View Full Version : Puzzlement - murder? suicide? accident?

Tom Tom
21-05-12, 15:17
I have received the death certificate for my great great uncle.

Thomas Connelly

Died 11 June 1921 at The Old Highway Tavern, Rye Park, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire.

49 years olf, a Licensed Victualler.

Cause of death - Died from heart failure brought on by an irritant poison.

Informant - Certificate Received from Philip R Longmore Coronor for Hertford District of Hertfordshire. Inquest held 14 June 1921.

I would have thought that there would have been some sort of decision made about whether it was suicide, murder, misadventure etc. but it doesn't say anything on the certificate.

Hertford RO are not open on a Monday so can't ring them yet.

I'm thinking of newspapers or possibly the inquest has survived, very rare I know and it may not be open.

Anyone any ideas?

Thanks for looking.

21-05-12, 15:43
It would definitely be worth looking at the local paper for a report of the inquest and hopefully that will have information on how he came to take the poison.

21-05-12, 15:48
Tom, I tried looking in Hertfordshire Archives "Hertfordshire names online" database, but there were no results.


Let me know if there is anything I can do for you. I was at the archives last Monday, but should go back in a couple of months' time

Bother, the link doesn't work. Try hertsdirect.org and then services/leisculture/heritage1/hals

Scroll down to Signposts and click on the link for Hertfordshire Names Online.

Tom Tom
21-05-12, 15:51
Thanks Elizabeth, I did have a look on there but couldn't see anything.

I have found out he is not in Hoddesdon cemetery and am awaiting Ware getting back to me.

His son died in 1978 in Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow but lived in Broxbourne so I may try to locate his grave at some point.

I may call on your help for local newspapers at the RO dependent on how helpful the staff are when I get chance to speak to them.

Thanks Kate - that's what I thought would be the best course of action.

21-05-12, 15:53
It was cockles!! Found a short report in the Chelmsford Chronicle, pm me if you'd like a copy.


21-05-12, 15:53
It doesn't answer your question but look at this link:


Look at 1922.

Tom Tom
21-05-12, 15:54
Just as an aside - this whole poisoning issue is rather spooky as he had a half sister who committed suicide by taking poison in the 1960s.

Another strange coincidence - he was married twice, to sisters and then his son was married twice, again to two sisters.

Nowt so queer as folk as my Nana would of said!

Tom Tom
21-05-12, 15:54
Ooo thanks Scuda.

Will PM you :)

21-05-12, 15:55
Well done, Scuda!

Tom Tom
21-05-12, 15:57
Thanks Elizabeth.

His (second) wife was actually Rosalba Ethel but it's close enough!

21-05-12, 16:03
Tom, article is on its way to you.


Tom Tom
21-05-12, 16:09
Thanks ever so much Scuda.

Seems he went on a party to Southend where he ate half a pint of cockles (yuk!!) and died a week later. Two others were really ill but only Thomas died as far as I can see.

One thing the article says is
At the inquest Dr West said deceased had had a bad operation on his stomach and intestines.

and it later goes on to say that due to the operation he was not a fit subject to stand any risk from poisoning.

Which looks to me as though he had an operation on his stomach and intestines and ate the cockles at some point after that and died as a result.

Very sad.

Olde Crone
21-05-12, 16:21
And they say it's not worth buying death certs......


21-05-12, 16:28
OC, I agree. I have gleaned a lot of information off death certificates. I have found extra family members from the informants and all sorts of interesting details.

Tom Tom
21-05-12, 18:51
Exactly OC!

They can tell you so much about how people lived as well, not just how they died.

... I have more death certs than birth and marriage.

23-05-12, 13:29
Exactly OC.

I found out that my grandma died of a heart problem due to having rhuematic fever as a child, as did most of her siblings, meaning that there is NOT a history of heart disease from that side of the family, not one I am going to inherit anyway.

My Dad knew, he just didn't pass it on.