Old News


"More Burking" at Amwell

From the Hampshire Advertiser

 4th February, 1832

(and in other papers)





While looking for information on Amwellbury, as part of an assessment of the British Newspaper Archive, I stumbled on this news item.

The case of Burke and Hare had been publicised  in the papers a few years earlier, and activities of the resurrection men would have been well known (see Resurrectionists at Work). So what was more natural than to assume that when someone mysteriously disappeared they  had been "Burked" - or in simple terms killed so their body could be sold to surgeons who wanted nice fresh bodies for dissection. So news of a possible "Burking" was national news to be repeated in papers all over the country.

In this case there was a simpler sad explanation as the following report from the Huntingdon, Bedford & Peterborough Gazette, of  3rd March, 1832 (and other papers):

Hertford - The Lost Boy Found - Early on Thursday morning se'nnight, the body of Henry Willis, the poor boy who some time ago was lost from Amwell Bury Park, and who it was supposed had been burked, was found floating along the stream of the New River, near Church-lane, Cheshunt, by one of the labourers employed in clearing the banks. ... ...


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