The Sole Society, a Family History Society researching Sole, Saul, Sewell, Solley and similar names

Lad Drowned While Bathing

By Diana Kennedy

This article was originally published in the April 2001 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society.

From the Ipswich Journal, June 22nd 1872

"An inquest was held on Thursday at the White Hart Inn before B. Ross Esq., Coroner, on the body of a lad named Enos Sewell, aged 17years.

The evidence adduced showed that the deceased, who was a farm labourer, employed by Mr Cooper, went on Tuesday afternoon with three men named Bird, Haycock and Woolnough to a pond in the Cooper’s occupation for the purpose of bathing, but only Bird entered the water with the deceased. The latter who could swim only a little, crossed the pond only once but was unable to swim back and sank when about half way. The other men were unable to render assistance as they were unable to swim.

He was taken out by Mr Cooper’s groom, a man named Rose, with a muck crome. He was taken to Mr Cooper’s house, where policeman Joseph Jessup endeavoured to restore the deceased in accordance with the instructions of the Life Boat Association, a copy of which he had on him. Dr Blackett was sent for and on arriving expressed himself satisfied with what had been done, but found that life had nearly fled.

The jury returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’. Much sympathy is felt for the parents who reside at Walberswick, as their son was always much esteemed as a well-conducted youth."

The above newspaper report of the inquest into the death of Enos Sewell was held at the medieval White Hart Inn, Blythburgh, Suffolk, a few miles from the coastal town of Walberswick.

The 1871 census for Walberswick shows Enos to be 16 years old, the son of William and Mary Ann Sewell. There was also a younger brother Edward, aged 14years. William and both sons were agricultural labourers. Enos died 18th June 1872 and was buried at Walberswick 21st June 1872.

The Bythburgh 1871 census shows a James B Cooper who farmed 1450 acres at Blythburgh, employing as well as the groom, 40 labourers, two shepherds and eight boys. The census also shows a John Bird, aged 18 and a Henry Woolnough aged 20 living on the estate with their families.

The muck crome, used to pull Enos from the pond, is a local name for muck rake, normally used to pull down boughs or draw weeds from ditches.

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