The Norwich Mercury of 20th December, 1873, reported that on the 10th December, the dwellinghouse of James Chaplin, a farmer and dealer of Great Ellingham, had been broken into. The sum of £3 in gold had been stolen from a work box in a bedroom and about a quarter of a peck of apples taken from an adjoining room.
Details of the incident was given to Police Constable Everett of Rockland who arrested Mary Ann Catling, wife of a drillman, Henry Catling, of Great Ellingham. When searched, Mary Ann Catling was found to have £2 12s 6d. She was committed for trial.
Hearing at the Norfolk Quarter Sessions
The case was heard at the Norfolk Quarter Sessions held at the Shirehall, Norwich and reported in the Norfolk News of 10th January, 1874.
Mary Ann Catlin, aged 19 years, pleaded guilty to the offence.
The newspaper reported that Mary Ann’s youth, coupled with the fact that she was pregnant, gained her some sympathy. Mary Ann had told the court that she had been married three years. The matron of the Bridewell (prison) at Wymondham informed the court that Mary Ann had been in her custody for a fortnight two years ago. The Court was also told by the Police Officer in Ellingham that the prisoner’s husband “was a very respectable man.”
Mary Ann Catling was given a two month imprisonment sentence with “such labour as she was could perform” and was told by the Chairman of the court that “the offence of which she had been convicted was a serious one“. When sentencing, the court had shown leniency having taken into account the fact that her husband was of good character and that Mary Ann was about to become a mother.
Who were Henry and Mary Ann Catling?
20 year old bachelor Henry Catling married 18 year old spinster Mary Ann Lincoln at the Church of St James, Great Ellingham on April 7th, 1871. The marriage entry confirms that Henry’s father was also a Henry Catling, a drillman by occupation. Mary Ann’s father was John Lincoln, a labourer. There does seem to a small discrepancy in Mary Ann’s age at the time of her marriage and her stated age at the time of her trial.
Mary Ann Lincoln
The 1871 census taken on the night of the 2nd April just days prior to the marriage, captures 18 year old Mary Ann Lincoln as a boarder in the household of 58 year old Henry Catling, his wife Sarah aged 56 and 20 year old son Henry.
10 years earlier, the 1861 census captures 8 year old Mary Ann Lincoln boarding with William and Pleasance Mann at Low Common, Great Ellingham. The census states that Mary Ann was born in Great Ellingham.
I have not found a baptism in Great Ellingham for Mary Ann Lincoln daughter of John Lincoln. However there is a baptism in the Deopham Parish Registers on 12 September, 1858 for a Mary Ann Lincoln, daughter of John and Sarah Ann Lincoln aged 5 years old.
The Catling Family
The Catling family had moved to Long Street Great Ellingham from their home at Attleborough Hills between the census of 1851 and the 1861 census which finds the family in Great Ellingham.
According to the various census returns, Henry Catling senior was born in Old Buckenham, his wife Sarah in Carleton Rode and their son Henry in Attleborough in 1851. A further son, William, was born in Old Buckenham around 1835.
Henry Catling senior died in 1880 aged 74. The 1881 census shows 69 year old widow Sarah Catling, described as a drill proprietor, in Long Street. Son Henry, now aged 26 and described as a drillman, and 27 year old wife Mary Ann are also with Sarah together with their children four year old Sarah Jane and George W aged 1.
Henry and Mary Ann’s First Child
Given that Mary Ann Catling was about to become a mother at the time of her trial in December 1873, daughter Sarah said to be aged 4 in 1881 was unlikely to be the child she was expecting in 1873.
A birth for a Herbert James Henry Catlin with a mother’s maiden name Lincoln was registered between April and June 1874 in the Wayland District. A corresponding death for Herbert James Henry Catlin was also registered in the Wayland District of that year between October and December. Herbert may well have been the child that Mary Ann was expecting when she was convicted.
Death of Henry’s mother, Sarah, and his wife, Mary Ann
Henry and Mary Ann Catling together with their two children Sarah Jane and George W continued to live with Henry’s mother in Long Street, Great Ellingham until Sarah Catling died in 1899 at the age of 88.
Mary Ann Catling died at 46 in 1900 just a year after her mother in law. The death of a Mary Ann Catling was registered in the Wayland District of that year between April and June.
Henry Catling continued to live in Long Street area. The 1901 census finds 49 year old widower Henry Catling with his six year old son James lodging with elderly couple William and Sarah Warren at Town Green. 10 years later, Henry with his son James is living in a three-roomed dwelling in Long Street.
The death of a Henry Catling aged 83 was registered in the Wayland District between January and March 1936.
Norwich Mercury 20th December, 1873, Norfolk News 10th January, 1874
1851 census HO107/1823/78
1861 census RG9/1237/78, RG9/1237/96
1871 census RG10/1841/83
1881 census RG11/1974/90
1891 census RG12/1549/79
1901 census RG13/1867/69
1911 census RG14/11373/93
GRO Index – Births and Deaths. https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/login.asp
Great Ellingham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office.PD/609. Also available at FamilySearch.org https://www.familysearch.org/search/image/index?owc=4J8C-CB7%3A29627201%3Fcc%3D1416598
Deopham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office PD/485.Norfolk Family History Society. Transcript of Deopham Baptisms 1813 to 1872. https://www.norfolkonlinerecordsearch.co.uk/ Accessed 19.01.2020