The Injured Children,


The Injured Children,


OR, The Bloudy Midwife; Being A Discovery of a Barbarous Cruelty to several Children that had been made away, and buried privately in a Sellar, and two hid dead in a Hand-basket.


Mary Compton was found guilty of the murders of several children, some her own, some she was paid by the churchwardens to take in. Her maid was acquitted, as she knew nothing of the dead children (in the cellar) and was left with only cheese to feed the babies. Ann Davis was convicted of being an accessory to the murders and was burned in the hand.

Digital Object

Image / Audio Credit

Magdalene College - Pepys Library, Pepys Ballads 2.193; EBBA 20808

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OH! what a wicked Age is this, we Wretches do live in,
How prone we are to Wickedness, and to commit each Sin;
No day but does produce new Fact of Villainy I say,
Some Thieve, some Murders basely act,
this is done day by day.
But of all Baseness none can tell a wickeder indeed,
For when I think upon it well, it makes my Heart to bleed;
A Midwife which at Poplar dwell'd, now Newgate is her doom,
'Tis said she several Children kill'd, and hid them under Ground.
She left a Boy and Girl at home, besides an infant small,
And left them no Provision, which made the Children bawl:
They cried so loud the Neighbours heard who went for their Relief,
The Boy immediately declar'd their Misery and Grief.
I'th' Sellar on a Shelf thats high
a Basket there you'l find,
And in it two dead Children lye, which terrifie[s] my Mind:
They went and found it to be true, a dismal Spectacle,
Oh wretched Woman, why did you these little Infants kill.
I'th' Sellar by the Boys advice, they digged up and down,
Where six poor Childrens carcasses immediately were found.
Their Skulls and Bores were taken up, a dismal sight to see,
Oh Midwife, Midwife, what mad'st thou bury them privately.
Some say they're By-blows she did take, Or Bastards, which you will
And all was for the Moneys sake, these infants must be kill'd;
For 'tis supposed a sum for good she with a Child did take,
But oh! such [?]n[?]rseries for Bloud, would makes one heart to ake.
What Grief and Trouble there must be, to those that have put out
Their Children to her Custody, since now the Murder's out;
No less than eight poor Childyen found, thought to be made away,
Six private buried under ground, two in a Basket lay.
You Mothers that have Children sure, you nere will Money give,
That you for that may never more your Child see while you live,
For 'tis a comfort for to see,
the Mother Nurse its Child,
And then no Midwives Cruelty
can ever you beguile.





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Printed and Sold by T. Moore,




“The Injured Children,,” Execution Ballads, accessed July 17, 2024,

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