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Ann Cruttenden - Burnt at the Stake


Historical


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Catherine Hayes was burned at the stake at Tyburn on 9th May 1726.

Ann Cruttenden was born around 1696. She may have been born Crouch and her first marriage was to someone by the name of French.

On 17 October 1768 this rather elderly lady married Joseph Cruttenden, many years he younger at Catsfield, Sussex by licence.

Joseph was a bachelor and had been baptised at nearby Brightling on 16 September 1733 the son of Joseph Cruttenden and Mary Freeman. The family were well established as butchers in the area.

The marriage obviously ran into difficulties and on 15 June 1776 she took a knife to him and killed him.

An Inquest was held at Brightling on 22 June by the Coroner John Tilden. He was convinced she murdered her husband and on the same day she was conveyed to Horsham Gaol.

At the Horsham Assizes on 5 August 1776 she was indicted for, and convicted, of her husband's murder.

 

"Let her be Drawn on a Hurdle to the place of Execution on Thursday next and there to be Burnt with Fire until She be Dead."

 

What would conditions have been like in Horsham Gaol? 

 

At the time of John Howard's denunciation of the prisons of England to the House of Commons in 1774 the Horsham gaol was described as filthy and unsafe. In his report of it Howard says : " The wards are dark, dirty, and small and in no way proportioned to the number of unhappy persons confined there. There is not the least outlet for felons or debtors but the poor unhappy creatures are ever confined without the least breath of fresh air. The rooms are too small except the freeward for the debtors: no straw: no court and yet ground enough for one behind the gaol. Transports convicted at Quarter Sessions had, as those condemned at Assizes the King's allowance of 2s. 6d. per week."

 

What was said at the Inquest?

 

An Inquisition Indented taken for our Sovereign Lord the King at the parish of Brightling in the hundred of Netherfield within the Rape of Hastings in the County of Sussex on Saturday the Twenty Second Day of June in the Sixteenth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third now King of Great Britain &c Before John Tilden Gentleman Coroner of our said Lord the King of the said Rape of Hastings in the County aforesaid Upon View of the Body of Joseph Cruttenden then and there lying Dead by the Oath of William Gregson James Little John Croft Thomas Croft Edward Batchellor William Hoyle Thomas Marchant John Croft the younger John Devonish Isaac Veness William Honeysett and David Honeysett good and lawfull Men of the four next adjacient Villages was Adjoining to the parish of Brightling in the County aforesaid who then and there being Sworn and charged to Enquire for our said Lord the King when where # # how and in what manner the said Joseph Cruttenden Came by his Death do say upon their Oath that .

Judgmt on Indictmt [Judgement on Indictment]


Ann Cruttenden of the parish aforesaid Widow late the Wife of the said Joseph Cruttenden deceased not having the Fear of God before her Eyes but being moved and Seduced by the Instigation of the Devil on the Fifteenth Day of June in the Sixteenth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third now King of Great Britain &c with force and Arms at the parish aforesaid in the County aforesaid in and upon the said Joseph Cruttenden her Husband in the peace of God and our said Lord the King then and therebeing feloniously Traitorously Wilfully and of her Malice aforethought did make an Assault And that She the said Ann with a certain Knife of the value of Two pence which she the said Ann in her Right hand then and there had and held # # # # # in and upon the Right Side of the Neck of him the said Joseph then and there feloniously Traitorously Wilfully and of her Malice aforethought did strike and thrust giving to him the said Joseph in and upon the Right side of the Neck of him the said Joseph One Mortal Wound of the Breadth of Two Inches # # # and of the Depth of half an Inch # # # of which said Mortal Wound he the said Joseph then and there Instantly Died And so the Jurors aforesaid upon their Oath aforesaid do Say that she the said Ann him the said Joseph in manner and form aforesaid then and there feloniously Traitorously Wilfully and of her Malice aforethought did Kill and Murder against the peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity And the Jurors aforesaid upon their Oath aforesaid do further Say that the said Ann Cruttenden at the Time of the Felony Treason and Murder aforesaid by her done Committed or at any time Afterwards had not nor as yet hath any Goods or Chattles Lands or Tenements whatsoever in the said County or elsewhere to the knowledge of the said Jurors In Testimony whereof as well as the said Coroner as the said Jurors to their Inquisition have Set their Hands and Seals the Day and Year first above written.

John Tilden - Coroner

[Source: TNA ASSI 94/1146(6). Crown Copyright.]

 

Indictment of Ann Cruttenden at Horsham Assizes, 5th August 1776

The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their Oath Present That Ann the Wife of Joseph Cruttenden late of the Parish of Brightling in the County of Sussex Butcher not having the fear of God before her Eyes but being moved and seduced by the Instigation of the Devil on the fifteenth day of June in the Sixteenth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third now King of Great Britain &c with force and Arms at the Parish aforesaid in the County aforesaid in and upon the said Joseph Cruttenden her Husband in the peace of God and our said Lord the King then and there being feloniously Traitorously Wilfully and of her malice afterthought did make an Assault And that she the said Ann with a certain Knife of the Value of two pence which she the said Ann in her right hand then and there had and held in and upon the right side of the neck of him the said Joseph then and there feloniously Traitorously Wilfully and of her Malice aforethought did strike and thrust giving to him the said Joseph in and upon the right side of the neck of him the said Joseph one Mortal Wound of the breadth of two Inches ______ and of the Depth of half an Inch of which said Mortal Wound he the said Joseph then and there Instantly Died And so the Jurors aforesaid upon their Oath aforesaid do say that she the said Ann him the said Joseph in manner and form aforesaid then and there feloniously Traitorously Wilfully and of her Malice aforethought did kill and murder against the peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity./ Knapp

Po So Guilty no Chattles to be Drawn on a Hurdle and Burned with fire until she be dead on Thursday next.


[Source: TNA ASSI 94/1146(6). Crown Copyright.]

 

Mr John Baker lived in Horsham during these times, which he recorded in his diary.

 

1776 Aug 6

Widow Cruttenden was tried before dinner. She was found guilty and, as the law says, instantly condemned to be hanged and burnt, the second day after conviction, viz: on Thursday, but ar'nt sure that she will be reprieved.

1776 Aug 8

A little after 12 Anne Cruttenden for the murther of her husband was carried out by our gate to be hanged and burnt. She was so low and the crowd so great we could see nothing of her from our windows.

Ian Cruttenden 2005

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