Office opens files on brutal Hankelow murder
THE County Record
Office recently opened its files on one of Cheshires most
brutal crimes of passion, a Lady Chatterleystyle romance that
ended with a slaying
and sent a woman and her servant lover
to the Chester gallows.
Documents relating to the grisly mur der of wealthy farmer George
Morrey went on show at the Record Office , in Duke Street, Chester,
On April 11, 1812, Morrey was found on the bedroom floor of his
Hankelow farmhouse. His throat had been slashed with a razor and
his head almost decapitated by an axe.
John Lomas, the servant, later confessed to the crime but revealed
that he had been persuaded to murder by his mistress, who actually
held a candle whilst the blows were struck.
A short time after being arrested, the victims wife Edith,
35, attempted to cut her own throat - but was saved by the surgeons
Being pregnant, her date with the hangman was postponed
only until four months after the birth of a son.
After their executions both lovers had their bodies dissected in
the interests of medical science. Ediths went on public view
Said Archivist Caroline Picco: "The case certainly diverted
local attention from the Napoleonic War and provided the papers
with endless scope for boosting circulations.
"Strangely perhaps, there was some sympathy for Lomas, who
many thought had been seduced into committing the crime but relatively
little for Edith, very much regarded as the wicked lady."
The black events at Hankelow have now, centuries later, provided
enough material for a book ,"Rope Dance" by the Chester
author Maureen Neild .
Other displays at the County Record Office Open Day included a medical
and recipe book compiled by members of the Stanley family between
1620 and 1760, with the Countesse of Derbyes dyett drinke
and Mr.Bates local medicaments for the small .
The award winning Cheshire and Chester Archives and Local Studies
Service is the Guardian of 900 years of local history.
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