British Executions

William Bouldry

Age: 41

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 8 Dec 1908

Crime Location: 1 Franklyn Cottages, Saltwood, near Hythe

Execution Place: Maidstone

Method: hanging

Executioner: Henry Pierrepoint


William Bouldry was convicted of the murder of his wife Margaret Bouldry and sentenced to death.

He cut her throat at Saltwood, near Hythe on 10 October 1908.

William Bouldry and Margaret Bouldry had been married for about 10 years and had four children but had latterly not been living together.

William Bouldry and Margaret Bouldry had just returned from the hop gardens where they had been hoppicking. Whilst hoppicking Margaret Bouldry had a miscarriage.

After, she was befriended by a lady who took a room for her and her 18-month old child at Franklin Cottages in Satlwood. Margaret Bouldry moved in on 6 October 1908 and then William Bouldry visited Margaret Bouldry there a couple of times and then on 10 October 1908 he went to see her again with a letter that Margaret Bouldry had sent him earlier in the week.

At the time, the landlord and landlady were in the kitchen. After the letter was read William Bouldry and Margaret Bouldry started to quarrel. During the quarrel William Bouldry made as though to strike Margaret Bouldry and Margaret Bouldry said 'Bill you wouldn't strike me in my weak state'. William Bouldry said 'I was not going to strike you only to put my hand on the back of the chair'. It was said that Margaret Bouldry had said that she was willing to go back with him but that William Bouldry talked of separation.

The landlady said that William Bouldry said 'Are you coming back to live with me' and that Margaret Bouldry replied 'Yes'. The landlady said that William Bouldry then asked her to draw up a paper for them to separate but the landlady said that she said that that was not her work.

The landlady said that Margaret Bouldry then went across the room and said that she would stop there no more. She added that she had borrowed 2/6 for William Bouldry to go hop-picking and that they had quarrelled over that.

The landlady said that William Bouldry spoke loud all the time and that when her husband came in at about 6.30pm he said, 'There's enough of the noise' and that William Bouldry replied 'I did not know I was making a noise'. The landlady said that her husband then said, 'I could hear you at the gate and I will have no more of it'.

William Bouldry then asked the landlord 'What do you know about it?', and the landlord then asked William Bouldry not to make so much noise and then asked him why he did not go to work. William Bouldry then hit the landlord and knocked him down onto the scullery floor, breaking his pipe, and shut the door on him.

Margaret Bouldry then rushed out into the passage and then into the front room with their infant child in her arms and William Bouldry then followed them.

The landlady said that when William Bouldry left the kitchen for the passage she saw him put his hand into his right hand trouser pocket for something. The landlady then rushed out crying 'He is murdering her'.

The landlord then went into the passage and found William Bouldry at the foot of the stairs on top of Margaret Bouldry with the knife in his hand. The landlord said that he tried to pull William Bouldry off of Margaret Bouldry but he was like a wild beast and he couldn't and so he then rushed out into the street calling 'Police' and 'Murder'.

When a policeman was fetched to the cottage he found Margaret Bouldry in the kitchen in a pool of blood with the child nearby. She was still alive at the time.

She had a gash in her throat severing the structures to the spine 5-6 inches long by 2.5 inches deep as well as small cuts on her chin and the palm of her right hand.

William Bouldry was later arrested at the Gate Inn in Hythe. When he was arrested for her attempted murder he said, 'All right, how was she when you left her?'. He said that he had gone to the cottage to asked Margaret Bouldry to come back to him. He said that she was the cause of all the trouble. He said that when the landlord came in he told him to clear out saying 'It's six of one and half-a-dozen of the other'. William Bouldry said that if it hadn't been for the landlord nothing would have happened.

When he was charged with her murder the next day he said, 'All right, she is dead then'.

When William Bouldry made his statement, he said that he had stabbed Margaret Bouldry accidently. He said that he thought that his knife must have fallen from his pocket onto the floor and that Margaret Bouldry must have fallen on it.

When he was found he had a small knife on him but it was thought that the knife he had used had been a lot larger and that he had thrown it away.

A doctor said that the wound could not have been caused accidently and that Margaret Bouldry could not have fallen on it.

The judge returned a verdict of guilty but with a recommendation to mercy on the grounds that the deed was done in a moment of frenzy.

William Bouldry was an ex-soldier and a machinist having worked with Vickers at Erith for 12 years but had lately been doing casual labouring, odd jobs and hawking bloaters.

see National Archives - HO 144/894/172433