John Hobbs

Author: Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser
Date published: 29/12/2019
© Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser






By midday on Saturday morning it became known that the body John Hobbs, the late runner to the Craven Hounds, had been found in the water, just below Bull's Lock, as most people had predicted it would be. It was exactly five weeks since the disappearance of the deceased, who had last been seen at Newbury railway station, on the night of Saturday December 5th, having returned from Hungerford after a day's following the hounds. Since then he had not been seen, and from the fact that the deceased's dog came home shortly after the train arrived, and it being a very dark and rainy night, it was generally supposed Hobbs was drowned, having by some means fallen into the canal.

The body being recovered some distance beyond the Borough boundary, the County Coroner, Mr. J. C. Pinniger, ordered the inquest to be held at the "Swan" Inn, London-road. on Saturday night, the body having meanwhile been taken there.

Having been sworn the jury, of whom Mr. Charles Hedges was chosen foreman, the Coroner said that in viewing the body they had to perform a most unpleasant and, in his opinion, an unnecessary duty, indeed he hoped that shortly juries would be relieved of that needless part of their work. Taken to the premises in the rear of the house, the body was formally viewed, but from long immersion in the water the features were not readily recognisable..

This jury having returned to the inquest-chamber, Supt. Robotham explained that one of the most important witnesses, namely Mr. Edward Hill, of Northbrook-street, who last saw Hobbs at the railway station, was unable to be in attendance through illness. The first witness was Mrs. Emma Hobbs the widow of the deceased living at 5, Northbrook-place, Staple's-yard, Newbury, who said that the body the jury had viewed was that of her husband. He had been missing since Saturday the 5th December, five weeks ago. On the morning of that day be left home after breakfast to go to the meet of the Craven Hounds at Langley Hall. He was in his usual robust health, and was a runner with the hounds. He was accompanied by his own dog. He usually returned in the evening, but did not that night. The dog came home at 10 o'clock p.m. sopping wet. The night was wet, dark and windy. From that day she heard nothing of him. The whip found across his shoulder of the body belonged to her husband. She identified him by his face. He was 56 years old and was a carpenter, but did not work regularly at his trade.

Francis Sims, living at Crookham Common, and a farm labourer, said he was working just after 11a.m., in Mr. Baxendale's waiter-meadows just below Bull's-lock. He saw something in the water, the other side to the towing-path. At first he thought it was a cat, but he got a long stick and found it was the body of a man, the same the jury had just viewed. The witness and Edmund Thomas got the body on the bank and he helped bring it to the “Swan." He did not know the deceased.

P.C. Jones stated he searched the body and found on it a whip tied round the shoulders, which be produced. In the pockets he found ten pennies, two half-pennies, and a shoenail.

Supt. Robotham said in consequence of the widow telling the police of her husband being missing on Dec. 7th he traced the deceased to Lilley, Chaddleworth, Kintbury, and to Hungerford station, where he took a ticket and a dog ticket to Newbury. Mr. Hill stated he opened the carriage door for him, and that was the last trace he had been able to find.

In answer to the Coroner the Superintendent said that there was no reason to believe that Hobbs was the worse for liquor. The jury at once returned a verdict of "Found drowned” after having been missing since the 5th of December last, and the inquest ended having lasted half-an-hour.

The deceased, who originally came from Kingsclere, leaves a widow and six children - three sons and three daughters - five of whom were present at the funeral, which took place at two o clock on Tuesday at the Cemetery.

Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser Thursday 14 January 1897


BDS Dec ‘19


Note: At present there are no burial records for 1897 until 6th March


Sources:Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser 14 January 1897

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