Bly from Beccles

This death was not one of the deaths referred to by the newspapers in 1856 as one of the “Rugeley Tragedies”, but later that same year a story appeared in the Norfolk Chronicle, which was repeated in The Illustrated Life and Career of William Palmer of Rugeley, published by Ward Lock in 1856. The story bears more than a little resemblance to the story of Leonard Bladen.

Mr. Bly was supposed to be a friend of William Palmer who lived at a place called Beccles in Norfolk. The pair would often go to the races together where Bly was a regular winner just as Palmer was a regular loser. It was claimed that Palmer owed Bly £800 when he suddenly became dangerously ill and was treated by Palmer.

When his wife heard that he was ill she hurried to be with him and found Palmer treating him. Palmer tried to stop his wife seeing him but she insisted and whilst she was sitting by his death bed she claimed Bly suddenly said that he believed that he was dying and regretted his misspent life. Mrs. Bly further claimed that her husband also stated that Palmer owed him £800. When after the Bly died Mrs. Bly mentioned the money, Palmer replied that it showed just how bad a state her husband had been in. Palmer said the truth of the matter was that, in fact, Bly owed him £800 but that he would not have mentioned the matter if she had not brought up the subject.

Was it a real or fictitious story? Now we shall never know!