THOMAS CHARLES PRICE.
30th June 1879
Reference Numbert18790630-654
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment

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654. THOMAS CHARLES PRICE (27) , Unlawfully causing to be inserted in a register of marriages a false entry of a marriage between himself and Amelia Sarah Hastie.

MESSRS. POLAND and HORACE AVORY Prosecuted; MR. PURCELL Defended.

HENRY WATTS . I am the Record-keeper at the Office of the Vicar-General to the Archbishop of Canterbury at Doctors' Commons—on the 18th October last a man came to my office giving the name of Thomas Charles Price, and applied for a marriage licence—I made this note at the time: he described himself as a widower, of Forest Gate, Essex, and Amelia Sarah Hastie as a spinster, of St. Peter's, Croydon, and a minor, or rather of the age of 18 and upwards, that she had no father, no mother, and no guardian; that he wished the marriage to take place at St. Peter's, Croydon, she having resided there for the last 15 days—T then prepared this affidavit; I filled it up from his instructions, read it over to him, and he signed it in my presence T. C. Price—I then either took or sent it to Dr Robertson, the surrogate, to be sworn, and on his return with it either I or one of the clerks would make out the marriage licence—I find Dr. Robertson's signature to the affidavit—the marriage licence was filled up by one of the clerks; it bears the seal of the Vicar-General, and the signature of Mr. Hassard, the principal Registrar of the Archbishop, and it bears my initials—then, in the ordinary course, the person would pay 2l. 2s. 6d., the price of the licence, and it would be delivered to him after being read over to him to see that it was correct—I do not identify the prisoner.

Cross-examined. The licence was made out from the instructions which are taken, and which are put in the form of an affidavit—I don't remember whether the person who came had a considerable stutter, or whether he came alone.

DR. JOHN ELLIOT PAISLEY ROBERTSON . I am one of the surrogates of the Vicar-General of the Archbishop of Canterbury—my office is in Bell Yard, Doctors' Commons—it is part of my duty to administer the oath to persons requiring a marriage licence—this is my signature to this affidavit—I administered the oath in the usual form, and the affidavit was then taken back to the office to have the licence made out.

ROBERT JOHN BAILEY . I am clerk at St. Peter's Church, South Croydon—on Friday, 18th October, late in the evening, in consequence of some information from my wife, I arranged for a wedding to take place next morning—about a quarter past nine next morning I was fetched to the church—I met the prisoner in the churchyard—he said he had come to be married—I said I would open the church in a few minutes, and I admitted him and another man, two girls, and a woman—one of the girls was Amelia Sarah Hastie—I saw her afterwards at the police-court, and she is here now—the prisoner went with me into the vestry—I asked him for the licence, and he gave me the one produced—I then proceeded to enter into the register from the licence—I produce the original register—I entered the whole of it before the ceremony. (This described the lady as aged 18, the daughter of Walter Thomas Hastie, Admiralty Clerk.) The age is not stated in the licence; I got that, the father's name, and all the particulars from him, and put them down as he gave them—at that time I believe I was alone with him in the vestry, he was standing close by and saw what I wrote—I noticed that the lady looked very young and spoke to Mr. White, the clergyman, about it, and he took the licence in his hand and looked at it, and said "Is this licence correct?" or some words to that effect—the prisoner said "Yes"—he stammered very much, he has an impediment in his speech, but he said it was quite correct—sir. White said, "You are sure it is all right?"—he said, "Yes, sir"—we then proceeded into the church, and the marriage was solemnised—all the parties afterwards came into the vestry, and the prisoner signed the register, Miss Hastie next, Mr. Horne next, and his wife was about to sign, but I refused to take her signature as her husband had signed, and I asked the girl to sign, and she signed Rose Rimmell.

Cross-examined. I filled up the register from the licence as far as I could—the licence states "spinster, a minor"—the prisoner had no other document in his hand—he pulled the licence from his pocket and handed it to me in this envelope—at the time I put the questions to him we were alone in the vestry—Miss Hastie and the others were waiting in the chancel.

REV. JOHN WHITE . I am incumbent of St. Peter's Church, Croydon—on October 18 I remember an arrangement being made for a wedding next morning, and on the 19th at 9.30 I proceeded to the church—in consequence of something the clerk said, I said to the prisoner, "Is the licence correct?" he said "Yes"—he stammered very much—after that I performed the ceremony—I noticed that the lady appeared very young—after the ceremony the parties proceeded into the vestry and signed the register.

JAMES PEARSON MAY . I am a solicitor of 81, Bishopsgate street Without—I have known the family of Amelia Sarah Hastie for many years—I produce a certificate of the marriage of George Hastie, stationer, and Mary Janet Drew on 19th May, 1858—also a certificate of the 'birth of Amelia Sarah Hastie on 29th May, 1862—also a certificate of the death of George Hastie, bookbinder, on 2nd March, 1869—also a certificate of marriage of John Sue Achow and Mary Janet Hastie, widow, on 22nd May, 1869—a certificate of the death of John Sue Achow on 19th November, 1871—and a certificate of marriage of Thomas Charles Price and Mary Janet Achow on 24th June, 1876—and a certificate of the death of Mary Janet Price on 24th February, 1877—I knew George Hastie and his wife—the young lady I have seen is their daughter—the mother married Mr. Achow and afterwards married the prisoner—I produce a deed dated 5th July, 1866, between George Hastie of the first' part and Mary Janet of the second part and others—it relates to certain property in which Mary Janet Hastie was to have a life-interest, and at her death, and the death of another tenant for life of a small portion, the property was to go to the daughter, Amelia Sarab, on attaining the age of 21—it is worth about 300l. a year—a person named West was one of the trustees—in March, 1877, I first became acquainted with the prisoner, and by his direction I took proceedings to get a new trustee appointed, and he himself was afterwards appointed on 8th August, 1877, with a man named Ridley, who lives at Dormansland,

near Brighton—at that time the prisoner told me that Miss Hastie would be 15 next May—in the autumn of that year the prisoner was living at Forest Gate, Essex, and I was living at Stratford about a mile from him—I saw him very frequently—Miss Hastie was living with him at that time—I spoke to him on many occasions about sending her to school, and in October or November that year I told him it would be a great drawback to her in after years if she were not better cultivated, as she was very poorly educated indeed, and he said "She is good enough for me"—I asked what he meant, and he said that he should marry her himself, that her mother wished him to do so—I said "Are you serious?"—he said "Why not?"—I said "Why not' because the girl is a ward in Chancery, and you would be committing a contempt of Court, in addition to which you would be perpetrating a foul and unnatural crime, as she is your stepdaughter and within the prohibited degrees of affinity, and you would be liable to be very heavily punished"—on this he laughed, and said that he was only joking, that the girl wanted some months of 16, and that he bad made arrangements for sending her to school—I believed that it was a joke—he very seldom called on me after that—I saw him at my office on 12th August, 1878—he then told me that he bad removed to No. 2, Laurel Villas, Brighton Road, South Croydon—there was no such person of the Hastie family as Walter Thomas Hastie that I ever heard of—George Hastie, the father, was a bookbinder by trade—I know the prisoner's writing very well—I have no doubt that the signature to this affidavit is his, and also to the register.

Cross-examined. I don't know that George Hastie was in the Admiralty-1 believe he did occasionally do some work in the Admiralty—I don't know that he had a special appointment there—I did not know the whole family of the Hasties, I knew the Drews particularly—I had been concerned as their solicitor—I really could not tell whether there was such a person as Walter Thomas Hastie, I don't know that that was the name of one of George Hastie's sons—I don't know how many sons he had—I did not know much of any except George Hastie—the prisoner did not change his solicitor till late in 1878, the 12th August was not the last call he made on me.

WILLIAM HENRY MANNING . I am manager to Mr. Sidney Mayhew, solicitor, of 30, Walbrook—I became acquainted with the prisoner on 18th Sept 1878—he came to me on that day saying that he wished to change his solicitor—I saw him again on the 20th—he then told me that the young lady would be 17 on 29th May, 1879, and he had some conversation about marrying her, and I warned him not to do so, both on that day and afterwards repeatedly—on 18th October, 1878, he called on me and wanted to borrow some money—he had an appointment with me for the next day to go down to Dormansland, and he said he could not go as he had to go to a marriage—I saw him again on the 22nd when he said he had married Amelia—I reported the matter to the Chief Clerk of ViceChancellor Hall, and on the 25th November the prisoner was brought before the Vice-Chancellor, who in my presence asked him certain questions, and he was at once committed for contempt.

GUILTY .— Fifteen Months' Imprisonment.


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