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Maria Louisa Roulson (aka Old Ma Lechmere)

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  • Last bit for a while - Blue School Lane.

    It would be interesting to find out who Maria’s landlord was in Blue School Lane. Did she secure her lodgings there through the Clives, or perhaps Mrs Maclean, the stay and straw bonnet lady?

    As noted before, her neighbour in Blue School Lane (either next door or within the same house) was a policeman named John Ball. A couple of years previously Ball had been passed over for a promotion for which he was clearly qualified in favour of the gamekeeper of a mate of the Rev. Archer Clive’s. Clive, in his role of local JP, was in a position to decide who got the job. This is interesting because he could presumably have assisted Thomas Cross in obtaining a job in the local constabulary. The most obvious plan of action would have been for Maria and Thomas to remain in Hereford, marry there, and make use of their local connections.

    But they didn’t, whether together or separately they relocated to the East End, and as a consequence Charles Allen Lechmere was brought up in one of London’s most notorious districts - Tiger Bay.

    Of course, we’ll never know the reasoning behind their decision, but a combination of TC’s age and the fact that they must have considered it likely that JAL was still alive might well be the answer. How well would such a union have gone down in Hereford? Would the Rev AC have approved? Or Maria’s respectable sisters?

    And this tangled web may well have been behind CAL’s unwillingness to reveal his unique proper name in 2 situations where it might be reported in the press and picked up in Herefordshire and/or wherever JAL was lurking. It may also have lead to him having a strong bias against the unfortunates that ‘infested’ the streets where he grew up.

    Comment




    • Just found this. George S(cudamore) Lechmere was JAL’s first cousin and he seems to have served as a PC in Hereford between the mid-1850s and his death in 1863.

      Might he have known the whereabouts of his cousin after he had abandoned Maria and her kids?
      Attached Files

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      • Incidentally, there is a press report of an interaction between a PC Cross and a ‘Mr’ Lechmere in Hereford in the 1850s.

        When I’ve worked out it’s potential implications, I’ll share it on here.

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        • Don't take all day about working out those potential implications Gary...

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          • Click image for larger version  Name:	DE3BF995-9253-410C-B4C3-1950C1044870.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	574.2 KB ID:	583995
            Originally posted by Edward Stow View Post
            Don't take all day about working out those potential implications Gary...
            OK, OK!!

            The Incident in Pipe Lane: A Double Coincidence?

            In December, 1856, a man named Edward Whitcomb appeared before the Hereford justices charged with assaulting a PC Cross in Pipe Lane, Hereford. The prosecution claimed that Whitcomb had passed Constable Cross in the lane and had upbraided him for neglecting his duty by being in conversation with a female through an open window. Cross initially ignored Whitcomb and carried on along his beat, but a moment later he heard him kicking a stable door and returned to ask him to desist. On being confronted, Whitcomb squared up to the constable and struck him on the forehead, knocking him to the ground and rendering him unconscious. Cross’s injuries were quite severe, there was a star-shaped wound on his head that was 3/4 of an inch deep and went down to the bone, suggesting he had been struck with an implement of some kind. When he was arrested, Whitcomb was found to be in possession of two castration implements, but he was insistent that he had only used his fist on Cross and then only after the PC had struck his wife.

            Although the press report* doesn’t make it explicit that she was the female with whom Cross was alleged to have been in conversation, a woman named Eliza Botham gave evidence and corroborated the prosecution’s version of events, except for one intriguing detail. According to Emily, she had merely opened her window to let in some fresh air and had overheard PC Cross in conversation with a ‘Mr Lechmere’ who lived nearby.

            Whitcomb was found guilty of assault and received a fine of 10s.

            Could PC Cross have been Thomas Cross, the young man who went on to become Charles Lechmere’s ‘stepfather’? Could the Mr Lechmere referred to by Eliza Botham have been Charles Lechmere’s father, John Allen Lechmere, the disgraced anatomical boot maker of Hereford?

            Having lead everyone up the garden path, I think the answer to both of the questions above is ‘probably not’. No christian name is given for this PC Cross, but there are several press reports of a Hereford PC named Cross going back to at least 1853. I believe Thomas Cross was born in 1836, so he was perhaps too young to have been patrolling Hereford as early as 1853. That said, I recall Ed Stow saying that when he died Thomas Cross required an extra large coffin. Perhaps a strapping 17/18-year-old country lad was considered man enough to shoulder the responsibilities of a provincial PC in the 1850s.

            As for ‘Mr Lechmere’, there is evidence that John Allen Lechmere was already in Northampton by 1855, when the first child of his second family was born.

            Pipe Lane’s alternative name of Gwynn Street was coined in recognition of the fact that it is alleged to have been the birthplace of Nell Gwynn, the courtesan paramour of Charles II. The photo above shows Pipe Lane’s picturesque but somewhat ramshackle appearance in the late 19th century. I think it’s unlikely that the Mr Lechmere mentioned by Eliza Botham was one of the wealthy Lechmeres of Fownhope. So who was he?


            *Hereford Times, 20th December, 1856

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            • This was the wife of the man who (it seems) was holding Ma Lechmere’s purse strings at the time she decamped to London to marry the boy Tom Cross.

              https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caroline_Clive

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              • Even if Maria hadn’t seen JAL or heard anything to suggest he might still be alive in the 7 years prior to her marrying Thomas Cross, the possibility - the likelihood - that he was still alive must have occurred to her. And if there were members of his family, one of whom was a policeman, resident in Hereford at the time, an escape to the anonymity of London would have made perfect sense.

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                • There may be other reports in undigitised local papers.
                  I've been to the Hereford archives twice. A third visit may be required.

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                  • Originally posted by Edward Stow View Post
                    There may be other reports in undigitised local papers.
                    I've been to the Hereford archives twice. A third visit may be required.
                    Who knows what juicy tidbits they might contain.

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                    • By the way Gary... can you provide a link to your inveterate enemy, Lord O's, piece on Victoria's who supposedly habitually used their step father's name while always registering officially under their true, real, proper, legal name.
                      The obvious draw back of such 'research' is that necessarily it finds people who declared both their assumed name and their true name...

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Edward Stow View Post
                        By the way Gary... can you provide a link to your inveterate enemy, Lord O's, piece on Victoria's who supposedly habitually used their step father's name while always registering officially under their true, real, proper, legal name.
                        The obvious draw back of such 'research' is that necessarily it finds people who declared both their assumed name and their true name...
                        Enemy? I like to think of our relationship as one of mutual respect and admiration.

                        Anyway, here’s what I think you are looking for.

                        https://forum.casebook.org/forum/rip...e-issue-part-2

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                        • Yes that topic totally misses the point.

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                          • The name Whitcomb seems to ring a bell.

                            As you are of course aware Gary, by researching these aspects of the Lechmere case with an open mind as to where it might lead condemns you in some eyes.
                            But the obtuse thing is that seemingly intelligent contributors get totally blindsided and illogical when anything which might remotely contribute towards a guilty assessment of Lechmere is discussed...

                            His mother's bigamy and an assessment of whether she reasonably knew that her husband was alive, or at least had no reasonable grounds to believe he was dead.

                            His withholding of the name Lechmere from the police and court. When both Kattrup and your sparring partner O (or more accurately in this context B) researched multiple cases where both names would be given where two were in use, and they amazingly drew the opposite conclusion to what their own research blatantly illustrated.

                            The nature of the carman's trade in London, particularly that carried out by Pickfords, where there may or may not have been a van boy accompanying the delivery, and where drivers not infrequently absented themselves from their vans, and went to coffee shops and so forth, or even told their van boys, where they had one, to go off on errands. When their own research shows this they obtusely maintain that every driver had to rigidly stick to his van under the prying eye of the van boy... so providing a strict alibi.

                            And of course there are more examples.

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                            • And I don't think there will be any useful info with the records of the Carmen's Union. Maybe for his son.

                              https://mrc-catalogue.warwick.ac.uk/records/NVW

                              There is also the Worshipful Company of Carmen, where I have a contact which might be of assistance.

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                              • No, he had probably stopped paying subs by then.

                                I’ve made an enquiry about this, though:

                                https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/searc...b-be0674316110

                                I’ve no idea where branch 46 was located.

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