Jonathan Jodrell

Jonathan Jodrell, husband of the deceased, deposed that he was a labourer, living at Horwich End. His wife died about ten minutes to four on Wednesday morning. She was 27 years of age last May. They had been married eight years, and there was a family of three.

His wife had enjoyed very good health, and had always got over her confinements with out difficulty and without the assistance of a medical man; a midwife had been employed on such occasions. Rebecca Southern was the midwife’s name. Up to the time of being ill on this occasion his wife was in good health and strength, and no danger was apprehended.

The child was not expected to be born until the first week in April, and the midwife had not been given instructions to attend. Witness came home at ten minutes past eleven on Tuesday night, and found his wife at home apparently well. No one was with her. She said “I had given you up,” as he was so late.

After asking him if he would have some supper she said she would go to bed, as she had not felt very well during the day. They went to bed together about 11.30, but had not been there long before she said “I think you had better go and see Mrs Southern,” and he went at once. He found the midwife in bed and unable to attend through illness. He returned home, and upon his arrival there found the child born. He then ran to Horwich End for his mother and sister-in-law.

By the Coroner: The deceased said “the child was born all right.”

He afterwards fetched Mrs Holmes. He asked his wife how she was going on, and she replied “very well.”

By the Coroner: The child was alive. At twenty minutes past one he went to lie down, seeing that all was going on well.

The Coroner: “How long did you lie ?”

“They came and awakened me, and said “my Missis was worse, and I had better go and fetch Dr Allan.”

The Coroner: “Who awoke you ?”

“My sister-in-law, Catharine Jodrell.”

The Coroner: “Did you see the midwife first?”

“Yes; she came downstairs along with my sister-in-law. My sister-in-law told me I had better tell the Doctor to come at once, as the case was dangerous.”

The Coroner: “You went at once?”

“Yes, sir, I ran for him to his house.

The Coroner: “Did you see him?”

“Yes, I was knocking about 30 minutes before he came.”

The Coroner: “What did you say to him?”

“There is a place in the door where they put the letters in, and he put his face there and said, “What is your errand?” I said, “My wife has been confined; I want you to come as quick as you can, as there is danger.”

The Coroner: “You gave him distinctly to understand that it was a dangerous case?”

“Yes, sir.”

The Coroner: “He did not open the door?”

“No, sir.”

The Coroner: “You told him your name?”

“Yes, sir.”

The Coroner: “He put his mouth to the letter box?”

“Yes, sir.”

The Coroner: “What did he say to that?”

“He said he could not come without I had one guinea to give him before he went out of his own house.”

The Coroner: “Give me the words.”

He said, “Have you had Mrs. Southern?” (midwife) and I said “No, she is ill in bed, and we could get no one only a neighbour.” “Well,” he said, “In a case of this sort, I pretend to have notice, and before I go I have a guinea put down.” I said, “It is not in my power to lay a guinea down, I have not got it.” He said, “Well, I shan’t go without, neither for you nor anybody else. I’ll tell you what to do: You apply to the Workhouse, Chapel-en-le-Frith, they employ doctors for such men as you there.”

[Sensation, and a Voice, “That is hard lines.”]

The Coroner: “You did not see him at all?”

Witness: “I could just see his face; it was moonlight.”

The Coroner: “Just saw him through the hole?”


The Coroner: “You told him you had not a sovereign?”

“I told him I had not a guinea.”

The Coroner: “You had none in the house, I suppose?”


The Coroner: “Did you say “Do come?”

“I did; I begged of him hard to come.”

The Coroner: Did you say you would see that he was paid?”

“I did; I told him I would pay him to-night (Thursday), as it was my pay night at the railway.”

The Coroner: “He knew you?”


The Coroner: “What did he say after that?”

“He said very little; he said it was no use me trying to persuade him to come, as he did not go until he had received the money.”

The Coroner: “Is he a married man?”

“Yes, sir.”

The Coroner: “Did you tell him the child had been born?”

“I did, sir.”

The Coroner: “He positively refused and told you to go to Chapel-en-le-Frith Workhouse, where they kept a doctor for such men as you?”

“Yes, sir.”

The Coroner: “And that it was no use you stopping there?”

“Yes sir; he closed the shutter (letter box) before I left the door.”

The Coroner: “Was he cross?”

“No, sir.”

The Coroner: “You are quite sure you gave him to understand the exigencies of the case?”

“I told him straight that the child had been born so long, and that we wanted him to come as soon as

possible, as she was dangerously ill.”

The Coroner: “You told him she was dangerously ill?”

“Yes. As I was going down the road I met my sister-in-law, and she said, “Go and try to get him to come, as she is in a fit or something.” I went a second time and knocked about 20 minutes. He came to the door and I said, “I want you to come doctor, as my missis is there in a fit or something. I will see that you are paid this week.” He said, “I shan’t go a yard; it is no use you coming here unless you have it.” I said, “It is impossible for me to give it. I have a wife and family to keep, and have not got it. It is not all labouring men who have a guinea in a case of this sort, especially as it has come five weeks earlier.” He said, “That does not matter. You will have to go to Chapel-en-le-Frith and have a doctor there. I shan’t go.”

So I came up and told my mother. My missis was unconscious then. I told my mother and the woman who was in the room with her. My mother put her hand in her pocket and gave me the cupboard keys, and said “run over and fetch it, if a guinea will save her life, we will have him here.”

The Coroner: “Did you go to the doctor again?”

“No, sir. I went as quick as ever I could to fetch the money, but when I returned to my own house to give my mother her keys, my wife was dead.” The Coroner: “Have you known Mr. Allan during the time you have lived here?”

“Oh yes, sir.”

The Coroner: “And spoken to him?”

“Yes, sir. He has attended me once.”

The Coroner: “Have you paid him?”

“Yes, sir, he is my club doctor. I was never under his care but one fortnight, about seven years since.”

The Coroner: “He knew you so intimately as to be acquainted with your usual habits?”

“Yes, sir.”

The Coroner: “You are a sober man--you look like it?”

“Yes, sir; I never hardly take drink.”

The Coroner: “What are your wages?”

“18s. a week and they take 2d. off for insurance.”

The Coroner: “You never have had a misunderstanding with this doctor?” “No, sir; I’ll tell you what he did. I was taken ill with inflammation, and had to go home, and we sent six times for the doctor before we could get him to come.”

The Coroner: “Although he was your club doctor?”

“Yes, sir.”

The Coroner: “You say you are quite sure your wife was in perfect health before?”

“Yes, sir; she was.”

The Coroner: “She had had no injury or fall or anything?”

“No, sir; I don’t think she has cost me 5s. in physic since we were married. I never had a doctor’s bill for her or the children.”

The Coroner: “Would any gentleman of the jury like to put a question?

I have kept him a long time, and it is a painful ordeal he must have gone through.

The jury did not ask the witness any questions.