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Friday, 13 March 2015

Charles Henry Titheridge 1845 -1885 and the Shocking Occurrence near Fareham

Droxford Village, Hampshire
Charles Henry Titheridge was born in 1845 in Droxford.  He was one of twelve children born to John Titheridge and Sarah Withers.  Charles married Elizabeth Emery in Alverstoke on 15 September 1864.

Between September 1866 and 1884 they had 10children.

     Elizabeth Harriet Titheridge born 1866
     Ann Elizabeth Titheridge born 1868 (died aged 3)
     Fanny Titheridge born 1870
     Harriet Eleanor Titheridge born 1872
     Kate Titheridge born 1874
     Charles Henry Titheridge born 1875
     Lucy Titheridge born 1879
     Alfred George Titheridge born 1880
     Edith Florence Titheridge born 1881
     Annie Eliza Titheridge born 1884

Charles was an agricultural labourer although by 1884 he was a thatcher,and in 1881 census he lived with his family in Morgan’s Lane, Shedfield near Droxford.  He was known to be “addicted to the habits of intemperance” and about noon on Saturday 24 October 1885 he went to the Cricketers public house and remained there until 10pm.  By the time he left he was drunk and headed for his home in Shirrell Heath.  About ¾ mile from home he fell to the ground and witnesses left him there thinking he would go home later. Later he was found by another man who raised an alarm when he could not rouse him and saw there was a large quantity of blood.  At first it was thought that a murder had been committed.

This account is taken from the Portsmouth Evening News on 26 October 1885

Shocking Occurrence near Fareham

Yesterday morning startling rumours were afloat in Fareham and neighbourhood to the effect that a murder had been committed on Saturday night, the body of a man having been found lying in the roadway somewhere in the district of Droxford, with a wound in his side. The rumour obtained extraordinary credence, and during the day several well-informed persons gave it out that a man had quarrelled with some gypsies, being afterwards found lying in the roadway dead, having been stabbed in the side; however, the statements are believed to be false, as it has since been conclusively proved death was caused by the man falling upon a pair of sheep-shearing shears. From what can be gathered with regard to the unfortunate occurrence, it appears that the deceased, whose name is Charles Henry Titheridge, aged 40, resided at Shirrell Heath, was a thatcher, and was addicted to habits of intemperance. He is known to have gone into the Cricketers public house, Turkey Island, near Wickham, at about noon on Saturday, remaining in-house until 10pm, when he was seen to leave, being then apparently under the influence of drink. He proceeded in the direction of his house at Shirrell Heath, and when about three quarters of a mile from home was seen by two men named David Osborne and George Winter to fall down by the side of the road. These men being of the opinion that he was drunk allowed him to remain, thinking that he would be able to go home in a short time. When he fell they did not hear him moan or make any signs that he was injured. About 10:20 a man named Frank Emery passing by, saw the deceased lying in the road, and endeavoured to arouse him, when saw that there was a large quantity of blood upon the ground. He turned the deceased over and then found that he was dead. He at once raised the alarm, and upon assistance arriving the police and doctor were sent for. Upon the arrival of Constable Gosney an examination of the deceased and his clothing was made, when the constable discovered that in an inside pocket of the deceased’s coat were a pair sheep-shearing shears and a billhook, the former of which was covered with blood. The shears had been placed in the pocket with the blades pointing upwards and it is conjectured that the deceased stumbled and fell backwards, in so doing the points of the shears entering his back, penetrating to the kidneys, and inflicting a wound about two inches in length, from the effects of which he undoubtedly died. Doctor Maloney was afterwards called, and he expressed an opinion that death was produced by the wound, and that in all probability it was caused by the shears. Upon examination of the spot being made a piece of string was discovered, which had been used to keep the point of the shears closed, but the force of the fall had broken it and allowed the shears to open, thus making the wound larger. The body was afterwards conveyed home. The deceased leaves a wife and nine children. An inquest will be held upon the body in due course in the Prince of Wales, Shirrell Heath.

From other reports in the paper it can be seen that two inquests were held.  The one on 28 October was adjourned and a second held on 30 October.  The death certificate was issued 9 days after the incident and records the cause of death as
“ found dead, death having resulted from the effect of a wound in the back but how or by whom caused there is no evidence.”

So murder or freak accident? I guess we’ll never know. 

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