1926: Fatal thorn scratch – Oxenholme engine driver’s death

Mr. G. E. Cartmel (Coroner for South Westmorland) held an inquest on the body of William Duckett (67) of 15, Helmside, Oxenholme, an engine driver employed by the L.M.S. Railway Company.

Duckett, it was stated, was a widower and lived with his daughter, Mary Jane Duckett. On Friday night, the 12th inst., he was walking home from Oxenholme railway station, having been on a visit with his daughter to Lancaster. It appears that a motor car came along, and Duckett stepped in to the side of the road behind his daughter, catching his face in a rose bush which was hanging over the  wall. At the time he entertained the fear that his eye had been injured, but when he arrived home it was found that only the flesh at the corner of his eye had been lacerated. Miss Duckett attended to the wound, and next morning at 4 45 her father went to work feeling better. He retired to bed that night about nine o’clock, but at 12 30 Miss Duckett was disturbed by her father’s laboured and heavy breathing. She gave him some milk and bathed his eye with hot fomentations, later calling in Dr. Edgcumbe from Kendal. The doctor attended him up to the time of his death, which occurred at 6 45 p.m. on the 20th inst.

At the inquest, which was held at the deceased’s home, the Coroner returned a verdict that death was due to heart failure following blood poisoning accidentally received from a scratch by a rose thorn.

Lancashire Evening Post, 26 November 1926

1910: Oxenholme Tragedy – Lytham man’s terrible death on the line

Verdict of “suicide whilst temporarily insane”

The inquest was held at Oxenholme Railway Station, last evening, on the body of Thomas Grimshaw (41), insurance agent, 4, Queen-street, Lytham.

Deceased’s wife stated that her husband had complained of pains in his head and stomach for some time. The insurance company had written her stating that there was nothing wrong with his books. They had been at Endmoor for a little time, and she supposed him to have left to go back to Lytham. He was found dead on the line near Oxenholme on Saturday.

Evidence as to the finding of the body was given, but as to the train that passed over him it was impossible to trace it. The body was quite out of the way of any pathway.

A letter was read by the Coroner, which deceased probably wrote just before his death with the fountain pen found on him. It read:-

Mother also grumbling. Cannot help it. Hope you will get a better husband next time. Been good pals. Hope to meet [soon]. God bless baby and Tom. Hope got home all right.

The Coroner said there was no doubt the poor fellow was in a fit of temporary insanity and threw himself on the line.

A verdict of “Suicide whilst temporarily insane” was returned by the jury.

Lancashire Evening Post, Tuesday 9 August 1910

1880: Fatal Accident at Oxenholme Railway Station

An accident of a very distressing nature occurred on Saturday last at Oxenholme Railway Station, to a man named Stewardson Martin, who was employed at the works now going on there, and who sustained such injuries that he died the same night, after being conveyed to the Kendal Memorial Hospital. On Monday an inquest was held at that institution, before C. G. Thomson, Esq., coroner, and the following evidence was given:-

Mary Martin, of Yard 94, Kirkland, widow, deposed: The deceased, Stewardson Martin, was my husband. He was 50 years of age. He was a waller by trade, and in the employment of the contractor for the additions to Oxenholme Station.

Joseph McKenna, of 118, Silk Street, Manchester, joiners’ labourer, deposed: I am working at Oxenholme Station. At a few minutes past 12 o’clock at noon on Saturday last, I was standing at the south end of the platform at Oxenholme Station, near the Booking Office. I saw the deceased, he had just received his wages at the office of the contractor at the south end of the station, and proceeded to cross the line. He walked into the six-foot, and appeared to be counting his money. When in the six-foot he suddenly stopped and appeared to be going to turn around to go back the same way. Just at that moment a train came up, and as he turned round he saw it and endeavoured to proceed to get across and out of the way. Just as he was getting on to the parapet wall on the west side, the engine caught him and knocked him down between the parapet and the rails, and he lay there until the train had passed. I went to his assistance, and deceased was immediately removed to this hospital. The train from the South was slackening speed as it came up to the deceased. It stopped within forty yards of the place. I was too far away I could not hear any whistle. I did not see the train coming from the south until it was close upon the deceased. The subway is not yet completed. If deceased had been looking south he could have seen the train at a distance of 500 yards.

John Thomson, M.B., of Kendal, deposed: I attended deceased from the time of his being brought to the Hospital on Saturday, until his death. When he was brought to the Hospital on Saturday, until his death. When he was brought to the Hospital he was suffering from a broken arm, internal injuries, and one of his legs was all but severed from his body. Dr. Leeming amputated the leg in my presence, and, although he was very ill during the operation, he rallied well, and lived about eight hours after the operation. I saw deceased at eight o’clock on Saturday night last. I attributed deceased’s death to shock and internal injuries. I asked deceased how the accident happened, but he did not seem inclined to talk, and said he did not know anything about it until he found himself here. When I saw deceased on Saturday night, I was of opinion deceased might die of collapse at any time.

James Wilson, of South Street, Carlisle, engine driver, deposed: I was driving a passenger train from Preston to Carlisle, on Saturday last. We were timed to reach Oxenholme at 11.59, but we did not arrive until 12.9. Before coming to Oxenholme I shut off steam below the distance signal, and on coming to the Station I should be driving at the rate of between four and five miles an hour. I did not see deceased upon the line, but just as we were stopping I saw a hat and heard a crack in front of the engine. I took up the hat and gave it to one of the porters, and gave information. So far as I could see the line was perfectly clear. I blew my whistle just before the iron bridge which crosses the line, a distance of about 60 or 70 yards from where the accident happened.

Thomas Mitchell, of Carlisle, extra fireman, deposed: I was on the engine with the last witness on Saturday last. Just before entering Oxenholme Station, on looking out I saw the line was clear. I saw a man standing in the six-foot, and when we were about an engine length from him he made a rush across the rails on which we were travelling. The engine buffer plank struck him and knocked him down.

Helena Dickie, Matron of the Hospital, deposed: The deceased was admitted into Hospital about half-past 12 o’clock on Saturday afternoon last. Deceased died about 20 minutes to 10 o’clock in the evening.

Verdict: “Died from injuries received by being accidentally run over by a passenger train at Oxenholme Railway Station.”

Kendal Mercury Friday 17 September 1880


Note: Stewardson Martin was around 4 years younger than his widow stated.  They had six children ranging in age from 1 up to 16 years. 

1851: Coroner’s Inquests … Death by Drowning

On Saturday morning last the body of a young woman, named Eleanor Hayhurst, was found in the canal, close to the Highgate Settings Bridge.  An inquest was held the same day at Oxenholme, before R. Wilson, Esq., when the following circumstances were given in evidence:-

James Cleasby, of Oxenholme, in the township of Kendal, farmer, deposed – Eleanor Hayhurst, the deceased was my servant. She has served me since last Martinmas and was intending to leave my house at Whitsuntide. Some wearing apparel had been misplaced a short time ago, and I named it to the deceased last night about ten o’clock. The doors of my house were then bolted and made fast for the night, and we were about going to bed. We had no high words, and I told deceased that if she would take the things to their proper places nothing more should be said about them. He was then standing in the passage on her way to bed.  She made no reply to what I said, but stood still about five minutes. She then moved to the out-kitchen, extinguished the candle, placed it and the stick upon a table as she passed, and unbolted the doors and hastened out of the house. She did not add anything to her dress, nor did she speak to any one. I hastened after, and ran into the garden calling her by name, and I looked about for her but could not find her. I therefore returned and called my men-servants, and we searched all the outbuildings, but we could not find her there. It was then so dark we thought it useless to search the fields. We sat up to daylight, and the recommenced the search. Having searched various other places, we went to the canal, and, after searching there some time, I found a knife which one of my servants identified as her property. We then returned home and took drags with us. We very soon found the body of the deceased. She was in the canal, quite dead, and had apparently been drowned. We found the body under the Highgate Settings Bridge, in this township, and we removed it here. There are some very steep steps down to the canal bank from the road, and it was very dark when she left my house. If she had been intending to go on the canal banks to Kendal, these steps would be her direct road. The deceased was about twenty years of age.

James Parkinson, of Oxenholme, farm-servant, said- The deceased was a fellow-servant of mine. I assisted to search for her after she was missing yesterday night, and was there when her body was found. My master asked me to name to her that some clothes were missing, and I did so whilst we were milking yesterday. She denied that she had taken them, and desired me to go and search her boxes, which she said were open. She said she wished she was dead, and appeared very much distressed in mind.  She said such stories were enough to drive anyone mad. I believe I was the first to name the missing clothes to her and she at once desired her boxes to be searched.

Verdict – Found drowned.

Westmorland Gazette, Saturday 31 May 1851