THE SHORT AND TRAGIC LIFE OF ERNEST TENNANT - COPPER STREET, SHEFFIELD 1900
Copper Street Shalesmoor Sheffield
SHOCKING NEGLECT OF CHILDREN, PARENTS PROPERLY PUNISHED
18th July 1900
The admissions book of Wakefield Prison - Annie Emily Tennant's entry is third from the bottom entry no 2531
Sheffield and Rorherham Independent 20th July 1900
The death of Ernest Tennant, the infant son of James and
Annie Emily Tennant, of 4ct., 5h., Copper Street, was partly investigated at the
Firvale Workhouse, yesterday morning, by the Sheffield City coroner, Mr. Dossey
Wightman. The parents of the child were convicted at the Sheffield Police Court,
on Tuesday last, for neglecting their four children, one of whom subsequently
died, and they are undergoing a sentence of three months’ hard labour imposed
by the magistrates.
The coroner, at the outset, explained to the jury that the child had died on Wednesday morning in the institution, and that the parents were in prison. There might be, he said, a very serious charge overhanging the parents if the doctor who made the post-mortem examination of the body said the child had died of ill treatment. But on the other hand, if he said the child had died from some disease and that the neglect was not the cause of that disease, then that would be another thing. Mr. Neal (who appeared for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) said the child was brought to the Workhouse the same afternoon that the parents were tried, and died the next day.
The coroner: I can’t go on with this inquiry unless the father and mother are here, and have a chance of defending themselves at the inquiry.
Mr. Neal suggested that the coroner should communicate with the Home Office, and get an order for the release of the prisoners, in order that they might attend.
The coroner: That, I expect, is what I shall have to do after the post-mortem. In any case the inquest will have to be adjourned.
Inspector William Stephens, of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, gave evidence of identification. He first knew the deceased child, he said, on the 9th of June last. Deceased was the son of James Tennant, cramp fitter, of Copper Street, Sheffield. Witness saw him on subsequent occasions, and in consequence of its condition and of the condition of the parents’ other three children, he prosecuted the father and mother for neglect.
The inquiry was adjourned until August 9th, the coroner intimating his intention of communicating with the Home Office with the object of obtaining the release of the parents for that day, in order that they might be present at the inquest.
The adjourned inquest took place on 9th August 1900 and was
reported in the following days newspaper
August 10th 1900
The circumstances attending the death of Ernest Tennant, an
infant, who lived with his parents in Copper Street, and who died in the Firvale
Workhouse on July 18, were further inquired into by the Sheffield coroner and a
jury at the Workhouse yesterday. The parents, James and Annie Emily Tennant, who
just previous to the child’s death had been sentenced at the Police Court to
three months’ hard labour for neglecting the deceased and other children, were
present, in charge of an escort from Wakefield Prison. Mr. A. Neal appeared for
Dr. Samuel Ernest Morton, of Burngreave Road, who had made a post-mortem of the deceased, said the body was emaciated, but not extremely so. The child had evidently suffered from rickets for some months, and that accounted to some extent for the emaciation. This kind of ailment was generally brought on by improper feeding and unhealthy surroundings; witness had known children have rickets who were well looked after, but such cases were rare.
Mr. Neal: Was there any disease to account for the death? – Nothing, except the rickets.
Were there the usual signs of starvation? – No.
Were the bowels attenuated? – Yes.
That is a sign of starvation, is it not? – Yes, in some cases.
The coroner said that after the evidence of the medical gentleman it would be a farce to send the man and the woman for trial for manslaughter or murder.
A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned. It was stated that the other three children had much improved since they had been in the Workhouse.
Ernest is buried in a public grave in Sheffield's Burngreave Cemetery
TENNANT, Ernest (~, age 1).Died at Sheffield Union; Buried on July 21, 1900 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 75, Section T of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield. Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister, T Couch.
The evidence of the medical gentleman seems to be rather contradictory when he said that there was no disease apart from rickets to account for the death and the usual signs of starvation were not present. But young Ernest had an attenuated bowels and an emaciated body - his parents admitted and were sentenced for child neglect, part of which was down to the frequent lack of food. Whilst I agree with the Coroner's remarks regarding murder, I would argue that there was a possible case for manslaughter - it should have been tried in court
Surname First name(s) District Vol Page Marriages Dec 1880
GODFREY Annie Emily Sheffield 9c 561
TENNANT James Sheffield 9c 561
Name James Tennant
Gender Male Age 32 Relationship Head Birth Year 1859
Spouse Ann Emily Tennant
Birth Place Sheffield, Yorkshire, England Civil parish Sheffield Ecclesiastical parish St Simons Residence Place Sheffield, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
Registration district Sheffield Sub registration district South Sheffield ED, Institution or Vessel 11 Piece 3823 Folio 92
Ann E Tennant
James A Tennant
Two of the children died - Lucy in July 1891 aged 17 months - she is buried in a public grave with 30 others in Sheffield City Road Cemetery
Tennant, Lucy (child, age 17months).
Died at 1ct 5 Eyre Lane; Buried on July 30, 1891 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 13404, Section Y of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield. Plot Owner: ~ ~ of ~. Page No 618
Buried with 30 others
George died eight years later. He was also buried in a public grave alongside 27 others
Tennant, George (School Boy, age 12).
Died at Died in the Royal Hospital; Buried on July 3, 1899 in Unconsecrated ground; Grave Number 11015, Section AA of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield. Plot Owner: ~ ~ of ~. Page No 1214
Buried with 27 others
After a stay in the workhouse ROSE was sent to the Girls
Mutual Aid Home in Chorlton on Medlock in Manchester. It was a children's
home. This is the entry in the 1901 Census
Name: Rose Tennant Age: 16
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1885 Relation to Head: Boarder
Gender: Female Birth Place: Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
Civil Parish: South Manchester Ecclesiastical parish: Chorlton on Medlock St Saviour County/Island: Lancashire
Country: England Registration district: Chorlton Sub-registration district: Chorlton upon Medlock ED, institution, or vessel: Girls Mutual Aid Home Piece: 3699 Folio: 152 Page Number: 4 Household schedule number: 1
In 1906 Rose left England and started a new life in Canada. She married a William James Farnham in 1908 and a year later gave birth to her eldest son who she called ERNEST
8 Jun 1906 • Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Marriage 1908 • Montréal, Québec William James Farnham (1885–1949)
Birth of Son Ernest Farnham(1909–1991) 1909 • Quebec
Birth of Son Peter James Farnham(1911–1911) 16 Fév 1911
Residence 1911 • Montreal Ste Marie, Quebec, Canada
Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Épouse
Death of Son Peter James Farnham(1911–1911)
Birth of Daughter Elizabeth Rose Farnham(1912–1983) abt 1912 • Quebec
Birth of Daughter Mary Lucy Farnham(1913–) abt 1913 • Quebec
Birth of Son James William Farnham(1914–1985) 14-11-1914 • Montréal
Birth of Daughter Violet Mary Farnham(1917–1995) 29 Sep 1917 • Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Residence 1 Jun 1921 • Ste-Marie, Montreal (Ste Marie), Quebec, Canada
Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Épouse
Death of Husband William James Farnham(1885–1949) 09-05-1949
ADELAIDE also ended up in a children's home. There is an
entry in the 1911 census where she is described as an inmate at Nazareth
House Haddocks Hill Road Bexhill . It was a children's home for those who
were destitute or orphaned
Name: Adelaide Tennant
Age in 1911: 15 Estimated Birth Year: abt 1896
Relation to Head: Inmate Gender: Female Birth Place: Sheffield
Civil Parish: Bexhill County/Island: Sussex Country: England Street address: Nazareth House Haddocks Hill Road Bexhill
Marital Status: Single Occupation: school Registration district: Battle Registration District Number: 70 Sub-registration district: Bexhill ED, institution, or vessel: 18-19 Piece: 4788
The next reference is 33 years later when ADELAIDE gets
married at the age of 47
Name: Adelaide Tennant
Spouse Surname: Webster (Albert E webster)
Date of Registration: Apr-May-Jun 1943
Registration district: Sheffield
Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding Volume Number: 9c Page Number: 1285
And finally there is a reference to her death in Sheffield in the June quarter of 1973
Adelaide Webster born 12 Oct 1896 died June quarter of 1973 Volume 2d page 519. She is buried in Sheffield's City Road Cemetery. She is also in a public grave alongside 17 other persons
WEBSTER, Adelaide (Widow, age 76). Died at 25 Kyle Close (Southey Green); Buried on June 18, 1973 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 8102, Section U of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield Plot Owner: ~ ~ of ~. Page No 108
The Arthur Tennant mentioned in the court reports was christened as JAMES ARTHUR TENNANT. He was born in the march quarter of 1889 and so would have been 11 years of age in 1900
Births Mar 1889 Tennant James Arthur Ecclesall Bierlow. Volume 9c Page 362.
To date I have no further information on James.
And finally what became of the couple who were the instigators of this tragedy. After serving their prison sentences for child neglect, they must have got together again. The 1911 Census shows the couple living at a three roomed hovel. The census reveals that they had been married for 32 years and had eleven children. Only three were still living - Rose, Adelaide and James but not with them.
But before the year was out, the father JAMES was dead. This is his burial record from Sheffield's Burngreave Cemetery
TENNANT, James (, age 55).
Died at Sheffield Union; Buried on December 11, 1911 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 9, Section P2 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield. Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister,L E Day: Removed from St Cuthberts Parish.
As for ANNIE TENNANT it is a bit of a mystery. I cannot find her death registered in the years following 1911. However there is a marriage registered in Sheffield in the March quarter of 1920
Surname First name(s) Spouse District Vol Page
Marriages Mar 1920
Gregory John H Tennant Sheffield 9c 1001
Tennant Annie E Gregory Sheffield 9c 1001
When she died in 1926 her age was given in the burial record as being 65. This would certainly tie in with the birth registration
Births Jun 1860 quarter Godfrey Annie Emily East Retford
Volume 7b Page 6
GREGORY, Annie E (wife of John H, age 65).Died at 12 Herries Rd; Buried on January 2, 1926 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 93, Section H6 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield. Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister, Oswald C.Goold: Removed from Sheffield Parish.
Whilst researching the family I also came across the following baptism records
Tennant, Adelaide (of Highfield, born ~).Baptised June 22, 1881, by W C Hawksley at St Silas,
Gilcar. Parents name(s) are Annie Emily & James (Engine Tenter). Note: ~ Godparents: ~ :Page No 195 :Reg No 1559
Tennant, Adelaide Maria (of 1c1h Welmeadow St, born 1896-10-12). Baptised December 9, 1896, by Eugenio Gavin CM at St Vincents, Sheffield Centre. Parents name(s) are Annae Godfrey & Jacobi (). Note: Godparents: ~ ~ Sarah Birch :Page No 195 :Reg No
Tennant, Ernest (of 5 Copper St, born 1899-07-21). Baptised August 9, 1899, by Jacobo B Rooney at St Vincents, Sheffield Centre. Parents name(s) are Annae Emeliae ~ & Jacobi (). Note: Godparents: Antonio Pelligrini Louisa Pelligrini. :Page No 10 :Reg No
Tennant, Maria Dorothea (of 11ct 1h Bailey St, born 1901-10-25). Baptised January 26, 1902, by Francisco Van Neste at St Maries, Sheffield Centre. Parents name(s) are Annae Godfrey & Jacobi (). Note: Godparents: ~ ~ Helena Mitchell :Page No 695 :Reg No
The last baptism is interesting inasmuch as it shows them living at 11ct Bailey Street Sheffield. There is a burial record for a DORIS TENNANT
Tennant, Doris (Child, age 3). Died at 11ct Bailey St; Buried on December 7, 1904 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 17705, Section CC of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield. Remarks: .Plot Owner: ~ ~ of ~. Page No 1685
Like her siblings she is buried in a public grave with 30 others.
And the address given for Adelaide Maria's baptism in 1896 ties in with another burial record
Tennant, Lily (Child, age 7months).Died at 2ct Wellmeadow St; Buried on July 20, 1895 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 10630, Section W of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.: . Remarks:. Plot Owner: ~ ~ of ~. Page No 899
Lily shares a public grave with 25 others
The FIRST Adelaide who was born and christened in 1881 also died that year. She is buried in a public grave in Sheffield's General Cemetery
Deaths Sep 1881 Tennant Adelaide 0 Ecclesall Bierlow.
Volume 9c Page 178
Adelaide TENNANT Daughter of James Tennant, Silversmith, 121 Clarence Street age: 3m, buried: 28 Aug 1881
burial no: 23515 grave no: J 20 death date: 24 Aug 1881 burial date: 28 Aug 1881 name: Adelaide Tennant
cause of death:
description: Daughter of James Tennant, Silversmith
residence: 121 Clarence Street
minister: Thomas S. King
burial type: unconsecrated
The term silversmith is misleading. In the 1881 Census taken earlier that year a "married" JAMES TENNANT, living with his parents on Harwood Street in the Highfields district of Sheffield, is described as a "silversmith brazier". Not as skilled as a silversmith by any means. His wife ANNIE TENNANT is living with her parents BENTLEY and MARY GODFREY at 121 Clarence Street and would have been pregnant at the time of the census.
Sheffield and Rorherham Independent 18th & 20th July 1900
Sheffield and Rorherham Independent 10th August 1900
Wakefield Admissions Book
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