Alfred Primrose and Elizabeth Thornhill - Sheffield 1838

On 1st March 1818, Alfred PRIMROSE, the son of DANIEL and MARTHA PRIMROSE was christened in what is now Sheffield Cathedral. Just over seven months later on 26th September 1818 , ELIZABETH THORNHILL, the daughter of GEORGE and ANN THORNHILL, was christened in the same church.

Twenty years later, the following report appeared in The Times dated 5th January 1838 and describes the inquest that took place at the Crookesmoor Workhouse the previous Tuesday. Crookesmoor Workhouse no longer exists but there is an old map that shows it's position adjacent to Crookesmoor Road and not far from Crookesmoor Dam

The inquest was inquiring into the sudden death of 19 year old ELIZABETH THORNHILL

The following report which also covered the Inquest is taken from The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent newspaper dated 30th January 1838

So this "fine young woman" died what only can be termed a tragic death. But what was interesting was the strong reprimand that was issued by the jury to ALFRED PRIMROSE for his "unkind and unfeeling conduct". The evidence given at the inquest certainly was very damaging to PRIMROSE - apart from being the father of her unborn child, he "laughed at her, and used some very unkind and undeserving expressions towards her" in the middle of High Street early one Friday afternoon.

But I am wondering if the jury and the coroner knew in full the circumstances surrounding PRIMROSE's betrayal of ELIZABETH THORNHILL. When I started researching the article I came across the following entry on the FREEBMD index

Births registered in September quarter 1838 PRIMROSE Alfred Sheffield Volume 22 Page 543.

Given that ALFRED PRIMROSE is an uncommon name, I did think that it would be related  to the ALFRED PRIMROSE who featured in the Inquest of ELIZABETH THORNHILL. It certainly wasn't Elizabeth's son as she had died whilst pregnant. It was only when I checked some local burial records that I found the following entry for a burial in Sheffield's newly opened General Cemetery

Burial Year Grave Death date Burial date First name Surname Age Description Residence Cause Birth Parents Parents description Informant

 

239 1838 B4 15/08/1838 19/08/1838 Alfred Primrose ANTCLIFF 11 w. Infant 7, Pond Hill, Sheffield Bowel complaint Sheffield, 1838 Alfred Primrose & Caroline Antcliff, unmarried   Elizabeth Antcliff made her MARK

From this information there is only one possibility. At the same time he was seeing ELIZABETH, he was also having a relationship with a CAROLINE ANTCLIFF. If the jury were aware of this it is no wonder that they issued such a strong condemnation of Alfred's actions. But there is no mention of this second relationship in the report and so it must be assumed that they were not aware.

The next intriguing point is the burial record. The informant is not Alfred's parents but his maternal grandmother ELIZABETH ANTCLIFF. And this is the last time so far that I can find a mention of ALFRED PRIMROSE. I checked the 1841 Census for Sheffield and found his parents DANIEL and MARTHA PRIMROSE living at Burgess Street, but no sign of ALFRED. The same census revealed that CAROLINE ANTCLIFF was living with her parents JOHN and ELIZABETH ANTCLIFF in Sheaf Row but again no sign of ALFRED. (see note 2)

It can only be supposition as to what became of ALFRED PRIMROSE. There are two births registered in 1843 in Sheffield for an ALFRED PRIMROSE - see note 1 but these are more likely to be the sons of ALFRED's brothers Daniel and Edward. Given his "activities" and his notoriety after the inquest I think that it is more likely than not that ALFRED left Sheffield. Whether he left voluntarily or was "persuaded" to go, we will never know.

Crookesmoor Dams in the Nineteenth Century - The site of the tragedy 

If anyone can add anything further to this article, please contact me

Notes

1 Births Sep 1838 PRIMROSE Alfred Sheffield 22 543
Births Jun 1843 PRIMROSE Alfred Sheffield 22 514 PRIMROSE Alfred Sheffield 22 584
Deaths Mar 1838 Thornhill Elizabeth Ecclesfield Volume 22 page 57

2. 1841 Census Sheffield

(Piece #1337/1, folio 18a, enumeration district 1.)
Primrose, Daniel of 10 Burgess St, Sheffield South. Aged 65 years.
Primrose, Daniel of 10 Burgess St, Sheffield South. Aged 19 years.
Primrose, Edward of 10 Burgess St, Sheffield South. Aged 25 years.
Primrose, Hannah of 10 Burgess St, Sheffield South. Aged 21 years.
Primrose, Martha of 10 Burgess St, Sheffield South. Aged 56 years.
Primrose, Mary of 10 Burgess St, Sheffield South. Aged 20 years.
Steel, Elizabeth of 10 Burgess St, Sheffield South. Aged 26 years.

3. 1841 Census Sheffield

(Piece #1337/4, folio 26a, enumeration district 8.)

Antcliff, Caroline of Sheaf Row, Sheffield South. Aged 20 years.
Antcliff, Charles of Sheaf Row, Sheffield South. Aged 15 years.
Antcliff, Elizabeth of Sheaf Row, Sheffield South. Aged 55 years.
Antcliff, John of Sheaf Row, Sheffield South. Aged 55 years.
Antcliff, John of Sheaf Row, Sheffield South. Aged 20 years.
Antcliff, Maria of Sheaf Row, Sheffield South. Aged 15 years.
Antcliff, Sarah of Sheaf Row, Sheffield South. Aged 1 years
.
 

Sources

The Times dated 5th January 1838

1841 Census Sheffield

IGI Record Alfred Primrose - Batch Number C007752 1818 - 1822 0919361 Film NONE

IGI RECORD Elizabeth Thornhill -  Batch Number: 7225106 Sheet: 07 Source Call No.: 0822032 Type: Film

The General Cemetery - Sheffield

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent newspaper dated 30th January 1838

Return To Main Homepage

This page was last updated on 04/04/14 14:10