- Born: 1846, Penponds, Camborne, Cornwall 1
- Died: 19 Apr 1870, Camborne, Cornwall 2
In 1861, Matthew Beckerley (15) of Camborne, labourer, was lodging with George and Philippa Tippet in Ramsgate, Camborne.
Matthew Beckerleg died aged 25 years.
"Shocking Accident at Stray Park Mine.—Two Lives Lost.
On Monday, while some men were at work at the 238 fm. level, in Stray Park Mine, at stull gave way, and three men—George Craze and Matthew Beckerleg, of Penponds, and Josiah Luke, of Gwinear, but now residing at Camborne—fell a distance of 12 fathoms. Craze was killed on the spot; Beckerleg died on Tuesday morning; and Luke is said to be not likely to recover.
An inquest was held in the Bible Christian schoolroom, Penponds, Camborne, before Mr. John Roscorla, county coroner, and a jury, of which Mr. John Treleaven was the foreman, on Tuesday, touching the death of George Craze and Matthew Beckerleg.
The first witness, William Hicks, jun., having been sworn, said: I live in Penponds and am a miner. I knew George Craze and Matthew Beckerleg, and have known them for some years. They were miners, and I worked with them in Stray Park mine, Camborne. We worked as tributers. We were all at the mine working yesterday, and went underground about eight a.m.; our pitch is in the 226 fms. level. There was a stull there, and we were working above it between 11 and 12 o'clock. The deceased, Geo. Craze, and Josiah Lake [sic] were sitting together on the stull, and Beckerleg was wheeling a barrow, and just as he approached the other two the stull suddenly gave way and whole three fell to the 250 fm. level. The stull was there when Craze went there to work. About five months since, I and the others, on several occasions, examined the stull to see if it was safe and secure, and it always appeared to us to be so. I do not think that I have examined it for the last six weeks. It belongs to the miners to see that such places are in proper order. I was standing from about nine to twelve feet from the place when the stull suddenly gave way. There was no person present but myself, the two deceased, and Josiah Luke when it occurred; there was not the slightest notice given, either of cracking or falling debris. After it gave way, I went down to the 250 and found Craze at the bottom of the level, and Beckerleg a little way up in the slope. Craze was insensible, and a quantity of blood flowing from his mouse, nose and ears. I did not see him again before this morning, when he was dead; he was 20 years of age. There was no blame to be attributed to any one, and the accident was one which could not be foreseen.
William Knapp, being sworn, said: I am a miner, and reside in this village. For the last five months I have worked as a tributer in Stray Park mine, and latterly at the 250 fm. level. Yesterday, near about the middle of the day, when I was at work, about two fathoms above that level, and engaged in boring a hole, I heard a noise as if ground was coming away; I shouted to the last witness, "Did you throw in any stuff?" when he said "my three comrades are gone down." I lighted an extra candle, and soon found Beckerleg and Luke. Beckerleg was lying on his back, with his head near the foot wall. There were some pieces of timber, no doubt part of the stull, on him. I, assisted by my two comrades, lifted him up, when I ascertained that his skull was seriously fractured; he was perfectly insensible. I then left him and went to the bottom of the level and found Craze as described by Hicks. I then went to the grass and told the agent, who sent a skip down for him. I went afterwards to Camborne and fetched two surgeons. I was present when Craze was brought up, and saw that he was dead. I was in on the stull which gave way about a week since. At that time I thought that when the men were working it was quite safe; if I had not thought so I should not have worked under it. Beckerleg was 25 years of age.
Charles Cock deposed: I live at Penponds. I am a miner and work on tribute. I have worked in Stray Park mine. I was underground there yesterday, and in consequence of hearing a noise I went down, and saw Craze there, and in the course of a minute or two he died from the injuries he received. There were cuts and other injuries about him, beside a severe fracture of the back of the skull. I have always found, since I have worked in the mine, that the agents and timberman were always ready to attend to any requests made by the men in regard to things to be done underground.
The jury, after a few minutes' deliberation, gave a verdict in both cases of accidental death.
The jury kindly gave their fees to the mother of Craze, who is in great want, her chief support being now taken from her."
[Note: George Craze and Matthew Beckerleg were 7th/8th cousins.] 3