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From the Sussex Advertiser, 30th January 1849


A coroner's inquest was held on Thursday last before F H Gell, esq, at the Trevor Arms, Glynde, to enquire into the circumstances connected with the death of a man named William Piper, who came to his death in a manner as detailed by the following evidence:-

Edward Pilfold, labourer, of the Cliffe, Lewes, said – I was sent on Tuesday morning, by Mr King, butcher, of the Cliffe, to meet a man of Mr George Ashby's of East Dean, who was to deliver a black runt* to me. I drove along the turnpike road for the distance of seven or eight miles, and during the journey it was perfectly quiet. When the animal came to the railway gates at Beddingham, it shied, apparently at the red paint on the gates. It ran at me, and I escaped under the rail. The man at the station assisted me at getting through the gates. We then proceeded as far as the fingerpost at Ranscombe, and at this spot it laid down quietly by the side of the road. After some time he got up, and I drove him until we came to two travelling carts and a van. The runt jumped at the first cart and threw down the rods, upon which a dog barked at him, and then ran away underneath the van. He then rushed at the van and tore down the green baize, and continued doing mischief to the van and cart. Whilst the animal was doing this, William Piper** came along the road in a direction from Lewes, with a pig in a string. I fled for safety, and hollered to him that there was a wild bullock, but cannot tell whether he heard me or not.. the animal then ran against Piper and knocked him down into the road; after which he tossed him up into the air with his horns twice, about a yard and a half high each time. The deceased fell violently on the ground. The animal then trampled on him. I left the deceased for dead and ran to make an alarm.

The Rev F Kirkpatrick, of Lewes, corroborated the statement of the last witness as to the animal attacking the carts and van. At first he thought it was the animal's playfulness, but being soon convinced to the contrary, he got into a field, and called out to some men to come and assist, but they seemed not to hear him. He then returned to the back over the road to see what might happen. He saw the deceased with the pig and called to him, but he appeared to take no notice.

The jury returned as their verdict that the deceased came to his death by being 'Gored and tossed by a runt'.

The unfortunate man lingered from the time of the accident until the Wednesday following, in the greatest agony, several of his ribs having been fractured.

* in this case 'runt' means a bullock.

** William Piper, son of James and Mary, paupers, was baptised 24 June 1792 at Beddingham and married Mary Mott, 7 June 1815, also at Beddingham. They had a son, Nicholas, baptised in 1816 and a daughter, Mary Ann, born in 1819. In 1834 William Piper was working for John Jenner at Preston Farm. He was buried at Beddingham 27Jan 1849, aged 56.

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