Poaching and Petty Thieving in St Albans

A Talk by Chris Reynolds

The Murder of Edward Anstee

of Marshall's Wick Farm

In August 1880 Thomas Wheeler returned to St Albans, which he left some 10 years earlier - and there were a series of incidents of increasing criminality over several days.

He stole some hammers from the blacksmith, William Page, in St Peters Street, St Albans

He broke into Jacob Reynolds' house at Heath Farm, Bernards Heath, and stole some silver

He started a rick fire at Beech Hyde Farm, Sandridge

While people rushed to Beech Hyde to fight the fire he went to the nearby Samwell's Farm and stole a gun

He went to Marshall's Wick Farm, shot Edward Anstee, terrified the women in the house, and stole various goods.

He was arrested, tried, and hung in St Albans Prison.

The case was extensively reported in the Herts Advertiser, The Times, and most national papers of the day.

There is an excellent account in Simon Walker's Crime in Hertfordshire, Volume Two, Murder and Misdemeanours.

Related Old News Items

1880 June 12th Herts Advertiser Housebreaking at Heath Farm, Bernards Heath
1880 August 21st Herts Advertiser Fire at Beech Hyde, Sandridge
1880 August 28th Herts Advertiser

Fearful Tragedy at Marshall's Wick

See also Thomas WHEELER (murderer), St Albans area, 1880
Who's Who for the Marshalswick Murder [word file]
Hertfordshire Hangings 1820-1880 [word file]

Page updated December 2007