Sunday, 23 January 2011

Edward Grover butcher...not really Jack the Ripper !!

Edward Grover in 1881 was simply a butcher journeyman, living with his wife and children in Fletching, Sussex, but terrible times were to come.
in 1888, it would appear his elderly mother was renting her home from Lord Sheffield, who had property in Fletching and she was about to be evicted. Frances, a widow would have been 73.  In 1881 she had still been farming 9 acres of pasture land in Fletching and at that time she was living in Splains Green Cottage.  At the same time in London, the horrors of Jack the Ripper, the serial killer, frightened everyone in Whitechapel and the news must have travelled to Fletching.
Could Edward stand the situation no longer?  Did he assume the dreaded title “Jack the Ripper”?
In November 1888 it was reported that The Earl of Sheffield was receiving anonymous letters, including a threat of murder by Jack the Ripper. The name was no doubt a hoax but the letter was taken as offensive referring to tenants being turned out of their homes. A reward of £250 was offered for information on the perpetrator.

England, October 27th, 1888. Dear Lord Sheffield. I am sorry, but feeling it is my duty to let you know, as I do not think you do, or would you have the heart to turn out an old tenant like poor Mrs Grover out of her home after such a hard struggle to maintain and bring up her family. Not only that, but allowing anyone to get an honest living there in the butchering line or that have done for a number of years. But it seems to me as though you and your faithful steward want it all, and if you had my wish you would get more than you wanted. Remember, this is a warning to you, but at the same time I should be much obliged to you if you can arrange it for your steward to sleep under the same roof as yourself on Monday night, October 29th, or else I shall have to bring an assistant. My knife is nice and sharp. Oh for a gentleman this time instead of lady. I am sorry for troubling you, but don’t forget the 29th. I remain Yours truly, Jack the Ripper. SAE 6.11.1888’
It would seem Edward was discovered!
The Star, 27 Nov. 1888, contained the following:
Lord Sheffield Satisfied Now.
Edward Grover was remanded at Uckfield yesterday on a charge of inciting several persons to attempt to murder Lord Sheffield. The prisoner was formerly a butcher at Fletching, living with his mother. Lord Sheffield recently gave the mother notice to quit. Grover was arrested on Thursday night at East Grinstead, but, obtaining leave to go upstairs for a coat, let himself out of a bedroom window by means of a blanket, and escaped barefooted across country to Fletching, where he was re-arrested on Sunday. The prisoner is suspected of having written the threatening letters by which Lord Sheffield has been of late so much annoyed.”

On Sunday 2 December 1888 Lloyd's weekly mentioned that on the previous Monday Edward Grover was remanded at the Uckfield Petty Sessions.  Later in the week, the Bristol Mercury and Daily Post of Thursday 6 December 1888, reported that on the previous Tuesday (4 December), Edward Grover, labourer was committed for trial on the charge of inciting persons to murder the Earl of Sheffield.
On 17 December 1888 Edward was acquitted and discharged at the Autumn Assizes, Lewes, Sussex.   I am pleased to report by 1891/1901 Edward was living with his family in Pulborough, and still working as a butcher/slaughterer.  He died in 1906.
Lord Sheffield died in 1909 and was buried in the family vault in Fletching Church.

Friday, 14 January 2011

The story of two Gloucestershire villages...Eastleach Martin and Eastleach Turville

In Gloucestershire, there are twin villages - Eastleach Martin and Eastleach Turville - flowing between them is the River Leach, but they are joined by a stone clapper bridge, which leads from one parish church to another.  They are just yards apart, facing each other across the river.

St Andrew's Church Eastleach Turville
 St Andrew's is mostly Norman, with a tower roof known as a "Saddleback", an octagonal font and Norman carving by the south door.

St Michael and St Martin's,  Eastleach Martin
 St Michael and St Martin's nave and south door are 12th Century but the base of the font is 15th Century.  Sadly it is no longer in use, but is preserved by the Churches Conservation Trust.
The Keble Bridge

The clapper bridge was named after the Victorian
curate, at Eastleach Martin John Keble, after
which Keble College, Oxford is named.


Inside St Andrews, a story unfolds:

This reads:

Mr Thomas Howes by will dated the second day of June, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty (1760), gave the sum of twenty five pounds (invested in One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty Seven (1827)in the Provident Bank for savings at Cirencester) the interest thereof to be laid out in bread and distributed on Easter Sunday in every year in the church porch to TWENTY POOR PERSONS of this PARISH such as the Churchwardens and Overseers, shall in their discretion think fit.
Ben Boyes
and                           {  Churchwardens
Tho. Newport

Thomas Newport was my Great Great Grandfather.  He was born in Eastleach Turville in 1771 and was married  at St Andrew's on 3 November 1791, to Sarah Curtis.  They had many children including the youngest George born in 1831, four years after this plaque, born when Thomas was 60!!  Thomas died in 1850.  George went on to seek his fortune in London.

More to follow ...

Saturday, 1 January 2011

From Work House to Metropolitan Police...the story of Page Mayes Janeway

Page Mayes Janeway was born in 1875, in Royston, Hertfordshire, the son of George Janeway born in 1841 and Mary Ann.  In 1871 George was a fossil digger - labourer.  Sadly in 1880 he died, at just 41, leaving Mary Ann to raise their family.  Clearly they fell on hard times as according to the 1881 census, Mary Ann was living with her sister and brother in law, the Mannings, at Wicker Hall, Therfield, where he was a gardener and Mary Ann, was a jobbing gardener.  Her children: George 11, Walter 9, Page 6 and the baby Eliza Ann just 1 year old, were in the Royston Union Workhouse.

Bassingbourn/Royston Poor Law Union built the Workhouse in 1836, following much protest from the local community.  The picture here shows the Workhouse some years ago when it was being demolished.
Thankfully by 1891 Mary Ann had married Frederick Chalkley and Page had a step father.  The children were reunited with their mother and they all lived in Royston.  Frederick was a stone dresser and Page was an agricultural labourer.

By 1901 however Page's life had changed dramatically.  He was living as a boarder at 450 Commercial Road, Stepney, with a family called Court, Mr Court was a police officer, as was Page and three other PCs boarding there, all in their 20s.

1901 was an important year for Page, now 27,  as on 8 December  he married a 30 year old widow, Emily Russell, who had been living at Trafalgar Road, East Greenwich.  He was then living at at 522 Commercial Road, so still a near neighbour of the Courts. They were married at St James Church, Ratcliffe, Stepney.   Emily's father was Joseph Webb an Ostler and was a witness at the marriage, George, deceased was listed as a fitter.

Years passed and Page, now 37, and Emily moved to 86 Station Road, Epsom.  In 1911, Page was still with the Metropolitan Police.  He had his 13 year old step daughter Helen living with them, and they had two children Leonard 4 and Olive just 3 months old.  It is sad to note that Emily had had 6 children, only three were still living.

It was in 1919 that disaster struck!  Page was serving at the Epsom Police Station.  Following the war there were a number of overseas servicemen awaiting repatriation.  Included were 400 Canadian troops, living in Epsom.  In June police were called to a disturbance at the Rifleman Pub in East Street.

Two Canadian soldiers were arrested and conveyed to the Police Station.  Servicemen followed clamouring for their release.  Policemen went out and dispersed them, however later hundreds of men marched on the station.  Bricks, stones and wood "rained on the police line and the mob surged on the police station".  During the riot Sergeant Green charged into the crowd and was hit on the head, he died the following day.  Page was also injured!

Policemen guarding the Police Station after the riot

This shows the Police Officers at Epsom Police Station - including Sergeant Green and PC Page Janeway

Later the Police Officers who defended the station were presented with gold medallions, onto which was inscribed
 "As a token of public appreciation of the gallant fight by the Epsom Police 17 June 1919"

This is not quite the end of Page's story though!  He died just over seven months later on 2 February 1920.  The Metropolitan Police, Book of Remembrance states:

"PC Page Mayes Janeway died of cancer aggravated when injured in the Epsom Police Station Riot in 1919"

"We are not Manslaughterers - The Epsom Riot and the Murder of Station Sergeant Thomas Green" by Martin Knight
ISBN - 13:9781907183140       Publisher Tontobooks
The book mentions Page Mayes Janeway, and lists cancer in the glands of the neck and cardiac failure as the cause of death.  It also describes how Page had received a commendation in 1904 and tells how he was buried next to Thomas Green in the Epsom Cemetery.