The Strange Story of ‘Base born Biggs’

Mary Biggs gave birth to illegitimate twins in 1723, the village midwives declaring them to be boys. They were named Robert and Edward. A few weeks later Robert died and it soon became obvious that all was not well with the surviving baby whom Mary secretly kept at home. Eventually the women who had been at the confinement sought the advice of the curate who had christened the infants. But before any help could be offered to Mary the child also died at the end of 1724 and the twin’s graves were lost in the undergrowth of the churchyard. Here the matter would have ended except for a note in the Martham church records which states “Mary Biggs had two base born children at birth which through the mistake of two or three good old women were baptised Edward and Robert, when the aforesaid Edward was a daughter and Robert a son.”

See the last entry here of the baptism of the ‘brothers’ Edward & Robert Biggs on 31st May 1723
Edward Biggs the ‘daughter’ of Mary buried 25th June 1724.

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