The sad story of Robert Harwood

house (10)
Lydiard House

Robert Harwood got up early on Sunday morning, July 21 1872. He picked up the gun that once belonged to his father and set off across the fields to Toothill Farm. He knew the area well – this was where he had lived with his parents and his two brothers John and William and his sister Ellen just a few short years ago; where he had worked as a farm labourer and had learned to shoot before securing a job in the Great Western Railway as an engine driver. He knew every inch of this farm and he knew where to bag a rabbit or two.

He was found later that day – dead; the rabbits at his feet. At the inquest held at the farm on Monday the coroner told how it was his opinion that as Robert drew his gun to shoot again it became entangled and exploded; the charge entering the victim’s throat under the left ear. The verdict was recorded – “Accidentally killed by a gun while unlawfully shooting rabbits.” He was 28 years old.

The funeral was reported in the Swindon Advertiser thus:

“On Wednesday afternoon last, the remains of the late Mr R Harwood (who met with his untimely end on Sunday morning last) were borne to their final resting place in the parish churchyard of Lydiard Tregoze. The deceased being a member of the “Mackie’s Good Intent Lodge of Oddfellows, was carried to the grave by the brethren of that Lodge followed by his sorrowing relatives, a large number of odd-fellows and fellow servants in the employ of the GWR Company, as further proof of the great respect in which the deceased was held. Several persons attended from Chippenham to shew their last token of respect. The service was impressively performed by the Rev W.H.Ed. McKnight.”


In Memory of

Robert Harwood

Who Departed This Life

January 18th 1864

Aged 55 Years

Also of


Son of

Robert and Susannah Harwood

Who Departed This Life

July 21 1872

Aged 28 Years




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