There are only 18 cases in 1881, reflecting an earlier editorial style to the Salisbury Times, reporting only those cases in the city, or closely related to it, ignoring all the news from the villages and surrounding towns.
Little William Crockett was a poorly baby, and was treated by the mother using a folk remedy of syrup of buckthorn, a very incorrect thing to give a youngster.
The death of the newborn babe of Mrs Parsons prompts inquiry about the mother’s care, and ends with the father’s trial for abandoning his wife and children to the care of the Union. Poverty and lack of income seems to have been Henry Canning‘s motive for drowning himself, but then at the end of the report we hear a witness (insultingly) demanding a fee for his attendance, a most unusual thing.
There are two major cases of infant mortality, following the usual pattern – Eliza Hayter was a hotel servant who hid the fact of her pregnancy and the confinement, though as the child was still just alive when the doctor reached it, a charge of Concealment was not viable.
By far a worse case was the plight of Ruth Bendall and her baby – perhaps the most tragic story in this collection – whose husband had abandoned her, whose other children were in the workhouse, whose favourite child had recently died, and who then went on a gruelling November walk from Westbury to Romsey in search of her husband, with her baby in her arms, enduring cold and rain, the child dying – I suspect – in her arms at Cowesfield near Whiteparish. I found her plight very moving.
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