Death by all manner of means
1844 – The Dangers of Alcohol
James Hyde of Linton was a married man with children; he had gone into Bromyard one morning with a sovereign and commenced drinking. He carried on imbibing throughout the day, until at around midnight he staggered his way towards home.
He was spotted standing near a meadow gate in the early hours of the morning, and then later that day his body was found almost upright in the River Frome. It appeared from marks on the bank that he had fallen asleep, but then rolled into the water.
1862 – Well Sinkers Drown
Two well sinkers, Richard Wall aged 27 with a wife and family, and William Gibbons aged 30 and unmarried, were working on a well at Linton.
As Richard managed to drop his hat down the well, and went down to retrieve it but the rope to which he was attached, broke, and he fell to the bottom. The well contained several feet of water, and from the surface of the water to the top was about 35 feet.
William immediately rushed to rescue his fellow worker, but didn’t think it through and once he too was at the bottom there was no way up for either of them! Nobody it seems heard that cries for help, and both were drowned.
1862 – Child Poisoned at Home
Thomas Bullock, a child of Eliza and Richard Bullock of Linton, died after drinking poison at home in March 1862.
Eliza said that she had bought some aquafortis and quicksilver (aquafortis being essentially nitric acid), and that she kept it on the dairy windowsill in an open bottle. She had told her children never to touch it because it was poison, however one day her husband Richard moved it to an open bin. It was obviously nearly empty, because Eliza had asked her daughter Mary to fill it with water so that it could be cleaned.
That same day, Eliza was sitting working on a glove, when little Thomas and his blind brother John Francis asked if they could fetch some of their father’s cider. She told them “NO”, but it seems they ignored her and went anyway.
A short time later, Eliza’s youngest daughter Mary came to her and told her that John was drinking the cider, so she immediately ran to see what was going on and found Thomas choking. It transpired that he had drunk from the poison bottle, and in spite of the immediate calling of a Dr. Owen, Thomas died before medical attention could be given.
The Coroner, Thomas Lanwarne, chastised the Bullocks for leaving the poison within reach of the children.