Exhibtion Index  Credits   Bryn Mawr College Library    



Nairn and OgilvieThe Trial of Katherine Nairn and Patrick Ogilvie, For the Crimes of Incest and Murder... London: Reprinted for T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt, 1765.
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Katharine Nairn and Patrick Ogilvie were less well served by the witnesses at their trial, which was the dénouement of an eighteenth-century soap opera.  Nairn was married to Thomas Ogilvie, a man twice her age.  They shared their home with his younger brother Patrick and the mistress of the youngest brother of the family, Alexander.  Thomas was poisoned and died.  Nairn and Patrick were charged with his death, and with incest, i.e. adultery, both capital crimes.  The most important witness at their trial was Alexander's mistress, Anne Clark, a former prostitute, whose testimony stretches to 18 pages in this account.  Her testimony is suspect because Alexander was in line to inherit the estate if both his brothers died childless, and her report was entirely damning.  She said that Nairn had actually told her she was going to poison her husband and also that she (Clark) had on several occasions followed Nairn and Patrick when they went upstairs and had listened to them having sex.  Nairn and Ogilvie were condemned, and he was executed.  Her execution was delayed because she was pregnant and she escaped after the birth of a daughter. 

 

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