200 Years Ago in Norwich : Inquest at Windmill Pub Following Suicide

Another in my series of posts featuring articles from 200 years ago this week. This one is on a subject that I’ve written about before, which is the wave of mental health issues that were being reported at the time, a reminder this isn’t some new situation as a few people suggest. The article reads:

“Monday last an inquest was held at the Windmill public house, in the parish of St. Michael at Thorn, before Mr William Bell, coroner, on view of the body of Joseph Lindsey, aged 68, who hanged himself. Jurors’ verdict, non compos mentis.”

I’ve tried to delve a little into this man’s life, he was born on 4 August 1754, the son of John and Anne Lindsey. At the time of the death he lived in the St. Stephen parish of the city and he was buried on 4 November 1823 at St Stephen’s Church in Norwich. This is the church which is today a main route into the Chantry shopping centre and I don’t know if anyone purchased a gravestone for Joseph, but it isn’t there now if they did. Burials for suicides were complex at the time, but there doesn’t seem anything different about this one judging from the church register. Such a tragedy, but at least his name hasn’t been entirely lost to history, although the story behind his life might well have been.

Incidentally, the Windmill pub was located at 24 Ber Street and was damaged during an air raid in 1942, finally being demolished in 1970.