Monday, November 4, 2013

The "Missing" Lunatics of Harpenden Hall


Two years ago I launched an Xmas "Competition" to identify the mentally ill patients who were resident in Harpenden Hall in the 1851-1901 censuses. The results were very satisfactory but there were five patients, listed only by initials, who could not identified.

At the HALH meeting last Saturday I discovered that Gary Moyle, of HALS, has contributed a chapter  Madhouses of Hertfordshire 1735-1903 in the newly published book A Caring County? Social Welfare in Hertfordshire from 1600 [review planned]. Gary's chapter includes a list of the known patients at Harpenden Hall and this has allowed me to put names to the initials of these five "missing" patients. They were: 

From the 1851 census
H P = Henry Pigott [1850-1853 - died of epilepsy] Unmarried, 35, Formerly Stock Brokers Clerk, St Albans, Herts
From the 1891 Census
S, E  =  Eliza Slack [1890-1891] Widow, 56, Widow Of Solicitor
C, E  =  Ellen Mary Crump [1888-1893] Widow, 31, Daughter Of Solicitor, London, Primrose Hill Rd
B, E E A  =  Ellen Annette Eliza Bertlin [1889-1891] Widow, 27, Daughter Of Merchants Widow, Hampstead, London
A, R C  =  Rosa Clemence Ashwell  [1890-1896] Widow, 50, Daughter Of Clergyman C Of E, Wales

The dates are the dates the patient was in the asylum, and it turns out that some of the initials were mis-transcribed. If you can expand on any of the above, linking them to their families, etc, I can include the additional information when I update the existing list of "census" patients next month.


  1. Anthony has sent the following possible identifications of the missing patients - which I will add to the file on the main page when I have time. The only patient still not identified is Eliza Slack

    1. Ellen Annette Eliza Bertlin was born 25 July and baptized 26 August 1863 at Hampstead St. Saviour, daughter of Anthony (gentleman) and Eliza Ann Bertlin, 20 Park Road, Haverstock Hill. Her father was born in Sicily and was a naturalized British subject (census). She died 22 February 1919 at Nightingale Nursing Home Derby Effects £4414 10s 6d. There are pictures of the building on the net. She was living at Hampstead with her parents in 1881 and her mother in 1901. In 1911 she is with Adeline N. Snell at 90 Harvard Court NW. Relationship unclear as she is shown as "co-head." It seems her stay with the Rumballs was brief and that she was well enough to live with family; there is no indication that the nursing home where she died was a mental care facility.

    2. Ellen Mary Crump was the daughter not the widow of a solicitor. She was born 13 October 1860 and baptised 31 January at St John the Baptist Kentish Town the daughter of William Alexander (solicitor's clerk) and Sarah Maria Crump. She is found with her family in 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1881; on the latter date William is a widower and the address is Rugby House, Primrose Hill Road, Hampstead. He is found there (without Ellen) in 1891 and 1901; he died there 21 December 1905. Probate was granted to Ellen's brother, Sir William John Crump, who was the first Mayor of Islington.

    3. Rosa Clemency (not Clemence) Ashwell was born Jan-Mar Q 1841 in Abergavenny RD Monmouthshire, which includes Blaenavon. She died aged 81 at Warneford Asylum Oxford and was buried 26 May 1922 at Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry. The only record found between these dates is as a visitor in the household of Annie Barker (independent) at Bath; her birthplace is here given as Blaenavon. This fits so well that I think we can dismiss her being a widow.
      It may be mere coincidence but the Managing Director of Blaenavon Ironworks at the time of her birth was James Ashwell from Notts.

    4. If you can accept the spelling in the register of deaths we have:
      Henry Piggott baptized 2 August 1815 at St Albans son of Isaac (attorney at law) and Elizabeth of Abbey Parish. In 1841 Elizabeth is found with Henry and two daughters in London Road St Albans; all are Independent. I did not find a burial record but Findmypast is still transcribing. Henry probably was not buried at Harpenden as there is no MI.

  2. This is very knowledge full information, Thanks for sharing.
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