b. 1877, Landwednack, Cornwall, England.;
In the 1901 Census she is 24 years old living at home no profession
A very interesting article was found in the Cornishman – Thursday 20 May 1897 which documents a will court case involving Ruby Hart and a codicil of Mr Sydney James De Bac. It was quite a high profile case as it involved H.R.H the Duke of Cornwall and a dispute over the last will of deceased Mr Sydney James De Bac:
“CODICIL-REVOKERS SHOULD RECORD THEIR UNDOINGS.
An Interesting Cornish Will Case. Disputed Codicil. In the Probate-court, on Friday, Mr Justice Barnes heard the case of Sanger v. Hart. This suit bad reference to the testamentary dispositions the late Mr Sydney James De Bac, who died on January 23rd, 1896, aged 23, leaving property to the value of £6,000. He left a will dated July 4th, 1894, and codicil dated June 10th. 1895. By that codicil, which was the only matter before the Court, the testator revoked a legacy of to one of the legatees, and left £1,100 to Miss Ruby Hart, residing at the Lizard. Cornwall, whose acquaintance the deceased made while a holiday Cornwall.—Mr Barnard was counsel for plaintiff, and Mr Rawlinson for Miss Hart. Mr Barnard said the statement of claim set out that the codicil in question had been revoked; and asked the Court to pronounce for so much of the will as had not been revoked by the codicil. Defendant denied the revocation, and asked that it should form part of the probate. It appeared that in April, 1895, deceased being in ill-health went to Cornwall, where he stayed with his sister for six or eight weeks. He here made the acquaintance of the Hart family, and also of Miss Hart, with whom he became on friendly terms. After his return home he corresponded with Hart, she wrote to him. He then saw his solicitor and told him that he had made the acquaintance of Miss Hart, to whom he desired to leave the sum of £1000 free of duty, and a codicil was prepared revoking a bequest to Miss Kerr and leaving Miss Hart £1,100. Mr Bass pointed out that it was a large sum to leave a young lady on so short acquaintance, and told him how he could revoke the bequest it be wished, informing him that he could do so making further codicil, revoking it. or destroying it, which would have the same effect. These instructions were given the end of May, and on June 10th deceased saw his solicitor in order to execute it. He then told Mr Bass that he was afraid that Miss Hart would not accept the legacy, and that he would like inserted the words that she declined to receive the legacy it should go over to H.R.H. the Duke of Cornwall,” thinking that if that was put in she would accept it rather than allow it to go to a stranger. (Laughter). He then executed the codicil and left it with Mr Bass until the following October, when called on Mr Bass and told him that he had now got into his own house and would like to have his own will and codicil to keep himself and they were handed to him. From that date he frequently saw Mr Bass, but never again mentioned Miss Hart’s name. In January, 1896, deceased was taken suddenly ill, and died on January 23rd, 1896. After his death a search was made for his papers and the will was found, but there was no codicil, it could not be traced. The result was that the executors were compelled to come to the Court, the presumption being that deceased had revoked the codicil. Mr Justice Barnes : What is the defence ?—Mr Rawlinson : say that there was no ground why testator should have altered his mind ; that be always intended to marry Miss Hart, and that up to the time of his death he never altered his mind. Arthur John Bass, solicitor (Gold and C 0.,) Lime-street, supported counsel’s statement, and said, in addition to the £1100, the codicil bequeathed to Miss Hart a diamond bracelet, earrings, and brooch, jewellery which formerly belonged to his mother. He found some letters from Miss Hart to the deceased.
The first was dated June 5th, 1895, and the last July 16th, 1895.—Cross-examined: on his return from Cornwall deceased told him that he had advanced money to Miss Hart’s brother for the purpose of building a studio. —Did he tell you he had fallen love with Miss Hart?—He did not use that expression, but I gathered that. When he took away the will and codicil there was no suggestion that he intended to alter the codicil, and he knew of nothing to cause him to change his mind.
Edith Constance de Bac, sister of deceased, said she was living with her brother at the time of his death and was with him Cornwall, in the spring of 1895. Her brother never mentioned that be had made a codicil or will. After his death she handed his keys to Mr Bass, up to that time she had made no search among her brother’s papers, but then had since searched for the codicil. Cross examined: While in Cornwall her brother was on very friendly terms with Miss Hart, and he left a family ring with her. Witness had been and was still friendly terms with the Harts, and Miss Hart had been staying with her. She had frequent conversations with her brother about going down to Cornwall again, and witness knew of nothing to put end to the friendly relation with Miss Hart. Mr Justice Barnes: Was there a definite engagement between him and Miss Hart?—Not that I know of. Other evidence having been given as to the futile search for the codicil. Miss Ruby Hart was called, and, in answer to Mr Rawlinson, said she was the daughter of Mr Thomas Hart, of the Studio, Lizard, Cornwall. She remembered Mr and Miss Bac coming down to Cornwall in the spring of 1895. He made the acquaintance of her family, and was constantly at their house. During that time they saw a good deal of each other. There was no definite engagement between them, but they were on very friendly terms. During his stay there be handed her a ring, which he said formerly belonged to his mother. Before be went away she returned the ring to him, but he asked her to keep it, and finally she did so. After he left she corresponded with him at first very frequently. She destroyed his letters as soon as they were received. In one of her letters she wrote ” I enclose some of my favourite fern for you to wear if you like, but don’t say anything about it your letters to me at the Lizard, because “M” would read it. “M”. was her brother. When he left Cornwall he expressed the hope of returning again at the end of the summer. There was nothing from the time he left her until the date of his death to cause a change in his feelings.
Was there an understanding between you?—Yes, certainly.
His Lordship: Had he gone so far as to propose to you.
Not quite so far.
Cross-examined: While in Cornwall Mr De Bac was in very bad health. After his return they corresponded frequently, but from July to the date his death she only received two letters from him.—Did you answer those letters?— No.
Claude Montague Hart, brother of the last witness. Said in the spring of 1895 he became very friendly with testator, and continued so down to the date his death. While at the Lizard deceased took an interest in a scheme witness had for building a studio, and persuaded witness to accept an advance, deceased taking the building as security. His sister and deceased were very friendly, and the fact that Mr De Bac gave his sister a ring led him to think there was a definite understanding between them. He advised her to give the ring back, unless there was an open understanding. Mr De Bac then asked her to keep it, if not wear it. Mr Rawlinson then submitted that there was no reason why deceased should have revoked the codicil and asked his lordship to hold that it had not been revoked by the testator.
Mr Barnard contended that the evidence clearly pointed to the assumption that deceased revoked the codicil by destroying it himself, and in support of that submission he relied upon the evidence of Miss Hart herself.
His Lordship said he had come to the conclusion that be must hold that testator destroyed the codicil with the intention of revoking it. This decision he was fortified by the conversation with the solicitor which the means of revocation was discussed. It was true the correspondence between Miss Hart and deceased was friendly, but he did not think it disclosed anything more than a friendly acquaintance, whereas the letters which were frequent at first almost entirely ceased in the latter months. He must therefore hold that the codicil was destroyed with the intention of revoking it, but as the codicil was proved to revoke one of the legacies in the will, the will would be pronounced for and admitted to probate except so far as it revoked by the codicil. All the costs incurred by the suit would be borne by the estate.“
In another article in Reynold’s Newspaper – Sunday 16 May 1897 it explains more about the role of the Prince of Wales in the story.
“PRINCE OF WALES
IN A ROMANTIC WILL SUIT.
A romatic will suit, with a flavour of royalty running through it, was heard on Friday by Mr Justice Barnes. Mr Sidney James De Bac died on January 24, 1896, aged twenty-three, leaving property to the value of £6,000. He left a will dated July 4, 1894, and a codicil dated June 10, 1895. By the codicil, which was the only matter before the Court, the testator revoked a legacy of £250 to one of the legatees, and left £1,100 to Miss Ruby Hart, of the Lizard, Cornwall, whose acquaintance he made while on a holiday
THE PRINCE OF WALES IN THE WILL.
Mr Barnard said it appeared that in April, 1895, Mr De Bac, being in ill health went down to Cornwall with his sister. There he made the acquaintance of Miss Hart, with whom he became on friendly terms. After his return home he corresponded with the young lady. He told his solicitor that he desired to leave her the sum of £1,000 free of duty, and in a codicil was prepared revoking a bequest. He also told the solicitor that he was afraid Miss Hart would not accept the legacy, and that he would like inserted the words that if she declined to receive the legacy it should go over to H.R.H. the Duke of Cornwall, thinking that if that was put in she would accept it rather than allow it to go to a stranger. (Laughter.) He then executed the codicil.
NO TRACE OF THE CODICIL.
After his death a search was made for his papers, and the will was found but there was no codicil, and it could not be traced. The result was that the executors were compelled to come to court, the presumption being that deceased had revoked the codicil
The defence was that there was no ground why testator should have altered his mind that he always intended to marry Miss Hart and that there was sufficient evidence to refute the presumption that he destroyed the codicil.
NOTICE GIVEN TO THE PRINCE.
Mr Justice Barnes: Has the substituted legatee, the Duke of Cornwall, been cited?
Mr Barnard: No but he has notice of these proceedings, and he will be bound by your lordship’s judgment.
His Lordship said he had come to the conclusion that the testator destroyed the codicil with the intention of revoking it. The will would be pronounced for and admitted to probate, except so far as it was revoked by the codicil. All costs incurred by the suit would be borne by the estate.”
Name: Ruby Irene Bernice Hart to LEWIS CHARLES FORTESCUE, 1910, St Thomas, Devon, England;
Notes for LEWIS CHARLES FORTESCUE:
born, 1873, Plymouth, Devon, England.;
On his marriage to Ruby it is noted he is a widower
On Oct 22nd 1910 Lewis and Ruby left Southampton on the SS New York bound for NewYork
his last address is stated as Sidney, Australia
On the 2nd May 1915 they arrived at Liverpool on the St Paul from New York
On 06 May 1915, at 25 Cathreine Street, Liverpool. Lewis Died his Brother in law G W J Freeman of Bigbury, Devon. registered the death