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Knottingley and Ferrybridge Local History

KNOTTINGLEY INQUEST REPORTS

FROM THE WAKEFIELD ARCHIVES

Ref: C493 - K2/1/33 number 1721
Inquest into the death of THOMAS HORRICKS, 23rd July 1869, at the house of Thos Nichols, Beehive Inn, Knottingley.

Mary Jane the wife of Joseph Keithley a Printer (Compositor) says:
I lived at Low Green, Knottingley with deced who was my brother. He was 26 years old and a Labourer in Earthenware Pottery. He has not worked for the last 6 or 8 weeks as he has suffered from diarrhoea and since my mothers death last week he has been very low spirited. He has not been confined to bed. Last Wednesday he seemed to be very wild in his appearance but he was in no way violent. He ate his meals. Mr Hollingworth attended him up to a fortnight ago. There has not been any unpleasantness since my mothers death. He went to bed about 11 o'clock last Wednesday night as usual and then appeared to be calm. He has frequently been restless and talking during the night since my mother died but last Wednesday he talked more than usual. He was in bed about a quarter of an hour and I put out the candle to try to keep him quiet. Mrs Earnshaw was with me. About 10 minutes afterwards after continuing to talk very wildly he set up a shriek and said my mother had been to him and that he was going into a fit. He screamed and shook the bed. I went to him and after a while he became composed and told me to go to bed again and he would go to sleep. I had no sooner laid myself down again than he began to shout and scream saying my mother had come again to fetch him. He got up and lighted the candle and said he wanted a drink of water. He drank about a pint and then said he would fetch some more. I told him he had had sufficient. He walked rapidly around the room and suddenly set off downstairs closing the doors after him. I opened the window and saw him come out of the house door. I called him to come back. He then threw himself down on the ground saying he was in a fit. I told him that if he did not come in I should fetch him. He then jumped up saying "I'm going to drown myself you'll never see me more, Good-bye lass." He then ran across the road and I and Mrs Earnshaw went out but could not see anything of him. We made an immediate alarm. Deced was always weak intellect. He never had a fit that I know of and never heard him talk about one before.

Harriet Earnshaw of Knottingley a Widow says:
Last Saturday night I went to stay with Mrs Keithley. Deced was the only other person in the house. He seemed to be very weak but to be no worse than usual in his mind. He has gradually become restless at nights and last Wednesday he talked very incoherently. After getting into bed that night he began to shout and knock the chairs about. Mrs Keithley went to him. I then began to find out that he was really insane but he suddenly rushed downstairs. Mrs Keithley opened the window and called out to him but he said he would go and drown himself. Mrs Keithley and I went out and round the neighbours immediately. It would be about 1 o'clock yesterday morning when deced went out. He was never considered to be bright.

Robert Smith of Knottingley a Ship Carpenter says:
I have known deced for many years past. He has been in the habit of coming into the yard when we are at work. He has appeared to grow thin and weak lately. He came last Wednesday noon and seemed to be as usual. Yesterday morning about 11 o'clock I was on a vessel which was pulled out of the Knottingley and Goole canal on to a slip and then I saw deced's body in the Dock or inlet from the canal. He had on his shirt and stockings and did appear to have received any injury.

Verdict: Drowned himself when of unsound mind.

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