1620: Somerset man shows wife, a penny a peek

In 1620, a farmer named Cutte from the village of Halse, near Taunton, appeared before a Somerset magistrate. Cutte was charged with gross indecency towards his unnamed wife. The alleged offence was committed at a village gathering where several people, including the defendant, were drunk.

According to witnesses, Cutte:

“…made an offer to diverse [people] then present, that for a penny a piece they should see his wife’s privities… and there withal he did take her and throw her upon a board and did take up her clothes and showed her nakedness in [the] most beastly and uncivil manner.”

Cutte’s behaviour apparently shocked those present, who called a halt to his enterprise by blowing out the candles and casting the room into darkness. The court found Cutte guilty and admonished him but no punishment was recorded.

Source: Session Rolls of the Somerset Quarter Sessions, 1620, f.36. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2016. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.