British Executions

William Saville

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 7 Aug 1844

Crime Location:

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


07/08/1844 William Saville Nottinghamshire Nottingham Murder wife, 3 children

William Saville and Ann Ward were married at Sneinton, Nottinghamshire, in 1835. He had been induced to marry the girl after getting her pregnant. Ann already had one illegitimate child, the product of an earlier liaison. Despite the addition of a further child, all was not well in the Saville household. January 1844 saw William leave the family home and take lodgings in New Radford. Here he became engaged to another woman and asked her to emigrate to America with him. Unfortunately for 29-year-old William, he had been less than completely open with his new girlfriend and had failed to mention that he already had a wife and family. When his intended found out about his duplicity, after a visit by Mrs Saville, she was understandably reluctant to pursue the idea of bigamous marriage and emigration any further. It was the morning of 21st May when William Saville accidentally met his wife and children in the street. William suggested that they all take a walk while they talked. His wife agreed and the family strolled along Colwick Lane. As the five turned into a field William pulled out a razor and cut the throats of his wife and three children. He placed the razor in his dead wife’s hand hoping, that when the bodies were found, it would be thought that she had murdered the children before killing herself. It was not until three days later that the bodies were discovered. William’s affair was common knowledge in the area and he was arrested. While awaiting trial he confessed the murders to a fellow prisoner. The confession was introduced as evidence at Saville’s trial at Nottingham Assizes in July 1844. It removed any doubts that the jury may have had about his innocence and William Saville was found guilty. Saville was publicly hanged outside County Hall, Nottingham, on 7th August 1844. The crowd attending the execution were not very well behaved and a near riot ensued. Twelve people were crushed to death.