English Men Used to Sell Their Wives

A practical joker has put a large 'L' on a wedding cake and given the bride a saw to cut it with at the wedding of Mr Donald Clements, a carpenter, and Miss Bertha Rumsey, circa 1937. Photo by E Dean / Getty Images

In late 17th-century England, it was almost impossible for anyone outside of the upper class to successfully get a divorce -- the process was expensive and required approval from both the church and the government. As a result, some couples agreed to end their unhappy marriages through a bizarre practice known as 'wife selling'. And, unfortunately, it's exactly what it sounds like.