Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/138

This page needs to be proofread.


130


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th B. XL FEB. u, igos.


was vulgarly spoken of as a "captain's lady." But, title or no title, I have never been able to identify these personages with any members of the family, and I shall be very grateful if any correspondent can help me 'in the matteV. A feeling that the identi- fication of two of Lely's sitters has a general interest is my excuse for obtruding the matter on readers of * N. & Q.'

FRANK REDE FOWKE. 24, Netherton Grove, Chelsea, S.W.


ROYAL MARRIAGE AT ST. GEORGE'S,

HANOVER SQUARE.

(9 th S. xi. 66.)

SIR HARRY POLAND will find an amusing account of this case in Twiss's ' Life of Lord Eldon ' (i. 234), which is of great interest as containing the report of a little sparring encounter between Scott and Thurlow, in which the latter was worsted.

The writer in the Pall Mall Gazette pro- bably wrote from memory, and thus entirely lost the point of the story, besides introducing the obviously absurd notion of an Attorney- General witnessing in his official capacity the illegal marriage of a son of the king.

Prince Augustus Frederick (afterwards Duke of Sussex) and Lady Augusta Murray, second daughter of John, Earl of Dun- more, were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, 5 December, 1793, under the respective names of Augustus Frederick and Augusta Murray. They had been married before, at Rome, on the previous 4 April. It was not until after the birth of a son on 13 January, 1794, that George III. heard of the marriage.

Banns had been published, and the clergy were considered to have acted very carelessly in not making inquiries respecting the resi- dence and identity of the parties. The rector and curates \vero therefore summoned before the Privy Council, and Lord Eldon (then Sir John Scott) was Attorney - General. His account of the matter is as follows :

" Thurlow said to me angrily. ' Sir, why have you not prosecuted, un.W the Act of Parliament, all tie parties concerned in this abominable marriage?' lo which 1 answered, ' That it was a very difficult business to prosecute-that the Act, it was under- stood, had been drawn by Lord Mansfield, and Mr Attorney - -General Thurlov and Mr. Solicitor- General \\ edderburne, and unluckily they had made all parties present at the marriage guilty of felony and as nobody could prove the marriage except a person who had been present at it, there ooo ^ be no prosecution, because nobody present could be compelled to be a witness.' This put an


end to the matter. Afterwards there was a suit in the Commons, and the marriage was then declared null and void."

HENRY B. WHEATLEY.

The reference doubtless is to the marriage of H.R.H. Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, to Lady Augusta Murray, daughter of the Earl of Dunmore, 5 December, 1793, which had been previously celebrated at Rome by a Protestant minister in the same year, and in August, 1794, was dissolved by judgment of the Prerogative Court as being a violation of the Royal Marriage Act (12 Geo. III., c. ii.). HERBERT MAXWELL.


FEES FOR SEARCHING PARISH REGISTERS

(9 th S. x. 148, 394).- In reply to Miss LEGA- WEEKES, the Exeter transcripts are, or were, kept in the south tower of the cathedral. I have gone through the earliest ; many were pulverizing, and no one will decipher what I read easily about forty years ago. The same holds good with regard to the church- wardens' accounts of many parishes. Col. Lemuel Chester assured me that clergymen were bound to allow inspection of their registers, within reasonable hours, without fee, unless for certified copies. I have mis- laid his reference to a legal decision. I have read through scores of registers, from their beginning up to the middle of the eighteenth century, without hindrance, except in two instances : one from the Rev. - - Porter, incumbent of a small parish on the bank of the Exe, and another, on the south coast of Devon, from the Rev. F. C. Hingeston-Ran- dolph, who refused on the ground that his registers contained nothing worth noting. Of that I was the better judge. If space would allow I could cite instances where recovery of landed and other property depended on the production of registers which I discovered too late at a distance where none thought of searching. In six counties I have found the clergy obliging (with but two exceptions) on my explaining my purpose of correcting heralds' visitations and county history. After a clergyman has declared that his registers contained nothing of interest, I have found entries unexpected by me, and surprising to him on my pointing out their bearings When clergymen have hinted at fees, I have satisfied them that mine was an expensive labour of love, with something to lose and nothing to gain beyond information. Regarding fees, while registers remained inaccessible to such as myself they were comparatively worthless; but I was an advertising medium, and had procured many fees by directing the attention of those who