Adams, Thomas


On a stone altar tomb in the South East portion of Walkern churchyard there is inscribed :

Here lyeth intend the body of THOMAS ADAMS Gent late of this parish who was barbarously murdered the 21st December 1728, on his return from Hertford Market. Aged 38 years. Also Mary his wife who Dyed the 4th March 1740 in the 40th year of her age. And five of their children who Dyed infants. This tomb was erected at the request of their two surviving daughters Rose and Mary 1745.

The murder of Thomas Adams is but one of several grim tragedies associated with the return of wealthy farmers, and others, from various markets and fairs in the county. Thomas Adams, who was a maltster as well as a farmer, lived at the Manor Farm in the village High Street. He had been to Hertford market, where doubtless he was seen to have a consider­able sum of money in his possession. He returned by the North Road to Watton, and at the farther end of the village took the road to the right leading along the hill­side to Walkern.

About midway between the two villages, at the intersection of the road from Benington to Aston, he was shot dead and robbed. A Richard Curral was tried and acquitted on the evidence of William Newton. Subsequently, on 21st March 1732 Curral and Newton were found guilty of Highway Robbery and Burglary respectively and hanged together at Hertford, their behaviour at the scene of the execution was described by onlookers as “uncommonly rude”.

This page was added on 12/07/2015.

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