Charge of Bigamy

From Birmingham Daily Post, September 13th 1861

Birmingham Police Court

Before T.C. Kynnersley, T. Cox and C.H.Cope Esqs.

Charge of bigamy.- A young man named W.G.Reed, a coach-maker, residing in Francis Street, was brought up on remand, charged as above. It appeared from the evidence that in December 1850 (sic.) , the prisoner married a woman named Elizabeth French, at St. Andrew’s Church, Bordesley, in this town. – Mrs. Sarah Wall, pew opener at the church, said she saw the parties married, and Detective Jenns, who had the case in hand,  produced a copy of the marriage certificate. Within seven months the coach-maker, who had gone up to London, became acquainted with a young woman named Emma Churchill, and was in July 1959, married to her at St. Phillip’s Church, Stepney. Jenns produced a copy of the certificate of this second wedding. The defence set up by the accused was an odd one. His first wife, a deformed young woman….agreed to make her his wife, on condition that, should she bring forth a living child, the union should be held to be binding, but if the babe died then the marriage would be void. The child did die and he, leaving the deformed woman, married Churchill in London. The Bench committed him to the next assizes for trial. The question of bail being referred to, the Magistrates said that they would accept two sureties in £50 each, and the prisoner at £100. Not being provided with the sureties, the bigamist was locked up.

**The missing word, replaced in the text above with three dots, was not quite legible to me, and the more I looked at it the more unsure I was of what it read. I think, given the context, it perhaps referred to the impregnation of  poor Elizabeth French. The date ‘1850’ seems quite clear in the print, but it would seem more probable that it should have read 1858, which would tie in with Reed’s trip to London ‘within seven months’. 

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