Gun Street, Reading
Accident Report 1863
An inquest was held at the "Cross Keys,"
Gun Street [in Reading], on Monday afternoon [10th August 1863], before the Deputy Borough Coroner (W.F.
Blandy, Esq.), on the body of Samuel John Worledge, who had been accidentally killed in Gun-street that morning. The following evidence was given as to the cause of death:
Mr. F. Workman said that about half-past six o'clock he was called to the deceased, and found him lying on the side of the road, quite dead. This was in Gun-Street. From an examination, the witness found that the deceased had sustained a fracture of the base of the skull, which was quite sufficient to account for death.
John Samuel Worledge, the father of the deceased, who was much affected in giving his evidence, said that he lived at 2, Pipe Court, Boarded Lane, and got his living by selling coffee at the corner of St Mary's Butts. His son was between 14 and 15 years of age, and worked for Mr. Payne, of
Minster Street, where he bore an excellent character. This sad occurrence took place at half-past seven in the morning. The deceased was just having a cup of coffee and a slice of bread and butter at the truck, at the corner of St. Mary's Butts, when he told witness that he saw a horse and cart coming down Castle Street at full speed. The horse came over his (witness's) truck, broke his crockery, and knocked all his things over. Witness stood on one side. At first he went in front of the truck, thinking he might turn the horse aside, but seeing that the animal was coming as though it went mad, he stepped aside, and it went over his things. He thought that his son had stepped aside also. He did not see his son knocked down, but when he turned round he saw him on the ground. He supposed that the shafts struck his son. He saw the blood flowing from him in great quantities. The deceased was then moved into that house (the Cross Keys).
Mr. John Adey said that he lived at the Bear Inn, Bridge-street, and was a
victualler. He went early that (Monday) morning to fetch a load of manure from Coley Street. He was coming down Castle Street, holding the horse's head, when, whether it was that a fly touched the horse or not he did not know, but the horse started off suddenly—like a bullet out of a gun. His little boy was walking by his (witness') side. He (Mr.
Adey) saw nothing of the accident. He had been accustomed to horses all his life. He had had the horse for a twelve-month, and he had never run away before. The horse would be of no further use, being so dreadfully cut about.
Mr. Archibald James, ironmonger, Gun-street, saw the horse coming towards the track. The boy seemed as though he were fixed to the ground. The truck was crushed in an instant. If the boy had stepped a foot aside he would have been saved. There was plenty of time for him to have been saved. He saw him knocked down, and the horse went over him. The deceased held up his hands, and the horse struck him on the breast, and knocked him over. Standing where he did it was inevitable for the deceased to be knocked down, for the horse was going as fast as he could. The boy fell back, and was struck on the back of the head, and he was probably killed instantly.
The jury immediately returned a verdict of "Accidental death."
It was suggested at the close of the inquiry that the jury should give their fees to the father of the deceased, who had, in addition to the loss of his son, also had his truck, & c., injured. A collection was also made in the room for the same object, and the amount which had been got together was handed to Worledge by Mr.
Bourton, the foreman of the jury.