Key Dates

Day Month Year Occurrence
6th August 1824 William Palmer was born.
? ? 1827 Anne Thornton, Palmer’s wife to be, was born.
8th October 1836 His father Joseph Palmer died.
? ? 1844 Palmer goes to Stafford Infirmary as a “walking student”.
? August 1846 Palmer qualifies as a doctor
24th October 1846 Abley died.
7th October 1847 Palmer marries Anne Thornton
18th January 1849 Palmer’s mother-in-law, Ann (Mary)Thornton aged fifty, died at Palmer’s house.
? ? 1850 William Brookes Palmer, his first son and the only child to outlive him, was born. In some books his DOB given as 1848.
10th May 1850 Leonard Bladen died in Palmer’s house in Market Street, Rugeley, aged 49.
6th January 1851 Palmer’s daughter, Elizabeth, died aged 10 weeks.
6th January 1852 Palmer’s son, Henry, died aged one month.
27th October 1852 Palmer’s Uncle Joseph (Beau) Bentley died aged 62 years.
19th December 1852 Palmer’s son, Frank, died aged just 7 hours.
27th January 1854 Palmer’s son, John, dies. (Death Cert says aged four days Burial Records say three days).
29th September 1854 Palmer’s wife Anne died
26th June 1855 Eliza Tharme, Palmer’s housemaid, gives birth to a son, Alfred, at Palmer’s house. Palmer’s Diary gives the time as 9 p.m. on 26th but birth certificate gives DOB as 27th June 1855.
16th August 1855 Palmer’s brother Walter died.
13th November 1855 Cook wins much money when his horse ‘Polestar’ wins the Shrewsbury Handicap Stakes.
14th November 1855 Cook became ill following him drinking brandy at The Raven, Shrewsbury.
15th November 1855 Palmer lost heavily on a horse called ‘The Chicken’.
Palmer and Cook return to Rugeley where Cook books in to Room 10 at the Talbot Arms.
17th November 1855 Eliza Tharme’s son Alfred died aged 5 months.
17th November 1855 Cook very ill at the Talbot Arms in Rugeley
18th November 1855 Chambermaid claims she was ill after eating broth prepared for Cook.
19th November 1855 Palmer went to London to collect Cook’s winnings
21st November 1855 John Parsons Cook died at 1.00 a.m. in the Talbot Arms
23rd November 1855 Mr. Stevens Cook’s stepfather arrived in Rugeley
26th November 1855 Post Mortem on Cook
29th November 1855 Inquest on Cook opened and adjourned.
30th November 1855 Cook’s funeral
12th December 1855 Adjourned inquest held.
15th December 1855 Cook’s Inquest verdict was ‘willful murder’. Later at 11p.m. Palmer was arrested and taken to Stafford Gaol. He was already under house arrest for debt.
21st January 1856 Palmer gives evidence at the trial at Westminster on forged bills.
? March 1856 Grand jury at Stafford Assizes decided that Palmer had a case to answer for the deaths of Cook and Annie Palmer but rejected the evidence on Walter Palmer.
14th May 1856 Trial commenced at the Central Criminal Court, The Old Bailey, London
27th May 1856 Guilty verdict
14th June 1856 Palmer executed at 8.00 a.m. in Stafford
29th April 1926 ‘Little Willy’, Palmer’s surviving son died aged 76 years.