Abel Tinker (1812-1860)

Reclusive eccentric Abel Tinker committed suicide by shooting himself.


Described as a "gentleman of independent means and very eccentric habits", he resided at Spring Gardens, off Buxton Road.

He was likely born at Hepworth on 3 December 1812, the son of Phillip Tinker and his wife Sarah.

He was last alive on the evening of Saturday 24 November 1860 by a man who delivered milk. As Tinker kept himself to himself, it was not until Wednesday afternoon that his neighbours became concerned that he had not been seen for several days. One of the ironmonger McKitrick brothers and a man named Wimpenny, who acted as Tinker's financial agent, put a ladder up against the house and gained access to the property through a window. They found Tinker lying half out of his bed and clearly dead, and alerted the police.

Whilst a message was sent to Abel's sister Eliza, who had married surgeon John Taylor Bradshaw, the police summoned surgeon Mr. Goodall of Lockwood who found a small pistol near the body. A closer examiner revealed a single bullet wound to the deceased's chest, which "caused almost instantaneous death".

According to the Leeds Mercury, he was worth £600 a year but had "contracted the fatal habit of drinking, and for weeks together indulged in this degrading vice."[1]

At the subsequent inquest held by district coroner George Dyson at the Bath Hotel, it was reported that Tinker "was of eccentric habits and subject occasionally to aberrations of the mind". Unsurprisingly, the jury returned a verdict that he had shot himself "in a fit of insanity", which the Leeds Mercury speculated was caused by alcohol. Death was recorded as having taken place on 25 November 1860.

He was buried on 5 December at Hepworth.

Notes and References

  1. Leeds Mercury (01/Dec/1860).