Mother Severed Baby's Head 1843

Note: There is a register of birth for a Phoebe Jessop in the December Quarter of 1842 (Spilsby Registration District), and a death for the same name in the June Quarter of 1843, which concurs with the date of the newspaper article.

There is no death listed for another Jessop (the mother) around the same time, though the article leads the reader to conclude that the mother also died.

There is just one family by the name of Jessop living in ‘Town’s Yard’, Winthorpe on the 1841 census – a Martin Jessop and his wife, Elizabeth, along with their children. The same family can be seen on the 1851 census, though not in Winthorpe.

Without purchasing the baby’s birth/death certificate, it is impossible to progress with more research.

A scene of a most appalling nature occurred last week at the village of Winthorpe, near Skegness.

A poor woman named Jessop, in a moment of phrensy, brought on by dissipated habits and brutal conduct of her husband, severed the head from the body of her infant, four months old.

She then cut her own throat in such a manner as to render medical aid unavailing.

Source: The Jackson’s Oxford Journal (Oxford, England), Saturday, May 6, 1843

Update May, 2012 – I have now discovered a follow-up story in the Lincolnshire Chronicle which confirms the baby to be Phoebe Jessup, and that the mother did in fact survive:

‘The Winthorpe Murder.— Elizabeth Jessup, who has been in gaol ever since May, 1843, charged with the murder of Phoebe Jessup, of Winthorpe, was ordered to be continued in custody. Prisoner is insane, but an order has not yet been received for her removal to a lunatic asylum.

Source: Lincolnshire Chronicle – Friday 27 December 1844



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