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The Verdict and Aftermath

The Archdeaconry Court found John Draper guilty of incest with Dorothy Kins. However, no verdict was passed on the charge, much more serious to our eyes, that he had also committed incest with their daughter Mary.

The trial was in 1706 but it was not until 1712 that Draper was deprived of the livings of Stevington and Stagsden. Why this was is not clear from the surviving records. The parish registers confirm some of the details of the story of Draper's love life:

  • 1st May 1679: Thomas, son of John Draper, clerk, was baptised;
  • 8th October 1680: John, son of John Draper, was baptised (so, two days later was Mathew, son of Mathew Draper);
  • 23rd October 1680: Mary, wife of John Draper, clerk, was buried;
  • 10th December 1681: John, son of John Draper, clerk, was buried;
  • 14th October 1682: John Draper married a Dorothy King [King seems to be a slightly garbled version of Kins and records Draper's "incestuous" marriage to his dead wife's sister];
  • 14th April 1689: Thomas, son of John Draper, was buried;
  • 25th December 1703: John Draper senior, clerk was buried [this seems likely to be Draper's father, perhaps he had been living with him in his last illness].

On 3rd 1687 an Ellen Draper was buried, perhaps she was the wife of Draper's brother Mathew. Interestingly, on 10th June 1711 Mary, daughter of Mary Draper was baptised. No father is listed. One hopes, given the proximity of this event to Draper's deprivation, that the child was not his, but it must remain an unpleasant possibility. On 23rd September 1718 Mary Draper "a base child" was buried, probably Draper's grandchild (or child), aged about seven.