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Death By Lion

The Northampton Mercury of 22nd April 1826 has a short article on a most unfortunate death which had befallen a Potton man. The article appears below.

"On Thursday the 13th instant an Inquisition was taken at Potton ... on view of the body of William Circuit, aged 45 years, who came to his death in a singular manner. It appeared that on the preceding Monday se'nnight [week] a show of wild beasts was exhibiting at Potton, and the deceased, although in a state of intoxication, went into the show for the purpose of seeing them. Being, however, under the influence of liquor, he was not sufficiently cautious, but imprudently approached to that part of the caravan in which a lioness was confined, and supported himself by leaning against the side of her den. The savage animal immediately struck at his arm with her paw, and inflicted a very serious wound, which was described as being about three inches in length, and an inch in depth; so as to render the bone visible. The wound, however, was not considered to be of a dangerous description; and the deceased was not confined to his bed till the last day or two, when symptoms of mortification appeared, and the deceased died in rather a sudden manner, during the time that a person was in the act of dressing the wound. - Verdict accordingly".