Tag Archives: wybrants kinghorn

Where are you Martha KINGHORN?

20 Sep

I spent a couple of hours the other night searching for Martha KINGHORN, but despite all my efforts she still hasn’t come out of hiding. Martha was the wife of my half 3x great-uncle Wybrants KINGHORN and as such not a major part of my family tree, but I would really like to find out what happened to her.

Martha GARDINER married Wybrants KINGHORN on the 28th April 1852 in the parish church at St George Bloomsbury, Middlesex. Both were of full age and Martha’s father’s name was Edward GARDINER, a compositor. That is the last record I have of Martha.

I cannot find her (or Wybrants) in the 1861 census, or any later ones, I don’t know when she died, whether she and Wybrants had any children or if she re-married after Wybrants’ death in 1866. Wybrants was sentenced to eight months in prison for larceny at the end of May 1852, did she stick by him or take the opportunity to make a break leaving him and his life of crime behind.

The truth is I don’t know. I have searched various combinations and spellings of her name, (and both her married and maiden names), her baptism in 1831 is recorded under Martha Elizabeth GARDNER, the daughter of Edward and Martha. It doesn’t help that I can’t find her parents after the 1851 census either, but to be honest I probably need to spend a bit more time on them and her siblings.

For a while I confined myself to searching after Wybrants death in 1866, but then realised that she may have died before then, in fact she may have died as early as 1852 just after they married. There are far too many possible scenarios to consider, I just need a bit of luck and a few more clues.

What I find particularly frustrating is that the further out I go on the branches of my family tree, the harder it becomes. I wouldn’t mind spending hours searching for someone who was more closely related or a direct ancestors but the wife of my half 3x great-uncle is not someone I would want to invest a lot of time and effort into, let alone her parents of siblings. Of course the very fact that she can’t be found make it all the more intriguing, was there something more sinister gong on, or did she just fall through the gaps in the system and not get recorded anywhere?

Making the News: Wybrants KINGHORN on trial

16 Sep

Wybrants KINGHORN is one of the few black sheep in my family tree, he is my half 3x great-uncle (perhaps more meaningfully described as the son of my 3x great-grandfather Thomas KINGHORN and his first wife Alicia DALTON). On several occasions I have written about Wybrants and his appearances in the Criminal Registers on Ancestry.co.uk and his rather unusual (and gruesome) cause of death.

    I have been spending some time looking into the mail coach accident that his grandfather was involved in, making use of the 19th Century British Library Newspaper Collection, and decided that the chances of finding a mention of Wybrants KINGHORN in the newspapers ought to be quite good. I wasn’t disappointed.

I found two reports in London newspapers of Wybrant’s activities from December 1853. The first is from The Standard (Monday 5th December 1853 edition) and provides only the briefest of details. It does include the word "burglariously" though which I am finding is a real tongue-twister to say.


BURGLARY.- Wybrants Kinghorn was brought before Mr. Hardwick, on suspicion of having been concerned in burglariously entering the premises of Mr. Evan Astley, tailor, 72, Regent-street, and stealing therefrom property to a considerable amount. -The prisoner was remanded.

The second report is from Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper (Sunday 18th December 1853 edition) and it contains much more detail, than the first one, and makes fascinating reading.



EXTENSIVE ROBBERY. –Wybrants Kinghorn, a journeyman tailor, was brought before Mr. Hardwick, for final examination, charged with stealing a quantity of doeskin cloth, the property of Mr. Evan Astley, tailor, 72½, Regent-street. -John Foster deposed that he was in the employ of the prosecutor, and that on the night of Thursday, the 1st inst., about twenty minutes to ten, he locked up the workshop in King’s Arm-yard, and at a little after six the next morning he went and found the door open, and missed several coats, pairs of trowsers, and other articles, also three pieces of doeskin cloth, altogether of the value of 50/. The three pieces of cloth now produced he believed to be the same stolen from the workshop. -Mr, Evan Astley identified the cloth as his property. -Julia Pallett stated that she resided at No. 27 Broad-street. On Friday the 2nd inst., the prisoner came to her shop and produced three pieces of cloth, and told her he had got two waistcoats to make for a party, and asked her to lend him 4s. on them till Saturday, as he was hard up. She did so, and he left the cloth, which she subsequently gave up to Police-constable Ryland. -Sergeant Godfrey 5, C, said, he took the prisoner into custody on the night of the 2nd inst. He said he had taken the cloth, but knew nothing about the other property. Silverton, 323 A, proved that in May, 1851, the prisoner was tried and convicted of felony at the Westminster sessions, and sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment. -The prisoner, who denied the charge, was fully committed for trial.


There is one obvious discrepancy, Wybrant’s previous trial and conviction was in 1852 not 1851, which does make me question the accuracy of the report, but considering the official records may not have survived it is possibly the closest I am going to get to finding out what Wybrants KINGHORN got up to.

There is so much information in there, almost enough to create a re-construction of the crime. I shall certainly want visit the locations mentioned and find out about the other people involved. It also highlights the fact that I need to try and find some more details on his other criminal activities, to see what else he got up to.

For whatever reason though he was actually acquitted of the charge, despite having admitted to taking the cloth (according to the report). I would love to know how he managed to get away with it!

Wybrants KINGHORN’s marriage certificate arrives

13 Aug

Another part of the puzzle arrived today, the marriage certificate for Wybrants KINGHORN (son of my 3x great grandfather Thomas KINGHORN). This provides me with a handful of clues to continue my search for Wybrants in the 1851 and 1861 census.

Wybrants married Martha GARDINER (which I had pretty much worked out already) on the 28th April 1852 at the Parish Church in the Parish of St George Bloomsbury, Middlesex. Wybrants and Martha were both of full age (not particularly helpful).

Wybrants’ occupation was tailor, like his father and at least one of his brothers. He was living at 11 Hart Street, at least that’s what it looks like, but I could be wrong.

Martha was living at 8 Yeoman Street, I think, again the writing is not that clear. Her father was Edward GARDINER, a compositor (some who does typesetting).

The fact that these two places are on opposite sides of the River Thames makes me a little suspicious that I may have misread one or other of them. They both seem quite a way from Bloomsbury, but I need to look at some maps in detail to see if I am right or not.

The fact that Martha’s father was a compositor made it quite easy for me to identify Martha and her parents in the 1851 census in St Giles in the Fields, Middlesex, at 180 Drury Lane (PRO HO107/1508 folio: 355, page: 6).

Unfortunately none of this has so far helped me find Wybrants, and I can’t even find Martha’s parents in the 1861 census either. I am beginning to wonder whether they might have been on one of the missing pieces from the 1861 census? Perhaps the death certificate will be more help when that turns up!

Investigating Wybrants KINGHORN

6 Aug

The discovery of Wybrants KINGHORN (my half 3x great uncle) in the ancestry.co.uk criminal registers has renewed my interest in this member of the KINGHORN family.

My knowledge of Wybrants hadn’t really increased since the last time I wrote about him back in April, until I learnt of his criminal past the other night. I have had one possible sighting in the 1861 census, but I can’t even be certain about that.

One interesting detail has arisen out of this latest discovery is that was imprisoned for eight months on the 31st May 1852 and he must have been married just before this because the marriage was registered in Q2 1852 (St Giles District). I would love to find out the consequences of his trial and sentence on his wife and their marriage. Should I be looking for a divorce as well?

Last night I took the next step in my research by ordering a copy of his marriage certificate and his death certificate. These should at least give me a few more hard facts to build on. Whilst I am waiting for the certificates to arrive I need to start planning my research into his criminal past. It looks like I will be heading to The National Archives in the near future.

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