GEN-TRIVIA-ENG-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-TRIVIA-ENG > 2006-06 > 1151511840
From: "Geo." <>
Subject: The Times, 08 Sep 1821 - Carlisle Assizes - Renwick v. Matthews
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 00:24:00 +0800
The Times, Saturday, Sep 08, 1821; pg. 3; Issue 11346; col C
CARLISLE, SEPTEMBER 3.
CRIM. CON. - RENWICK V. MATTHEWS.
This was an action for damages by the plaintiff, a hairdresser in Carlisle,
against the defendant, an aged gentleman in the same place, for having deprived
the plaintiff of the affection and comfort of a faithful wife.
Scarcely had the abrupt termination of the breach of promise in one court been
known, when the crim. con. was announced for the other. The ladies at the same
time were cruelly dragged out from the other court, through an opposing torrent
of the rougher sex rushing in with unbounded curiosity. Scarcely had every
corner and passage been packed, when
Mr. BROUGHAM rose, and said it was agreed to take a verdict for the plaintiff -
We never saw an assize court so rapidly and excessively crowded, and we seldom
witnessed disappointment so complete, so sudden, and yet so reluctantly
There's nothing new under the sun... Sensationalism existed in the 1820s as much
I found the following explanation about "crim. con." on the website of the
Berkshire Family History Society
Until the 1857 Divorce Act divorce and separation was confined to the rich
elite. If a husband wished to divorce his wife he would need to go through a
complicated series of procedures with no certainty of the outcome. In the early
nineteenth century divorce involved three separate lawsuits: one in an
ecclesiastical court, for separation from the adulterous wife, one in a civil
court against the wife's lover for damages for criminal conversation, or crim
con, and a private parliamentary bill. Crim con involved a writ of trespass, the
principle being that by using the body of the wife, the alleged adulterer had
damaged the property of her husband.