Monday 25 July 2011

The Oldknow Tragedy

In the absence of any news to report on today, I reproduce below a sad story sent to me by William P.Cross of London.  It does, though, have a happy ending of sorts...

The Suicide of Thomas Oldknow & Murder of His Children

[From the Manchester Mercury of Tuesday 12th May 1812]

On Sunday week in the evening a dreadful circumstance occurred at Nottingham. Mr.Oldknow, a respectable draper of the Market Place in the town who had a house in Park Row, went with his wife and two children to spend the day with a relation in Mount Street. About six in the evening he returned home with the children and sent the only servant who was in the house to attend chapel. Soon after he was left alone with the children it is supposed he, in a paroxysm of mental derangement, formed the horrid resolution of cutting the throats of the little innocents and of destroying himself and he executed his dreadful purpose, by almost severing the heads of the children from their bodies and then discharging a pistol down his own throat. On the return of Mrs.Oldknow, about 9 o'clock the shocking sight presented itself of the three lying dead in the parlour, weltering in their blood. One of the children was 6 years and a half old and the other younger and the heartbroken widow is in a state of pregnancy. A coroner's inquest sat on the bodies on Monday and in the case of Mr.Oldknow returned a verdict of lunacy; embarrassed circumstances are supposed to have occasioned the derangement of his mind, as he had some days before acted in a way which betrayed a disordered brain. The three bodies were interred on Wednesday in a vault in St.Nicholas' Church.

The burial details for Thomas, Ann and Henry Oldknow were registered in the St.Nicholas' Church Register on 6th May 1812.  It transpires that the little girl was six and a half years old and the little boy nine months. But, on a happier note, the unborn child of Mrs Ann Oldknow entered this world and made a success of her life, marrying, in 1830, a gentleman who became Rector of Costock, which is a village next to East Leake, on the Leicestershire-Nottinghamshire border. They had four children.

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