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An Obstreperous Nun in Quorn!

An Obstreperous Nun
Edinburgh Evening News – Friday 25th December 1885

At Loughborough Petty Sessions on Wednesday Mary Frances (“Sister Mary”), of the Convent, Quorndon, was charged with assaulting Mrs W Wright, wife of an elastic web manufacturer. Defendant went to complainant’s house, and asked her to contribute to the relief of tramps. She declined, and defendant then asked for some brandy for a poor woman whom one of the “sisters” was nursing. Complainant said she would send brandy if she would tell her the address, but she would not. Complainant refused to give her any money for herself, whereupon defendant, who appeared the worse for liquor, struck her between the shoulders, and caused her to faint. The servants showed the defendant out, but she forced her way back, and had to be ejected a second time, when she began to shake the doors and windows. Defendant subsequently wrote to Mrs Wright apologising for anything that had occurred, but saying she was wholly unconscious of it. She now denied the assault, but the bench fined her 15s [75p], including costs, or seven days. It was stated in court that she had been deprived of her office in the convent.

It seems quite strange for Quorn local news to appear in newspapers hundreds of miles away, but the museum team have found this to be a surprisingly common occurrence.

A more detailed account of this event appeared in the Leicester Chronicle, dated Saturday 26 December 1885

Loughborough Police Court
A Violent Visitor

Mary Frances, singlewoman, Quorndon, was charged with an assault upon Agnes Wright, wife of William Wright, at Quorndon, on the 16th inst. Mr Deane appeared for the complainant, who stated that the defendant went to her house dressed as a nun, and wearing a hood. She was shown into the dining room, and asked complainant for money to buy bread to relieve tramps. She told defendant she did not believe in such relief, and declined to give it. She then asked for some brandy for a poor woman at Sheepshed, whom one of the sisters was nursing, and complainant told her if she would give her the name of the doctor and the address of the woman she would send her the brandy. Then the defendant asked for money for herself, “to keep Ferguson out”, but complainant said he was already a member of Parliament, and it was unnecessary. She noticed that defendant was not sober, and defendant, when she refused to grant her request, said she had something under her cloak which would make her give, and at once thumped her between the shoulders. Complainant at once rang the bell, and ordered the servants to show the defendant out of the house. She was shown out, saying she wanted to go to the convent, but returned, and forced her way into the house again. Alice Muckley, in the service of Mrs Wright, spoke to the defendant’s violence, and said when she returned to the house she attempted to go upstairs, but witness pulled her back. Annie Tomlinson, nursemaid, in the service of Mrs Wright, said she showed the defendant the door, took her down the drive, put her outside the gate and showed her the convent. But the defendant returned, and shook the doors and windows. Defendant said she went to solicit alms from Mrs Wright on behalf of the poor who called at the convent, but Mrs Wright violently refused any help. She absolutely denied the assault, and explained that she went towards the stairs because she lost her way in the house. The Bench decided to convict, and Mr Deane stated that in consequence of what had taken place the defendant had been deprived of her position at the convent, and he added the complainant did not press for a heavy penalty. Fined 15s including costs, or seven days imprisonment.

Note: The reference to ‘keep Ferguson out’, refers to Jabez Edward Johnson-Ferguson, 1st Baronet, who was elected as Member of Parliament for Loughborough in 1885. He was a radical liberal. He lost his seat in 1886, but regained it in 1892, holding it until 1906.

 Submitted on: 2014-06-07
 Submitted by: Sue Templeman
 Artefact ID: 1836
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page

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