February 2021

A Clever Woman's Fleet Marriage

Before the Hardwick Marriage Act of 1753, it was much simpler to get married in England. All you needed was a compliant clergyman. Many of these irregular or clandestine marriages were conducted in or near the Fleet prison, to which debtors were consigned, because it was not actually part of any parish in London. Clergymen who had no living of their own, and thus no regular income, could be found in that vicinity for couples who wished speed or secrecy. 

Creative Financing, London Style

Is it corruption if it's legal?

In the 18th century, a group of aldermen in the CIty of London, the small, historic center of London with its own government and laws, found a creative way to raise the money needed to build a residence for the Lord Mayor of the City. 

A Notorious Regency Beau

If he were around today, Henry Paget, Earl of Uxbridge and 1st Marquess of Anglesey, would probably feature regularly in the supermarket tabloids.

The Regency beau and dashing cavalry officer is perhaps best known for his (probably apocryphal) exchange with the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. The two of them were viewing the battlefield when a cannonball came flying at them. 

Paget looked down and said, “By God, I’ve lost a leg!”

Wellington looked down and said, “By God, so you have.”