Real stories I came across in researching Hodburn Wood
1820 (May 26).—Died, in All Saints’ poor-house, Newcastle,
Thomas Matfin, aged 77 years. When a boy, and in St. John’s
charity school, he was supposed to have died. His school-fellows,
according to the then custom, attended to sing at his funeral. On
entering the church porch their voices reverberated so shrilly as to
arouse him from his lethargy, and he turned on his side to listen.
The underbearers, who were just setting the coffin upon the bier,
felt the motion, and in a fright informed the clergyman, who ordered
the lid to be unscrewed. On perceiving that life had returned,
he was immediately taken home to his aunt’s house in Low Friarstreet,
where he was wrapped in a blanket, and having drank a little
of some invigorating cordial, was put to bed, and soon recovered.
He afterwards became a keelman, and being, in his old age, turned
out of the keelmen’s hospital for irregular conduct, he became an
inmate of All Saints’ poor-house, where he died, as above stated,
and was interred at All Saints’ church by the Eev. Robert Green,
on the 28th of May, 1880.