While perusing some old UK newspapers, I came upon a list of coroner’s inquests that included the accidental death of stone mason Sampson Wills, one of my 4th great grandfathers, father of George Wills, and husband of Ann Gadsden.
I’d mentioned Sampson’s tragic accident in a previous post; he had fallen supposedly while attempting to affix the pinnacle of the All Saints Calverton Church in Wolverton (Buckinghamshire, England). His great grandson chemist G.S.V. Wills had documented the accident in his memoirs. G.S.V. gave no exact date, but based on what he’d written, I’d estimated that the death occurred around 1830.
The newspaper article, published in London’s Morning Post* on Wednesday, 18 April 1827, provides more definitive details, thankfully. For one thing, it places Sampson’s death in or before April 1827. I don’t know how long after a death an inquest would take place, but I assume within weeks? Any ideas?
Copyright restrictions prohibit me from including a clipping of the article here, but in a nutshell, it confirms a fall from Calverton Church– specifically from the east pinnacle which had recently been erected. Sampson had been cleaning it when the scaffolding beneath him gave way. The 50-foot fall left him with a serious concussion, and he died two days later.
The article states his age as 63. Unfortunately that throws into question the birth and christening dates I have for him: 26 Dec 1867 and 20 Mar 1768 (at the Holy Trinity Church in Wolverton), respectively; presumed parents: Thomas Wills and Elisabeth Rainbow. As always, just when one question gets answered, two more appear in its place!
*Note: The results of the coroner’s inquest were also published in the Northampton Mercury and Oxford Journal newspapers at roughly the same time.