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1848: Sad case of drowning at Newbury Pond

Brighton Gazette - Thursday 07 September 1848.

On Monday, an inquest was held before Inigo Gell, Esq., Deputy-Coroner, at the Talbot Inn, on the body of David John Elliott. Frederick Cox, watch-maker, of Cuckfield, deposed that he knew deceased, who was a pawnbroker's assistant, in the Edgeware Road, Middlesex.

The day previous he saw him at Cuckfield, when they agreed to go to Newberry pond for a bathe, just as the bells were tolling for church. Witness had a swim, and was out of the pond, when deceased went in. He plunged into the water; and soon afterwards witness heard him call out “Fred.” He was sinking; and it was impossible to save him.

Distant view of Cuckfield Church with Newbury Pond in the foreground October 30th 1906 (colourised); photograph courtesy of Cuckfield Museum

Many persons came, and several stripped and went into the water; but deceased was not got out for two hours. Deceased told him that he had been learning to swim in one of the London Baths, and that he was master of the art. He only swam two or three yards before he sank. Mr Smith and some boys were present. William Smith, butler to Rev. T.A. Maberly, corroborate; and Flanagan, Inspector of Police, proved the finding the body, and gave the greatest credit to Mr J. Hobbs and Mr J. Anscombe, jun., who, hearing of the accident, went to the spot and remained in the water an hour and a half, endeavouring to recover the body.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.”



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