British Executions

Joseph Wedlake


Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 21 May 1883

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Taunton

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


Murder of Mark Cox; Taunton

From Robs History

Joseph Wedlake

1851 Redghill Tything, Redghill Street, Winford
Robert Wedlake Head 28 Agricultural Labourer Winford Somerset
Martha Wedlake Wife 26 Winford Somerset
William Wedlake Son 1 Winford Somerset.

1861 Feather... Lane, Winford
Robert Wedlake Head Widower 39 Agricultural Labourer Winford Somerset
Hester Patch Sister Widow 41 Winford Somerset
Ann Patch Niece 17 Winford Somerset
Charles Wedlake Son 10 Agricultural Labourer Winford Somerset
Joseph Wedlake Son 8 Winford Somerset
Benjamin Wedlake Son 7 Winford Somerset
Thomas Wedlake Son 3 Winford Somerset.

1871 Rudghill Street, Winford
Robert Wedlake Head 49 Farmer 7 Acres Winford Somerset
Charles Wedlake Son 19 Winford Somerset
Thomas Wedlake Son 13 Scholar Winford Somerset
Ann Patch Niece 26 Housekeeper Nemptnett Somerset.

1871 Wapsel, Winford
Charles Pearce Head 35 Farmer of 48 acres WinfordSomerset
Mercy Pearce Wife 33Winford Somerset
Joseph Wedlake Nephew 16 Ag Lab Winford Somerset
Emma Pearce Niece 10 Winford Somerset.

1881 Ridghill St, Winford
Robert Head Widower 59 Small Farmer 7 Acres Winford Somerset
next to
1881 Ridghill St, Winford Somerset
Charles Pearce Head 44 Farmer 82 Acres Winford Somerset
Mercy Pearce Wife 43 Farmer Wife Winford Somerset
Joseph Wedlake Nephew 28 Cow Man Winford Somerset
Emma Pearce Niece 20 Dairy Maid Winford Somerset


THE MURDER NEAR BRISTOL: Joseph Wedlake, arrested on Sunday owing to a statement made by his brother, who with another man, is in custody charged with the murder of Mark Cox, at Ridgehill, Winford, confessed yesterday that he was the murderer. He said that he had made up his mind to kill a young farmer named Thatcher. who had succeeded in winning the affection of a young woman, and hid in the hedge for the purpose of attacking him as he passed along the road on his way home. Cox passed along the same lonely road on the way to his work at the ore mines, and he (Wedlake), mistaking him for Thatcher, struck him down with a heavy blunt are. The blow had scarcely been dealt before he saw that it was Cox, and not Thatcher, that he had killed.


THE MURDER IN SOMERSETSHIRE: Yesterday, at the Long Ashton Petty Sessions, Joseph Wedlake was charged with the wilful murder of Mark Cox at Winford on January 7th. Thomas Wedlake, who was first charged with the crime and afterwards with being an accessory before and after the fact, was discharged and admitted as Queen's evidence against his brother. The prisoner's confession was put in, and was to the effect that he killed Cox by mistalk. He discovered his error directly after he had aimed the fatal blow, but too late to enable him to arrest the fall of the axe with which he had armed himself. After Cox was on the ground he struck him twice. The magistrates committed Joseph Wedlake for wilful murder, and the chairman advised him to employ the interval before his trial in making his peace with God.

THE TIMES WEDNESDAY 2 May 1883 Western Circuit THE ASSIZES. At Taunton on Monday, before Mr. Baron Huddleston, Joseph Wedlake, 29, farmer, was charged with the wilful murder of Mark Cox, at Winford, on January 7th Mr. Hooper and the Hon. B. Coleridge prosecuted on behalf of the Treasury.

Mr. Poole defended the prisoner. The case for the prosecution stated that the prisoner had waylaid and murdered the deceased man, mistaking him for a man named Thatcher, of whom he was jealous. Prisoner's brother and his cousin had been arrested, and through the information given by them the police had found reason to suspect the prisoner, who, on being arrested and duly cautioned, said that his brother had been telling lies about him, and that his cousin had committed the murder. as his brother knew. But later in the same day he said that he wished to make a statement. At this point of the case Mr. Poole objected to this evidence as not admmssible, on the authority of' " Reg. v.Drew" (S "O. aud P'., 140) and" Reg. v. Morton" (2 -Moo. and Rob.," 514) But after argument, his Lordship said that he was bound by the case of " Reg. v. Baldry" (2 , Den. C.C.," 430), a decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal, with which he cordially agreed, and which overruled both these cases, and, therefore, he admitted the statement. The superintendent wrote down what the prisoner said, which was as follows :" I killed the man, sir, he was killed in mistake , I killed him with a thing we have got at home which uncle kills the pigs with. That is the thing, sir (pointing to an axe.) I was jealous of that young man Thatcher, and had had a drop of drink. I am sorry now ever since I did it. I have had no sleap since, and should have been bound to split. I have had it on my mind ever since. I could not bear to go outside the door." It was read over to the prisoner and he put his mark to it, in the pretene of the superintendent and a constable. The prisoner afterwards added he was sorry for it, that he had met the deceased, had said"Good night, " had struck him on the head, but before the blow had hardly reached him he knew it was Cox, but the blow was too far gone. He could not stop it. He struck him two or three times after he was down, but was too frightened to remember how often. The first blow had stunned Cox, he said. he was perfectly national at the time he made this confession, but he was in a prostrate condition and crying. Mr. Poole, for the defence, urged the jury to reject Thomas Wedlake's story, and not to rely on the alleged confession, which the prisoner had not adhered to before the magistrates or at the trail. The jury, after an absence of ten minutes, found the prisoner Guilty, aud he was sentenced to death.


Double Execution At Taunton.Yesterday at Taunton, George White, labourer, and Joseph Wedlake farmer, were executed within the precincts of Her Marjesty's prison, the former for the murder of his wife, Clara White, at Henstridge, near Wincanton, Somerset. on the 28th of March, the latter for the murder of Mark Cox, at Winford, near Bristol, on the 7th of January. White deliberately and brutally kicked his wife to death less than 12 months after they were married. He pleaded guilty at the last Taunton Assizes, and never attempted to deny or to palliate his offence. Wedlake's case was puculiar. He was jealous of a young man named Thatcher, who was courting his cousin, Emma Pearce. On Sunday night, the 7th of January, he lay in wait for Thatcher with the intentioa of killing him, with an axe, but he mistook Cox for his intended victim and killed him. The facts were revealed to the police by Wedlake's own brother, who was arrested on suspicion of having committed the crime, and then Joseph Wedlake confessed. Both prisoners since their conviction abandoned all hope of being reprieved and gave due attention to the spiritual ministrations of the gaol chaplain. They walked firmly to the scaffold, which was erected in a room at the end of a corridor in the gaol, and were executed by Marwood. Death was in each case instantaneous, and in each case there was absolvte separation of the vertebrae. The prison bell was tolled a few minutes before 8 o'clock, and at 8 to the minute the black flag was hoisted. About 200 persons assembled outside the gaol during the execution. Members of the Press were excluded, the only persons who witnessed the execution being the high sheriff, the under. sheriff, the Govneor and surgeon of the gaol and several warders.

11th June 1883 The Will of Joseph Wedlake late of Ridghill in the Parish of Winford in the County of Somerset, Labourer who died 21st May 1883 at Her Majesty's Prison Taunton in the said County, was proved at Bristol by Charles Pearce of Ridghill Yeoman the Uncle the sole Executor.

Personal Estate £169 5s. 6d.
In 2008, £169 5s 6d from 1883 is worth:
£12,700.00 using the retail price index
£88,200.00 using average earnings.