The Gables

There are a few stories about the murky past of the house in which we live. It was called Rosemount when built, but changed to The Gables in the 1950’s, and it is with this name it is known today.

Here is a link to it on Rushden’s Heritage web site:  – and this one too:

I’ve collected a few stories about it, including links and things, and it’s all in the name of history and research and fun. Not so much fun for Ms. Barratt though!

The first story:

Murder and Suicide

at “The Gables”, New Year’s Eve 1942
The inquest was held at the Wellingborough Court-house on Midland Road, before J Cairns Parker, Coroner, and a jury of eight. They had the option of viewing the bodies, but decided that the police photographs would suffice. The deceased were Arthur Clifford Sumpter, aged 44, and Betty Margaret Barratt, alias Gallay, aged 24.
Frederick James Tyman, a nurseryman, of 41 Purvis Road, Rushden, testified first: “Sumpter was my brother-in-law. He was a retired boot operative. Before the last war, he was employed in Rushden. In the war he was wounded, and he was in hospital at Newcastle, where he got to know a collier owner named Embleton. They became good friends. He returned to Rushden, and when Embleton died in 1930, he left him £30,000. In 1936 he purchased The Gables. I cultivated the grounds for him, as nurseryman. Sometimes my wife and I lived there, but we left some months ago. Eighteen months ago, Mrs Gallay came to keep house for him, and they lived together as man and wife. He seemed to be very attached to her, and he became jealous of her. That caused “tiffs”, but not serious ones. Three months ago, she told me there was trouble about a soldier who had been to the house when Sumpter was not there. After that row, she left, and went to her mother at Higham Ferrers. She told me that Sumpter told her to go. She was away for two days and nights, and returned on a Sunday before Christmas. I had a conversation with her on Boxing Day. She told me she was going to marry the soldier, and Sumpter knew. I used to go there at 6 o’clock every morning, and let myself in with my key. I stoked up the central heating, and made tea. I took it up on a tray to Mrs Gallay’s door. Their bedroom doors were opposite one another. The doors were both open, and I could see into their rooms. I usually found them together, in either of the rooms. There were two double beds. I knew that Sumpter had a revolver and ammunition in a drawer in his bedroom dressing table. I last saw him alive on Tuesday afternoon, 29th December, when I left the house at three o’clock with Mrs Galley.On Wednesday morning, I spoke to them, but I couldn’t see them. They were both in bed. That was not unusual. I next visited on Thursday morning, soon after eight. I took the tea up, and put it on a chair outside Mrs Gallay’s room. The door was partly open, and the light was on. I could hear Sumpter snoring, and I knocked the door, and then took the black-out down on the landing, and in the bathroom, before I went downstairs. I was working out in the grounds, and returned at nine o’clock. From the bottom of the stairs, I could see the tray and tea still on there. I brought it down, and made frsh tea, and took it up. I knocked Mrs Gallay’s door. I heard Sumpter snoring, so I tapped the door again. There was no answer. I looked round the door. They were both lying on the bed in their pyjamas. There was no bedding o0ver them. Mrs Gallay had her mouth open. Her hand was cold and stiff. There was blood on the bed. I saw the revolver near Sumpter’s right leg, just out of reach of his right hand. I did not touch anything, but I ‘phoned the police immediately. Sergeant Tansley arrived.”Laura Dorothy Barratt, a widow, of Ingleside, Cemetery Lane, Higham Ferrers, was Mrs Gallay’s mother. In answer to the Coroner’s question, she explained the reason for her daughter’s alias. Her real name was Betty Margaret Barratt. She was a single woman, and had assumed the name Mrs Gallay after she had a child, by a man named Gallay.The evidence of Dr. G. B. Lean, of Rushden, finished the story left off by Frederick Tyman. “I arrived at 10 o’clock on Thursday morning. Gallay was on her bed. She had been dead about six hours. There were three bullet wounds in the chest and one in the arm. The chest wounds were fatal. Sumpter was still breathing. There was a mass of blood in the region of the right temple, and a bullet wound in the left shoulder which was not serious. He was taken to the Northampton General Hospital, where he died.”Notes: Paul Harrison, in an excellent essay, “Together Forever!” in his book of “Northamptonshire Murders” tells the story of the relationship ending in the deaths of Arthur Sumpter of Rushden “Betty Gallay” of Higham Ferrers. He disputes the inquest verdict that Sumpter committed suicide, having murdered his former mistress. The evidence of the main witness at the inquest, as reported in the Wellingborough News makes an interesting story. Paul questions the notion of murder and suicide, suggesting that intentional suicide by Sumpter would not have resulted in such injuries. However, there was a clear motive, and in an emotional situation, this could have been murder followed by a botched suicide.
Caroline Richmond tells us she has researched the family and the name should be BARRETT.


The second story:

The Rushden Love Triangle

A Crime of Passion?
Over the Christmas period of 1942 when blackouts kept us hidden from German bombers and looters, more tragic and mysterious events were taking place in the town of Rushden in Northamptonshire, described by a local vicar as being “a godless town, taken too much to drinking ”, but can you blame them under the war weary circumstances?

A well-respected member of the community Arthur Sumpter had inherited £30,000 (£140,000 today) from a collier owner he befriended whilst recuperating in a hospital on Tyneside. Some years later Mr Henry Embleton made Sumpter (44) a wealthy man, and in due course Sumpter took his “live in” housekeeper Betty Galley (24) as his lover for two and a half years and lived happily at the GABLES in Rushden.
Sumpter’s brother-in-law Fred Tyman worked at tending the house and grounds of the gables bought with Sumpter’s windfall. Betty (Barratt) Gallay confided in Tyman that she was seeing a soldier and was fearful of Sumpter’s reaction on being told she wanted to leave Sumpter and marry him.
On Thursday 31st of December, employed about his daily chores attending the grounds making tea etc., Tyman leaving the morning tray outside the bedroom door, knocking with the wake up call and returning later in the morning found the tray untouched, pushed open the door and to his horror found Gallay lying on her back mouth open with four bullet holes in her body. Sumper lay beside her (also on his back) with a shoulder and head wound still breathing, his head resting on her right shoulder. The gun a few inches from his right hand.
He died a few hours later in hospital. The gun used was a .38 Enfield service revolver, which had been reloaded after four bullets had been fired, the shells lay on the floor. There was no sign of a break in and part full whiskey bottles found in the room, seemed to indicate that Sumpter may well have been drunk from the previous nights drinking with Gallay at the White Horse public house till 10pm. The black out curtains were still drawn and the lights on. Did Sumpter shoot himself in the shoulder accidentally before shooting himself in the head?
Forensic evidence showed murder then suicide by Sumpter. The coroner called it a “Crime of passion”, yet there remains the questions, who was the soldier Gallay was to marry and how, or why? did Sumpter shoot himself in the arm? Was there a third party involved who knew Sumpter kept a gun in the wardrobe drawer or was this simply a series of tragic events driving them both on by jealousy and alcohol?
Sumpter was something of a “Playboy” with two cars and membership to the Golf and Cricket Club, he had a reputation for being generous. He knew a soldier had visited the house during his absence, and having thrown Gallay out to her mother’s house (in Higham Ferrers) who looked after the 4 year old baby, she returned and a couple of days later as things appeared to be back on the night in question. Betty Gallay, a tall blonde attractive and always smartly dressed woman was deemed by the coroner to have been the victim of a “Crime of Passion” and on the 5th of January they were both buried adjacent to each other in Rushden RC Church.
However some questions still remain about that sordid night, did Sumpter shoot himself in the shoulder then the head? Who was the soldier who called to see Gallay, and, just who knew about the gun and 24 bullets in the wardrobe drawer?
Gallay’s mother who looked after her daughter’s child by a previous relationship with a man called Gallay, claimed to have received a note from Sumpter saying he was so distraught at her leaving “he was considering shooting Betty Gallay and himself”, yet no note was produced in court?
Tyman had a key to let himself into the “Gables”. Was he the only one with a key?
Or was this just a drunken jealous CRIME OF PASSION?



Finally, the newspaper article. It’s a bit big so forgive the time to load. You can click on it to download the full-size version.

Gables Article


My own thoughts on this are that the soldier was in on a plan to kill Arthur for his money by Betty, and one night, when Betty tried to get Arthur very drunk in order to shoot him with his own gun (she knew where it was kept), masking his drunken suicide with a note she had pre-written, pretending to be from him, explaining that Betty was leaving him and how he couldn’t go on without her, Arthur drunkenly grabbed the gun from her hands and promptly shot her. Realising what he has done, he then tried to shoot himself, but was so blind drunk that he missed. Betty had every intention of running away with Arthur’s money and the soldier, but her plans ultimately backfired. The brother-in-law was aware of the plan and approved, mainly because he despised Arthur and his good fortune for inheriting all that money. He didn’t deserve it. It just perpetuated his playboy lifestyle! It would make a good TV Movie methinks…

The Links: – essentially the same as the above story. – terribly laid-out Tumblr page! – I think this is the original article from which one of the above is taken.