Tribute paid to Thomas Wheeler on 92nd anniversary of his death

By Ross Gazette reporter   |   Reporter   |
Friday 4th March 2016 8:30 am
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Family members visiting Goodrich Castle to see the plaque erected in honour of their ancestor, Thomas Wheeler on February 27th, to commemorate the 92nd anniversary of his death. ()

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Family descendants of Thomas Wheeler, who died in Goodrich Castle in 1924, gathered at the castle on Saturday, February 27th, 2016 to commemorate the 92nd anniversary of his death.

Thomas Wheeler was born in 1872 and saw active service in the First World War, being shot in the face in Northern France and medically discharged in 1916.

On February 27th, 1924, he was working on the restoration of the well at Goodrich Castle when the scaffolding collapsed, causing him to fall a total of 126 feet to his death. He left a pregnant wife and 11 young children.

Recently, family members organised a fundraising effort to erect a plaque in his honour and the 92nd anniversary was the first opportunity for all of them to get together to see it in place.

In addition to funding the installation of the plaque, the family also made a generous donation to English Heritage.

Family member, Mary Gyseman (nee Wheeler) has dedicated an enormous amount of time to tracing the Wheeler family history and has managed to go as far back as 1742. When researching Thomas Wheeler, she was able for find an account of his death in the Ross Gazette, dated Thursday, February 28th, 1924:

Shocking Fatality at Goodrich Castle

A distressing fatality occurred at Goodrich Castle on Wednesday morning.

The facts, as reported to us, are as follows: Two workmen, a young fellow named Jones and an older married man Thomas Wheeler, of Brampton Street, Ross-on-Wye, were engaged in removing the scaffolding from the walls of the old Norman well which was recently discovered in the courtyard of the ancient castle. During the operations part of the scaffolding on which the men were working collapsed, and the men were precipitated down the well. Other scaffolding below broke their fall and the men’s fall was checked before they reached the bottom of the well, which is of considerable depth. Immediate steps were taken to raise the unfortunate fellows to the surface and a doctor was sent for.

Dr Shepherd, of Ross, was soon in attendance, and Jones, very badly injured, was conveyed to the Ross Cottage Hospital, where he lies in a precarious condition. Wheeler had sustained injuries of so serious a character that his case was hopeless from the first, and he dies soon after being raised. He leaves a wife and eleven children.

The excavations and restorations at Goodrich Castle are being carried out by H.M. Office of Works, under the superintendence of Mr C.R. Peers, Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments. The old Norman well was brought to light about a year ago. Filled up to the brim with stone and rubble at the time of the destruction of the castle, the existence of the well was unknown until the present work was put in hand, and its discovery was considered a matter of great interest. The well has been excavated to a depth of 168 feet. A further report says the men fell a distance of 126 feet.

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