Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Prison Governor's Letter

Not all the documents we are cataloguing relate to prisoners. Epiphany 1857 contains a very sad letter written by the current governor of Bedford Prison, Robert Evans Roberts.  Roberts, originally from Kent,  took over as Governor in 1853 and remained there for over 30 years.

The letter requested the court excuse his absence at the Epiphany Quarter Session of the Peace due to the recent death of his eldest daughter and the current ill heath of his second child.  It appears his daughter, Elizabeth Janet, died soon after her elder sister Catherine Mary.  The Quarter Session Minutes book gives mention to the outbreak of scarlet fever at the Governors house, and permission was granted by the court to whitewash the house. 

Only 8 years later, Roberts lost his wife Mary Ann. By the 1871 census, his remaining child, a boy named after his father, was living up in Hull with his town clerk uncle. Robert George Roberts later followed in his fathers footsteps, becoming a prison warden in Lancashire.  Robert Evans Roberts went on to  remarry soon after the death of Mary Ann.  He and his new wife, a rather younger lady by the name of Adelaide, stayed in Bedford and went on to have both sons and daughters.


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