Hiram BAYLIS 1840-72. “My Uncle died a Hero. (General)

by tuffers64, Tuesday, August 06, 2019, 11:35 (76 days ago) @ tuffers64

Here is the inquest report which followed the accident report in the Gloucester Journal 22nd June 1872

The Inquest

Mr M. F. Carter, Coroner, held an inquest on Wednesday afternoon at the Police Station, Mitcheldean, on the bodies of the four men killed. The jury having viewed the bodies, which lay in four cottages, a number of witnesses were called. The following is a summary of the evidence: -
Aaron Symonds said he lived at Plump Hill, East Dean, and had for many years been the owner of an extensive limestone quarry. Being desirous to displace a quantity of rock, he drove a heading 13 yards in length, into the rock, and then turned the direction of the heading so as to form a curve or angle, and then continue the cutting a distance of 6 ½ feet in a downward direction. In that chamber he placed 19 hundredweight of powder, and then attached it to a fuse of sufficient length to burn fifteen minutes. He then “tamped” the chamber, and filled the cavities with limestone and fine sand. . In the performance of this operation he acted under the experience direction of a Mr Briggs, of Clythro (sic), Lancashire, who has exploded three tons of powder at a blast, and a Mr Kirby, who had used large quantities of powder at the Dover cliffs, and who was present during this experiment. The depth of the rock above the chamber was 13 yards, and he expected to displace 20 tons (sic) of stone. More than this was raised, but not to such an extent as he anticipated. After the firing of the fuse, the explosion took place in 14 ½ minutes, and not a stone was hurled over the quarry. Directly after the explosion, Griffiths, and one of the deceased men who fired the fuse, ran forward to see the result, and fell down dead from the inhalation of sulphuric acid. Neither of the deceased men had any right to enter the quarry, and they went at their own risk. By the direction action of the explosion no damage was done to either life or property.
Thomas Jenkins, another witness, who went into the quarry with one of the deceased men, said when he advanced there was no gas, but he observed some gas shoot from beneath the rock. He became senseless, and, running away, fell a few yards from Griffiths.
Thomas Wood, a policeman, gave evidence to the effect that he was stationed on the hill to protect the road, and, after the charge was fired he went forward and saw the four deceased men down. With some immediate help the body was of one of the deceased was picked up in a lifeless state, but before carrying it a yard or two, they fell together, and he (witness) was rescued. Witness added that he saw Griffiths, one of the deceased men, fall as though he had been shot down.
Egbert George Chate, an assistant-surgeon of Mitcheldean, who was present at the explosion, said that on going directly to Griffiths, he found him dead. There was at that time a large layer of gas covering an area of twenty feet, and four feet in depth, which appeared to come from a fissure in the rock below where the powder was placed. He considered that the men died from the effects of the gas, which was generated contemporaneously with the explosion of the gunpowder, and which consisted of nitrogen, carbonic acid, and sulphuric potassium, which was sufficient to cause instant death. One of the men, namely Tomlin, was not dead when rescued, and restoratives were applied, viz., a hole was cut in the earth, and he was placed in a position, as was the custom in the Forest after an explosion, to inhale the fresh earth. He, however, quickly died.
The Coroner in addressing the jury, exonerated Symonds from any blame, and submitted to the jury that he had exercised every precaution in his power, when the jury found that the deceased men died from the effects of obnoxious gas after the explosion in blasting rock at Plump Hill.


The following were killed in the limestone quarries, Plump Hill, 17th June 1872
Details taken from inquest records in Shire Hall, Gloucester.

John Griffiths – quarryman, aged 49-, of Plump Hill- asphyxia from gas resulting from an explosion of gunpowder used in blasting a rock to which deceased incautiously approached.

Thomas Goode – collier –aged 46, of Mitcheldean
Hiram Bayliss - quarryman – aged 33, of Plump Hill
William Tomlin – quarryman – aged 59, of Littledean
All died from asphyxia from gas resulting from an explosion of gunpowder used in blasting a rock when endeavouring to save the lives of other men.. John Griffiths went forward into the noxious fumes and must of collapsed. Thomas Goode, Hiram Baylis, William Tomlin then went forward to rescue Griffiths, only to suffer the same fate

GRO reference No CO4/2/1

Hiram Baylis’s gravestone can be found in the north part of the graveyard at Holy Trinity Church, Drybrook (Forest Church) It has now been removed and a bit of our history has been lost!


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