Some history of the George and Dragon at Rushall in Staffordshire
More information on the George and Dragon at Rushall to follow. I probably created the page as I had a link to the George and Dragon from another page. When building the site it is easier to place links as they crop up rather than go back later on. I realise this is frustrating if you were specifically looking for information on the George and Dragon. There is information on Staffordshire dotted around the website - click here for a suitable starting place.
"On Saturday evening last the dead body of a man was found partly covered by a heap of squitch-grass in Cartbridge Lane, leading
from Rushall to Ryecroft, near to the railway line. Upon the arrival of the police the body was still warm. It was found that the deceased had a severe wound in
the neck, just under the right ear, and from that he bled freely. The inside of the right hand was stained with blood, and in the right-hand pocket of his
trousers was a blood-stained pocket knife. The body lay on its back, but partly propped up by the grass - the legs and lower part of the body being
covered by the remainder of the heap. Deceased was apparently about 50 years of age, 5ft 7in or 5ft 8in in height, of medium build, with slight brown whiskers,
worn longer on the chin than at the sides, and the top lip shaved; dressed in dark cloth jacket, dark vest [patched on the right side with lighter material],
moleskin trousers, a calico shirt, a flannel shirt, grey worsted stockings; silk handkerchief, blue with white spots; black cloth cap, with peak of the same
material; and strong lace-up boots. Every effort has been made by the police since the discovery of the body to obtain a clue to his identity, but they have
been unsuccessful. The inquest was held on Wednesday morning at the George and Dragon Inn, Rushall, by Mr. E. Hooper, the coroner for the district, when the following
evidence was given. Thomas Radford, platelayer, deposed that he lived at Cartbridge, and on Friday, the 20th inst., he saw the deceased about nine o'clock
in the morning in an occupation road at Cartbridge. The road led to Mr. Sparrow's place at Ryecroft, and deceased was lying on a squitch heap. Witness asked
deceased what he was doing there, and deceased said he was resting, as he had been wandering about all night, and had nowhere to go to and no money to spend. Witness
asked deceased where he came from, and deceased said he came from Macclesfield. Witness gave deceased threepence, and afterwards went home and got some breakfast for
him. The breakfast consisted of bread, bacon, and tea. Deceased ate two or three mouthfuls, and then said that he had had nothing to eat for three days. Deceased also
said, "I once had a good home, but I lost my wife," and he shook his head and sighed. Deceased said he had tried to get work at the recreation ground, but
could not get on. Deceased finished his breakfast, and witness left him. About two hours afterwards witness saw him again, and he was then shaking his jacket to shake
the dust off, and he then went away. Witness did not see deceased use any knife to cut his breakfast with. On Saturday morning about six witness saw deceased on the
heap again. He was then in a sort of sitting position, but witness did not speak to him. Witness did not see him move, and could not say if he was then dead or not.
Witness was out at work all day, and on his return home on Saturday night he heard that deceased had been found dead, on the squitch heap, and that blood was on him,
and he had been removed by the police. Witness afterwards saw the body at the request of the police, and it was the body the jury had seen, and of the man he had
spoken to. When witness saw deceased last he could not say whether deceased was partly under the squitch-heap or not. Joseph Griffiths, platelayer, deposed
that he lived at Pelsall. On Friday morning, about seven o'clock, witness was in the cabin at Radford's Crossing, on the London and North Western Railway. A
man named Bullinger told him there was a man lying in the squitch-heap, about 40 yards off. Witness went and looked at the man, but did not speak to him. The man
was partly on his side. Witness did not speak to him because Bullinger had just spoken to him, and had covered him with the squitch, the man having requested him to
do so. Witness only looked at deceased, not wishing to disturb him. On Saturday morning, about six o'clock, witness was passing along the line with the ganger,
and pointed deceased out, for he was then lying on the squitch. Witness had to go on with his work, and could not go to see deceased then, for the platelayers had
the lorry out, and a ballast train was expected along about eight o'clock. They could not tell to an hour, or more, when the ballast train would come up. Witness
had told his master, the ganger, about the man, and he could not do any more than he did. Mary Burns, Short Acre, Walsall, deposed that as she was going to
work on Saturday morning, she saw deceased lying on the squitch. Deceased partly rose up, and asked witness where he was. She told him that he was in Coal Pool Lane.
She then went to her work. On her return from work, about half past five o'clock, she passed within a few feet of the squitch-heap, and she saw deceased lying
there. She noticed that his features were pale, and had the appearance of a dead man's features. Witness called a man from the railway line, and he went to deceased
and said he believed he was dead, and he would fetch a policeman. Witness could not say how deceased's arms were, as she did not like to look at him very closely.
Thomas Masters, fireman on the London and North Western Railway, deposed that as he went along the line, the previous witness told him that there was a man lying
near dead. Witness went and saw deceased, whose legs were covered with the squitch and his body propped up against it. Witness saw no blood about him, and did not go
close to him, but fetched Police-Constable Murray. Police-Constable Murray, stationed at Rushall, deposed that on Saturday, about half-past five, the
previous witness came to him and said there was a man lying dead in a bye-lane near Cartbridge Farm. Witness went with Marshall to the field, and found deceased
lying on a heap of squitch. His hands were stretched out, and were not covered with the squitch. Witness examined the body, and found a cut wound on the right side of
his neck. Witness raised the head of the deceased, and then saw a quantity of still wet blood just under him. Witness searched deceased and found the pocket-knife
produced in his right-hand pocket. The knife was closed and had dry blood on it. There was also blood on the inside of deceased's right hand. A tobacco-box,
a comb, and whistle were also found on deceased; but nothing else of any kind. There were some letters on the right arm of deceased, but witness could not say what
letters they were. The body was still warm when witness got to it. Deceased's cap was on his head, and there was no sign anywhere of any scuffle having taken place.
John Wood, MD, Walsall, deposed that he had made a post-mortem examination of the body. There was a wound on the right side of the neck an inch below the
ear. It was three inches deep, and went forward, and downward. It was half an inch wide, and it severed an important artery. Witness had seen the knife produced and
had no doubt that the wound was inflicted with the knife. Witness had heard the evidence of the witnesses, and was of opinion that the wound was self-inflicted.
Witness examined the body, but found nothing but the wound to account for death. There was a little matter in the stomach, but no trace of beer or spirits.
Police-Sergeant Riley [Rushall] stated that the body was still unidentified. He had made all the inquiries he could, but could not find out anything about
the deceased. He had written to Macclesfield, and had received a letter stating "the man is not known in this borough." Mr. Rosten, who was the guardian of the
poor for the parish, had seen deceased, but did not recognise him as having applied at the Workhouse. The Coroner said he did not know whether the jury considered that
they had sufficient evidence to warrant them in returning their verdict. There was no doubt from the evidence of Dr. Wood, that the man died from the wound in his
throat, and it was for the jury to say whether that wound had been self-inflicted in their opinion or by any other person. As nothing was known of the man, they
would have great difficulty in finding that he committed suicide - if that was their finding - while in a state of insanity; indeed, there was absolutely
nothing to show them what the state of his mind was, but they could express that in their verdict if they thought fit. The jury, without any hesitation, returned a
verdict "that deceased committed suicide, but there was no evidence to show what was the state of his mind at the time."
"Mysterious Death at Rushall"
Walsall Observer, and South Staffordshire Chronicle
March 28th 1885 Page 7