Offence: Miscellaneous > kidnapping
Verdict: Guilty; Not Guilty
Mary Hendron , John Wheeler , and Margaret Pendergrass , were indicted upon a Statute of the 3d of Harry the VIIth, for aiding and abetting Richard Russel , in forcibly and unlawfully marrying and defiling Sibble Morris ; against her Will , on the 5th of March last, the said Sibble Morris being a Maiden, and having an Estate.
Anne Holliday , Servant to Mrs. Morris, depos'd, That Mrs. Hendron asked her to bring her young Mistress to see her in Feb. last, and that upon her Intercession they went, that she prevail'd with them to go with her to Mrs. Pendergrass's, where they saw Richard Russel, but nothing extraordinary happened at that Time; however, Mrs. Henderon endeavour'd to make them have a good Opinion of Russel, saying, he was a rich Merchant in the City, that dealt in Oyls, Silks, and other Goods of Value. After this, she prevail'd with them to come a second Time, and going towards Hendron's House, they met one Peggy Johnson, and one Kitty Pendergrass , the Daughter of Pendergrass the Prisoner, who told them that Mrs. Hendron was not at home, but wanted to see them, and desired they would come to her at a House in New Round Court, in the Strand . Mrs. Morris was against going there, but she and the Maid were both pull'd along by Peggy Johnson and Kitty Pendergrass, to the House of one Murphew in Round Court; that Mrs. Hendron, and Margaret Pendergrass the Prisoners, stood at the Door, and obliged them to come in, pulling Miss Morris through a long dark Entry into a Room where the Windows were shut up with Shutters, and there were Candles and a great deal of Company. Mrs. Morris being surpriz'd at this, would have turned back, but was hindred by Hendron who lock'd the Door upon her and the Maid, and upon their saying they would cry out, she said that would signify nothing, for no Body could hear them. Immediately Russel came up to Mrs. Morris, and asked her to tell her Christian Name, which she refused, and was in a great surprize and Fright; that a Person in the Habit and Appearance of a Clergyman being there, came up to them, when Hendron and a Person who officiated as Clerk, forcibly held her up, she being ready to faint, and the Person began the Ceremony, but Mrs. Morris did not answer to the Questions put to her, she only said she would not be married: However, he proceeded in the Ceremony, and Hendron and Pendergrass said, she did answer, that she came there to be married, and that she was only Faint-hearted, tho' all this Time she was in the utmost Confusion, and even lost the Power of Speech and Strength to support herself under such Usage. After this Mock-Marriage, Hendron and others dragg'd her up Stairs to a Bed-Chamber, which was also shut up with Shutters, and Kitty Pendergrass and Peggy Johnson, pulled off her Cloaths by Force, Hendron holding her Hands; and that one Mrs. Rigy was there present while all this was done, that they forc'd her into Bed, and that Hendron held her down in Bed, and commanded this Deponent to go down Stairs, which she was obliged to do, tho' she complained that it was a Shame they should use her Mistress so; that upon the Stairs she met Russel undress'd, and upon his going into the Room, Hendron lock'd the Door and came down, leaving them together; after this the Prisoners and others for about Half an Hour were very merry, till Mrs. Morris and Russell came down Stairs; that they would have had Mrs. Morris to have eat some Supper with them, but she refused it, and would go home that Russell went Part of the Way with them. She being cross-examined as to Margaret Pendergrass, this Deponent said, She was at the Door of the House with Mrs. Hendron, when Mrs. Morris was drag'd through the Entry, and that she was in the Room all the while where the pretended Marriage was; that she told Mrs. Morris she must be married to Russell; it would be to her Advantage that she consented to, and commended what was done, that she came up Stairs into the Room while her Daughter Kitty Pendergrass assisted in forcing off the Cloaths of Mrs. Morris, that the Door was unlock'd to let her in, that she staid there a little while, and then went down into the Room where the Supper was. This Deponent, being ask'd, if she did not take the Measure of her Mistress Finger, in Order to have a Ring made to it, which Measure she brought to Hendron's House, she said, she did not take the Measure of her Mistress's Finger; but upon some Proof of her bringing some Measure to Mrs. Hendron's House, she confess'd she brought a Measure to Hendron's House, as the Measure of her Mistress's Finger, but it was without her Mistress's Knowledge, and that having once mention'd such a Thing to her, she would not suffer it; that Hendron by her Insinuations having made her believe that her
Mrs. Sibble Morris confirm'd the Particulars of her Maid's Deposition, with regard to the forcible Marriage, and forcing her to Bed, that Hendron was the chief Actor, that she was held up in the Time of the Ceremony, did not answer to the Matrimonial Responses, was dragg'd up to the Bed-Chamber, forced into Bed against her Will and Consent, that Richard Russell had Carnal Knowledge of her Body, and had given her the foul Distemper, making an Advantage of her Surprize and Weakness, and tho' she resisted to the utmost of her Strength, he held her down in Bed and overcame her, and when she cried out, stopt her Mouth, that Pendergrass was present at the Marriage, was in the Room a little while where they were forcing off her Cloaths, and assisted and persuaded to the Marriage, and consented to all that was acted, but did not remember that Wheeler was in the Room or at the Marriage, or in the Bed-Chamber, or was privy to any Violence.
Mr. Allen depos'd, That he was the Person who officiated as Clerk and that he provided the Parson by the Persuasion and Importunity of Wheeler, who had been with him four or five Times before he would consent to have any Thing to do with it, but Wheeler told him it was to marry a Gentleman to a Servant Maid, with whom he had fallen in love, and to that End he appointed to meet him and the Parson (whose Name is Evans, a Parson at the Fleet) at the seven Stars in Cross-street, Long-Acre, where they met, and from thence went to the House of one Murphew in New. Round Court in the Strand, where this Deponent said, Russell and his Accomplices were met together; and that when they went to perform the Ceremony Mrs. Morris trembled, and he could not perceive that she gave her Consent, but on the contrary refused it; upon which he told the Parson he might shut up his Books, for they were not like to make a Wedding of it, but some of the Company saying, she answered to the Questions put to her, the Parson went through the Form of Matrimony, that Pendergrass, the Prisoner, affirmed she spoke, and that she came to be married, and was only Faint-hearted, tho' this Deponent said, for his own Part, he heard her say, she would not be married, yet the Parson went on with the Ceremony, and after the Ceremony was concluded they left them.
Jonathan Daniel depos'd, That Wheeler, the Parson and Clerk, came to his House at the 7 Stars in Cross-street, Long-Acre, and went up Stairs, and by some Passages he did believe there was something going forward which was not fair, and that soon after they were gone Margaret Pendergrass the Prisoner, came to his House and enquired for such People, and upon his saying they were gone, she stamp'd with her Foot, and said she had rather have given five Pounds than be disappointed.
Mr. Morris (the Father of the injur'd Gentlewoman) depos'd, That she had an Estate, which was at present 20 Pounds per Annum clear to her (and would be more) in Southampton-street, Covent-Garden, which Estate was left her by a deceas'd Uncle; he farther said, That this pretended Marriage being on the Tuesday, on the Thursday following a Gentleman pretending to be a Friend to Russel, came and acquainted him of his Daughter's Marriage, (which Gentleman afrerwards appear'd in Court, and depos'd he was sent by Margaret Pendergrass, as Russells Friend) that he being surpriz'd at this, went immediately to his Daughter and ask'd her about it; to which she answered, she had been vilely impos'd on and barbarously used under the Pretence of a Marriage, but for Fear and Shame she had not acquainted him with it (she being a young Girl between 16 and 17 Years of Age.) That Russell came to him on the Saturday, but he would not have any Conversation with him, and that since he is absconded. Mary Hendron, and Margaret Pendergrass, were found Guilty . Death .
And as Wheeler was employed by Margaret Pendergrass to get a Parson, and might be imposed on by her, as it did not appear that he was privy to any Force at the Marriage or otherwise, he was acquitted .