The scandalous marriages of the Rev John Owen Parr

Marriage certificate Rev John Owen Parr and Alice Stewardson

John Owen Parr (1798-1877), the vicar of Preston for 37 years from 1840 until his death, led a seemingly conventional life as a Victorian Church of England minister: he instructed his parish clergy to ensure their congregations voted Tory at every election, he was a virulent opponent of Catholics, both Roman and Anglo-, and he routinely set the bailiffs on anyone of whatever faith who objected to paying him his tithes and Easter dues.

But behind the closed doors of the vicarage he was hiding what was for Victorian Preston a shameful secret that when revealed created a major scandal in the town and laid bare the hypocrisy that he had presumably hoped to keep hidden.

The vicar’s marriages

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