Account of procession of Eliza Chestney to Norwich


ELIZA CHESTNEY - The Norwich Mercury says, - "This most faithful and courageous woman, an example to all classes, and particularly to those of her own class, had, we understand, felt a proper desire to give her testimony without regard to her own personal safety. However this feeling could not be otherwise than respected, its indulgence of course depending upon her state. Fortunately that state was sufficiently satisfactory to enable her medical attendant to permit her to give evidence, and a bed was constructed, to be carried in a manner similar to that of a sedan chair, with a canopy and curtains. On Wednesday afternoon the wounded girl left that hall, the scene of so much guilt and so much mourning, for Norwich. In this palanquin she was carried by two men, with relays at certain places, and at every 40 yards a slight stop was made, for the double purpose of rest to the carriers and for the convenience of the patient. A body of county police accompanied the invalid, and at Hertford bridge the cortege was met by a large body of city police, under the direction of Mr Yarrington, in case any rush of persons should have collected. These formed a line ahead and behind the county police, who marched at the side and directly across the road at a distance from the main body, and thus prevented any evil from eager curiosity or improper conduct. Thus did Eliza Chestney enter Norwich to aid in the great purpose of legal and moral justice. Its effect upon those who saw this particularly interesting procession - and we have heard several speak of it, women both of high and low position - was the same; a sensation of faintness, but also of deep feeling, almost accounting to silent prayer for the safety of one whose devotedness to her mistress more than amply compensates for, if it cannot hide, the shame which attaches to the county for the great guilt of the perpetrator. Thus passed the procession to the house of Mrs Watson, opposite the Shire Hall, where rooms had been secured - a procession which will long be remembered, and would be no uninteresting and certainly a worthy subject for the pencil of the artist, as the "entry of the good and faithful servant." We trust that the country universally, if not the most illustrious in the land, who are said to take the deepest interest in the case, will not suffer this devotion to be unmarked by some memento, not alone of proper liberality, but of its sense of faithful service, as an example not to be forgotten, but handed down to hereafter as equally worthy to be ennobled with deeds of glory, by a public testimony. If Grace Darling, who devoted herself to the safety of the shipwrecked mariner, be worthy of the record she received, the devotion and single heartedness of Eliza Chestney, the faithful servant, the strong minded and morally courageous woman, ought not to be lost sight of in these days, but to be held up to the present and future generations as an example of which the county of Norfolk boasts, and of which there is no other similar one in its records.


Ref: The Times, 9 April 1849, Page 7, Column c