Exhibtion Index  Credits   Bryn Mawr College Library    

Alice Arden and her henchmenImage of the murder of Arden, reproduced in Arthur Vincent. Lives of Twelve Bad Women: Illustrations and Reviews of Feminine Turpitude Set Forth by Impartial Hands. Boston: L.C. Page, 1897.
Click the image to see the full picture.


The crime of maricide – murdering one's husband – is perhaps the archetypical woman's crime, offending against the connubium, the community, and the social order.  The murder of Thomas Arden in 1551 was reported at length 35 years after its commission in Holinshed's great Chronicles. It also inspired a famous and popular play in the early 1590's, Arden of Faversham, which has been attributed to Shakespeare, Kyd, and Marlowe, among others.  Arden's wife, Alice, fell in love with another man and, having botched her own attempt to poison Arden, conspired with her lover to employ a pair of ruffians to murder him.

Back         Forward