Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Charles Henry Snell part one

Today we learn more about Charles Henry Snell thanks to Ray !
On the 21/07/1856 the Morning Chronicle reported that “On the 17th at St Michael at Plea, Norwich Lieut. Charles Henry Snell, E.N.M., second son of Captain George Snell, R.N., to Sarah Heaster (sic), eldest daughter of ;Mess Vlieland”.
Charles had a fascinating life.
The 01/09/1855 Norfolk Chronicle shows “Commissions signed by the Lord Lieutenant of the County - Second or Eastern Regiment of Norfolk Militia - Charles Henry Snell, gent., to Lieutenant” and by the 1861 census the couple are living at Bloomfield Cottage, Park Terrace, Stoke Newington with 3 children and a servant.
Charles is shown as age 28 – a Chemists Assistant and his unmarried sister Harriet Amelia (age 21) staying with them is shown as "daughter Of The Late Commander South".
Charles wants to advance himself and the 01/02/1862 Norfolk Chronicle reports that-“On 23rd inst Mr. Charles Henry Snell (second son of the late Commander George Royal Navy, and late Lieutenant in the Second or Eastern Regiment of Norfolk Militia), passed his major examination before the board at the Royal Naval Hospital Plymouth”.
The Saturday 10 October 1863 Norfolk News reports the sad loss of Sarah. “on Saturday last, at Plymouth, of consumption, deservedly lamented, Sarah, wife of Charles Henry Snell Esquire, of the Royal Naval Hospital, and eldest daughter of Monsieur Vlieland, professor of languages of this city”.
Charles stays alone for ten years and the 1871 census shows him at the Royal Naval Hospital Plymouth, East Stonehouse as an assistant dispenser - widower - age 38. He marries again on 24 Dec 1874 at St Mary’s Islington.
Shown as a widower and chemist, he marries a spinster, Marie Joan Edwards.
Their Fathers are shown as George Snell Captain RN & James Edwards Governor of Devonport Prison and his address as 27 Canonbury Place Islington.
The witnesses include his daughters Alice M Snell and Catherine V V Snell.
A year later, on 14/12/1875 a child, Marie Devere Snell is born but by then the marriage is, effectively, over.
On 28 May 1881 an Affidavit under Divorce 7573 is filed by Marie J Snell seeking judicial separation and custody of their child (Maria Devere) who is shown in the census, a month earlier, as living with her father.
It is long and painful to read, detailing that that in the year following their marriage, during 1875, he frequently came home drunk, kept her without food so her health was impaired, threw drugs at her, tore up her clothes, beat her with his stick, attempted to throw her out of a window, threw her down the stairs, beat her with a hairbrush, dragged her from the bed, pushed her on the floor, kicked her in the back, struck her on the head, threatened her (etc) - since late 1875 she has been separated but that "from the month of May 1880 (he) has constantly annoyed (her) and extorted money from her by means of threats and intimidation".
Divorce was almost impossible for a woman in England at that time and even a legal separation hard and extremely expensive.
There is no trace of any divorce and the children stay with Charles, who takes on a housekeeper.
A later report in the Morning Post of testimony by the vicar of St Andrews Peckham, Rev. W. S. Cadman notes that “Late one evening in 1889 the lady-help sent for him urgently to call upon her, which he did the following morning.
She asked him to marry them in his church. He refused, under the circumstances, to perform the ceremony.”. The Evening Telegraph reported him as saying she was “enciente" (visibly pregnant).
The story gets confusing because a look in the GRO records shows that he was married to Florence Emillia Eden Harris Taylor in the first quarter of 1889 (Southampton vol 2c P 3) and the 1891 census shows them together at Hedley Villa, Belmore Road, Millbrook, Shirley Hampshire. He is age 58 and shown as retired chemist and dentist with this his third wife and 2 daughters. His elder daughter Maria is still with him and he has a four month old daughter Verna (or Virna) Irene Fane Snell from his current relationship.
Seemingly it was not Florence from whom he was separated as on 18 June 1893 Melville Dundas Westmorland Fane is born (and his baptism record on 16 Jul 1893 at St Mary Stoke Newington shows his Mother as Florence Emelia.
Was the vicar a year out in his (later) recollections and the couple, unable to marry in Peckham close to where his second (and still ‘current’) wife still lived (her death was seemingly registered in Hackney q2 1924 Volume: 1b Page: 443) rushed down to Devonport where her father lived and married there – but lost the baby?
This marriage also was due not to last.
On Friday 20 July 1894 the Morning Post under the headline “THREATENING TO SHOOT a CLERGYMAN”

reported that “At Lambeth police court, Charles Henry Snell, a chemist, of St. John’s-road, Hoxton. was charged before Mr. Biron with using threats towards the Rev. W. S. Cadman, vicar of St. Andrew’s, Peckham”.
Ths, seemingly stemming back to the refusal to marry, as “since then he had been continually subjected to annoyance at the bands of the prisoner.
This culminated last week, when he received a letter from the prisoner, who threatened to shoot him.
In consequence of this threat he went in fear of his life.
Asked whether he had any questions to put, prisoner entered upon a rambling statement as to his having, before Mr. Cadman came to Peckham, attended St. Andrew’s Church.... Mr. Biron ordered a remand, with the view of the state of the prisoner’s mind being inquired into”.
The later Magistrate had ordered him to find one security in £25 for his good behaviour for six months. It appears that the best way for him to stay out of further trouble was to move down to Southampton.

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