Inquest of Jonathan Douch
who died on Friday 3rd July 1874
Transcript from East Sussex Record Office reference PEV 470/1-4
Information of Witnesses severally taken and acknowledged on behalf our Sovereign Lady the Queen touching the death of Jonathan Douch at the Red Lion Inn in the Parish of Westham in the Liberty of Pevensey on the 4th day of July in the thirty eighth year of the reign of Queen Victoria and in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy four Before Frederick Tuppen Gentleman Deputy Coroner for the said Liberty on an Inquisition then and there taken on view of the Body of the said Jonathan Douch then and there lying dead as follows to wit
Mary Douch upon her oath said "I am the wife of the deceased who was a farmer and resided at Friday Street, Westham. The deceased has been for some time past in a low and desponding way and stated that his trouble was past describing. On Monday last the deceased was worse and I watched him when he wanted to know why I did so. I replied 'I cannot stay indoors unless you come in.' He said 'Well I will come in. You have no reason to be in any trouble about me my maid. I shan't come to no [harm?].' and he came in and sat down. After that time he appeared better and on Friday last he got up and milked the cows and was about and then laid down after breakfast and had a sleep. He afterwards said he would go down the fields and I told him not to stay long. About half an hour afterwards I went to see if I could find him and on looking into a lodge in the occupation of the deceased I there saw him hanging. I then went and told my daughter. He was 61 years of age and the last time I saw him alive was about 10 o'clock on Friday morning".
Thomas Clapson on his oath said "I am a labourer and reside at Handcombe in the parish of Westham. About a quarter past eleven on Friday Morning the daughter of the deceased called to me and told me that her father had hung himself in the lodge. I called a person by the name of Wood and we proceeded to the lodge and found deceased hanging by a chain from a beam in the lodge. The chain was fastened once round his neck and his feet appeared to be about one foot from the ground. We at once took him down. He was quite dead and cold and we at once sent for Dr Moore".
Thomas Clapson – X – his mark
Arthur Jackson Moore on his oath said "I am a surgeon and reside and practice at Eastbourne. About a fortnight ago the daughter of the deceased came to me and asked me for some medicine for her father who she said was in a low and restless state and could not sleep. I told her that I should prefer to see him before I prescribed for him. She replied that he could not be persuaded to see a doctor and wished me to give her something to procure him a little rest and I accordingly gave her some medicine. About a week afterwards the wife of the deceased came down and said her husband was better and asked for some more medicine. On Friday last I received a message to the effect that the deceased had hung himself. I went to see him and found him lying in the shed where he had hung himself. I examined his neck and found the indentations of a chain round it. From what I learn from his friends I have no hesitation in saying that at times he was temporarily insane".
Arthur J Moore
The verdict reached was 'Suicide while of unsound mind'
The daughter referred to was probably Naomi, by then the wife of Caleb Elphick, also of Friday Street.
On the same day, Saturday 4th July 1874 the following appeared in the Eastbourne Chronicle:
Suicide of an old man at Friday Street
According to a report received in Eastbourne yesterday, an old man, named John Douch, formerly looker for Mr Waters, of Langney Farm, and residing at Friday Street, committed suicide in the morning by hanging. The deed was done in a lodge near the unhappy man's house.
Then on Wednesday 8th July 1874 in the Eastbourne Gazette:
Suicide at Friday Street
On Friday last, John Douch, formerly a looker in the employ of Mr Charles Waters, of Langney, committed suicide by hanging himself in an outbuilding near his own house. The poor fellow had for some time past been depressed in spirits, and at the inquest held on Saturday, a verdict of suicide while in a fit of temporary insanity was returned. The unhappy man was well known in Eastbourne, and was thought to occupy a comfortable position attained by his own frugal and industrious habits.