ALL’S NOT FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR
Dent Stowell is my 3rd cousin 2x removed. His parents are Dent Stowell and Rose Ann Cairns. Our common ancestors are John Stowell and Ann Riddeoff, my 4x great grandparents.
Dent was born on 1 March 1909 – his birth was registered in Burnley, Lancashire. On 31 March 1909 he was baptised at Holy Trinity church, Habergham Eaves, Lancashire.
Sometime in the June quarter of 1930 Dent married Winifred Atkinson, the marriage is registered in Burnley. Sadly things appear to have gone badly fairly quickly and Dent found himself in court in January 1932. The case was reported in the Burnley Express on 30 January (images below from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).
A BURNLEY DOMESTIC TRAGEDY
Dent Stowell (22), of 32 Cotton Street, appeared in Wednesday’s Burnley Police Court to answer an application by his wife for variation of an order, under the Guardianship of Infants Act, made at a time when defendant was on the dole. Mr D. Race said there was also a judgment summons for arrears of £3 12s under the order. The defendant had now resumed work. The complainant had only done two days’ work since Christmas, and was not in receipt of the dole.
Winifred Stowell (20), 48 Lowerhouse Lane, gave evidence in support.
The defendant said he only commenced work the previous week on four looms. He was 22 years old, and lodged with his grandmother. He desired, now he had got into work, to pay something off the arrears.
The Mayor (Alderman Place): Do you think 2s will keep your child? – No.
Has your child to “claim”? – No, but I can’t pay out of nowt, and she will not let me see the child.
Eventually the defendant offered to pay 1s towards the arrears each week.
The Mayor: You are 22 and your wife 20, don’t you think it is two young lives being wasted? Do you not think there is a possibility of your getting together?
Defendant: You have no right to ask me that question.
The Clerk: Oh, yes we have.
Defendant: I have tried to get her to come back to me.
The Mayor: The magistrates are going to retire for a few minutes, and want the defendant and his wife to come into their room.
Mr Race: The wife says she cannot see that any good purpose would be served.
The Mayor announced that the magistrates had decided to vary the order from 2s to 4s per week. If the defendant did not pay that regularly she could apply again. He had also to express on behalf of the magistrates their great disappointment that the parties should have decided to live apart.
Answering the husband on the question of access to the child, the Mayor said he was entitled to see it if he went in a proper manner at a reasonable time.
Defendant: I will not go down to their house again. I have been two or three times and they have refused to let me in.
The Mayor: You cannot expect her to bring it you.
It was almost another eight years before Dent and Winfred were eventually divorced. A report of the hearing was published in the Lancashire Evening Post on 13 December 1939.
On the grounds of her husband’s adultery, Mrs Winfred Stowell, of Colegate Street, Burnley, was granted a decree nisi, with costs and custody of their child, against Mr D. Stowell. The parties were married in 1930, and petitioner alleged that her husband left her about two months after their marriage. Respondent was alleged to have committed adultery on August 7th this year at Burnley. The suit was undefended.
By the summer of 1940 both Dent and Winifred had remarried, I guess with hopes of much more happiness next time round.
Dent married Florence Delia Dean on 30 July 1940 at Burnley Register Office.
In 1938 Dent had joined the Royal Artillery – his military service number was 1437555. I know from the local newspaper reports that at some point he became a Prisoner of War (POW). The Burnley Express reports on 5 May 1945 that Dent was among six Burnley men, all ex POW’s, to have arrived home from Germany.
Dent would now be able to resume life with Florence and their children after what must have been a really difficult time for all of them. However by the end of January 1948 there is another newspaper report from the Burnley Express on 31 January.
Mr Dent Stowell, of 12 Adland Street, Burnley, was granted a decree nisi by Judge B. Ormerod at Manchester Divorce Court on Tuesday on the grounds of misconduct by his wife, Mrs Florence Delia Stowell. The parties were married on July 30th 1940 at Burnley Registry Office. There were two children of the marriage and they were with the mother. The suit was not contested.
Florence remarried twice more before passing away in 2012 at the age of 97.
Dent died on 31 May 1955 at the young age of 46 and was buried on 3 June at Burnley Cemetery.
I feel that Dent certainly had an eventful life but maybe not one that brought him much happiness – his father was convicted of bigamy, he spent time as a POW in Germany and had two marriages ending in divorce.