John Lee’s Marriage – 1909

lee marriage - Western Times - Tuesday 26 January 1909 captionJohn Lee was a respected much admired Edwardian celebrity by the time he was released from prison. Now squeaky clean in the eyes of the general public. He had been dating various women in and around mid-Devon. But it was the Newton Abbot Workhouse nurse, Jessie Bulled, who was to be his love and wife.

At a ‘low-key’ affair the couple tried to play down their wedding. Needless to say the media got wind of the event.

The marriage though was to end in disaster. A few years later he was to leave his penniless bride pregnant with their third child. Lee, turned love-rat, fled Great Britain with another woman claiming falsely to be his real wife. Their destination was a new life in America where he spent the rest of his life with his head down with his other ‘wife’ and the child they had together. Meanwhile, poor Jessie was left destitute and the last we have heard (to-date) was her time in Lambeth Workhouse.

The adored Edwardian celebrity really had a dark side. Dark enough to dump his real wife. But whether this was sufficiently dark enough to murder his mistress at Babbacombe is open to speculation (click the image to read the full news story).

Ian Waugh