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1867: Accused denies desertion of his wife

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Sussex Advertiser - Saturday 21 December 1867


PETTY SESSIONS, Monday. Present—J. M. Norman, Esq. (in the chair), and J. Esdile, Esq.

Daniel Barnett, a stupid looking fellow, was indicted by Mr George Harland, relieving officer of No. 1 district of the Cuckfield Union, with having deserted his wife and leaving her chargeable on the Union.

The court was crowded to hear Dan's case, and it appeared that the woman had been in the Union-house since the 19th of November, and that he had entered into the service of a farmer at Horsted Keynes, at the rate of 4s per week wages, and to live in the house.

Cuckfield Workhouse c1900

Mr Waugh asked why he did not support his wife, to which he replied that she ought to support herself, as he did. When he married her he thought he had married a woman, but was deceived (laughter). She was a single woman now the same as he was a single man (renewed laughter).

It seemed that Dan and his wife had only been married a few months, but the match turning out misfit, they had parted, and each took their course, he to service, and she to the Union.

The Chairman told the defendant be had put himself in a very awkward position, for he was bound to support his wife, and if he did not pay 8s. towards her support in the Union for the last four weeks, and take her away at once, he would be committed for a month to hard labour. Could he pay it?

Defendant — No, sir.

The Chairman — Then will you try to pay it ?

Defendant—l shan't have any money until the end of the year (laughter).

The. Chairman—But you could have asked your master to advance you portion of your wages. Have you told him you were summoned here to-day? Defendant—Yes, sir; but I can't pay anything to keep her. Why, I married her for woman, sir.

The Chairman — Yes, and you must take her for better or worse, and if you can't pay—to prison you go for month; and that is not the worst of it, for when you come out again and your wife remains in the Union, they will bring you up again, for the Union cannot keep her, and we must send you back again for three months. — This rather staggered Daniel, and after a good deal of pains, managed to hammer it Into his head that if he took his wife away to-morrow he would stand clear paying 8s.; but if she remained longer he would have to pay 2s. per week in addition, making at the end of the fortnight 12s; and the magistrates allowing him a fortnight to heal his domestic miseries, he left the court.



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