Alleged Sale of A Wife for a Gallon of Beer

March 1897

Mexborough and Swinton Times March 12, 1897

Alleged Sale of A Wife By a Former Conisborough Resident.
A Gallon of Beer in Exchange.

John Tart, miner, South Featherstone, was summoned, on Monday week, at Pontefract, for deserting his wife and six children.

Ellen Tart, his wife, said they had lodged with a single man named Enoc Child’s, but on February 13 her husband went into the house, told her he was going, and would not stop with her any more.

By Mr Poppleton: She left her husband at new Conisborough last year because of his bad treatment. She did not make an agreement with Childs to take her over as his wife.

Did you see this paper (produced) before? I know nothing about that, I am no scholar.

Childs did not take you and the children? I Have never lived with him as man and wife.

Continuing, witness said her husband came back to her five months ago. Child’s was then living with her, and her husband came and lived with her also. Her husband sent a telegram that he would be better if she would take him back.

There was no agreement for Childs to take you and two children?

I swear there was not. I heard he had said in a public house in Mexborough, “I will sell my wife for quart of beer,” and she believed Childs said, “I will give you have a gallon for her,” only joking. She had nothing to do with it because she was not there.

Enoch Childs said the defendant asked him if he would take a house for his wife and children whilst he went north in search of work.

Mr Poppleton here read a document:

“New Conisborough, March 18, 1896.

I, Enoch Childs, is quite willing to take your wife and children as mine, that is the wife, Ellen Tart,” and names of four children followed, with the signatures,

“Ellen Tart, Enoch Valentine Childs.”

Witness said he remembered that document and put his signature to it. He did not see Mrs Tart signing. He took her home because he would not see the children starving. There was two beds in the house, which were occupied by mother and children, he sleeping on the hearthrug.

Defendant was put into the box and admitted that he drew up the agreement. Childs had been the cause of the mischief, and he could not persuade his wife to leave him. On the night in question he found his wife lying on the house floor drunk, and she had been in the town drinking with Childs.

The bench refused the application for an order.