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Devon Midsummer Assizes, Exeter, Saturday 28th July 1860

'Venner' v 'Partridge' - Breach of promise of marriage

Plaintiff - Mary Anne Venner

Defendant - Samuel Wilcox Partridge

The Defendant pleaded:

1. He did not make the promise
2. She was not always willing to marry him
3. They had agreed to break the agreement
4. Promise was made more than six promise

Plaintiff - person in humble circumstances aged about 30 years of age. Went into service of defendant's father when she was about 16, and he had made her a promise of marriage, but could not marry her during his father's lifetime, because he would be offended and would cut him off without any fortune. Upon this promise he seduced her and about ten years ago, she had a child of which he was the father. He continued to repeat his promise until the death of his father in 1854.

After that time, he declined to do so and at Christmas last, he married another person. The Parish Clerk of Broadclyst produced a certificate of marriage of the defendant with Elizabeth Hewish on 21st December last.

Evidence was given by Ann Quick, a widow of Frog Street, Tiverton that the defendant had taken the plaintiff there 10 years ago to stay when she was pregnant. The Defendant had said he would not marry the plaintiff as it would offend his father because she had no property, but that he would marry her on his father's death.

Evidence was then given by Mrs Margaret Hoare of Landkey, Barnstaple that the plaintiff had given birth to the child in her house.

Agnes Partridge of Nomansland then gave evidence that the Plaintiff had lived with her for some time. She went on to state that the defendant frequently visited her there, and behaved kindly to her and appeared very fond of her.

Henry Davey, Parish Clerk of Witheridge presented evidence that the elder Mr Partridge died in April 1854, and that he was a respectable farmer and well off.

Verdict by the jury for the plaintiff: £100 damages.

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