LEE, Redbourn, 1840

September 2001

Pam Dollimore of Toronto, Canada, says: I have a death certificate dated Feb. 9, 1840 Redbourn that reads "John Lee aged 32 (born 1808) Labourer, killed by John Lee, Verdict Manslaughter." How would I know which John Lee was killed? From the Redbourn parish records, there were two that I know of at the time: John Lee b Jan. 3 1808 s/o Thomas Lee & Mary; and John Lee b Dec. 2, 1810 s/o William Lee & Mary.  Perhaps there were other John Lee's from other sources.

Also who did the crime? There were many John Lee's some of which are John Lea c May 13, 1804 s/o John Lee & Sarah; John Lea c Mar. 24, 1822 s/o John Lee & Ann or perhaps John Lee married to Mary Palmer 1830. Was there a write up in the local newspaper, or a write up anywhere.  Which John Lee went missing?
Do you have any information available to you that I don't have, or does any reader know the answer?

While we know the age of the John Lee who died we don't know the age of the one who killed him - which really opens up the possibilities. (Knowing how names run in the family it could have involved father and son.) The only John Lee in Redbourn at the time of the 1851 census was John Lea (57, agricultural labourer) living at the Common with his wife Mary (54, plaiter), and unmarried children Mary (20, plaiter), Hannah (18, plaiter) and James (13, farm boy) - all born at Redbourn,

I rarely get to Hertford (about 70 miles away there and back) but on Tuesday I had the chance to look in at HALS  for a couple of hours to sort out a list of things, including your query. Unfortunately there is no relevant reference to John Lee in the printed calendars of court records. They do not have copies of the "Hertfordshire Mercury" for the relevant but they do have the "The Reformer and Herts, Beds, Bucks, Essex, Cambridge and Middlesex Advertiser" where most of the "local" news comes from Hertfordshire and much of the rest from Bedfordshire. Parts of it were quite difficult to read, but I could not see any references to the inquest in February 1840 - or in fact to Redbourn. Not a good omen - but you could approach HALS for a more thorough look.

We don't know whether the John Lee who was killed was married - but if so you might find his widow with young children in the 1841 census - so a check of the microfilm could also help you with other Lees in the area.

If you can add to the information given above tell me.