Personal information about Jesse Kent

Below is all the information we have about Jesse Kent. As far as we know, the information is correct. However, if you find any errors or have additional information, certificates or pictures, please contact us so that we can update this page. Thank you.

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The information below is derived from the Newbury Cemetery company Accounts ledgers.

Jesse Kent
23 December 1857
Unconsecrated Ground - Common Interment
Rev'd. Sam'l. Turner



Obituaries and Newspaper announcements

Jesse Kent
Article source:    Berkshire Chronicle
Date of source:    26 December 1857
Copyright:    © Berkshire Chronicle





An inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Jesse Kent, aged 54 years, who was found drowned in the river Kennet, on Monday morning last, was instituted at the Council Chamber on the Tuesday following, before J. Bunny, Esq., borough coroner.

(There follows a paragraph on the reprimand of an absentee juryman).

The Coroner then made some remarks upon the nature of the case, and trusted that the jury would well weigh the evidence that would be brought before them, which if it proved that the deceased was of sound mind when he committed the act of self-destruction they were bound to bring in a verdict accordingly, whatever might be the consequences that would follow.

The following evidence was then adduced:-

Joseph Tucker said – I am a labourer and in the employ of Mr. J. Dibley, butcher, of this town.  On Sunday afternoon last, between three and four o’clock, I was engaged feeding Mr. Dibley’s sheep in a meadow on the north side of the Canal above West Mills.  I saw the deceased on the other side on the towing path, about 20 yards from Dyer’s-lane, going towards Newbury.  I then proceeded to the first bridge to return to Newbury.  When I arrived just below the old river I discovered under the hedge an umbrella and a cap.  I fancied these articles belonged to the deceased because I had seen no other person pass up or down the towing path.  I then looked about, but could see no one; and also I observed no marks of struggling on the path, or by the side of the river.  The time that I saw the deceased alive and finding the umbrella and cap was about a quarter of an hour.  The deceased did not appear to be drunk, nor did he look as if anything had disturbed his mind.  It was raining at the time, and he had the umbrella open, but he was walking very steadily.  I did not touch the umbrella and cap, but gave information to his wife.  I have known the deceased for the last two years, and I looked hard at him, but he did not speak.  The cap and umbrella produced by Policeman Justice is the same.

James Pottinger, a bargeman of Lewis-buildings, Bartholomew-street, said – I have known the deceased, Jesse Kent, for the last 20 years but I have not seen him for the last three months.  I dragged the water to find his body on Monday morning, by Supt. Deane’s orders, in a punt.  About a quarter to 12 o’clock I found the body in the old river, after dragging the river for a quarter of an hour.  Henry Jennings and another man assisted me.  We put the body on a hurdle and conveyed it to the Two Brewers, West Mills.  I knew the body to be Jesse Kent.  The deceased at times was given to drinking.  When sober he was very civil, but when drunk I thought he was not right.  I have seen him low in spirits, and have passed by him when he would not speak.


Henry Jennings corroborated the above evidence as to finding the body and said – I have known the deceased for the last 12 years.  He was in the habit of taking a little too much to drink, and he has looked very ill lately.  I have observed his conduct to be very strange, and when I have met him in the street I have heard him talking to himself. I met him one day, and he complained of his trade not being so good as formerly.  He appeared very queer, but he did not say anything to lead me to believe that he commit an act of this kind.  He appeared to be more out of spirits than formerly.

Sophia Langfield said –  I am a widow, and keep the Steamer beer-shop, St. Mary Hill.  The deceased and his wife lodged with me for about two years, but left about eight weeks since.  On Sunday afternoon last, about half-past one o’clock, the deceased came into my house and smoked a screw of tobacco and drank a half-pint of beer, for which he said he would pay me when he came in again.  He remained till about a quarter to three o’clock.  I sat by the side of the fire with him dozing, but he never spoke a word until he was about going.  I observed him to look very fierce, and a thought came into my mind, “If he should seize me by the throat and throttle me” which caused me to arouse myself and get up from my chair.  The deceased then said he must go and have a walk, and I replied, “Yes, it is nearly shut up time.”  He appeared to be sober, but he looked very strange and fierce.  He then went out, and I saw him no more alive.

Richard Goddard said – I am landlord of the New Inn, in the Cattle Market.  The deceased and his wife had lodged with me for the last eight weeks.  I saw him last alive about a quarter past 11 o’clock on Sunday morning last.  I asked him how he was, and he replied very poorly.  I left him in the tap-room.  He appeared very dejected and low.

The Coroner then summed up the evidence, remarking that the position in which the deceased laid his umbrella and cap was no proof that he was of sound mind when he destroyed himself.  The jury immediately returned a verdict “That the deceased destroyed himself while labouring under a fit of temporary insanity.”


A shorter version was published in the Reading Mercury dated 26 December 1857, page 4.



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