May 21, 2012

Forcing a Corpse into Too Small a Coffin

Shocking Scene.  On Wednesday, at the weekly meeting of the Bradford Board of Guardians two letters were read from Mr. G. Maude and Mr. A. Clarke, complaining of gross neglect in connection with the burial of William Sutton, who had lodged in the house of Mr. Turner, 30, Springfield-street, Manningham, and who died suddenly on Saturday, the 5th August.  Both letters agreed in stating that a parish coffin was applied for on the Monday following.  A coffin was sent on Tuesday morning, and an attempt was made to put the body into it, but it was too small, and, in consequence, another coffin had to be obtained from the same source. In the meantime the body had swelled and burst, and made a sad mess of the house, which had to be disinfected by an order of the sanitary authorities, and the first coffin was then burned.  It was alleged that the coroner had not held an inquest until the Wednesday, or the body would have been interred before that time, though information of the death was sent to the Town Hall a short time after the man died.  The writers of the letters wished to know who was to bear the cost of disinfecting the house, and the other expenses incurred in consequence of the interment being delayed.  (Leeds Times, September 8th, 1877)

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