Skip to main content

Campden Wonder

Campden Wonder. Perhaps the most baffling of all historical mysteries. In August 1660 William Harrison, an elderly rent-collector in the small market town of Chipping Campden, disappeared. When a bloodstained hat was found, it was presumed that he had been murdered. A local youth, John Perry, confessed that he had helped his brother and mother to kill Harrison, and all three were duly hanged. Two years later Harrison reappeared and resumed a placid life. His explanation was that he had been kidnapped, sold as a slave to a Turkish physician near Smyrna, and released as a favour. Why the youth confessed is a matter for abnormal psychology and, though false confessions to murders are not uncommon, confessions to false murders are rather rare. The absurdity of Harrison's story—70-year-old rent-collectors are not normally much sought after for the white slave traffic—suggests that it might be true, since it would not have been difficult to invent a more plausible explanation. One obvious answer, that the whole tale was made up by Sir Thomas Overbury, the local gentleman who first published it in 1676, is contradicted by the fact that Anthony à Wood at Oxford on 6 August 1662 had heard and noted that ‘Mr. Harrison, supposed to be murdered two years ago, came out of Turkey to his home in the country.’

J. A. Cannon

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Campden Wonder." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Campden Wonder." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 12, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/campden-wonder

"Campden Wonder." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved December 12, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/campden-wonder

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.