- Published: 12 August 2016 12 August 2016
Eccentric woman's death at Colchester - Essex Standard, 28 January 1899:
The circumstances attending the death of Eleanor Neale, a spinster, aged 72, residing in Lucas Road, Colchester, have given rise to a good deal of local gossip. Deceased had lived in the town for several years, and was believed to be extremely poor, having gained her living as a charwoman.
After her death money was found hidden in various parts of the cottage to the extent of 130 pounds. One purse was filled with battered and perforated bronze coins, another with crowns, half-crowns, and florins, and a third with shillings and sovereigns. A snuffbox contained 30 pounds.
Under her bed was a store of hundreds of pieces of soap, candles, packets of tea, sugar, butter, blackbread, onions, carrots, jam, firewood, and coke.
In a room downstairs a chest of solid silver plate was found concealed, each article stamped with the deceased's initials, and it transpires that she belonged to a well-to-do family in Oxfordshire, and owned house property at Hanbury.
Although she dressed shabbily, six boxes of good clothing were found in the house. Not long ago deceased obtained out relief from the Guardians of the Colchester Union, and when at home she lived mostly on scraps of bread and lard, and scarcely ever indulged in the luxury of a fire.
Frequently a young widow who lodged in the house had shown compassion for her landlady's apparently suffering and impecunious condition, and given her a few pence or purchased little necessities for her out of her own slender earnings.
When attacked with her death illness (broncho-pneumonouis) she would not have anything in the house, and actually urged her lodger to go to the Relieving Officer for out-medical relief.
As, however, she got weaker, Dr Whitby was summoned and he attended her from the Sunday to the Wednesday morning, when she expired.
The body has since been interred in the family vault at Banbury, Oxon., Mr Went of Mersen Road, being the undertaker.
NOTE: Based on the above, this is most likely the same Eleanor Neale baptised 6 May 1827 at Steeple Barton, Oxford, England, the daughter of James Neale and his wife Hannah. Details from https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N5YJ-DHD