Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 21 October 2020), October 1736, trial of John Smart (t17361013-28).

John Smart, Sexual Offences > bigamy, 13th October 1736.

36. John Smart , was indicted for marrying Thamar Trantum , August the 29th last, his former Wife Elizabeth Coax , being then living .

Thamar Trantum. I only desire to be clear'd of him, I never bedded with him, and have nothing to do with him. His first Wife own'd she was marry'd to him; and took her Oath of it before the Justice.

Another Witness. I was at Thamar Trantam's Wedding with the Prisoner Smart. She was marry'd to him the twenty ninth of August. I never saw the first Wife 'till Yesterday; and then she was carried away from us by Force.

Q. Have you brought the Parson that marry'd them?

Witness. No But I will go and see if I can get him, his Name is Gainham, a Fleet Parson.

Dr. Gainham. They have a Certificate of this Marriage, but it is none of mine: Mrs. Ball gave it them, but I marry'd them.

Q. Do you remember the Prisoner and this Woman?

Gainham I don't remember Faces, 'tis impossible, quite impossible I should remember Faces. I know I married two People by those Names.

Q. do you know the Prisoner?

Gainham. I don't remember his Face; but here is my Register.

Q. What Register is that?

Gainham. 'Tis my Register; a Register of all the People I marry; and as fair a Register as any in England, of all the People that are married by me.

Q. Is it a Parish Register?

Gainham. No, 'tis my own private Register.

Q. What, do you keep a private Register; where do you live?

Gainham. In St. Bride's Parish.

Q. And where do you marry People?

Gainham. In several Houses.

Q. And not in the Church?

Gainham. No.

Q. Have you Licences when you marry?

Gainham. No.

Q. And are you not ashamed to scandalize your Character?

Gainham. I do not chuse it; but I am old, and infirm, and am not able to get any Preferment.

Q. And will you commit Crimes because you cannot get Preferment? Does your Conscience teach you that?

Gainham. I do not chuse it, my Lord - but -

Q. Do you know any thing about John Smart?

Gainham. (Reading) On the fifteenth of May, one thousand seven hundred and thirty three, I married John Smart, Drummer of the first Regiment of Foot Guards, to Elizabeth Colt, Spinster.

Q. And do you always marry People by their right Names?

Gainham. Yes, by their true Names. They always give me their Names; and if they go and take out Licences, they tell their Names themselves.

Q. Do not you know you act contrary to the Canons of the Church? Do you know whether the Prisoner is the Man you married?

Gainham. No, on my Oath, I cannot remember. Mrs. Ball who gave the Certificate, was present at the Marriage, but she would not come.

Q. The Name being in the Book is no Evidence, if you don't know the Man.

Gainham. I have no Remembrance of the Person. Acquitted .

The Grand Jury represented to the Court, that Gainham was a Scandal to his Function; and requested that some Method might be taken to suppress his iniquitous Proceedings.