New-born Child Murder: Women, Illegitimacy and the Courts in Eighteenth-century England

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Manchester University Press, 1996 - Law - 206 pages
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This text concerns women who were accused of murdering their new-born children in the 18th century. It explores why certain women were suspected of murdering their children at birth and how they were subsequently treated by their neighbours, families, friends and the courts. The book draws heavily on a variety of archival material from the Northern Circuit courts and on a wide range of contemporary printed sources. Individual chapters focus on the key issues: the medical testimony in local investigations and in court; conflicting public representations of suspects; decision-making in the courts; debates about capital punishment and the administration of justice; and the changes in the law at the turn of the 19th century.
 

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Contents

single women bastardy
29
conflicting accounts of pregnancy
60
Conflicting interpretations of the signs
74
medical evidence and
84
conflicting accounts
110
the verdicts of inquest grand
133
the decline
158
Bibliography
182
Index
199
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About the author (1996)

Mark Jackson is Senior Lecturer in the Center for Medical History at the University of Exeter.

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