Mental Health

I’m aware of the following Wing-born patients who spent time at the Buckinghamshire County Asylum in Stone, either because they were resident there at census time, were recorded as a resident when being buried in Wing, or via some other means as noted. As well as stating the infirmity as “lunatic” (catch-all term for mental illness) or “imbecile” (catch-all term for mental deficiency), the 1911 census for Stone extended this with for example “lunatic 60” which appears to be the age at which they were admitted/came to Stone’s attention.

  • Hannah BANDY nee WOOLHEAD b.1843 (“of unsound mind” in LB application for relief, admitted 21 Oct 1909, died 19 Nov 1909)
  • Ruth BONE b.1868 (1901 and 1911 census, lunatic since age 32, admitted 17 Jul 1900, died 18 Sep 1919)
  • Thomas CAPP b.1840 (1911 census, lunatic since age 60, admitted 23 Mar 1899, died 12 Nov 1912)
  • Arthur CHANDLER b.1883 (“of unsound mind” in LB application for relief, admitted 20 Feb 1908, released as not improved 1 Dec 1908)
  • Mary Ann CUTLER b.1840 (admitted 12 Oct 1871, died 13 Feb 1872, buried 18 Feb 1872)
  • Rebecca HOLLAND nee CUTLER b.1848 (1911 census, lunatic since age 57, admitted 3 Apr 1909, died 27 Nov 1927)
  • William CUTLER b.1830s (1881 and 1891 census, admitted 3 Jan 1873, died 9 Jan 1899)
  • Jane DIMMOCK b.1846 (admitted 15 Jan 1890 after being assessed as suffering from mania when seen by the Leighton Buzzard district medical officer two days earlier, released as recovered 27 Aug 1890)
  • William DIMMOCK b.1874 (1911 census, imbecile since birth, and “of unsound mind” when admitted Feb 1903)
  • John FOUNTAIN b.1850 (“has fits” per LB application for relief in 1906 when he was taken to the workhouse infirmary and son Arthur is also noted as having fits in the same entry, 1911 census, lunatic since age 58, admitted 6 Nov 1908, died 2 Apr 1919)
  • Lionel GREEN b.1884 (“of unsound mind” in LB application for relief, admitted 30 Sep 1907, released as recovered 25 Feb 1908)
  • Martha GREEN nee PAGE b.1861 (1911 census, lunatic since age 49, admitted 28 Jan 1911, released as recovered 29 May 1911)
  • Charles HOOKER b.1861 (admitted 4 May 1905, died 29 Nov 1905, buried 4 Dec 1905)
  • Hannah MUNDAY b.1815 (1871 census, admitted 10 Nov 1870, discharged as recovered 15 Jul 1871)
  • George PEASE b.1852 (1871 census, admitted 27 Dec 1870, discharged as recovered 20 May 1871)
  • Edward/Edwin PIZZEY b.1851 (1881 census, admitted 8 Jun 1878, died 5 May 1889)
  • Ada Sarah Leah POLLARD b.18 May 1875 d.4 May 1911, imbecile since birth, resident in Stone 2 Jul 1894 to 22 Jun 1896 (Leighton Buzzard Poor Law Union lunatic claim records, with costs partially paid by father Andrew), and again from 12 Jun 1897 to 31 Oct 1898, and again 28 Apr 1902 when she was described as “of unsound mind” until her death on 4 May 1911
  • Andrew POLLARD b.1839 (“unsound mind” in LB application for relief, relief was paid 12 Jul 1895 but can’t locate admission details)
  • M. Q. [this is probably Martha Quick of Linslade misrecorded with a Wing birthplace] b.1820 (1891 census)
  • Ann RANDALL b.1856 [although she gets a year or two younger every census!] (was admitted to Bexley Asylum in Kent in June 1906, then moved to Stone on 11 March 1907 of “unsound mind” according to LB applications for relief, 1911 census, lunatic since age 43, died 27 Nov 1912)
  • Leah RANDALL b.1854 [she also started shaving years off her age though] (1911 census, lunatic since age 52, admitted 25 June 1910, discharged as relieved [usually this meant well enough to be released to a regular infirmary] 26 Apr 1926)
  • Sarah RANDALL b.1851 (admitted 13 Jun 1908, died 14 Jan 1909, buried 19 Jan 1909, and is described as either an imbecile or idiot in the period 1878 to 1907 in LB district medical officer visit books and relief application books, and a couple of times after 1901 is described as deaf and dumb)
  • Susannah RANDALL b.1836 (1881 and 1891 census, admitted 25 Mar 1871, Leighton Buzzard Poor Law Union lunatic claim records show costs partially paid by husband until 1893, died 2 Apr 1901)
  • John STEEL b.1840 (1871 census, admitted 12 Dec 1865, died 10 Dec 1871, buried 14 Dec 1871)
  • Robert R TOMPKINS b.1885 (“of unsound mind” in LB application for relief, admitted 30 May 1901, released as recovered 23 Dec 1901)
  • Mary THORPE b.1854 (“of unsound mind” in LB application for relief, admitted 16 May 1904, died 4 Feb 1909, buried 8 Feb 1909)
  • Henry WOOLHEAD b.1819 (receiving relief but removed to asylum in LB Poor Law Union annual report for 1911, admitted 8 Nov 1910 aged 91, died 19 Jan 1911)

Sarah, Ann and Leah Randall were sisters. Andrew Pollard and Ada Pollard were father and daughter.

There was one further resident of Stone with a Wing connection and that was Susan P. WINDMILL who was born in Ivinghoe Aston (1911 census), was admitted 19 Feb 1898 and released as not improved on 31 Oct 1927. She is listed in the Leighton Buzzard Poor Law Union annual reports as Wing parish – I believe she is Susan Priscilla Horn who married Charles Windmill in 1885 however both she and Charles were born in Ivinghoe Aston and the couple lived there in 1891 so it’s possible that the report is in error.

Another Wing resident who struggled with mental health was Maria Isabella BECKETT, who killed her baby granddaughter and attempted to kill her daughter-in-law in 1856. After being found not guilty by reason of insanity in March 1857, Maria was held at the Aylesbury Gaol until 24 July 1858 when she was admitted to London’s Bethlem Hospital. Upon admission she was described as having suffered from “attacks of melancholy for 2 years previously” but “no indications of insanity since committal of the crime”, and had no relapses while at Bethlem. She died there of chronic bronchitis and dropsy on 16 January 1860 and was buried at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

Asylums had a Committee of Visitors who were responsible for monitoring and compiling an annual report on the state of the asylum. Wing’s vicar, Peter Thomas Ouvry, served on this committee for Buckinghamshire from 1858 (the fifth year of operations) and was the chairman from 1867 to 1885.

Suicide

As well as potentially being a danger to others, those with mental health issues may have been a danger to themselves. The following Wing residents committed suicide, as taken from the burial registers of All Saints, newspaper reports, or Buckinghamshire coroner inquest travel records published by Eureka Partnership.

  • Judith BELGROVE, inquest 27 Jun 1802, hanged herself/lunatic
  • Captain Samuel N BEVINGTON, died March 1896, shot himself following head injury in steeplechase
  • Sarah COLLINS spinster, inquest 18 Oct 1757, cut her throat/lunacy
  • William Percy HILLS, died 13 Nov 1938, gas poisoning at his workplace at Wing Lodge (he was chauffeur-butler but had just been let go)
  • Edward Sinkley HUNTSMAN, died 12 Oct 1911, poisoned himself (Edward was the proprietor of the Sportsmans Arms in Littleworth)
  • Mary PACKER, buried 26 Jun 1786 aged 43, hanged herself/lunatic
  • Henry PAGE, died 29 Sep 1920 aged 63, hanged himself at his workplace on the Ascott Poultry Farm
  • William WATERS, inquest 2 Jul 1767, cut his throat

There was also an attempted suicide at Ascott House on 10 July 1913 by one of a team of decorators from London then working on-site. Wing resident Oscar Rimington was a witness in the subsequent court case.