A Merrie Widow of Her Own Making

This item from The History of Myddle reminds me of a story a few years ago I think from Central Europe where a whole village of women tried to poison their husbands. I can understand how a woman might think she could get away with disposing of one husband, but a whole lot of them… Might even be on one of my earlier blog posts.

Elizabeth Hodden, a young wanton widow.. marryed one Onslow, a ‘quiet, peacable man,’ butt shee soone grew into dislike of him, and was willing to bee shutt of him. There were other women in Myddle, at that time, that were weary of their husbands, and it was reported that this woman and 2 more made an agreement to poyson theire husbands all in one night; which (as it is sayd,) was attempted by them all; buttt Onsllow onely dyed; the other 2 escaped very hardly. This wicked act was soone blazed abroad and Elizabeth Onslow fled into Wales, to her father’s relations; butt being pursyued, she was found upon a hollyday, danceing on the toppe of an hill amongst a company of yoyng people. Shee was apprehended and brought to Shrewsbury and tried for her life. Her father speared neither purse nor paines to save her; and, as some say, by the assistance of Sir Richard Hussey of Adbright Hussey, to whome she had formerly been a servant, shee escaped the gallows. But her next husband did not escape soe, for hee was the falsest theife that ever I heard of in this parish. His name was John Owen. His common practice was to sleep in the day time, and to walke abroad in the night; sometimes neare home, and sometimes farther off, and whatever was found loose was a prize for him. ..

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