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The Newgate Calendar - REBECCA HOWARD


Executed at Norwich, 27th of August, 1797, for the Murder of her Illegitimate Child

AT the Norwich Assizes, August, 1797, Rebecca Howard was tried for and convicted of the wilful murder of her illegitimate child. Her behaviour during the trial was firm and collected; but while the jury were deliberating on the verdict she swooned away.

Previous to her execution she conducted herself with the greatest propriety. On Wednesday, at about twelve o'clock, she was conveyed from the city jail to the castle ditches, attended by the chaplain and a preacher of the Methodist society. When she arrived at the gallows, after singing a psalm with peculiar emphasis, she addressed herself to the spectators, and exhorted them to a due observance of the Sabbath, and to place all their confidence in God, if they did which, all other things would be added to them. She then sat down.

When asked if she was ready, she said: "Stop, I want to say something else." She then earnestly cautioned young folks of her own sex to avoid temptation, and to be on their guard against deceitful men, who had brought her to an ignominious death. She acknowledged the justness of her sentence, thanked the jailer for his humanity and attention, and expressed her forgiveness of all her enemies. Having taken leave of a young man and woman with an affectionate kiss, she exclaimed " Lord, have mercy on me! God bless you all! " and was immediately launched into eternity.

After hanging the usual time her body was delivered to the surgeons for dissection.


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