Three members of St Edmund’s Church in Sedgefield found themselves involved in a mass-murder inquiry this week.

Mary Ann CottonChurchwarden Brian Mutch, Alison Hodgson and Ron Eyley were taking part in a diocesan ‘Inspired Futures’ programme at Beamish Museum when they were invited to identify an artefact, a small, black teapot, and to discover its story.

It turned out to be the very teapot used in the mid1800s by serial killer Mary Ann Cotton who poisoned 22 people, including eleven of her own children, by feeding them with tea laced with arsenic to claim the insurance money. She was subsequently hanged for her crimes.

“It came as something of a shock to discover we were handling a murder weapon”, said Alison.

The day-long programme at Beamish was part of a project to design a ‘Travelling Treasures’ exhibition which will eventually be staged at various churches in the North East. It featured advice on how to care for historic objects in churches and how best to manage them for the benefit of church members and visitors.


Article courtesy of Ron Eyley

Page added 7th June 2018