Frederick Copeman was one of the first students of the Durham University. University College accommodated all students in Durham Castle. Mister Copeman lived in one of the rooms at the top of the Black Staircase. He frantically scanned the examination results printed in attainment order and, upon failing to find his name, assumed he had failed to attain a pass. In despair, he returned to his room, pacing up and down, until, he ran to the cathedral, up the tower, to the roof before throwing himself to his death.
However, calm scanning of the results would have revealed the top of the sheet obscured by the one above, meaning Frederick had attained the highest mark!
The wife of William Van Mildert, Jane Douglas, fell to her death on the Black Staircase in 1837, a year after her husband and five years after donating Durham Castle (and the Black Staircase) to found the University of Durham with this being the year in which the handover took place.
Durham Castle and Cathedral – United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland