Earny, John 1878 December 28th Homington
An inquest was held at the Infirmary, on Thursday last, before the City Coroner, Mr G Smith, on the body of John Earny, a little boy aged six years and nine months, who died on Tuesday morning from the effects of burns received the previous day.
James Kelland, house surgeon at the Infirmary, said the deceased was brought into that place at half past eleven on the 23rd inst., and he found it severely burnt on the arms, face, and upper part of the chest. He died at about six o’clock on the following morning, from the shock caused by the burns.
Mary Laws said she was a married woman, and resided at Mr Walter Flower’s, Down Farm, in the parish of Homington. She lived next door to the house in which the deceased lived. On Monday morning last, Eliza Earny, mother of the deceased, left her house at about eight o’clock to go into the village, and at about ten o’clock witness was aroused by a scream, immediately followed by shouts of “Mary! Mary! Mary!” which proceeded from the child. She immediately went to assist the deceased. She found him standing at her door in flames from head to foot. She caught him in her arms, burning her own arm in doing so, and extinguished the flames, wrapped him in her dress and laid him upon his mother’s bed. There were three other children in the house. Witness went to a field where she knew she could get assistance, and there found Mr Flower’s head carter, Mr Harris, who went into the house, and she followed. The deceased’s father who was at work with Harris also went back to the house. Witness wrapped deceased in blankets and he was brought to the Infirmary by his father, in Mr Flower’s carriage. There was no protection against the fire of the house in which the deceased lived. There was no grate in the fireplace but the fire was on the hearth.
Luke Earny, father of the deceased, said Mrs Laws told him that his child had been burnt almost to death, and he ran across the fields to his home as quickly as he could. Mr Flower was also at the house. There was no doctor residing nearer to his house than a Salisbury doctor. Mr Flower said he would put his horse into his carriage, and witness brought the child into Salisbury. The eldest child left in the house with the deceased on the morning of the accident was nine years of age.
The mother of the deceased said she left her home to go into the village (about a mile and a quarter distant) for some potatoes for Christmas.
The eldest child left in the house with the deceased was called, but the Coroner, after asking one or two questions, decided not to have her sworn.
Emma White, a nurse in the accidental ward of the Infirmary, said that after the deceased had been admitted about half-an-hour she asked him how the accident happened. He told her he was standing writing over the mantel-piece, and his things caught on fire. He said his mother was gone to Coombe to get some potatoes.
A verdict of “Accidental Death” was returned. The jury gave their fees to be divided between the mother of the deceased and Mrs Laws.