Ancestors of Mandy Willard

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Sussex Daily News

Wednesday, January 10, 1894


Coroners' Courts

Suicide at Broadwater
Drink and Depression : Pathetic Letters

Mr. A. W. Rawlison, Coroner for West Sussex, held an inquiry yesterday at Ye Olde House at Home, Broadwater, into the circumstances attending the death of William Grinyer, jun, whose death we reported on Monday.

William Grinyer, 2, Northbrook Cottages, Broadwater, said - I am a labourer in a gentleman's garden.  The deceased, William Grinyer, was my son.  He had not been at home for a very long time; for these last two months, anyway, he had no settled place of abode.  He came and saw us occasionally.  He left Broadwater on December 16th last seeking for work.  He was 41 years of age last birthday and was a gardener by occupation.  On December 21st my wife received the following letter from him:-

Brighton, December 20th

My darling Mother, Just a line to bid you all good-bye.  I cannot see you again on earth, and I cannot expect to meet you in Heaven.  Everything on earth seems against me through being out of work and short of money.  I hope you will spend a merry Christmas.  Do not think of me.  By the time you get this I shall be no more.  Kiss my dear sisters for me, and tell them not to trouble, and believe me your broken hearted son, Will.  By the time you get this I shall be at the bottom of Tribe's pond at the Three Arches.  Let Walter's little Willie have my Bible.

Deceased's brother's name was Walter.  Sometimes deceased would go away for a week or more.  This was the only intimation witness had had that he make away with himself.  At the time he left home he had been out of work about five weeks.  He said he had searched the place over, and was dull because he could not succeed in getting employment.  Witness saw very little of him, as deceased usually came home when he was out.  Tribe's Pond was between Brighton and Falmer.  Witness saw deceased in Inverness-road, Brighton, on December 23rd at his mother's nephew's house.  Until witness mentioned the letter, his son made no reference to it, but he said he was almost out of his mind when he wrote it.  He said he should not come home until after Christmas.  Witness thought the fact of his being out of work and drink caused deceased's low spirits.  That was the last he saw of deceased until the latter came to Broadwater on January 4th, about 9 p.m.  He stayed the night, and went away next morning in search of work.  He looked very strange, and was "almost cut up" with the severely cold weather.  He said he had come along the sea front from Brighton.  Deceased was at home again on Friday evening, and stayed the night.  On Saturday morning, between six and seven, witness last saw deceased, just as he was going to work.  Deceased had been in the habit of drinking, and drink was his downfall.

By the jury - Deceased was not married as far as he knew.

The Foreman - I hear that he slept in the open air, is that so?

Witness - I don't really know, sir.  All we could get out of him was that he slept in Worthing.

The Coroner - was there any reason for him to think he could not get shelter at home if he did come?

Witness - Well, he knew we couldn't give him shelter.  He slept the nights he was at home in a chair by the fire.  He could always have good food when he liked to call in for it.

Frances Grinyer, wife of the last witness and mother of the deceased, said she received the letter already read on December 21st last.  Her husband went to Brighton three days, and said he had seen his son the last time, but could not persuade him to come home.  When deceased did come home he stayed two nights.  She was anxious that he should remain, as he seemed so anxious and "gone".  Deceased left in search of work on Friday, January 5th, and returned in the afternoon saying there was nothing going on at all.  He did not go out night.  Deceased could always have plenty of food at any time, and was made heartily welcome.  He went to Worthing again to look for work on Saturday.  Proceeding, witness had asked him how he could be so unkind as to send her such a letter, and he said "Oh, I'd gone mad."  Deceased said nothing else regarding the matter, and made use of no threat as to doing away with himself.  He left at nine on Saturday morning, and that was the last time she saw him alive.

George Mustchin, Sompting, gamekeeper, said he saw a man about seven on Saturday night in Clarman Dean-lane.  He thought it was deceased, but could not say or be sure.  Witness came down the road and spoke to deceased, saying "Good night."  Grinyer never replied, so witness said, "Well, you're not very cheeky", and passed on.  The man was walking at the time, but on looking round witness saw he had stopped.  Witness went to Broadwater and mentioned to P.C. Smith that he had seen a man loitering about, as he thought the man was up to no good.  He went back to the spot with Smith a few minutes before nine, and found deceased hanging to a tree by the side of the lane, about fifty yards above the spot he had seen the man previously.  He was cut down at once, and appeared to be dead, and they brought the body to Grinyer's father, the constable recognising it.

By the Jury - Witness could not say that the man he met was identical with the deceased.  The feet of the body were about three inches from the ground.

P.C. Charles Smith, Broadwater, spoke to finding deceased hanging from a whitethorn tree close inside the iron fence, on the left-hand side, which he had climbed over.  Witness cut the body down, and found the man quite dead and cold.  A pocket-book and comb were the only articles he found on the body.  There was no money on him.  The following writing was in the book on a couple of pieces of rough paper:-

Good-bye all.  I am dead and gone now.  I can lead this life no longer.  I have asked God to forgive me, but I cannot expect forgiveness.  Tell my dear mother and sisters not to worry about me.  The cursed drink has been my ruin:  my brain is almost turned.  I owe lots of money about, but I have asked God to pay my debts, which I know he will, but indirectly.  I know I am not prepared to meet my Maker.  I wish I had never broker the pledge.  I was all right while a teetotaler, and I have wished a thousand times I had never broken it.  I know there are plenty who will talk about me when I am dead and gone, but my case be an example to them.  I hope you will all try and forgive me - I am, at present William Grinyer ("The Wi'd Wheel").

Witness produced the rope which was around deceased neck.  The tree was nearly close to the fence, and he could have thrown himself off the fence.

Mr. Frank Hinds, physician and surgeon, Worthing, said he was called to see the deceased on the Saturday night.  He learned from the constable that the man had been found hanging cold and stiff, and on Sunday he went and saw the body.  Deceased was well nourished, and there were no wounds or abrasions anywhere on the corpse.  There was a mark of the rope around the neck, the running part of the noose being on the left side of the neck.  He attributed death to strangulation by hanging.  He could form no judgement as to the time deceased had been hanging.

The Coroner briefly summed up, and the jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while temporarily insane."



From the 1881 census:

93 George Street, Hove, Sussex

William Grinyer, Head, Mar, 27, Keeper of The Royal George Inn, born Portslade, Sussex

Sarah Clegg, Servt, Unm, 30, Genl Servant, born Lamberth, Surrey

Sarah Evans, Servt, Unm, 23, Genl Servant, born ...buck, Buckinghamshire

Henry Sewel, Servt, Unm, 23, Domestic (Inn), born Littlehampton, Sussex


Broadwater Street, Broadwater, Sussex

William Grinyer, Head, Mar, 63, Ag Lab, born Sompting, Sussex

Frances Grinyer, Wife, Mar, 52, born Broadwater, Sussex

Sophia Grinyer, Daur, Unm, 15, Scholar, born Patcham, Sussex

Jane Roda Grinyer, Daur, 12, Scholar, born Patcham, Sussex

Frederick Chitty, Lodger, Unm, 29, Platelayer, born Climping, Sussex


Neither William and wife Frances seem to have been recorded in the 1901 census.


The birth of a Walter Grinyer was registered in the second quarter of 1861 in the Steyning registration district.  I could not find Walter Grinyer in the 1881 census, unless he was 19 year old William Granger, a Carpenter, born in Patching, Sussex and lodging in the home of George Dove at Hartington Terrace, Portslade.


The 1901 census index records:

Fulham, Middlesex

Walter Grinyer, 39, Carpenter & Joiner, born Preston, Brighton

Mary Grinyer, 41, born Portslade, Sussex

Marion Grinyer, 12, born West Kensington, Middlesex

William Grinyer, 11, born West Kensington

Frank Grinyer, 11, born West Kensington

Arthur Grinyer, 6, born West Kensington

Percy Grinyer, 3, born West Kensington

Harry Grinyer, 2, born West Kensington


The death of William Grinyer aged 41 was registered in the first quarter of 1894 in the East Preston registration district.


(I have no known connection to any of the above.)

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