The following is the report of the inquest into Isaac BARTON's death.
Brighton Guardian 2nd July 1856:
SUDDEN DEATH IN BRIGHTON WORKHOUSE
An inquest was held at the Brighton Workhouse on Monday, before David Black, Esq., Coroner, on the body of Isaac Barton, an inmate, the circumstances attending whose death are detailed in the following evidence:-
Edward Parker sworn: I have known deceased a great many years, and I always considered him very healthy. We took tea together last night, when he appeared as well as usual. After we had our tea, we were talking over matters, and then he spoke of the sermon which was preached by the chaplain. He asked me how I liked it, and I said, "Very well." He then said he wished he could act up to it, and remarked, "Lord Almighty knows. We are alive now, and may be dead before the morning." That was shortly after six o'clock. He drank a pint of cocoa then, and had his allowance of bread, and I gave him an allowance of butter for his cheese. He went to bed about eight o'clock, and appeared to be very well, indeed. He bade me good night after he got into bed. We sleep in the same room. About ten minutes past ten o'clock I heard him "holler" out, and I thought it was the night mare. I was awake myself at the time. He had been asleep. He never said a word. He screamed out only once. It was a loud shrill cry, loud enough to wake the other people in the ward. I asked him what was the matter, and he gave me no answer. I asked him again, and still getting no answer from him I jumped out of bed and got a piece of candle and lit it. I then looked at deceased and saw he was dying. His face appeared to be flushed. His eyes were open and his mouth also. There was no froth about his mouth. His face was not drawn up, as if he were in a fit. His breathing was very soft; in fact he did not appear to breathe at all. When I saw him first he was turned over on his right side. His right hand was convulsively clasped and pressed against his left side. He had suffered a little from rheumatism lately; but it was only last week that he was telling me that he never was getting on better in his life. His legs were not drawn up. He did not seem short-breathed.
Mr Passmore, master of the workhouse, stated that deceased was 43 years of age, had been in the house about a month, and leaves a wife and eight children, all inmates of the house, besides two children out.
James Holloway sworn: I have been acquainted with the deceased nine days, the time I have been in the house. He has always appeared to me to be in very good health. I saw him yesterday as late as half-past eight o'clock in the evening. He was then in the yard and bidding another man good night before going up to bed. He slept in the same ward as I did. He did not say anything to me. About a quarter past 10 o'clock I was awoke by a cry from deceased. He cried out just like one going off in a fit, and I expected that he was in a fit. I went to him when he cried. There was no light in the room at the time. I spoke to him twice, and he gave no answer. I heard him turn on his side. One of the others got a light about two minutes after we heard the cry. We found him, when the light came, lying on his right side, with his right hand placed over his heart. I did not notice whether it was clenched. He breathed twice after that very heavily. He never spoke. His legs were drawn up a little, but not much. His eyes were open and fixed.
Richard Rugg, surgeon, sworn: About 20 minutes past ten o'clock last night I was sent for to see a man said to have been taken suddenly ill in the house. I found deceased as described by the witnesses, lying quite dead. I had not attended him professionally. From what I can glean from the witnesses, it is my opinion that he died from a rupture of a vessel in the heart.
This being all the evidence, the jury returned a verdict that deceased died suddenly from a rupture of a vessel in the heart.