BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in July 2009We've left it here for reference.More information

23 August 2014
Accessibility help
Text only

BBC Homepage

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Places Stories

You are in: Hereford and Worcester > Places > Places Stories > The Hay poisoner connection

Hangman's noose

The Hay poisoner connection

In Cusop churchyard is the grave of the victim of one of the most notorious murders of the 1920's.

Cusop churchyard contains the remains of Margaret Armstrong, who has become far better known in death than she was during her lifetime. 

Mrs Armstrong died on 22 February 1921, and was buried at St Mary’s but before too long her body was being exhumed, after her husband was accused of her murder.

Herbert Rowse Armstrong was a solicitor, who originally hailed from Newton Abbott in Devon.

His wife was believed to have died from arsenic poisoning and the finger pointed at her husband, who was a well known figure in Hay-on-Wye society.

He was found guilty of her murder and eventually hanged at Gloucester Jail on 31 May 1922. 

The case made national news, as Armstrong had personally acted for the mother of John Lee, a convicted murderer who was eventually released in 1907.

In recent years many theories have been put forward to suggest that Armstrong himself may have been set up and was innocent of any involvement in his wife’s death; these are best explained in Martin Beales' book The Hay Poisoner.  

You can find more fascinating stories in Nicola's book "Tales from Herefordshire's Graves". If you know of any famous graves or memorials in Herefordshire or Worcestershire that we could feature we like to hear from you.

last updated: 27/07/2009 at 11:58
created: 04/12/2008

You are in: Hereford and Worcester > Places > Places Stories > The Hay poisoner connection

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy