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"Joan and I agreed this looked like the same man, but what was he doing in India? She set off to the British Library to search the Indian records. The result was a rather sad story..."

ELOQUENCE OF THE BRITISH SENATE: The title page from Hazlitt's book, which was published by Thomas I MAP: A hand-drawn map of Mawbray Village, c1865, on which the Ostle farms are indicated

I knew nothing more until a friend, Bridget Casson, drew my attention to a death notice in the Carlisle Patriot for 27 November 1841. It read, 'At Leadenhall Street, London on Sunday last, Thomas Ostell, bookseller, son of the late Mr Ostell of Moorhouse near this city, highly respected'. I passed the note on to Joan and this sparked her interest.

Then, someone on the Cumberland mailing list at Rootsweb posted another death notice from the Patriot: 'At Calcutta, on 30 October 1836, Jane Olivia, wife of Mr Thomas Ostell, bookseller, British Library, aged 25'. Joan and I agreed this looked like the same man, but what was he doing in India? She set off to the British Library to search the Indian records there. The result was a rather sad story.

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