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Colonial Cases


The Observer, 6 January 1799

Norwich. - On Monday, Richard Shorter, servant to Mr. Smith, of Burlingham, was bruized to pieces by the wheels of his waggon, which went over him.

   On Sunday, an inquisition was held on the body of W. Watson, a boy deaf and dumb, near six years old, who in the absence of his mother, was burned to death.

   A similar accident happened to Violetta Porter, on Wednesday.


The Observer, 10 March 1799

   John Frost, a fine young man in his 21st year, Elizabeth Scorthorn and George Woods, were last week conveyed to Norwich Hospital, in consequence of having several bones fractured by the wheels of waggons.  Frost died shortly after his removal.


The Observer, 1 June 1800

   A man was last week killed near Norwich, by the flails of a wind-mill striking him.


The Observer, 17 January 1802

   On Thursday a boy about eight years of age was amusing himself, by riding on the arm of the wheel of a mill, at Norwich, when his clothes unfortunately caught in the cogs, which drew him under, and he as killed.

   A woman was burned to death on Thursday last at Norwich, by a spark flying out of the fire on her cloaths.


The Observer, 4 July 1802

   An Inquest was taken at Upper Heigham, on Tuesday, on S. Sewell, aged 66, who was found dead in his bed. - verdict Accidental Death.


The Observer, 23 January 1803

   Thursday an inquest was taken at Norwich, on the body of a young man, the son of Mr. Low, a respectable farmer [at] Hilgay, who, while skating, the preceding day, on the river, ran into the passage opened for the ferry-boat, and was drowned.


The Observer, 13 February 1803


   Last week the infant son of Mr. Atlmerton, near Cromer, in Norfolk, while standing by the fire, pulled a kettle of boiling water over his face and neck, by which he was so dreadfully scalded that he expired on the following day.


The Observer, 13 February 1803


   An inquest was taken on Monday at Norton Subcourse, Norfolk, on the body of A. Carr, an idiot, aged 27, who was burned to death while sitting in a chair by the fire.


Cambrian, 28 May 1810

An Inquisition was lately held at Norwich, on the body of J. Harvey, a private in the 24th Light Dragoons, who, in consequence of being disappointed in obtaining his discharge and marrying, drowned himself the preceding day, near the new bridge at Carrow.  He was only 20 years of age.  The Jury returned a verdict of Lunacy.


Cambrian, 1 September 1810

The daughter of a labourer in Ber-street, Norwich, having, on Tuesday last, a trifling dispute with her mother, went into the garden, and drowned herself in a well.  The deceased was under 17 years of age.


Cambrian, 30 May 1818

Hydrophobia. - A very extraordinary case of this dreadful disease has lately occurred at Coltishall, Norfolk, in a boy seven years of age.  It appears, that so far back as October, 1815, he was bitten in the cheek by a pointer dog, who died soon afterwards in an unequivocal  state of madness.  The child's wound, however, having been treated with caustic, healed without producing any bad effect; but on the 13th of April last he became restless, lost his sleep and appetite, and when seen by a medical gentleman on the 16th, was declared to labour under hydrophobia, and on that evening he died.


Cambrian, 23 November 1822

DIED. - On Monday morning last, at Brecon, Robert Cooke, Esq. Barrack-master.  He was found dead by his bed-side; and on a Coroner's inquest being held, the Jury returned a verdict of - Died by the Visitation of God. ... - Mr. Cooke was a native of Norwich or its neighbourhood.


North Wales Gazette (Bangor), 24 April 1823


   A Coroner's Inquest held Sunday at Newmarket, on the body of Mr. Edward Johns, of Bartlow - deceased was riding Thursday between Dullingam and Newmarket, when  horse's foot caught a rolling stone, and  falling upon his rider, so injured him that he died. - verdict accordingly.

     A few days since, a poor man and his wife, who live at a short distance from this city, unfortunately quarrelled.  The wife, in consequence, determined to be revenged, and took the following singular course for that purpose.  Shortly after the dispute, the man went into his garden to work, and the woman, on going out, told him it was her determination to hang herself, which, however, her spouse treated with indifference.  The woman accordingly dressed up an effigy in her own  apparel and hung it by the neck, from a balk over the staircase.  The husband neither hearing nor seeing his wife for upwards of an hour, recollected the threat, and went into the house.  The fire was out, but in consequence of his wife being near her confinement, he imagined she was laid down, and accordingly was up stairs, when, to his great horror, he observed, as he supposed, his wife hanging dead from the top of the stairs.  He immediately, in the greatest terror, ran out to call his neighbours, who came provided with knives to cut her down, when the trick was discovered, and the poor man had the pleasure of observing his dear spouse laughing intolerably at his dismay and perplexity. - Norwich Mercury.


The Cambrian, 5 January 1828

   The neighbourhood of Brisley has also been in the greatest consternation for the last few days.  A poor little boy, named William Moore, about fourteen years old, was sent by his master, a boot-maker, from Litcham, on Sunday morning, on a donkey, with two pairs of boots, for a gentleman at Brisley; and, on his way home in the evening, he was murdered in the most inhuman manner; he was stabbed in three different places in his breast, and his throats was cut from ear to ear; his body was then cut open, and his bowels and liver pulled out.  The horrid deed was committed in the parish of Brisley.  A man named John Kenney, of Foxley, has been fully committed to Norwich gaol, on suspicion of having been seen loitering about, and  sworn to have been in the boy's company a short time before the body was discovered.


Carmarthen Journal, 18 April 1828

   A man named Webber was killed on Sunday, the 23d inst. in a drunken pugilistic contest at Stockton, Norfolk - Eaton, his antagonist, is committed to Norwich gaol for manslaughter.


The Monmouthshire Merlin, 23 May 1829


Murder at Diss, in Norfolk. - The inhabitants of the above town were thrown into a state of alarm on Thursday morning, on discovering the body of a woman, named Goodreham, better known by that of Bryant, in a lane called Broome-lane, opposite Mr. Cornell's mill, on the way to Royden.  The deceased was seen by a little boy walking in company with a man in that direction, about nine o'clock, and about twelve the same night, a woman, named Barker, heard a violent screaming, apparently proceedings from the same spot.  On examining the body, several wounds were found to have been inflicted, and of such a nature as to leave no doubt that that the intentions of the perpetrator had been too fully accomplished.  As yet nothing has transpired which can lead to any discovery of the murderer or murderers.  A coroner's inquest was held in the afternoon, and adjourned until Wednesday next.

Norwich. - A shocking accident occurred on the Hardwick road on Monday night, between eleven and twelve o'clock.  Mr. Christopher Hawes, baker, was found at the corner of the road, at the entrance of the town, (near the gas works,) bleeding profusely, and in a state of insensibility, by three gentlemen who were returning from a fishing excursion.  Mr. Hawes had passed them not two minutes before, near a place, called Horsely's Chase, in a small square cart, and driving very fast.  He had no doubt, by turning the corner too suddenly, and perhaps by the wheel coming in contact with a stone, been jolted out of the vehicle.  The medical gentleman who was on the spot in the shortest possible time, declared that no human assistance could have saved the deceased.  He had, by the violence of the fall, fractured his skull and broken a blood vessel.


The Monmouthshire Merlin, ACCIDENTS, OFFENCES, &C.

The Diss murder. - Notwithstanding the extraordinary pains taken to discover the perpetrator of the late barbarous murder, for the present, it seems, he eludes the grasp of justice.  Suspicion rests upon a young man whose name is Kerry, a butcher, living at Diss.  Both him and his mother are remanded till Tuesday, for further examination.  It is remarkable, that the husband of the woman murdered at Diss, who had left his wife some time, should happen to reside at Kensington, near the spot where another woman was murdered on the same night, and it is supposed at the same hour, as his own wife at Diss; and still more that he should be, as is positively stated, the very man who assisted a woman to carry into a house the murdered body at Kensington. - Suffolk Chronicle.


Carmarthen Journal, 19 June 1829

   Some weeks ago, a young woman was found murdered at Diss, in Norfolk, under circumstances of peculiar atrocity.  The murderer has not been raced; but among those to whom suspicion attached, was a young butcher, who was apprehended last week.  In order to test his guilt or innocence, the body was exhumed, and the young man was ordered by the Magistrates to approach the body, look at it, and to touch it.  He underwent the singular ordeal without betraying any symptoms of trepidation; and the body was again consigned to the grave.


The Monmouthshire Merlin, 5 September 1829


On Saturday last at Foxley, of an apoplectic seizure, in the 44th year o his age, Tracy Guy; he had lived upwards of twenty years a faithful servant in the family of Uvedale Price, Esq.


The Cambrian, 26 September 1829

SUICIDE OF J. IVES, ESQ. BANKER, of NORWICH . - On Monday afternoon, about three o'clock, the city of Norwich was thrown into great consternation, occasioned by the shocking death of the above named individual, who destroyed himself, while under temporary derangement, by means of a loaded pistol, in the privy of the grounds of St. Catherine's Hill, leaving a disconsolate widow and eleven children to lament his loss. Mr. Ives was a gentleman of the highest respectability in that city, and universally esteemed by all those who were honoured with his friendship. He principal cause which tended to subvert the organ of reason, was an advance of a sum of above 20,000l. to an individual, a manufacturer of Norwich, who has since become bankrupt.  The conduct of the partners of this respectable firm has been dignified by their upright and noble candour towards their claimants in a prompt and speedy issue of specie, which has prevented anything in the shape of a run, so as to endanger the peace of the city.  The deceased was in the prime of life, and is supposed to have died very rich. - Verdict, Temporary insanity.


Carmarthen Journal, 23 October 1829

FATAL EFFECT OF PASSION. - Recently a woman residing at Norwich, being displeased with a little girl, her stepdaughter attempted to strike her with a brush which she had in her hand; but instead of the meditated blow falling upon the object of her vengeance, at alighted upon the head of her own baby, which she carried in her arm, with such violence as to cause almost instantaneous death.


The Cambrian, 28 August 1830

   To calamitous accidents have just happened by the upsetting of pleasure boats.  The first occurred on the river Ouse, by which seven young persons under  20 years of age were drowned; viz. four sons and two daughters of Mr. Rigg, residing on the Fulford road, and Miss Grace Robison, of Ayton, near Scarborough, who was on a visit to the family.

   The other occurrence happened on the Stoke and Brandon rover near Buckenham Ferry; when Mr. John Drake, of Cambridge, Mr. P. Drake, the artist, and another brother a youth under 12 years of age, sons of the Rev. Thomas Drake, of Bradiston, were all drowned.


Carmarthen Journal, 3 September 1830

DISRESSING AND FATAL ACCIDENT. - On the 19th ult. A melancholy occurrence happened on the Stoke and Brandon river, near Buckenham Ferry, Norfolk, by the upsetting of a pleasure boat, in which five individuals were sailing, viz. Mr. Adcock, solicitor of this town, Lieut. Drake, and Mr. John Drake, solicitor and surveyor of taxes in this town; Mr. F. Drake, the artist, and another brother, a youth about 12 years of age; the latter four were sons of the Rev. Thomas Drake of Brandston.  A sudden gust of wind caught the boat at a moment when she as not under way, and carried her under water to the opposite side if the river.  Mr. Alcock saved himself by swimming on shore, and Lieut. Drake also escaped by clinging to the main-mast; but the other three, we are sorry to add, were all drowned.  What rendered this circumstance of this dreadful calamity still more distressing was that Mrs. J. Drake and a large party of ladies and gentlemen (most of them members of Mr. Drake's family) were in a boat near the spot, and witnessed the fatal catastrophe, without being able to render any assistance. - Cambridge Chronicle.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 1 January 1831

   An affray took place on the night of the 23d of December, between the keepers of Colonel Peel's estate at Wallington, near Downham, and a gang of poachers, in which Mr. James Weston, officer to the Sheriff of Norfolk, and constable at Downham, lost his life.  The keepers, on hearing shots fired in the preserves about eleven o'clock, procured the assistance of Mr. Weston.  They came up with the poachers, when one of the latter called out to Weston, "Jem ! you are near enough," The same person, or some other of the poachers, instantly shot Weston between the ribs on the right side.  He expired in about two hours after.  The poachers escaped.


Carmarthen Journal, 22 July 1831

CAUTION TO PARENTS AND NURSES. - Wednesday last an inquest was taken at Little Melton, before Mr. Pilgrim one of the county coroners, on view of the body of Jos. Ling, a child about four years of age, who died the preceding day in consequence of falling with a pair o scissors in his hand, which pierced nearly two inches deep into his left side.  The Jury being satisfied that there was no blame attached to the parents, & after making every necessary inquiry, returned a verdict of Accidental Death. - Norwich Mercury.


Carmarthen Journal, 12 August 1831

DREADFUL  MURDERS. - Wednesday an inquest was taken at East Ruston, in Norfolk, before Mr. Pilgrin, coroner, on the bodies of Hannah, the wife of John Rudd Turner, and George, their son, the former being shot by the husband, and the latter drowned by him.  It appeared that Mr. Turner is the occupier of a wind-mill and a few acres of land, at East Ruston; that he is 50 years of age, and his wife was about 22; that he had been married to her only 12 years; that they had lived on wretched terms since their marriage; there was a mutual jealousy existing between them, and he was frequently heard to make use of strong expressions against her.  Monday they quarreled in their bed-chamber; the husband appeared enraged at what she said; he rose next morning about two, leaving her and an infant under 12 months asleep; he walked about the house, it being dark, occasionally going into his wife's room, till about four; then he took his gun, which he had previously charged, went into her bed-room, and finding his wife asleep with her head on the pillow, and the infant by her side, discharged the gun at them both; the contents lodged in his wife's head, the babe was not much injured; she instantly screamed violently, but the wretched man desired the servant, who was in her bed-room very near, not to come into the room without his leave; then, finding the innocent babe was not much hurt, he took it from the mother's side (who was almost immersed in blood, and in a dying state) into his arms, carried it down stairs, and drowned it in the water-tub; he remained with it until it was as he supposed quite dead; he then brought the child up again and laid it by its mother's side in the blood; having a doubt whether there were not some sparks of life still remaining, he took the servant's feather-bed and laid it on the top of both mother and child; this was the state in which they were both found.  The Jury returned a verdict of Wilful murder, and the wretched man was sent to prison the same evening. - Norwich Mercury.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School