As we delve deep into the history and folklore of Herefordshire ready to bring you a snippet or two, some interesting things often catch our eye. Recently we were intrigued to read about ‘Murder Stones’ and wondered if there were any in our beautiful county. We’ve read a few murder stone messages and we can see why they may have caused alarm for the locals.
Murder stones are historic markers which were most popular during the 1820’s and appeared mainly in the countryside. They were usually placed at or nearby the scene of a murder. Used as a visual reminder of a crime which had shocked a community or had caused outrage. Often the perpetrators of the murders were found. However some stones record unsolved killings too. Some murder stone messages could be quite unnerving for the locals.
The murder stones were usually erected by prominent local people, landowners or justices. Most served to commemorate the life of the victim or to warn others of the consequences of committing such crimes. They also acted as stark warnings, particularly to women to take more care.
One of the more famous murder stones is that to the Unknown Sailor. An unidentified man murdered at Hindhead in Surrey in 1786. The stone was mentioned by Charles Dickens in his 1838–39 work ‘The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby’.
So if you have any suggestions as to where we might find one in Herefordshire do let us know.
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