The History of Lincoln Waites

The Wife Murder at Boston, Lincolnshire


William Frederick Horry (Fred) was born in Boston in December 1843. Whilst he was visiting Burslem in Staffordshire, Fred Horry became friendly with Jane, the barmaid of the George Hotel. Fred and Jane's friendship developed and in time, Fred planned to marry Jane and to buy the George.

In 1866 Fred and Jane were married and they took over the George Hotel. Fred was a born innkeeper and his hospitality attracted customers from far and wide. Fred and Jane had three children within their first five years of marriage, but by September 1871 William had started drinking heavily. His drinking stemmed from jealousy of his wife talking to male customers in the bar. The alcohol fed Fred's jealousy, provoking arguments and anger which he failed to contain. His drunken accusations destroyed their marriage, and in September 1871 Jane left him and took the children to Boston in Lincolnshire - to the home of her father-in-law.

Fred visited Boston a few times, to see his wife and children, but eventually his own father barred him from the house because of his aggressive behaviour. As Fred could not manage the Hotel on his own, he sold it and moved to Nottingham. Fred bought a gun in Nottingham and travelled to Boston, intent to kill Jane, if he could not have her then no one else would. He went again to Jane and begged her to come home with him, but when she refused he shot her dead.

At the trial he pleaded insanity but the prosecution proved that he had purchased the gun in Nottingham on his way to Boston, showing that the crime was pre-meditated. Fred was 28 years old when he was found guilty of murder. The Judge instructed that William Fredrick Horry was to be hanged in Lincoln Castle the following Monday. Immediately the verdict was announced his friends, in Burslem and in Boston, launched appeals for a reprieve, but Fred was disinterested.

He was hanged at Lincoln Castle on the 1st April 1872 by William Marwood who was officiating at his first execution. Marwood's fame as an efficient executioner spread after he reformed hanging by inventing the 'Long Drop'.

On the day of the execution there were astonishing scenes in Burslem. More than three thousand people lined the streets, from the George Hotel to St John's Churchyard, to where an empty coffin was carried by his friends from the George. The Rector gave a sermon, saying that Horry, was "a martyr, more sinned against than sinning". Later, as a permanent memorial to Fred Horry, a granite obelisk was paid for by his friends, who erected it above his empty grave.

It is true that by the time that this particular song was being sold, by peddlers of Broadside Ballads, there were no longer any Waits in Lincoln. None the less, this does serve as an example of the sort of news content that Lincoln's Waites may have seen in Broadsheets until Selby Dickinson's death in 1857. Execution Broadsides were often sold among the crowd and gave details of the crime. These were like the tabloid newspapers of their day. Ordinary newspapers were very few in number at this time and relatively very expensive so were only read by the wealthy. This one is included here because of it's Lincolnshire connections.

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