The Death of Joseph Laycock - Ball Bridge River Don Sheffield August 1874

The following is the marriage certificate for Joseph Laycock and Sarah Brown. The wedding took place on Xmas Day 1843 at the Parish Church in Sheffield. Joseph is listed as a 23 year old cutler, and the son of George Laycock also a cutler

As far as is known the couple had four children - Mary Rose Elizabeth Laycock (1947-1934), Elizabeth Laycock (1850 - 1913), Joseph Laycock (1853 - 1884) and Sarah Ann Laycock (1854 - 1922). 

Ball Street Bridge over the River Don Sheffield - Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved] Copyright Dave Pickersgill licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

The River Don from Ball Street Bridge

On the evening of Wednesday 26th August 1874, Joseph's body was dragged out of the River Don near to Ball Street bridge. He had not been seen alive since Saturday 22nd August 1874.  

Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated Thursday 27th August 1874

Formerly the Ball Inn Green Lane Sheffield, the location of Joseph Laycocks imquest

Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated Saturday 29th August 1874

Both newspaper reports name the body as a John Laycock but the BMD registers and his burial record show him has a Joseph Laycock. 

The open verdict was the correct one given the paucity of information available to the Coroner and the jury. The fact that they found Joseph's coat, hat, waistcoat and a a pair of boots on the banks of the river could indicate that Joseph was just going for a wash in the river (whilst under the influence of drink) lost his footing and drowned. But then again it could he could have been in " a very low state of mind" at the time and just decided to leave everything behind him.

He is buried in a public grave in Sheffield's General Cemetery along with many others. He was 53 at the time of his death

Deaths Sep 1874 Laycock Joseph 53 Sheffield volume 9c page 269

burial no: 18131
grave no: R 128
death date: 27 Aug 1874
burial date: 30 Aug 1874
name: Joseph Laycock
sex: male
age: 53
cause of death: 
description: Forger
residence: 17 Kelham Street
minister: John Hirst
burial type: unconsecrated

A few points on interest arise from Joseph's death

His brother in law Richard Brown (the brother of his wife Sarah) committed suicide nearby at Parkwood Springs by laying down under a moving train - .The Death of Richard Brown - Parkwood Springs Sheffield July 1879.

And Joseph Laycock is the father of Joseph Laycock who was to murder his wife and four children in the White Croft area of Sheffield in July 1884

And it is believed that his father George Laycock also committed suicide in 1863 - Deaths Mar 1863 Laycock George Sheffield Volume 9c Page 252. To date I have no further information on this

His wife Sarah died in Sheffield in 1900 - she was 78 years old


Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 27th August 1874

Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated Saturday 29th August 1874

Burial records - Sheffield General Cemetery

Free BMD

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This page was last updated on 11/03/21 09:46