Mary Gretham appeared before Peterborough magistrates on this Monday dressed as a man. In late spring, she had been discharged from Northampton asylum and, finding that it was impossible to gain employment as a female, had begun to wear the male clothing in which she appeared in court. During harvest time, she had earned 12s an acre as a reaper. She had then worked as a rick-maker and thatcher, earning half a crown a day until a few weeks previous, when she had fallen off a rick stack. On trying to stand up, she realised that she had injured her hip. It was when her master and mistress went to her aid that, to their surprise and horror, they discovered her sex. Although they did not broadcast their discovery, it soon became public knowledge. As a result, Mary had attracted the notice of idle boys and people of the city, who followed her in crowds as she sought some relief. She stated to the magistrates that there was still some money owing to her for the work she had done for her late master. Mary was sent to the workhouse until inquiry could be made. (Stamford Herald)
Taken from The Peterborough Book of Days by Brian Jones, The History Press, 2014.