From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General
Advertiser, Saturday 27 February, 1841. Price 5d.
On Monday last, an inquest was held at the "Hovelling Boat"
public-house, before G. T. Thompson, Coroner, and a respectable Jury,
touching the death of Jemima Day, alias Whitebridge, who was found lying
dead on the sea beach, at the foot of Archliff fort, on Sunday morning.
Hill Norris, boatman, said - On Sunday morning, about half-past six
o'clock, as I was looking out from one of the boat-houses, at the foot
of Archcliff fort, I saw something bulky close by the water's edge. I
went down to it, when I discovered that it was the body of a female,
lying flat on its back. The body was dressed in a chequered straw
bonnet, and a dark cloak, which had been washed over the head. The whole
of the clothes were wet, and the body was quite cold, but not stiff. I
immediately procured assistance, and we removed the body further up on
the beach, and finally to the place where it now lies. The body was
perfectly dressed, and none of the clothes were torn. It was high water
about half-past ten on Sunday night, and it was nearly dead low water
when I found the body. There was scarcely any wind all night. The tide
would not run to the westward before four o'clock. About an hour after I
found the body, foam issued from the mouth. The Coroner explained that
in persons who were drowned, foam always issues from the mouth; but were
the persons dead before they were thrown into the water, no foam ever
Harriett Masters, spinster, said, I knew the deceased, as she lived
at the "Evening Star" a house kept by my mother. She was what is
generally called an unfortunate woman, and lived with a person named
John Leggett. I last saw him with her about one o'clock on Saturday
morning. Between nine and ten o'clock Saturday night - the last time I
saw the deceased - she was dressed to go out. just before she went, she
drank a part of two pints of beer with a railroad labourer, and she had
two pennyworth of rum at the bar. About nine or ten months back, after
having had a quarrel with Leggett, I heard her say, that she was afraid
that she should come to some bad end. Deceased had during the last six
weeks, been in good spirits, more especially so on Saturday, I never
heard her complain that Leggett ever ill used her.
Louise Pique keeps the "Friend in Need," beer shop. On Saturday night
about half-past ten o'clock, deceased came to my house, and asked me if
her husband was there. I said, I thought not. She then entered the house
and pointed to a stout man, a stranger to me, adding, that is my
husband. She then went and spoke to him, and they appeared very
friendly. The deceased and the man left my house about half-past eleven.
Mary Attwood said, I live at the "Evening Star." I knew the deceased
, as she also lived at the above house with a person named John Leggett.
On Saturday night, about eleven o'clock as I think, I met the deceased
in Snargate-street, going towards the Pier. She said she wanted to speak
to Leggett, and wished me to go with her. I did so, and we went to the
"Royal Exchange," where we had a pint of beer; deceased had also a glass
of rum. We then went to the "Friend in Need," and at the request of the
deceased, I called Leggett out. He came out and wished her to go in, but
she refused. He then gave her a glass of beer, and she went in and drank
with him. They seemed very friendly; and they left the house together
about twenty minutes afterwards. I also left the house a few minutes
afterwards, and going along the Cross-wall, I saw Leggett standing
alone. I asked him where Sally was. (We used to call the deceased
Sally.) He said, "Gone down to the Pier; go and see if you can find
her." I went down the wall a little way to meet her, and we both
returned back to Leggett. They then walked down to the new Cross-wall
together. I asked her if she were going home, and she answered No! I
then said good night, and saw no more of her. I saw Leggett about an
hour afterwards, sitting in the "Evening Star." I said nothing to him,
and did not hear him speak to any one. He was very tipsy; deceased was
also very tipsy when I left her. I never heard the deceased say that she
would make off with herself; and I never heard her complain of Leggett.
John Leggett, blacksmith, being sworn, said, I reside at the "Evening
Star," where the deceased used to live with me as my wife. On Saturday
evening, I left home between six and seven o'clock; she was then in the
house. I went to the "Life-boat," and had some supper with John Tults, a
labourer; and after supper we had two or three pots of beer between us.
We then went to the "Friend in Need," where we staid drinking till
between eleven and twelve o'clock, when the last witness, Attwood, came
in for me, and said that the deceased wished to speak with me. I gave
her a glass of beer, and she afterwards came in and staid about a
quarter of an hour or twenty minutes. After we left the house, we stood
and talked on the Cross-wall, and she left me there, giving me six pence
to spend, and telling me that she should be at home in a few minutes. I
did not see her afterwards, but, being in liquor, I did not recollect
much about it. I do not recollect the last witness, Attwood, coming and
speaking to us on the Cross-wall. I never knew the deceased in better
spirits than she seemed to be all day on Saturday. There had been no
words between us. She has sometimes told me that she should some day
make off with herself, but she never told me why she should do so, and I
never asked her, for I thought it no business of mine.
The maiden name of the deceased was Day, a native of Broadstairs, at
which place some of her relatives are now living. She was, however, some
years since, married to a person named Woodbridge, but about five years
since, when at Shoreham, in Sussex, she eloped with Leggett.
Verdict - "Found drowned, but how the deceased came into the water,
there is no evidence before the Jury."