Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Reporting was very different in the past, the following descriptions and especially the interviewing of a six year old on the evening of the murder would never be allowed today.

In 1900 Sheriff Taylor, a well-known local farmer, murdered his wife and daughter (a girl three years of age) by blowing out their brains, he then turned the gun on himself inflicting such injuries that he was not expected to live. The Taylors occupied Washdyke house, a residence at the corner of Washdyke Lane on the Freiston Road. Taylor had built the house for himself in about 1898 and moved there with his family from Toot Lane. There were four children aged 6, 5 and 3 years and an 18 month old and it was the third of these who, together with her mother, came by such a sad end. Taylor was a parish constable and up to a year before was a member of the Skirbeck Parish Council, he was 30 years of age. Mrs Marshall, the mother of Mrs Taylor made the gruesome discovery when she visited Washdyke House. In the pantry lay the bodies of her daughter and the little girl, the child's head was completely emptied of brains and the skull was blown to pieces, the mother's head was also partly blown off and the brains of the victims and portions of their skulls were scattered in every direction while the place swam with blood. On the floor of the kitchen adjoining lay Taylor himself with a gun at his side. He had evidently, after shooting his wife and daughter, turned the weapon on himself for this face was blown partly away. Mrs Marshall at once raised the alarm and the police arrived, also very soon upon the scene were Doctors Arthur and Reginald Tuxford. The bodies of the victims were moved to an outhouse and everything possible was done forTaylor who was left in charge of the district nurse . Although so terribly injured it was strange to say conscious and sensitive to pain. He had held his head back to reach the trigger of the gun, the muzzle coming under his chin, and the charge completely carried away the lower part of his face, but the shot had missed his brain. His recovering from the injury was , however, from the first seen to be hopeless. Taylor was met going home on the afternoon at about 4 o'clock by William Russell, a roadman employed in Skirbeck and he said Taylor appeared to be the worst for drink. Further enquiries showed that Taylor attended Boston market and returned home at about 4 o'clock and after milking the cows went in the house to tea. A boy named Yates in the yard heard angry words pass between Taylor and his wife. Mrs Taylor went into the yard and sent Yates to fetch her mother who lives a short distance down the lane. At 5 o'clock a neighbour called Crawford, who heard the shots fired, saw two of Taylors children running down the yard to meet their grandmother. On entering the house, Mrs Taylor and their three year old were, as stated above, found lying dead in the pantry and Taylor was lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor. Mrs Taylor's youngest child aged about 18 months was discovered seated in a high chair at the table where it was a witness to the tragedy, the infant was uninjured. When spoken to on Wednesday night respecting the tragedy, the little boy Taylor, age 6, said " I wanted some lemon drink and mum went into the dairy to get it. Father put some wadding in his gun and shot her and she fell with their head in the milk pail. Little Clara was sitting in a chair at the table, and Father blew her out of the chair into the pantry, I did laugh when Daddy blew the chair in the other room. Little Clara fell against Mam's head. When Daddy shot himself he made so much noise I began to cry and I ran out of the house because I was frightened. Sheriff Taylor died about 9 o'clock in the evening and a portion of his jaw and teeth were discovered in the kitchen firegrate the next morning.


  1. How utterly gruesome & descriptive.
    Ps. Thankyou for this site. I always look forward to reading the next regular updates/stories.

  2. Thank you for this, Sheriff Taylor was the Grt Grt Grandfather of my grandsons. A very sad story- from research young Sheriff was bought up by his grandmother Lydia Taylor and his sister Alice was bought up by her Aunt Harriet

    1. Rose Elizabeth Marshall (1871-1900) was his wife and is my GG-grandfather's sister. Washdyke house still stands.