On Tuesday the 25th day of October, Anno Dni 1664, Mary, the wife of John Waterman, of Fisherton Anger, neer Salisbury, hostler, fell into travell, and on Wednesday, between one and two in the morning, was delivered of a female child, with all its parts duly formed. Aboute halfe an hour after she was delivered of a monstrous birth, having two heades, the one opposite to the other; the two shoulders had also [each] two armes, with the hands bearing respectively each against the other; two feet, &c. About four o’clock in the afternoon it was christened by the name of Martha and Mary, having two pretty faces, and lived till Fryday next. The female child first borne, whose name was Elselet, lived fourteen days, and died the 9th of November following: the mother then alive and in good health.
[This narrative is accompanied by a description of the internal structure of the lusus naturæ, as developed in a post mortem examination; which “accurate account,” says Aubrey, “was made by my worthy and learned friend Thorn. Guidot, Dr. of Physick, who did kindly communicate it to me out of his collection of medicinall observations in Latin.”]
Dr. Wm. Harvey, author of the Circulation of the Blood,
told me that one Mr. Palmer’s wife in Kent did
beare a child every day for five daies together.
A wench being great with child drowned herself in
the river Avon, where, haveing layn twenty-four houres,
she was taken up and brought into the church at Sutton
Benger, and layd upon the board, where the coroner
did his office. Mris. Joane Sumner hath often
assured me that the sayd wench did sweat a cold sweat
when she lay dead; and that she severall times did
wipe off the sweat from her body, and it would quickly
returne again: and she would have had her opened,
because she did believe that the child was alive within
her and might bee saved.
In September 1661 a grave was digged in the church of Hedington for a widow, where her husband was buried in 1610. In this grave was a spring; the coffin was found firme; the bodie not rotten, but black; and in some places white spotts; the lumen was rotten. Mr. Wm. Scott’s wife of this parish, from whom I have this, saw it, with severall of her neighbours.