In 1921 a major ecclesiastical scandal gripped the public’s attention. It was said that the 61 year old Archdeacon John Wakeford had been staying at an obscure hotel in Peterborough with a young woman. Sensational evidence supplied by chambermaids resulted in Wakeford being found guilty and deprived of his office.
image by Paul Ickovic found here
“The appeal case came before the Privy Council, many of whom wore top hats and gaiters. Women fought for seats in the crowded room and dresses were torn. The Council sat for 7 days and heard 50 witnesses before unanimously upholding the guilty verdict.
Wakeford was accused of staying openly on Good Friday at the Bull Hotel with a woman not his wife. He made no attempt at concealment, registered in his own name and wore apron and gaiters, the characteristic garments of an Archdeacon.
Washington apron found here
He maintained the immorality charge was the result of a conspiracy between two clergymen, one of them, Mr Worthington, being his brother in law. He said he merely went to Peterborough to visit the noble church and take long quiet walks to prepare his sermons.
Was he guilty? The defendant’s wife, also the daughter of a rector, stood by him and took the stand against her brother. It did no good, as this extract from the Canberra Times reveals….
“Archdeacon Wakeford has been found certifiably insane and sent to the Kent County Asylum.”