Hi and welcome to my site.
Cheshire is full of weird and wonderful stories of the supernatural, local heores and the mysterious.
I will take you on a tour as I look deep into the Cheshire that lies underneath the wonderful countryside and find the secrets that still hide there.
What magic and long lost secrets will we find?
So, sit back and enjoy my journey. This is a land of Magic, Knights, Dragons, Wizards, Witches, Boggarts, Murder, Ghosts and Old Forgotten Knowledge.

I would love to hear your stories as well. So if you have anything you would like me to look into and find information out, please let me know.

Friday, 31 December 2010


On Saturday 23rd November 1776, Newman Garside, William Barrett (aged 13 years) and another boy, were walking Newman's cows near Astbury.

They crossed the wooden footbridge to Priesty Fields and they saw a woman's blue clock in the water. This clock had blood on it.

They called two more men over, Humphrey Newton and John Beswick. With their help and after a quick search, they found more items of clothing and a womans small bag.

Then Beswick made a horrible discovery, he discovered a womans right arm severed at the elbow and a leg cut off at the knee. Shortly after, they found another arm and leg.

The two boys were sent to get the parish constable, while the men continued the search and found a woman's breast and a clump of bowls. The boys returned with Parish Constable John Martin and some locals.

The womans remains were taken to a nearby stable overnight. The following day, the victim was identified as 22 year old Ann Smith, a ballad singer. They buried her in Astbury churchyard the same day.

By night fall, Samuel Thorley was arrested for her murder. He was well known in the Congleton area as a homeless, simple minded man in his early fifties. He has worked for a local butcher, hacking animal carcasses into chunks and also a gravedigger at Ashbury church. He was a big man with a vile temper. He had been lodging with an elderly widow, Hannah Oakes, near to the murder site. She told a local Weaver, Thomas Cordwell, that she had seen Samuel eating a lump of meat. Samuel had said it was pork. Some of this meat was still at her home.

Charles Reade, a local surgeon, confirmed to an inquest jury, that he had examined this meat and was able to established that this was the human flesh of a woman.

Samuel Thorley was locked up in Congleton Old Town Hall and then transferred to Chester Prison.

On Thursday 3rd April 1777, Samuel was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged at Boughton. He was executed on Thursday 10th April 1777 and then a month later on 11th May, Samuel's body was suspended from a gibbet on West Heath (which was near to Priesty Fields).

Samuel Thorley showed no remorse for killing Ann Smith but why had he killed her? And why eat some of her?


Unknown said...

wow !

Searcher said...

As so often with these very historical cases, there is not enough known to base an opinion on motive. Only the briefest of details is known.