Marsh, Henry

Marsh, Henry             1881 November 26th              Fonthill Gifford

On Wednesday last, Mr E A Wilson (deputy-district-coroner for Wilts), held an inquest at the Sessions-house, Fonthill Gifford, on the body of Henry Gerrard Marsh, a carpenter, residing in the parish of Swallowcliffe. The deceased, who was only 34 years of age, has led a very reckless life and has been unfortunately strongly addicted to drink. On Thursday, the 17th, he was brought into the custody of Supt Dann, of Hindon, on a charge of wilfully damaging the property of Mrs Blandford, of Swallowcliffe.

At the time he was suffering severely from the effects of drink. The superintendent lodged him in the lock-up, and the next day he was brought before Mr J Lock, a magistrate, and – as he had not sufficiently recovered from the effects of his evident drunkenness – remanded for four days. On Sunday the 20th he complained of soreness in his mouth, and – as the symptoms of illness increased – the superintendent sent for Dr Holdsworth, who came and saw him, ordered him hot brandy and water, and sent him some medicine.

On Monday the superintendent administered mutton broth and brandy and water. On Tuesday morning he did not appear any worse – indeed slightly better, though still suffering from the effects of the drinking; and he was again brought before Mr Lock. He was unable to walk into the room and two constables assisted him. When seated, he appeared faint and suffered from shortness of breath. As he was evidently too unwell, the case was not gone into, and the superintendent at once had him removed into an adjoining room, and sent for a doctor. Before he arrived, however – indeed, within a few minutes of his removal – he expired.

Every care was – stated Mr Holdsworth at the inquest – taken of the man. When he first saw him on Sunday, he was lying in bed and on a comfortable mattress. At the time, said Mr Holdsworth, he was suffering from an attack of bronchitis of some duration and great nervous depression caused by excessive drinking. When he arrived at the Session-house on Tuesday, he found him supported by two policeman, but life had then departed. Death he attributed to syncope and to a sudden stoppage of the heart brought on by drinking and immediately due to a want of nerve power.

The jury returned a verdict of “Death from Visitation of God – by sudden failure of the heart’s action.”

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