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Adultery in Milton Bryan

The Archdeaconry Court dealt with a number of issues, including immorality. In 1675 a Milton Bryan man was found guilty of adultery and sentenced to do public penance. The text below is his pleas to be excused [ABCP79] note the original 17th century spelling.

To the Right Worshipfull William ffoster, Doctor of Lawes, Commisary and Officiall of the Archdeaconry of Bedford

The humble Pericon of Robert Cooke junior of Milton Bryant within the said Archdeaconry of Bedford.

Humbly Sheweth

That whereas your Peticoner stands presented by the Churchwardens of the said Parish for having had carnall knowledge of the Body of Alice Sheffeild which hee doth confesse to bee true that hee hath offended the Majesty of Allmighty God in committing his heinous Sinne thereby making his Body which should have beene the Temple of the Holy Ghost the Member of an harlot and given offence and scandal to the Congregacon unto which hee doth belong and is most hartily sorry for the same humbly submitting himselfe to the Censures of this Court. And for that his kindred and relations are persons of good name and credit as allsoe himselfe (this crime excepted) and were never guilty or in the least suspected of committing any offence of this nature. And for as much that if your Peticoner should performe his publique penance (which by Lawe hee is most sensible hee may bee compelled unto) itt would conduce not onely to his utter undoeing but to the great disgrace and reproach of his kindred. Hee therefore most humbly prayes that the promises may be taken into consideracon & he admitted to ye Comitacon of his penance. And your peticoner as in duty bound shall always pray &c.”

November 5th 1675.

The Milton Bryan parish register state that Robert Cooke, son of Robert, was baptised on 6th November 1644 and so he would have been 31 or so at the time of his misdemeanour. A Robert Cooke was buried on 18th September 1684 and another on 1st April 1688, one may be the father and the other the son who would thus have been about 43 or 44 at the time of his death.