Ghastly Deaths

By Rosemary Bailey

This article was published in the August 2021 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society

I have been researching my Rollason ancestors in the parish or Rowley Regis, Staffordshire. My maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Rollason. Years ago, before the internet I bought the index to the parish records on a CD and although these are now on Findmypast I thought I would take a look at the CD and found that one of the vicars had recorded the cause of death along with the date of burial. Of course this extra information is not available on Findmypast. I was astonished to find the following three deaths all within a few months in 1812 which were caused by some kind of burning or scalding. Can you just imagine what that three year old suffered during the three months she ‘languished’?
I know that in that area at that time a lot of women, as well as men worked as nailers or chain makers from a shed in their small back yard. Some of my ancestors are described as ‘nail maker, home’ or ‘chain maker, home’ on the census returns. I would imagine that children were much less well supervised and that accidents of this type were more frequent.
There are some other interesting causes of death in those records, and I am sure I will use to fill a few gaps in the coming journals.