Aschombe House, near Tollard Royal in Wiltshire, is a grand home, set in 1,000 acres of land, and since 2001 it has had a distinguished owner in iconic singer Madonna. A century and a half ago a Spaniard named Serafin Manzano, 29, was seen wandering around the area looking for work and begging.

Early in the morning of November 3rd, 1859, he was known to have called at the cottage of Mrs. Anastasia Trowbridge. At lunchtime that same day Mrs. Trowbridge’s mutilated body was found propped up against her living-room wall. Her mouth had been cut away with a razor and the house had been burgled.

Manzano was arrested a few days later begging near Southampton, and wearing the clothes of his victim’s husband, stolen from the cottage. Brought to trial at Devizes, he claimed a man and a woman gave him the clothes.

He was taken to the scaffold outside Devizes Prison on Wednesday, April 11th, 1860, where he stood beneath the noose for 10 minutes protesting his innocence to a crowd of between three and four thousand. Then executioner William Calcraft stepped up to complete the job of hanging, which turned out to be the last public execution in the town.