Saturday 5th October saw the first of two Unlocking Warwick events for the 2019 Warwick Words History Festival. Paula Fletcher told true stories of some rather lurid murders in Warwick and Warwickshire on her ‘Gallows Tours’ around the centre of town.
When her original tour had sold out almost immediately, Paula offered a second tour a couple of hours later; that also sold out, so more than 50 people heard about local crime and punishment cases in 18th and 19th Century Warwick.
These included the ‘Mad Parson’ who shot his 14 year old servant girl; the man who cut the throat of his pregnant mistress, and the tragic case of a wife and mother of 4 who severed the head of her 2 month old baby.
Despite the grim subject matter, each tour was an enjoyable romp through the period when judges seemed to enjoy pronouncing the death sentence, and public hangings at the gibbet in Barrack Street were commonplace.
Meantime, other members of the Unlocking Warwick volunteers were preparing to continue the murder theme by setting up the Court House ballroom for the re-enactment of the 1817 Trial of Abraham Thornton for the Murder of Mary Ashford the following evening – one of the final events of the main week of the Warwick Words History Festival.