Tales of Lincolnshire’s villains and rascals in new book

The new book by Douglas Wynn.
The new book by Douglas Wynn.

A new book has been published featuring the criminal acts of malevolent men and wicked women from Lincolnshire’s centuries past.

Historical crime writer Douglas Wynn latest book is described as a ‘collection of dramatic tales of villainy’ from across the county.

The theft of seven sheep from Kirton was punishable by hanging in 1784.

The theft of seven sheep from Kirton was punishable by hanging in 1784.

Everything from murder, theft, highwaymen, smuggling and hangings are featured – a number of which are from the Boston area.

Entitled ‘Lincolnshire Villains: Rogues, Rascals and Reprobates’, the book went on sale on Monday, priced £9.99.

One of the murders Wynn writes about features a Priscilla Biggadyke who lived in Stickney in 1868.

Wynn recounts the tale of 29-year-old Priscilla, who lived with her husband Richard, three young children and two lodgers in a two-roomed c ottage.Priscilla was said to be ‘promiscuous’ and sleeping with the lodgers, including Thomas Proctor, described as ‘ugly with seriously malformed legs’.

Detesting her husband, Priscilla is said to have poisoned him with arsenic. The inquest into his death was held at the Rose and Crown in Stickney.

Priscilla never admitted her guilt, maintaining she was innocent to the end and that Proctor was responsible. She was executed shortly after Christmas, on December 28.

Wynn writes: “Priscilla Biggadyke was the first person to be hanged in Lincoln under the new law which forbade public execution. Instead, she was hanged in front of where the Crown Court building now stands.”

Another tale, from Gosberton in 1815, involves a Henry Coster who was convicted along with his friend, Thomas Clark, of stealing a draper’s livelihood – valued at £400. Both worked as navvies. The stock was subsequently found at their homes and the pair were hanged at Lincoln Castle.

A third recounts Frampton man Richard Bull, who in 1784 stole seven sheep from John Taylor of Kirton. Mr Bull was one of four to be hanged at Lincoln after being convicted on theft or robbery charges. As he had tried to escape from the castle prison, the judge wanted to make an example of him.

Author Douglas Wynn now lives in Louth and has written a host of books covering crime history from across Lincolnshire and further afield.

In 2010 he wrote focussed on the Boston area as part of his ‘Murder and Crime’ series.

Wynn takes the reader through each case in vivid detail, uncovering shocking stories of drunken brawls, shotgun murders, poisonings and plots fuelled by revenge and jealousy.

Mr Wynn is a retired college lecturer who now writes books on true crime and has given talks to numerous local societies and clubs. For many years he was chairman of the Grimsby Writers’ Circle and how lives near Louth where he leads a writing group for the Louth U3A.

He will be taking part in a book signing of this new book at Boston’s Waterstones store, in Strait Bargate, on Saturday, January 19, between 11am-1pm.