8 April 1763 – Ann Beddingfield

Ann BedingfieldStrangled by his bedclothes while he was asleep – that was the original verdict of accidental death awarded to John Beddingfield, but how wrong that was. In actual fact it was his lascivious wife’s extra-curricular lovelife that was the key to his death.

Bed hopping

Anne Margaret Beddingfield was the archetypal bored housewife. For a while life was ok. But following the birth of two children and finding herself, stashed away on a farm in Suffolk, Beddingfield soon outgrew the daily grind and migrated to some bump and grind with the appearance of a new farmhand.
The 19-year-old Richard Ringe proved an attractive diversion and the two soon embarked on an affair, which had the two devising ways to do her old man over.

First they tried to get one of the maids to lace his drinks with poison, but when the maid refused, they turned to more desperate measures. Farmer Beddingfield was, after all, getting very suspicious of his rampant wife, especially when he found her in bed with a servant girl, who was warming the bed apparently…

Turned out Anne may have vacated the bed to allow Ringe to do the deed, or maybe the cunning little minx was in search of an alibi. Nevertheless sure enough, that night Ringe strangled the farmer following a little tussle. He then went into Anne’s room to tell her the news, but too late he realised she was not alone. One maid they could deal with – she was sworn to secrecy, but when another woke up amid the noise, she want to look in on her master and the death was unearthed.

Maid up

The very next day, it was deemed an accidental death and the two lovers relaxed knowing they’d gotten away with it. Or had they?

The bed-warming maid bided her time, waited until her salary was in the bag then quickly told her parents of the dodgy goings-on. The touchpaper was lit and in came the law to sort things out. They were dragged into court and while Beddingfield maintained her innocence, in the face of such overwhelming evidence from the servants, Ringe could do nothing except accept his culpability.


The lusty twosome was found guilty and sentenced to be executed – Ringe by hanging and 21-year-old Beddingfield by being burned at the stake. The duo was hauled from Ipswich prison to Rushmore, where Ringe went first. The executioner is then said to have humanely strangled Beddingfield before the fires were lit and her body burned. She was nothing but ash by the end of things, but 20-year-old Ringe’s body was handed over intact for medical research as per the Murder Act of 1752.

Also on this day

8 April 1899 – Martha Place
8 April 1947 – George Sitts
8 April 1944 – Bruno Lüdke

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One Response to “8 April 1763 – Ann Beddingfield”

  1. nice little story. 🙂

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