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TIDYMAN, Samuel

Samuel’s birth was registered in the 1st Q Croydon District in 1867, but most likely he was actually born in 1866 although we have no baptism to be certain of the exact date. He was born in Merton, Surrey one of only two children born to Samuel and Sarah Tidyman nee. Cook. Samuel snr was born in 1836 in Essex and Sarah in 1839 in Suffolk.

In the 1861c Samuel is seen as a lodger in the Cook household in Somersham, Suffolk, they married in Ipswich in 3rd Q 1862. No births can be identified prior to Samuel Jr’s arrival in 1866 in Merton, Surrey.

16 Oct 1869
Illust’d Police News

In 1869 drama overtakes the family when Samuel and a man called James Winter appear at the Old Bailey on 25 Oct 1869 accused of, “feloniously administering to a Samuel Tidyman a certain poison with intent to kill him” but no evidence was given and they were found not guilty.

  1. SAMUEL TIDYMAN (34), and JAMES WINTER (32) , Feloniously administering to one Samuel Tidyman, a certain poison, with intent to kill and murder him.

MR. RIBTON, for the Prosecution, offered no evidence. NOT GUILTY.

Could this have been a case of young Samuel suffering an Epileptic fit which went unrecognised by the Doctor?

Sarah and Samuel appear to have been reconciled as in the 1871c the family is living at 11, Inkerman Terrace, Enfield, Samuel Snr is said to be the ’Foreman in a coal business’.
Samuel and Sarah’s second child, Caroline, is born in 1871, according to the 1939 register her DOB was 15th August.

1871 census

Sadly, in April 1876 Samuel snr died and is buried in the Parish of St James, Enfield, he was just 40 years old.

Asylum Life

At the time of the 1881c Samuel had entered ‘Fisherton House Asylum’ on 27th July 1887, in Salisbury, Wiltshire. He is discharged from there on 28 June 1892 and admitted to Cane Hill Asylum in Coulsdon, Surrey where he stayed until 19 Feb 1900.

Admitted 27 July 1887 – Discharged (Rel’d) 28 June 1892
Admitted 28 June 1892 – Discharged (Not Improved) 19 Feb 1900

He is then sent to Horton Asylum, Epsom. One likely reference to him is found in the 1901c for ‘The Manor, Horton’. Reading ‘ST’, b.Merton.

Admitted 19 Feb 1900 – Discharged (Not Improved) 3 Mar 1902

He appears to have been discharged on 3 Mar 1902 but immediately readmitted to Horton where he remained until 24 Oct 1903. Each time Samuel was discharged he is shown a ‘relieved’ or ‘not improved’. The 1903 records are not available online and so we cannot tell where he went.

Admitted 3 Mar 1902 – Discharged (Rel’d) 24 Oct 1903

By the time of the 1911c Samuel is in the Epileptic Colony, Epsom, Surrey, he is 45yrs old and it says that his personal occupation was ‘Marine’, it also says he was a “lunatic from birth” which makes his occupation rather suspect.

Samuel died on 11 Nov 1912 and is buried in the Horton Cemetery, grave 1891 b.

The Epsom Cluster comprised five asylums built between 1899 and 1924. ‘The Colony’ where we find Samuel in 1911, opened in 1903 to cater for the “Epileptic insane of the Metropolis” and offered some new treatments recently available. Patients contributed to the whole of the cluster by working in some capacity in the laundry or the bakery or kitchen or outside in the garden or on the farm.

Family after Samuel

Despite much searching we can find no further records for Samuel’s mother Sarah, did she continue to call herself Tidyman or revert to her maiden name Cook, and try to make a new life for herself following all the newspaper coverage of the Old Bailey trial? Possibly she remarried after Samuels death in 1876 but no record is found, or perhaps she dies sometime after the ‘71c, no record found. She cannot be positively identified in any of the following censuses. She just disappears.

There is a possible reference to Samuels sister Caroline in the register of the ‘St George in the East Industrial School’ East Ham, using the name Cook, otherwise she cannot be found in the 81c. Caroline marries in the 3rdQ of 1888 in the Croydon Reg Dist to Joseph Cowley, bn 1860. They had five children, Ellen Caroline bn1889, Mary Elizabeth bn1890, Susannah Alice bn1897, John Joseph bn1899 and Thomas George bn 1904.

We have no confirmed death for Joseph Cowley between 1904-1910 but on the 1911c Caroline is shown to have re-married (less than 1 year,) to Alfred William Fuller, and is living in with all her children (Cowley) at the same address she shared with Joseph. She died in 1954 in the Wandsworth Reg Dist.


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