Martha Brown, the Dorset hanging that influenced Thomas Hardy

Much has been written about Martha Brown who was convicted of the murder of her husband John 1856. The tragic event took place at their Birdsmoorgate home in West Dorset. Thirteen days later Martha Brown was hanged for the crime at Dorchester prison.

Her execution took place in public and in the gathered crowed was a sixteen year old Thomas Hardy. It is said that this event inspired Hardy when writing Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

The story of Martha Brown obviously also touched Nick Gilby as he created the two short films below. The first Martha The Tranter’s Wife is a dramatisation of the events back in 1856. The second video is Martha Brown – The Documentary which explores the research into Martha Brown’s background. It tells of the writing of the novel My Name is Martha Brown by Nicola Thorne.

Nick Gilby has made these publicly available on Vimeo and I thought it worth sharing them. They deserve a wide audience.

Martha The Tranter’s Wife

Martha Brown – The Documentary

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