Personal information about James Clayton

Below is all the information we have about James Clayton. As far as we know, the information is correct. However, if you find any errors or have additional information, certificates or pictures, please contact us so that we can update this page. Thank you.

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James Clayton
07 August 1885
Unconsecrated Private Grave
Reverend A Williams



Obituaries and Newspaper announcements

James Clayton
Article source:    Reading Mercury
Date of source:    04 August 1885
Copyright:    © Reading Mercury



Mr James Clayton of the Kennet beer house committed suicide on this day.  He had been reported to have been seen early in the morning but apparently went back home to bed.

Later that morning Mr Robert Legg, who was the employer of Mr Clayton stopped at his house.  Mr Clayton’s wife, Mrs Jane Clayton, went to fetch her husband but could not open the door.  She called for Mr Legg to assist and upon opening the door found Mr Clayton had hung himself.  He was immediately taken down, laid out on the bed and medical help sent for.  Help arrived too late and he was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Sometime between 12pm and 1pm one of his sons, Henry, also attempted to commit suicide in the taproom of the Kennet beer house. He was recorded as saying “I’ll cut my throat and go by the side of my father”.  He was held back from doing so by two men and was subsequently arrested and taken to the police station. 

An inquest later heard how family issues including how Mr Clayton’s cousins’ suicide had been affecting him.  His death was recorded as suicide by hanging whilst in a state of unsound mind.

James Clayton
Article source:    Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser
Date of source:    06 August 1885
Copyright:    © Newbury Weekly News




A painful sensation was caused on Tuesday morning on the rumour being confirmed that James Clayton, the landlord of the " Kennet House " had committed suicide by hanging himself. Clayton was a painter by trade, and having had a great deal of trouble lately had grown very low spirited.

He got up early on Tuesday morning but went back to bed again about twenty minutes to seven. Later on his wife called him to go to his work, but being unable to make him hear went upstairs, when she found the door et the bedroom closed. She immediately called in her neighbour, Mr. Robert Legg, who with difficulty opened the door, and found Clayton suspended by a strong rope to a hook in the door. He unloosened the cord, and placed him on the bed, but life was extinct, although the body was still warm. 

The circumstances are rather remarkable, The hook, which was a common one used to hang clothes on, was only 5ft.5in. from the floor, and Clayton was 5ft. 7in. in height. When found he was in a reclining position, in fact almost sitting on the floor, so that the poor fellow must have fastened the rope round his neck and then allowed the weight of his body to bear on the rope and so produced stangulation. The appearance of the face after death was not such as to give the idea that deceased suffered much pain, although it does not seem probable that death was instantaneous. 

The inquest was held the same day at the " Bacon Arms" Hotel, before Dr. Watson, J.P., Coroner, when Mr. T. Pocock was chosen foreman of the jury, and the body having been viewed, the following evidence was taken: 

Jane Clayton, wife of the deceased, said—My husband has been very low and desponding for the past two months. I think that something preyed en his mind; I know his father was in an asylum for 13 years, and his cousin also committed suicide. About 20 minutes to seven this morning I left my husband in bed, having previously gone down to light the fire. Mr. Legg sent for him about quarter-past seven, and subsequently I went to call him, but could not open the door. I called Mr. Legg, who came and opened the door, and he then found my husband suspended from a hook ; they took him down and put him on the bed. Mr. Palmer was sent for, and he pronounced deceased to be dead. I have not seen my husband the worse for drink lately. I know no cause why he should have committal suicide except from lowness of spirits.

The foreman—l saw the deceased on Monday, and he than appeared all right. 

Mr. Robert Legg, painter and decorator, said, I live next doer to the deceased, and about 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning Mrs. Clayton called me in a very hurried manner saying that she believed her husband had hung himself.  I at once went in, and going upstairs burst the door open. I found Clayton the hanging by the hook on the door and he was in a half reclining position. My man also came up, and we put deceased on the bed. Deceased had been working for me lately and he always seemed very steady and civil.  I not think he was as intemperate man, but he had a lot of trouble lately. Deceased used to be foreman of the painters at Mr. Samuel Elliott’s.

The Coroner, summing up, said he had summoned Mr. Palmer as medical evidence, but he was from home and the summons had not reached him. He considered from the evidence, there could be no doubt the mind of the deceased was in a very unhappy state, and the family history would report to such an end as probable under the circumstances.

This being the whole of the evidence, the jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased committed suicide whilst in an unsound state of mind. 


On Wednesday (yesterday), Henry Clayton son of the deceased, was charged before the Mayor (W. Hall, Esq.) S. Hemsted, H. Watson, M.D. and J. F. Hickman, Esqs., with having attempted to commit suicide by cutting his throat on Tuesday. 

William Clayton, brother of defendant, said he went home to dinner on Tuesday about 12 o'clock, and his brother was in a chair. He got up and pulled his coat and waistcoat off, and asked him to sharpen his knife. He took the knife into the kitchen then went into the taproom Soon after prisoner came in with the knife, saying he wanted to cut his throat. Two men took hold of him. The constable then came in. 

P.C. Gamble said he went to the "Kennet House" about one o'clock on Tuesday. Upon entering the taproom he saw the prisoner being held by two men and a knife was in prisoner's hand, which he refused to give up. He eventually handed the knife to his uncle. Prisoner was stripped to the waist. He took him into custody. 

Mr. Robert Legg said soon after 12 o'clock on Tuesday he was called out and prisoner standing against the pump stripped to the waist with a knife (produced), with which he said he was going to cut his throat. 

Ellen Cobourn, a married woman, deposed to seeing prisoner in the taproom ; he said that be meant to cut his throat and go beside his father. She had served tho prisoner with half-a-pint of beer and could not say whether he had any beer previously. 

Mr. M. H. Palmer, surgeon, said be visited the prisoner in the cells at the Police Station this morning. He examined him mentally and found him not in the slightest degree insane. He had attended prisoner off and on for the last ten years. He should say prisoner had lately been taking stimulants, and the finding of his father had made him very excited. 

The Mayor said that the evidence before them was not conclusive enough to convict the prisoner. He thought that the prisoner was excited through the death of his father, and he hoped he would not be brought before them again. The case would be dismissed, and he hoped it would produce a salutary effect upon his future conduct.

This obituary entry is awaiting verification.

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