Murder stone, Mansfield Road

Murder stone, Mansfield Road

OF all the thousands of people who pass along the Nottingham— Mansfield road during the year, very few notice that at the foot of the rise leading up to Harlow Wood, where the new Orthopaedic Hospital stands, there is, on the eastern side of the road, a stone which, to all appearances, is a tombstone. Of the few people who notice this stone, stilt fewer know its story.

It commemorates a young girl of the name of Elizabeth Shepherd. On July 7th, 1817, this girl left her home at Papplewick, and went over to Mansfield to seek for employment. Towards the evening her mother, having gone out to meet her, saw her returning along the road, and, turning back towards Papplewick, she expected that in due course her daughter would overtake her. However, she did not, and upon a search being made, her body was discovered lying on the spot where this memorial is now erected.

A hue and cry was raised, and a ne’er-do-well called Charles Rotherham came under suspicion. This suspicion deepened into conviction when it was discovered that he was in possession of a cotton umbrella and a pair of shoes which had been worn by the unfortunate girl.

Rotherham was duly executed and a memorial was erected to Elizabeth Shepherd, which still stands and bears the following inscription:

This stone is erected to the memory of Elizabeth Shepherd, of Papplewick, who was murdered while passing this spot by Charles Rotherham, July 7th, 1817. Aged 17 years.