Facebook Twitter Youtube Instagram Pinterest LinkedIn

The Murder of Mary Ashford (Paperback)

The Crime that Changed English Legal History

True Crime Social History Women of History Biographies

By Naomi Clifford
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 160
ISBN: 9781473863385
Published: 21st May 2018

in_stock

£11.99 was £14.99

You save £3.00 (20%)


You'll be £11.99 closer to your next £10.00 credit when you purchase The Murder of Mary Ashford. What's this?

+£4 UK Delivery or free UK delivery if order is over £30
(click here for international delivery rates)

Need a currency converter? Check XE.com for live rates

Order within the next 5 hours, 40 minutes to get your order processed the next working day!


In the small hours of 27 May 1817, Mary Ashford, a young servant girl from the village of Erdington near Birmingham, left a party in the company of Abraham Thornton. A few hours later she was found drowned in a pool; an inquest established that she had been raped.

Despite a seemingly solid alibi, Thornton, an uncouth young man with a bad reputation, was soon on trial for his life, but to the widespread consternation of everyone from the local gentry to the humblest labourer, he was acquitted at the direction of the judge. Public opinion across the country was outraged, convinced that a murderer had evaded the gallows.

Then, in a last-ditch effort to find justice, Mary’s brother used an archaic legal process to prosecute Thornton again, only find himself confronted with an extraordinary challenge. In court, Thornton threw down a gauntlet and demanded his legal right to trial by combat…

The outcome altered the course of English legal history.

In this many-layered account, Naomi Clifford looks at the key issue of whether Thornton was guilty but also explores themes including the birth of forensic investigation, the meaning of sexual consent and the struggle of a modern state to emerge from its medieval legal heritage.

There are no reviews for this book. Register or Login now and you can be the first to post a review!

About Naomi Clifford

Naomi Clifford mines old newspapers for glimpses of everyday Georgian life for her blog naomiclifford.com and has been researching 18th-century elopements and abductions for the past four years. She has also written These Were Our Sons: Stories from Stockwell War Memorial, published under the name Naomi Lourie Klein. She is a former journalist and lives in London.

More titles by Naomi Clifford

Customers who bought this title also bought...

Other titles in Pen & Sword History...