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The Stout Barn

“When her Body came into view’d it was very much wonder’d at.” —Mr. Jones, The Trial of Spencer Cowper

THE TRIAL OF SPENCER COWPER marked one of the first times that the results of an autopsy from a medical investigation were cited as evidence in a court of law. The introduction of this new category of forensic evidence illuminated a shift in societal attitudes toward the construction of knowledge and the understanding of science. The Stout Barn provided the space for the autopsy of Sarah's exhumed remains. 

Visit the Stout Barn & talk to Sarah Stout's mother, Mary Stout

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The Coffeehouse

"Professional reputations were made or ruined in the coffeehouse milieu."--The Social Life of Coffee

AS THE THRIVING CENTER of economic and intellectual exchange, the coffeehouse became the primary destination for business ventures, startups, and even university discussions. As a platform for discussion, coffeehouses were often differentiated by their networked publics, depending on political affiliation, profession, and topics of interest. For example, many members of the Royal Society gathered at Garraway’s Coffeehouse in London for philosophical discussions (including doctors that testified in the trial).

Visit the Hertford Coffeehouse & talk to Spencer Cowper

 

The Meetinghouse

“...for the Light deceives none, but discovers all things as they are, and doth not make them appear as they are not.” ——Mary Stout’s Reply to William Haworth

THE 17TH CENTURY WAS an age of religious and political turmoil. The Quakers and other religiously fervent sects fought for the freedom to practice as they pleased— and in doing so also undermined class and legal order. The space of the Quaker Meeting house became a site of both sanctuary and turmoil as many accusations from the Trial pointed to the Herford sect as corrupt.  

Visit the Herford Meeting house & talk with the Stouts' maid, Sarah Walker 

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The Tavern

“Every man hath his penny to spend at a pinte in the one, and every man his eare open to receive the sound of the other.”  —Robert Greene 

TAVERNS SERVED AS A CENTER of social life and a source of news for many. Families and travelers enjoyed lodging, food, and drink side by side—not to mention rowdy company, theatrical ballads and sensationalist news. Oral tradition met with the rise of print to an often-intriguing effect. The popular pastime of eavesdropping proved crucial in the evidence surrounding Sarah Stout’s death.

Visit the Glove and Dolphin & talk to accused and friend of Spencer Cowper, Ellis Stevens

Talk of the Town

POST-TRIAL PAMPHLETS AND BROADSIDES exemplified the notoriety of The Case of Sarah Stout and Trial of Spencer Cowper. Allusive and direct references continued to circulate in popular literature after the trial for quite some time. In addition to the pair of poems, “Sarah, Fair Quaker in the Shades” and “Lothario’s Answer,” several novels and plays foregrounded the relationship between Sarah Stout and Spencer Cowper.