Mary Andrew

Part of the Crime & Punishment in Cocking in the Nineteenth Century” series

In the early 19th century, assaults by men on their wives were rarely severely punished, and the usual punishment was to be bound over to keep the peace, with the culprit and friends of family being required to put up surety (or recognizance). In the case of Mary Andrew, her husband was bound over in September 1815, but soon repeated the offence and was bound over again in April 1816.


Mary Penny (a widow) married Henry Andrew, a tailor, on 5 August 1814 at St. Luke’s Church, Old Street, Islington, before returning to Cocking, where he had been born in 1772.

Within a fortnight of the marriage, Henry started to hit Mary. According to her testimony to the court in April 1816, he began to “beat her and to treat her with cruelty, and at various times afterwards kicked her and beat her head against the wall with great violence and threatened to do for her (meaning to kill her) or do her some grievous bodily injury”. She also testified that he was “endeavouring to starve her by withholding from her the common necessities of life”.

In early September 1815, Henry kicked her violently on her legs and beat her head against the wall several times. He twisted her arms and pinched them with great violence resulting in bruising and discolouration to her legs and left arm. Her head was also severely bruised and sore. She took over a fortnight to recover from the effects of the injuries.

On 21 September 1815, Henry appeared at the Quarter Sessions at Chichester, with Samuel Twyford presiding, and was bound over in his own recognizance of £100.

Mary was too frightened to return to his house (“being afraid that he would kill her or do some further bodily mischief”), and went to live with friends in the parish of Woolavington (now West Lavington), Henry refused to allow her to take any clothes or other possessions with her, other than the clothes that she was wearing.

Henry published an advertisement in the Sussex Advertiser of 9 October, as follows:


WHEREAS MARY, wife of me, the undersigned HENRY ANDREW, of the parish of COCKING in the county of Sussex, Shopkeeper and Tailor, lately left my dwelling-house, at Cocking aforesaid, and hath not since returned to the same. Now I do hereby thus publicly caution all and every person and persons not to give her, my said wife, credit on my account, as I will not be answerable for any Debt or Debts which she may contract from and after the date of this notice.

As witness my hand, this twenty-fifth day of September, 1815.


On 24 February 1816, Mary was told that Henry was prepared to let her collect her clothes, so she returned to his home in Cocking. Immediately on entering the former matrimonial home, Henry again assaulted her: “he kicked her on the legs and beat her head against the wall and twisted round and pinched her right arm and hand with great violence”. The violence only stopped when the neighbours heard her cries and came into the house to rescue her.

Now unable to walk because of her injuries, Mary was carried from the house and lifted into a wagon and taken back to her friends. Henry followed the wagon along the road as far as Cocking Causeway, with a bludgeon in his hands, making further threats towards her. He said that to kill her would be no more a sin than to kill a dog.

Her injuries, especially to her right arm and hand, prevented her using them for over a week and left her feeling generally unwell and in great pain. Two months later, at the time of the next assizes, she was still unable to use her hand properly.

Henry appeared before the Petworth Quarter Sessions on 23 April 1816, where he was again bound over to keep the peace with his wife, initially on personal sureties of £20 plus sureties from his brother, William, a miller from Bosham, and William Shippam, a grocer from Chichester. Two days later, at Midhurst Quarter Sessions, his personal sureties were replaced by sureties of £10 each from John Ayling, a miller, and William Blanchard, a farmer, both of Cocking.



Sussex Advertiser: 9 October 1815. TO THE PUBLIC

West Sussex Record Office:

QR 697 & seq. 10 September 1815. Chichester Quarter Sessions Roll including:

QR/W697/126. Affidavit of Mary Andrews (sic)

QR/W699/162: 23 April 1816. Petworth Quarter Sessions Roll: Indictment by Mary Andrews (sic) against her husband Henry of Cocking

QR/W700/114: 26 April 1816. Midhurst Quarter Sessions Roll: Recognizance

Henry Andrew

Henry Andrew was born in Cocking, the seventh of twelve children born to Thomas Andrew (1738–1803) and his wife Elizabeth née Ayling (1739–1820), and was baptised at Cocking church on 10 January 1772.

On 5 August 1814, aged 42, he married Mary Penny, a widow, at her parish church, at St. Luke’s Church, Old Street, Islington.

I have been unable to discover any further information about Mary, neither before she married Henry nor after the court cases.

At the time of the first nationwide census in June 1841, Henry was living in Lodsworth, where his younger brother, William, was a miller. Henry gave his occupation as “independent means”.

Henry spent the latter years of his life at Ditchling, north of Brighton, where another brother, Stephen, was a blacksmith.

Henry died at Ditchling in early 1851, aged 79; his body was returned to Cocking, where he was buried on 18 January 1851. In his will, he left his substantial estate to his various siblings and their children: his wife was not mentioned.



1841 England Census

England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858

London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932

West Sussex, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812

West Sussex, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1995

Cocking Parish Register: 18 January 1851. Burial of Henry Andrews (sic)