Sort file:- Chatham, December, 2018.

Page Updated:- Friday, 21 December, 2018.


Earliest 1842-

Duncan's Head

Latest 1842+

New Road



Kentish Gazette, 24 May 1842.

Chatham May 19th.

This day a jury assembled at the "Duncan's Head" Public House, New Road, Chatham, to investigate the circumstances attendant upon the death of two men name Thomas Turner and William Tyler, whose lives were lost on Monday night last, while emptying a cesspool in Best Street.

The coroner, Mr J N Dudlow, after having sworn the jury, repaired to the stables of the Inn, and took a view of the bodies, whither they had been conveyed to await the coroner's inquisition.

The first witness examines was Robert Taylor, brother of the deceased William Taylor. He stated that his brother was a bricklayer, and he had been employed in making a cesspool adjoining to another cesspool on the premises of Mr Farmer, Best Street.

The new Cesspool was 19 feet deep, and the old one 9 feet; a stage was erected in the new one about 9 feet below the surface of the earth.

On Monday night the deceased, William Tyler and Thomas Turner, went down into the hole and made an aperture, and the soil ran through. Witness remind above; after which witness's brother, with a crowbar, enlarged the hole, and the soil run out faster.

Very soon afterwards witness heard his brother cry out, "Dear me, I can hardly breathe;" when almost in an instantly fell into the soil. Witness called to Turner, and said, "For God's sake put the rope down and fetch him up." Turner did so. He, however, fell in also.

Mr Dunstall, who was then on the stage, called out for the rope, and before he could be brought up he fell and fainted; he did not fall into the soil.

Witness and a person named Farmer pulled out Mr Dunstall. Mr Dunstall was the master.

Every precaution was taken; a candle was kept burning down in the hole;  they therefore considered there was no danger.

Assistants was procured.

Witness's brother and Turner were got out, but they were quite dead. Witness can speak positively that both men understood their work. Witnesses brother was 35 years of age, and Turner 34 years old. This evidence was corroborated by the other person's present, and the jury, after some little consideration, returned a verdict accidentally suffocated.

The soil in which the men fell was only 3 feet deep. The two men were married. Tyler has left a wife and five children, Turner a wife and three children, and bore a very excellent character.




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