1893 text

Mary Moders, alias Stedman, a notorious impostor, who pretended to be a German princess. Her arrival as the German princess “at the Exchange Tavern, right against the Stocks betwixt the Poultry and Cornhill, at 5 in the morning … ., with her marriage to Carleton the taverner’s wife’s brother,” are incidents fully narrated in Francis Kirkman’s “Counterfeit Lady Unveiled,” 1673 (“Boyne’s Tokens,” ed. Williamson, vol. i., p. 703). Her adventures formed the plot of a tragi-comedy by T. P., entitled “A Witty Combat, or the Female Victor,” 1663, which was acted with great applause by persons of quality in Whitsun week. Mary Carleton was tried at the Old Bailey for bigamy and acquitted, after which she appeared on the stage in her own character as the heroine of a play entitled “The German Princess.” Pepys went to the Duke’s House to see her on April 15th, 1664. The rest of her life was one continued course of robbery and fraud, and in 1678 she was executed at Tyburn for stealing a piece of plate in Chancery Lane.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

6 Annotations

Bill  •  Link

CARLETON, MARY (1642?-1673), 'the German princess'; criminal; born in Canterbury and named Mary Moders; came from Holland to England, 1661, pretending to be a noble German heiress; married bigamously John Carleton, 1663; went on the stage, 1664; transported for theft to Jamaica, 1671; returned to London; hanged for theft; subject of two broadsides and an 'Historicall Narrative.'
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

Bill  •  Link

Mary Moders, alias Stedman, alias Carleton, of whom see more June 7 and April 15, 1664. She was a celebrated impostor, who had induced the son of a London citizen to marry her, under the pretence that she was a German Princess. She next became an actress, after having been tried for bigamy and acquitted. The rest of her life was one continued course of robbery and fraud; and, in 1678, she suffered at Tyburn, for stealing a piece of plate in Chancery Lane.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

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