Skip to Content

Colonial Cases


True Protestant Mercury, 7 October 1682
Chichester, October 7. - Mr. Farington of this place, a late Member of Parliament, being accused for being accessory in the Death of Habin the Informer; which is said to be killed by the Coachman, tho' the most moderate people affirm, that he died with drinking of Brandy, &c., was bound in 2000 pounds Bond to Answer the same at the Sessions; and to be in the mean time of the good Behaviour; and the Coroner's Inquest acquitting him; some malicious people preferred a Bill against Mr. Farington, under hand, that the Grand Jury which they then procured on the Pannel, immediately found the said Bill, and the bench as soon granted a warrant for his Apprehension, but we are told that a certiorari is obtained to transfer the Cause to the Kings Bench.

Loyal Protestant, 24 October 1682
  There having been a Bil found at the late Sessions at Chichester against Mr. Richard Farringdon, as being an Accessary to the Murder of Rich. Habin, and as Confederate in the said Murder, with  Thos. Daux, it was brought by certiorarti to the Kings bench Court; and an information being this day against him, he gave security of 3000 l. to appear de diem in diem.


Universal Spectator, 30 August 1735
  At the Assize sat Lewes in Sussex, a Person was brought to the Bar, and charg'd that he (with a Man and Woman not yet taken) did on the 20th of May last, murder a young Woman near Petworth in Sussex, in the following Manner:- The Prisoner was let into the House by a Boy, who was put in at the Window for that Purpose; when he and the rest of his Gang rifled the House, and pack'd up the Goods; But this young Woman, who was abroad with her Mother, a Widow, return's home sooner than  ordinary,  and on opening the Door she was knock'd down, and her Throat cut in a very shocking Manner: The Murder was not discover'd till some Hours after, when her Mother returning home,  found her House rifled, and her Daughter murder'd; upon this she  rais'd the Country, and this Man, who pretended to be Dumb and lame, was taken on Suspicion, several Spots of Blood, and Part of the Goods being found upon him.
  When  he was brought to the Bar he would not speak or plead, though often press'd to it and the Sentence read to him, to be inflicted on such Persons that stood mute; yet he continued obstinate; there were Four or Five Persons in the Court who swore they had heard him speak, and the Boy who was the accomplice and apprehended, was there to be a witness against him, yet he continu'd mute; whereupon he was carry'd back to Horsham Gaol to be press'd to Death, if he would not plead.  They laid on him first a hundred Weight, then added one hundred more, and he sill continu'd obstinate, they then added one hundred more, yet he would not plead, then made it 350 lb. yet he would not speak, then adding 50 lbs more he was just dead, having all the Agonies of Death upon  him, then the executioner, who weighs about 16 or 17 Stone, laid down upon the Board which was over him, and adding to the Weight, kill'd him in an Instant.


British Chronicle, 15 April 1766
  A few days ago a murder was committed at Chlchester, on Mr. Turner by his own son; it was occasioned by a quarrel which arose between the mother-n-law and him, concerning a ring, and in attempting to knock her down with the butt-end of his whip, it fell on his father's head, and he died about three hours after.  The coroner's inquest sat on the body, and brought in their verdict manslaughter against the son.


The Observer, 1 August 1802

   A few days ago, a young girl, servant to a linen-draper at Lewes, having received some reproof, retired to her chamber and hung herself.  The Coroner's Inquest gave a verdict of felo de se, in consequence of which her body was buried in the highway.


The Times, 16 September 1805
  Monday night as Quarter-Master HOLT, of the 1st Dragoons, was returning from Brighton to Arundel, he rode into a deep pit, where he was found dead the next morning, his head only above the water, and his horse standing by his side.


Cambrian, 26 October 1805

The following shocking circumstance, which it is painful to relate, occurred one day last week at an inn on the London road:- As the servants of the Duke of Beaufort were travelling in one of his Grace's carriages, from Rottingdean  to town, the coachman stopped to bait his horses at the house above alluded to, where one of the female servants had not long alighted before she found her way to a certain convenience in the yard, and there delivered herself of a child, which she is violently suspected of having inhumanely murdered, by cutting its throat with a pen-knife, which was afterwards found bloody in her pocket.  The body, the better to conceal the murder, was thrown into the soil.   The mother, on her return from the privy, appeared as if nothing extraordinary had happened; but her long absence, and other circumstances, having created suspicion among the females of the house, she was told by the landlord, on her approaching the carriage to prosecute her journey, that she must not go, as there was an infant in the way which demanded her attendance.  At this unexpected salutation, the deluded girl appeared much affected, and was in consequence put to bed, with strong symptoms of fever.   The child was taken out of the privy, with its head almost severed from its body.  An inquest was the next day taken before the Coroner, who returned a verdict of wilful murder - but suspended the warrant of commitment, as the offender is in such a state of mental and bodily agony, as to render her recovery extremely doubtful.


Cambrian, 5 January 1811

[The Late Gales]

The sloop Hopewell, of Barmouth, Roberts, master, from London to Barmouth, laden with wheat, went on shore to the westward of Rye Harbour, and the whole of her crew unfortunately perished.  Part of her materials, and hull, were secured, but the cargo is totally lost.  The captain's body was picked up near the wreck, and has been decently interred at Rye.


Carmarthen Journal, 9 February 1811

Dreadful Accident. - About seven o'clock on the evening of Sunday se'nnight, a most melancholy catastrophe befel Mrs. H. Pankhurst, an elderly and respectable lady of Brighton, at her residence in Black Lion-street, in that town.  On the evening above mentioned, while seated by the fire in her parlour, a small piece of red-hot coal impregnated with sulphur, was discharged from the grate, and fell upon the carpet; in the act of catching it hastily up to prevent its doing mischief, her clothes waved near the grate, and caught the flame.  Unable to extinguish it, she ran to a back-door leading into a passage, in order to call for the assistance of her servants - they had gone to chapel - unfortunately the draft which proceeded from the passage tended to increase the blaze; thus situated, the unhappy lady endeavoured to take the carpet up to throw around her, but without effect, it was too strongly nailed to the floor; unassisted, and without recourse, she struggled with the furious and relentless flame, which destroyed every vestige of the clothes she wore, save the part of a sticking, and a small remnant of her stays.  In a situation too horrid to describe, yet sensible, she was found by some neighbours, who instantly procured surgical aid, and which was applied, but unavailingly, for the space of twenty  four hours - the awful and terrific state to which the devouring element had reduced her, having  from the first rendered hopeless all idea of recovery. - A Coroner's Inquest was held on her mutilated remains next morning, when a verdict of Accidental Death was returned.


Carmarthen Journal, 12 October 1811

   Last week, an inquest was held at Lewes, on the body of a man named Grigg, lately a tapster at the Running horse, in that town.  It appeared that Grigg had, on the 10th of September, received a wound in the head from an artilleryman, for whom he had refused to draw a pint of beer after the time permitted by the landlord; that he walked down every morning to the surgeon's to have his wound dressed, which was in a fair way of recovery, and no bad consequences were apprehended.  But a fortnight ago (on Cliff fair day), Grigg having been insulted by a son of Mr. Kennard, miller, of Lewes, boxed the urchin's ears, and the father being informed of it, went in a violent passion to Grigg, whom he found in a privy, where he had taken refuge, struck his head violently against the boards, knocked down and beat him.  Grigg, however, continued in his usual business, without applying for any survival assistance till the following Tuesday, when he was ordered to be removed and put to bed.  On Tuesday he became senseless, and continued so till his death, on Saturday noon.  The medical gentlemen who were examined gave it as their unanimous opinion, after opening the skull, that the first was sufficient to have caused the death of the deceased; but that it was probably accelerated by the treatment of Kennard.  The Jury, after an investigation of seven hours, found a verdict of manslaughter against Kennard, who absconded on the day of the inquest, and has not yet surrendered himself.


Carmarthen Journal, 17 August 1811

   About three o'clock on Thursday se'nnight, two countrymen, who were keeping it up after Buxted fair, quarrelled at a public house and went out to fight, when one of them, a fine youth of 18 years of age, received in the third round, an unlucky blow that killed him on the spot.


Cambrian, 12 December 1812


Aged 74, Mr. Markwick, a respectable farmer, of Angmering, Sussex: His death was occasioned by the use of a new-made pipe, which in smoking stuck to his lips, and produced a cancer, which put a period to his existence in a few weeks.


Cambrian, 6 April 1816

  The following melancholy catastrophe occurred on Monday se'nnight, at Battle, Sussex.: - As Capt. James Watson Harvey, of his Majesty's royal navy, with his youngest brother and sister (two children of five and six years of age) was sailing in a boat on the large mill-pond, at the powder works, near the dwelling-house of their father, a strong gust of wind upset the boat in a great depth of water, when the captain, who was an excellent swimmer, succeeded in getting both his little companions into his arms, with whom he struggled for some time, as if determined to save or perish with them; and although within twenty yards of the pond bay, and in sight of many of the workmen at the mills, at last sunk with the children in his arms!  It was near an hour before the bodies could be found, when every exertion to reanimate them was tried in vain.  Captain Harvey, was 23 years of age. - Had he even left one of the children to perish, he might have saved himself and the other.


The Cambrian, 17 January 1818

Female Incendiary and supposed Murderer. - The following communication has been sent from Halesworth, in Sussex. - We have lately had a sad instance of youthful depravity in our neighbourhood.  A farmer at Chediston had a child who died very suddenly; its mother found it dead in the cradle in which she had laid it a short time before in apparent good health.  She was so much affected by the loss, that her husband sent her on a visit to her mother, in hopes that a change of scene might restore her spirits.  A few days after her departure the other child, who was between five and six years old, was found drowned in a pond near the house.  This affliction, added to the former, nearly broke the heart of the unfortunate mother.  On last Tuesday we were alarmed by the report that this same farmer's house was on fire.  Every assistance was immediately given, and it was extinguished without doing much damage; but it was soon discovered that it had been wilfully set on fire by the servant, who had been nurse-maid to the two children.  She confessed that she had set fire to some straw in the apple-chamber; that her life was a burthen to her, and that she committed the act in hopes that she might be hanged for it.  This has given rise to a suspicion that she destroyed one if not both of the children, but no proof can be brought of it.  She is now in Beccles gaol.


Cambrian, 10 April 1819

   R. Crunden, of Brighton, a few days ago having laid a wager with his wife, that he would drink a bottle of Hollands in five minutes, poured the spirits into a quart mug, and drank it off in one-third of the time; after which he swallowed a considerable quantity more, which threw him into a state of stupefaction, in which he continued three days, when he died.  This depraved creature had lately come into the possession of considerable property, by the death of a relation, since which he had been in a continual state of intoxication.  A coroner's inquest was held on the body. Verdict - Death by excessive drinking.

Cambrian, 24 March 1821

Murder. - Tuesday morning, at two o'clock, one of the Hastings fishing boats, of which J. Swain was the master, landed, and the crew were hauling her up, when one of the men from the Preventive Watch-house, insisted on searching her immediately.  Swain declared he should not, but the man was about to jump on board, when the former pushed him back, telling him that he might search the boat when she was above high water mark, but not before.  The other drew his cutlass, and was again making towards Swain, when the latter rushed upon him, and threw it away.  The affray had been witnessed from the Watch house by the officer commanding the party and another of the men attached to the service, and the latter was ordered by the officer "to go down and do his duty." - This man proceeded to the spot, drew forth a loaded pistol, and while the two others were yet struggling, put his weapon underneath the arm of his comrade to the right side of Swain, and fired!  A shriek of horror issued from the spectators at this dreadful act, and the unfortunate fisherman drew up his arms to his side, exclaimed, "Oh, God! Mercy I -------," and fell dead.  A young lad, who was standing near, felt at the same moment, and it was discovered that the bullet had passed through the body of Swain and lodged in the fleshy part of this boy's arm.  The indignation of the people soon forced the man who fired the pistol to retreat to the Watch-house, which the populace threatened to raze to the ground; but the Mayor and other officers arriving, they took the offender into custody and conveyed him to prison, while several of the mob assailed them with missiles of various descriptions.  On Thursday an inquest was held on Swain, when the jury returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against the man who shot him; and the latter was conveyed to Horsham gaol about two o'clock in Friday morning to save him from the fury of the populace at Hastings.  The unfortunate deceased has left a wife and six children.


Cambrian, 26 June 1819

   On Thursday last a man named Henry Langridge, was taken up at Northiam, in Sussex, on suspicion of being the perpetrator of the number (sic) of Mr. Sex, at Penshurst, which occurred upwards of six years since.  The following are the particulars of that atrocious deed: On Monday, the 1st of February, 1813, as Mr. Richard Sex, a respectable farmer, residing at Penshurst, was returning home about seven o'clock in the evening, he was waylaid within a quarter of a mile of his own house, and beaten with a large bludgeon in the most inhuman manner, several of his teeth knocked out, and his skull, jaw, and right arm dreadfully fractured. - The murderer had placed sticks across the foot path to entangle the unfortunate deceased, who, in the dark, tumbled over them, and was immediately attacked by the wretch, lying in ambush to accomplish his horrible purpose.  Mr. Sex was found the following morning nearly lifeless; he survived, however, till the Sunday following, when he died.  On the next day an inquest was held on his body, before R. Crow, Esq. Coroner, and a verdict of Wilful Murder returned against Henry Langridge, formerly one of the neighbours of the deceased, residing in a cottage near his house. - Langridge left the neighbourhood the day after the murder was committed, and although vigilant search has been made after him ever since, yet he eluded justice till last week, when he was discovered at Northiam by a person who was acquainted with him at Penshurst, and who gave immediate information of the circumstance.  He has been residing in the neighbourhood of Northiam ever since the murder was committed; he confesses having been in the employ of Mr. Sex, but denies any knowledge of the murder.  He has been committed to the county gaol, Maidstone, on the verdict of the Coroner's inquest, to take his trial at the ensuing assizes.


Cambrian, 6 November 1819

Extraordinary Death. - A few days since Mrs. Duke, of Ford, near Arundel, observed a favourite cat fighting with a neighbour's cat, and in attempting to part them, both of the animals flew at her, and fixed themselves on her person before she was enabled to extricate herself from their fangs.  This circumstance threw Mrs. Duke into fits, which lasted two days when she expired.


Cambrian, 15 September 1821

   Sudden Death. - A singular and lamentable instance of sudden death occurred at Brighton on the 3d inst.  Mr. Sprole, a gentleman of fortune, arrived on Sunday last, and put up at the Gloucester Hotel, to the landlord of which inn he was well known as an old customer.  On Monday morning he went to Mahomeds, on the west cliff, and ordered a shower bath, into which he placed himself; when he was ready the bath was, in the usual manner, discharged upon him, when, shocking to relate he fell instantly dead.  Every medical assistance was immediately called in, and the most skilful treatment adopted, to restore animation, but without effect.  His death is supposed to have been produced by the shock being too severe for a frame already much debilitated, or from apoplexy.  The bath was not unusually charged, but was precisely as the deceased had used it before.  The Coroner was on the spot, and a jury was immediately summoned, who returned a verdict of - Died by the visitation of God.


North Wales Gazette (Bangor), 17 July 1823


   On Wednesday last, an inquest was held at the house of C. C. Dendy, Esq. Chichester, on the body of a new born male infant, of which it appeared that Sarah Bacon, the cook, had delivered herself about four o'clock on the previous Monday morning.

   Ruth Morris, the housemaid, stated that she suspected the cook (Sarah Bacon) was with child, but never had any conversation with her on the subject; awoke in the night of Sunday, and saw Sarah Bacon dressing, who stated that she was unwell, and went out of the room; she returned shortly after, and got into bed again awaked a second time and saw  the cook dressing who told her she was going down again; witness on her return, asked if she had not been gone a good while, as she had been asleep; Sarah Bacon replied nearly an hour, and again got into bed;  witness then fell asleep.  They got up together, as usual, about five o'clock, and went about their different employments.  After breakfast witness asked Sarah Bacon how she was, as she did not look well? she said she thought her dinner had disagreed with her, or else that she had over fatigued herself by walking fast home the previous evening.  Witness then described the state of the privy.  S. Bacon stated to her she had been very sick, and had flowed the place to clean it. - The gardener called her to see the infant, and on her return into the kitchen saw Sarah Bacon, and said - "Oh cook, you cruel creature, how could you do such a thing?"  She replied, "she hoped I would forgive her." The witness felt so horror struck, that no further conversation took place.

   Thomas Mant, the footman, stated, that on opening the coach-house door, on Monday morning, he saw the privy was wet, and supposed it  had rained during the night; but on examining, found it had been washed, but the stains were not out; found a garden hoe near the spot, soiled and marked; told the cook at dinner it looked as if murder had been done in the privy; agreed with the other servants they would have the privy searched.  After his mistress had dined went into the stable; saw a new born male infant, with a piece of tape tied right round its neck, which the witness produced to the jury.

   Charles Midhurst, gardener, stated that about a quarter after two o'clock k on Tuesday afternoon, he went for William Smith, to assist him in searching the privy, and after some time witness found the body of an infant, which Smith and he washed, and laid it in the stable; he called the servants; Sarah bacon came with the others, and witness asked her if she knew any thing of that (meaning the child)? She replied yes, and hoped we would forgive her, and put it away.  Wiriness then went for Mr. Gruggen, the surgeon; and during the afternoon, asked Sarah Bacon how she could think of doing such a thing?  She replied she did not mean to do it, but the child was dead, and she did not know what to do with it; and stated she had come down stairs and could not get back again.  I asked her how the string came round the child's neck; she said she did not recollect putting it round, but if she did, she did it in her fright.  The witness then stated, that the string was put round and tied once, and then round again and tied with a  bow-knot.

   W. Gruggen, jun., surgeon, stated he had examined the body, which had a piece of tape tied right round the neck; the appearance of the lungs was healthy, and being put into water they floated; and on being cut into pieces they floated in the same way; on examining the head, more blood appeared in the vessels than is usual, and on the whole appearance, he believed the child was born alive (but would not actually swear it was); thinks that the tape round the neck was sufficiently tight to cause death.

   Sarah Bacon  acknowledged to him she had had a child, and had thrown it down the privy, as it was born dead; and that she had  bur felt it not more than a fortnight, and expected to have gone six weeks or two months ,longer; the witness  thought she must have passed the 8th month, and but for what the girl stated, saw no reason to think that she had not gone her full time.

   The Jury consulted a few minutes, and returned a verdict of - Wilful Murder against Sarah Bacon, the mother of the infant.

   We understand she bears an excellent character as a servant, and has an illegitimate child living, nearly eight years old, to whom she has been very affectionate.  She was taken to the poor house ion Tuesday evening, and is now under the care of Messrs.  Peskett, surgeons.  It is expected she will be removed to Horsham gaol in about a fortnight, for trial at the ensuing assizes.


The Cambrian, 21 February 1824

DREADFUL ACCIDENT NEAR BRIGHTON. - A very melancholy accident occurred on Thursday se'nnight.  As five labourers were employed in digging for flints, at the base of the Cliff, between the Royal Crescent and Blackrock, the overhanging earth and stone suddenly fell in, and crushed and buried the whole of them.  A sixth man, on the margin of the steep, was precipitated to the beach by the fall, but descending on the summit of the immense weight of rubbish, he escaped without broken bones, or any very essential injury.  No time was lost in digging out the others, but the whole of them were dead.  The following are the names of the sufferers, viz: Wm. Smith, aged 40; John Ratey, 35; John Maslings, 38, John Jail, 25; and Wm. Gorringe, aged 19.  Smith has left a widow and one child - the others were single men.


The Cambrian, 28 February 1824

ATROCIOUS MURDER OF A CHILD. - A murder of the most atrocious, but at the same time of the most unaccountable nature, was committed on Saturday night se'nnight, at Forest-row, near East Grinstead, Sussex, on the body of a female child, named Martha Ann Sewell, aged ten months.  The father of the child is head ostler at the Dorset Arms inn, East Grinstead, and the mother keeps a grocer's and general dealer's shop at Forest-row.  The mother, who conducted the busyness in the absence of her husband, had a servant girl, Esther Gorringe, about 13 years of age, to assist her in nursing the children.  This girl had lived with her a year, and was apparently warmly attached to all the family, but especially to the younger child; indeed, such was the affection of the latter for this girl, that it would invariably quit the mother to repose in her arms.  On Saturday night last, the mother having given it the breast, laid it in the cradle in the kitchen, in a profound sleep, and went to attend to some customers in the shop; this was about seven o'clock. The servant girl, Esther, was in the kitchen at the time, and received directions to rock the cradle if the child became restless.  Every thing remained quiet for about half an hour, when the mother going into the kitchen missed the child.  The mother, in astonishment, turned round to the servant Esther, who was in an adjoining room and asked her in a tone of alarm, what had become of little Martha?  Esther replied, with affected astonishment, that "she didn't know, she was sure."  An instant search was made among the neighbours, but of no effect.  The agony of Mrs. Sewell now became dreadful, her loss was known at every house, and all humanely sympathised in her sufferings.  Every man in the village who could obtain a horse, rode off in different directions, in the hope that some person might be stopped who had taken the child away for  some sinister purpose.  All, however, proved fruitless.  As the feelings of the neighbours became more calm, they naturally renewed their examinations of the servant girl, as to whether she had left the kitchen during the evening, or whether she had seen any body come in?  She denied having seen any person whatever; but admitted that she had gone out of the back door for some water; and what, in great measure, relieved her from suspicion, was the fact of her having run in all directions, inquiring for the child, with as much apparent distraction as her mistress, and lamenting, in boisterous terms, the loss of the "little dear !"

   At one o'clock she was sent to Mr. Hoare's, at the Swan Inn, for a pot of beer.  Mrs. Hoare then made some observations on the sufferings of her master and mistress.  In reply to these observations she only laughed, and evinced a levity very different from the sorrow she had previously manifested.  This excited considerable disgust in the minds of Mr. Hoare and his wife, but it led  to no positive conclusion in their mind.  At the break of day the father and six or seven other persons renewed their search about the premises; and at last they called for the key of the wash-house, which was locked, and which the servant, Esther, had said was locked before the child was missed.  This declaration of hers had prevented the search of this place before.  Mr. Histead, a butcher, having lifted off the cover, looked into the copper, when to his horror he saw the clothes of an infant floating on the surface of some water which it contained.  He stepped back for a moment overpowered by his feelings, but on returning he saw the arm of the child, and lifting it up, there discovered the hapless little victim completely dead.

   Suspicion fell on the servant girl.  She was interrogated as to whether she knew any thing of the matter, but she solemnly protested her innocence, offering to take her oath that she knew nothing about it.  Ultimately she was conveyed in a gig to East Grinstead, where she was visited by several gentleman, but to whom she still protested her innocence in the most solemn manner.  After their departure, the constable addressed her in confident terms, and advised her to confess, as her guilt would, no doubt, before long, be made manifest.  This course had the desired effect, and at last she admitted, that she had put the child into the copper, and that while it was struggling, she put down the cover, and walked away. Upon being  questioned as to her motive for such an act of cruelty, she could assign no reason whatever, simply saying, that as the child lay in the cradle, the resolution to drown it suddenly seized her mind, and she took it up, ands running to the wash house, plunged it into the copper. 

   On Tuesday an inquest was held on the body of the deceased, when a vast mass of evidence was heard; but still the confession of the prisoner formed the main feature of the case. The Jury found a verdict of Wilful Murder against Esther Gorringe.  How to account for the act she has committed, therefore, seems to be perfectly impossible.  The wretched girl was conveyed to Horsham Gaol, but previous to her departure she sent to her mistress, with great particularity, for a clean chemise, a pair of clean stockings, 18d. which was in her box, and 2d. which she said would be found in the kitchen.


The Cambrian, 21 August 1824

   One day last week a dreadful affray happened at Pet horse-race, a place near the sea, midway between Rye and Hastings, with the Coast Blockade and a party of Smugglers: of the latter six lost their lives - one was shot, and five were drowned.  The Jury of the bodies of the deceased returned a verdict of Justifiable Homicide.  Two of the smugglers have been committed to Horsham gaol. None of the blockade men were materially injured.


The Cambrian, 9 October 1824

FATAL AFFRAY. - On the 22nd ult. a party of smugglers attempted to run a cargo of spirits, near Fifty Tower, near Bexhill, Sussex, when they were interrupted by Lieut. Brand and the men under his command, and seven of the smugglers taken, together with 100 tubs of spirits.  One of the blockade men jumped into the boat for the purpose of seizing her, when the smugglers shoved off and carried the man with them.  Three galleys immediately put off in chase of the unfortunate man, whose body was picked up in the morning on the sands below high-water mark, with his head and face dreadfully bruised and lacerated.  A coroner's inquest was held on Saturday, when the jury returned a verdict of - Found Drowned !

   It appeared from the evidence of a surgeon who examined the body, that there was a wound in the forehead, inflected with some obtuse instrument, and that part of the nose was cut off.  In washing the body for interment after the inquest, four wounds were discovered on the upper lip, and one under the left eye, all of which had evidently been inflicted with the muzzle of a pistol.  These wounds were concealed by the great quantity of blood that was clotted on the face.


The Cambrian, 8 January 1825

MURDER AND ROBBERY. - On Wednesday evening last a young man, a shepherd, belonging to Messrs. Brook, farmers, at Bexhill, was  found in a pond, near that place with his throat cut, and his watch and the little money he had in his pocket gone . At the time of the murder the deceased had two dogs with him, one of which, an old one,. Left the fatal spot and went home howling; the other remained at the pond where the body was found.  Two brothers are in custody, suspected of having committed the horrid deed. - Brighton paper.


North Wales Gazette (Bangor),  7 April 1825

   A fine little boy, about three years old, son of Mr. Hugh Etherton, of Worthing, while on a visit to his grandfather, at Siddlesham, and eating his dinner, a piece of bread got into his windpipe in the act of laughing, and choaked him.


The Cambrian, 11 January 1826

   A girl, 13 years old, named Christmas, was burnt to death Christmas-day, at Walberton, near Arundel, by her clothes catching the flame while standing near the fire.


The Cambrian, 19 August 1826

EXECUTIONS. - At Horsham, on Thursday, the sentence of the law was carried into effect on the person of Daniel  Leany, aged 19, convicted of the murder of Benjamin Russell, at Brightling, in Sussex.  Hannah Russell, the wife, who was convicted with him, has been respited sine die. .  .  .  . 


The Cambrian, 2 September 1826

SHOCKING MURDER. - One of the most savage murders that has been recorded for years, was perpetrated on Thursday, at Brighton, by William Burt, who killed his child, only three months old, and attempted to assassinate his wife.  He is in the black-hole, doubly ironed.  Burt has been married upwards of twelve months to his present wife.  About six months back he attempted to murder her with a poker, at which time he inflicted several severe wounds on her skull, for which he was committed; but the wife not being able to appear against him from ill-health, he was liberated on his brother's recognizance that he should keep the peace towards his wife.  Ever since the wife has refused to live with the prisoner, from an apprehension that he would murder her, as he had repeatedly threatened to do so.  The unfortunate woman has been for some months,(since the birth of her child) in the workhouse at Ditchling, to which parish she belongs.  On Saturday evening last she came over to Brighton, to spend a week with her mother, an industrious widow, residing in Woburn-place.  On Monday the prisoner was seen lurking about the neighbourhood by the old woman, who inquired of him if he had anything to say to her, or her daughter, to which he made no reply, but walked away. About two o'clock on Tuesday, the wife went out to call on a woman in the neighbourhood, and immediately after she entered her friend's room, the husband ran in after her, and commenced putting his diabolical purpose into execution, with a shoemaker's knife, which he had purposely concealed in the sleeve of his jacket.  He stabbed the wife in both temples, in the breast, and side; he then stabbed the child in various parts of the body, inflicting seven distinct wounds, two of which were in the abdomen, through which the little innocent's bowels protruded.  The last wound was in the child's thigh; the knife passing through the bone, it stuck so fast into it, that, in attempting to pull it out, the handle came off, by which means he was prevented from instantly despatching the wife, who by this time had fallen from loss of blood; there being no weapon in the room, he attempted to complete this horrid design, by kicking his victim in the throat and head.  At this moment the woman of the house (who was absent at the time the parties entered the room) made her appearance, and on seeing what was going on, cried out "Murder."  Mrs. Burt, on hearing the voice, made a supernatural effort, got on her feet, and darted out of the room with the child in her arms, and ran into a house nearly opposite, the door of which was open, where the poor creature fell almost lifeless.  The infant was taken up by a woman who was present, in whose arms it expired in twenty minutes after.  Mrs. Burt was conveyed to her mother's, when surgical aid was immediately procured, and the wounds dressed.  At present she is despaired of - indeed it is the opinion of the surgeons that she cannot recover.  In the mean time several neighbours, on hearing the cry of murder, rushed into the house, and secured the murderer, who made no resistance.  The poor woman, in endeavouring to ward off the blows of the knife from herself and her infant, received innumerable wounds in her hands and arms.  Burt is a journeyman shoemaker, and a native of Ditchling.  A Coroner's Inquest has been held, and a verdict of Wilful Murder returned against the prisoner.


Carmarthen Journal, 18 April 1828

DREADFUL EFFECTS OF SMUGGLING. - There have been committed to Horsham Gaol, within the last few weeks, no less than 13 men, charged with being concerned in the affray between the coastal blockade and a formidable gang of smugglers, in which a quarter-master of the service, of the name of Collins, and an old smuggler of the name of Timothy Smithurst, were killed, in a lane leading from the village of Bexhill to Sydney-green, six miles to the west of Hastings.  A coroner's inquest, which was held on the body of Collins, returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown.


Carmarthen Journal, 26 December 1828

HASTINGS. - On Monday a shocking occurrence took place here, which has involved a most respectable family on deep distress.  The daughter of Mr. H----- left her home unknown to her friends, and could not be found after the most diligent search.  It being known that she had laboured for some time under considerable depression of spirits, great alarm was felt by her anxious friends and relatives.  At length it was ascertained that she was seen by a young woman on the West Hill, from whence she was traced by her parents, by the mark of her clogs, one of which was found,  on the bank of an open well, where a bonnet was discovered on the surface of the water, and the body of the unfortunate woman was soon afterwards drawn up.  The usual means for recovering drowned persons were tried, but without success; life was extinct.  A Coroner's inquest has been held on the body; verdict returned - Found drowned. - Brighton Gazette.


Carmarthen Journal, 9 January 1829

   During the reading of the prayers at St. Peter's church, on Sunday last, a respectable looking female suddenly gave two piercing shrieks, and sunk down s senseless on the floor.  She was immediately raised and carried out, when she was discovered to be a person named Eddy, living as housekeeper to Mr. Ellis, in the London-road.  Medical assistance was at hand, but its application was in vain, as she breathed her last in about an hour and a half from the time she was carried home. - Brighton Herald.


Carmarthen Journal, 19 September 1829

   Tuesday last, at Mayfield, as Colonel Becher, of Tunbridge Wells, was in the act of putting a percussion cap on his gun, it unfortunately exploded at the instant his marker, named Fenner, was passing the muzzle.  The poor fellow received the whole contents of the charge though his body, exclaiming "I am shot ! pray for me !" and almost instantly expired.  An inquest was held on the body, when a verdict of Accidental Death was returned.


Carmarthen Journal, 25 December 1829

   On Saturday last four men, belonging to this place (Brighton), went off in a boat to hook for whiting.  When near Rottindean, they picked up a tub containing foreign spirits, which they breached, and drank of the contents so plentifully, that one of he party, named Marchant, fell insensibly from his seat to the bottom of the boat.  His companions, alarmed, rowed on shore, but by the time they arrived two others of them were almost lifeless from the effects of the liquid fire they had swallowed.  A cart was procured, and they were brought hither, when every means to restore them was tried; two recovered their senses, but Marchant gradually sank under the effects of the liquor, and on Sunday morning expired ! It is thought that one of the survivors will lose the use of his amps. - Brighton Herald.


Carmarthen Journal, 5 February 1830

BRIGHTON, JAN. 29. - A melancholy event took place here yesterday:- As three young ladies, sisters (the Misses Cliff) were returning from a ride in the neighbourhood of Kemptown, accompanied by Mr. Ross, the riding-master, one of them was taken suddenly ill, and fell from her horse; she was instantly conveyed to the county hospital (which was quite convenient to the spot,) as the nearest place where medical aid could be procured, where the young lady very shortly after expired.  It is supposed she was attacked by a fit of apoplexy: the horse was in a gentle canter at the moment she fell, previously to which h she was observed to turn quote pale.  .  .  .  . 

   A family of the first distinction in Brighton have been thrown into the airhost grief and affliction, in consequence of an attempt on the part of a young lady (a daughter) to destroy herself by poison yesterday morning,.  Medical aid having been obtained and effectual antidotes administered, hopes are entertained of her recovery.  A disappointment in love is said to have been the cause of this rash attempt at self-destruction.

   Yesterday afternoon a lady named Sich, was thrown from her horse, and killed on the spot.  The accident happened on the Marine parade, near Marine-square; it seems that the horse was  frightened at a carriage; he did not, however, set off at a very rapid pace, but it is supposed that the lady became so alarmed that she fell into a fit, and dropped from her seat, receiving the wound which caused her death.  She was conveyed to No. 14, Lower Rock-gardens, and an inquest will be held on the body.


Carmarthen Journal, 9 July 1830

SINGULAR AND FATAL ACCIDENT. - Mr. T. Scharnell, of Brighton, aged 66, was out with a party in a pleasure-boat on Monday, for a day's shooting, when some willocks suddenly rose in advance of the boat, and in the haste of getting up two guns to discharge at the flight, a rope caught the trigger of one just as the muzzle was on a level with Mr. Scharnell; the piece exploded, and the charge completely cut the throat across as though lacerated by a knife.  The party were three leagues from shore, with wind and tide against them, and the unfortunate man bled to death ere they could make land.  He survived the accident an hour.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 1 January 1831

A THIEF SHOT BY A SOLDIER. - On Wednesday evening, the 23d, a considerable number of wagons, laden with baggage, belonging to the 5th Dragoon Guards, arrived at Uckfield, on their way to Brighton, where they stopped for the night, sentinels, as usual, being appointed to protect the property.  In the evening, a man took an opportunity, as he though unperceived, of stealing a great coat.  The sentinel witnessed the act of thievery, and called upon the perpetrator three times to stop, but the unfortunate wretch disobeying the injunction, the soldier fired at him, and the ball passed through his neck.  He was still alive when the wagons left on Thursday, but his recovery was considered very doubtful.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 15 January 1831


   On Friday an inquest was held before the coroner for Hastings, on the bodies of two men, named William Crittenden, of Hastings, and George Harrod, of Gestling.  It appears that on Wednesday last, a seaman belonging to the Hyperion, was on duty on the beach, when he observed a sloop show a light about two miles from land.  Soon after a boat left her, and made towards shore, two rowing, and one at the stern.  Rixton went up to the cliff, and saw about thirty or forty men with long sticks, who, he  said looked like soldiers with muskets.  As soon as he hailed them, another party, which he had not seen before, attacked two men who were on duty near him; the first party threatened to cut Rixton's throat if he made an alarm, but he immediately fired his pistol for assistance.  The smugglers knocked him down, and beat him in a very cruel manner.  A number of the blockade man came up and attacked the smugglers, and in a short time completely routed them, and captured the boat, which contained 93 tubs of spirits.  The deceased who belonged to the smugglers' party were killed by gun-shots.  The coroner on his address to the jury, said it was not made out in evidence who had fired the fatal shots; the act of parliament was so strongly worded as to authorize that the men on duty were justified in firing, even if not attacked, to prevent contraband goods being run.  The jury, after being closeted for about a quarter of an hour, brought in the verdict, That Wm. Crittenden and Joseph Harrod died from gun-shot wounds, inflicted by some person or persons unknown; but that it was justifiable homicide on the part of those who shot them.  A blockade man, named Dunee, was so severely beaten that he is not expected to recover.


Carmarthen Journal, 19 August 1831

HORRIBLE MURDER. - Brighton, Aug 13. - One f he most appalling and inhuman murders in the annals of crime has been recently committed in the vicinity of this place, upon which a coroner's inquest is sitting at this moment.  It appears in evidence hat a fisherman of this town, at an early our yesterday(Saturday) morning having gone into a copse belonging to Mr. Standfortd, of Preston, midway between Brighton and the latter village, discovered part of a woman's dress protruding through the earth, upon which he went to the constable at Preston, who accompanied him to the spot, and upon clearing away the earth, discovered the trunk of a human being, having the head, arms, thigh, and legs, severed from it - the thighs only were found with the body, the ands, arms, and legs, have not yet been discovered. 

   On a surgeon opening the body, a male child about eight months old was taken out of the womb.  The deceased has been identified by several persons by the dress, and appears to be Celia Holloway, the wife of John Holloway, both natives of this county. 

   It also appears that the husband for several years, has not lived with his wife, only occasionally visiting her.  About a month back he called at her lodgings, and induced the deceased to accompany him from it, since when the deceased has not been seen.   Some short time back the husband was compelled by the parish to allow his wife 2s. per week for her maintenance, which sum he usually sent by a woman with whom he cohabited.  Holloway and this woman are both arrested, and are at the coroner's inquest.

    By the testimony of several surgeons, who have been examined by the crooner, it appears that the deceased must have been murdered about three or four weeks back, which corresponds with the time of her husband taking her away from her lodgings.  The sensation of horror which this affair has excited is indescribable.  Thousands of persons flock to view the remains, which are deposited in a barn of Mr. Standford's near where they were found.  Mr. Gell, the coroner, and a most respectable jury, are examining witnesses; it is supposed the investigation will not terminate ro0day.


The Cambrian, 27 August 1831.


   About n days since, parts of the mangled remains of a woman named Celia Holloway, wife of a man in the Coastal Blockade, were found interred in a copse at Preston, near Brighton, and a foetus of what turned out to be a male child, fully formed, protruding from the trunk !  The head and other parts of the body were found on Tuesday, in an outhouse not far from where Holloway, her husband, lived.  The limbs, as it was stated by a surgeon at the inquest, had been removed in a way that few persons acquainted with disjointing could have managed.

   It turns out that Holloway had at one time been a butcher; afterwards he became a brock0layer.  His marriage with the murdered woman was a compulsory one; she as with child by him, and the prudent churchwardens  forced him to marry her.  He was then 19, and his partner 20; this was six years ago.  At the time of the above discovery he was living with another woman named  An Kennard; who, on being taken into custody, represented tat Holloway had married her on the 16th March last, under the name of Goldsmith. He same night Holloway voluntarily surrendered himself to the Police Authorities; and he has been  committed to Horsham Gaol.  When  examined, he merely said he had parted with his wife (the murdered woman) about a month ahoy, when she went towards London.  He was known to have habitually ill-treated her. 

   On Saturday, however, Holloway made a voluntary confession before the magistrates at Horsham, in which he smoke of cutting his wife's body with his own bread-0and0cheese knife, just as if he was telling about having slaughtered a seep, and with as much remorse as if he had killed a dog.  After stating that his wife's relations behaved unkindly to him, and drove him from home, and that his wife had done every thing she could to destroy his peace of mind, he determined (he said( to be revenged on them all, buy murdering her; that having in vain tried to  persuade her to walk out with him, that he might secretly despatch her, he took the house in Donkey-row, and under pretence of again living with her, he induced her to accompany him, without her having the least suspicion of his diabolical intentions.  After he got her inside the house, he seized her by the throat unawares, and she fell to the ground.  He drew her under a chest of drawers, and  continued pressing upon her throat with all his force, until he had strangled her.  When she had ceased struggling, he took out his knife and cut the throat.  He did not strip the body; but finding that he could not carry off the corpse whole, so as to dispose of it in a secret lace, he determined to cut it in pieces, to enable him to remove a part at different times.  He cut off the head, and divided the limbs with his knife, ad cut her u=in the manner in which the remains of the body were found. He put the trunk of the deceased and the thighs into a box, and he carried them to the place (the Lovers'-walk) at Preston where he dug a hole and buried them.  [He did not allude to the head and limbs being found in the privy.[ He was the only person in the house when the murder was committed - "he alone did it; he was the  guilty person, and no one else."  He was prompted to do it from a feeling of revenge towards his wife and her relations.

   The Magistrates, having read the statement to the prisoner, which was taken down in writing by Mr. Steadman (their clerk), the prisoner took up a pen and signed his name to the paper.  He was then removed to his cell in the gaol, and observed that his mind was relieved of a great burden.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 3 September 1831

   The Sussex Advertiser says, we learn from Horsham, that the atrocious culprit John Holloway, horrified by the recollection of his own iniquities, is now in a state of raving madness.


Carmarthen Journal, 9 September 1831

ANOTHER WOMAN KILED. - An inquest was held on Tuesday and Wednesday, at Rottingdean on the body of Mary Dunn, who was found on Monday morning dead on the beach near Blackrock.  It appeared that she and some other woman had been drinking on Sunday with two young men, named Helmsley and Brooker, and that the deceased retired with Helmsley to a field.  He was very much intoxicated, and shortly after challenged her with having robbed, and struck her.  Brooker begged him not to do her any injury and left them.  This, at least, was Brooker's statement; such strong suspicion was excited against both of having  thrown her over the cliff, that the Jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against them, and they stand committed for trial on that charge.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 17 September 1831

   On Saturday afternoon last, as some chidden were playing together on the steps of a house in Brighton, one of them, having some damsons, said, playfully, to a little boy named Charles Holford, "Open your mouth and shut your eyes, and see what God will send you." Te boy immediately held back his head, and, shutting his eyes, opened his mouth, when the other dropped a plum into it, which slipped into his gullet, and stuck fast, and before medical aid could be procured the poor little fellow was a corpse.  An inquest was held on the next day on the body - Verdict, Accidental death.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 17 December 1831

ANOTHER SUPPOSED MURDER. - On Tuesday se'nnight, the body of a female, without head or arms, was discovered on the beach, near Brighton.  A coroner's inquest has been held on the body; and, from the evidence adduced, it appears to be the body of a young woman, named Hannah Hobbs, who has been missing fro m her friends two or three days previous to the discovery of h body, and was last seen in the company of a saddler; for whose discovery a strict search is being made.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 17 December 1831

TRIAL OF HOLLOWAY FOR THE MURDER OF HIS WIFE. - This wretched man was tried at Lewes on the 14th instant, and found guilty.  Ann Kennnett, the woman with whom he lived, was acquitted of the capital charge. [Particulars of his speech in defence.] After the jury had returned their verdict of guilty against Holloway, the judge sentenced him to be executed at Horsham on Monday night, upon which the prisoner ejaculated "Amen."


The Cambrian, 17 December 1831

   The mutilated body of a female - (the arms were wanting) - was found beyond Hove, near Brighton, on Tuesday.  Some days before, a girl, the sister of Mr. Hobbs, tinman, had disappeared; the body found is supposed to be that of the missing female; and, from the examination of the medical men, there appears reason for attributing her death to violent means.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 5 May 1832
  A fatal accident occurred to a young man named Westgate, on Saturday last, in a wood at Ripe near Lewes.  The unfortunate man went out with his gun, and observed a very beautiful species of snake lying extended on the ground, which he attempted to catch, by placing the butt-end of his gun upon it; but in doing so the gun unfortunately exploded, and discharged the whole of its contents through his arm, a little below the shoulder.  He immediately ran across an adjoining field to the nearest cottage, and arrived there almost exhausted from the loss of blood.  A poor woman, who was the only person at home, humanely rendered him all the assistance in her power, and wrapped her apron round his arm to staunch the blood.  The wound was examined and dressed soon afterwards by a surgeon, but it was of so serious a nature that he survived but a short time.

Monmouthshire Merlin, 5 May 1832
  Easter Monday evening, a party of labourers were assembled drinking and card playing at the Richmond Arms, Brighton, when a dispute having arisen between two of them, named James Launder and James Gale, they adjourned to the hill at the back of the house, to settle the affair by a pitched battle.  In the first round Launder received a blow from his antagonist which rendered him senseless.  He was conveyed to the Richmond Arms Inn, and a surgeon sent for, but before he arrived Launder was a corpse.  The body was conveyed, about three in the morning, to the Town hall, followed by his widow, whose shrieks and lamentations were of the most heart-rending description.  Tuesday evening an inquest was taken at the White Horse Inn, on the body.  Gale was present during the proceedings; he appeared very dejected, and his eyes were red and swollen with crying.  Several witnesses were examined, but the jury not feeling perfectly satisfied with the evidence adduced, the inquest was adjourned to Thursday, on which day a verdict was returned of Manslaughter against James Gale, and he was committed to Horsham gaol.

Monmouthshire Merlin, 9 June 1832        
FATAL OCCURRENCE. - A melancholy circumstance arising from firearms being left loaded within the reach of  children occurred at the Burrell's Arms, West Grinstead, a few days since.  Two boys, sons of the landlord, Mr. Munnery, had returned from school, and went up stairs into a room where an old pistol was hanging up.  Not knowing that it was charged, one of the youths took it down and presenting it in a playful manner at his brother, and said "I'll shoot you," at the same time pulling the trigger.  The piece exploded, and lodged the whole of its contents in the head of the hapless boy, who expired in a few minutes.  The mother of the deceased has since been in a state bordering upon distraction.  Verdict at the inquest - Acidental Death.

Monmouthshire Merlin, 2 June 1832
  A coroner's inquest was held on the body of Captain George Burnett, R.N. on Tuesday se'nnight, at the Castle Inn, Brighton.  It appears that Captain Burdett sent a prescription to a chemist's shop to be made up; the shopman, however, by mistake put the label upon a liniment, a preparation from the oil of tar, which the captain unfortunately took.  He consequently became very ill, and died on Saturday morning.  The jury returned a verdict of Manslaughter against Heath, the shopman, who is at present at large, he having been discharged by his master on account of the culpable neglect.


Cambrian, 8 June 1833
DEATH BY ACCIDENT OF THE HON. W. LEVESON GOWER. - An accident which terminated fatally, befell the Hon. William Leveson Gower on Thursday last, at his uncle's, the Duke of Devonshire, in Kemp-town. The deceased was in his 16th year, and a son of Lord Granville, the British Ambassador at Paris, and a pupil at a school in Kemp-town; but having for years laboured under a paralytic affection which deprived him of the use of his legs, he was constantly carried about.  On Thursday the young gentleman had been to his uncle's to pass the day, and as his servant was carrying him down stairs, the man stumbled and fell with some violence.  Although apparently at the time not much injured, the young gentleman died in Sunday.  A jury sat on the body, and returned a verdict, Died of paralysis, accelerated by an accidental fall on the 23rd of May. - Brighton paper.

Monmouthshire Merlin, 15 June 1833
  On Sunday afternoon as Mr. Arnold, baker, at Hove, was on the beach amusing himself by sending his dog into the water, the animal suddenly dived to the bottom and brought up the body of a female, very decently dressed.  She was quite dead, and had evidently not been in the water more than a day; but was much bruised and injured.  Nineteen shillings and fourpence halfpenny were found in her pocket.  A shutter was procured and the body removed to the Blockade House.  An inquest was held next morning at the Ship public house, and a verdict of Found drowned returned. The body has not yet been recognised. - Brighton Guardian.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School