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Maria Louisa Roulson (aka Old Ma Lechmere)

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  • Maria Louisa Roulson (aka Old Ma Lechmere)

    Notices from The Hereford Journal

    13th May, 1846:

    (Marriages)

    May 7, at Wormbridge, by the Rev. D. D. George, Mr. J. A. Lechmere, St. Peter's-street, Hereford, to Maria Louisa, youngest daughter of Mr. Thos. Roulson, Whitfield Lodge, in this county.


    29th December, 1847:

    (Deaths)

    Dec. 19, at the Lodge, at Whitfield, in this County, Thos. Roulson, aged 57, the faithful servant of E. B. Clive Esq., and his family for above 35 years.


    26th April, 1848:

    (Deaths)

    April 20, at her residence, East-street, in this city, aged 61, Charlotte, the widow of the late Thomas Roulson, of Whitfield Lodge, in this county, whom she survived by only four months.



    E. B. Clive, a local Herefordshire big-wig and a distant relation of Clive of India, left Thomas Roulson 200 (a tidy sum at the time) in his will in 1845. Roulson in turn left his estate first to his wife and then to his daughters.

  • #2
    Chris Scott identified a 15-year-old Maria Roulson living in Northants in 1841 (post 12 of the thread below).

    She may have been the future Ma Lechmere, but if she was, she was not the daughter of George Roulson, the plumber who was head of the Northants household. 'Our' Maria's father was given as Thomas, a butler, on all of her marriage certs.

    The Maria Roulson on the 1841 census was described as a female servant who was not born in Northants, so perhaps she had been farmed out by family of some kind.

    Interestingly, there was another female servant in George Roulson's household, a 20-year-old named Harriet Buswell. Obviously too old to have been the Great Coram Street victim. Probably just an amusing coincidence.

    http://www.jtrforums.com/showthread....son#post136620

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    • #3
      Although he had been a servant, Thomas Roulson described himself as a 'yeoman' in his will. And Maria married a member, albeit impoverished, of a grand Herefordshire family. What a come-down it must have been to find herself selling cat's meat in the Ratcliff Highway.

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      • #4
        I know I've posted this before, but it comes to mind whenever I ponder the relationship between CAL and his 'resourceful' Ma.

        It's from the film Kind Hearts and Coronets:


        Did poor Mama's silly dreaming plant in my brain some seed which was afterwards to grow into the most sensational criminal endeavour of the century?

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        • #5
          I shot an arrow in the air
          She fell to earth in Mitre Square


          Who knows, if he was really hung up on his ancestry then he might have been perfectly happy to call himself Lechmere on BMD stuff, but the prospect of such an unusual name appearing in the national Press may have alarmed him - newspapers sometimes go off at a tangent and he might not have wanted his branch to be spotlighted as the 'poor relations.'

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
            I shot an arrow in the air
            She fell to earth in Mitre Square


            Who knows, if he was really hung up on his ancestry then he might have been perfectly happy to call himself Lechmere on BMD stuff, but the prospect of such an unusual name appearing in the national Press may have alarmed him - newspapers sometimes go off at a tangent and he might not have wanted his branch to be spotlighted as the 'poor relations.'
            I can't imagine her not being hung up on it in to some degree.

            From what I understand, after her first husband had deserted her, Maria bigamously married a man some years her junior and returned to London. He was a policeman and also hailed from Herefordshire. A pretty risky thing to do I'd have thought.

            And look where she settled with her new-found love:

            Click image for larger version

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            From The Bedfordshire Mercury August 10th, 1861


            Frederick Street was the next street to the Cross residence in Thomas (Pinchin) Street. And a few streets north were the equally notorious Brunswick, Everard and Henry Streets.

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            • #7
              Skeletons he wouldn't have wanted pried into.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                Skeletons he wouldn't have wanted pried into.
                Indeed. You might almost imagine she would want to distance herself from the Lechmere name. But if so, why did she have her children baptised using that name shortly after marrying Thomas Cross?

                On the one hand she had something to hide, on the other she may have been, like Mr Micawber, in hourly expectation of something extraordinary turning up. And that something would most likely have been addressed to 'Lechmere'.

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                • #9
                  In his will, Edward Bolton Clive left 100 to his steward, Thomas Brown, and 200 to his butler, Thomas Roulson. The remainder of his servants of over two year's service received a legacy to the equivalent of one year's salary apiece - noblesse oblige indeed!

                  Thomas Roulson served the Clive family for 35 years. Of course, we don't know exactly what went on above or below stairs in the Clive household, but on the face of it Maria's upbringing was about as far as you can imagine from her subsequent life in the East End.

                  What did the Herefordshire butler's daughter make of her rough English/Irish Cockney neighbours in Tiger Bay? What advice would she have given to her adolescent son about the bad streets, bad houses, bad men and, above all, the bad women he passed on a daily basis?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                    Skeletons he wouldn't have wanted pried into.
                    Sorry, Rob, I missed the gender in your sentence. He would presumably have been less paranoid about his Ma's bigamy (assuming he was even aware of it) but possibly more hopeful of an incoming postal order?

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                    • #11
                      Difficult to say, Gary. He may have cared not a jot about his ancestry. But since Ed and Fish have used it as some kind of point against him, then it's worth pointing out that if he was that sensitive about it, then his name appearing in the national press would have been the only time he ran the risk of public embarrassment. So maybe the 'Cross' name was deemed safer.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                        Difficult to say, Gary. He may have cared not a jot about his ancestry. But since Ed and Fish have used it as some kind of point against him, then it's worth pointing out that if he was that sensitive about it, then his name appearing in the national press would have been the only time he ran the risk of public embarrassment. So maybe the 'Cross' name was deemed safer.

                        Whether he cared a jot or not about his ancestry is a moot point, but he must surely have been aware of his parents' background.

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                        • #13
                          Nice research, Gary....thank you.

                          Interesting posts, Bob. Thanks.
                          To Join JTR Forums :
                          Contact Howard@jtrforums.com

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
                            Nice research, Gary....thank you.

                            Interesting posts, Bob. Thanks.
                            Thanks, How.

                            I have a soft spot for the old darling (Ma L, not Rob L)

                            Gary

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                            • #15
                              If it is the correct Thomas Cross from Hereford, he wasn't too far from Maria Roulson. I've always wondered if Maria knew Thomas Cross back then, perhaps this even being the reason for Pa Lechmere clearing off.

                              Who knows CAL could have been a Cross all along. It would certainly explain some things.
                              Thanks for your time,
                              dusty miller

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