A double funeral

Tuesday 15 May 1917 saw a double funeral take place at St Lawrence Church in Long Buckby, for husband and wife Edward and Elizabeth Groom:

The funeral took place on Tuesday of Mr Edward Groome and his wife, Elizabeth Ann Groome, in the parish churchyard when the Vicar of Watford officiated (the Rev. G. Crossley being away). Mrs Groome died from shock on the same day as her husband.

The coffins bore the inscriptions “Edward Groome, age 63” and “Elizabeth Ann Groome, age 59” The mourners were:- Mr H Groome and Mrs H Groome, son and daughter-in-law; Mrs A E Legg and Mr R Legg, daughter and son-in-law; Mrs T H Bamber and Mr T H Bamber, daughter and son-in-law; Mrs F Williams and Mr F Williams, daughter and son-in-law; Mrs L Cresswell, daughter; Mr H Groome and Mrs H Groome, brother and sister-in-law; Mr J Groome, brother; Mrs H Downing, sister; Mrs G Major, cousin.

Northampton Mercury 1917 Friday 18 May

For some reason the newspaper added an ‘e’ to the end of the surname, even though Groom is a common surname in Northamptonshire. But this definitely is Edward and Elizabeth Ann from Buckby Wharf. The mourners at the graveside were their children Harry and his wife Ethel Mann, Ada Elizabeth and husband Robert Legg, Eva Anice and husband Thomas Bamber, Florence and husband Frank Williams, and Laura Cresswell (husband George). Also present were Edward’s brother Henry and wife Mary, brother Jabez, sister Ellen, and Mrs G Major was Sarah Major, Elizabeth’s cousin.

So, what tragedy befell the Groom family? Edward Groom was a platelayer for London and North Western Railway and had worked for them for over 40 years. On 10 May 1917 he was walking along the line as a train went past. There was no clear answer to what happened, but Edward was found lying next to the line with a fractured skull and compound fracture of the left leg. He was rushed to Northampton Infirmary but died later that day from his injuries. (Edward’s accident will be detailed in a separate post) It is unknown who informed his wife Elizabeth Ann, but sadly on hearing the news of her husband’s accident, Elizabeth collapsed with the shock. Her death from ‘syncope following a shock’ is recorded as occurring the following day, 11 May 1917, not the same day as the newspaper noted. In modern terms syncope is the act of passing out or fainting, not generally a fatal occurrence. What possibly happened is that she collapsed with the shock of being informed her husband had been hit by a train, and sadly never regained consciousness. 

Elizabeth’s death was not expected at all – the family had acquired a duplicate of their marriage certificate which is dated 11 May 1917, presumably to prove that Elizabeth was Edward’s widow and was entitled to receive a payment from the railway company.

Edward Groom and Elizabeth Ann Thompson had grown up together at the Wharf, just a few cottages away from each other. Childhood sweethearts, maybe. Married on Christmas Day 1876 at St Lawrence Church, they had 6 children. Sadly their third child, Catherine, died at the age of 31 from tuberculosis in 1911 – although she was married with three children, she came back home to her parents for her final days and died at their home, 1 Railway Cottage, on 6 April just 4 days after the 1911 Census.

With the deaths of Edward and Elizabeth, this particular branch of the Groom family ceased to be part of the Wharf community. All the children had moved away, Ada, Eva and Harry all went to London, Florence went to Chesterfield, and Laura to Coventry.

  • All birth, death, and marriage certificates are held in author’s collection – Edward and Elizabeth are my great great grandparents.

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