Talk:Tichborne case

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Featured article Tichborne case is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on June 1, 2013.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
April 13, 2012 Peer review Reviewed
May 5, 2012 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article


The trial to establish his inheritance began on 11 May 1871 in the Court of Common Pleas before Sir Alexander Cockburn, 12th Baronet CJ, and lasted 102 days. Orton weathered the attacks against the discrepancies in his story and his outright ignorance of many key facts Roger would have known, including how to speak French as the heir had spent most of his youth in France.[2] Over 100 people vouched for his identity as Roger—except Orton's brother who claimed otherwise. Roger Charles Doughty Tichborne ? I have in my notes, but no source. Rich Farmbrough. 17:57, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Cockburn presided later at the Criminal trial not at the Civil trial.Neil Hayman (talk) 22:26, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
The article said so already at the end, so I have added it up front. A cursory Google search gives some convincing looking links [1][2][3] -- ALoan (Talk) 18:54, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
It is possible Roger changed his name between his uncle dying in 1853 and his father inheriting the Doughty fortune and changing his name and Roger's own death in 1854. The claimant certainly would claim that name as he was claiming the right to the Doughty fortune. BTW does anyone know whether it was double barreled or hyphenated? --Erp (talk) 02:45, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
The Times of London seems to have consistently not used a hyphen in the coverage at that time so I have removed hyphens in the article. --Erp (talk) 14:08, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Catholic v. Protestant rivalries[edit]

Ought to be some mention of the apparently bitter Catholic v. Protestant rivalries that surrounded this case. Drutt 22:19, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Feel free to fix it, I am unaware that religion came into it.--Golden Wattle talk 09:14, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure of the details, but it seems the Tichbornes were a Catholic family while the pretender was protestant, and many of his supporters believed he was victim of a Jesuit plot to dispossess him in order to maintain the estate in Catholic hands. Drutt 10:51, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Another "substitution"[edit]

Is to be found at William Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 5th Duke of Portland.

Are there any other examples? Jackiespeel (talk) 16:04, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Slightly incorrect explanation re "Titchy"[edit]

"The slang words titch, meaning a small person, and titchy, meaning "small" or "tiny", come from the stage name of music hall star Harry Relph, known as Little Tich, an ironic reference to the size of the Tichbourne Claimant." [Italics added.]

According to p 24 of Little Tich: Giant of the Music Hall by Mary Tich (Relph's daughter) and Richard Findlater (Elm Tree Books, London 1979) the reference was not ironic. Because of Orton's size, "Tichborne" initially became an epithet meaning fat. As a child performer, Relph (born 1867) was "unusually stout for his age," and was consequently nicknamed "Young Tichborne" and "Little Tich", adopting the latter as a permanent stage name. Once Relph had slimmed to normal proportions and attained adulthood (while still being only 4'6" tall) and while people still remembered the now-imprisoned Orton the name may temporarily have seemed ironic, but that was not its original intent. In due course, with Orton forgotten and Relph famous, "Ti[t]ch/ti[t]chy" lost their original implication and gained their current one. (talk) 06:19, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Help the reader[edit]

The "Heir who disappeared" section is well-nigh impossible to follow without serious study. How about a simple summary of the relevant facts that omits superfluous details such as the ridicule of his French accent? (talk) 04:09, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Which ship[edit]

Which ship carrying the real Roger was allegedly lost at sea with all hands while travelling from Brazil to England ? Ships have names and in the mid-nineteenth century ships did not just disappear without anyone noticing that they didn't turn up.Eregli bob (talk) 04:37, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

The ship was the Bella bound from Rio to NY; I've added a sentence or two with a reference. Salmanazar (talk) 16:01, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Frivolous section titles[edit]

OK, are we going to do something constructive about the weird section titles - such as maybe have a chat about them here - or are we just going to edit war till kingdom come? -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:05, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Question on references[edit]

I am new here and don't wish to engage in any contentious editing.But this piece contains several extremely misleading statements and perhaps is essentially tainted by undue bias.Most notably by the excision of all references, save a simple bibliographical notation,to"The Tichborne Claimant", the near definitive work of Douglas Woodruff,who devoted nearly fifty years of field research to the subject.

The article states under "Claimant emerges":Aside from some facial resemblance to Tichborne, he did not fit the description at all. Instead of sharp features and black hair, he had a rounded visage and light brown hair. He was also overweight and did not speak a word of French..... Lady Tichborne was desperate enough, however, to accept him as her son and sent him money to come to her.

Check the lengthy section of chronologically arranged photographs in Woodruff.The Claimant weighs in at approximately twelve pounds heavier than when Roger left England.The hair is every bit as dark as formerly.The visage was not round in his first forty years nor was it round at the end.In fact Woodruff prints,without comment. a picture of Lady Tichborne in her coffin next to a photograph of the Claimant in his.No comment is needed.The Claimant did not speak(no longer spoke?) French well but whether he spoke a word of French(a statement three times repeated in the article)depends on which witnesses one chooses to believe

" He arrived in London on Christmas Day 1866 and visited the Tichborne estates. There he met the Tichborne family solicitor Edward Hopkins and Francis J. Baigent who became his supporters.".Actually(check Woodruff and the trial record)he arrived by train and was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of over three hundred people.Many,if not most of whom had known the undoubted Roger Tichborne.The claimant remained on visiting terms for several days and only a maximum of four ever withdrew their identifications of Roger Tichborne.He was also positively identified by Dr.Lipscombe the family physician.Lady Tichborne knew all this when she made her identification.

"After Lady Tichborne's acceptance..." Couldn't be more wrong and Woodruff's been available since 1956.This entire article is in need of factual revision.I suspect the hand of John Godl is in this.Neil Hayman (talk) 22:26, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Rohan McWilliam's, more recent "The Tichborne Claimant" should certainly be added to the bibliography,which includes nothing since 2001.McWilliam ,like Woodruff, is one of the few writers on who has tried to steer an absolutely judicious course through the partisan and,frequently, malicious claims which have marred most accounts of the case ever published.Neil Hayman (talk) 20:35, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree that the article until now has been inadequate, poorly researched and non-neutral in tone. But see below, and watch the article's future development. Brianboulton (talk) 23:09, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Article update and expansion[edit]

The article needs work to bring it up to standard, and I shall be busy with it over the next few weeks. During that period the article may at times seem somewhat lopsided and incomplete; images may disappear for a while and there may be other signs of work in progress. When complete I hope the article will be both comprehensive and neutral, faithfully representing the sources whether or not they support a particular view of the case. As a gesture of intent I have begun by expanding the lead, although this may change quite a bit when the main text is complete. The "Under construction" banner should stay in place while the work proceeds. Brianboulton (talk) 23:01, 18 March 2012 (UTC)


There's a pub in Sussex near Loxwood named after this case. The Sir Roger Tichborne has a pub sign with Roger T's face on one side and Arthur Orton's on the other. Their web site says established in 1873. Worth including? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:52, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

I'd say this was trivia, but not uninteresting. I'll try to devise an appropriate footnote to incorporate this information. Brianboulton (talk) 13:08, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Anna Anderson[edit]

I don't see any problem with having this in the article. Proxima Centauri (talk) 11:22, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Please explain what it has to do with the article, other than being a remotely similar case, - no reason to be included, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 11:58, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
There is no connection whatever. There are lots of cases of claimed identity, none of which bear on this case. Brianboulton (talk) 13:00, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

What was the date of the shipwreck[edit]

This article states that Henry Tichborne died in a shipwreck in 1854, but Tichborne baronetcy lists a date of death of 1845. One of the dates is a typo. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:27, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

I have no idea what you are talking about – you have got yourself into a muddle. The article correctly records Sir Henry's death in 1845, and Roger Tichborne's disappearance after a shipwreck in 1854. These are verified facts, and I see no discrepancy with the Tichborne baronets article. In future, if you want to query a fact in an article, simply raise it on the talkpage; putting a tag into the lead of a main page article is completely inappropriate.

Tichborn/Orton's daughter[edit]

Will mention file The National Archives file MEPO 3/2458 - Theresa ALEXANDER alias TICHBORNE, daughter of claimant to Tichborne estates: scurrilous letters. Jackiespeel (talk) 17:25, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Link to the Parramatta River Murders?[edit]

I have just completed reading The Sydney Assassins, a 1964 book that links two murders on the Parramatta River in Sydney in 1872 with the Tichbourne Claimant trial. I am going to hopefully find some time to throw together a stub on the case but would be interested to hear if anyone else knows of the case and its possible link to the Tichbourne case. --Roisterer (talk) 07:39, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Added material[edit]

In August 2013 a considerable amount of material – 1600 words of text, together with a large influx of directly quoted material – was added to the article, without any discussion. I am sure that this was a good faith attempt to improve the article's quality. However, none of this new material has been subject to any review, or consideration in the context of the article as a whole. After a rapid survey I have identified several concerns:

  • The new "William Creswell" section seems overdetailed, given the relatively marginal importance of this figure to the case. I agree he should be mentioned, and he is worth a couple of sentences, but not a complete section.
  • Even more problematic, in the context of this article, is the added section "Orton's daughter and the Tichbornes", at 900+ words pretty well the longest in the article. This case is a separate legal entity from the Tichborne case, arising 40+ years after the main events. It may be worthy of inclusion in a short postscript, but the present level of attention is, I believe, wildly excessive.
  • Without exception the contents of these new sections are sourced to old Australian newspapers, in sharp contrast to the rest of the article which is largely based on up-to-date scholarly sources rather than press reporting.
  • Much of the quoted material added is unnecessary. The full text of the Cubitt's advertisement is a case in point – most of the detail in the advertisement simply repeats the story told in the text. The brief summary of the advert that was formerly in the article is sufficient.
  • Likewise, the verbatim extract from the cross-examination added into the "Evidence and cross-examination" provided nothing not apparent from the existing text. The description as "a telling exchange" was inappropriate POV. The sentence introducing the quote ("A telling exchange between the Claimant and Coleridge took place over Euclid who Sir Roger, at school, was said to be 'so good in his demonstrations as to best his masters'") is clunky and I think ungrammatical. I have removed the sentence, and the quotation that follows it.

These are the more obvious issues – a fuller reading of the revised text may reveal others. Because this is a featured article and has to conform to the standards set by the FA criteria, I am inviting the editors who participated in the FA review in May 2012 to look at the new material. Hopefully they will indicate whether it should substantially stay, or whether it should be summarised to conform with the summary style of the rest of the article. Brianboulton (talk) 20:23, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

I was one of the FAC reviewers. I agree with Brian. The additions are of marginal importance and should not be added in bulk. (unsigned comment by User:Wehwalt)
Started adding under WP:BRD and no-one commented for more than three months. Now removed to their own pages (which I'll work on - obvious need to redraft text for stand alone now its out of context). Left Section heading for Cresswell & a mention for Theresa with wikilinks for redraft here as needed. AnonNep (talk) 23:50, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
I was also one of the FA reviewers. (Not sure who left the unsigned comment above AnonNep's comment). It looks like the difficulties are largely resolved. To avoid a lurch in the prose, would it be better to append the Creswell material as a note to the bottom of the article rather than inserting it as a subsection? In any case, the Creswell claims need a citation to a reliable source (probably the one that disappeared in the most recent deletion). On the matter of WP:Be bold, I apply boldness in inverse proportion to the sophistication of an existing article. I'm more bold when altering a stub, start, or poorly done article than I am when altering a GA, FA, or anything that shows signs of having been researched, written, and illustrated with tender loving care. Generally, FA articles have been worked on substantially and vetted by several experienced editors before they become featured. Out of respect for those editors, I edit their work lightly and with caution. Finetooth (talk) 03:24, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
OP wanted 'a couple of sentences' on William Cresswell, the text is just a place holder for someone to expand, as preferred, with wikilink to new page with click-through citations there that can be read for relevance (depending on desired text wanted here). Other than that, I'm going to WP:AGF and say no more. AnonNep (talk) 03:56, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
AnonNep, thank you for your responses. You are right that nobody challenged your edits for three months; unfortunately, not all articles are watched as thoroughly as they should be, even FAs, and I accept some of the blame for this. Your good faith, as I said at the top of this thread, is not in question, and the fact that you have responded to the issue in a helpful manner means that it can be easily resolved. I will incorporate brief summaries of the Cresswell and Theresa material into the article, with appropriate links. Brianboulton (talk) 10:09, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks to Finetooth and Wehwalt for commenting here. Other FAC reviewers who may drop by can assume that the matter has now been resolved. Brianboulton (talk) 10:09, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

I am late to the party, but it looks like things have been resolved well and amicably. Thanks to AnonNep for bringing this additional material to everyone's attention, and everyone for their work on the article. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 13:47, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
I apologise for also missing the boat on this one, but like Ruhrfisch I am glad to see everything has worked out happily. If I can ever help out on this again please don't hesitate to let me know (this applies for everybody). Cheers, Cliftonian (talk) 15:55, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Photo of Arthur Orton[edit]

Hi, I've just uploaded a historic photograph of Orton that may be of use to this article: See File:Arthur Orton 1873.jpg. Cheers! --Animalparty-- (talk) 20:18, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

And I have just come across a painting of the trial in BBC Your Paintings. I hate to cram the article, but I believe the picture in question makes for a valuable addition, so I have uploaded it to Commons and placed it in what I hope is a suitable location in the article, with a caption that complements the one of the image preceding it. (Though someone else might make better arrangements or improve the caption, of course.) Waltham, The Duke of 21:17, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

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TFA rerun[edit]

Any objections to throwing this article into the pile of potential TFA reruns for next year (in August or November)? Any cleanup needed? If it helps, here's a list of dead or dubious links. - Dank (push to talk) 23:09, 10 September 2017 (UTC)