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1934: Vicar dies after motorcycling accident in Broad Street

Updated: Dec 28, 2022

Worthing Gazette - Wednesday 21 March 1934

Former Sompting Vicar. TRAGIC


The Worthing district in general, and Sompting in particular, was shocked on Monday to hear of the tragic death of the Rev. Arthur Henry Vernon Housman, Vicar of Felpham and Rector of Middleton, and for sixteen years Vicar of Sompting.

Mr. Housman, who went from Sompting to Felpham two years ago last July, died in Haywards Heath Hospital on Monday evening from injuries sustained in a motor cycling accident at Cuckfield that morning. He was riding from Felpham to a meeting of the Diocesan Missionary Council at Elfinsward (1), Haywards Heath, when his machine skidded at a bend in the road, and he was thrown heavily, sustaining a fracture of the base of the skull.

Interior of Elfinsward Chapel c1900

At the inquest which the Coroner for East Sussex (Dr. E. F. Hoare) held at Haywards Heath yesterday, evidence was given by two eye-witnesses of the accident, George Robert Powell, of Broad-street, Cuckfield, and Thomas Pratt, of Wyllie’s lane Cuckfield. Powell said he saw the motor-cycle approaching from the direction of Cuckfield at an average speed and practically in the centre of the road. After rounding the bend it seemed to swerve first one way and then the other, and the rider fell off and the machine fell on top of him.


In witness's opinion the accident was caused by the machine side slipping on the wet concrete road. It was raining at the time, and where the accident occurred a tarmac road surface gave place to a concrete surface.

Dr. C. C. J. Farr, of Cuckfield, who gave medical evidence, said he had heard people say that their cars had skidded at that particular part the road. Bridgman, of Cuckfield said that the concrete surface was inclined to be slippery after the tarmac.

The jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death and with the Coroner, expressed their sympathy with the bereaved relatives.

(1) Elfinsward was a diocesan home for retired clergymen and a conference and retreat centre. It was given to the diocese by Mrs Gerald Moor, who also paid for the Church of the Good Shepherd in Brighton in memory and continuing the work of her husband, Prebendary Moor. The home was used as an Auxiliary Hospital during the Second World War. It has been demolished and the site is now occupied by the police station and magistrates court.


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