CHAPMAN, St Albans, 1849

September 2001

Beverley Garry (bevgarry @t of Five Dock, Sydney. Australia writes: I have found in London Times that my g.g.grandfather's brother, Rev. Charles Chapman, committed suicide "at his sister's home in St. Albans." on 15th March, 1849.  I would very much like to know if the sister was Mrs. Sophia Kennard - if not who?  Also was there much written about this event in the local newspaper of the day?  I would be very grateful for any information.

There is no-one called Kennard listed in the 1851 census transcript for St Albans - or the list of voters in the 1847 election (relatively well-to-do men only) or the 1850 Post office Directory (well-to-do and traders).

Your best bet would be to buy the Rev. Charles Chapman's death certificate from HALS, which, I would expect, includes the address where he died. One might then be able to identify who was living there from other records. Unfortunately I don't think that the Coroner's report will have survived - but you could check with HALS to make certain.

Obviously the suicide of a minister (of the Church of England?) is likely to be reported in The Times but quite often they merely reprinted the original report - and if this happened the name of the local paper would have been printed at the bottom of the news article. Unfortunately most local newspapers only really got going after the abolition of stamp duty in 1855, which is when the St Albans based newspaper, the Herts Advertiser started. The paper most likely to have an account of the Rev. Charles Chapman's inquest would be the Hertfordshire Mercury - which is available at HALS - and the British Library's Newspaper Library at Collindale. (Unfortunately I don't think newspaper microfilms are usually available through the LDS Family History Centres.)

There is a web page for St Albans

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


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