1839: Lincolnshire tailor sells wife for “a tub of turnips”

An amusing though unsubstantiated story from rural Lincolnshire concerns a tailor from the village of Owston Ferry, north of Gainsborough. According to press reports from 1839 the tailor, Kellett, was in nearby Epworth on business when he went on a bender and:

“…sold his wife to a saddler of that place, for a tub (twelve pecks) of Swede turnips… One huge turnip was given as deposit to make good the bargain.”

The drunken tailor may have forgotten the arrangement or not taken it seriously. The Epworth saddler, however, had different ideas. He organised for the balance of the turnips to be delivered to Kellett’s home in Owston Ferry. But delivery of the turnips was taken by the tailor’s wife, who had not been informed of the deal and certainly did not approve:

“..Having heard of the whole transaction, and not liking to be disposed of in such a manner, [she] fell on the poor unfortunate tailor and did beat him about the head with the turnips, then turned him out of the house.”

Source: The Lincoln Gazette, February 21st 1839. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2019-23. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.