Murder at Saughall 1750

On the 29th August, 1750, four Irish harvesters, Delaney, Johnson, Molloy and one other were travelling to Parkgate on their way back to Ireland, when, at a spot some three miles from Chester, three of them attacked the fourth and killed him. They robbed the body of money and clothes and deposited the corpse in a ditch. They delayed their journey and instead, spent some of their ill gotten gains in a local inn. One story says that they spent it in the Swinging Gate in Saughall, where they murdered a woman, but another version says that they drank in the old Greyhound in Shotwick. They were caught and during the assize trial which ended on September 8th, one of the murderers (name unknown)gave evidence against his companions, so that the Delaney and Johnson were found guilty, and hanged at Boughton on September 22nd. On the same day, the two bodies were hung up in chains near the Two Mills on the heath. Although it was said locally that the gibbet was made on an ash tree , the Sherrif’s accounts of 1750 show that for the allowance was made for timber and other ironwork for a ‘strong gibbet thirty six feet high’ ,at a cost of £25 and 5 shillings. Also a charge of £5 5shillings for ‘transporting the bodies several miles’.
The bodies were exhibited as a warning to their countrymen who had of late committed many villainies in that part of the country.