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Leighton Buzzard Fire Brigade Demonstration and Fete 1863


On the 24th July 1863 a Grand Fire Brigade Demonstration was held in Leighton Buzzard. The event was chiefly organised to celebrate the formation of a number of new brigades in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. As such, on the day of the event, numerous fire brigades from towns and villages in these counties arrived in the town. Triumphal arches had been erected on approach roads to the town to welcome the visiting brigades. The assembled brigades processed through the town and then arrived at the main location for the event, which was a field called 'Vicarage Island' which was adjacent to the Recreation Ground. The celebrations continued with an attempted balloon assent, a cricket match and a concert with well known performers and acrobats. At the end of the afternoon the brigades and guests moved to the newly completed Corn Exchange in Lake Street, for a dinner and speeches. The event was hailed a great success, but there was one sad event after the end. The Buckingham Fire Brigade were just leaving for home in the evening and when their engine crossed the Soulbury Road railway bridge, one of the horses stumbled on a defective grating and resulted in the postilion rider falling off and the horse falling on top of him and killing him.

The event was covered in the town newspaper, the Leighton Buzzard Observer & Linslade Gazette, and transcripts of the various reports are given here on this site.

Leighton Buzzard Observer & Linslade Gazette reports relating to the event

NOTE: any text in square brackets are comments on typos etc made by the transcriber.

21st July 1863 - Pre-event story

FIRE BRIGADE FETE. - THIS fete announced for Friday next, is likely to be attended by an immense number of persons, especially if the fine weather should continue. The procession, the first event of the day, will doubtless, be an imposing sight, and of a character not frequently seen in Leighton. Ample arrangements are being made for the enjoyment of visitors; the inimitable Mackney and other first-class artistes having been engaged, iy [should be "in"] addition to three bands. A cricket match, and a dinner are both items contained in the programme. The latter is to take place in the Corn Exchange, which is capable of affording accommodation for 480, exclusive of a platform. The tickets, we remind our readers, may be obtained at a reduction, if applied for not later than Tuesday (this day).

28th July 1863 - Event report


The grand Fire Brigade Demonstration took place on Friday last.

The town early assumed a holiday aspect. Triumphal arches had been thrown across the principal entrances to the town, each of which bore a welcome to the respective brigades that would pass beneath its archway of evergreens. Little knots of individuals were seen to congregate, and gaily dressed persons promenaded the streets. Between 10 and 11 the brigades began to arrive, and precisely at 12 the procession started from the backway of the Plume of Feathers Inn, and wended their way down Hockliffe Street, Lake Street, North Street, High Street, as far as the Railway Station, and back through Church Square to the Vicarage Island, a pleasant meadow situate south of the church, and adjoining the Recreation Ground. Here the horses were taken from the engines, and they remained for inspection for the afternoon.

The procession was an imposing sight; all the engines appeared in capital condition, and were shown to the best advantage. The variety in the style and colour of the uniform gave a rather unique appearance. Red, white, and black, were the colours most prominent, and the style of clothing presented a still greater variety. Some of the brigades were furnished with helmets, and some were provided with weapons of demolition.

The order of the procession was as follows:-

Superintendent of Police, Police Constable, and Town Crier.
Beds Militia Band.
Dunstable old engine, 284 years old, termed the "Father of Engines."
Hemel Hempstead pioneers.
5th Herts Rifle Corps Band.
Engine drawn by four horses and postillion ["postilion"].
Eight mounted pioneers
The Berkhampstead engine and paid brigade.
Van containing volunteer brigade.
Four mounted pioneers.
Newport Pagnell engine and brigade.
Seven mounted pioneers.
Fourth Beds Rifle Corps Band.
Dunstable Engine and Brigade.
Fly and pair.
Buckingham Brigade and engine.
Mounted pioneers.
Fenny Stratford engine and brigade.
25 mounted pioneers.
Call messengers and turncock.
Superintendent and two others.
Leighton Buzzard engine and paid brigade.
Volunteer engine.
Van containing voluntary brigade.
Superintendent's private engine and Small model engine.
Van containing Superintendent's private Brigade.

The different Superintendents headed their respective brigades. The following is a list of the Superintendents and foremen.

Dunstable - Superintendent - William Medland, Esq; foreman - Mr. W. H. Derbyshire.
Hemel Hempstead - Superintendent - Mr. Joseph Cranstone; foreman - Mr. Josiah Hales.
Berkhampstead - Superintendent - Mr. Thos. Thomas; foreman - Mr. Thomas Austin.
Buckingham - Superintendent - Mr. W. H. Tibbetts; foreman - Mr. Josiah Burford.
Fenny Stratford - Superintendent - Mr. R. Holdom; foreman - Mr. Thomas Taylor.
Newport Pagnell - Superintendent - Mr. E. H. Croydon; foreman - Mr. James Whitwell.
Leighton Buzzard - Superintendent - Mr. J. Young; foreman - (paid brigade) Mr. George Young; foreman- (volunteers) - Mr. George Andrew.

The entrance to the Vicarage Island was under another triumphal arch, bearing a motto, "Welcome to your brigades." This was surmounted by lines of poetry, composed by the foreman of the Dunstable fire brigade, Mr. W. H. Derbyshire. It was entitled - Hail to the fire brigades.

"Though commerce guards her shrine with ceaseless care,
A wandering spark may hurl destruction there.
Though in the garner lies the golden grain.
Then hail to those who venture life and health.
To save their neighbours and their neighbours' wealth."

A cricket match between the brigadeers in Beds and Herts, and those in Bucks commenced about half-past one. The game, however, was not played out. The attraction of the singing proved too great for that of cricket; and so the game was left undecided. The particulars we have not yet received. The bat, offered by Mr. Holton, cricket bat manufacturer, of Buckingham, was gained by David Cook.

The concert commenced about half-past two o'clock. The stage was erected at the west end of the field, in a convenient spot allowing plenty of room for the assembled company. Mr. Munyard, commenced by singing a couple of comic songs - "The Barber's daughter," and "The charming young widow." He was followed by Mr. George Williams, who sung the "Jolly Young Waterman," and a "nautical song." Persivanni and Faust, two acrobats next delighted the audience with their wonderful performances. The various contortions of their bodies showed agility quite surprising, and their successful efforts met with applause. Sam Collins next afforded delight by his Irish songs. Mr. Greville appeared in a song, and was followed by an attractive melange entitled the "French Dancing Master," by Miss Caroline Parkes. Upon the announcement that Mackney would appear, there was considerable applause, and a general move to take the places nearest the stand. He appeared in his negro character, and sung four songs in his exceedingly ludicrous and inimitable way.

The performers who had appeared before, then successively came on the stage and the concert was continued until after five o'clock, when the brigades left the field to dine together at the Corn Exchange.

The chair was taken by Francis Bassett, Esq., who was supported by the Rev. H. A. Gibson, Dr. Lawford, Mr. J. Cranstone, Mr. T. Hales, Mr. T. Thomas, W. Medland Esq., A. Whyley, Esq., Mr. S. Perkins, Mr. H. W. Tibbetts and Mr. Clements. Mr. G. Franklin sustained the character of vice-chairman.

The dinner was a substantial one and was provided by Mr. G. Young, of the Plume of Feathers Inn.

Grace was said both before and after dinner by the Rev. H. A. Gibson.

The Chairman said he rose to propose a toast, which was always well received in every company of Englishmen, that of "Her Gracious Majesty the Queen." He hoped she might long live in the midst of her happy and contented people.

The toast was received with the usual honours, and the band struck up "God save the Queen."

The Chairman followed with the "health of the Prince and Princess of Wales," and the rest of the Royal Family. He reverted to the royal marriage on the 10th of March, and thought that no prince had been married under such pleasing auspices, or had received a greater amount of well wishes than had the Prince of Wales.

The toast likewise received the usual honours, "God Bless the Prince of Wales," being given by the band.

Mr. Thomas, of Berkhampstead, said that by the command of the Chairman, and with the indulgence of the company, he should propose the toast that next appeared in the general routine. The toast was a three-fold one "The army, navy and volunteers," (cheers) and he thought all would join in drinking the toast. There is probably no gentleman wearing the scarlet uniform present; and he did not suppose there was seaman; but there was a great many wearing the grey uniform. The toast required nothing more from his hands; but before he sat down he would couple with it the name of Lieutenant Medland (cheers).

Lieut. Medland rose with pleasure to respond to the toast, although the associating it with his name, was to him a matter of surprise, as he was then wearing a different dress to the volunteers. He, however, tried to do his duty in whatever position he might be placed. He (Lieut. Midland [spelt "Medland" previously]) was a true volunteer. The volunteers, he said, would always support the army, whenever they might be called upon. They preserved the land from invaders, and our homes from foreign intruders. The volunteers also were peace-makers. It was folly to lock the stable door when the steed was stolen. The volunteers wished to be ready in case an enemy should come, but they all hoped the day would be far distant when they would have to defend their country. The volunteers had exhibited a prowess worthy of them as Englishmen, and they were all ready to a man to repel any invader: and woe to Russia, France, or any foreign foe, that dare come within 20 miles (cheers).

The Chairman proposed the "health of the Bishop and clergy of the diocese," and ministers of all denominations. He put it on this broad basis as they were a mixed company. There was, fortunately plenty of room in the world for men of all persuasions to exercise their own individual opinions (cheers). He would call upon the the [unnecessary "the"] Rev. H. A. Gibson to respond for the bishop and clergy, and perhaps some one in the company might in behalf of the ministers of other denominations.

The Rev. H. A. Gibson, said he was called upon rather unexpectedly to respond in behalf of the bishop of the diocese. He felt rather in a peculiar position; in the first place, from not being in this diocese although he lived as near almost as he could to it, and was simply divided from it by a small stream. Another difficulty arose from the fact that he would rather have seen the highly respected and well-known vicar of the town present and occupying the position he was now doing. Still he felt he could gladly stand up and respond in behalf of the clergy in any diocese in England, as nothing gave them greater pleasure than watching over the spiritual interests of the community, or to encourage them in the development of that which was beneficial to their temporal interests, or tended to their moral progress (cheers). It gave him great pleasure in being present to-day, first, from a personal regard he had for the most industrious of all men, Mr. James Young, (loud cheers). It was this feeling, rather than any other, which first prompted him (Mr. Gibson) to make up his mind to dine with them to-day. He had known Mr. Young for nearly two years and had always found him willing to help him in any matter he had in hand. After speaking of the interest he manifested in fire brigades he remarked that those who witnessed him on those two painful nights in Linslade, a year and a half ago, when a large amount of property was consumed, must have seen the courage he displayed; he appeared even ready to sacrifice his life for the good of others. The brigade likewise shewed ["showed"] courage and daring in the interests of their fellow-men (cheers). If there was a body of men ready at all hazards to protect property and save life, it was the fire brigade, and he determined to give the movement all the support that lay in his power. (cheers). He joined heartily in the toast to ministers of all denominations, but as that was to be left to another to respond to he gave them his cordial thanks for the way in which they received the toast, and resumed his seat. (cheers).

Song - "The Fire Brigade," by Mr. George Williams

The Chairman said he was reminded of the toast of the evening "the fire brigades." They were as indebted to the different brigades who had visited the town. They had made a very satisfactory entrance in the town, and in no case had he heard of anything occurring to mar the pleasure of the day. They were a body of men capable of throwing a great deal of water upon objectionable matter. They had, however, been spared that duty to-day. He coupled with the toast the name of Mr. Cranstone, and as there were several present he hoped to have remarks from others.

Mr. Cranstone, of Hemel Hempstead was almost inaudible. He was, however, understood to say that he had been connected with the fire brigade for a number of years, and made a few remarks on their general working.

Lieut. Medland rose and said that he should not like the occasion to pass by without making one or two remarks upon the subject of fire brigades. He looked upon fire brigades as a very important body of men, and they ought to be connected with every town in England. Formerly they were considered of little importance, and when the engines were called out nobody knew where to look for men to work them. Without you have a body of men provided expressly very little is done in the case of a fire. Many people have said "What do you want dressing men up in that peculiar costume?" for the plain reason that what is everybody's business is nobody's business, and you must have men to whom you can look, and say to one plant this ladder there, take out of the window those people who are about to perish, rush into this room and rescue this valuable property. Wearing the uniform they are marked men, and they dare not refuse orders. When persons are dressed in plain clothes they are often not known, and pass unobserved. It is the uniform and unity that kept them together. He was very proud to know that it was Dunstable that first called the brigades of this neighbourhood together (cheers). This was not done once only but twice. Providence, however, did not see fit to smile upon them the second time. Although it sent plenty of water, which was all in their trade, yet they did not wish it on that day. It often happened that when they went to fires they could not get sufficient water. He urged upon gentlemen to lend the brigade all the support they could. Some when called upon to help declined to do so as they insured, but insurance would not save lives or preserve choice furniture which persons often times laid great store by. It is the men in uniform who will save your lives and are ready to offer you assistance at their own risk in your distress. These meetings do much to unite fire brigades together, and show to the public that fire brigades are not what they used to be - almost useless - but composed of trained and tried men, who are to fires what our army and navy is to an invading enemy (cheers). He knew of no man who had done more to promote the interest of the fire brigade movement than his friend Mr. Young (cheers). He (Mr. Young) had given him much information and assistance thus enabling him to bring the Dunstable brigade to its present high position. He thanked Mr. Young sincerely for all the trouble and pains he had been at. He thought there was no fire brigade that knew him but what would call him the Braidwood of the country. They had heard from a previous speaker of the assistance he had given in cases of fire, which had occurred in the neighbourhood. He (Mr. Young), had set them a brave example, and he trusted they might follow it; and whenever the alarm of fire was given he hoped they might be ready with their uniform, and always sustain the character associated with it. Unity is the watchword, and he trusted that those towns who had not got uniform, would not rest contented until they had got their clothing on their shoulders, and their helmets on their heads (cheers). In conclusion, he said - fire brigades for ever, and keep them up by all means (cheers).

Song - "John Barleycorn," by Mr. G. Williams.

The Chairman said that all were aware that part of the day's programme was devoted to cricket. Mr. Holton, of Buckingham, had kindly offered to resent ["present" the "p" missing] a cane handled cricket bat to those who made the most runs in the match, and he, on his behalf, had now that pleasing duty to perform. David Cook had made the highest score, consequently the bat had been won by him.

The bat was then presented, and Mr. Cook, thanked Mr. Holton for the present.

Dr. Lawford rose to propose the "health of the Chairman," which he felt sure would be done in a hearty manner. They had known each other ever since they were boys. He (Mr.  [should be "Dr."] Lawford), had always known him to be a kind hearted gentleman, ready on all occasions to take the chair at a meeting, or do anything for the good of his fellow-men. In that respect, he was following the steps of his father (cheers). If fire brigades were not worthy of patronage, he was sure his friend Mr. Bassett would not have been found in the position he occupied.

The toast was received with the usual honours. Mrs. Bassett's health was also drunk.

The Chairman hardly knew how to find words to thank the company for the very warm and enthusiastic manner in which they had received the toast. He had occupied the position of chairman with great reluctance, and had he not had very great regard for Mr. Young he should have been inclined to have declined it. There were many gentlemen in the town better fitted to occupy the position than himself (no, no)! He should have liked to have seen the vice-president in the chair. He (Mr. Bassett), thought he was not equal to the convivial spirit of such meetings. He thought it right on such occasions that they should sink their private feelings when a great cause claimed their sympathy. He felt extremely gratified with the good order which had hitherto prevailed, and he was pleased to see around him so many of his old friends. He thanked his friend for the kind manner in which he had spoken of his father, and hoped he would live for many years to promote the prosperity of Leighton Buzzard. After thanking them on behalf of Mrs. Bassett he resumed his seat.

Mr. Hales wished the gentlemen to charge their glasses. The toast he was about to propose was one that he could not adequately give. The gentleman for whom it was intended must therefore take the will for the deed. When he mentioned the name of Mr. James Young, (cheers), more from him was unnecessary. From what he heard and seen, he found that they valued and esteemed his services. He, (Mr. H.) could answer for warmth of Mr. Young's heart in the fire brigade movement. He was not merely the investigator of the Leighton Buzzard fire brigade, but was in reality the chief worker. He (Mr. Hales) recollected coming to Leighton 15 years ago, before a fire brigade was formed in the town. It was a gratification to him to see the changed aspect of affairs and the earnest manner in which they carried it on.

Mr. James Young thanked them for the honour they had done him in drinking his health. The present gathering had been long contemplated, and he hoped the event would bear the morning's reflection of all those who attended. They had met together that day at the suggestion of a few friends, to commemorate the establishment of several surrounding brigades, which reflected credit on the towns to which they belonged. He did not allude to the Hemel Hempstead as they were seniors. If they had through perseverance earned their laurels, may they long wear them, and continue to obtain the good opinions of the inhabitants. The public should bear in mind that country fire brigades have several difficulties to contend with over the London Brigades. The fires in the former are not so numerous, consequently the brigades have not the actual practice, besides the men and horses are not awaiting at the station house, and in vain might they call the assistance of the turncock. He was, however, pleased to say that in Leighton there was an exception. There was a good tank containing about 8,000 gallons of water, and supposing the engine to discharge, on an average, 60 gallons per minute, that would occupy nearly two hours before it would be exhausted, even supposing no addition was made during the time. There are, however, receptacles on each side where water can be poured down in buckets if required. As no serious fire has taken place in the town since its construction, the real value of it is not known, and he trusted it would be long before it was. Although some persons might be opposed to an affair of this kind he was inclined to think otherwise. He did not mean to say that every year they had a holiday they were to carry it out to the extent they had done to day. This was rather an unusual occurrence. But he was of opinion that a holiday once a year did good to a brigade where economy was not lost sight of. The men felt more interest in the establishment, besides he was inclined to think that an annual holiday had in some cases done something for the towns. If they had not benefitted their own, they had set an example, which he was pleased to say, had been followed by others. Their own brigade would try and do their bes ["best" - "t" not printed] and hoped their neighbours would do the same. He should not be jealous at any progress they made, but on the other hand would rejoice and willingly render them all the assistance he could. There were some brigades present without their engines. He had suggested that it would be more prudent to leave them at home, in case of fire during their absence. Some were also present without uniforms. They were equally pleased to see them, and he hoped they would soon be supplied with uniforms, as they cause the men, not only to feel more interest, but they more readily gain access to premises on fire, and what is more, the superintendent can easily distinguish his men and if the uniform be kept in readiness, it need not cause the least delay. (cheers).

Song - "The charming young widow I met in the train."

The Chairman in proposing the health of the Vice-chairman, said they had both known each other and had grown up together from boyhood. He was always pleased to meet with Mr. Franklin, especially when it was a matter like the present, connected with the welfare of the town. He hoped his useful life might long be spared, and that before long when drinking his health, they might be able to couple with it the name of Msr. ["Mrs"] Franklin.

Mr. Franklin in responding made a few remarks with respect to the occasion on which they had met. The day had been one he never had expected to see at Leighton. He had seen fetes at Woburn, Dunstable and other towns in the neighbourhood, but had despaired ever seeing one in Leighton. The friendly feeling created by such a day's enjoyment, as well as the good done to fire brigades was very great.

Song - The death of Nelson, in character, by Mr. Williams.

The Chairman proposed the health of the Visitors which was responded to by Mr. Sherman.

The Chairman said he had been commissioned by Mr. Young, who had forgotten it in his speech to thank Mr. Franklin and others who had assisted him in getting up the holiday.

Mr. Franklin expressed the pleasure it had given him to assist and was pleased to find the fete had been so successful.

The Chairman in proposing the health of "the ladies" said he had had the good pleasure of seeing some of them present. He thought it would be well if they attended more frequently as their restraining influence was beneficial. They all knew what a flat world this would be, and what sad lives they would lead were it not for the ladies. When they had done with the fatigues and business of the day what pleasure it was to have the solace of female society. He felt unable to do justice to the toast as it required, and therefore asked them to receive and honour it in the way deserved.

Mr. Franklin was called upon to reply. He thought it was the duty of the youngest batchelor to respond The bliss that Mr. Bassett had given expression to was with him a matter of theory, but he had no doubt it was correct (cheers and laughter).

The Chairman then vacated his seat. Several remained behind and kept up the conviviality for some time longer.

After the concert, the band filled up the time, and dancing became the favourite diversion till the shades of evening prevailed, when that was exchanged for one of more general acceptation viz - Kiss in the ring Several rings at one time were formed and the youth of the town and neighbourhood vigorously entered into the fun. Tents, booths, and stalls, for the sale of edibles, potables, toys, and other etceteras occupied a portion of the field and appeared to receive ample share of patronage. A balloon ascent took place about 10 o'clock, but the balloon showed signs of indisposition.

The holiday taken as a whole was satisfactory we believe to the promotors ["promoters"] and their patrons, and those deserving men who composed the fire brigades.

Many of the tradesmen of the town acted nobly in closing their shops and affording their assistants participation in a holiday that is not to frequent occurrence. Such acts have a tendency to promote mutual good feeling between the employers and employed, and the result is beneficial to both parties.

We are sorry to have to record a mournful sequel to the day's proceedings. One of the post-boys to the Buckingham brigade on his way home met with an accident which resulted in his death. The particulars of which will be found in another column.

28th July 1863 - Event report


An inquest was held at the Magistrates Chamber, Elephant and Castle, on Saturday afternoon last, on the body of George White, aged 44, who met with his death on the previous evening under the melancholy circumstances detailed in evidence by the following witnesses. The jury being empannelled ["empanelled"] they appointed Mr. William Cooper, as foreman. They then adjourned to view the body, which was lying at the New Euston Inn. The first witness examined was.

Richard Peasenell, of Buckingham, post-boy in the employ of Mr. Thomas Blackwell, of the Swan and Castle, Buckingham. He said - I, and George White, the deceased, came to the Fire Brigade demonstration at Leighton on Friday. We drove the Buckingham fire engine. I was postillion ["postilion"] to one pair of horse and White to the other. We arrived in Leighton about 10 o'clock in the morning, and pxt ["put"?] up at the Plume of Feathers Inn. Deceased was perfectly sober. As we were passing over the railway bridge, on the Soulbury road, the horse he was riding made a sudden stumble. He tried to recover the horse, but he did not succeed and fell on the off side, the horse coming on the top of him. He appeared to pitch head foremost, as if his head was under the horse. The horse I was riding stepped upon the horse that had fallen and he might have stepped upon the man. I cannot say whether or not he did. I stopped the horse immediately I could. I heard deceased say "Oh dear!" "Oh Pray" while under the horse. He did not speak after he was picked up. I took charge of the horses while he was extricated. He did not appear very much mangled. There was blood upon his face. Deceased was removed into a house close by. I believe the cause of the horse stumbling was through the grating.

By the Foreman - We were going at a steady trot five or six miles an hour. The horse has been known to stumble before.

Re examined - I don't consider the horse dangerous, he is about 12 years old. A doctor was sent for and arrived soon after. There was no noise to frighten the horses.

By the Jury. [believed "Jury" but "r" not clear] - There was a fly and pair in advance of us.

Wilson Smith, plumber, of Buckingham, and engineer to the Buckingham fire brigade, said - I accompanied the fire brigade to Leighton yesterday, and started home with them. I was riding on the right side of the front of the engine, facing the horses. The horses were stopped immediately. I did not assist to extricate the deceased as I was attending to the traces. The horse deceased rode was the only one that fell. Deceased appeared quite helpless. He made an exclamation, oh dear! but it was very faint. He was taken into Mead's house. Mr. Wagstaff came immediately; deceased breathed after he was picked up but was unconscious. The other leading horse kicked and plunged and got away. The horses were very quiet on starting. Deceased was quite sober on starting. Deceased was a married man, and had a wife and eight children.

Catherine Standbridge, a girl 15 years old, said - I live with my uncle, Edward Gardner, of Linslade, I saw the Buckingham fire engine going home on Friday night, between 9 and 10 o'clock. When it was passing the bridge I was by Mr. Mead's house. I saw the horse fall down; the one the post boy was riding. I ran up immediately. I could not see how the man was lying; the men had got off the engine. Deceased appeared to be between the horses. I heard him moan while lying on the ground.

Richard Peasenell, Re-examined - The night was not particularly dark. There was no lamp lighted on the bridge. Deceased was a careful driver. I have known him for 20 years, and never saw anything amiss with him when he was out with horses.

Mr. P. W. Wagstaff, surgeon, of Leighton, said - I was sent for on Friday night, to see the deceased, George White. I saw him a few moments before ten o'clock; he was then lying in the Euston Inn. He was alive and breathing, but life was evidently ceasing. He had no pulse. I ascertained that his heart was beating very feebly. Mr. Bodger, who was with me put a little rum in his mouth; he coughed a little, but made no effort to swallow. The heart ceased to beat while I was there. There were very few marks of external violence. There was a graze on the buttock and one on the hand. All the upper ribs were crushed. I believe the lungs to be crushed. I have not made a post mortem examination. The injuries to the chest, I have not the least doubt, caused the death.

The coroner, in summing up, thought there would be little difficulty in finding their verdict. It appeared by the evidence of Peasenel that the horse stumbled, and that was no doubt the cause of the accident by which the poor fellow met his death. If the jury considered that the drain was not in a safe state; then they could state their opinion on the subject, and their recommendation should be forwarded to proper quarters.

The Foreman quite concurred in what the coroner had said, and thought some complaint should be forwarded to the surveyors of the parish.

The jury then returned a verdict of "Accidental death," from the injuries sustained. The jury were also of opinion that the grating on the bridge was in a dangerous state, and recommended steps to be taken to have it placed in a proper state.

The body of the deceased was taken to Buckingham after the inquest. The poor fellow who has met with so shocking a fate, leaves behind him a wife and eight children. An appeal for subscriptions, as will be seen by our advertisement columns, is made on behalf of the bereaved wife and family, and several gentlemen have already liberally come forward to their aid, a noble example, which we feel sure the rest of the town will but gladly imitate.

[Click here to see transcripts of the adverts to appeal for subscriptions and a list of those who had subscribed that appeared weekly in the Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linsalde Gazette] from 28th June until 1st September 1863

21st July 1863 - Notification of article to appear in the Illustrated London News


THE Illustrated London News of August 8th will contain an engraving of the Grand Fire Brigade Demonstration, at Leighton Buzzard, with a descriptive account.

Price 5d., stamped 6d., orders should be given by the 6th inst., to all news agents, or at the office, 198 Strand, London.

[Click here for the article and engraving in the Illustrated London News]

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