The Yorkshire Witch

The Life and Trial of Mary Bateman

Summer Strevens

* The first comprehensive re-telling of Mary Bateman's life and death since the sensationalised publication chronicling her criminal career appeared in print in 1811.

* As one of Yorkshire's most infamous poisoners, over two hundred years after her execution upon York's ‘New Drop' before an estimated crowd of 20,000 people, her story still capture
Date Published :
March 2017
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
32 illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781473863873
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9.5 X 6.5 inches
In stock
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On the morning of 20 March 1809, the woman who had earned herself the title of ‘The Yorkshire Witch’ was hanged upon York’s ‘New Drop’ gallows before an estimated crowd of 20,000 people.

Some of those who came to see Mary Bateman die had traveled all the way from Leeds, many of them on foot, and many of them were doubtless the victims of her hoaxes and extortion.

A consummate con-artist, Mary was extremely adept at identifying the psychological weaknesses of the desperate and poor who populated the growing industrial metropolis of Leeds at the turn of the nineteenth century. Exploiting their fears and terror of witchcraft, Mary Bateman was well placed to rob them of all their worldly goods, yet she did much more than cause misery and penury; though tried and convicted on a single murder charge, the contemporary branding of Bateman as a serial killer is doubtless accurate.

Meticulously researched, this accessible, and at times shocking retelling of Mary Bateman’s life, and indeed her death, is the first since the publication chronicling her criminal career appeared in print in 1811, two years after her execution. Not only focusing on the details of her felonies and the consequences to her victims, it also examines the macabre legacy of her mortal remains, a bone of contention (literally you might say!) with the continuous public display of her skeleton in the Thackray Medical Museum until the recent removal of this controversial exhibit.

About The Author

Born in London, Summer Strevens now lives and writes in Dorset. Capitalising on a life-long passion for historical research, Summer has embraced writing as a full time occupation. As well as penning feature articles of regional historical interest, her published books include Burned at the Stake: The Life and Death of Mary Channing, The Yorkshire Witch: the Life & Trial of Mary Bateman, Haunted Yorkshire Dales, York Murder & Crime, The Birth of the Chocolate City: Life in Georgian York, The A-Z of Curiosities of the Yorkshire Dales, Fashionably Fatal and Before They Were Fiction.


"Summer Strevens delves deep into the archives for this one - a fascinating tale of witchcraft and skulduggery in darkest Yorkshire in the early 19th century. Mary Bateman may have been one of the earliest serial killers, even though she was only convicted and found guilty of the one murder, enough to secure her sentence - hanging. An extraordinary story, brilliantly told."

- Books Monthly

"Summer Strevens has written a well-researched book on the Yorkshire Witch that is enjoyable to read and not only informs of the criminal life of Mary Bateman but of the historical era she operated in. A very informative read which leaves no stone unturned when exploring Bateman's activities and her character right up to her very public execution in 1809 and its aftermath."

- Crime Traveller

"In short, this is a very readable and well-researched account not only of one woman's life, but also the society she lived in."

- Your Family History, April 2017

The great strength of this book is its wealth of social history that puts Mary’s life and actions in context. There are details about the lives of servants; housing conditions in the growing industrial centres; the rise in religious fervour and millenarianism; and the prevalence of superstitious beliefs. These help the reader understand how Mary’s victims saw the world and why they were duped by her. There are also interesting accounts of early toxicology; how crimes were prosecuted; the treatment of female convicts; and public executions.

- Kim Fleet, Crime Review

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