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Hannah Kingsett

This is a short page on a lady that I discovered hidden in the parish registers of Bramshott, Hampshire, England.


Her name was Hannah Kingshott, though she was recorded in the baptism register as Hannah Kingsett. She was baptised on 5th January 1794, the third of four children of John & Elizabeth Kingshott. She had a very short life, dying at the age of 24, and was buried at Bramshott on 27th September 1818.


Hannah's claim to fame is a rather nasty little entry in the parish registers upon her burial. When she was buried, the vicar felt it necessary to record that she was the "mother of two or three bastards" and that her occupation was "whore".

What we know of Hannah was that she had two children, that I can find, and these were both baptised on 25th February 1816. One was named Ann and the other was named Hannah. Ann, it seems, died shortly after birth and was buried on 29th February 1816. Hannah survived and went on to marry a man called William Belton in the nearby village of Headley, Hampshire, on 16th May 1842.


So, what did the vicar mean when he described Hannah as a whore? It is difficult to assess now, but it has two real meanings. The first and perhaps more obvious one is that Hannah was a prostitute. This was not uncommon, even in the country, as prostitution was a method of gaining income for a relatively small amount of "work". Indeed, in the poorer classes, from which Hannah came, especially in more urban areas, many women turned to prostitution to survive.


The second meaning that could be placed on the term "whore" was a moral judgement from the vicar on the fact that Hannah had had a child, or children, out of wedlock.


The fact that he felt the need to describe her in such a manner strongly suggests deep consternation on the part of the church, for Hannah's lasciviousness.


Personally, I couldn't care less about her behaviour and am proud that she is part of my family. She was my 1st cousin 5 times removed, the daughter of my 4th great grandfather's brother.

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