Smith, George 1885 July 4th Norton Bavant
The Coroner for this district (Mr F T Sylvester) held an inquest in this village on Monday, on the body of George Smith, labourer, aged 79, who had died on the previous morning.
From the evidence of the widow of the deceased it appeared that on the night of the 16th of June she went to bed, leaving her husband sitting up in a chair downstairs. Upon hearing a noise downstairs witness went down and found her husband lying on the floor at the foot of the stairs. She immediately went to the back door and called Ellen Taylor, a neighbour, who came to her assistance. Deceased was insensible. Witness did not hear him attempt to ascend the stairs. Deceased was in a very feeble condition, but had been able to walk upstairs. Witness and deceased were allowed parish relief to the extent of 3s a week and two half-gallon loaves; Mrs Torrance, of Norton Bavant House, was also very kind to them. About a day after deceased had sustained the fall he told witness that he did not think he should live long. On the evening in question deceased did not partake of any supper. He died at seven o’clock on Sunday morning.
Ellen Taylor (widow) bore out this statement.
Mr Stephen Snelgrove, of Norton Bavant, deposed that he was one of the first to enter the house of deceased on an alarm being raised. He found the deceased lying on the floor on his left side. He was insensible. He was of opinion that deceased in attempting to go to bed fell just before he reached the stairs. Witness assisted by Mr Northeast gently lifted the deceased into a chair.
Mr W G Davis, surgeon, of Heytesbury, said he had attended the deceased off and on for two or three years. On the evening in question he was sent for to see the deceased, and when he arrived he was insensible and appeared to have been vomiting. There were several bruises about the body, and he believed concussion of the brain occasioned by the fall was the cause of death.
The Coroner, in summing up, remarked that the majority of aged people who were not able to look after themselves were better cared for in the workhouse.
After hearing the evidence, the jury, of whom Mr H W Jeans was foreman, returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.”