Search

Remains of Norwich murder victim blessed

Rev Fiona Haworth carries out the blessing over the place in the Guildhall's undercroft where most of murdered Martha Sheward's body lies. With her is Sandra Francis, Martha's great-great-great niece, with family and friends.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Rev Fiona Haworth carries out the blessing over the place in the Guildhall's undercroft where most of murdered Martha Sheward's body lies. With her is Sandra Francis, Martha's great-great-great niece, with family and friends. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Peace has been brought to a Norfolk family after an ancestor's body was brutally cut up by her husband and scattered across Norwich.

Rev Fiona Haworth carries out the blessing over the place in the Guildhall's undercroft where most of murdered Martha Sheward's body lies. With her is Sandra Francis, Martha's great-great-great niece. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRev Fiona Haworth carries out the blessing over the place in the Guildhall's undercroft where most of murdered Martha Sheward's body lies. With her is Sandra Francis, Martha's great-great-great niece. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Martha Sheward was killed by her husband, William Sheward, in June of 1851 after he cut her throat with a razor blade during an argument.

He then cut her body into pieces and littered them across Norwich. It is also believed that he boiled her head and smashed it into little pieces.

It was not until his drunken confession on New Year’s Day in 1869 that he was arrested and hanged.

Now, the three-times great grand niece of Martha has had the remains blessed at the former police station in Guildhall, Norwich, where her body is buried.

Rev Fiona Haworth carries out the blessing over the place in the Guildhall's undercroft where most of murdered Martha Sheward's body lies. With her is Sandra Francis, Martha's great-great-great niece. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRev Fiona Haworth carries out the blessing over the place in the Guildhall's undercroft where most of murdered Martha Sheward's body lies. With her is Sandra Francis, Martha's great-great-great niece. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Sandra Francis had been left “broken-hearted” after discovering that the murder had been turned into an escape room called Body of Evidence by History Mystery in the same building.

Miss Francis said: “I do feel a lot better now and more peaceful.

“It will be up to the people who do the games whether they continue, but at least we have said prayers for Martha and we are a lot more comfortable.”

She was joined by family and friends to attend a service with the Rev Fiona Haworth for a special underground service.

Tabernacle Street in Norwich where Sheward murdered his wife and dismembered her body (Picture: Archant)Tabernacle Street in Norwich where Sheward murdered his wife and dismembered her body (Picture: Archant)

Miss Francis, from Norwich and Wymondham, added: “It was lovely to have members of the family around, especially as I hadn’t seen them in a while. But if I had more time I could have got more but it was still nice to have the support.”

Friend Laura Melville said: “I thought it was very lovely.

“I felt like the spirits could hear what we were saying and it gave me a tingling.”

Mrs Haworth, associate priest at St Peter Mancroft Church, conducted the service.

SUBMITTED PICTURE OF THE NORWICH GUILDHALLSUBMITTED PICTURE OF THE NORWICH GUILDHALL

She said: “This is not something I do often in these circumstances.

“We do do funerals but I am assuming that for Martha, because of the circumstances of her death, it was unlikely there were prayers offered when she was buried and it’s a really good thing to have been able to do.

“I think pastorally it is for people who are distressed by the story today. I think God is outside time so the prayers offered today,

“God will receive those as if they were offered at the time.”

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists