Leap Year Proposal

Leap Year Proposal
I am not aware of any proposals made at the Happy to Chat Bench in Abingdon Market Place today.

A second, more secluded, Happy to Chat Bench can also be found at St Helen’s Wharf. Perhaps something happened there.

I did read of a leap year proposal in the British Newspaper Archive with the title ‘O, Tis Love! Tis Love! (https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk), from 1844.

At Abingdon, a youth named Robins was tried at the assizes for the unlawful abduction of Jane Willavize, a  “miss in her teens,” and the daughter of a rich farmer. The prisoner, a good-looking young man of 19, was the prosecutor’s under-carter ; and having won entrance into the heart of Miss Jane, her apartment was one night found empty. Robins’s room was also empty. The young folks in fact, had fled. 

The farmer was given a tip off and discovered them in private lodgings at Old Brentford, and gave the young man into custody, charged with abduction, the damsel being under age. At the trial, when examined, Miss Jane said the prisoner had found favour in her eyes, and they courted together secretly. It was not he who had proposed to run away with her. She proposed to him, this being a “leap year.”

The jury after hearing the story, convicted the prisoner of abduction, and the judge fined him ONE SHILLING which was paid immediately. The sentence was received with loud applause to the great scandal of the court crier.

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