Website solves mystery of ancestor missing for decades

I had been looking for the marriage of a ancestor of mine for over twenty years. Thomas Hasted, a cloth scourer of Fenchurch Street and a freeman of the Clothworkers' Company, would have married a lady with the first name of Mary some time in the late 1730s.

I must say that I had always thought that he must have gone in for a Fleet wedding, but I lacked both the courage and the time to wade through the voluminous original registers at the National Archives.

Yet there he was on the new web-site, identifiable in a flash: Thomas Hasted, bachelor, `scourer' of St Catherine Cree Church (in Leadenhall Street) and Mary Stevenson. spinster, were married at the `Shepherd and Goat' on Fleet Ditch by John Gaynham, the so-called `Bishop of Hell', who entered the details in his grubby little notebook.

The marriage took place in 1737. Now Thomas Hasted had begun an apprenticeship in 1733, and apprentices were not allowed to marry during their term. Thomas was not made free of the Clothworkers' Company until 1740, and - like many others with something to hide - he had married secretly, no questions asked, during his apprenticeship.

Success, then, after twenty years of fruitless searching.

- John Titford

The above is an extract from the letters page of Family Tree Magazine

Fleet marriages are just one of the unique sets of BMD records going back the the 17th century available on and

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