Joseph Baverstock

Author:
Date published: 18/04/2013
© Newbury Weekly News

JOSEPH BAVERSTOCK

 

SAD END OF A PENSIONER

DEATH ACCELERATED BY ACCIDENT

 

How frequently it happens that a man survives the perils and privations of foreign warfare to die under melancholy circumstances at home. Such was the case with Joseph Baverstock, aged 72, who as a young man had served in the Royal Marines, and was engaged in the Chinese War about 1860. During that campaign he had the misfortune to lose one of his legs, and at the age of 29 had to retire on a pension. He was a fine, well set-up man, and the two medals he always wore testified to the dangers which he had undergone. For many years he had occupied a cottage near the Fire Station in the Corn Wharf, and latterly he had lived there quite alone, depending on the kindly assistance  of a widowed neighbour to supply him his food, which he always insisted on receiving at the door, and never allowing anyone to enter the house. About a month ago he was found lying on the floor in his room, having apparently fallen from his chair on to the fender, and sustained a severe scalp wound, which had caused a considerable loss of blood. He had dragged himself across the room, and was in a state of collapse when discovered by his neighbour. He was immediately taken to the Hospital and his injuries attended to. He was subsequently removed to the Infirmary, where he made good progress towards recovery, but on Wednesday evening he was getting back into bed, when he fell back dead, the cause being syncope, the result of a weak heart.

 

THE INQUEST

 

 

The inquest rendered necessary under the circumstances, was held on Saturday afternoon at the Workhouse, before Dr. Watson J.P., Borough Coroner, and a jury of whom Mr. Laurence Cleeves was foreman.

 

Mrs Kezia Edwards of Eastbourne, said she was the daughter of the deceased, and identified the body as that of her father. She last saw him alive on February 13th in the temporary District Hospital, suffering from scalp wounds. All he was able to tell her that there was a smell, which made him giddy, and caused him to fall. She had been in the house and did not notice any smell. She saw him two or three times a day from the 8th to the 13th February, when she returned home.

          The Foreman: Why was he moved from the Hospital to the Workhouse?

          The Coroner: I suppose it was done at the sanction of the authorities.

          A juror said he understood that the house had been sold up, and there was nowhere else for him to be taken.

          Mrs Edwards said that she and her brother had consulted  Dr. Clarke as to their father's condition, and he said he might live for years, but never would be able to return to his house alone. The home was sold up, so that all the money might be spent for the benefit of her father.

          The Coroner: He was in receipt of a pension?

Witness:- Yes, £28 or £29 a year. He was simply brought here for the time being.

 

          Mrs Maria Williams, widow, living in the Corn Wharf, next door to the deceased, said that she had provided food for him for several years, but she had not entered his house for two years. However, on the 7th February, she fancied he was not well, and she went in to see him. He let her come in then, and said he had not been in bed for five or six weeks. He was sitting in his chair, and she asked him if she could take his key so that she could go in without disturbing him, and he allowed her to do so. On the morning of the 8th, at 8.45 when she went in, she heard a moan, and found deceased sitting on the floor. He was insensible, and there was some blood on the floor, where he had fallen. She sent for Mr. Norris, who was working on the corn stores opposite. There was no smell in the house; that was a fancy which the deceased had.

 

          Mr. Norris, corn porter, in the employ of Messrs Dalton and Sons, said Mrs. Williams came to him and asked him to go to Baverstock's house. He found him lying on the floor near a window, and a large quantity of blood on him. Witness spoke to the deceased, but he was not conscious. They lifted him up and sat him on a chair. They then sent for Mr. G.A.White, canal officer, who had possession of his pension papers, and used to do his writing for him. They sent for Dr. Arthur Thompson, who cam immediately and ordered his removal to the Hospital.

 

          Dr. Arthur Thompson said he found the deceased in an unconscious condition, with a large scalp wound at the back of his head. He had evidently lost a considerable amount of blood, and was very blanched. He examined the wound and dressed it. There was no fracture to the skull, and it was a jagged wound. He found blood on the fender and on the floor close by it. He obtained the assistance of the police ambulance and deceased was removed to the Hospital. There was no sign of any struggle in the room. He could only conjecture that the deceased fell off the chair on to the fender, and struck his head violently on the edge. It appeared that he had dragged himself across the room after he was injured. Witness saw nothing more of deceased until February 17th when he was removed into the Workhouse Infirmary. Deceased was then conscious but incoherent and childish. The scalp wound was healing up, and there were small wounds on the elbows and toes. He seemed to get on very well, and was bale to sit up. On the evening of March 2nd he got out of bed, and in getting back, he fell back dead. Deceased had a weak heart, and he attributed the cause of death to syncope. It was in no way the result of the wounds, but they may have caused a severe shock to the system from which he did not recover.

 

          Mrs Williams said that deceased was removed to the Infirmary at the request of the daughter.

 

          The Coroner said that he considered it necessary to hold the inquest in order to see if death was the result of an accident or foul play. There appeared to be no reason to suspect anything but accidental circumstances, as death was actually the result of syncope.

 

The jury returned a verdict of “Death from syncope, accelerated by the accident.”

 

 

Newbury Weekly News 10 March 1904

 

Mrs Pattison's list p. 174

 

Born 1832 Newbury. Wife Kezia, children Alfred & Kezia.

 

BMD March Q 1904 aged 72 Ref. Newbury 2c 174

Sources:Newbury Weekly News 10 March 1904

Website designed and maintained by Paul Thompson on behalf of the Friends of Newtown Road Cemetery.

Administrator Login