Author Topic: A tragic episode from 1880  (Read 259 times)

Offline Davedrave

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A tragic episode from 1880
« on: Friday 04 June 21 08:47 BST (UK) »
I have just come across a tragic tale in the Woodward branch of my tree. The attached excerpt from the parish register of Thurlaston, Leicestershire, from May 1880, is the burial of Henry Davis (also Davies in the records). The burial was conducted by “nobody”.

There are numerous newspaper accounts of the events in Thurlaston at this time. After a brief courtship Henry Davies married Elizabeth Woodward in Thurlaston in March 1880, on the same day that Elizabeth’s brother married (Davies being a witness). Davies was a shepherd from Shropshire, some 10 years younger than his spinster bride. She was the daughter of the late Richard Woodward and widow Dorothy, with whom the couple were living.

In early May of the same year, after barely two months of marriage, Dorothy heard a scream and when she got downstairs she found that Davies had just murdered his wife. He then slit his own throat, seemingly convinced that she had been having an affair.

Davies was buried without ceremony in a hastily dug grave in the churchyard. Presumably the church authorities were not consulted. Elizabeth’s funeral was at the Baptist chapel, attended by hundreds of mourners. She had been a Sunday school teacher there for 20 years. According to the press she seems to have been buried as a Woodward, erasing her marriage, though unlike her husband’s, I haven’t found her Baptist burial record. (Incidentally, one of the papers incorrectly says they married in Croft.)