The Life Of Harry James Butt 1858-1911

“Razors pain you,
rivers are damp,
acids stain you,
and drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful,
nooses give,
gas smells awful,
you might as well live.”
– Dorothy Parker.

No matter the years that pass, one thing hasn’t changed, the ability to admit to oneself that, you need a helping hand.
Depression, Anxiety, and other Mental health conditions, seem to be everywhere these days, thankfully though, for those who suffer, as i do, it’s so much easier to talk about and seek out the help that’s needed.
The stigma and the shame, that has always been attached to mental health, sadly doesn’t seem to have changed fast enough, but I truly believe we are heading in the right direction.
Gone are the days were shame was brought upon the family, it’s one’s inner shame that has to be conquered now. 
As the world learns to open up, to talk about how they are feeling and others learn the power of a  listening ear, I feel a gut wrenching sadness, for all the souls whom through no fault of their own, couldn’t quite find the strength they needed to confide in others and lost their battle. 
Looking back and learning about our families history, isn’t always emotionally easy. There’s so much sadness, pain and hardships, as well as love, new life and hope. All these combined can teach us how to be better human beings, if we open our hearts and try.
Their lives although very different to our own, had many of the same struggles as we do today and It’s through their hardships, we learn to change, change the way we deal with life’s tribulations, better our understanding and learn that kindness, as well as a listening ear, can be someone’s saving grace.
If only these lessons were learnt hundreds of years ago, our history may be very different and I wouldn’t be sharing the sadness that fall upon our ancestors but instead a very different tale.
I thank our lucky stars that, we as a nation, have come so far in our understanding, that a troubled mind is an illness and with a little love, empathy, kindness and/or medication, we can make a difference, we can save a soul.
Unfortunately for many, this new found knowledge, has come a little too late and instead of the happy ending we all wish for, tragedy, loss, heartbreak and sorrow takes its place. 

The next two, life’s stories in our series, The Life Of …….., haven’t got the happiest of endings but Sarah and I feel the need to share their stories. They need to be remembered and honoured, and in away set free from the stigma and possibly shame, that would have come with their deaths.

Sarah and I have worked harder, researched deeper, than ever before, while researching the life of Harry James Butt, (Sarah, Rache and my hubbies, Great, Great, Grandfather.) It’s taken weeks upon weeks to gather as much information as we could possibly find about Harry’s life, and I feel wholeheartedly honoured to be able to share his life with you.
It hasn’t been easy to find the correct information, we’ve seeked help along the way from some very knowledgeable people and we appreciate the time and knowledge they have put into helping us piece together Harry’s life and to hopefully get the facts correct 🤞.

Before we start to find out about Harry’s life,  let’s look at the meaning behind the surname Butt. 

The Butt family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Butt families were found in United Kingdom in 1891. In 1891 there were 656 Butt families living in London. This was about 17% of all the recorded Butt’s in United Kingdom. London had the highest population of Butt families in 1891.

In 1939, General Labourer and Unpaid Domestic Duties were the top reported jobs for men and women in the United Kingdom named Butt. 8% of Butt men worked as a General Labourer and 70% of Butt women worked as an Unpaid Domestic Duties. Some less common occupations for Americans named Butt were Bricklayer and Incapacitated.

Without further ado, I give you,

The Life of Harry James Butt
through documentation.

Lets travel back in time, to the year 1858, in our home town, the historic market town Romsey, Hampshire, England. Romsey was home to the 17th-century philosopher and economist William Petty and the 19th-century British prime minister, Lord Palmerston, whose statue has stood in the town centre since 1857. The town was also home to the 20th-century naval officer and statesman Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who lived at BroadlandsRomsey Abbey, the largest parish church in Hampshire, dominates the centre of the town. Other notable buildings include a 13th-century hunting lodge, an 18th-century coaching inn and the 19th-century Corn Exchange.
The town is situated 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Southampton, 11 miles (18 km) southwest of Winchester and 17 miles (27 km) southeast of Salisbury. It sits on the outskirts of the New Forest, just over 3 miles (4.8 km) northeast of its eastern edge. 

Queen Victoria was on the throne. Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, had just taken the roll of Prime Minister. The “Wedding March” by Felix Mendelssohn became a popular wedding recessional after it is played at the marriage of Queen Victoria‘s daughter Victoria, “Vicky” the Princess Royal, to Prince Friedrich of Prussia in St James’s PalaceLondonBig Ben, the Great Bell for the Palace of Westminster’s clock tower in London, was recast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The Royal Opera HouseCovent Garden, opened, the stench of sewage from the River Thames affects work in the House of Commons and my hubbies Great Great Grandfather, (the husband of my 4th cousin 4x removed) was born on Saturday the 29th of May1858, at Marketplace, Romsey, Hampshire, England, to William Butt, a butcher and Lucy Maria Butt nee Newman.
The family were living at, Marketplace, Romsey, Hampshire.

Harry’s Mum, Lucy Maria Butt, registered Harry James, birth on Sunday the 13th of June 1858, in Romsey.

Fast forwarding to the year 1861, Queen Victoria was on the throne, Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (Liberal) was now Prime Minister, about 350 convicts held on St Mary’s Island at Chatham Dockyard took over their prison in a riot. A major fire in Southwark destroyed several buildings and the United Kingdom Census was held, on the eve of Sunday the 7th of April 1861.
It shows that, Harry James, his parents William and Lucy and his siblings, George, Lucy and Arthur were living in the Hundred, Romsey, Hampshire.
William was working as a Butcher and Harry, George, Lucy and Arthur were scholars.

Jumping forward to the year 1871, Queen Victoria is still on the throne, it’s the 20th parliament and William Ewart Gladstone (Liberal) is prime minister. Nine Hours Strike began on Tyneside, in favour of a shorter working day. Employers capitulate after 14 weeks. Sale of commissions in the British Army were abolished as part of the Cardwell Reforms, and the census in the United Kingdom was taken on the eve of Sunday the 2nd of April.
The 1871 census shows that, Harry, his parents William and Lucy and his Brother Arthur, were still living in the Hundred, Romsey Hampshire.

William was working as a Master Butcher. Arthur, a butcher and Harry was a scholar. They had a boarder called, Martha Merrie, a Drape Maker living with them.

Once again, jumping forward 10 years to the year 1881, Queen Victoria was still on the throne, William Ewart Gladstone (Liberal) was Prime Minister. Edward Rudolf founded the ‘Church of England Central Society for Providing Homes for Waifs and Strays’ (later The Children’s Society). British forces defeated at the Battle of Laing’s Nek and the Battle of Schuinshoogte in the First Boer War. And the 1881 census was held.
It was taken on Sunday the 3rd of April and shows that Harry, and his parents, William and Lucy, were now residing at Church Road, Romsey, Hampshire. Harry was working as a Butcher, William was now a retired Butcher.

Bachelor, Harry James Butt, married spinster, Alice Roud, daughter of, James Roud and Mary Roud nee Martin, on the 12th of April 1882, at the Abbey Chapel, Romsey, Hampshire, when he was 24 years old, Butcher and, Alice was 22 Years old.

Their witnesses were William Burnett and Jane Roud. Harry, was residing at, Middlebridge Street, Romsey and Alice at The Abbey, Romsey.
Their fathers were named as William Butt, a Butcher and James Roud, a Labour.

Harry and Alice, had been a little naughty, before their wedding as Alice was in the family way and on the 19th November 1882 she gave birth to their first born Daughter, whom they named, Emily Janet Butt, in the Romsey District of Hampshire.

Emily Janet went on to marry George William Giles.
I wonder if my mother In-law Janet was named after her?

As we all know there are only two certainties in life, you’re born and you die. In January 1884, one of those certainties came to light, when Harry James’s Mother, Lucy, drew her last breath on, Thursday the 10th of January 1884 in Middlebridge, Romsey Hampshire.

Middlebridge 1880

Lucy died from Apoplexy, when she was 59 years old.
Her Son, Arthur Henry Butt, was in attendance and registered her death on, Sunday the 13th of January 1884.

Lucy Maria was laid to rest at, Romseys Old Cemetery, Botley Road, Romsey, Hampshire, on the 15th January 1883, in Grave E420.

It wasn’t long until Harry and Alice were expecting their second child and on the 17th February 1884, in the Romsey district of Hampshire, Alice gave birth to a bonnie baby girl, whom they called, Florence Alice Butt.
We believe Florence never married.
I sincerely hope Florence, gave Harry and his family some much needed joy after the devastating loss of his Mum.

Two years later, Harry and Alice were once again expecting. Their Daughter, Kate Louisa Butt, was born in the January to March quarter of 1886 in the Romsey district of Hampshire.
We believe that Kate, also never married. She was later laid to rest in Romsey old cemetery, Botley Hill, Romsey.

On the 18th February 1889, Alice gave birth to Harry’s and her first Son, whom they called, William James Butt. He was born in the Romsey district of Hampshire.
William went on to marry, Ethel Woods, Daughter of William Woods and Emily Woods nee Bundy and they had three Children.

A few years later, Harry’s Father, William Butt, died on Tuesday the 18th of February 1890 at his home in Palmerston Street, Romsey, Hampshire, England, when he was 76 years old.

He died from, Chronic Bronchitis and Rheumatism.
Harry James, was present and registered his death on Thursday the 20th February 1890

William was laid to rest at, Romsey Old Cemetery, Botley Road, Romsey, Hampshire, England, on the 23rd of Febuary 1890, in Grave E421.

In the year 1891, Queen Victoria was still on the throne, it’s was the 24th parliament and Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury(Conservative) was Prime Minister. The London-Paris telephone system was opened to the general public and the official opening of the LondonParis telephone system. Arthur Conan Doyle‘s detective Sherlock Holmes appeared in The Strand Magazine for the first time and it was the year of the census in the United Kingdom.
The census’s shows that, Harry, Alice and their children, Emily, Florence, Kate and William, were residing at Number 11, Palmerston Street, Romsey, Hampshire, England, on the eve of Sunday the 5th April 1891. Harry was working as a Butcher.

Just over a year later, on Thursday the 11th of August 1892, Harry and Alice, welcomed a bonnie baby boy into their family. They named him, George Harry Butt.
He was born at their home, Number 11, Palmerston Street, Romsey, Hampshire.
Harry was working as a Fruit Preserver journeyman.
Harry registered George’s birth on Tuesday the 20th of September 1892.

Heartbreak followed 16 months later when, baby George Harry Butt, became ill and sadly passed away on, Wednesday the 13th of December 1893, at their home, Harris’s Store House, North Gaston Gardens, Romsey, Hampshire, England. He died from Double Bronchitis and Pneumonia.
Harry was present at his death and registered it on the 1st January 1894.

Harry, Alice and family laid George to rest at, Romsey Old Cemetery, Botley Road, Romsey, Hampshire, England, on Wednesday the 3rd of January 1894, in grave K8.

I hate to think of the pain the family would have been suffering. To loss a child most be the worst thing possible. My eyes fill with tears at the thought of it and for Harry and Alice.
I sincerely hope that the birth of Harry and Alice’s daughter, helped to heal their hearts.

Mabel Beatrice Butt (my hubbies Great Grandmother) was born on Saturday the 11th of July 1896, at their home, Harris’s Stores, North Gaston, Romsey, Hampshire, England.
Harry was working as a Fruit Preserver journeyman.
Harry registered Mabel’s birth on Saturday the 22nd of August 1896, in Romsey, Hampshire.

Mabel Beatrice, went on to marry, Frederick Charles Hillier. I hope to tell you a little more about their lives at a later date, or maybe their Great Granddaughter, Sarah, will do the honours.

Jumping forward to Tuesday the 10th of October 1899, Harry and Alice welcomed a son into the world. They named him Arthur Herbert Butt.
Arthur was born in the Romsey district of Hampshire.
Arthur went on to marry Lillian M Lamb.

Jumping forward again to the year 1901, Queen Victoria was on the throne until the 22 January 1901 and then her eldest son Edward VII took over as King after his mother’s death, on 22 January 1901. Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (Coalition) was Prime Minister.
Winston Churchill made his maiden speech in the House of Commons, concerning the Boer War, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (the future King George V and Queen Mary) made a tour of the British Empire in RMS Ophir sailing as a royal yacht and The 1901 UK Census was held.

The census took place on, Sunday the 31st March 1901, which Shows Harry and Alice, and their children, Florence, Kate, William, Mabel and Arthur, residing at Harris Store, Romsey, Hampshire, England.

Harry was working as a Fruit Preserver, possibly working at the Steam Preserving Works. The Steam Preserving works of George Harris, were situated in The Hundred. He had started a grocery business where the Consortium is in Bell Street today. His wife made and sold jams there and he realised the opportunity to manufacture and moved to where Jeera Restaurant is today and bought the premises where John Baker, had a carriage building, opposite where Aldi now trades. The building in the picture was Tudor and listed but it mysteriously caught fire and was demolished in 1964. It was then developed as Waitrose which they used until they relocated.

Florence and Kate were working as General Domestic Servants.

Somewhen over the next ten years, Harry packed his belongings and moved to Milford On Sea, near Lymington, Hampshire, to run his own butchers shop, with his son William. A very brave move, especially considering he had spent his whole life in the small town of Romsey. Not only was he leaving his home town but also his friends and family as well as his church and his roll as Deacon. (Unfortunately we know very little about his role as Deacon. I have contacted the church and asked if they can let me know if they hold any records or information for Harry’s time with the church but I have yet to hear back from them. Fingers are still very much crossed.)
We are uncertain if Alice and the children moved with them or stayed in Romsey. We are swaying more towards them staying in Romsey, as you will discover in the up and coming documents.

Harry James Butt, life story sadly nears an end, as on the Friday 13th January 1911 when he was 52 years old, Harry tragically ended his own life.
The shocking death of Harry James is a harrowing story, a hidden family tragedy that has been buried for years, a family cover up to avoid the shame and stigma of such a devoted Christian family man.
It wasn’t until my Sister In-law Sarah, was searching the old newspaper articles, that the tragic events of Harry’s death came to light.
The two articles she found are a little shocking, so of course I had to order his death certificate to confirm as much information as possible.

Harry’s death certificate confirms that Harry, was a 52 year old, butcher, residing at, Milford On Sea, Milford, Lymington, Hampshire, when he died on Friday the 13th January 1911.
Harrys cause of death was recorded as, Suffocation from Hanging on the 13th January. Killed himself whist of unsound mind.
The certificate of death was received from Robert Druitt, coroner for the Hundred of Christchurch. An inquest was held on Saturday the 14th of January 1911.
Harry’s death was registered on Monday the 16th of January 1911.

Harry’s coffin was brought back to Romsey, and placed in the, Baptist Chapel, Abbey United Reformed Church, over night. A service was conducted the following day, by the Rev. W. E. Cove, the deceased’s former pastor at Milford-on-Sea, and was attended by family mourners, deacons, members of the Church, and friends.

Alice and family, laid Harry James Butt, to rest at the Old Cemetery, Botley Road, Romsey, Hampshire, on Tuesday 17th of January 1911, in Plot No. R243.

On Saturday the 21st of January 1911, the Christchurch Times Newspaper, printed an article about the inquest into Harry’s death. It reads – 

Suicide – An inquest was held at the Crown Hotel, Milford, on Saturday by Mr Robert Druid, coroner for the Hundred of Christchurch, on the body of Mr Harry James Butt, aged 52, who had carried on a butcher business at Milford. He was found by his son hanging dead in the lavatory of his house. – William James Butt, butcher, of Milford, son of the deceased, gave evidence of identification, and said his father was a butcher and had carried on business at Milford. Witness last saw him alive on Friday, 13th inst., and he seemed about the same as usual, but a little depressed. He has some business worries, partly money difficulties. He had arranged to leave Milford and take up a situation at Romsey in February. There was some difficulty, however about his leaving Milford, but the previous night it was arranged that witness should stay until the house was disposed of. They had been too late to give notice at Christmas, so could not leave until Midsummer. Deceased thought he had disposed of the business, but the landlord would not accept the tenant which he had found. His father was of a working nature and allowed trifles to worry him, he never met trouble half way. At 7 30 on the following morning witness got up, and on going downstairs found a lamb lit, but no fire. He lit the fire, and did various other things until eight o’clock, and then went to look for his father. On going into the lavatory, witness found him hanging by a rope fixed to a beam. Witness cut him down and sent for Mr. Tanner. His father was then dead. Witness understood that his fathers business had for some time been going back, and was loosing money. He had had disputes with the landlord on business matters. – Richard Tanner, butchers assistant, of Milford, gave evidence as to being called to the house of deceased and finding him handing dead. The door was bolted, and he told the last witness to get a knife while he opened the door. After he had burst the door open he took the body in his arms while the last witness cut it dow. – Dr. Bruce, of Milford, said when called deceased was dead. He  found a deep mark of a cord round the neck. Efforts were  made  by artificial respiration to revive deceased, but without effect. Answering the coroner, witness said that when a man was liable to fits of depression a very little thing would throw him off balance, so that he might not  be responsible for his actions. In his  (the doctor’s) opinion death in this case was caused by suffocation from hanging. – The jury returned a verdict of “Suicide during temporary insanity.”

On the 21st January 1911, The Salisbury And Winchester Journal, And General Advertiser, printed an article about Harry’s death. It reads, –

FORMER RESIDENT’S SAD DEATH. – The news of the death of Mr. Harry James Butt, aged 52, who was found hanging dead in his house at Milford-on-Sea, was received with much regret in Romsey, of which place the deceased was a native. He spent the greater part of his life in Romsey, and some months ago he and his eldest son went to open a butcher’s business in Milford. At the inquest, which resulted in the return of a verdict of suicide during temporary insanity, it was stated that deceased was of a worrying nature. The son said he understood that his father’s business had been going back for sometime, and that he had been losing money. When in Romsey Mr. Butt was a useful and devoted member of the Baptist Church, and was a deacon. A reference to the sad occurrence was made at the close of the men’s meeting in the Congregational Church on Sunday afternoon by Mr. Hattatt, a former employer of the deceased, who suggested that a vote of condolence should be sent to the bereaved members of the family. A similar vote was passed at the Baptist Chapel after the evening service. The coffin was brought to Romsey on Wednesday, and placed in the Baptist Chapel. On Thursday afternoon a service was conducted by the Rev. W.E.Cove, the deceased’s former pastor at Milford-on-Sea, and was attended by family mourners, deacons and members of the Church, and others. The Rev. W. E. Cove gave an impressive address. The hymns, “Peace perfect peace” and “For ever with the Lord” were sung, and at the close Miss Hand played the Dead March in Saul. Mr. W. H. Read carried out the funeral arrangements at Romsey.

Though you had to let go
of this world to find peace,
we hold on to your memory in our hearts,
so you live forever.

Harry James Butt


A huge thank you to all the Romsey Revisited members who have helped us over the last few weeks. We wouldn’t have got half as far with our research, if it want for you kindness and help. And extra special thanks to Chas Burnett for helping us located James, Alice and others family members last resting place, We are sincerely grateful.


I have brought and paid for all certificates throughout,
Please do not download or use them without my permission.
Thank you.

3 thoughts on “The Life Of Harry James Butt 1858-1911

  1. Pingback: Chapter Five, May 2022 | Intwined

  2. Pingback: The Life Of Walter George Hillier, 1867-1946 | Intwined

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