MELANCHOLY AND FATAL ACCIDENT
An accident of a melancholy and fatal description occurred on Friday morning last, to Mr. Aquilla Barber, an estimable young gentleman, about nineteen years old, son of the Rev. Aquilla Barber, Wesleyan Minister at Carmarthen, and grandson of Mr Aquilla Barber, silversmith, of Wine-Street Bristol. The unfortunate deceased (says the Bristol Mercury) who was a classical and mathematical assistant at the school of Mr. Exley, Cotham, went, accompanied by two pupils, to bathe in Rennison's bath, and while in the water is supposed to have been seized with cramp, as he lost all power of swimming, and was drowned. One the pupils named Grimes, used every effort to save him, and was himself nearly lost in the attempt. The deceased was much respected, and his death sincerely mourned by a numerous circle of friends. An inquest was held on the body the same afternoon, before J. B. Grindon, Esq., coroner, at the Old England tavern. It appeared from the evidence, that after he had been in the water a short time the deceased called out, "I am coming," and walked towards the chain, repeating the words every step or two. In a few moments he began jumping with his hands above his head, and cried "help." A pupil, named Grimes, swam to him, and deceased grasped him tightly, and they sunk together, then Grimes got away from him. Help was called, and a woman came first, bringing a pole with an iron at the end, with which nothing was done. She then got a longer pole and put it down in the water. Mr. Rennison came and assisted, and after some time the body was got out dead. Mr. Rennison, owner of the bath, being called upon by the jury, said during the bathing season he always kept a competent person to render assistance in case of accident, but the season had not yet commenced. He had cautioned deceased and the young gentlemen with him not to go beyond the pillar where Mr Barber was drowned, was twenty feet beyond. Deceased complained that morning that the water was not deep enough, and he (Mr. Rennison) had gone away to direct the water to be stopped from running through the flood-hatches, when the girl came to him and said the gentleman was drowned. Witness had been at the baths, backwards and forwards, for nearly sixty years, and never knew of an accident before. The jury returned a "Verdict of Accidental Death."
Source: The Welshman - 29th May 1846