Frances Jermy, nee Preston married her second husband John Michell in a private ceremony at her Pall Mall house in London, on 20 May 1754. It was apparently by special licence.
It would appear that no official record of the marriage was made at the time, because squeezed in at the bottom of the St James, Westminster Register of Marriages, after marriage number 24, dated 21 May 1754, is the following memorandum:
For the Marriage of John Michell Esq and Frances Jermy, see the Book of Marriages for the year 1803 April 13
Gerrard Andrews, Rector
Thomas Bracken, Clerk
Looking at the relevant St James, Westminster Register of Marriages, beneath the marriage number 128 entry in April 1803, one finds the following statement:
Whereas a Marriage was solemnized on the twentieth day of May in the year 1754 between John Michell Esq and Frances Jermy which was neglected to be registered at the time (see the register of that date) It has been deemed expedient that the following Certificate taken from the back of the Special Licence granted by his Grace Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury be here inserted together with the following affidavit of Mrs Alice Heald, who was present at the Marriage.
We whose names are herunto subscribed do certify that we were present at the Marriage of John Michell Esq of Arlington Street in the parish of St George Hanover Square in the County of Middlesex, widower and Frances Jermy of Pall Mall in the parish of St James Westminster in the County aforesaid, widow, and did said Ceremony thereof duly performed according to the Rites of the Church of England by the Rev John Huntington, Minister of Irstead in the County of Norfolk in the Dwelling House of the above named Frances Jermy in Pall Mall in the Parish of St James on the twentieth day of May 1754.
Richard Fydell of Boston in the County of Lincs
Alice Heald now of Bristol Hot Wells, the widow of the Reverend Whetley Heald, late Rector of Northrepps and Beeston St Lawrence in Norfolk and Prebendary of Wells in the County of Somerset, deceased Maketh Oath that she was present at the Marriage of John Michell Esq and Frances Jermy, the widow of William Jermy Esquire, and sister of Isaac Preston Esquire, the Father of this Deponent, on the twentieth day of May one thousand seven hundred and fifty four. And this Deponent further saith that the said Marriage was solemnized on the Day aforesaid at the house of the said Francis Jermy in Pall Mall by John Huntingdon of Irstead in Norfolk by virtue of a Special Licence, that John Fydell of Boston in Lincolnshire Esquire, Elizabeth Boulton widow and L. Hilliard widow who, as this deponent believes are all now dead, were all present at the Celebration of the said Marriage.
Sworn at my house in Clifton Mall in the parish of Clifton in the County of Gloucester the sixth day of April one thousand eight hundred and three Before me W. W. Coates a Mar: extra in Chancery. The above insertion was made the fourteenth day of April in the year 1803
Gerald Andrew, Rector
Thomas Bracken, The Clerk in Order and Registration
G. Michell, second son of the above Marriage
Edward Horne, Nephew and one of the Executors of the said Frances Michell
Henry Hulton, Grand Nephew of the said Frances Michell and Nephew and Son in Law of said Alice Heald.
NB. The Special Licence and Certificate with the Affidavit of Mrs Alice Heald were this day taken away by the above George Michell in order to be placed in the Custody of his Brother Charles Michell Esq of Forcett in the County of York.
One wonders what suddenly made it "expedient" to insert the marriage in the register forty nine years after it took place? It could all be part of the plot of a Wilkie Collins novel!