Tichborne trial Baronet or Butcher Vanity Fair antique print. Original Vanity Fair print dated June 10th. 1871, together with the ‘signature’ and seal of Lord Tichborne.
On 28th. February in 1874 one of the longest cases ever heard in an English court ended when the defendant was convicted of perjury for assuming the identity of Roger Tichborne. When Sir James Tichborne died in June 1862 Roger Tichborne became the 11th baronet. However, Roger Tichborne had been presumed drowned on a vessel bound for Australia in 1854 and the title passed to a younger son, Alfred. Sir James’s widow, Lady Tichborne, never accepted her son had drowned and, following the death of Alfred, and a consultation with a clairvoyant, she began advertising in The Times and Australian newspapers seeking news of her son. In 1865 William Gibbes, a lawyer from Wagga Wagga in Australia claimed to have identified a local butcher, Thomas Castro, as being Roger Tichborne. However, others suggested that ‘the Claimant’ might be Arthur Orton, a butcher’s son from Wapping, Middlesex (now in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.) Having lost a civil court judgement, ‘the Claimant’ was put on trial before a jury in a criminal court. After a three year trial, heard before three judges Sir John Mellor the Lord Chief Justice; Sir Alexander Cockburn and Sir Robert Lush, ‘the Claimant’ was declared to be Arthur Orton. He was sentenced to fourteen years in prison for perjury and released in 1884. Upon release he confessed to being Orton, only to retract his confession later. Dying in poverty in 1898, he was buried in a pauper’s grave in Paddington cemetery. 5000 people attended the funeral and, with the permission of the Tichborne family, a card was placed on the coffin reading “Sir Roger Charles Doughty Tichborne”The cemetery register contains the name “Tichborne.”