Cayford, William 1883 September 8th Frome
On Saturday afternoon a boy aged 12 years, named William Cayford, whose parents reside in Broad-street, lost his life by drowning in the river Frome, at Welshmill. There is a skeleton bridge spanning the river in front of Welshmill House, and connecting the private grounds of Mr R Payne with the field. Into the latter the deceased and a companion had trespassed, and had played upon the bridge. Instead of a floor of any kind the bridge was crossed by a series of iron bars from 2½ to 3 feet apart. Between two of these the deceased fell into 16 feet of water. An alarm was raised by his companion, and Shem Coombes, who works at the gas-house close by, got the body out by means of hooks. As deceased had been in the water for 15 to 20 minutes, of course life was extinct. The body was taken to the Black Swan inn to await an inquest.
On Monday afternoon, an inquest was held at the King’s Head inn, Cross-street, before Mr W Miller, coroner, on the body of William Cayford, aged 12 years. After hearing the evidence of Lewis Yerbury, one of the deceased’s companions; Shem Coombs, who found the body; and deceased’s mother, the jury returned a verdict of “Accidentally drowned.” The coroner remarked on the importance of teaching swimming at public elementary schools.