Cemeteries and graveyards, full of love, betrayal, tragic deaths, murder, and suicide. What will you find?

Friday 14 September 2012

Edith Marion Rosse - Murder?

Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries. The singular term is a taphophile.

Memorial to Edith Marion Rosse (Milady), All Saints Church, Bisham, Berkshire.

"In love ever remember Edith Marion Rosse [Milday] who peacefully fell asleep in London on the 14th day of Septmeber 1932"

Unfortunately I cannot find out much about Edith's early life, but the end of her life is embroiled in mystery. 

In 1932 Edith was living with a fellow stage actor Arthur Maundy Gregory.  Arthur was experiencing financial difficulties. He was under pressure to repay to the executors of Sir George Watson £30,000 advanced for a barony he never received.  At the time Edith had £18,000 in her bank account.  She refused Arthur's requests for a loan, saying that the money was for her old age.

On 14th September 1932, Edith slipped into a coma and died and left all her money to Arthur, in a will scrawled on the back of a menu card from the Carlton Hotel. Arthur supervised her burial, specifying a riverside plot in the churchyard at Bisham. He ordered the coffin lid to be left unsealed and the grave to be dug unusually shallow, only 18 inches from the surface.

Edith's niece, who expected to inherit from her aunt's will made a complain and the police exhumed Edith's body on 28th April 1933.  The coffin was found to be waterlogged.   Bernard Spilsbury, a forensic scientist used by the police, was in little doubt that the burial arrangements Arthur had made were intentional since, "the effect of water on decaying remains would make it impossible to detect the presence of certain poisons."

Arthur was arrested in Germany, but never tried for the suspected murder of Edith.  Arthur died in a German Camp in on 28th September 1941.

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  1. Sounds like he got his just deserts in the end.

  2. Fascinating. I love the way you are recording some of the forgotten stories x.

  3. I read this yesterday, but just remembered that I forgot to comment.

    I would think that any guilty verdict pronounced with this evidence would be regarded as very unsafe. He was being pressured to repay money he paid for something never received. That, for starters, has a whiff about it.

    Did Arthur die in a concentration camp in Germany, or a criminal gaol? I should think that his descendents (shoud he have had any) would be justified in sueing the powers-that-was. The exhumation was 1933, and the suspect died (incarcerated) in 19431. Ouch ...

    Bernard Spilsury was a 'forensic scientist' operating out of his league - as they do today. He should have stuck to giving the facts that the evidence bolstered, rather than voicing assumptions based on those facts. That is for the police to do.

    The law was an ass, and is an ass.

    But your post was great fun.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. I found out about the suspected murder before I found the grave.

  4. Intriguing story - leaves you wanting to know more.

    1. Unfortunately I couldn't find a lot of information. Most of it was centred around Arthur.


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