AS part of our weekly Crime Files series, we are taking a look back at the archives to bring you stories from Herefordshire's history.

The following story dates from 1859.

RUMOURS of murder abounded in a Herefordshire town after a young woman was found dead in bed with "various marks" to her head and face in 1859.

Elizabeth Eddings had died at her parents' home in Kingswood, near Kington, in September of that year, with "various marks upon her head and face indicating violence", it was reported.

The wounds were apparently so severe, that locals believed she had been attacked.

One newspaper of the time said the rumours circulated to such an extent that almost a general belief existed that "a murder most unnatural" had been committed.

The case came before the coroner that same month, with the inquest taking place at the home where Miss Eddings had died.

But an inspection of the body by the jury, with the help of surgeon W. Blakeley, found that she had not been murdered but instead died from advanced syphilitic disease.


The coroner's court heard from the victim's mother that her 21-year-old daughter had been in service for some years but would not stay in steady employment.

She had left home in January and returned a week before her death, ill, dressed in rags, shoeless, and bearing marks to her face.

She had been living on the streets across the Midlands, the inquest heard, and had refused her mother's offer of medical attention.

The jury returned a verdict of death by the visitation of God, from natural causes, and from erysipelas on the head and face, operating on a constitution tainted with syphilis.