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

Tragic Story of Ann Marrow, 1777


Pilloried at Charing Cross, 22nd of July, 1777, for marrying three Women

ANN MARROW was convicted at the Quarter Sessions for the city and liberty of Westminster, on the 5th of July, 1777, of going in men's clothes and personating a man in marriage, with three different women (Mary Hamilton, the reader will remember, played off this trick fourteen times), and defrauding them of their money and effects. She was sentenced to be imprisoned three months, and during that time to stand once in and upon the pillory, at Charing Cross.
          Agreeably to the pillorying part of her sentence she was on the 22nd of the same month, placed in the pillory; and so great was the resentment of the spectators, particularly the female part, that they pelted her to such a degree that she lost the sight of both her eyes.
                    [Newgate Calendar; or Villany Displayed in all its Brands, by William Jackson, London: A. Hogg, 1795, Vol. IV, pp. 113–14]

Newspaper Reports

5–8 July 1777

Monday, July 7.
On Saturday last a woman was convicted at the Guildhall, Westminster, for going in men's cloaths, and being married to three different women by a fictitious name, and for defrauding them of their money and cloaths; she was sentenced to stand in the pillory at Charing-cross, and to be imprisoned six months. (General Evening Post)

8 July 1777

On Saturday at the Sessions held at the Guildhall, Westminster, a Woman was convicted of marrying three different Women, and defrauding them of their Money, Cloaths, and other Things, before her Sex was discovered, to stand on the Pillory at Charing cross within a Month, and to be imprisoned six Months in Newgate. (Public Advertiser)

Ann Marrow's Petition

To the Worshipfull His Majestys Justices for the County of Middlesex

The Humble Petition of Anne Marrish humbly Sheweth

Your Petitioner was Convicted at this present Quar. sessions for a fraud at the Proseqution of George Field and received sentence to be imprisoned in the house of Correction at Clerkenwell for 6 Months and between the hours of Eleven and two on — day within the first month of the sd term to be set in the Pillory for the space of one hour at Charing Cross.

Yr Petitioner struck with the most alarming terror at that truly shamefull and most dangerous Punishment of Standing in the Pillory humbly implores and earnesty beseeches of this Honorable Court a remission of that part of the sentence and Your Petitioner as in Duty bound shall ever pray Etc.
                    (London Metropolitan Archives, MJ/SP/1777/07/026)

Newspaper Reports

19–22 July 1777

To-morrow the woman who was convicted some time since at Guildhall, will, according to her sentence, stand in the pillory for wearing men's cloaths, and for being married at different times to three young women. (London Chronicle)

19–22 July 1777

This day a Woman stood in the Pillory at Charing-Cross, for marrying three Wives, and obtaining Sums of Money from each of them. (St. James's Chronicle)

23 July 1777

Yesterday a woman stood in the pillory, from twelve till one o'clock, at Charing-cross, for marrying three wives, and obtaining sums of money from each of them. The case being singular and uncommon, excited the curiosity of several thousands of people to see her; from some of whom she received a severe pelting. (Morning Chronicle)

37 July – 2 August 1777 Ann Marrow, who stood in the pillory at Charing Cross on Tuesday se'ennight, is now so dangerously ill in Clerkenwell Bridewell, from the ill treatment she received from a lawless mob, that her death is hourly expected, she having lost the sight of both her eyes. (London Evening Post; same report repeated in Stamford Mercury 7 Aug.; Ipswich Journal 9 Aug.; and Northampton Mercury 11 Aug.)

NOTES: In several documents, Ann Marrow is referred to variously as "Marrow", "Marlow", "Marhow", "Morowh" and "Marrish". We don't know the circumstances of how she came to be discovered, but she was prosecuted by a man named George Field, a schoolmaster in Hammersmith, who paid 40 recognisance fee in May as a way of giving assurance that he would appear at the trial to give evidence (London Metropolitan Archives, MJ/SP/1777/05/029). The recognisance says he is to prosecuite "Charles Ann Marlow for a fraud", with the word "Charles" being crossed out – perhaps that was the name by which Ann went when she presented herself as a man. She was held in custody in the House of Correction at Clerkenwell (London Metropolitan Archives, Session Book, MJ/SB/B/0257), not "Newgate" as stated in one of the newspaper reports.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This material was first presented by Dr Caroline Derry at a Workshop titled "Finding the stories of 'female husbands'", held at the 12th LGBTQ History & Archives Conference, 6 December 2014, at the London Metropolitan Archives. This case is explored in a much larger study by Dr Derry, "'Female Husbands', Community and Courts in the Eighteenth Century", The Journal of Legal History, vol. 38 (2017), issue 1, pp. 54-79, published online 20 February 2017.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Tragic Story of Ann Marrow, 1777", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 27 February 2018 <>.

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