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Northampton Mercury, 1st June 1878, courtesy of Jon Abbott
William Hamps

Found Drowned—On Monday last an inquest was held at the Axe and Compass Inn, Ringstead, before J. T. Parker, Esq., coroner, touching the death of William Hamps, whose body was found in the river the previous day.—William Hamps, shoemaker, of Stanwick, identified the body as that of his son, who was 23 years of age. He was a shoemaker, and also lived at Stanwick. Witness identified him by his clothes and the size of the body. He last saw his son alive a fortnight last Sunday, at Stanwick. He had no work, and left home, as he said, to go to Raunds to buy “kit,” thence to go to Rushden to some work which he said he had there. He appeared to be in good health and spirits, and had not been low-spirited lately. Deceased lost his work as a mason’s labourer when he went to join the Militia, from which force he was discharged as medically unfit. Witness knew of no reason why he should do away with himself, and had no idea how he got in the water.—Owen Roberts, shoemaker, of Ringstead, said on Sunday afternoon he was in Ringstead when a man named John Morris told him that a man was in the river. Witness went to the river and found deceased in the water, on his side. He was close at the bank, and amongst some rushes. The body was floating, and was in such a position that it could only be seen with difficulty, except by persons in boats. With the assistance of William Wittering and others, the body was got out and brought to the Axe and Compass. Deceased appeared to have been in the water some time.—Mr. Joseph Bird, surgeon, of Thrapston, was in Ringstead on Sunday, when deceased was brought up. He at once examined the body, and found life extinct. On further examination in the evening he found no marks of violence, and was of opinion that deceased met his death by drowning. The body was in such a state of decomposition that no ordinary or slight marks would be discernible.—The jury returned the open verdict of “Found drowned.”

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