Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Tragedy On Werneth Low

We had a very interesting email this week.. see part of it below:

The recent posting on the Hare & Hounds reminded me of a story I heard many years ago about the cross that is carved into a large stone in the wall about 100 yards beyond the pub towards Romiley.
I was told that it marked the spot, where in the very early years of the twentieth century, a young servant girl who had given birth to an illegitimate child, drowned the baby in the pond that lies at the back of the wall.  The girl was subsequently charged with murder, found guilty and sentenced to death.  However, in view of the circumstances and the sympathy surrounding the case, this was later commuted to imprisonment and after a time she was released.
 Since I last looked at this stone a number of years ago someone has painted it white.  It does highlight the location, but unfortunately the painting has somewhat obscured the definition of the cross.
I've read an account of this incident in 'The History of Hyde' but the article does not pinpoint the location, so I am assuming that the story I was told is correct.  Can anyone confirm this?  And does anyone know what happened to the girl?  Did she come back to live in Hyde?  Or does anyone know who she was?




From The History Of Hyde
By Thomas Middleton

     In October, 1903, a sensation was caused by the discovery of a child's dead body being found in a pond in an old stone quarry on Werneth Low. The child was illegitimate, and had been drowned by its mother, Elizabeth Davis, a servant Girl, who was afterwards condemned to death. The circumstances of the case were such as to arouse great public sympathy. Alderman Barron J.P., took up the matter; the sentence was commuted to penal servitude, and after serving a few years the girl was released.

It would be interesting to find out a bit more on this story and the circumstances of the case... was that stone set in the right place... these certainly a pond of sorts there... not sure about an old quarry though. Can anybody add to the story?


I think I've found the Quarry.  It MIGHT have been one of the two shown due to their locations.


Tom said...

Hi Nancy..
I checked the maps as I was sure about a pond of some sorts being there.... but not a quarry.. I thought of the quarry which is further down the the road... past the Queens tree and heading towards Low Top.. there's a Quarry and a pond in the same field 'Plot 480' on the Tithe Map..
I suppose there were many small disused quarries around there.. some too small to show up on the maps...
and some of the ponds are now dried up and very hard to find..... The pond behind this marker tends to dry up at times but it's a favourite place for a certain Grey Heron I've seen there many times.
One thing is for sure that spot was deemed important enough for some one to mark it by carving the cross.... and then again another thought so by painting it white years later.

Wermeth Low said...

I'd completely forgotten about that stone and the history behind it. When we were young it was usual on a fine Sunday afternoon to walk over Lord Derby T(no houses then, just prefabs)and come out on Werneth Low Road near the stone. My mother never failed to announce at that point that there had been a murder there, though I don't recall any mention of a child's death. I've always thought the murder took place where the stone is.

Hydonian said...

Information as come in and I will update tomorrow... the stone is in the correct place and the death of the baby and it's mother story will be told tomorrow...

Hydonian said...

Does anyone know who paints the stone?

Anonymous said...

I asked over this Stone with Cross; as I was informed it had been moved due to change's on that road.
Glad that it is still Safe and is so much in Peoples minds can it not be made a PROTECTED MONUMENT.
My Father took our family walks in 1940s50s there was a small shop Greave end where Ice's and toffee was bought. Dad always stopped there at the cross;I think it was in Due Respect's for a Soul in Grievous Distress. That is why I am thoughtful of it even now at Seventy Summers.Brian.