performed, but the deceased expired a few hours after the shattered limb was removed. MR HUTCHINGS was in his 63rd year, was greatly respected in the neighbourhood, and leaves a wife and eleven children to mourn their loss. It was stated at the Enquiry as a remarkable coincidence that MR HUTCHINGS'S father met with a violent death by being thrown from a horse when he was within a few months of his sixty third year. Had MR J. HUTCHINGS lived until April next, he would have been sixty three years of age.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 3 February 1863
BAMPTON - Sudden Death. - On Monday last GEORGE THORNE, gardener, of this place, died suddenly. On Wednesday an Inquest was held before R. R. Crosse, Esq., Coroner, the verdict returned being "Died from the Want of the common necessaries of life, from his own causes."
EXMINSTER - Fatal Railway Accident. - The adjourned Enquiry into the circumstances of the accident at the Exminster Railway Station, which resulted in the death of MR HUTCHINGS, took place on Saturday afternoon, before R. R. Crosse, Esq., County Coroner, at the Railway Inn. Mr Fryer again attended to watch the proceedings on behalf of the relatives of the deceased whilst the South Devon Railway Company was represented by Mr C. Whiteford, Solicitor, and Mr Cockshott, traffic superintendent. The Coroner having briefly recapitulated to the Jury the purport of the evidence previously taken, Mr James Diamond, of Beerferris, a gentleman riding in the same carriage with the deceased, was called. He could not say whether the train had passed the Station when the deceased got out - it was so dark; but when deceased attempted to get out of the carriage the train backed. When the train backed, deceased hung to the carriage door for a second or two - that is, the backing appeared to have thrown him off his feet, and he endeavoured to recover himself by clinging to the carriage. He hung on for two or three seconds and then slipped down between the carriage and the platform. He did not hear any signal whistle before the train backed, nor did he hear any porter on the platform tell the people to keep their seats. There were no lamps lighted at the Station. In this Mr Diamond was corroborated by a boy, named Mark Tapp, who was standing on the bridge when the train came in, by Mr Bidgood, farmer, of Kenton, a passenger by the same train, and by Miss Alice Anning, who got out of the train before it backed. She supposed the train had stopped when she got out of the carriage. At the close of Mr Fryer's evidence for the deceased's family, Mr Whiteford, on behalf of the Company, called Joseph Smith, of Teignmouth, a passenger by the train, to prove that the Station lamps were lighted, and that the engine whistle was blown before the train backed. The Engine Driver and the fireman gave similar evidence. The train only overshot the Station by the length of a luggage van; the whistle was blown and the train instantly backed that distance - not more: the train could hardly have come to a standstill when the motion was reversed. This was confirmed by several other of the officials in charge of the train and at the Station. The Coroner summed up: the Jury consulted for a quarter of an hour and then returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," adding however, that in their opinion there had been culpable negligence on the part of the Railway Company. Mr Whiteford asked to what extent, but received no answer from the Jury. The proceedings lasted nearly five hours. A subscription, headed by the Earl of Devon with £5 has been set on foot. Lord Courtenay and Lady Alice Courtenay are among the subscribers.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 10 February 1863
HOLSWORTHY - Fatal Accident. - An Inquest was held on Friday last before H. A. Vallack, Esq., Coroner, and a respectable Jury, on the body of DENNIS RINGDON, Esq., Solicitor, of this town. It appears from the evidence that deceased was proceeding upstairs, accompanied by his daughter, on the night of the 27th January, when he accidentally fell down and sustained such injuries as to cause his death on the 29th. The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."
UFFCULME - Death By Scalding. - On Tuesday last an Inquest was held before S. M. Cox, Esq., on the body of ALBERT TOZER, aged two years, who fell into a boiler of scalding water on the 7th ult., which so severely injured him that he died on the 29th. The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."
OTTERTON - A case of scalding has taken place at Otterton, where a child, named LOUISA TIDBURY, aged 17 months, was the victim. She lingered in agony for seven days. Accidental Death.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 17 March 1863
TIVERTON - Sudden Death. - On Wednesday an Inquest was held at Chevithorne, before F. Mackenzie, Esq., on the body of JOHN BROOKS. The deceased was a labouring man, 44 years of age. He returned from his work on Monday morning, and complained of shivering and a pain in his chest; his wife gave him a dose of castor oil, and he laid down on the bed; she shortly after went up to the room, and found him dead. The Jury, after hearing the evidence, returned a verdict of Died from Natural Causes.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 24 March 1863
TIVERTON - Melancholy Case Of Death. - On Tuesday an Inquest was held at the Withleigh Inn, before F. Mackenzie, Esq., on the body of WILLIAM BRAY. From the evidence of Mr King, it appeared the deceased was a native of Exeter, to which town he was engaged to take Mr King's horse. On Monday night he went from Tiverton to the Withleigh Inn and slept there. Next morning he got up at about half-past seven, and then complained of a pain in his side; after taking a cup of tea, he went outside, but soon returned into the house and sat down in a chair. Shortly after Mr King asked him if he was better, when he put his hands to his side, gave two groans, and died instantly. The Jury returned a verdict of "Died by the Visitation of God." The unfortunate man was a widower, and leaves three children.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 14 April 1863
EXETER - Determined Suicide. - An Inquest was held at the Blue Boar on Thursday, before the City Coroner, on the body of a young woman named MARIA MITCHELL. The facts connected with this distressing case were of a novel character. In the year 1856 the deceased, at the age of sixteen, was married to a young man named JOHN SHERMAN, a son of the well known general dealer of the West Quarter, in this city. The ceremony was performed at Pinhoe; but five years before SHERMAN had married a young Irish girl, named Anne Turney at the Roman Catholic Chapel, the marriage being afterwards solemnized according to the rites of the Protestant religion. A daughter was born; and after living together two years and a half they separated. Anne was alive at this time, but SHERMAN seems to have falsely represented that he was divorced from her. The husband and deceased went to Australia about 1856 and remained there five years. On his return he purchased six houses in SHERMAN'S Court, in this city, and went to live with MARIA in one of them. Three children were born - the youngest about five weeks since. The first wife is still living in the city, but her daughter was kept by the father. SHERMAN on the 1st instant, went to London to look after a situation, promising to return for MARIA and the family. The deceased appears to have been annoyed by some parties calling her names and on Saturday week she cut her throat with a pair of scissors or a knife (both being found in a bloody state); and, as if to make assurance doubly sure, she drank about two table spoonfuls of nitric acid - an acid poison. - She then called for Mrs Martin, a neighbour, and on her arrival deceased told her she didn't want to live and had taken vitriol. Martin asked why she had done it, and she said, "I was no w.... and neither will I live to be called one. You take care of my children, and don't fetch any doctor as I don't want to live." She was in her right senses at that time; and there was not the slightest evidence given to shew any symptoms of insanity. She was taken to the Hospital, where she progressed favourably for some days, the wounds on the throat not being of a serious nature. She, however, died on Wednesday morning from the effects of the poisoning, as shown by a post mortem examination made by Mr Huxley, the House Surgeon. The Coroner carefully summed up and the Jury unanimously returned a verdict of Felo De Se.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 26 May 1863
SILVERTON - Melancholy Case Of Drowning. - An Inquest was held on Wednesday at the Lamb Inn, Silverton, before R. R. Crosse, Esq., on the body of SARAH MANLEY, a poor woman, who was found in the river Culme, near Hayne Farm, Silverton, the day previous. The deceased had been in an unsound state of mind for several months, although not considered dangerous; and hearing of the death of the poor woman who was drowned in the same river last week, there is little doubt made her commit the melancholy act upon herself, as she had been heard to say she wished she was down in the river along with her. She left her home, in Parsonage Lane ,Silverton, on Monday, about the middle of the day. She had no bonnet on, and she walked as far as Hayne Farm, and enquired of one of Mr Pitts' servants if her husband was there at work, and he told her he was not. He then asked her where she was going and she replied, "Only down here." It is supposed she went immediately and jumped into the river, as she was not seen after. There is a footpath through the marshes, where deceased was walking to Ellery's Bridge, so that the young man did not take much notice of her going that way. The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned." This is the third person who has been found drowned in the same river within three weeks and within half-a mile of each other.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 9 June 1863
TIVERTON - Fatal Accident. - On Tuesday evening, an accident occurred in Leat Street which caused the death of an infant, named CHARLOTTE VENN, aged 19 months, the daughter of one of the factory hands. A man named John Hill was driving a cart in that locality, when the child ran against the wheel of the cart, was knocked down and instantly killed. An Inquest was held on the body at the Town Hall, on Wednesday evening, before F. Mackenzie, Esq., when the Jury having viewed the body, which was that of a remarkably fine child, in fact looking more like that of one three years instead of 19 months old, they returned to the Hall, when evidence as to the cause of death was taken. The father of the deceased said he was nursing her at half past five and soon after she was taken out by her eldest sister, who was ten years old, in a quarter of an hour after she was brought home a corpse. Henry Isaacs, a carpenter at the factory, who saw the occurrence, said the child was crossing the road, and ran under the wheel of the cart. He called out, but it was too late, as she was knocked down, and the wheel grazed her head. The cart was not going more than two miles an hour, the driver had reins and was perfectly sober. The Coroner said in this case it was not from the negligence or carelessness of the parents that the child was running about the roads, as was too often the case. To him it appeared wonderful there were not more accidents of this nature, as he often found a difficulty himself in going along the roads, when riding or driving. Under Lord Campbell's Act, no action would lie against a driver for damages when death ensued in this way, as there was a path for foot passengers, and those who would walk in the roads did so at their own risk. The Jury, through their Foreman, Mr Henry Were, expressed an opinion no blame was to be attached to the driver of the cart, and returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 23 June 1863
HOCKWORTHY - Dreadful Death Of Two Men In A Lime Kiln. - On Thursday week, a most distressing accident happened at Hockworthy, when two men, whose names were JOHN MILTON, of Hockworthy and JOHN LAMPREY, of Ashbrittle. The particulars of the melancholy occurrence will be best understood from the subjoined evidence received by the Coroner, R. R. Crosse, Esq., at the Inquest held on Friday at the Hole Farm House, and which was as follows:- WILLIAM LAMPREY said: I am the son of JOHN LAMPREY, the deceased, and worked with my father and MILTON at the kilns. I am about seventeen years of age. My father and MILTON were on friendly terms. On Thursday night last, about six o'clock, I left work and went home with the mare, leaving my father and MILTON at the kiln. They had to "line" the kiln before they could leave work. My father not coming home at his usual time, caused my mother to go to the Inn, in Ashbrittle, in search of him. It was then about eleven o'clock. Finding he had not been there she returned home. I had gone to bed. My mother called me to go with her to seek for my father. Accordingly we went towards the kiln and on coming near it I observed that it was burning and smoking in a very unusual manner. I hastened to the top of the kiln and looked in. I saw my father lying dead and burning. I did not see MILTON. I hurried back to my mother and caught hold of her to prevent her looking in. We both hastened to Hole Farm House (a little distance therefrom) raising an alarm and calling for assistance. From there we hurried to Ashbrittle for further assistance when Mr Perry and several others were soon on the spot. Mr Baker, of Hole Farm, being sworn, deposed as follows:- About twelve o'clock on Thursday night I was aroused by an alarm made by WILLIAM LAMPREY, who informed me that his father was in the kiln, burnt to death. I immediately ran to the kiln where I saw two men burnt to death, but did not know one from the other of them. Mr Perry and several others were soon on the spot. We used every exertion to get the bodies out of the kiln but could not do so until we had stopped the kiln and thrown a quantity of sand on the top to keep down the fire, as it was then burning furiously. It was dangerous to go down in the kiln then, as it was seven feet from the top. A ladder was standing in the kiln burning. It was about two hours before the remains of the bodies could be got out. Police Constable Whimple, of Holcombe Rogus, was sent for, and was quickly on the spot. He caused the remains of the bodies to be wrapped up in sheets and conveyed to Hole Farm, and placed in the barn to await the Inquest. The Jury concluded, from the evidence, that the unfortunate men came to their end through going down in the kiln to dry themselves, it being a very wet day and returned a verdict of "Accidental Death." Both bodies were burnt to a cinder and MILTON'S legs and arms burnt off his body.
BROADCLYST - Suicide. - An Inquest was held before A. Leigh, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on Wednesday last, at 11 o'clock, at Culmjohn Dairy House, Broadclist, in the occupation of Mr James White, on the body of MARY ANN BELWORTHY, single woman and servant to the above place, who put an end to her existence on the previous morning by hanging herself in an out-house with a small slip rope attached to a beam. Deceased was washing the whole morning and no one seemed to notice any sign of despondency about her up to the time of her committing the rash act. The Jury returned a verdict of Felo-de-se. She belongs to the parish of Spreyton, where her friends occupy a small farm. She lived with them for the last six years, and has only been in the service of Mr White five weeks, during which time she conducted herself very well. The body of the deceased was interred at midnight on Wednesday.
WESTLEIGH (NEAR TIVERTON) - Melancholy Death Of MR HENRY TAYLOR, of Westleigh. - On Tuesday last the town was startled by a report that MR HENRY TAYLOR, the extensive lime merchant, of Westleigh, had committed suicide and unfortunately the report proved too true. It is well known that a short time ago MR TAYLOR, becoming involved, appealed for protection to the Bankruptcy Court. Subsequently affairs have proved that but for his nervous temperament, and a doubt as to his own resources, such a step might have been averted; in fact, only on the previous Saturday, arrangements were come to for superseding the fiat, and working the estate under inspection; a step which all MR TAYLOR'S friends were rejoiced to hear; and as for enemies, so far as human nature can go, we believe he had none. - The shock to his nervous system, however, proved too great; his reason gave way before imaginary troubles, and in a moment of insanity, the unfortunate man destroyed himself. It would appear that after leaving Exeter on Saturday he expressed an opinion that he should not live to go through the difficulties he fancied were surrounding him; that on his arrival home, he was greatly depressed, and appeared almost heart-broken. Still, it was expected he would recover, and not the slightest fear was felt that he would come to such an untimely end. The facts connected with his death will be found in the evidence given before the Jury at The Inquest. - This was held at the Farmer's Hotel, Westleigh, on Wednesday afternoon, before A. W. Leigh, Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a highly respectable Jury, of which Mr Walter Hewett was chosen Foreman. - Mr F. Dunsford and Mr C. M. Hole attended on behalf of the family. The Rev. Mr O'Niel, incumbent of Burlescombe and Superintendent Collins, of the D.C.C. were also present. - The Jury having proceeded to view the body, which was at deceased's own house, in the room where the fatal act was done, then returned to the Inquest room, when the Coroner said that he found MRS TAYLOR was in such a state as to prevent a possibility of her appearance; and her attendance was only necessary because she was the last person who saw the deceased alive; but he would call her daughter, who could give the requisite information. - JANE TAYLOR, was then led into the room, apparently heart-broken. She said her age was 15 years and that she saw her father the day previous in his bedroom. He was then partly dressed and had been up in the middle of the day. When she went into the room she saw no one at first, but on looking round she saw him on the bed. Seeing blood upon the bed, she asked him what was the matter when he replied "nothing." She spoke to him again, receiving the same answer; when she called her mother. He died about a quarter after two. - George Leaworthy Thorne deposed that he was a surgeon residing at Holcombe Rogus and was sent for the day previous, exactly at one o'clock to go to Westleigh. He went to the house of HENRY TAYLOR, arriving there at a quarter past one. He found the deceased lying on his back on the bed with his throat cut, and his wife and brother staunching the wound with wet cloths. There was a large incision in the throat from the angle of the jaw on the left side to the right, and dividing all the blood parts of the windpipe. It was exactly such a wound that a man could inflict on himself and witness saw a razor lying on the window, but there was no blood about the room. Deceased was sensible to a certain extent and when witness spoke to him, he replied "You have come too late. It was trouble that made me do it." The deceased lived from 50 to 55 minutes after witness got there, but nothing could have saved his life when he arrived. He had known MR TAYLOR for years and the last time he met him previous to this occurrence was about a fortnight ago at Exeter. - By Mr Dunsford:- Believed that insanity was in deceased's family and that he had a suicidal tendency. The act might have been committed when he was suffering from congestion of the brain and the blood which he had lost would relieve that congestion and thus render him sensible to a certain extent. Had no conversation with deceased since he met him at Exeter, but was aware he was labouring under temporary difficulties. - By a Juror: Extraordinary trouble will operate on a man's brain and in this case it had that effect. He had no doubt in his own mind that this act was committed under circumstances of trouble and anxiety. - Mr Francis Drake Walter Wheaton, deposed that he was a Surgeon, residing at Culmstock, and had been medical attendant to the deceased's family for some years. The last time he saw MR TAYLOR alive was about three weeks previous, when he had occasion to attend one of the family. He was then much depressed. A few weeks previous to the bankruptcy he attended deceased, who was then suffering from mental depression, which would evidently produce congestion of the brain. If witness had not given him sedatives, and adopted quiet measures to produce sleep he would have then become deranged. Some men were far more sensitive than others, and the deceased was one who took things to heart very much. So far as witness's knowledge went, he was of the same opinion as Dr Thorne, that deceased was labouring under congestion of the brain, which led to temporary insanity. - HENRY WILLIAM TAYLOR, eldest son of the deceased was then called and stated that on the Saturday previous he was with his father in Exeter. On his return home he seemed quite altered, and said he did not believe he should ever live to go through it, and appeared lower in spirits than witness ever saw him; while sitting on the settle he threw up his head and knocked the back several times. Deceased did not get up at his usual time on Tuesday, which was generally about eight o'clock, but he never laid in bed as he did that morning. Witness had occasion to speak to him and asked if he was going into Tiverton, but the only answer was "Oh, dear, dear; oh, dear, dear." He made no remark about Tiverton. Witness did not see him again until after he was dead. - JOHN TAYLOR, another son, stated that he was in Exeter last week, assisting his father in making out the accounts and returned on Saturday. Before they let he was very low, but when in the train seemed to recover. On reaching home, however, he was worse again, and knocked his head against the settle, saying he could not bear it. He seemed much troubled on Saturday and fancied things were working against him, saying it was a case of oppression. - Mr Dunsford said if the Jury required further evidence as to the state of mind he would call the deceased's brother. - The Jury answered it was not necessary, they were perfectly satisfied. - The Coroner said he would not occupy their time with many observations of his. The deceased was so well known to them all that he felt more difficulty. All they had to do was to be satisfied with the facts how, when and where he met his death. If they found that he died from a wound inflicted by himself the next question would be was he of sound or unsound mind at the time, and that was the simple point on which they had to make up their minds. So far as he (the Coroner) was concerned he was satisfied, but the verdict must be that of the Jury, not his, and he would not say a word to influence them. Should they want to know any point of law he would answer it; or if they wished the room cleared whilst they deliberated, he would order it to be done. - The Foreman said this was not requisite, as their minds were made up and the verdict was instantly returned that deceased committed the act while of Unsound Mind. - MR TAYLOR was 51 years of age on the 26th of May last; he leaves behind him a family of eleven children, and his unfortunate widow is in a state bordering on distraction from her untimely loss. It was reported that his life was insured with the "Standard Life" Insurance Company for £500 but under the circumstances, it is optional with the Directors if they pay the money. Should they do so, we hope the family may reap the benefit of it.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 14 July 1863
TIVERTON - Melancholy And Fatal Accident. - On Thursday last, an accident occurred in St Andrew-street, by which the life of one man, named SAMUEL NEEDS, was sacrificed, and that of another, Joseph Forward, placed in great jeopardy, being entirely the fault of the men themselves and affording another instance of the recklessness of men engaged in these pursuits. The unfortunate man NEEDS was well known in this town as a well-sinker, he was a honest, industrious man and unfortunately leaves behind him a wife and five children; while, by a strange coincidence, his wife's sister, who lived near him at Elmore, died suddenly on Wednesday night. NEEDS had insured his life for £5 in the Liver Friendly Assurance Society, of which P.C. Cook is the agent for this district. This small sum may pay for his funeral, but is nothing for the widow and children. - The particulars attendant on the death of NEEDS, will be found in the following account of the Coroner's Inquest, which was held at the Town Hall, on Thursday evening, before F. Mackenzie, Esq., Borough Coroner, and a respectable Jury, composed of the following gentlemen:- Messrs. E. Williams (Foreman), John Goodland, W. Frost, E. M. Winton, G. Fare, T. Beck, W. Martin, E. Pratt, H. Webb, - Reed, J. Clapp, J. Wright and J. Rendall. - After the usual formalities, the Jury proceeded to view the body which lay at the deceased's house in Elmore, and on their return the Coroner having addressed them in a few words, called Wm. Richards, who said he was a labourer, and employed by the deceased to help him sink a well-pit, on the grounds of Mr Parish. He went to work at 6 o'clock and remained at the top of the pit; the deceased and Joseph Forward went down, and remained there from six till half-past eight. - Mr Parish here interposed and said the witness was speaking of what occurred on the previous Monday. - The Coroner then requested the witness to confine himself to the facts that occurred on Thursday. - Richards, in continuation, said on Thursday morning he went down the pit about half-past five, was down about three minutes, but there was such a terrible smell that he called out to be pulled up, and deceased with Forward did so. The pit had not been tried with a candle before he went down, but it was when he came up, and it went out about ten feet down. the pit was then 44 feet deep. Someone said they had better have some lime to get out the foul air, and a bucket of lime was procured, which was slaked and let up and down the well until eleven o'clock. At that time Forward went down and came up with half a bucket: then witness went down and also came up with half a bucket. - Mr Frost: What made you come up with half buckets? - Witness: That was the agreement. Forward was down about four minutes and when he came up, he said they would change about, and bring up half buckets. Witness was about four minutes down and up, and there was then about five or six buckets of water in the well. The deceased then went down and in about six minutes sent up a bucket full, but did not come up with it; he shortly after called out to send the bucket down as quick as possible to bring him up. They let it down and deceased got in; they had pulled it up about ten feet when the deceased fell out, he dropped right back, head first. Mr Parish was there at the time looking on, and he had let the candle down the pit once or twice, but it went out. It was about half-past eleven when the deceased fell out of the bucket, and it was an hour before he was got up; but he was heard to groan three or four times. If there had been no foul air in the pit, it would take five minutes to put a rope round him to bring him up. Forward went down a few minutes after. - Mr Frost inquired if Forward was now in attendance. - The Coroner replied that he was not in a fit state to attend at present, but if his evidence was found necessary, the Inquiry could be adjourned. - Richards then continued his evidence. He said Forward pulled the deceased out of the water and put a rope round him, but had not time to tie it, before he called out to be pulled up. He had just got to the top of the pit, when he dropped over the side of the bucket like a corpse, and would have fallen down the pit again, but that witness and Mr Parish laid hold of him and held him till assistance arrived to pull him out. - In answer to Mr Williams, the witness said he felt the inconvenience of the foul air when he went down. Knew where the candle would not burn it was dangerous to descend and they ought not to have done so. - In reply to other questions from the Jury, Richards stated there was no foul air in the pit on Wednesday, but on that night they had been blasting and put down a bundle of straw, about 28lbs. weight, on fire, which was all consumed but a piece about the size of a man's hat. Was down the pit on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but did not suffer from foul air. - Mr Williams supposed the steam drew out the carbonic gas. - In answer to the Coroner, the witness replied there was no rope put round Forward when he went down to bring up the deceased. - Mr John Goodland remarked that another man, named Burt, attempted to go down for the body in his presence, but had only been lowered a short distance when he called out to be pulled up. - The Coroner said he could not receive any evidence from Mr parish, but if that gentleman chose to make a statement to the Jury, he could do so. - Mr parish replied he had no explanation to make. The only reason he interrupted the witness was that he was confounding the proceedings of Monday with those of Thursday; otherwise his statement was perfectly correct. - The Coroner said there was another witness in attendance, who was an experienced well-sinker, if the Jury wished to hear him; or if they required the presence of Forward, he would adjourn the Inquiry for his attendance. The Jury intimated this was not necessary. - Mr Parish said the deceased had entered into a contract to dig the well; the first soil of which was clay, and then shellet; for which he did not think blasting necessary. He had been down the pit, when it was forty feet deep; and on Thursday morning was about to change his trousers to go down again. - The Corner then inquired of the Jury if they were satisfied with the evidence, to which they answered in the affirmative and shortly after returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," adding that there had been great want of precaution in entering the pit, during the existence of the foul air.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 14 July 1863
KENTISBEARE - Melancholy Accident. - A very melancholy occurrence took place in this neighbourhood on Monday, a lad of 17, named JOHN CHARLES NORMAN, son of MR JOHN NORMAN, ropemaker, of Kentisbeare, having accidentally shot himself. The deceased for several mornings previous to his death had engaged, in company with his brother, WILLIAM, in shooting jays that were destroying the fruit in an orchard adjoining his father's house. On Monday morning he and his brother betook themselves to a small brush-covered linhay, and stayed there for upwards of an hour in wait for birds, and screened from sight by a number of furze branches. The deceased had a very good gun, but his brother had with him a second gun, the lock of which was so defective that the hammer stayed up neither at half or at full cock. This gun was fired without the use of the trigger and by pulling back the hammer and allowing it to spring forward on the cap. At about eight o'clock the deceased left the linhay and dug potatoes for a few minutes, when he returned to the shed, and told his brother not to remain there longer. He, however, desired that the defective gun should be handed out to him. This gun was loaded at the time with a full charge of powder and a number of pieces of cut lead. The gun was handed out by the lad inside the linhay, partly through the bushes, when deceased took the gun by the barrel and his brother having given up his hold of it the deceased pulled it towards him. The muzzle was then pointed towards his left side. In drawing out the gun the hammer, which was upon the cap, struck lightly against a rail that happened to have been placed across the front of the hut, and the sudden pressure on the cap caused the gun to go off. The charge entered the left breast of the youth, frightfully lacerating the frame of the chest, and literally blowing away a great portion of the heart. The unfortunate boy gave one scream and rushed towards his father's house. He had, however, staggered hastily but 12 paces when he cried out "I shall die," and fell to the ground. His father, who had heard his shriek, ran up to him, but only to see him dying, and in half a minute he was quite dead. On Tuesday afternoon an Inquest was held on the body at Driller's Tavern, by S. M. Cox, Esq., Coroner, when WILLIAM HENRY NORMAN was examined, and deposed to the above facts. MR JOHN NORMAN added that he saw his dead son immediately after hearing the report of the gun. The blood gushed out of his breast and he died almost immediately. The brothers were always on the most amiable terms. His younger son stated at the time that he had given up the gun when it exploded. - Mr Richard George Collins, superintendent of constabulary, said that he was shortly on the spot after the occurrence and accompanied deceased's father to the linhay. There he saw WILLIAM NORMAN and administered to him a caution that he need not criminate himself but he then gave substantially the same account of the sad affair as he had given since to the Jury. The Coroner expressed his regret that such dangerous firearms as the one in question should ever have been trusted to anyone, especially to youths; but the negligence which had resulted so unfortunately, appeared to have been solely attributable to the deceased. The Jury concurred in this opinion, and returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 21 July 1863
TIVERTON - On Wednesday last, an Inquest was held at Cove, before F. Mackenzie, Esq., on the body of ROBERT GIBBONS, a labouring man, aged 66, who met with his death under the following melancholy circumstances. The first witness was John Prescott, who said he was at work with the deceased the previous day at haymaking. He left him about half-past nine in the evening, to go home, and deceased was in his usual health and spirits. - GRACE GIBBONS, the wife of the deceased, said she waited for him until half-past one o'clock, and as he did not then come home she went out to look for him and found his body lying in the water course at Cove Down Mead. He was quite dead, laying on his face and his head was covered with mud. She obtained assistance and he was brought home. The Jury previously viewed the spot and strange to say there were not six inches of water in the place deceased was found. This being all the evidence, a verdict was returned of "Found Drowned."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 28 July 1863
HEMYOCK - Accidental Death. - An Inquest was held at the New Inn, on Thursday last, before Spencer M. Cox, Esq., on the body of MR JOHN HITCHCOCK, aged 73 years, a farmer living at Conegar Farm, in this parish. It appeared that deceased, on the morning previous, was hauling some turf in a small waggon, which was in bad repair, with his pony, for William Grubham. William Grubham, after having helped t load, and walked beside deceased with the waggon for some distance, then went on before, as he wanted to go on faster, and son got out of sight through a turn in the road. When about 300 yards off he heard the waggon going on very fast and went back and met the pony coming with the shafts and the fore-carriage of the waggon, but could not stop it. Grubham then went back further and found the other part of the waggon and the deceased lying with his face towards the ground. He could not speak, and appeared to be dying, and died in the course of twenty minutes. Mr Wheaton, Surgeon, was sent for, but the poor man was dead before his arrival. On examination, marks, as of wheels, were found on the body, having passed over the lower part of the bowels, and the legs were injured. Verdict, "Accidental Death."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 4 August 1863
POLTIMORE - Melancholy Death of MR HEWS, Lord Politmore's Bailiff. - Considerable excitement was caused on Saturday by the news that MR HEWS, Lord Poltimore's bailiff, had shot himself. MR HEWS was sixty-three years of age and had from his boyhood been in the service of the Poltimore family. He succeeded his father as gamekeeper to the late Lord; and on resigning that occupation he was appointed bailiff. Within a very recent period certain charges had been laid to MR HEWS - charges which, on being brought to the knowledge of Lord Poltimore, were fully investigated by him and the Honourable and Rev. Mr Fortescue, on his lordship's return to Poltimore on Tuesday last. The result was that on Thursday morning MR HEWS was dismissed the service of Lord Poltimore, and on Friday morning he went, accompanied by a servant boy, named George Coombes, a lad thirteen years of age, to dig some potatoes in one of his fields. On leaving his house he took a double-barrel gun with him, in order, as he said, to endeavour to shoot some of the rooks which were carrying off the potatoes. On arriving at the field, which is situate near the village of Poltimore on the road to Broadclist, he assisted Coombes in digging some potatoes and then said to him - "Boy, go after my gun," adding immediately afterwards, "Oh, never mind, I will go after it myself, for fear you may shoot yourself." He then went to the hedge for it and immediately afterwards the lad heard a report and saw the unfortunate man fall backwards. Coombes rushed up and found his master was shot through the left breast. The charge of the right hand barrel had entered just below the shoulder bone, severing the main arteries leading to the heart, as subsequently proved by Dr Collins, and death must have been almost instantaneous. The barrel must have been very close to the breast when it was discharged, as the hole made through the coat and waistcoat seemed to indicate that the gun had been loaded with a bullet. In fact it was generally reported that the gun was loaded with bullets; but on the charge in the second barrel being drawn by Mr Robert May, the gamekeeper, and Sergeant Burnell, in the presence of Lord Poltimore, it was found that it contained only ordinary shot; and there is no doubt the other barrel was similarly loaded. The deceased was conveyed to his house shortly afterwards. - On Saturday afternoon an Inquest was held at the Fox and Hounds Inn, Poltimore, before R. R. Crosse, Esq., Coroner, on the body. Mr Willesford appeared on behalf of deceased's widow to watch the proceedings, MR HEWS life having been insured to a large amount. Lord Poltimore and the Hon. and Rev. Mr Fortescue were also present during the Inquiry. The Jury having seen the body and visited the scene of the catastrophe, returned to the Inn, when George Coombes, a boy thirteen years of age, was examined, and corroborated the above facts, adding that before the deceased commenced digging potatoes he went to the bottom of the field and looked over the hedge to see if there were any rooks there, but not seeing any he placed the gun on the hedge and dug some potatoes, saying he wanted to try them. - William Hardwell, a blacksmith, living at Broadclist, deposed that he saw deceased in the field, after which he went on the hedge where the gun was placed and examined it particularly. It was resting on the hammers, one of which was down and the other "cocked." Round the "hammer" of the barrel which had been discharged there was a piece of bramble which he broke off, and let down the hammer of the other barrel and put the gun on the hedge again. - Other evidence was given which was immaterial, and the Coroner having briefly summed up, the Jury, after a brief deliberation, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," in which the Coroner said he concurred, as it was in accordance with the evidence.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 18 August 1863
KENTISBEARE - Fatal Accident. - HENRY DENNER, in the service of Mr Thomas Grant, farmer, of Newland, in this parish, was accidentally killed on Saturday night, on the Honiton road, between Dilford and Cullompton, about a mile from the Station. He had been out to work with a waggon and two horses, and in the course of the afternoon undertook a small job for a neighbour which brought him later on his return home than he ought to have been. In order to make up for the lost time he was driving his team at a rapid pace, and when the waggon came near the farm the youth found it no easy thing to stop them. He was getting off for the purpose of bringing up the horses before they passed the gate, when he fell before the wheels, which went over him, crushing his head to pieces. The skull was broken into four parts and the brains scattered about the road in a frightful state. An Inquest was held on Monday morning at the Four Horse Shoes, Kentisbeare, before S. M. Cox, Esq., Coroner, when a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned. Deceased was but seventeen years of age.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 25 August 1863
CREDITON - Determined Suicide. - On Saturday morning, about eleven o'clock, a man named JOHN DAY, residing in St. Saviour's,. was found hanging to the iron rods at the foot of a four-post bed. Previous to hanging himself he had cut his throat with a razor. It being market day, the town was naturally in a state of consternation, as the deceased was well known there, being a newsman for the Western Times. Mr J. A. Edward, Surgeon, was immediately in attendance, and cut the deceased down. On Monday an Inquest was held on the body at the "Green Dragon" Inn, before R. R. Crosse, Esq. The following evidence was adduced:- William Glandfield, a mason of Crediton, stated that about 10 o'clock on Saturday morning last the deceased looked out of his upstair window. I said to him "You ought to be out with your papers"; he said "I never shall go out with papers more." I saw a little blood on his throat and chin, but took no notice, thinking it was done by shaving. H e went back and I did not see him again. I have known the deceased about twenty years. On Friday morning between five and six o'clock I conversed with the deceased from the same window; I asked him to come and have a half-pint of beer; I took him to the Green Dragon and gave him two half-pints. He spoke very low; he afterwards went out with his papers. I do not think he was a sane man when he committed the act. He had been drinking for some time. J. A. Edwards, Surgeon, of Crediton, said; On Saturday morning I was passing the High-street, when I was called to see the deceased and on entering the room, I found him hanging by the iron rail of the bed. Near the bed was a table with a razor and blood on it. I took the razor and divided the rope with it; the deceased was dead, and had been so about half an hour. The left side f the throat was cut about two inches. Death resulted from suffocation by hanging. I have known the deceased for many years, and have attended him professionally. His chief complaint was rupture of the blood vessels and haemorrhage of the lungs. He was much addicted to drink. I cannot speak as to his state of mind. He was a man that valued life but lightly. No man in my opinion can be of sound mind who has been drinking for a week,. The Coroner then summed up the evidence and left the matter in the hands of the Jury. A verdict of Temporary Insanity was returned. The deceased was buried the same afternoon.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 8 September 1863
TEIGNBRIDGE - The Murder At Teignbridge. - The Coroner's Inquiry concerning the death of JOHN MEERS, aged 31, whose body was found in the water under one of the arches at Teignbridge, on Friday, the 22nd of August, was resumed on Tuesday, at the Union Inn, Teigngrace. - William Hamlyn, a labourer, of Leverton, deposed that the last time he saw deceased alive was on Thursday, the 13th of August, at the Newton Races, in company with a fellow workman, called Coleman. He saw him several times during the evening. he appeared to have been drinking. Between nine and ten he saw deceased near the grand stand, and heard him say to Heath, "Heath, you are quite a different man from what I took you to be." Heath did not reply. - Witness was cross-examined at considerable length by Police-constable McTeran, in reference to what he had told him concerning the affair. Witness professed that he did not remember what he had told the Constable, and gave his evidence in such a way as to call forth a severe rebuke from the Coroner. - Thomas Harris, a bargeman of Newton, said that on the night of the first day of the races, about half-past ten o'clock, he was returning from the races, and went near the Kingsteignton Bridge, a man came up and caught him by the legs and attempted to throw him over the bridge. A man called Bully came to his assistance. He followed the man, who was a stranger to him, to the Dartmouth Inn, Newton, where he was told his name was Bunker. witness also said that he saw the deceased on the second day of the races, on the racecourse. - John Heath, a potter, of Bovey Tracey, was next called, and, after being cautioned by the Coroner in the usual way, deposed to having seen the deceased at the Newton Races on Thursday, the 13th of August. The last time he saw him alive was between eleven and twelve in the evening. Deceased was then sitting on a form in the last booth towards Newton. He appeared to have been drinking. Witness shortly afterwards left him to go home, in company with a man called James Lethbridge. When witness left the course, there was fighting going on in one of the booths, between some sparring men and a number of Kingsteignton men. Witness got home between two and three o'clock in the morning. On his way home he passed over the bridge where the deceased's body was found. On passing the booth the deceased spoke to him and said, "Heath, you have assaulted me." Witness, in fighting, hit the deceased twice in the face, knocking him down each time. He never quarrelled with the deceased before, as there was no one in the pottery he respected more. - At this stage of the proceedings the Coroner remarked that he saw but very little at present that would assist the Jury in coming to a satisfactory conclusion. The whole of the evidence having been read over, the Coroner observed that, as the evidence was now before the Jury, it was for them to form their opinion of the matter. He did not think it was probably the deceased had come into the water by his own act, but that he must have been violently ill-used, and afterwards, by some parties unknown, thrown into the water. He considered that if the Jury were t return an open verdict, the Police would then be able to bring the parties before the Magistrates, as he was clearly of the opinion that the deceased had been murdered. - The room was then cleared, and the Jury, after the lapse of about forty minutes, returned the following verdict:- "That the deceased was Murdered by blows inflicted upon him, and afterwards thrown into the water, by some person or persons unknown." - The Coroner said that he perfectly agreed with the verdict, and intimated his intention of communicating with the Secretary of State with a view of having a reward offered for the discovery of the perpetrator.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 20 October 1863
BRADNINCH - On Tuesday evening, the 13th inst., an Inquest was held on the body of a man named WILLIAM BRAY, who was found drowned in the pond adjoining the parsonage house. It appeared from the evidence that the deceased came from Langford to Bradninch with a load of potatoes and returning homewards the horses someway got entangled and he endeavoured to get a light to free them, attracted by a light in the parsonage window, it is supposed he got over the hedge to reach the house, and not well knowing the way, fell into the pond and was drowned. Deceased was a very steady man and has worked for his master, Mr Monday, 17 years. The Jury after considering the evidence returned a verdict of Found Drowned, but how the deceased came into the water there was not sufficient evidence to shew.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 10 November 1863
NORTH MOLTON - An Inquest was held at Stowford, in this parish, on the body of MRS WEBBER, who was at home alone, and when her son returned, he found his mother on the floor of the kitchen, burnt to death, Verdict, "Accidental Death."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette, Tuesday 8 December 1863
GREAT TORRINGTON - Fatal Fight At Kingscott. - Excitement has been occasioned by a shocking event which occurred at the village of Kingscott, near Torrington. On the 11th of November, the day of the first "meet" for the season of the Hon. M. Rolle's hounds, a young man named ELI LONGMAN, a resident in Torrington, went to the meet, after which he proceeded to the Rolle's Arms public house in the village of Kingscott. He was there drinking during the greater part of the afternoon with the company there assembled. Towards the evening an altercation arose between LONGMAN and a man named Pincombe, the consequence of which was that the landlord refused to give them any more liquor. The party then left and when a little distance from the public house a fight took place between LONGMAN and Pincombe. The former was knocked down twice and kicked whilst on the ground. A man called Sussex also struck the deceased during the affray. When helped home LONGMAN was in a very weak state. Dr Jones afterwards attended him, but tetanus set in and the deceased died from the effects of the blows he had received from Pincombe and Sussex. An Inquest on the body was held at the Town Hall, Torrington, twelve days since, before J. W. Toller, Esq., and adjourned till Tuesday last, when the evidence corroborating the above facts was taken. The learned Coroner, in summing up the evidence, pointed out the law - as distinguishing between murder and manslaughter. Some evidence, he said, had been taken to show that the men used angry words towards the deceased. He, however, did not think the words used of sufficient import to induce the supposition that they harboured any malice against the deceased, or that they intended to kill him. He thought, under the circumstances, it would be their duty to return a verdict of "manslaughter" against Pincombe and Sussex. If they, however, thought there was "malice", then they must return a verdict of "Wilful Murder." The Jury, after half an hour's deliberation, returned the following verdict: - "We find that the deceased, ELI LONGMAN, died of tetanus, produced by a wound in the elbow, received during a fight, which took place near the Rolle's Arms, between deceased, John Pincombe and Joseph Sussex, but from whom he received such wound there is no evidence to show." The Court was taken by surprise at the decision the opinion of most being that a verdict of manslaughter would have been returned.