Monday, 1 December 2008

Eleanor Rigby: Further Developments

In the last week news has emerged of a schoolbook found in Liverpool, bearing the name Eleanor Rigby Whitfield. A Mrs Bennet has uncovered the geography book whilst clearing out her shed. When she first moved into the property she was informed by neighbours that the house was one the home of Eleanor Rigby, but she gave little credence to the matter.

The press stories state that when she first found the book, Mrs Bennet was uncertain as to it's relevance due to the 'Whitfield' surname. Research enabled her to establish the story outlined above. The book contains Eleanor's signature, as well as that of a Hannah Whitfield, apparently Eleanor's half-sister.

I have carried out further research, which confirms the story to some extent, but raises certain questions. Eleanor's widowed mother, Mary Elizabeth Whitfield (born Rigby) remarried on 15th Jan 1911. Her second husband was Richard Heatley, and the marriage took place in Wavertree, Lancashire (West Derby District, 1st Quarter, Vol 8b; page 531). Seven months later Mary Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter, Hannah Heatley on 10th Aug 1911 (Prescot District, Vol 8b; page 1339).

Hannah Heatley was therefore Eleanor Rigby Whitfield's half-sister, but there appears little likelihood that she would have signed her name as Hannah Whitfield, given the legitimacy of her birth in marriage, and despite her mother becoming pregnant two months before her second marriage.

A record of death for Hannah Heatley was registered in Liverpool in October 2001.

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