Wiltshire Publications

Local history talk: ‘The Bratton Murder’

WESTBURY Heritage Society presents ‘The Bratton Murder’, a talk by Sally Hendry about the last woman to be hanged for killing her own child.

The narrative, at Westbury Methodist Church, Station Road, Westbury, is on Tuesday 30th September at 7.30pm.

The talk is about Rebecca Smith – the last woman to be hanged for infanticide of her own child. She was born and lived in Bratton, then moved to Westbury. She was hanged in 1849 at Devizes jail after being found guilty of killing eight of her 11 children by feeding them arsenic.

Sally said, “The story is extremely sad. According to the court reports, her marriage was a disaster – her husband a drunk who mistreated her and did not support the family – in her defence of her actions she said she feared the children might come to want.

“I first heard the story from local historian Jean Morrison when I lived in Bratton many years ago. I have done a lot of research, so I hope it will be an interesting talk.”

Anyone is welcome to attend the talk which is just one of a programme of regular presentations on local history by the Westbury Heritage Society –  they ask for a £1 entrance fee. Call 01373 825784 for more information.