George Mobbs – and the case of the mistaken Grave-identity………….
On April 14th, 1917, sixty-six-year-old Ellen Mobbs Charlton was preparing herself for the funeral of her sister Sofia Furniss. Sofia Croft Furniss, born in Northamptonshire had lived with her sister on Alyestone Road and died at Swain Street Infirmary (Leicester Workhouse).
Ellen Mobbs Charlton had arranged for her sister Sofia Furniss to be buried with Charles Mobbs in the family grave at Welford Road Cemetery in Leicester. Charles Mobbs, Ellen’s first husband had died twenty years previously in 1896. It wasn’t until two hours before Sofia’s funeral, that Ellen found out her husband had been buried in the wrong grave.
Charles Mobbs was born in 1849 in Kettering, Northamptonshire to Mark and Selina Mobbs. Charles had one brother - John and three sisters – Maria, Fanny and Emma.
Charles worked as a Clicker in the shoe industry and on 29th December 1874 he married Ellen Furniss a Governess at Christ Church in Leicester. Charles had various jobs working as Shoe Warehouse Managers and in 1883 Ellen gave birth to their only son – George Sidney Mobbs.
By 1896 the Mobbs family were living at Cranmer Street in Leicester. In October 1896, George took a walk into town and on his return, he told Ellen he felt a little giddy. In the evening he took a walk into town again, but this time accompanied by his wife. When the couple returned he had his supper and went to bed as usual. When Ellen woke during the night she heard her husband breathing was a bit rattily and he could not speak. Ellen summoned a neighbour, but when they arrived her husband was dead. At the inquest, which was held at the Westcotes Free Library, Dr McLeod attributed the death to “heart failure, consequent on indigestion”.
Charles Mobbs was buried in Welford Road Cemetery on 28th October 1896. On 24th November 1896, Ellen paid Six Pounds to the Corporation of Leicester for a ‘Freehold Grave’ in section ‘A’ number ‘1014’.
Ellen remarried in 1911 to Henry Charlton and moved to Kettering in Northamptonshire. For twenty years she believed her husband was buried in the plot she had purchased in 1896. A plot that she intended to be buried in when her time came. Ellen’s sisters time came first. Just two hours before the funeral, Ellen found out the devastating news that her husband wasn’t there.
Looking at all the letters which were written between Ellen Mobbs Charlton and Welford Road Cemetery, it seems that the plot Charles was buried in, wasn’t the one Ellen had purchased, it belonged to someone else who had bought two plots side by side.
Sofia’s grave was A – 1014 and correct. Ellen, although shocked and upset by the news, decided the best course of action would be to rebury Sofia with Charles as she had intended in HIS grave. This was not to be. The owners of the plot Charles was in, had already bricked up one half of the plot and according to letter written by George Green of Welford Road Cemetery; dated May 3rd, 1917 – ‘one of them is a bricked grave and full and they may require bricking there other grave at any time’.
So, it was decided to exhume Charles Mobbs and rebury him in the actual Freehold Plot Ellen had bought in 1896 and move the head stone.
Ellen died in 1940 at Danes Hill Convent in Leicester and is buried with her sister Sofia and her first husband Charles.