The Hannah Chronicles: Obscene Language

Newspapers are ‘da bomb‘ for finding out information about relatives but it’s important to widen searches for different spellings, variations and even other family members. This time, searching just the name Rollett (it helps that it’s not too common), brought up an article I hadn’t seen before:

Nottingham Journal, 20 March 1876, p4 c2

USING OBSCENE LANGUAGE – Hannah Rollett was charged with using obscene language in Walker lane, on Wednesday last, to the annoyance of Sarah Ann Rollett, and fined 40s. and costs, or, in default, one month with hard labour. -Ann Wright was charged with a similar offence in the Market place and Bold lane, to the annoyance of John Rollett, on Wednesday last, and fined 40s. and costs, or, in default, one month with hard labour.

Nottingham Journal, 20 March 1876, p4 c2

Typical of the Hannah I’d come to know and love, and interesting that it involved Alexander’s sister, Sarah Ann, again. But underneath, the next case also involved a Rollett and I was wondering if there was a connection when I noticed the name ‘Ann Wright’. I know that Hannah had a sister, Ann, who married a Wright in 1872. Could this be her? Were they all arguing together – siblings against siblings? And who was this John Rollett?

It was only a couple days later that a different search revealed more information:

Derby Mercury, 22 March 1876, p2 c5

Hannah Rollett was charged in her absence with using obscene language to the special annoyance of Sarah Ann Rollett, her sister-in-law, in Workhouse-yard, Walker-lane. -Fined 40s. and costs, or one month’s imprisonment.

Ann Wright was charged in her absence with using obscene language to the special annoyance of Alexander Rollett, the husband of the last defendant. The affair took place in consequence of the complainant demanding his child, which had been under Wright’s care. -Fined 40s. and costs, or one month’s imprisonment, with hard labour.

Derby Mercury, 22 March 1876, p2 c5

Derby c1899 map showing places mentioned in the articles (Blue line marks Bold Lane)

The extra details indicate that this was indeed a ‘family affair’ so it’s more than likely this Ann Wright was in fact, Hannah’s sister. We know that her first daughter, Sarah Jane, was ‘under Wright’s care’ in 1881 where they appear in the census together. Sarah Jane would have been aged 4 at the time of this article but it could also refer to his son, Richard William who would have been nearly 2 years old. By 1881, ‘William’ was living with his father and his live-in-lover, Selina Banks. [Hannah was 3 months pregnant with John William at the time.]

1881 census – Bonsall – Sarah Jane living with her aunt, Ann
1881 census -Derby (Nun St) – Richard William living with his father, Alexander
1881 census – Derby (Willow Row) – John William living with his mother, Hannah

It seems a bit rich that Alexander and his sister would take his wife and sister-in-law to court based on their language – they were hardly beacons of modesty. The move seemed designed to antagonise but it is hard to say who was in the right here as neither parent seemed like a great role model. A few months later, Alexander was involved in a ‘murderous assault on a policeman‘; the next year, Hannah committed her own ‘murderous attack‘; and a few years later, Hannah and Alexander would again argue over custody of their children which caused newspapers to report on their ‘Shocking Immorality’.

The Hannah Chronicles: Enter William

It wasn’t too long after the ‘shocking immorality‘ of 1881 that Hannah Bates/Rollett established a relationship with the significantly younger, William Henry Lamb.

William’s family had lived in the West End area of Derby for generations and he and Hannah soon set up home in one of the court houses in Willow Row. His parents lived in neighbouring Goodwin Street (where William himself was born at number 29), and like his father, William worked as a bricklayer and chimney sweep.

By 1882, Hannah was already referring to William as her husband, and using his surname when she was charged with drunkenness in Willow Row. (William was only 17 years old at this point and Hannah was 25.)

Derby Daily Telegraph, 08 May 1882, p4 c3

–Hannah Lamb was charged with drunkenness in Willow-row.-Prisoner said she was suffering more from passion than drink. Her husband had turned her out of the house.-She was fined 5s. and costs, or seven days’ imprisonment with hard labour.

Derby Daily Telegraph, 08 May 1882, p4c3

From this we can assume they had been living together as ‘man and wife’ despite not being married and that the relationship was quite tumultuous even in their early days together.

The next year, it was William’s turn to be fined for drunkenness:

Derby Daily Telegraph, 03 November 1883, p3 c4

DRUNKENNESS.-William Lamb was fined 10s. and costs for being drunk and disorderly in Willow-row, on Thursday afternoon.–Police-constable Levers proved the case.

Derby Daily Telegraph, 03 November 1883, p3 c4

A few years later, Hannah was summoned for threatening Mary Toon after a quarrel ‘about a cat’:

Derby Daily Telegraph, 07 May 1885, p3 c3

USING THREATS. -Hannah Lamb, a married woman, was summoned for threatening Mary Toon, on the 2nd inst -The parties live in Willow-row, and quarrelled about a cat -The defendant was bound over to keep the peace for 3 months in the sum of £10.

Derby Daily Telegraph, 07 May 1885, p3 c3

Interestingly, William’s mother was a Toon so this Mary could be one of his relatives.

It was only a few months later that both Hannah and William were involved in some kind of brawl with the neighbours:

Derby Daily Telegraph, 25 August 1885 p3 c6

THE VIOLENT ASSAULT IN WILLOW ROW. – Thomas Limbert, John Tearney, and Henry Hill were charged with violently assaulting William Lamb, in court 3, Willow-row, on the night of the 21st instant. -Mr. Briggs defended Tearney and Hill. -The prosecutor stated that he lived in Court 3, Willow row, and knew the prisoners, who live in the same court. On Friday night, about half-past eleven, he went to Limbert’s house. The door was locked, and he shouted “Is our Nan here?” meaning Hannah Rollet. Limbert replied that she was not. Witness then requested to be allowed to look, and Limbert unlocked the door and went outside, and, using some bad language, he asked what witness wanted there. Without getting an answer he struck witness a number of times, and knocked him down. The other prisoners then went up the yard, and said to Limbert, “Give it the –, Tommy.” They then started kicking him whilst he was on the ground. Witness was taken to the Infirmary where he remained until that morning. He had been on friendly terms with the prisoners. He did not kick at the door when he went to Limbert’s house. -Hannah Rollit gave similar evidence. -The defence was that Lamb and Limbert were fighting, when Lamb fetched a sweep’s scraper out, and would have killed Limbert with it had not Hill prevented him. Tearney, it was said, was never within ten yards of the place where the fight took place. -Mr. Briggs called several witnesses, who corroborated the latter statement. -The Bench, having a doubt as regards Tearney, discharged him, Limbert, who had been convicted 15 times before, was sent to gaol for a month, with hard labour, Hill who had 21 previous confictions against him, was sentenced to a similar term. 

Derby Daily Telegraph, 25 August 1885 p3 c6

The Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal gave a different account a few days later:

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 28 August 1885, p3 c5

ALLEGED VIOLENT ASSAULT IN WILLOW-ROW. -Jas. Limbert, John Teeney, and Henry Hill were charged with violently assaulting William Lamb, in Court 3, Willow-row, on the previous day. -Police-constable Robinson said that on the previous night he was called to a house in Court 3, Willow-row, by a woman named Rollet. On arriving there he saw the prosecutor who was bleeding from the mouth, and he complained of having been assaulted by three men. Witness did not see any wounds or bruises on him, and consequently told him to summon the men, who had attacked him. The woman Rollet subsequently procured a cab, in which the prosecutor was taken to the Infirmary, and from what the doctor who there examined him stated, the prisoners were apprehended and charged with the offence. Limbert said that Lamb went to his door, and made several unpleasant remarks about his wife. The door was fast, and he commenced kicking it. He (Limbert) then opened the door, and Lamb struck at him, whereupon he retaliated and knocked him down in self-defence. Prosecutor regained his feet, and they then had a fair fight, during which the other men came up, and Lamb ran into his own house. He came out again with a sweep’s broom, with which he struck at them, but after a scuffle they took it from him. -Police-constable Shirley also gave evidence as to Lambert’s condition. -Prisoners were remanded until Monday.

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 28 August 1885, p3 c5

To be continued…

Book ’em Once More, Danno

I wrote in a previous post about pinpointing Thomas PALMER’s premises using a newspaper report of his being robbed.  Living by a police station didn’t seem to give the security you’d think it would, as Palmer was robbed again in 1869:

Portsmouth Times and Naval Gazette 27 November 1869, p5 c5

A certain Henry Baker stole two books from him at the value of 4 shillings, as well as a pot of cold cream from a nearby chemist, Charles Mumby.  Funnily enough a little research shows this chemist was actually the founder of Mumby’s Mineral Waters. (Read a little more about him here.)  He also stole a letter stamp from a Mr Loveder but for some reason this wasn’t investigated.

Portsmouth Times and Naval Gazette 11 December 1869, p3 c3

As the ‘well-known character‘ had been convicted of a felony twice before this incident, Henry Baker was sentenced to twelve months hard labour.  Out of curiosity, I found his record of conviction for his crime against Thomas Palmer in the Southampton Assizes records.

Henry Baker’s conviction at the Southampton Assizes 1869

I’m curious as to what Thomas’ ‘private mark’ looked like.  Was his private mark different to his store mark? Did it look anything like this…?

 

Book ’em Again, Danno

In my last post, I was trying to find a more exact address for Thomas Palmer, bookseller of Gosport.  I had narrowed him down to ‘Upper South Street’ but not being a local, still had no idea where exactly upon the street he lived.  The breakthrough came when I found a newspaper article reporting a robbery at his premises:

Portsmouth Times and Naval Gazette 22 November 1862, p8 c3

John Daly, a Royal Artilleryman, was charged with attempting to break into the dwelling house of Thomas Palmer, almost opposite the Police Station, on the previous night. The prisoner was heard at the shutter by a policeman who was going to bed, and he gave information to a brother constable on duty, upon which he went outside the station gate and there saw the prisoner, without a jacket, standing by the window of the house, the shutters being open and partially broken. On seeing the policeman he ran away and was afterwards taken by P.C. Gibbs in a passage in North-street. Mr. Palmer, the occupier of the house, proved fastening up the house about 9 o’clock the previous night. Prisoner was committed for trial.

The old police station in South Street, Gosport – 1949

So now I knew that he lived “…almost opposite the Police Station…”.

Unfortunately, the police station no longer exists on South Street after being destroyed by enemy action in 1941.  I found a photograph of the building in 1949 on the Gosport Heritage site but it gave me no other details.  Luckily however I found a c.1896 map which marked the location of the police station which made the description, ‘almost opposite’ make sense.

Location of Thomas Palmer’s book store in 1862 (map c. 1896)

Interestingly, there is also a photo on the Gosport Heritage site captioned; ‘Portland Place; south side of South Street, running north-south almost opposite to the OLD police station.’  I’m pretty sure Palmer’s old book shop is just out of shot on the far left of this image (behind the first building).

Portland Place, Gosport 1941 via Gosport Heritage

That’s probably as close as I’m going to get but since the buildings on that block are long gone now, I still feel strangely accomplished.

The Hannah Chronicles – Murderous Attack

The County Gaol (Vernon Gate) – Hannah’s second home! (via: Picture the Past)

At midnight on 21 October 1877, three police officers went to a house in Court No. 2, Rivett St and found a woman, Sarah Sharratt, bleeding from about ten wounds on the head and arm.  She had been attacked by our dear Hannah ROLLETT [alias LAMB]. “[The woman] stated that because she interfered when her daughter and the prisoner were quarrelling, the latter attacked her with a drinking glass, which she broke by the violence of her blows” (Nottinghamshire Guardian 26 October 1877, p2 col3).

1877-assault-on-sarah-sharratt-nottinghamshire-guardian-26-october-1877-p2-col3
Nottinghamshire Guardian 26 October 1877, p2 col3

Hannah had been quarrelling with Sharratt’s daughter all day and threatened to throw the mother and daughter out of the house which they all lodged at together. The middle-aged woman “said she could not do so, and as alleged, [Hannah] then ran upstairs, and, after throwing the contents of a slop-pail upon her, struck her repeatedly on the head with a drinking glass, which broke with her violence… [Hannah] was arrested at an adjoining house the same evening.  She was under the influence of drink, and had her hand cut so badly that a doctor had to be sent for” (Sheffield Daily Telegraph 08 November 1877, p7 col6).
“Previous convictions being proved against the prisoner, she was sentenced to six months’ hard labour” (Sheffield Independent 09 November 1877, p2 col2).

1877-sheffield-daily-telegraph-08-november-1877-p7-col6
Sheffield Daily Telegraph 08 November 1877 p7 col6

 

1877-nov-sheffield-independent-09-november-1877-p2-col2
Sheffield Independent 09 November 1877, p2 col2

 

Of course I wanted to know more about these previous convictions but despite the Calendars of Prisoners being available online for the period 1761 to 1888, I have been unable to find Hannah or Alexander’s prison records.  My visit to the record office in Derby proved fruitless too – perhaps the office in Matlock has more as there is no mention of records being destroyed.

Note: the newspaper reports record the street as being River, Rivet and Rivett St.  Rivett St was located off Siddals Road. Since River Street is closest to her other addresses and Alexander is reported as being picked up drunk & disorderly on Rivers St in 1881- I am making the presumption that River Street is where the attack occurred. 

riverst
Derby – OS Map 6 inch 1888 – 1913

Next Steps:

  • Locate prison/quarter session records for Hannah & Alexander