Monumental mason brings a ‘grave’ case

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1913 Police Court

This afternoon at the Scarborough County Court, before his Honour Judge Lock, John P Richardson, monumental mason, Columbus Ravine, sued Wm. Goodlet, of, 8, St Anne’s Grove, Birkenhead, for £16 15s, for “goods sold, work done, and cemetery fees”.

Mr J Whitfield, solicitor, was for plaintiff, and Mr GB Parker for defendant.

The claim was for the erection and lettering of a grave stone, and plaintiff stated that defendant, an old man of 86, ordered a marble stone from him for his daughter’s grave. Defendant asked what the cost would be approximately, stating it was like a stone which had been erected over his wife’s grave. Plaintiff said that the cost would be about £15, with five dozen letters, exclusive of cemetery fees, but letters over five dozen would be charged at the rate of 5s per dozen. A man named Dove called at witness’s yard later. A granddaughter of defendant’s afterwards handed him an inscription.

Mr Parker: It is a question of ordering; do you say he definitely ordered it? - Only that he said, “That is the stone,” and I said I would put it in hand if he would send the inscription. The man Dove called later and asked which was the stone Mr Goodlet wanted or had chosen, and witness pointed it out. Dove said, “You will be all right; you can put it in hand,” and he intimated that the old man had plenty of money, and it would be paid for when it was ready. Mr Goodlet never said, when he went into the yard, that he had been sent to look at a stone by someone else. Dove asked him (plaintiff) if he had got an inscription for the stone, and replying in the negative, Dove said that he would find it at 16, Ireton Street. Witness went there and got it, the granddaughter handing it to him.

John Gowan, 88, Trafalgar Street West, in the employ of Mr Richardson, said defendant had said to a daughter: “Now, that has to be the stone.” Witness said that it was a very nice one. Before this Mr Goodlet had been in the yard by himself, and on the second occasion he had apparently taken his granddaughter to see the stone.

Olive Kirkham, 16, Ireton Street, granddaughter of defendant, said she had been subpoenaed to attend there. The inscription (produced) was sent by his granddaughter through the post, and witness saw Mr Dove, and afterwards handed the inscription to Mr Richardson, after the latter had asked her for it. She later went to the yard with an alteration in the inscription.

Quoting a letter witness had written to her grandfather, Mr Parker read that Dove had asked her to say that if the defendant would pay some money down he (Dove) would repay him in the summer.

Walter Dove, cab proprietor, 8, Beechville Avenue, also appearing on subpoena, denied ever ordering the gravestone or becoming responsible for the payment of it.

By Mr Parker: He denied having told the girl to write to her grandfather and say that if the latter would put the money down he would pay him in the summer.

By Mr Parker: Witness had known deceased, but he had not been courting her or paying his addresses to her.

Mr Parker: Weren’t you thinking of marrying her?

Dove: No, I couldn’t marry her.

The Judge asked Dove what he meant – was he married?

Dove: Yes.

Continuing, he said he 
never ordered, or had anything to do with the ordering of the stone, and he only saw Richardson about it once, when he spoke to him about the inscription.

Defendant said he priced two stones, one was £12 and the other £15, but he gave no order to anyone. A few days after he went with his granddaughter but he ordered nothing. “To pretend that I ordered anything is a lot of nonsense.” He went to show his granddaughter the stone which was similar to the one on his wife’s grave at Birkenhead.

The Judge believed the evidence of the granddaughter. A girl would not, and could not, invent such things.

“I don’t mind saying,” concluded the judge, “emphatically to Mr Dove, that if he does not pay Mr Goodlet for the stone he is a bit of a cur.”