Richard and Elizabeth Pinckard were wealthy
farmers in the hamlet of Thrupp. Their son, John Mutton Pinckard, and his wife,
Early in the morning of Friday 3 October 1851,
John and Richard Pinckard went to Daventry Fair.
It wasn’t until 5.30pm that evening that the body
A doctor was called and at the scene gave his opinion of death as suicide by strangulation by the apron tape. A later post mortem revealed that Mrs Pinckard had indeed died of strangulation - but only after she had been knocked senseless by a blow to the head.
Mrs Pinckard's body had not lost any blood, but
smears were found on
Elizabeth Pinckard was tried for murder and found
guilty. But there was much sympathy for her, and a large faction contended that
her crime was manslaughter and not murder and that she should not hang. The
The local newspaper, the Northampton Mercury, reported her execution on 20 March 1852
'On the fatal morning [Tuesday 16 March] Elizabeth Pinckard attended prayers in the chapel and when the hymn was sung her voice was heard above the rest, and firmer than any. The last verse she repeated of her own accord. In the pinioning room she offered up an extempore prayer, with great fervour and distinctness. At her own request the cap was drawn over her eyes before she went up to the drop; but her remarkable firmness and self-possession continued to the last, and she ascended the steps, happening to step on her dress, she raised it well as she could with her pinioned hands, and went on without further assistance. She stood quietly and firmly on the fatal spot in which she was placed by Calcraft the executioner, and the bolt was struck immediately after. The fall was considerable, and death ensued in a few seconds. A shriek was heard in many parts of the crowd at the fatal moment and an impression is abroad that it came from the unhappy prisoner. Nothing of the kind however escaped her lips.'
and his son John left for
am now about 55 years of age. I don’t know where I was born nor where my
parents belonged to at that time. Afterwards my Father was a Butcher and gained
a Settlement at Duston by renting a Farm. I went when a Child to reside with my
Uncle Samuel Pinckard at Grimscote. I never gained a Settlement in my own right
up to the time of my marriage. I was lawfully married about 31 years ago in
I considered myself as joint Occupier with him for the time for 1 ½ year. His name was in Rate Book – my son paid the Rent and Rates. I then went to live at Tiffield with my Brother. I have done no other act to gain a Settlement. I am now in Workhouse and leaving this morning. I have no rec’ts for rent. My Son had them. I don’t know whether my Name was in Rate Book or not. I went to
This is a remarkable document, as there is no mention of the murder, only that “my Son and his wife behaved so bad that I was obliged to leave”. The understatement of the century!
went to live with his brother William in Poplar,