St. Laurence, Lurgashall
Kevin Scarth's first email to us was in July 2008. He was searching for information on Henry Scarth who died in 1870 in Lurgashall and in particular, were he was buried.
Although Henry was reported as having died a pauper, it was discovered that his estate on his death was worth many millions in todays money.
Kevin only got to know about him by sheer luck. A mistake in an address book clicked on another Scarth in the USA who coincidentally turned out to be a reasonably close relative, having originated from where Kevin was born in Morley, Yorkshire The American Scarths had a copy of a document written by his grandfather in 1878. In the document it mentioned many Morley Scarths and Henry Scarth plus mentioning a monument to him.
Since then, over the years, as a hobby, Kevin has set out to prove all that was said in the document, whilst gaining past information on his family. Hence he had arrived at Henry, and the mystery of someone very wealthy, yet had lived the latter part of his life as a pauper.
Death notice in the Times newspaper -
On 16 December 1870 at Lurgashall, Petworth, Henry Scarth, Esq.
of Mill-Hill, Barnes Common, in his 69th year.
Henry Scarth was the son of James Scarth and Alice nee' North and was born 16 February 1802 in Putney. He lived most of his life in the Barnes and Putney area.
He died without issue leaving a will and four codicils. When his executor Alexander Dancer came to sort out the will he found much more property than thought and had to go to court Chancery for guidance as to who the remainder should go to.
After advertisements in the National Press it was sorted out that his father James was of the Wakefield Scarths. It was then proved his next of kin was Robert Heath, born in 1802, Islington, son of Robert Heath and Leticia nee' Scarth. Leticia was the sister of Henry's father James. During these investigations, in 1872, even the grave of his father, James [d1828] was dug to see what his age at death was! Thing is, he wasn't in that grave, only his wife and daughter. His name was however in the burial registers so obviously in another plot.
Kevin wrote -
" I had no idea why he died in Lurgashall at all and didn't know that until I found the death notice. I have tried various cemeteries around his home area but no luck at all. The documents which first told me about Henry, said there was a large monument to his grave."
A further email -
" Although he is a very distant relative he bugs me somewhat, and would like to get to know where he was buried. I would think that he will be buried in the Barnes area though. In one part of the documents I have it said - He died in 1870 somewhere on the borders of Hampshire like a pauper having scarcely sufficient to cover him, leaving behind him property to the value of about £200,000. - In another he is supposed to be buried in Barnes Church Yard. I have just looked at my records and He left £200 to George Chalwin of Brookhurst Farm in Lurgashall. So I wonder if that was where he was when he died? "
Finally in 2010 it was discovered that Henry was buried in St Mary's, Putney, but there is still the puzzle as to why he behaved as a penniless pauper and left £200 to a Lurgashall man. This was a large amount in 1870.