August 15, 1821
An unidentified woman is found with her throat sliced
The well-dressed woman’s body was found under a tree in Blackgrove Wood, “her throat cut in two places, and otherwise much mangled and bruised” (Jackson’s Oxford Journal. August 25, 1821). An impromptu stretcher was fashioned from a door to bring her body to a local pub, open to viewing from the public in an effort to identify her body. Ultimately, this effort proved unsuccessful.
The Dunstable Today attempted to shed light on the mystery in 2015, linking the unknown murder victim to a possible identity as well as her murderer. The article suggests the victim was Mrs. Janet Eastaffe, murdered by her husband. Mr. Eastaffe was arrested for the disappearance and suspected murder of his wife seven years after the unidentified body was found, though at the time he was not linked to the unidentified woman. He was acquitted due to lack of evidence. The article includes a good amount of supporting evidence and is well worth the read.
The gravestone reads:
This Stone was erected
TO THE MEMORY OF
A FEMALE UNKNOWN
found murdered in Blackgrove Wood
AUG 15 1821.
Oh pause my friends & drop the silent tear,
Attend & learn why I was buried here;
Perchance some distant earth had hid my clay
If I’d outliv’d the sad, the fatal day.
To you unknown my case not understood
From whence I came or why in Blackgrove Wood
This truth’s too clear & nearly all that’s known
I there was murder’d! & the villains flown
May God whose piercing eye persues his flight
Pardon the crime but bring the deed to light