Sad Drowning Case – Going to Skate and Falling into the Canal

January 1891

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 09 January 1891

Sad Drowning Case at Mexborough

Going to Skate and Falling into the Canal

An Inquest was held at the Reresby Arms, Denaby, on Wednesday afternoon, touching the death of William Froggatt. aged 18, an employee at Denaby Main Colliery, whose body was found in the Dearne and Dove Canal, on the 5th inst.

Mr. Wightman was the coroner, and the following were the jury :—Messrs. A. C. Merritt (foreman), J. Gibson, A. Wilkinson, T. Chadwick, W. Briggs, H. Bradley, he Beardsley, A. Fretwell, S. Spencer, T. Freeman. R. Webster, and Wm. Goodwin.

Wm. Froggatt, miner, of Denaby (who was under strong emotion) said he was the father of the deceased, who was 18 years of age last month. He last saw deceased alive at five minutes to eight on the morning of the 5th in the house. Deceased then went out and said he was going skating. He took the skates with him, but did not say where he was going. At twelve o’clock witness fancied something was wrong, and he took the little girl with him, to look for his son. The body was brought home at half past six o’clock. Witness did not blame anyone, and believed that it was purely accidental. The deceased only got skates last week.

By the Foreman No one went out with him. He went alone. No one saw so the deceased fall Into the water. He incline from many persons, but notice appeared to know. One man said he had seen him, but did not see the accident nor here the splash.

Pc. Midgley explained that there had been a fall of rain, and that the cold air had made the ground as slippery as glass. His idea was that the deceased got upon this slippery ground and might have started to slide, with the result that he got carried into the water without being able to prevent himself from falling in. The water was only slightly frozen, because the “ice boat ” had been along and broken it. The ice was very thin at that point.

The Coroner: Where were the skates of the deceased?

The Policeman: They have not been found.

A young man, Arthur Hirst, was called but the Coroner did not think it necessary that he should be sworn. He had said he found the cap which had been identified as belonging to the deceased, and he took it to the inquiry office for the police.

The Coroner: The skates are in the canal still?

The Policeman: Yes sir.

The Coroner : That looks as though he had them his hand when he got in.

The Policeman. The straps and the nail fastener were in his pocket, but not the skates.

The Coroner: Where was he going to skate?

The policeman: I think he was going on a piece adjoining the canal.

The Foreman: He would be going to Beever’s field.

The Coroner: That is a field which is flooded?

The Policeman: the water will be a foot or two deep. The young man found the cap on the deep water about the same spot where the body was got out.

Arthur Hirst said there was no ice where the cap was. He could not see where the deceased had fallen in. After he got the cap out, he saw two men passing on the road and he shouted to them, showing them the cap and pointing out where he found it, and they advised him to take the rap to the enquiry office, and he did so. He then had to go to work, and heard no more until night, when he heard the body had been found.

Sam Shepherd, blacksmith, Denaby, said he heard the deceased was missing. He heard about a quarter to nine o’clock on Monday morning. He had to work all day, and when he heard the man was not found, he made some grappling irons and went to the place where it was said the deceased might have slipped in. He put down the iron, three times without success, but the fourth time he caught the irons in one of the deceased’s boots.

The Coroner: How deep is the water? —Eight or ten feet.

He was at the bottom?—Yes.

Of course he was dead?—Yes.

He was fully dressed —Yes.

You have no idea how he got in ?—No.

Was there any ice on the place ?—No : not where he was found.

How is it there was none there? The’ canal is frozen over, isn’t it is close to the bridge where he fell in, and the ice was entirely broken up.

What by ? Boats?—Yes.

The Coroner said he thought it was no use going any further, and he thought there was no more evidence.

The Foreman : I think not, sir.

The Coroner remarked that the father was satisfied, and the deceased was more to him than to anyone else. He was satisfied that the poor lad was accidentally drowned, and there was no evidence to the contrary.

A verdict to that effect was returned.

The interment of the young man. Wm. Froggatt, took place yesterday at Mexborough cemetery, in the presence of a large number of relative and friends, the deceased being highly respected.