Newspapers and journals: Inquest into death of Henry Gumbleton, 1872


Account of the inquest into death of Henry Gumbleton who drowned at Waterbeach (March 29th)

Melancholy Case of Drowning - On Saturday last, F Barlow, esq, coroner, presided at an inquest at the Green Man, Waterbeach, to investigate the circumstances attending the death of Mr Henry Gumbleton, boot-maker, Market Street, Cambridge. The brother of hte deceased, Mr John Thomas Gumbleton said his brother left Cambridge on Good Friday in his ususal health, and he did not know him to be subject to fits. He was 28 years of age. The next witness called was Jonathan Day, the keeper of what are generally known as the Bottisham Locks, who deposed to witnessing the death of deceased under the following distressing circumstances:- he said that between 4 and 5 o’clock on Good Friday afternoon, hte deceased went down the river in a canoe alone. The stream at that time was more than usually high, and the sluice ates were all up; consequently, there was a strong current running. The deceased came alongside witness’s boat, which was lying against the waterfall. Witness went to him, and with the permission of deceased emptied the water out of the canoe. Presently, deceased said he must return, and made as for getting into the frail craft. Witness told him he must not get in there. for the stream would take him throught the flood gates. Deceased, however, said he should not go through.Witness thereupon wished to pull him up the side a little; bvut deceased said “let go of the boat”. Witness would not, and then he said decease 'snapped at him' several times, saying 'let go of the boat, fellow'. At last, though reluctantly, witness did let go and immediately the water drew the canoe to the floodgates and the boat was upset. The body of deceased was driven through the opening and his arms got wedged between the boat and the posts, so that he had his face under water, although the top part of his head was just above it. The witness, two watermen and others tried to get deceased up, but were unsuccessful. Witness’s two sons also went down and held deceased up by the hair of his head as long as they could, but they could not clear his mouth. It was something like half an hour before deceased was got out, and he was then quite dead. The Jury returned a verdict of 'accidentally drowned'.

Cambridge Independent
6 Apr 1872

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