Mary Heald, a quaker from Tatton near Knutsford, was convicted of the murder of her husband, Samuel. She put arsenic in his ‘fleetings’, a form of porridge, and was committed to the castle at Chester, following an inquest into her husbands death. They had been married for 20 years, and left 5 children orphans.
This was the last time burning was used as a punishment in Chester, and took place at Boughton, the traditional site for executions in Chester. Mary was sentenced to die three days after the trial, but was allowed a few extra days so the execution could take place on a Saturday where more people could be present. She was first strung up ‘ to a pole and strangled’ before the fire was set.
Published: Thursday 28 April 1763
Newspaper: Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette
From the historical records of the Chester City Assembly:
“Upon reading the petition of Sheriffs John Drake and Wm Dicas for 12 pounds,16 shillings and 8 pence expenses for the execution of Mary Heald, who was burned at Spittle Boughton on Saturday 23 April (1763) for the murder (by poisoning) of her husband, which exceeded those normally disbursed by the Sheriffs for the common execution of felons and malefactors, the Treasurer was orderedd to pay the same.”