Death by accidental burning – Matilda Bunce

Whilst searching for information about my Bunce ancestors in Westmill I came across a sad story from the “Hertfordshire Mercury and Reformer” in December 1845.

An inquest had been held at The Red Lion in Aspenden as Matilda Bunce, aged 8, had burnt to death in the family home.  On the Friday, she had been left in the care of her older sister when their mother went out.  A spark had flown from the grate and set fire to her clothing, “frightfully burning her person before it could be extinguished”.    She “lingered” until the Saturday, when she died.

The verdict of the Coroner, Thomas Sworder Esq, was “Accidental Death”.

Although Matilda isn’t one of my direct ancestors this was such a sad story that I felt that I had to find out whether she was related to my Bunces.

I couldn’t find a birth record for a Matilda Bunce within the right time frame, but a Mary Matilda Bunce, daughter of   George (a  labourer) and Mary Bunce of Westmill, had been baptised on October 15th 1837 at Westmill.   In December 1845, Matilda Bunce, of Aspenden,  aged 8, was buried at Westmill.

This family could possibly  be related to my ancestors in some way. George and Mary (nee Head) had married in Westmill in 1831, and in 1841 they lived at Knights Hill in the parish of Westmill.  Transcribed as “George Bund” by Ancestry, he was living in Westmill in 1851 and in 1861 the family was living at Westmill Green.

According to the censuses,  George was born in Layston, which is just a short distance from Westmill and now forms part of Buntingford. So far, though, I can’t trace any record of his birth so I can’t determine whether or not he is related to my branch of the Bunce family.


About familyhistoryfootsteps

I'm enjoying early retirement! I have been researching my ancestry for several years and am interested in all aspects of family history especially local and social history.
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