In 1906, the last Wallis of Drishane Castle, Henry Aubery Beaumont Wallis was divorced from his estranged wife Elizabeth Bingham. Apparently one of only two divorces that were permitted in Ireland (and only by Act of Parlaiment), until divorce was legalised in 1996. The below report from the House of Lords gives the details:
Witnesses were called before the House of Lords in support of an Irish Divorce Bill promoted by Mrs. Elizabeth. Caroline Wallis, of 19, Molesworth Street Dublin, who sought to dissolve her marriage with Henry Aubrey Beaumont Wallis, of Drishane Castle, County Cork. The wedding took place on March 1, 1883, at Kiderpore, Calcutta, the lady being a daughter of the Hon. Albert Yelverton Bingham. Afterwards the couple lived together in New Zealand, at Drishane Castle, and elsewhere, and two children were born. In 1892 Mr. Wallis returned from the West African Gold Coast, where he had been appointed a District Commissioner, and the couple resided together at Albert Gate Mansions in London. Subsequently the wife visited India for the benefit of her health, and on her return was unable to asseertain where Mr. Wallis was residing. Later, however, the parties again for some time lived together.
It was alleged that in 1903, at Drishane Castle, Mr. Wallis treated his wife cruelly, refusing to allow her any money or the use of his horses and carriages, and that on May 18 he flung her to the ground, wrenching her wrist and bending back her fingers. In March, 1904, her husband having become tenant of Drishane Castle, petitioner left, and had never since seen him. Subsequently she discovered that the husband had between 1896 amd 1901 inclusive committed misconduct with a woman named Edith Scott, at Titchfield Street, London.
A Decree of Separation I had been pronounced in the Irish Courts. The Clauses of the Bill provided that the marriage should be declared void, and that the petitioner might be enabled to marry again, that her rights in property of a, future husband might be protected, and that it should not be lawful for Mr. Wallis to inter-marry with Edit Scott.
Mr. Duke, K.C., represented the petitioner, but no appearance was made for Mr. Wallis. Mrs. Wallis was called, and briefly gave evidence in support of the allegations in the preamble of the Bill. The owner of flats in Titchfield-street stated that Mr. Wallis had occupied one of these from 1896 to 1901, and a lady lived there who was not the petitioner. A neighbour gave evidence that, that lady was introduced to him by Mr. Wallis as his wife, and other witnesses proved that the orders of the House and a copy of the Bill was served upon Mr. Wallis in London on Friday last. Medical evidence was also given as to the injury to the petitioner’s hand.
The Lord Chancellor at the conclusion, of the case moved that the Bill be read a second time, and their lordships concurred.
The above article is from The Evening Express and Evening Mail March 13th 1906
Elizabeth was married within four months of the divorce, Henry married again a year later 1907, but not to Edith Scott! You’d have to surmise that Elizabeth may not have been 100% faithful either, and that Edith Scott wasn’t the other lady’s real name!
PRIVATE BILL BUSINESS. House of Lords Debate 01 March 1906 (vol 152 c1249) [ref]
§ Wallis’ Divorce Bill [H.L.]. A Bill to dissolve the marriage of Elizabeth Caroline Wallis with Henry Aubrey Beaumont Wallis, commonly called Aubrey Wallis, her present husband and to enable her to marry again, and for other purposes. Presented (on petition) and a copy of the proceedings in and of the decree of divorce of the King’s Bench, Matrimonial Division of the High Court of Justice in Ireland delivered (on oath). Bill read 1a; and to be read 2a on Monday the 12th instant.
The case is mentioned in an article of when Maud Gonne attempted and failed to get a Divorce from Major John MacBride [ref]. Note (added later): This is interesting because Aubrey and Maud’s great grandchildren married
The Lords have passed a Bill, intituled An “Divorce Bill
Act to dissolve the Marriage of Elizabeth
Caroline Wallis with Henry Aubrey Beaumont Wallis, commonly called Aubrey Wallis, her present husband, and to enable her to marry again, and for other purposes ; to which the Lords desire the concurrence of this House.
Wallis’ Wallis’ Divorce Bill [Lords] was read the Divorce Bill
first time; and ordered to be read a second
The Lord Advocate reported from the Select Committee on Divorce Bills; That they had Wallis’ examined the allegations, of Wallis’ Divorce Bill Divorce Bill [Lords] as to the Marriage of the parties, the
[Lords.] adultery and cruelty charged as the ground for dissolving the Marriage, the sentence of Divorce, a mensa et thoro, in the Probate and Matrimonial Division of the High Court of Justice in Ireland ; and, upon evidence satisfactory to the Committee, had found the same and the other allegations to be true ; and saw no reason to suspect collusion between the parties; and that the Committee had gone through the Bill, and directed him to report the same, without Amendment.
Ordered, That the Report do lie upon the
Table. Ordered, That the Bill be read the third time. Ordered, That the Minutes of Evidence and
Proceedings in the House of Lords on the Second Reading of Wallis’ Divorce Bill [Lords],together with the Documents deposited in each case, be returned to the House of Lords : And that the Clerk do carry the same.— (The Lord Advocate.)
Wallis’ Divorce Bill [Lords] was read the Wallis’ third time and passed. Divorce Bill
Ordered, That the Clerk do carry the Bill to\ Lords^ the Lords ; and acquaint them that this Ho
WALLIS’ DIVORCE [Lords]; Bill, intituled An Act to dissolve the Marriage of Elizabeth Caroline Wallis with Henry Aubrey Beaumont Wallis, commonly called Aubrey Wallis, her present husband, and to enable her to marry again, and for other purposes ; brought from the Lords, 72. Read the first time, 72. Read a second time, and committed, 85. Message to the Lords requesting Copies of Minutes of Evidence, &c. ; Instruction to Committee relative to Counsel and Witnesses, 86. Minutes of Evidence, &c. communicated, 101. Bill reported, without Amendment; Minutes of Evidence, &c. to be returned to the Lords, 122. Bill read the third time and passed, 126. (Cited as Wallis’ Divorce Act, 1906) Royal Assent, 220.
TODO: Clean up this article a little