Documents relating to the elopement of John Dearden & Gertie Ashby

The following documents mention the elopement of John Dearden

The Halifax Evening Courier [Monday 4th May 1908]

Everyone is talking about the elopement of Mr John Dearden, a wealthy country gentleman who lived at Evington House, a mansion standing in forty acres of grounds, near Leicester, with Gertie Ashby, daughter of a cowman living in a village on the border of his grounds.

Mr Dearden, who is married with five children, belongs to one of the oldest landed families in the country.

He has estates at Holmstead, near Crawley and the Hollins, near Halifax.

He is 47 years old and is the first cousin of Lord Masham, his aunt having married the first baron.

Gertie Ashby, who is about 27 years old was employed in a factory in Leicester, and used to walk to work every day. Sometimes Mr Dearden overtook her in his dog-cart and gave her a lift, but no notice was taken of this as it is not unusual in the country. The girl is pretty, and, like many of the Leicester factory girls she dresses well. She left home telling her sister she would be home in the evening and Mr Dearden drove to the station at Leicester and took a train to London.

A letter received by the girl's father as follows;

Evington House, Leicester; Telegrams – Thursby.

Mr Ashby, I can only imagine what you think of me now. Whatever you do, please do not blame Gertie; she has tried her utmost to prevent my carrying out my wishes. We have loved each other for ages, and again I ask you not to throw the blame on Gertie, as I am wholly responsible and to blame for what we have done. Anyhow, in the event of anything happening to me, I have made ample provision for her, and hope and pray that at some time you may see your way to granting her forgiveness,

Yours truly, J. Dearden


It is not known where the couple have gone and they cannot be traced.

Mr Dearden is a very tall, handsome man, turning grey. He wears an eye-glass, and has an aristocratic bearing. A Mr John Dearden owns the Hollins estate, Luddenden.

We believe he has never lived there and is little known in the district, though his father lived there for some time.

Hollins House, Hollins farm, and the Roebucks estates still remaining in the possession of the Deardens


© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 16:07 / 11th May 2021 / 4461

Page Ref: X524

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