Edward Burchatt Wingfield (1845-1885)

From Historical Hastings

Born in December of 1845, Edward began his career as a brick-maker, living with his family at 5 East Ascent[1] until he married Sarah Hughes in 1881[2]. Around this time, Census returns described him as being a Contractor[3].

He later became an entrepreneur who ran a furniture removal business, building and several other companies, purchasing Tower Buildings on Lower South Road to use the building as a furniture repository.

In 1877, he added a tower to the warehouse, intending to provide four clock faces to serve the locality, but this did not happen due to him over-extending his finances when undertaking a large construction project c1883 at West St. Leonards to provide a hotel for that part of town.


The financial difficulties mentioned above contributed to his suicide in February 1885. It was rumoured that he had jumped off the Bohemia Tower, whereas in reality, he was at the Marina Park building where on 25th February 1885 at around 8 am, at the age of 39, he cut his throat in the presence of his wife and a servant, then leaving that room and moving to a bedroom, he climbed on a nightstand to attempt to jump out of the window. His wife managed to stop him, but he rushed into the bathroom and, locking the door behind him, jumped from a first-floor window to the ground around 35 feet below. Wingfield was still alive but had broken his left femur, knee, tibia and fibula. Edward was moved to the office in an attempt to make him more comfortable, however succumbed to his injuries three-quarters of an hour later, passing away at 9:15. His doctor testified to the inquest that Wingfield had been suffering from depression and 'congestion of the brain' for some time before his suicide. The jury returned the only verdict possible - that of "Death from suicide whilst in a state of insanity"[4][5]. He left his wife and three-year-old daughter (Marguerite Sarah Wingfield (1882-1944). His estate was valued at £4719 5s. 8d.[6].

References & Notes

  1. UK Census 1871
  2. England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index: 1837-1915
  3. UK Census 1881
  4. British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 28 February 1885 Pg. 0007
  5. British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Times 28 February 1885 Pg. 0005
  6. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1885