From "Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper", London
Sunday, May 28, 1899




Mystery surrounds the death of Mrs. TILBURY, the young wife of a labourer and corporal of militia, who was found drowned in the Regent's-canal at Uxbridge on Tuesday, after a quarrel with her husband.

At a quarter to 10 o'clock at night a woman's screams were heard coming apparently from the canal, and several people at once ran to the spot, and were just in time to see the last air bubbles in the water after the woman's body had sunk for the third time. A man named FERRYMAN works for Messrs. OSBORNE and STEVENS, timber merchants, whose wharf and premises are on the opposite bank of the canal. He dived in, and brought the body to the bank, life being then extinct. No one in the town could be found to identify the body, but persons who had heard of the tragic discovery thought the victim was a woman who had been noticed walking through High-street in company of a corporal in a regiment of Militia. Among those who had gathered round was a Mrs. EMMETT, who lives at Colham green, and goes charing over to Uxbridge every day. She had some important information to give. She had seen the woman and a militiaman walking in front of her, and as it was a lonely way to Colham, she followed behind, thinking she would have company on her way home. The woman and her companion were quarrelling all the way down High-street, and when they got to Denham-bridge she was much surprised to see them turn down the slope to the towing-path of the canal and go under the bridge. Just before they got there the man snatched a small parcel from the woman, and a few minutes afterwards she heard her screaming.

In the meantime the militiaman went to the railway station booking-office and asked the clerk if he would grant him a free pass to enable him to join his regiment, encamped at Buckingham. The clerk informed him he could not do so, and he then left and made an application at the police office, but without result, and the applicant then left. Inspector BROWNSCOMBE put himself in communication with Scotland-yard, and it was ascertained that the missing militiaman was Corporal TILBURY.

Further inquiries show that TILBURY obtained two days' leave from his regiment, Whit Sunday and Monday, for the purpose of visiting his wife, who resides with her aunt, doing laundry work at Colham green. Her maiden name was BARLOW, and her friends live at the Half Acre, Brentford. TILBURY was a labourer, and she was married to him about two and a half years ago. She, however, at times had given way to drink, and consequently they had not always lived happily together. It is also stated that during his absence for drill he though he had reason to be jealous of his wife. On his visit to her at Colham green they were drinking together on Monday evening at a public-house, and afterwards in a quarrel he struck at his wife, but missed her. Then on the Tuesday they walked to Uxbridge, where they had more drink, and more quarrelling ensued on their homeward journey.

The first reports of foul play obtained general credance, until it transpired that the woman had been heard to threaten to commit suicide. A girl about 13 years old, named Ethel SHERWIN, heard this threat distinctly. She is the daughter of a dairyman who resides in High-street, and she said to a Lloyd's reporter:— "I was out near our own door playing with some other girls, and I heard the militiaman and the woman quarrelling as they went past. I did not hear the man say anything, but I heard the woman say, 'I will go and drown myself.' I thought at first," continued the girl, "I would follow them down as far as the water to see if she would jump in, but I got frightened and thought I had better not, and so I turned back."

The spot where Mrs. TILBURY met her death in so mysterious and tragic a manner is right opposite the Swan and Bottle public-house, a well-known cyclists' rest, the whole surroundings of which, with the fishing waters of the river Colne close adjacent, are picturesque in the extreme. The canal just here is very deep and narrow, being bricked up on one side and boarded up on the other, so that there is no rising slope as at other places, where a person in the water could manage to walk out.


Yesterday Charles George TILBURY, aged 20, a labourer, and militiaman, was brought up at the town hall, Uxbridge, before Mr. H. WOODBRIDGE, J.P., charged with wilfully drowning his wife, Rosetta TILBURY, aged 20, by throwing her into the Grand Junction canal on the night of May 23. — Inspector CUTHBERT, Inspector BROWNSCOMBE, and Detective-inspector SCOTT, watched the case on the part of the Commissioner of Police.

William PERRYMAN, aged 45, an old soldier, and now a painter, stated that on Tuesday night he heard a scream, but as he did not attach much importance to it he at first took no notice. Some little time afterwards he lighted his pipe and went for a stroll over the canal bridge, and on looking into the water he thought he saw something moving. About that time two young men came up, who also had heard the scream. One of them struck a match, and said he thought he saw a face in the water. Witness then pulled off his clothes, and jumped in to search, but at first laid hold of nothing but weeds. After another dive he came across a body, and brought it up, and the men standing by got it ashore.

Barbara Elizabeth EMMETT, a married woman, deposed to seeing the prisoner and his wife quarrelling on the canal bridge between seven and eight o'clock at night, and at that time they were struggling together.

Detective-inspector SCOTT proved arresting the prisoner outside the Militia canteen at Buckingham on Thursday. He told him that he was a police officer, and that he had come to take him into custody on the charge of drowning his wife. The prisoner replied, "Yes," and he then took him to London for the night.

At this stage the case was remanded for a week.


The inquest on Mrs. TILBURY was held yesterday at Uxbridge town hall before Mr. Deputy-coroner KEMP. The accused man was present in court.

Mrs. Eunice TILBURY, of Field-heath, Hillingdon, stated that she was called aunt by the deceased and by her husband, but whether she was aunt or not she could not say; but she supposed she was. She last saw the deceased between nine and ten p.m. on Monday. She had been living with her nine days, and the prisoner had lived at her house four days previous to his being called up to join his regiment at Buckingham. They had been married about two years, but lived on very bad terms, and were always quarrelling, and the deceased used to tell her that her husband often ill-used her when witness was out. On Monday night deceased told her that her husband had been beating her again, and she showed her two bruises which she said he had caused, on her face and on the side of her head. When the wife complained to witness the husband made no reply, but only hung his head. Mrs. TILBURY then went out of the house, and she refused to come in, saying she knew her husband would murder her. She did not come in that night, and the husband also went out. On the Tuesday morning he came back to her house, and asked her to let him come in, but she would not. He then asked for his clothes, and she threw them down to him.

The coroner here produced a knife and asked witness whether she knew anything about it. — Witness: Yes. He threatened her once in my presence, and said, "If I do find her I have something in my pocket, and I will run it through her." This took place, said witness, on April 18. — Witness said to him "For goodness sake do not let her come to that death." She begged him so hard not to do it that at last he said he would think better of it and not do it. Some time after that she saw him sharpening the knife, and she inquired, "What are you sharpening that knife for? Are you going to commit suicide?" He laughed and answered, "No; but I shall want to cut the bull beef when I go to drill."

William PERRYMAN repeated in substance the evidence he gave before the magistrates.

Arthur SPENCER, 42, High-street, also gave evidence as to the recovery of the body.

Francis CULLUM, a goods clerk, said he saw the man and woman quarrelling on the bridge.

Charles LANGTON recognised TILBURY as a man he saw with deceased on Tuesday night.

Annie COOK, of the Dell, Cowley, deposed that deceased told her she went in fear of her life, and meant to have a separation from her husband.

Mrs. Barbara Elizabeth EMMETT said that while she was in the town on Tuesday she saw the prisoner snatch a parcel off the woman. They had hold of one another's necks, and the woman screamed. She again saw them at about 20 minutes to 10 as she was going home.

Dr. FERRIS said he found two bruises on the deceased's arms, but death was due to asphyxia through drowning. The organs were healthy with the exception of the liver.

The accused having declined to give evidence or make any statement at this stage, the jury found "That the deceased met her death by drowning, but that there was not sufficient evidence to show how she got into the water."

During the inquest a married sister of the prisoner was in court, evidently in great distress. At the close of the proceedings she was sobbing bitterly, and begged very hard to have an interview sith her only brother. After a time she was allowed to see him at the police station, but no conversation was permitted. When she came out she expressed complete confidence in her brother's innocence. He first met the girl he married at High Wycombe, and it was a youthful match, for neither bride nor bridegroom was more than 19. The deceased's father and mother were separated, and she did not know where they were. Her father was a chair turner at Buckingham.

From "The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post"
Wednesday, June 7, 1899


At Uxbridge yesterday the magisterial investigation was continued of the charge of wife murder preferred against Charles George TILBURY, corporal in the Bucks Militia. After a five hour sitting during which the accused was in the box for a considerable time, the Bench decided that there was no evidence upon which a jury would convict, and accordingly dismissed the charge against him. At the inquest held last week on the body of the woman, who was found drowned in the canal, the jury came to the conlusion that there was no evidence connecting TILBURY with the facts and time of his wife's death.

From "The Illustrated Police News"
Saturday, June 17, 1899


The final proceedings in the case of Private Charles George TILBURY, accused of the murder of his wife by throwing her into the Grand Junction Canal on May 23, ended at Uxbridge in his discharge.

Corporal BRIDEN said that when the prisoner got back to camp at Buckingham on May 24 he (witness) told him that his wife had been drowned and asked him if he had done it. The prisoner replied, "No: I left her at the Dog and Duck, a public-house some distance away from the canal." He seemed astonished when he heard of his wife's death.

A long, loving letter, dated May 18, from the deceased woman to her husband was then read in court.

Another letter, written on the Thursday or the Friday following his wife's death, from the prisoner to his aunt, was also read. In this letter the accused said:

"I hope and trust that Rose came home quite safe on Thursday night. I saw her in Uxbridge and she went with me as far as the Dog and Duck. Do write and tell me if she is at your place all right. ... Give my love to my dear Rose if she is there."

The prisoner gave evidence in his own defence and said that his wife had frequently atempted to take her life. On one occasion she got down a bottle of poison and he just preventd her from taking it.

The Bench decided that there was no evidence upon which a jury would convict and the prisoner was accordingly discharged.

In some other newspapers it was reported that Rosetta TILBURY had lived for an hour after being taken from the canal, that there was blood on her body and on the cannal-side; however, the above would seem to be the correct versions. The event was widely reported.

From FreeBMD, Censuses, IGI, Family:

Charles George TILBURY b. 24 November 1878 Apsley End, Hertford, reg. 1Q 1879 (Watford 3a/459)
[Son of Benjamin TILBURY of Little Missenden & Charlotte HALSEY]

William BARLOW
m. Rosetta FAWKS 4Q 1879 (Wycombe 3a/833)

1881: lvg. Two Waters, Hemel Hempstead, Hertford
Benjamin* TILBURY Head age 28 b. Holme Green, Buckingham (Chair Turner)
Charlotte TILBURY Wife age 29 b. Chesham, Buckingham
- Sophia TILBURY Daur age 8 b. Holme Green, Buckingham (Scholar)
- Sarah TILBURY Daur age 5 b. Holme Green, Buckingham (Scholar)
- Charlie TILBURY Son age 2 b. Watford, Buckingham (Scholar)
- Mildred TILBURY Daur age 1mth b. Two Waters, Hertford

1881: lvg. Kings Head Yard, Wycombe, Buckingham
William BARLOW Head age 24 b. Wycombe, Buckingham (Sweep)
Rosetta BARLOW Wife age 20 b. Wycombe, Buckingham
- Rosetta BARLOW Daur age 1 b. Wycombe, Buckingham

1891: lvg. Hillingdon, Middlesex
Richard** TILBURY b. c.1837 Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire (Head, spouse of Eunice)
Eunice TILBURY b. c.1833 ___, Hampshire (Wife of Richard)
- Charles TILBURY b. c.1875 ___, Berkshire
- Joseph TILBURY b. c.1875 Ireland

Mrs. Eunice TILBURY's doubt as to whether or not she was the couple's aunt, seems to be justified. If there was nonetheless a relationship, since her husband Richard was b. Little Missenden, then he was probably Charles George TILBURY's great-uncle.
*   Charles George's father Benjamin was the son of Henry + Mary Ann, grandson of Richard + Elizabeth PUDDIFOOT, great-grandson of Esau + Esther HUSSEY.
** Eunice's husband Richard was probably the son of Joseph + Mary EVANS, grandson of Esau + Esther HUSSEY.

m. Rosetta BARLOW 4Q 1898 (Brentford 3a/286)

Rosetta TILBURY d. 2Q 1899 age 22 (Uxbridge 3a/22)

Why did Charles George TILBURY, apparently known to his family as 'Charlie' - marry as 'George TILBURY'? This was not mentioned in the press reports. Rosetta died less than nine months after marriage; according to the report, Eunice TILBURY stated that the couple had been married for two years. What happened to the parcel which her husband snatched from Rosetta - what did it contain? Contemporary reported inquiries into other deaths seem very painstaking and thorough; do the surviving reports reflect real circumstances?

What happened to Charles George TILBURY after the event? No obvious candidate in 1901?

Eunice is an infrequent name amongst 19th century TILBURYs. None seems visible in the 1901 census despite these:

Eunice Elizabeth TILBURY b. 4Q 1894 (Uxbridge 3a/40)

Eunice TILBURY d. 2Q 1914 age 84 (Uxbridge 3a/43)

m. Bertie J. COLLINGS 1Q 1920 (St.Germans 5c/82) [Cornwall]

Little Missenden Signpost
Bucks Tilbury BMD (including Esau & Esther)
Bucks Bulletin No. 2 (including Esaus's ancestors)
' Tilberia '         Guestbook