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
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:- Ash; Baker; Bennett; Bligh; Brookland; Burt; Butler; Churchward; Coleman; Coles; Collins; Corner; Cosway; Crook; Denner; Dimond; Dreuser; Drew; Fothergill; Gill; Holloway; Johnstone; Lake; Leworthy; Luscombe; Mansfield; Matthews; Milford; Mills; Pook; Rockett; Sansom; Sparkes; Steer; Woodbury.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 2 January 1866
STOKE DAMEREL - The Military Murder At Devonport. - An Inquest was opened on Thursday at the Military Hospital Inn, Lower Stoke, before Mr A. B. Bone, Coroner, on the body of JOHN THOMAS JOHNSTONE, private of the 65th Regiment, who had been murdered on the previous day by a comrade. The Jury having view the body, which was lying at the Royal Military Hospital, Stoke, the Enquiry was adjourned to the petty sessions-room of the Devonport Town Hall. The accused, Thomas Lynch, who was placed in the dock, looked crestfallen and evidently felt the serious position in which he was placed. - Mr John Beer, of the firm of Beer and Rundle, solicitors, attended on behalf of the War Department. - William Pickering, private of the 65th Regiment, stationed at the Raglan Barracks, said - Between eight and nine o'clock on Tuesday evening the prisoner and deceased were brought to the guard-room. They were both drunk, Lynch more so than the other. The men sat down. Lynch, who was bleeding from one eye, said that the deceased had struck him. Deceased told Lynch to go away from him, as he (Lynch) was an old man. Lynch did not attempt to strike the deceased then. They afterwards lay down on the guard bed. Witness was in the guard room from seven o'clock in the evening of Tuesday until ten o'clock the next morning. Apparently both of the men went to sleep. Witnessed continued - At about a quarter to three on the morning of the 27th I was walking about the guard room as sentry. Prisoner got up and went over to a corner of the room near where the deceased was lying down. I had observed the handle of a scrubbing brush (produced) in the corner. Lynch took the stick in his hand and struck deceased two blows on the head. Deceased never spoke and I do not think he moved. Lynch did not speak at the time, but was at once seized by a soldier of the 62nd Regiment, with the stick in his hand. I shouted for the guard to come and he went to the deceased and felt his pulse, which was beating strong; his pulse gradually lessened until he died, about three o'clock. The deceased did not sign or groan. The Surgeon came in about an hour. He examined deceased and pronounced him dead, the deceased being at that time nearly cold. About half-past five o'clock the body was removed to the Royal Military Hospital, Stoke. - By the Coroner and Jury:- I know nothing about any previous quarrel, excepting what Lynch said. When the two men were lying down they were not close together; other prisoners were between them. When Lynch went over towards deceased he still appeared under the influence of drink. - William Palmer, a private in the 62nd Regiment, said I was in the guard-room from ten o'clock on the morning of Tuesday until ten o'clock on Wednesday morning last, I do not know what condition the prisoner and deceased were in when brought to the guard-room; they sat down before the fire and were talking, but I do not know what they were talking about. After some further remarks, in which he apparently contradicted the previous witness in one or two unimportant particulars, the witness proceeded - About a quarter to three o'clock I heard the sound as of a blow with a stick. I turned round and saw Lynch with a stick uplifted with both hands, strike a heavy blow across the head of the deceased. I seized Lynch. The corporal of the guard took Lynch away. The blow I saw struck made a wound on the ear from which a little blood flowed from the outside of the ear and ran down deceased's face and neck. - Dr John Mackenzie, Assistant Surgeon of the 62nd Regiment, said:- At about four o'clock on the morning of the 27th inst. I was in bed at my residence, at Stoke, when I was called up to come to the Ragland Barracks. I immediately went to the Guard Room, where I saw the deceased. He was dead when I arrived. I found a wound on the right ear, the edge of the cartilage of which was slit; the part appeared to be bruised and the injury to have been inflicted with a blunt instrument. A little blood was oozing from the wound, and passing down the cheek. I also found a depression of the skull between the temple and the ear. On the body being removed, by my directions, to the Military Hospital, I made a post-mortem examination. I then found a wound on the scalp, near to the right ear, about half an inch in length, which went through the scalp. I found also a circular wound, about two and a half inches in diameter; the bone in one place was separated from the table of the skull. This would be the result of a very heavy blow. The fracture implicated two bones, the temporal bone and the parietal bone; it extended across the base of the skull as well. The scalp surrounding the wound and fracture was considerably bruised; the wound on the early nearly communicated with the bruise; so if a blow had been struck, it was in that direction. There was a considerable effusion of blood at the base of the brain. I am of opinion that whatever caused the external wound caused also the effusion and produced death. I found no laceration of the membranes of the brain. - John Lilly, a private in the 65th Regiment, deposed to Lynch coming into his (witness's) room in the barracks between eight and nine o'clock on Tuesday evening. Shortly afterwards deceased came in and asked Lynch what he was talking about, to which Lynch replied that he was not talking about deceased, on which the latter called the former a liar. Further words ensued and whilst Lynch was sitting on the foot of the bed the deceased struck him; a struggle took place and ultimately the Sergeant present had both of them taken to the Guard-Room. When Lynch received the blow he asked deceased why he did it. Both of the men were much intoxicated. - Mr J. Lynn, Superintendent of Police, said - On Wednesday I proceeded to the Raglan Barracks, where I saw Thomas Lynch, the prisoner and being informed of what had occurred I charged prisoner with the murder, when he replied, "I never intended to kill him." He was going to say more, but I stopped him, observing, "It is a very serious crime with which you are charged, and you need not say anything unless you like, but what you do say may be given in evidence against you." - Lynch then said, "We had a fall out in the barrack-room, and the blackguard struck me;" and, referring to his eyes, said "This is the place where he struck me." I then took Lynch into custody on the charge of murdering the deceased. - The Coroner then proceeded to sum up the case and after giving a summary of the evidence adduced, stated the law pointing out the distinction between wilful murder and manslaughter. After citing several cases to illustrate the state of the law as he had it down, the learned Coroner said that he was bound to tell them considering the whole of the facts, that it appeared to him to be a case of murder. - The Jury, after examining the stick with which the blow as inflicted, retired and in about half an hour returned into Court with a verdict of Wilful Murder against Thomas Lynch, who was formally committed to Exeter to take his trial at the ensuing Assizes for the County.
TIVERTON - Distressing Death In Westexe South. - On Wednesday evening last an Inquest was held at the Guildhall before F. Mackenzie, Esq., the Borough coroner, on the body of MRS CHARLOTTE STEER, also known as "BAKER", who was found dead in her room under the subjoined distressing and mysterious circumstances. - The Jury having viewed the body, the first witness called was ... Abel Rooks, of Tiverton, lace maker, who deposed, that - The body now shown to the Jury is that of CHARLOTTE STEER. She was the wife of WILLIAM STEER, a packer on the railway. He left her about eight years ago; and she has since then supported herself as a char-woman. Her age was forty-two years or thereabout. On Monday night last she was at my house, in Westexe, for about an hour - from eleven to twelve o'clock. She then left and I did not see her alive again. She was the worse for drink, which she had got before she came to my house. I do not know whether she took anything at my house; but if she did it was "half and half." She came in by herself and went out by herself: and I thought she was capable of going home by herself. She was a person of ordinarily good health and she did not complain on that occasion of any illness. - Henry Pasmore, of Westexe, lace maker, was called and said - I know the deceased, CHARLOTTE STEER. On Monday evening last, about a quarter to twelve o'clock, I was coming up Westexe and I saw her fall in the path, opposite to Mrs Baker's door. I raised her up and it was five or six minutes before she became sensible. I asked her whether she had injured herself, and she said "Not much." I assisted her inside the door to Mr Baker's, where she lodged. She wished me "good night." I think she was in liquor. - William Baker, of Westexe, grocer, deposed, - I have let a room in my house to the deceased. Last Monday night I heard her coming home at nearly twelve o'clock, and she seemed to wish somebody "good night." I heard her walk through the passage and into her room, and two or three minutes afterwards I heard a noise, as if the door of her room were shut very violently. I heard nothing after that; and it was not until this morning that she was found dead in her room. I was not alarmed at not seeing her, because she has been in the habit of lying in bed all day sometimes. - Robert John Prickman, baker, of Tiverton, then deposed, - This morning I was applied to by Mrs Baker, who said that CHARLOTTE STEER had not been seen since Monday evening. I went with her and found I could not open the door of her room. I afterwards opened the window from without, and saw the deceased lying against the door, and so preventing it from being opened. She was lying almost on her face and hands, with her face almost against the door. I saw no wounds about her, except, as I consider, where she had rested her chin against a ledge at the bottom of the door. - The Jury returned an Open Verdict of "Found Dead."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 23 January 1866
HONITON - Death Of A Hermit. - WILLIAM DIMOND, a labourer, deaf and dumb, and about sixty years of age, has been living in a lone cot by himself on Upottery-hill, near the Devonshire Inn for a long time past. It was noticed by the people that were living near, that the house had been closed for several days; and on Thursday last an entrance was effected, when they found the poor fellow lying dead on his bed. An Inquest was held on the body on Saturday last, by J. M. Cox, Esq., Coroner, of Honiton. The medical testimony clearly proved that death was occasioned by Natural Causes, and the Jury returned a verdict accordingly.
UPOTTERY - The Gale and Flood. Fatal Accident. - On Wednesday last a mason of Clayhidon, by the name of COLES, whilst crossing some fields in Upottery, got into one of the drifts of snow, about ten feet deep and was smothered. He was found on the following morning by a man named Rowland, who was searching for a flock of sheep, in an upright position, standing against a gate. An Inquest was held on the body on Tuesday before Mr Cox, Coroner, when a verdict according to the circumstances was returned.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 30 January 1866
UFFCULME - An Inquest was held on Tuesday, before Robert Brent, Esq., M.D., on the body of JOHN CLIST, who died on the 20th inst., as reported in the "Tiverton Gazette" last week. From the evidence adduced, it appears the poor man went out to pick sticks about half-past two o'clock on the afternoon of the 19th inst., and nothing having been seen or heard of him up to ten o'clock that night, his wife became alarmed for his safety and mentioned her fears to P.C. Northcott, who immediately set out in search of him, but did not find him until eight o'clock the next morning. When found he was lying on his back, insensible, and apparently had lain there some time. A horse and cart having been procured, he was removed to his home, when Dr Brydon was quickly in attendance, but medical aid was of no avail, for he expired in about an hour and a half from the time he was found. After hearing the medical evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Died from Exposure to the Night Air."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 6 February 1866
TIVERTON - Melancholy Death Of The Landlady Of The Market House Inn. - On Thursday evening F. Mackenzie, Esq., Borough Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of MRS MARY ANN COLEMAN, aged 47, the landlady of the above Inn. Mr James Goodland was chosen the Foreman of the Jury. - The Coroner in opening the proceedings said he had delayed a couple of days before holding the Inquest, in the belief that the death was perfectly natural from the mode of life the poor woman was known to have led, but certain injurious statements affecting her husband having been sent abroad, he felt it was a duty to him and her relatives to take some evidence on this case. He made these remarks without wishing it to be understood that he prejudged the Inquiry in any way, at the same time this Inquiry would not reflect any suspicion on the husband and relatives. It was well, however, to hold an Inquest when the medical man was unable to give a certificate of the cause of death. - Mary Ann Zelly deposed that she was the wife of an ostler. She identified the body just viewed by the Jury as that of ANN COLEMAN, wife of WILLIAM COLEMAN, Innkeeper. In consequence of MR COLEMAN'S illness, she had been staying in the house during the last three weeks. He was suffering from gout, and had lost the use of his limbs for three weeks, and he could not now use his hands, so that he could not under any circumstances have done violence to anybody. He was not under medical treatment. The deceased had been ailing for many years from excessive drinking. She was accustomed to have a sort of fits, and to keep her bed for days from drink, when she would crave for brandy and have to be watched. She was poorly all last week. On last Monday morning the servant came for her, in consequence of deceased having a fit. She was unable to go directly and the servant came for her again, and then she went immediately. When witness arrived she found her in bed with a black eye and bruised face. Deceased was conscious and told her she had fallen. Her face was then black and swollen on the right side. She had a black eye. She also had a black eye before by falling about. On this occasion witness got her some brandy and water, but she became very restless and walked half dressed from one room to another. She had several of those fits that day. She made no complaint to witness of being ill-used by anyone, and was sensible enough to do so. Witness stayed with her all night; she had one fit that alarmed her very much and she ran down into the street and called in Mr William Reed, who was passing, and he came in and said if she had another fit she (witness) was to be sure and send for a medical man. In the morning she and MR COLEMAN observed an alteration in her and by MR COLEMAN'S wish she sent for Dr Ashford, who arrived just before she drew her last breath. - By the Foreman: She was sure that COLEMAN was not in a fit state to do any injury to anybody. - Mr Goodland said he simply put this question that the fact may go forth to the world. He was very sorry they should have been called there. - Dr E. C. Ashford deposed that he was called to the deceased on Tuesday morning and she breathed three or four times after his arrival. His belief was that her death was caused by apoplexy, resulting from her intemperate habits. The statement made by the last witness was quite consistent. - The Coroner observed that if they wished to take any more evidence on the case, they would have to adjourn to MR COLEMAN'S house to receive his statement. - The Foreman of the Jury thought he could say it was the unanimous opinion of the Jury that it was unnecessary. - The Coroner, in summing up, remarked that the poor woman being accustomed to drink and to fall about, it was not surprising that this illness was not considered sufficient to alarm them, but it was to be regretted that a medical man was not sent for earlier, as her life might have been saved. The fact of her not having been attended by a medical man, would justify this Inquiry if no other circumstance would. The evidence proved, however, that there was no violence shown to her by any other person, and if they were satisfied of that, then they had only to return a verdict that she died from natural causes. - Mr J. Williams jun., one of the Jury wished to state that he had been sent for by MR COLEMAN a short time ago, and by his desire he spoke to deceased about her practice of excessive drinking and begged that she would desist from drinking. She was then in trouble about her son. She promised to comply with his request, but in a few days returned to her old habits, and he could see she was suffering daily from it. It was a source of trouble to MR COLEMAN, and he had no doubt that MRS COLEMAN died from natural causes. - The Jury immediately returned an unanimous verdict that Deceased Died from Natural Causes.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 27 February 1866
KENTISBEARE - MR BLIGH, a gentleman of independent means, living at Grindeford, in this parish, in comparative seclusion - keeping no servant - and only being occasionally visited by a neighbour, Mrs Frost, lost his wife MARY ANN BLIGH about 52 years of age on the 17th instant, from apoplexy, no medical attendance having, it is said, been provided. - An Inquest was held on the 21st instant at the house of MR BLIGH, by Robert Brent, Esq., when after hearing the evidence of Mrs Frost and Dr Gribble, of Cullompton, the Jury returned their verdict "Died by the Visitation of God." The eccentricities of MR BLIGH (or MR DE BLIGH, as he terms himself) are said to be such as to demand the attention of his relatives.
COLATON RALEIGH - Suicide Of Father And Son. - MR HENRY MATTHEWS and his son ELLIS, have committed suicide. The family had not lived very happily together for some time and on Friday there was a great altercation between them - particularly with parent and son. The next day the father went and drowned himself in the river Otter. The body was recovered and taken to the farm house; and on Monday the son - who had seen the body of his father - terminated his existence by cutting his throat. An Inquest was held on Tuesday upon both bodies, when the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the unfortunate persons Committed Suicide whilst in an Unsound State of Mind.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 27 March 1866
HALBERTON - Death In A Ditch. - On Saturday afternoon an Inquest was held, before R. R. Crosse, Esq., County Coroner, at Ascott's Swan Inn, touching the melancholy case of ISAAC HOLLOWAY, aged 76, a hawker, residing here, who was found drowned in a ditch, close to the entrance of Halberton Court, on Friday evening, during the storm. - The Jury empanelled for the occasion were as follows:- Messrs. Francis Broom Cook, Foreman, J. Manley, Chubb, Harris, W. Coles, W. Ascott, Baker, Twose, Cruwys, sen., T. Hellier, S. Gillard, of Abbott and James. - George Hodder was the first witness called and the effect of his evidence was that on Friday he attended West Manley sale and saw deceased there selling nuts. Shortly before seven in the evening, on his return home, he fell in with deceased and they walked part of the way home together when he walked away from him, leaving him making the direction of Halberton. He saw no more of deceased, who appeared to be under the influence of liquor. - William Cleverly, a youth, in the employ of Mr Ascott, sen., deposed that, as he was on his way to the vicarage, to practice in the church choir, about half-past seven on Friday evening, he observed something that looked suspicious lying in the ditch above mentioned, by the road side. He immediately went up to it and found it was the body of a man. He directly raised an alarm and ran for assistance. - The Rev. Canon Girdlestone's coachman quickly came to the spot and found deceased lying on his face and hands in the water, only six inches deep and quite dead, with his nut basket by his side. Mr William Ascott, the assistant overseer, was sent for, and removed the body - which was covered with thick mud - in a cart to his lodgings in the village. - The learned coroner, in summing up the evidence, considered that, being somewhat under the influence of drink, and the night very boisterous, the probability was that the hapless man must have been blown, or accidentally fell, in to the ditch and was unable to get out. He pointed out to the Jury that in the absence of any positive evidence to show how he got into the water, the alternative was to record an open verdict. - The Jury acted upon the recommendation of the Coroner, and returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 3 April 1866
SOUTH MOLTON - Suicide Through Jealousy. - An Inquest was held on Monday, before J. Flexman, Esq., Borough Coroner, and a respectable Jury of which Mr Thomas Chapple, Broad-street, was Foreman, on the body of SAMUEL CROOK, who was found dead and hanging to a beam the previous morning. - Supt. Fisher deposed to being called to deceased's house on Saturday night in consequence of cries of "murder" proceeding therefrom; he found deceased and his wife quarrelling, they each wanted to give the other into custody. The deceased went upstairs and brought down some glasses and wearing apparel, and said "Look here, this is what the d...d w....e has took away to give to Tucker." He further said that "his wife had run him in debt; that although she was 50 years old, and the mother of eight children, she was as bad as a common prostitute." - George Keach said - I am a labourer on the Devon and Somerset Railway. I lodged with deceased. There are four men and a woman lodging there besides me. I was not at home on Saturday when the row took place between my landlord and landlady. She was gone when I came home. We had two quarts of beer among the whole of the lodgers, of which the deceased partook. The deceased and I tossed for the beer. I won. After we went upstairs the deceased was in a great passion. I don't know what it was for. (Witness on being pressed added) I believe the rows between them have arisen in consequence of her being great with a young man called Charles. I don't know his other name - don't think it is Tucker. I went to bed and was called next morning by deceased's daughter, who told me that her father had not been in bed all night. I went down the yard with her and found the deceased hanging to a beam. I went for Superintendent Fisher who came with me and we cut him down. He was quite dead. Never heard deceased say that he would destroy himself - have heard him threaten to murder his wife. He said on Saturday night that if ever she came into his presence again he would kill her. - JANE CROOK deposed she was a daughter of deceased and resided with him. He was 48 years of age. He went to Barnstaple on Saturday, for a cart load of coals, and came home about half-past five o'clock. I left the house just after and did not return until late. There was no quarrelling while I was at home. When I came back father asked me if I had seen mother. I answered no. I was told before I went home that murder had been called in our house during the evening. Mother was not in the house when I came home, nor during the night. Father did not leave the house. We both went upstairs to go to bed, after the lodgers had retired. In about five minutes I heard father go down and come up again. In a short time he went down again and I did not hear him return. I went off to sleep. I did not pay much attention to his going downstairs, as I thought he was gone to look for mother. When I awoke in the morning, I went into father's room and saw that he had not been in bed for the night. I went into the yard, and seeing the lantern returned and told the lodgers, one of whom went with me, when we found father hanging by the neck and dead. - Supt. Fisher (recalled), said - At a quarter to 7 o'clock yesterday morning, I was sent for to go to SAMUEL CROOK'S who I was told had hung himself. I went to a linhay, and there found deceased suspended to a crossbeam by a halter round his neck; he was cut down, and I had him laid upon his back while I searched his pockets, in which I found £2 11s. 2d. now produced. Dr White was sent for, who pronounced him to have been dead four or five hours. - MARGARET CROOK said - I am the widow of deceased. We have been married twenty-six years. When he came home from Barnstaple on Saturday last, he asked me where his watch was. I replied in the drawer and gave it to him. He was in a very excited state and spoke very cross and unkind to me. He shortly afterwards went away, and was absent about two hours. On his return I met him at the door and told him that Mr Warren had been there for the poor-rate. He replied, Warren? What does Warren want? I said to him, Whatever is the matter with you? He made no reply, but took up the tongs and with both hands aimed a blow at my head. I avoided the blow. He then seized me by the hair of my head and seemed like a madman. I screamed murder and said, "Why do you serve me like this? He replied that he had been told something, but did not say what it was. Mr Fisher then came and stopped him. I then left, and did not return until he was dead. By a Juror: I left him nine weeks ago and remained away six weeks. I was at the Hare and Hounds last week - he fetched me back. I did not speak to him during my absence. On Thursday last, I was out to tea - he threatened to lock me out all night. When I returned home about nine o'clock we had some very angry words then. My husband and I have not been in the habit of quarrelling. I do not know whether or not he sold his watch. I was not out all night when I went to the Hare and Hounds. I have nothing to do with the coal money. My husband has seemed outish for some time past. - The Coroner having summed up the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict "That the deceased Hanged Himself with a certain rope to a beam, thereby causing his death while in a fit of Temporary Insanity."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 17 April 1866
TIVERTON - Fatal Accident In Barrington Street. Coroner's Inquest. - We referred in a recent impression to a melancholy accident, which occurred to a little girl named ANN GILL, whose clothes caught fire on the 8th ultimo. The poor child was removed to the Workhouse where she lingered in great agony until Wednesday last, when death put an end to her sufferings. An Inquest was held on the body on the following day by F. Mackenzie, Esq., Borough Coroner, when the following evidence was given. - Mary Ann Rendell deposed. - I am the wife of James Rendell, Shoemaker, of Tiverton and the deceased was a servant in my employ. She was 12 years old last birthday and up to the time of the accident was in good health. On Thursday morning, 8th March, about half-past seven, she ran upstairs and into her bedroom which adjoins mine. Her clothes were burning. She told me she had caught her apron on the fire. My husband and I put out the flame by throwing water over her. I put oil on her wounds and sent for Dr Ashford who gave her something and ordered her to be taken to the Union. I conveyed her thither in a Bus. No one was present when she caught fire. Mrs Elizabeth Besley, the nurse at the Union deposed. - I first saw deceased at the House on the 8th March, she was put under my care in the Hospital ward, being badly burnt. Dr Ashford attended her daily till the time of her death and her body was daily dressed under his orders. She died on the 11th inst. She was sensible until the last ten days of her life. She was in good bodily condition when first brought to the House. The cause of her subsequent thinness arose from the discharge from her wounds. The Coroner, in summing up, said it was clearly an accident and the fact of her living so long with such wounds as she had, showed that she must have been taken care of and had every nourishment that nature required. The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette),Tuesday 24 April 1866
CHERITON FITZPAINE Suicide. - An Inquest was held at the Half Moon Inn, Cheriton, on Friday, before R. R. Crosse, Esq., County Coroner, on the body of JOHN BROOKLAND, aged 65, labourer of Ball, in that parish, who hanged himself with a rope in his bedroom on the previous Tuesday. The deceased's wife left him about seven o'clock in the morning to go to work. On returning about two o'clock in the afternoon of that day she was horrified to find her husband hanging by a rope attached to a beam in his bedroom. She raised an alarm and Phillip Moggridge, who was passing by came in and cut down the body. The hands were still warm, but the deceased was dead. He was last seen alive and sitting by the fire by a little girl at half-past eight o'clock, whom he told to bring some tripe at three o'clock. Satisfactory evidence was adduced at the Inquest that the deceased was of Unsound Mind, and the Jury returned a verdict accordingly.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 8 May 1866
HOCKWORTHY - Death In A Pond. - On Friday last an Inquest was held before R. R. Crosse, Esq., County Coroner, at this place, on the body of EDWARD WOODBURY, aged seven years, the son of THOMAS WOODBURY, of Slanicombe, in this parish, who was found dead in a pond. It appeared from the evidence, that the child had been missed from his home about half-an-hour, when a search for him was instituted, and the hapless boy was found in the pond, in about four feet of water, quite dead, by a labouring man, named William Dunn; the body was removed to his home. It was shown that the pond was unfenced and dangerous; but we have no doubt that when the observations of the learned Coroner on this subject reaches the ears of the worthy proprietor, C. A. W. Troyte, Esq., that gentleman with his characteristic humanity, will order that in future public safety shall be ensured.
THORVERTON - Supposed Fatal Accident. - Yesterday (Monday) R. R. Crosse, Esq., County Coroner, held an official Inquiry here into the circumstances attending the mysterious death of JANE COSWAY, aged 77, a widow and an old nurse, who has been lately living alone. It appears that on Friday last, the poor old woman was found dead at the foot of the stairs in her dwelling house with, it was supposed, dislocation of the neck and fracture of the skull occasioned by a fall down stairs. Mr Philip Luke, Surgeon, was summoned to give evidence, but the verdict had not reached us at the time of going to press.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 15 May 1866
SOUTH MOLTON - Sudden Death. - An Inquest was held on Tuesday evening before S. Flexman, Esq., Coroner and a respectable Jury of which Mr P. Widgery was foreman, on the body of MR THOMAS BAKER, who died suddenly about noon the same day. The medical evidence proved that deceased died from disease of the heart. Verdict accordingly.
HONITON - An Inquest was held at Mr Pile's Globe Inn, on Monday, before Spencer Cox, Esq., Coroner, touching the death of SOLOMON ROCKETT. The deceased, who was a carpenter, went to his work on Monday morning, but in the course of the morning he felt unwell and returned home, where he died shortly after. At the Inquest Dr Mayne, who had made a post mortem examination, stated that death resulted from heart disease and a verdict to that effect was accordingly returned.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 22 May 1866
HONITON - Inquest On EMILY DENNER. - A long Inquiry as to the death of EMILY DENNER, aged eight years, took place at Mr Pile's Globe Inn, on Monday, before Spencer Cox, Esq., Coroner, and a respectable Jury, of which Mr John Murch, jun., was Foreman. Mr Tweed watched the case on behalf of the National School committee. Great interest was taken in the case by many, in consequence of the child having stated, during her illness, and even up to the time of her death, that she was suffering from the effect of a blow given her at the National School (where she was in the habit of attending) by Katherine Golesworthy, a pupil teacher. Rumours had also been most industriously circulated to the effect that the child had been violently struck with a slate. This, however, the evidence entirely contradicted, for the correction administered, if indeed it may be called a correction, was of the mildest character. - WM. DENNER, the father of the deceased, stated that on his daughter returning home on Thursday, the 18th April, she said she would never go to school any more, as Kate Golesworthy had knocked her on the head with a slate. Witness told her it was nonsense, and thought no more of it. After dinner she began to hold her head. At two o'clock he told her to go to school. Next morning she was sick. He did not examine her head and made no complaint until the Monday week afterwards, as he did not think the illness arose from the blow till an exclamation from the child, when some leeches were being applied. Almost immediately after that he spoke of it to Miss Killingly, the mistress of the school. On Sunday week last she said she was going to heaven and after that she said several times "O, this is all Kit Golesworthy, you can't see it." - Margaret Wylie, said she was eleven years old and was in Miss Golesworthy's class at the National School. she recollected Kate Golesworthy giving deceased a pat on the head with her hand - it was not hard. This was because EMILY would not take the pencil in her hand to put down some figures, though told to do it several times. EMILY did not cry; she came again to school the next morning. She did not complain, either when she had the pat, or on the following morning. - Sarah Walters, aged nine years, said that she went to the National School, and was in the same class with EMILY DENNER. Kate Golesworthy knocked a book on EMILY'S head and made her cry; because she would not spell a word. It was a small book, a first class spelling book. The blow was a soft one with the side of the book. EMILY cried when she had the blow. - Katharine Golesworthy said that she was eighteen years old last birthday and was a teacher in the Honiton National School. EMILY DENNER was in her class and had been in the school off and on three or four years. She was generally about fourth or fifth in her class, the class generally consisting of nine or ten girls. - The last day EMILY DENNER came to school was on Thursday, 19th April, to morning school. In the reading class she was reading with the other children from the book produced. She made some bad errors in spelling the words and witness slapped the child with her hand; it was not hard. Miss Killingly was present and Mr Simcox. She recollected nothing about an arithmetic lesson that morning. It did not happen about the arithmetic. Witness did not think she knocked the child with the book, but would not swear to this - but she would swear that she did not knock her with a slate. The pupil teachers were not allowed to correct children. EMILY DENNER cried a little, either for the slap or the lesson. Witness saw her later in the morning after she had finished the lesson, but she did not then cry or complain. Deceased never came to school afterwards, but her sister came on the following Monday week. - Dr Jerrard said that he attended the deceased last autumn for a bowel complaint. He saw her again on the 27th April. She was brought by her mother to his surgery. She was then suffering from sickness and heaviness about the head, which he attributed to a disordered stomach. Nothing in her appearance indicated any serious disease. Witness was fetched by deceased's mother to see her on the 30th April; He found her in bed, evidently suffering from oppression of the brain, for which he prescribed. On the following day he examined the child's head but saw no mark of violence. This was, he understood, twelve days after she left the school. On Wednesday or Thursday week last he ordered the head to be shaved. He saw it the next day. There were no marks of violence. From that time to the 11th inst. he visited the child, during which time she had convulsions and was sometimes insensible and unable to take any nourishment. By the Coroner's order he made a post-mortem examination on Saturday last, the day after the death. On examining the interior of the brain he found a quantity of serum, which he estimated at three or four ounces; he judged the child to have died from pressure on the brain. The disease of the brain he had described might have originated in an act of violence or spontaneously. He did not think it probable that an act of violence, leaving no external marks at the time he first inspected the head, say twelve days after, could have originated the disease, but he could not say this was impossible although he thought it to be very improbable. A slight blow by the hand could not possibly have caused the state of things he had described, unless there was some incipient disease before. A heavy blow with the fist might. - Louisa Killingly said that she was the mistress of the Honiton National School. Katherine Golesworthy was one of the pupil teachers; EMILY DENNER was in her class. On Thursday, the 19th April, she was in the schoolroom the whole of the morning, except for a moment or two when she was in the infant school. Mr Simcox was in the school-room till a quarter to eleven. She recollected no correction of EMILY DENNER that morning and had no complaint from her or anyone. Witness had been three years in the school and she had never known a violent blow being given to any child. - Susan Stone said she was fifteen years old and a pupil teacher. Her class was close to Miss Golesworthy's. Witness was in the schoolroom the whole of Thursday morning the 19th April, and must have heard if anything of importance had occurred, but she heard nothing about any blow or punishment. - The Inquest, which had already lasted nearly five hours, was then adjourned until eight o'clock in the evening, in order that the Rev. H. K. Simcox might be summoned. On the resumption in the evening, the Rev. H. K. Simcox was examined and stated that if any violent blow had been given he must have noticed it. There certainly was no violent blow given while he was present. Several other witnesses were examined, and the evidence went to show that a slight and insignificant pat had been given. The Coroner having gone through the evidence and commented thereon, explained the law as to the chastisement a teacher might give a pupil, and the Jury were left about 10 o'clock for the purpose of considering their verdict. The doors were opened in a few minutes and the Foreman stated that their verdict was "Death from Natural Causes". The Coroner remarked that he fully concurred in the verdict. The Jury recommended that the rules of the school should be strictly enforced.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 5 June 1866
WEST ANSTEY - Shocking Death From Excessive Drinking. Ill-timed Liberality. - On Thursday last Mr Toller, Deputy Coroner for this County, held an Inquest at Yeo Mills, in this parish, on the body of EDWIN BUTLER, commonly known by the name of "STAFFORD," a labourer, on the Devon and Somerset Railway, whose distressing death has occasioned much sensation in the neighbourhood. - It appears from the evidence of John Light, that deceased left Landkey in his company at 6.30 on Tuesday morning, for the purpose of walking to Yeo Mills and that on their way they drank three or four quarts of cyder between them. On arriving at Yeo Mills the ganger there gave them 6d., for which they had two more quarters of cyder; having drank this, they asked Mr Partridge, a farmer, of the neighbourhood, who was present, if he would give them a quart. He consented to pay for a quart of beer for each if they would drink it in one draught. Light and deceased did so, and said they could drink another, which Mr Partridge ordered, having finished this deceased asked for a third quart, Mr Partridge refused at first, but after a short time consented to let him have it; before deceased had quite finished it he placed his hand over his stomach and laid his head on the table; immediately afterwards he was carried out by two men and placed on his side in the stable, after a short time Light was brought out and placed there by his side also. This was about half-past eight but he (Light) did not remember anything more till about 2 o'clock on Wednesday morning, when he awoke, and putting his hand on deceased he found he was dead and gave the alarm. - James Herford confirmed the last witnesses evidence, adding that he went into the stable and put some sacks over them about half-past ten, deceased was then lying on his hands and face and snoring very loud. - Dr Constable deposed that John Light came for him between 3 and 6 on Wednesday morning, and on arriving he found deceased had been removed from the stable into a lodging room close by, where he was lying on his back, one arm stretched out, the other fixed on itself, his head, face and neck were very much congested and livid, which led him to suppose respiration was impeded. Having made a post-mortem examination, it was his opinion that death was caused by suffocation, while in a state of complete insensibility from drink, he having turned over on his face. The Coroner having summed up the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of Death from Suffocation from Excessive Drinking.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 12 June 1866
CULMSTOCK - An Inquest was held here on Wednesday before Spencer M. Cox, Esq., on the body of JOHN WINN POOK, a farm labourer, who died on Sunday last. It had been suspected that his death had resulted from injuries received in a "scrimmage" in which the deceased had "assisted" at the Ilminster Fair. The medical evidence, however, went to show that the death was a natural one.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 3 July 1866
HONITON - Accidentally Drowned. - Spencer Cox, Esq., Coroner, held an Inquest on Wednesday, at Mr Hallett's Fountain Inn, in this town, for the purpose of Inquiring into the cause of the death of WALTER HENRY MANSFIELD, a child aged fourteen months. The mother of the deceased child stated that she left her son in the passage on Monday evening. She was absent about five minutes: On her return, she found the door shut and the child had fallen into a can of water, head foremost, its legs being upper-most. The mother sent for Dr Mayne, who came immediately and tried to restore the child, but he was unable to do so. A verdict in accordance with the evidence adduced was returned.
TIVERTON - Death From Drowning In Collipriest. - On Tuesday evening last F. Mackenzie, Esq., Borough Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of JOHN DREW, a little boy six years of age, son of HENRY DREW, St Andrew-street, who was found drowned in the river Exe near the junction with the Lowman, in Collipriest. - Mr J. Cann was chosen Foreman of the Jury. - Emily Isaacs, a little girl, of St Andrew-street, too young to be sworn, stated that on Tuesday lat, the deceased, with another little boy, went into the water with his boots and stockings in his apron and whilst crossing let fall his hat into the water. He attempted to catch it and in so doing, with the force of a wave coming behind him, he fell headlong on his face into deep water. She did not see him rise after he had sunk once. - Robert Broom, labourer, of Little Silver, deposed that he knew the deceased child and that on the morning in question he was passing up the street, when he heard women screaming. He immediately ran to the part pointed out to him, where the body lay, about the middle of the river, and with the assistance of a pole, quickly got it to the bank. - He considered life was extinct before his attention was called to it. - The Jury returned an unanimous verdict of "Accidentally Drowned."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 17 July 1866
HALBERTON - Shocking And Fatal Accident To A Boy. - On Tuesday evening R. R. Crosse, Esq., County Coroner, held an Inquest at the residence of Mr William Norton, West Manley, on the body of WALTER ASH, aged 16, late in the employ of Mr Norton as a farm labourer, who met with a shocking death on the previous evening. The following gentlemen were empanelled as the Jury: Messrs. W. Haydon (who was chosen Foreman), Norton, J. Kerslake, E. Tapp, W. Whitton, R. Cann, S. Webb, C. Dunn, Richard Hawkins, J. Chubb, W. Thomas, W. Cole, and I. Northam. - It appeared from the evidence adduced that deceased and another lad were going to field with two cart horses, when suddenly the horse ridden by deceased wanted to take a wrong turn in the road, deceased jumped off with the chain halter wrapped round his hand, the horse bolted before he could disentangle his hand and he was dragged a distance of about a quarter of a mile, before a fellow labourer on another horse could over take and release him. T. Browning was the first to arrive at the field gate where the horse stopped and there he found the poor youth lying dead, with one ear cut off, his face so frightfully mangled as to be almost unrecognisable and his head badly cut and bruised. The body was at once removed to Mr Norton's house. The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 24 July 1866
EXETER - Horrible Accident In Exeter. - An Inquest was held at the Anchor Inn, Exe Island, on Saturday, before H. W. Hooper, Esq., City Coroner, on the body of JOHN MILFORD, aged 48. - Mr Orchard, from the office of Mr Floud, solicitor, attended to watch the case on behalf of the family of the deceased. - WILLIAM MILFORD, son of the deceased, stated that he was a cabinet maker, living in the Exe Island. The body just viewed by the Jury was that of his father, who kept the Anchor Inn. He was a cooper in the employ of Messrs. Norman, of the City Brewery. He saw him alive about ten minutes after two on the previous day at the Anchor Inn. He was then in perfect health. About half-past four he was fetched from his place of business, the messenger stating that his father was killed. On arriving at the Inn he found his father had just been brought home - he was quite dead. He knew nothing about the injury. Deceased was a widower. - William Sanders stated that he was a cooper working at the City Brewery. He had worked with the deceased two years and a half. He was a sober, temperate man. He (witness) was at work with him on the previous day. About ten minutes to four he was talking to him outside the office door just opposite the cooper's shop. About three minutes after that Mr Bastick, jun., ran in and said there was a man under the water wheel. He (witness) immediately went round to the wheel, got into the hole and looked in. He saw a man's arm and leg projecting from the water under the wheel. By a buckle strap which he saw around the man's arm he knew it was the deceased. He got help and took the body out. The deceased's clothes were not undone, but his apron was off. There was a water closet close to the wheel, and in front some portion of the boarding was gone, just sufficient for a man to go through. He did not know whether the deceased had gone to the closet, but his apron was on the shaft of another water wheel, as if he was going to the closet. Deceased was a sober, steady man. - By a Juryman: A man walking along, if he were not careful, might fall through the hole. - By the Coroner: He had noticed the deceased when he sat down was often disposed to drop off to sleep instantly. - Mr Norman said the boards in the closet had decayed. It belonged to Mr Bastick and his attention had been called to it. - Mr Bastick had mentioned the circumstance to the Town Council, but they had said that it did not belong to them to repair the place. - At the suggestion of the Coroner, the Jury proceeded to view the place where the accident is supposed to have taken place. - The Jury expressed their opinion that the deceased was about to sit down in the closet, and that upon falling asleep he slid off the seat and fell through the hole into the water. - Francis Mugford, miller, working at Mr Bastick's, Round Tree Mills, stated on the afternoon of the previous day he heard a terrible crash at the water-wheel. He ran out and saw that the wheel had stopped. He shut down the fender and hauled up the waste fender to let off the water. In a minute or so he saw a man's arm between the water-wheel and the wall. He ran to Mr Bastick and told him of it. both of them went to the Brewery and told of it. He did not see the deceased taken out of the water. - By a Juryman: The boards had been broken down over a twelvemonth. Mr Bastick knew that the board were down. - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," expressing an opinion that the closet should be repaired by Mr Bastick to prevent future accidents.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 28 August 1866
EXETER - Fatal Accident At The Paper Mill. - An Inquest has been held at the Valiant Soldier Inn, in Exeter, before H. W. Hooper, Esq., City Coroner, on the body of JANE SANSOM, a widow, 51 years of age. On the previous evening the deceased, who lived at Bradninch, went to the paper mills to see her son, who is employed there. On going round to the back of the machinery, where her son was at work, her dress became entangled and her right arm an side were drawn into the machinery, her arm being dreadfully mangled. She was immediately taken to the Devon and Exeter Hospital, where it was thought necessary to amputate the injured limb at the shoulder. She did not survive the operation, death occurring about eleven o'clock the same night. The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 11 September 1866
TIVERTON - Sudden Death. - An Inquest was held before F. Mackenzie, Esq., at the Town Hall, on Saturday, touching the death of MRS MARY LAKE, widow of JOHN LAKE, aged 75, of Londonderry, who was found dead in a chair on Friday morning last. Mr John Ward was Foreman of the Jury. - Mrs Elizabeth Bowden deposed that she had known the deceased for many years and had lived in the next cottage to her for the last six months. She lived in Londonderry. The deceased was a widow. She had complained of being unwell for some time past. She knew nothing of her habits; but had never seen her the worse for liquor. She last saw her on Thursday evening in her garden, when she spoke to her about some kidney beans. She saw her go into her cottage with some kidney beans in her hands between 6 and 7 o'clock. She was quite sober then. She never saw her alive afterwards. - Mr Phillip Pyle, carpenter, stated that he knew the deceased, who was 75 years of age. He was called from his workshop on Friday, and asked by Mrs Cook if he had seen MRS LAKE that morning. He answered in the negative. He went to her cottage and found the door locked. He procured some tools and forced the door open. She was always noted for rising early. He saw the deceased in the kitchen sitting in an armchair, resting her head on her right arm. She was stiff and cold and apparently had been dead for some hours. There was a pillow on a shelf near and a bottle on the chimney piece, which smelt of gin. - By a Juryman: He opened the door about eleven o'clock in the morning. He did not know whether she had been to bed that night. He had heard that she frequently left her bed in the night and sat in the arm chair when she felt unwell. - Mrs Ellen Forward deposed that she undressed and laid out deceased and found no wounds or bruises about her body. - The Jury, without hesitation, returned a verdict of "Died by the Visitation of God."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 9 October 1866
TIVERTON - Melancholy And Fatal Accident. - On Saturday an Inquest was held at the house of Mr Charles Snow, Firebeacon, before F. Mackenzie, Esq., Coroner, and a very respectable Jury, on the body of GEORGE COLLINS, who met with his death under the following circumstances. - Mrs Sarah Thorn deposed that deceased was one of Mr Snow's labourer's, and that on the previous day he applied to her for the key of the cellar and she gave it to him. He had just come from work and was perfectly sober. - John Mansell, servant to Mr Snow, said that deceased had gone into the cellar to open the door from within. As he did not return he went to look for him and found him lying on the ground with the top of a broken ladder lying by his side. He was quite dead when he found him. - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," expressing at the same time their opinion that the ladder was totally unfit for the purpose for which it was used.
HONITON - Fatal Accident. - An Inquest was held at brand Farm, on Wednesday afternoon, on the body of RICHARD CORNER, aged eight years. The deceased resided at Awliscombe, but was spending a day or two at Brand. On Wednesday morning he went into the back kitchen (where a gun was usually kept upon the table) and shortly after the report of a gun was heard. Mrs Manley, who was living in the house, went to the back kitchen the instant she heard it and came to the kitchen door just as the body of the deceased fell. She gave an alarm at once, but the poor fellow was quite dead, his face being completely shattered. Deceased fell upon his back and the gun was found lying near him. The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."
TOTNES - The Accident On The South Devon Railway. - The injuries sustained by the guard, JOHN RICHARD LUSCOMBE whilst uncoupling a goods train on the 21st Sept., were of such a serious nature that he expired last week at the Railway Hotel. An Inquest was held by F. Kellock, Esq. The body was identified by Elizabeth Wright of Paignton. - John Harris, the driver of the engine attached to the train, deposed that deceased was chief guard of the train, having for some years acted as guard of goods trains. At five minutes past seven the train left Totnes, it being rather heavy and composed of about 26 carriages and one engine. About three miles from Totnes the trains generally divided by the guard, in order to get up the incline. On the morning referred to when arriving at the bottom of the Dainton incline, the speed of the train was about 9 or 10 miles an hour; the train without being stopped was divided and witness receiving the all-right signal drove ahead. The trains were sometimes stopped to be uncoupled, but witness was not aware of any regulation to compel this being done. - Thomas Pyle, a ganger on the line, Ipplepen, saw the deceased uncouple the train while in motion and give the "all right" to the driver. In a moment afterwards he saw the deceased upon the line and the after part of the train passed over one of his legs. He assisted him into a down goods train, which happened to be near and brought him to that Hotel. About five minutes after he picked the deceased up, witness asked him how he came to fall off and he said it was by the jerk of the trucks. - Mr T. E. Owen, Surgeon, Totnes, described the nature of the injuries which consisted of a fracture of the skull, with the brain visible, the ankle joint and a portion of the leg smashed, amputation being necessary. - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and requested Mr Compton, the Traffic Superintendent to provide regulations for the prevention of such accidents in future, which he promised to do. - The Jury directed their fees 12s. to be given to the widow of the deceased.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 16 October 1866
SOUTH MOLTON - On Saturday a boy, the son of MR CHURCHWARD, wool-dealer, was accidentally drowned in a cask of water. At the Inquest a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" was returned.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 30 October 1866
TIVERTON - Fatal Accident. - On Thursday evening F. Mackenzie, Esq., the Borough Coroner, held an Inquest at the Town Hall, touching the death of EDWARD BURT, aged 50, who met with an accident whilst driving a waggon downhill, as reported in last week's Gazette, and who subsequently died from "tetanus" super-induced by the injuries received. - Mr Williams, jun., identified the body. Deceased was a carter in the employ of Mr Stone, (whose agent witness was) residing in Barrington-street. By direction of witness he went to Hill Town, near Rackenford, on Wednesday week, with a timber waggon and two horses. He had been accustomed to drive the same horses during the past eight or nine years; one of them, the mare, was given to kick in harness occasionally. Deceased was aware of that. He (witness) did not see the accident, but the result of it was the breaking of the fore part of the carriage by coming in contact with the turnpike gate on his return. He saw BURT the morning after the accident and asked him if the mare kicked and he said she did not kick at all. In describing the accident, the deceased said he was going to get off from the load on which he was riding between the wheels, and supposed he must have hitched his foot as he fell and the wheel passed over him. - Mrs Jane Clements, residing near the North Devon Turnpike Gate, deposed that on the evening of Wednesday week, about six o'clock, she saw a loaded timber carriage drawn by two horses, coming down the hill at a great speed towards Tiverton. Seeing no driver with it she ran up the road towards Calverleigh, and saw the poor man lying in the road on his left side, with no one near him. She spoke to him, asking him what was the matter, but as he made no answer she thought he was dead, and ran back for assistance. When a man came up and spoke to him he said "Oh my poor leg." He was removed away in a hand cart. - The Coroner in summing up, said the only question for their consideration was whether anyone was blameable for the accident. - The Jury after a brief deliberation returned a verdict of Accidental Death.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 6 November 1866
HONITON - An Inquest was held at the Crown and Sceptre Inn, on Monday morning, before Spencer Cox, Esq., Coroner, upon the body of JOHN DAY SPARKES, turner, aged 53 years. Deceased some time since received, in a drunken quarrel, a stab in the hand from a gipsy, and it was rumoured that death resulted from lock-jaw, following upon this wound. Mr J. S. Gundry, Surgeon, who had attended SPARKES previous to his death, and had, in compliance with the Coroner's warrant, made a post mortem examination, stated that apoplexy was clearly the cause of death. The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Apoplexy."
HALBERTON - Sudden Death At The Swan. - R. R. Crosse, Esq., County Coroner, held an Inquest at the Swan Inn, on Monday morning last, on view of the body of LEOPOLD DREUSER, aged 25, a native of Germany, and a Traveller of Mr Hettish, watch-maker, &c., Fore-street, Exeter. Mr Joseph Manley having been chosen Foreman of the Jury, several witnesses were examined from the evidence adduced it appeared that deceased was in the habit of in the course of his travels to put up at the Swan on alternate Saturday evenings, and leave on Sunday mornings in time to catch the 8 o'clock train at Tiverton Junction for Exeter. On the previous Saturday evening he put up at the Swan as usual, and appeared to be in good health. As he did not get up on the following morning, Sarah reed, the servant, knocked at his bedroom door, but failing to get any answer she called Mr Wm. Ascott, the landlord, who immediately went into the room and found him dead in bed. He at once sent for his father and Mr Henry Ascott, his brother, and then rode off for Dr Bryden, the nearest Surgeon, who promptly attended but found life extinct. His master was telegraphed for and arrived in the evening. The poor man was heard to snore very loudly about two hours before he was found dead and it was thought that he had expired but a few minutes before the startling discovery was made. It was believed that the cause of death was from apoplexy. Verdict, Found Dead.
EXETER - Horrible Accident At Halberton. - On Wednesday evening a most distressing accident happened to a boy at Halberton, which perhaps for the want of an Infirmary at Tiverton, has terminated fatally. The following are the circumstances under which the accident occurred. On Wednesday evening a steam threshing machine, the property of Mr J. H. Anstey of Jurishayes, was at work in a field of Mr Joseph Manley's of Netheraux, about a quarter of a mile from the village of Halberton, and amongst the labourers employed was WILLIAM MILLS, a labourer of Mr Manley's and his son WILLIAM, 15 years of age. The Feeder having occasion to leave the machine, the lad did the feeding until he returned: the Feeder then told him to get off and in foolishly attempting to jump over the fly, he got his right foot on the feeding board and his left on the slipping-board and the latter slipped into the fly. The engine-man witnessing the occurrence immediately shut off the steam, but unfortunately he was too late, for the boy's foot was caught in the fly and actually stopped the machine. His boot was forced off and the iron nails threshed out of it and the unfortunate boy's leg literally ground to pulp from the foot to the thigh. Mr Manley, in his anxiety to relieve the poor sufferer, ran for Dr Bryden, who was fortunately in the village at the time. He rode up to the field immediately and had the poor lad, who was bleeding profusely, placed carefully in a spring trap, which was brought promptly to the spot by Mr William Arscott, assistant overseer and he, together with the Doctor, and the boy's father took him to Tiverton Junction, where he was placed carefully in a Railway Carriage, Doctor Smith who happened to be at the Station kindly rendering his assistance and conveyed by the 5.35 p.m. train to Exeter Hospital, that being, in consequence of the unfortunate want of an Infirmary at Tiverton, the nearest point at which his case could be properly treated. His recovery if not hopeless before, was probably rendered so by the terrible journey he had to undertake and the unfortunate lad sank and died, about three quarters of an hour after he was placed on the operating table, amputation of the limb not being attempted, as it was considered the operation would only inflict unnecessary tortures as the poor boy was dying when admitted to the Hospital. - An Inquest was held on the body at the Valiant Soldier, Exeter, on Friday, when a verdict of Accidental Death was returned. The body was then removed to Halberton and interred on Sunday.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 20 November 1866
SOUTH MOLTON - Fatal And Distressing Gun Accident. - An Inquest was held on Monday last by James Flexman, Esq., Borough Coroner, on the body of JOHN LEWORTHY, a labouring man, aged 35 years, who had accidentally shot himself and died from haemorrhage as will be seen from the following evidence:- Mr John Elworthy deposed as follows:- I am a farmer residing at Honiton Barton, in the parish of Southmolton. This morning (Monday) about half-past 7 o'clock, I went out to see my sheep. I had my dog with me which started a hare; it ran some distance and returned backwards. I then heard the report of a gun, and I went towards the place from whence the sound proceeded, and I found the deceased JOHN LEWORTHY in the highway; he could not speak but attempted to do so. I immediately went to my house and procured assistance and in about ten minutes I came to him again; he could then speak very distinctly. On my asking him how it occurred he said he was joining the barrel of the gun on to the stock and by knocking the stock hard on the ground it caused it to discharge. Deceased told me he saw the hare and was preparing to shoot at it. I asked him if he had anything in his pocket to tie up his wound which appeared to be in the higher part of the thigh, and I tied it up with a necktie; the deceased was in great agony and expired soon afterwards. - William Brewer deposed that he was a workman of the last witness. On that morning he was called by a fellow servant to take home the deceased with a horse and cart. Witness proceeded to where LEWORTHY was lying in the road and noticed a very large effusion of blood. He placed him in the cart and took him to his house in South-street. - Thomas Elworthy corroborated the statement of the last witness and the Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death. - The deceased was a powerful labourer, 35 years of age and was proceeding to Warkleigh to his work and unfortunately took the gun in his pocket which was the cause of his premature death. He has left a wife and children to bewail his loss. We are informed there is every probability that if medical assistance could have been immediately procured his life would have been saved.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 4 December 1866
HONITON - Suspicious Death Of A Newly-Born Infant. - On Monday an Inquest was held before Spencer M. Cox, Esq., at Tracey, the residence of George Neumann, Esq., to Inquire into the circumstances connected with the death of the newly-born male child of SARAH ANN BENNETT, a domestic servant in Mr Neumann's employ. On Saturday, the 20th October last, SARAH ANN BENNETT, the daughter of HENRY BAKER BENNETT, of Uffculme, ropemaker, engaged herself at Tracey, as dairymaid and under-housemaid. she entered the service on the 24th of October. Mrs Neumann did not see her until the following day and she was then struck with her appearance. A day or two afterwards Mrs Neumann questioned her and she replied that there was nothing wrong; but said that she had always been told her shoulders were very curiously shaped. Mrs Neumann spoke of her leaving, but she several times repeated that there was nothing wrong; and, as she spoke in an apparently honest and straightforward manner, Mrs Neumann never referred to the subject again, except to tell her on the same morning that she would retain her. Rachel Climo, the cook, noticed BENNETT'S appearance when she came, but never spoke to her on the subject or heard her speak of it. On Friday evening, whilst Climo was making some puddings, BENNETT said she felt sick with looking at them and she went to bed before prayer-time which is ten o'clock. About ten minutes after ten, Climo went to bed, previously going to SARAH BENNETT'S room, to know if she would have anything. She was in bed and said she did not require anything. BENNETT slept in a room by herself adjoining Climo's. About four o'clock in the morning Climo heard someone moving about in BENNETT'S bedroom, and expected something was amiss, but did not like to go in. Climo went downstairs about a quarter to seven; the housemaid, Susan Bowden and BENNETT were both down before her. Before going down she went into BENNETT'S bedroom, where she saw what appeared to be the evidences of a recent child-birth. Climo mentioned the matter to Susan Bowden and it was eventually communicated to Mr Neumann, who went at once to the bedroom and, after examining it, sent for Mr Grundry, of Honiton, Surgeon, who arrived shortly after eight o'clock. On his arrival, he had a conversation with Mr Neumann, in consequence of which he went to BENNETT'S bedroom, where he found all the appearances of a recent child-birth. He then went into the nursery and SARAH ANN BENNETT was sent for. She came at once and on being questioned by Mr Grundry admitted having been confined, and said that the child would be found under the bed. Mrs Neumann and the nurse then left the room and shortly returned, saying they could not find it. Mr Grundy pressed her to tell where it was, when she reiterated that it was under the bed. Mrs Neumann again went upstairs and Mr Grundy accompanied her and they found the dead body of an infant under the second mattress of BENNETT'S bed. The Coroner was at once communicated with, and under his warrant Mr Grundy made a post mortem examination of the body. He found the child to be fully developed. There were no external marks of injury, and the appearance of the lungs and heart and the effect upon them of the usual tests were such as to prove that the child had breathed, but had died from loss of blood at birth. BENNETT had told Mr Grundy that the child had never cried, and this he thought might be true, notwithstanding the fact that breathing was fully established. ANNE BENNETT, the mother of SARAH ANN BENNETT, said that she never knew of even suspected that there was anything wrong with her daughter. She received a note from her daughter on some repairs and three or four yards besides. She sent the calico. On Sunday, CHARLOTTE BENNETT, another daughter, found some infant's clothing in a box which SARAH ANN BENNETT had given her six weeks before. The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased had died from loss of blood at birth. It is understood that a warrant has been applied for to apprehend SARAH ANN BENNETT on a charge of concealment of birth.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 11 December 1866
LYDFORD - A convict, named GEORGE FOTHERGILL, in Dartmoor Prison, died of cholera on Monday night. An Inquest was held by the Coroner on Tuesday morning and the funeral took place in the course of the afternoon.