Pope, Elizabeth

Pope, Elizabeth             1880 April 10th             Downton

On Monday an inquiry was held at Downton on the body of Elizabeth Pope, wife of the landlord of the “White Horse,” who came by her death under circumstances of no ordinary character, and which excited considerable interest in that usually quiet village.

The first witness examined was Francis John Hannen, surgeon, who stated that on Monday he was called to see the deceased as she was mis-carrying. He found her in bed, very seriously ill, and on examining her discovered that she was suffering from inflammation of the lungs. He asked her how long she had been ill, and she replied, “Since the previous Thursday night.” He then left her, and on returning the following morning examined her again and found one if not more of her ribs broken on the right side. She told him there had been a row on the previous Thursday, between her husband, his brother and her brother, and that she had been knocked down by one of them in endeavouring to separate them. She did not know who knocked her down. On Saturday morning she died. The cause of her death was inflammation of the lungs brought abut by the broken ribs piercing them. He noticed the mark of a blow on the left side of her jaw.

John Blake said the deceased was his sister. On the night of the 25th ult., there was a row between his brother-in-law – James Pope, and his brother – Alfred. They had been drinking. The deceased came out of the house, and endeavoured to part them. In the midst of the scuffle, he saw her fall to the ground. He took her up but she fell down a second time. He did not see anybody strike her. And all that he could say was that she was thrown down in the battle.

Harry John Rowland, who lives three doors from the house in which deceased resided with her husband, saw the deceased trying to persuade her husband to go indoors on the night of the fight. He noticed some dirt on her dress, and he remarked to her husband that he hoped he had not been knocking her about. She replied for her husband – that he had not touched her.

PS Morris heard the noise created by the disturbance at the back of the “White Horse” on the night in question, and on proceeding to the spot he found deceased, John Blake, Alfred Pope and deceased’s husband. He asked what was the matter, and deceased replied that her husband and brother had been having a few words. She made no complaint of having been ill-used then; but the next morning he saw that her jaw was seriously discoloured, and she told him that whilst endeavouring to part the men she had received a blow delivered by Alfred Pope and intended for her husband.

Alfred Pope, inn-keeper, living at East Harnham, corroborated the evidence as to their having been a row, and, in continuing, attributed its existence to the fact of their having had too much beer. Deceased endeavoured to part them, but to his knowledge he did not strike her. If she was struck at all, it was whilst she was engaged in trying to part them. He did not see her fall down.

Eventually, the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death,” and severely censured the two brothers, James and Alfred Pope, for their conduct in connection with the sad affair.

Magistrates Hearing 1880 April 17th

Little new evidence was brought up at this hearing, except a couple of witnesses giving more detail of the movements of the brothers, though nothing pertaining to the cause of the row, and nothing specifically relating to how the deceased became injured. And yet, at the end, they still decided to pass the case on up to the Assizes.

I was unfortunately unable to find reference to the case when the Assizes were reported. I suspect there was so little to go on that the case was thrown out by the judge.


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