Divorced, Beheaded, Sold : Ending an English Marriage 1500-1847
A fresh perspective on the seamy side of history. Maria Nicolaou has done considerable research into the largely unexplored area of divorce and marital separation from the Tudor period to the early Victorian era. Divorced, Beheaded, Sold is full of scandalous, little-known stories of wife sale, marital discord and audacious escapades of errant spouses, this is an interesting, as well as informative read in the same vein as Maureen Waller's The English Marriage and Kate Summerscale's Mrs Robinson's Disgrace.
Maria Nicolaou reveals how people ended their marriages in the days before divorce was readily available - from committing bigamy to selling a wife at market. Her book is full of colourful characters and warring spouses, like Con Philips, who fought off her husband with a gun filled with firework powder; the Duke of Grafton, who hired an army of detectives to spy on his wife and obtain proof of her adultery; and Marion Jones, who recruited a gang to take back her property from her husband.