Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Only Squabbling Couple in Hitchin

Peter sent me an interesting press cutting about a wife?? suing her husband for maintenance in 1901. A key question and a quick look at the online indexes suggests two possibilities, Either the "wife" was a Jeanetta Eugenie Gardiner who was genuinely married to Henry Saunders, and is telling a "porky" about a previous liaison - or she was a Jenny Latimer, married to Arthur Gardiner, jilted by him, and then bigamously married to Henry Saunders. 

In fact a closer look at the evidence suggests the second possibility - and the court told Henry to pay 5s a week despite the fact her marriage to him was not legal.

There is a big mystery about Henry. He can be found in the 1841 census with his brother, the 1891 census married to Eugenie and the the 1901 census staying with his brother. The evidence suggest that the family were not well or, although his brother built up a small timber business. However when Henry reappeared he is describe as "Living on Own Means" which normally means a private income. While his funds appear to have been limited (he died in the workhouse in 1905) the interesting question is: 
Where was Henry between 1841 and his meeting Eugenie about 1888?
For a detailed analysis of the available information see SAUNDERS, St Pauls Walden & Ippollitts

For those unfamiliar with Cockney rhyming slang "porky" gives you "pork pie" which ends up as "lie"

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