Friday, 8 July 2011

Tales from the Parish Clerks' Memoranda No. 2: The Intriguing Tale of the Newgate Newlyweds

Continuing in my quest to key tag the entire contents of the Parish Clerks’ Memoranda from St Botolph’s Church in Aldgate (1583-1625), I came across a very unusual wedding announcement from 5 September 1615.

Christopher Edwardes of the Cittie of Gloucester, Gentleman, and Martha Ffoster of St Michaells parish in Cornehill widow, were Maried (also) by a Licence from the Lord Archbishoppe of Canterbury, ye fift day September Anno domini 1615, The abouenamed Gentleman and his new maried wife, were both Lodged in Newgate, the same weekes, and hang'd Shortly after
(City of London, London Metropolitan Archives, P69/BOT2/A/003/MS09223 f.229r)
Who were Christopher and Martha, how did they end up in the notorious Newgate Prison, and what were the crimes for which they were hanged? The PCMs had no further information to offer – this was, after all, a wedding announcement, not a court record. So where to turn? My first instinct was to search the excellent resource, Old Bailey Online, but their records only begin in 1674 and so could not help with this. Clearly, we need more online digitised historical databases!

So I appeal to the online community of historians: do you have any clues to this mystery? Answers on a blog post...

Many thanks to St Botolph without Aldgate and London Metropolitan Archives for permission to reprint extracts from the Parish Clerks' Memoranda.

The Parish Clerks' Memoranda transcripts were prepared by the Centre for Metropolitan History team as part of their Economic and Social Research Council-funded Life in the Suburbs project (Grant Reference: RES-062-23-1260;

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