“Sudden Death From Apoplexy”

The Grand Junction Canal Company have offices at Buckby Locks, where a clerk is engaged to pass the traffic on the canals. These duties have for two years been discharged by a clerk named Eli Marriott, who on Wednesday afternoon was left by John George Cherry in the office in his usual state of health. Later in the evening Mr Cherry was sent for to the office, where he found Mr Marriott sitting on a stool, crying, speechless, and pointing to his throat. Marriott after a while managed to get to the desk, where he wrote something with a pen, but the only words that were legible were “Tell Shaw I have,” Shaw being the night lock-keeper. When spoken to he again cried and was very restless. He again wrote something, the legible word this time being “wife,” and just as he got to the last word he fell back into Mr Cherry’s arms and died, the time being about 11 o’clock. Mr Cox, surgeon, formed an opinion that death arose from serous apoplexy, there being no external indication that death was unnatural. At an inquest held by W Terry, Esq., at the New Inn, Norton, on Friday week, the jury returned a verdict in accordance with Mr Cox’s opinion. Deceased, who was 40 years of age, leaves eight children.

Buckingham Express 1874 28 February

The Northampton Mercury adds that “The deceased went on duty between six and seven o’clock in Wednesday evening, and just before eight o’clock he was left in the office in his usual health.” And it also states that “A verdict of death from National Causes was returned.” This is presumably supposed to be Natural Causes but there has been an unfortunate printing error.

‘Serous apoplexy‘ was a type of stroke, where it was assumed that fluid had surrounded the brain and caused the symptoms that led to death. It would seem that Eli’s death was distressingly drawn out and he was aware that something was seriously wrong but unable to articulate it. His last thoughts were for his wife, Ann.

Eli Marriott, night clerk on the canal, was born around 1834 in Greens Norton and baptised there on 8 February 1835. His wife, Ann Allen, was a daughter of Joseph Allen, a lock keeper. Eli and Ann married in November 1854 at Norton and made their home at Norton Locks. He was recorded as being a lock keeper on the 1871 Census. Their nine known children were all born at the Locks, the three youngest being baptised on 8 February 1874, just three days before Eli’s death. They had lost one daughter, Jane, in infancy. Sadly after Eli’s death on 11 February 1874, Ann lost two more children – Herbert in December 1874 aged 14 months, and Arthur a year later aged 2 years. The children and Eli were all buried at Norton Parish Church.

Ann remained at Norton Locks and married lock keeper Thomas Shaw in February 1878 at Long Buckby. Thomas and Ann lived at the Wharf for the rest of their lives, with Thomas’ children from his first marriage and their new son, Ernest, born in 1878. Ann and Eli’s children grew up and moved away, mostly to Derbyshire. 15 year old Eli junior got himself in to trouble after his father’s death and ended up being sent to reformatory school in Loughborough. Ann died in 1917 and Thomas in 1926.

  • Buckingham Express 1874 28 February
  • Northampton Mercury 1874 21 February
  • Northamptonshire Church of England Baptisms Marriages and Burials 1532-1812 243P/307
  • Northamptonshire Church of England Marriages 1837-1912 243P/306
  • Northamptonshire Church of England Marriages 1837-1912 197P/12

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