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Court Records in archives

Hi Everyone,

I have found on Find My Past some information which could relate to my 2nd great grandfather Francis Mansfield, the information is court information relating to an Deserted wife maintenance order and another for *******y arrears.
Does anyone know if the records would show who the deserted wife would be and or who the arrears were due to?

My Francis Mansfield was married to Elizabeth Carr which he had no children too, he however did have children with Eliza Robinson (my family) which it seems he never married but shows up on census records as married.
He did however die in Elizabeth's home, all very confusing but interesting. I am lucky to have a lot of information on Francis due to his brother travelling to Utah and becoming a Mormon and keeping diary records which his American family have put out on ancestry I also have many DNA matches to this family.

The court records are with the Sheffield archives but as I am not in the country so I can't have a look.

Any help or ideas would be of assistance.


Re: Court Records in archives

You could email the archives. They do offer a (postal) research service. TRhat way you can get the full details of the 2 court references.
However, the family and its movements are so well documented in censuses, GRO index, Free BMD, a school record for Francis Junior FMP) and our burial records (over to the left) that the facts are pretty clear.
After over 20 years of (childless) marriage to Elizabeth, Francis left her and moved in with Eliza Robinson (21 yrs younger than him) in about 1885.

In 1890 the court cases must have been to establish a maintenance order for Francis to pay to his abandoned wife Elizabeth. And in 1891 Elizabeth was "living on allowance"(ie from Francis) in Egerton Street and she remained there till she died in 1924.
Meantime Francis and Eliza had 6 Mansfield children, all registered mmn Robinson
Edward 1886
William 1889
Francis R 1891
Jane Slater 1894
Elsie May 1899 (died 1900 in Shalesmoor buried Gen Cem
Jarvis Aug 1901 (died age 5 days, buried City Road see our burials)

In March 1904 there is the court case about unpaid B'stardy dues. This must be because clearly Francis left Eliza and went back to Elizabeth in Egerton Street. This must have happened after 1901 and Eliza could not claim maintenance for herself (not his legal wife) but could claim b'stardy payments, through the Union, for their 2 school age illegitimate children Francis and Jane.
In Sept 1904 Francis died at Egerton Street and is buried at City Road, where ELIZABETH joins him 1n 1924 (see our burials)

Re: Court Records in archives

I need to make a correction to my message above. Francis Mansfield and his partner Eliza Robinson had EIGHT children, not six as I said. The extra 2, births and deaths from GRO index, are
GRO Reference: 1896 M Quarter in SHEFFIELD Volume 09C Page 562
GRO Reference: 1896 D Quarter in BELPER Volume 07B Page 407

GRO Reference: 1897 D Quarter in BELPER Volume 07B Page 614
GRO Reference: 1899 M Quarter in ECCLESALL BIERLOW Volume 09C Page 225

George Alfred is buried at General cemetery Sheffield and is said to be son of Francis Mansfield, Engineer. I assume Reuben must be buried at Belper.
The other detail of note is that George Alfred’s death and Elsie May’s birth both occurred within a few days of each other at the end of January 1899.
So after their last 4 children were born and died between Q1 1896 and August 1901.
That must have been very traumatic.

Re: Court Records in archives

Thanks Dave, I already thought I had a lot of information about Francis now I have even more, I would never have known about him if I hadn't applied for Edwards marriage certificate because he was not named on Edward's birth certificate but I was excited to see he was named on his marriage certificate, I was then able to get other information off this site, newspaper archives and DNA matches, I know information about his role in the Temperance Society as well as his dogs name due to Newspaper articles and advertisements.
Thanks again for your help.

Re: Court Records in archives


My great grandfather deserted his first wife, and eloped with my great grandmother, who couldn't marry him because she was Roman Catholic and had been deserted herself by her own husband. I found a prison sentence of 28 days for him in the Leeds criminal records much later, for failing to pay his civil liability (his wife and daughter's maintenance). I learned more about the case in the Sheffield newspapers. It went into so much detail about the court hearing, even the judge's comments about what his wife had been wearing in court. Some other unsavoury details too. He eloped with my grandmother after that judgement to London, where they lived a few years, long enough to have my grandmother. The law finally caught up with him and he was hauled back to Sheffield and thrown in jail if he didn't pay up. He chose jail. So you might try the newspapers for more information. But for that I would probably have been born in London...ugh!!!

I wonder of his court records are in the Sheffield Archives then?

Re: Court Records in archives

The FMP records say they are at Sheffield Archives. Maxine does not live in UK

Re: Court Records in archives

What I meant in my convoluted way was that on where I got my ggrandfather's court comittal details from it gives all kinds of criminal court details mixed together from the register, including civil liabilty cases so the unreadable word she asked about could be 'liability' as in civil liability, for the unpaid maintenance.

Re: Court Records in archives

...and to try historic online Sheffield newspapers for reports if she didn't get any joy from Sheffield Archives, as I got my information from there, which gave far more info than official records did on that maintenance topic. Its surprising what the local newspapers reported on then, which would not be considered newsworthy today. Gossip was news in those days.