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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Doctors and Coroners

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  #11  
Old 03-03-2009, 07:51 PM
aspallek aspallek is offline
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An interesting fact I bumbled upon while perusing The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, s.v. "Burial Acts":

"By the Burial Laws Amendment Act of 1880, parishioners who by rubric and canon are forbidden burial acc. to the Prayer Book rite have nevertheless the rite to burial in the parish churchyard or cemetery, with or without any form of Christian service."

It would appear then that Montague Druitt could be buried in consecrated ground whether or not the coroner's verdict included the of unsound mind clause.

Last edited by aspallek : 03-03-2009 at 07:53 PM.
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  #12  
Old 03-04-2009, 07:32 AM
Dave O Dave O is offline
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Hi Andy,

That's right. Obviously this act of 1880 is a different piece of legislation, but the law referenced in your quote sounds very similar to Acts of 1823 and 1882, which John has referred to. They were aimed at persons who were found to be felo de se--people who were found to have committed suicide in a sound frame of mind. Since these people were legally responsible for their actions, self-murderers, their property was liable to confiscation by the coroner for the Crown as deodand (and before 1823, apparently buried under a crossroad with a stake through the body, as John has said, since the practice is expressly forbidden in the Acts). Somewhere I have read a contemporary opinion that with the decline of the deodand, verdicts of felo de se were essentially meaningless as no property could be seized from the estates of suicides, i.e. the whole concept was just a way to generate funds for the Crown (though I don't know whether there is the odd verdict of felo de se today or not). I have also read that juries were reluctant to return verdicts of felo de se, out of sympathy to families. These are the people for whom rituals would definitely not be performed, though they could be privately buried in a churchyard, but I don't know whether the withholding of a service would apply to someone like Druitt.

I recall that you have visited the churchyard where Druitt is and spoke to the people there, is that correct? Do you know whether the "unsound mind" qualification to the verdict (making Druitt not responsible for his actions), would have allowed a religious ritual to be performed? Or would a suicide to them have been just the same as another?

I intended to put up scans from The King's Coroner as you seem interested in the practice, but they are too small to be read.

Last edited by Dave O : 03-04-2009 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:26 AM
aspallek aspallek is offline
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Hello Dave,

Montague is not buried in a "churchyard" but he is buried in consecrated ground in a cemetery which I'm sure at the time lay outside the city of Wimborne Minster. Yes, I have visited his grave on three occasions. I did not speak to cemetery officials, however. I think you may be confusing me with David Anderson on that account. News accounts do indicate that a ritual (funeral service) was held at Wimborne Minster with the regular clergy presiding, Vicar Huyshe, Curates Plater and Swanston. John Henry Lonsdale had been curate at the Minster until his marriage in December 1888 so he just missed presiding at his "friend's" funeral.

The reason I delved into the question of whether William could manipulate things is to determine how much of the inquest testimony we can trust. If we cannot trust William's testimony it is very damaging as it means we cannot trust the information given in the "suicide note."
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:34 PM
Dave O Dave O is offline
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Thanks, Andy. I have wondered whether they would have done that for Druitt, and you have answered my question.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:30 PM
aspallek aspallek is offline
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Dave,

I must correct myself. I was certain I had read of a funeral for Montague taking place at the Minster church, and indeed I may have. However, I think I was confusing this excerpt from the Hampshire Advertiser of 12 Jan 1888:

"The funeral took place in Wimborne Cemetery on Thursday afternoon, and the body was followed to the grave by deceased's relatives and a few friends, including Mr. W. H. Druitt, Mr. Arthur Druitt, Rev. C. H. Druitt, Mr. J Druitt, sen., Mr. J. Druitt, jun., Mr. J. T. Homer, and Mr. Wyke-Smith. The funeral service was read by the Vicar of the Minster, Wimborne, the Rev. F. J. Huyshe, assisted by the Rev. W. E. Plater. "

The implication is that the funeral took place at the Anglican Chapel within Wimborne Cemetery. Druitt's grave is immediately behind that Chapel. There was indeed a funeral and it was in a sanctuary but apparently not in the Minster Church. Also, apparently Curate Swanston did not participate.
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