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THE MURDER OF JONATHAN MAY

 

The tombstone of Jonathan May
The grave of Jonathan May in Dunsford churchyard

©Richard J Brine

 

This well-worn stone marks the grave of Jonathan May and stands in the churchyard of St Mary's Church, Dunsford. The inscription reads:

 

JONATHAN MAY OF SOWTON BARTON IN THIS PARISH WHO WAS MURDERED AS HE WAS RETURNING FROM MORETON FAIR ABOUT TEN O'CLOCK ON THE EVENING OF THE 16TH OF JULY AD 1835 AGED 48 YEARS.

 

The story of the murder is told by Moretonhampstead History Society at

http://www.moretonhampstead.org.uk/texts/glimpses/maymurder.ghtml

Both of the two men arrested and tried for the crime were innocent, a fact which did not prevent one being hanged in Exeter Goal and the other, Edmund Galley being transported to Australia, where, over 40 years later, at the age of 80, he was to receive a Royal Pardon. This case became a landmark in the history of  British law and the related extract from the official  report of the proceedings of Parliament 5 August 1881 (as published in Hansard) makes interesting reading:

 

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1881/aug/05/criminal-law-case-of-edmund-galley

 

 
 
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