clerical benefits

Anal_Intercourse by Avril

This is a story of branded thumbs, conniving hairdressers, deceiving bigamists, tightrope walkers, a lucky footman and a missing penis; bear with me if it is a little convuluted. There is some fascinating stuff to learn along the way…..

Benefit of clergy was a medieval privilege allowing those in holy orders to be tried by lenient ecclesiastical courts rather than criminal courts. At the time most of those who could read were clerics and the privilege was extended to all who were literate. To prove their status they had to read a passage from the Bible. Common criminals took advantage of this by memorising and rehearsing what quickly became known as the “neck verse” which allowed them to escape execution.

Those who pleaded it were branded on the thumb so the ploy could be used only once.

Robert “Beau” Fielding was a handsome English rake who became the bigamous husband of Barbara, Lady Castlemaine, who was for many years the mistress of King Charles 2. At the same time that Beau was courting Lady C, he was also wooing an heiress named Anne Deleau, whom he had never met. He tried bribing her hairdresser so he could get close to Anne but the hairdresser pocketed the 500 pounds and sent a poor woman, Mary, in her place.

free trial

Believing Mary to be Anne he married her and three weeks later married Barbara as well. When news of the double marriage emerged Beau was prosecuted and found guilty of bigamy. He pleaded Benefit of Clergy but somehow managed to escape having his thumb branded. After the annulment of his marriage to Barbara he settled down happily with poor Mary and they lived together until his death in 1712

Barbara meanwhile contined her search for love. She dallied for a while with Jacob Hall, a famous funambulist who even earned the approval of her lover the King. You can read the fascinating history of funambulism here.

Ancient-Greek-Funabules

She was also said to have seduced the running footman who accompanied her coach:

“She through her lackey’s drawers, as he ran,

Discerns love’s cause, and a new flame began…..

Full forty men a day have swiv’d this whore,

Yet like a bitch she wags her tail for more.”

von gotha10

She was even rumoured to have had affairs with members of the clergy including the Archbishop of Paris. Bishop Burnet described her as “ravenous”

When the body of Bishop Robert Braybrook, who died in 1440, was exhumed, it was found to be remarkably well preserved. Barbara is said to have gone to see it and asked to be left alone. Afterwards it was noticed that the penis was missing. A document in the British Museum quotes a witness:

“and though some ladies of late have got Bishopricks for others, yet I have not heard of any but this that got one for herself….”

Published in: on September 3, 2009 at 8:39 am  Comments (29)  

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29 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Geez, I had to draw a mind map for that one. Thanks, I should sleep well tonight 🙂

  2. Glad to see you got Bishopricks in at the end there – so to speak!

    Just saw the previous post, thinking of you…

    The King

  3. I really like the fact that ‘Poor Mary’ made Beau happy until he died. He was well rid of that tart Barbara!

    • But Pil…. Barbara speaks so highly of you…

  4. Barbara should have put a meter on her bed… yikes!

  5. Nurse, I am making a public proclamation on your site: Anyone who wants my cock after I’m dead is welcome to it. May it be of more use and less trouble to you than it ever was to me.

  6. Pure class as usual hen, but this time you have excelled. As for the photies… good enough to make a nun blush.

  7. And Miss “Coy de Trickey” from the “Lone Hand” is fabulous – what a find!

    The King

    • I wondered if anyone would enlarge that image 🙂

  8. Bishopricks, sounds like a set-up for one of Archie’s Once Upun a Time posts.

  9. “Common criminals took advantage of this by memorising and rehearsing what quickly became known as the “neck verse” which allowed them to escape execution” …i think a lot of people still do this til this day. i’m very wary of clergy in general…

  10. Poor Barbara. Because you just KNOW that because she didn’t hate sex, she was automatically a great bug whore. The stealing of a dildo may be a little over the top, though…

  11. Prhaps its th clothes that they wear,

    Or cuz they take risks wifout care;

    But chicks cant resist,

    A funambulist —

    A man wif a pole in th air.

    • I can always rely on you for a limerick Joey 😉

  12. I’ve always been rather interested in bigamy …… it’s the ‘big’ part I think ……

  13. I’d be more than a little annoyed if my crank got more work after I passed than when it was attached.

  14. I have Ezekiel 25:17 from Pulp Fiction memorized, but that won’t spare me from jail time. I’ll need a wallet that says “Bad Motherfucker” on it for that.

  15. Wait in that first pic… does that chick have balls?

    • No but I can see why you’re confused. It’s just her ass cheek

      • Dammit… uh I mean… dammit…

      • really?

  16. Friday night, no boobs, sniff…wtf?

    The King

    • Patience your Lordship….

  17. Absolutely the best Enlglish history pun I’ve heard since the dreaded ‘Diary of Lanfranc’ quip I made in 1982 in first semester college English history . . . . .

    • …. and aren’t you in fine form today?

      • If I could only spell ‘English” . . .

      • I like your previous spelling better, it just rolls off my tongue…..

  18. I love that ‘bishopricks’ is a word. My goal for the next week is to find a way to use it in a sentence.

    • Let me know how you go with that


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