Anne Padfield Part 4


MIDSOMER MURDERS (well almost)

This story is turning out to be longer than first intended.
I didn’t realise how much space news articles took up.

Welcome to part four.

When we left Anne she had just received the news that her death sentence was going to be recommended to Her Majesty to be commuted to a life sentence.

As reported in THE GLOBE, Monday 10th December 1860.


All the press coverage for Anne on Monday included the mention of the recommendation of life imprisonment instead of death.

Now we come to Tuesday 11th December.
I could include numerous articles and press reports but they all described the same story in their own way.
Which can all be read in any British Newspaper Archive.

I have decided to use THE MORNING ADVERTISER and a couple of letters addressed to the Editor.
The first from our old friend “EAGLE EYE”.

The next letter is also from THE MORNING ADVERTISER

The rest of the week all the papers were catching up with the events of the weekend and it wasn’t until Friday 14th December 1860 that a new article appeared.


On Tuesday 18th December 1860 I found this ‘Extraordinary’ article.


These ‘extraordinary’ facts were the ones alluded to in previous press reports that could not be revealed until after the death sentence had been commuted to life. 

Thursday 27th December 


Included in their summing up of the year 1860.

Now we move forward to Friday 11th January 1861.


Compared to the press coverage of 1860 this is the only paper reporting Anne’s movement from Newgate to Holloway Prison.


The construction of Holloway Prison, to the designs of James Bunstone Bunning, began in 1849 and was completed in 1852 to form the City of London House of Correction, opening in October 1852.
As built, it had three wings for males and one for females and juveniles. It was the main prison for the City of London and had cost £91,547 10s 8d. There were 436 cells, 283 for males, 60 for females, 62 for juveniles, 18 refractory cells, 14 reception cells and 14 workrooms.
In the period 1881-1882, B&C wings were extended to provide 340 new cells and in 1883-1884 a new hospital wing was constructed.
The prison was known locally as “Camden Castle” for obvious reasons.

Copied from

Friday 18th January 1861 THE MORNING CHRONICLE

On the 19th January 1861 Ann was moved to Millbank Prison.

Sunday January 27th 1861 in THE ERA our old friend “EAGLE EYE”

Monday, March 25th ,1861, THE MORNING ADVERTISER
Guess who is writing in?
Yes, it’s “EAGLE EYE”.

Now that I have reached the end of the first quarter of 1861 let me take you back to the Anne’s trial at the Old Bailey.
The press reported that two of the women at the original November sessions were in advanced stages of labour and unable to attend the final verdict.
One of those women was Mary Padfield, Anne’s sister-in-law.
On the 7th April 1861 in Paulton, Somerset.

Mary had given birth to a daughter Harriet, who is now two months old.

This was one of the reasons I was able to narrow down my search and find the ‘correct’ Anne Padfield.

Anne Padfield also featured in the 1861 Census, very impersonally. 

This is the only record I could find of an A.P. born in Somerset, of the right age, right occupation and a prisoner.

This is at The Westminster House of Correction otherwise known as Holloway Prison and also known as Tothill Fields Prison which became an all-female prison in 1861.

Mothers with their children, exercising at Tothill Field Prison in the 1860’s.

This must have been heart breaking for Anne, seeing mothers with their children.

Before I continue with Anne’s story I want to add another tinge of sadness.
I stated earlier that Mary Padfield had given birth to Harriet at the beginning of 1861.

Sadly, Harriet died and was buried on October 3rd 1861 in Paulton, Somerset.

And did you notice the third entry after Harriet.
Mary Padfield, age 25, buried October 12th.
So, not only did George have his sister imprisoned for murder, he lost his young daughter and his wife all within a year.

I will now get back to Anne and her story.

At some stage Anne must have been moved back to Newgate Gaol because on March 6th 1862 Anne was moved from Newgate to Brixton where she becomes prisoner number 2946.
Brixton was an all-female prison until 1870 when it became all-male.

Image Attribution   ‘Bird’s-eye view of the female convict prison at Brixton’, in Mayhew and Binny, Criminal Prisons of London (1862) p. 176.

No.                  Name            Age   Offence                           Where   When Sentence Surgeon’s Report       Behaviour Report                                                                                      

The first entry in the Quarter returns of Brixton Prison 31st March 1862.

Anne’s health and were ‘good’ for her duration at Brixton Prison.

Then in THE SUN, LONDON, TUESDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER, 1863, we have our old friend “EAGLE EYE”

The SUN then prints this article below “EAGLE EYE”.

It would seem that “EAGLE EYE” has not forgotten Anne and that some good is going to come out of his persistence.

But that would seem to be that for any mention of Anne Padfield in the papers.

This is Anne’s penultimate entry at Brixton Prison, 30th September 1869.
Having looked at ALL the Quarter returns for Anne’s time in Brixton Prison she had GOOD HEALTH and GOOD BEHAVIOUR for the duration.

Then on 25th November 1869 Anne is moved to Knaphill, Woking Prison.

The reason for the move.

Photo Tothill, Woking Prison c.1900

The following extract was taken from The Knaphillian and gives some interesting background to the prison:

In 1858 the Home Office bought just over 64 acres of land from the London Necropolis Company in order to build a special prison for disabled prisoners in Knaphill. Known as the ‘Woking Invalid Convict Prison’ it was the first prison to be specifically for disabled prisoners – not just for those physically ill, but also those suffering from mental illness.
The main prison building was designed by Sir Joshua Jebb and Arthur Blomfield (sometimes mis-spelled as ‘Bloomfield’ as in Bloomfield Close). It consisted of two large wings on either side of a large central tower. The west wing was for the chronically sick and insane, whilst the east wing was for some of the more able-bodied prisoners.
The whole site was surrounded by a wall, eighteen feet high, the bricks of which can occasionally still be found on the escarpment down towards Robin Hood Road.
Work began on the building in 1858 with prisoners and officers brought in from Lewes, Carisbrooke and Dartmoor to help with the construction.
The north-east wing was opened on the 28th April 1859, although the official opening of the whole site was not until the 22nd March 1860 when three-hundred prisoners were transferred from the already cramped and inadequate Lewes Prison in Sussex.
The average number of prisoners at Knaphill was 613.
In 1867 work began on the second prison at Knaphill – this time for female convicts, and once again some of the more able-bodied men from the male prison were employed as cheap labour.
The new prison opened on the 5th May 1869 when 100 were transferred here from Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight.
Many of the women worked in the prison kitchens or laundry, whilst a number were employed as Tailoresses, Needlewomen or Knitters. Woking Prison was also well-known for its Mosaics Department where the women could earn 1s2d a day breaking up refuse marble to be laid as mosaic floors. Some were exhibited at the ‘International Exhibition of Fine Arts and Industry’ at the Royal Albert Hall in 1872, and it is said that part of the floor of St Paul’s Cathedral and the ‘South Kensington Museums’ were produced at this time. St John’s Church also exhibits some of the work.

Anne’s first entry at Woking Prison 31st December 1869.
Anne is now prisoner No. 622 and 23 years old !!!

This is Anne’s entry on the night of Sunday April 2nd 1871.

As at Brixton Prison Anne had GOOD HEALTH and GOOD BEHAVIOUR until this entry in the Quarter Ending June 1871.
Anne is described as being ‘DELICATE’.

Then in the June Quarter 1872 is the last entry I found for Anne Padfield in the Find My Past transcribed records.

BUT thanks to prisoner No. 621, MARIA TARRANT, I found Anne in the September Quarter 1872.

As can be seen Anne was transferred to RUSSELL HOUSE REFUGE on July 10th 1872.

The December Quarter 1872 with a space where Anne Padfield would have been.

Maria Tarrant was also in prison for murdering her child and had her sentence commuted to life.
Judging by the press reports I came across whilst looking into Maria she had a long history of being in trouble and was probably lucky to escape the noose.
Maybe another time.


Earlier articles relating to the WESTMINSTER MEMORIAL REFUGE.



And then in THE MORNING POST APRIL 29TH,1872.

I could find no mention of an official opening for THE WESTMINSTER MEMORIAL REFUGE but I managed to find this on 

The Westminster Memorial Refuge originally opened in 1872 as the Westminster Memorial Refuge of the Royal Society for the Assistance of Discharged Prisoners for Protestants women and was based at 32 Charing Cross, Streatham. This refuge was referred to as the Russell House Refuge by prison administrators and recorded as such on the women’s licences. It was heavily used throughout the 1870s and 1880s and was also active in organising emigration to the United States for those requesting it. Women went to Russell House from Woking, Fulham Refuge, and Millbank prison. In July 1888, two years after Millbank closed, the Russell House refuge was taken over by the congregation of Roman Catholic Sisters founded by Frances Margaret Taylor (Poor Servants of the Mother of God). The purpose of the institution changed as it became a refuge for reformed prostitutes, rather than prisoners, and became known as St Mary Magdalen’s refuge. Other refuges in operation in and around the capital were the Carlisle Memorial Refuge for Protestant Female Convicts at 6 Queen’s Square, Middlesex (later in Winchester) and the Eagle House Refuge for Catholic women in Hammersmith. Both were in operation in the 1860s but seem to have been little used by the 1870s and 1880s.

And that, sadly, is where I have to leave this story of Anne Padfield. 

At the moment I cannot find any records of the WESTMINSTER MEMORIAL REFUGE and its inmates. Update: Huge thanks to some wonderful help and advice I have now been pointed in the right direction to find these records, so I shall be pursuing these avenues very shortly.

Until I do I have these Questions?

  1. Did Anne die in the refuge?
  2. Did she emigrate to the United States?
  3. Was Anne released and return home?

I haven’t found evidence of her returning to Somerset and her mother, Isabella, who died just after the 1891 Census, or joining her brother in South Wales.

I hope you have enjoyed the journey through this small part of the Victorian Era as much as I enjoyed researching.

It has been a learning curve for me and an eye-opener.

‘Til next time then…………..

‘Sherlock’ Steve

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