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Friday, 1 March 2013

Muriel Mahala Lord, Richard Painter Lord, Anthony John Lord and Joan Mary Hanbury - Suicide

Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries.

Monument to Muriel Mahala Lord, Richard Painter Lord, Anthony John Lord and Joan Mary Hanbury, St James the Less, Stubbings, Berkshire.

"In memory of Muriel Mahala Lord beloved wife of Richard P Lord born March 23rd 1884 died Oct 4th 1940 and of the above Richard Painter born September 28th 1871 died December 8th 1952 and their son Anthony John Painter born March 11th 1910 died October 7th 1977."

"In loving memory of Joan Mary beloved wife of Arthur Margus Hanbury and eldest daughter of Richard and Muriel Lord of Pinkney's Lodge born Aug 21st 1908 died Dec 29th 1939 At Rest."

Muriel Mahala Lord was born Muriel Mahala Smith in Cirencester, Gloustershire in 1884 to William Henry Smith, a fishmonger and poulterer, and his wife Sarah Jane Cave.

Muriel first appears on the 1891 Census aged 7, living with her parents and elder sister Evelyn at 17 Dyer Street in Cirencester, Gloustershire.  In 1901 Muriel and her parents are still living at 17 Dyer Street.

In 1907 Muriel married Richard Painter Lord, a greengrocer born in 1871 in Cirencester to John Lord, a greengrocer, and his wife Mary Painter.

Richard first appears in the 1881 Census aged 9, living with his parents at 84 Westmoor Road in Cirencester.  In 1891 Richard had moved to Warickshire and is boarding at 34 Belgrave Road in the home of the Holmes family.  Richard is now and apprentice grocer.

In 1901 Richard had moved back to Cirencester and is living with his father and sister Ethel, at 20 Gosditch Street.

Muriel and Richard celebrated the birth of their first child, a daughter Joan Mary in 1908 and the birth of their second child, a son Anthony John in 1910.

In 1911 Muriel and Richard are staying at the Riviera Palace Hotel in Penzance, Cornwall.  Joan and Anthony are staying with their grandmother Sarah Jane Smith at 1 Roman Villas, Victoria Road, Cirencester.

In 1938 Joan married Arthur Marcus Hanbury, 33 years her senior and son of Capel Hanbury, a firework and ammunition manufactorer, and his wife Catherine Sophia Lewis in Westminster, Middlesex.  Sadly Joan was to take her own life only ten months later.  The Western Morning News reported in Tuesday 2nd January 1940 reported -

"Pink Fluid Mystery

Coroner Adjourns Inquest for Analysis of Organs.

Maidenhead (Berks) coroner Mr. Owen Stuchberry, today adjourned an inquest on a young wife for a week for some of her organs to be analysed.

It was stated that a post-mortem examinations of Mrs, Joan Mary Hanbury, 31, of Paddock Cottage, Maidenhead Thicket, Maidenhead, who was well known in social circles in Berkshire, had failed to establish the cause of her death.  Mention was made of a pink fluid found in her mouth.

Arthur Macus Hanbury, departmental manager of a motor firm, an elderly man, gave evidence that his wife died early on Friday.

Dr J. J. Paterson said that Mrs. Hanbury had recently suffered from shingles.  There was a bright pink coloured fluid in Mrs. Hanbury's mouth and lungs and indications of the presence of asprin, but a final decision on the cause of death would have to await the analyst's  report.

The dead woman was Mr. Hanbury's third wife.  They were married in February 1938."

The Aberdeen Journal reported on Tuesday 9th January 1940 -

"Took 200 Asprin

Evidence that a woman had a delusion that her husband intended to do away with himself, possibly by driving a car over a cliff, was given at the inquest at Maidenhead, Berks, yesterday on Joan Mary Hanbury, (31), living a Paddock Cottage, Pinkney's Green, Maidenhead, who committed suicide by taking over 200 asprin tablets.

The coroner returned the verdict of suicide whilst the balance of her mind was disturbed."

Such a sad end to a young life.  Yet I have my suspicions over the alledged reason.  It seems that Arthur Marcus Hanbury had an eye for the ladies.  In 1912 Arthur had married Norah Diana Maude, however the marriage was not to last as Arthur started an affair with Lady Hilda Beatrix Bonn, the wife of Sir Max Julius Philip Bonn a merchant banker from New York, which resulted in a rather scandalous divorce.  The Derby Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday 4th July 1928 -

"Merchant Banker And His Wife

In the Divorce Court to-day Lord Merrivale and a special jury resumed the hearing of the petition by Lady Hilda Betrix Bonn and the corss-petition of Sir Max Julius Philip Bonn, the merchant banker, her husband for divorce.

In Lady Bonn's petition one lady is named, and in the cross petition of Sir Maz Bonn the partied cited are Lieu, Colonel Sir Ronald Waterhouse and Mr. Arthur Marcus Hanbury."

After the divorce was granted in 1929 Arthur divorced Norah and then married Lady Hilda Bonn on 5th October of that year.  Hilda passed away aged 47 in 1935 in Kensington, London, just six years after her marriage to Arthur.  Arthur passed away in 1959 in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

In 1936 Anthony John Lord, of Cirencester was fined 4 shillings court costs for ignoring the halt sign at Lewis Lane, Cirencester.

In 1939 Anthony married Sylvia E Briggs, but he was later to divorce her in 1945.  Anthony passed away in 1977.


  1. Your posts always make such interesting reading! :)

    1. Thank you. I am honestly surprised at some of the fascinating stories I uncover.


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