Arthur Edward Espley

Arthur Edward Espley & Emma Esther Espley – Census Mystery

Arthur Edward Espley is my wife’s 2nd cousin 2x removed. He was born on 22 Jul 1877 to parents Henry Espley and Ellen Hannah Clewley.

Arthur married Emma Esther Bowker on 3 January 1899 in Chorlton, Lancashire.

As far as I can tell Arthur and Emma had three children:-

Arthur Edward Espley – about March 1899
James Henry Espley – 2 February 1900
William Ernest Espley – 6 October 1901

It seems that things went badly for Arthur and Emma fairly quickly and there is a newspaper article in the Lichfield Mercury on 6 April 1900.

Lichfield Mercury

Lichfield Mercury


Arthur Edward Espley, Old Barracks, Birmingham Road, Lichfield, who did not appear, was summoned by his wife, Emma Espley, who complained of his cruel treatment and applied for a separation order. The complainant, whose face was discoloured, stated that her life with the defendant had been an unhappy one. He had frequently struck her, and on some occasions she had struck back. About a fortnight ago her husband struck her between the eyes, bumped her on the ground, and called her very bad names. She said that if she was what he called her he had better have the child, and she put the baby in his arms. Her husband went away a fortnight ago. She had no money and was afraid to live with her husband. P.C. Slack, who lives near the parties, also gave evidence, and the Bench made an order that the wife should have the custody of the two children, and that the defendant should pay her 8s a week.

I have not been able to trace any of the family on the 1901 census. Neither can I find Arthur Edward Espley (the husband) on the 1911 census.

However Emma is on the 1911 census under the name of Emma Minshall. She is living with William Minshall as his wife of 12 years. There are also five children:-

Arthur Minshall – age 12
William Minshall – age 10
James Minshall – age 8
Florrie Minshall – age 4
Emma Minshall – age 2

1911 Census

1911 Census

I believe the three boys are the children from Emma’s marriage to Arthur Edward Espley – although the ages of James and William are the opposite way around.

The only marriage for Emma to William Minshall took place in 1923 and is registered in Q3 in Stockport, Cheshire.

So it seems that if the 1911 census is to be believed then Emma and William started living together not long after Emma separated from Arthur Edward Espley.

At the moment I am still unable to find a death record for Arthur Edward Espley nor can I find an emigration or military record.

Emma E Minshall died in 1953 – registered in Q1 in Stockport, Cheshire – her age is given as 78.

If anyone can provide any information about this family please let me know!!!

On this day … 22nd July

1858 … Martha Espley (nee Silvester) died in Biddulph, Staffordshire.  She is my wife’s 3x great grandmother.

1877 … Arthur Edward Espley was born at Chell in Staffordshire.  His parents were Henry Espley and Ellen Hannah Clewley.  He is my wife’s 2nd cousin 2x removed.

1912 … William Dawson was buried at Holy Trinity church in Cowling, West Yorkshire.  He is my 2nd great grand uncle.