|Marriage Certificate John Hiram Bancroft & Rhoda Blakey|
Our story starts with John Hiram Bancroft who was the son of Joseph, a night watchman in a foundry, and Sarah [nee Briggs], and was one of their 9 children. He was born in Bramley near Leeds on 11th December 1856
His disappearance may, or may not, have something to do with an incident reported in the Leeds Times newspaper on 22nd July 1893, at a time when John Hiram was employed as the porter at Bramley Workhouse, near Leeds, with his wife Rhoda helping him to supervise. An inmate of the workhouse, called Thomas Walker, died through loss of blood from an ulcerated leg, after climbing back over the workhouse wall to get in, after having made an unreported and unsupervised visit to a local public house to fetch beer back. John Hiram was the porter left in charge at the time, because the workhouse manager and other staff had gone out for the afternoon to a nearby park. At the inquest into this death he was questioned about the incident, after having found the inmate bleeding badly in a mistal within the workshop grounds. He said he took the inmate to the workhouse hospital and started to undress him, but within 10 minutes the inmate was dead. When questioned as to why he had not tried to stop the bleeding he stated " It's nothing to do with me...I know nothing of these things" and when the coroner told him he ought to have done something for the sake of humanity, his reply was " It's nothing in my line". The coroner in his summing up said " there was a total lack of prudence on the part of the porter, [John Hiram Bancroft], who's duties were certainly not to drag the man from the mistal to the hospital, and so accelerate death...he should have obtained medical treatment on the spot!...he seems to have regarded the matter very indifferently indeed!" The jury at the inquest reinforced this statement by expressing their opinion that the management of the workhouse " was not what it should be"