Selling a Wife by Auction, 1879.

Image copyright Illustrated Police News
Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. The spark goes, the flame flickers, the fire dies – whichever combustible cliche you favour, love has a regrettable habit of fizzling out.
But for everyone bar the wealthiest men in Victorian Britain, divorce was out of the question.
That may explain, if not excuse, why a navvy in Stacksteads, Lancashire who’d grown tired of married life, reverted to an old English custom.
He offered up his wife for auction to the highest bidder, staging the sale – as an additional insult – at the home they’d shared together.
“Despite Solomon’s testimony as to a woman being more precious than rubies, and notwithstanding that the spectators were numerous, the highest offer was only 4d,” said the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent in 1879.
“The seller wanted to ‘throw in’ three children, but the buyer objected, and the bairns were left on hand.
The wife, however, went joyfully to the home of her new owner, and seemed to be quite glad to get away from her late liege lord as he was to part with her.”
And the buyer? His next-door neighbour.
Source: 10 bizarre Victorian love stories – BBC News

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