Date: 18 Mar 1939
Place: Meadow Lane, Little Houghton
Joseph Stanton Longland was found drowned in a barrel. He was found with his head and shoulders in the barrel which was on his land.
His inquest heard that there was not sufficient evidence to state whether his death was an accident of suicide.
A doctor that had known Joseph Longland for many years said that Joseph Longland had been getting depressed and a little childish in his old age.
His daughter, who lived in Meadow Lane, Little Houghton, said that she was in the habit of going to her parent’s house each day to look after them. She said that when she got to their house on the Saturday they were both still in bed. She said that Joseph Longland had his breakfast in bed and seemed fairly well.
She said that he got up later and that she then went into the village on an errand and said that when she returned at about 10.30am she saw Joseph Longland coming out of the door. She said that she was only in the house for a few minutes before she went on her way again. However, she said that she then saw Joseph Longland with his head and shoulders immersed in an iron water barrel outside the back door. She said that she tried to pull him out but said that he was wedged. She said that she then got assistance and Joseph Longland was pulled out and a man that had come along tried artificial respiration but that it was of no use.
His daughter said that Joseph Longland had been failing in his health for the previous six months or so and that his nerves had been bad and that he had been very depressed. However, she said that she had never heard him threaten to take his own life.
His daughter added that Joseph Longland was in the habit of getting water from the barrel with a bucket and that owing to his bronchial trouble he had often had to grip the sides of the barrel while he got his breath.
A policeman that came out said that he made a search and found no message. He said that the barrel was three feet four inches from the ground and said that it was feasible that an old man that was in the habit of leaning on the barrel might have fallen in when not feeling too well through his arms slipping.
An open verdict was returned.
see Northampton Mercury - Friday 24 March 1939, p3