Picture: Ubbeston Church: South Porch of Brick from Pocket Histories of Suffolk Parishes No. 237. Published in The Suffolk Chronicle and Mercury 24 October 1934. By kind permission of The East Anglian Daily Times.
Sarah Edwards of Ubbeston appears in the parish records as having had a baby out of wedlock. Below is her very severe punishment. No mention is made of the child's father.
12th September 1707 Parish records (held at Ipswich Records Office)
The form of penance to be performed by Sarah Edwards for committing the crime of adultery as follows...
Imprimus - the said Sarah Edwards shall upon a Sunday after the second peal for Morning Prayers come into the Church Porch of Ubbestone and there shall stand until the second lesson be ended arrayed all the while in a white sheet down to the feet with a white wand in her hands and a prayer pinned upon her breast exhibiting her offence and shall ask for forgiveness of those that come to the church.Item - the second lesson being ended the Minister shall receive her into the congregation and being placed before the Minister's desk with her face to the congregation and standing upon a [pesse] shall make penitently the confession following saying after the Minister in an audible voice...
I, Sarah Edwards, do acknowledge and confess that I have most grievously offended Almighty God and provoked his just wrath and indignation against me by committing the sin of Fornication - I am heartily sorry for this my great sin and offence and I do most sincerely beg of God Almighty pardon and forgiveness thereof and to grant me his grace of true repentance and reverence therein, and that I may never commit the like sin any more but lead an honest and sober life for the time to come and to that end I desire this Congregation to join with me in Prayer to the Almighty God saying, 'Our Father...' William Edgar Regt. Dep.
The performance here to be certified under the Minister and Churchwardens' hands at the next Chapter? at Yoxford October 1707
NB Burials 1706 'Sarah Edwards Infant was buried October 30th'