Gaoled for bastardy

Discussion in 'Illegitimacy' started by Stafford, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. Stafford

    Stafford Well-Known Member

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    Under what circumstanes would a female be gaoled for bastardy? Would it be defaulting on a bond payment of some sort? Or encouraging a liason that resulted in the birth of an illegitimate child? I'm sure I've read about it somewhere but have forgotten details.

    I have just found the record of a possible relative who was gaoled for 12 months hard labour for bastardy in 1811. She received a much harsher sentence then the males who received sentences of 2 to 3 months.
     
  2. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    I have just found this:
    Most women who bore bastards did not face legal sanctions. However, those who were deemed to be vagrants or "lewd" women, such as prostitutes, might be sent to a house of correction or Bridewell, especially during the periods in which reformation of manners campaigns were active.
    (Source: londonlives.org/static/Bastardy.jsp)

    Would this be a possibility?
     
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  3. Stafford

    Stafford Well-Known Member

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    I hadn't thought of prostitution.
    Jan I have no idea if this applies but it would explain why the women found in the period researched received much harsher penalties then the men.
     
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  4. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    I have a similar issue with a lady possibly acquainted with one of my relatives - see my other thread on Bastardy.
     
  5. Lusmum

    Lusmum Active Member

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    My mum was a nurse in an asylum in the early 1900 and girls would be in there just because that had had a child out of wedlock. Families would have their daughters locked up for years.
     
  6. Stafford

    Stafford Well-Known Member

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    Further reading suggests prostitution itself was not illegal in the early 19th century, but considered a 'necessary evil.' However, lewd behaviour was an offence and resulted in imprisonment for periods of 6 to 12 months with hard labour. The only definition relating to this crime found so far, circa 1811 ,was 'playing with the tail' resulting in the seduction of young men. The women I am interested in were gaoled in Bedford.
     
  7. Stafford

    Stafford Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure your lady falls in this category I am researching. I have a grandmother who had 5 or 6 illegitimate children and she certainly was never charged with bastardy. Nor were her grandmothers who also had a number of illegitimate children. These ladies hailed from Shropshire and Staffordshire.
     
  8. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    So I hope you find what you are looking for.
     
  9. thalauafu

    thalauafu R.I.P.

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    As some of you know, I have been scrolling through endless Essex Parish Registers of late, and have particularly noticed how many illegitimate births there were...I would think that there were just as many in the 1700's as there are today....and in one particular village there was a young lady who gave birth to 4 bastards, each to a different father (I know, because the Vicar felt duty bound to always note the name of the presumed father), but there is no sign anywhere that she was goaled for her promiscuity! Incidentally this Vicar never used the work Bastard, and seemed not to condemn at all!
     
  10. Half Hour

    Half Hour Well-Known Member

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    thalauafu...What a great vicar! Too bad some of my errant family members weren't from his parish :) I have found a couple of woman jailed for birth out of wedlock and always thought it was sad as the poor baby would likely have been taken away from the mother. Who knows, she may have been a victim of rape or incest and now to be punished as well...........
     
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  11. Bonzo Dog

    Bonzo Dog Still the Mad Scientist?

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    You want to be thankful none came from a Birmingham parish stumbled across yesterday. Immediately below the baptismal record for a relative was one for an illegitimate boy. The entry gave him 2 forenames, the second being his mother's surname. His surname was - Bastard:eek:

    David
     
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