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Coroners Inquests in Gloucestershire from The Gloucester Journal 1817
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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.

The Gloucester Journal was a newspaper in Gloucester founded by Robert Raikes the Elder and William Dicey in 1722.

The first issue of the Gloucester Journal appeared on April 9, 1722. Before that date there were thirty-six provincial newspapers published, and of those only six have survived to the present day.

1817

Jan 6. INQUESTS. Taken before William Joyner, Esq. Coroner: On Saturday night, at the Angel Inn, Coleford, on view of the body of an infant named JAMES BROWN, aged about four years, burnt to death by his clothes taking fire in the absence of his parents. Verdict, Accidental Death.

And, on Monday last, at the White Hart, Iron Acton, on the body of FRANCIS LEAR, labourer, late of the parish of Frampton Cotterell, near Bristol, who was killed in the evening of the preceding Saturday, by a gun shot discharged from the hands of WILLIAM BOYD, labourer. It appeared that BOYD, whilst watching his potato pit, which had been frequently robbed, perceiving LEAR approach and begin to plunder, went up to him, when a scuffle ensuing, FRANCIS LEAR was shot dead in the affray. After a full investigation which occupied the attention of a respectable jury nearly the whole of the day, (the body having been previously examined by an eminent surgeon,) a verdict of Manslaughter was returned in consequence of which BOYD was committed to our county gaol for trial at the next Assizes.

The following inquests have lately been taken before W Trigg, Gent. Coroner: On the 27th. at Stanley St Leonards, on view of the body of CHARLES JAMES, aged four years, who was burnt to death, in consequence of his shirt taking fire, whilst lifting a tea kettle of boiling water from off the fire.

On the 31st, on the body of MARY TIPPER, found dead at Hambrook.

Same day, on the body of RICHARD RYLAND, aged 68, who fell into a brook between Cirencester and Preston, and was drowned. Verdict in each case, Accidental Death.

On Wednesday last, on the body of THOMAS TOWNSEND, found drowned in the Thames and Severn Canal, the preceding evening; his hat being seen on the towing path, led to the discovery of his body. Verdict, Found Drowned.

And, on Friday, at Blakeney, on the body of an illegitimate infant, named JOHN PRITCHARD, aged about twenty months, placed out to nurse at the house of WILLIAM WIGGLES, of that place. The child having died suddenly, suspicions were entertained that something improper had been administered in its food; but, upon a patient investigation, and after repeated tests, no proofs were obtained calculated in any degree to justify an opinion of injurious treatment; and the body, on dissection, exhibiting indications of visceral disease sufficient to account for a natural death, the jury returned a verdict, Died of Disease.

Jan 20. MELANCHOLY OCCURRENCE. On Saturday night, the sentry who was on guard at the hospital of the 28th regiment, near the Foreign Bridge, in this city, was attacked by a cow, which was being driven out of town, and gored in a most dreadful manner. The poor fellow’s body was ripped open from the groin upwards, and the intestines so much injured, that he was conveyed to our Infirmary in a hopeless state. Such, however, has been the eminent professional skill and attention exercised in this deplorable case, that a cure is yet expected.

INQUEST. On Saturday se’nnight, an inquest was taken at Sandhurst, before Thos Commeline, Esq. Coroner, on view of the body of CHARLES DANIEL, aged four years, who was burnt to death in consequence of his clothes taking fire. Verdict, Accidental Death.

Jan 27. On Thursday last a child was burnt to death in this city, in consequence of its clothes taking fire during the absence of its mother. The little sufferer was left alone in the kitchen of its parents, and by playing with the fire, it is supposed, the melancholy accident was occasioned. It was immediately conveyed to our Infirmary, where it lingered till next day, and then expired.

INQUESTS. Taken before William Trigg, Gent. Coroner: On the 8th. at Bibury, in this county, on view of the body of THOMAS PHIPPS, a youth aged eight years, who was killed by coming into contact with a threshing machine.

On the 11th, at Eastington, on the body of Mr THOMAS DOWDESWELL, butcher, late of that place, who was killed by the overturning of his cart, on Friday evening, in returning from Stroud market.

And on the 13th, at Cirencester, on the body of WILLIAM WILLIAMS, aged eleven months, who was drowned in a brook at Watermoor. His mother, having the infant in her arms, on the preceding Saturday evening, from the darkness of the night fell in, and lost her child, which was not discovered for an hour after. Verdict, in each case, Accidental Death.

On Friday morning, about three o’clock, two men were found at the top of Broad street, Bristol, in a state of insensibility, proceeding from intoxication; they were removed to a public house, when suspended animation was restored to one; the other, a Mr STATEM, formerly a Captain in the Army, could not be recovered. Coroner’s Verdict, Died by excessive drinking.

On the 14th, an inquest was held at the parish of Woolhope, Herefordshire, on the body of RICHARD WYNNIATT, a fine boy aged seven years. On investigation, it appeared that the father, a respectable farmer of that parish, on the 9th, evinced symptoms of derangement. On the following morning he became so extremely violent as to alarm his family and servants to such a degree, that some of them left the house, whilst others secured themselves therein, leaving the deceased with his father. After having put the unfortunate infant to repeat prayers, the maniac seized his helpless child by the throat and strangled him. Verdict, That the father, when he was insane, killed the said RICHARD WYNNIATT. The unhappy man still continues in a violent state.

Feb 3. INQUESTS. Taken before William Joyner, Esq. Coroner: On the 25th, at the Angel Inn, Coleford, on view of the body of GEORGE HARRIS, (aged 22 years,) who was descending a coalpit in the Forest of Dean, in company with another person, when the pole fastened to the pulley wheel flew out, and fell upon him, just as he reached the bottom (26 fathoms) which caused his death. Verdict, Accidental Death.

On Tuesday last, at Dursley, on the body of Mrs SUSANNAH TIDMAN, aged 65 years, who, being in a deranged state of mind for some time past, set herself on fire, and was in consequence thereof, before any assistance could be rendered, so dreadfully burnt as to cause her death. Verdict, Lunacy.

Feb 10. WILLIAM HARRIS, Hostler at the New Inn, Ledbury, Herefordshire, murdered on Thursday; one person arrested Friday at Worcester; On Feb 17, RED UNDERWOOD arrested for the murder.

Mar 3. INQUESTS. Taken before William Joyner, Esq. Coroner: On the 17th, at the parish of St Philip and Jacob, near Bristol, on view of the body of a man unknown, found drowned in the river Avon on the preceding Saturday; he appeared to be about 40 years of age, 5 feet 4 inches high, stout and well made, dark hair; had on a blue coat, striped waistcoat with yellow buttons, duck small clothes, ribbed stockings and strings in his shoes.

And on the 21st, at Wotton Underedge, on the body of WILLIAM HUNT, aged 11 years, who, whilst employed in the clothing manufactory of Messrs Palser, of Hockmill, his clothes became entangled in the machinery and, before assistance could be rendered, was so much injured as to cause his death in about five minutes. Verdict in each case, Accidental Death.

The following inquests were taken before William Trigg, Gent. Coroner: At Cirencester, on view of the body of ANN COOPER, who hanged herself in her bedroom. Verdict, Lunacy.

At Bisley, on the body of JAMES MASON, who dropped down dead in his house. Verdict, Sudden Death.

At Cowhoneybourne, on the body of JAMES BAZELEY, who drowned himself in a pond. Verdict, Lunacy.

At Rodborough, on the body of HARRIETT FURNELL, aged twenty months, whose death was occasioned by drinking scalding water from the spout of a tea kettle.

At Minchinhampton, on the body of RED CLARKE, four years old, who was burnt to death in consequence of his clothes taking fire.

And, same day, at Leachlade, on the body of ELIZABETH STEVENS, aged 49, who fell into a draw well, and was killed. Verdict, in each case, Accidental Death.

At Stroud, on the body of a new born male child, found in a fish pond near that place; from evident marks it appeared that the infant had been still born, and thrown into the water for the purpose of concealment. Verdict, Stillborn.

And, at Painswick, on the body of a youth, named CHARLES GREVILLE, who, whilst riding sideways on a cart mare fell backwards in consequence of the animal’s running away, when his legs becoming entangled in the traces, he was dragged nearly a mile, and so dreadfully mangled as to occasion his death in a short period. Verdict, Accidental Death.

Mar 31. SUDDEN DEATHS. On Monday last, LYDIA CROOK, who had been a faithful servant to Mrs Edwards, of Tewkesbury, for upwards of eleven years, fell down in an apoplectic fit whilst eating her dinner, and instantly expired.

On Thursday morning, Mr THOMAS DUDFIELD, a respectable farmer of Bredon’s Norton, who had gone home, from Tewkesbury market, the preceding evening, in perfect health, was found dead in his bed.

SHOCKING ACCIDENT. On Thursday night, as Mr GEORGE NEWMARCH, attorney, of Burford, (late of Cheltenham,) was fixing a blunderbuss in his garden, it unfortunately burst; the shock threw him down, and completely stunned him; and his left hand was entirely blown off, not a vestige being left. Mr Newmarch was under the necessity of suffering amputation at the wrist on the same evening, but we rejoice to add, that he is doing very well.

INQUESTS. Taken before William Trigg, Gent. Coroner: On the 22nd, at Kingstanley, on the body of the Rev. THOMAS BAYLEY, who, soon after returning from an airing on horseback, fell down dead from his chair. Verdict, Sudden Death.

Same day, at Rodmarton, on the body of a new born male child, which was found floating in an unfrequented well, where it must have been several weeks, as it was in a very putrid state. As no facts could be ascertained as to the cause of its death or concealment, the jury returned a verdict, Died from some cause at present unknown, and found floating in a well of water.

Apr 14. Murder of ELIZABETH HARRY at Monmouth; JAMES HARRY, husband, committed for murder 21st April.

May 5. INQUESTS. Taken before William Trigg, Gent. one of the Coroners for this county: On the 17th, at Randwick, on view of the body of HANNAH VINES, who dropped down dead while eating her tea. Verdict, Sudden Death by the visitation of God.

On the 23rd, at South Cerney, on the body of WILLIAM PRIDEY, carrier, of Lydiard Purton, Wiltshire, who was riding in his cart, without reins, when the horse ran away, and, jumping out, he was struck down by the wheel, and the loaded cart passing over him, fractured his leg, and otherwise so dreadfully bruised him, that he died shortly after. Verdict, Accidental Death.

On the 24th, at Minchinhampton, on the body of SARAH WILLIAMS, who, whilst fetching some water from a trough about nine o’clock in the evening, fell down in a fit in the road, and was not discovered till the next morning.

On the 28th, at Stroud, on the body of REBECCA KENEY, who dropped down dead at the poor house. Verdict, in each case, Sudden Death.

On the 29th, at Painswick, on the body of JAMES HUNT, aged about twelve years, who fell into the Thames and Severn Canal, and was drowned. Verdict, Accidental Death.

On the morning of Saturday night, a poor weather beaten mariner was discovered lying in a ditch into which he had fallen, in almost a lifeless state, by a gentleman who accidentally saw him, and by whom he was placed under the care of some persons who undertook to send for the overseers of the poor. Towards the close of day, however, the poor fellow had crawled as far as the Leigh, about midway between this city and Tewkesbury, the overseers of which place put him into a stable, where they suffered him to remain all night, with only a little hay to be on, and a single blanket to cover him. On the Sunday morning he was informed that he must proceed on his journey, notwithstanding he earnestly entreated to be suffered to remain there and die. After proceeding a little way, he was unable to walk further, when the overseers procured a horse, and conveyed him to Tewkesbury, where he arrived in a most debilitated state.

The overseers of that borough, though he was brought in so illegal a manner, and during the time of Divine Service on Sunday, perceiving his helpless and miserable condition, ordered him to be immediately conveyed to the House of Industry, where proper medical aid, and every comfort which that well regulated establishment afforded, was administered with promptitude; and where he now lies with very little hope of recovery.

The unfortunate man’s name is ELLIS FRANCIS, a native of Clynnog, near Caernarvon, where his mother now resides on a small farm, and for which place he was now proceeding, after many years absence at sea. He was wrecked off the island of Madeira, on the 26th February last, in the Rebecca, Capt. Pricknipple, on his voyage from Jamaica to Liverpool, when the whole of the crew were drowned except himself, the captain, and mate, who remained together on a raft eight and forty hours, and were then picked up by a Falmouth packet, and conveyed to port, where his two fellow sufferers soon after died.

May 12. INQUESTS. Taken last week before William Joyner Ellis, Esq. one of the Coroners for this county: On Tuesday, at Clifton, on view of the bodies of two new born children, (one male and one female,) found dead and wrapped up in a flannel petticoat, upon a heap of cinders, at the back of York Crescent, early the preceding morning. It appearing from the evidence of two eminent surgeons that the children were twins and born alive, and that the male child died in consequence of his head being held under water till life was extinct, and the female child by strangulation, the jury returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown. The parish officers have since offered a large reward for the discovery of the perpetrators of this inhuman crime.

And, on Thursday, at Elberton, near Thornbury, on the body of Mr GEORGE HIGNELL, a respectable farmer, who was found dead in his bed chamber on Tuesday night. Verdict, Sudden Death by the visitation of God, in a fit of apoplexy.

On Saturday night, an inquest was held at Cheltenham, before T Commeline, Esq. Coroner, on the body of JOHN BETHELL, an out pensioner of Chelsea Hospital, who was found hanging to a tree in Pan’s Lodge Wood, the preceding evening. It appearing to the jury that he laboured under hereditary derangement, they returned a verdict of Lunacy.

May 19. INQUESTS. Taken last week, before William Joyner Ellis, Esq. Coroner: On Monday, at Whitehall, near Bristol, on view of the body of JAMES CORSLEY DAVIS, Esq. who, being in the act of loading his gun, it exploded, and the charge entering his body, killed him on the spot. Verdict, Accidental Death.

On Thursday, at Lidbrook, (in the presence of the Magistrates of the Forest Division,) on the body of Mr HENRY THOMPSON, who, whilst in the execution of his office as constable of the parish of Ruardean, was, about the hour of seven on the preceding morning, shot dead by WILLIAM TURNER, labourer, of the parish of Walford, in the county of Hereford, in company with his brother RICHARD TURNER and JOHN WHITTINGHAM, labourers, both of the same place, and RICHARD SCUFFLER, labourer, of St Briavell’s, all armed with guns and bludgeons. After a full investigation, the jury found a verdict of Wilful Murder against WILLIAM TURNER, and also against the above named three persons, for aiding and abetting the said WILLIAM TURNER to commit the murder.

May 26. The poor Welshman who was so illegally and inhumanly removed from the parish of Leigh to Tewkesbury, as mentioned in our paper of the 5th instant, died at the House of Industry, at the latter place, on Tuesday last. The poor fellow bore his sufferings throughout with great patience, and was ever grateful for the care and attention with which he was treated; but repeatedly observed, that the conduct of the parish officers towards him had often made him almost doubt whether he had been wrecked in a Christian country.

Jun 9. Monday last, a respectable farmer, named JOHN THAYERS, was killed at Crippett’s, near Leckhampton, in this county: As his waggon, heavily laden, was proceeding up a pitch, the horses from the extreme weight suddenly backed; when he put his shoulder to the wheel, to aid them; but the pressure being still too much for the animals, he was forced against a tree, and from the injury he sustained expired on the spot.

Jun 30. On Saturday night, Mr THACKER, builder, of Upton upon Severn, took shelter from the violence of the storm, at a toll house, near that town; he had not been in the house many minutes, when, after making an observation on the awfulness of the storm, he suddenly expired. It is supposed that the extreme agitation he suffered on beholding the conflict of the elements, occasioned his death.

Jul 7. INQUESTS. Taken before William Trigg, Gent. Coroner: On the 19th, at Wick Rissington, near Stow, on view of the body of WILLIAM BENNETT, who was killed on the spot, by a quantity of rubbish falling upon him in a quarry.

On the 23rd, at Lechlade, on the body of Mr JOSEPH BUTTON FOOT, sadler of that town, who, whilst bathing in the river, was suddenly seized with the cramp in a deep part of the river, when he immediately sunk, and, though a friend who accompanied him there was within a few yards of the spot, and heard him imploring succour, yet he was unable to render him any assistance! This unfortunate young man has left a wife and four small children to bewail his untimely death.

On the 24th, at Shennington, near Banbury, on the body of a youth named NATHANIEL PEDLAR, who was drowned whilst bathing in a fish pond.

On the 29th, at the Moat, Newent, on the body of DIANE DEVEREUX, who accidentally fell over the moat dyke, and was found drowned.

On the 30th, at Tibberton Mill, on the body of ANN SMITH, a child only four years of age, who fell into the mill pond, and was drowned.

And, on the 1st, at Cherrington, on the body of JOSEPH CLAPTON, who fell from a waggon he was unloading, and sustained so much injury in the head, that he survived the accident but a few hours. Verdict in each case, Accidental Death.

Jul 21. INQUESTS. On Wednesday last, an inquest was held at Long Marston, before Thomas Commeline, Esq. Coroner, on view of the body of RICHARD COOPER; and on Friday, at Hinton on the Green, on the body of JOSEPH LACEY, both found drowned. Verdict, in each case, Accidental Death.

Jul 28. INQUESTS. On Friday an inquest was held at Broadwell, near Stow, before Thomas Commeline, Esq. Coroner, on view of the body of THOMAS RUSSELL, who was riding on a load of hay, when the horse took fright, ran away and overturned the cart,whereby he was thrown against a barn, and his head so much injured, that he died very shortly after. Verdict, Accidental Death.

On Wednesday, an inquest was held before D Willey, Esq. Coroner, on view of the body of NOAH POWELL, a ship carpenter, of Wotton, near this city, who was picked up in the river Severn, near Minsterworth. No marks of violence being discovered on the body, the jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.

Aug 11. INQUESTS. The following inquests were last week taken before William Joyner Ellis, Esq. Coroner: On Monday, at Brockwear, in the parish of St Briavels, on view of the body of WILLIAM BROOKES, a waterman, aged 36 years, who fell overboard from a trow into the river Wye, and was drowned. Verdict, Accidental Death.

On Tuesday, at Marshfield, on the body of WILLIAM SMITH TALBOT, labourer, who hung himself by a small piece of cord fastened to a joist in the ceiling of the prison room, where he was confined on a suspicion of felony. The jury returning a verdict of Felo de se, he was buried the same afternoon in a cross road, in the presence of a large concourse of spectators.

And, on Friday, at Comb, in the parish of Wotton Underedge, on the body of ANTOINETTE BIGGERS, aged 12 years, who was thrown from her horse on Wednesday afternoon, in consequence of the animal taking fright; and her foot hanging in the stirrup, she was dragged nearly a mile before any assistance could be rendered her; her skull was fractured and she was otherwise so much bruised, that she died almost instantly. Verdict, Accidental Death.

On Friday, an inquest was taken at Mitcheldean, before T Commeline, Esq. on view of the body of WILLIAM BARNES, a child about three years of age, who was burnt to death by his clothes taking fire. Verdict, Accidental Death.

On Monday, an inquest was taken at the Island, in this city, before John Jefferies, Coroner, on the body of a boy about eight years of age, named WILKES, who, whilst at play on board a barge, fell into the bason of the Canal, and was drowned. Verdict, Accidental Death.

Aug 18. A waterman named THOMAS WITHY was unfortunately drowned on Tuesday night in the river Severn, near Pitchcroft ham, Worcester.

INQUEST. On Monday last, an inquest was taken at Bisley, before William Trigg, Gent. Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of FRANCES WOOD, single woman, of that place; when, after a full investigation, in which four medical gentlemen coincided in their evidence, a verdict was unanimously given, Died of a malignant typhus fever, and want of attention on the part of her parents. A report which had been industriously circulated against an individual in Stroud, on the subject of the illness of the deceased, was proved to be a gross and unfounded calumny.

Aug 25. JOSEPH HARRY was executed at Monmouth. Also Trial for the murder of H THOMPSON, and Sep 1, executions.

Sep 15. INQUESTS. On Saturday last, an inquest was taken at Upton St Leonards, in this county, before T Commeline, Esq. Coroner, on view of the body of WILLIAM HOPTON, (son of Mr RED HOPTON, of Wotton, near this city,) who was killed the preceding evening by the oversetting of a waggon loaded with hay, when the whole weight falling on him, he was so dreafully injured, that he survived the accident but a very short time. Verdict, Accidental Death.

A few days since, an inquest was taken at Minchinhampton, in this county, on the body of Mrs MARY DUTTON, of the Bourne, near that place, who, having an altercation with a man renting part of her house, he pushed her down five or six steps at the door; she was taken up senseless, and continued so for three weeks, when she died. Verdict, Homicide by accident.

At Upton upon Severn, on the body of WILLIAM PARSONS, a waterman, aged 22, who was drowned in the Severn on Sunday afternoon, whilst bathing. Verdict, Accidental Death.

Oct 22. Mr Parry of Castle Street, Bristol was robbed between the three and four mile stones beyond Stapleton. The highwayman behaved very civil and afterwards rode off towards Frenchay. He was a thin man of a sallow complexion with dark curled hair and rode a dark brown nag’s tail’d horse about 16 hands high with a black mane and tail and no mark on the face.’

Nov 5. ‘A man living at Pile Marsh, near Crew’s Hole near Kingswood, was going into a field to look at his cows left a horse which he rode in the care of his son, aged about eight, at the gate. The boy soon after tied the halter to his arm and the horse taking fright, ran away dragging the boy after him, which mangled him in so shocking a manner that before any assistance could be given, he was quite dead.’

Dec 25, On Christmas day, Edward Tyler, a cordwainer, was found dead on the highway, near the Flower Pot in Kingswood. An inquest at the Queen’s Head, Hanham, decided there had been a visitation of God.

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