Part of the “Crime & Punishment in Cocking in the Nineteenth Century” series
West Sussex Gazette – Thursday 9 April 1863
MIDHURST PETTY SESSIONS, Town Hall, Thursday last. Before the Hon. J.J. Carnegie and R.H. Neville, Esqrs.
POPPING THE QUESTION IN PUBLIC
Mark Marshall was summoned to show cause why he should not contribute to the support of the illegitimate child of Charlotte Rogers of Cocking. Charlotte said Mark had paid her a shilling or two on account. Defendant was asked if he had anything to say.
Defendant: I’ll have the gal, gentlemen. I want to know if she’ll have me. (Laughter)
The magistrates told him he had better speak to her in private.
Defendant (turning to the young woman): Will you be married?
Charlotte (smiling): Yes!
Defendant to the bench: I must keep a wife some day, gentlemen, I suppose.
An order was made for the defendant to pay 1 shilling a week. He could, of course, marry the complainant if he liked.
Charlotte Rogers was born in Cocking in 1844 and baptised in the parish church on 22 September 1844. She was the first of three daughters born to William Rogers (a cowman) and Charlotte (née Steadman), who had married in Cocking church on 8 April 1839.
Charlotte had appeared before the magistrates in January 1856, age 11, when she was found guilty of the theft of firewood from Henry Farley, and imprisoned for 14 days.
Her son, William Henry Rogers, was baptised in Cocking church on 2 November 1862. At this time, Charlotte was still only 17 years old.
Despite the “proposal” in front of the magistrates, the couple never married. Sadly, Charlotte died at Easebourne workhouse from typhoid on 1 April 1866 and was buried at Cocking three days later. She was 21 years old.
It appears that Charlotte may have had a second child: on 4 October 1868, the Cocking parish register records the baptism of Elizabeth Charlotte Rogers, from Easebourne, the daughter of Charlotte Rogers. The entry adds a note that the child was “illegitimate, aged 5 years”. The godparents included Charlotte’s younger sister, Jane.
At the 1871 census, William and Charlotte Rogers were living at “The Street”, Cocking. It would appear that their home was located somewhere between Mill Lane and Church Lane. Living with them were their daughters, Jane and Ellen, and 8-year old grandson, William. No trace can be found of Elizabeth Charlotte Rogers on the 1871 census, or any subsequent records. At this stage, I can only assume that, like her mother, she died in the workhouse.
William and Charlotte were still living in Cocking at the 1881 census, with the youngest daughter Ellen, and grandson William, now aged 18. No further trace has yet been found of any of the family.
Mark Marshall never married. He had been baptised in Cocking on 25 June 1837, the son of Charles and Mary Marshall. He was 7 years older than Charlotte and by the time of their relationship, both his parents had died.
By 1881, he was living at West Wittering, where he was employed as a farm labourer. By the end of his life, he was a pauper, living in the workhouse at Thakeham, near Storrington, where he died in 1912.
1861 England Census
1871 England Census
1881 England Census
1891 England Census
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
West Sussex, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1920
Brighton Gazette. 17 January 1856. Midhurst Petty Sessions
Cocking parish register. 8 April 1839. Marriage: William Rogers to Charlotte Steadman
Cocking parish register. 22 September 1844. Baptism: Charlotte Rogers
Cocking parish register. 2 November 1862. Baptism: Henry [Rogers]
Cocking parish register. 4 April 1866. Burial: Charlotte Rogers
Cocking parish register. 4 October 1868. Baptism: Elizabeth Charlotte [Rogers]