Extraordinary breach of promise to marry-£400 damages  Leeds Times 5 March 1864:

At the Warwick assizes, on Thursday, a trial for breach of promise was heard before Mr. Justice Blackburn. Charlotte Emma Blackham, daughter of Mr. Blackham, pin manufacturer, Birmingham, was the plaintiff; and Mr. Thomas Pratt, thimble maker, of the same place, was the defendant.

The defendant is about sixty years of age, the plaintiff twenty-three. The defendant was in the habit of calling at plaintiff's house upon business. In February, 1863, he desired to have some private conversation with the plaintiff, and after telling her he desired to marry her, Mrs. Blackham was consulted.

The defendant said he wished to become the suitor of her eldest daughter if there was no objection of the part of her parents. He acknowledged he was rather old, but, to counterbalance that, he said he was worth between £7,000 and £8,000.

The defendant after that was received as the suitor of the plaintiff, and continued to visit her daily, walking her out, and introducing her to his friends as his future wife.

In April, defendant told Mrs. Blackham that his family had objected to his marrying the plaintiff, in consequence of the disparity in their age. Mrs. Blackham advised the defendant, under those circumstances, at once to give up the acquaintance, to which the defendant replied, "Oh, that is more than I can bear. It is nothing to do with my family. I have worked hard for my money, and they have already had their share. I am quite at liberty to marry, and I shall please myself about it."

The defendant became more than ever attentive to the plaintiff, and in May he said he should like to be married at once, and in the early part of June he said he would give £1,000 upon the day of her wedding, and, in addition to that, he should spend £600 on his country residence, to make her happy and comfortable. At the same time he made the plaintiff a present of a gold ring, which, however, was too small. He took it back, and said the next ring he bought her should be her wedding-ring.

The defendant continued to be very attentive to the plaintiff until September last, when he requested to have an interview with her mother. He then informed her that he should not be able to keep his promise in consequence of his daughter's opposition to the marriage, as she had told him if he got married she would never enter his home, and she would not allow him to visit her. Mrs. Blackham remonstrated, and reminded him of his promises.

The defendant said he was very sorry, but he had determined never to marry the plaintiff.-Mrs Blackham was called, and corroborated the above statement.

In reply to Mr. Serjeant O'Brien, she stated that the defendant did not look so old last year as he did that day in court, whereupon the defendant, an old-looking man, amidst the laughter of the court, said -"What 'muses you; I suppose I look older now when I did when I proposed to your daughter?"-Witness: You look years older.-In answer to Mr. Serjeant O'Brien, the witness stated that the defendant presented her daughter with the ring in August.-The defendant, in a very excited manner, said he never gave her a ring; she took it from his finger.

The plaintiff, a well-dressed young lady, here rose, and said, "That was another ring." (Renewed laughter.)-The learned judge: We cannot allow either the plaintiff or defendant to appear in the case.-Verdict for plaintiff, damages £400.


NOTE: A quick search of online records suggests that Charlotte Emma Blackham did not marry. There is a 1911 census entry for a Charlotte Emma Blackham, single, aged 70, born Birmingham, Warwickshire about 1841 living at 42 Hamstead Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, Staffordshire. There is also a possible death in Birmingham in 1915.

Baby faced jockey

Tiny hoop wows women - Aberdeen Journal, 24 September 1902: The Sheepshead Bay Racecourse, New…

Baldrick would have been so proud

Monster turnip - Hereford Times 5 October 1861: We have been favoured with the sight of a turnip,…

Bovine battleground

Serious raid by a bullock - Carlisle Patriot, 19 April 1867: The spirit of mischief seems to have…

Canine conversation

Speaking of dogs - Newcastle Courant, 13 February 1731: Edinburgh, Jan. 16. Both City and Country…

Caning in church

The office of dog-whipper - Hertford Mercury and Reformer 3 November 1888: In reference to the…

Cracking heads

Matrimonial miseries - The Ipswich Journal, 3 September 1836: Mary Bird, the woman who on Monday…

Curl your lips

This should bring a smile - South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, 15 August 1868: An American…

Dressing down

Frocking tale - Herts Guardian, Agricultural Journal, and General Advertiser, 15 November 1853: Ann…

Extraordinary way to die

Fatal final steps - Aberdeen Press and Journal 3 April 1822: On Friday last, as John McKenzie, a…

Fighting for love

Sailor boy, sailor girl - North Devon Journal, 22 July 1841: A female sailor. - A considerable…

Fists fly in Elder abuse

Mutiny of Mormon converts - The Shields Daily Gazette and Shipping Telegraph, 18 February 1898:…

Hear, hear, here

Speaking of silly - Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 11 March 1848: At the Lancaster assizes, on…

Hobbling down the aisle

The ceremony took ages - Derby Mercury 26 October 1786: Bristol, October 21. Tuesday was married at…

Hound begs for money

A sagacious dog - Aberdeen Herald and General Advertiser 2 November 1844: A dog, of a mongrel…

Humanity unmasked

Astute observation - Derby Mercury 26 June 1794: ANECTODE. Mr. NEWTON, when formerly captain of a…

It's tough at the top

'Distress' in London - Bell's Weekly Messenger, 27 May 1865: (From the Owl.) For the last fortnight…

Loudly hitched

Wedding for the ages - Bury and Norwich Post, 31 August 1836: On Friday last, John Scates,…

Makes for a big reunion

Daniel Aitken died aged 120 - Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 1 May 1847: A man named Daniel Aitken…

Making hay

Longevity - Bury and Norwich Post, 15 September 1847: There is at present a woman named Mary…

Market fluctuation

Shameful price to pay - The Suffolk Chronicle; or Weekly General Advertiser & County Express, 28…

Money isn't everything

Eccentric woman's death at Colchester - Essex Standard, 28 January 1899: The circumstances…

Oswego lake monster

Another 'sea serpent' sensation - Sheffield Independent 2 July 1867: We know that it has been…

Photo finish

Deadly reflection - Bury and Norwich Post, 10 March 1847: DIED. On the 14th ult., at St.…

Shattering bolt

Struck by the electric fluid - Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser, 23 February…

She wasn't kidding

Not rushing into things - Derby Mercury 12 March 1795: At Chesterfield, on Monday last, Mr. John…

Shot doing his job

Right royal mistake - Derby Mercury, 26 October 1786: ANECDOTE of the late KING of PRUSSIA. It is…

Sleuth-hounds caracole

Dream of a Spelling Bee - Leicester Chronicle, 22 January 1876: Unknown (1876) Menageries where…

Still squabbling

Nothing new under the sun - The Examiner, July 24, 1858: TURKEY— Fanatical Movements.— The news…

Taking it in his stride

Boots made for walking - Aberdeen Journal, 23 May 1827: Pedestrianism. - James Baxter,…

Tears at the altar

Jilted curate's agony - Nottingham Evening Post, 3 July 1925: Unites to his rival the girl who…

That's a relief

Worthy of support - The Ipswich Journal, 20 September 1845: A PATRIARCH.-John Matthews, aged 114,…

The floor gave way

Precipitated into the cellars - Cambridge Independent Press 11 January 1873: An extraordinary…

Three's a crowd

Triple treat - The Ipswich Journal, 3 September 1836: At Brussels, last week, a barber's wife, 40…

Too good to be true ....

Speculating with a wife - Leicester Chronicle 22 January 1876, page 6: A Swiss paper gives a story…

Warmly received

Woolly first-fleecers - Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser, 23 February 1859:…

Young love triumphs

An elopement frustrated - Aberdeen Evening Express, 17 July 1888: A singular scene was (says a…