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FATAL GUN ACCIDENT IN BRUNDALL

                                                                              
                                                                            Fatal Gun Accident at Brundall
                                                                                         by Barbara Ayers

        ‘In Memory of John Frederick Moy who was accidentally shot, August 21 1875, aged 11 years’ is the intriguing wording on a small grave in Brundall Churchyard.  In the EDP of August 24th 1875 there is a report of the inquest into this very sad event.  On the previous Saturday afternoon John Moy who lived in Plumstead Road, Witton, was in the back kitchen of the cottage of his friend, George Glasspoole aged 13.  George’s father was in Norwich and his mother was out gleaning when he ‘got a gun down from the bedroom, loaded it with powder and shot, and put a cap on.’  He intended to go and shoot in the back garden but John asked to have a shot and proceeded to take hold of the gun by the end of the barrel.  George ‘at the time had the cock partly pulled up with his thumb upon it’.  When John got hold of the gun the cock slipped off George’s thumb and shot John dead.  George had no intention of harming his friend and had told him to leave go of the gun.  When he saw what had happened he understandably panicked and ran to the house of Mrs Jane Dingle of Braydeston who was the wife of the landlord of The White Horse.  (Then, The White Horse was the building that is now The Lavender House and was before that The Old Beams.  A provisional order was made on 3rd September 1877 for the licence to be transferred to new premises to be erected near Station Lane and this happened in 1880.)  George told Mrs Dingle that an old man had come in and shot his friend.  ‘He afterward contradicted his statement saying it was no use telling stories.’  John’s father, William, said that the boys were the best of friends, never used to quarrel, were nearly always together, and were like brothers.  The gun had been lent to George’s father, John Glasspoole by a neighbour, John Harper (landlord of The Ram at the time), to frighten birds away with.  The jury returned a verdict of ‘Accidentally shot’.
        According to the census for 1871 John Glasspoole, a market gardener, lived with his wife Harriet, sons Obadiah, Ebenezer, Robert, and Herbert who were all agricultural labourers or gardeners and Henry and George and daughter Frances who were ‘scholars’.  By 1881 there were just John and Harriet with Herbert and George who were now agricultural labourers living at no. 8 The Street.  The position of the house in relation to other buildings suggests that it could well have been opposite what was then The White Horse.  Research into ‘Inglebank’ for the book ‘Houses of Brundall and Braydeston’ connects the Glasspoole family to the land there so even if they didn’t actually live in what is now Inglebank they could well have lived in a cottage nearby.

John Frederick Moy's
                  gravestone

                                                       
Inscription on gravestone reads:
'In memory of John Frederick Moy, who was accidentally shot, August 21st 1875, aged 11 years'



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