Image of two men kissingHomosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook compiled by Rictor Norton

A Female Husband Exposed

Late March 1760

In October last was married one Samuel Bundy, aged twenty years, an apprentice to Mr. Angel, near Christ-Church, Surry, to one Mary Parlour. Upon a pretence of having a bad distemper, his bride, with uncommon patience, waited the cure till last week [i.e. he pretended to have some disease preventing him from engaging in sexual intercourse, and she waited patiently till he would be well enough to fulfil his marriage duty]; but some of the neighbours, somehow hearing it, insisted upon searching him; when, to their great surprize, the bridegroom proved a female. She gives the following account of herself: That she is 20 years old; that, seven years since, she was seduced from her mother (who then lived, and still lives, near Smithfield) by a limner [a painter or water-colourist], who debauched her; that the day after, to avoid the pursuit of her mother, or any discovery of her, should any advertisements appear, he dressed her in boy's apparel, and adopted her for his son, by the above name. With him she was a year: At length they separated; and she took one voyage to sea, which kept her employed more than 12 months; in which voyage she performed the several duties of a sailor. Some time after she came from sea, she bound herself to Mr. Angel, a painter, in the Green Walk near Paris Garden-Stairs, in the Parish of Christ-Church, Surry: with him she continued a year, lying with her master when they were in the country at work, and that without the least discovery whatsoever [i.e. though she shared the bed with her master when they travelled out of town, he did not realise she was a woman]. Whilst with Mr. Angel, she was taken notice of by a young woman who lived at the King's-Head in Gravel-lane, Southwark, to whom she was duly married, at a neighbouring church, near six months since. Quitting her master, upon some dispute between them, she was obliged to depend upon her wife for support, who expended her money and pawned her cloaths for her mate's maintenance; which is the fraud she is charged with. The adopted husband says, the wife soon discovered the mistake she had made, but was determined for some time not to expose the matter. Since marriage she entered on board the Prince Frederick man of war at Chatham, but ran away from it for fear the great number of hands on board should discover her sex. She afterwards entered on board a merchant ship with about 20 hands; which, she says, she approved of much, but ran away from that to return to the wife, whom, she says, she dearly loves; and there seems a strong love and friendship on the other side, as she keeps the prisoner company in her confinement. The prisoner makes a very good figure as a man, and in her proper dress cannot fail of being a very agreeable woman. She is a very good workwoman at shoe-making and painting; declares she never knew any other man than her seducer; has made herself known, sent for her mother, and appears to be a very sensible woman.

(SOURCE: Annual Register, Vol. 3, 1760, Chronicles section (December), pp. 84-5. The report originally appeared in the London Chronicle, issue for 22-25 March 1760. That report was identical except for its opening sentence: "Last Friday a young woman in man's apparel was committed to Southwark Bridewell, by Justice Clark, for farther examination, by the name of Samuel Bundy, for defrauding a young woman of money and apparel, by marrying her.")

5-8 April 1760

Saturday evening Samuel Bundy, alias Sarah Paul, the female husband, was reexamined before Mr. Justice Clarke at Loman's Pond, Southwark; and the prosecutrix, Mary Parlour, her bride, not appearing against her, she was discharged; she appeared in her proper dress before that Magistrate, who ordered her man's apparel to be burned in his presence, and laid the strictest injunction on her never more to appear in that character. (London Chronicle)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton. Ed. "A Female Husband Exposed, 1721," Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. 27 November 2000, updated 7 March 2005 <>.

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