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

by Debwolt ⌂ @, Sunday, July 28, 2019, 19:45 (207 days ago)

When I was a teen, my grandpa George Donald Bayliss told me that his father's brother, his uncle, “died a hero,” in Gloucestershire, England, after a mine explosion. “Uncle Hiram rushed in to save his fallen Buddy” and was “struck dead by bad air", as Grandpa said.

I was told this story in 1970, and always wondered about it. Then, I found your website and read the news story of the four Men dying in the Plump Mine In 1872. How extraordinary to get more details and confirmation of this verbal history which was passed down to me. The news story surprised me a bit, because it did not clarify which miners initially fell, and who rushed in to save them. But, I know from our verbal family history, that one of the miners, Hiram Baylis, rushed in to save his buddy, and he died trying to save the life of his friend.

Looking for any additional information on Hiram. I believe he is buried in Drybrook, how can I locate his grave/gravestone? Thank you, Kind regards, Deb

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

by MPGriffiths @, Sunday, July 28, 2019, 21:37 (207 days ago) @ Debwolt

There is a Public Members Tree on Ancestry


Ancestry - Find a Grave

Name: Hiram BAYLISS

Birth Date: 1841

Birth Place: Gloucestershire, England

Death Date: 1872

Cemetery: Holy Trinity Churchyard

Burial or Cremation Place : Drybrook, Forest of Dean District, Gloucestershire, England

and links to this note

Died Point Limestone Quarry, Plump Hill
from asphyxia from gas resulting from an explosion of gunpower used in blasting a rock.

Son of Thomas BAILISS and Mary BAYNHAM

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

by MPGriffiths @, Sunday, July 28, 2019, 21:46 (207 days ago) @ MPGriffiths

Past Contribution from Slowhands - 12 July 2008

1872 4 Men die in An Explosion

Died from asphyxia from gas resulting from an explosion used in blasting a rock which deceased incautiously approached

No deaths were recorded officially at this quarry, but four deaths did occur following a spectacular explosion in 1872.

Several men rushed into the quarry after the firing and were overcome by fumes.

Four men died, they were:

Thomas GOODE of Mitcheldean
Hiram BAYLIS and John GRIFFITHS, both of the Plump,
and William TOMLIN of Cinderford.

The old link, says someone found the grave of Hiram years ago - which was followed on by another Contributor saying the headstone removed after a clean up.


Chris W - also added the burials

William TOMLIN - 19 June 1872 at Cinderford St John aged 61

Memoranda: one of four suffocated at the Hastings Plump Hill June 17th.

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

by HarryBrook @, Monday, July 29, 2019, 09:08 (207 days ago) @ MPGriffiths

His headstone was indeed one of those removed in the late 1970's to clear space for additional burials. Many are now lost to view having been used as paving stones and wall copings, or taken off site. Others were placed against the boundary walls, but when the walls were repointed in the 1980's they were stacked in various piles.

Mr. Julian Rawes of Cheltenham recorded the memorial inscriptions in the 1980's and published the results of his survey in 1989. The grave memorial of Hiram Baylis was in existence then but had been cut down apparently for repurposing. The Rawes recording of the memorial inscription reads:-

Possible headstone - cut top and bottom with only the middle remaining.

Hira............ / who was killed in the / Stone Quarry at Plump Hill. / June 17th 1872 aged 33 years. / Also of / Elizabeth Bayliss. / who died April 20th 1869 / aged 23 years. / In the midst of life we are [in death.]

The grave memorial listed in order before that of Hiram Baylis and the two after were recorded as being used as wall copings but that description was not given in the recording for Hiram Baylis's, although it would seem that is what it may have been used for.

Hiram BAYLIS/Juilian Rawes

by MPGriffiths @, Monday, July 29, 2019, 12:59 (206 days ago) @ HarryBrook

There is a Home Page for

Julian Andre Rawes - (with a Contact box) of Cheltenham

can't do the link: rawes.co.uk

which includes in the Heading: Churchyard Memorials (Their historical importance)

On Julian's article Page 39 - Under the Heading: Churchyard Clearances : is a photograph of piled up Grave stones in Pauntley.

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

by Debwolt ⌂ @, Monday, July 29, 2019, 16:51 (206 days ago) @ HarryBrook

I wanted to touch and read this gravestone, so reading what was inscribed upon it is the next best thing., is this written in a book or in the national archives? So glad that it is recorded somewhere. I will look for the link, as well as the photo of the piled up stones, thank you. This is as good as it can get, getting confirmation on what happened to the stone. Are there still any loose, or piled stones, now? It would be wonderful if a creative stone mason could incorporate the stones into a wall or monument that would preserve as much of the stone writings as possible, whole or even a mosaic of broken words would be an incredible piece of art and remembrance. Am very grateful to know about Great Great Uncle Hiram’s stone,, and visiting that cemetery is definitely on our list, am hoping, too, to hear some church bells while we are there. Thank you., all. Kind regards, Deb

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

by HarryBrook @, Tuesday, July 30, 2019, 17:06 (205 days ago) @ Debwolt

The headstones that were removed from their original locations and not used as paving stones and wall copings or, as rumoured, taken away, are still within the churchyard in various piles close to the boundary walls. Only a small proportion of the removed memorials were used for other purposes, or lost completely.

The stones are generally large and heavy and it would be dangerous to try to sort through the piles and very probably not appreciated by the church authorities. Given their age and the type of stone used many of the old memorials are now difficult, if not impossible, to read.

The memorial inscriptions as published by Mr. Rawes, I believe in a loose leaf book form, were, as I believe, in the possession of the Gloucestershire Family History Society and possibly Gloucestershire Archives. Some of the more interesting memorials were photographed by Mr. Rawes and this was noted against the relevant entries in the record. These photographs were deposited at Gloucestershire Archives. Having said that, I could not find details of the recordings or the photos in the Gloucestershire Archives online catalogue.

Gloucestershire Family History Society did, I believe, sell a CD of the memorial inscriptions, but, again, I could not find it now listed in the Society's online shop.

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

by Debwolt ⌂ @, Tuesday, July 30, 2019, 19:26 (205 days ago) @ HarryBrook

Thank you kindly. We are much too old to move or reorient a loose gravestone, however, this story is most interesting in and of itself, and is a part of the fabric of our family history. So happy that some stones are still visible there. Now we are REALLY looking forward to visiting this cemetery and taking many, many photographs, it will be wonderful to document this in photographs, all part of the venture. Thank you. Deb

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

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Saturday, August 03, 2019, 23:49 (201 days ago) @ HarryBrook

Gloucestershire Family History Society did, I believe, sell a CD of the memorial inscriptions, but, again, I could not find it now listed in the Society's online shop.

Like you Harry I've struggled to find my way around the GFHS online shop, I think it's been re-organised since my last visit.

I think this is the relevant Inscriptions CD (Drybrook Holy Trinity), but it's worth checking with the GFHS before ordering.


Also available as a slightly cheaper download

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

by HarryBrook @, Sunday, August 04, 2019, 11:54 (200 days ago) @ Jefff

Having been involved in the production of this particular collection of memorial inscriptions (M.Is.), I can say that the M.Is. for Drybrook (Holy Trinity)on the CD and the download referred to are those recorded on the graves in the burial ground extension to the west of the church (where burials commenced in about 1953/4), M.Is. added since the survey published by Mr. Julian Rawes in 1989 to grave memorials in the burial ground within the original boundary walls, the inscriptions on new headstones installed in the same area after the Rawes' survey, on additional cremation memorials in the same area, and new memorials within the church.

It clearly states in the introduction that it does not include any material published by Mr. Rawes, it merely refers to the prior publication, and existence, of his recordings.

It might be easiest to contact G.F.H.S. to enquire as to the availability of the earlier survey by Mr. Rawes if this is what is required.

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

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Sunday, August 04, 2019, 12:23 (200 days ago) @ HarryBrook

Thanks very much for clarifying things Harry.
I don't know where the introduction is that you mention, presumably on the cds themeselves ? I didn't see this information on the webpages but it was late and I was short of time, apologies if I've inadvertently misled anyone.

I did suggest contacting GFHS for clarification before ordering. This was because my own past experiences with these M.I.s cds is the GFHS website does (or at least did) contain incorrect information as to which cemetries were included in the cds.

Thanks again.

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

by tuffers64, Cinderford, Tuesday, August 06, 2019, 11:30 (198 days ago) @ Jefff

Hiram Baylis's memorial stone was removed about 15 or 20 years ago and not in the 1970's. I found it whilst looking for miners who were killed in the Forest of Dean. Unfortunately I did not take a photo when I should have done.
Attached below is a copy of the Gloucester Journal report of the accident. The inquest will have to be attached in another listing as it is all too large.

Plump Hill Explosion

Gloucester Journal, Saturday,22nd June 1872

Rock Blasting at Plump Hill- death of four men.

For some time past, preparations have been made by the owner of an extensive limestone quarry, named Symonds, to blast a mass of valuable limestone, at the Plump Hill, Mitcheldean, with a ton of gunpowder, and fears were excited for the safety of the district. Applications were made both to the local justices and guardians to prevent the explosion, inasmuch as the immediate locality was dotted with dwellings, but it was stated that they could not interfere. On Monday night the powder was successfully fired, many persons having assembled near to witness the explosion, of which the following account is furnished to us by a spectator:-

Although expecting many to be present, I confess that the numbers far exceeded my anticipations. Six o’clock was the hour named for the blast, but before that period arrived numerous groups had posted themselves on the hill opposite, and soon after six the numbers had generally increased. People came from all directions for miles around, some even long distances – on foot, horseback, and in numerous vehicles, and evinced deep interest in the event. As the hour named had passed, some grew rather impatient, and it was not until about half past six that any preparations for firing was obvious; but about that time, Mr Phillips, of Westbury Brook Mine, was observed in the quarry, talking with the men for a few minutes, and then passed on up to the hill, by the engine-house, and across the tips, and in a few minutes the red flag, or danger signal, was put on the top of the rock. The people were motioned away from the rock, and the quarry fuses were lighted, and the men scampered away for protection. All was now intense excitement and expectation, but some fifteen to twenty minutes elapsed before the explosion occurred. After the expiration of nearly twenty minutes (seventeen I counted) the charge was discharged – not making much of a report, but effectively lifting the whole mass of rock (from side to side of the knoll) several feet, for a few moments, and then sunk down, but thoroughly broken to pieces. If Mr Symonds did not include in his programme, the toppling over of the mass of rock, he may be congratulated on having attained entire success. He had a number of oak poles threaded through with chains placed on top of the rock, in line with the subterranean passage to the chamber containing the charge of powder, and these, when the explosion lifted up the rock, looked like a piece of net-work, from the place I occupied. As soon as the discharged was effected its work a hearty shout of hurrah was raised, this was not continued, as most of the people left the hill to hasten to the quarry. I was amongst some of the first arrivals, but instead of going down the road, in front of the quarry, I followed a few others up the bank, or outer lip of the quarry, thus getting a full view by looking down into it. As soon as we could scramble up the steep (sic) and look over, we saw men fallen and falling in the midst of the dense fire-damp, or fumes of gunpowder smoke. They fell like men shot. On coming into contact with the dense fumes there was first a jerk, or jump of the body, then a contortion or twist of it, and immediately dropped. The whole was almost the work of a moment. It was a distressing scene, but noble and heroic were those at hand, as men readily ventured their own lives to try and rescue the fallen; and two of the deceased are said to have perished in the attempt to save others. Eight are said to have fallen under the destroying fumes, but four of them were resuscitated by the kind and persevering efforts of the volunteers, who took them in hand, and everything possible under the circumstances which could be done for the others was done; indeed it was not till more than half past eight that the remedies were discontinued. They consisted for the most part in the application of cold water, artificial respiration, and thrusting the head into a hole in the earth, or heaping turf over it. . But all these remedies in the case of the four referred to were without avail; in the fact there is reason to believe that there was no chance with them from the first, as it is believed that they were dead already. The weeping of women, and the shrieks of relatives, as the real fact became known, and the dead were recognised, was truly distressing to hear. The names of the four deceased men are Thomas Goode, of Mitcheldean; Hiram Baylis and John Griffiths, both of the Plump; and William Tomlin, of the Meend, Cinderford. I understand that most, if not all, were married men, and leave families. It may be out of place to notice a report in circulation, namely that the firing of cannon so distinctly heard during the efforts for resuscitating the unfortunate victims of the Plump Hill was done for the raising of the dead body of the young man drowned in the Severn, near Newnham, on the afternoon of the same day. The firing was in rapid succession, and continued for some time. The body was afterwards recovered.

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

by tuffers64, Cinderford, Tuesday, August 06, 2019, 11:35 (198 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!

Hiram BAYLIS 1840-72. "New Regard" journal article ?

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Tuesday, August 06, 2019, 18:37 (198 days ago) @ tuffers64

Having read the detailed accounts so kindly reproduced by Tuffers, I can't help but feel I've seen this before along with period photos within an article in one of the highly-recommended "New Regard" journals produced by the FoD Local History Society ?

Annoyingly I'm unable to find my own copy to confirm this, but I'm sure I'm correct.

The article entitled "Tragedy at Plump Hill Quarry" may be found along with other excellent articles in edition number 25 from 2011. It may still be available to buy online, see this link for full information, plus the contents of all other editions. Copies of the New Regard journals are also available to read, but not borrow, at Cinderford library.

Hiram BAYLIS 1840-72. "New Regard" journal article ?

by admin ⌂, Forest of Dean, Tuesday, August 06, 2019, 19:52 (198 days ago) @ Jefff

Jeff is correct in saying that there is an article in Issue 25, 2011 of The New Regard. As it is the subject of copyright we cannot reproduce it here but the article is written by Dave Tuffley a regular contributor to this Forum. In the article Dave states that the Gravestone has been removed. Photographs contained within the article are of Plump Hill and the Quarry.
A summary of the inquests of the 4 men can be found in the Inquest database on this site - Inquests


Hiram BAYLIS 1840-72. "New Regard" journal article ?

by tuffers64, Cinderford, Wednesday, August 07, 2019, 11:25 (197 days ago) @ admin

As I wrote the article in the New Regard, and therefore I have the copyright to it, I am willing to let anyone use this article to further the story and historical research into the deaths of the four men.

This was not the first time someone was killed in the quarry. A young girl, Ellen Teague, who lived across the other side of the road, was killed 2nd September 1843, by being struck on the head by a stone, weighing two and a half pounds, which was hurled by an explosion in the same quarry. (Ref Morning Post 1st September 1843 - this edition also includes the death of a drunken man, Samson Steele, who fell over the quarry face, whilst in a drunken state, and was found dead the next morning, sometime in 1852)

Quite a few people have died in that quarry

Hiram BAYLIS 1840-72. "New Regard" journal article ?

by Lawrencef ⌂ @, Trentham, Australia, Thursday, August 29, 2019, 03:46 (176 days ago) @ tuffers64

Hi Dave,

My Forth Great Grandfather Thomas Goode was killed in that explosion. I'd love to read the article if possible? I live in Australia unfortunately as that limits access. You can mail me lawrence vurtmedia com if possible? Quite an eye opener to discover this today!

Hiram BAYLIS 1840-72. "New Regard" journal article ?

by tuffers64, Cinderford, Tuesday, September 24, 2019, 17:11 (149 days ago) @ Lawrencef

Apologies for late reply but just what exactly do you want me to pass on.

Hiram BAYLIS 1840-72. "New Regard" journal article ?

by tuffers64, Cinderford, Saturday, November 30, 2019, 15:46 (82 days ago) @ Lawrencef

I am not fully computer literate but do you have an e-mail address so I can pass all my information onto you.
Dave Tuffley

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

by abird @, Tuesday, August 06, 2019, 19:16 (198 days ago) @ Jefff

For information, I have a copy of the CD titled:
Gloucestershire Monumental Inscriptions 2003
Index of Memorial Inscriptions for Gloucestershire 2001
Catalogue of memorial and Burial sites for Gloucestershire 2002
Fosbrook's Bigland Memorials of Gloucester City
Reference 711.

It looks like this is the following item: https://gfhs.org.uk/products-page/cddvd/m-i-s/monumental-inscription-2003-2/

It includes M.Is for Drybrook, but does NOT include the MI for Hiram Baylis.


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