Lightning Strike May 1899 – Deaths of Thomas & George Cooke, Tattenhall Hall

Whilst researching Dr Harold Whichello (click on ‘Dr Whichello’ to be directed to this section of the Website), it came to light that our village doctor was called to the scene of a quite horrific incident involving two of the sons of John Cooke of Tattenhall Hall.

According to the 1891 Census, Tattenhall Hall was occupied by ‘John Cooke’, a Farmer, Miller and Milk Dealer and his 7 children – Thomas, John, George, Percy, Robert, Elizabeth and Gertrude. John was a widower, his wife Mary having died in 1889.

By the end of that decade, however, two of his sons (Thomas Richard Cooke aged 26 and George Randle Cooke aged 22) were to be struck by lightning during a ‘terrific thunderstorm, accompanied by vivid flashes of lightning and a downfall of phenomenally large hailstones’. They had been riding home in an open trap from Beeston. The local newspaper report is shown below (click on the text to read the full article). 

The brothers are also remembered within St Alban’s Church itself, where a ‘Bier’ (used for the conveyance of coffins during funeral ceremonies) is on display, having been presented to Tattenhall Parish Council by the ‘sorrowing relatives’. A brass plaque to this effect is attached to the Bier and is seen below:


Dr Harold Whichello subsequently wrote an article on the lightning strike which appeared in the Medical Journal, ‘The Lancet’. The article was published on 3 June 1899.

The next generation of the Cooke Family to live at Tattenhall Hall is shown below:

These youngsters would have been the nieces and nephews of Thomas and George Cooke – they were, in fact, the children of Percy Cooke, a brother of the boys killed in the ‘lightning strike’

Particular thanks to Dr Jeremy Shears who has been invaluable in the production of both this Webpage and that relating to Dr Harold Whichello.


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