Snelgar, Henry

Snelgar, Henry    1892 April 29th Whiteparish

Two Lonely Old Men

About a mile away from Whiteparish is the village of Newton, and here for many years have lived two men – Charles and Henry Snelgar, aged 58 and 69 respectively, as farmers. They held the farm jointly with another brother, John Snelgar, who lived near by. The premises are rented under Earl Nelson. These two brothers living together had a housekeeper many years ago, but since she went away, strangely enough the men have managed for themselves in everything.

Although, apparently, very eccentric in this respect, the two were very kind-hearted and hospitable. They did not have any woman in the house, but of course they employed farm labourers.

On Good Friday John Snelgar, aged 65 years, was buried, and at this time both Henry and Charles were in very poor health. In fact Charles was afterwards found to be suffering from pneumonia, and Henry complained of bronchitis. No medical aid was called in at the time.

On Easter Monday the brothers were seen by a nephew from London, the son of John Snelgar, and he noticed that they were both ill. Charles was even worse than Henry. The Thursday following, a neighbour, Elizabeth Rose, went up to the house and seeing how matters stood asked Charles if a doctor had not better be sent for. Henry did not ask her to see his brother but she heard him groaning. Mr Snelgar, however, said that the doctor would pass by the next day, and he would call him in.

He (Charles) wrote, however, that day to his nephew – who had previously seen him that day – but who was staying with relations in Salisbury – stating that he thought it would be well for the doctor to see and advise both of them. This letter was received Friday morning, but before a doctor had been called in Henry had passed away. No one thought that affairs were so serious or else a medical man would have been sent for before.

An inquest was held by Mr R A Wilson (County Coroner) at the house on Saturday. Mr H Till was foreman of the jury, which was composed as follows : Messrs J Lockyer, T Andrews, T Crook, T Elkins, G Hayter, C Dawkins, A Osgood, J Woodford, J Joyce, T Pritchard, and B Drake.

Evidence was given by John Snelgar, the nephew, Elizabeth Rose, and Dr Stark. From the statements made it appeared – in addition to what has already been given – that Charles – who was, at this time of the inquest, in a critical condition – went up to Henry in his bedroom about nine o’clock on Thursday and gave him some mead, which he drank. In the morning Charles again went to the room, and this time found his brother dead.

In her evidence and in reply to questions, Elizabeth Rose said that she was asked by Charles to go into Henry’s room on Friday morning. She found him dead with his head over the bedstead. He was fully dressed, with the exception of shoes, and was lying on top of the bedclothes, with a sack covering his legs. He had a smock frock on.

Replying to the Coroner, witness said that deceased’s clothes were very dirty ; also that she had never been in to clean the house.

Dr Stark stated that he knew the deceased by sight, but had never professionally attended him. When he saw the deceased he found the body to have been well nourished, considering his age. There were no marks of violence, whatever. Deceased was warm when he saw him. He (witness) had no reason to doubt that death was due to natural causes. He should imagine that deceased had pneumonia.

The jury returned a verdict of “Death from natural causes, probably from pneumonia.”

Since writing the above we hear that Mr Charles Snelgar passed away on Sunday morning at one o’clock, the cause of death being pneumonia. This is a somewhat remarkable occurrence, John, Henry and Charles Snelgar, three of the oldest inhabitants in the parish, and the oldest tenants on Lord Nelson’s estate, dying within 10 days of each other. We may add that Charles and Henry lived together for over 30 years.

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