Marian Temple, by Anthony Crawshaw

Victorian Melodrama or merely a Mystery?

Winterbourne Family History Online...

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Anthony Crawshaw has sent us the following information and photographs...

My great-great aunt, Marian Temple, died at Prospect House, Winterbourn on 27th February 1884, from “Acute Mania Exhaustion”, according to the death certificate. Prospect House, now called Elmcroft, was the local poorhouse until 1856, as recounted by a history on this website. Was Prospect House some form of institution in 1884, to which Marian had been confined, or else what was she doing there?

Marian was born in 1844, one of four children of Henry and Mary Hewlings of Holland Park, London, and married Albert Temple (born 1847) of Bristol in 1867. Albert Temple was the second son of James Temple, who ran a prominent Bristol slate and builders’ merchants, based at Canon’s Marsh. The wedding was a stylish affair in Bristol, with many guests, so clearly the business was prospering. In the 1871 census Marian and Albert Temple are listed as living at 3 Elgin Park, Westbury-on-Trym, with one servant but no children. By the time of the 1881 census Marian was back with her parents in Holland Park, whilst Albert was living in a lodging house in Bath and described himself as an Insurance Agent. Albert doesn’t appear in the 1891 census or on the death registers.

What happened? Had the marriage failed because they were unable to produce any children? Had Albert played away from home? (The only likely birth in the area was in 1871, when Louisa Temple was born to Sophia Temple. The birth took place in the Bristol workhouse, where Sophia Temple lived, and the father wasn’t recorded. Baby Louisa doesn’t appear in the 1881 or 1891 censuses or in the death registers – was she adopted, taking a different name?)  Had Albert not been interested enough in the business to satisfy a demanding father? Alternatively was Albert jealous of his elder brother, W James Temple, who did take over the business? Had Albert done something so unspeakable as to incur the wrath of his family? Did Albert emigrate? Had Marian become unhinged to the point that she had been confined in an institution? If so, why near Bristol rather than in London, where her father was fully able to support her? Will we ever know?

Any light that anyone can throw on this – be it melodrama or mystery – would be gratefully received.



Marian Temple in her wedding dress


Thank you Anthony

for these interesting pictures.



Albert Temple

(presumed, as photographed in Bristol by Phillips, Miles & Co., 4,5,6 and 9 Clare Street)



Marian Temple (neé Hewlings) presentation cup.                                  


Inscription in Marian Temple’s prayer book...

(Nelly (Ellen) and Annie were her two sisters).