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The domestic hanky-panky of Michael and Mary, while scandalous, was far from unique, in the Puritan society of mid-17th-Century Middlesex County. I’m interested in the Nevers episode mainly for the context it provides to our main story.

Hannah Gardiner’s father Richard composed a more heartfelt Bill of Costs than did John Ball. Leading off with spiritual intangibles, he made it clear that a child was born of the fornication in question, but that no bastardy bond would be required, because the child died.


I’ll spare you Hannah’s and Nevers’ conflicting accounts of the encounter: this is, after all, a family medium. Suffice it to say that she claimed rape and he, of course, painted the whole scene (in vivid detail) as consensual. It’s all there, in the court record…
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William and Mary
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