33.23 – George Edwin Tinson

We’re quite often drawn to the large and obvious, sometimes the small and quiet can go unnoticed. Every plot though has at least one burial (most have several) and interesting stories can be found wherever we choose to look.

Without ordering a death certificate the cause of death for little George Edward is unknown, from the local newspaper though we can gain an insight into the family circumstances at that time. Thomas William Tinson was a house painter and he was struggling to find work, the couple had married in 1875 in Bradford (both were born in Pocklington). The children that came before George Edward were : John, William, Harriet and Eleanor. The newspaper headline (published 2nd June 1888) tells us that Thomas William Tinson is ‘A Cruel Husband’, he is charged with deserting his wife and children, we learn that ‘he had gone away and taken the wages with him’, and sadly that ‘at the time he went one of the children [George] lay dead in the house, and she [Amelia] had to get the assistance of some friends to bury it.’

Thomas was committed to prison for 2 months with hard labour, but Amelia then pleaded to the bench and instead he was then ordered to pay the money within a fortnight. The couple went on to live together in Todmorden and have 3 more children : Gertrude, Florence and Elsie.

In 1903 the family are living at Copperas-house, Walsden, Thomas William is still a painter and has been having a hard time finding work due to recently being unwell with pneumonia and pleurisy. He leaves home on 28th August 1903 and doesn’t return; Amelia doesn’t worry initially as she assumes that he’s simply left for a while to find work. Almost a week later however his body is found in the canal at Gauxholme and it’s evident that he’s been in the water for a number of days. In his clothing is a pocket book and inside amongst other notes is written ‘I have more trouble than I can bear.’ An open verdict was recorded in the end, meaning that they couldn’t be sure how and why he had entered the water.

In a move which we have not seen before in any other cases, the inquest ends with a note saying that the jurymen decided to forego their usual fees for service, and turned the money over to Amelia instead for the benefit of the family.

Thomas William is also buried at Christ Church although the exact location is unknown; he could be in the same plot as his son George, we can’t be sure. By the 1911 census Amelia has moved to Shawforth and is living there with her two daughters, Florence and Elsie.

Seemingly a very small and insignificant stone, but one that symbolises a very real family who faced their challenges in life, a family that once lived in our town and walked on the same streets as we do today.

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