3-5 July 1700   Two or three days ago, a Woman was committed for Murdering a Young Child of about 3 Years of Age. The Account I hear of it is thus; A certain Married-man having for a long time kept Company with the said Woman, it came at last to his Wife’s Ear, who reprimanding him for the same, he, glorying in his Wickedness, told her, that he would keep Company with his Whore in Spight of her, and that he would leave her, to whom he was lawfully Married, to Cohabit with his Whore; whereupon the vertuous Woman told him, that if he would leave her, her Child, he might go where he pleas’d, and she would take care to shift for hereself and Child; but this Rogue, to Spight his Virtuous Wife, took away the Child, and deliver’d it into the Hands of his Whore, ordering her at the same time to make away with the Child lingeringly, so as that it might not be discover’d, whereupon she run red-hot Knitting-kneedles up the Child’s Fundament, and into his Ureter from time to time, by which he Languished and Dyed. The thing was discover’d by some of the Neighbours, to whom the Child had Complained, that his Mother, as he call’d her, used to run Red-hot knitting-Kneedles up his Fundament, &c. who, upon the Death of the Child, revealed the same, and the Child being open’d, it appeared, that the Child’s Fundament and Ureter were Cauteriz’d, whereupon the Woman was Seized and Committed to Newgate; but I don’t hear what is become of the Man. [The London Post]

14-16 July 1701   Last Night a great Bellyed Widow-Woman, over-against Shadwell Church, in Ratcliff Highway, took her Male-child of 4 Years of Age, and Throtled [sic] him till he Dyed, which causing his Tongue to hang out, she cut it off; and afterwards cut his Throat; for which Inhumane and Barbarous Fact, she is Committed to Newgate. [The London Post]

22-24 November 1711   Yesterday, a Servant was committed to Newgate for murdering her Bastard-Child, by throwing it into a House of Office. [The Post-Boy]

Saturday 10 May 1718   On Monday last a new born child was found with its throat cut, in a muddy ditch near Lambeth Church, and upon search a servant at a coffee-house not far distant was taken up, and it appearing that she lately had a child, she said it was at nurse in the country, whereupon one was sent down to enquire the truth thereof. In the mean time she attempted to hang herself on Wednesday night last, but was timely cut down; and next morning cut her own throat, but missing her windpipe, is like to recover. (Weekly Journal, or, British Gazetteer)

17 June 1727   [Monday] one Elizabeth Archer was, by Sir Tho. Clarges, Bar. committed to Newgate for the Murther of her Bastard-Child, by burying it alive in a Garden at Courton; near Burton in Staffordshire; from whence she made her Escape to London, and had conceal’d herself at an House near Tyburn-Road, where she was discover’d and apprehended. She sign’d her Confession of the Fact before Sir Thomas, and will be sent to Stafford, to take her Tryal there at the ensuing Assizes. Her Mother is now a Prisoner in Stafford-Jail, on Suspicion of being a Confederate with her in the Murther. [The British Journal]

15 August 1730   On Sunday night last a young woman was committed to newgate for the murder of her bastard child, a girl about a month old. She was servant to a tallow-chandler in Cheshunt-street, from which service she was dismissed on the discovery of her being with child by the apprentice; and tho’ the officers of that parish had obliged him to give security to indemnify them, yet no care was taken of her; and the extremity she was reduced to, ’tis thought, deprived her of her senses. It is said, that after she had cut off the child’s head, she hurled the body in a field near Durance, in Enfield Highway, but took it up again, and shew’d it about, telling every one what she had done; and being carry’d before Justice Marsh, of Green-street, she signed her confession of the murder: The child’s head is not yet found, and being examined about it, said, She saw the Devil fly away with it. (London Journal)

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Infanticide", 21 April 2002, expanded 18 February 2007 <>

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