Kentish Chronicle – Saturday 13 October 1866
On Saturday evening, Mr. T. T. Delastux, held an inquest at the Crown and Sceptre public house, St. Peter’s on the body of Susannah Stroud, a young woman 22 years of age, the wife of hawker, who died very suddenly in that house on Thursday, under what were at first deemed rather suspicious circumstances. A jury having been empanelled, the following evidence was given :-
George Stroud deposed :
I am a licensed hawker, residing in the city of Canterbury. The deceased was my wife, and aged 22 years. We came to Canterbury on Thursday from Ashford. She was taken ill on Thursday evening, but I did not seek any medical advice This inquiry is at my earnest solicitation. I got her up stairs between six and seven o’clock, but she did not exhibit any symptoms of intoxication. She undressed and went to bed, and in about two hours she got up again, and appeared quite well, She left me in the street, and went home and in about an hour I saw her again. She was then noisy. She retired to rest between eleven and twelve and I did the same. She was then quiet. I was inclined to read, but the deceased begged me not to do so and that I would put out the light, which I did. she then began to scream. I believe she was at that time suffering from delirium tremens, and she was afterwards put into bed by myself and three or four others. Yesterday morning I left the deceased in bed asleep, and went to Ashford. A medical man attended her, and left between two and three o’clock, having been with her about three hours. I left yesterday morning little after nine o’clock. I received instructions from the medical man, and acted up to them.
Robert Tilley deposed :
I am a lay clerk of Canterbury Cathedral. I was at the Crown and Sceptre on Thursday evening, and saw the deceased there at about eleven o’clock at night. I was sitting in the smoking room with others, and in consequence of a statement by the landlady, I and two others ran up stairs and obtained a light from the landlord. I saw the deceased standing on the landing place in her night dress. She was screaming fearfully,She was taken into the bedroom, and sometime afterwards she was forced into bed. She appeared mad, and on my asking her husband if such conduct frequently occurred, he replied, “I often have this job.” I went to Mr. Andrews, the surgeon, and he came. I believe her extraordinary conduct was produced by drink. The door of the bedroom was closed, but was afterwards opened her husband.
Alfred Benjamin Andrews. surgeon deposed :
I was sent for on Thursday evening, at about half-past eleven, to attend to the deceased, and found her lying on a bed, making a great noise, and several persons holding her down. She became very violent, which I believe was produced by delirium tremens. I treated her for that complaint, administering proper medicines, to wit, tincture of opium, which was for the purpose of inducing sleep. I remained with her for some hours, and then went home and fetched some more, which I gave her husband with cautious directions as to use. I said “if I am wanted, I can come directly, as I shall only lie on the sofa.” As I was not fetched I left my house about half-past six, but could not get into the Crown and Sceptre, the house being closed. I saw her between nine and ten, and found she was dying, and her husband had left. I applied a mustard plaster, and in about an hour afterwards, on my going into the bedroom of the deceased, I found her dead. The deceased did not speak to me from about four o’clock.
Henry Ebenezer-Hutchiugs, surgeon, deposed :
I have this day made a post-mortem examination of the deceased. I opened her head, and found the brain very much congested, which I have no doubt was produced by drink. I opened her chest, and found the posterior lobes of the lungs in a very congested condition, and the liver that of drunkard of some standing. Her stomach was empty but full of gas. I opened her stomach, which had no smell of opium, but of spirits; and drink produced delirium. The plan adopted towards the deceased by Mr. Andrews was the same as I should have recommended. Death was produced by exhaustion, previous drunkenness, and excitement, which is a natural death. The heart was empty. This shows that the vital organs were in a bad condition.
The Jury then returned a verdict of “Natural death,” and the proceedings closed.
The Crown & Sceptre
It seems the landlord at the time was one George Rye, working for the Flint Brewery,which was situated just the other side of the Westgate Towers in St Dunstan’s Street.
Apparently The Prussian Hermits(?!) are reported to have met here every Wednesday at 8 o’clock during the year of 1837.
Please visit Paul Skelton’s excellent website where he is extending the great works of Edward Wilmott in documenting the past pubs of Canterbury.