Catch up on the full story of last weeks NEWS.............
*The chequered life of Mary Hibbert -
Mary was in last week’s NEWS because she caused a disturbance and was drunk and disorderly on Low Pavement. It was highlighted that poor Mary was in fact a “nymph of the pave”; a prostitute.
Being on the wrong side of the law was not a new occurrence for Mary; she had been arrested previously in September of 1859 when she was again causing a disturbance. Mary was only 14 years of age at this time and was drunk on Packers Row. She was with another girl named Millyson Slater who was also labelled a “nymph of the pave”. Inspector Galley had been on his rounds of the town at about 11pm that night, when he found the two girls behaving most disorderly. He asked them to move on but they were having none of it and refused. At the Chesterfield Borough Police Court the next day they were sentenced to 21 days hard labour at Derby Gaol, being committed as vagrants.
One month later in October 1859 Mary narrowly missed being accused of stealing a watch from a man named Joseph Hallatt. On the night of the 20th August Joseph had been in the Cross Keys public house when he met up with Mary. They left the public house and went to the house of Mary Twibey. Joseph was introduced to Maria Broadhead and he left the house and went down the passage at the side of the house with her. Maria was 26 years old and worked as a needle worker, but was described as a prostitute in the local newspapers at the time.
Joseph noticed later that his watch was missing and he reported the theft to Superintendent James Radford. They went along to Mrs Twibey’s house and found a box upstairs which belonged to Maria, the watch was inside. Maria was shocked at this discovery and at first she made for the door, then she saw Mrs Twibey and said “you bitch, you are trying to do me. I will do you before long”.
Maria was found guilty and sentenced to 8 years penal servitude. The harsh sentence was because she had been in gaol 16 times previously. And so even though Mary was not implicated in this event it seems she was still very much involved.
In October 1864 Mary was on the other side of the law, she was the one reporting a crime against her. At the time she was living at Wheeldon Lane she alleged that another lady also of the same address had stolen her shawl. The accused was Emma Hartley and Mary told how she had entered her bedroom and taken the shawl valued at 3s. Unfortunately for Emma she was apprehended by P.C Jallands just a few streets away on Soresby Street with the shawl in her possession. She was gaoled for 14 days with hard labour.
Had Mary seen the light and become a reformed character? Sadly no, later that year in December 1865 she was again in the middle of an incident and once more recorded in the newspapers as being a prostitute. Mary was apparently living at the Travellers Rest beer house in Froggatts Yard and she was present on the day that the landlord was accused of allowing “prostitutes and persons of bad character to remain in his house”. On the night in question Mary was sat in the tap room when Mr Stevens entered the house and was led upstairs, where he found a bed room with three beds, in one bed was a man in the other was a known prostitute. He reported the landlord Mr Tell to the Police, he was fined £2.
In July 1870 Mary found herself once more in front of the Chesterfield Police court, this time for assaulting a lady named Sophia Warner on 23rd July. Mary was once again “described as a prostitute” who “lives in a house of suspicious character in Wheeldon Lane”. Mary described how Sophia had run into her house followed by the other named defendant John Owleyan. He was about to strike Sophia but Mary put herself in the way and took the blow herself. Never the less, Mary’s reputation must have gone against her and she was fined 10s or 7 days imprisonment.
A year on in July 1871 Mary was the victim of an assault by two other ladies; Elizabeth Hodgkinson and Ellen Narsden had assaulted Mary on 17th July. Elizabeth was fined 20s and costs or 14 days hard labour, Ellen 3s and costs or 7 days hard labour.
A Mary Hibbert is recorded on the 1871 census as being head of the household of 9 Wheeldon Lane. She is described as a silk factory hand and had lodgers living with her. What became of Mary after 1871? There are three marriages which are for a Mary Hibbert in Chesterfield in the 1870’s so she may well have married. Or did she move on to pastures new?
If anyone has more information about the life of poor old Mary Hibbert please do let us know.
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