John Edward Down

Date published: 15/09/2017
© Newbury Weekly News 28 January 1897 and Berkshire Chronicle 23 January 1897

John Edward Down (1871 – 1896)
He was born in 1871 at Greys Court, Henley-on-Thames, the eldest child of John Edward Down and Ann, nee Gates. His parents were employed at Greys Court – his father as a Coachman and his mother as the Housekeeper/Cook. He grew up at Greys Court and by 1891, aged 19 years, he was employed as a Groom by the Lack family, in Southgate, Edmonton, Middlesex. Then tragedy struck when he went missing in December 1896 as reported in the Berkshire Chronicle dated 2 January 1897:

“THE MISSING MEN –Neither of the missing men, John Hobbs, the Craven runner, nor John Edward Down, a groom, who left his home mysteriously on the 23rd, have been discovered. Down had been very depressed, and there is every fear that he has committed suicide, as he put on his old clothes, and left instructions as to the disposal of his belongings. The river has been searched without result.”

Eventually his body was found and the two newspaper reports detail his last days. He was buried in a private grave on 25 January 1897 aged 26 years. His father, John Edward Down, who died on 19 April 1898, aged 67 years, is buried with him.

(Footnote: John Hobbs had been missing since 5 December and was found drowned in the river Kennet on 9 January 1897. He was a runner with the Craven Hunt. There was an inquest (Report in Berkshire Chronicle 16/1/1897) and to date there is no record that he was buried in Newtown Cemetery).

Sources:Newbury Weekly News, Berkshire Chronicle

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