James Bond and Women’s Bonnets 1828

I am continuing to try to add the burials and memorials in Sticklepath Burying Ground to Findagrave, but am frequently distracted… Looking for details of a Pearse death in 1828, as you do, I came across this inquest.

It is always a good idea to glance at the items surrounding an article of interest for hints about life at the time.  The inquest on poor James Bond follows immediately from this comment on female bonnets in the English Chronicle and Whitehall Evening Post on Tuesday 26 February 1828.  (The paragraph before is, randomly, about what Norwegians have for breakfast!) Transcription amended by myself, with added spacing, from BritishNewspaperArchive.co.uk .  (The North Devon Journal only adds the name of the Coroner, Francis Kingdon).

“The enormous width of the bonnets worn by our present race of females calls for a proportionate widening of the size of carriages, as well as of the foot pavement, and of the iron railing leading into St. James’s Park from Spring-gardens. 

An inquest was held on Sunday last, at Sticklepath, near Oakhampton, on the body of James Bond.

It appeared that the deceased (a cripple) and his wife had a quarrel in the afternoon of Saturday the 9th inst., when the deceased’s son put him out of the house and barred the door; his wife desired him to go to the poor-house, and the son offered to accompany him there, which the deceased did not like, but said he would go by himself, and went off that evening , but was not seen till the Monday evening following , when he returned to his house insensible and speechless, and died the Friday following of an apoplectic fit.

The Jury, after a patient investigation, returned a verdict of “Died by the visitation of GOD, in a natural way.”

The Coroner, notwithstanding,  most severely reprimanded the wife and son for their unkind, inhuman, and unnatural treatment and conduct, and said they had had a narrow escape of being tried for manslaughter at the ensuing Assizes; but he passed the highest encomiums on Mr.Pearse jun. of that place, for his most humane and indefatigable exertions and attention throughout this affair.—North Devon Journal. “

(Encomium – a speech or piece of writing that praises someone highly).

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