Northampton: home of broken families & the criminally insane?

This morning a Georgian newspaper unexpectedly arrived at a colleague’s desk. Naturally, I promptly wrested it from him and pored over it like an excited child. I LOVE eighteenth-century newspaper adverts and was delighted to find that this issue had elopements, abandoned children, a profusion of lost dogs and an escaped lunatic CALLED ‘WILDMAN’. Amazing.

So I just thought I’d share:



WHEREAS MARY, the Wife of William Smith, of Irthlingborough, in the County of Northampton, has eloped from her said Husband:–

Notice is hereby given, That if she does not return to her Husband within seven Days from the Date hereof,  she will not be taken in. WM SMITH. April 10, 1802.”



“FINEDON, April 5th, 1802.

WHEREAS JOHN MASHAM and JANE his Wife, have both absconded, and left three small Children chargeable to the Parish of FINEDON, in the County of Northampton;– a Reward of TWO GUINEAS each will be paid to any Person who will apprehend and bring them (or any one of them) to THOMAS BODDINGTON and JOHN ODELL, Overseers of the Poor of Finedon aforesaid.

The said JOHN MASHAM is near thirty Years of Age, about five Feet nine or ten Inches high, brown Hair, and by Trade a Weaver. The said JANE MASHAM is a short thickset Woman, twenty-nine Years of Age, dark brown Hair, with Rings in her Ears, but very shabbily dressed. They are supposed to be in or near London.”




Litlington, Beds. 7th April 1802. 

WHEREAS on Monday the 5th instant, JOHN WILDMAN, a Lunatic, did make his escape near Newberry Farm, in the Parish of Silsoe, in the said County;– and as the securing him is a Matter of public as well as individual Security, it is particularly requested that on discovering such Person, all Parish Officers, and Others, will exert themselves to secure him, and give immediate Notice to the Officers of Litlington, who will defray every reasonable Expence. *** The said Lunatic is about 32 Years of Age, five Feet and a Half high, pale Complexion, very light brown or rather sandy Hair; had on a light Coat and black Velvet Collar (the Coat very long), brown corded Breeches, brown Stockings, and Shoes tied.”

– All taken from The Northampton Mercury, 10th April 1802.

4 thoughts on “Northampton: home of broken families & the criminally insane?

Add yours

  1. Why oh why did you give us so little? I could have spent hours happily reading all the ads. I can see your joy in them and don’t wonder at your taking the paper from your chum. Thing is how and why did he let you get away with it. Had it have been me you’d have had Buckleys of wresting it away 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: