A drowning at Vowchurch;  a farewell to a schoolmaster; scarlet fever, and more

1817 – Worker falls from Vowchurch Church Roof

John Howells was repairing the roof of Vowchurch church, when he slipped and fell.

He died almost instantly.

1843 – Scarlet Fever Hits Vowchurch

Scarlet Fever was rampaging through the villages of Vowchurch and Turnastone, with more than forty cases being reported in children.

Ten deaths from the disease quickly resulted, and there was understandably some alarm in the neighbourhood, especially when whole households including 6 or 7 children were affected.

The outbreak gradually died out.

1848 – Sudden Death of Girl with Elephantitis

Catherine Verill, aged 15, had long suffered with enlarged legs and high temperatures;  on top of this, her mother was rather cruel to her.

Although it was accepted that her life would be short, when she died suddenly in September 1848 there was some suspicion that her mother had poisoned her.

Mr. Terry, a surgeon from Hereford, carried out a postmortem, and said that she died from inflammation of the bowels, and he could find no evidence of poison.

1858 – Falling Tree kills Vowchurch Man

John Layton was working with two other men in a dingle at Dorstone;  they were clearing trees and sawing the base of a large tree when it suddenly split.

The main trunk of the tree fell on John Layton, and he was killed instantly with “his skull being taken away from his face”.

John was 30 years old, and was inexperienced in wood felling – he was warned to run, but didn’t do so in time.

1861 – The Kindliness of Vowchurch Parishioners

On the occasion of the funeral of a Mrs. Lowther’s mother, most of the gentlemen farmers of Vowchurch and Turnastone met at the Rev. B. Lowther’s house and took it in turns to carry the coffin to the grave.

It was a sight that was said to leave a deep impression on those who witnessed it, and a feeling of real warmth at a time of sadness for the Lowther family.

1861 – Double Death at Vowchurch

On the 8th February 1861, inquests were held on Sarah Hopkins, employed by Mr. John Jones, a Vowchurch farmer, and then on John Jones himself.

Sarah had complained of pain in her side, but carried on working until on the morning of her death she was found by a fellow servant sitting on a bench in the kitchen, clearly very ill.  She died soon afterwards.

John Jones, 69, suffered with palpitations and after the death of Sarah Hopkins above, he said that he felt most unwell.  However, he refused to go to bed, and sat in the kitchen sweating profusely.

He was carried to a sofa and given brandy and water, but before he could drink it, he died.

The verdict for both was natural causes – personally I would have been a tad suspicious!

1899 – Drowning at Vowchurch

A little girl of 6 by the name of Annie Catherine Price, was the daughter of Emily Badham, nee Price, and confusingly was the adopted child of William Haynes and lived at Vowchurch.

She was playing with two other children in the meadow when she fell into the river.  Help was called, but the women who came were unable to reach Annie who was in deep water, so they rushed for more help;  sadly when they returned the child had disappeared.

A Mr. Kear went into the river and recovered Annie’s body – Dr. McMichael of Thruxton tried for nearly an hour to bring her back to life but to no avail.

1899 – A Farewell to Schoolmaster Mr. Orton

Mr. Orton went to Vowchurch in 1893, and immediately set to work with enthusiasm and unflagging vigour.  He arrived with excellent references, and they were certainly verified during his time at the school in Vowchurch, with his teaching, both religious and secular, being excellent.

Mrs. Orton was clearly an affectionate and loveable lady, and the children and their parents thought a great deal of her.

When he was offered a new post elsewhere, a splendid leaving do was arranged, and a quite considerable sum of money was collected for a present.  Solid silver articles were purchased, including a cruet engraved “presented to Mr. and Mrs. Orton, from friends at Vowchurch and Turnastone, April 3rd 1899″.  There was also a silver egg stand; cream jug;  biscuit box;  half a dozen table spoons, half a dozen dessert spoons, and a dozen tea spoons.

There was still some money left over, and the balance was given to the Orton’s children.