Skip to main content

Death on the Canal - 1857, Mary Burke

Death on the (Mon & Brec) Canal

I did the basic research for this blog series a couple of years ago. Then, as usual, flitted along to the next thing that caught my interest. Now I'm trying to flesh the cases out and present to you my justification for not being a fan of walking along the canal on dark and lonely nights... For more canal deaths, check out the master post.

--

The Monmouthshire Merlin of May 2nd 1857 reported that a ten year old girl had drowned in the canal at Cwmbran on Friday 24th April. Her cape was spotted in the water and efforts to get her out immediately commenced, though it was still some half an hour before her body was actually retrieved. An inquest was held the following day.

Monmouthshire Merlin 2nd May 1857

Searching the burial records, this seemed the most likely fit: Mary Burke.

Mary Burke 1857 burial record

Mary was actually just eight years old, and was laid to rest on Tuesday 28th April. Having a more accurate birthdate enabled me to find her on the 1851 census record when she was living with her family in Springvale. Her mother and father, Michael and Mary (née Crowley), had moved to the area from Ireland along with Mary's older sister, Margaret. Michael was listed as a labourer here; in the 1857 newspaper report he is described as a coker at Mr. Lawrence's works - i.e. Cwmbran Iron Works.

Mary Burke 1851 census

Mary herself was born in Wales, as listed on the birth register for 1850.

Mary Burke birth register 1850

Having her full name made it easier to search the newspaper records, and up came a more detailed report from the 9th May edition of the Monmouthshire Merlin. The deputy coroner, William Brewer, heard that the lock keeper at No. 11, Thomas Reid, was alerted by a boy who had seen Mary's cape in the water. Her father said that Mary had been sent to the shop by her mother at about 13:00 hours.

The journey was fairly treacherous - 'she had to cross the lock over a piece of wood' - but only halfpenny of the five pence her mother had given to her was found on her body so presumably she was on her way home. Michael was reported as being convinced that his daughter's death was not an accident...

Monmouthshire Merlin 09/05/1857

Except this was just a case of poor reporting rather than a sign of a deeper mystery. The Illustrated Usk Observer and Raglan Herald of the same day reveals that the full quote was actually he "did not believe that her death occurred otherwise than by accident." It also provided the reason for Mary's trip to the shop; she was sent to get some cheese for a lodger's dinner. She had been gone about 20 minutes when found dead.
 



I lost track of the family after that, but if you know more I would love to hear from you!




For more like this please click the image below:
Weird Wales


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Over 200 UK Refer and Earn Offers for 2022

So many stores and services offer special rewards and discounts for recruiting them new customers. No matter what you're into, there's a refer and earn offer for you! Some of these translate to straight up free and easy money through cashback or reward sites, others require you to be an existing customer or jump through several hoops. There are over 400 offers listed on my Codes, Coupons and Discounts Pinterest board, and I am (slowly) working on updating this post to reflect the cream of the crop! CASHBACK, SURVEYS, REWARDS & DEALS 20 Cogs . Get £20 when your friend completes 20 cogs (i.e. offers), and 5% of their earnings for life. You also need to complete 20 offers yourself before you can cash out. Airtime Rewards . Get up to £1.50 bonus credit for each person who signs up with your referral code. Mine is 9CKQXLH8. Cashback Earners . Earn 5.00 CashCoins and 10% of their earnings from purchases. 20 CashCoins minimum payout. Cashback Kingdom . Both get a bon

Free Magazine Scans

Click the pictures below to find full cover guides to various teen magazines (primarily collated to make scale miniature magazine covers but I figure they'll also be useful for collectors and anyone into media history) and scans from my own magazine collection. I've also got a couple of kids' books I didn't want to part with - The Squirrel and Little Owl Book of Pets . The unwieldy size of my bookmark folders convinced me I needed a reference post for online magazine archives. Or, more accurately, free online magazine archives. Whether you're looking for leisure reading or research avenues, you're bound to find something useful in this list. :) ☆ Archive for the Unexplained - UFO mags galore. ☆   The Magazine Rack - over 140,000 digitised magazines! ☆   Lantern - thousands of vintage film magazines. ☆ FANZINES  - a number of online archives now exist for these including  FANAC  (SF), ScoTpress  (Trek), Sandy Herald Collection  (media fandom, major

Free Fabric Samples x 200

Choosing upholstery and soft furnishings can be a nightmare - especially if it arrives and isn't quite what you expected. Fabric samples are a great way to avoid costly mistakes, as well as providing a fab source of material for your crafts box. Here are over 200 places offering completely free fabric samples in the UK:

Simply Cook Review

I kept seeing ads and deals for Simply Cook everywhere, so as there was a special offer on at OhMyDosh! Rewards (£3 for the box and £3.50 cashback) I figured I had nothing to lose by giving it a try. What Is It? Recipe kits packed into boxes which fit through your letterbox. The usual price is £9.99 for a kit of 4, with each one serving 2-4 people depending on your serving sizes. All you need to do is buy the fresh ingredients required and follow the instructions. Here is Simply Cook's own helpful diagram: Does It Work? For me, as the person just eating it, it was awesome. Everything tasted great - the mushroom penne in particular was so good I went back for seconds - and I liked that the sauces weren't as rich as Anthony would usually make them. For Anthony, who cooked them, they weren't as impressive. He complained that the food was bland and that it was actually quite a lot of faff, as Lidl didn't stock everything we needed which meant another trip ou

Dolls