Drama at a Wedding

The story originally appeared in the Illustrated Police News on August 4, 1883.


"Mary Kearns, a young married woman, has been charged at the Cleator Moor (Cumberland) petty sessions with doing willful damage to a hat and jacket, the property of Bernard Murphy, and also with assaulting Jane Murphy, his wife.

"Bernard was a young man of 25, and his wife an old lady apparently not far off 70, and the two were only married a day or two since, the alleged assault taking place at the wedding. Kearns was the step-daughter of Mrs. Murphy by her first husband, who only died in November last, leaving all his property to his wife.

"This caused ill-feeling between his wife and her step-daughter, and a large crowd assembled at the wedding and hooted the pair. Mrs. Kearns, as they came out of church, struck the bride with a flour bag, completely spoiling her hat and jacket, to which a good deal of the flour, which was wet, adhered. Her face and clothing were completely covered with the flour, and the Rev. Father Wray, who married them, had to take the bride into his own house to divest herself of her other garments. The crowd continued the demonstrations at the house of the couple in the evening.

"The case was dismissed on a legal point, the summonses being taken out in the name of the husband, whereas according to the new Married Women's Property Act they should have been taken out by the wife herself, to whom the damaged clothing belonged."


This story has EVERYTHING you could want out of a family drama: disputes over money, disapproval over inappropriate lovers, destruction of property, public embarassment (in front of the vicar!!!), completely irrational responses to slights, and getting the law involved. This is like an average family reunion with some of my family.

It's difficult to say who came out on top in this. On the one hand, the step-daughter managed to ruin her step-mother's wedding, shame her in front of a huge crowd, and get off scot free on a weak technicality. But on the other hand, the step-mother still has all of her first husband's money, and just married a 25-year old boy toy.

I would call this a draw.

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One Response to Drama at a Wedding

  1. Pingback: BizarreVictoria: Celebrating 3 Years | BizarreVictoria

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