Author Topic: Chester General Infirmary and the Fate of Executed Convicts, Early 19th Century  (Read 530 times)

Offline JenB

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 15,292
    • View Profile
Re: Chester General Infirmary and the Fate of Executed Convicts, Early 19th Century
« Reply #9 on: Saturday 26 December 20 19:06 GMT (UK) »
I expect you've got this, but just in case....

The body was to be delivered to Griffith Rowlands, Surgeon, for dissection.
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34Q-6PF3?i=77&cat=345316
All Census Look Ups Are Crown Copyright from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline hanes teulu

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 5,961
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Chester General Infirmary and the Fate of Executed Convicts, Early 19th Century
« Reply #10 on: Saturday 26 December 20 20:02 GMT (UK) »
I was drawn to the "public dissection" and was wondering how public was public? 
S. Wales, Somerset, Devon - Oxenham

Aberavon - Hopkin/s, Jenkins, Thomas
St. Brides/Wick - Jenkins
Llanblethian -  Price
Abergwynfi -  Han(d)ford
Pontardawe -  Lewis.

Offline Buffnut453

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 77
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Chester General Infirmary and the Fate of Executed Convicts, Early 19th Century
« Reply #11 on: Saturday 26 December 20 20:08 GMT (UK) »
I expect you've got this, but just in case....

The body was to be delivered to Griffith Rowlands, Surgeon, for dissection.
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34Q-6PF3?i=77&cat=345316

Wow!  Many thanks JenB.  I hadn't seen that record.  Not only does it give me a name, but reading the small handwriting at the bottom it appears to give a location. 

If I'm reading it right, it says "The said Done died penitent but denied the murder - was dissected and anatomized in the Exchequer or Quarter Sessions room - now building but not compleat." 

If I'm understanding the rather truncated language correctly, it sounds like Thomas Done's body was taken back to the Quarter Sessions room in the Shire Hall for dissection. 

So the General Infirmary is off the list of locations where he would have been dissected.  The next obvious question is what happened to his body?  I'm guessing it was disposed of poorly given the disdain with which convicts were treated in those times. 


Offline hanes teulu

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 5,961
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Chester General Infirmary and the Fate of Executed Convicts, Early 19th Century
« Reply #12 on: Saturday 26 December 20 20:44 GMT (UK) »
There's description of an 1812 execution at Chester Gaol
http://chester.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Execution_at_Chester

See "Edith Morrey"

One of the provisions of the 1752 Murder Act included " ... in no case whatsoever shall the body of any murderer be suffered to be buried."
S. Wales, Somerset, Devon - Oxenham

Aberavon - Hopkin/s, Jenkins, Thomas
St. Brides/Wick - Jenkins
Llanblethian -  Price
Abergwynfi -  Han(d)ford
Pontardawe -  Lewis.

Offline Ray T

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,156
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Chester General Infirmary and the Fate of Executed Convicts, Early 19th Century
« Reply #13 on: Saturday 26 December 20 22:48 GMT (UK) »
The “graveyard” now appears to be within the curtilage of the Queen’s School which itself sits on the site of the prison. You can visit the green space on Google Earth - theres a photo sphere point right in the middle of it which will give you a panoramic view.

My firet port of call would be the Cheshire Archives, which are less than half a mile down the road.

I’m looking at it on an iPad - haven’t tried it on the dektop.

Offline Buffnut453

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 77
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Chester General Infirmary and the Fate of Executed Convicts, Early 19th Century
« Reply #14 on: Saturday 26 December 20 22:53 GMT (UK) »
There's description of an 1812 execution at Chester Gaol
http://chester.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Execution_at_Chester

See "Edith Morrey"

One of the provisions of the 1752 Murder Act included " ... in no case whatsoever shall the body of any murderer be suffered to be buried."

Thanks for that pointer.  It is entirely possible that the dissection was completed at the Infirmary and then the body transported for public display at the County Hall.  Certainly, that seems a plausible explanation...plus it would allow for proper clean up of the corpse before display.  Trying to perform a full dissection at the County Hall seems something of a stretch...at least it does to me. 

Offline Buffnut453

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 77
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Chester General Infirmary and the Fate of Executed Convicts, Early 19th Century
« Reply #15 on: Saturday 26 December 20 22:55 GMT (UK) »
I’m looking at it on an iPad - haven’t tried it on the dektop.

I'll have to try other devices and see if I can glean any other details. 

I do wonder if the young ladies realize that their school is sitting atop the former sites of a gallows and graveyard.  Hope they're not squeamish.

Offline Rena

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 3,854
  • Crown Copyright: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Chester General Infirmary and the Fate of Executed Convicts, Early 19th Century
« Reply #16 on: Sunday 27 December 20 02:32 GMT (UK) »
Prisoners were usually buried in jail graveyards and murderers could not be buried in consecrated ground.

In my lifetime bodies could be legally dissected by surgeons if a patient died in a teaching hospital (where selected body parts would be placed in pickling jars), or if the body was that of a murderer. 

Originally there were two official types of surgeons = barber surgeon and the medical surgeon.   As surgeons were not paid by the taxpayer, he would probably charge a fee for viewing the dissection. Presumably the date would be published for thde public viewing and a large enough room would have to b e organised.  As the public in general knew what lay in store for murdering somebody = public hanging and public dissection this knowledge was supposed to deter people from commiting such acts.

Below are a couple of links explaining the various Legal Acts, but you need local knowledge for which graveyard.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4582158/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK384645/
Aberdeen: Findlay-Shirras,McCarthy<br />MidLothian: Mason,Telford,Darling,Cruikshanks,Bennett,Sime, Bell<br />Lanarks:Crum, Brown, MacKenzie,Cameron, Glen, Millar
Ross, Urray:Mackenzie<br />Moray: Findlay; Marshall/Marischell<br />Perthshire: Brown Ferguson<br />Wales: McCarthy, Thomas<br />England: Almond, Askin, Dodson, Harrison, Maw, McCarthy, Munford, Pye, Shearing, Smith, Smythe, Speight, Strike, Wallis/Wallace, Ward, Wells<br />Germany: Flamme,Ehlers, Bielstein, Germer, Mohlm, Reupke

Offline Ray T

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,156
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Chester General Infirmary and the Fate of Executed Convicts, Early 19th Century
« Reply #17 on: Sunday 27 December 20 09:30 GMT (UK) »
I’m looking at it on an iPad - haven’t tried it on the dektop.

I'll have to try other devices and see if I can glean any other details. 

I do wonder if the young ladies realize that their school is sitting atop the former sites of a gallows and graveyard.  Hope they're not squeamish.

You could always write and ask them. Along the lines of - “I am researching the lifeof my ancestor who was hanged on the site of your school in .....”.