1865: Tragic railway accident results in First Interment in St Wilfrid's burial ground

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

Brighton Gazette - Thursday 22 June 1865


HAYWARD’S HEATH Fatal Accident. On Saturday, L. G. Fullagar, Esq., held an inquest, at the Liverpool Arms, on the body of Henry Oram, who was killed by being run over by a train on the day previous.


James Oram, of Hayward’s Heath, employed at the gas works of the Railway Company, deposed that the deceased was his father, and he was 75 years of age. He lived with witness’s sister, at his house. On Friday, witness was at work at the gas house, when deceased passed him; he said he was going to try a new scythe which he had with him. His meadow was on the opposite side of the line.


When he left he went in the direction of the line. Witness was almost immediately called by his little girl, and went and found deceased lying on the line, on the up road. The deceased's sight was good, but he was very deaf. He was in the habit of going that way to his field. Witness heard no whistle, nor did he see the tram approaching. From the spot where deceased was found the tram would be visible for nearly three miles. Two of deceased’s grandchildren were with him. The eldest was about seven years old.


John Piper, Station Master at Hayward’s Heath, deposed that on the arrival of the 1:10 short train from Brighton, which reached Hayward’s Heath at 1:40, he was on the up platform, looking towards the approaching train coming into the station. Witness saw the train about 20 yards below the signal box, and about 40 yards from where the deceased was knocked down. The train was going at a walking pace. The first he saw of the accident was a scythe flying under the engine, and hat or cap on the line; he did not see the train strike the deceased. Witness went to the spot and saw the deceased; his son was standing near him. He breathed slightly once. There was no footpath across the line there. The ground on both sides of the line belonged to the Company, and was private. Deceased was removed to this house by witness’s direction.


Verdict, “Accidental death.”


The remains of deceased were interred in the burial ground of the newly-opened Church of St. Wilfred, on the Heath, on Sunday, the first interment that has taken place in the ground.