Executed at Nottingham, 11th of December, 1759, in the Seventy-fifth Year of his Age, for Murder, concealed Twenty-five Years
Horne discovered hiding in a trunk
WILLIAM ANDREW HORNE'S father was an accomplished scholar. In vain he endeavoured to impart knowledge to his son, who attended alone to his pleasures. Instead of sending him where he would have been taught some manners, the too-indulgent parent permitted him to take his own course; allowed him horses and hounds, on which so many have galloped to destruction; and, in fine, he became a bumpkin squire. He seduced several girls, two of whom were servants to his mother, and one was the daughter of a farmer, which latter died in consequence of her grief. By one woman he had two natural daughters, one of whom lived to the age of fifteen years, and the other was living in 1759, and might have been reputably married, but that the avaricious father refused to give her a shilling as a fortune.
He had likewise criminal connection with his own sister; which leads us to speak of the crime for which he suffered. This sister being delivered of a boy, in February, 1724, Horne told his brother Charles, three days afterwards, and at ten o'clock at night, that he must take a ride with him. He then put the new-born infant in a bag and, mounting their horses, they rode to Annesley, in Nottinghamshire, at the distance of five computed miles, carrying the child alternately. On their arrival near the village William dismounted, and inquired if the child was living, and being answered in the affirmative he took it, and told his brother to wait till he came back. On his return, Charles demanded to know how he had disposed of the infant; to which he said that he had placed it behind a haystack, and covered it with hay. On the following morning the child was found dead, through severity of the weather.
In a short time after the transaction a quarrel happened between the brothers, in consequence of which Charles communicated the affair to his father, who enjoined him to the strictest secrecy; which was observed till the death of the old gentleman, who departed this life, aged one hundred and two years, in the year 1747.
William having always behaved with great severity to his brother Charles, and the latter (soon after the death of the father) having some business to transact with Mr Cooke, an attorney at Derby, told him of the long-concealed affair, and asked his advice. The lawyer told him to go to a Justice of the Peace and make a full discovery of the whole transaction.
Thereupon Charles went to a magistrate and acquainted him with what had happened; but he hesitated to take cognisance of it -- said it might hang half the family, and, as it had happened so many years ago, advised that it might remain a secret.
In consequence thereof no further notice was taken of it till the year 1754, when Charles Horne, being seized with a violent fit of illness, called in the assistance of one Mr White, of Ripley, and, presuming that he should live but a short time, said he could not die in peace without disclosing his mind. When Mr White had heard the tale he declined giving any advice, saying it was not proper for him to interfere in the affair.
Charles recovered his health in a surprising manner; and Mr White, who saw him again a few days after, expressing his astonishment at so speedy a recovery, the other said he had been better ever since he had disclosed his mind to him.
A considerable time after this, William Horne had a quarrel with a Mr Roe, at a public-house, concerning the right of killing game; when Roe called Horne an "incestuous old dog." Thereupon Horne prosecuted him in the Ecclesiastical Court at Lichfield, where Roe was cast, and obliged to pay all expenses. This circumstance inflamed Roe with revenge, and, having learned that Charles Horne had mentioned something of his brother having caused his natural child to be starved to death, he made such inquiry of Charles as determined him how to act.
Thereupon he went to a magistrate in Derbyshire and obtained a warrant, but took Charles's word for his appearance on the following day. William, hearing that such warrant was granted, and being apprehensive that his brother might be admitted evidence, sent for him and told him that he would be his friend if he would deny all that he had said. This the other refused; but told him that if he would give him five pounds he would go immediately to Liverpool, and quit the kingdom: but William's excessive avarice prevented his complying with this moderate request.
Charles being examined by some magistrates in Derbyshire, they declined interfering in the business. On which a Justice of the Peace in Nottinghamshire was applied to, who issued a warrant for taking William Andrew Horne, Esq., into custody; and this warrant was backed by Sir John Every, a magistrate of Derbyshire.
A constable from Annesley went with Mr Roe and some other assistants to Mr Horne's house. They now diligently searched the house, but could not find the party they wanted, and would probably have desisted, but that Roe insisted on making another search, during which they observed a large old chest, and Mrs Horne, on being asked what it contained, said it was full of sheets and table linen. Roe declared he would look into it, and was on the point of breaking it open when Mrs Horne unlocked it, and her husband suddenly started up, saying: "It is a sad thing to hang me; for my brother Charles is as bad as myself, and he cannot hang me without hanging himself."
Thereupon he was taken into custody, and, being carried before two Justices of the Peace in Nottinghamshire, they committed him to take his trial at the following assizes.
He had not been long in confinement when he applied to the Court of King's Bench for a writ of habeas corpus, which being granted, he was brought to London, and his counsel argued that he ought to be admitted to bail; but the judges were of a different opinion, and he was remanded to the jail of Nottingham.
On the 10th of August, 1759, he was brought to trial before Lord Chief Baron Parker, and, after a hearing of about nine hours, the jury found him guilty, and sentence of death was passed. On the day appointed for his execution he had just completed his seventy-fourth year.