The Norwich Mercury of December 30th, 1899 reported on the tragic death the previous Thursday evening of a well-known farmer of Great Ellingham, 62 year old Mr Robert Pease.
Robert Pease in the company of his niece, Mrs Elizabeth Jane Lister, was on his return journey with his horse and trap from Attleborough market.
When the party was near to Mr Pease’s house, the horse ran the cart up on a bank at a narrow bend in the roadway and the trap overturned throwing the occupants out of the cart. Tragically, Mr Pease was killed instantly with Mrs Lister sustaining slight injuries.
According to the newspaper article, Mr Pease was very much respected in the parish and was a member of the School Board.
At the Inquest, Elizabeth Lister stated that she had been living with her Uncle as his housekeeper since his wife had died about a year ago. Elizabeth’s husband was working on the farm. Mrs Lister also told the Inquest that on the Thursday afternoon she had accompanied Robert Pease to Attleborough and that they started back around 4.30 pm having been in Attleborough for little more than an hour. When nearing home, Mr Pease had complained that one of the lamps (on the trap) was going out. The horse suddenly stopped and both she and Mr Pease were thrown out of the cart.
It was also stated that Mr Wenn and Mr Wilkins came upon the scene and rendered assistance.
A William West also attended and later examined the spot where the accident occurred. It was suggested that at a turn in the road the horse, instead of turning, went straight into a fence and stopped suddenly.
The night was very dark and the place “an awkward one“. Mr Wenn also confirmed that “the appearance of the fence indicated that the horse’s head had gone through it“. It was also stated that there had been several incidents at the spot in the last 8 years.
The Inquest Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death mentioning that the County Council should be alerted of the accident spot.
Who was Robert Pease?
Robert Pease was born in Scoulton, a village just over six miles from Great Ellingham.
1861 census – Scoulton
Robert married Susanna Mason towards the end of 1860. In 1861, Robert and Susanna are living at Toll Gate House, Scoulton. 23 year old Robert Pease is described as an agricultural labourer and toll collector. His wife, Susanna, is said to be 34 years old. A Mary Pease (aged 65) is visiting the couple.
1871 census – Little Ellingham
Ten years later, the 1871 census finds Robert and Susanna Pease in Wood Lane, Little Ellingham. Robert’s occupation is now a farmer of 24 acres.
1881 census – Bow Street
Moving forward another 10 years, the couple are now living in Bow Street, Great Ellingham. Robert is now an employer of one labourer and one boy and is farming 50 acres.
1891 census – Bow Street
On the last census prior to the deaths of both Robert and Susanna, the 1891 census shows the couple living in “Farmhouse” in Bow Street. Susanna Pease died during the early part of 1899 aged 72 years.
I do not believe that Robert and Susanna Pease had any children.
Robert Pease lived at Cannells Farm. Notices of forthcoming sales by Alex Banham & Edward Banham & Son appearing in the Thetford & Watton times and People’s Weekly Journal on the 18th August, 1900, included the notice of a sale which expected to take place in early October, of Cannells Farm, Great Ellingham. The Auctioneers had been instructed by the Executors of the late Robert Pease.
Updated 19th November, 2020
1891 census RG12/1549/72
1881 census RG11/1974/841871 census RG10/184/1061861 census RG9/1238/46
Norwich Mercury December 30th, 1899
Thetford & Watton Times & People’s Weekly Journal August 18th, 1900. Accessed via The British Newspaper Archive britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk 19.11.2020