A Sad Mystery Solved
Elise’s precious baby conceived in Heidelberg, was born March 1867 but died at 8 months in London. Where did the grieving mother take her little one’s body to be buried? I searched many records while I was researching in London, but it was not to be found.
Percy had just received his grandmother’s legacy and claiming he needed a rest, visited Elise and family in Heidelberg the fall of 1866. Elise was pregnant when Percy returned to Heidelberg that Christmas. Her family expected him be an honourable gentlemen and marry his fiancée. They had the marriage photo taken. But it is clear Percy did not qualify because she kept his blank groom’s application form and it was found among Elise’s letters and papers in 1992. German law had strict criteria for grooms. Percy, not yet 25, needed his parents’ approval. His father, Harry Criddle, had died in 1858, leaving his mother destitute. She had refused permission already in 1863 on his announcement of their engagement, writing that she could support a family. Further problems for him were that German law also required a groom to state his profession, give a job with his employer’s signature, and a home address with the mayor’s signature, all of which he did not have. Masquerading as an English gentlemen, it must have been frustrating for Percy to be backed into a corner. He decided to take Elise to London claiming he would have no problem to get married in England. Elise’s passport was issued January 17, 1867. Her family believed her to be Mrs. Criddle, but we have found no marriage record. Their baby was born May 20 and registered by her mother as Mabel Vane, daughter of Percy Vane and Elise Mabel Vane. Unfortunately the little one had hydrocephalus and died the following March. According to the records Percy was not present at the baby’s death, nor did he sign her death record. During my research in London I hoped to find her grave and spent hours scanning reels of cemetery records. My time ran out and I had to leave the mystery unsolved.
At last, thanks to the internet, I have the answer from the webpage: deceasedonline.com. There was no memorial to mark little Mabel’s grave. Instead the records simply say: Brompton Cemetery, Grave reference C/134.9/9.6
Elise’s precious little Mabel was placed in a common grave where four more bodies would be buried.