10: Putting the Pieces Together


It has taken a long time but I believe I am at the point where I can put the pieces together.

  1. My grandfather inherited Spanish (and Nigerian) DNA from his father
  2. Sir Massey’s predecessors were Spanish and from Jamaica where Nigerian slaves were taken
  3. Neither the Keppel household or the Massey household have any staff with Spanish names so it appears the father of Hannah’s child was not a fellow member of the domestic staff
  4. Whoever the father was seemed to ensure Hannah was not thrown out on the streets when she became pregnant - that may have been out of compassion or it may have been to prevent a scandall or possibly both
  5. The birth was never registered, possibly to protect the identity of the father who may have been a prominent person
  6. The child was not baptised, possibly because the father was not of the Christian faith
  7. Sir Massey undoubtedly knew Hannah’s employers family very well
  8. Sir Massey Lopes’ footman’s son married Hannah two years after the birth of the child

That all paints a picture in my mind of a likely chain of events; was it like this? 

  1. Sir Massey Lopes was at Sir William Keppel’s home for dinner; Hannah Musselwhite was serving at the table. After dinner a rather ‘worse for drink’ Sir Massey, an ageing and possibly frustrated man, pursued Hannah who tried to avoid him but it ended in rape; this was not uncommon in Victorian households where it was something of an occupational hazard for female servants.
  2. Hannah may have threaten to go police at the time or, in fear of losing her job, she kept quiet until it became obvious to everyone that she was pregnant at which point the head of the domestic staff would have cross examined her prior to making a report to Lady Keppel. Was Hannah threatened with expulsion from the household and did she defend herself by threatening to go to the police to expose Sir Massey and what he had done.
  3. When the Keppel’s told Sir Massey that Hannah was pregnant he may have decided to sort the mess out to keep Hannah quiet but also because he was wracked with guilt for what he had done. He may have turned to his footman’s son, Henry Orchard, whom he was watching over, and offered him a sum of money to marry Hannah
  4. Henry would hardly be in a position to refuse given that he had been supported by Sir Massey since his father’s death but he may have insisted the bastard child had to go as part of the deal; it may have been in everyone’s interests that that should happen.

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