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Name: Walter Shipwright

Burial Number: 0541

Gender: Male

Occupation: Stationer's Assistant; dealer in fancy goods;

Born: 00/02/1862

Died: 05/06/1907

Buried: 10/06/1907

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Walter John Shipwright was born in Kensington and he was baptised at St. Luke’s, Chelsea, on February 26th1862. His father, George Alexander, 39 yrs., was a Linen Draper and his mother, Elizabeth Lucy, nee Bridger, was 28 yrs. When Walter was 9 yrs. old, he was living at 106, Fulham Road, Kensington with his father, George 48yrs., Draper, mother, Elizabeth 37 yrs., sisters Amy 10 and Eleanor 7. Two of his father’s brothers lived with the family, William 58 and Thomas 53, they were both Goldsmiths. By 1881 Walter’s father had become a Licensed Victualler and the family lived at The Angel Public House, Binfield Rd., Lambeth; Walter was 19 yrs. old and employed as a Stationer’s Assistant, the household included his mother, Elizabeth 46 yrs., his sisters, Amy 20 and Eleanor 17, a Barmaid and a General Servant. The family moved to Ryde, Isle of Wight, and in 1891 Walter’s father was also now a Stationer and Walter and both his sisters were Stationer’s Assistants. In 1895 Walter married local girl, Alice Louisa Rands and by 1901 they had moved to Finchley, Middlesex, where Walter, now 39 yrs., was a Stationer and dealer in Fancy Goods. Alice was 31 yrs. old. At some point in the following 5 years, Walter suffered a mental breakdown, retired from the retail business and moved to Worthing to live with his parents at Kewhurst, Valencia Road. Walter John Shipwright died, aged 45yrs., on 4th June 1907, Worthing. His death certificate gave the cause of death as “Suicide by drowning himself in the sea whilst insane”.

Researcher: Maggie Martin

The Grave

No headstone image available

Location in Cemetery

Area: SWS Row: 2 Plot: 10

Exact Location (what3words): answer.luck.fork

Ashes or Urn: Unknown



No description of the headstone has been added.


In loving memory of Walter John Shipwright died June 5th 1907 aged 45 years "Thy will be done" "Father in Thy gracious keeping, leave we now Thy servant sleeping"

Further Information


Name: Walter John Shipwright

Gender: Male

Born: 00/02/1862

Town: Unknown

County: London

Country: England


Maiden Name: Not applicable

Marriage Date: //1895

Spouse First Name: Alice

Spouse Second Name: Louisa

Spouse Last Name: Rands

Town of Marriage: Ryde

County of Marriage: Isle of Wight

Country of Marriage: England

Information at Death

Date of Death: 05/06/1907

Cause of death: Suicide by drowning himself in the sea whilst insane

Town: Worthing

County: Sussex

Country: England


Worthing Gazette – Wednesday, June 12th, 1907. – DETERMINED SUICIDE BY DROWNING – Retired Tradesman’s Sad End. – His Body Weighted with Stones. – What had every appearance of being a determined case of suicide by drowning was investigated by the West Sussex Coroner (Mr. F.W. Butler) at the Central Fire Station on Thursday afternoon. The deceased was a retired tradesman, named Mr. Walter John Shipwright, who for the past six months had been residing with his father and mother at Kewhurst, Valencia Road, West Worthing; and when his lifeless body was found by a Coastguardsman on the sands on Wednesday afternoon it was discovered that he had placed a large number of stones or pebbles inside his clothes. It was also shown at the inquest that the deceased had suffered from delusions, and that a local medical gentleman had seen him, and expressed his willingness to certify for his removal to an Asylum; so that the Jury , of whom Mr. G. Turner was appointed Foreman, had no difficulty in deciding that the man was of unsound mind at the time. The first witness called was the deceased’s mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Louisa Shipwright, of Kewhurst, Valencia Road, who stated that the deceased was forty-five years of age and had been a general shopkeeper. He gave up his business about six months ago and had since been living with them at Worthing. During the time he had been there he had been in good health generally, but in the previous week he was troubled with hallucinations, the principal one being that he had come into a lot of money. His memory was also affected at times. On the previous Tuesday witness got Mr. Nodes to see him but the deceased did not know that the latter was a doctor. Mr. Nodes told them that he was mentally affected and advised them to send him away for a time; and arrangements were being made for this to be done. The deceased was not at all violent and had never said or done anything that would lead them to think he would ever try to make away with himself. Witness last saw him alive on the Tuesday evening, when he observed that he was going out. He did not return, however, and information was then given to the Police. David McTurk, of 25, Park-walk, Chelsea, deposed that he had been a friend of the deceased for many years, and had been staying at Worthing with him since the previous Saturday. Soon after he arrived here, he noticed that the deceased was very strange, and suffering from delusions. Mr. Nodes saw him on Tuesday and told witnesses that he was prepared to certify for the deceased to be sent to an Asylum; and witness went to see Mr. Linfield to arrange for this to be done. When the deceased failed to return home on the Tuesday evening witness walked about searching for him until nearly two o’clock in the morning, but he believed that information was given to the Police about half-past one. Mr. Nodes advised them to look after the deceased as much as possible, and to take him out for walks; but when witness suggested to him that they should go for a walk he flatly refused. The doctor did not suggest to them that the deceased might have a suicidal tendency. Replying to the Foreman, witness said that he did not think the deceased had any idea that they were going to put him away. William Cobb, a Coastguardsman, stated that he found the body of the deceased on the sands at West Worthing, about half-past two o’clock on the previous afternoon. It was nearly opposite the last shelter seat, and close to the pipe which supplied the Baths with sea water. The tide was quite out, and the body was covered with weeds. Witness tried artificial respiration for about ten minutes, but life was quite extinct. Inside the man’s shirt witness found thirty or forty stones, which had evidently been placed there. He gave information to the Police and afterwards assisted P.C.’s Pay and Simmonds to remove the body to the mortuary. Dr. W. Lockwood stated that he saw the body just before five o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, and he should say that the man had been dead from twelve to twenty-four hours. On making a post-mortem examination that day witness found two cuts on the head, a bruise on the right temple, and some abrasions on the face and legs. The Coroner: Do you think those injuries were caused before death? Witness: Yes, I do. The Coroner: What was the nature of the cuts? – They were simple incisions, and I should say they had been caused by knocking against some object or stones. Were they of any consequence as affecting death? – Oh no, Sir; they were very superficial. Replying to further questions by the Coroner, Dr. Lockwood said that all the organs of the body were healthy, and that death was due to suffocation by drowning. Verdict. A verdict of “Suicide whilst temporarily insane” was returned by the Jury.

Personal Effects

Money left to others: No value recorded

Current value of effects: Not calculated

Census Information


Living at 106, Fulham Road, Kensington – Walter John Shipwright, 9yrs, with his father, George Alexander, 48 yrs., a Draper and his mother, Elizabeth Lucy, 37 yrs., he had two sisters, Amy 10 and Eleanor 7. The household included William 58 and Thomas 53, his uncles who were both Goldsmiths.


Living at The Angel Public House, Binfield Rd., Lambeth; George A. Shipwright, 58yrs, was a Licensed Victualler and the family Walter was 19 yrs. old and employed as a Stationer’s Assistant, the household included his mother, Elizabeth 46 yrs., his sisters, Amy 20 and Eleanor 17, a Barmaid and a General Servant.


Living in Ryde, Isle of Wight – Walter’s father was now a Stationer and Walter, 29 yrs. and his sisters were Stationer’s Assistants. The household included Elizabeth, 57, Amy 30, and Eleanor (Clark) 27 yrs., now married with two children, Phyllis 2 and Cyril 8 months.


Living in Finchley, Middlesex, where Walter, now 39 yrs a Stationer and dealer in Fancy Goods. Alice was 31 yrs. old.

Miscellaneous Information

No miscellaneous information is available for this burial record.