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A Sin and A Secret: Edward Marriott and Sangaree

Welcome back to another "A Sin and A Secret." Mix yourself a drink based on a colonial recipe and then curl with a completely true, completely salacious story. Enjoy a new #ASinAndASecret post every week. Read more in the series here.

In April of 1756, a man named Edward Marriott used a hooked stick to smash the kitchen window of John Reed on Arundel Street in the Strand, a crowded sailor’s neighborhood in London.

Marriott was spotted by James Cooper. Cooper may have been a Bow Street Runner, one of the first police officers in Britain. Cooper arrested Marriott and dragged him before John Fielding.

Portrait of Sir John Fielding, Nathaniel Hone, 1762, National Portrait Gallery.

Blinded by a cannon accident at sea as a teenager, John Fielding took the place of his brother and famous novelist Henry Fielding as chief magistrate and head of the Bow Street Runners. Called the “Blind Beak,” it was said that John Fielding could recognize 3,000 criminals by the sound of their voice. Fielding committed Marriott to prison, and James Cooper testified against him at Hicks’ Hall, ensuring a conviction and sentence of transportation.

In June of 1756, Edward Marriott and 90 other convicts were loaded onto the Lyon under Captain James Dyer and shipped across the Atlantic. The Lyon arrived in Annapolis, Maryland on August 30, 1756, and the convicts were sold into seven years of servitude.

Maryland Gazette, September 2, 1756, page 3.

Among the Marylanders who bought servants form the Lyon was William Brown, the London Town ferry keeper, carpenter, and tavern owner. Brown had several convict servants; many of them trained in various forms of woodworking. A later source identified Edward Marriott as a joiner, and so perhaps this profession is what drew Brown to purchasing his servitude.

Marriott, like most of Brown’s convicts, did not take to working for him. On November 2, 1756, after only about 2 months of labor, Marriott ran away.

William Brown took out an advertisement in the Maryland Gazette offering a reward for his return. Marriott must have returned of his own accord, or been captured, but when and how this happened does not survive in the known historical record.

Maryland Gazette, November 4, 1756, page 2.

Edward Marriott gave another go at freedom. He escaped from William Brown on March 6, 1757.

Making his way across Maryland from London Town, Marriott was detained by George Fraser on the Potomac River. Wily and clever, Marriott presented a forged pass, and swore that he was a sailor that had run away from the Anne galley, under Captain Hamilton. Fraser, thinking he’d got the best of the “sailor” ordered him carried to the Anne, unwittingly delivering Marriott from recapture.

Maryland Gazette, April 7, 1757, page 3.

For months, William Brown took out additional ads, trying to recapture the runaway. Marriott (perhaps aboard the Anne) managed to escape Maryland and make his way back to England.

On March 28, 1758, after a year of freedom, Edward Marriott returned to his old ways. He was committed to New Prison “on suspicion of breaking a house.” He was instantly recognized by James Emms, a turnkey for New Prison. Knowing that he could very well hang for returning to London, Marriott tried to hide from Emms, but the game was up. John Fielding, the “Blind Beak,” charged him with returning from transportation.

The Public Advertiser, March 29, 1758, page 2.

On April 5, 1758, Edward Marriott was tried at the Old Bailey. His only defense was claiming to be a different man named “Thomas Rice,” but both James Cooper (who arrested him back in 1756) and James Emms testified that it was Marriott. However, the court found him to not be “at large” and therefore not subject to the death penalty.

April 5, 1758 Old Bailey Sessions Papers - Justices' Working Documents for the Edward Marriott case.

A few months later, Edward Marriott was loaded onto the Tryal under Captain Nicholas Andrew. This was almost certainly the same transport that hauled Mary Jones to Maryland. After an unusually arduous passage of 16 weeks, the Tryal finally dropped anchor in Maryland, delivering Edward Marriott back into servitude.

Edward Marriott disappears from the known historical record from this point forward.


Colonial Drink Recipe: Sangaree

We have paired this story with the drink, Sangaree. What would become modern sangria, sangaree is a simple drink with few ingredients and easy preparation. It a friendly, low alcohol punch beverage made with brandy and port wine. The addition of brandy used is somewhat of a twist on the original which only calls for Madeira wine. Brandy can certainly be changed for your preferred spirit or left out altogether. Later cookery books would create different recipes each using a different base: ale, sherry, gin, porter, etc.

Sangaree was chosen for Marriott due to the drink’s knack for changing over time, just as Marriott changed his identity in an attempt to avoid capture until old habits came back to bite him.

Brandy Sangaree

  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon water

  • 2 oz brandy

  • 1 oz port wine

  • Grate nutmeg for garnish

1. Fill serving glass with ice and set aside to chill.

2. Add sugar and water to another mixing glass and stir until fully dissolved.

3. To the mixing glass add ice, brandy, and port wine. Stir until fully combined and cold. PLEASE NOTE: The more the drink is stirred the more water will melt from the ice, resulting in a “weaker” drink.

4. Toss ice from serving glass out, strain the drink into the chilled glass and garnish with nutmeg.

5. Enjoy!


Enjoying Sangaree? Join Us for the Next Colonial Cocktails: Syllabub & Sangaree!

Thursday, August 27, 2020 6:30 – 7:30pm From punches to bounces, syllabubs to juleps, colonists imbibed a wide variety of alcoholic beverages. At Colonial Cocktails, you’ll get to make and enjoy two historical drinks and learn about colonial tavern culture. In this session, you’ll whip up a Syllabub, a frothy cream dream with hard cider. You'll also explore the origins of Sangria, making an earlier version, Sangaree, with port wine and brandy. Participants must be 21+. For the safety of participants and staff, this event will be held outside with appropriate distancing, group sizes, and cleaning in accordance with CDC and local guidance. Members: $25 Non-Members: $30 (Become one today!) Pre-Registration Required Maximum of 20 attendees


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