Lawrence, Edward

Lawrence, Edward         1875 January 9th

On Wednesday last an inquest was held at the Woolpack Inn, Endless-street, relative to the death of Mr Edward Lawrence, aged 72, who was found dead in his bed at his residence, 23, Chipper-lane, in this city, on the morning of that day (the 6th instant). The jury having viewed the body,

Mr Gowing, surgeon, of Salisbury, gave evidence. He said that morning, soon after half past nine, he was passing through Chipper-lane when he was called in to see the deceased. Witness found him in bed, lying on his right side in an easy and natural position, the left arm crossing the chest and the right hand resting upon the pillow. He was quite dead. The head and the exposed hand were cold, but the other hand under the bedclothes and the body generally were yet warm. Taking such history of the deceased’s previous condition as he gathered from the daughters, and considering his advanced age, all the external appearances of the deceased were, he should say, quite consistent with death from apoplexy. The deceased had, it appeared, some difficulty in breathing, and no doubt also he had a weak heart, and apoplexy at his time of life was under such circumstances most likely to occur. Witness had not the least doubt but that the death was quite natural.

Miss Sarah Ann Lawrence said she was a daughter of the deceased, who would have been 72 years old in March next. During the last week or so he had had a cold, and a difficulty in breathing occasionally, more especially if he exerted himself at all in walking or otherwise. He complained occasionally of a pain in his left side, and also of a choking sensation in the throat after lying down. He had no doctor to attend him because he objected to having one. The preceding night, when he went to bed, he was quite cheerful and bright, unusually so, in fact.

That was from a quarter to half past ten. He ate a supper of beef and bread and cheese, after which he had a glass of gin and water. Witness slept in the room next to that in which her father lay, and during the night she never heard the slightest sound. In the morning, as he was later than usual in coming down to breakfast, she went up to the door and looked in. Nothing stirring, she went up to the bedside and found that he was apparently dead though yet warm. Witness called her sister and a neighbour, and Mr Gowing happening to pass at the time he was called in, and at once pronounced her father to be dead. Witness had not the least doubt as to the death being perfectly natural. She felt certain it was so.

Miss Fanny Lawrence, another daughter, said she had been from home on a visit during the past week, and when she returned the previous day she observed that her father looked paler and generally a good deal altered. He told her, too, that he had not been well since she had been away, and seemed glad that she had returned. In the evening, however, he brightened up, and seemed much more cheerful. As to the rest, witness fully corroborated all that her sister had said.

The Coroner said there did not appear to be any doubt as to the death in this case being quite a natural one. The deceased had evidently suffered from heart disease, and that acting upon the brain especially at his advanced age, would inevitably produce apoplexy. Of course, if the jury had the smallest lingering doubt as to the cause of death, they could order that a post mortem examination be made, and they could adjourn the inquest for that purpose. But for his own part he had no doubt whatever that the death was a purely natural one.

The jury expressed themselves perfectly satisfied, and recorded a verdict to the effect that death was the result of apoplexy, ensuing from a diseased heart.

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