Fatal Accident at Barnham Mill

The following was found amongst Stephen Buckland’s notes in his copy of "The Windmills of Sussex" by Martin Brunnarius.

St. James’s Chronicle Tues, Oct 4 – Thurs. Oct 6 1808

“On Thursday a young man named Pledger, whilst shooting a sack of wheat into a bin in a windmill called Barnham Mill near Arundel, was caught by the tail of his round frock (not smock), in the cogs of his mill wheels, and being thereby drawn with great violence between them, his head instantly was crushed to atoms, and exhibited a most shocking spectacle to the grinder and another, who were standing by, but could render no assistance to the unfortunate sufferer. One of the young man’s teeth was driven so hard into a cog of the wheel that it was with difficulty extracted.

Coroner’s verdict – accidental death. We hope this will act as a caution to men employed in mills, "not to wear loose clothing", as many nearly similar accidents have happened from that practice. A waistcoat buttoned close to the body is by far the safest and most convenient dress in all sorts of mill, "where room is generally very limited".

Apr. 2007