|Gedney Church, Lincolnshire|
|My three times great auntie on my fathers mothers side was Priscilla Biggadyke, who achieved fame in 1868 as "The Stickney Murderess".
Born in Gedney, Lincolnshire in 1833, Priscilla Whiley married Richard Biggadyke in 1855 and they had three children, the last a baby in 1868, born in the village of Stickney.
From prison records and contemporary newspaper reports, it would seem that all was not well in their marriage by September of that year.
|They had two lodgers, George Ironmonger and Thomas Proctor living in what was reported to be a two roomed house. Perhaps its not too suprising that Priscilla was accused of having an affair with one of them under those conditions.
It was reported that Richard thought his last child might not be his, and that Priscilla was laying with Thomas Proctor whilst he was at work. There is no outright denial by either Priscilla or Thomas Proctor about this.cord
|The Lucy Tower|
|On the night of 30th September 1868, Richard returned from work and was given tea and cake by his wife. Shortly after this he became violently ill, and Priscilla eventually called a doctor because he was in so much pain. Despite giving medication, Richard died at 6am the following morning.
Priscilla had bought some "white Mercury" earlier in the month, today known as Arsenic, with which to kill rats. This was the largest piece of evidence against her.
|Graves in the Lucy Tower - Priscilla is second left.|
|Priscilla was arrested and accused of the murder of her husband by poisoning.
She claimed it was Proctor who added the poison to Richards tea, and that he later added more poison to Richards medicine from the Doctor. However, although arrested and questioned, Proctor was aquitted.
Priscilla was imprisoned at Lincoln jail, inside the Castle. Her baby came with her but was weaned and taken to the Workhouse, where she died two years later.
Priscilla was found guilty and sentenced to hang from the gallows on 28th December 1868. She was hung by Thomas Askern but reports claimed he did not do his work well. It would appear that the noose was reversed and Priscilla hung for some time before dying, strangling rather than having her neck broken.
Her body was interred in The Lucy Tower at Lincoln Castle, the burial place of those condemed to death.
Thomas Proctor died in 1882. He made a deathbed confession to the murder, which was reported in the Daily Telegraph, and Priscilla received a posthumus pardon. Her grave still lies in the Lucy Tower at Lincoln Castle, forgotten by most, but not by all.
|Click below to read the reports of her trial...|