Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match

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WEDLOCK is the remarkable story of the Countess of Strathmore and her marriage to Andrew Robinson Stoney, the ancestor of the man on whom Thackeray based The Luck of Barry Lydon, and the origin behind the phrase 'ston(e)y broke'. This isn't another 'frocks and balls' book. Mary Eleanor Bowes (an ancestor of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon), became one of Britain's richest heiresses at the age of eleven, which led to her first marriage to the Count of Strathmore. However her first husband died young and pregnant with her lover's child, Mary became engaged to George Gray. Then in swooped Andrew Robinson Stoney, who had defended her honour in a duel with the Revd Henry Bate, the 'Fighting Parson'. Mary was bowled over and married Andrew Stoney within the week, having been told that his death was imminent. But nothing was as it seemed. Stoney survived, he was broke, and his pursuit of the wealthy Countess a calculated ploy. Even the famous duel was a fake. Once married to Mary, he embarked on years of ill treatment, seizing her lands, beating her, terrorising servants, introducing prostitutes to the family home, kidnapping his own sister.But finally after many years, a servant helped Mary to escape. She began a high-profile divorce case that was the scandal of the day and was successful. But then Andrew kidnapped her and undertook a week-long rampage of terror and cruelty until the law finally caught up with him.

by : Wendy Moore,