27th February 1895

Release of Reverend Harry Samuel

Reverend Harry Samuel found himself in prison after performing an illegal marriage. The young Methodist minister had married 56-year-old John Matthews and 24-year-old Louisa Carre in his living room. Neither a registrar nor a witness was present, and there couple were already related. Matthews was Carre’s uncle, and there was some question over whether he was already married.

Their marriage licence was for an Anglican union at the Church of the Holy Trinity. But the priest at that church, Rev Nassau Cathcart, had refused to proceed when he’d discovered their blood relationship.

They approached Reverend Samuel a few days later, without revealing the back story, and he’d agreed to marry them.

A terrible discovery

Harry discovered the truth of the matter the following day, and reported himself to the church authorities. Unfortunately for him, the police had also heard what had happened, and set out to arrest him and the groom.

The Committing Court heard two days of evidence against Harry and Matthews, and decided that they should stand trial. Matthews sat out the interim in prison, and Harry released on bail of £250.

The jury at their trial found against them. It jailed the groom for 12-months and Harry for six months. Harry lodged an appeal against his conviction with the Home Secretary.

Political intervention

Home Secretary Herbert Asquith, later Prime Minister, recommended Harry’s release in Parliament on 25 February. He had received a report from Guernsey on the case, which influenced his decision.

Rev Harry won his freedom at 11am on 27 February 1895, and was met at the prison gate by his wife.


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Other events that occured in February

Mail ship wrecked on Black Rock 1st
Oil rig stranded at Grandes Rocques
Birth of Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann 2nd
Death of Sir Charles Hayward 3rd
St Martin’s parish church consecrated 4th
Guernsey suffers its worst storm in 35 years 5th
Guernsey watchmaker helps Stone of Scone manhunt 6th
Guernsey Language Commission formed 7th
Queen Mary executed while wearing Guernsey stockings 8th
Guernsey gets its first postbox
Guernsey Society celebrates its 70th anniversary 9th
Guernsey’s last execution didn’t go according to plan 10th
The last issue of GUNS was distributed 11th
Alderney gets its first full-time radio station 12th
Guernsey’s last duel 13th
Specsavers’ Mary Perkins was born 14th
Blue Islands takes to the skies
Guernsey gets its own flag 15th
Birth of concrete poet Dom Sylvester Houedard 16th
HMS Guernsey launched in Aberdeen 17th
Guernsey’s first Methodist minister arrives 18th
Aurigny Air Services founded 19th
Guernsey Railway Company runs its first services 20th
The Channel Islands were cut off from the outside world 21st
St Sampson was ordained a bishop 22nd
Death of Thomas Fiott de Havilland 23rd
Murder inquiry ends with suicide 24th
Death of occupation resister Marie Ozanne 25th
Guernsey’s first banker dies 26th
Release of Reverend Harry Samuel 27th
Plans for St Sampson power station approved 28th
Second World War bomb detonated 29th