Inherited Craziness
A place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Monday, 15 August 2022

Beatrice Margaret Hockley

Former police station, Great Dunmow
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Robin Webster - geograph.org.uk/p/4309467
The police station was erected in 1842 and was claimed to be the oldest police station in Essex.

The following report appeared in the Essex Newsman, of 31 Oct 1903:

A Policeman Summoned At Dunmow

Case Dismissed Through Lack of Corroboration

At Dunmow Petty Session on Monday, Sydney Robert Page, a police constable, stationed at Great Stambridge, and formerly at Dunmow, was summoned by Beatrice Margaret Hockley, a domestic servant of High Roding, to show cause, etc. Mr J. W. Nutt appeared for the complainant and Mr B L Ackland for the defendant.

Mr Nutt said that before this fall the applicant had an unblemished character. The child, which was born on Sept 28, 1902, was now out to nurse at 5s a week.

The applicant, who had a baby in her arms, said she had known defendant since the summer of 1901. During the time she was in Mrs Byatt's service, the defendant used to come round after her. On one occasion when she was standing at the shop door Page came across the road, in the evening time, and said, "I am going to kiss my girl," and did so in the presence of Mrs Byatt. He was often round there. In November, 1901, she left Mrs Byatt's and went into the service of Miss Gibbons, at Down House, Dunmow. The defendant also followed her there. On January 3, 1902, Miss May Gibbons told her not to talk so much to the policeman. On December 23, 1901, Page came between ten and eleven o'clock at night and took advantage of her. On January 3, 1902, he repeated his conduct. In April, the night before she left Dunmow, she told Page of her condition. He replied that he had a little money, but not much, and that he was going up to London to join the Metropolitan Police. She went to live with her aunt at Bromley, and from there, on August 7, 1903, she wrote:

Dear Mr Page, I now write these few lines to you to ask if you intend to pay for your child without being made to do so? I think it cruel and shameful, the way you have treated me. I am shortly coming down to Dunmow to take out a summons against you for the maintenance of your child. Why I have not done so before is, as I have told you, because I do not wish to expose you, but why should I shield you while you treat me as you do? It is now time for me to begin to think what is to become of my poor child and of her future prospects. If you had been an ordinary man, instead of a policeman, I should have taken proceedings against you long ago, but you being a policeman I was afraid it might go against you, but I wish you no ill. You have never helped me and I think it time to help myself. I am very sorry that such a thing should ever have occurred, but everyone is apt to do wrong at times, but the least you could do now is to help keep your child, without it having to be made public. I remain, yours etc. B Hockley

A large number of other letters from the girl to the defendant were read. In one she said, "I have begun to like you rather". Again, so as to stop "the talk" she told someone in Dunmow "the talk about you and me is not true". On the day before she went into Bromley Infirmary she wrote, "I know I am not perfect, but you might have done worse than marry me." After the child was born, she wrote, "She is a sweet, pretty baby", and later, "It is no use for you to say the child does not belong to you, because it is exactly like you, and that is the proof." Letters from Page in reply were read, in one of which he wrote: "I am not in the habit of writing to anyone except my friends, and if I receive any more letters from you I shall return them unopened." Page afterwards wrote that he was surprised at the charge, which he described as unfounded.

The defendant, who had been subpoenaed by the complainant, totally denied the charge, or that he had been intimate with her.

Mr Nutt stated that Miss Gibbons, whom he intended to call to give evidence, was unwell, and he could not call her.

Mr Acland said that never in his life had he been called upon to take part in a case where the evidence was so absolutely uncorroborated as in this. If an order were made against Page no single man in the country would be safe.

After the Bench had retired, the Chairman (the Rev. G M Wilson) said The Justices fail to find any corroborative evidence in the case, and the charge against Page is dismissed.
We'll never know for sure, but while I agree there isn't the level of evidence required by the court, Beatrice's tone is mature and reasonable and I cannot see any reason to disbelieve her story, while Page will inevitably have known or been advised to just deny everything, because it was up to her to provide proof. 
  1. Beatrice Margaret Hockley, daughter of Daniel Hockley and Sarah Skinner.
  2. Sydney Robert Page, b. 1875 in Hoxne, Suffolk, was the son of Arthur Page and Mary Ann Flaxman. His father, Arthur Page, in 1881, was an Inspector of Police, living at Pighete, Haverhill, Risbridge, Suffolk.
  3. In 1901, Sydney Robert Page (25) Police Constable, was a boarder in the household of Hannah Doe (62) Laundress in Church End, Great Dunmow.
  4. The lowest level of criminal courts were the Petty Sessions also known as County Magistrates Courts. In Great Dunmow, these were held in a small inconvenient room at the police station, by leave of the chief constable. 
  5. Mrs Byatt was Annie Byatt. In 1901, Beatrice Margaret, listed as Margaret, had been a Domestic servant in the household of Joseph Byatt (32) Baker and Annie Byatt (39) Bookkeeper, in the High Street, Great Dunmow.
  6. Miss Gibbons was Alice May Gibbons, who at 26 in 1901, was living on her own means, the eldest of three sisters and a brother, living in North Street, Great Dunmow. (Down House, 43, North Street, Dunmow.)
Sydney Robert Page, by the way, had married Ethel Annie Purser, on 7 Oct 1903, in Stifford and in 1911, they were living at 1 The Limes, Great Stambridge, with two sons: Arthur Sydney (6) and Edward (4), as well as Sydney's sister, Millicent E Page (33) Certificated teacher.

Sadly, I can find no further records anywhere for Beatrice Margaret Hockley.

The child she named Millicent Beatrice Hockley, b. 28 Sep 1902, reg. D Quarter in BROMLEY Volume 02A Page 495. In 1911, there was a Millicent Hockley (8) listed as an Orphan at a school in Stone Road, Broadstairs, Kent. 

Interestingly, both Millicent Beatrice Hockley, born 1902 in Dunmow, Essex and Sydney Robert Page, born 1875 in Suffolk, England, were living in the Braintree area in 1921, where Page was still living in 1939. Sydney Robert Page died, at 67, on 20 Jun 1942 and was buried at Braintree Cemetery.

Millicent Beatrice Hockley married Frederick Thomas Mace (b. 10 Jul 1907) in Hendon, Middlesex in 1937.

In 1939, Frederick T Mace, Baker, and Millicent B Mace (Sewing machinist) were living at 10 Algernon Road, Hendon. Millicent's year of birth is listed as 1907, presumably to match her husband's, but her day and month were still given as 28 Sep. At 32 in 1939, Frederick will have been within the age group to be conscripted during the war, but as someone in a job such as baking, may have been exempted. The couple don't appear to have had any children.

Frederick Thomas Mace died, in Hendon, in 1975.

Millicent Beatrice Mace died, in Hendon, in 1987. Her supposed birth year had slipped forward a further five years to 1912. She will actually have been 85.

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