Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1870 & 79

William Clarkson Garstang. (1833 - 1872)

 This is the tragic story of a murder and suicide in Salford in 1872. William Clarkson Garstang shot and killed Robert Tebbut and then turned the gun on himself.

He was born in 1833 in Preston, Lancashire. His parents were William Garstang (born 1795 in Longton Lancashire) who was a Pawnbroker and Jane Garstang (born 1800 in Manchester). In 1851, 18-year-old Willian lived with his parents at New Bridge Street, Cheetham, Manchester and was a Calico Salesman. In 1855 William married Alice Fletcher at Manchester Cathedral. There is no 1861 census record, but the 1871 census reveals that William and Jane had split up and he was now living with 36-year-old Mary Lydia Bamber, who was posing as William's wife, calling herself Mary Lydia Garstang. Also in the house at Sussex Street, Broughton were their two daughters: Lydia Bamber Garstang aged 13 and Clara B Garstang aged 4.

The sad story is played out in the newspapers and particular the Inquest in the Manchester Weekly Times of 23rd November 1872. The main witness was William's partner Mary Lydia Bamber who said that she had been living with William Garstang as his wife for several years. William was an omnibus inspector. He had been in America for six months and had returned home one week ago. Mary had known the deceased Robert Tebbutt for about 3 years as Garstang had brought Tebbutt home and introduced him to her. Tebbutt became aware that she and Garstang were not actually married. He became very fond of Mary and proposed marriage to her three months ago, whilst Garstang was in America. Mary refused his proposal. Somehow Garstang had found out about this. Mary had received letters from Tebbutt which she showed to Garstang on his return from America. Garstang asked Tebbutt to call at their house in School Street to discuss the matter and Tebbutt arrived on Wednesday at 9.45 pm. There was a heated discussion, and at one point Mary separated the two men. Garstang asked what Tebbutt wanted to do and Tebbutt said he wanted Mary. Garstang then asked Mary what she wanted to do and she said she wished to stay with Garstang. Then Garstang produced a pistol and shot Tebbutt. Mary ran out to the room. There was a second shot and then a third. When she returned the two men were dead on the floor. Verdicts: Tebbutt – murdered, and Garstang - suicide whilst temporary insane.

The Manchester Weekly times of 30th November 1872 reported, "On Monday (25th November), the remains of W. Clarkson Garstang were interred at Salford Cemetery at 3 o'clock. From one to two o'clock a large crowd, mainly women, assembled outside the residence of the deceased in School Street, Lower Broughton. It was stated that anybody could view the body for twopence, thus defraying the expenses of the funeral. The hearse moved off shortly after two o'clock followed by one mourning coach containing the brother of the deceased, his eldest daughter and two friends. The procession moved rapidly along and arrived at the cemetery shortly before 3 o'clock. A large crowd of women had assembled. The service was performed by Rev Mr Walker, the chaplain of the Dissenter portion, (where he was interred in a common grave). The remains of the victim Robert Tebbutt were interred on the same afternoon (in a common grave) in the Church of England portion of the cemetery."