One of my hobbies these days is to find out all I can about my children's English ancestors.
When I started doing this about 15 years ago, there was little available other than birth dates, places of residence, a profession, and the family details. There might have been a marriage and a death date, but not much more.
More and more items are now available on the internet to the general public, which has cast some doubt on a few of the relatives.
For instance, John Banyer Trew, my children's ggg grandfather, lived and worked in Axbridge. He was married to Louisa and they had six children in quick succession. He was a journalist, and also operated a stationery shop. His eldest daughter, also called Louisa, married John Williams
King, and it is from their daughter, Muriel who married Harold Day, that I have much of my family
information from her letters and photo albums.
According to the Wells Journal, I find the John Trew was in court on 9 April, 1859. He summoned a Mr. John Hatch of Cluer for throwing a glass of Beer in his face, without any cause or provocation. It appears Hatch would not apologise after committing the assault, therefore, Mr Trew resolved upon having an apology before Justices, and summoned Mr. Hatch to appear at the above Sessions to answer his said offence. Mr Hatch, after being served with the process, thought it most expedient to beg Mr. Trew's acceptance of an apology and pay expenses already incurred, and pay any he, Mr. Trew, should impose, as an acknowledgment of his unjustifiable conduct, and say no more about
the matter to which proposition Mr. Trew accorded.
Not anything to be ashamed of, you might be saying. But just maybe Mr Hatch knew a bit more about Mr. Trew, and he had good reason for throwing the beer.
Here is an article from The Western Daily Press, Tuesday 18 July, 1865
A "Trew" Man, but not a "True" Husband.
John Banyon Trew of Axbridge, a highly respectable looking person, said to be connected with the profession of journalism, was charged under a warrant with assaulting his wife. Mr. Benson prosecuted and Mr. Greata defended.
The prisoner had a large note book filled with papers before him, and occupied his time during the inquiry in scribbling voluminous memorandum. Mrs. Trew, an interesting little woman, said that she
resided in Queen Square. Since March last her husband had been living with her, but previously to that date they had been separated by mutual consent. On Monday afternoon he came into the house between 2 and 3 o'clock, and asked her whether she intended to give publicity to certain treatment that had taken place before. She inquired what he meant by the question, and directly after he caught her round the throat and waist and almost strangled her. Her little girl, (aged
15) who was in the next room, heard her struggle and came in, and the prisoner, annoyed by her interference, kicked the child twice and said he would do just what he liked with the mother. Annie Sophia Trew, daughter of the prosecutrix, corroborated this statement and said that her mother was black in the face with the pressure the prisoner had put on her throat. Mr Benson had stated in his opening speech that Trew had been at one tine confined to a lunatic asylum, and had told his wife one time that if she had him before the magistrates, he could easily get out of it by a reference to that fact. By the advice of the Bench, the parties tried to arrange their differences out of court, but no agreement could be made between them. The magistrates therefore bound the prisoner over in his own recognisance of £20 to appear at the next Quarter sessions and in the meantime to keep the peace. The prisoner with some degree of "bounce" inquired the date of the session and made a very
extensive entry in his note book. Under the kind but evidently unwelcome attention of two constables, Mr. Trew retired to the office to be bound over.
That however was not the last entry I found. In the 1881 census, John Banyon Trew was a patient at the Somerset and Wells Lunatic Asylum. However when he died a few years later, he was listed as living in Axbridge, his home town.
I found that his wife went to live with her sister in London, and I can find out very little about the children, other than Louisa, our most direct relative from that family. When I first looked her up in the
census, I was surprised that she regularly was listed as living with her grandparents. I think perhaps I now know why.