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Report from The Hampshire Chronicle – Saturday September 8th 1906

DEATH OF THE EX-MAYOR OF WINCHESTER

The sad circumstances attending the death of the Ex-Mayor of Winchester, Councillor Fred. Seymour Morgan, have caused a painful shock in the city this week, and have at the same time aroused much sympathetic feeling. Into the details we do not propose here to enter – they will be gathered from the full reports of the inquest, which appears on page 3. It will be sufficient to say that Mr Morgan’s health has more than once this year given rise to anxiety, and indeed it has been remarked a considerable change in his manner followed upon completion of his Mayoralty. He married for the second time about three months ago, Mrs Bush, widow of the late Mr Norman Bush, and since then he has been living away from his place of business (the Royal Oak) at 52, Kingsgate Street, and it was there his melancholy death occurred on Tuesday morning. Mrs Morgan was somewhat indisposed and kept her room, Mr Morgan having breakfast with a lady relative of his wife (Miss Barnes), who resided with them. After breakfast Mr Morgan sat with his head on his hands, and Miss Barnes suggested that if his head was bad he should go upstairs and lie down for a little while. He accordingly went to a spare bedroom, asking that his wife should not be told he was there. Between two and three hours later a note was brought to the house by his son with a request that it should be given him, and for this purpose Miss Barnes went to the room. On opening the door she was horrified to find him lying on the side of the bed in a pool of blood. Life was extinct, and as was proved at the inquest he had evidently shot himself through the head with a revolver.

Mr Fred. Seymour Morgan, whose forty-eighth birthday was a month ago, was a Sussex man, having been born at Lewes. He gained more than average knowledge of the world in a responsible capacity on steamships going to foreign ports. He married, and about seventeen years ago he came from Brighton to Winchester to live. Fifteen years ago he became the tenant of one of the oldest licensed houses in Winchester, viz. the Royal Oak, in a passage off the High-street. It was some three years later that he first participated in civic affairs. At the municipal elections in 1893 he unsuccessfully contested St. John’s Ward, and at a bye-election a few months after he failed by a small number of votes, but at the November election of 1894 he headed the poll. From that time to the present he had continuously represented St. John’s Ward. In 1897 he was again first in the voting, and indeed it may be said he never lost his hold on the Ward, a decided proof of this being given last November, when, just as his Mayoralty was about to terminate, his seat on the Council was challenged by the Ratepayers’ Association. Mr Morgan topped the poll by no less a majority than 256. For about the same period that he was a member of the Town Council Mr Morgan was a member of the Board of Guardians, viz. from December, 1894, representing St. Peter Cheesehill, practically a great part of St. John’s Ward. He displayed conspicuous aptitude for the work of both bodies, and it is not a misuse of words to say he forced his way into the friendly recognition of his comrades by his evident desire to get an intelligent grasp of details; his independence of action, and his frank outspokenness. Not only at the principal meetings, but on Committees, he was one of the most regular attendants. In Corporate Finance and the work of the Sanitary Committee he showed especial ability, and the position he took up in the Education Committee, in conjunction with the late Councillor Gibb, on the question of teachers’ salaries had much to do with the framing of the scale that was adopted. On the point as to the Mayoralty he adopted the contention that it was the duty of every Councillor in his turn to undertake the responsibility of the office, and it should be remembered that when he accepted the post he did so with the knowledge that the Council had determined to return to the lesser grant of £40, although it is true that as compared with byegone years the office had been practically endowed £100 per annum, through the generosity of the late Mr. Richard Moss. The record of his Mayoralty is too fresh to need recapitulation. On the Board of Guardians the department which gave him greatest personal pleasure was the work of the Visiting Committee, which brought him into close touch with the inmates of the Workhouse. He was of a most sympathetic nature and of intense kindness of heart, and instance upon instance of kindly acts done by him could be recorded. To the Finance and Assessment Committees of the Board of Guardians he also ungrudgingly devoted his time and ability. The last meeting he attended was that of the Board of Guardians as recently as Saturday, when he spoke and voted in favour of an increase of salary to one of the Relieving Officers.

Friendly Societies found in him a warm advocate and supporter. He was a Trustee of the “Industry of Hants” Lodge of Oddfellows, and was a member of the Ancient Order of Shepherds. He was also a Freemason, his Lodge being the “William of Wykeham”. He interested himself in pretty well all the local Athletic Clubs. In his own particular trade he actively associated himself with the Winchester and District Licensed Victuallers’ Association, of which he was one of the Trustees, and in this connection he was well-known outside of Winchester.

Mr. Morgan’s first wife died thirteen years ago, and there is a son of the marriage surviving. Since his wife’s death, his mother has resided with him at the inn.

After the inquest on Wednesday, the city flag was hoisted to half-mast over the Westgate.

At the monthly meeting of the Winchester Town Council on Thursday the Mayor (Councillor Chaloner Shenton), before proceeding with the ordinary business said that as was well-known to them, a sad event had taken place in the city within the last few days, a tragedy had taken place and one of their colleagues, the Ex-Mayor, had passed from amongst them through very sad and distressing circumstances which they must one and all deeply deplore and regret. The Ex-mayor had been a member of the Council for some 12 or 13 years, and last year he filled the high office which he (Councillor C. Shenton) had the honour to fill at the present time, and during the time he had been a member of the Council, until his health gave way, he had done great and valuable service, he did not hesitate to say, for the benefit and welfare of the citizens of Winchester. The way in which he carried out the duties of Mayor were such that at the end of his year of office he received the thanks of his colleagues on the Council. He thought, therefore, they must all regret the great loss which had befallen the city, and it would be fitting on his part to move that a letter of condolence be sent to the family of the Ex-Mayor on the loss that had befallen them. Alderman Stopher (senior Alderman) seconded. The matter was not one he could say a word about except to join the Mayor in regretting the awful circumstances under which the Ex-Mayor had met his death. The motion was at once assented to by the members rising at their places.

At the meeting of the Winchester and District Licensed Victuallers’ Association held at the City Wine Vaults on Thursday, a vote of condolence with the widow and family of the late Mr. Morgan was unanimously passed in silence. Similar votes of sympathy had been forwarded through the Winchester Association from the Southampton and Portsmouth Licensed Victuallers’ Societies.

The funeral took place at Winchester Cemetery yesterday afternoon. The Mayor and Corporation attended by the maces bearers - the maces being draped with crepe – awaited the arrival of the body and family mourners at the entrance to the Cemetery, there being present, in addition to his Worship, Aldermen Stopher, Carter, Jacob, Forder and Cancellor. Councillors Ward, P. Shenton, Harris, Adams, Fear, Godwin, Hutchings, Richards and White. Alderman Dyer regretted that he was unable to attend. The officials of the Corporation present included the Town Clerk (Mr. T. Holt), the Advisory Town Clerk (Mr. Walter Bailey), the Medical Officer of Health (Dr. Sandilands), the Head-constable (Mr. W. Felton), and the City Librarian (Mr. Burchett). Others who joined the procession at the Cemetery entrance were: The Clerk to the City Justices (Mr. Alfred Bowker), Mr. W. Tanner, Mr. C.H. Goodbody and Mr. H. Easther (representing the Winchester Board of Guardians); Messrs. C. Salter (treasurer), C.W. Foote (secretary), Evans, Garner and Knight (Winchester and District Licensed Victuallers’ Association); the Chairman (Mr. E. Brown) was kept away by the illness of his wife; PG W. Wareham, PG A. Grout, NG C. Small, PG F. Grant and Bro. J.J. Simpkins (Oddfellows); Mr. Manley (Lion Brewery); Messrs. D. Henning and Osmond (Tailors Society); Messrs. Dempsey, A. Bath, F. Smithers, W.H. Hanning and others. Around the grave in a wide circle kept by the police, there was a large assemblage, the greater proportion of whom were women. The family mourners comprised Mrs F.S. Morgan (widow), Master Percy Morgan (son), Mrs. Morgan senr. (mother), Mrs. Southern and Mrs. Hayward (sisters), Mr. W. Morgan (uncle), Miss W. Hayward (niece), Mr. F.W. Hayward (nephew) and Mrs Clowser. The burial service was taken by the Rev. H.E. Moberly (Rector of St. Michael’s), assisted by his curate, the Rev. T.F. Griffith. The body was enclosed in a coffin of unpolished elm, with brass mountings, on the breastplate being the words:- Fred Seymour Morgan, died September 4th 1906 aged 48 years. The interment was in the same grave as that in which his first wife was buried. There were several beautiful floral emblems, the cards attached to the same including the following:- “Fred dear, from his sorrowing wife” “His mother, sister and grandchildren” “Cath and George and children” “To dear Percy for your dear father, from all your aunties at Brighton” Mr and Mrs Edward Clowser, Mr. A. Bowker, the Winchester and District Licensed Victuallers’ Society, the Amalgamated Society of Tailors, “A few friends” “From working men, who lament the loss of a real friend” Mr. And Mrs C. Salter, Miss Pamplin, Mr. And Mrs A. Bath, and a handsome wreath which bore no card. (It was afterwards ascertained this had been forwarded by the Mayor and Corporation). As most of the business establishments in the High-street the shops were shaded or blinds drawn, and the city flag remained at half-mast over the Westgate. The funeral arrangements were in the hands of Mr. E.W. Savage of High-street, and were carefully carried out under his personal supervision.

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