Jane Martin is my 4th Great Grandmother on my maternal side.

She was born 1800 Market Harborough Leicestershire.

She married William Dicks from St Marys Leicester.

They had according to my research four children

George Willoughby Dicks born 1826 (my 3rd Great Grandfather)

William Dicks born 1829

Elizabeth Dicks born 1828

Frederick Worthington Dicks born 1827


Jane and William spent most of their married life in St Margarets area of Leicester.

While doing my research I was saddened to find that Jane died in the Union Workhouse in Leicester. I was then shocked to find a newspaper article regarding her death.



The borough coroner, Mr. Robert Harvey, held an inquest at the Board-room of the Leicester Union Workhouse on Tuesday afternoon relative to the death of an old woman named Jane Dicks, who lived at No. 13, Short-street, and whose death occurred at the Union on Sunday.

The following evidence was taken. Lizzie Jane Cox, of No. 13, Short-street, who appeared to be a rather eccentric person, said she was the widow of William Cox, an engine driver, and the deceased was her mother. She was the widow of William Dicks, a postman, was 83 years of age, and lived With witness.

On Sunday, July 5, witness sent her for some beer to the Unicorn Inn, about eight o'clock in the evening. and witness shortly afterwards heard that her mother had met with an accident. She was brought into the house and slept on the sofa during the night.

She made a complaint the next day that her leg hurt her, and Dr. Lakin visited her shortly afterwards. He recommended the deceased's removal to the Infirmary, but witness was not willing to let her go. The doctor said it might be a serious thing if she did not go to the Infirmary, but witness did not know that her mother's thigh was broken.

William Henry Morris, of No. 11, Short-street, a temperance agent, said he was at home on the evening of Sunday, July 5, when someone called his attention to the deceased, whom he found in Carrington-street. sitting at the bottom of the stone steps leading to the Unicorn Inn, with her back to the step. Witness raised her up, and discovered that she was bleeding from both arms and the face. She was bleeding from old sores, the tops of which had apparently been rubbed off by a fall. She was lifted on to her feet, but was not able to stand, and then complained that her leg was hurt. She was carried by witness and a neighbour into the house. She was quite sober.

Witness advised Mrs. Cox to allow the deceased to be removed to the Leicester Infirmary, but she refused.

The next day witness obtained an order for the parish doctor, Mr. Lakin, to see the deceased, and he and witness went to the house, but the last witness again refused to allow her to go to the Infirmary, even though the doctor strongly advised it. Witness visited the deceased from time to time, and on the 16th of July noticed a great change in the condition of the woman, who seemed to be rapidly sinking. As no one seemed to interfere in the case, witness obtained an order from the magistrates for the deceased's removal, and on the same day she was taken away to the Workhouse in the ambulance.

On the occasion of witness's visits, between the 5th and the 16th, he did not think the woman was at all properly attended to. The sofa on which the deceased lay was not long enough, so that she could not stretch herself, and the place was in a filthy condition. Deceased was covered with a few rags, and there was a fearful stench arising from the bed.

The daughter told witness that the deceased had not been undressed since the accident. 

Another neighbour, said that she had known the deceased for about six years. She attended the deceased after the accident until she was removed to the Union. On the day on which the deceased was taken from the house witness helped Mrs. Cox to lift the deceased up with the intention of putting her in a chair, but the deceased could not stand, so " Lizzie" gave her a push on the shoulder and said, " Sit where you are. you old fool."

The deceased's clothes were never changed during the whole time she was laid up, and the state of her clothes was " something dreadful" from being saturated with filth. Witness frequently called Mrs. Cox's attention to her mother's condition, and she said it was none of witness's business, but she would have her clothes ''changed " when she got better.

When Mrs Cox gave the push on the shoulder it sent the deceased back on the couch. Mr. C. Lakin, surgeon, said that he was called to see the deceased on the 6th July by Mr. Morris, and found her on a couch in the living-room. She was evidently crippled in the right leg, and in pain. Witness advised that she should be removed to the Union infirmary, but Mrs. Cox resented witness's interference altogether, and said she should send for her own doctor in the morning. Witness told her she ought to send for her medical man at once, and not wait, and said it was a shame that her mother should be there for 24 hours without seeing a doctor. Witness also impressed upon her that she was incurring a grave responsibility in not allowing witness or anyone else to see her.

He attended on the occasion as parish doctor, and the next time he visited her, on the 16th, he attended under a magistrate's order. He then found the old lady sitting on the couch with her leg down on the floor, which must have caused her excruciating pain. He examined the thigh, and found it terribly swollen and very much discoloured, but witness did not at the time ascertain that the limb was broken. He ordered her removal, as he did not think she was receiving proper attention. The deceased herself seemed in a very feeble state of mind, and seemed unable to speak for herself, as if she were helpless in the matter and had no will or mind of her own. On that occasion witness observed a cut on the right eyebrow and one on the right hand, one of which — the one on the hand — was not there when witness saw the deceased on the first occasion. That wound was about an inch long ,was gaping, in a dirty condition .and inflammation had set in. Both forearms were covered with bruises of various ages and scars, and generally she was in an exceedingly dirty and neglected conditions as described by the previous witness.

The cause of death was shock or exhaustion consequent on the injuries — that to the thigh especially. In witness's opinion life would have probably been prolonged had she received proper care and attention, though he could not say that death would not have resulted from the injuries. Nurse Roberts said the deceased was admitted to the Infirmary on the 16th July with a broken thigh She was in a very "lost" condition, and almost delirious through pain. She died on the 9th of August. Mr. E. W. Sharhian, who has temporary charge of Dr. Bryan's practice, deposed that he had attended the deceased from August 3 until her death on the 9th. She was suffering from a fractured thigh and contusions on the hip, arms, and hand, and there was an incised wound over the right eye. Death was due from shock arising from the injuries, more particularly from that to the thigh. Witness could not say with certainty whether the death was accelerated by the neglect deposed to by the previous witnesses.

The Coroner said that was all the evidence, and the questions would naturally occur in the minds of the jury was it possible that Mrs. Cox, the daughter of the deceased woman, had been guilty in any way of manslaughter, or, in other words, ' was she criminally responsible for the death of the old lady. On the whole, he thought there could be no doubt that she had treated her mother with most scandalous and shameful neglect, although he did not think the case was such as would bring her within the law as to manslaughter. The main cause of death was no doubt the factored thigh, which occurring in a woman of such advanced age, and in such a feeble state of health, was amply sufficient to cause the death from exhaustion. At the same time, if by any neglect of a legal duty any person accelerated the death of a person who was already Buffering from accident or disease, that would bring it within the law of manslaughter ; but in this case, although the conduct of Mrs. Cox had certainly been most heartless as well as most injudicious, it did not seem that there had been any such act on her part as would make her criminally responsible. Of course if she had omitted to find food or shelter for the old lady that would have been a breach of duty which she was liable to perform, for when one person voluntarily undertook the charge of another that person was bound to provide legal necessaries, but he (the coroner) had looked into the law very carefully, and he did not think that the medical assistance which was necessary in that case was a legal necessary. If it was, there would have been no doubt that Mrs. Cox had failed in her duty, and then she would have been guilty of manslaughter.

It did appear, however, that the neglect did not seem to have had any serious effect on the state of the patient, for both the doctors agreed that the broken thigh was amply sufficient to account for the death, and they could not say with certainty that the treatment had anything to do with accelerating death. If they were to send the woman for trial he thought it was exceedingly doubtful whether any verdict of manslaughter would be brought in against her, and therefore he thought the most advisable thing would be to find that death was from shock or exhaustion.

The jury, after a short deliberation, found that the death was from shock, consequent on the injuries the woman received, but at the same time they thought the daughter had showed gross neglect, and was open to censure.

The Coroner said he would censure the woman,  but be did not know whether it would have any effect, for they could all see that she was a rather eccentric person. Addressing Mrs. Cox, he said the jury were of opinion that her treatment of her mother was a scandal, a shame, and a disgrace, and they wished him to severely reprimand her for the line of conduct she had adopted with regard to the poor helpless old woman, whose charge she had undertaken, and to whom she was bound, not only legally, but by reason of her relationship, to render her all the assistance in her power. Her behaviour was heartless and disgraceful


Leicester Chronicle - Saturday 15 August 1891


What a shocking way for someone to treat her mother. I know times were much harder back then but I don't think that can be a good enough excuse. I would like to know where her other children were at this time? Especially my 3rd Great Grandfather George willoughby. He was a widow at the time( His wife Mary had died in 1879 aged 53) He had two of his grandaughters living with him. Did they know about Jane being ill? Did they visit her? It seems not if we go by the newspaper article.

The unicorn Inn was on Carrington street (doesn't exist anymore) Looking at old maps it was situated near St George Street. According to google that is a 13 minute walk from Short Street. I bet it took Jane at 83 longer that 13 minutes to walk that distance. Why couldn't Elizabeth go and get her own damn ale instead of making her mother walk to get it.

Also why not go to a closer inn?


Here is the marriage of Elizabeth Dicks to William Cox

MARRIAGES....St John' Church..the Rev Barber...Mr William Cox, engineer, Derby

Elizabeth, only daughter of Mr William Dicks, Narborough postman.

Leicester Journal- Friday 07 September 1855

William Dicks (1851-?) married  Hannah Bocock (posible nee Levers)


William (1773-?)

Ernest Ed (1885-?)

Rose Lily (1890-?)

Ernest (1875-?)

George William (1882-?)

Maud Beatrice (1887-1976)


George Willoughby Dicks (1826-?) married Mary Nicols (1826-?)


George (1851-?)

Ann (1847-?)

Elizabeth (1855-?)

William (1851-?)


William Dicks (1801-?) married Jane (possible nee Martin)


William (1829-?)

Fredrick Worthington (1827-?)

Elizabeth (1828-?)

Elizabeth (1831-?)

George Willoughby (1826-?)


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