It was Anne Greene’s nice luck that, after she had been hanged within the fort yard at Oxford, her physique was given to the college’s physicians for dissection.
In the summertime of 1650, Anne, 22, had been seduced by the teenage grandson of her employer Sir Thomas Learn on the manor home in Duns Tew the place she labored. She grew to become pregnant, unknowingly, and a few weeks later was shocked to ship a stillborn boy, no larger than a hand. Anne hid the physique, however a fellow servant reported her to Sir Thomas, who was decided to prosecute her. She ‘handed about three weeks … in continuous affrights and terrors’ within the jail at Oxford earlier than being tried beneath the 1624 Act to Forestall the Destroying and Murthering of Bastard Kids. She was sentenced to loss of life by hanging and her execution befell on 14 December 1650. After half an hour, Anne was pronounced useless, positioned in a coffin and brought to a home the place Dr William Petty, professor of anatomy, was on account of learn a lecture whereas her physique was dissected.
When her coffin was opened, ‘she was noticed to breathe, and in respiratory … obscurely to rattle’. Anne was nonetheless alive. Petty and others instantly set about her restoration. The remedy included bleedings and massaging with scented oils, along with ‘clysters’ and ‘cataplasms’ – that’s, enemas and poultices. A lady was persuaded to get into mattress together with her to maintain her heat.
After 14 hours Anne spoke once more. Some mentioned she recalled being ‘in a effective inexperienced meadow [with] a river operating spherical it, and that each one issues there glittered like silver and gold’. However one modern pamphlet, Richard Watkins’ Newes from the Lifeless, explicity refutes such rumours. She remembered nothing between her final hours in jail and her reawakening, Watkins says, though she had a fleeting reminiscence of the hangman.
When she was recovered, she went to dwell in Steeple Barton, taking her coffin together with her as a memento. Many noticed the hand of God in her survival. Some noticed it once more within the loss of life of her prosecutor, Sir Thomas, three days after the hanging.