Friday, May 6, 2016

A Victorian Clergyman Accused of Writing Obscene Letter

"My dear Nellie," the letter innocently began. What followed was a graphic description of a past sexual event, including fond memories of "milkings" and the like, and then some plans for their next encounter, with the curious instruction: "Never pee before coming to see me." Was it possible that the writer of this "depraved and obscene letter" was a clergyman of the Victorian Church of England? In 1898, the Rev. Charles William Alfred Brooke, curate of Camden Town, was accused of sending that very letter to Mrs. Nellie Heard, a woman in local service. Brooke had actually been trying to reunite Nellie with her estranged husband. The curate was something of a local gadfly, into this and that, and insisted one of his many un-named enemies had forged the letter to ruin him. The letter - of course - was the centerpiece of the trial of Rev. Brooke, held at St. Paul's Cathedral. The shocking contents of the letter (definitely NSFW) were never made public, the lone copy of the letter retained in the files at Lambeth Palace, seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Until now. The letter in full is included in Rev. Brooke's story to be found in the new Kindle book Clerical Errors - A Victorian Series, Volume 1. or A free Kindle app is available for downloading to your smartphone and/or tablet.

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