Date: 14 Sep 1932
Place: Hyde Park Terrace, London
Edith Marion Rosse died at Hyde Park Terrace in London on 14 September 1932.
Her cause of death was initially given as being cerebral haemorrhage and chronic Bright’s disease.
Her body was exhumed on 28 April 1933, but no poison was found, although it was said that any poisons present could have decomposed and it was noted that no cause of death could be determined.
Edith Rosse had become suddenly ill after lunch on 19 August 1932 but recovered and then had again been taken suddenly ill in the night of 3-4 September 1932 after which she lingered until she died on 14 September 1932. After she had first been taken suddenly ill she made out a will to a Man that she lived with, that was written in pencil on an menu, leaving everything to him.
She had been buried at Bisham Churchyard near Marlow in Buckinghamshire.
The order for the exhumation was given on the authority of the Home Secretary after her relatives became suspicious. It was getting dark 28 April 1933 when a number of official cars pulled up to the small churchyard which lay on the bank of the river and every step was taken by the police to keep the operation secret. However, in spite of that, a crowd gathered on the other bank of the river to watch and some of them tried to cross to the cemetery in a rowing boat but were turned back.
A three-poled derrick was placed across the grave with a rope and pulley and the white stone cross on which was a bronze figure of Christ, was lifted out and then the gravediggers began to dig down to the coffin. When the coffin was raised, the usual formalities at an exhumation of passing red tape around the coffin and sealing the ends were observed and the coffin was then taken in an undertaker’s van to the Paddington coroner's mortuary in London.
Her husband was the composer of 'The Merchant of Venice' suite. They had been married for about 10 years, marrying in 1907, but had lived apart for a number of years since 1923, but soon after Edith Rosse died her husband remarried and then a couple of months later, just before Christmas 1932, he moved to Brighton.
In 1923 Edith Rosse had been living with her husband and a Man in a house in Hyde Park Terrace, and after her husband left the Man would pass Edith Rosse off as his sister. It was heard that in 1923 Edith Rosse had written out her will in benefit of a woman but that they had argued, and she had destroyed that will and had not made another one for some time.
Later, in 1929 the Man bought the lease of the house he and Edith Rosse both lived there although they lived in separate parts and had their own house keepers.
In her will, which was last dated 19 August 1932, Edith Rosse had written 'Everything I have, if anything happens to me, to be left to the Man, to be disposed of as he thinks best and in accordance with what I should desire'. However, the will was written in pencil on a menu card and the Man was later involved in a bankruptcy.
It was said that the Man appeared to have been a man of some substance, nut that in August 1932 he had had some difficulties and was owing some thousands of pounds and apparently didn't have the funds to discharge his debts.
Then, on 19 August 1932, whilst the Man was not in the house, Edith Rosse was seized with a sudden illness after her lunch. She was then put to bed suffering from sickness and diarrhoea and when the doctor examined her he came to the conclusion that she was suffering from heat stroke. However, it was said that it was not a very probable diagnosis because the next thing that happened was that the Man was fetched from Whitehall and Edith Rosse dictated her new will to him which was written in paper on a menu. The new will was witnessed by the doctor and the housekeeper.
However, Edith Rosse then became better after a second doctor was called for and resumed a more or less normal life.
However, later on the night of 3-4 September 1932 Edith Rosse was taken violently ill again and the first doctor that had initially diagnosed Edith Rosse's condition as heat stroke was called for again. It was then heard that Edith Rosse remained in a mentally confused state and semi-conscious until 14 September 1932 when she died. At that point the doctor diagnosed her as having suffered from some form of blood poisoning arising out of a defective action of the kidneys which was later confirmed by a consultant and her death certificate was signed as being a natural death.
However, following her death, her relatives began to make enquiries and Edith Rosse was later exhumed and analysis of her organs made, but no poison was detected, and no further actions were made and then later, in November 1933 an application relating to Edith Rosse estate was granted on behalf of the trustee in bankruptcy of the Man as administrators of her estate.
The Man was formerly the editor of The Whitehall Gazette which was published in Parliament Street in London.
The gross value of her estate was £18,865 with net personality of £18,699. She had named no executor of her will, and letters of administration were granted to the Man, the residuary legatee.
Edith Rosse had in her early days appeared on the stage under the name of Vivienne Pierpont playing in touring productions of musical comedies. Productions that she had appeared in included 'The Quaker Girl', 'The Duchess of Danzig', 'Dorothy' and 'The Arcadians'. She had met her husband whilst appearing in the musical comedies, many of which had been produced by the Man. She also played in Gilbert and Sullivan operas.
An open verdict was returned at her inquest in July 1933.
see Gloucestershire Echo - Wednesday 19 July 1933
see Dundee Courier - Saturday 29 April 1933
see Leeds Mercury - Monday 01 May 1933
see Ballymena Weekly Telegraph - Saturday 06 May 1933
see Shields Daily News - Wednesday 19 July 1933
see Lancashire Evening Post - Wednesday 19 July 1933
see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 19 July 1933