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Saturday 20, June 1868


Sarah Pitt v. Isaac Lindsay,-For lodgings, 5s. Plaintiff, who is a widow, said he lodged with her from June to September; he paid 1s. 3d. per week for lodging and garden stuff; he owed her 5s. when he left-; had a reckoning with him and he agreed to pay 5s. Defendant had paid 3s. and costs 1s. into court. Ordered to pay the rest in a month.

Saturday October 3rd 1868


Suspicion of Infanticide - On Sunday the 20th inst., a widow named Sarah Pitt, living at the Glascoed gave birth to a child. It is said to have been born alive and to have lived several hours. Early next morning it was buried without leave of anyone, in Glascoed churchyard. The neighbours got wind of this and the matter at last reached the ears of the police. On Thursday evening P.S. Young, of Pontypool, exhumed the body of the child, and Dr. Williams was called in to make a post-mortem examination, in order to determine how the child came to its end.


--On Saturday an inquest was held by E.D. Batt, Esq., coroner, at the Three Cranes, Pontypool, on the body of the above child. The circumstances were very suspicious. The body was brought to the Three Cranes, where it was shewn to the jury. The evidence showed that the father of the child was a man named Williams, who lived in the house with the woman, and was about to get married to her.

His mother was called in and officiated as midwife. The navel string was tied much to close, and Mrs. Williams, by Mrs Pitt's directions, gave the child no food, but some gin and water. It died of convulsions four hours after it was born. The father took a witness with him and buried it early in the morning in the churchyard, carefully removing all traces of mould for the purpose of concealing the matter as much as possible. Dr. Williams of Pontypool, made a post-mortem examination. He stated that his suspicions were very strong at the time that he opened the body, but he found that the child died of convulsions from natural causes, that the child was weakly and therefore the administration of a small quantity of stimulant would be beneficial, and that a child would not require food soon after its birth, as it would contain nutriment derived from the mother. The nurse and mother were therefore exonerated from blame, and the jury returned a verdict that death resulted from natural causes. A very important conversation took place on surrept(it)ious burials. It appeared that these were customary in this part of the country; that the father acted only in accordance with custom, and that even the clergy of this locality seemed to entertain very indefinite notion of the Law on this subject. Mr. Greene, one of the jury proposed that a recommendation should accompany the verdict (with a view of getting the matter taken up and the law simplified), to the effect that burial should in no case take place unless the certificate of a medical man or of the registrar as to the cause of death, or of a medical opinion that there was still birth, to be produced. The recommendation eventually agreed to was as follows “The jury are of opinion that burials either of infants still-born or otherwise, without proper certificates, are highly irregular, and often tend to the concealment of crime. The coroner fully concurred with the propriety of the addition.