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1909: Shot by the roadside in Haywards Heath

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 31 August 1909



A painful early-morning sensation was caused Haywards Heath yesterday (Monday), when it became known that an elderly gentleman bad been found shot by the side of the road.

The gentleman was Dr. Warwick Jordan, about 68 years of age, of Lewisham, who came to Haywards Heath only last Wednesday, and it was stated that he intended to return to Lewisham the day of the tragic affair. Dr. Jordan had undergone a serious illness, and we hear that he had relatives in this neighbourhood. During the past few days he had been staying with Mr. Potter, of Ashcroft, Paddockhall Road, Haywards Heath.

A Mr. Cook (a waiter at the Station Hotel, Haywards Heath) and a young man named George Henry Kember were in the vicinity of Paddockhall Road at the time of the sad occurrence.

Dr. Jordan, it seems, was sitting on the step at the back entrance to Oakland, and the passers by— Kember was cycling the time—thought it was an old gentleman having a rest by the way. At first no particular curiosity was aroused, but a revolver shot rang out in the air, and the scene immediately became changed from one of tranquility to consternation as the doctor reeled forward with a death-like countenance.


Kember immediately rode off and informed the police—the police head-quarters of the district being only a very short distance away—and before long there arrived on the spot Superintendent Brooman, Sergeant Seal, and Constable Gear.

Dr. Jordan was still alive, but evidently in a precarious condition. He had a revolver shot wound in his head, and blood was dripping down. Near by lay a five-chambered revolver, and one chamber had been discharged.

Tenderly the police lifted the drooping form on to an ambulance, and Dr. Jordan was removed to the house where he had recently been staying. Dr. Glenn was summoned, but from the first it appeared to be a hopeless case, and Dr. Jordan expired about three hours afterwards.

The East Sussex Coroner was informed of the circumstances to-day (Tuesday), and an inquest will be held to-morrow (Wednesday).


Widely known as a brilliant organist and composer. Dr. Jordan’s loss will be keenly felt in the musical world. For over forty-three years he had been organist and director of the choir at St. Stephen’s, Lewisham. Last April he was the recipient of address and a cheque to commemorate his long association with the church, and congratulating him on his recovery from severe illness The restoration of health, however, proved only temporary, and for some time past Dr. Jordan (whose residence was at Beaufort Gardens, Lewisham) had been staying with his wife and son and daughter in Hove, afterwards moving to Haywards Heath. It is said that he suffered from asthma.

Dr. Warwick Jordan held the degrees of Doctor of Music, Cambridge, and Bachelor of Music, Oxford; and was a professional organist to the Guildhall School of Music. His interest in the Royal College of Organists was a keen one, and not only was he one of their principal examiners, but he held the joint offices of don, treasurer and trustee to the college. The deceased gentleman was also examiner to the Incorporated Staff Sight Singing College, and he will remembered in Church musical circles for the interest he took in the Gregorian mode of chanting. He was largely instrumental in founding the London Gregorian Association, whose annual festivals at St Paul’s Cathedral he conducted for many years; a composer, Dr. Jordan wrote many fine anthems, chants, and hymn tunes. At the Guildhall School of Music, at which he was professor for about thirty years, he was associated with Mr. Frederick Shinn, Professor Trout, Dr. Charles Pearce, and Dr. Hamilton Robinson in the teaching of harmony, counterpoint, canon, fugue, composition, orchestration, form, and analysis. Among his acquaintances had been many prominent persons in the musical world. A native of Clifton, he was a lad in choir Bristol, and coming to London joined the choir at St. Paul’s Cathedral at a time when Sir John Goss was organist.


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