top of page
  • Lord Orsam

Lechmere/Cross "Name Issue" Part 3

Part 1 of the now famous Lechmere/Cross "Name Issue" series was authored by Kattrup in January 2017 here.

His approach was to use the transcripts of proceedings at the Old Bailey to identify men who (legitimately) used two surnames.

I decided I wanted a bit of the action and, in March 2017, created Part 2 here.

My approach was to use newspaper reports, mainly from the British Newspaper Archive ("BNA"), to identify men who used two surnames. As set out in #1 of the thread, I was responding directly to a claim that the definition of a 'false name' is 'any name that is not officially registered'.

As I demonstrated clearly with the case studies provided in that thread, this is obviously wrong.

That was six years ago and, thinking that many more newspapers have been added to the BNA, I decided to conduct some further research, not just limited to the BNA though. I've also revisited the Old Bailey online site. Here are some new case studies:

Case Study 1 - Richard Bark aka Collier

On 1 February 1890, a very nasty accident was reported in the Sleaford Gazette:

The Grantham Journal of the same date also carried the story:

As we can see, a labourer called Richard Collier, residing at Marshall's Yard, Swinegate, was badly injured while working at Messrs R. Hornsby's Iron Works in Spittlegate, Grantham, losing his left arm.

Later in the year, Mr Collier sued R. Hornsby & Sons Limited for damages for the loss of his arm. He didn't, however, sue in the name of Collier. He sued as Richard Barks, which was his 'real' name (or close to it), as per the Stamford Mercury of 20 June 1890:

He was cross-examined on this point as follows (from the Grantham Journal of 21 June 1890):

'I think you worked at Hornsby's under the name of Collier? Yes, that is my step-father's name. Have you any idea how long you have been employed there? About thirty-five years. - So that you know the Works perfectly well? Yes - Have you worked there regularly? I have left a time or two. I have been there on and off. - Have you left on your own accord? Yes. - Always? Sometimes. - And what are the other times? Well, I've had a drop of beer, and then I've left. You have been dismissed? Yes, I've had the sack. (Laughter).'

Richard Collier was born out of wedlock in a Nottingham workhouse as Richard Bark on 2 December 1842. His mother was Ann Bark. There is no father's name on his birth certificate.

Single mother, Ann Bark, married a labourer called Henry Collier in Nottingham on 17 June 1844:

In the 1851 census, aged 8, Richard is living with his stepfather, Henry Collier, and his mother, Ann. He is recorded as being Henry's son, Richard Collier:

Ten years later, now aged 18, he is still living with Henry Collier and is again recorded in the 1861 census as being his son, Richard Collier:

As we can see, staying with the Colliers were two young girls, Hannah and Richard Bark, who were probably the daughters of Ann's brother, Michael.

In November 1863, Richard married Ellen Daniel and, as often happens with those known up by their stepfather's name as a young man, did so as Richard Bark.

On the marriage certificate, he gave his father's name as Henry Bark, a labourer, which probably wasn't true.

The marriage was announced in the Grantham Journal of 7 November 1863 with both Richard and Ellen being given slightly different surnames to the one of the marriage certificate:

As we can see, the wedding was said to have been of Richard Barke to Ellen Daniels.

My research indicates that Ellen Daniel was also known as Emma Dickinson. Daniel (or Daniels) appears to have been the maiden name of her mother, Harriet, who married Edward Dickinson, but, due to her use of the surname 'Daniel' when marrying, it seems very likely that Edward Dickinson wasn't Ellen's father. No name was entered for Ellen's father on her marriage certificate but another record of the marriage held by the parish (and transcribed on Ancestry) states that the name of Ellen's 'father' was 'Harriet Daniel' who was, of course, her mother.

We find Ellen Dickinson living with Edward and Harriet in the 1851 census. Edward and Harriet gave birth to James Dickinson in 1861 and James is known to have been Emma's brother. I have no idea why Ellen changed her name to Emma, although we find that one of her daughters changes from Emma in the 1871 census to Hannah in 1881. Richard and Ellen/Emma Daniel/Dickinson produced a daughter, Esther, in 1865 with further issue following in 1867, 1869 and 1870. Emma Bark, then earning her living as a charwoman, is found in the 1871 census living in Inner Street, Spittlegate, with her and Richard's four children:

Richard is not present with Emma in the 1871 census and the explanation for this is found in the Grantham Journal of 21 January 1871:

As we can see, Richard assaulted Emma and she had to separate from him, albeit that it turned out to be a temporary separation. The underlying cause was probably alcohol and we find that three years later Richard Bark[e] was fined for being drunk and disorderly at Grantham Borough Police Court, per the Lincolnshire Chronicle of 30 January 1874:

He was charged again with being drunk in Spittlegate in May 1875 and fined (per Grantham Journal 15 May 1875, again recording his name as 'Richard Barke').

We pick Richard up again in the 1881 census living with Emma at 11 Seaman's Yard, Spittlegate, after some sort of reconciliation which produced children in 1874 and 1879. The couple now had five children but were living with four (their eldest, Esther, having moved out), and Richard is recorded in the census as Richard Bark:

We know that he liked a drink, and, in 1886, Richard Bark was fined at the Grantham Borough Police Court for drunk and disorderly conducts as per the Stamford Mercury of 12 March 1886:

In 1889, Richard Bark[s] was once again charged with being drunk and incapable on St Peter's Hill as reported in the Grantham Journal of 18 May 1889:

After the accident with his arm in 1890, and despite winning £160 damages in his court case against his employer, Richard didn't live much longer. He died on 2 February 1891 aged 48. His name was recorded in death as Bark.

What we have here then is a situation where a man who was known while a child and young man as Richard Collier, and who evidently obtained employment with R. Hornsby & Sons under that name, continued to be known by his employer as Richard Collier even though he married as Richard Bark and even though he appeared in all known official records thereafter as Richard Bark, including census, marriage and birth and court records. Clearly, the fact that his children were all known as 'Bark' didn't stop him being known at work as 'Collier'. As we have seen, when he was involved in a bad accident at work, the local newspapers reported his name as 'Richard Collier'. Had he not decided to sue his employer, for which he used his birth name, we would have no idea today that the man known to his employer as Richard Collier who had that accident was actually going about (officially) under the name of Richard Bark.

Case Study 2 - Robert Mandells aka Mandell aka Mandel aka Mangle aka Mangel aka Stables

Some men don't just have two surnames, they have five or six!

The readers of the Huddersfield Daily Examiner of 20 July 1886 would have read how a local painter called Robert Stables, working in Carlisle for a Mr Hutton, had been charged at the Huddersfield Borough Police Court with deserting his wife and three children:

For anyone in Huddersfield who missed it, four days later the Huddersfield Chronicle of 24 July 1886 also carried the story:

Mr Stables may not have had the chance to pay back all the money he owed because, a few months, later he was dead. Along with two other men, he was killed in a horrible railway accident while working for Mr Hutton at Carlisle. The Bradford Daily Telegraph of 19 October 1886 was one of the first to report on the tragic accident:

As we can see from the final paragraph, one of the men identified as having been killed was Robert Stables from Huddersfield, also known as 'Little Bob'. That, it was implied, was his 'proper name'. The West Cumberland Times of the next day reported the same thing:

But some newspapers were discovering a bit more information about Robert Stables during the course of 20th October, evidently revealed at the adjourned inquest held on that day. The Aberdeen Evening Express told its readers:

As we can see, the 'real' name of Robert Stables turns out to have been 'Robert Mandells', with the name 'Stables' just being the name he was 'commonly known' as. Indeed, we've already seen that he had been charged at the borough police court under that very name.

His death was recorded under the name Robert Mandells (said to have been aged 28, although he was, in fact, only 24 at the time).

But the story revealed in the historical records turns out to be a bit more complicated.

Our friend 'Little Bob' was born illegitimate in York on 28 September 1861, the son of a then unmarried Margaret Mandle, although in later life it would seem that he thought that her birth name was Mangle and that he been named Robert Mangle at birth. But his birth certificate was in the name of Robert Mandle and he was baptised under that name on 19 January 1862 (with no father named on the register):

The following year, on 2nd August 1863, his mother married Thomas Stables who thus became Robert's stepfather:

Robert then appears in the 1881 census, aged 9, said to be the son of Thomas and Margaret Stables, although, of course, Thomas was really his stepfather.

He was still living with Thomas and Margaret at the time of the 1881 census, and still said to be their son:

Although down as Robert Stables in the 1881 census, in the following year he married Mary Hannah Jepson as Robert Mangle in Huddersfield on 5 March 1882:

As we can see, his father's name is given as Tom Mangle (not said to be deceased). This is likely to have been untrue although there was a Thomas Mangle, aged 21, living in Sheffield at the time of the 1861 census who could, in theory, have fathered Robert, which would mean that the similarity between Mandle and Mangle was a coincidence, but this seems unlikely.

The marriage of Robert and Mary Hannah was also announced in the local newspaper a few days later:

Robert and Mary Hannah Mangle gave birth to three children, all given different surnames on their birth certificates.

Their eldest son was Walter Mangle born in April 1882 (telling us that Mary Hannah must have been very pregnant during her wedding in March.

Next was Herbert Mangel born in May 1884.

Their third and final son, Arthur, was born in April 1886, shortly before Robert's desertion. By this time, Robert must have found out what his mother's actual maiden name had been, or at least sounded like, hence Arthur's birth certificate gives his name as Arthur Mandel. Ironically, as we know, assuming that the Tom Mangle on Robert's marriage certificate was fictitious, none of them were correct: they should all have been called Mandle or at least that's what Margaret thought her surname was; she was baptised as Margaret Mandal in December 1836, although she was recorded as Margaret Mandale, son of John Mandale, in the 1841 census. Anyway, here is Arthur's birth certificate, showing him as Arthur Mandel:

As we can see, like on the earlier two certificates, the mother's name is Mary Hannah Mandel formerly Jepson, proving that this Robert Mandel is the exact same Robert Mangle from March 1882 who was, of course, commonly known as Robert Stables.

His children all used the surname Mandell for the rest of their lives, so Mangle and Mangel must have simply been abandoned (as indeed was Mandel). Mandells, under which his death was registered, never seems to have actually been used during his life, at least on the official documents that we know of. His wife re-married in 1889 to another painter, John George Hanbury, signing her name on the register as Mary Hannah Mandell.

In conclusion, we have here another man obviously being commonly known by one name, in this case Robert Stables, to the extent that his court appearance and subsequent death (initially) was reported under this name, but all his official documents, marriage and birth certificates, were in another name - of Mandell (or a variation of same, including Mangle) - so that his children would have used a different surname to the one he himself must have used and been known by.

Case Study 3 - Walter Scott aka Reynolds

Although this case study is essentially about Walter Scott who gave evidence at the Old Bailey under that name, without correction, despite his birth name having been Walter Reynolds, it will involve more focus on his brother Henry who was charged at the Old Bailey as Henry David Scott, albeit that he was born Henry David Reynolds.

This is a particularly personal issue for me because, on JTR Forums, one individual who has an unfortunate habit for abusing his privilege of being a member that forum by posting uncorrected misinformation started a thread about Henry David Reynolds on 27 July 2023 in which Lord Orsam is mentioned:

As can be seen, it was stated by the OP that Henry David Reynolds was:

"allegedly one of the examples of Lord Orsam's 'flawless' research that finally puts the Lechmere name issue to 'bed'."

This isn’t true on any level. No one, to my knowledge, apart from the OP of that thread, has alleged that Henry David Reynolds has been an example used by me in respect of the Lechmere name issue. I have certainly never mentioned Henry David Reynolds at any time in my life before now.

As Kattrup, another member of JTR Forums stated in #4 of the thread, he brought up the example of Reynolds in his original 'name issue' Casebook post in January 2017. It had nothing to do with me. Even when I discussed Kattrup’s post in one of my online articles, I omitted any mention of Reynolds because he didn’t give evidence, so that, as a result, this particular individual does not assist with the question of whether witnesses were supposed to state their alternative name, if they had one, in the witness box (although, as we will see, it does assist to some extent with his brother).

When the OP was asked where Lord Orsam had ever discussed Henry David Reynolds, the answer was that, 'Someone on CB mentioned the Reynolds example as being one of [Lord] Orsam's or possibly yours?'. So it turned out that the OP had made an assumption which he never checked and certainly never corrected. I take the opportunity to do so now.

What the example of Henry David Scott aka Reynolds does do (like his brother Walter) is provide yet another example of a man with two legitimate surnames who could use either surname but I assume there is now no controversy that this was not unknown in the nineteenth century. That alternative surname was not, in any meaningful sense, a false name.

Before continuing, I might add that the word ‘flawless’ hasn’t been used to my knowledge about my research, so I’m not sure why it was put in quotes in the JTR Forums OP, although I am aware of a poster having said to the same effect on Casebook that, ‘If you find flaws in [Lord Orsam’s] research I’d suggest it will be a first’. At the time of writing, I’m not aware of any flaws in my research on the Lechmere name issue but would be happy to discuss them with anyone, if they exist.

As I explain below, I don’t think that Henry David Scott changed his name to his birth name of Henry David Reynolds when or because he got married but it may be the case that his brother, Walter, changed his name from Scott to Reynolds when he married.

A bit of Reynolds family background:

Henry Charles Spurrett Reynolds, a wheelwright, known for short as Charles Reynolds, married an under-age Eliza Barnaby in Woolwich on 1 September 1856. The couple had five sons: Charles, George, Augustus, Walter and Henry Reynolds respectively (all found on the 1871 census). Walter was born in March 1868.

Henry, whose name on his birth certificate was Henry Davy Reynolds, was born in June 1870. With his actual middle name being Davy rather than David, not a single official document during the rest of his life ever got his 'real' name correct!

Henry's father, Charles, appears to have died in 1875, aged 39. Eliza then married John Smith, a blacksmith, on 11 May 1878, in Lambeth. I haven’t been able to establish what happened to Smith: he might have died, but equally he might simply have separated from Eliza. Certainly when Walter and Henry were admitted to Anglers’ Garden School in Islington on 26 April 1880, their parent/guardian was said to be Eliza Reynolds, indicating that she was single and had reverted to her married name, with Smith now out of the picture.

What can then be said is that, in April 1881, Eliza is living with a coach smith, James Scott, as his wife at 9 Norfolk Street, Islington, although I’ve not found a record of an actual marriage. In the 1881 census, the couple are living with their two sons from Eliza’s first marriage, recorded on the census as Walter and Henry Scott.

James is recorded at the foot of the previous page, living at the same address:

On 15 January 1889, Henry David Scott, said to be aged 18, was charged at Clerkenwell Police Court with an attempted burglary in Holloway Road, and committed to trial. In February 1889, Scott was convicted of this crime at the Old Bailey, along with a man called William Jackson, and sentenced to six months hard labour, as recorded in the After-Trial Calendar:

There is no indication from the records that Scott’s “proper name was disclosed” at any time during these proceedings (c.f. the final paragraph of the JTR Forums post reproduced above).

On 5 August 1889, Henry David Scott, now said to be aged 19, was charged at Clerkenwell Police Court with breaking and entering and committed to trial. There is no indication that Scott’s “proper name was disclosed” at the Police Court. In fact, as Kattrup correctly noted in the JTR Forums thread, Scott’s proper name wasn’t actually “disclosed” at all, at any time, including during the Old Bailey trial, nor did Henry’s mother think it “appropriate to reveal" his “proper” name” when giving evidence. What happened during the Old Bailey trial in September 1889 is that Scott deliberately extracted from his mother during questioning that his ‘proper’ name (i.e. his birth name) was Henry David Reynolds. I suspect he did so because a question had been raised – perhaps by prosecuting Counsel – that ‘Scott’ wasn’t his real name and that there was something suspicious about his use of it. From the evidence of the 1881 census at least, when Henry David Scott was recorded as being 10 years old, it may well be true that he had adopted the surname of his notional stepfather, James Scott, although there is no independent evidence of this.

I might add at this point that it isn’t correct to say, as the OP of the JTR Forums thread does, that: “By the time his mother spoke up Reynolds had been indicted in the name of Scott, so it was probably too late to change the court record.” It wasn’t too late but that’s irrelevant because the record would never have been changed. Scott would have been indicted and convicted in the name of “Scott” regardless of whatever other name he had used in the past and regardless of whether that was his birth name or an alias. That’s just the way it was done.

In terms of timing, it wasn’t too late for any other name of the defendant to be included in the After-Trial Calendar which, as its title suggests, was created after the trial, had the authorities wanted to do so, but the After-Trial Calendar for September 1889 gives the prisoner’s name as Henry David Scott even though his mother had stated in her evidence that his ‘proper’ name was Henry David Reynolds.

That information (about his 'proper' name being Reynolds) wasn’t included in the After-Trial Calendar because the purpose of the calendar was not to include all known names, only those under which an individual had been (indicted and) convicted. If an individual is acquitted using an alias, that name doesn’t get included in future calendars. This may be counter-intuitive to the modern mind whereby we would think that the authorities would have wanted to include in their records all known aliases of any individual (whether they were convicted under those names or not) but that's just not the way it was done.

As for the Habitual Criminals Register, which is mentioned in the JTR Forums post reproduced above, during the 1880s the production of this register was the responsibility of the Home Office (Prison Department) and was created from evidence supplied by the prison governors. The name included in the register was the name under which the criminal was convicted. It wasn’t supposed to be their ‘real’ name or ‘proper’ name. It was known as their ‘registered name’. Aliases were usually the names under which the criminal had previously been convicted but they could also be names by which they may have been known, if the prison governors had been informed of them.

What is more interesting is that Walter Reynolds, who, in August 1889 was 21, stated his name in the witness box as ‘Walter Scott’. There was apparently no attempt made by him to ‘disclose’ that his ‘proper’ surname was Reynolds. As I’ve said many times elsewhere, there was no requirement for him to do so. Regardless of what was on his birth certificate, if he was commonly known as ‘Walter Scott’, that was the appropriate name for him to swear an oath under.

Walter married Kate Pye in St Pancras on 19 October 1890 as Walter Reynolds, giving his father’s name as ‘Charles Reynolds, deceased’. This might well have one of those cases where the groom had decided to revert to his birth name upon marriage to be on the safe side. But, of course, some people might have continued to know him as Walter Scott. The couple are found in the 1891 census living in St Pancras and then in Islington in the 1901 census with two children, Kate Eliza and William Reynolds.

In the OP of the above JTR Forums post, it is stated:

“Subsequently, in the habitual criminals register, the name Scott was described as an ‘alias’. Whether it was Reynolds himself or the police/court who chose to use his proper name in 1891 isn’t known. It was obviously the correct thing to do in such a formal situation.”

Other than that in the Habitual Criminals Register the name Scott is described an ‘alias’, this is all completely wrong. Providing an alternative surname where two surnames could have been used was not the ‘correct’ thing to do in such a formal situation and wasn’t normally done (if ever).

The image example provided by the OP in his post was from the 1895 Habitual Criminals Register. This is it:

The only reason that the entry states “Reynolds, Henry David...alias Scott” is because this individual had been convicted at the Old Bailey in December 1891 under the name “Henry David Reynolds” (along with "Susan Reynolds") as per the After-Trial Calendar for December 1891:

That the 1895 Habitual Criminals Register contains the entry Reynolds alias Scott in no way suggests or implies that Reynolds was his proper name and that Scott was a false name. If Reynolds had been convicted again in, say, 1896, as Henry David Scott, the next Habitual Criminals Register which featured him would have had an entry “Henry David Scott alias Reynolds”. The compilers of the register simply did not care what a prisoner’s ‘real’ name was. They neither investigated it nor recorded it.

This is easily demonstrated by looking at the long criminal career of Reynolds.

First, let’s consider his change of name from Scott to Reynolds. I’ve already said that I don’t think it was due to marriage. The reason is because he doesn’t appear to have gone through a formal marriage ceremony.

While a woman called Susan Reynolds, who was charged along with Henry for burglary in 1891 (as per the above entry in the Calendar), repeatedly referred to Henry as “my husband” during her evidence at the Old Bailey, I doubt this was legally true. Susan Reynolds was born Susan Ashman in about 1871. In December 1886, she was convicted of larceny at Wandsworth Police Court. She achieved notoriety a couple of years later in January 1889 when she was stabbed in the neck by her then lover William Glazier and gave evidence for the prosecution at Glazier’s trial for her attempted murder in the very same sessions of the Old Bailey (in February 1889) at which she herself was tried for stealing a watch, but acquitted. Following her acquittal, she married carpenter Albert Lack in Clerkenwell on 24 November 1889. One year later, on 25 November 1890, a heavily pregnant Susan Lack who was, for some reason, calling herself Susan Spencer, was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment at Lambeth Police Court but she gave birth to Albert Alfred Lack on 17 December 1890. The Lack family featured in the 1891 census living in Chapel Street, Islington, with Susan’s occupation recorded as flower seller. On 22 July 1891, Albert and Susan Lack were charged, with others, at Worship Street Police Court for committing a number of burglaries. Susan ended up avoiding trial but Albert was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment at the Old Bailey in September 1891. This left Susan free to live with Henry David Reynolds but, with Albert (presumably) still alive, she obviously couldn’t marry him, and I don’t find any record of such a marriage.

Nevertheless, Susan and Henry were charged at the Old Bailey as if they were man and wife (in the surname of “Reynolds”) in December 1891.

They were both convicted (albeit that Susan was cleared of the robbery charge). Henry received 5 years in prison, Susan, 6 months.

It didn’t take Henry long after he was released from prison in November 1895 to go back to crime, but he decided to adopt the (false) name ‘Charles Montague’ and this was the name he was tried under at the Old Bailey in March 1896 for burglary and under which he pled guilty and was sentenced to yet another five year term of imprisonment. It was, however, known perfectly well by the authorities at the time who he was. When we turn to the Habitual Criminals Register for 1900 we find that the entry states:

Charles Montague, alias Henry David Scott and Henry David Reynolds

In other words, his ‘proper’ name (i.e. Reynolds) was being treated as an alias of his false name.

Henry was released from prison on 30 October 1900 and was arrested within days of his liberation for committing another burglary in North London. This time he gave his name as 'George Collingwood' and was awarded yet another 5 year prison sentence at the London Sessions under this name in December 1900, despite requesting “one more chance” from the judge. His entry in the Habitual Criminals Register (for 1905) states:

George Collingwood, alias Henry David Scott, Henry David Reynolds and Charles Montague.

Once again there is no difference between his three aliases – which are presented in the chronological order he used them – even though one of them was his ‘proper’ name, and his registered name, under which he was charged and indicted, was patently false. No doubt the authorities could easily have discovered what his proper name was – hells bells his mother told the Old Bailey judge what it was in her evidence in 1889 – but they did not care for the purposes of these registers. Hence they went along with recording him as George Collingwood.

The robberies and the false names didn’t stop there. Released on 26 October 1905, Henry managed to go more than a year before being arrested again – perhaps because this time he moved out of London to Southend - but the inevitable happened in April 1907 when he was convicted at the Essex Quarter Sessions for housebreaking under the name of George Matthews. This brought him yet another five years of penal servitude. The Habitual Criminals Register for 1911 has the entry:

George Matthews, alias Henry David Scott, Henry David Reynolds, Charles Montague and George Collingwood

He was released early on 14 January 1911 and, of course, by June 1912 had been convicted again for burglary, having pled guilty, under the name of George Johnson. Perhaps surprisingly he was found not guilty of being an habitual criminal on the direction of the judge and, even more surprisingly, was only sentenced for four years in prison even though he had targeted a house in Kensington Palace Gardens. Due for release on 7 September 1917, the Habitual Criminals Register for that year contains the entry:

George Johnson, alias Henry David Scott, Henry David Reynolds, Charles Montague, George Collingwood and George Matthews

Henry must have rather liked the name George because he stuck with it for his next breaking and entering for which he was convicted under the name George Roberts in July 1920 at the Old Bailey and sentenced to a mere six months. This is his entry in the July 2020 After-Trial Calendar:

He was released from Wandsworth Prison on 20 December 1920 and the Habitual Criminals Register entry stated:

George Roberts, aliases Henry David Scott, Henry David Reynolds, Charles Montague, George Collingwood, George Matthews and George Johnson

I think you can see how it works now. Reynolds is always just an alias. He must have committed another offence after being released from Wandsworth because he died in Parkhurst Prison in April 1923.

The point here is that when the poster with the reputation for posting misleading information posted a single image from the 1895 Habitual Criminals Register which stated 'Reynolds, Henry David (R465) alias Scott', this was highly misleading because it gave the false and misleading impression to the readers of his post that the authorities believed that the name 'Scott' was an alias whereas Reynolds was being said to be his proper name which he should have used at the time of his 1889 conviction.

But, as I have demonstrated from all the other examples, the only reason he was recorded as Reynolds alias Scott in the 1895 register is because he had been convicted at the Old Bailey in 1891 as 'Henry David Reynolds' and had previously been convicted (twice) under the name 'Henry David Scott'. That is the only reason why Scott was said to have been an alias of Reynolds. It had nothing to do with Reynolds being his 'real' name and Scott being his stepfather's name. Had he first been convicted as Henry David Reynolds and subsequently been convicted as Henry David Scott, his entry in the Habitual Criminals Register would have read 'Scott alias Reynolds'.

Finally, for anyone wanting to put a face to a name, here's a photograph of the old rogue, Henry David Scott aka Reynolds, and multiple other names, taken not many years before his death:

Case Study 4 - William Radley aka Dawson

At the Old Bailey in September 1872, William Radley, aged 34, was charged with feloniously wounding Mary Ann Radley with intent to murder. His thirteen year old stepson, also called William, gave evidence for the prosecution as follows:

WILLIAM RADLEY . I am thirteen years old—the prisoner is my stepfather—I was at home on the night of 26th August, about 8 or 9 o'clock—my father, mother, and brother were there—while I was in the room I heard no quarrel between my father and mother—he told me to go out, and I went out—after I was out I heard my mother scream—I went back into the room, and saw my mother lying on the floor against the outer door—she was senseless—her throat was bleeding—my father was in the room, standing by the side of the table—he was not doing anything—he was about 1 1/2 yard from her, looking at her—I don't know where my brother had gone to; he was not there—before this, when my father sent me out, my grandmother was in the room—my father said to her "You had better go out, and all the b—crew of you, "and we went out—my mother and father went out, too—when I found my mother on the floor, I said to her "What is the matter?"—she did not answer—I then went outside and stood by the fence—I saw my father strike mother in the mouth after we went out—she was then sitting on the steps—I did not hear any quarrel between them—I did not hear her say anything before he struck her.

We can see that William was recorded (and must have given his name) as 'William Radley'. While he clearly stated that the prisoner was his stepfather, so that one would assume he was born with a different surname, it was only during cross-examination by Counsel for the Defence, Mr Besley, that he said, 'My father's name was Dawson—that was my mother's name before she married the prisoner—I work at Robson's, the printer's, in St. Pancras Road'. Had there been no cross-examination, the court would not have known that his birth name was 'Dawson'.

Case Study 5 - George Plant aka ?

At the Old Bailey on 13 January 1875, George Plant, aged 24, was charged with burglary. But that is unlikely to have been his birth name because his stepfather, Thomas Plant, gave evidence for the defence during his trial. He said, 'the prisoner is my stepson—he lives with me, and has done so about eight or nine years'. We seem to find George Plant, aged 20, in the 1871 census described as the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Plant.

I haven't been able to establish the name of George's birth father but it would appear that he adopted the name of his stepfather, like many others in the same situation.

Case Study 6 - Charles Mathews aka West

Charles Willie West (possibly registered at birth as Willie Charles West) was born in the United States on 16 October 1850, the son of William West and Elizabeth Jackson, who was also known as Lizzie Weston. Jackson married Charles Mathews in 1857 when Willie was about 7 years old. We find him recorded in the 1861 census as Willie C. Mathews, which is why I suggest he was born Willie Charles West:

At some unknown point in his life, it is said that Willie changed his surname by deed poll from West to Mathews. He became a naturalized British citizen in 1877, under the name Charles Willie Mathews, subsequently becoming a famous barrister who ended his career as the Director of Public Prosecutions. There are two points of interest about his life.

Firstly, in January 1871, according to the Morning Advertiser of 23 January 1871, the sixteen-year-old Charles Willie Mathews gave evidence at Hammersmith Police Court stating that he was stepson to Charles Mathews but not apparently informing the court that his 'real' name was West. Hence:

Now, you might say to me 'But Lord Orsam, he'd probably changed his name by deed poll at this point so that he was legally Charles Mathews'. To which I respond that a change of name by deed poll is no more legally recognised that placing an advertisement in a newspaper or by adopting a new name through common usage or reputation. They are all legally of the same effect. Sure, if, at some point in the future, you need to prove that you've changed your name for some legal purpose then the fact that you have recorded that change of name in the Chancery Division by deed poll will make your case better than any alternative method but it still wouldn't have had any greater legal effect than if Charles had simply decided to call himself 'Charles Mathews', just like many men with stepfathers or adopted parents did during the nineteenth century. The point here is that he didn't feel the need to inform the magistrate that his birth name was 'West'.

Here, incidentally, is confirmation of what I am saying about the legality of a change of name as published in the Law Gazette in 1893 (and here reproduced in the Diss Express of 13 October 1893):

As we can see, it is stated that, 'The law of this country recognises a person's' right to change his or her name at any time, provided the change is not effected for an illegal purpose'. Of the three ways given to do this, albeit a way that is 'unsafe', one is 'of simply obtaining a name by reputation' which 'merely means that a man has been accustomed to use a name until he has come to be known by such name, and he has got a reputation of having such a name'. The point I'm making here is that one can't properly distinguish Charles Mathews from any other individual who (properly) used a surname which was different from the one they were born with simply because Mathews changed his name by deed poll. Just as Charles Mathews didn't need to inform the magistrate that his 'real' or 'birth' name was Charles West, so no one who had in their life acquired a new surname by reputation needed to inform a magistrate or coroner or judge that they had done so if that name was irrelevant to the proceedings at hand.

With Charles Mathews, there is another noteworthy aspect of his life. For when he married Lucy Sloper he (falsely?) stated on his marriage certificate that his father was 'Charles Mathews, Deceased, gentleman'.

Charles obviously knew that Charles Matthews was his stepfather - and we saw he gave evidence to that effect at Hammersmith Police Court in 1871 - so it's interesting that, as a successful barrister, he felt that he could properly describe him as his father on his marriage certificate. I guess no man wanted a father's surname different to their own on their certificate which may explain why so many got married in their real name thus ensuring that their surname matched their father's surname. But what Mathews did here, assuming it was legal, demonstrates that there was an alternative way of doing it. Perhaps it's the kind of thing that only someone wealthy and/or confident in his knowledge of the law, and able to argue the matter in court, felt they could do.

On this point, we may wish to note the advice which appeared in the Morning Leader on 13 February 1897:

As we can see, the advice here was that one could get married 'in any name you like' and that, 'The name by which you have been known and generally recognised for years is the proper one to use'. It seems to be implied here that one should be giving the birth father's surname to the registrar.

Case Study 7 - Frederick Walewski Reid aka Forsdyke

This chap is another who entered his stepfather's name on his marriage certificate. He was born on 25 April 1857 as Frederick Walewski Reid and was baptised in the following year under that name.

His parents were Frederick and Georgina Reid but, from a very young age, he was known as Frederick Walewski Forsdyke after his stepfather, Jonathan Forsdyke, a soldier in the Royal Artillery, his mother marrying Forsdkye after his father died. Despite being known as Forsdyke, Frederick was recorded in the 1871 census as Frederick W. Reid, quite wrongly being described as the Son in law of Jonathan's. As he was unmarried and only 13 years old he couldn't possibly have been anyone's son-in-law so presumably the census taker made a mistake, having intended to write 'stepson'.

In 1876, Frederick took a step to formally change his surname to Forsdyke by announcing that change in the newspapers, stating that he had abandoned his surname of Reid, although, of course, this had no actual legal effect over and above simply using the name. Hence, from the Sheerness Guardian of 19 February 1876:

This is how we know that at the time of the 1871 census, Reid was already known as Forsdyke. As we can see, he states in the notice that he had been known as Frederick Walwewski Forsdyke for the past 15 years, i.e. since 1861.

When Frederick was gazetted as a veterinary surgeon in the army in 1879, the Dover Chronicle announced:

'We have great pleasure in announcing that Mr Frederick Walewski Forsdyke, son of Quarter-Master Forsdyke, Royal Artillery, has been gazetted a veterinary surgeon in the army'.

Of course, he wasn't the son of Quarter-Master Forsdyke, merely his stepson, but when he married Mary Gale in October 1886 under the name of Forsdyke he claimed (in the same way as Charles Willie Mathews claimed that that his stepfather was his father) that his father was Jonathan Forsdyke, now a retired major:

He used the name Forsdyke for the rest of his life, including while serving in the British army during the First World War, reaching the rank of Colonel, and died in 1941:

Case Study 8 - William Yemm aka Smith

The Cardiff Times of 15 May 1897 carried the following report into the death of a man at Newport Dock:

As we can see, the man who drowned was William Yem but 'he went by his stepfather's name of Smith', hence the first line of the report states that, 'The body of a man named Wm Smith, 44 years of age, of Jeddo Street, has been found in the Old Dock, Newport'.

The death certificate must have been in the name of 'William Yemm' because that is what is recorded in the register of deaths.

Just another man with two surnames.

Case Study 9 - Peter Bray aka MacDonald

In November1883, Peter Bray, aged 32, was convicted in Durham for the murder of one Thomas Pyle. According to the North-Eastern Daily Gazette of 5 November 1883:

'The condemned man is a native of Durham, his real name being Macdonald. His father, a labourer, died soon after his birth. The widow supported herself by going out to clean, washing or performing field work. Amongst her employers was John Bray, who married the widow, whose infant son took his stepfather's name.'

Despite this, and despite the authorities knowing that Bray wasn't Peter's 'real' surname, he was convicted under the name of Peter Bray, which is the name under which he appeared in the calendar (as below):

His death certificate, following his execution for the murder, was also in the name of Peter Bray:

Case Study 10 - Henry Coyle aka Thompson

Henry Thompson was convicted, along with John Beale, of theft at the Old Bailey in May 1852.

It is only from the Evening Standard of 17 March 1853, reporting on an inquiry into a breach of prison rules, whereby Thompson, who was serving his sentence in Pentonville Prison, had received a letter not read by the governor, that we learn that 'Thompson's mother was twice married. His real name was Coyle, but he adopted his stepfather's name Thompson'.

Another man with two surnames.


My March 2017 Casebook thread, 'Lechmere/Cross "name issue" Part 2', met with universal approval and understanding. Over two years later, however, after I had resigned from the Casebook Forum (but before he was banned from that Forum), the same individual who started the misleading Reynolds thread on JTR Forums posted on 12 August 2019:

'Thanks to [Lord Orsam] for providing the blindingly obvious: that people sometimes use alternative names.'

He also asked how a case where 'both names were disclosed' was relevant to the Cross/Lechmere case.

Consequently, I need to repeat again, for those who failed to read my OP in that thread, that the examples I provided were necessary in order to demonstrate that an alternative name was not necessarily a false name, which was the proposition that I was expressly attempting to counter.

Basically, a journalist called Christer Holmgren who posts on Casebook as 'Fisherman', in a strange and determined ongoing attempt to frame Charles Lechmere for the murder of Mary Ann Nichols and others, wants to say that Charles Lechmere gave a false name at the inquest into the death of Nichols. The beauty of doing this is that a modern barrister can then be consulted and told that Lechmere not only gave a false name when describing his finding of the body of Nichols but that his evidence reveals a 'time gap' in which he had plenty of time to commit the murder. Naturally, the barrister, a King's Counsel (formerly a Queen's Counsel), will say that this is all rather suspicious and creates a prima facie case against Lechmere for murder, and Christer will then spend the rest of his life using this silly opinion as actual evidence against Charles Lechmere.

What I have shown over a six-year period, however, is that a name other than the name registered at birth was not, in the nineteenth century, necessarily a false name and that some men (like women) could legitimately have and use two surnames. But this was never 'blindingly obvious' which is why Christer Holmgren felt able to claim in 2015 that one of those two surnames must be a false name.

We saw in Part 2 (on Casebook) the case of William Slack whose birth name was Adams but who, his wife told a coroner after his death, 'commonly went by the name of Slack'. Indeed, when his death in a mining accident in Barnsley was reported both nationally and locally, it was stated that a man called William Slack, aged 30, had died, hence the names of the victims given in the Daily News of 16 November 1907 included:

The inference from this is that William Adams was known to his employers at the Barrow Colliery as William Slack (due to that being his stepfather's name) even though he married under the name of Adams and his children were given that surname. In this blog post, we've now seen identical examples in respect of Richard Collier who was really Richard Bark but was known to his employer as Collier, with his death being reported as such, and Robert Stables who was really Richard Mandel (or similar) but was commonly known as Stables and his death was reported as such.

This really is the key to the entire Lechmere 'mystery'. If he was known as Carman Cross at Pickfords, due to having commenced employment with them while his stepfather was alive, then, with there being no individual known to Pickfords as 'Carman Lechmere', it would be perfectly understandable if his thought process at the inquest was that it would make more sense to simply give his surname as Cross, for which there is evidence that he was known during his life, while also providing his correct middle name, address and employer's name, ruling out any attempt at deception.

It is said by some that an inquest was such a formal proceeding that Charles would have known that he needed to either use the (birth) name of Lechmere or at least inform the coroner that his birth name was Lechmere (and that he had married under this name etc.) but not a single piece of supporting evidence has ever been put forward to support this contention, which is plainly false. The coroner would not have cared in any way about the family history of Charles Cross which led to him having two surnames during his life. His name was not relevant in any way to the inquiry into the death of Mary Ann Nichols and it would have been a complete waste of the coroner's time for Cross to have explained his own life history. There is simply no reason either in law or in practice for Cross to have gratuitously stated that he had two surnames.

Ironically my own research has been used to suggest otherwise but this is by someone who hasn't read it properly. Of the sixteen individual cases studies I produced in 2017, the only one which involved a witness at any form of legal proceeding volunteering that he was commonly known by an alternative name was that of Ralph Armstrong aka Dixon, at an inquest into the death of William Morgan, but even that can be distinguished from the case of Charles Cross, firstly because Armstrong gave evidence in his birth name rather than his stepfather's name and secondly because another witness had already referred to a 'Ralph Dixon' during their testimony at the Police Court on the previous day, providing an explanation as to why Ralph volunteered this information to the coroner. Hence we find that Elizabeth Gordon, a witness against David Brannon and Isaac Yates, who were accused of killing William Morgan, referred in her testimony to Ralph Armstrong as Ralph Dixon, hence, from the Durham Chronicle of 12 March 1858:

When Ralph came to give evidence at the inquest on the next day, therefore, under the name Armstrong he would no doubt have felt that he needed to inform the coroner that he was known locally as Dixon in order to explain that he was the same person Elizabeth Gordon had referred to in her testimony.

This now means that there is not a single known example of a witness with two legitimate surnames volunteering both names for no apparent reason during any form of legal proceedings. We can now see why Ralph Armstrong felt he should do so. Had Charles Cross informed the coroner that his birth name was Lechmere, it would certainly have been for no apparent reason.

As a nice little bonus, we can see confirmation from the evidence of Elizabeth Gordon that Ralph was indeed known locally as 'Ralph Dixon' despite having married and registered his children in the name of Armstrong.

On the other side of the coin, I gave the example in 2017 of Charles Jones who testified for the prosecution at the Ryde Petty Sessions on 6 May 1878 under the name of Charles Taylor, his stepfather's name, without informing the court that his 'real' name was Jones. An attempt has been made to distinguish this case from that of Charles Cross in that the 1878 court case involved the business of Jones' stepfather (James Taylor) but, aside from the fact that Charles Taylor testified that James Taylor was 'his father', which wasn't true, it ignores the fact that Charles Cross was involved in a discovery of a dead body while on his way to work for Pickfords and, like I say, if there was no Carman Lechmere known at Pickfords, giving his name as Carman Charles Allen Cross might reasonably have seemed to him to make more sense.

We also now have the case of Walter Scott who didn't feel the need to inform the Old Bailey that his birth name was Walter Reynolds when he gave evidence at the trial of his brother (stated to be Henry David Scott). The other examples provided in this blog simply support the crucial contention that an alternative surname was not necessarily a false name and should not be considered as such unless deception can be shown.

Another incorrect statement that is often made regarding the 'name issue' is that all or most of the examples provided by myself and Kattrup are cases where the alternative name was disclosed. But in the majority of cases, it is a 'disclosure' by others, often after the death of the individual concerned, not a volunteering of information by the individual with two surnames, so that such 'disclosures' have no relevance whatsoever to the situation Charles Cross was in. These so-called 'disclosures' are basically just how we know these men had two surnames, because you simply can't tell from the official records.

My analysis of the Old Bailey examples provided by Kattrup in January 2017 showed that not a single individual with an alternative name disclosed or revealed that alternative name without good reason (i.e. it being relevant to the proceedings and/or had already been mentioned) or at all, until it was extracted from them during cross-examination. It's certainly not evidence of men with alternative names generally stating both their names when 'presenting themselves to the authorities' as has been claimed.

The unfortunate fact is that we don't know, and will almost certainly never know, by what name Charles Lechmere was recorded in the books of Pickfords. But if it was Charles Cross, as is certainly quite possible, this would render the entire discussion about why he used the name Cross redundant. It would have been a perfectly reasonable, and perhaps even obvious, name to have used at the inquest while identifying himself as an employee of Pickfords. Even if some anxious people with two legitimate surnames might have thought it appropriate to disclose both surnames at an inquest for no apparent reason in circumstances where they weren't related to the deceased, for which no evidence has ever been produced that such people have ever existed, this doesn't mean that Charles Lechmere had to think the same way. He seemed to be quite cocky as evidenced by his answer to the question from a member of the jury, 'Did you tell Constable Mizen that another constable wanted him in Buck's-row?' to which his response was the argumentative, 'No, because I did not see a policeman in Buck's-row'. I don't personally like the arrogance of that answer - he might, for whatever reason, have lied to Constable Mizen which could have been what the juror was getting at - and I would say that, if anything is suspicious about his evidence at the inquest, it's that answer but the point for now is that it showed that he was capable of standing up for himself and would likely have defended himself should anyone have criticised him for his choice of declared name.

The problem with the entire 'name issue' discussion is that those who claim that Charles should have used the name Lechmere simply ignore the possibility that he was registered as Charles Allen Cross at Pickfords. They breeze past it, presumably assuming it wasn't the case, or thinking it doesn't matter. But it's the most crucial aspect to the entire issue and if one doesn't acknowledge and deal with this possibility, while declaring Cross to have acted wrongly in the witness box, to the extent that it is said on this basis that he might have been the murderer, one is only deluding oneself.

LORD ORSAM 7 September 2023

88 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page