Author Topic: Notice in Newspaper - Debts  (Read 240 times)

Offline bfrance99

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Notice in Newspaper - Debts
« on: Friday 30 April 21 19:48 BST (UK) »
Hi everyone,

I have had a few ancestors where I have found a newspaper notice saying something like "I [insert husband's name] will not be responsible for the debts [insert wife's name] may contract after this date."

I am wondering if anyone else has come across similar newspaper articles for their own ancestors, and if so, what does it mean socially? My assumption is that it might mean some sort of marital breakdown?

For context, these notices are from UK newspapers in the late 1800s/early 1900s.

Many thanks for any help you can give  :)

Offline Jebber

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Re: Notice in Newspaper - Debts
« Reply #1 on: Friday 30 April 21 20:03 BST (UK) »
It usually means they have separated and the husband refuses to be held responsible for any future  debts the wife incurs.

Theses statements in the press were quite common.
CHOULES All ,  COKER Harwich Essex & Rochester Kent 
COLE Gt. Oakley, & Lt. Oakley, Essex.
DUNCAN Kent
EVERITT Colchester,  Dovercourt & Harwich Essex
GULLIVER/GULLOFER Fifehead Magdalen Dorset
HORSCROFT Kent.
KING Sturminster Newton, Dorset. MONK Odiham Ham.
SCOTT Wrabness, Essex
WILKINS Stour Provost, Dorset.
WICKHAM All in North Essex.
WICKHAM Medway Towns, Kent from 1880
WICKHAM, Ipswich, Suffolk.

Offline Stanwix England

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Re: Notice in Newspaper - Debts
« Reply #2 on: Friday 30 April 21 22:35 BST (UK) »
I might be talking rubbish here, but I have a memory of seeing this discussed in a documentary.

It was something along the lines of, because married women were not legal entities, their husband's were responsible for any debts that they might rack up, which obviously could lead to them being imprisoned for debt if it was severe enough.

It was relatively easy to get into debt because most businesses that supplied goods to people, such as butchers, bakers, dressmakers etc were expected to work on a system of credit. So you would order your goods, receive your goods but pay for them later. So in theory, women could rack up a lot of debt in their husband's names. These notices were an attempt to prevent them from doing that.

I don't think it always necessarily means that the couple were separated, although it will have done in some cases.
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Offline ThrelfallYorky

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Re: Notice in Newspaper - Debts
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 01 May 21 16:52 BST (UK) »
I did hear of it used to curb and shame a very extravagant wife, bring her to her senses?
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Offline bfrance99

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Re: Notice in Newspaper - Debts
« Reply #5 on: Yesterday at 16:39 »
Thank you for everyone’s replies, they were all helpful. It’s good to know that there are various possible explanations  :)