How to Sell a Wife, 1787

Unbridled passions! Sibling rivalry! Threatened suicide! Wife selling! A party down the pub!

What more could you want from this news report of 1787? Not only does it give a lively insight into love and marriage in the eighteenth century, but it proves once and for all that Bristol is a city where romance never dies…


– Chelmsford Chronicle, 12th January 1787

Bristol, Jan 6. – A correspondent who may be relied on has sent us the following:– Two brothers of the name of Scott, who live at Wookey, being equally captivated with the charms of a female of Wells, the daughter of one – Lovell, a mason, paid their addresses to her: when the elder brother perceiving that she manifested a partiality for the younger, declared, that unless she would accept his hand at the Altar of Hymen, he would hang himself – The tender-hearted nymph, to prevent so melancholy a catastrophe, promised to gratify his wishes, and they were accordingly married on Tuesday se’nnight, but the parties soon found themselves so much deceived in each other, that on Saturday last the husband actually sold his bride (with her own approbation) for a half a crown, to his brother, to whom he that evening delivered her with a halter round her neck in the presence of a large party at a public house, where the purchase money contributed towards the expences of a convivial evening.


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