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Illegitimacy

Forgotten Women Logo

A Magdalen Laundry

Image in the public domain, accessed via Wikimedia Commons

Illegitimacy impacted on the lives of many of the women and girls whose stories we tell. Either they themselves were illegitimate, or they gave birth to illegitimate children, or both. You can access the stories by clicking on the women's names below.

Here are some resources that may help with this topic:

Laslett, P, Oosterveen & Smith, R M Bastardy and its comparative history Edward Arnold (1980)

Levene, Alysa Childcare, Health and Mortality at the London foundling Hospital, 1741-1800: left to the mercy of the world Manchester University Press (2007)

McClure, Ruth K Coram's Children: The London Foundling Hospital in the Eighteenth Century Yale University Press (1981)

Paley, Ruth My Ancestor Was a Bastard: a family historian’s guide to sources for illegitimacy in England and Wales Society of Genealogists (2011)

 

Children’s Homes

Voices through Time: the story of care

Emily Barrett c.1855-? from Righton, Yorkshire - Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, Leeds Girls’ Industrial School. 7 minute read

 

Mary Ann Bennett c.1868-? from Worcester, Worcestershire - Alcoholism, Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, Prostitution, Farmfield Reformatory for Inebriate Women. 8 minute read

 

Elizabeth Chiddicks aka Chitticks 1885-1901 from Barking, Essex – Accident, Illegitimacy. Warning this story contains a description of death by injury. 7 minute read

 

Jane Northrop Fallon 1863-? from Leeds, Yorkshire - Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, Prostitution, Leeds Girls’ Industrial School. 8 minute read

 

Emma Fletcher, later Emma Simkinson 1856-1886 from Hunslet, Yorkshire – Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, Leeds Girls’ Industrial School. 11 minute read

Letitia Gilbert, later Letitia Cook, afterwards Letitia Fisher c.1807-1862 from Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire - Illegitimacy. 

 

Sarah Hargreave(s), later Sarah Corps 1857-1910 from Hunslet, Yorkshire – Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, Leeds Girls’ Industrial School. 5 minute read

 

Margaret Lillie 1855-? and Mary Lillie 1859-? from Leeds, Yorkshire - Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, Leeds Girls’ Industrial School. 4 minute read

 

Eliza Longster, later Eliza Booth 1856-? from Leeds, Yorkshire – Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, Leeds Girls’ Industrial School. 5 minute read

 

Christina Lorenz aka Lawrence 1889-1964 from Chadderton, Lancashire - Illegitimacy, Racial Discrimination. 6 minute read

Margaret Lynch, later Margaret Colgrove 1871-? from Ireland – Abandonment, Alcoholism, Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, St. Joseph’s Inebriate Reformatory. 4 minute read

Harriet Malthouse 1856-? from Leeds, Yorkshire – Abandonment, Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, Leeds Industrial School. 3 minute read.

Louisa Mason 1868-1925 from Barkingside, Essex - Alcoholism, Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Mental Health, Prostitution, Farmfield Reformatory for Inebriate Women. 4 minute read.

Louisa McCormack c.1856-? from Portsea, Hampshire - Alcoholism, Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, St. Joseph’s Inebriate Reformatory. 3 minute read.

Mary McManus, aka Mary Gent, aka Mary Jent, aka Mary Brown 1859-? from Preston, Lancashire - Alcoholism, Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, St. Joseph’s Inebriate Reformatory. 10 minute read.

Jane Ann Reed aka Webster, later Jane Ann Stead 1851-1888 from Leeds, Yorkshire – Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, Prostitution, Leeds Industrial School. 4 minute read.

Ellen Richmond, later Ellen Wellock, afterwards Ellen Nielsen 1866-1952 from Ramsgill, Yorkshire – Domestic Abuse, Illegitimacy. Warning, this story contains an account of domestic abuse. 9 minute read.

Murial Annie Riley, aka Murial Annie Stead, later Muriel Annie Aydon 1890-1963 from Monks Coppenhall, Cheshire – Illegitimacy, Suicide, Women at Work, Cheshire County Training College. Warning, this story contains an account of suicide. 15 minute read.

Ann Elizabeth Robshaw, later Ann Elizabeth Dunhill 1856-1936 from Leeds, Yorkshire – Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, Leeds Girls’ Industrial School. 5 minute read.

Jane Sharp Rowley 1857-? from Leeds, Yorkshire - Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, Leeds Girls' Industrial School. 4 minute read.

Ellen Sampson c.1858-? from Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland - Alcoholism, Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, Prostitution, St. Joseph’s Inebriate Reformatory. 15 minute read.

Sarah Ann Savage c.1853-? from Leeds, Yorkshire - Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, Leeds Girls' Industrial School. Sarah's story is part of the document, giving details of the girls from Leeds Industrial School, for whom little could be found. 2 minute read.

Matilda Jane Stewart, later Matilda Jane Geldard 1854-1935 from Scotland - Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Poverty, Prostitution, Leeds Industrial School. 10 minute read.

Dinah Townend c.1786-1867 from High Hoyland, Yorkshire – Domestic Abuse, Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking. Warning, this story contains an account of domestic abuse. 4 minute read.

Ellen White c.1863-? from Birmingham, Warwickshire - Alcoholism, Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Farmfield Reformatory for Inebriate Women. 4 minute read.

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