Tales of old Liverpool: The story behind the stones

Lucy Clegg.

Lucy Clegg.

It can be such a mesmorising thought provoking experience wandering through cemeteries, reading the faded inscriptions of those who often had their life cut tragically short by accidents, disease, or worse: murder!

On May 20, 1825, John Clegg a former convict and Innkeeper of the 'Weaver's Arms' near Liverpool stood trial for the murder of his wife Lucy. The trial was held in front of a jury.

The coroner reported that the body of Lucy Clegg was found in a 'very bruised state' The witnesses, mostly convict servants of John Clegg, were reluctant to give evidence. The details of the events that night vary greatly according to the witnesses cross examined.

What is not in dispute is that on the night of February 5, John and his friend William Warby returned from Liverpool and sat down for dinner with Lucy at the Weavers Arms. An argument insured. Lucy was heard shouting "how could you be so greedy about all the women you had in Liverpool". A tea pot was thrown.

Several witnesses were cross examined and gave slightly differing versions of events. Some say Lucy was drunk. Ann Morgan said that she had never seen her intoxicated. Warby said that she stumbled. Most were not in the room at the time. Henry Rowley said he saw John strike Lucy on the cheek with an open hand.

Dr Walker at Liverpool was sent for. He was told Lucy was suffering from fits. Dr Walker returned the next morning to find her near death and noted marks on her back and shoulder but asked no questions.

The verdict of the trial? Not guilty.

What kind of character was the former convict, John Clegg who was transported for seven years for the crime Larceny. After the death of Lucy in February, he married Pheobie Anderson in July 1825 just five months later. He married yet again in 1828, this time to Mary Alford.

A few years later in the early morning darkness of 13 January 1834, John rose out of his bed and walked into a water-hole on his property and drowned.

The exhibition Notables and New Discoveries Liverpool Pioneers' Memorial Park 1821-2021 is on now at Liverpool Regional Museum, Tuesday to Saturday.