Taunton Courier 23 Dec 1903 Death of Councillor William Tom WEBB of Royal Mail Hotel Station Road

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Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser Wednesday 23 Dec 1903

Page 4 Column 6


The news of the somewhat unexpected death on Saturday night of Mr. William Tom WEBB, proprietor of the Royal Mail Hotel, Station-road, Taunton, has been received with much regret in the town. It was known by his many friends that Mr. WEBB was seriously ill, but as he had only taken to his bed the previous Tuesday, and as his medical adviser, Dr. MACDONALD, had a few months ago brought him safely through a then serious illness, it was hoped that by the repeated medical skill and unremitting attention of his doctor, that he would again recover. But this, unfortunately, was not to be, for, in spite of the most skilful attendance and nursing, Councillor WEBB, as he was publicly known, passed away with painful suddenness, as already mentioned, on Saturday night at 20 minutes to nine o'clock. His death has come as a great shock to all his friends, as he was but 29 years of age, the cause of death being an internal complication.

Although a young man Mr. WEBB had crowded a great deal of public and semi-public life into a short life. He was the younger son of Mr. T. WEBB, who for many years was the highly-respected proprietor of the Phoenix Hotel, Taunton, and it was here, in June, 1874, that Mr. WEBB was born, Mr. and Mrs. WEBB then already having a son, Mr. Geo. WEBB, now of Weymouth. Mr. WEBB was for some years at the Huish School, and although there was no athletic organisation in connection with the school he soon came into prominence among his school fellows as a cricketer and footballer. Mr. WEBB from Huish's proceeded to King's College, then under the headmastership of the Rev. G. O. L. THOMSON, and here he secured his “footer” cap. When the Taunton Club was started in 1888 he was one of the first members, and regularly got his place in the third fifteen, previous to which he had been one of the first members of the Taunton Swifts when they played at Belmont on a ground lent by the late Mr. John MARSHALL. Being a very useful forward and cleverer with his feet than the average one he soon won his way into the seconds, and from there into the premier fifteen, his first important season being in 1892-93, under the captaincy of Mr. Bert MORRIS. That season he had the distinction of playing 26 out of the 29 matches played, that being the most played by one member. In 1893-94, which was a disastrous season for the Club, Mr. WEBB assisted in 17 matches out of the 29 played, and in 1894-95 he was captain of the Club and was seen in every game, the number being 29. Mr. Charlie COLES succeeded him, and Mr. WEBB gave up active participation in the game to become the hon. treasurer, a post which he held for several seasons. He did good work as a referee, and had a far from superficial knowledge of rules of the game, and it was always with him a proud thought that once he held the whistle in a game between Wellington and Taunton, a compliment not conceded to many men. Just previous to this he held the secretaryship of the Taunton Cricket Club, and was a regular performer with the seconds, being a very good bat, and a useful performer “behind the sticks.”

In 1891 Mr. WEBB joined the reporting staff of the Somerset County Gazette, and in the course of his professional engagements he made many friends. In 1896 he relinquished the duties there to take over those of scorer to the Somerset County Cricket Club, a position in which he succeeded the late Mr. Tom H. KNIGHT, and which he held for four seasons. On April 26th, 1898, he married Miss Florence FOURACRE, younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Aaron FOURACRE, of Elmcroft, Staplegrove-road, and succeeded to the old-established wine and spirit business carried on for so many years by them. In the next year he obtained a seat for the North Ward on the Taunton Town Council, beating Mr. Albert CASLEY, and in 1902 he was returned unopposed. He was a member of the Executive of the Conservative party in Taunton, and as recently as the Saturday before his death he was present at the meeting at which it was decided to ask Mr. Edward BOYLE, K.C., to contest the borough in the Conservative interest at the next General Election, while on the Thursday previous to that he was on the platform at Colonel WELBY's meeting. On the Tuesday in the same week he was at the monthly meeting of the Town Council, when many noticed how ill he was looking. He was on the Borough Education Committee, having formerly been on the old School Attendance Committee, and as one of the managers of the Temple School. For some seasons he represented the Taunton Football Club on the Somerset Rugby Union, and became honorary treasurer of the Union, a post which, owing to ill-health, he relinquished about three months ago. He was also secretary of the Taunton Bands Committee, and served on the Committee of one of the carnivals in aid of the Hospital and Nursing Associations. Mr. WEBB's father and mother died some years ago, and he leaves a widow and a brother to mourn his loss. There are no children, their only child, a boy, having died in infancy. Mr. WEBB was very highly esteemed for many good qualities, and his death is keenly regretted by a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.

The funeral is fixed for to-day (Wednesday) at St. Mary's Cemetery, the cortege leaving the house at two o'clock.


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