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Saturday, 28 November 2015

Inquest into the Death of William Tidridge in 1873

Clock in the Square at
Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire
William Titheridge and Priscilla Pargent, married in Alverstoke, Hampshire. They moved to Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire where they had four children, Fanny born 1806, William born 1809, Charles born 1812 and Henry born 1815. While William and Priscilla started life as Titheridges by the 1851 census they, and all their children, were spelling the surname Tidridge.  Henry was the only child to marry and he and his wife had eleven children.  It is these children that went on to produce all the Tidridge clan.

The 1851 census shows widowed William Tidridge senior living at Gosport Road, Bishop’s Waltham with sons William aged 41, a tailor and Charles aged 39, a groom.  Fanny aged 43 was housekeeper to her Uncle William Pargent and they were living in the High Street, Bishops Waltham, while Henry, a carpenter/cabinet maker was living in the High street 4 doors away with his wife and 6 children.

 The 1861 census shows Henry, his wife and three children living next door to William Pargent and Fanny Tidridge, still in the High Street Bishop’s Waltham.  William Tidridge now aged 57 was living at Gosport Road Bishops Waltham with his 13 year old niece Mary Tidridge. Charles was lodging at The Kings Head, St Georges Square, Bishop’s Waltham.

The 1871 census shows William Tidridge residing at The Black Dog, Shedfield with niece Mary Tidridge his housekeeper.

The four Tidridge siblings died within 11 years of each other Charles aged 50 in 1862 in Bishop’s Waltham, Fanny aged 50 in 1866 in South Stoneham registration district, Henry aged 53 in 1868 in Droxford registration district and William aged 64 in 1873 in Isle of Wight.

Many years ago when searching probate records I came across the following two relevant records.

Probate September 1873
William Tidridge 30th September 1873:
Administration of the effects of William Tidridge late of Bishop’s Waltham in the county of Southampton tailor a bachelor who died 25th August 1873 at Newport Isle of Wight in the said county was granted at Winchester to Mary Tidridge of Bishop’s Waltham spinster the niece and one of the next of kin.  Effects under £300.

Probate January 1874
Tidridge Charles 22nd  January 1874
Administration of the effects of Charles Tidridge late of Bishop’s Waltham of the county of Southampton labourer a bachelor who died 26 April 1862 at Bishops Waltham left unadministered by William Tidridge brother and one of the next of kin was granted at Winchester to Mary Tidridge of Bishops Waltham spinster the administratrix of the effects of the said William Tidridge former grant at Winchester May 1862

When I found these records the two questions I asked was “Why was William in the Isle of Wight when he lived in Bishops Waltham” and “Why did William not do anything with the estate of his late brother?”

Recently I found this article below, it is the story of the death of William Tidridge taken from the local paper, the story may start to give some answers to the two questions above.

Hampshire Advertiser
30 August 1873
Heading Isle of Wight Coroner’s Inquest

Mr E. F. Blake, deputy coroner, held an inquest at The Shoulder of Mutton public house, near Pan Bridge, on Thursday, on view of the body of William Tidridge, aged 64.  Deceased was a stranger here, and there were evidence which went to show that he wandered to the Island for the purpose of committing suicide.  

Mary Tidridge, a young woman of good address, who kept house for deceased, a bachelor, at Bishop’s Waltham, on the other side of the Solent, deposed,  - deceased was my uncle. I last saw him alive on Monday about 5 o’clock in the morning from my room window. It was his usual time to be out.  Lately on two or three occasions he has told me that he should go away, and not tell me where he had gone.  I asked why, and he told me he thought we were getting tired of him.  He was at home on Sunday last, and conversed rationally, but in the evening I notice a strangeness in his looks.  I have lived with him 14 years.  Not long since we came from a short distance to reside at Bishop’s Waltham.  During the last three years he was less kind to me than before, and he was rather strange in his manner.  On Monday week, as I was coming downstairs, he attempted to put his hand up to my throat, but I turned his hand aside, and questioned as to why he did so.  He replied that he wanted to stop me.  He had no pecuniary difficulty to trouble him, and was not entirely dependent on his labours as a tailor for sustenance.  The paper I now produce is in deceased’s handwriting.  It sets forth his consent that £200 out on mortgage at Subberton shall be surrendered to me, as he should not return home, but it is neither dated nor witnessed so as to constitute a will.  He had been a teetotaller 18 or 20 years, and used to study religious subjects very closely.  Last Monday week he told me that he intended going away a fortnight before and not coming back, but some work came in.  Before I went to live with him he had some very strange religious notions, and having, as he said, a presentiment that he ought to do no more work, he ceased to work for a time, but the impression wore off.  None of his family have been insane.

Herbert Cooper, stoker at the gasworks, deposed to finding the dead body of deceased in the slipway at Pan Bridge, lying on the shingle, where at that time there were only a few inches of water. It was lying face downward, and was wet, as though it had been covered, or nearly so.  About midnight the water there must have been about two or three feet deep.  It seemed to him that the man had walked into the water and laid down in it.  There was gaslight there, and the man could not have gone in and been drowned by accident.  

John Tee, miller at Pan Mill, noticed deceased passing backward and forward by the mill before dinner, three or four different times.  There was something peculiar in his look.  Witness saw him again about 6 o’clock passing during a heavy storm of rain, of which she seemed to take no heed, although he was evidently wet to the skin.  

William Rayner, labourer, and of Barton’s Village, when going homeward, about 11.15 on Monday night, met deceased walking close to Sharland’s coal store.  Deceased’s head was bowed, and his hands were behind him. Witness bade him “good night”, and deceased seem to take no heed of the salutation. Witness stopped and watched him turn and come back, and then it seemed that deceased noticed that he was being watched, and passed round the corner towards the bridge.  

Harry Tidridge, of Foundry Lane, Freemantle, near Southampton said the deceased was his uncle.  He had seen and conversed with him on the 19th ult., when he was tolerable cheerful for a man who was very reserved and studied the religious subjects very closely.

Mr W F Foster, surgeon, deposed hat at about 5 o’clock on Tuesday morning he was called to see the body, which appear to have been dead about five or six hours. There were no marks of violence about the body, which would indicate foul play and there was no shingle found in the clenched hands, which would favour the supposition that an effort had been made by the deceased to save himself from drowning.

Verdict “That deceased drowned himself, but there was no evidence to show his state of mind at the time.”

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