Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 23 July 2014), December 1706 (17061206).

Old Bailey Proceedings, 6th December 1706.

THE Whole Tryal and Examination, OF Robert Fielding, Esq; AT JUSTICE-HALL in the OLD-BAILY, On Friday, December 6. 1706.

For having TWO WIVES.

WITH The True COPIES of the Letters produced in Court.

Printed by Authority.

ROBERT Fielding , Esq ; was Indicted for that, heon the 25th Day of Nov 1705. did Feloniously take to him to Wife Barbara, Duchess of Cleveland , his First Wife being then alive . The First Evidence for the Queen, and the only one to Prove the Fact was Mrs. Villars: She deposed that one Mrs. Streat came to her, and acquainted her, that Mr. Fielding was passionatly in Love with one Mrs. Deleau, a Lady of Quality at Waddon in Surrey, worth 60000 Pounds; that Mrs. Streat desired her to use her Interest (she being an Acquaintance of Mrs. Deleau's) to bring Mr. Fielding, and the Lady together; that Mr. Fielding went into the Country, not doubting, but if once the Lady could have a Sight of him, she would have the same Respect for him as he had for her; that when he came there, he desired to see the Gardens, and was by the Servants so introduc'd, that he saw a Lady look out of a Window, whom he thought to be Mrs. Deleau, and that she might have the more perfect View of him, he was pleased to take divers Turns in the Garden, and set his Watch by the Sun-Dial; when Mr. Fielding return'd home again, he acquainted Mrs. Villars with his Adventure. She further deposed, that Mr. Fieldings Project being very unlikely to take, she and Mrs. Streat propos'd one of their own, that tho' they could not help Mr. Fielding to Mrs. Deleau, however, they would impose upon him one that should personate her, and be more agreeable to his Fortune; the Person they fix'd on for him, was one Mrs. Mary Wadsworth , Mrs. Villars further deposed, that she promis'd to persuade Mrs. Deleau to come privately to his Lodgings in the Pell Mell; that after she had been there a while, he should come in and make an Improvement of his fortunate coming in that Happy Minute: But when the Time appointed came, instead of Mrs. Deleau, Mrs. Wadsworth appeared in her Shape, with a Mourning Coach, and Widows Habit. She had not been there long, but in comes Mr. Fielding, wonderfully surprized with Joy to see his Lady there; that he made his Addresses to her after a very Passionate Manner, and that he entertained the Lady with a Treat, and some Italian and English Songs, sung by Margaretta, whom he sent for, for that Purpose; that Mr. Fielding proposed to Marry her, that the Lady seemed Shy, and entertained his Loving Disposition, with an agreeable Modesty; but before she went, she let him know when he might see her again. But instead of her coming, according to Promise, she sent him a Letter to excuse her self, and appointed another time; Mr. Fielding return'd an Answer, in which he express'd abundance of Fervour, and said, there wanted nothing but the Holy Father to make them one, for that their Hearts were one already. Mrs. Villars farther deposed, that on the 9th of November, Mrs. Wadsworth and her self, came to Mr. Fielding's Lodgings, that Mr. Fielding was not at home when they came; but in a little time he came, and took his Lady into his Arms, and said, he would fetch the Priest; the Lady would have had it put off till another time; but she could not persuade him to it; that he then went out and lock'd the Door after him; within three quarters of an Hour he came again, and brought a Priest, called the Red Father, with a long Red Gown lin'd with Blue, a long Beard, and a Fur Cap. Mrs. Villars farther deposed, that Mr. Fielding said, This is the Holy Father that is to make us one, that then his Man Bowcher was ordered to bring in the Supper, which was done accordingly. Mrs. Villars farther deposed, thatMrs. Wodsworth questioned the Priest, and said, how shall I know you are a Priest in Orders; the Priest put his Hand into his Pocket and pull'd out a Paper of the Pope's Picture, about the bigness of a Crown Piece, and said, that none but Priests us'd to carry those Pictures about 'em. She desired some other Token, at which he shew'd her a Scarf; Bowcher was sent for Water, Salt, and Rosemary, to make Holy Water; that he brought up the Water and Salt, but could procure no Rosemary: Bowcher being sent away, the Marriage was solemniz'd in Mr. Fielding's Bed Chamber, there being none present but the Bride and Bridegroom, the Priest and her Self; that she remembred, the Ceremony of the Ring, the Priest blessing it, and crossing himself, and that the Sacrament of Marriage was read in Latin. She farther deposed, that Mrs. Wadsworth, when they came to this part, Wilt thou take this Woman to be thy Wedded Wife, desired it might be read in English, at which Mr. Fielding caused him not to proceed; but the Priest not understanding English, Mr. Fielding supplied that Defect, and said the same Words, with this Addition; With all my Heart, and with all my Soul, and required Mrs. Wadsworth to do the same; but she speaking it faintly: he desired her to speak it as heartily as he himself did. Then she uttered these Words; I take this Man to be my Wedded Husband, with all my Heart, and with all my Soul. She farther deposed, when the Marriage was over, the Priest was discharged, and she put the Lady to Bed. This Evidence farther deposed, that she saw them in naked Bed together the next Morning; and had seen them dress'd and undress'd 4 times in the space of seven Weeks. To strengthen Mrs. Villar's Evidence, Bowcher was called, who deposed, that he saw the Priest, and brought the Salt and Water, and that he saw them in Bed together after this, divers times, and took them to be Man and Wife. There were several others that prov'd the same.

Another piece of Evidence was the Ring, which was produc'd by the Proctor of Doctors Commons, with this Device engraven in it tibi Soli, for thee alone. The Goldsmith that made the Ring, deposed he made it by Mr. Fielding't Order, and the Device was Mr. Fieldings. Another that was when the Ring was bespoke, deposed the same. There were likewise produc'd divers Pieces of Written Evidence which were prov'd to be his Hand, wherein Mr. Fielding does acknowledge Mrs. Wadsworth to be his Wife; and one in an especial manner, a Copy of which is as followeth:

A LETTER: Directed to the best of Wives, Anne Countess of Fielding, at Waddon.

Novemb. 14.

"THere is nothing can please me more upon this Occasion, than to hear my Dear

"Wife say, I had made her sick by turning her Liver, for without that we could

"not hope for a young Lord Tunbridge, which would be next to my Dear herself the most

"welcome Present to my Arms; make hast then my Dearest Life, to Cultivate the

"young Spark, and besure you do not starve my Boy; as for your coming to me, it

"wholly depends upon your self, who can best Judge when it is most proper to come to

"me, which you can do, by your giving out you are to stay all Night in London; and

"then you and Puggy have nothing to do but to come at Bed time, and so we may go

"to Bed and lye till Morning, when Puggy may come again and call you.

Adieu my Souls Love, that I must ever value more than Life.

Mr. Fielding, in his Defence, endeavour'd to prove that Mrs. Wadsworth was Marry'd to one Lily Bradley , to do which, the Register Book of the Fleet was produc'd, and there was a Certificate of a Marriage between Lily Bradley and Mary Wadsworth; but the Place where it was written, it being at the Bottom of a Leaf, the Colour of the Ink, and the Difference of the Hand, with divers other Circumstances, gave sufficient Reason to suspect the Truth of it. Evidence was call'd to prove Mrs. Villars to be a Leud Woman. And among the Rest, one Mrs. Fletcher; She deposed that Mrs. Villars confess'd to her, That she had had two Bastards; one by the Lord Torrington, and the other by the Lord Stamford. This Evidence was confronted by a Letter that was produc'd by the other side, which Mr. Fletcher own'd to be her Hand.

Tuesday Morning.

"ALL that knows the Name of Major General Fielding, must own the Generous

"and Charitable Actions that your Honour daily bestows upon them; and I

"among the Rest, shall ever acknowledge your Goodness; it's necessity that forces me

"to dispose of this Picture, your Honour's a Nice Judge of Painting, as well as an Admirer

"and true Lover of such Pieces; which makes me humbly present to you first,

"and in accepting the same, your Honour will highly oblige, as well as serve,

Your humble Servant, M. FLETCHER.

"I long to see you, for your Encouragement to grant me that Favour; I am now acquainted

"with a young Lady that is Pretty, and lives in good Fashion; your Honour will

"oblige me, in letting me receive your Commands.

The Tryal lasted very long, and the Jury having maturely weigh'd the Evidence on both sides, they brought him in guilty of Felony.