Author Topic: Hester Wadkin acquitted of bigamy  (Read 536 times)

Offline Brie

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Hester Wadkin acquitted of bigamy
« on: Monday 04 October 21 11:17 BST (UK) »
I am trying to find out more about Hester Wadkin's appearance in court on a charge of bigamy.

Hester (hereafter called Esther) Wadkin was baptised on 25th July 1823 in Barkston, Lincolnshire. On the 20th January 1846 Esther's daughter, Eliza Wadkin, was baptised at Quarrington, Lincolnshire with Esther being named as the parent, no father. On the same day, in the same church Esther married John Bescoby. Eliza's birth registration looks to be Eliza Wadkin M1846 Sleaford, no mother's maiden name.

In 1851 Esther Bescoby and daughter Eliza Bescoby are with Esther's mother and sister at Haw's Yard, Grantham. Esther is described as married but John is not there.

On 7th March 1860 Esther is arrested and taken to Lincoln Gaol. She is tried on the 12th for feloniously marrying William Taylor on 16th November 1857 at Little Gonersby but acquitted.

What I am wondering is whether there were any newspaper reports at the time as I cannot find John Bescoby after the marriage, Eliza Wadkin/Bescoby after 1851 and Esther after her trial. It looks as if John was not Eliza's father or was but did not acknowledge her. Did he scarper immediately after the wedding, was the wedding for show only? Did he disappear and Esther thought herself free to marry? These are some of the questions I am hoping to answer if there is a newspaper report of the trial.

In 1881 there is a Esther Taylor, widowed, 56, housekeeper living at St Vincent Top Lodge, Somersby and in 1891, 69, widowed retired laundress, 9 Triggs Yard, Grantham. Both born Barkston. I suspect these may be my Esther. If so there is a likely death registration Grantham J1897 age 76.

However, at present I have her definitely within my sights up to the trial so am interested in any reports of that if anyone is able to help.

Brie


Online heywood

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Re: Hester Wadkin acquitted of bigamy
« Reply #1 on: Monday 04 October 21 11:53 BST (UK) »
There are newspaper snippets, I can’t see the full reports.(Find my Past)
March 1860
Louth and North Lincolnshire …
Lincolnshire Chronicle
Grantham Journal
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Offline GrahamSimons

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Re: Hester Wadkin acquitted of bigamy
« Reply #2 on: Monday 04 October 21 11:58 BST (UK) »
There are reports in the British Newspaper Archive (and of course Find My Past).

In short - Bescoby went to America and wasn't heard of again. The separation was for 9 years, more than the 7 required by law, so she was free to marry again as she didn't know whether Bescoby was alive or dead. Acquitted immediately by the jury.

I can't download and post the articles for obvious copyright reasons.

Taylor told the court that Esther had informed him that Bescoby was dead; but in his deposition to magistrates it was implied that Taylor knew that Bescoby was alive.....

Earlier it is reported that Taylor had applied for a warrant against Esther. The plot thickens a bit!

So your search (assuming that the truth, about America at least, was told in court) moves to the USA....
Simons Barrett Jaffray Waugh Langdale Heugh Meade Garnsey Evans Vazie Mountcure Glascodine Parish Peard Smart Dobbie Sinclair....
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Offline Brie

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Re: Hester Wadkin acquitted of bigamy
« Reply #3 on: Monday 04 October 21 12:10 BST (UK) »
Heywood and Graham,

Thank-you very much. I have just taken out a month's sub with FindMyPast so I could look at the original Barkston PRs. I wasn't anticipating needing the newspaper sub. I will see if I can upgrade. As Graham says "the plot thickens".........

Brie

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Re: Hester Wadkin acquitted of bigamy
« Reply #4 on: Monday 04 October 21 12:15 BST (UK) »
There is also mention of a witness, Mary Robinson, the sister of John Bescoby. She remembers the marriage but didn’t see Esther after a visit about a year later.
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Offline jomcd967

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Re: Hester Wadkin acquitted of bigamy
« Reply #5 on: Monday 04 October 21 12:30 BST (UK) »
3 Mar 1860 Grantham Journal
BIGAMY: Superintendent Sharp has been engaged during the last week in investigating a case of bigamy, the second husband Wm. Taylor of Barkston, applied for a warrant against the woman, Esther Bescoby, the last marriage took place at the Independent Chapel, Grantham.

16 Mar 1860 Lincolnshire Chronicle
Bigamy at Little Gonerby
ESTHER BESCOBY, 35, married woman, was charged with having, on the 16th November, 1857, at Little Gonerby, feloniously married William Taylor, her former husband John Bescoby, being then alive - Mr Yeatman appeared for the prosecution, and briefly opened the case to the jury. The prisoner was not defended by counsel - From the evidence it appeared that 1846 the prisoner married John Bescoby at Quarrington parish church under the name Esther Watkins. This was proved by the parish clerk, who produced the marriage certificate- William Emblem, registrar of marriages at Grantham, proved he was present at the marriage of the prisoner with William Taylor at the Independent chapel, Little Gonerby, on the 16th November 1857 - Mary Robinson, sister of John Bescoby, identified the prisoner as the woman whom her brother was married to in 1846 - His Lordship summed up, the jury, without hesitation returned a verdict of Not Guilty.

The Louth and North Lincolnshire Advertiser
…article starts the same as above…Mary Robinson deposed: am the sister of John Bescoby, and remember him marrying the prisoner in 1846. I saw her the summer after, but never since. My brother came to my house in 1858, and I have not seen him since that time. By His Lordship: They lived together about two years, and my brother then went to America. The prisoner was to have gone with him, but she returned back again. Wm Taylor deposed: I married the prisoner in Little Gonerby chapel, on the 10th Nov, 1857. She told me that her husband went to America and that he died there. The statement of the prisoner before the committing magistrate was put in and read. From this it appeared that Taylor knew at the time he married her that the former husband was alive. His Lordship said the prisoner was charged with the offence of bigamy, but the statute provided that if a man and his wife lived separately for seven years, and did not know whether either of them were dead or alive, they might marry without being liable to an indictment of bigamy. Nothing seemed to have been seen or heard of the prisoner from 1848 - 1857 - Two years longer than the statute required and therefore he did not think the charge was fully made out. It was however up to the jury, to decide whether they found her guilty or not guilty. The jury immediately returned a verdict of Not Guilty.
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Offline Brie

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Re: Hester Wadkin acquitted of bigamy
« Reply #6 on: Monday 04 October 21 12:39 BST (UK) »
Jon,

Thank-you very much, it's a very interesting story.

Much appreciated
Brie

Offline Ili1133

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Re: Hester Wadkin acquitted of bigamy
« Reply #7 on: Monday 04 October 21 16:24 BST (UK) »
There may be a bit more to it than meets the eye. 1851 census has John Bescoby unmarried b1821 Kirkby la Thorpe working as a farm servant at Burton Pedwardine. It's likely to be the same John as
- there are no other baptisms for a John in the area for that period,
- Mary Bescoby (later Robinson) was baptised in the same church in Kirkby la Thorpe to George and Mary, the same parents as John, in 1822.

It would be fairly easy for the farmer - and the enumerator - to describe the servants on a largish farm as unmarried. So if John went to America after 1851, this could give William a basis for his warrant.

The Louth and North Lincolnshire Advertiser article states that John visited his sister in 1858 before going to America - is this a typo which should read 1848? Or does it contribute to William's deposition?

A John Bescoby aged 33 working at Howell, near Kirkby la Thorpe, was committed to two months imprisonment for larceny at Sleaford on 16 October 1851 - he is noted as 'of Scopwick' but worth looking into?

Offline Ili1133

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Re: Hester Wadkin acquitted of bigamy
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 05 October 21 00:02 BST (UK) »
Could this be Esther in Grantham in 1861?

Esther Taylor, lodger, married, b1826 (age 35) Barkston, Ag Labr's wife.

One of five lodgers at the Jobbers' Arms, 39 Castlegate, Grantham. The publican is a Thomas Taylor born Ancaster (coincidence or not??). There is no sign of Eliza.