Patient Case Study: Lester, David

In-patient, 1849


Hospital Dorset County Hospital Patient type In-patient
Number 1483 Date admitted 10 Aug 1849
Name Lester, David Renewed
Age 20 Under whose care Mr. Curme
Occupation Blacksmith Disease Injury to toe
Parish Fordington Discharged 10 Aug 1849
Recommended by Admitted as accident Outcome Cured
Note It appears he was a patient for less than a day
Source Dorset History Centre, Dorset County Hospital in-patient admissions register 1847-59, NG/HH/DO(C)/5/2/1



  1. From 1849 Lester was in Dorchester county gaol five times: in 1849 and 1853 (for vagrancy); 1853-54 (for stealing iron and lead); and 1861 and 1864 (for drunkenness). In 1861 the prison records provide a description: age–35, height–5ft, hair–dark brown, complexion–ruddy, distinguishing marks–“Nearly blind, cut upper front of forehead, cut left side forehead. Nose inclines to the left. Cut back 1st finger left hand. Cut inside left thumb. Cut under 1st finger right hand”. [Dorset History Centre, Dorchester prison records, prison register 1847-50, NG-PR/1/D/2/5, entry 589 dated 04/06/1849; prison register 1850-56, NG-PR/1/D/2/6, entry 120 dated 05/01/1853, entry 120 dated 25/11/1853, entry 26 dated 25/11/1853 and entry 52 dated 03/01/1854; description of prisoners book 1858-63, NG-PR/1/D/3/1, entry dated 27/08/1861; prison register 1863-68, NG-PR/1/D/2/8, entry 96 dated 26/08/1864; description of prisoners book 1863-68, NG-PR/1/D/3/2, entry also dated 26/08/1864]
  1. 1861 census – David Lester, ag lab, nearly blind, aged 32, unmarried, born Fordington, an inmate in Dorchester workhouse. [The National Archives, RG9/1354, folio 76, p. 33]
  1. “SUDDEN DEATH.–An inquiry was held on Thursday last at the Union Arms, Fordington, before H. Lock, Esq., deputy-coroner, touching the death of David Lester, a hawker, and more familiarly known in this neighbourhood as “Blind David.”–P.S. Cousins, who was on duty about one o’clock that morning, deposed to seeing the deceased at the bottom of the town, going in the direction of the Blandford road, and about four o’clock he again saw the poor fellow lying in the road near Mr. Harris’s seedsman, at Fordington. With the assistance of P.C. Mitchell he lifted deceased from the ground, and upon asking him the reason of his being out at that early hour Lester could only reply that he was very cold, and that he wanted to get to the Oak Inn, where he could sit by the kitchen fire. Immediately after uttering these words he staggered forward and fell, and on being raised a second time “his face had turned purple” and he had lost all use of his limbs. Witness left deceased in charge of the constable, and went to call Dr. Aldridge. On their return in about a quarter of an hour life was found to be extinct.–P.C. Mitchell proved meeting the deceased during the night, when he said he wanted to go to the Old Ship Inn. He corroborated the evidence given by last witness.–Dr. Aldridge stated that about four o’clock in the morning he was called by P.S. Cousins to see the deceased, and on examination found him to be quite dead. From an examination of the body at the Union Arms he was of opinion that death was caused by epileptic or tetanic convulsions.–The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the evidence adduced.” [Dorset County Chronicle, 12/07/1866, p. 3]