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Ep 169: The mysterious disappearance of Elisabeth Canning.


A portrait of Elizabeth Canning, as appeared in Portraits, memoirs, and characters, of remarkable persons, from the revolution in 1688 to the end of the reign of George II. 1820

A judicial mystery that swung one way then the other. All we know for sure is that someone was falsely accused. Was it Elisabeth's perjury or Squires and Wells kidnapping and theft? Listen to the podcast as Alex outlines what we know.


Crisp Gasgoyne by James Macardell NPG and Henry Fielding circa 1743 etching from Jonathan Wild

Legal heavyweights came out to fight the case on both sides. Judge and Lord Mayor Crisp Gasgoyne accusing Canning, while author and magistrate Henry Fielding ( of the Bow St Runners fame) supported her.


A Plan of the house of Susanna Wells at Enfield Wash, The London Magazine, 1754

In amongst the media speculation and fervour we can find a plan of the house where Canning may have been held. And even the hayloft:


A contemporary sketch of the loft in which it was supposed Canning was held Published by John Trehere, The Canning Enigma

Crisp's address and a cartoon. Graphic Arts Collection Princeton University

Sir Crisp addressed the liverymen of London to defend his position. The cartoon to the left is titled "The Gypsy's Triumph". As Mary Squires was released. We see her and Crisp sitting on top carried by four ladies with hats and brooms. The association between gypsies and witches still going strong in the mid 1700s. I won't share the deeply unflattering portraits of Canning and Squires which were printed in the Newgate Calendar.

Canning seems to have lived out her days in America in relative calm, and hopefully happy family life. But the mystery lives on. Including in fictionalised form. The plot forming the inspiration for this mystery novel set and published in 1948.



Who was telling the truth? Will we ever know for sure?


What do you think? Let us know.





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3 Comments


Eve Galewitz
Eve Galewitz
4 days ago

https://roberttreatfarm.com


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Eve Galewitz
Eve Galewitz
4 days ago

www.roberttreatfarm.com


This is just one of the Treats, who happened to be right near where I live.


Below is another Treat Family Farm.



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Eve Galewitz
Eve Galewitz
4 days ago

Just finished listening to saga of Elizabeth Canning Treat. Another bizarre tale! But boy was I shocked when you said she married Mr. Treat of Wethersfield Connecticut. As a 25 year resident of Connecticut (the Nutmeg State) and New Haven county, the Treat name is very familiar to me. The Treats were some of the first settlers to Connecticut and owned a good deal of land and have many descendants who are still living here. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the late actor Treat Williams but he was a a descendant from that family as well. There are still many things with the Treat name in and around the Connecticut shoreline. It certainly looks as though Elizabeth …

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