Huddersfield Chronicle (27/Jul/1895) - Inquest at Holmfirth

This page is part of the Holmfirth Flood Project which aims to make content available to researchers in advance of the 175th anniversary of the 1852 Flood which will be commemorated in 2027.
The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.



At the Elephant and Castle Inn, Holmfirth, on Friday (yesterday), Mr. Wm. Barstow, the coroner, held an inquest touching the death of Aner Bailey, who was found dead in his dwelling on Wednesday morning, Mr. Allen Brook was chosen foreman. Mr. J. H. Bentley (Kidd and Bentley) appreared for the executors and some of the relatives.

William Moorhouse, mungo merchant, Batley Carr, Dewsbury, said he was the nephew of the deceased, who was aged 83 years last April, and lived at Upperbridge. Deceased was formerly a tailor. He saw him alive on Tuesday night, at nine o'clock. He believed that Lockwood came in whilst he was there. He left deceased in his home at that time to go to the train, having come up by the four o'clock train. There was another man, James Mettrick[1], with him when he (witness) left to go to the station. Whilst he was with deceased, he seemed poorly, but he had seen him worse. Deceased complained that he felt unwell on Saturday, and on the sunday he had a fall and back into the house as well as he could. He had been in bed and was in bed when witness saw him. In reply to the coroner, witness said deceased fell because of dizziness. He advised him to have a doctor, but her would not. He had been out of health for some time.

In reply to Mr. Bentley, witness said deceased had not had a doctor since last January, when he was attended by Dr. Trotter.

In reply to the Coroner, he said deceased had been very feeble lately, and had been accustomed to go and stay with witness's mother. He was a widower, having lost his wife and two children in the Holmfirth flood, on February 5th, 1852, and had lived alone ever since that time.

In reply to Mr. Bentley, witness said the deceased had had medical attendance for bilious or jaundice affection.

The Foreman remarked that persons had noticed him sinking, especially the last few weeks. Several of the jury saw him out within the last few days, and he then looked very ill.

James Mettrick, weaver, Gully, said deceased was uncle to witness's wife. He last saw him alive in bed about eleven on Monday night, having repeatedly tried to get him to have a doctor. He was in his usual health on Friday, and on the Tuesday he (deceased) complained of pain in the chest.

The Coroner: What did he say when you asked him to have a doctor?

Witness: He said he had not forgotten the last doctor bill.

A Juryman: I can believe it.

The Coroner: Did he mean that the bill was too little?

Witness: He did not say whether it was too big or too little.

The Coroner: He probably thought it was enough to last him some time.

Witness said just after eleven o'clock was the last time he saw him alive. About half-past ten to eleven he had been talking with deceased about Kitson getting in for Colne Valley, and Local Board affairs, and he did not complain of anything but the pain in his breast. He would have stayed longer, but deceased asked him to go, saying he could manage all right until morning. In reply to the coroner, he said deceased had had the pain for three years. In reply to the foreman, he said, to the best of the knowledge no one saw him after he (witness) left him.

Alfred Lockwood, shoemaker, said he want in to see deceased several times during the Tuesday, because he (deceased) was poorly, and law deceased alive about 9:30 and would have stayed with him all night, but Mettrick was there, and he (witness) thought Mettrick was going to stop all night.

The Foreman: That would be the last time you saw him alive?

Witness: Yes.

The Coroner: You said nothing to deceased about a doctor.

Witness: Yes. I did, and he would not. I saw Dr. Trotter in Newfold, and spoke to him as to Bailey's condition.

Mr. Bentley: He was not taking medication?

Witness: The only medicine he took was cold tea and cold water.

The Coroner: He was a peculiar man?

Witness: They could say time make him do as he had a mind.

Mr. Bentley: What about finding him?

The witness said he found deceased on Tuesday morning at five minutes to seven in a sitting position on the flood by the side of the bed, between bed and the long seat. He was quite dead, and cold. He had on only his shirt and muffler. There was no appearance as though he was trying to dress himself.

The Foreman: Had he stockings on?

Witness: I never knew him wear stockings.

A Juryman: They would be too expensive.

Witness said deceased had, on the Sunday, told him of parting with black blood, and there was some congealed blood on the floor close to where he was. Witness saw his lamp burning, "so he put his light out," and went for Dick's sister.

Ben Lockwood, labourer, said he assisted to lay out the body of the deceased, on which was no mark of violence or injury whatever. The jury brought in a verdict of death from natural causes, probably old age and general decay.


  1. Born circa 1839 at Underbank, this was not the person of the same name who was the son of 1852 Flood victim James Mettrick.