The Lamb Collection - Crime and Punishment  in the 19th century. Click here to return to Crime Main Page

Phrenological Key to Dr. Pritchard's Character

Dr Edward William Pritchard, a convicted criminal in the 19th century, has his head analysed according to the system of Phrenology, the study of head shape and size which claims to indicate an individual's personality and intelligence. Pritchard was a physician renowned for his extra-marital seductions of young women and was convicted of murder after he confessed to the crime of poisoning of his wife and mother-in-law.

Pritchard was hanged on 28 July 1865 and was the last man to be publicly executed in Scotland. This article refers to his 'small, round head' and attributes his criminal behaviour to shape, saying 'There is an enormous mass of brain behind the ear...and wherever it exists, we find an extensive tendency to crime'.