Sat 2nd March 1901
- Parent Category: The Keswick Guardian
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FATALITY AT APPLETHWAITE
The body of Thomas Wilkinson , aged 54 , blacksmith,
Applethwaite, was found by his sister in the ghyll at
3 o`clock on Monday morning within a very short
distance of his home . he had been to Keswick
on Sunday night , and it would seem had taken rather
too much intoxicating liquor .
To the most careful person , especially on such a
dark night as Sunday , the rough road from the highway
to the deceased`s home is a most dangerous one ,
since the ghyll is unfenced and the embankment very
precipitous. The deceased must have fallen at least
fifteen feet , and in all probability his head struck a rock
in the bed of the stream where the body was found.
An inquest was held at Croft Head Farm on Monday
afternoon , by Mr E. Atter deputy coroner for
West Cumberland , the jury was composed as follows
Messrs J Gardiner (foreman), J Lowe , S Nicholson ,
J Law , W Atkinson , G Stamper , W Dixon , S Brownrigg
Jos Nicholson , J Parish , D Blackburn , W Robinson .
Isaac Cartmell , Applethwaite , labourer said he helped
Mr Folder Green and Messrs James and Sidney Postlethwaite
to remove the body from the stream . There was no sign of life
it was lying face downward , head up the stream , and water
flowing over the head. When the body had been taken home
it was found there was a mark above the forehead and a scratch
on the nose . Though witness lived close by he had heard
no scream or noise of any kind . The bank of the stream had
been in its present condition for the past six years.
Miss Magee said the deceased was her half brother, and had
lived with her , She last saw him alive on Sunday at 6 pm
and he then said he would not be long away , she went to bed
but her brother James sat up for him , and at about 11-45 pm
called her that "spot " ( deceased`s dog ) had come home
without him . She dressed and went out with her brother
to look for him , taking a lantern for it was very dark , they
searched the beck , previous to the search she went to
Postlethwaites to ask if they had seen anything of him ,
one of the sons had seen him at something to eleven and he
had said " good-night " , searching the stream again she found
the body about 3 o`clock (a.m ) . She was unable to pull
it out , her brother James was on the road above . so she went
to call Mr Green . deceased had no marks on him when he
went out , he had no quarrel with anyone , and there was no
reason to think there had been foul play.
Nathan Coates , Millbeck , Joiner , said he saw Wilkinson
at the Black Lion public house , Keswick at about 10 p.m on
Sunday , Wilkinson was not sober but was capable of going
home , He did not seem to ail anything of drink .
Witness was with Isaac Stamper and Joseph Harrison , and
they were all sober . They came on the way home together
Wilkinson walked before them for part of the way , they saw
him to the top of the road leading to his home and left him there
Wilkinson fell twice while coming along the road , witness
did not know why he had fallen .
Mr Atter , was it from having had too much ?
witness , I don`t know what he had
Mr Atter , You know whether a man is under the influence
of drink without knowing what he had
witness said he could not form any opinion , Harrison and he
had picked Wilkinson up on both occasions , he had just
tumbled and could have got up himself .
In reply to Inspector Logan , witness said they assisted him
out of the Black Lion , Mrs Cartmell asked them to see him home
Mr Atter then asked the witness to remember his oath , and
cautioned him to speak the truth .
Answering the Inspector , He said Wilkinson was sober as
far as he could see , and capable of taking care of himself .
They were asked to assist him out ; he would assist anybody if asked
They assisted him to Keswick bridge , and then they left him ,
Wilkinson walked to Ormathwaite road end ; he did not stagger
witness did not know what made him fall , but thought it was strange
The Inspector ; was any remark made at the bottom of the hill to
the effect that he would soon be helpless ? - witness was sure that
he heard no remark of the kind , Wilkinson did not complain of
being ill , witness could not say what was the reason he fell .
Joseph Harrison , gardener , Applethwaite was with the previous
witness and Isaac Stamper , they came out of the Black Lion
together , and Wilkinson joined them at the door .
Wilkinson was " fresh of drink " , but capable of taking care of himself
Stamper and Coates linked him down the road until they reached
the School of Arts , and they left him . He walked all right but
staggered a little . He fell twice- at Ormathwaite road end and
Ormathwaite farm , on the second occasion he was about
twenty yards in front of them , and he lay till they got up to him
He seemed to have fallen asleep , but wakened when he was
got up , wilkinson was drunk but witness had seen him far worse .
In reply to the foreman , witness thought Wilkinson capable of
coming home by himself .
Isaac Stamper , Millbeck , farm servant , said he was
at Keswick on Sunday night and went with the previous two witness`s
into the Black Lion at 9.45 and stayed till closing time , He saw
Wilkinson in the house but did not take particular notice of him
As they came out together he saw Wilkinson was fresh of drink
but capable of taking care of himself , he thought the reason he fell
would be because of the drink he had in him , they left him at the top
of the road leading to his home , they stood till he got about 30 yards
and then they went on there way , they did not hear any noise afterwards
Inspector Logan , What did you think was the cause of Mrs Cartmell
asking you to assist him ?
Witness , She likley thought he was fresh of drink and wanted
looking after .
James Gill , Portinscale , pupil teacher , said he saw Wilkinson and
the three young men between 10 and 10.30 , just before they got to
Ormathwaite road end , so far as he could see Wilkinson was drunk
Wilkinson came up to the witness , stood for a second or two then
fell in the hedge , one of the previous witness`s helped him up ,
but witness thought he could have got up himself , for he was not perfectly
helpless. one assisted him for a little way then he went on all right
witness did not think any injury would result from the fall.
there was no quarrelling ; they were all perfectly friendly, wilkinson was
not knocked down ; he seemed as if he was going to put his hand on
witness`s shoulder and then he fell.
Inspector Logan , said he had examined the body and found a mark
on the head extending about two inchs in length on the forehead , and
a slight scratch on the nose , He produced the articles found in the pockets
and said there was no suspicion of foul play .
The Coroner summed up the evidence -
He said it was a pity the young men did not see Wilkinson right away
to his home , for they must have known his condition and also the
dangerous state of the road after they had left him , it was ridiculous
to say they had seen him worse . Perhaps it was only an error
of judgment that they did leave him , he did not say they were blameable
for there was no obligation upon them , but if they had gone that short
distance further the poor man might still be alive .
There was no evidence of criminal liability to justify the return of any
other verdict than one of accident. It was not for him to suggest it
but if they thought something should be done by way of providing
protection from the ghyll , he would forward their recommendations
to the proper quarter.
The jury returned a verdict of " Accidentally Drowned " through the
foreman they recommended that a fence be put on each side of the stream
from the fork of the road to the bridge and that the dangerous portion
near the bridge be also fenced .
The Coroner promised to send their recommendations to the Parish Council