Eliza Fenning

Eliza Fenning worked as a cook. On 21 March 1815 her employer’s son and daughter in law became ill after eating yeast dumplings. The dumplings were found to contain arsenic and Fenning was charged with feloniously administering arsenic with intent to murder. She pleaded not guilty, saying that she had also been sick after eating dumplings. But the recorder’s summing up was strongly against her and she was sentenced to death. Her friends tried to have the case reviewed but without success and she was hanged. On the scaffold, she said: ‘Before the just and almighty God, and by the faith of the holy sacrament I have taken, I am innocent of the offence with which I am charged.’ At her funeral, the pall was carried by six girls dressed in white, and ten thousand were in the funeral procession.