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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Burial of man hanged in Bristol in 1821 to take place

Burial of man hanged in Bristol in 1821 to take place

A man who was hanged for murder in Bristol 190 years ago is due to be given a proper burial later.

John Horwood was sentenced to death in 1821, but because his body was used for dissection classes at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, he was never buried.

His skeleton has remained in a cupboard at the University of Bristol.

Mary Halliwell, from Leigh in Greater Manchester, was researching her family tree when she discovered she was related to John Horwood.
'Disregardable and disposable'

Horwood was the brother of Mrs Halliwell's great-great-great grandfather and lived in the village of Hanham near Bristol.

She discovered Horwood's skeleton was in a cupboard at the university, covered in cobwebs, with a rope around its neck.

"We did some more research and found a surgeon at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Dr Richard Smith, had skinned the body, preserved and tanned it, before using it to bind all the papers referring to the case," Mrs Halliwell said.

The book, known as the Horwood Papers, is currently held by the Bristol Record Office.

Mrs Halliwell said she was saddened that while the "book of skin" was treasured by the city his remains were "disregarded and disposable".

She contacted Hanham-based funeral director EC Alderwick which said it would help organise a proper burial for his remains.

Horwood was sentenced to death for the murder of Eliza Balsom, who also lived in the village.

Funeral director Austin Williams said Mr Horwood's remains would be buried as part of a Christian service in a family grave alongside his father Thomas Horwood.

The funeral service is due to take place at Christ Church, Hanham, near Bristol, at 1230 BST.

Mr Williams said the burial will take place an hour later at 1330 BST, exactly 190 years to the hour when Mr Horwood was hanged.


Charles Cowling said...

Tcha. They'll be giving him the vote next.

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