Further study – where to look for more information

Books used in the research for this Web Site:

  • llustrated Life, Career, and Trial of William Palmer of Rugeley – Pub. 1856 Ward and Lock
  • Illustrated Life and Career of William Palmer of Rugeley- Pub. 1856 Ward and Lock
  • The Illustrated and Unabridged Edition of The Times Report of the Trial of William Palmer, for Poisoning John Parsons Cook of Rugeley. Pub. 1856 Ward and Lock
  • The Life & Career of Dr. William Palmer of Rugeley, George Fletcher M.D.(Cantab) – Pub. T. Fisher Unwin Ltd. 1925
  • They Hanged My Saintly Billy, Robert Graves (First published in 1957 by Cassell & Company) – Pub. Xanadu Books (paperback edition) ISBN 1 85480 004 3 (Due for reprint?)
  • A Memorable Medley of Great Black Country Characters AristotleTump  – A Bugle Publication 1986 (For those who want more detail on the Dudley hangman George Smith)
  • Lord High Executioner (An Unashamed Look at hangmen, Headsmen, and their Kind)  – Howard Engel, Pub. Robson Books Ltd. ISBN 1 86105 096 8
  • Palmer the Rugeley Poisoner (1912) Reginald B. Jones – Published by Daisy Bank Printing and Publishing Company
  • Palmer The Rugeley Poisoner (1935) Dudley Barker – Published by Duckworth (Loaned to me by Roger Butters)
  • Trial of William Palmer (Part of the Notable English Trials Series) original edited by George H. Knott published by William Hodge and Company Limited in 1912, Second Edition revised by Eric R. Watson, published in 1923.
  • The Verbatim Report of the Trial of William Palmer, published by J. Allen in 1856.
  • The Pocket Palmer (1992) John Godwin, Published by Benhill Press Ltd.  – Sold with profits going to Katherine House Hospice, Stafford.
  • A booklet – Stafford Prison, Sentenced to 200 Years, by A. J. Standley
  • Gaols – Staffordshire Study Book 1, booklet by Staffordshire Education Department edited by R. A. Lewis 1974.

Cannock District Library

Cannock Library
Manor Avenue
Cannock
Staffordshire
WS11 1AA

Tel: (01543) 510365
Fax:(01543) 510373

Email: cannock.library@staffordshire.gov.uk

Thanks to the co-operation of Mrs. Lisa Smith Community Librarian and ICT Co-ordinator. The Cannock District Library has compiled a list of their sources linked to the story of Palmer.

Palmer related sources

  • Times Report of the Trial of William Palmer
  • Trial of William Palmer – Eric Watson
  • They Hanged My Saintly Bill – Robert Graves
  • Infamous Victorians – Giles St. Aubyn
  • Pocket Palmer – John Godwin

Newspapers from 1856 used for the study

  • The Rugeley Number of the Illustrated Times February 2nd 1856
  • The Illustrated London News – various
  • The Staffordshire Advertiser – various

Rugeley Library

Anson Street
Rugeley
Staffordshire
WS15 2BB

Tel: (01889) 256010

Email: rugeley.library@staffordshire.gov.uk

Thanks to the co-operation of Mrs. Lisa Smith Community Librarian and ICT Co-ordinator we have a list of Palmer resources held at Rugeley Library.

List of available resources relating to Palmer available at Rugeley Library:

Books:

  • Illustrated Life and Career of William Palmer of Rugeley
  • Infamous Victorians – Giles St. Aubyn
  • They Hanged My Saintly Bill – Robert Graves
  • Pocket Palmer – John Godwin
  • Murders of the Black Museum – Gordon Honeycombe
  • Life and Career of Doctor William Palmer of Rugeley – G. Fletcher
  • Trial of William Palmer – Eric Watson
  • Times Report of the Trial of William Palmer

Articles:

  • Ilustrated Times
  • Guide to the Literature of William Palmer – J.P. Sumner
  • Assorted Newspaper cuttings from recent times
  • Ballad entitled “Life and Trial of Palmer” – David D. Cooper (sold at Palmer’s execution)
  • Click here to see the ballad
  • When Palmer the Poisoner Dallied in Dudley – Black Country Bugle
  • Staffs Advertiser article 1856
  • The Doctor Became a Poisoner – Staffs Life & County Pictorial
  • Assorted Illustrations
  • A Staffordshire Murderer – from the Times Literary Supplement 5th June 1981

Staffordshire Record Office

The Staffordshire Records Office,
Eastgate Street,
Stafford,
ST16 2LZ

Telephone:(+44) 01785-278379 (Archive enquiries) (+44) 01785-278373 (Appointments)
Fax:(+44) 01785-278384

Email – staffordshire.record.office@staffordshire.gov.uk

Archive sources relating to William Palmer

  • Copy of the Rugeley number of the Illustrated Times, 2 February 1856 – Contains articles and illustrations entitled: The Rugeley Tragedies;
  • The Rugeley Poisonings; Topographical Descriptions and Statements of Inhabitants; an Interview with Dr Alfred Taylor; and an illustration of Inspector Field at Rugeley
  • Copy of a page from a diary alleged to be the diary of William Palmer, Nov 1855
  • Census returns for the Palmer household at Rugeley, 1851
  • Census returns for the Burgin household in Stafford, 1851
  • Minute book of the Weekly Board of Stafford Infirmary showing William Palmer’s admission as a walking pupil, 1844 (Ref D685/2/11) (See picture on His Employment web page)
  • Marriage register for Abbots Bromley parish church, recording the marriage of William and Anne Palmer, 1847
  • Baptism and burial registers for St Augustine’s parish church, Rugeley, recording the baptisms of Palmer’s children and the burials of Palmer’s reputed victims, John Parsons Cook and members of the Palmer family, his brother, wife and children, 1849-1856

The William Salt Library

The William Salt Library,
Eastgate Street,
Stafford,
ST16 2LZ

Contact: Telephone: (+44) 01785-278372
Fax: (+44) 01785-278414
Email – william.salt.library@staffordshire.gov.uk

Thanks to the co-operation of Mrs.Thea Randall, Head of Archive Services.

The William Salt Library have compiled a list of their numerous sources linked to the story of Palmer.

William Salt Library: List of Source Material for William Palmer

 

Original Material

The Jane letters, 1855 (Correspondence between William Palmer and Jane Burgin of Stafford)[Ref: WSL
D(W)1548/7] (See picture on Palmer Blackmailed web page)

Watercolour sketch of child with toy horse on wheels and whip, 1829 (endorsed Master William Palmer aged 5)
[Ref: WSL D(W)1548/1] (See picture on Memorabilia at William Salt Library web page)

Receipts for deeds from Mr Weaver signed by William and Ann Palmer, 1851 [Ref: WSL D(W)1548/4]

Note written and signed by William Palmer, no date [Ref: WSL 309/2/98]

Deposition of William Palmer of Rugeley, 1855-56 [Ref: WSL 41/41]

Lucy Walkenden’s deposition relating to the death of Walter Palmer, William Palmer’s brother (Ref 41/41)

Illustration of the Palmer family grave at Rugeley and Rugeley Post Office, where the postmaster intercepted letters for Palmer
(Ref M1226)

View of Rugeley Grammar School as it would have appeared about the time when William Palmer attended as a pupil
(Staffs Views)

Printed Books

The Times report of the trial of William Palmer. Published: Ward and Lock, 1856 (includes on end paper letter from W Palmer, 1855) [Ref: WSL D(W)1548/10]

Illustrated life and career of William Palmer of Rugeley. Published: Ward and Lock, 1861 [Ref: WSL D(W)1548/11]

Trial of William Palmer edited by George H Knott, 1912 [Ref: WSL D(W)1548/12]

The Life and career of Dr William Palmer by George Fletcher, 1925 [Ref: WSL B1 PAL]

Palmer the Rugeley poisoner by Dudley Barker, 1935 [Ref: WSL B1 PAL]

Pamphlets

Ought Palmer to be hung! A charge from Lord Chief Justice Campbell that would have satisfied Palmer and his advocates. Published J Pattie, c. 1856 [Ref: WSL pbox R/2/2]

Central criminal court- the Queen v. William Palmer- official report of the minutes of evidence taken in short hand. Published: George Herbert, 1856 [Ref: WSL pbox R/2/2]

A letter to the Lord Chief Justice Campbell containing remarks upon the conduct of the prosecution and the judges by Rev Thomas Palmer, 1856 [Ref: WSL pbox R/2/2]

The deadly poison of sin a sermon….by Rev Charles Lee after the execution of William Palmer. Published: M Billings, 1856
[Ref: WSL pbox R/2/3]

Is capital punishment in unison with the teachings of the New Testament- a sermon preached shortly after the execution of William Palmer by Rev W G Hillman. Published: Hill & Halden, 1856 [Ref: WSL pbox R/2/3]

The duty of intercession: and the execution of the murderer- God’s warning to sinners, two sermons preached in the chapel of Stafford County Prison by Rev R H Goodacre. Published: R Wright, 1856 [Ref: WSL pbox R/2/3]

The love of money the root of all evil, or the sin of gambling: a sermon occasioned by the recent trial and conviction of William Palmer by Rev E Newton Jones. Published: Whittaker & Co, 1856 [Ref: WSL pbox R/2/3]

The fatal consequences of gambling- a sermon preached on Sunday evening June 22 1856 suggested by the history and end of William Palmer of Rugeley by Rev John Scott. Published: J Pulleyn, 1856 [Ref: WSL pbox R/2/3]

The Rugeley tragedy revealed; being a review of all the startling disclosures of Rev Thomas Palmer proving the innocence of his brother William Palmer. Published: T Duggan, 1856 [Ref: WSL pbox R/2/3]

The cries of the condemned; or proofs of the unfair trial and (if executed) the legal murder of William Palmer. Published: C Elliot, 1856 [Ref: WSL pbox R/2/3] (See picture on Reasons for Doubt web page)

The life and end of the wicked a warning- a sermon preached in Armitage… after the conviction of William Palmer by Francis Wilson. Published: Hamilton Adams, 1856 [Ref: WSL pSermons]

 

Other Sources

The alleged poisonings at Rugeley: the trial of William Palmer, 1856 (Report from The Times newspaper) [Ref: WSL Misc 348]

Calendar of Prisoners at the Stafford Assizes, March 1856 Palmer’s name appears but the trial was transferred to the Central Criminal Court in London

Act of Parliament which permitted his William Palmer’s trial to be conducted at the Central Criminal Courts, London- 19 Vict. Cap. 16, 11 April 1856 (photocopy) [Ref: WSL CB/PALMER/5]

A collection of newspaper cuttings regarding the trial and execution of William Palmer, 1856 [Ref: WSL CB/PALMER/9]

Crime broadsheet relating to William Palmer, 1856 (Ref: Broadsheets 2/39) (See picture on Memorabilia at Shugborough web page)

Copies of articles in The Leader regarding trial and execution of William Palmer, 1856 [Ref: WSL CB/PALMER/4]

The Rugeley poisonings and the trial of William Palmer- newspaper reports from various papers, c. 1856 [Ref: WSL M1271]

The Rugeley number of The Illustrated Times regarding Palmer case, 2nd February 1856 [Ref: WSL 616/35]

William Palmer and Stafford: the Jane letters by Ann J Kettle in Stafford Historical and Civic Society Transactions, 1971-3 pp22-33

Life, trial and execution of William Palmer for the willful murder of John Parsons Cook at Rugeley, 20th November 1855 (Broadsheet) [Ref: WSL Broadsheets- Crime 2/39]

Surgeon in Rugeley suspected of poisonings- William Palmer
[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper 5 January 1856]

Adjourned inquest on the suspected poisoned bodies- William Palmer
[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper 12 January 1856]

Willful murder verdict given by jury in the case of his wife adjourned for inquiry on his brother- William Palmer
[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper 19 January 1856]

Inquest resumed on the bodies of his wife and brother- William Palmer
[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper 19 January 1856]

Continuation of the poisoning case at Rugeley- William Palmer
[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper 26 January 1856]

Further report on the poisoning case- William Palmer
[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper 2 February 1856]

Application to the court of Queen’s Bench for transfer of trial outside Staffordshire- William Palmer
[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper 2 February 1856]

Trial to take place at the Old Bailey either in May or June next- charge of three separate murders- William Palmer
[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper 9 February 1856]

Trial Report- William Palmer

[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper 17 & 24 May 1856]

Trial report- conviction and sentencing to death- William Palmer
[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper special edition 27 May 1856]

Press releases of the metropolitan journals on the verdict of the trial- William Palmer
[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper 31 May 1856]

Conviction- omitted reports on the trial- William Palmer
[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper 31 May 1856]

Prison visits by family and officials in the week before his execution- William Palmer
[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper 7 June 1856]

Chemical and medical evidence- comments and reports of the medical profession- William Palmer
[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper 7 June 1856]

Execution- report on the day previous to and the actual execution- William Palmer
[article from Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper 14 June 1856]

 

Original Artefacts

William Palmer’s Pocket instrument case (on loan to the Staffordshire County Museum Service, Shugborough Hall)
[Ref: WSL D(W) 1548/8] (See picture on Memorabilia at Shugborough web page)

Plaster Death Mask of William Palmer (on loan to the Staffordshire County Museum Service, Shugborough Hall)
[Ref: WSL D(W) 1548/9] (See picture on Memorabilia at Shugborough web page)

Piece of the wedding dress worn by Anne Palmer when she married William Palmer, 1847
[Ref: WSL 309/1/98]