Jane’s brother-in-law to be tried for theft

Jane’s brother-in-law to be tried for theft

As I write this it is exactly 137 years ago to the day that my family would have got the full measure of John George Herrod’s duplicity: From The Sheffield Independent, 30th August 1879:

   Yesterday, at the Southport Petty Sessions, John George Herrod, alias Arthur Walton, was again brought before the Bench upon the charge of stealing gold watches and chains from the Shakespeare Hotel, Southport, the property of the proprietress, Mrs. Kersaw, her daughter, and her niece. The prisoner, who is a young man, has for some time resided in Southport, and ostensibly occupied a good position, so much so that not the slightest notice was taken of his movements. On the 21st of December last he spent a great portion of the day at the Shakespeare Hotel, and after he had left the watches, chains, and a necklet were missing. Information was given to the police, and it was discovered that, although he was a married man, and the father of three children, all of whom, with their mother, were residing at Sheffield, to which place the prisoner also belongs, he had for two years been courting a young lady in Southport, to whom he handed one of the missing watches. This young lady had money in the Preston Bank, and from her he succeeded in obtaining £44. He told her to put the watch and chain out of the way, and forbade her ever wearing them. He always led her to suppose that he had a lot of money, and told her that he intended marrying her. The case had been adjourned several times in consequence of her not being able to attend, she having given birth to a child, of which the prisoner was the father. Another watch and chain he left, in about the last week in February, with a Mr. Bevan, proprietor of the Grapes Hotel, Vernon street, out of Dale street, Liverpool, who lent him £2 on them, the prisoner stating that he must have that amount, as he at the time was hard up. Mr. Bevan brought the watch and chain to Southport, when it was identified, in consequence of having seen a report of the alleged robbery in the newspapers. The prisoner also told the young lady that he had lost a lot of money with betting, and that he bought the articles when he had plenty of money. The defence was that the prisoner had bought the watches from some betting men in Liverpool, and that he had no knowledge whatever of the robbery until he was charged with it. —After a short consultation, he was committed to take his trial at the sessions.”

John George Herrod, estranged husband of Jane’s sister Emma, is revealed in this newspaper report to be not only a thief but as someone who habitually sees women as a means to an end. After leaving Emma and his three children with absolutely nothing but the clothes they stood up in, he spends the next couple of years thieving, gambling and ruining the life of another young woman. I am quite surprised as to the amount of outrage I feel – I’m not one for casting people as villans but John George Herrod is certainly auditioning hard for the role.

So in this way, having no idea where he had gone, Emma and the rest of the family find out that they now have a felon in the ranks, and that he committed adultery and fathered a child. As the distressing details were discovered I wonder if the family, and Emma in particular, found some consolation in realising that Herrod was now revealed to everyone as untrustworthy – to an alarming degree. Perhaps Emma would now be seen with more sympathy?

James Warburton, Jane and Emma’s father, was the local constable in Handsworth as well as the publican and maltster of the Cross Keys. He would have had some connections and now that he knew the whereabouts of Herrod, he and his son William (elder bother to Emma and Jane) started making enquiries into how Emma could be rid of Herrod. Glimpses into James’s character from Jane’s later letters show James Warburton to be someone who utterly adored his children and that he clearly regretted what had happened to Emma deeply. It was after Herrod came to light in this and the previous newspaper report that I believe James tried to come up with a plan to rescue his eldest daughter.

Robbery trial Shef Ind 30 08 1879


Such a perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you…

Such a perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you…

It was during reading the following exchange that I realised that my great great grandparent’s love story was getting under my skin. Jane writes to Fred while he is still on his works holiday in Bridlington:

Sunday Afternoon
August 17/79
My Dearest Fred,

   I wish I was at Bridlington the time goes so slowly here. I think we have had 28 days in this week. There is a trip to B– from Attercliffe on Wednesday for the day. I think I shall come. It is quite possible I may have the pleasure of seeing you there. The train leaves Attercliffe at 6:30, fancy! – getting up that unreasonable hour.

   It is Woodhouse Feast tomorrow. I’m going to Miss Worthey’s to dinner. There is a grand cricket match and gala in the evening. It will be rather slow but we can go to the feast if we don’t like the match and have a ride in the roundabouts or we can have some hot pots. I’m afraid the flavour of them won’t be as good as those we had at Attercliffe feast.

   Mr Parr and Miss Bray have gone to the parish church (Sheffield) tonight. They wanted me to go with them but I declined — to be the third person it is awkward. But I am going by myself presently to take this letter as I want you to get it tomorrow so that you can write per return and tell me whether you would like me to come or no to B–. But perhaps you have made other appointments for that day. This letter is rather short, but I will give you a little more agony in the next.

   My dearest Fred I love you still more than ever. Good night x
   Your darling Janie”

Monday Morning
8:50 A.M.

My Darling Janie,

   I can only say a few words in reply to yours as we are about to set off for Scarborough at 9:10 and have not had breakfast yet.
   You cannot give me greater pleasure than by coming here – I have not made other appointments.    Will John come with you or shall you come alone? It must be a dreadful bore to you.
   My darling
   I shall look forward anxiously for your coming and will meet the train I’m in a hurry but still remain your faithful lover

Thank goodness Fred kept a diary for this period or I would never have known what happened next:

Monday August 18. Went to Scarboro’ spent the day there. Missed the train at night, so walked to Filey 8 miles and slept there. + on.

Tuesday, August 19. Came back to Bridlington from Filey.

Wednesday, August 20. Janie came to Bridlington to see me. I think she must love me a good deal to give herself so much trouble, however I spent a most enjoyable day with her. Bought her a locket.

I noticed while I was reading old newspapers for this time that the newspapers came in a kind of ‘wrapper’ that was covered in adverts for sales and excursions etc so it must have been in one of these that Jane found the information for the special train to Bridlington. And poor old Fred missing the last train and having to walk to Filey before coming back to Bridlington. Although given how much he was enjoying Bridlington it may have provided a diversion. I wonder if it was just him that missed the train or did his friends miss it too? A few too many shandies?

I also notice that Jane says the time is going slowly so it may be that the family are still unaware of the scandal heading their way. Or if her parents know, they are keeping it from Jane for the moment. She’s writing like someone unaware. Jane is also writing as someone trying to cope with separation anxiety – for a 19 year old slightly sheltered woman, deciding to leap on a train and make the 90-ish mile journey from Attercliffe to Bridlington isn’t ‘just popping over to see you’. She’s got to get her mother to agree in the first place and then persuade her brother John to go with her. We don’t know if John did go – but given that she’s not allowed to walk the 2 miles back up the hill from Darnall on her own I’m finding it hard to imagine she went on her own. I think I need to find out a bit more about what was and wasn’t seemly. There’s lots of information about middle and upper class women but Jane’s in an odd category that wavers between lower middle class and working class. I should imagine it was important to appear respectable.

When I went scrabbling around to see if Fred had recorded the meeting in his diary – I almost cheered when I found it. I felt the angst and delight of Fred reading  “I think she must love me a good deal to give herself so much trouble” as if up until now he couldn’t quite believe that she really did love him. I’m so glad they had such a lovely day. I think it must have been instrumental in cementing their relationship into a serious one.

Image source: Bridlington, the harbor, from south pier, Yorkshire, England-LCCN2002708305.jpg Created: between 1890 and 1900


Still on holiday, Fred turns fashion commentator just for Jane.

Still on holiday, Fred turns fashion commentator just for Jane.

“Bridlington Quay
August 14/79

My Darling Janie,

   I think I left off in my last with our arrival at Bridlington. After tea we went where everybody else goes that is, to the Sea–wall Parade. I can’t describe the agony that I suffered in walking on that parade. Everybody walks so slow, without bending their backs, or knocking their arms about. It was dreadful!

   I was considerably startled when I had walked round several times – to find that two out of every three had a kind of overskirt something like a great pinafore they look like so many full-grown babies. I hope I shall not have the doubtful pleasure of seeing you in one or I shall certainly protest against it. I then turned my attention to the coal-scuttles which are very useful articles in doors but rather out of place outside. There are several shapes or they are worn differently, I don’t know which. It is rather amusing to see some of the wearers of these kitchen utensils, they seem to have an idea that by some unaccountable means they look so modest in them and so aid that impression by folding their hands one over the other and looking down as though they were ashamed of themselves. Another fashion in hats is the Zulu which is worn both by males and females. The males that wear them are the lower five, the females the upper ten. There is great scope for originality in the shape of them. (When you buy them there is no shape at all) some of them have turned them up in front, others at the back, others at the right side, others at the left, others again have them obliquely or cornerwise; everyone follows her own suit well; but in every case that turned up part is covered with cardinal and cardinal bow at the back. Just fancy yourself in a hat as big as Amy Johnson’s Gainsborough but composed of the coarsest straw (quite brown) and a cardinal bow as to trimming. Would it suit? Kelsey proposed that all four of us should speculate in one each to astonish the natives, but I objected on the ground that it was scarcely my style.

   Our fourth chum is a young fellow from Zion chapel Attercliffe, with a little more than the usual dissenters quantity of gas which he very beneficently illuminates us with, and for which we are truly grateful.

   – I don’t know whether these minute details bore you, if so, I hope you will not forget to tell me so, in your next. However I will give them about your own sex which must be more interesting than anything else, besides you suggested that I should take note of the fashions for you, so here goes.

   I have noticed that the Cardinal is muchly used. I had no idea that red would contrast well with this many colours. No matter what colour the dress is, that is sure to be some red about it. Dark blue and red seems to look best, when mixing judiciously, and the prevailing mixture is blue dress as foundation with a very broad kind of sash across the front of the skirt read, also red belt, and broad bands round the rest of the same colour, and some few with red colours of the fishwife (I think you call it) pattern.

   The next favourite is a skirt of red with a dress of any other colour cut the thus: Fred's skirt drawings
   This is very effective and looks remarkably well. The nicest kind of dress tho’ (in my idea) are the white ones which look so cool it does one rather good to see them, it refreshes one almost as much as a bottle of ginger ale, which by the way is 6d for a small bottle, rather a profitable investment! The lady is here have an absurd fashion of carrying a small walking sticks. Rather manly is it not? If you care to carry one I’ve bought one which has not a silver top to it, as some of them have.

   Now for myself if that would interest you. On Monday night we did nothing but promenade. Everyone promenades here, so I am compelled to follow suit though I cannot say that I enjoyed it. In fact I thought it was dreadfully slow.

   Tuesday, first thing I had a swim, then after breakfast we went out in a boat about 4 miles in fact we considered due to our honour to go farther than anybody else. The weather was grand, very hot, very clear. Not a cloud disturbed the calm serenity of the Italian sky. (Don’t you call that a bit of poetic writing).

   After dinner we went to Flamboro’, partly on the cliffs and partly through the woods. This is a beautiful walk but it lacked one thing and that was yourself. I should have enjoyed it more had I been with you, or rather you with me.

   We intended doing the Lighthouse but unfortunately for the Lighthouse we fell a-dry and turned into the Ship-In for tea. There was a bagatelle board here which occupied our attention until it was too late for the Lighthouse so we shall have to do that another day. When coming back we turned in at the Skating Rink where I had to go through the painful operation of learning afresh. I saw Dick Brook here.

   Wednesday. The sea was very rough so we were compelled to stay in the harbour with our boat. I have got three blisters on each hand which cause me much inconvenience. I have also been much put about over my shirt buttons which will persist in coming off, no doubt owing to the amount of uncounted strain put on them. In the afternoon it rained so we spent it in the George Inn, a thing I didn’t care for, but which was much mitigated by the daughter (who comes from Sheffield) playing me several of my favourite pieces on the piano. Are you jealous?

   In the evening it poured down with rain, so we got a stock of Sherry, lemonade, cigars, cards etc and invited Kelsey and the other and had a very enjoyable evening in our sitting room which is a very nice one.

   Thursday. I had a swim before breakfast towards the coast of Flanders but turned back before getting there. After breakfast I did nothing but read the paper on the parade. In the afternoon we had another row almost out of sight of land. In the evening we did nothing about smoke cigarettes on the parade.

  We have got most comfortable lodgings. The sitting room – well furnished – all to ourselves. They board us here and I have not the least idea what the figure will be. Something high considering the quantity of beef, mutton, puddings, pies etc consumed. On Tuesday I carved a leg of mutton for the first time. In fact I am in constant practice in the carving department, and shall soon be an expert.

   I think we are all remarkably good here, if you take the proverb about “a little leaven leavening the whole lump” for there is sufficient leaven in the shape of parsons to leaven three times the number. It is rather slow here. No theatre, no dancing, no anything. I should be perfectly happy if you were here, Janie my darling for I miss you very much and will do more I am afraid on Sunday. However you must write me a long letter then about yourself and anything else you think will interest me, in doing so you will be favouring your
   True Lover + your
   Dearest Fred.

PS I have numbered the pages to prevent misunderstanding. F.

Jane replied on August 17th.

Picture source: Blankenerge Beach, Belgium. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Belgium-blankenberge-beach-1900.jpg?uselang=en-gb

Scandal threatens the Warburtons

Scandal threatens the Warburtons

To understand the following newpaper report you need to remember that John George Herrod is the missing husband of Jane’s sister Emma – who I introduced in a previous post: https://mydarlingjanie.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/the-sad-story-of-emma-warburton-part-one/

From the Sheffield Daily Telegraph 14th August 1879:


   Yesterday, at the Southport Petty Sessions, a well-dressed young man named John George Herrod, alias Arthur Walton, was brought up in custody on the charge of stealing from the Shakespeare Hotel, Southport, in December last, three gold watches, three gold chains, one gold necklet attached to a gold locket, the property of the proprietress and her daughter, Mrs. and Miss Kershaw. To the chains were attached several gold pendants. The prisoner for sometime past has been residing in the town, and his general quiet and gentlemanly demeanour had given him access to rooms in several of the hotels which the public were not allowed to enter. During the hearing of the case it transpired that the prisoner belonged to Sheffield, that he was a joiner, and a married man with a family, the latter residing in Sheffield with their mother. He had been courting a young woman in Southport, and one of the watches he gave to her as a present, and thus the theft was brought home to him. This young woman having just given birth to a child the case could not be proceeded with, and the prisoner had nothing to say against a remand. He had circulated in the town the rumour that he had a income of about £6 a week. It is thought that other charges of hotel robberies in Southport will be brought against him.”

I don’t know if the Warburtons took the Sheffield Telegraph. But someone in Handsworth will have done, and no doubt arrived on their doorstep with a heavy heart and bad tidings. The family must have been in uproar that day.

Poor Emma.

Shef daily tel 14 08


The earliest surviving letter of Jane’s

The earliest surviving letter of Jane’s

Aug 13/79

My dearest Fred

   I am happy to hear of your safe arrival at Bridlington and sorry you were so unfortunate as to go by the wrong route, it would be a slight disappointment for you not to seeing York. I went up to my brother’s after I left you love to cheer my drooping spirits. I had a bad headache so I went to sleep in the afternoon. After tea sister Polly and I went down in the town to have a shop window gaze. I bought a new hat. I hope you will like it it is not any bigger than a large sized coal scuttle.

   Yesterday brother Jack, Pem and I went to Clay Cross Flower Show it is considered the best show roundabout here. They had a very good brass band there, unfortunately they did not torment me with “Silver threads” or I’m sure I should have gone bald in a few minutes. If they torment you again love I should advise you to get some of Mrs Allen’s hair restorer and rub it on your hair nightly. We arrived home at 11. Admire the picture of myself fighting to get in the train [above] the plants were splendid and also the fruit

I should have enjoyed it so much better if you had been there too. I can’t write any more tonight it is past time.

   Only that I love you as much as ever and of course that is of no consequence I hope to remain your darling forever
 PS I am rather bothered about the stops and grammar   ”

1879 08 13 JW to FS 1 of 2

This is the earliest letter of Jane’s that has survived.
“Sister Polly” is Jane’s sister-in-law Mary, married to Jane’s eldest brother William.
“Jack” is her brother John and “Pem” is Jane’s older sister Emma. This family seems to have had the habit of not actually calling anyone by their given name and using nicknames most of the time. It’s wonderful to finally hear Jane’s voice for the first time in Fred + Jane’s story. We get a first glimpse of her fabulous sense of humour here too.

Mrs. Allen’s Hair Restorer – was a proprietary brand of hair ointment which contained the dubious concotion of “sulphur, acetate of lead, glycerin, and flavored water”.

Fred replies 14th August 1879.

Fred goes to Bridlington (and seems to channel Jerome K Jerome)

Fred goes to Bridlington (and seems to channel Jerome K Jerome)

For this next couple of weeks I am ‘handing over’ this blog to Fred and Jane and the events of the last two weeks of August 1879. I’ve also included Fred’s not-a-playlist at the bottom of the post:

“Bridlington August 12th/79
C/o Mr Severs. 7 King Street

My Darling Janie,

   We arrived, or arove here at 5:50 yesterday. We were rather unfortunate, as we wanted to go via York. There are only two routes and we got the wrong one. Tommy got the wrong tickets! Moral, never let anyone get your ticket for you in future my dear. We were alright until we got to Doncaster, and then just as we were going to get in the York train the porter stopped us and we had to wait an hour for the train to Hull. We tried to “square” the guard to let us go, but neither “love nor money” would avail. I didn’t try the love but I did try the money, he says “we can’na dew it.”

   Confound it! There’s a band just this minute playing “Silver threads” under the window, I wish they take them somewhere else. Where was I? And Doncaster one hour! 60 minutes!! 360 [sic] seconds!!! Prodigious!!! The band is playing “Where art thou beam of light?” I should suggest to them that it is in the next street or anywhere out of ours. It’s impossible to properly appreciate good music(!) and write at the same time. They’re playing another very pathetic melody just now with a tremendous bass too – I’m not quite sure that I’ve spelt tremendous w/right. Will you please kindly be good enough to look in the dictionary for me. I almost made a mess of right too. How can a fellow spell correctly with a band playing! There now they’re gone. What a relief!

   At Doncaster we were in a position to thoroughly appreciate your thoughtfulness for which thoughtfulness – or rather strawberries – I shall amply rewarded you when I get back.

   Those fisherman got out at Conisbro’ currently the carriage did not smell so strongly of bread and cheese as it did at first.

   From Doncaster to Hull is most miserable ride, the country being dreadfully flat. There is one redeeming feature and that is a station called “Brough”, the next or next but one to Hull. Confound it! There’s the band again! I should like to stop the hole they blow down with a potato. They’re going into Sankey’s “Look ever to Jesus” I earnestly wish they would – in another street.

   Was talking about Brough, it is the prettiest station I have ever seen, the station house is completely covered with ivy and inside the station is one mass of evergreens, geraniums, fuchsias etc it looks really beautiful. The band is playing a little more of “Silver threads” I shall be completely bald before I get back. There now they’re playing “sweet spirit hear my prayer” they ought to play “Grandfather’s Clock” and then expire.

   When we got to Hull we had 35 minutes to wait. Another luxury! And we had to sit “hands on knees” from Hull to Bridlington the train was so crowded. The fine weather is fetching them out I almost learned how to knit stockings by watching a lady knit them, they were bronze green how is that for being the fashion now? The band is playing “Vital Spark” of which there won’t be a particle left in me soon. I have got the orthodox eight pages full so must give over I shall have to teach you phonography [shorthand] then I shall be able to get more in I’ve hardly started. I remain your devoted lover. Fred.

   I had to give an over in the last sheet but it seems so abrupt that I was compelled to give you a little more agony. I can’t write much more because Kelsey and another young fellow from Attercliffe are waiting outside. I was going to give you a graphic sketch of the promenade etc but must leave that until the next letter. I also intended saying something that I should have said before now, had I been with you, and that is, how dearly I love you. Darling there’s nobody here fit to look at you, in my estimation although it would be much easier to put it in shorthand thus for example “Janie my darling, I love you dearly” would go in half the space.

   I really haven’t time to write any more Tommy’s impatient. Believe me I wish you were here it would be a great deal better. I hope you will write back as early as possible and oblige.

   Your devoted but disconsolate lover

Jane replied the following day.

Fred’s ‘Not a playlist’:
Silver Threads Amoung The Gold: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rlp5AE-8aw0
(I can see why it annoyed Fred)
Yeild Not To Temptation (Look ever to Jesus) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGrlO8ntOQk
Sweet Spirit Hear My Prayer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hepc1t0u4Bw
Grandfather’s Clock https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7YcFFzbmLc
Vital Spark of Heavenly Fame https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ER99rHbeaYU

Picture source: Bridlington, the parade (i.e., promenade) c. 1895. Print no. “10368”.; Title from the Detroit Publishing Co., Catalogue J-foreign section, Detroit, Mich. : Detroit Publishing Company, 1905.; Forms part of: Views of England in the Photochrom print collection.