From the London Times, 11 Dec 1900, page 14






            Mr. BARNARD applied that both suits should be tried together, as the respondent in both cases was the same person.

            The Respondent.---I am here, and I ask to be heard.

            The PRESIDENT.---I give you leave to appear, but not to put in an answer.

            Mr. BARNARD said that in the first case the petitioner was Mrs. Clara Anne Tinling, formerly Burfield (widow), who sought for the dissolution of her marriage with Charles Evelyn Tinling on the ground of his adultery and bigamy.  In the second case Mrs. Elizabeth Inez Tinling-Taylor, otherwise Weizel, sought for a decree of nullity of marriage on the ground that at the time she went through a form of marriage with Charles Clarence Widdrington Tinling-Taylor his wife, Clara Anne Tinling, was alive.  On September 17, 1890, Mrs. Tinling had been married to the respondent at St. Peter’s Parish Church, Brighton.  At that time the lady was in receipt of a pension from the Artists’ Fund for the benefit of her three children, her former husband having been an artist.  The respondent had told her that he was a bachelor and a man of wealth, and that he would provide handsomely for her and her children.  Immediately after the marriage, however, the respondent proceeded to sell the lady’s furniture and put the money in his own pocket, and he also disposed of a small reversion she possessed in the same manner.  In 1891 he took his wife to the United States, but on his return to England in August of that year he practically by his cruelty drove her and her children out of his house at Forest-hill.  During the whole time he never suggested to her that he had been married before, and it was only in April, 1900, that the lady heard that the respondent had subsequently married Mrs. Tinling-Taylor.  The two ladies then met by appointment at the Lambeth Police-court where the respondent was being charged with illegal pawning, and both ladies identified him as their “husband”.  The respondent was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, and while in prison he made a statement to the effect that he had been married in 1876 to a lady in America who had died between the years 1892 and 1896.  Even if this story was true Mrs. Tinling was entitled to a decree of nullity, but as no reliance could be placed on this man’s word she was content to ask for a divorce on the ground of his adultery and bigamy.  However, should any question arise, all the papers were at the disposition of the Queen’s Proctor.  With regard to the Tinling-Taylor suit, the respondent told that lady that he had been a widower for 11 years, and that his wife and child had died in Peru in the year 1884, after 11 months of happy married life, and he married the second petitioner on July 7, 1896, at St. George’s Church, Bloomsbury.

            Mrs. Clara Anne Tinling was called, and said the respondent had always treated her with great brutality.  In August, 1891, she came up to London to consult a solicitor as to a separation deed, and on her return home the respondent turned her and her children out of doors.  She had only heard of the alleged marriage in 1876 since this suit had commenced.

            Cross-examined by the respondent.---She had never told him that she had £1,000, and he had never paid any rent for her in his life.

            Mrs. Elizabeth Inez Tinling-Taylor said she had married the respondent in the belief that he was a widower.  He had treated her with great cruelty at times.

            Cross-examined by the respondent.---She had never told him that she had been married before, or that she had lived with any gentleman as his wife.

            Mr. Edward Dorder Reeks and the Rev. Wentworth Francis Shields produced the registers from Brighton and Bloomsbury containing the entries relating to the marriages.  The respondent’s signature in each entry was identified by each of the wives as that of her husband.

            The PRESIDENT,---I consider that both cases are established.

            The respondent,---I wish to give evidence on oath.

            The PRESIDENT,---You cannot do that, but you may make a statement.

            The respondent then made a long statement to the effect that on April 26, 1876, he had married a lady named Lucinia Petre, at Quincy, in Illinois, U.S.A.  The following October he was compelled to go on business to South America.  In May, 1877, he received a letter from his mother-in-law informing him that his wife had died in childbirth the previous March.  In 1879 he came to England, and between that date and the year 1890 he traveled about chiefly in the West Indies, on one occasion being shipwrecked and washed ashore with nothing but a pair of drawers to cover him.  In May, 1890, he returned to England, and, believing his first wife to be dead, married Mrs. Burfield in September of that year.  She left him after consulting a firm of solicitors, and he then went to America, where he discovered that his first wife was alive.  He then wrote and informed his second wife that their marriage was illegal and that she was free.  In 1893 he returned to England, having “by request” assumed the name of Tinling-Taylor, and in that year he heard from his step-brother-in-law that his first wife had died in Peru in 1892.  This statement was verified by official documents, which he had since lost.  Believing that his second marriage was illegal, and that his first wife was really dead, he married for the third time, and he verily believed that lady to be his lawful wedded wife.

            The PRESIDENT,---If there is anything in your story, you will have to tell it elsewhere.  At present all I have to do is to dissolve the Tinling marriage on the ground of bigamy and adultery, and to declare the Tinling-Taylor marriage null and void, on the ground of bigamy.

            Decrees nisi accordingly, with costs.


[Transcribed 5 Jan 2002.]