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Tragic Death at Hall Farm

The cold winter month of January 1936 saw a dreadful accident take place at Hall Farm, on the outskirts of Goadby Marwood, which resulted in the tragic death of farmer’s wife, Edith Broughton.

Edith was the youngest child of farm bailiff, Solomon Gilbert, and his wife, Sarah Coddington, and was born in 1879 near the village of Sywell. She spent her early childhood years at the family home in Northamptonshire with her three sisters and six brothers but sometime before 1891, the family moved to the Leicestershire village of Branston where Sarah’s brother, George Coddington, was a tenant farmer. Solomon was employed as a farm bailiff and the family lived in a cottage just off Main Street.

On April 6th, 1910, Edith married local farmer’s son, John Thomas Broughton, at St. Guthlac’s Church in Branston. John had been born in Ancaster in Lincolnshire, the eldest of three children, but his father, David, had farmed at Branston for over two decades.

John was employed by Captain Sheriffe as farm bailiff at Hall Farm and the couple moved into the comfortable farmhouse on the Goadby Hall Estate. John and Edith had no children and they seem to have led an uneventful life, working the farm together for the next 25 years until a tragic accident resulted in Edith’s untimely death.

The incident and subsequent inquest were reported at length in the Grantham Journal on Saturday, February 1st, 1936:

Hall Farm - plate from 1920 sale.jpg

Hall Farm - a plate from the 1920 sale catalogue.

Hall Farm.jpg

Hall Farm 21st Century.


Leads to Woman’s Death


After making an apparently satisfactory recovery from injuries received by being gored by a bullock on the 13th January, Mrs. Edith Sarah Broughton, aged 56, wife of Mr. John Thomas Broughton, farm bailiff to Mrs. R. C. Sheriffe at Goadby Marwood Hall, died suddenly at her home on Saturday.

She had just been visited by the Rector of the parish, Rev. H.H. Collier, and as he was about to leave, she threw up her hands, making an exclamation, and she died within a few minutes.


The district coroner, Mr. A. P. Marsh of Melton Mowbray, conducted an inquest at the farmhouse on Monday evening.

The widower said that on Monday January 13th he was working in the farmyard when he was called by his labourer. He found his wife in the house seriously injured and he immediately sent for the doctor. On the latter’s advice witness took his wife to hospital.

She told him that she had been gored by a bullock in the farmyard. He had had the bullock in the yard since October, and deceased had been in the yard every day since to collect eggs. There had been no sign of it attempting to attack anyone before. He sold the bullock the day after the accident.

Continuing, witness said his wife went to bed on her arrival home after being discharged from hospital, and the doctor seemed satisfied with her progress when he visited her.

On Saturday last, witness was in the yard close to the house when he was called to his wife’s bedroom and he found her condition considerably worse. She died a few minutes later.

Frederick Talkes, a waggoner employed on the farm, stated he was working at the farm on the day Mrs. Broughton was attacked. The barn doors were closed and he heard her go to the coalhouse for some coal.

Two minutes later he heard her scream but did not take any notice because Mrs. Broughton usually screamed if she saw a rat.


“Later, however, she screamed again,” continued witness, and I went to the barn door to see what was wrong. I heard a third scream, “and it came from the direction of the yard, and I could see the bullock was goring her, and it appeared to be very savage. I went to her assistance, and she was getting on to a manger with the aid of a hay rack.

“She stood on the manger and began to kick at the bullock’s nose. I saw blood coming from her leg. I kicked the bullock eight or ten times on the nose, and it stood away about three yards and I assisted Mrs. Broughton from the manger, took her into the house, and called her husband.”

Witness added he had never known the bullock to attempt anything of the kind before, and he had seen it every day.

Dr. Myles Atkinson of Waltham, said he was called to the farm on Monday, January 13th, and found Mrs. Broughton suffering a gash below the left knee, and shock due to the injuries and loss of blood.

He advised her removal to hospital because there was no facility for nursing at home, and she was removed to the Melton Hospital the same evening. The injuries were not such as would normally have necessitated hospital treatment.

The patient was discharged from hospital on January 20th, and he visited her on the 23rd and found she had made excellent progress in hospital. On the following Saturday, however, he received a message to the effect that Mrs. Broughton had died suddenly. He went to the farm and examined the body but could find nothing definite to account for her death.


He conducted a post-mortem examination, and found that she died from pulmonary embolism, a blood clot had formed where the hip had been injured and a small piece had become dislodged in the veins and travelled to the heart causing death. There was extreme bruising of the left hip, and in witness’s opinion the inflammatory condition of the left side of the pelvis was due to the injuries received in the accident.

The Rev. Hubert Hardy Collier, Rector of Goadby Marwood, said he visited Mrs. Broughton last Saturday and she seemed quite normal and talked about her injuries.

As he was leaving her room, however, she put both her hands over her head and said, “I am going now.” He realised there was a change in her condition, and after informing a woman in attendance he left. Deceased had complained to him of a “sinking feeling.”

The coroner recorded a verdict of “Accidental death.”


The funeral took place on Tuesday, wreaths being sent as follows: -

In loving memory of a dear wife, from her heartbroken husband.

In loving memory of dear Edith from Ted, Molly, and John.

From Harry, Mary, and family.

In loving memory of dear Edith, from Ethel, Nora, and all at Widmerpool.

From Muriel and Monica Sheriffe.

With deepest sympathy, from the indoor and outdoor staff, Goadby Hall.

In loving memory of dear Edith, from George, Nell, and Mat, Maidenhead.

With deepest sympathy, from R. and D. Lowe, Branston.

Not long after Edith’s death, John Broughton left Hall Farm and moved to Lincolnshire, the county of his birth. The National Register, taken on the outbreak of the Second World War, recorded him living in Alford where he worked as a farm bailiff.  John later returned to this area where he lived on Mill Street in Melton up until his death in 1949. John is buried with Edith in St. Denys’s Churchyard in Goadby Marwood.

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The grave marker for Edith and John Broughton in St. Denys's Churchyard.

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