Thief

At Hull Police Court in December 1854 Jarvis DUNDERDALE stood before the Magistrate, Mr TRAVIS. Described in a newspaper report as a “respectable-looking middle-aged person”, Jarvis he was charged with stealing a silver fork, the property of Ann VARLEY, proprietress of the Cross Keys Hotel in Market Place, Hull.

One of the waiters at the Hotel, Edward WINTRINGHAM, had observed “the prisoner” taking the fork from the silver drawer, Edward followed Jarvis out to the yard, challenged him with the theft and had the police called. PC WOOD (65) arrived and took the thief into custody.

In court, Jarvis said nothing when charged and was committed for trial. Justice must have been swiftly done because the following brief report appeared in the same issue of the newspaper that provided the details above.

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At the 1841 Census Jarvis Dunderdale, given age 30, was living in Myton Gate, a short Walk from the Cross Keys, working as a Waiter. A Sheffield man, he had married Elizabeth WAKEFIELD nine years earlier at Rotherham Minster (as Gervis or Gervase). The couple had two children, Jarvis Jnr (7) and Hannah (4). The birth of another daughter, Catherine, in 1842 gives the family a second representation on FamilySearch Tree.

I spent a little time trying to discover what became of this poor family, without success.

However, I found more information about Ann Varley, born ATKINSON. In the Patrington marriage register in 1839, her father James is described as a Victualer, the same occupation as her husband and father in law. Two years later, James Atkinson is in the census as an Innkeeper, in High Street, Patrington.

When her silver fork was stolen, Ann had been a widow for a year. (Her father had died in the summer of 1851.) William Varley Jnr was 49 years old when he died and his ownership of the Cross Keys Hotel was legally transferred to Ann the following year. At the 1871 Census, Ann was running the Hotel with the help of son James and daughters Sarah and Ada, though the enumerator didn’t give the young Varleys an occupation. Ten years earlier, though, Ann, James and daughter Eliza were keeping the Queens Hotel in Withernsea.  My first thought was that the Varleys had downsized and later returned to the big city and the bigger Hotel. It seems more likely that Ann had added the Queens to her portfolio.

You will find photographs of the Withernsea hotel online but it is Queens Hotel II, built at the beginning of the 20th century and now a care home for the elderly. The Varley property, at the rear of the Railway Station, was demolished long ago and its “footprint” now accommodates the car park of Withernsea Community Hospital.

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If you have clicked the earlier link to the Cross Keys Hotel you will have noticed its proximity to the statue of King Billy. The hotel was demolished in the 1970s and King Billy figured in my childhood. Try as I may, though, I can’t now picture the buildings around the golden horse and rider. (You won’t hear any living Hullensian talk about a statue of William of Orange. Ask for King Billy.)

Ann Atkinson was clearly a remarkable woman. I wonder how well she knew the other resourceful Hull hotelier who has appeared in LaFRedux ­– Richard CORTIS. He was thirty years her senior but outlived her husband by almost 20 years.

Find Ann on FST.

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The Varley broken column in St Oswald’s churchyard, this morning