KNOTTINGLEY INQUEST REPORTS
FROM THE WAKEFIELD ARCHIVES
Ref: C493 - K2/1/32 number 1672
Inquest into the death of WILLIAM COWARD, 21st May 1869, at the house
of Frederick Saul, Greyhound Inn, Ferry Fryston.
Mattw Coward who is a lime burner.
Deced was 1 and ½ years old this month and my son. He has always been a
very strong and healthy child. He has been able to walk and run about
for the last 6 months. Yesterday morning about 11 o'clock he was
standing alone in the yard when I went into the house. The garden gate
was shut and fastened. After I had been in the house 5 or 10 minutes my
sister Eliza who is 17 years old went out to look after deced. A minute
or two afterwards I went out and saw Eliza on the front road. She said
she could not find deced. I looked about the yard and then opened the
garden gate and went down the garden. As I was passing an open well near
the bottom of the garden I saw deced's clothes in the water. The well
has been uncovered for several years past. The water is about 6 feet
from the top of the well and is about 3 feet deep. I called out and Thos
Robinson came and went down the well and pulled out deced's body. 2 or 3
weeks ago I put a box with some bricks in it against the water tub and
the end of the railings to prevent deced from getting into the garden. I
found the box a little removed yesterday morning after deced's body was
found. Deced had his face upwards.
Thomas Robinson of Ferrybridge a Railway Platelayer says: I was working on
the bank of the North Eastern Railway about 60 or 70 yards from the well
yesterday morning about a quarter past 11 o'clock and suddenly heard
screams. On turning round I saw Hannah Coward in the garden and I ran to
her with Jas Shepherd who was working near to me. On reaching the well I
saw deced in the well and as I thought moving his eyelids and lips
slightly. I took the body out and handed it to Shepherd. The diameter of
the well is rather more than a yard. I saw no signs of injury except a
slight graze on the right cheek.
Verdict: Accidentally drowned.