Widow’s romance led to jail

Opening of the new school by the home secretary in October 1927. The headmaster, Canon Barton, is on the lowest step, on the left. Dorothea Barton is possibly there, somewhere. (PGS Archive)

NOSTALGIA: A red bluestocking at Portsmouth Grammar School

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On this day in 1687 an early example of the ordering of payment of child maintenance took place in a case of ‘bastardy’.

Lucy King, a widow, gave evidence that Jonathan Godard, a joiner ‘had twice carnal knowledge of her body’.

This romantic encounter took place at the Dun Cow at Point. King told the court that since her husband had died more than 15 months previously, she had only had ‘carnal knowledge’ with Godard.

He was ordered to pay 37 shillings immediately and a further two shillings a week, payable on Fridays, for as long as the child was ‘chargeable to the parish up until the age of eight’.

At this age the child, a girl, was to be ‘put out as an apprentice’, for which Godard was ordered to pay £5. Lucy King was jailed for six weeks.

- From John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.