Leeds Times (13/Jan/1855) – Mysterious Death

The death of Sarah Ann Lumb is also covered in this blog post.

It’s worth noting that whilst this article adds extra details missing from the coverage of the inquest printed the same day in the Huddersfield Chronicle, there are some minor discrepancies between the two — for example, this article states it was Sarah’s father who visited Captain Hudson, whilst the Chronicle states it was her uncle, Samuel Whitehead. Given that the Chronicle covered the initial disappearance and then the inquest in more detail, I’d be inclined to suspect the Leeds Times report contains errors.

Mysterious Death.

An inquest was held on Friday week, at the Ship Inn, Hepton, before T. Taylor, Esq., on the body of Sarah Ann Lumb. Hannah Haigh, weaver, deposed as follows:—

On Thursday night, the 14th December, I called at James Lumb’s, at Marsden, deceased’s father. Shortly after eight o’clock I started to go home, and deceased went with me to Snaith Horn Bridge1, which crosses the Colne. She then left me to go home, it was very dark and windy. She would have to go over another bridge across the river Colne before she got home.

From the evidence of the father it appears deceased did not arrive at home so soon as he thought she might have done, the distance to Snaith being 300 yards, and he made inquiries of the neighbours but could hear nothing of her. Search was made, and on the following morning her skirt and shawl were found in the river, about a quarter of a mile below the bridge, and on the Sunday following her petticoat was found in the river at Slaithwaite; her dress was found near the aqueduct by Scar Wood. It appears deceased’s father was persuaded to go and consult a mesmerist at Huddersfield. When they arrived his companion said “Here is a person to see if you know of any girl who can give information respecting the young woman who is missing.” The mesmerist said he thought he should be able to give some information. A girl was fetched, and was mesmerised by Capt. ——, (mesmerist) who asked her if she could tell what the two gentlemen had come about. She said about the young woman who was drowned at Marsden. The Captain again asked where the young woman was. She appeared to be asleep for five minutes, and then said deceased was within 100 yards of the second bridge in Mirfield, and that she was covered with mud, except her feet. Deceased’s father went to Mirfield next morning and set men to search, and deceased was found twenty yards above the bridge. She was covered with mud except her feet. John Parker, Esq., surgeon, examined the body and found a cut on the right temple; both eyes were swollen up and quite scarlet. He found the stomach and other viscera quite healthy. There was no fracture of the skull. He was of opinion deceased must have received a violent blow before her death, but that the immediate cause was drowning. The jury returned a verdict of “Found drowned.”

  1. The stone bridge in the centre of Marsden is actually named “Snail Horn Bridge”.