Wednesday, November 7, 2012


This was written for my random family history blog (, but as the below subject did tie in with my tree, I'm cross-posting it here:

Similar to my previous post, below is another article that describes the death of someone with the right name (BANFIELD) for my tree, and in the right villages (Mereworth and East Peckham, in Kent) for my family tree. But when I found this article I wasn't quite sure of who he was. After some extra work on my BANFIELD tree I believe I've worked it out. The main frustration with the article is that it doesn't state whether Thomas Banfield left a wife and children behind.

Kentish Gazette
Thursdsay, 11th April 1833
Fatal accident. - On last Monday week, Mr. Thomas Banfield, of East Peckham, after paying his hop-duty at Town Malling, went to Maidstone, and stayed there till night. He called at several public houses on his road home, and drank rather freely. He rode a young horse which had not been properly broken in, and, in going through the turnpike at Teston, he complained to the gate-keeper that he had been thrown and nearly killed. He dismounted and examined his saddle girths, &c. The turnpike man persuaded him not to remount as he saw that he had been drinking. Mr. Banfield would not take his advice, but mounted and went off. He was next seen at Mereworth toll-gate, when he told Sanders, the gate-keeper, that he had paid at Teston. The latter requested him to stop, but the unfortunate man urged the horse which started off at full speed. The toll-man saw him swing from side to side as if intoxicated, and when the horse had proceeded about one hundred yards, he heard him fall. Sanders immediately ran to his assistance and found him lying in the road, (opposite to a house in which he had formerly lived), with his neck dislocated and the back part of his skull fractured as if he had fallen backwards from the horse. He was taken to the Torrington's Arms public-house, Mr. Starling the surgeon was instantly sent for, but found him lifeless. An inquest was held on the body the next day, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" returned. The deceased was 62 years of age. He had experienced previously several severe accidents. He had on different occasions broken his ribs, and one of his thighs, and had dislocated his knee.

So this Thomas Banfield died in 1833 aged 62 - which means he was born about 1771. My BANFIELD ancestors, generally speaking, lived at West Peckham in the 1800s, and Mereworth in the 1700s. So I knew this person fit with the wider family group based on geographical association.

The only match in the IGI indexes is for Thomas Banfield, baptised 1779:

Baptism/christening place: MEREWORTH, KENT, ENGLAND
Name: Thomas Banfield
Gender: Male
Baptism/christening date:     22 Jan 1769

Mereworth is the very village where the article states that Thomas Banfield collapsed, 'opposite to a house in which he had formerly lived'.

So Thomas was not a random, but in fact a younger brother of my ancestor John BANFIELD (abt 1763 - ?). There were ten children baptized in Mereworth, the children of William and Ann BANFIELD. I have not found a marriage for William and Ann, nor a birth for William. As such, I know nothing of where William came from.

Perhaps Mereworth cemetery could throw up a few clues. As for Thomas, it seems in some way poetic that he literally went home to die.

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