Mary carleton

Mary Carleton

  • Birth

    Born as Mary Moders in Canterbury, England.
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    The life and times of Mary Carleton
  • First Marriage - Dates Unknown

    Mary marries a shoemaker. They have two children - both die in infancy.
  • First Bigamy Trial - Date is an Estimate

    Mary left her first husband, the shoemaker, to marry a surgeon. She is tried for bigamy. Not sure how this turned out, but it seems like she fled for Cologne, Germany.
  • Escape to Cologne - Birth of a Fake Princess

    Mary (not yet Carleton) heads to Cologne, and has an affair with a nobleman. He gave her lots of gifts and wanted to marry her, but she slipped out in the night. Taking her gifts and the money with her.
  • Returns to England

    She left Colonge, and returned to England. She pretended to be Princess Van Wolway daughter of Henry Van Wolway - Lord of Holmstein. She uses this ruse to marry another suregon (Carelton) who was the brother-in-law of the owner of the Exchange tavern; her favorite pub. Shortly after the wedding, an unsigned letter exposes her as a fraud - that she was already married.
  • The FAMOUS Trial

    Carelton the suregon and Mary went on trial. She was acquitted because he (allegedly) pretended to be a lord as well, and then he wanted to get out of the marriage to Mary when he discovered that she didn’t have any money. She was acquitted, essentially dug into her lies and came across as so eloquent that no one could/would believe that she had been married to a shoemaker.
  • Aftermath of the Trial

    After the famous bigamy trial she was able to monetize her life, she wrote a book about her life and starred in a play about the trial.
  • Mary Marries an Admirer

    She married one of her admirers and again and stole his money and apparently his keys with her maid when he was drunk.
  • The Scamming Continues

    Mary pretends to be a virgin heiress.
  • Notable Scams

    Mary had someone fake letters to her, writing about her royal family, corroborating her story of being a virgin heiress who had run away from her father and a violent suitor she did not want to marry. Of course, Mary's land lady found them, and then set her up with her nephew. Eventually, her lover (the nephew) offered to have Mary move in with him, but she just stole his money with the help of her maid.
  • The Scamming Continues

    Mary continues to do this scam, pretending to be a virgin & then stealing money from men (with the help of her maid). Most of the men too embarrassed to come forward so often times she was only briefly jailed.
  • Finally Caught & Banished

    Mary steals a silver tankard (which is essentially cup with lid). She is banished to Jamaica (Port Royal) or possibly Barbados - while Henry Morgan was a buccaneer. She likely became a prostitute. At some point, she managed to board a ship bound for England.
  • Sentenced to Death

    After sneaking back to England, she is identified by a turnkey (think private eye). She is put on on trial, sentenced to death. She tried to plead pregnancy but they didn’t buy it. Reportedly, over 500 people came to gawk at her in prison.
  • Sneaks Back to England

    Mary sneaks back to England, and pretends to be a rich heiress (again). She marries an apothecary from Westminster. Of course, she steals his money and leaves him.
  • Death

    Mary Carleton is sentenced to death. She is hanged at Tyburn, and buried at St. Martin's Churchyard. Sometime later, someone wrote on her grave "The German Princess here, against her will, lies underneath, and yet, oh strange! lies still."