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The Story of Divorce

The Story of Divorce

By Deborah Siddoway
Exploring the stories of the bigamists and bastards, feminists and fornicators that gave us the law of divorce in England as it exists today.
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Without Shame or Modesty

The Story of Divorce

A Vile and Incestuous Intercourse
The story of Louisa Turton's marriage, and the circumstances which led to her petitioning Parliament for a divorce, becoming the second woman to be successful in her petition for a Parliamentary divorce.
March 08, 2022
Guilty of so Atrocious a Crime
This is the story of the first Parliamentary divorce granted to a woman, Mrs Jane Addison in 1801. TW: Listeners should note that a 1696 pamphlet is quoted during this episode in which married women are equated with enslaved "negroes". This a direct quote from the pamphlet, reflecting the language of the time.
February 28, 2022
Without Shame or Modesty
The story of the Earl of Macclesfield, who obtained the second Parliamentary divorce in England; before exploring the story of the Duke of Norfolk who, despite being a man 'without shame or modesty' who carried on his own notorious affair, secured the third divorce in England.
February 08, 2022
An Impudent, Infamous, and Lascivious Way
Concluding the story of the first divorce in England, that of Lord Roos from Lady Anne Manners. In this episode, we hear of how the parliamentary debates were observed by Charles II, as he considered the possibility of his own divorce. 
January 12, 2022
The Curious Case of Adulterine Bastardy
The story of the first divorce in England. After the Archbishop of Canterbury made divorce almost impossible in 1601, though some, including the poet John Milton, would speak out about the inability to divorce and bring a marriage to an end, it would take decades before one man would attempt to attain a divorce from his adulterous wife. This man was Lord Roos, who was heir to the earldom of Rutland. 
January 04, 2022
As is Notoriously Known
In this episode we explore the two marriages of William Parr, the brother of Catherine Parr, and how he almost (but not quite) achieved the first divorce in England. We also explore the divorce à mensa et thoro , a legal separation from 'bed and board', which allowed married couples to live separately and apart, but unable to end their marriages, or marry again.
December 14, 2021
Scandalum Magnatum
The story of the short-lived marriage of Henry VIII to Anne of Cleves, and how that too ended in an annulment, not divorce. This episode begins to explore how the legislation Henry enacted to end his marriages would shape the development of the law of divorce in England for centuries to come.
December 01, 2021
Utterly Void and Annulled
This episode brings to a conclusion the story of Catherine of Aragon as she struggled to salvage her marriage in the face of Henry VIII's determination to 'divorce' her.
November 26, 2021
They Shall Be Childless
A continuation of the 'herstory' of Catherine of Aragon, as her husband the King, sought to 'divorce' her.
November 17, 2021
Thy Brother's Wife
This episode begins the 'herstory' of Catherine of Aragon, looking at the meaning of the word divorce, and why a man was not permitted to marry his brother's widow.
November 10, 2021
The Indomitable Miss Jacky
The story of how the indomitable Miss Jacky took her case to the courts when her young husband, whom she had married in secret in Scotland, became tired of her and took a new wife in England, leading to the infamous case of Dalrymple v Dalrymple confirming what makes a valid marriage.
October 27, 2021
The Two Marriages of Captain John Campbell of Carrick and how they Changed English Marriage Law
In this episode, we explore what makes a valid marriage in English law, and turn to the story of Lady Jean Campbell, and what happened to her when her husband of twenty years lost his life on the battlefields in Belgium in 1745, leaving not one, but two women claiming to be his widow.
October 08, 2021
The Daughter of a Manchester Merchant
This episode explores the story of Ann Dawson, the daughter of a Manchester merchant, and her quest to divorce her husband in 1848. 
September 29, 2021
Getting Divorced
Divorce is a story that affects us all. But how did we get the right to divorce? This introductory episode explores how I became interested in the topic of how England went from a non-divorcing society where divorce was all but impossible to achieve, to one where divorce is now legally possible.
September 21, 2021