gaiters and torn dresses

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.”


Published in: on July 11, 2010 at 6:25 am  Comments (35)  
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35 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut I guess.

    • Or not to check into a hotel wearing an apron and gaiters

  2. yeah…he was insane to work for the Church. If he’d been there with a little alter boy, he would have just received a slap on the wrist. Silly man.

    • Perhaps if he’d left a decent tip for the chambermaids

  3. Poor old fella!

    The King

    • A sad end to an illustrious career

  4. Three days in Peterborough would test the faith of a saint.

    • Aha! The real dirt from someone who knows.

  5. Now if that rule would be equally applied today, imagine the chaos that it would cause.

    Why, people would have to start behaving themselves.

    The horror!

    • well that would never do

  6. if he was guilty of shacking up with a young woman, how the hell does that lead to a finding of “certifiably insane”? in my world, we just find them “horny” and maybe “stupid”.

    • I think there was a case of professional jealousy going on behind the curtains

  7. *throws away apron and gaiters* ……. *finds cardboard box* ……. OK, Nursey – where shall we go?

    • To the asylum, my good man. Full speed ahead!

  8. so it’s okay for me to wear the bustier and mesh stockings with a seam up the back? whew!! onward!! come with?

    • only if you’re properly corseted as well

  9. I was having the same thoughts as Daisyfae. How does shacking up with a young girl prove you are insane? But maybe it was his wife’s testimony that did it. Also, I want to know what the sensational evidence provided by the chambermaids was.

    There is so much to this story that is left to our imaginations. And I have an awfully good imagination, I’m afraid.

    • I blame it all on the brother in law

  10. At least he was with an adult woman…

    • He was Anglican not Catholic

  11. So if he had done this on a different Friday he would have been okay?

    • Black Friday would have been preferable

  12. This is why I only do intercourse on Tuesdays and Thursdays…Perhaps with those petroleum gals one of these days…? It’s possible…

    • What’s wrong with Sundays?

  13. Maybe it was a really bad hotel?

  14. Not a good friday after all….

    • And not even a 13th

  15. Shouldn’t all clergymen be incarcerated anyway, just on the grounds of delusion?

    • Jolly good idea Madame!

  16. In my experience, these scurrilous reports often lead to Bishop Bashing amongst the common folk.

  17. I should of been a priest!

  18. Didn’t take much to get locked up in those days, did it?

  19. the young woman in question was Freida Hansen, my grandmother she was 15 at the time and pregnant with my Mother John Wakeford may be my Grandfather …..

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