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1864: Painter dies tragically after desperate rooftop escape

Sussex Advertiser - Wednesday 30 March 1864

CUCKFIELD. Sudden-Death.

—An awful instance of sudden death, accompanied by a narrow escape the previous day, occurred here on Wednesday last. A painter named Dudden, from Littlehampton, aged 37, has been lately employed by Mr. Perry in the extensive carrying on at Frankland’s-house, Hayward's Heath, during which time he has lodged at the Wheatsheaf beer house, Broad-street, but seemed to be in a declining state of health for some time.

On Tuesday, which was a cold and windy day, he was painting some chimney pots at the top of the house, when the ladder on which he was standing giving way, he narrowly escaped being thrown to the ground, a distance of upwards of 60 feet, but hanging on by the chimney pot he was painting, he escaped.

Wheatsheaf Beerhouse c1905 - colourised (courtesy of Cuckfield Museum)

This seemed to effect his nerves materially, and the next day he was too unwell to go back to his employment, in consequence of which he remained home the whole day, appearing in rather a low and nervous state.

At about seven in the evening he left the room where he had been sitting and went out of doors with a feeble step, and in a very few minutes the landlord's daughter, J. Packham, found him lying prostrate and quite insensible. She alarmed her mother, who had him taken into the house at once, but he never spoke after, and on Mr. Peck, assistant surgeon to Messrs. attending, he pronounced his death to have been caused by apoplexy, and it was not considered necessary to call a coroner's inquest. His friends, who appear to be in good circumstances interred him in the Cuckfield burial ground on Sunday.

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