Greene, Anne (DNB00)

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GREENE, ANNE (fl. 1650), criminal, born in 1628, was a native of Steeple Barton, Oxfordshire, who entered the household of Sir Thomas Read of Dunstew in the same county as a domestic servant. She was seduced by her master's grandson and gave birth to a child, which, as she alleged, and according to medical evidence, was stillborn. She was, however, condemned to death for murder, and on 14 Dec. 1650 was hanged at Oxford. At her own request several of her friends pulled at her swinging body, and struck severe blows, so as to make sure that she was dead, and after the usual interval she was cut down and given over to the doctors for dissection. It was then discovered that Greene was still breathing, and with the help of restoratives she soon regained her health. She was granted a free pardon. The event was regarded as the special interference of the hand of God on behalf of the innocent, and called forth several pamphlets. The most notable of these is 'Newes from the Dead, or a True and Exact Narration of the Miraculous Deliverance of Anne Greene … written by a Scholler in Oxford … whereunto are prefixed certain Poems casually written upon that subject,' Oxford, 1651; the poems, which are twenty-five in number and in various languages, include a set of Latin verses by Christopher Wren, then a gentleman-commoner of Wadham College.

[Pamphlets referred to; Wood's Autobiog. in Athenæ, ed. Bliss, i. xviii, xix.]

A. V.