Wednesday, 7 November 2012

UPDATE of the Past News 2nd November 1901

Catch up on the full story of last weeks NEWS...........
*Bigamous Henry Bombroffe -
Henry’s case was transferred to the Leeds Assize Courts and he appeared in front of the Bench on Monday 9th December 1901, just a week before he should have been celebrating his first wedding anniversary to his new wife Emily. 
The Court heard how Emily had been told by Henry that he had buried his wife.  The couple were expecting a baby and so on 17th December 1900 Emily and Henry married.  Two weeks later * their child was born and Henry left her and Emily and the baby had to take refuge in the workhouse for a week as they were destitute.

*this fact may be exaggerated for the courts as we had earlier heard how Emily was 4 months pregnant at the time of the wedding.

Henry repeated his defence that he thought his first wife Ann had died in Mickleover Asylum; he did not produce the letter he stated had been sent to his son denying any knowledge of Ann at the Asylum.

The Judge decided upon a sentence of imprisonment for 6 months with hard labour.

There is a child named Emily Bombroffe whose birth was registered in the June quarter of 1901, which means she would have been born in April, May or June, which would confirm that Emily was 4 months pregnant at the time of the marriage.

On the night of the 1901 census (31st March) the Bombroffe family are living at 23 Bower Road, Hallam, Sheffield -   “Harry”, Emily, William Bombroffe and 3 children from Emily’s first marriage; George, Walter and Vincent Dewick.  Baby Emily is not recorded on the census return.
So at some point between the birth of baby Emily and October of 1901 the news that Henry was still married must have been broken to Emily.  It is not known how she found out, but with four children to look after it must have been an awful shock. 

So what happened after the trial?

Emily picked herself up after her humiliation by Henry Bombroffe and on 13th April 1903 she remarried; a brave step after what she had been through.  Her new husband was Edward Hannah a 51 year old widower.  They married at St Philips Church, Shalesmore, Sheffield.  Emily died a few years later in 1905 at the age of 41 years old.

What became of baby Emily Bombroffe is unknown; I can find no death or census under that name or the names of Dewick or Hannah.  She may have been put up for adoption after the emotional time her poor mother endured.  If anyone knows any more about the fate of Emily then please let me know.

Henry Bombroffe, well he to disappears from the census listings.  He may well have changed his name or been in an establishment which only listed the inmates as initials (H.B).  He died in November 1924 at 11 Charles Street.  He is buried in consecrated ground at City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.  He was 58 years old and a painter by trade.

Lastly we must not forget the woman Henry tried to forget….. His first wife Ann.  In the 1911 census she is still an inmate in Derby County Lunatic Asylum, Mickleover.  Still ironically maintaining her title as “married”, this would be much to Henry’s dismay.  I can only find one death for an Ann Bombroffe and that is in 1939 aged 78 years at Hayfield in the Peak District – if this is the correct Ann then she definitely was not dead and buried on that cold day of 17th December 1900, when her husband and son had conveniently erased her from their lives.

~ ~ ~ ~ x ~ ~ ~ ~
*Susanna and George Sykes –
George was accused of “thrashing” his wife and spending his wages on sandwiches and ice cream.
What became of the couple?
Before the trial and accusations they were living at 9 Hallowes Lane, Dronfield.  George was employed as a miner and they have three daughters; Ethel 6 years, Elsie 4 years and Rebecca 1 year old.  The couple had married in 1892.
The couple are still together in 1911 but they now live with Susannah’s parents Herbert and Elizabeth Hibbert at 28 Scarsdale Road, Dronfield.  George is still a coal miner hewer and their family has now grown with the addition of James 9 years, Arthur 6 years, Annie 4 and Beatrice 9 months.  In fact George and Susannah have born 9 children but sadly 2 have passed away. 
~ ~ ~ ~ x ~ ~ ~ ~


  1. Whilst carrying out a quick Google search this morning I happened upon your Blog post about the bigamous marriage of Harry Bombroffe. A couple of years ago I carried out a great deal of research into the life of Harry Bombroffe. I first discovered his bigamy when I located his first wife Ann Wilson (whom I believed to be deceased by 1900) listed on the 1911 census as an inmate of Derby County Asylum at Mickleover. I subsequently located the record of Ann's admission (from memory this was 1897), and subsequent case notes, at the Derbyshire Record Office. The documents even contain a photograph of Ann, taken on admission. Sadly Ann remained institutionalised for the rest of her life, most of which was spent at the Derby County Asylum. Shortly before her death in 1939 she was transferred (along with a number of patients) to a hospital close to Hayfield.

    More recently I have located a number of reports of Harry's marital problems, and subsequent bigamy, via the British Library Newspaper Archive. Following the annulment of his marriage to Emily Dewick (nee Waddingham) he fathered two daughters with a lady named Elizabeth Ann Collins. The daughters took Harry's surname, though he never married Elizabeth and soon left her in the lurch.

    I have 'chapter and verse' on all of this if it will be of interest to you.

    Simon Johnson

  2. Thank you Simon for filling us in on the full story. It was a very sad tale for the poor ladies who came along Henry's way. In fairness to Henry I wonder if he was only trying to ensure that he had someone to clean and cook for him.

    I would be most interested to hear the full story if its not too much of trouble, I find all the people and their lives very interesting - so much I never have time to do much of my own family tree anymore. Was Henry or any of the ladies related to you?


  3. Thank you for taking the time to read the blog! :-)

  4. Hi Louise. I found the Blog very interesting. I am planning on taking my first real foray into blogging early in the New Year to help publicise an area of academic research I am currently working on. Google's Blogger seems to fit my basic needs. I used to be registered as a Record Agent at the Derbyshire Record Office and carried out fee-paid research, but unfortunately no longer have the time to devote to it (and have moved away from the area). I found that researching other peoples' families was just as interesting and rewarding as researching my own.

    The Bombroffe story is very interesting. Had you carried out research into Harry Bombroffe on behalf of somebody else? Yes, I am related (distantly) to Bombroffe's first wife, Ann Wilson, who originated from Ashover, near Chesterfield. My 2nd great grandmother was Ann's sister. What I found particularly sad when I read Ann's many years worth of case notes was that there was no reference to family, or to family visits. This made me wonder at the time if the family were even aware that she had been committed to the Derby County Asylum. However, one of the local news reports of the bigamy case states that Ann's brother gave evidence at the trial, so the family obviously did know of her fate. So sad to think that she spent approximately 40 years(!) as an inmate of the Asylum.

    I'll look through my notes over the next week or so and will provide a more thorough post to the Blog. It is interesting to note that Harry Bombroffe's widowed mother later married a man named Simpson. On Bombroffe's death certificate, his name is given as 'Harry Simpson Bombroffe', so perhaps he sometimes used the surname Simpson instead of Bombroffe. Harry's son William later used the name 'William Bombroffe Simpson' (this is what appears on his death certificate, circa 1943). Some of William's sons went one step further and officially removed the Bombroffe surname by Deed Poll (this is reported in the London Gazette).


  5. Can't wait to hear the full story and I am sure all of the readers will also like an update to. It all sounds very intriguing!

    I simply found Harry's story as I do a blog each week on a date in the old newspapers and he happened to come to light. I do the NEWS at the weekend then do some simple research to see what else I can actually find out about the people and the incidents. Up to now I have been lucky in that almost each week I have found some great stories of the everday people of Chesterfield.

    I do this blog as a hobby really, the paid research is obviously in much more depth and researched via the appropriate avenues. I do love to think that everybody had a story, no matter how poor and mundane their lives may have been. It is also nice to learn more about the area and my local history through the people of the past, not just history books about the famous and well known inhabitants.

    You may already have noticed that I also blog my own family research (which I am very behind on!! - New Years resolution is to spend more time on my own ancestors!) and I am researching the fallen WW1 soldiers of the New Whittington area for the centenary which I have started to write up in another blog.

    Look forward to your information and do let me know when you set up your own blog.