British Executions

Joseph Arthur Shufflebotham

Age: 38

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 2 Apr 1901

Crime Location: Folly Lane, Biddulph Moor, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

Execution Place: Stafford

Method: hanging

Executioner: James Billington


Joseph Arthur Shufflebotham was convicted of the murder of his wife Elizabeth Shufflebotham 36 and sentenced to death.

He cut her throat on 28 December 1900 a year after they married on 28 December 1899, the anniversary of their marriage. They had been married at Biddulph Moor church.

They each had children from previous marriages, Joseph Shufflebotham having five children and Elizabeth Shufflebotham having four children.

Joseph Shufflebotham had been a collier and had lived at Robin Hill.

However their relationship wasn't good and they rowed and Joseph Shufflebotham was convicted of assaulting her in March and November and they were granted a separation in April 1900.

Joseph Shufflebotham went to Yorkshire to find work but returned in November 1900 and found that Elizabeth Shufflebotham had given birth to their child making it ten children that they had and Joseph Shufflebotham moved back in. However, he was again arrested for a previous assault warrant and they continued to argue and on 3 December 1900 Elizabeth Shufflebotham left him again and went to her mother at a cottage in Folly Lane off Hot Lane, Biddulph Moor. The child was eight-weeks-old at the time of the murder.

On 28 December 1900 Joseph Shufflebotham went to Elizabeth Shufflebotham's mothers house and asked to speak to his wife and when he was refused he forced his way into the house and cut Elizabeth Shufflebotham's throat.

It was heard that whilst they were together that Joseph Shufflebotham had threatened 'too do' for Elizabeth Shufflebotham over and over again.

On 26 December 1900, Joseph Shufflebotham applied for a warrant against Elizabeth Shufflebotham for stealing furniture and some small articles from his house. However, he was refused the warrant, but told that he might have a summons.

He was not satisfied and reminded the assistant clerk to the justices that he was bound over to keep the peace with Elizabeth Shufflebotham and then said, 'Well, I'll break the bond, I'll b-----y well go and kill her'.

On the night of the murder, Elizabeth Shufflebotham. who was staying with her married sister, went over to her grandmother's cottage in the evening with the baby. They had fastened the door and Joseph Shufflebotham later came to the house and, after asking them to open the door and being refused and told to go away, he burst it open and seized Elizabeth Shufflebotham by the hair of her head, knocked her mother to one side, who then fled with one of Elizabeth Shufflebotham's children from her former husband, and then cut Elizabeth Shufflebotham's throat in a most determined manner, such that she expired in a very short time.

He afterwards cut his own throat, but not that badly, the medical evidence stating that he had one incision going through the skin of the throat and two others hardly going into the skin.

At his trial he claimed that Elizabeth Shufflebotham had attacked him, after which he had no recollection of what happened.

Joseph Shufflebotham was noted as having been sober at the time.

He claimed that he had had pains in his head, presumably from an injury, and that he had had to apply whisky cloths, however, the doctor said that he could find no wounds on his head and Joseph Shufflebotham didn't direct him to any.

He was convicted at the Stafford Assizes on 11 March 1901 and executed at Stafford on 2 April 1901 by James Billington. He was said to have submitted calmly to the pinioning and to have walked the few yards to the scaffold firmly and without uttering a word. His death was said to have been instantaneous.

Folly Lane is no longer a through road, but ran between Hot Lane and New Road, which is now called Rudyard Road, coming out opposite Stanways Lane.

see National Archives - ASSI 6/36/5, HO 144/569/A62492