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1935: Fatal fall at the Old Mill in Cuckfield

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 11 June 1935


A woman who had lived for nearly sixty years in a picturesque old cottage adjacent to the waterfall in Cuckfield Park met with a tragic death last Tuesday. She was Mrs. Mary Everest, of Old Mill, known to many local people and visitors who passed her cottage on a popular walk through the Park. On Wednesday afternoon the Coroner for East Sussex (Dr. E. F. Hoare) held an inquiry at the cottage.

Frank Everest, a carter employed at Cuckfield Park, said he lived with his mother, who was 78. She had suffered from rheumatism for twelve months, and also a bad head occasionally. She came over dizzy, and staggered and had to catch hold of something. He arrived home at one o’clock on the previous day, when his mother had cooked dinner as usual. He left again at 1.40 p.m., when his mother was sitting having a cup of tea. At 4.45 p.m. Mrs. Williams, a neighbour, came and told him that deceased was lying on the stone floor of the scullery, with blood flowing from her head. Witness added that he thought his mother was washing up the dinner things, and tripped over a mat, and fell backwards.

Mrs. Dorothy Lyndell Williams, who lives next door, said she was in the habit of going into Mrs. Everest’s cottage each morning to help her, as


Witness went about eleven o’clock the previous morning. Deceased had said on several occasions that she felt queer and dizzy. Witness went out in the afternoon about 3.15 and returned about 4.30, when she knocked at Mrs. Everest’s door but could obtain no answer. On opening the door witness saw deceased lying on the stone floor with blood round her head.

The Old Mill in Cuckfield circa 1902

Dr. J. G. Connell, who is acting as locum tenens for Dr. Farr, said he had not seen deceased before he was called to the cottage on the previous day, but he knew she had been attended by Dr. Farr since last September. When witness arrived at the cottage he found Mrs. Everest lying on her right side by the open door in the scullery with her feet towards the sink. She was bleeding from the nose and mouth, and there was a pool of blood on the floor. Deceased was dead, and he understood that she had been left in the position in which she was found. Death was due to a fracture of the base of the skull, and could have been caused in the way described. There were no other injuries.

The Coroner returned verdict of “Accidental death,” caused by a fracture of the base of the skull due to slipping and falling on the brick floor. Mrs. Everest was a native of Upper Beeding, and the widow of Mr. Edward Everest, an old retainer of the Sergison family, who died three years ago. The couple celebrated their golden wedding in February, 1927.


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