Leading his wife round the market with a halter round her neck monies would be exchanged and she would leave with her new partner [sometimes a complete stranger but often already her lover]. Tales abound of drunken celebrations ensuing after successful transactions and it being a satisfactory outcome for all parties with the ending of an unhappy union. The outcomes could be surprisingly...some women went on to happily marry their new partners, others ran away/married other men or some returned to their original spouse.
The last known instance of wife selling in my home town is of one Ann Holland known as Pin Toe Nanny. Mr Johnson who bought her had to sell his watch in order to afford her and she stayed with him for a year in which time she bore him a child. After doing her duty she ran away and later married one Jim Smith! The practice eventually was outlawed and those who engaged in it faced a six month prison stretch if caught.