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"What the Papers Said"

"What the Papers Said"

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Publications & Research "What the Papers Said"

Shropshire, 1899

Shropshire, 1899


Wellington Journal & Shrewsbury News, 1st July 1899

On Saturday an inquest was held at the White horse Inn, Wrockwardine Wood, before Mr. J. W. Littlewood (deputy coroner) on the body of John Fenn (49), a collier, who, as stated in the Journal last week, was killed while performing his duties at the Lilleshall Company’s Granville Pits, near St. George’s. Mr. W. N. Atkinson (Her Majesty’s inspector of mines) was in attendance.

Stephen Cooper, a collier, living at Trench Lane, said he was working with the deceased on the previous day at No. 1 pit, in the top coal seam. They were engaged that day breaking stone, when a lump of shale fell from the roof on Fenn, and forced him to the ground on his face. The deceased cried for help. Henry Fox, Isaac Jervis, and witness went to his assistance, but before they could get the stone and rubbish off the deceased he was dead. They got him up at once and removed him home.

By the Inspector: They were building a pack wall alongside the road. Witness was working on the opposite side to the deceased. After the accident witness saw a slip, and the fall came off very suddenly; there were two props there, and the fall was between the props, which would be about 3ft. 6in, apart. So far as witness could see there was no danger. Witness would have worked just as the deceased did. Witness saw the deceased examine the roof the same day. No shots had been fired that morning. There was plenty of timber there if the deceased had wanted it. Witness said he thought the stone fell quite accidentally and without any warning.

Henry Fox, a collier, living at Wrockwardine Wood, said he was working near to the deceased, but did not see any danger or signs that a fall was likely to occur. Witness did not think anyone was to blame for what occurred.

By the Inspector: When he got deceased out witness saw two slips, which could not have been seen before. Witness did not think there was any neglect or carelessness on anyone’s part; what occurred was a pure accident. Isaac Jervis gave corroborative evidence, and the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

The funeral took place on Tuesday at Wrockwardine Wood Church. Deceased’s fellow work men showed their great respect and regard by attending in large numbers. They were accompanied by 20 brethren of the “Lily of the Valley” Lodge of Oddfellows, of which deceased had been a member for many years, and besides these a numerous company of friends and neighbours joined the cortege. All along the route of the procession the road was lined by people, while the blinds of the houses were drawn.

The service was conducted by the rector, the Rev. T. Rogerson, and his curate, the Rev. A. New. The Rector delivered a short address, in which he referred to the sudden manner in which deceased had been cut off from his wife, children, and friends, and impressed upon those present the duty of being ready. The customary service of the Oddfellows was then effectively read by P.P.G.M. Richard Brothwood, at the close of which the brethren cast their sprig of thyme on the coffin and shook hands over it, closing the solemn ceremony by singing a hymn. There was a number of beautiful wreaths contributed by relatives and friends.

Submitted by Steve Dewhirst
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