James Walker, d.1846

Northampton Mercury, 3 Oct 1846

A MAN HUNG BY THE LEG.- A very extraordinary circumstance occurred in the parish of Winslow, Bucks, on Friday.  An elderly man, of the name of Walker, was discovered about eight o’clock in the morning, in a field suburban to the town, suspended by his leg in an elm tree, about eight feet from the ground.  He had ascended for the purpose of collecting the decayed branches, and while thus engaged, accidentally fell from his standing, and in the fall one of his feet was caught in an arm of the tree, from which in an inverted position nearly the whole weight of his body was suspended, excepting a slight relief afforded to his truly agonizing condition by a branch within reach of his arms, and from which he could command a slight bearing.  When found he was in a most exhausted state, and from the determination of blood to the head and brain, consequent on the form he was in, presented a very dreadful appearance.  Medical aid was immediately in attendance upon the sufferer, and it is presumed no fatal consequences will result.  He states that it was about two p.m. of Thursday when the event took place, and no assistance was rendered to him in his perilous condition until eight on the following morning, a period of eighteen hours. – Banbury Guardian.

Bucks Herald, 10 Oct 1846

WINSLOW. – The man Walker, whom our readers will recollect we stated was accidentally hung by the leg in a tree in the parish of Winslow, about a fortnight since, from which he was stealing the branches, expired suddenly on Sunday last, the 4th instant.  There is something remarkable in the circumstance by which the deceased primarily met his death, as considered in connection with an incorrigible propensity to wood stealing that has been evinced by him for a series of years, in obtaining and conveying away of which he exhibited an agility and deception peculiarly his own.  Although his years were upwards of seventy he would scale the loftiest trees, and secure his favourite plunder under the most adverse circumstances.  He was in receipt of a pension earned in military service, and it would appear that the martial daring of early life survived and assumed in the “old soldier” an utter defiance of the civil penalties which his practices incurred.  So confirmed were his habits in this particular vice of wood larceny that fines and imprisonments, though repeatedly visited upon the delinquent, were ineffectual in braking the spell of his darling [sic] peccadillo, until, like Milo in essaying to rend the oak of the forest, he forfeited his life as the penalty of his continued temerity.  A Coroner’s inquest was held on his remains, and a verdict of “Accidental death” recorded.


Notes

James Walker's age at death was registered as 71. He was discharged from the 2nd Battalion 34th Regiment of Foot in 1811 as a sergeant. In the 1841 Census he was living in Chapel Yard, Horn Street, with his ?son George.

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